We took our first ever cruise to the Bahamas on the Carnival Ecstacy Apr 18-22. Some of our expectations were exceeded and some were not met.
First the expectations that were exceeded. Both embarkation and debarkation went much smoother than we expected. We got on and off quickly. We had the porter take our 27 inch bags (2) into the ship but took our own bags off the ship. I will handle my own bags both ways in the future, as one of our bags took a couple of hours to get to our room getting on the ship.
The entertainment was great, not only the main shows Motor City and the Brits (both musical reviews), but also the secondary shows like the Hasbro Show and their show with the Newlywed Game format. The Cruise Director, Matt Mitchell, hosted those shows and was great. We also liked the karaoke shows near the Casino entrance in the late afternoon hosted by Kim. The Motown "name that song" contest hosted by Matt on the last night was great fun.
We went to four comedy shows, two by each comedian, Kim and Will. We enjoyed both of Will's shows a lot. Of Kim's two shows, we liked one, but the first one we went to was raunchy and not very funny.
We read several reviews from prior cruises that said the room cleaning was spotty. Ours was very good. Our steward, Izzy, was attentive and our room was spotless.
Food service in the dining room was very good. We got our meals promptly. This allowed us to get to the shows on time. If you want to see as many shows as possible get the 6pm dinner and tell your waiter you want to eat quickly in order to see the 7pm show.
The trip to Half Moon Cay was very good. There were hundreds of lounge chairs on the beach and lots of stuff to rent (snorkeling, sea-doos, kayaks), but it was a little too windy that day, so we just walked the island and shade-bathed. Definitely check it out.
We took the catamaran trip in Nassau. The boat trip was good, but the snorkeling was in the ocean which was somewhat rough.
The food was OK but not great, a disappointment. We ate breakfast at the buffet. I recommend the omelets and suggest you pass on the pancakes which were rubbery. It was good, but nothing special. We ate breakfast in the dining room once. It was slower and about the same quality, OK but not great.
We chose to eat lunches at the buffet. They had a lot of variety and the food was good. I tried the pizza once and it was OK. The sandwiches were pre-made, so we passed on them. The hot buffet has good variety and was good.
Dinner was both good and not so good. The main meal was very good. It was cooked properly and was hot. You couldn't make changes at all, but could order a second dinner plate if you wanted to try more than one. The appetizers and desserts were barely restaurant quality. I had a Caesar salad that was very small and twice had soup that was like something you would get at Olive Garden. I was expecting more.
All-in-all the trip was very good. It went smooth, the entertainment was great and the food was OK. We'll go again, but likely will try another cruise line.