Escape’s Doc Holiday, Dilvin Yasa, answers your travel-related questions.
I know there are cruise lines that have solo cabins but I’m finding these difficult to find. Can you help? I don’t want to pay the single supplement.
I’ve received a few questions in recent weeks about the single supplement, why it exists and why it’s rarely advertised. Essentially, accommodation prices are based on a standard room charge that’s divided between two people sharing a room – or cabin. If one person occupies the room, providers will add a charge, the dreaded single supplement, which can be anywhere from 10 to 100 per cent of the standard twin tariff, to cover the total cost of the room. Since these rates/fares tend to be more expensive than the standard twin-share, they’ll rarely be the prices you see advertised.
Solo cabins are becoming increasingly popular across many categories of cruise lines, from budget to luxury. Norwegian Cruise Line pioneered the trend and a decent amount of studio cabins are available across quite a few of its ships.
Many cruise lines, Ponant and Hurtigruten among them, as well as river cruise lines, such as Tauck and Avalon Waterways, regularly waive single supplements across their itineraries, or offer a heavily reduced single supplement,so it pays to sign up to receive regular news and sale alerts. Just remember, there is a limited number of solo cabins available on cruise ships and these sell out quickly, so you’ll need to get in super early to nab one.
Can I take a week-long bus trip to see Western Australia’s beautiful wildflowers?
When you have more than 12,000 species of wildflowers popping up all over your backyard (60 per cent of which can’t be found anywhere else on the planet), you’d be crazy not to capitalise on it. Happily, for wildflower lovers such as yourself, there are plenty of coach tours throughout the season, which begins towards the north of the state in June and sweeps downwards, finishing on the south coast in November. Most of the guided tours I’ve found depart in or close to September.
One of the guided tour organisers I recommend you look at is Luxury Outback Tours, which offers a couple of seven-day wildflower adventures including a WA Wildflower Hot Spots tour. This one takes in Dryandra Woodland and Stirling Range national parks in the state’s southwest, karri forest and Boranup Forest, as well as Pemberton, the Margaret River Region and Busselton.
Botanica World Discoveries is another great option, with a range of small group tours hosted by expert botanical guides.It has a 10-day Western Australia Wildflowers, Landscapes and Private Gardens tour led by plant specialist Jac Semmler. The tour not only takes in the state’s wildflowers and well-known sites, but includes visits to private gardens not usually accessible to the public, as well as the Paul Bangay-designed Secret Garden.
You may also wish to check out the wildflower tours offered by AAT Kings and Outback Spirit. The former has the seven-day Wildflower Wanderer tour, which could fit the bill perfectly, while the latter has a 16-day discovery offering for those who just can’t get enough. Readers interested in researching the many types of wildflower tours available in Western Australia, whether it be guided or self-guided, should visit westernaustralia.com which lists options for every kind of traveller.
What is the best water bottle for use on long-haul flights and European tours?
The first question you need to ask is whether it’s more important to have a bottle that keeps your water cold for a long period of time, or one that is super-lightweight.
If you’re the kind of person who is constantly drinking and refilling, I would go for something like the Camelbak Eddy+, a one-litre, leak-proof BPA-free plastic bottle, or the 750ml BPA-free Joseph Joseph Dot Water Bottle which has a clever dot system which helps you track how much water you’re drinking.
I’m a fan of stainless-steel drinking bottles, and Hydro Flask has a 621ml Lightweight Standard Mouth Trail Series bottle which is 25 per cent lighter than other bottles in the range. It also keeps water cold for up to 24 hours and liquids hot for up to 12, so this one is well worth a look.
Originally published as Doc Holiday: The secret to finding a solo cruise cabin
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