This was my second cruise with Carnival and my fiancees third. My first was on the Valor, so I was a bit apprehensive, choosing a smaller ship for my second cruise. I shouldn't have worried about it at all. While it is smaller in size, the amenities as well as the crew were wonderful.
We took a flight the night before into Orlando from Columbus Ohio. We chose to stay at the Hyatt in the airport. What a lovely hotel! Very easy to check in, with a lobby kiosk, which just gives you your keys as well as directions to your room.
We used the Carnival shuttle to Port Canaveral, yes a bit pricy, but so very convenient. We literally took an elevator to the lower level of the airport, and hopped on the bus. Once you hand over your luggage to the driver, the next time you see it, it will be in front of your stateroom door! Easy Breezy!
The trip to the port took about 45 minutes to an hour. Embarkation was easy, the lines through security moved quickly and effortlessly, check in was simple, we handed our documents over, and were handed our key-card. On to pictures and the wait for our zone to be called. It seems they are redoing the facility, so you sit more or less in a metal tent like structure. You are offered cold water or lemonade while you wait. I think we may have waited there for maybe half an hour, at this point the excitement is building, it seemed like forever, but probably was maybe only half an hour.
Finally we our zone was called and off we went! Our intention was to head right to Lido for lunch, however, we were informed we could access our cabin, so we did a quick stop off to check it out.
It was a bit smaller than on Valor, but still for just two of us, perfectly adequate. The bathroom was good size, the only difference than on the Valor was space to hold toiletries, but we made do.
On the to Lido deck for lunch. I have read many reviews on here that paint a dismal picture of the food choices and or quality. I must really disagree! From the grill choices ( burgers, hot dogs, chicken fingers, fries etc) to the deli (love the tuna salad) Mongolian Grill( create your own Chinese) and the daily lunch selection on the buffet..it was all wonderful. We alternated between the breakfast buffet and eating breakfast in the Windstar dining room, depending on what we had planned for the day.
Dinner each night was good...I tend to avoid meat, so I usually chose chicken or seafood selections. Yes the lobster is small, on Elegant Night, so if you love lobster, order 2. We usually did an appetizer, sometimes also ordered the spinach/artichoke dip too, main entree and dessert. I have no complaints. The service was impeccable and attentive! It always amazes me, that you are called by name right after the first night!
I actually thought the service on Ecstasy far exceeded the Valor in every aspect. No matter what time of day, I was out and about ( I like to get up early each morning and read on deck) I was greeted by the staff. You couldn't walk down a hallway without someone from the ship greeting you. There was always cleaning of some kind going on, the ship was the height of cleanliness!
As far as ports, we did our own thing in Key West due to the weather. The skies were threatening, so we decided to venture out to see the sights on foot. I must mention a fantastic restaurant there called Sweet Teas. We had a fabulous lunch! Check it out..it is on Duval Street!
Our day at sea, was a rain out, but there were plenty of things to do to stay occupied.
We had been to Nassau before and again chose to go on our own and do a quick walk through of the city. We are not shoppers, so we were back on the boat fairly quickly to soak in the sun and people watch on Lido!
The port at Freeport is literally a working port. We lingered over breakfast watching the cargo ships being loaded and unloaded. We did take the sightseeing/shopping/beach tour. We stopped at a fruit market, took in the sights of Freeport and were dropped off at the Marketplace in Port Lucaya. We had a couple of hours to shop or head across the street to the public beach. I chose to sit in the sun in the Marketplace, my fiancee, walked over to the beach for a bit. We met up for a light lunch provided on the tour ( sandwich and fruit. I doubt I would ever go back to Freeport again, mostly due to the lack of sights, and distance from the ship to the Market.
We were always read to come back to the ship and relax and eat!
Debarkation was just as easy as embarkation! We were zone 20, which concerned me a bit since I had a flight to catch at 1:55PM. However, that was unfounded, we were off the boat, through customs (which was simple, we only had a few magnets and a tshirt or 2) and on the bus back to Orlando Airport by 10AM, wondering where on earth these last 5 days had gone...and ready to come home to book our next cruise!