After reading all the reviews about the Carnival Ecstasy, I was terrified about going on it! So much that I added a pretrip to Orlando for the weekend to enjoy just in case the cruise turned out horrible. However, this was not the case for us. We loved the cruise. This was our 11th cruise (we've cruised Carnival and Norwegian). It was my son's fall break and we found a great deal on this cruise and booked it. We then upgraded to an aft balcony - it was awesome!!! The location of this room is perfect, steps right outside of room leading up to serenity deck and buffet dining room/lido deck. Very quiet area.
We parked at cruise parking and they shuttled us over at 200pm. We walked right on ship, in less than 5 mins. The port terminal was very nice and seemed new and updated since our last trip there. As soon as we walked on ship into the atrium my son saw funship freddie and they had music playing and it immediately felt like we were at a party! We walked straight to our room and feel in love with the back balcony. We then headed up to the buffet and had a great lunch. My husband went with the oriental food, which he loved. My son and I had a variety of food to eat and everything was great. We then headed to the lifeboat drill which we both felt was much less painful than those in the past.
For dinner they had assigned us for dine on your time which meant we could go anytime. My husband went to the Maitre d' and requested 815 assigned time and he was able to give it to us in the Wind Song Dining Room. We ate dinner in the dining room 4 of the 5 nights, the food was good but didn't seem as good as the past cruises we've been on. The Maitre d' Joseph was the best we've ever had. He kept us laughing every night. And our waiters were wonderful.
We did breakfast and lunch at the buffets and were never disappointed. My son ate probably 100 ice cream cones over the 5 days!
The pool is small for the number of guests but it worked. We also enjoyed the water slides. They had 2 hot tubs and one was broke the whole cruise which left the other one packed all week. My husband used one of the adult only hot tubs one night and he was the only one in it. We played ping pong and miniature golf a few times and had fun. I used the gym everyday, it was nice and always empty when I went.
The shows were pretty good. The comedians were funny. The DJ's seemed to be playing music all the time in various places on the ship and they always played great music. Every staff member on the ship was very friendly and always smiled and said hello and was willing to help in any way. Room steward was the sweetest guy, so friendly.
We had to use the medical clinic once and they were phenomenal! The nurse and the doctor were awesome!!
Half Moon Cay - BEAUTIFUL. No need to book an excursion. Just take the tender to the island and walk right on to the most beautiful soft white sand and teal colored water!! They have slides for kids and cool floating mats to swim to and hang out on. They have plenty of lounge chairs for everyone. Someone found a baby octopus there and we were able to touch it, so cool!! Carnival set up a huge buffet for us to eat. We had a few frozen drinks and enjoyed a relaxing day. When we went to leave there was a long line for the tenders so we stopped at a bar next to the dock and had a few drinks, the DJ was there playing great music and we waited till the line was gone.
Nassau - didn't want to pay the fortune for Atlantis but how could I not take my 8 yr old son there!! Ran down to the excursion desk as we docked and bought our tickets! They loaded us on really nice vans and took us over at 0830, gave us a tour, and sent us off to play. We explored the caves/aquariums first - AWESOME!! Then we spent the day swimming and sliding!! We loved the fast lazy river!! It was so fun! Everything was beautiful there. Some reviews that I had read scared me about Atlantis being too crowded but this was not the case at all for us. Never had to wait more than 5 mins for any slide.
Freeport - took a taxi to Lucaya Marketplace with a bunch of other cruisers. It cost $10 for roundtrip. They give you a voucher for return trip. Once we got there we headed across street to Grand Lucayan hotel and bought a day pass. $10 for adults/$5 for kids - gives you use of the pools/bathrooms/hot tub/beach/lounge chairs/hammocks. Very nice place. They had a huge trampoline in the ocean - $10 for half a day. My son loved it. We went back and forth from pools to beach. We did a banana boat ride that was really fun. They took us to dolphin excursion area and let us see the dolphins, then took us by some of the millionaire homes, then we went by the ghost pirate ship from Pirates of the Caribbean. It was really fun. $25 per person. We then came back and got in the hot tub and then relaxed in the hammocks. They also have a really great bar at the pool that you can swim up to, delicious Pina Coladas! Wonderful day. Checked out a few stores at the market place and then headed back to ship.
Debarkation - woke up at 8, went up for some breakfast, walked right off ship at 930. Very easy. Got our bags and had to wait a little for shuttle to car.
The ship looked great for as old as it is. They were always cleaning everywhere. Didn't notice any smells like some of the reviews said.
We would go again tomorrow if we could. The aft balcony was wonderful. We just sat there and relaxed. It wasn't noisy at all. Cabin E259 is a great cabin.