Best cruise ever! My husband and I (yup! just us this time - all kids in college - no break for them in October) were on the ill-fated Ecstasy out of Charleston and into the whirlwind of Matthew. Carnival had to make some changes. First ... Read More
Best cruise ever! My husband and I (yup! just us this time - all kids in college - no break for them in October) were on the ill-fated Ecstasy out of Charleston and into the whirlwind of Matthew. Carnival had to make some changes. First change - Saturday night, prior to Sunday sailing, Carnival sent an email that our Bahamas cruise (Half Moon Cay, Nassau, Freeport) would be a trip to Cozumel. Yes, I was a little disappointed not to be going to the Bahamas as this was to be our first time, but that bit of disappointment was way overshadowed by my absolute glee at extra sea days. I just love sea days. I cruise to relax and what better way to relax than to find a spot on a big ship to be waited on by most gracious crew. Not only that, but Carnival offered $50 credit per person and 25% off the next cruise as compensation for the change, not to mention a refund of port fees. Hah! I should be compensating Carnival for the extra sea days. AND the email said they'd be sailing an hour early, which pushed embarkation up an hour. Woo-hoo! Extra sea days AND an hour tacked onto my cruise.
So we drove down to Charleston and got a very good rate for the night at the Days Inn right at the end of the bridge in Mt. Pleasant and left our car there for free and ubered to the port on Sunday morning. We had the earliest staggered embarkation time and there was some confusion because of the hour early business, but once things started rolling embarkation was a breeze.
Enjoyed the boat so much. Every morning I walked a few miles on the jogging track. Every morning saw the same fellow passengers; we developed a bit of a cameraderie as the week went on. Since it takes 11 laps to complete a mile, you'd think it would get pretty tedious walking around and around, but not at all. As you're moving through the ocean the sky changes constantly, the water color changes, you see the occasional bird. The best is the clouds and sun playing peek-a-boo first thing in the morning, And I saw too many rainbows to count, at least one that arched all the way across the sky.
Morning exercise followed by a shower and breakfast with hubby. We enjoyed both the sea day brunch and the lido breakfast. I have no complaints about the food. My husband is from India and so he drinks his tea in a particular way, with a lot of hot milk and sugar and a little seasoning. When he couldn't get it in the dining room I reminded him that the chefs are Indian and he could probably get his special tea if he requested it. Sure enough, all he had to do was ask ahead of time and they had it for him every morning. Lunch was usually on the lido deck. I tried the wok, a turkey sandwich from the deli, a veggie burger from the poolside grill. All good, as was the salad bar. We always ate dinner in the dining room. We had anytime dining and the service was good. We especially enjoyed a waiter named Milos. I think the best menu items were the soups. We had excellent mushroom soup, butternut squash soup, chicken noodle soup. We also managed a few snacks during the day. Pizza really hit the spot as did the chips and salsa from the sea side grill. Every night late, like 11:30 - midnight, they had snacks at the lido buffet, like sandwiches and cookies, so every night I had a bedtime snack of cookies and frozen yogurt. And seriously, everything was good. I don't think I've ever had such good cookies on a cruise.
I was glad to have extra sea days so I could do all the things I wanted to do. My husband and I spent a lot of time on the serenity deck, lido deck and the seating above the serenity deck. We read, chatted with other passengers, napped, soaked in the serenity hot tubs. We watched the sun set. We saw dolphins off the serenity deck! After dinner and before the shows we strolled around the decks and were awestruck by the stars! We enjoyed the evening entertainment, jugglers, the production shows, comedians. We went to the welcome aboard show on the first night and the CD Benjamin did a great job by leading a tour of all the late night venues on the promenade deck, I had pretty good luck in the casino. The casino host on the Ecstasy is very active, having a lot of drawings and activities. Earlier in the day when the lido pool wasn't too crowded I actually was able to take a few swims. My husband tried his luck and skill at all the corn hole competitions. There were hula hoop and hole in one contests as well. I did a little line dancing during sail away and other deck parties. See why I need lots of sea days? There's just so much to do. And I'm sure I've forgotten something.
In Cozumel we got off the boat at a leisurely time and walked around a bit; actually we took a long walk and it was very hot, so it was quite a happy thing to be back on the ship where we knew we'd be comfortable and well-fed. The second change! The captain announced that we'd be staying over-night in Cozumel (still trying to keep away from Matthew) and that would mean adding an extra day to the cruise! Yippee!! The second day in Cozumel we went snorkeling at Sky Reef. It was ok snorkeling but good because they had a little pier so you could get right into the water without dealing with rocks. We found another couple to split the cabfare with us so it only cost $15 round trip and there's a nice little beach there.
So another sea day and the bonus sea day - ahh- I'm just loving this relaxation. AND then the third change. Matthew blew into Charleston and the port is closed so we have to have one more sea day!!! Our 6 day cruise turned into an 8 day cruise and the transition was seamless. The restaurant crew, the bar staff, the cabin stewards, the entertainment people, carried on their jobs as if they knew all along that this was an 8 day cruise. No one missed a beat and I loved every minute of it. Read Less