In a move that is sure to make the opposition sit up and take notice, Carnival Cruise Lines has dropped single passengers upplements for a host of Bahamas and Caribbean sailings over the course of 2014.
The sailings cover a range of ports, itineraries and durations. Galveston, Miami, New York and Port Canveral are just some of the principal departure points for the programme of discounted voyages, ranging from three to eight days in all.
Typical prices include an eight night, Caribbean cruise on Carnival Freedom, in a 225 square foot ocean view stateroom from just £419. Shorter breaks include a three night Bahamas jaunt aboard the Carnival Sensation, with an inside room available for just £139.
Fares do not simply cover the older ships, either; they are even available for some departures on the current Carnival flagship, the 130, ooo ton Carnival Breeze, as well as the seasonally New York based Carnival Splendor.
The axing of these single supplements makes the Carnival product a very attractive buy for single passengers; the drop in price goes a long way toward offsetting the negative effects of constantly increasing air passenger duty on transatlantic flights as well.
Carnival has never traditionally built single cabins into its ships, so these fares are an obvious, if belated response to the success of single cabins offered aboard the ships of rivals Norwegian and, to a lesser extent, Royal Caribbean. However, even the standard inside cabins on Carnival ships come in at around 185 square feet- roomier than on most of their rivals.
With more of its ships remaining year round in the Caribbean and Bahamas trade than any of its competitors, Carnival offers far more capacity and diversity than any other line. As well as the ports cited above, the line also offers sailings from Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Jacksonville, Charleston, Mobile and New Orleans.
On the west coast, Carnival offers short sailings to Mexico from both Los Angeles and Long Beach; it is also slated to resume sailings to the Mexican Riviera in November, after an absence of several years.
There’s no doubt in my mind that these new, attractively priced fares will have other lines looking to their laurels. Within the Carnival family of companies, it might lead to something similar happening and both Holland America and Princess Cruises.
All of this is a very welcome development for the solo traveller, and not before time, either. For details of all the Carnival sailings, you can check out the UK website; http://www.carnival.co.uk