First time on the Ecstasy. To be honest, we weren't expecting too much since the price was fantastic.
We sailed out of Port Canaveral on Nov 29th for a 5 night cruise with stops in Key West, Nassau and Freeport.
The check in process and security check was no problem 9even with long snaking line in temporary terminal, it only took about 30 minutes.
The cabins were ready at 1-30pm so we timed it perfectly.The cabin was on the Riviera , Deck 4 ,Forward.
It was actually the last full sized window, Oceanview on this level , forward.
The cabin was clean but the window has an annoying bar in the middle and it was quite badly rusted. (we had been spoiled the past 4 cruise with balconies....but decided to try an Oceanview,,,,,,regretted it later).
The cabin itself was quite nice as was the washroom and shower. the flat screen TV was pretty and good and I was amazed to see that you could get all major networks (NBC,CBS and ABC as well as FOX and TNT).
This surprised me because when I have asked about TV networks on cruises in the past, I was told that the Cruiselines cannot show them because of legalities and costs. the strange thing is, the networks occasionally would show the networks via Buffalo channels and in many case it was Canadian channels (that happened to show US network shows). I tested the in room Wireless network with my laptop and was amazed how fast it was (compared to all the other cruises I have done.....where it was impossible to do from the cabin and very slow from the Internet Lounge).
We are very casual cruisers and prefer the option to dine casually. If it has a buffet....that is where we go.
Sit down,set time dining is not our cup of tea.
The first night sleeping was not so good. We kept hearing this hammering and grinding noises off and on all night.
We still got some sleep but it wasn't bad enough to complain. The second and third night was even worse.(in retrospect, I should never have waited so long to complain.).
I finally went down to the Customer Relations and the Supervisor explained that the Captain had authorized emergency work. The strange thing is this"emergency work" had been going on since the previous week and was scheduled to continue for our full cruise.
She acknowledged that there were other complaints. I asked to be moved but they only had one Inside Cain left. I didn't like that idea so, she gave me a 20% refund for the cruise and a 15% off future cruise voucher. I wasn't completely happy but I took it. That night the noise was worse than ever . So, I went to see her again and she moved us to Deck 11 where it was much quieter.
Generally I have to say that the noise in both of the two cabins was quite loud (doors slamming, footsteps above, voices outside). Something we've noticed before on other cruises but not to this extent.
The food in general was OK (nothing spectacular). the number of serving areas in the Buffet was always insufficient (each night they would keep one side closed to serve children in the Kids Club. Why they wouldn'nt do this at 5-30 pm instead of waiting to 6pm (when the adults showed up, is beyond me).
The breakfast and lunch selection was quite good with the pastries ,cakes and sweets being the most impressive. I can't fault the staff as they were both friendly and helpful at all times.
The ports of call were hit and miss.
Key West was nice but very congested and too busy.
Nassau. the Straw Market has been closed and knocked down with a new on to open soon. In the meantime ,the stalls are temporarily located at the side of the port side main road making for major congestion. The main street in Nassau is getting resurfaced which also caused a lot of traffic issues.
Freeport was also nice but we decided not to venture any further than the little stalls around the port.
Something we noticed at all ports of call, there is always drunken idiots who do not get back to the ship by the assigned time which means delayed leaving times. These people who we watched boarding the ship simply do not care or are completly oblivious to the time of day due their merry making.
As for the ship itself, its quite old and dated with lots of painted over hull rust. The Atrium was quite nice although the color scheme is really gaudy (they seem to use every color available within the same small space). As with most older ships, the pool area is totally inadequate in size. The recently added water slides for the kids and a good feature.
The disembarking was a bit of a bore since we had to go to the Sapphire Lounge at a ridiculously early hour only to sit and wait for about 45 minutes for US Customs officials to arrive to check the non US arrivals. After that was over and we had our final breakfast ,leaving the ship was easy and swift.
Final thoughts. Good value for money.....but never again.