In a blow to passengers hoping to sail the rivers of Holland and Belgium this year on easyCruiseTwo, the company has abruptly announced that all future voyages will be canceled. The ship will finish its current and final voyage on August 17, ending the season six weeks earlier than the originally scheduled date of September 28.
This was the second season for easyCruiseTwo, which is actually leased from Boonstra River Line, and it had offered cruising's only genuinely casual river cruise option. But according to easyCruise, financial difficulties faced by Boonstra forced the early end to the season.
easyCruise had already seen some problems with its leasing arrangement this season; in June, the company removed October and November dates from the ship's schedule. It must be stressed that easyCruise is not under financial duress; the challenges faced by Boonstra have simply limited the line's usage of the ship. Information on Boonstra is not widely available, and the Dutch company could not be reached for comment.
According to Paul Ellerby, easyCruise's sales and marketing director, easyCruise will not return to the region next year. Instead, easyCruise, which already operates the company-owned easyCruiseOne in the Eastern Mediterranean, is looking to expand its outreach there with the addition of a second ship in 2008.
In the meantime, passengers will receive a full refund for their cruise and a complimentary cruise aboard oceangoing easyCruiseOne (must be taken by the end of 2008). The ship will be sailing various Greek itineraries, including a 14-night repeating Greek Isles sailing through October 2007; a 7-night repeating Classical Greece sailing from October 2007 through April 2008; and a 10-night repeating Greece, the Ionian Sea & Saranta sailing from April to September 2008.
Finally, and this is key, easyCruise will refund canceled passengers for non-refundable travel arrangements (flights, train, bus, rentals) -- even if they do not actually cancel their travel arrangements. And if they are continuing on, easyCruise will pay reasonable hotel costs for the length that passengers would have cruised. Click here for a list of contact numbers.
easyCruiseOne, which is again owned by the line, will continue its successful season of Greek Isles cruises, featuring a series of itineraries that range from the marquee ports to those way off the grid. The line will sail through December, go on hiatus through February (as is not uncommon for some small lines), and resume its Eastern Mediterranean trips in March.
--by Dan Askin, Assistant Editor
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easyCruiseTwo Cancels River Cruise Season Early
August 16, 2007