By Marcia Levin, Cruise Critic contributor
Carnival Ecstasy Overview
In the world of cruise ships, Ecstasy is proving to be a golden oldie. I loved my five-day trip and would sail the very comfortable Ecstasy again in a heart beat. It boasts many of the amenities standard on 21st-century vessels such as flat-screen televisions and Internet cafe, but with more than a touch of Carnival's original classic neon and glitz. Ecstasy is a Fantasy-class sister to Fantasy, Fascination, Imagination, Inspiration, Elation, Paradise and Sensation, and cost $315 million when it debuted in 1991. Ecstasy underwent a major refurbishment in fall 2009, and offers four- and five-night cruises from Port Canaveral.
The refurbishment featured the addition of a new wireless Internet cafe, an expanded Youth Program facility, a resort-style pool, Carnival WaterWorks water slides, and the adult-only Serenity sun deck. Efforts also entailed changing and thoroughly cleaning carpets throughout the ship. Pictures on the wall are new, there are the aforementioned flat-screen televisions in all cabins, the new Carnival Comfort bedding has been installed in all cabins, and public rooms have been updated and brightened.
Among other changes? A mini-golf course was created. Rolls Royce is a new coffee shop offering a variety of designer coffees and milkshakes priced between $2.50 and $4 each. There's also a late afternoon sushi bar and a new photo gallery that winds around the Atrium.
This well-maintained vessel is ideal for families, multigenerational groups, honeymooners and singles, providing that proverbial something for everyone, including fine entertainment, comfortable accommodations and excellent food. The cruise line has set out to attract "age is a state of mind" travelers across the spectrum who are looking for a more spirited vacation experience. Because of its four- and five-day schedule, Ecstasy attracts a large number of families and kids of all ages.
And yet at the same time, veteran travelers who remember the earlier days of contemporary cruise travel, won't be disappointed. The "newlywed game," name that tune contests, ice carving and bingo are still part of the frivolities. An extended camp program for kids between the ages of 3 and 17, art auctions, wine seminars, spa classes attractive to the fit, and late-night entertainment appeal to all demographics.
The Ecstasy features a New York City theme that runs throughout the public rooms. If you seek a lively, active cruise with plenty of nightlife, this ship is for you. This vessel appeals to the young-at-heart of all ages who like a more spirited than subdued holiday. You will find terrific Las Vegas-style entertainment, a selection of theme bars and lounges, and some of the largest standard cabins in the cruise industry. Despite the large number of passengers, there is no sense of being crowded onboard.
Carnival Ecstasy Fellow Passengers
Expect to find people from many walks of life traveling in groups, a couple of in-their-own-world honeymooners, some first-time cruisers and a lot of repeat passengers. Because of this broad sweep of passengers, ages skew all over the board. Most appear to be in the 40 to 60 age group.
Carnival Ecstasy Dress Code
This is a casual ship so shorts, T-shirts and sandals seem to be the uniform of the day, everyday. Long pants are appropriate at dinner. Formal nights on Ecstasy don't seem to require a tux. A suit or sport jacket and slacks are the option most men choose, while women dress up a bit more. You can dine in swimwear at the Lido or around the pool. Wear a cover-up.
Carnival Ecstasy Gratuity
Carnival recommends $11.50 per person, per day. The guidelines allocate $5.80 to dining room services, $3.70 to cabin services and $2 per day for alternative services, which include kitchen, entertainment, guest services and other hotel staff members. The amount is automatically added to your shipboard account, but can be adjusted in either direction at the guest services desk. A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to bar bills. Tipping for room service at delivery is expected (and appreciated) by the service staff.
We enjoyed our time on the Elation. She is a lovely ship, very well maintained and the staff was excellent. Cruising with kids is a little different than cruising without, but it is a very hassle free vacation for a single parent like me. I will ...continue
What went very well:
Getting on and off the ship each time was easy and fast. Found our rooms without trouble, luggage arrived right away. Our housekeeping staff was excellent. Anthony made sure our rooms were clean and we had towel animals ...continue
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We took our first ever cruise to the Bahamas on the Carnival Ecstacy Apr 18-22. Some of our expectations were exceeded and some were not met.
First the expectations that were exceeded. Both embarkation and debarkation went much smoother than ...continue