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Cruise line eyes Miami market

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A London cruise line that stays overnight at ports to allow passengers to party on shore at night said it is considering bringing its business to Miami and the Caribbean.

EasyCruise founder and Chairman Stelios, who prefers to be called only by his first name, will be in Miami at the end of this week to explore opportunities, the company said Wednesday, declining further specifics.

Stelios and Carnival Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Micky Arison have each characterized each other's business model as "tacky" in advertisements.

The average age of those sailing with easyCruise is in the 30s, more than 20 years younger than the published industry average, the company said.

EasyCruise launched in the Mediterranean in the summer, cruising the French and Italian Rivieras. From November to April, easyCruiseOne is in the Caribbean, cruising Barbados, St. Vincent, Martinique, The Grenadines, Grenada and St. Lucia. So far during this winter season, 50 percent of the passengers have been U.S. citizens, the company said.

Encouraged by the positive response from U.S. passengers, the company is now beginning to research the possibility of offering easyCruise to U.S. passengers out of Miami and the Bahamas. While in Miami, Stelios plans to meet the relevant local authorities and operators, the company said.

Stelios floated his oil tanker company on the New York Stock Exchange in 2001 and sold it to OSG Shipping Group for about $1.3 billion this year.

Source: John T. Fakler, The Business Journal

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It opens another niche and maybe eases the party animal problems for more sedate cruisers.

For me, I would love to spend the night at some of the places we visit, like Key West at Christmas time, to see the lights again. We hit that on The Grandeur in '04 and it was awesome.

It could also force some of the ports to lighten up and allow access or lose the revenue to other countries.

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