Ship comes in for solo travelers, industry says

Fri Jan 22, 2010 10:05am EST
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - If you're fancy free and love to wander, the price might finally be right to travel solo.

Instead of punishing travelers who prefer to go alone with hefty surcharges, the travel industry is starting to woo them with deals that tickle their wanderlust without ravaging their wallets.

"The tour industry is making way for the single traveler," said Margie Jordan, spokesperson for the American Society of Travel Agents. "This is nothing that's going to go away. The single traveler is going to have as many opportunities as anyone else."

For years most travel deals were based on two people traveling together.

"Single travelers would see a price on line and we've had to break the news that if you're going by yourself, it's 150 to 200 percent more," said Jordan, CEO of ASAP Travel. "They were left high and dry."

But times are changing and Jordan said cruise lines in particular are stepping up. MSC Cruises is currently offering trips that waive the dreaded single supplement, which accounts for the price hike.

"And Norwegian Cruise Line is introducing 'Studio' staterooms built and priced solely for the single traveler," she added. "It is actually something new in the cruise industry."

Maria Miller, of Norwegian Cruise Line, said the 4,200-passenger Epic that is due to launch in July, is equipped with 128 studio staterooms designed specifically to give the solo traveler a room of one's own.   Continued...

<p>The cruise ship from Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) Musica dwarfs Via Garibald as it arrives in Venice May 4, 2009. REUTERS/Manuel Silvestri</p>