Carnival Ecstasy Cruise Review by thesnorkels69: Ecstasy? Eh....
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First of all, embarking and disembarking were amazingly easy and swift. Parking was close but expensive ($90). Our stateroom was ready early and was roomy and sunny.
Food: Breakfast was usually good, but they do ration the bacon (what gives?). Buffets on the Lido deck were the usual family fare--hotdogs, hamburgers, and chicken nuggets. Dinner in the seat-assigned dining room was sometimes an odyssey. There was no strict adherence to the dress code, and we were often the last table served. We sometimes left the dining room as the next seating was arriving. Our server (Jasmina) was great, but if we asked for something off the menu, she told us it was not available. When we discussed food allergies and dietary preferences with the maitre'd, we were told we would have to order our food 24 hours in advance. Bread and soda refills were available only upon request and a significant wait. We ate in the dining room every night, and otherwise enjoyed the food.
Pool: More Small, limited number of deck chairs around the pool. Most of them were "saved" and unavailable by the time you got out there. Oh, and lots of smokers. The Serenity Deck (adults only) was not private (overlooked by 2 outside dining areas) and too small to accommodate everyone who preferred to be without kids.
Entertainment: Professional entertainment was non-existent. We saw two shows of the "comedian," but he was hardly professional. His "adult" show consisted of him talking about his d*ck (sorry, but it's what he said about a million times. In retrospect, if I had made that word the "magic" word in a drinking game, I might have enjoyed the show more...)over and over, in between his hitting on one girl in the audience. Nothing humorous. His "family friendly" show consisted of him bullying audience members, saying how much he didn't like doing a family-friendly show, and telling us to come back for the adult show. He was pathetic. The other entertainment was all passenger driven: talent shows, karaoke, and dance lessons (were the rest of us just supposed to sit there and watch 15 people learn "The Hustle"?). The dance club was vacant often and actually closed down one night for a crew-only party. Most venues allowed smoking, so we couldn't stay longer than 15 minutes or so before the smoke forced us to leave. I have been on one other cruise (Norwegian), and every night was packed with great shows, often more than one a night, so I know it can be done. If you're looking to be entertained, you need to look elsewhere. Unless you're a karaoke-aphile, that is.
Ports of call: FREEPORT isn't the nicest, but we went to Dead Man's Cove (independently booked excursion) for snorkeling. Although the deal was that we could stay until 4 or so, they hustled us out of there by 2. It's a privately owned (family) setup, so customer service is NOT a priority. We waited about 45 minutes for our food, which was undercooked. The ride to and from the venue went through some hurricane-ravaged areas (which happened in 2005), and seemed desolate. NASSAU was a nicer port, and we took the jitney to the Sheraton ($1.25 to ride, $25 for a daypass) where we had access to everything: pools, snorkel gear, paddleboats, restrooms, restaurants, bars. Better snorkeling than at Dead Man's Cove. HALF MOON CAY was the best of the three ports. Amazing beach, easy tendering to and from the ship, buffet, and the BEST snorkeling of any of the three ports. We got the clearest pics of the most diverse species: Great Barracuda, squirrelfish, blue tang, grouper.... If I could have spent all three days there, it would have been worth it.
Overall: I wouldn't worry about the Ecstasy being an older ship. It is clean and well-appointed. However, it is garishly decorated with lots of chrome and neon. I think my biggest complaint would be the places smoking was allowed (every public area) and the complete lack of entertainment. Less
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