When is a deal really a deal -- or a dud? easyCruise, the one-ship Greek Isles-based line with the reputation for being short on onboard amenities and long on hours in port, is offering a special two-for-one Valentine's offer, with rates starting at just £255 per couple (plus a bottle of Champagne) for cruises on the 12,711-ton, 600-passenger easyCruise Life. Any two-for-one deal is sure to grab attention, but just how magnanimous is this easyCupid?
First of all, after you note somewhat recent across-the-board price increases, the 50 percent savings today look quite similar to the 20 to 30 percent offers from a couple of years back. Plus, a closer look at the £255-per-couple rates reveals that these prices are for compact inside cabins -- bunk beds, no porthole -- on a pair of four-night roundtrip Athens cruises departing 5 or 9 June (relatively mid-season for the Greek Isles). Cheap, sure, and intimate in a sleep-away camp kind of way, but not exactly everyone's idea of romance. And at £32 per person, per day, the fare includes only breakfast and a choice of lunch or dinner. You'll have to fend for yourself for the other square, and extras like drinks, spa treatments and shore excursions.
The seven-night roundtrips from Athens or Bodrum, which visit a different Greek Island every day, start at £350 per couple. Again very cheap, but if you want beds that are side by side rather than one on top of the other, the price jumps to £535 for the cheapest departure date (17 October). Looking high season? Rates jump another 30 percent to £700. A suite, the definition of romantic for many, will cost you even more.
We must say, however, that if you're looking for affordable, no-nonsense Greek Isles cruises, it's frankly impossible to do it any cheaper than on easyCruise Life -- and the two-for-one promotion covers every sailing, no exceptions. Plus, you'll get an active passenger base; a clean, no-frills ship; a nice mix of major tourist hubs (Crete, Mykonos, Rhodes) and less common stops (Syros); and plenty of time to explore in ports. Because that's what easyCruise is all about.
As for romance ... well, it's just not included in the fare.
Offer ends midnight GMT 16 February.
--by Dan Askin, Assistant Editor
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Does easyCruise's Valentine's Offer Get Cupid's Approval?
February 10, 2009