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That vessel took some criticism in Europe for its lack of
windows and excess of orange paint but not in the U.S., where,
according to EasyCruise founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou (known as
Stelios), it was well received.
EasyCruiseTwo, which is more a river cruiser than a traditional
ship, is now in service between Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp and
Brussels. Passengers can book a minimum of two nights and maximum
of two weeks. It has capacity of 112 in 44 twin cabins, four
two-bunk cabins and four four-berth cabins. The minimum age for
guests is 14. Fares are as low as $15 a night per cabin, although
on the inaugural most appeared to have paid around $30.
Stelios, (who also founded the low-fare, UK-based air carrier,
EasyJet) has up to now been somewhat cool toward travel agents. But
the launch of this second vessel found him in a more positive frame
of mind. He pays 10 percent commissions for cruise bookings,
stressing that travel agents also get a new, younger clientele to
whom they can also sell flights, hotel rooms, insurance and other
He might have a point. One passenger, a young lawyer from Los
Angeles, was on the vessel as part of a solo, month-long trip
around Europe. And several other young Americans were also
Several passengers commented on the attractive decor of the
25-year-old boat, newly refurbished and the work of celebrity Dutch
designer Jan des Bouvrie. The combined bar/lounge/restaurant area
is a stark white offset with furniture in complementary textures,
plus a little orange here and there and a large tulip mural.
The open upper deck is handsomely done with planters, lounge
chairs, two hot tubs and a bar with big orange candles. Other
facilities include a small room with two fitness machines and two
computers with a satellite server.
Cabins are all white with just a shelf painted orange, but all
have windows. There are no beds as such, merely a raised platform
with two mattresses and duvets, but they are quite comfortable.
Also absent are chairs, carpets, bedside tables and reading lights.
Bathrooms include adequate amenities, and my shower worked
If clients want their cabins cleaned or towels changed, they
must pay extra. The same applies to meals. Food onboard is fairly
good, but if the inaugural cruise is any guide, most passengers
will eat on shore most of the time.
EasyCruise vessels spend few hours at sea the idea is to offer
cheap transportation and accommodation between ports that are not
far apart. The cities in this historic, thriving part of Europe
have a wealth of attractions, such as galleries and museums, superb
restaurants and a lively bar and club scene. A typical departure
time was 3 a.m., but still there were revelers barely making it
back onboard in time.
The boat always tied up in a good location, usually the middle
of the city. I spent a pre-cruise night in Amsterdam at the Canal
House (a luxurious 17th-century merchant’s house run by an Irish
couple), which was a comfortable walking distance from the
EasyCruiseTwo proved to be a good viewing platform for timeless
scenes, such as a skyline of 80 windmills built in the 17th century
and (when the season is right) the glorious tulips Holland is
EasyCruiseTwo will sail its Holland-Belgium itineraries until
Nov. 4, and again from April 5-July 6.