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As a semi retired travel agent, many times clients in the past would complain about the "single supplement".
Here is the scoop. People are not being "penalized" for traveling solo. When you see an escorted tour package advertised, hotel, bus, (and or train) sightseeing, they have taken the price of the hotel room and split it in half, added that half of the accommodations to the price listed, since most people travel in pairs, spouses, friends, etc.
It is that simple. So when a potential client looks at Tour AB20 in a travel brochure, they sometimes get huffy when they see the words single supplement. All they are paying for is the cost of the entire hotel room. They are not being charged twice for the bus seat or the sightseeing tours that are included.
Now on cruises, this can be a some what different story. Some cruise lines and cruise groups charge a single traveler 200% to occupy a cabin alone, plus they charge double the port tax.
I have never agreed with this. The person is being charged the food and all the other things on a cruise twice, plus the tax, come on now. This is lunacy.
However, from the beginning of short cruising in the early 70's, I was there selling travel, when Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Lines and Carnival, each had only ONE ship, and started the trend of 7 night cruises to the Caribbean, the cruise lines have felt that each cabin could hold at least two people and they were not going to lose a cent of revenue by selling a cabin to only ONE traveler.
We had this come up quite often, as I started working as a travel agent on the West Coast of Florida, and the majority of our clients were affluent retired people. The agencies there would block off many cruise lines and sell their own group cruises to country club members, church members, home communities, civic groups.
Senior citizens then, liked to travel with a group of people they knew. 40 was always the least amount the cruise lines wanted to give any free berths or group rates, and that was based on 20 cabins, 2 per cabin.
So it was tough if too many solo travelers wanted to book a particular "group cruise". The whole group could lose their group rate and amenities, if only one person took a cabin. The group rate was based on 20 cabins, filled with at least 2 bodies per cabin.
And since we had an affluent community, (Naples, Venice, Sarasota and in between) booking these, many a time a person would state, I am a widow, charge me the rate for 2 people and 2 taxes, I want to go on the cruise.
Now days, there are so many more cruise ships, I feel they should be more lax, and actually if the public checks, the ships are so much bigger, most cruise lines have set aside a few of their SMALLER cabins and will sell a single rate.
The problem is, many travelers want to go with a "group" or don't realize if they find a travel agent selling a cruise at a lower rate then other agencies, it is because they are looking at a certain departure which is a group rate.
Dont feel bad, even our travel agent cruise discount rates are also based on 2 people travelling in one cabin. Since I am now single again after many years, and of AARP the last 2 cruises I have been on, I have paid double the rate and double the taxes to go on the cruise as one person in a cabin.
Yes, one of the few perks left in my job, is a reduced rate on certain cruise lines. So while it is less expensive for me to travel, they cut me NO breaks traveling. NOT even if they have scads of cabins left at the last minute. That is just the way the cruise industry still thinks, after almost 40 years.
I took Windstar in Europe in 2003, one week from Rome to Barcelona. I love a ship like that. They had a group cancel at the last minute, and I do mean last minute, one week to departure, because of the starting war in Iraq, they were a bit leery about traveling in Europe.
I booked myself solo on the one week cruise in June. Since all cabins on this ship can hold at least 2 passengers, IF I wanted to sail, I had to pay for 2 berths in that cabin. It was my choice and I paid it.
Certain cruise lines still try to match you up with a roommate on certain sailings, a concession to solo travelrs who do NOT want to pay the single supplements. The drawback, many travelers do not want to be matched up with a total stranger to share a room with for a week or longer.
There are also a few escorted tour companies, that cater to seniors, that do the same thing. And coming back, so they tell us are a few companies, like the old Singleworld, that will match you up with a roommate on certain sailings and tours. You, as a traveler, just have to do your homework, or find a travel agent that caters to senior travel.
It will be interesting to see as more and more baby boomers retire, many divorced or widowed, and there will be more solo travelers then ever, , how this will affect the cruise line business and the group escorted tour industry.
At this point, like Noahs Ark, two in a room, seems to be the magic number
after a short career as an airline stewardess
Thank you, travel1, for the answer to this member's question. I was notified of your answer, but the original query was not because you replied to me rather than to the questioner. I'll send him a note about your response.