There are 2,600 passengers on the Queen Mary 2's routine milk run 27 August from Southampton to New York, and from the look of things I must be the loneliest person on her. But it's not for lack of activities, of which there are more than enough to fill anyone's day and night.
In fact is takes half your week-long voyage just to find all the places of interest on this 1,100 foot-long pride of the Cunard Line. From the sports centre to the fabulous illuminations theatre, it's as if you are in a sea going shopping mall.
No, for me being the loneliest person on the ship hit home while having dinner in the main Britannia dining room. Every table was occupied by two or more people. And there was I, at my table pour un, which the matre'de gave me after a double take when I told him I was on my own. As I glanced around the massive two level room, filled with human conversation, I had to be the only person talking to myself.
To be honest, I wasn't depressed or anything like that. For one thing, I took comfort in the great menu that was all part of the purchase price. As a journalist my main interest was the reason I booked the trip. I wanted to see if Cunard's Saver Fare was real. Yes, just like the Indy's Simon Calder, I paid for my ticket...Not that I would have turned down a freebie, if offered one.
I feel my situation on board was largely due to the cruise industry's standard double occupancy regime, where a single passenger usually will wind up paying for a double room. Now considering about 75 percent of the passengers on my voyage are over 55, it stands to reason that Cunard and others are eliminating a key market...single seniors who may have lost a spouse and might jump at the chance to take a cruise if offered the same promotional fares as couples. And I might be able to have some company.
Yet, it all depends on vacancy factors. If a cruise company can fill its double berths, there's no need to go after the single market. For example, one company, Fred Olsen, offers single cabins and rates to match.
Other than that, Cunard has to be offering one of the best peak summer deals in international travel, for couples that is, £599 all in from Southampton to New York with a flight back to the UK at your convenience. The company also has similar deals from New York to the UK. This is a "from" price pertaining to a windowless inside cabin. The better the cabin, the higher the price. But, it doesn't effect the first class service you receive.
When you consider prices for economy summer air fares to New York complete with a TV dinner on your lap, run from £700 to £950, it's a no brainer, providing you have week to spare and a partner to go with you. To be honest, although discriminatory, even paying a single person supplement is still cheaper and far more enjoyable than summer air travel. What you will be losing in money you may gain in weight from all the delicious food.
The fact I'm a Freedom Pass holder with time on my hands prompted me to celebrate my Golden Anniversary in journalism by taking leap of faith and much more cash to investigate this deal, which so far has been everything for which I could have hoped. And the voyage has just begun. As for being the loneliest guy on the ship, that might end with more singles on board.