Wow. I just had a great cruise for a great price. I was very apprehensive about going with Carnival since recently traveling with Celebrity in Nov. The images of Ecstasy were like that of a floating disco. Guess what? When you arrive on the ship, it looks like a floating disco. One lady behind me said, upon stepping on the ship, that it looked like a clown ship. The ship is older and could use a serious updating. But its very clean.
The whole cruise experience was very positive, once getting beyond the glitter. The food was excellent, especially in the main dining rooms. I am a food snob that is used to fine dining. The food was like going to good restaurants. The service was equally matched. The extended balcony grand suite was very spacious and clean. The pull out sofa was broken and old. This was a serious strike against Carnival, but I didn`t complain simply because I didn`t want to aggravate myself. The sofa was also very dated. The balcony lawn furniture made up for this sofa flaw. The room service was very good but not excellent. Ice in the bucket was not always provided and new water and new water glasses were not provided daily. But there were so many instances of good service and a positive attitude, that its not that big of deal.
We had two kids of teen age years. Carnival was fantastic. The kids had a blast in the teen age club. They made good friends. We didn`t see them at nights.
The entertainment was okay. But not great. But for me, the entertainment was to sit by the pool or balcony and relax and\or people watch. It`s a party ship with people of all walks of life. The people were well behaved and treated each other with respect. But they did have lots of fun and did seem to drink heavily.
Ideally, Carnival should liberalize its rules on when you can eat in the cafeteria. Its too restrictive. The 24 hour ice cream is good, the pizza bad. They need to work on bussing tables faster.
Carnival excels at being the biggest bargain that I've seen in my admittedly limited cruise experience. I would not hesitate booking with this company again.