Carnival Ecstasy Entertainment
Carnival entertainment is varied, ranging from classical music to X-rated comedy, and includes some of the most outstanding stage productions -- real Las Vegas-style revues -- on the seven seas.
Stripes Dance Club is a wild and crazy place. Chinatown also features music. Rolls Royce -- and yes, there is a real Rolls on display -- is a patisserie and coffee house, and the Crystal Palace Casino is often the hottest spot on the ship.
The Blue Sapphire Lounge, a two-tiered showroom, features a lot of glitter, a lot of blue, some wonderfully comfortable seats, but also those darned poles that ruin sight-lines on the Fantasy-Class ships. It is a shame, because many of the shows produced in this room are about the best in the business. It is an elegant show room -- in a 90's sort of way.
Crystal Palace Casino is a full-service casino with slots and table games and weekly slot and blackjack tournaments. Table games include blackjack and Caribbean Stud Poker, three card poker, roulette and craps. Slots are state-of-the-art.
Neon offers sing-alongs and karaoke.
Carnival Ecstasy Public Rooms
City Lights Boulevard is the name of Ecstasy's promenade on Deck 9. The Photography Gallery -- a repository for all those pictures taken during the cruise from embarkation to farewell dinner -- encircles the Grand Atrium, between the casino and Blue Sapphire Lounge.
One deck below, on Deck 8, is the Explorer's Library (open two hours a day) and Neon, a popular piano bar. An electronic games arcade is also located on Deck 8.
The ship's most active areas dot the Boulevard, which runs from the Blue Sapphire Lounge through the Grand Atrium, and down to the Society Bar and the larger Starlight Lounge near the aft end of the ship.
The Lobby -- where guests enter and gaze up the seven-story Atrium in awe -- is home to the U-shaped bar that also serves coffee. Between the shore excursion desk and the ship's front desk, it is a busy hive of activity when the ship is not in port.
Internet service is available in a great location, 24 hours a day on Promenade Deck, across from the Rolls Royce patisserie. Packages are available for about $29 an hour.
Carnival Ecstasy Spa & Fitness
Carnival Ecstasy's 12,000-square-foot Spa Carnival, a combination spa, beauty salon and fitness center, is run by Steiner, the Britain-based company with a near-monopoly on big-ship spas. The spa features the obligatory massages, facials and salon services.
The ship's modest-sized gym has seaview treadmills, bikes and elliptical trainers, as well as weight machines and a variety of free weights. The multiple fitness classes offered are either free (aerobics, sunrise stretch) or for-fee (yoga, Pilates at $12 per person). Men and women get their own sauna and steam room, which are located in their respective locker rooms.
During the September 2009 dry dock, Carnival Ecstasy's top deck areas were transformed. The ship now has just one pool, located midship. During sunny sea days, the lido pool is a beehive of entertainment, hosting pool deck Olympics, ice carving demonstrations and plenty of live music (from calypso to classic rock covers). The ship's other area for water-based fun is the aft-situated Carnival WaterWorks, which includes a four-story tall, 300-foot-long corkscrew waterslide; an 82-foot-long triple-lane waterslide (great for racing); and a spray park, complete with various sculptures spewing water. (Note: The water park replaced what was formerly the ship's second pool.) Onboard water parks are hot right now, and Disney Dream (debuting in 2011) and Norwegian Epic are certainly in the running for best at-sea waterslides, but even so, Carnival's Fantasy-class ships won't disappoint.
The adults-only Serenity Deck, also added during the dry dock, is a teak deck space located on the ship's stern (out of earshot from the more boisterous WaterWorks). The space includes two hot tubs and a decent number of loungers with thick, blue padding -- so comfortable that you're likely to doze off as you stare out at the ship's wake. The Serenity Deck offers both sunny and shady spots, with yellow umbrellas and a thatched-roof overhang providing cover from the Caribbean sun. The Serenity Deck also hosts more low-key, adults only evening entertainment featuring a solo guitarist and drink theme (mojitos or margaritas, for instance).