Stelios Paints the Med Orange.
By Ian Jarrett ~ The Grumpy Traveller
Wednesday, 31st August 2005
In Europe this month you may have been better off being a donkey than a low-cost cruise operator, Ian Jarrett explains why.

While the working donkeys on the beach at England's best-known seaside resort, Blackpool, were being awarded a lunch break by the local council, low-cost operator Stelios Haji-Ioannou was trying to appease 170 clients on the maiden voyage of EasyCruiseOne. Fierce gales forced the offloading of Stelios's passengers in Toulon instead of ritzy St Tropez.

Those expecting to rub shoulders with Brigitte Bardot or Paris Hilton on her way to the Cannes Film Festival would have been disappointed. Instead they found themselves in the French Navy's war port.

Still, in their "Hello Sailor" hats, Stelios's castaways would have had enormous curiosity value in Toulon.
Despite the initial problems, it's clear that Stelios - founder of EasyJet - is going to shake up the cruise industry in the Mediterranean just as he has low fare aviation in Europe.

For a start, his boat - like his aircraft and Antarctic icebreakers - is painted bright orange. You won't miss it between the floating palaces of the French and Italian Rivieras.

During its maiden voyage, EasyCruiseOne brashly steamed into Cannes and parked in front of the spiffy QE2 and Crystal Cruises' newest ship, Crystal Serenity. That's a bit like having the Osbourne family move in next door.

While passengers on the two luxury liners dined on foie gras, caviar and lobster, many of Stelios's guests were eating burgers at the onboard café or swilling pints of beer in the open-deck bar
The EasyCruise itinerary allows guests to party all night at the port-of-call, and then sleep all day while the ship cruises to the next pulsating hot spot. "Party in Monte Carlo, wake up in St Tropez" is the invitation.

For Stelios, it means he doesn't have to provide onboard entertainment - thank goodness, some will say - and while his cabins may not be of QE2-sized proportions, nor is the price of taking one.

The passengers aboard the QE2 had paid up to £5,799 and on the Crystal Serenity up to £17,033. EasyCruise prices start around £50 per day.

In a way, EasyCruise is like Blackpool Afloat. Kiss-me-quick hats, candyfloss, beer on tap, deckchairs and uninhibited nightlife.

But, as yet, no donkeys. They'll stay in Blackpool, munching on organic oats and sipping Malvern water while enjoying their council-ordained siesta.

IAN JARRETT is based in Fremantle, Western Australia from where he travels frequently in Asia on assignments for travel magazines.

He is a member of the BamBoo Alliance, a group of leading travel writers in the region. He can be contacted at ianjarrett@mac.com

 Latest News  (Click title to read article)

 Latest Articles  (Click title to read)

 Most Read Articles  (Click title to read)

~ Important Notice ~
Articles appearing on 4Hoteliers contain copyright material. They are meant for your personal use and may not be reproduced or redistributed. While 4Hoteliers makes every effort to ensure accuracy, we can not be held responsible for the content nor the views expressed, which may not necessarily be those of either the original author or 4Hoteliers or its agents.
© Copyright 4Hoteliers 2001-2024 ~ unless stated otherwise, all rights reserved.
You can read more about 4Hoteliers and our company here
Use of this web site is subject to our
terms & conditions of service and privacy policy