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What Happened to Easy Cruise? – The Rise and Fall of Budget Cruising

EasyCruise were a cruise line formed in 2005 by EasyJet founder Stelios.

They focused on low cost cruises for an audience of people who otherwise wouldn’t take a cruise.

It was possible to take an EasyCruise for as little as $10 (£7) per person per night.

EasyCruise sailed in both Europe and from the US. The Provided Mediterranean itineraries in the summer and Caribbean itineraries during the winter.

What Happened to EasyCruise?

The cruise line EasyCruise stopped sailing in 2010 after 5 years in business.

EasyCruise focused on low-cost budget cruising and had 3 ships, the EasyCruise One, EasyCruise Two, and EasyCruise Life.

EasyCruise tried something DRAMATICALLY different when they launched. No cruise line before, or since has managed to offer cruises on such a limited budget.

EasyCruise ship funnel

The Maiden Voyage of EasyCruise

The Maiden Voyage of EasyCruise’s first cruise ship the EasyCruise One was in 2005.

The ship was built originally for Renaissance Cruises in 1990. She then spent some time as a gambling ship operating in Singapore.

EasyCruise purchased the ship, refitted her entirely, and then launched.

The EasyCruise Color Scheme Had to be Changed

When initially launching the cruise line EasyCruise painted the hulls of their cruise ship and most things inside the cruise ship Easy’s signature bright orange colour.

Some passengers said that they struggled to deal with the ‘Unremitting orange.

They also had problems with the bathrooms of the cabins leaking into the main cabin. This was fixed on later voyages.

easycruise one repainted in grey colour
EasyCruise One after her repaint (previously bright Orange)

EasyCruise One Had Many Successful Voyages

EasyCruise One started sailing in 2005 and sailed until 2008 when she was retired from the fleet.

In this time she sailed the Mediterranean and Greek Islands. She also sailed in the Caribbean during the winters of 2005, 2006 and 2007.

The cabins onboard EasyCruise One were incredibly basic.

The mattresses were very low down, almost on the floor and most cabins were around 110 square feet.

Some cabins held up to 4 passengers.

In comparison, the average inside cabin is 167 square feet.

To learn more about the size of cabins, including how much bigger oceanview cabins are than inside cabins on average, check out this post:

How Big Are Cruise Ship Cabins? 27 Examples, All Cabin Types.

easycruise one ship inside orange cabins beds on the floor
easycruise one ship inside orange cabins bathroom shower

EasyCruiseOne retired from the fleet in 2008, EasyCruise felt that she was too small – but had been a good test for the budget cruise model. She was sold and renamed Cruise One.

EasyCruise Two Joins The Fleet

In 2007 EasyCruise added a second ship to the fleet, a riverboat.

EasyCruise franchised the ship but operations didn’t last very long due to financial issues.

EasyCruise Life Joins The Fleet

Following the sale of EasyCruise One EasyCruise decided to add a new ship to the fleet.

The new ship would be called EasyCruise Life and would be considerably larger than EasyCruise One.

EasyCruise Life had a passenger capacity of 550 passengers.

The ship was built in 1981 as a ferry for a Polish company.

She was the third in a series of seven almost identical ferries which were built for the Soviet Union.

She had a number of different names and owners before EasyCruise bought her in 2007.

easycruise life cruise ship orange

In 2009 the ship was sold to Hellenic Seaways but it was business as usual for the customers.

Cruises continued operating under the EasyCruise brand and nothing really changed. Hellenic Seaways paid 9 million pounds for the company.

In 2010 EasyCruise ended operations completely. An official reason wasn’t given but the company likely struggled to make the business model profitable due to the low entry price for cruisers and limited opportunity for guests to spend more onboard.

EasyCruise sold the ship to Blue Open Cruise Lines who renamed her Ocean Life.

On her maiden voyage as Ocean Life the ship developed a crack in her side, the ship took on so much water that it listed five degrees to the side!

She was taken to a shipyard for repairs.

The EasyCruise Life ship was sold for scrap in 2014.

easycruise life ship scrapped

How was EasyCruise Different From Other Cruise Lines?

One of the main selling points of an EasyCruise was the long time spent in port.

The idea of the cruise was that it was simply a way to get guests from destination to destination, the ship would sometimes be in port until 4 am allowing guests to have dinner ashore and party into the evening.

easycruise one cruise ship

When cruising the Caribbean the sail away time was usually earlier than this, around midnight.

It was said that this was because the nightlife ended sooner in the Caribbean but it may also have to do with the fact that the ship had further to travel between destinations.

EasyCruise Didn’t Include Food as Standard

The EasyCruise fare included VERY little.

Food was not included and was served on a la carte basis.

There was a dining package you could buy that would allow you to have breakfast on the ship and either lunch or dinner.

Most guests purchased food in port and just paid for meals onboard if they wanted them.

The cruise fare also didn’t include any housekeeping services. These cost extra if required.

Guests Could Organise Their Own Schedules

On the majority of EasyCruise sailings, guests were able to embark and disembark at any point in the cruise.

A minimum of two nights had to be booked, but this was a great selling point for the company as it made itineraries more flexible.

I haven’t managed to find anybody who took an EasyCruise but didn’t take the full voyages, but they must exist!

The Majority of Passengers on an EasyCruise Were British

EasyCruise were marketed heavily at the British market.

A cruise director onboard called Neil said that up to 75% of the passengers were British at any time, followed by Americans, Australians, and Canadians.

The average age of passengers onboard was 33 – much lower than the industry average.

easycruise one ship docked

EasyCruise Had a Television Series

In 2005 a TV show was launched called “Cruise With Stelios.”

It was called ‘CruiseLine’ internationally, and shown in a number of countries.

The show was an observational documentary which followed the passengers and crew on an EasyCruise.

The show was broadcast in the UK, US, and other countries around the world.

This was great free advertising for Easy Cruise.

Episode One of Cruise With Stelios

The first episode showed the start up of the business, through from the initial idea to buying the ship, renovating the ship and setting sail for the first time.

The documentary provided a behind the scenes look at Stelios’s motivations for creating the cruise line.

Series One of Cruise With Stelios

The rest of the series was shown throughout 2005 and took place in the French and Italian Riviera.

It follows the ship as she launches with a big party in the port of Cannes before moving on to St Tropez, Monaco, Genoa, Portofino and Imperia.

Due to the ship’s small size, she was able to visit smaller ports than most other mainstream cruise ships.

EasyCruise One ship

Series Two of Cruise With Stelios

The second series followed the ship to the Caribbean, launching from Barbados with help from Richard Branson.

Here the company bought onboard two members of crew from the US, and tried to attract the US market.

Series Three of Cruise With Stelios

In the third series of Cruise With Stelios, the documentary was back in the French and Italian Riviera.

In the series, the documentary shows EasyCruise launching the EasyCruiseTwo, the riverboat that would cruise from Amsterdam to Brussels.

End of EasyCruise

At one point EasyCruise had plans to add up to 7 ships to their fleet. They were planning to build these new ships – but the plan was quickly shelved.

EasyCruise’s operations were quietly discontinued sometime in early 2010.

Some passengers did have cruises booked beyond this date, they were cancelled and refunded.

The EasyCruise brand is now run by VarietyCruises, offering private yacht experiences. Very different from the original brand.

Below is the easy cruise timeline:

EasyCruise company timeline

Before You Go

Unsurprisingly, no one else has been able to offer cruises as cheaply as EasyCruise! To find out when cruise prices are at their cheapest so you can get the best deal possible deal here:

When Are Cruise Prices At Their Cheapest? Hints and Tips To Help You Book At The Right Time

Find out how to book cheap cruises from as little as £50 a night here:

Cheap Cruises: Cruise For £50pp Per Night?!

Free Insiders Cruise Line Guide

Ever wondered how the mainstream cruise lines compare? Cruise lines won’t tell you this, but I will.

This FREE guide shows you everything you need to know to find your perfect cruise line.