A Frugal Cruise November 10th to 14th Port Canaveral to the Bahamas
We’ve been talking about a short cruise and found the deal for us. November 10th to 14th from Port Canaveral offering a full day in Nassau, A full day at the Private Island, Coco Cay, and a full day at Sea, returning to Port Canaveral on the morning of the 14th of November. The price for an outside cabin, including port taxes, fuel surcharges and regular taxes was $222 each. I can eat that much in four days. We’ll drive down to the Port on the day of the cruise which leaves at 5 PM and return the day of arrival. It is about 5 hours for us.
The cruise is being offered by vacationstogo.com and is a little less expensive for an inside cabin.
The three day cruise without the sea day is actually about $30 more. The ship is Royal Caribbean Monarch of the Seas. Why not the price was right.
An EasyCruise Review
Last April Katy and I were supposed to take a 7 day cruise through the Greek Islands when, at the last minute we received word the cruise had been cancelled because the ship was not out of drydock with recent upgrades.
EasyCruise was extremely helpful in accommodating us. We were actually in the airport on our way to Athens when we received word of the cancellation.
EasyCruise reimbursed us for our airfare to and from Athens, gave us a full refund and offered us another free cruise to further compensate us for our misfortune. They also agreed to allow me to transfer the free cruise to another party as we knew we would not be back in Greece within one year.
We gave the cruise to Dave, the owner and webmaster of the Best Rate Guarantee Blog. He has been extremely helpful setting up the website and is a constant source of information on blogging and Internet issues. We communicate often and spent an afternoon and evening on Hilton Head last spring. A fellow world traveller, Dave was the right guy for this experience.
Dave just finished his 7 day cruise in the Greek Islands. The following is his email to me:
The cruise was great, thanks again for providing that. I found EasyCruise to be a lot more comfortable than I would have expect. I plan to review it for the blog (you can share it with your readers, if you want, as I know you were mentioning that you were going to review it on your blog when you were going to go in April).
To summarize, the ship was surprisingly smaller than I would have expected. Around 1/4 the size of your typical Norwegian or Royal Caribbean Cruise ship. It seemed like the little runt lined up with all the massive behemoths next to it in port. I liked this, though, as it made it more ”snug” and less of a maze to navigate. It took around 2 minutes to walk from aft to stern, maybe 150 meters or so.
There was a heated pool right next to the bar and restaurant, and three hot tubs (which didn’t seem to work, they were all freezing, but the pool was at least 100 degrees F, so that made up for it). There was an on-site gym, which I didn’t use, a spa, which seemed to be popular, and a two bars in total, always packed with tourists imbibing their holidays away.
The food was decent – not terribly fancy or gourmet, but fairly standard, down-to-Earth Greek cuisine. I enjoyed 5 of the 7 dinners I had – their main problem was not knowing how to cook chicken, it was always terribly dry. But, their selection of fine cheeses and fruit, and their salad bar made up for that. It was great to be treated to free food, and to try most of the Greek cuisine I wanted to try. No drinks were included, but they were cheap – I paid around 1.50 Euros for a 2 liter bottle of water each day.
The state rooms were large – I’d say 100 sq feet or so, with two twin beds, separated by a good 4 feet or so, and a ton of room to walk around from the foot of the beds to the door (around the same length of the bed). The bathroom was spacious, too, not like the closet that was both the shower and the toilet on Norwegian. The linens were replaced every day, and everything was clean, tidy, and very comfortable.
Some ports of call were interesting, and others weren’t. They were basically two groups of three islands/ports, one in the Cyclades branch of the Aegean Islands (Mykonos, Syros, Paros) and the other in the Dodacanese branch (Kalymnos, Kos, Bodrum), all within a short sail from each other.
My favorite stop was Turkey, by far. I ditched Bodrum quickly (too touristy and not much history) and took a day trip up to Ephesus. It was an amazing day with a lot of great historical ruins and sights. Island-wise, my favorite ports were Paros and Mykonos – Paros, being the laid back, quiet, island where it’s still possible to lose yourself among the cobblestone alleyways and have the town to yourself, and Mykonos, the same level of quaintness and beauty, but partially ruined due to the influx of tour groups and cruise ships (at least five were in dock with us).
The least interesting stop was Kos and Syros – Kos was touristy, but none of the sights would have held my interest for longer than an hour. I headed back to the ship early that day. Syros was nice enough, but it was mainly the normal everyday Greek urban center on a desert-like island, so it wasn’t really my cup of tea, but I did enjoy it nonetheless. Those two stops, though, paled in comparison to the amazement of Turkey, Paros, and Mykonos.
Kalymnos, the other stop, was touristy but in a lovable sort of way. It’s the sea sponge capital of the world, so a lot of the town is adorned with those creatures, and every shop sells them, giving it a bit of a unique character that I appreciated.
Overall, it was a great cruise. Probably would have been better in the middle of the summer, but what you’d trade for warmer weather and swimmable beaches, you’d lose in huge crowds, noise, and being shoulder to shoulder with a million people. So, in the end, I’m happy with the time of year I chose to go; it was a decent cruise experience. Surely not luxury – you never got the feeling that you were ever being pampered or spoiled, like I did on Norwegian back in 2001 – but it’s basically a floating Ramada if the Norwegian is a floating Hilton. It gets the job done, comfortably, and then some. I had expected complete no-frills – basically a floating hotel, and what I received was a great ship with a lot of atmosphere, energy, great food, and interesting ports of call. It felt like a cruise, not like a floating hotel, which I appreciated. It was a much better experience than I was expecting, from what I gathered from your perceptions.
We’ll talk more near the end of the month, let me know what materializes and such.”
I’ll also reprint a copy of his more formal review which will appear in his blog. We paid a total of $262 for the inside cabin for two of us for a full week.
Frugal Travel at its best.
Today Only til Noon Central Time Restaurant.com Coupon $2
Use Coupon Code EIGHTY until noon today Central Time to get your $25 coupons for only $2. This is only the second time I’ve seen them this low.