I traveled with my husband, brother and sister in law. The last time my husband and I cruised was on our honeymoon 23 years ago. It was the first cruise for my brother and his wife.
Embarkation: The ship was very late getting into port because of heavy fog. We were advised by our travel agent to arrive around 10:30. The hotel advised us to arrive around 11:30, so we went with the hotel’s advice. We stayed at the Tremont House the night before the cruise. We had a beautiful room and the staff was very helpful. In the morning, we drove over to the Galvez to park our car. This was free because we had stayed at the Tremont and used their valet service. They shuttled us to the port. On the way, I realized I left my wedding ring in the room. Called the Tremont, they found it and advised us to have the shuttle swing by and pick it up. Big bonus points for their service here! The port was very confusing. We got in a very long line and just as we got to the front, we were pulled out and told we had to check our bags. Left the line to walk all the way back again and check our bags, then wait in line again. When we finally got to the front, we waited in more lines. By the time we got all checked in, it was another wait for the ship to be ready for us to board. We were given $15 each on board credit for our trouble. That was a plus.
On board: When we were finally able to board, our stateroom was ready so we went straight there. What a wonderful surprise. It was bigger and nicer than expected. Very clean and lots of storage. Tips from different forums helped make it even better. (outlet strip, white noise machine, soft night light, over door shoe bag, wire hangers) The bed was heaven. I slept better on board than I have in years and I’m a total sleep number bed snob! Our cabin steward, JoJo, was a delight. Very nice and eager to make our stay pleasant.
Dining: We ate a couple of lunches at the buffet. Food there was mediocre at best. Seemed like cafeteria food. The Mongolian grill was good, but lines were often long. Breakfast on the buffet line was ok, but much better in the MDR. Pizza was a tasty snack. Sushi wasn’t worth the calories on the night we tried it. We ate in the MDR for all meals that it was open. The quality of food was very good and quite a surprise. Wait staff was very attentive. The wine package made our meals even better.
Entertainment: The 2 big shows were very well done. The country show was especially nice. The Dream Voyage show was well done, but a bit confusing. We really enjoyed the R rated comedians. Newlywed and Marriage and towel animal classes were fun. Entertainment on the 2 days in port was thin. It would have been nice to have the comedians on those days instead of putting the big shows and comedians on the same night. Live bands were very good. We especially liked the Ecstasy show band and Lorraine in the piano bar.
Ports: Progreso is a big disappointment. Dirty, small and basically a waste of time. My brother and SIL did get some amazing alcohol deals at the duty free shop that we were sad to have missed. Cozumel was very pretty. Shopping is considerably more expensive though. We did the blue water under sea helmet dive. It was amazing! The staff was very attentive and safety seemed to be key. It was a highlight of the trip!
Debarkation: We did the self assist and were off the ship by 8:20 and through customs by 8:45.
Misc: The ship has a poor design. The one pool was small and you have to walk through the pool area to get to the buffet and other food areas. To get to the serenity deck, you have to go through a bar/club or down the stairs from another deck. I had read about elevator issues, but we found the elevators to be easily accessed and never had a long wait. Decor is like Vegas in the 90's but everything was clean and well kept. Alcohol is very over priced, but we expected that. The Miami Vice drink was a real treat. The ship was constantly rocking, but after awhile I got used to it and missed in when in port.
Overall, I would travel on the Ecstasy in a heartbeat. This cruise was at a bargain price and we came into it with low expectations but an open mind. We were very pleasantly surprised at how good the food was and what a great time we had. The staff was very attentive and made it a wonderful experience.