Sailing Solo - River Cruises


European river cruises offer single cabins, special deals, and open-seat dining

David Rentsch

President, Cruise Holidays

People can’t get enough of river cruising for its easy going style, onboard social aura, intimate ships and inclusive value. That is why it is the fastest growing segment in the travel industry. Though most travel in pairs, increasingly solo cruisers are also looking at European river cruises as a hassle-free value-added way to explore the continent. Because of this, many cruise lines are making accommodations for solo travelers.

Top 10 Reason River Cruising is Great for Solo Travelers

Why should solo travelers consider a river cruise for their vacation?

  1. Solo cabins, while limited in number, give singles their own space.

  2. Singles can book double occupancy cabins by paying a single supplement. Often that fee is reduced or waived on certain sailings.

  3. Intimate ships create a social onboard aura.

  4. Onboard cruise directors will introduce solo travelers to fellow guests and assist singles in getting involved in activities if they choose.

  5. River cruises feature easy-to-join walking tours, often comprising small groups.

  6. Onboard entertainment foster socialization, with such activities as a German band and bratwurst event, cooking demonstration, dance lessons, back-to-the-70’s party or wine tasting.

  7. Ships typically dock in city centers, conducive to independent exploring.

  8. Open-seat dining allows flexibility to sit with different people on different nights.

  9. Like-minded passengers have similar interests (culinary, wine, art, history, eco-sites, bicycling, and more).

  10. River cruising is highly inclusive and it’s a great value for the money.

Good News for Solo Travelers

The good news is that some river cruise lines sailing European rivers have a limited number of solo cabins for single travelers to book. For example, Scenic Cruises has one single balcony suite per ship. Six AmaWaterways ships offer single occupancy staterooms of 140 square feet. Since the number of single rooms is limited, many river cruise lines encourage singles who wish to book into a double occupancy cabin to bring a friend and thereby avoiding any single supplement. But for those who wish to travel alone, nearly all lines have some reduced rates for the second fare.

Finding the Best Cruise

Navigating the immense amount of information from all the different cruise lines can be daunting but is necessary since each line deals with solo travelers somewhat differently. In addition, waived single supplements and any special pricing offers are time sensitive in terms of the booking date and also capacity controlled for many lines. Certain restrictions can also apply, so finding a smart travel agent can help you find the best fit, and an excellent value while saving you time.

Feeling Like You’re Part of the Journey

River cruises, by their nature, are very relaxed socially. Unlike ocean cruising, the vessels typically sail during the daytime, so passengers often congregate in ever-changing groups in the lounge or on deck. There, they might engage in conversation, watch the scenic beauty passing by, have drinks and snacks, and gather when it’s time for the tour. Or, they can quietly sit or read if they so desire, something others are doing as well. River cruise’s experience naturally fosters socialization so even the most unsure new solo traveler will soon meet others and be included organically.

Open-seating dinners also afford another opportunity to comfortably meet others. Dining areas have tables for 2 to 10, which gives solo cruisers a lot of options.

Consider feedback Cruise Holidays has received from one of its solo travelers. “I’ve never felt any type of social stigma being solo on a river cruise, and in fact it’s probably the easiest type of cruising for solos!”

Solo Stateroom