The once bare bones easyCruise, forging its reputation as the anti-cruise cruise line offering few of the extras -- and a cheaper price point -- is inching ever closer to a more traditional onboard experience.
The latest step toward the status quo? Changes, which will take place beginning next summer, include:
Half-board meal packages and daily housekeeping are now part of the published fares -- which have been raised accordingly. You can take your pick of a Continental breakfast, plus lunch or dinner, and your cabin will be cleaned daily. Breakfast and dinner will be served as a buffet (with different themes). Both amenities were previously offered as a la carte items.
If easyCruise is offering more traditional cruise-like amenities, its rates are also beginning to reflect that transition.
For the new more-inclusive summer 2009 cruises, the lowest fares, once available at below $20 per person, per night, have slowly risen to around $50 per person, per night and up (now including the meals and cabin cleaning). A seven-night August 2009 (high season) Greek Isles and Turkey cruise -- stopping in Kalymnos, Bodrum, Kos, Paros, Mykonos and Syros -- will run you about $600 per person, for two people sharing an inside cabin. That's for the most compact cabin onboard.
Rates for this summer have been considerably lower -- given that you select the cabin-only option that's still currently available. Sail on the August 30, 2008, Greek Isles and Turkey cruise, and you'll pay just over $400 per person.
And, in other "easyNews," the line has added two new stops to itineraries for 2009 -- the popular Crete and Rhodes -- and some special short festival cruises coinciding with Patras Carnival (a huge Greek carnival with parades, balls, parties), Greek Orthodox Easter and Catholic Easter.
--by Dan Askin, Assistant Editor