Norwegian Cruise Line, which led the cruise industry by designing special cabins for people traveling on their own starting in 2010, has announced that as of January 4, 2024, all of the line's 19 ships will offer staterooms specifically designated for solo travelers.
The move will mean that almost 1,000 more cabins will be sold without a single supplement to cruisers who want a stateroom all to themselves.
You might think that an announcement of this magnitude would require a lot of conversion work, but it won’t.
All Norwegian plans to do is flip a switch and recategorize staterooms that were previously classified as doubles, so there will be no downtime required for renovations.
Before the announcement, Studio staterooms were available on the Norwegian Viva, Norwegian Prima, Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Epic, and Pride of America.
When the category conversion is finished, solo staterooms will be added to the rest of the fleet: Norwegian Joy, Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Pearl, Norwegian Jade, Norwegian Jewel, Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Star, Norwegian Sun, Norwegian Sky, and Norwegian Spirit.
The newly labeled cabins will fall under the categories of Solo Inside, Solo Balcony (pictured above on the Norwegian Viva), and Solo Oceanview. Since those were originally designed for at least two cruisers traveling together, accommodations will usually be larger than the cozy Studio that was specifically designed only for soloists.
As you can imagine, a designation that loose could be changed on a whim if any particular voyage is selling briskly, and, in fact, Norwegian also announced that solo cabin "pricing and availability [are] dependent on the destination and demand."
So despite the bone that has been thrown to singletons, from sailing to sailing the cruise line still reserves the right to switch a solo cabin to double occupancy instead.
Because of that, pricing for solo accommodation on Norwegian is more unpredictable than ever.
Even before this change, many cruisers found, depending on the sailing, that when they calculated incentives and other factors, sometimes paying a single supplement for an inside cabin or even some ocean-facing staterooms was similar in price to paying the special price of a Studio cabin. So solo cruisers should always make sure to obtain price quotes for various parts of the ship before deciding to settle on any category of accommodation.
To recap: Newer Norwegian ships have smaller Studios designed for one, while older ships might categorize standard cabins as Solo as long as it's not too busy.
Some ships that were constructed with solo cabins in mind also have special lounges that serve guests who purchase the Studio category. Because the new solo staterooms are being designated rather than newly constructed, the special lounge won’t be added to any more ships that don’t already have them.
It’s just a lounge, after all (although the espresso in them is far superior to the coffee served at the main buffet). If you insist on being able to access a lounge for solo travelers, stick to one of the ships launched after 2010, when custom-built Studio cabins debuted aboard the Norwegian Epic.