EasyCruise: More Details Revealed

The major cruise lines sound like the airlines did 10 years ago, according to EasyCruise founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou, who said his plan is to create a minimalist floating hotel. "The ship is not the destination; the destination is the destination," he pointed out.

"This industry has failed to update its business model," Haji-Ioannou said about the cruise industry, adding that the more he leamed, the more he is convinced there is a gap in the market.

EasyCruise plans to sell directly to cosumers using a picing principle rom one of Haji-Ioanou's other companies, Eeasyjet: "The earlier passengers book, the less they pay, which consumers understand and accept," he said, adding that the cruise lines were too scared of ravel agents to use the Intenet more.

Haji-Ioannou feels his concept will have broad appeal and noted that "saving money is a universal language."

EasyCruise will not package flights and will charge for all onboard services, including food and housekeeping. "People do not change their linen every day so why should they on a cruise," Haji ­Ioannou commented.

EasyCruise's capital expenditures per berth will be less than half of what the industry spends, and is goal is to break even at ticket prices of 50 euros per person per night.

"If what the passengers pay per room cover your capital and operating expenses, you can make a lot of money," Haji-Ioannou pointed out.

His biggest risk will be the winter season in Europe, although EasyJet faces the same challenge but is able to overcome slow winters with higher occupancies during the summer.

Ater planning a launch with EasyCruise 1 - the former Renaissance 2 - in Europe next summer, Haji­loannou said he may set his sights on North America next. "Ater all, this is the homeland of Southwest Airlines and Motel 6," he said.

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