This was my husband's and my first cruise. We loved it and are already talking about where we should go next.
A bit about Carnival Ecstasy. The boat is older, but it still looks very nice and is in very good shape. The crew was friendly and helpful. The food in the dining room was excellent, but I wasn't too fond of the buffet lines. The food wasn't horrible at the buffet, but it was always cooler than I wanted it to be and sometimes had that "sitting out" texture.
We stayed in a balcony stateroom which was an excellent way to travel. I get motion sickness, but I knew fresh air would help me counteract the nausea. On the ship I only got nauseous once and it was a wavy night.
We only did one shore excursion the entire trip. We did the kayak and nature hike trip in Freeport. Our guide (Ricardo) was awesome. Very laid back but had a lot of information. The trip was great and we basically floated down a mangrove stream towards the ocean. It was a great way to kick start our vacation!
We chose the my time dining. We figured we didn't want to get "trapped" having to eat dinner if we weren't hungry or if something else was happening that we wanted to do. We found that we were hungry about the same time every night. We had to wait two times to get into dinner - about 45 min to an hour. We did receive some chocolates one night as an apology for having to wait.
We also went to the comedy shows and had a wonderful time at all of them.
Overall, the cruise was amazing. Thanks to the Carnival staff for making it great.