8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
This cruise was booked for a birthday celebration. The group included 11 ladies split between 4 different cabins. This review is solely based on my cabin and experience. Charleston is a convenient port for those in the areas of ... Read More
This cruise was booked for a birthday celebration. The group included 11 ladies split between 4 different cabins. This review is solely based on my cabin and experience. Charleston is a convenient port for those in the areas of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and areas within driving distance. Although you can fly, the airport is a quick taxi ride to the port, this would get so much more use if they had more ships. Several people shared that the city of Charleston is only wanting one boat at a time using the port. Carnival is switching out the Ecstasy for the Sunshine in 2019. Embarkation was speedy, I made it through security and over to the check-in counter with ease. I was on the gangway within 10 minutes.Get there by 11 and you can get on the boat. They give you a special time on your boarding pass but it didn't seem to matter. Once on the boat the party was revving up on the Lido Deck. Guy's Burger Joint was ready as was the Blue Iguana Cantina and the lunch buffet. The pizza place at the very back of the Lido Deck was great, the Caesar salad was a HUGE hit. If you have the bubbles package (sodas, not alcohol) you need to pay SC tax while in port. Also, the bubbles/alcohol packages cannot be used on the private island or on room service. We were allowed to our cabins promptly at 1:30 and many bags were already there. We loved our room, small TV (not a ton of channels, not good if you are seasick or stuck in your room, thankfully we weren't). Bathroom was tiny but that's to be expected. Water pressure was not good, fuse blew when too many people were drying their hair and some cabin bathrooms had a slight odor but essential oils took care of that issue. We mustered around 3:30. This was a typical muster, we listened to the rules, walked up to where our lifeboat was and that was it. We didn't need to bring our vests. We sailed away and toured around the ship. It's a smaller ship, maybe 2000 people on board but, unless you walked the length of the boat on our deck (Deck 5 Main) we had to weasel in and out of rooms (mostly the casino on Deck 9) which was filled with cigarette smoke. There was awesome nightly entertainment near the China Town bar but the smoke kept us away. Piano Bar was fun, comedy was great, shows were great, the Love and Marriage show is always a winner and we were even able to watch the Super Bowl in the two lounges as well as the Lido Deck. The Alchemy Bar was awesome, martini tastings were a big hit and there were wonderful areas at the bar and in it's vicinity to sit and enjoy your drink. We had the late seating for dining and we LOVED it. Our server, Lucy, knew our names almost immediately, catered to the specialty dishes some of our party needed and was a delight over the entire trip. Support staff in the dining room was wonderful as well. The food was quite tasty overall, I have to admit, I was very pleasantly surprised (just ask the 8 pounds I brought home with me hahaha) Day 2 was all day at sea, the boat is older so we felt LOTS of rocking. Some didn't like that and had some sea sickness. Thankfully I didn't and found the rocking to be soothing and relaxing. Sea Day Brunch was another pleasant surprise- get the steak and eggs. The steak was tender and seasoned well. Omelets were good too I heard but on both sea days, during the brunch I got steak and eggs. The private island, Princess Cay, was great, the water was chilly and it was windy but we found a great pavilion with plenty of seats both in and out of the shade. The island lunch was okay, burgers with accouterments. Some of us headed back to the boat (you have to take a tender to and from the main ship) and before boarding you need to go through security so plan accordingly. I heard that as the time to board got closer, the lines were long, the sun was hot and if you wanted shade there were limited seats on the bottom of the tender. The next day we got to Nassau and opted to go to the Nassau Hilton, its right next door to Senor Frogs. $79 got you a day pass that included a $40 food/beverage credit to use, access to their private beach, pool, chairs, umbrellas etc. It was worth every penny. It was clean, quiet, not crowded at all. I would go there again in a heartbeat. The food was pricey, a burger was $19.75- so your credit doesn't go too far. Beachy adult beverages averaged around $10 as did a shot. Yup. A shot was $10. Note that there is a tax added to the food and drinks but gratuity is already included. On our way back, our second sea day, it was chilly- windy and somewhat cloudy so time on deck was limited. We had fun sleeping in, going to the sea day brunch, playing BINGO and taking naps. For our final dinner we headed back to the dining room (we went every night, the choices were great, rarely was there an issue choosing something yummy) and followed it up with the comedy club and show. The morning of debarkation was loud as I said above, the boat is old but don't let it deceive you, it was a really fun time. Plenty of places to relax, unwind and enjoy yourself. It's not a mega ship, it has few modern features but the size of it can be a good thing. The private beach day wasn't crowded, the deck always had seats available, getting on and off the boat happened with minimal wait time. We made our way back to the security building, grabbed our luggage (we left it outside our doors by 11pm the night before, you could carry it if you wanted to) and made it through customs quickly. I grabbed a taxi to the airport but others in my party waited in line for a shuttle to get them to the parking deck. If you are looking for a fun getaway, this is great for those on the east coast who don't want to go to the major ports. I may need to return when they put the Sunshine on rotation. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2017
The first day I found a pair of underwear on the floor and dirty bathroom! The person who had cleaned the room said he was sorry but carnival didn't give them enough time to clean properly between cruises.We could hear gurgling coming ... Read More
The first day I found a pair of underwear on the floor and dirty bathroom! The person who had cleaned the room said he was sorry but carnival didn't give them enough time to clean properly between cruises.We could hear gurgling coming from the shower,then the smell would be unbearable! Complained but said they didn't have another room. They gave me a thirty dollar credit,which was an insult ,considering I had to walk around the ship for hours,waiting on them to try to get the smell out! My roommate had family staying a couple rooms down from us and their room flooded! They had to move them to a room that looked like a closet! You also could walk down the hall and the floor had bowed up places and sometimes felt like you were stepping in a hole. The staff was considerate and nice. The shows were not as good as I have seen before. They also did not have enough things going on for different age groups. Would never want to cruise on this ship again! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
While this cruise/ship is not the most elegant, it certainly is a lot of value. Our cabin was quite adequate (an inside cabin) as we spend very little time in it. The food was quite good, especially in the dining room, ... Read More
While this cruise/ship is not the most elegant, it certainly is a lot of value. Our cabin was quite adequate (an inside cabin) as we spend very little time in it. The food was quite good, especially in the dining room, but it is not quite as good as on previous Carnival cruises. We found the staff to be excellent. They were quick, competent, and remarkably friendly. The entertainment is quite good in the main show room, the comedy club, and throughout the ship. The ports of call (Nassau and Freeport) are a couple of our favorites. The convenience for us (we live in the Charleston, SC area) is especially good, and the staff at the terminal is remarkable. They got us on board quickly and put us in a great mood right from the beginning. What more could you ask for? My wife and I will definitely be going on a lot more cruises on the Ecstasy. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
I don't even know where to begin. First let me start by saying, typically we only cruise on royal caribbean (one of the most amazing cruise lines) but we decided to give carnival a shot. I can say 100% they blew there shot 110%. Very ... Read More
I don't even know where to begin. First let me start by saying, typically we only cruise on royal caribbean (one of the most amazing cruise lines) but we decided to give carnival a shot. I can say 100% they blew there shot 110%. Very outdated. Disgustingly horrific customer service. Every staff member on board was rude and and absolutely no knowledge of anything we asked and barely spoke good english. There was food in the hallways from room service and it took them at least 1 day and a half to remove it. We had bugs, mold & mildew in our shower. I myself can understand a mistake or 2 but once we discovered dirty/used gloves on our bed from the state room attendant cleaning toilets showers and anything else that was the end of our belief in ever cruising with carnival again. Then the next day we discovered the state room attendant broke my wife $300.00 sunglasses. Their excuses was "we provide safes in each room, you guys should have used it". So i guess we aren't allowed to set our personal belongings down anywhere safely on carnival cruise lines. The on our last night we discovered what looked to be either old dried up blood or poop on our sheets. So basically the bottom line is, if your looking for cruises to attend, trust me when i tell you to stay far far away from carnival. If you have never cruised before you may not know the difference between good and bad cruise line service. So you need to take other peoples word for it in order to avoid making the mistake. It may seem like they have better prices than other cruise lines but with carnival your going to get much less than you bargain for. Look into royal caribbean cruise and you will be much happier with the results of your vacation. Carnival has absolutely not one single benefit on royal caribbean. Even a man had a heart attack and past away while cruising and it took medical response a very long time to show up. I know because my mother was the one performing cpr on the guy before they showed up. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
This was my first cruise and I was terrified about the trip, I have read the other reviews and I didn't experience anything other than fun and entertainment. Maybe they picked the wrong time of year to cruise. I'm a very picky ... Read More
This was my first cruise and I was terrified about the trip, I have read the other reviews and I didn't experience anything other than fun and entertainment. Maybe they picked the wrong time of year to cruise. I'm a very picky woman somewhat hard to please and I get upset easily about things that's not up to my standards. I can smell foul odors a mile away, I don't like filth and I don't do dirt. So my experience on the Ecstasy was very delightful and fun the bed was comfortable four of us, and we all are plus women shared a cabin and me and my friend had more than enough space for our clothes and shoes (we like to dress) it was clean and odor less, the food was tasty well prepared and the dishes and utensils was clean me and my kids always ask for hot water to sterilized the utensils I didn't see a need for a cup of hot water on the ship, it was lit through out the ship. As for kids , no I wouldn't recommend it if you don't want your kids to hear profanity or see half dressed women, my baby is 24 yrs old so it wouldn't bother me and as one reviewer said Disney would be better for kids but you must remember anywhere there's alcohol and adults it will be somethings that conservative people will have a problem with. Also everybody is different , different cultures, life styles and so much more. So my advice to you guys that had a bad experience OH WEll, you get what you pay for and remember things don't always go as planned. Now for as Bahamas the tour; if I wanted to see the ghetto and poor neighborhoods I would have drove the streets of some spots in Miami. I was very satisfied with the cruise ship , its décor, entertainment, food, cabins, cleanliness, and its staff. The karaoke was the only thing I wasn't satisfied with they need more songs, artist, updated music and system. And I enjoyed the show that was put on for the kids. The gym was nice and equipped, modern day and the Spa was on Point! The teaching sessions was good towel animals and facials, plus bingo was awesome. As I stated I was overwhelmed and all my fears erased after reaching my destination and embarkation safe and sound!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
I like to give detailed reviews on my cruises because the more detailed it is the more helpful I think it would be for other cruisers: We went to the C. Ecstasy from Oct. 30th - Nov. 2nd/2015. FOOD: The food on the main dinning room, ... Read More
I like to give detailed reviews on my cruises because the more detailed it is the more helpful I think it would be for other cruisers: We went to the C. Ecstasy from Oct. 30th - Nov. 2nd/2015. FOOD: The food on the main dinning room, as always, was outstanding, the service was very slow but the food was delicious; the food on the buffet was OK, but the breakfast on the buffet was AWFUL; this is my 3rd cruise, 2nd with Carnival and the breakfast on this ship was the worst in the world, everything tasted like carton, get away from it!! The buffet during the rest of the day was very good, the ice cream machine is perfect and so was the pizza! They are both very good!! Buy the CHEERS! program, is totally worth it and there are servers anywhere so you can get your drink fast! ENTERTAINMENT: The shows on the theater were very low quality, the first night show was OK but the rest of the shows were extremely boring and you can notice that on how empty the theater was; Carnival needs to invest a little more on their entertainment; the casino was fun and so were the rest of the bars; the nightclub was so much fun! they always had good music; I didn´t like that the bars on the pool closed so early; the hairy chest contest was very fun! SHIP: We were a group of 8 people (6 new cruisers) accomodatted in 2 oceanview stateroom on deck 5. The rooms were perfect, very comfy and perfect for 4 people; it was clean and the a/c was perfect; our steward, Rachel, was very nice and she made our room once a day in the afternoon; I wish she left us some animal towels since it was the first cruise for most of the group and I wanted them to have a great impression. The ship was old but very clean and very well maintained, you can barely notice that the ship is over 20 years old. The ship is very small but there are many things to do on board. STAFF: Most of the staff was cranky and rude, I hated the bar tenders, servers on the main dinning room and the staff taking photographs, they need to improve their attitude or leave the ship; the people on the shops are very nice and funny (Jose from the liquor store and Juan from the gallery/accesories)! The director Adam is so so, nothing special. NASSAU, BAHAMAS: I was a bit dissapointed from this place, probably because our tour guide sucked, she took us to the poor areas and never let us get off the car to take photos, she was a little slow and didn´t know much about Nassau; we wasted a lot of time with her, but at the end we ended up going to JUNKALOO BEACH were we had a BLAST! You have to spent your afternoon in CRAB-N-TING, their server, ASHLEY is the best in the whole world! She is so much fun, her service was outstanding and they treated us like kings! Best time ever plus you get to put your own music, they have speakers for you using bluetooth. At night we went to a nightclub located in the ATLANTIS Hotel and we had so much fun, just be careful because the club has a cashless system and is very expensive, but the people and music are so much better than anywhere. OVERALL EXPERIENCE: I had a lot of fun with my friends, we partied a lot, met fun people and we ate a lot; the ship is old but you cant really see it, its very well maintained but still I would never go back to a small Carnival ship, I prefer by far the newer and bigger ships from Carnival; most of the people on this ship is very ugly, so have an open mind, just have fun, drink it up and laugh it off! Everything was almost perfect; I love Carnival, just a few details like the shows and the breakfast, they suck. Thank you again Carnival !! See you soon again!! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2015
While planning a girl's weekend recently, the bride picked Carnival because she had heard about the "younger" crowd and wanted to have a good time where the cruise was geared toward younger people. Apparently it was a ... Read More
While planning a girl's weekend recently, the bride picked Carnival because she had heard about the "younger" crowd and wanted to have a good time where the cruise was geared toward younger people. Apparently it was a popular weekend, because there were 9 other bachelorette and bachelor parties that weekend. We were excited to all be on the same floor, as it made sense if they thought we would have similar interests. The problem is, our cruise was booked 7+ months ago and our accommodations were massively uncomfortable and demeaning. As my other complaints with Carnival, the service was atrocious and the food was mediocre on the nights that it was not awful! I was very pleasantly surprised by the ship's appearance, as it was more updated than I would have thought it to be. I do not need much but a clean bed and bathroom when on a cruise for accommodations but that did not even offer this. We booked two rooms for 5 girl's and as 3 of us are avid cruisers, we knew that we would receive a 3rd bed in the form of a pull down/bunk etc what we did not expect to happen was have a LAWN CHAIR with the thinnest mattress possible. The end of the mattress was off the lawn chair (which they referred to as a trundle!) and I wound up sleeping in a SINGLE bed with another girl (foot to face) because we could NOT sleep on that lawn chair. It is disgusting to think that this accommodation would be adequate to anyone, so I politely asked the steward to find us another room- He told us that the other rooms with pull down beds were taken and that there were too many people on that floor with 3 or more people. That evening while hanging out with the other groups, we went in to 9 rooms booked within 4 other parties - each room contained either king beds with bunks on top, two bunks on top and one queen , etc etc Compared to our TWO SINGLE AND ONE LAWN CHAIR I would say this is an issue. If you can not accommodate people without having them sleep on a lawn chair- do not allow them to book. This type of accommodation would be something I might allow my 4 year old to sleep on, but probably not. The first night, service was fabulous in the dining room, second and third night the people were so rude they actually made one girl cry - (I forgot if it was the 2nd or 3rd night, but they were rude both nights). The "Smoking area" in the casino bar changed every hour or so based on which bartenders were there. One day I was sitting to the left of the smoking sign and bartender moved it to the other side and stated "If there are no seats you can stand behind them to smoke" - so later, I did just that but was approached by another bartender who yelled at me and told me to "put my cigarette out" if I could not find a seat in the smoking section. We were constantly waiting on bartenders to serve us and even approach us and when they did, if we ordered so much as anything more difficult than a wine, it was messed up. Luckily, we stayed in the Bahamas overnight so we had a blast spending our money offsite at Senor Frogs because quite frankly, I was not willing to give them Carnival any extra money - As far as I am concerned, being expected to sleep on the floor means I over paid them. Our steward was friendly enough, especially after a 50.00 tip between our two rooms but he still failed to fill our ice buckets and clean our room without stepping on what was expected to be a bed. (That had more foot prints on it than you could imagine because navigating the room with that on the floor was a JOKE). Disembarkation was pretty decent aside from the chaos of guests who like to act as if they are not used to be in public, which is of course, no fault of Carnival's. If I had it to do over again, I would have begged the bride to pick another cruise line, as I have traveled with 3 or 4 people in one room on NCL, Princess and RC without EVER being expected to sleep on the floor. While "fun" was had- it was a great disappointment to spend so much money and be treated like literal dirt on a shoe. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
I went on this cruise with 15 of my friends to celebrate the end of the semester. I have been on a number of cruises before while others in my group have never been on a cruise. Overall, I had a great vacation because I was with friends ... Read More
I went on this cruise with 15 of my friends to celebrate the end of the semester. I have been on a number of cruises before while others in my group have never been on a cruise. Overall, I had a great vacation because I was with friends (and the price was nothing to complain about). Here's a little breakdown of the cruise: Faster to the Fun - the best thing I ever did. I was on board the ship at 11:30am. Embarkation went very smoothly and our room was ready. I was sitting down and having lunch on the lido deck by noon with no lines and lots of tables available (this wasn't the case later in the day when the rest of my group got on board around 1pm). Food. Food was really great. The dining room was fantastic - both food and service! Every night there would be multiple entrees I would want to try! Our orders always came quickly and were the right temperature. If we ever didn't like something (which was rare) our server was always happy to get us something else very quickly and always wanted to make sure that we were happy. Also, in regards to food - go to the dining room for breakfast. It is much more relaxing than the lido deck and room service breakfast was not as great. Even go to the dining room on disembarkation day - it's the best thing to do and you do have the time to do it! Cabin. We had an interior cabin. What I thought was odd was that instead of having a drop-down bunk for our third person, a trundle bed was brought in. This took up a lot of space (that we really didn't have to begin with) and the trundle bed was always out during the day, whereas the cabins that did have bunks were put away during the day. Also, there was no hair dryer. I had to ask multiple times for one before finally getting one to the cabin. Seemed rather odd that the cabin did not come with a hair dryer automatically. And the doors did not automatically close/lock to the cabin. This to me is a fire and safety hazard. Activities. Nothing lasted more than 30 minutes. Even the shows were 30, 40 minutes tops. It seemed that we were always being shuffled off to another acitivity. I also felt that there wasn't a great variety of activities for everyone. It seemed that they were trying to sell you something or get you to buy booze at events. Normally when I go on cruises, there are multiple events that I want to go to throughout the day. On this cruise, I would look at the schedule and not really see anything that interested me. The ship overall. It is an older ship that has been refurbished. I've been on similarly sized ships before and loved it. I felt that the Ecstasy did not have as many places to go and relax throughout the day besides the lido deck, serenity, and the numerous bars. On other ships, I've enjoyed relaxing in the library, various lounges, and on the promenade deck. On the Ecstasy, there was no true promenade deck. I always liked to take walks around the promenade deck or relax on a lounge chair there with a good book and watch the world go by. The only deck that was similar to a promenade deck was the lido deck, but it did not wrap around the ship entirely (so you couldn't do a lap) and as you got closer to the buffet, tables were set up for people to eat. There was a jogging track, but it was not covered and it wrapped around the mini-golf course (always was kind of worried about slipping on a rouge golf ball). The showroom aka The Blue Sapphire was okay. There were not many seats in the theater with good views unless you were in orchestra and in the front. Otherwise you either had to deal with an overhang from the mezzanine or a pillar. The seats in the mezzanine were not true stadium tiered seats so it was sometimes a little hard to see over someone's head (and I'm 5'8"). One thing that I did like was the various photo stations with the professional photographers. My friends and I got some great photos of us on the ship and there were so many different backgrounds to choose from. Just a tip for first time cruisers - if you don't like your photos, please put them in the recycling bins nearby - it helps clear up space for when more photos are put out as the cruise continues. By the end of the cruise, the photo staff had to set up tables with piles of photos because there was not enough space in the regular display areas on the walls. Ports. We stopped in Freeport, Nassau, and Little Stirrup Cay. I've been to all three ports before. There's nothing really exciting about any of them. In Freeport, the port has free wifi so there's that. Some of my friends took a taxi to a beach in Freeport and had fun. I chose to stay on board and enjoyed the pool while everyone else was away (it was nice and quiet). I didn't do much in Nassau either. A safety warning had been recently put out recommending that all passengers take the ship's shore excursions and not to wander on your own. And since I have been to Atlantis before, I decided to enjoy the ship. While in Little Stirrup Cay I relaxed on the beach. The water was cold (which I expected for December in the Bahamas) and had the buffet that was set up on the island. The buffet was okay. In the future I would make sure to get off the boat on the first tender and then head back for lunch on board. The tender service was pretty awful. It took an hour to get back on board in the afternoon and I had left earlier because I wanted to beat the last minute rush. I didn't go on this cruise for the ports, so I wasn't as disappointed as some other folks were. For some really nice islands, I would recommend Grand Cayman or Aruba when looking at cruise iteneraries. Overall, I had a good time because I was with friends and made the most out of it. Would I cruise on Carnival again? Probably not. I've cruised on Carnival before (a long time ago and the food was awful back then, so I was pleasantly surprised to see such an improvement in that area). The price would have to be really worth it for me to go again. I've felt that I have enjoyed cruising more on other cruise lines.   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
I have sailed on most of the major cruise lines, but never on Carnival. We decided to take a family cruise and since we had people of all ages, including some young children we decided to give Carnival a try. It was inexpensive and I had ... Read More
I have sailed on most of the major cruise lines, but never on Carnival. We decided to take a family cruise and since we had people of all ages, including some young children we decided to give Carnival a try. It was inexpensive and I had heard good things about their kids program and it sailed from Port Canaveral which was only an hour and 20 minutes from home.We booked 4 rooms, three inside an a balcony. Shortly before sailing I received a call offering to up grade all of us to Grand Suites side by side for a very reasonable charge. We jumped on it and it proved some of the best money I have spent on a cruise. Embarkation was smooth, but the VIP boarding that goes along with a suite was nothing more than one overworked women in a very small office with 4 chairs. I am not sure it was any faster than standing in line, but we could keep the kids corralled. We did get to go right on board and our suite were ready. Very nice rooms, 400+ sq feet and a nice large balcony. The way I want to cruise from now on. One nice thing is there will be no more family cruises since they all want suites from now on. We went up to the buffet lunch and it was standard cruise fare. No better no worse. There were lots of hot dishes and hamburgs and hot dogs. The only bad thing was the pizza. not as good as Princess. Plenty of seating and good organization. The ship is an older ship, but is in good shape. Clean and constant maintenance in progress. Some of the quirky things you always find in older ships. The decor is 80's Las Vegas. Lots of neon. Once big pool and a waterpark, which the kids loved. Also, an adults only area at the stern with hot tubs and no pool. Was very popular. Seemed to be plenty of deck chairs and it was not a problem finding a place to sit or lay out. But I do not think the ship was full. One of the kids counselors said their numbers were down on our cruise. The service in all areas was very good. Room service was on time, cabin steward did an excellent job and the wait staff in the dining was really good. The kids really enjoyed Joseph, the supercharged maitre de who put on a little show every night. The only surprise and short coming I found was the entertainment. The shows were very good, but there were only two. Otherwise, lost of games and talent show type of entertainment. Never did find a place to listen to music and dance before or after dinner. Ports were Nassau, Freeport and private island. Nassau is Nassau and I could have stayed on the ship. The private island was great and we enjoyed Freeport. Freeport is much more laid back than Nassau Just took a can shopping and to the beach. Our younger kids loved the kids program and it gave the parents time to enjoy the ship without kids. Disembarkation was smooth and we were out of the port by 9:45am. Considering what we paid for this cruise, I took 11 people for 5 days for what it would have cost for 4 for 4 days on Disney, it was a great bargain. Everyone enjoyed themselves and the food was very good in the dining room and OK everywhere else. What more can you ask on a short cruise. I would cruise Carnval again. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2013
This was my second cruise with Carnival since the last one in 2001 was less than memorable. The price was right for our group of 10 so we booked hoping for the best...and we got it! The room (interior with fake window) was roomy with ... Read More
This was my second cruise with Carnival since the last one in 2001 was less than memorable. The price was right for our group of 10 so we booked hoping for the best...and we got it! The room (interior with fake window) was roomy with lots of closet space and robes. NO HAIRDRYER BUT that was expected due to CC reviews.Our room steward "K" made great towel animals and always had our ice bucket full. The ship is small but that makes it easy to get around, elevators are very fast. Friends did the Chef's Table ($85) but it was a wonderful experience. Wines, great food and a magician! Our dining room staff: SUPARTA, ICETUT EDI AND WINAYA, table 390 late dining, were very good, attentive and helpful with meal suggestions. Cruise dir. Matt very entertaining esp. at 50's Rock and Roll. Only complaint-needs a better location. Was to one side of walkway in front of Metro bar. Bar had signs "no Smoking" but ventilation is poor and smoke drifted out. In fact I was surprised there was so many smoking areas- but they really need better ventilation. Freeport: private shuttle ($10 roundtrip up front) was reluctant to return without a full load so one couple barely made it back. Key West free shuttle to city where we paid $21 for City View Tour (very good guide and can hop on hop off) can get an even better ticket price on line. The future cruise talk was informative but later to sign up, had to wait in walkway, no chairs, no appt.-needs better location. Would have booked another Carnival cruise at the time but I am not wasting vacation time in line. Overall a pleasant cruise and good winter get away. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
Overall, we had a great time on this ship and once again, I am impressed with Carnival's ability to offer a fantastic time at a ridiculously low price. While I can see what the negative reviews are getting at, you have to be ... Read More
Overall, we had a great time on this ship and once again, I am impressed with Carnival's ability to offer a fantastic time at a ridiculously low price. While I can see what the negative reviews are getting at, you have to be realistic about what you have signed on for before you book - This is a short, budget Carnival Cruise with most rooms costing well below $100 per person each night, including all your food and entertainment, so you should frankly expect something less than the Four Seasons. And you should expect that a lot of your fellow passengers are the type who go for lots of food, tend to be a little cheap about things like tipping and alcohol prices, and who don't understand the concept of "formal night" (or even "appropriate indoor attire"). I think if you sail on the SS Ecstasy with those thoughts in mind, you will have a great time. Embarkation: We went for a last minute upgrade to a grand suite with extended balcony (which easily fit two lounge chairs, two armchairs and a few tables) and it included "VIP check in" - basically, they whisk you into a private room to sit while they check you in, print your sail and sign, etc. Otherwise, it was a 10 min or so counter wait for that. Then, you go to a second room where they hand you a ticket with a number and call you in as groups (again, we walked right pass this room with our VIP thing, so I am not sure how long these people were waiting, maybe another 10 minutes). Third room is Customs, where they take your picture and sent you on the ship. This room was pretty crowded but once again, we got to skip to the front of the line, so we were feeling pretty cool at that point. We arrived around 11:30 and were on the ship in less than 15 minutes. Once you get on the ship, expect it to take them several hours to get your luggage to you (in all my cruises, this seemed like the longest wait, but we still had our luggage by 3:30 pm). Stateroom: I purchased a bottle of champagne ahead of time, which was there, but not chilled (found that odd) and was told there was nowhere to get ice until 4 pm. I tried to call room service, but apparently the phones don't work the first day. Once we decided to let that go, we enjoyed some very warm, but very tasty champagne in our over sized balcony and had a great time. The grand suite is really big, for three women we had ample closet and shoe space, which is saying a lot. You also get a whirlpool bath and walk in closet. Here's a tip - smuggle an outlet converter or extension cord on board because there is ONE (no lie, ONE) outlet in your stateroom - I tried to correct that (I mean, how do three women blow and flatiron their hair, charge their phones, etc with ONE outlet), so that was another round of phone calls and talks with our steward with no success. I have no idea why Carnival does this, is it a safety thing? There are other outlets all over the room for lamps, etc., but they are all just the European kind and try as you may, you will not get your smartphone charger to work in one of those. Again, we managed and didn't let it ruin our fun, but I am still just amazed at that little quirk, especially considering the number of "girls weekenders" on this trip. Service: Carnival has the most amazing room stewards and this trip was no exception - our Steward Ben and his assistant ("Not Ben") very cordial and thorough. Our dinner server Mikaela was an absolute doll, she put up with some really offensive people and smiled the whole way through. With respect to the bartenders, I have to say I agree with some of the other reviews - where did all the fun bartenders on Carnival go? I have been cruising for over 15 years and I think I know why - origianlly, when you bought a drink, you added your own gratuity (and apparently, too many people stiffed the bartenders) - as time went on, they added the 15%, but you could still add more on top of that for good service. But a few years ago, they removed the write in, extra gratuity option for the bartenders, and now they make the same rate off each person, regardless of how fast (or slow) they get you that chardonnay. Under the current system, you can "prepay" tips for your wait staff and steward, but you can easily adjust that up or down - not so with the bartenders. Therefore, the bartenders just don't care. If the reason for the decline in bar service is the tip policy, the question is, why did it change? The answer - lots of these passengers don't like to tip unless they have to. These are the same people that constantly complain about how much they charge for alcohol and how strict they are about not letting you bring your own booze in - do these people think Carnival is a not for profit? They obviously aren't making their money on the room price, especially with gasoline prices, insurance and other costs, so how do you think you just got 4 nights of accommodations, four days of food and two beautiful islands, plus all that entertainment for $300? They need to make money off their alcohol and excursions, so just factor that in when you book and deal with it, or stay home. But do not come on the ship, expect all that you get for this price, and then not tip properly or gripe about drinks. (For the record, I agree that drinks are expensive, but not totally outrageous. For example, a bucket of four, 16 oz beers will set you back around $24, the drink of the day is somewhere around 9 dollars, and a martini will cost closer to 10. The disco sells these little "disco ball" drinks, you get to keep the disco ball after you down the rum punch and those suckers are $15 a piece but totally worth it. Surprisingly, wine is not a bad markup on this ship - we ordered a few bottles of Bogle Merlot, which is not an expensive wine, but tasty, and on the ship a bottle was only $26, which is possibly less than what you would pay at a restaurant). Fellow Passengers: There were not as many families as I thought there would be, several large groups of random people who knew each other, lots of girls weekenders, quite a bunch of couples (young couples, I don't think the older couples go on this ship anymore, which is a shame, I like to see a few people who wear a tuxedo or know what the maitre'D does). There were a number of people who acted like trash (picture the guy with pulled down jeans and a wife beater in the dining room, people who sent their food back (hello, people its free, just order more and don't be a B!@tch), but most of the people on the ship dressed and behaved appropriately. Ship Condition: Again, since we had a nice suite, I might be biased, but I thought the ship was in great shape (it is a constant hotel floating at sea so there will be some weathered areas, etc). I like Carnival's glitzy, cheesy themes, so I enjoyed all the neon lights and random skyscraper decor. I am always amazed at how well they clean up after all of the passengers - the restaurant is slammed throughout mealtimes, the deck is covered with people stuffing their faces and drinking, but there isn't an empty cup or plate that sits longer than 5 minutes on this ship. The gym was pretty nice, but I would have liked bottled water (which I would gladly charge to my room without complaint) or even some cups, even those small paper cone jobs. Instead, all you get is a fountain with lukewarm water. Food: I don't really cruise for the food, I like seeing the islands and being at sea. Plus I don't eat seafood or red meat, so I am probably not the best food critic, but I loved the dinners on our ship. And if you try to do the "freestyle option", you are either one of the complaining non-tippers I can't stand (described above), or you haven't really had a nice, relaxing cruise before. This is part of it, get dressed up at dinner, take your time. There is no need to rush through the open air, Golden Corral style buffet all day long - I think most of the negative comments about food come from the buffet option (which you don't have to choose - the dining room has open seating for lunch and a great selection - it was essentially empty when we were there, despite the free for all upstairs). Their vegetarian selections were great, you can get some really interesting stuff in the main dining room. Plus, the servers dance and sing. But, if you want to pile your plate to the ceiling and don't need actual ambiance and "courses" of food, then stay out of the dining room. Aside from the main options, there are 24 hour snacks in the back of the ship - pizza, ice cream and a deli (with fantastic deli sandwiches, but be prepared to wait in line awhile). I do have one big complaint - the coffee is terrible - its available 24/7, but its terrible. Its brown and smells sort of like coffee and I assume it has caffeine, but for anyone who really looks forward to their first cup of Joe, I recommend you bring along some "Via's" from Starbucks. You can also get room service 24 hours a day on the ship for free, but its pretty limited menu and it takes a long time. Once again, people, tip them properly when they arrive and maybe the rest of us won't have to wait so long next time. Ports: Nassau is an interesting island, I have done the Atlantis Excursion in the past, which costs about 100 per person for transport and admission to their pool (which is more of a water park) - not worth it, in my opinion. This time we went to Senior Frogs, which is stupid, drunken fun. Half Moon Cay - this is Carnival's private island and it is just lovely. We went on a similar one on NCL, but this one was much more lush and established (NCL had a hippo slide and a tent for the food) - there are ample bars, bathrooms, a kiddie water play area and jungle gym, plus some shops. The tender process is done very well here (you wont have to wait forever, but you will have to be patient when disembarking). Overall, if you don't have a lot of money to spend, this ship will fit all your needs, just treat her and her staff right. If you want top quality, cruise one of Carnival's newer ships or try another line. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
So, a group of about 13 of us went on the Carnival Ecstasy in last December. We left Port Canaveral, went to Nassua, then Half Moon Cay, then back to Port Canaveral. Most of us were cruise virgins, though a few had gone before. My ... Read More
So, a group of about 13 of us went on the Carnival Ecstasy in last December. We left Port Canaveral, went to Nassua, then Half Moon Cay, then back to Port Canaveral. Most of us were cruise virgins, though a few had gone before. My fiance and I were new to this. The first thing I should say, something that kind of tainted the whole voyage, is that the food was _horrible_. This is the danger of "all-inclusive," I suppose...the tell you food is included, but they don't say what they actually consider food. It was basically college dining hall food, only not as good: made en masse, with the poorest possible ingredients, without much care as to its quality. Worse yet, it's served in a pretty dining room (with an ocean view, obviously!), so how bad it is is especially shocking. Case in point: we got served cold lasagna at one point. And I don't just mean cold, I mean "had little pieces of ice on it." I and a friend sent it back, and amazingly, the replacement piece was _also_ cold. The waiter tried to explain that, well, you see, it _was_ warm, but then they topped it with a mayo-based sauce, and that made it cold. No, I'm sorry. I have yet to meet the mayo that spontaneously freezes lasagna. Anyway, that was the tenor of all our meals: barely edible microwave dinners. It honestly became a game of figuring out which food items would be the hardest to screw up and then praying you were right in your estimation. Even when we had the day ashore on Half Moon Cay, the "barbecue" food they served was clearly transported from the ship, and it was similarly awful. As for the rest of the cruise? Meh. I was kind of appalled at the rather outrageous rates they charge for everything from airport transfer to any of the shore expeditions. They want something like $50/person for airport transfer; we booked our own transfer through Travelynx for about $12/person. We were very happy with Travelynx, incidentally, and highly recommend them. It's not so much that I object to having to pay for "extras" as it is rather a "budget" cruise line; it's that they seem to be vastly overcharging for such services. Our room: Our room, U148, was unremarkable but fine. The bed was comfortable enough, the bathroom worked. The tv was grainy so we didn't use it. Our biggest complaint was that the window had a briney coating on it that made it hard to see out of. Could they really not have cleaned the windows before we left? The ports: Nassau turns out to be a sad little place. There's a market full of overpriced touristy mementos right next to the cruise terminal, and then the town beyond it is kind of dead and dilapidated. Some friends knew enough to take a cab out to one of the pay-for-access hotel beaches, which is probably the way to go if you want to venture away from the ship. Half Moon Cay is a private island owned by the cruise company. It's a little depressing how pre-packaged everything is; basically it's a little beach that they dump all the passengers onto at once (and then they try to get you to pay too much for extras like beach toys and waterski tours and such). I will give them that the water is very clear, and nice, and beautiful, and the island and beach are at least kept clean. All that said, we _did_ have a good time. It's fun to be out in the middle of the ocean, and it is a little adventure. But we mostly had fun because of the friends that came with us, not because of the cruise itself. Part of the problem, admittedly, was that we probably aren't the right demographic: we don't drink much, and we're introverts, so the "floating Vegas" vibe was kind of wasted on us. All in all, we don't regret going, but we wouldn't go again. If the food hadn't been so horrible, it would have probably seemed much nicer. Read Less
Carnival Ecstasy Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 3.5 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 3.5 0.0
Family 3.5 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.5 0.0
Enrichment 2.5 0.0
Service 4.5 0.0
Value For Money 5.0 0.0
Rates N/A 0.0

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