We had seen so many negative reviews about the ship. I'm glad to say that none of the complaints were experienced by us! We drove to Galveston on Sunday, Feb. 12, and boarded the ship around 12:30 - there was a long line but it moved very quickly. Tipped off by Cruise Critic, we knew to go to deck 11 to Cucina del Capitano, the Italian restaurant, for lunch, which was free. There is a $12 charge at night. Had some very good pasta, and a DOD.
By the time we were through, our cabin was ready. This was an interior, and it seemed smaller than interiors we have had in the past on the Ecstasy, but it was fine. Met our steward, Joslyn. We went back up to deck 5 to check out things there. We were impressed with the ship, and it didn't seem too overwhelmingly big to us. Muster drill was very quiet and orderly.
We ate in the main dining room, had Izabela, Lucas and Ivan for our wait team. They were excellent every night - no wait for glasses to be filled or courses to come, food was good and hot. After dinner we checked out the casino for a little while.
The next day was a sea day and we played some trivia - I won a 24 karat gold plastic ship on a stick! - and went to a cooking demo which was delicious. More casino time, a nap, then dinner again, then a comedy show. Next day was Key West, which we enjoyed. Then Freeport and Nassau, which were not at all what I had read about. Two more sea days, then back to Galveston. Disembarkation was very organized and quick, I was pleased by this.
The ship was very clean, room service trays were picked up out of the halls quickly, the tables in the Lido were bussed as soon as people got up, there were people constantly sweeping, or vacuuming, or polishing. Our room steward made sure we had ice at all times. We ate breakfast in the MDR every morning, and all except for the last day, we had good, quick service. Had pizza for lunch twice and it was very good. The casino wasn't too smokey on the non-smoking side and we even won a little on the slots!
Crew and staff was very friendly, always spoke. Had a problem with the cabin being too warm, but a call to Guest Services had someone down promptly to fix the problem.
One night we went to see the illusionist show - I was very impressed with this. All the special effects and singing and dancing were much better than I expected from a ship's show. Very entertaining!
Overall we were very pleased with this cruise. In fact, as soon as we got back we got on the phone with our travel agent to book another cruise!