The Agony and the Ecstasy: Carnival Ecstasy Cruise Review by Max Circus
Overall Member Rating
The Agony and the Ecstasy
Embarkation: Port Canaveral (Orlando)
Very smooth. There was no line to get checked in when we arrived around noon. My wife had checked a couple of weeks before to see about any upgrades to an Ocean View cabins and was told that the ship was sold out but that didn't seem possible based on the few people at checkin. The clerk got our room key packet - and what may have been an omen of what was to come occurred. My wife's key was there but mine wasn't. Instead was another passenger's named Cynthia. This lead to a few jokes with my wife about who this Cynthia person was and why she was in our cabin. It took the clerk about 10 minutes to More finally locate my key and we were on our way onboard. Rooms wouldn't be ready until 1:30 so we went to Lido for lunch and a Drink of the Day (Funship Special). Food was pretty good. I most enjoyed the Mongolian Wok which hadn't been on any previous Carnival ships.
We arrived at our cabin and found it quite impressive. One of the larger insides we have seen. More than enough room to move around and adequate closet space. Luggage easily fit under the bed. Bathroom was clean and well appointed. We had Crest toothpaste, nasal strips, moisturizer and Nutris Shampoo and Conditioner in the amenity basket. Our room steward greeted us in the hallway as we met the other couple who was staying a few cabins away. It was a nice touch.
We next did a tour of the ship finding out where everything was (we already knew where the pool was). Took a little while to find our dining room but then realized we had to walk over the galley and then down one deck. No problem once we figured that out. One of the coolest public lounges is Chinatown. It has to be the best "themed" lounge I have seen on any ship. I won't give away any spoilers. We went to the Spa to see whether they had a steam and sauna. When we asked where the locker rooms were, there was a somewhat surly attitude from the clerk about why we needed to see them. We had to ask twice more before they pointed out where they were. We felt like they were trying to sell us something. We did see that the locker rooms are very large. And both men's and ladies have free separate sauna and steam rooms. My favorite bar ended up being the Society Bar which was right above our dining room. In general, the ship is well kept and the public areas are kept clean but didn't see cleaning crews as often as I did on RCCL Monarch of the Seas.
This is where our cruise went horribly wrong. We were seated a table 396. This was hands down the worst service we have had on any cruise. Our waitstaff disappeared for long periods of time. There were huge gaps between courses. One night we didn't get our entrees until 40 minutes after appetizers and we ate them in the dark because the dancing show was about to start. Two nights we ordered coffee and it never came. Water refills were rare. We compensated by getting multiple glasses filled from the extras on the table. I didn't get the sense that our head waiter even concerned about us. Not once did she ask how dinner was. She never made any recommendations from the menu. Every night she disappeared and the assistant waitstaff had to pick up the load as best they could. They were adequate but simply had too many other tables to truly provide good service. Even the Maitre D wasn't much help. First time I have been on a cruise where he didn't provide information about the next day's breakfast or what would be on the menu the next night. Seemed more concerned about the singing and dancing. The worst service we experienced was on disembarkation day. We went to the dining room for breakfast. We planned to leave the ship at 8:30. We got to the dining room at 7:45. We ordered our meals by 7:50. My wife got the melon platter and I ordered eggs benedict. We were not offered pastries. About 5 minutes later, my wife's fruit arrived but no eggs. About 8:15 after a few coffee and water refills, my wife asks the assistant waiter to help find my order. He literally just shrugged his shoulders as if he could care less if it ever arrived. Five more minutes and nothing. We then ask if we can get the pastry basket since it is obvious that I am not getting eggs. That seemed to be an unreasonable request to the waiter, but it was brought to the table. At 8:30 we see our waiter coming out with a large order of other tables. He had a somewhat smug look on his face. He apparently had my eggs but it was too late. We had to leave to bring our friends to the airport.
We love the Punchliner Comedy club although Kenny Miller needs to change up his act. It was the exactly the same as we had seen a few years ago. Same audience gimmicks. The other comedian (Lance??) was funny. We saw both his family and adult shows. We saw "The Brits" and it was really great. Terrific music and a talented cast of singers and dancers. The set was "interactive" -- I won't give away any spoilers -- just see it to believe it. By far, the best show I have seen on any cruise ship. We also saw the Hasbro Game Show and it was well done. A great for passengers to get up on stage and it was fun to watch. They had poolside trivia on the port days. We didn't get off the ship so that was fun while we were at the pool. And we won a Ship on a Stick on Music Trivia. I did notice that most of the Cruise Director staff seems indifferent. Just going through the motions during the activities. The Assistant Cruise Director Adam was being very vulgar just prior to the adult comedy telling anyone under 18 to "Get the #&^* Out!!". I didn't think that was necessary.
I had yet to be on a cruise ship where I didn't want to sail again on the same ship. But I found that ship this time. The situation in the dining rooms was so bad that I don't wish to sail on Ecstasy ever again. Less