8 Carnival Ecstasy Holiday Cruise Reviews

The Ecstasy is an older ship, even though it had a recent upgrade with painting and carpeting changes. But it is old. Nothing in the cabin lavatory works correctly. toilet does not clear everything, Sink lights are burnt out. No glassware. ... Read More
The Ecstasy is an older ship, even though it had a recent upgrade with painting and carpeting changes. But it is old. Nothing in the cabin lavatory works correctly. toilet does not clear everything, Sink lights are burnt out. No glassware. Hardly any storage space. Sink stopper when activated, will not release. Don't turn shower up to 50 degrees, you will not be able to turn it back to a normal temperature. Other then these inconveniences the room was ok. A bit small. No refrig. No ice bucket. Did have a safe. Little storage space. But comfortable. Some sound from thrusters when docking. Occasional wave sounds hitting the sides. 2 Portholes give good light and vision. I don't know if it was the Xmas holiday, or if it was normal, but the main entertainment was pretty poor. Singing and dancing was not good (maybe these were holiday substitutes). And the shows were inconveniently schedules between the main dining seating times. Other on board entertainment was good, lots of variety for everyone, and the adult comedy shows seemed to be the best attended. Food in general was just OK. Breakfast: bacon was as thin and greasy as can be. Take the ham instead. Eggs were good. Stay away from any potatoes. Pastries must have been purchased a week ago. Everything else was so-so. Ice Cream was a big breakfast hit for the kids. Main dining dinners had limited selections, and the meats had little taste. Nothing to write home about. Deserts were not spectacular and had little taste. Lunch: fresh deli sandwich were always great, as well as the 24hr. Pizza. Lunch Cuisine varied daily French, American, Asian, etc. but had little variety. Hamburgers and Hot Dogs and Chicken Strips were always popular by the pool. Key West was ... Key West. It has not changed much. Just enough time in port to get off, do some shopping, walk around the old town and to Hemingway's House, then time to get back on the ship and depart. Cozumel was a long stay, but docket after noon. Little time to take a long tour to the ruins as sundown was just a few hours away, so had to stay close. Walked and shopped around town, and spent some time at Senor Frogs for some good food and a big drink. Ship was unable to leave the dock. It tried for about 5 minutes, but the winds were too strong and kept us at the dock. Three hours later, with all propellers and thrusters at peak, we were able to back out of the port, and kept going backwards for quite sometime, until we were able to turn around without drifting into something !! 50 mph head winds kept the waves hitting the sides, and the ship rocking and rolling slightly. As it was past midnight when we left, it was very nice sleeping. As it was Xmas, there was lots of caroling in the main lobby, Songbooks were passed out, and everyone participated. Very well done. All in all, a memorable trip.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
My wife and I took the Thanksgiving 4 day Bahamas cruise to Freeport and Nassau from Port Canaveral. Wife rides a scooter due to medical reasons. We arrived at the port around 2pm. A side note here: For all who have a scooter lift on ... Read More
My wife and I took the Thanksgiving 4 day Bahamas cruise to Freeport and Nassau from Port Canaveral. Wife rides a scooter due to medical reasons. We arrived at the port around 2pm. A side note here: For all who have a scooter lift on their vehicle, parking is FREE. It is the same at Ft. Lauderdale port as well, but easier at Port Carnival as they do not have to get a manager to come sign off on it. I think all ports in Florida allow free parking if you have a scooter lift. To be sure, check online what your port will do for it. I stress it is only for vehicles carrying a lift, and not just a disable decal hanging from your mirror. On this trip, it saved me $75 I think. I pulled up to the baggage drop off area. Very organized and quick I must say. Had a porter at my car as I pulled up. He pulled the bags out of the car. Since I already had the bags tagged due to printing them the night before, it was a breeze. I dropped my wife off with her scooter then went and parked. The regular parking garage was full at 2pm so I got put into the, what I call, the south 40 area (the other side of the exit booth for the parking). This is the 2nd time in a row I had to park there due to the time I arrived. No big deal though. Gave me a little time to walk and smoke a cig before I met back up with my wife. She had already breezed thru security/x-ray and was waiting by the elevator to the sign in area. I got thru security PDQ then met up with my wife by the elevator. Lines were not moving quickly at both security/x-ray and to get your sail & sign card. Must have been at least 100 people waiting to get checked in. Since my bride of 29 years uses a scooter to go long distances, we breezed thru both lines as they give the disabled VIP treatment plus we did a on-line check in months before the cruise so all we had to do was show our passport and we were issued our cards. After checking in, we were informed where the elevator was, and we were both on the ship within 5 min of leaving the check in counter. Cabin was M230 (main deck (deck 5) aft, port side balcony). Room was ready. We met our steward (Richard) who knew my name. He was very professional and nice. Did not miss a beat in his duties. I asked for bucket of ice to always be in the cabin, and it was. He changed it out twice a day. I had a issue with the TV in the room . He got AV department on it and they changed out the TV. Balcony was plenty big for the 2 of us. We used it a lot. Me more then her as that is where I did my relaxing and smoking from. Cabin wise, it was too small for my wife's liking. Her last 3 cabins have been either suites or disable rooms (she got spoiled). This cabin did not have a couch in it, which I truly missed. It did have 1 cushion chair with a back plus an ottoman. But I knew this months before and though I would adjust. I did, but was not truly comfortable watching TV (we spend a lot of time in the cabin). The bathroom did not have a table or good place to put the bag containing tooth brushes, etc. All that was available was a corner of the sink, but it worked. Common areas were always clean. Staff was friendly. Production shows were far and few between. They had the Brit Show and the Motor City show I think were the names. We attended both. I enjoyed them both. They have a coffee shop with some small sweet items as well for sale. I found the prices to be compatible with Starbuck, or even a little better in price. The MDR food was good. Always hot or cold as needed. I found the taste on all that I ate to be real good. The waiters (3 assigned to our table at one time) were top notch and always kept my tea glass full. They did not look like a chicken with their heads cut off in a daze. I think 3 to a table is working. We had 3 on our last 2 cruises and it looks like it is working just fine. Weather was not the best. Was a bit chilly for this Floridian on most days so I stayed away from the pool as it looked like most did (am sure that hurt the bottom line in alcohol sales). There was a meet up of Cruise Critic members for a slot pull that was arranged from the roll call page on here. There were 11-12 people that showed up. We contributed $20 each at 1 slot machine, each putting $20 bill all one after another before the 1st pull then did a set number of pulls (I forgot but it was like 12 pulls each I think) for the max money amount allowed for each pull.. After all pulled, it turned out we each lost $5 bucks (was not a good machine!!! LOL). Then we all went our separate ways....I must thank a women who I met who helped me out. THANK YOU. I never did get her name. I pulled my money from the cabin safe, but left it on safe by accident. She fronted me the $20 needed, as cards would not be used. After we were done, I went back up to the cabin and found the $20 sitting just where I left it. I brought it back and gave it to her, and all was good. We did not do any excursions (most were water related and it was too cold for my liking). Only walked off the ship to walk around the pier area and surrounding stores. It has been 20 years since we had been to Freeport. They have a few dozen junket shops at the pier. Location of the pier is in the industrial area. The shopping area on the island, I was told, is on the other side of the island, or a good taxi ride away. As my bride uses a scooter, it would be impossible for us, so we just lounged around the pier junket shops for an hour or so, then came back to the ship. Nassau was Nassau. I got to see their Navy ship tied at the pier again. I think they are close to derusting it and maybe take it out once in awhile....LOL We again just went around the pier area stores. My bride was looking for a certain type of dress and found it. She was a happy camper.... I used internet connection in Nassau from a Nassau pier area source for an hour at a cost of $10. Sat on my balcony and did my thing. Used all but 1-2 min. That is the only time I got on or cared about checking the internet Our afternoons (3 of them) were spent taking naps. Was WONDERFUL. My goal was to come on the cruise to relax. We did...:) Debarkation was a breeze. After about 1 hour from tying to the pier, they started letting zones off. We spent the waiting time at the buffet breakfast area enjoying our last ship's breakfast. All the other breakfasts were at the dining room midships where we were served and did not have to stand in line with plates for our food. I found my luggage easy enough. Got in VIP line, due to wife scooter use again, for Customs, and was outside walking to my car within 10 minutes. I had 2 bags so we just strolled to the car vice having me deal with traffic at the baggage pickup area. Then we just pulled out and away we went. Overall, the cruise met my desire of relaxation. Ship was clean. Staff was great. Food was good. I am sure there is some hit and misses with some cruises. this one was a HIT!!!! .   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
The boarding process in Port Canaveral was the smoothest of any cruise we have been on. We checked most of our luggage with the porters & carried on the rest of our bags. Our room (E51) was ready promptly at 1:15 as promised. My ... Read More
The boarding process in Port Canaveral was the smoothest of any cruise we have been on. We checked most of our luggage with the porters & carried on the rest of our bags. Our room (E51) was ready promptly at 1:15 as promised. My children(ages 8 & 12) were very excited to have a cabin with a window. Our room & the rest of the ship was immaculate. I had read some reviews saying how old & run down the ship was. The bright color changing walls in the atrium didn't bother us in the least. It is truly a fun ship! We did the anytime dining & were fine with having to wait a few minutes before being seated. We met some friends & wanted to dine with them on ew Year's Eve & after some very persuasive begging, they were able to seat our friend with us even though they had the early dining in another dining room. The fun energy on the Lido deck leading up to the countdow of 2011 was phenomenal! We will definitely do another NYE cruise. Food was great. Lines to the MongolianWok were always longer than any other, but didn't bother us at all.:) Half Moon Cay was our second stop. It was by far, the best ever excursion we have ever experienced! We rented the cabana(#11) & loved everything about it. My husband who is fair skinned much appreciated the shade with fans, not to mention the snacks & drinks that came with the cabana rental. Having our snorkel gear & swim mats all ready for us, was a big plus! This was well worth the money. We stayed the entire day & were on the very last ferry back to the boat. Staff very friendly & helpful. There are only 15 or so cabanas, so book early. Great thing was the seclusion from the other thousands of guests. :)) Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We live in Central Florida so it was an easy drive to Port Canaveral. I am 68 and my husband is 69 years old but we are young at heart. Embarkation was very smooth. No waiting line and top notch staffing to answer any questions we ... Read More
We live in Central Florida so it was an easy drive to Port Canaveral. I am 68 and my husband is 69 years old but we are young at heart. Embarkation was very smooth. No waiting line and top notch staffing to answer any questions we had. This is our 3rd cruise aboard the Carnival Ecstasy - 1992, 1997 and now 2011. We were very pleased at the cleanliness of the ship - very well maintained, in our opinion. Our stateroom had a balcony which was very nice. Our cabin steward (U201) was exceptional. One of the first ships we have cruised where the cabin steward actually cleaned the balcony every day - like new! The cruise director was very personable and had an amazing talent of playing the fiddle. The country show they presented was super thanks in a large part to the cruise director fiddle-playing. We normally do not eat in the formal dining room. We frequent the Lido Deck and the buffet they offer each day. We did not go on any excursions but we know the water activities are exceptional. The country show was the best of the shows on this cruise. There was a good variety in the show which made it enjoyable. We no longer get off ships when going to Nassau since we have been there so many times. Freeport was very nice and clean. Enjoyed the casino at Port Lucaya in Freeport. The four night cruise was just fine for a get-a-way! The waters are beautiful and the water excursions are top notch. Disembarkation: This was the first time we disembarked with self-assist. Being the first one off is not necessarily the best way to get off a ship. We were winded by the time we got out of the terminal and reached our car. We are just too old to try that again. We honestly couldn't find anything to complain about - very nice experience. The entire staff should be commended for their efforts! Great time! Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
The cast of characters for this Christmas cruise was me, Cindy, age 50, and my husband Jim, also 50. That's it...no kids, no pets, no extended family, or at least not on this cruise. The only thing of interest we brought with us was a ... Read More
The cast of characters for this Christmas cruise was me, Cindy, age 50, and my husband Jim, also 50. That's it...no kids, no pets, no extended family, or at least not on this cruise. The only thing of interest we brought with us was a couple bottles of good wine. This was our 13th cruise and our third on Carnival, but we've also cruised with Princess and Royal Caribbean, and we haven't met a ship we didn't like. Most of our cruises have been out of Galveston because the lure of a cruise homeport only an hour from our house is something I've yet to be able to resist. Obviously, at least at this point in our lives, we cruise more for the ship than variety in our ports! We decided to go down to Galveston and stay at the Harbor House the night before our cruise, so we could watch the ships sail and soak in some Christmas spirit walking around the Strand. We were successful in watching the ships sail, although Voyager didn't leave until about 6:15...she sailed by Willie G's while we were at dinner. The Strand was kind of a bust...not nearly as decorative as we thought it would be, and it was COLD! We went to Willie G's for dinner with some trepidation, because we both thought the Landry's restaurants had declined a lot in quality in recent years. I had thought about trying Olympia Grill, but discovering $50 in Landry's gift cards buried in the pantry pretty much took care of the decision where to eat. Much to our surprise, dinner was excellent! We were both pretty beat, so after dinner we watched football for a while and called it a night early. On sailing day, I forced myself to stay in bed until 6:30, when the need for coffee got me up. I grabbed my cameras and my coffee and headed down to the patio for my first sight of the Ecstasy. After a few minutes I was joined by another early riser. We exchanged pleasantries, and then she looked at me and asked if I was Cindy! I guess even though the Roll Call for this cruise never really got going, somebody read the thing! The ship came in right on time, which meant it was time to get ready so I could be one of the first people to board...after all, once I'm on the ship I'm officially on vacation! We walked our suitcases over and dropped them off about 10:30, then went back to the hotel for our carry-ons and to check out. I was a little nervous about the bill at the Harbor House, because we had pre-paid, and when we checked in they didn't seem to know anything about it! Luckily I'm extremely obsessive, so of course I had brought a copy of my credit card statement showing the charge. As it ended up, they didn't even charge us for parking, so we got a room at the Harbor House and parking for the cruise for only $99. I thought that was a pretty good deal! We got back to the terminal to check-in at 11:15. The only delay we had was at the first station where they check your boarding pass and ID...that was a little backed up. Going through security we did end up being happy we weren't smuggling. For the first time ever, we had to open and empty a carry-on! As the bag was passing through the scanner I heard, "Red bag has bottles!" Sure enough, they wanted to check our wine to make sure it was really wine. Of course, the wine was in a padded carrier at...you guessed it...the very bottom of the bag! Interestingly, we later heard from a couple at our dinner table that they got called to the naughty room...for soda and water. I don't know if they were checking more closely on this cruise because of the holiday sailing, or if they're just cracking down more. On our other two Carnival cruises we have taken some "extra" wine, and haven't had a problem. Once we proved we're good, honest, rule following cruisers, we were on the ship in no time. From VIP check-in we walked down to be seated, but the agent looked at us and told us to just keep on walking until we were aboard! We bypassed the boarding picture and voila! We were on an almost completely deserted ship at 11:45. It took a little while to get our bearings/figure out the lay of the land, because the Ecstasy is laid out completely differently than any ship we've been on. Lunch was Rotisserie for both of us, and we grabbed a nice table outside by the pool and watched people board. It's always fun to watch the newbies...they're overwhelmed and excited and lost all at the same time. Since we couldn't get in our cabin until 1:30 I explored a bit. I did find our dining room and discovered we're assigned to a wonderful round table for 10 very close to the entrance and next to the Captain's Table. The rest of the afternoon was spent settling in...the bags came early, and I had us completely unpacked by 3:00. We met our steward, Ovie (from Romania), and engaged in our favorite sailing day pastime...watching the ship get loaded. It still amazes me to see the amount of "stuff" that gets brought onboard for consumption. Muster drill was at 3:40. We met in the City Lights, and I thought it was going to be a piece of cake until I realized they still needed to lead all the people outside to show them the location of their lifeboats. Unfortunately, as we were sitting there I sensed something different. Sure enough, we were moving. No waving at the people on the Harbor House patio today...we were at muster for sailaway. For us it was an annoyance and a minor disappointment, but it would have been a real let down if this was our first cruise. Later - Day 1 - I'm not sure what it is, but everything just seems a little discombobulated to me tonight. Is it that I need to go up when my mind thinks I should go down? Is it the wine and drink coupons I pre-ordered that didn't get delivered? I'm puzzled about the wine...the whole wine (non)delivery thing seems odd to me. Guest Services is claiming wine can't be delivered until tomorrow because of Texas law, but has the law changed since March, or is it different for the Conquest? Maybe it's just adjusting to a new ship - one with TONS of first time cruisers aboard. It seems crowded to me...there are 2,700 folks aboard, and at least tonight, most of them seem to be lost in the stairwells and elevator lobbies. Then the places you would expect to be crowded are relatively empty. Welcome aboard show? We walked in at 6:40 and had our choice of seats. Dinner? There were only 6 of us at a table for ten. One place that is VERY crowded is the balcony next door...it sounds like there are 15 people staying in that cabin. Thankfully they appear to be "early to bed" types. Dinner was good, but not great. Our servers were Charlie (short for something very long) and John. Jim and I both had the pork chop, and for the first time it left something to be desired. Both of our entrees were overcooked and dry. Luckily everything else was superb, and we certainly didn't walk away from the dining room hungry! We got a bottle of Paraduxx (Zin blend) and I had fried shrimp, lettuce wedge, pork chop, and WCMC, while Jim had shrimp cocktail, pork, and WCMC. After dinner we checked on our wine (out of commission until tomorrow) and the missing drink coupons. The coupons were handled tonight, while the good stuff will have to wait until Tuesday. Once business was taken care of we made our usual donations to the casino, and we were off to bed! Tuesday, December 21, 2010...early...too early...thump, thump, thump, thump, thump. What's that you ask? Grr...it's the sound of children chasing one another in the hallway about 6:15. ? Why on earth would a parent let their children out to run around at that hour? That was the end of sleep for us! Jim went and got us some hot sludge masquerading as coffee, and we decided to head up to the gym to make ourselves feel better about the food intake. We had seen something called "Body Sculpt Boot Camp" in the Fun Times, and it wasn't marked as a fee class, so we thought we'd give it a try. That is, we thought we'd give it a try until we got upstairs and discovered it was $69 per person for 2 classes. We decided to save our pennies and just worked out on the machines. It was typical first day of a cruise in the gym, with a wide variety of people, some who have never been inside a gym before and some who are crazed with the thought of missing a workout. I've noticed a real decline in the quality of the exercise program on all ships since our first two cruises on the Sea Princess and the Rhapsody...all the cruise lines seem to have figured out that they can offer specialty classes for a fee, and most of the free stuff has disappeared. After our workout we tried to track down Steve to say howdy, so we actually sat through the port talk figuring we'd be able to grab him after, but it was to no avail. As soon as Steve was done he disappeared behind the screen, so it was off to lunch and some relaxation. We discovered the Serenity Deck today. There's just something about a breeze and the wake of a ship that acts like a sleeping pill for me. We had fantastic naps on those padded loungers! It was the perfect way to spend a couple hours on a ship! That area ties with the adult aft pool area on the Grand Princess for my favorite spot on any ship. Some of my "issues" from embarkation day took care of themselves today...the wine arrived late this afternoon, and we have our Chef's Table confirmation for Thursday night. Maybe I was just too impatient! I think I figured out the running in the hall thing, too...we're on Deck 6, in the section that juts in, so the corridor on Deck 7 runs right over our cabin. The pounding feet are actually coming from above us, which explains why we kept hearing the racket this morning but there was never anybody in the hallway...they were upstairs. Before dinner we walked around at the Captain's Cocktail party for a while...we finally tracked down Steve so I could say hi. Dinner was wonderful. There were 10 at our table, and even though we were all different ages and backgrounds we pretty much shut down the dining room and had a lot of fun doing it! The food was very good, but service was a bit slow. They really do have people just packed into the dining room on this cruise...most of the tables for 10 seem like they would ordinarily be tables for eight, and our wait staff has three of the big tables plus a couple twosomes. Combine that with one person who ordered an extra course and we were one of the last tables to finish dinner. The highlight of the evening was the Extreme Country show starring Cruise Director Steve on the fiddle. He was AWESOME! I have a confession to make...I got busted in the theater, trying to sneak a picture of Steve during the show. How embarrassing! I thought I was being very discreet, and the flash was off, but I was spotted from behind! I quickly put the camera away and behaved for the rest of the evening. Once the show was over, it was straight to bed for us. No casino, no more drinks, nothing but sleep! Wednesday we arrived in Progresso right on schedule, It was a beautiful day...just picture perfect weather...warm but not hot, no humidity, not a cloud in the sky. We took a very entertaining tour to Merida called Salsa, Salsa. We first toured the old cathedral and governor's mansion, and then we went to an open-air restaurant to make three kinds of Salsa and for Salsa dance lessons! FYI, we did a pretty good job with the food part, but nobody's going to be hiring us to perform a Salsa dance for them anytime soon! The only thing I didn't like about the tour was the bus ride back took forever because of traffic. The excursion was supposed to end at 1:00, but we didn't get back to the ship until 2:00. That kind of spoiled our plan to go to the Mongolian Grill without waiting in line! We pulled out of Progresso right on time, and noticed a theme taking over. We're not "doing" much on this cruise, and that's fine with us. We decided to skip the Past-Guest party at 5:00 in favor of some quality balcony time and a quality nap! When we went to dinner, we discovered our table for ten was an almost deserted table for four...we had seen the young couple that sat with us the night before and they had opted for pizza, we figured the couple who went to Chichen-Itza was exhausted, and we didn't know about the other couple. We settled in for a perfectly nice meal with just four of us...we ordered, and were just about to be served our appetizers when everything came to a screeching halt. Yes, you guessed it...the last couple showed up about 20 minutes late for dinner. The kicker here is what the female was wearing. I'm not usually too concerned with what other folks wear on a cruise. We like to dress up a bit for dinner, but if others don't that's fine. Well, it's usually fine, but I could have lived without looking at the bra-less tank top with the sparkly design on the chest for 90 minutes! Who knows, maybe she hung it on the line in the "lingerie bar" at the port. We didn't do much of anything noteworthy after dinner, unless you count losing more money in the casino as noteworthy. We didn't really feel like going to the deck party, and there wasn't much else going on, so when we were out of money our day was over! Cozumel was another early day for us. Let me say there's just something fundamentally wrong with setting the alarm clock when you're on a cruise, but that's exactly what we did. On the bright side, I slept like a baby this trip so Jim was the one to trudge upstairs for the morning caffeine infusion. We took a Dune Buggy excursion in Cozumel which was a lot of fun but definitely hard on our rear-ends. The excursion took us to Punta Sur, where we saw a tiny Mayan ruin, alligators, and had some beach/snorkel time. Well, the excursion included a snorkel, but since we didn't even bring bathing suits with us, we just had beach time. Lunch was included, and the sightseeing part of the tour ended at a lighthouse that we opted to admire from below! It was a pretty spot, and we've been very fortunate on this trip to have just glorious weather, both on the ship and in port. Much to our surprise we were the only Carnival ship in port on Thursday, and there was only one other ship in town...the RCCL Liberty of the Seas. For some reason we were expecting it to be very crowded, but it was nice to be in Cozumel without 8 ships in port! We got back to the ship and decided to take it easy before our Chef's Table dinner. Hello, balcony! Jim finished more of his endless stack of Sports Illustrateds that tend to pile up, and I finished a trash novel for the first time in ages. In our opinion, it just doesn't get better than the opportunity to sit outside, on the water, on an absolutely gorgeous day, and do nothing of great importance. We met the Executive Chef, Suresh Babu, at the Lobby Bar at 6:30 for our Chef's Table dinner. There were 11 of us...10 adults and a VERY well-behaved six year old. We were escorted through the Wind Star Dining Room to the galley for appetizers and champagne. The chef explained a little about what goes on in the galley, and we were served small tastes of Ahi Tuna Tartar on a Wasabi Crisp, Duck Pot Sticker, Steak Taco, and Avocado Cheesecake. They were all delicious, even the tuna, which I was skeptical about because I'm not a sushi girl. After the appetizers, we went to the pastry section and had a demonstration on how to make Warm Chocolate Melting Cake. You only need this information if you're not concerned about the amount of fat and sugar you put in your body every time you order this dessert. If you care about those kinds of things, you're better off without this information! The chef gave us a short tour of the other parts of the galley. It's definitely busy in there, with lots of people scurrying around for dinner service. We even saw a little fuss at the salad station...one of the cooks was very unhappy about something, and was letting others know about it! From the galley we were escorted to the Explorer's Club for dinner. The table was beautifully set with place cards and personalized menus. After a group photo we were seated to begin our meal. This is where it got a little weird, and where just like in the dining room, your dinner companions can make or break a dining experience. The food and presentation at dinner was just exquisite, but the whole experience was awkward. The two gentlemen seated to Jim's left never said a word the entire (lengthy) meal. They didn't smile, they didn't comment on the food, or the weather, or their cruise...they just sat there stone-faced the whole time. Well, they did frown every time I took a food-porn picture! One other person at the table was either still drunk from Nachi Cocum or already hung-over, and never spoke nor did he touch his food. I think the mother and son who were with the stone-faced guys tried to enjoy the experience, but they were concerned with the lack of enthusiasm from across the table and didn't say too much during the meal. So really, there were five of us having a conversation while five other adults sat there. It just made for a strange experience. We loved the food and the wine...it's just the kind of thing we like to do, but I'm not sure we'd do it again unless we made the reservation with some other people. I'm just not sure why anybody would reserve something like that if a lengthy dinner with strangers isn't up their alley. When dessert was served, one of the poker-faced guys said, "that's enough of this!" and the two of them abruptly got up and left without touching the food on their plates. They didn't thank the staff, or say good bye or anything...they just left...almost stormed out. Can you say AWKWARD? At any rate, the Chef's Table was phenomenal in the food department, but less so for the overall experience. I think it would have been an absolute dream if the group had included people who were all there to enjoy fine food and wine and interesting conversation. Unfortunately the group we ended up in lessened the experience. We did enjoy the food, and I think special events like this and the Behind the Fun Tour are one of the things Carnival does best. Although it wasn't an inexpensive experience, we had a lovely meal, and were also given a group photo and a Carnival cookbook. After dinner we decided to try our luck in the casino again, and quickly realized this just isn't our cruise in the gambling department. We're pretty disciplined about taking a limited amount of funds to the casino when we go, and getting up and leaving when we run out, so it was a short visit! As I type this, it's Friday morning and we're headed north to Galveston and home. It's another beautiful day, but noticeably cooler with some little whitecaps out there today. We slept until the unheard of hour of 7:30, and now Jim is working out while I'm being LAZY. I suppose at some point I'll have to get dressed and let Ovie in to clean the cabin, but I'm not moving too fast. Today's agenda will consist of lounging, eating, and packing. ? We also need to take a trip to the photo gallery, because it's been a good picture week for us! ? Later...we accomplished exactly what we set out to do on our sea day...not much! We went to the photo gallery and poked around the shops, had lunch in the dining room, and took LONG naps! It's kind of funny to see how my spending on a ship and in port has evolved over the years. Our bill from the Sea Princess looked like the national debt. I loaded up on more $10 shawls, purses, and cruise t-shirts than I could use in 10 cruises. Every port induced more spending. Now I buy very little...most of our onboard account is for drinks and events like the Chef's Table, although I do still buy some pictures. In port on this trip I bought 2 bottles of vanilla...one for me and one for the neighbors who were keeping an eye on the house. The cruise lines probably aren't as happy with us as they used to be, but I saw plenty of people buying all the stuff I used to buy, so I guess they'll be able to stay in business! Back to our day...I woke up about 4:15 and decided I'd better pack, and Jim took off with his last $10 in casino chips while I attended to the nasty chore. It was really pretty simple - it took less than an hour, and then we showered and got ready for the evening. We went to the show (Dream Voyage) before dinner. It was entertaining, but like the show on Tuesday we thought the audience was very sparse. The performers on the Ecstasy are very good...much better than the Conquest last March, which made the production shows very enjoyable. There were 8 of us for dinner tonight...the young couple who sat with us on Tuesday never made it to another meal. We had a pleasant evening, but again our service was slow. During the cruise, it just never seemed like our waiter and assistant waiter were totally in sync with each other. Combine that with the very large tables and one person who had an extra (third) appetizer each evening, it seemed like dinner took a long time. We went straight to bed after dinner. I'm not sure I ever completely woke up from my nap earlier, and I had no problem falling asleep! Sometime during the night we ran into the cold front. I couldn't tell you when, because I slept through it, but I woke up about 5:30 and you could hear the wind. When I touched the balcony door it was very cold, and it took a lot of effort to push the door open. I went back to sleep for about an hour...long enough that Jim was stirring and could do the caffeine duties. We wrapped up in our robes (for warmth!) and tried to sit on the balcony with our coffee to watch arrival in Galveston, but we were driven back inside by the elements. We had our only real breakfast of the trip (in the dining room) before we disembarked. Eating dinner at 8:15, we find that we're not really hungry for much in the mornings, and we just have fruit and cereal on the balcony. We were amazed that while we were at breakfast they turned the ship around before docking. I thought surely with the wind we would come straight in, but they did get us turned around with the assistance of tugs. Just a side note, this was by far the windiest we've seen it down in Galveston at the cruise terminal. There were huge waves and white caps in the channel, and the wind was the kind you have to fight to walk into. Disembarkation was super simple. I was concerned because we hadn't gotten any kind of VIP disembarkation information with our luggage tags. Actually, when I asked at guest services the staff member was kind of snippy and asked me how I knew I should have gotten a letter! It ended up looking like there really wasn't a true VIP disembarkation. We waited in our cabin, as did our neighbors, and were in the first group called after the self-assist. Zones 1-7 (we were Zone 4) were called about 9:50, and we got our luggage/got through customs/walked to Harbor House, and we were on the road for home at 10:15. I had been concerned about disembarking on Christmas day since our only other holiday disembarkation (Easter Sunday on the Voyager) had been a three and a half hour disaster, but this couldn't have been any easier. Walking off the ship was a snap compared to the mayhem and the pushing/shoving we experienced on the Conquest last March. It really looked like everybody followed directions and kept the lobby and staircases clear. We did see Steve right in the middle of disembarkation leading the proceedings/saying good-bye to the passengers, which I thought was a nice touch and probably helped a lot. Some thoughts about the Ecstasy and this cruise...we liked our cabin and location. We had plenty of space, and a nice sized balcony. I would say a GS on this ship is about the size of a Junior Suite on RCCL or a Mini Suite on Princess. Only two things were a bother...one was the pounding feet from above in the very early morning hours, and the other was the pervasive "cruise ship smell" in our bathroom. You know the smell...it's on every ship at various times...and it was in our bathroom most of the trip. Sometimes it was stronger than others, but it never really went away. That brings me to another thing that was strange on the Ecstasy...the water has a very funny taste. I think it must be something in the purification system, but the water smells bad and tastes worse. It's the first time we've had a problem with the water on a ship, and wouldn't you know we didn't bring any with us this time! If you plan to buy an internet package and use your laptop in your cabin, save your money. The WiFi on the Ecstasy is rotten. I had originally planned to update daily like I was able to do on the Conquest with no problems, but I got thrown off almost every time I tried to use the internet. Something I missed on the Ecstasy is the interactive TV. It was no big deal, but I like being able to check the dinner menu and my account from the room. It was pretty funny...the day we boarded I spent about 15 minutes trying to find the interactive section on the TV before Ovie told me it doesn't exist. I really liked the staff on the Ecstasy. Everybody we encountered (save the one snippy lady at Guest Services) was very friendly and helpful. Even though we didn't see a lot of Steve (because we didn't go to many events!), he's a very approachable CD with an awesome musical talent. I really appreciated that he wasn't incessantly on the PA system...there were relatively few announcements on the ship. The Ecstasy, to me, is a study in contrasts. The areas that have been completely refurbished are modern and sleek, while areas like the atrium and the elevator lobbies/stairwells are a tribute to her neon heritage. Something that confused me all week is that all the public areas on the Ecstasy are on the upper decks, and I'm used to going up for the Lido, but down for the dining rooms, lobby, casino, promenade, etc. Even though the Ecstasy is the oldest ship we've been on, and the smallest we've been on in quite some time, she's in fine shape and rides well. It was kind of nice to not feel like we had to walk six miles to get someplace! Even though the Ecstasy doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the newer ships, she has everything we need to have a great time, get away from the daily grind, and relax! For all that I was concerned about crowds on boarding day, it was never an issue despite the 2,700 passengers on board. We do less than some (most?) people do, and pretty much avoid the buffet and main pool, so your mileage may vary. The only place it seemed tight to us was in the dining room, and as I mentioned earlier it seemed like they had set extra places at each of the tables...there really was one setting right on top of another...you couldn't set a menu down without it being on top of the flatware. This was only our second five-day cruise, and our first Christmas cruise. To me, a seven-day cruise seems more like "vacation," while the shorter cruise seemed like a "getaway." It's almost as if people get more in the routine of ship-life on a longer cruise. I almost felt as though I was packing my bags as soon as I had unpacked. I was very excited about sailing at Christmas, but it wasn't as much of an event as I expected it to be. Maybe it was because we arrived back in port on Christmas morning, but aside from some different photo backdrops, decorations, and a special Christmas show that we missed due to naps, there wasn't anything that made it different than any other sailing. I had expected something special for dinner on Christmas Eve, but it was like any other night on a ship. Maybe it would have been different if we had not been disembarking the next morning. My only other experience with a holiday meal was Thanksgiving dinner on the Rhapsody in 2002, where we received special souvenir menus and dinner was a Thanksgiving feast. Still, that was a different cruise line, and much has changed in the industry since that time. In summary, I expected more of the holiday aspect, but aside from the decorations on board, it was much like any other sailing. The passenger demographic on the ship was about what we expected...lots of families. It was very similar to our Spring Break cruises in that there were lots of children aboard. One thing that seemed different was the size of the family groups. We saw many more large multi-generational groups than we're used to seeing, which I suppose were people taking advantage of the holidays to get everybody together. In summary, this was a lovely relaxing cruise for us. We slept a lot and recharged our batteries, which is just what we needed! I enjoyed the Ecstasy, and I wouldn't hesitate to take another cruise on this ship! Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Arrived at Galveston in the rain about 2:30. Parked at Lighthouse, and off to the terminal. We didn't realize that the ship had docked late until we hit the line in the terminal, but even so, it was an hour and a half from the parking ... Read More
Arrived at Galveston in the rain about 2:30. Parked at Lighthouse, and off to the terminal. We didn't realize that the ship had docked late until we hit the line in the terminal, but even so, it was an hour and a half from the parking lot until we were onto the ship. Once again, a word of thanks to whoever is responsible for the greatly improved atmosphere in the terminal. Even with the long lines, everyone was pleasant and courteous. What a change from March. This was our second time on the Ecstasy, so we had no problem finding our way around. I think this ship is easier to get around than the Conquest. We were late sailing, they made an announcement about the channel being closed, but if you looked over the side, you could see they were still taking stores. About 6:30 they announced the channel was still closed, about the same time the pilot boat showed up and dropped off the pilot. We were off about 10 minutes later. It was rather a rough night, seemed like a lot of people disappeared pretty quickly. By the next morning, everything was improving, the sea had calmed and the temperature was warming up. Checked out the jogging track and the gym and worked off some of the dinner from the night before. We were on any time dining, we would go between 6:30 and 7:30. Never had to wait for a table. In the five nights, we only had two different wait teams, and both of them were excellent. The food always arrived hot, and with the exception of the prime rib which was tough, it was always good. The buffet on the Lido Deck was good, you could always find something to hit the spot. Make sure you don't miss the deli at the back of the deck, the sandwiches are excellent. The Room Steward was Sunny, very seldom ever saw her, but the cabin was always taken care of. No complaints about the cabin itself, plenty of room and storage space. Except for some banging early one morning from the galley on the next deck up, it was always quiet. The entertainment on board was good, we passed on the big shows, but hit a lot of the smaller stuff. Had to pass on the Piano Bar, way to smokey, which was a disappointment. Tried the trivia which was a lot of fun. Still don't understand why they closed the bar on the no smoking side of the lido deck at 4 every afternoon. Last day the weather got bad, force 8 gale, cleared the decks again. Too cold to hit the jogging track, but the gym was warm. Disembarkation was the normal zoo. The ramp that hits the empress deck was out of action, so you had to go down to the crew deck to get off. Like normal, half the elevators were out of action, all the others were packed and you couldn't get on. Hint: if there is an elevator going up, get on it. When you get to the top it will take you back down. Once our deck was called it took an hour to get back to the truck. All in all, this was a really good cruise. The crew is good and go out of their way to be helpful. Would I cruise on this ship again - absolutely. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Ecstasy 5-night 12-27-08 New Year's Cruise! Headed to Galveston the day before and stayed at the Hilton on the Seawall and ate at The Spot. There was lots of fog all day, all evening and even into the early morning of departure, but ... Read More
Ecstasy 5-night 12-27-08 New Year's Cruise! Headed to Galveston the day before and stayed at the Hilton on the Seawall and ate at The Spot. There was lots of fog all day, all evening and even into the early morning of departure, but the sun came out and we were ready to cruise! The ship was in port before 8 am. We arrived at the ship at 11:15, walked straight up the stairs, through VIP and were the first two people through the photo line and onto the ship - Wow! We of course went to the Lido deck and were handed a glass of champagne, come to find out, the classes were almost bottomless until muster drill - fun. We called and texed our friends and family, took some photos of the trays of champagne that kept coming and coming, dropped my husband's Blackberry phone into the ocean accidently (we have insurance) then went to our cabin E-244 to dress for 1st night's dinner. I left $5 and a note asking our cabin steward (who we never saw and that's okay with me) to leave me an extra pillow and a blanket. When we returned to our cabin, both items were there and he also kept our "stuff" iced down all 5 days. At dinner, we were assigned a booth for 6 people, all were our age, one was a honeymoon couple on their first cruise and feeling motion sickness, they left during appetizers and we never saw them again. Unfortunately, we did see the other couple again, we went to the maitre'd and asked for a table change after missing the next two nights at dinner. We thought of the NCL commercial where the man keeps talking and talking and talking, well it was something like that. Anyway, the maitre'd moved us to a beautiful table and we very much enjoyed our last dinner there. We tipped him on the last night by the way. Even though the sun was shining through our cabin window, we slept 11 ½ hours the first night, after going to bed at7:30! That's unheard of, I guess we really did need some rest. We got up the first day at sea - ahhh - had breakfast on the Lido, read and people watched on the aft area in lounge chairs, had an early lunch and watched some Sunday afternoon football which was showing all around the ship. Tonight was elegant night and we had the prime rib, pumpkin soup, cherries jubilee, all were wonderful, we walked around the ship and went to the cabin to prep for Cozumel. Got up for breakfast again on the Lido as we pulled into lovely Cozumel. We did the Dune Buggy Tour leaving at 10:00 and loved it, they prepared and served us food on Playa Bonita consisting of guacamole, salsa, chips, chicken, beer, soda and water. We walked the beach, picked up some sand and shells and relaxed. We returned to the ship and had the sushi; we always look forward to the sushi and sometimes the sake too! We turned in early to prep for Progreso. Before you say anything about Progreso, we LOVE Progreso, we have friends there and it's one of our favorite ports of call. In Progreso we stayed all day long on the beach, eating, drinking, visiting, buying fun stuff and enjoying the heck out of the day! I got a massage on the beach as usual, it's always a treat and we had an awesome day. We ate in the Panorama Grill for two reasons, 1- the dreaded table mates, 2-didn't want to dress for dinner. The food in the Panorama was okay that night, but nothing to write home about; once we had our ice cream, it did however fill the void in our tummies. We went to the show tonight for the first time, the comedian Brian Tassell was good and our cruise director Steve Cassel did a wonderful juggling act. He is a multi-talented man and very, very well spoken and polite. We saw him many times around on the ship. We went to our cabin, watched TV and fell asleep by 10pm - sweet. New Year's Eve at sea, went up for the yoga class, breakfast in the dining room - I always love that, had salmon, bagel, turkey bacon, 2 eggs and coffee. We went to the gift shops to spend our on board credit which WAS on our sign and sail cards at arrival - nice. I bought some T-shirts, a coffee cup, some earrings and other little things. The sea was like glass until about 11:30am, it was so eerie and beautiful at the same time and remained calm all the way back to Galveston. Ate a light lunch, walked around the ship, went to the specialty coffee shop on the promenade and had latte's and the carrot cake. We returned to our cabin and our customs info was there along with party hats and blow out horns for the festivities later. I spent some time filling all the customs paperwork out while thinking of what to wear to our last night, New Year's Eve dinner without the "dreaded" table mates. We had clam chowder, rib eye steak, apple dessert and the cheese assortment - excellent! We also took our own bottle of wine we brought with us and it was opened and served nicely and at no extra charge, maybe because it was NY Eve. The New Years celebration parties were held in several areas, and again the almost bottomless champagne glasses were passed around on large trays. There was food, music and specialty champagne's if you cared to purchase them. At midnight, the Captain came on the speaker and did the 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1- countdown and blew the ship's horn. It was all very fun. With all our luggage (and we intentionally packed less than ever and did just fine) we were the second and third people off the ship and headed for customs. We were off the ship and in our car by 8:30am. We have a 6 hour drive ahead of us but as we were leaving Houston, I received a phone call from Carnival, I had forgotten ALL my hang-up clothes in the closet! How could I have done that? I've never done that, but at any rate the lady said I had two options. 1-they could ship them to Miami and they would mail them on to me or I could come back and pick them up. I told her I'd come right back and be there in about an hour, she told me where to come and I thanked her. We returned to the port, I handed security my sign and sail card and told them my story, they had me sit and wait. The nice lady took my sign and sail card and went to find my clothes. After about 30 minutes, she returned with my clothes and a smile on her face. I thanked her for all her trouble and we headed back towards Galveston again. Excellent cruise in every way - way to go Carnival! Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
We were on the 5 day Thanksgiving sailing on the Ecstasy out of Galveston. There were 6 of us (me, DH, DD-13, DS-11, DS-19 & DS-22). All but the 2 oldest sons have sailed 5+ times before. I do a lot of homework and planning prior to ... Read More
We were on the 5 day Thanksgiving sailing on the Ecstasy out of Galveston. There were 6 of us (me, DH, DD-13, DS-11, DS-19 & DS-22). All but the 2 oldest sons have sailed 5+ times before. I do a lot of homework and planning prior to cruising so I usually know what to expect and am not easily "surprised". Such was the case with this cruise. Our last 2 cruise experiences were on the Conquest, a much larger and newer ship. I made sure that everyone was aware of this so that they didn't "expect" the Ecstasy to be as fancy as the Conquest. Also, we've been to both Cozumel and Progresso many times so we also knew what to expect on shore. Acknowledging these things ahead of time helped shape our cruise experience as our expectations were reasonable. Embarkation: Usually, we spend the night in Galveston prior to the cruise, but this time we just drove in from our home town (60 miles SE of Dallas) the morning of the cruise. We arrived at the EZ Cruise parking lot around 11:30. We were eating lunch on the Lido Deck by 1pm. Needless to say, embarkation was a breeze! The Ship (in general): As mentioned, our last 2 cruises were on the Conquest. I knew that the Ecstasy was a bit older and smaller. At first, I felt a tinge of disappointment as the Ecstasy doesn't quite have the "wow" factor of the Conquest. However, it was in no time at all that we warmed up to this wonderful ship. This might sound strange, but even though the ship is smaller, it actually felt less crowded, especially around the pool area. On the Conquest, a lounge chair around either of the main pools was sparse. On the Ecstasy, we never had a problem getting a chair around the pool, or a table for lunch or a decent seat in the main theatre. The pools were a little dated, but we don't ever use them so this wasn't a big deal for us. All the other kiddos were enjoying the pools though! The hot tubs were small. And there is not a hot tub in the spa . I did miss that. The Ecstasy should be getting the Waterworks upgrade soon so this will vastly improve the pool areas. Common Areas: The common areas were typical. There were several bars & discos. We never went to any except on Thursday to catch the Cowboys game. Our 2 oldest sons thoroughly enjoyed the bars and clubs and often were getting back to the room after 2am. Can't complain about the casino as we were able to break even by the end of the week! I read a post somewhere on this board about the ceilings being low ... this wasn't a distraction for me. Again, even though some of the areas are smaller, they were not crowded. This was a huge plus for me as I like a little elbow room. Rooms: We stayed in balconies our past 2 cruises & prior to that we always had window rooms. This time we just got 2 inside cabins. We were in M255 & M251. We did not regret this at all. We've been to Cozumel and Progresso several times & we knew we wouldn't spend much time in our cabins. The money we saved on cabins allowed us to feel better about splurging on other activities during our cruise that we usually don't do. I do wish our cabins were more midship though. We were in the far aft of the ship. Our rooms were clean and comfortable. Our room steward, Ernesto, was the best! He was very attentive and did so good with all of our kiddos. I didn't find any difference between the rooms on the Conquest vs Ecstasy. Dining/Food: Only thing missing was the Fish & Chips station - which, actually, I didn't miss at all. I found all the food options & quality on the Ecstasy comparable to that of the Conquest. They even had the sushi bar (even though it was not listed in the Capers except on the 1st day). The sushi station is outside the casino. In the mornings, the lines in the back of the Lido deck would get a little backed up, but there were never lines by the pool stations. The buffet lines were exactly the same (for breakfast). Never any lines for the omelet station The lunch buffets were the typical buffet variety. And of course, there was the 24 hour pizza and ice cream. There never was a lack of good food! The first night, our waiter seemed to be a bit cranky & we thought uh-oh, this is going to be a long week, but he must've just had a bad day because the rest of the cruise we had a wonderful dining experience. Denis & Eduardo did a great job taking care of us. I have no complaints other than the fact that I think I gained about 5 pounds! We ate all dinners except 1 in the main dining room. A note on the food quality and variety: I always try to keep in perspective that the staff is having to serve thousands of people - all with different preferences. Given this, I think overall Carnival does a great job. I don't expect every dish to be of 5 star caliber. I do expect the food to be of good quality and variety - in line for what I paid for my cruise. Thus, I am rarely disappointed! Entertainment: This was one aspect that I found lacking. Our cruise director's 2 acts were the highlights for us. He can play the fiddle and juggle. The comedians were not very good at all. I found Jerry Torres to be absolutely offensive. There was a show by a Russian couple on the last night. I didn't make the show, but I hear they were good. The shows on the Conquest and other ships were definitely of higher quality. The shows on the Ecstasy were not on par with what I expected thus I was disappointed. Debarkation: Again, a breeze. We just hung out on the Lido Deck until our number was called & then the lines were moving pretty fast. We were back to the EZ Cruise parking lot around 11ish. Progresso: We love Progresso! I know this port is highly controversial & many people are disappointed with it. We find it absolutely charming! We took the double decker bus tour (45 minutes). We sat on the top of the bus. My husband is about 6'3". It was a hoot watching him have to duck under the electrical wires over the streets! After our bus tour we went to the shopping market for a little while and bought some souvenirs. We then headed to the beach. We ended up at Buddy's. We got massages ($60 for 30 minute massages for 4 people), went on a banana boat ride, and ate and drank to our hearts content. They had great bar specials & the food was excellent. Cozumel: We did the all-inclusive at Mr. Sancho's. We loved this place! We rode horses, ATVs and jet skied. Great food and drinks. Next time, we probably would not do the all-inclusive option but it was nice to have run of the bar and grill since we had 4 kiddos with us! Definitely 2 thumbs up to Mr. Sancho's!!! Fellow Cruisers: Since we sailed over a holiday, there were lots of multi-generational families on board. Lots of kids (no problem for us). I was surprised by how many past passengers were on board. Carnival did a good job of trying to ensure activities for people of all ages. Overall Rating: All in all we had a wonderful cruise. I would definitely sail on the Ecstasy again. Our 2 oldest sons also said they would sail the Ecstasy again. Our 13 & 11 year olds really liked the Conquest better, however, I take their opinions with a grain of salt! Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
Carnival Ecstasy Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 3.5 3.7
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 3.5 3.7
Family 3.5 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.5 3.7
Enrichment 2.5 3.3
Service 4.5 4.1
Value For Money 5.0 3.8
Rates N/A 4.3

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