||This article possibly contains original research. (August 2010) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
|Fate||Sold to Hellenic Seaways and discontinued.|
|Website||easyCruise (via the Web Archive)|
EasyCruise (styled as easyCruise) was a cruise line of Greek ferry operator Hellenic Seaways. It was sold to them in August 2009 for £9 million by founder and Cypriot/British business man, Stelios Haji-Ioannou. They launched their first cruise ship EasyCruiseOne in 2005. Unlike other cruise lines, EasyCruise's business model offered passengers an inexpensive no-frills vacation with a la carte pricing for on board food and services. EasyCruise ended operations in early 2010.
In April 2004, the initial ship was acquired for an approach to cruising that was aimed at attracting younger customers who wished to spend the majority of their time on shore rather than on board a megaship. The ship would offer the barest of amenities, allowing very cheap prices to be advertised. Value would be added by charging separately for each service aboard which is normally included in the quoted price of other cruise liners. Given the minimal facilities on board, the ship would position from port to port at night or in the early morning as the passengers slept, in order to allow the maximum time in each port ashore.
After a few months of negotiation and refurbishment, the ship, formerly known as Neptune 2, was renamed EasyCruiseOne. On 9 May 2005, the ship finally left for her maiden voyage.
The service began by operating night-time departures calling between ports in St. Tropez, Cannes, Nice, Monaco, Imperia, Genoa and Portofino in the summer. For Summer 2007 EasyCruise relocated to the Greek Islands for a 14-night itinerary taking in the ports of Piraeus (Athens), Mykonos, Paros, Sifnos, Poros, Spetses, Milos, Ios, Amorgos, Naxos, Folegandros and Serifos. Previously it was possible to join the ship at any port and stay for a minimum of 2, to a maximum of 14 nights, but now you can embark solely at the port of Piraeus where it visits three times in the 14 nights. Therefore, you can create a cruise for either 3, 4, 7, 10 or 14 nights. For the winter season EasyCruise has travelled to the Caribbean calling at Barbados, St Vincent, Martinique, Bequia, Grenada and St Lucia in 2005-2006, and for Winter 2006-2007 EasyCruiseOne sailed a 1-week itinerary calling at St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Antigua, Nevis, St. Barts and Anguilla calling at St. Maarten twice.
Prices vary according to cabin type and demand. In a departure from the model employed by EasyJet it is possible to book via travel agents as well as direct through the EasyCruise website.
All of the cabins included a very simple bed and bathroom, with bare amenities. The bathroom for most cabins consists of a glass walled area containing both toilet and shower. Most beds consist of a mattress placed on the floor with a simple fitted bed sheet and duvet. Most of the cabins in size are around 110 square feet (10 m2). Two- and four-passenger cabins are available, and a limited number of "luxury" suites.
For the original fitting of easyCruise One, the cabins were pre-constructed ashore, and time saved by not having to measure the position of portholes and cut matching window spaces. This resulted in none of the interior cabins being fitted with windows - although four "balcony suites" had glass doors leading onto outside balconies. Problems were encountered with the integral shower and toilet cubicle design, with the shower water failing to drain correctly and spilling into the rest of the cabin. Passengers also found it difficult to deal with the unremitting orange colour scheme and lack of cabin windows. The shower cubicles were fitted with small barriers, partitioning the shower floor from the rest of the shower/toilet cubicle, providing a cheap but adequate fix to the flooding problem.
After the concept was considered proven the ship was refitted, the ubiquitous orange interior was toned down to mere orange accents with charcoal and grey tones and window spaces were cut for the interior cabins. The hull of the ship was repainted from orange to black with orange accents. This theme was continued on "easyCruise Life".
Cabin cleaning and changing of towels and bedding was not included in the base price but could be purchased on board as required, or arranged at a discounted rate at time of booking. For 2009, daily maid service is included in all rates. Prices also now include half board, with breakfast and either lunch or dinner available to guests.
The fortunes of EasyCruise were tracked by a three series observational documentary called "Cruise with Stelios" produced by the British company Twofour, which was screened on Sky3 in the UK on Friday nights and in the US on The Travel Channel. 'Cruise With Stelios' was broadcast in Belgium (Flanders) as 'Cruiseline' on the public broadcaster 'één'
The cruise line appeared to have a quite successful first year, and is reportedly contemplating adding other itineraries in various sites throughout the world. The customer base is primarily young passengers from 20–40 years old who seek a more shore-based cruising experience than on traditional cruise ships. The business model apparently includes nearly complete subcontracting of each portion of the service (i.e., coffee shop, sports bar, "hotel" functions on the ship) to provide good service while maintaining attractive prices. The founder, Stelios, used a co-branding strategy with the rest of his "EasyGroup" enterprises to appeal to customers seeking basic but good quality travel and accommodations.
In February 2008 EasyCruise made public their plans to sell the EasyCruise One due to "not having enough space", and replacing her with a ship of similar size to the EasyCruise Life.
In August 2009 the single-ship cruise line was sold to Greek ferry operator Hellenic Seaways for £9 million. EasyCruise's operations were quietly discontinued sometime in early 2010. Passengers who were booked on future cruises were refunded. Later that year, their sole ship was moved to Blue Ocean Cruises and briefly operated as the Ocean Life. It was later was sold for scrap. The cruise line's website was abandoned with no mention of its discontinuation. Sometime around 2014, the abandoned website was removed and now redirects to the easy.com homepage.
- EasyCruiseOne - (2005–2008)
- EasyCruiseTwo - (2006–2007) Franchised by EasyCruise in 2006. Ceased operations in August 2007 due to the financial situation of the owner.
- EasyCruise Life - (2008-2010)
- "EasyCruise Sold to Hellenic Seaways". Cruise Industry News. 18 August 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
- Hansen, Pal (May 11, 2007). "Stelios Hadji-Ioannou". Time Magazine. Retrieved 2008-04-24.
- "Stelios puts EasyCruise One up for sale and axes newbuilding project". Cruise Business Review. 12 February 2008. Archived from the original on 14 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-16.
- "Is easyCruise on Life Support?". Cruise Critic. 19 February 2010. Retrieved 2015-02-22.
- "M/S LEV TOLSTOY". Faktaomfartyg (Swedish). 15 August 2014. Retrieved 2015-02-22.
Official website via the Internet Archive