LONDON, Oct 3, 2007 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ The tremendous success of easyCruiseÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s inaugural summer season in Greece has prompted the unorthodox and innovative cruise operator to more than triple its capacity for summer 2008. The lineÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s new flagship, to be named easyCruise Life, will accommodate 540 passengers and will enter service in April 2008.
The hallmark of easyCruise is that itineraries include overnight stays in port so guests can enjoy nighttime fun ashore. The new vessel will offer a seven-night itinerary that visits Turkey for the first time, calling at Bodrum, one of the countryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s most popular resorts. Bodrum is awash in white, stucco hillside houses, charming waterfront cafÃƒÂ©s and ancient treasures, and enjoys a nightlife known throughout the Aegean.
The new itineraries will also showcase six different Greek Islands from laidback Syros and Samos to lively Kalymnos, Kos, Paros and Mykonos, the legendary jet-set mecca. Guests can uniquely choose to join the cruise in Piraeus (Athens) on Saturdays or in Bodrum on Mondays.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Since easyCruise launched two years ago we have offered an affordable way to see intriguing places that are difficult to reach, except by sea,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, chairman of easyCruise. Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is clear that staying in port until the early morning hours has broad appeal because many travelers also want to experience the local nightlife.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Cruise fares start from as low as $143 per person, based on double occupancy, for seven nights aboard easyCruise Life and include port taxes. Cabins are equipped with ensuite bathrooms with shower, and fresh linens and towels upon arrival. Meals, drinks, spa treatments, sightseeing tours and housekeeping services are not included, but are reasonably priced and can be purchased from the line in advance or on board.
The 12,711-ton easyCruise Life is three times the size of her yacht-like, sister ship easyCruise One (4,011 tons). The vessel, named Lev Tolstoy by her original Soviet owners, was built at PolandÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Szczecin shipyard in 1981 and extensively refurbished in 1989. It will undergo a further, multi-million-dollar update before emerging in her new easyCruise livery. Facilities will include enhanced versions of the modern Aptiva Spa and innovative fusionon6 combination restaurant/discotheque that can be found on easyCruise One, plus broad teak sundecks, a large outdoor swimming pool and hot tub. Guests can also choose from a range of accommodations that includes 23 Panoramic Suites and 14 superior doubles, all of which feature picture windows; 76 oceanview standard twin cabins, 45 oceanview standard quad cabins, and 112 interior standard twins.
This fall and next spring, the lineÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s easyCruise One will be deployed on a new seven-night itinerary that showcases some of the most amazing archaeological sites in Classical Greece, including Mycenae, Nemea, Olympia and Delphi. As a highlight, timings have been planned so that guests can experience the Acropolis by night and witness a Sounion sunset. In summer 2008, the ship will again offer her popular long-weekend cruises to Poros, Mykonos, Paros and Sifnos. A new 10-night itinerary will transit the Corinth Canal to the islands of the Ionian Sea, including Ithaki, Paxos, Corfu, Kefallonia, Zakynothos, Itea (for Delphi), Corinth, Preveza and Agioi Saranta, Albania, which serves as a gateway to Butrint, a UNEXCO World Heritage Site.
easyCruise was launched in 2005 by the entrepreneur Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou
(www.stelios.com) to inexpensively cruise to chic resorts and islands off the usual tourist trail. Unlike a traditional cruise, ships sail for just a few hours each morning arriving around lunchtime so guests can enjoy the rest of the day and evening (until the early morning hours) ashore. easyCruiseÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s unorthodox fares include accommodations and port taxes only.
Fusion cuisine, drinks, spa treatments, sightseeing tours and housekeeping services are not included, but can be purchased a la carte on board or in advance. To learn more about the new easyCruise Life, easyCruise One or the lineÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Greece and Turkey itineraries visit www.easyCruise.com or see a professional travel agent.