Ask Dr. Job’s chief contributor, Sandra Pesmen, is a member of the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and author of “DR. JOB’s Complete Career Guide.”

Winner of several journalism awards, Pesmen is a graduate of the University of Illinois Media College at Urbana, and is listed in several Who’s Who editions. She also has been Corporate Features Editor of Crain Communications Inc., founding Features Editor of Crain’s Chicago Business and a reporter/features writer for The Chicago Daily News.

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Single Person Penalty Unfair

Q. When I retired last year at 65, I thought I'd be able to enjoy some cruises, but I was shocked to learn a widow has to pay for TWO people instead of one if she has no one to go with her. That doesn't seem fair, and certainly too expensive for me. Is there some way around this?

Ans. After working all those years it does seem unfair for you to have to pay the "Single Person's Penalty" if you don't have anyone to go with you. But consider that the cruise line still has to pay the same number of maids, stewards, and waiters as they would if the cabin was full. (Granted, they don't have to provide food.) One solution is to find a travel agent that arranges special "groups" and match clients with one another. Often those matches are so successful the people chose to travel together after the cruise too. Also, this is "bargain season" (especially since the recession) and you should be able to find a cruise so inexpensive it won't hurt so much to pay double.

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