The Blue Sapphire Main Show Lounge, located on decks 8 and 9, serves as the ship's main theater. There, passengers can catch Carnival's Playlist Production shows, though the electronics are missing because the theater can't accommodate. This waters down the production a bit, and it feels a lot more traditional than you might find on other, newer ships. This is also where you'll catch acts that are part of the line's Carnival Live! concert series. The venue holds only 855 passengers, so passengers can get really close to the various artists. Sight lines are fine on Deck 8, but a number of obstacles on Deck 9, including a railing along the glass balcony and big pillars, make it difficult to see the stage. Show up early enough to grab a good seat.
During the day, various activities like the line's famous Hasbro The Game Show and Love and Marriage Game take place there.
Cruises on Ecstasy are loaded with activities. Several trivia sessions are offered each day at the various bars and lounges, and bingo is available, too. On the lido deck, activities include table tennis tournaments, hairy chest competitions and giant Jenga. Shore excursion lectures are given in the Sapphire Lounge. The casino is located on Deck 9 and offers table games and slot machines.
Sing-alongs, karaoke and dancing are common all over the ship at night. Theme parties are common; think 80s Flashback Party, Mexican Fiesta Deck Party and Electric White Party.
Carnival Ecstasy Bars and Lounges
For a relatively small ship, Ecstasy has plenty of bar and lounge options. Most are pretty high-energy venues that are hopping late at night. Because Ecstasy sails shorter itineraries, passengers onboard seem to pack as much into every second as they can. Music, dancing, drinking and singing are common, whether poolside or in the clubs.
Neon Piano Bar (Deck 8): Carnival is famous for its sing-along piano bars, and this one is tough to miss. As the name implies, it's loaded with neon signs. But the hub of activity is the piano, which takes up a circular space in the middle of the room. There, the piano player sits, taking requests as passengers sing the lyrics to popular songs.
Society Bar (Deck 9): The Society bar is a laid-back spot to hang out for some quiet time with pals or to watch sports. It has plenty of large flat-screen TVs and comfy seating.
Starlight Aft Lounge (Deck 9): The Starlight Aft Lounge is where you'll catch comedians as part of The Punchliner Comedy Club Presented by George Lopez. Earlier shows are appropriate for families, while late-night options are strictly for the adults. When comedians aren't on stage, passengers there have a blast with Carnival's Superstar Live Karaoke, which puts singers onstage with a live backup band.
Stripes Discotheque (Deck 9): A true dance club at sea, Stripes is packed from about 10 p.m. on. A DJ spins tunes, with a heavy emphasis on Latin beats.
China Town Lounge (Deck 9): Decorated with paper lanterns and Asian-inspired furniture, China Town Lounge is a lovely yet comfy space that hosts karaoke some nights.
Metropolis Bar (Deck 9): This bar, adjacent to the casino, is reminiscent of an old-time diner, featuring lots of chrome. At night, musicians -- guitar and vocals, for example -- play there. Be warned: Smoking is allowed in a section of the bar, and its location, near the casino, means it can get quite smoky.
Pool Bar (Deck 10): There actually are two bars poolside: one port and one starboard. They're identical to one another, with seating at the bar and at tall tables with stools. They provide a shaded oasis from the sun. Smoking is allowed at the starboard bar.
Carnival Ecstasy Outside Recreation
Ecstasy has only one pool, located midship on Deck 10. Before 10 a.m., you're likely to find a seat poolside, even on sea days. After that, the DJ cranks up the tunes, and space is at a premium, especially in and immediately surrounding the pool. The mood in the area is festive, with lots of dancing. If being close to the pool isn't important to you, head on up to Deck 11, and grab a lounger beneath the whale tail; you'll get a combination of sun and shade, and a good breeze keeps you cool. There's usually plenty of space, and you still can hear the music from the pool without the crush of people.
Among the items added in 2009 was a large waterslide, perfect for all ages, and two small slides for the kiddos, part of a larger Waterworks water play area. Ecstasy also has a fun and well-maintained nine-hole mini-golf course on Deck 14.
The adults-only space, Serenity, is located on Deck 10, strangely below the kids Waterworks area. Still, it's surprisingly quiet and never crowded. Passengers can relax on the loungers below bright yellow umbrellas or hang out in one of the two hot tubs. There's also a shaded area for passengers who want to relax without the rays, and Serenity is convenient to the Panorama Bar & Grill, so passengers can pop in for a quick snack or drink.
Carnival Ecstasy Services
Ecstasy has the usual assortment of cruise ship standards, including a small art gallery on Deck 7, a photo gallery on Deck 9 and a variety of shops on Deck 8, where passengers can purchase essentials like sunscreen and lip balm, as well as logo apparel, sun hats and bags. The ship also features the line's candy store, Cherry on Top, with bulk candy options and oversized lollipops, gummy funnels and jawbreakers.
A small Internet cafe is located on Deck 7 across from the Grand Spectrum Atrium Plaza, and Wi-Fi is available shipwide. Passengers can purchase Internet minutes via the pay-as-you-go option at 75 cents per minute or buy packages: 480 minutes for $159 (33 cents per minute), 240 minutes for $89 (37 cents per minute), 120 minutes for $59 (49 cents per minute) or 45 minutes for $29 (64 cents per minute). As with all Internet at sea, speed is slower than you would get on land, especially during peak times and sea days.
Ecstasy has forward, midship and aft elevator banks.
The Explorer's Club Library, a comfy spot decorated with dark woods and deep blues along with a massive globe and ship model, is located on Deck 8. It offers a decent variety of books -- both fiction and nonfiction. It also has a large seating area, where passengers sprawl while reading or playing games. Board games, such as Guesstures and cribbage and decks of cards are available for use onboard for free.
Self-service laundry facilities are located on Deck 6 (across from cabin U154) and Deck 7 (across from cabin E6). Machines take coins, and detergent and fabric softener are available for purchase from vending machines. Passengers can also use the iron and ironing board in each spot for free.
Passengers can learn about and book shore excursions at the shore excursions desk on Deck 7, right next to the guest services desk.
Spa Carnival is located on Deck 12. The space, decorated in neutral tones of beige, blue and cream, is relatively small, with just a few treatment rooms. Separate men's and women's locker rooms are fairly large, and each houses showers, lockers, a changing area, sauna and steam room. Treatments are standard and include bamboo and hot stone massages, Ionithermie, teeth whitening and acupuncture. Teen treatments, including anti-acne facials and mother/daughter or father/son massages, are available. Spa specials are offered throughout the cruise, usually on days when the ship is in port.
Adjacent to the spa is a beauty salon, where passengers can get haircuts, styling and color treatments. A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to spa and salon services.
The fitness center onboard has a good selection of cardio and strength training equipment. Treadmills and ellipticals line the windows, and a small number of free weights is available, though the dumbbells in the midrange are lacking. Before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m., the fitness center is relatively empty, but you'll be waiting for equipment during peak hours, especially on sea days. Classes take place in the adjacent aerobics room. Options include Pilates, yoga, boot camp and spinning, for fees starting at $12. Free classes, such as stretching, are also available.
Runners and walkers can use the ship's jogging track, located on Deck 14. Eleven laps make up a mile, so you'll be doing a lot of turning on longer runs. The track is wide and has a little bounce so it's more comfortable on the knees. It's virtually unused on port days in the mornings, but on sea days you'll find a mix of runners and walkers.