Ship sail

The ship that launched Sir Stelios’ EasyCruise dream is broken up in Dubai

Rain could not dampen Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou’s enthusiasm in 2005 when the Greek serial entrepreneur introduced the first of what was to be the first of many cruise ships for his company EasyCruise which applied the principles of its low-cost airline EasyJet to bring ultra-cheap cruising to the masses.

Today this cruise ship, the 4,100gt EasyCruiseOne (built in 1990, renamed Cruise One) is being pulled down to the dry berth it has sat on for over a decade awaiting conversion into a luxury mega-yacht.

Another long-abandoned and partially converted mega-yacht sitting next to Cruise One, the former 3,400gt Greek cruise ship Maria Kosmas (1981) has already been broken up, Dubai shipyard sources told TradeWinds.

Sir Stelios’ grand cruising ambitions did not last long.

The EasyCruiseOne, which was built for high-end operator Renaissance Cruises, had spent several years in Asian waters as a ramshackle casino ship before Sir Stelios took over ownership.

Stripped of its faded luxury trappings for 140 passengers, the ship was outfitted with stripped-down accommodation for twice that number. Still designed as a scout ship, it was replaced by a larger vessel within three years, although the EasyCruise adventure didn’t last much longer.

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The EasyCruiseOne was sold in 2008 to a shipowner linked to Platinum Yacht Management, a company best known for dealing with the yachts of Dubai’s ruling family.

The plan was to remove the orange EasyCruise decor and fill the ship with all the luxury attributes required by royalty. But, as the world went through a financial crisis in 2008 and 2009, the project stalled before it started.

According to cruise brokers, the intact ship has been put back on the market for sale, but buyers have balked at the high asking price, especially since they would need to spend huge sums of money to rebuild the ship. interior of the ship to an acceptable standard for cruising. Public. EasyCruise passengers had contented themselves with mattresses on the floor of their tiny cabins.

And so the Cruise One has sat baking in the scorching sun over the years.

Former Vergina Cruises ship Maria Kosmas guarded the shipping line at the dry berth at Dubai Maritime City Common Use Shipyard.

The work of transforming the Greek liner into a luxury yacht Cosmos was well advanced when its owner put an end to the work. The vessel was recently broken up for scrap in Dubai. Photo: Jonathan Boonzaier

A former Australian Navy survey vessel, she was converted to a cruise ship by the Greek cruise line in 1993. The Maria Kosmas was not a successful vessel for Vergina. It had been sitting near Piraeus for several years when it was purchased by a Middle Eastern buyer in 2002.

Shortly after, she was moved to Dubai to be converted into a Cosmos yacht. Extensive steel work was done and all that remained was to install the interior.

But then the project was canceled, and the partially rebuilt ship was decommissioned.

Rumors circulated by sources in the yachting industry at the time the project bogged down suggested the owner’s eye had turned to another mega-yacht which he decided to purchase instead.