Sunday 29 May 2011

Solo in the Southern Ocean

by Katrina Lobley - The Age / SMH

Small can be beautiful for solo travellers. The expedition ship MV Le Boreal accommodates 264 passengers but luxury tour operator Abercrombie & Kent caps passenger numbers to Antarctica at 200, so everyone can be transferred to shore more efficiently.

Passengers heading to Antarctica are promised one of Le Boreal's 104 balcony cabins, which means there's room to accommodate solo travellers, who are charged a single supplement of 30 per cent.
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Solo passengers usually comprise 10 per cent to 12 per cent - or 20 to 24 people - of A&K's Antarctic sailings, which means you won't be Robinson Crusoe if you sign up on your own.

A&K's vice-president of business development, Bob Simpson, says the burgeoning solo-traveller market has been underserved but, as it grows, "we've definitely realised as a group this is something we need to focus on". Simpson says 70 per cent of A&K's solo travellers are women and they're usually in their mid-50s or older.

Spend 15 nights aboard Le Boreal on A&K's 17-night Antarctica, Falkland Islands and South Georgia expedition, departing Buenos Aires on December 17. It costs from US$US13,995 ($13,125) a person twin share; the single supplement costs from $US4195 for bookings by June 30. See

Elsewhere in the cruise industry, Royal Caribbean Cruises has noted the solo trend and is adding six single cabins to its Australian-based superliner Radiance of the Seas (prices yet to be announced).

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