By Special Correspondent SNOWBIRD

Having spent two weeks on a cruise to South America, the Snowbird knows all the highs and lows of the large-ship experience. Ninety-five percent of the time is spent moving slowly from one place to the next with nothing to do but play bingo and eat. Last summer, we decided to try the newest venture of the Stelios Group (easyJet) and spent a few nights on their easyCruise along the French and Italian Riviera. The lack of onboard amenities - not even a porthole - was made up for by the fact that the boat didn't go very far each day so you got to spend a lot more time exploring things on land. The  cruise is geared to "people in their 20's, 30's and 40's and you can board and depart anywhere along the route as long as you stay two nights." This winter the ship is based in the Caribbean and moves between St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Barbados, Grenada, the Grenadines and Martinique.  Again, not a lot of traveling so more time to spend on the beach.  The London based company has upset the local Carnival Cruise Line (and people over 50) by running ads in the Miami Herald poking fun at the competition and their "tacky ballrooms full of old folks."  Carnival's chairman Micky Arison supposedly sent an email to easyCruise saying: "Based on what I've seen of your ship, you're an expert on what's tacky."  Tacky or not, we would do it again and prefer the "no frills" to long hours spent at sea.


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