First, I have cruised on Carnival 6 times, as well as Norwegan once, and Royal Caribbean once. RCCL was the last cruise before this one on the Ecstasy. I did not expect to go, as I helped my friends ( a married couple) plan this cruise, since it was their first cruise. They saw the sale on the Spirit Airlines website. During the planning, I read there was a "no single supplement" and that was the main reason I also went with them. What a surprise. We choose 2 oceanview cabins next to each other, upper deck forward. We had a 7am flight and landed 2 1/2 hours later at Ft.Lauderdale airport. I had a reservation with SAS Transportation to bring us to the port. Once we received our bags, I called them and within minutes, they picked us up. They brought us to the port and it was only $15 per person one way. (We used them at the end of the cruise to bring us back to the airport). I highly recommend them. We arrived at the port by 11:45am and check-in was ready for us.
I had an ankle injury that I was using an airboot for, and I asked for a wheelchair just to get me on the ship. In a matter of 10 minutes, a Carnival staff member put me in a wheelchair brought me, as well as my 2 friends, through all the stops (check-in, security) and zipped me onto the ship. He even offered to bring me right to my cabin, and I said yes. Like other cruises, our cabins were immaculate and roomy. Our cabin steward, Roberto, was one of the friendliest and professional stewards I ever met. The Ecstasy is a small ship but it was good for me since I was walking in an airboot. The ship may be an older ship, but it still looks great! Decent pool with 2 hot tubs on the lido deck. The serentity area is in the back of the ship with comfy lounge chairs, 2 hot tubs, and a shaded area. I sat her one afternoon for a few hours & it was nice since it overlooks the sea. There is even a Waterworks section for those liking water slides.
Food: If anyone says the food is boring,they need their head examined! The food was great. Many choices. We had breakfast & lunch on the Lido deck. Dinner was "Your Time Dining". I was thrilled Carnival finally went to this option. We never had to wait for a table. I experienced this type of dining on the Norwegan Dawn, called Freestyle Dining, and loved it then. One tip: Bring your own big plastic cup for the lemonade and iced tea. I brought mine that I get at Walmart that is big, has a cover and a straw. Bigger cup means less getting up for refills. There is a small deli also, to get sandwiches. A salad bar and ice cream also.
Entertainment: Motor City and The Brits were very good musicals. The family Towel Animal Theatre puppet show was really cute. It was for 30 minutes at 10:30am right after the animal towel folding class. Kudos to Carnival for adding this as a new show. We went to one over 18 adult comedy shows and the comic was so bad, that not only did we walk,but other guests did also. He just was not funny. The Mexican Fiesta at 10pm on the Cozumel day is always a blast.
Activities: I really wish Carnival would add more daily activities like Royal Caribbean and Norwegan does, but you can't have everything. The Bingo on the Lido deck is fun though.
Staff: Everyone was professional & friendly. The first night in the dining room though, our 2 waiters acted like they were doing us a favor, but the other nights we were at different tables and it was a big difference. I ordered a birthday cake for my friend and the cake was was really good. For only $10, it is brought to the dining table and eveyone sings happy birthday.
Pool area: Lounge chairs and tables were abundant and anyone could find a seat.
To wrap it up........Disembarkation was a breeze. I was glad I went and would definitely go again on the Ecstasy, as long as the "no single supplement" continues.. This was my friends first cruise and they loved it and are looking forward to cruising again.