Just some info about us. We are a family of 5. Myself, DH and 3 kids. This was my DH and my 2nd cruise. It was our kids 1st cruise. 5 Day Western Caribbean. DH and I had previously sailed on the Carnival Conquest in April 2009. Excellent cruise!
Our Story Begins: We started out in Galveston on Saturday, the day of sailing. The weather was horrible. Back roads in Galveston were flooded, we parked with EZ Cruise Parking. This was our 2nd time to use them, and we will continue to use them for future cruises.
Embarkation: We arrived at the terminal about 11am and was told that they would start boarding at 12:30pm. Well after sitting for about 15-20 minutes, the attendant announced that the wedding party was about to board and once they were finished, they would begin boarding. We were seated in the first section about 5 rows from the back...We were on the ship by 11:45. Very easy and painless. Once on the ship, we were went up to the Lido deck for lunch and we were approached literally every 3-5 minutes to purchase a Drink of the Day. After politely saying, "No Thank You" over and over with each waiter/waitress, here comes the next waiter/waitress asking. That got old VERY fast! When we were on the Conquest 2 years ago, DH and I were NEVER approached that often. The staff on the Ecstasy were definately pushing for drinks. We waited to hear a live band play Caribbean music or at least some kind of music. After about 2 hours on the ship, we began to hear music!
First Night: Seas were a little rough. The ship rocked. I am not one who gets motion sickness of any kind. I found myself opening the box of dramamine and taking a pill. DH and kids seemed to be okay, just a lil woosie. We ate dinner in the WindStar Dining Room the first night.We had the "Anytime dining" and enjoyed it as we are used to eating an early dinner. (You can go in at 5:45pm) Our waiter was awesome. Right on top of things and approached us immediately by our first names. The kids thought that was amazing. We were exhausted, so we called it an early night after exploring the ship some.
First Sea Day: Will this ship stop rocking PLEASE?!? My thinking was a stabalizer was broke. Nope, it was 45mph winds hitting it plus we had about 8-10ft swells. Our kids wanted to try Camp Carnival, so we brought them to the Stripes Lounge and left them there for about 3 hours so they could try it out. When pick up time came, we picked up the kids and brought them to the room to get their bathing suits on and took them to the Lido deck for lunch and to let them play on the waterslides. We enter the elevator, get up to Lido floor and our son got sick. It was horrible. Took him back to the room, got him cleaned up, gave him a dramamine, and he seemed to feel better. We all were nauseated from being on the ship rocking for 24 hours straight at this point. We sat out on the Lido deck for a while and let the kids swim and do the water slides. After that we went inside to get cleaned up and changed for dinner.
We went to the dining room that night, it was formal night. We had pre-ordered a birthday cake for our daughter who will soon turn 12. (This was her birthday cruise). The cake was amazing. The waiters sang Happy Birthday to her. After dinner we decided to take pics with just about everyone who was offering. After the pics, we strolled over to the Rolls Royce Cafe and DH and I got a Cappachino. Very delicious. After we sat in front of the Cafe for a little while, we called it a night.
Progreso- We arrived at 7am and watched the ship dock...FINALLY LAND! NO MORE ROCKING! We got off the ship and tried to find our land legs. We rode the free shuttle to bring us in town, did some shopping and visited Buddy's Bar and Grill. We also did the Double Deck Bus Ride. It was $3/person and we all enjoyed it. We arrived back to the ship around 12:30, and lounged around. Asked kids if they wanted to go to Camp Carnival, and after looking at the activities planned, they refused. Nothing sparked their intrests. That night the ride was alot smoother. We told the kids, now THIS is what is supposed to be like. We went to the dining room that night and was not impressed by the wait staff at all. Now I'm wondering, "Where is the dining room shows at? On the Conquest, it was nightly!" I was disapointed as we told the kids all about the dining room entertainment from our previous cruise. We went and watched a local dance company from where we are from perform and then we did a little shopping on the ship. Called it an early night as we were wanting to wake up early for Cozumel.
Cozumel- We arrived at 8am and watched the ship dock. We were docked next to the Carnival Glory. BIG SIZE DIFFERENCE, but we knew we were on a smaller ship. It was amazing to see how large the Glory was compared to the Ecstasy. While in port, we decided to do our own thing, and explore Cozumel and let the kids do some shopping. They've been saving their money for over a year for this vacation. We had lunch at Carlos and Charlie's and thouroughly enjoyed it. We met a local man by the name of Pedro who took the time to give us a tour around and made us laugh. We sure enjoyed his company.
Once on the ship, we waited for our ship to sail. Afterwards, we headed towards the dining room to see what the menu was to be served for the night. It was a fish night. We don't eat fish, so we decided to go the Buffet. They were serving just about the same things. Fish and Lamb. YUCK! So we ended up eating Pizza and the Deli.
That night, the ride was smooth as well. We missed the Mexican Buffet, but we were exhausted from spending the day walking. We love Cozumel and our kids do too.
Last Sea Day: Here we go with the rough seas again. Everyone has had their dose of Dramamine and are wearing Sea Bands. DH and I had booked the "Behind the Fun Tour" our first night on the ship as we were told there were only 16 spots. No children were allowed. So, we had asked our kids if they wanted to go to Camp Carnival, they looked at the planned activities and said "No, we would rather hang out in the room" So, DH and I went on our tour. After the tour and meeting the Captain, We tried to soak in as much sun and warm weather as possible. We then went up to our room and prepared our suitcases and set them outside the door to be picked up. (We don't like the self assist option after doing it on our last cruise). The last night, we went to the Dining room. Our waitress wasn't all that great. All I can think about is, how the staff were much more courteous and respectful on the Conquest. After dinner, we took the kids to the Family Comedy show which was really funny. We all ordered virgin Pina Colada's and enjoyed the show. We went to bed around 10:30pm.
Dembarkation: We woke up and watched our arrival into the port of Galveston. We sat down and ate our breakfast from the Buffet. We were told if we wanted coffee, we had to go to the dining room. Seriously? I guess after enough people rasied cane, they decided to put coffee out at the buffet area. After self assisted guests were off the ship, the starting calling zones. They called zones 1-5. Then zones 5-7, then a staff member told us if we were ready to get off, that we could go ahead and make our way down to get off the ship that we didn't have to wait for zone 25 since our luggage should already be down there.
Once we got into the terminal we immediately spotted a porter and he picked up our luggage from our zone, and we went straight thru customs. No line at all. We were off the ship and being taxied back to our parking area within 10-15 minutes.
Final Thought: All in all we had fun and enjoyed our bonding time with our kids. We loved the ports. We however will never sail on the Ecstasy again. We prefer the bigger ships, there seems to be more to do and better activites for Camp Carnival. Also, we will hope for alot more courteous staff on our future cruises. As for Camp Carnival, We chose that our children not be allowed to sign their self in and out at their own leisure and run around crazy on the ship without supervision; Therefore, since they couldn't sign theirselves in and out, the activities for them was very limited. Most of the public restrooms were smelly and dirty, toilet paper everywhere, especially on the Lido deck. Maybe 2 public restrooms were nice.
We will be sailing on the Carnival Triumph in November 2011 and the Carnival Magic in April 2012 and are looking forward to those.