My wife and I are retired educators, I was in college administration and my wife was an early childhood consultant.We have cruised on HAL, NCL, and Princess for a total of five cruises. These cruises were to the east, west, and southern Caribbean and with our favorite being the Alaskan cruise. We decided to give the Carnival Ectasy a try. This was not one of my better decisions.
Living across the state from Port Canaveral, we drove the 135 miles to Cape Canaveral. We had booked a Park and Cruise package with the International Palms Resort in Cocoa Beach, Florida. This hotel has nice accommodations at a reasonable price. The Park and Cruise package includes a twenty dollar food certificate for their restaurants, free parking for the duration of the cruise, and a shuttle to and from the cruise terminal. We were quite satisfied.
The embarkation went smoothly. The ship however was unable to get a timely departure because of other ship traffic and it departed two hours late. We did make our first port on time however.
We had stateroom M30 which is on the main deck on the starboard side neat the bow. This is a two porthole stateroom. We were pleased with the cabin with the exception of the bed which had a sag at the lower back location.
The ship seemed to be in good condition and well maintained but the color scheme would not be of our choosing. It is a bit too gaudy.
Carnival Cruise Lines has adequate entertainment and a wide choice of music selections. The shows put on by the staff were some of the best I have seen on any cruise line. I would rate them as Las Vegas quality. One of the shows was country oriented and the other was more general in theme. I was not particularly fond of the comedians. The cruise director played a mean fiddle/violin variety of music.
The food was the weak point of the Ectasy.I had to send two meals back because they were inedible and the rest were not of the quality of the other cruise lines that I have been on. The choices were also very poor.
The first port on our agenda was Freeport in the Bahamas. We did not choose to do any shore excursions. From the port's general appearance I was not impressed and would have preferred an additional day in Key West. The next day was Nassau. We chose to not do any shore excursions here either. Nassau had a better appearance than Freeport but with the exception of the Atlantis hotel,there was not much appeal to us. I was having a back problem so we did not take this excursion but from the other passengers that did, they said it was enjoyable.
In Key West, We took the Old Town Trolley tour. This was quite enjoyable and allows you to see most, if not all of the places of interest. My regret about Key West was that our time allowed was too short.
Disembarkation went smoothly and the shuttle was on time.
In summary, the strong point of the Ectasy was the staff which were absolutely outstanding, especially our cabin steward, Larry. He was the most attentive and helpful steward that I have ever had. The second strong point were the staff shows. However, when rated overall compared to the other cruise lines that I have sailed, I would rate Carnival last. We will not sail on Carnival again even though they are very competitive on price.