Carnival Ecstasy Cruise Review by MrsMick1: First time cruise - definitely not our last!
Overall Member Rating
First time cruise - definitely not our last!
Embarkation: Port Canaveral (Orlando)
We booked this 4 day Bahamas cruise as a "grown ups' getaway" - my husband, me, my brother and his wife. We flew in the day before and stayed at the La Quinta in Cocoa Beach. It is old but well run, clean and perfectly adequate, especially for under $100 and including a nice continental breakfast spread.
On embarkation day, we were on board by noon and went straight to our cabin, which was ready for us - we had purchased FTTF and thought it was well worth it for this benefit alone. We had a balcony stateroom, which we loved, especially during arrival to and departure from port. Once we got settled, we set about exploring the ship. Yes, this is an older ship, but it seems well maintained and was kept spotlessly clean throughout our trip. Service from our cabin steward was fine - we rarely saw him, but our room was always well supplied and when we did see him, he greeted us by name with a warm smile.
Our itinerary had port stops in Nassau and Freeport. We had fun in More both places, but there was nothing outstanding or "must do" in either place, IMO. In Nassau, we did not book an excursion - we walked around the shopping area and Parliament Square, then to Junkanoo Beach and the Fish Fry. (OK, I take it back - the conch fritters were outstanding!) In Freeport, we did the perfume factory and Sands brewery tour - it was entertaining enough and the free beer was great, but since it was Sunday, the plant wasn't actually operating, so there really wasn't much action to see. A brief 30 minute stop at Port Lucaya Marketplace was also included but that wasn't enough time to see much there and again, it was Sunday so many of the shops were closed.
Food on board was good and plentiful - we tried many things we wouldn't ordinarily eat at home and liked almost all of it. Drinks were similarly delicious, and we had a particular favorite bar waitress both on the sun deck and in the Wind Star dining room - Bussabong, or "BB". She was so much fun, and really enhanced our cruise experience. Service in general was quite good, although I can see the attraction of set time dining in getting to know your waitstaff better. We chose the anytime dining option, which better fits our vacationing style, but we may try out set dining on a future trip.
Entertainment was fine. As another reviewer pointed out, "it's not Broadway'" but we were certainly entertained by the shows we saw (2 different comedians and "the Brits", as well as the Hasbro Game Show.) Matt was the cruise director, and we really liked him a lot - very visible about the ship, very witty and engaged with guests at the shows.
On disembarkation day, we chose the self assist option and it went smoothly. There was a very minimal wait at customs, and we were on our way to the rental car pickup by 9:00 am. We had a late return flight out of MCO, so we drove to Downtown Disney for shopping and dinner before heading home.
Overall, it was a really pleasant trip, and I can definitely see why people come back to cruising again and again. I will definitely plan on another cruise in the future. The Carnival Ecstasy offered us great value for our money on our first cruise, and we had a wonderful time! Less
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