I just returned from a 4 day Bahamas cruise on the Carnival Ecstasy. I was very pleased with the trip!
I am a single traveler, and I chose to book a balcony cabin for this trip. It was worth every penny! My cabin was U222 Aft. I was the second to last cabin on the port side of the ship. It was very quiet. The other balcony cabin guests were very friendly, and we often waved to each other or chatted from our respective balconies. I was very pleased with the cleanliness of the room. It was a bit small, but since I was by myself I did not mind. The only thing I did not like was the shower in the bathroom. No matter what I did, I still managed to get water all over the floor during a shower, and the curtain kept blowing toward me. If anyone has a trick for keeping it closed, please let me know!
I purchased the FTTF pass, which was also worth it. I embarked at around 11 AM and my cabin was ready and waiting. One of the crew members tried to tell me I couldn't go to my cabin and would not let me through until I showed him my card AND boarding pass. Don't let them try to tell you differently if you have the FTTF pass...you are allowed to go to your cabin!
I chose to eat at the buffet rather than the dining room, and the food was excellent. There were many choices, and there was always pizza, ice cream, and the deli. You can also get burgers, fries, and nachos near the pool.
I went on 2 excursions during this cruise. The first one was the dolphin swim at Blue Lagoon Island. I chose to purchase this excursion prior to the cruise through Dolphin Encounters because the swim was not advertised through Carnival, and I saved about $50 by booking it myself. Also, Dolphin Encounters provides transportation to the ferry, and folks that booked through Carnival had to find their own transportation. I highly recommend the swim as opposed to the encounter since the swim involves more activities. The other excursion was the stingray snorkel on Half Moon Cay, and this one I also booked ahead of time but through Carnival. I suggest that you choose the first excursion (10:00) because you will have plenty of time to relax and hang out on the beach once you are finished. The snorkel itself was also fantastic, and there was a photographer there from Carnival.
If you are planning to go to Half Moon Cay but not go on any excursions, you will still want to arrive early to the island. I noticed that a large group of people arrived around 1PM and were having trouble finding lounge chairs on the beach. There is plenty of room, but most people were in large groups and could not find chairs together. I chose to park myself in front of the pirate ship - a great location! There is a DJ and bar. They also have activities right in front of the ship so I had a front row seat for the hairy chest contest... which is hilarious! If you prefer not to be in the middle of the action, there are spaces down the beach that are quieter.
I am a fitness fanatic so I did not drink and I can't tell you about the drinks-sorry! I can tell you that the gym area was very nice and contained many machines, treadmills, etc. I took advantage of the free abs class and my abs are still sore. I did not take the pilates or other pay classes but I'm sure they were just as good. The walking track is very nice but it does get quite windy up there...beware!
All in all I had a fantastic time and other than the shower I have no complaints. Please feel free to ask if you have any questions!