Just got back from the Ecstasy 4 day cruise to Nassau and Freeport from Port Canaveral. I had a fun time and the cruise met my expectations, here is my experience...
Getting there - we drove from our home in the Tampa area to Port Canaveral. We parked at Cruise Parking of Port Canaveral, which I reserved online for 3.99 a day. This parking is off the beaten path and it was about a 15 minute drive to the port. After we checked in there, they valet parked our car (optional) and we waited only 5 or 10 minutes to leave. They dropped us off at the ship.
Getting on - waited in line for security about 10 minutes, breezed through check in (did online check in before getting there). Walked on the ship around 12:30 and ate lunch at the lido deck.
The room - I got a porthole room, U3. It was small but did the trick for the low price I paid. Plus, we never are in the room except to shower and sleep. The porthole windows were nice, you couldn't see too much but the platform in front of the windows was deep and I put our luggage there, so that was nice. We had an oceanview previously, which was definitely better but I don't know that I would pay more for the oceanview again, unless it was a much longer cruise. The porthole was not noisy except when arriving in port one morning briefy. The room was at the very front of the ship and so there was not much noise from the hallway at all. The steward was great, knew our names before we even met. Brought us ice and wine glasses, kept the ice bucket full, offered a hair dryer (no fridge or hair dryer in my room).The food - was actually not too impressed. The food was much better on our first cruise. My husband and I are picky though, so there are lots of things we didn't try. Of course if we didn't like something they were more than happy to bring out something else. The lido deck was crowded but we didn't eat there much. The silverware was dirty at times in the dining room. We did anytime dining, which I loved for the flexibility but the service was remarkably slow at times. I know the staff was very busy, but I think the service would be more prompt on scheduled dining. We had to wait in line twice to eat, once on formal night we waited about 20 minutes and then another night only briefly for 5 minutes or so. They accomodated a table for two each time we requested. The "super charged" maitre'd Joseph was funny, we met him and it even turns out he and his wife live in the same town as we do.
Entertainment - we went to the adult comedy shows, they were pretty good. Had fun the casino, also went to the towel folding class, ice carving demonstration, and art auction on the sea at day. There were a lot of shows but we didn't make it to them, including the Hasbro game show which I overheard parts of and it sounded fun. Otherwise we just hung out on the ship drinking or chilling out on deck. We also watched some sports as the NFL playoffs were going on. The ship had the games playing in one of the lounges on a big screen, so that was nice. I thought there was lots to do and the areas never felt crowded except for once at a jewelry sale in which I thought women were going to kill each other over charm bracelets. There was always chairs available on deck it seemed, though the pool and hot tubs were crowded. We never got in, we are from Florida and tanning and swimming were not important to us.Debarkation - We did self assist. They called our zone even earlier than scheduled. We walked right off, stood in line about 10 minutes for customs. Then we had to call the Cruise Parking of Port Canaveral to pick us up. They send a driver with names of people in order that you call. Since there was 3 or 4 ships in port, the wait was kind of long. I think we waited about 40 minutes. This was a little annoying, but again, for the price I won't complain. We paid $21 for parking when at the port it would have been $90ish I think.
In general - the cruise met my expectations. The price was only $189pp, I definitely feel like I got my money's worth. I would do it again, but my advice is don't go on a cruise that costs less if your expectations are high. I heard so many people complaining about stupid stuff, comparing it to bigger, better ships and itineraies. What did you really expect? The ship was always clean, the staff was nicer than nice, there was plenty to do. If you are looking for a value priced getaway, especially if you are in driving distance, this is a great cruise.