A no-frills cruise line that charges extra for nearly everything is coming to the French and Italian Riviera, Europe's playgrounds for the rich.
EasyCruise, which began taking bookings last month, charges about $56 and up per person each night for spartan cabins. That doesn't cover housekeeping, priced at about $19 a visit, or food.
You can sign up for as few as two nights on the seven-night sailings, which call in Monaco; Nice, Cannes and St. Tropez in France; and Portofino, Genoa and Imperia (for San Remo) in Italy. The first departure is expected by May 13.
EasyCruise is the brainchild of Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the Greek-born entrepreneur who founded the low-cost EasyJet airline a decade ago. He now oversees more than a dozen London-based companies whose goods and services are as diverse as pizzas and minibus transit.
In a telephone interview, the iconoclastic Stelios said his newest venture was based on "the exact opposite of what the cruise industry believes now."
It eschews lavish amenities designed to keep you on the ship. You won't find a casino, a gym or even a swimming pool on the 170-passenger EasyCruiseOne, although it will have a hot tub, plus cafes and bars with food and alcoholic beverages for sale.
Instead of docking in the morning and sailing in the evening, the ship will pull into port about 1 p.m., stay through the evening and depart about 4 a.m.
The firm is angling for a younger, independent-minded audience, he said. (Guests must be at least 18.) The ship's schedule affords passengers ample opportunity to sample Riviera nightlife.
It may sound like a party boat for backpackers, but Stelios thinks that description is unfair. "If you make the ship stay in port, people are going to go out and have fun," Stelios said. But he added: "I don't want to label the whole thing a party boat." Some guests might be content to turn in after an early dinner, and that's just fine, he said.
The ship's cheapest cabins measure about 100 square feet. Most lack windows, except for four suites, which also have balconies. To book, call 011-44-1895-651-191 or visit www.easycruise.com.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times