Got $70? How about a Greek cruise? That's the appealing idea behind easyCruise, the latest brainchild of European serial entrepreneur Stelios Hadji-Ioannou, 40.
Founded in 2005, easyCruise made an immediate splash with supercheap cruises of the Caribbean. Since then, the line's bright orange ships have expanded to the Mediterranean and the canals of the Netherlands and Belgium. But this season, Hadji-Ioannou discontinued the Riviera route, redeploying one (so far) of his ships to ply the coasts of his home country, beginning May 18. "Greece is an ideal environment for this unique concept to work best," he says. "Its cluster of close-distance islands means more itinerariesand money for usrather than sailing the Riviera coast." Like the pioneer's 16 other companies, including easyJet, easyBus and easyHotel, easyCruise is based on the assumption that for some travelers, money and convenience trump amenities, which in the case of easyCruise rules out a deck pool and even portholes in budget cabins.
That's a small concern, however, since easyCruise passengers don't stay aboard much anyway. Aimed at youth travelers interested in island hopping and sampling Greek nightlife, the ship offers a floating party experience, taking 170 passengers to popular holiday destinations they might not be able to visit otherwise. Putting into port at Aegean islands like Mykonos and Parosor undiscovered isles like Folegandrostravelers have an afternoon of fun ashore and then party the night away before setting sail for the next destination. What's the catch? Passengers must book at least two nights on any predetermined route, and everything on boardeven clean sheetscomes with a surcharge.
With experts predicting a 20% increase in Greek cruises this year, Hadji-Ioannou could not have picked a better moment. Easy sailing, it seems, for Mr. Easy.
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