Anyone used Easy Cruise? What's been your experience? How about the positives and negatives for those of us who don't really want to cruise but want to use a ship as a hotel?
I have been waiting for a reply to this question, too. I asked almost the same thing months ago. It seems like since Easy Cruise is such a cheap way to travel the Greek islands, there would be more Rick Steves readers trying this. I'll keep watching this question...
You'll find more information on easyCruise on Cruise Critic.
Check out www.cruisecritic.com. They have a thread for Easy Cruise.
Terry--I agree. I've been very surprised that no one in this forum has had experiences with Easy Cruise. Thanks to the above posters for pointing us to Cruise Critic.
Last year they did some TV program on easy cruise in Germany. They pointed out that everything on board costs extra money: Towels, getting cabin cleaned, food, beverages (and of course they overcharge) etc. There is no pool on board, only a tiny jaccuzi. Larger cabins or cabins with window cost more than the small inside ones. The boat stops at a port every day as part of the low cost concept, so no relaxing sea-days. There is no service, everything is self-service. They said on Costa Crociere you could get deals equally expensive (if you include food, beverages, towels, linens, cleaning etc.) but with much more service.
Jeff, I guess I was looking for Rick Steves readers who had actually used Easy Cruise like a hostel, staying on the islands and buying food, etc. there. Sometimes I read reviews on other sites that are very critical of austere, or non-American standards. To compare the rock bottom priced Easy Cruise where you pay for only what you need and actually use, with more expensive all-inclusive cruise lines isn't fair. For the most part, I can identify with the travel styles and sensabilites with people on this site. Many people are like me...we would rather travel quite often than blow everything on just one trip. I LOVE the idea of getting a bargain, and Easy Cruise may be a great way to travel the Greek Islands without having to pay for amenities we don't want or need. Perhaps someone will be able to give us a first hand opinion soon!
EasyCruise is a floating hostel. It's a fabulous idea.
I have not personally used the service but I have two friends who spent two weeks in the Caribbean a year or so ago. EasyCruise had a ship there during the winter months in its first year. They had no trouble with the service, island hopping with them - it doesn't leave port until morning to allow all the all-night party people to make it back to the boat and that's what they were there for. But as a means of transportation as well as lodging, it's similar in nature to a night train.
My husband and I did an Easy Cruise on the French & Italian Riviera. Most of the people were English and in their 20's-30's. We booked a 7 night trip from Nice, our ports were Cannes, St Tropez, Monoco, Genoa, and Portofino. We visited in-season, September and only paid $960 USD for both of us! Here are the negatives- the room is wide enough for two twin matresses on the floor, no other furniture, no port-hole, one pretty good sized "wet-unit" with a toilet, sink, and shower stall. There is no place to hang up clothes. No pool, just a small hot-tub on the top deck with a bar and chairs . This actually proved to be a good place to hang out. Charges for everything on board is in British pounds, so it is quite a good deal for the mostly British passengers, no so good for US dollars ! There is a coffee shop and a sports bar type restaurant. You do pay to have your cabin cleaned or to get fresh towels. Easycruise.com says they are upgrading their fleet to provide more amenities.
My wife and I used Easycruise Two for a river cruise between Amsterdam and Antwerp (roundtrip). Our cruise was not close to being sold out but that was due to a company purchasing all cabins for two days, thus making it impossible to follow the entire schedule from Amsterdam to Brussels. The crew was very friendly and accomodating. This cruise is only for the budget-minded. If you like traveling in luxury stay away. If you don't mind sleeping on a mattress on the floor and a spartan environment then this is for you. Cleanliness was okay but not spotless. The bath was small but workable. Study the Easycruise web site for more ship details. You still get the same cruise along the waterways just like the more expensive lines. They don't pester you to buy things or leave tips...but you certainly should support this hard working staff. The bottom line for the budget traveler is that this is a great value and well-worth trying to see if it works for you.
If I may continue with more information about Easycruise..My wife and I just returned from 11 days on Easycruise One in the Greek Islands. There is an unpublicized policy you might need to know before you go. They have a security check every time you enter the ship. This is good. I have no problem with this policy. However, when you first enter the ship with your luggage, it will be searched. If you have any food items they will be confiscated...candy, soft drinks, granola bars, etc. You will be told that you can not bring any food or drinks (bottled water IS allowed) on board ship. If you have diet restrictions or food allergies, you need to know about this policy. Easycruise does sell food on board, they have daily meal specials, and you can find plenty of food choices at each stop.
Try a recent review by http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=36569
Haven't been yet--going in March 2008.
Well I think Easycruise sounds like a false economy. Seems like alot of nicket and diming( charging for clean towels!??) and their policy of not allowing you to bring food on board is to force you to buy theirs which if sold in English pounds is EXPENSIVE, remember a pound is about two dollars, BUT, one pound buys you about what one dollar would here, in other words a chocolate bar might be a pound there and a dollar here. Not good.
And I would never sleep anywhere that has a mattress on the floor, excuse me, that seems very dirty to me.
And for the American who suggested that " the hard working staff " get tipped", you have got to be kidding, I would never tip someone who I have to PAY to bring me a clean towel,, wow. What service does the staff actually perform?? Seems like none.
The worst part of Easycruise is NO flexibility, if you like somewhere you still only get 10 or 12 hours there.
The Greek Islands deserve more then that, and with Greece still being cheap...
... you can find rooms for cheap ( there are always folks who come down to incoming ferries and solict people to come stay in their rooms, and the ferries are cheap too, and you CAN bring food on them.
I sort of think Easycruise sounds like a party ship with few advantages, other then you will party in a different place every night .
Pat, false economy compared to what? We took an EasyCruise around the Caribbean a couple of years ago (sigh...they haven't returned) and it was great. We loved the daily stops in every port; we were there to visit the islands, not cruise at sea. We also visited real islands, not self-contained company-owned places. We found the meal service basic but good (like eating in a bar/restaurant here at home) and the prices were reasonable (certainly NOT doubled from ours; where do people get the idea that the British simply take our prices and put a pound sign in front?). But we also ate on shore a lot to sample the local cuisine. If you like Island-hopping, I can't imagine a better way to get around the Greek Islands to get a sampling of the area. I notice the Greek crusies offer a nice meal plan at time of booking for 15 Euro pp/per day; breakfast and lunch or dinner. I know I don't change towels or sheets every day here at home, so no big deal. And your mattresses aren't on the floor:)
Norm, mattresses are on floor in cheaper rooms . Read reveiws and look at photos.
Food was not cheap, I looked on menus. And menu was limited, eating same stuff would be ok for a 7 day cruise but not longer.
And Sam ,I actually HAVE hopped around the Greek islands as a youngster, and I didn't do it on a floating tour bus either, how exotic is that,, LOL, you think you are being so exotic but you are taking a safe way out. Get off the ferry and let one of the locals rent you a room, thats how we did it,, hardly princesses.
I just went online and priced the 10 day cruise with the cheaper food package( breakfast & lunch or dinner no wine) and the fare for a mid level cabin was 1200+ dollars each for July departure. That means you still have to pay for snacks , and one other meal a day,plus no clean towels for 10 days is a bit grody, even the Greek grandmas wash the towels more often then that.
Anyways enjoy your school bus party tour of islands, its a shame you only get 4
daylight hours in port, and the rest is bar time, but hey, I guess when I was a younster that would have appealed to me. Now I like to see things where I'm going, and arriving at noon does not leave much time for it, especially in non summer months when its dark by 6 .
Pat...I believe Jeff was asking for people with personal experiences on the easycruise ships. Perhaps you might want to list your opinions when you've had some first-hand experience.
First, the mattresses are NOT on the floor. Secondly, the cost is NOT $1200 per person, it's $1200 per cabin of 2, which means $600 per person, and that INCLUDES daily housekeeping service (and fresh towels too...so you won't have to feel "grody!"). That's $60 per day, per person for transportation, accommodations, and 2 meals/day (add another $100 for 2, for the wine).
While "crusing" the islands may not be the way you'd do it, tens of thousands of people who cruise the islands each year might not agree with you. And that's fine...you are free to travel as you like. But please don't post criticisms concerning something you've never experienced.
Norm you are right it is per cabin, BUT is is still 1350 not 1200, as I said I didn't price the cabins with mattresses on floor. REad revews , and look at picture Norm, the low price cabins merely have mattress on a raised level .
I stand by my other comments. I am happy I have the money now to travel in more comfort, , but I have already done the hostel, street food, sleeping in the airport thing.
Pat....The fact is, when I look at the prices, the cost of the cabin you selected, plus daily housekeeping (including towels), plus 2 meals daily (without wine) is actually $925 US per cabin. That's even cheaper than I had first thought....approx. $47 per day per person! I challenge you to beat that.
And I see you now admit the mattresses in the cheaper rooms aren't on the floor, but on "low platforms." If you wish to promote island hopping as you did it many years ago, fine. But don't slag the alternatives without getting the facts straight first.