9 Carnival Ecstasy Cruise Reviews for Spring Break Cruises to Caribbean - Western

My adult daughter, 3 grandchildren ages 10, 13 and 16, along with myself decided to do a Spring Break cruise for 4 nights. Carnival Ecstacy is a very good 4 night. The ship is smaller than some of the new ships but very easy to get around. ... Read More
My adult daughter, 3 grandchildren ages 10, 13 and 16, along with myself decided to do a Spring Break cruise for 4 nights. Carnival Ecstacy is a very good 4 night. The ship is smaller than some of the new ships but very easy to get around. Plenty of activities and entertainment. Very good food in the dining rooms as well as the buffets. Service was excellent. This was my third time on Ecstacy and it looked as good now as it did the first time in 1998. Love the beds and linens! So comfy! Our cabins were kept immaculate by our cabin steward. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We were surprised to find the Carnival Ecstasy in such good condition given its age. We sailed in January on the Carnival Pride, and it was getting run down despite having been recently remodeled. It was apparent that the Ecstasy crew ... Read More
We were surprised to find the Carnival Ecstasy in such good condition given its age. We sailed in January on the Carnival Pride, and it was getting run down despite having been recently remodeled. It was apparent that the Ecstasy crew takes much more pride in their ship than does the crew of the Pride. Food was FAR better on Ecstasy as well. We speculated that the food may taste better on Ecstasy because the water on the ship was so much better. The tap water on the Pride is nearly undrinkable -- it tastes so bad you'll rush to brush your teeth. Ecstasy tap water tastes pretty good, actually. I have children who attended Circle C and Club o2. They had a great time, but we were disappointed that activities were so often scheduled during the "family" type events (like the magician, Hasbro game show, family stand up comedy, etc), which caused our kids to have to choose between spending time with us or their new friends. Guess who won :( If you're looking for a place to dump off your kids, the activities on board will suit that purpose, but if you're planning on taking a "family vacation", Ecstasy may not be the ship for you. Activities for the kids included daily scavenger hunts (guess they ran out of ideas), games, attendance at Motor City for the older kids, and t shirt decorating. There is only one pool on Ecstasy, but that didn't seem to be a problem. The Serenity deck was a bit of a joke -- too small and no fun hammocks or sun chairs like on Pride. It was plain Ecstasy's Serenity deck was added as an afterthought after the fire years ago, so we just ignored it. There is a good bit of outdoor eating available in the buffet area on Ecstasy, so this is a big improvement over Pride which has none. REO Speedwagon was the Carnival Live concert on this cruise. Those dudes are older than my father, but they can still jam. Enjoyed the concert. Did not enjoy Motor City. Grinding, pelvic thrusts, and faux stripping just aren't my thing. The singing and dancers were better than we've had on many cruises. It's unfortunate they had to make it so dirty. I was especially uncomfortable when Club O2 staff brought in the 15-17 year olds and sat them on the front row where they were looking up skirts as dancers hitched their skirts up and mere feet away from the pelvic thrusting. It was like being a strip club. We actually had to remove our son when the female stripping started, because who knew when it was going to stop -- our Pride cruise had dancers in thongs and pasties. Thank God the stripping stopped at thong with a nightie over the top, but still. It was outrageously inappropriate for kids. The water slide on this ship is very, very slow. The side-by-side slides are actually more fun. We enjoyed shuffle board even though it was in a main walk way. Wish they would have had another giant chess board. Even though this ship is small, there was plenty of ways to entertain ourselves, and we all had a very good time. We traveled during our spring break. Our break is at the end of the season, and though there was lots of drinking, it didn't bother us nondrinkers. It did provide some amusement for us when some college co-eds were so plastered at muster they thought we were already in Mexico. We laughed even harder when at they end of the muster one said, "Hey, high five for safety!" and then they missed their high five. Carnival does have more of a party vibe than other lines (Royal Caribbean is our favorite), but if you're worried that drinking, gambling, might affect your children, we found our cruise on Ecstasy was fine for our family. Key West and snorkeling at Port Zach were particularly fun. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
It was a family affair, husband and I were persuaded by son, daughter-in-law and 15-year old grandson to accompany them for our first ever cruise. We travel often, worldwide, using air miles and carry-on luggage, making our own ... Read More
It was a family affair, husband and I were persuaded by son, daughter-in-law and 15-year old grandson to accompany them for our first ever cruise. We travel often, worldwide, using air miles and carry-on luggage, making our own itineraries, so cruising is not something we had ever contemplated. Surprise!!! My husband loved the spectacle of watching a ship full of frolicking (and staggering and vomiting, etc.) Spring Breakers; that was his favorite entertainment. The live music was good most nights, and the food was not bad. Breakfast pastries were not great, but the sourdough dinner rolls were outstanding. Liked best: lobster, salmon, crabcakes, lunch buffet French themed. Never even sampled pizza (we're picky) or Mongolian grill. Coffee was good, and was especially pleased that they have real butter and real half-and-half. I am immediately turned off by margarine (although they had that as an option). Had one massage (courtesy of my daughter-in-law) and found it uninspiring; masseuse from Thailand seemed mentally challenged and more interested in pushing products. Later they double charged my daughter-in-law's account which necessitated an irritatingly long wait in a line for correction at end of trip. We had a very nice cabin, clean and clean-smelling, with a wide oceanview window. I had been apprehensive after reading reviews of bad smells, mildew, engine noise, etc. That was certainly not the case with our cabin, even though there were some late night noises from the exuberant Spring Breakers. I was up watching TV (a nice, unanticipated bonus) while husband slept soundly. Cabin steward Tom was a joy - remembered our names and tidied up discreetly. I fail to see the charm of towel animals, but they were a curiosity more than a nuisance. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
• Background Information: Spring break cruise to get to the sun after a LONG winter! Traveling - myself (48), DH (49) and DD (17). Previous cruises on Carnival Legend (2008) and Carnival Freedom (2010).• Travel to Port of Embarkation: ... Read More
• Background Information: Spring break cruise to get to the sun after a LONG winter! Traveling - myself (48), DH (49) and DD (17). Previous cruises on Carnival Legend (2008) and Carnival Freedom (2010).• Travel to Port of Embarkation: We flew into Houston Intercontinental on Friday - the day before sail date - direct flight. Not really any good options to get to Galveston so we rented a car and drove down - note this was actually cheaper than a limo or airport shuttle or even Carnival's transfers. • Hotel Information: We stayed at the Hilton Resort Galveston. We arrived late in the day so did not really have any time to enjoy the hotel's facilities. Hotel was VERY accommodating. At check in we talked to the Bell Captain and were able to choose our shuttle time to the ship - we chose 12:30. Got down early and since others did too, we actually left as soon as there were 15 people to fill the first van! Yeah!!!They offer free parking to guests that are cruising - and they have a very slick "system" for managing the parking. After filling out a form (car info, return date, disclaimer, etc.) you park in a large lot behind the San Luis resort (the Hilton is part of that complex) I hope they continue that even after the new ships come to Galveston. They load the luggage and family members on the shuttle and then the driver of the car follows the shuttle to the parking lot, parks, and then gets on the shuttle. NOTE: It did not appear that the lot was secure or monitored but maybe it is - DON'T leave valuables in the car. We ate dinner at the Rain Forest Cafe - good food. There is a nice Kroger Super market about a block away - we bought bottled water. Also there is an Ihop next to the Rain Forest Cafe for a good breakfast. The beach is across the street.• Embarkation: A little confusion getting off the shuttle at the port - lots of porters around but they really did not act like they wanted to help us - that's fine - I always make sure we can carry (pull) what we bring! Finally a carnival employee pointed us to a door - went to a large warehouse where a Carnival employee directed us where to put our luggage (according to deck). They have extra luggage tags if you need one. After dropping off the bags we went to the main check in point. Everything moved smoothly. Yes, there was a wait. I think we were on the ship by 1:35. One note - you cannot check a case of bottled water or soft drinks, so you have to carry it on. ALSO, they do check the water. After security they took the water over to a table and took some out, shook them, and then put them back. They looked at about a half dozen bottles, making sure to check the ones in the middle of the case. However, it was interesting that they did not inspect the couple of open water bottles we had in our bags that went through the x-ray. Oh the nice part of getting there a little later was that we could go right to the room. DD was worried about luggage but we got it about 5:15. Had time to unpack all but one bag (mine of course!) before dinner. • Ship Info: Love the remodeled Ecstasy!!! I had sailed on the ship in 2005. What a nice change! The palm trees around the pool are nice. The serenity deck is nice - although we did not spend much time there. The pool area aft where the water works and slide are is incredible. And even when the slides were going and kids were playing it was not noisy. We actually found this area more pleasant than the main pool - just not quite so loud with the music and announcements. This ship may not have all the amenities of some of the larger ships but I think it has character. And it is very well maintained.• Activities: We played putt putt golf on the top deck one day - lots of fun, great course. Went down the slides both in port and at sea - the highest one was closed the first sea day because of the strong winds. They are awesome and the twisting tube slide is fast - be warned if you are wearing a two piece!!!Went to the previous cruisers "party" - free drinks and appetizers! Our favorite was the whiskey sour. We went to the welcome aboard review show - it was okay - got a preview of the comedians who were very funny! The Country show the second night was very enjoyable - no not Broadway, but it was fun! But the best part of this show is that the cruise director plays the fiddle in it and he is FABULOUS!!! I cannot say enough about how much fun we had watching him. He played "Devil Went down to Georgia" and no maybe not the best voice but the fiddle part was so good - even watched him break a few bow strings (horse hair actually)! Comedy shows were big on our list - we saw all but one and they repeated them so if you missed one you could catch it a different night. Each performer did an early show (PG-13) and a late show (R). But the late show was not raunchy - lots of laughs! Also, DD and DH enjoyed the family comedy show on the last day. Also watched the NCAA final four in the Society bar and had a blast, lots of cheering for both teams! The Society bar is also the "only" officially sanctioned place where you can smoke cigars. If you want to enjoy a stogie out on deck, you probably won't be harassed if you stay in one of the designated (cigarette) smoking areas. They want happy passengers that buy drinks and look the other way.• Service: Excellent service! And very responsive to issues. The first night in the dining room it was obvious that they were out of sync in our area. This was fixed the second night with a different wait staff. Our room steward was nice- got our DD extra blankets. The bar staff was very accommodating! We still think the Legend may have been slightly better but this crew was great!• Port & Shore Excursions: We did the Cycling and Cave adventure in Progreso. Had fun! Since there have been lots of posts asking about that excursion I actually am posting a separate review of this excursion. And then went shopping and to Senor Frogs in Cozumel. We had been to Cozumel before so we took it easy this time. It was great being able to walk off the ship in both ports as the tenders have always made my DD sick. • Summary: An excellent shorter cruise! This ship is not getting older but getting better! Yes, there are a few things that are we could "complain" about but overall I would rank this cruise an A. By the way, the Freedom we would have given a B. We would definitely sail on this ship again.• Stateroom: On such a short trip we knew we would not spend much time in the room so we booked a cabin on the Main deck about mid ship - maybe slightly aft. This room was perfect - very little motion and close enough to all activities but not a traffic path. We rarely heard people in the hall and only heard the people above us of next to us a couple of times.• Dining: We prefer the early dining (6:00) and we were assigned the Wind Song dining room. We lucked out and got a table for just the 3 of us! It was great! Not all the food is great - but all of it is good! Some highlights: the lobster and shrimp on the second formal night - the lobster was sweet -the best we have had on a ship- and could have been served at any fine restaurant ashore - the mozzarella and tomato appetizer, crab cake and, stuffed mushroom appetizers are all good! The main thing was the service - our waiter, Eric, was very good and the crew "shows" got the whole dining room hopping.• Children's Clubs: Club O2: DD loved the Club O2. Her words: First day was more of an organizational day. As a 17 year old they did not participate in all the activities - more a place to meet and then go. The dance parties were fun and the movie night was decent. Because this ship is older, the club area is smaller than those on some of the newer and bigger ships. But, it was still very fun for our DD and is in contact with the kids that she met.• Disembarkation: Oh so sad to see it end! But very easy. Since we were spending the night in Houston, we did not rush off the ship. We did the "relaxed" or "zone disembarkation". We were off by 10:30. But you do have to be out of the stateroom by 8:30 (we were late). One note: you can bypass some of the lines after getting off the ship and collecting the luggage if everyone in your party had a Passport. We did and it probably saved us 20 minutes of waiting. The hotel shuttle was a little slow - we waited 20 minutes or so but they had to drop off people so maybe that was a delay. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Just some info about us. We are a family of 5. Myself, DH and 3 kids. This was my DH and my 2nd cruise. It was our kids 1st cruise. 5 Day Western Caribbean. DH and I had previously sailed on the Carnival Conquest in April 2009. Excellent ... Read More
Just some info about us. We are a family of 5. Myself, DH and 3 kids. This was my DH and my 2nd cruise. It was our kids 1st cruise. 5 Day Western Caribbean. DH and I had previously sailed on the Carnival Conquest in April 2009. Excellent cruise! Our Story Begins: We started out in Galveston on Saturday, the day of sailing. The weather was horrible. Back roads in Galveston were flooded, we parked with EZ Cruise Parking. This was our 2nd time to use them, and we will continue to use them for future cruises. Embarkation: We arrived at the terminal about 11am and was told that they would start boarding at 12:30pm. Well after sitting for about 15-20 minutes, the attendant announced that the wedding party was about to board and once they were finished, they would begin boarding. We were seated in the first section about 5 rows from the back...We were on the ship by 11:45. Very easy and painless. Once on the ship, we were went up to the Lido deck for lunch and we were approached literally every 3-5 minutes to purchase a Drink of the Day. After politely saying, "No Thank You" over and over with each waiter/waitress, here comes the next waiter/waitress asking. That got old VERY fast! When we were on the Conquest 2 years ago, DH and I were NEVER approached that often. The staff on the Ecstasy were definately pushing for drinks. We waited to hear a live band play Caribbean music or at least some kind of music. After about 2 hours on the ship, we began to hear music! First Night: Seas were a little rough. The ship rocked. I am not one who gets motion sickness of any kind. I found myself opening the box of dramamine and taking a pill. DH and kids seemed to be okay, just a lil woosie. We ate dinner in the WindStar Dining Room the first night.We had the "Anytime dining" and enjoyed it as we are used to eating an early dinner. (You can go in at 5:45pm) Our waiter was awesome. Right on top of things and approached us immediately by our first names. The kids thought that was amazing. We were exhausted, so we called it an early night after exploring the ship some. First Sea Day: Will this ship stop rocking PLEASE?!? My thinking was a stabalizer was broke. Nope, it was 45mph winds hitting it plus we had about 8-10ft swells. Our kids wanted to try Camp Carnival, so we brought them to the Stripes Lounge and left them there for about 3 hours so they could try it out. When pick up time came, we picked up the kids and brought them to the room to get their bathing suits on and took them to the Lido deck for lunch and to let them play on the waterslides. We enter the elevator, get up to Lido floor and our son got sick. It was horrible. Took him back to the room, got him cleaned up, gave him a dramamine, and he seemed to feel better. We all were nauseated from being on the ship rocking for 24 hours straight at this point. We sat out on the Lido deck for a while and let the kids swim and do the water slides. After that we went inside to get cleaned up and changed for dinner. We went to the dining room that night, it was formal night. We had pre-ordered a birthday cake for our daughter who will soon turn 12. (This was her birthday cruise). The cake was amazing. The waiters sang Happy Birthday to her. After dinner we decided to take pics with just about everyone who was offering. After the pics, we strolled over to the Rolls Royce Cafe and DH and I got a Cappachino. Very delicious. After we sat in front of the Cafe for a little while, we called it a night. Progreso- We arrived at 7am and watched the ship dock...FINALLY LAND! NO MORE ROCKING! We got off the ship and tried to find our land legs. We rode the free shuttle to bring us in town, did some shopping and visited Buddy's Bar and Grill. We also did the Double Deck Bus Ride. It was $3/person and we all enjoyed it. We arrived back to the ship around 12:30, and lounged around. Asked kids if they wanted to go to Camp Carnival, and after looking at the activities planned, they refused. Nothing sparked their intrests. That night the ride was alot smoother. We told the kids, now THIS is what is supposed to be like. We went to the dining room that night and was not impressed by the wait staff at all. Now I'm wondering, "Where is the dining room shows at? On the Conquest, it was nightly!" I was disapointed as we told the kids all about the dining room entertainment from our previous cruise. We went and watched a local dance company from where we are from perform and then we did a little shopping on the ship. Called it an early night as we were wanting to wake up early for Cozumel. Cozumel- We arrived at 8am and watched the ship dock. We were docked next to the Carnival Glory. BIG SIZE DIFFERENCE, but we knew we were on a smaller ship. It was amazing to see how large the Glory was compared to the Ecstasy. While in port, we decided to do our own thing, and explore Cozumel and let the kids do some shopping. They've been saving their money for over a year for this vacation. We had lunch at Carlos and Charlie's and thouroughly enjoyed it. We met a local man by the name of Pedro who took the time to give us a tour around and made us laugh. We sure enjoyed his company. Once on the ship, we waited for our ship to sail. Afterwards, we headed towards the dining room to see what the menu was to be served for the night. It was a fish night. We don't eat fish, so we decided to go the Buffet. They were serving just about the same things. Fish and Lamb. YUCK! So we ended up eating Pizza and the Deli. That night, the ride was smooth as well. We missed the Mexican Buffet, but we were exhausted from spending the day walking. We love Cozumel and our kids do too. Last Sea Day: Here we go with the rough seas again. Everyone has had their dose of Dramamine and are wearing Sea Bands. DH and I had booked the "Behind the Fun Tour" our first night on the ship as we were told there were only 16 spots. No children were allowed. So, we had asked our kids if they wanted to go to Camp Carnival, they looked at the planned activities and said "No, we would rather hang out in the room" So, DH and I went on our tour. After the tour and meeting the Captain, We tried to soak in as much sun and warm weather as possible. We then went up to our room and prepared our suitcases and set them outside the door to be picked up. (We don't like the self assist option after doing it on our last cruise). The last night, we went to the Dining room. Our waitress wasn't all that great. All I can think about is, how the staff were much more courteous and respectful on the Conquest. After dinner, we took the kids to the Family Comedy show which was really funny. We all ordered virgin Pina Colada's and enjoyed the show. We went to bed around 10:30pm. Dembarkation: We woke up and watched our arrival into the port of Galveston. We sat down and ate our breakfast from the Buffet. We were told if we wanted coffee, we had to go to the dining room. Seriously? I guess after enough people rasied cane, they decided to put coffee out at the buffet area. After self assisted guests were off the ship, the starting calling zones. They called zones 1-5. Then zones 5-7, then a staff member told us if we were ready to get off, that we could go ahead and make our way down to get off the ship that we didn't have to wait for zone 25 since our luggage should already be down there. Once we got into the terminal we immediately spotted a porter and he picked up our luggage from our zone, and we went straight thru customs. No line at all. We were off the ship and being taxied back to our parking area within 10-15 minutes. Final Thought: All in all we had fun and enjoyed our bonding time with our kids. We loved the ports. We however will never sail on the Ecstasy again. We prefer the bigger ships, there seems to be more to do and better activites for Camp Carnival. Also, we will hope for alot more courteous staff on our future cruises. As for Camp Carnival, We chose that our children not be allowed to sign their self in and out at their own leisure and run around crazy on the ship without supervision; Therefore, since they couldn't sign theirselves in and out, the activities for them was very limited. Most of the public restrooms were smelly and dirty, toilet paper everywhere, especially on the Lido deck. Maybe 2 public restrooms were nice. We will be sailing on the Carnival Triumph in November 2011 and the Carnival Magic in April 2012 and are looking forward to those. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Embarkation:Embarkation was very smooth. We arrived about 10:30 am. We went swiftly through security, stood in line to set up sign and sail for about 10 minutes. We then sat fairly comfortably waiting for our zone to be called (8). ... Read More
Embarkation:Embarkation was very smooth. We arrived about 10:30 am. We went swiftly through security, stood in line to set up sign and sail for about 10 minutes. We then sat fairly comfortably waiting for our zone to be called (8). Unfortunately, I was taken away from the area leaving my 15-yo sdd with everything, by security because they considered my scrapbooking hammer "prohibited." I told them there was nothing that said it was prohibited and was told it "could be used as a weapon." I told them to keep the dang thing, I could buy another $5 hammer! Nonetheless, this left my 15-yo not knowing what to do as they told us to start boarding while I was several minutes' walk away at the baggage area where they screen the bags before boarding. Still, the security folks were nice and accommodating and didn't accuse me of anything untoward. I returned to find they had called us for boarding, joined my sdd at the end of the line, and we moved quickly through for embarkation photo (whichI bought for her sweet 16!!) and boarding. Day 1:Upon boarding, we joined another couple we had met the night before on the Lido deck...the drink servers are indeed very frequent but I did not find them awful or even really intrusive. A shake of the head or flick of the hand did the trick generally. The ship is very easy to find your way around for the most part...everything is clearly labled and pretty much totally within sight right off the bat. I did not immediately go to guest services or shore excursions or anything. I visited the Mongolian Grill, as this was likely our only chance to do so before the lines hit! At 1:30 prompt, the doors to cabins were opened, and we dumped our things. Then, we returned to wander around a bit. We did do this, and then I spent some time in the hot tub. Muster was called about 15 minutes late, but I didn't mind!! That was also rather smooth, quick, and painless. Then...the bomb was dropped. Fog had us stuck. Port of Galveston closed the port---again. The captain sounded rather frustrated and promised to keep us updated-which he did, each time, stating "our situation is unchanged..." and sounding annoyed! I don't blame him. The fog was not that bad, and we can fly airplanes through thunderstorms and drive ships at night, but somehow a bit of fog renders us totally worthless?? lol So, nonetheless, as of 12:30AM on Day 1, we still were docked in Galveston. The activities still went on as planned, but without casino (don't care) or gift shops (oh well). Day 22:30 AM...we departed Galveston. I was forward and heard the thrusters that they use to push us off from the pier and sat bolt upright. I watched us leave port and went back to sleep about 3AM.We woke up about 7:05 for delivery of our room service, which we had requested at 7-7:30. Good food! We ate and lounged a little and went up to deck about 8AM where we found we were going almost 19 knots, and the wind was AMAZING!!! So bad that we literally had to fight to walk forward!! It was fun though. Nonetheless, Captain is trying to make up time so we can make our ports!! I also found an additional $20 credit on my S&S card where we "overpaid" port fees. Not sure how that happens, but okay! It's money! FYI: we were NOT given a credit for leaving port 10.5 hours late (nor did I think we really should have been).I went to the Serenity deck after the "Fun Aboard and Fun Ashore" talk at 10:30....found a chair fairly easily, albeit in the shade. Fine with me as I wanted to scrapbook! :) I note that Steve Cassel is quite funny but I have yet to see him around the ship. Still, a good an d interesting talk. Then at 1, we went to the talk on the shopping, with Martin, also fun. This evening was the Captain's Celebration. We dressed up for elegant night, and attended along Promenade, took advantage of photo opportunities. Met the hotel director, cruise director and a couple members of the fun staff...they all told me the Captain was "right down there" but I never did see the captain. It was really rather...well, unfun, compared to the former captain's receptions. They just kind of stood in a line here and there, talking to each other. I made a concerted effort to walk up to some of the officers and staff and say hello and ask them how they were doing, and felt like I was intruding on their conversation. It felt kind of like a wedding reception line, where you were maybe just supposed to walk along and say hello and keep moving. It just felt weird. I love Carnival, but I think this new format is a "fail." Going to the main lounge, shaking hands when entering and then actually getting some introductions on stage, and brief chat, was more enjoyable-even if the drinks are not free. So, while I had a nice walk along Promenade and took pics, I didn't get to meet the captain and really felt rather like the staff felt this a necessary evil. Even the smiles seemed fake on several faces. Exception to this was cruise director Steve.Elegant night was nice in the dining room. The lobster was a bit overcooked in my opinion, but Ramesh, our head waiter, was cognizant of the time as we told him we wanted to make the 7:30 comedy performance. We did. Our assistant waitress, Iryna (Iryana?) did a great job as well. She was from Belarus and was rather quiet but very attentive. :)We enjoyed the comedians and their PG shows as well as adult shows. Adult shows can get very "adult" but I enjoyed them quite a bit. I enjoy comedy period!The Xtreme Country show rocked. The dancers and singers were great, and Steve Cassel, cruise director, plays a MEAN FIDDLE!! Day 3 ProgresoI see a lot of complaining about this port and its dinginess or dirtyness. I personally like it. It's more authentic Mexican, and wares are more authentic and the people are more "Mexican," i.e., not a bunch of US transplants operating stores in Mexico. Many do not speak English. My rudimentary Spanish easily got me through though. We just got to the end of the pier, rode the $3 double decker bus and then hung out at the FREE beach. Do not pay for the "beach break" here, unless it offers soemthing more than a beach, because the free beach is easily accessible, free, and food/drink is very nearby. We just laid on the sand on our Carnival towels.We returned and had dinner after a nap. Then, we attended the game show in the main lounge, but skipped the talent show and the Mexican buffet, instead choosing to relax in the hot tubs on Serenity. Serenity is packed during the day, but at night, is virtually a wasteland and a beautiful place to chat, relax, and soak!Day 4 Cozumel:Smooth debarkation except for a lengthy line to get off the sihp. We were delayed still from leaving Galveston but it didn't realy affect us as we had the same length of time in port. We explored the shopping area at port before our excursion and then met our excursion. Stingray Beach could have been a tad more orgnanized and clear about where they wanted you when, but it was a good excursion. We went to Del Sol where we promptly saw the prices were too high, then grabbed a horse and buggy ride back to theship. This was a tad more spendy than I really felt necessary, but it was really nice to see a little of "old Cozumel."Chef's TableDid not disappoint. A very good, well put together, interesting event! I was stuffed. The chef, Taunus, was awesome. He was heading back to the CCL Freedom after our cruise. He even made sure my sdd had some more of the starter he had given us the next day at lunch upon her request. The wine and champagne were most definitely free flowing. the $75 charge was not, in my opinion, particularly too much, and I did leave an additional tip. Day 5 Sea Day:We relaxed most of the day. We did do the Groove for St Jude, which was a karaoke event at 4 on the last sea day. Lasted only about an hour. We went to the Fun Farewell, where a $5 tip by our tablemates and a $2 tip by us (I had forgot the rest of my money on my way to it) made sure the drinks were free flowing! Then off to dinner for our last dinner, and the Dream Voyage show. It seemed this show would have been more appropriate at the beginning of the cruise, and I'm not sure that it wasn't meant to be as we were incredibly bumpy the first sea day and there was a lot of dancing. I enjoyed Xtreme Country better than Dream Voyage, I admit, but it was still worth going to.More comedy at Punchliner and I went to pretty much all the shows. Tommy Drake was absolutely hilarious. Carl Faulkenberry was not as funny to me, although he was pretty amusing as well. Definitely like Tommy Drake more though. And what I noticed is that Tommy Drake's "adult" comedy was not "adult" just because he dropped a bunch of unnecessary curse words-which I did feel Carl did. To me, Carl's comedy was perfectly PG rated, and he made it "adult" by adding a bunch of F-bombs. Tommy's comedy was without curse words mostly but the subject matter and the comedy itself was decidedly adult.Debarkation:Went well. We ate in the dining room for breakfast. Went well. Then we finished getting our things together and moved to the Promenade deck to wait. We were asked to leave our stateroom by 8:30 AM and were in Zone 22, the last zones, to be called. I didn't mind waiting outside my stateroom, but the beverage service could have been better while waiting. I was there, with my carryons, waiting from about 8 to 10 or so, and had a hard time getting water. I would get some, but they'd give me a tiny glass-I don't understand being stingy with WATER, especially on the last day. If they are going to ask you to wait outside your stateroom, they could serve you a tad better, but all in all, it was fine. Once called, we proceeded easily. At this port, we were required to trudge down and get ALL our bags, then trudge BACK, with all our bags, to the end of the line, then drag ALL our bags through customs. There were porters, but they were not easily accessible and really, IMO, there should have been more. We did proceed fairly quickly, though the line was very long. We did have passports. Once through customs, we still were not really offered porter services so we had to lug all five of our bags between the 2 of us (I had a scrapbook bag as I was the sole adult, plus each of us had one large bag and one carryon, plus my purse), the length of the building to meet our shuttle. Hot TopicsKids: Not a bother. Despite being a major Spring Break cruise (almost all the passengers were from AK, KS, and TX and many on spring break), I found the kids, as well as the young adults, well behaved. There were only a couple times they were even slightly "bothersome" and that involved young teens being ... well, young teens. Truly, they were not a bother and were FAR from "ruining my vacation." They weren't running wild, didn't run into me, and did not cut in line. Smoke: Also not a bother. The Society lounge is a smoking/cigar smoking lounge and its placement just outside the Starlight (the second largest lounge which was converted into the Punchliner Comedy Club two of the five nights) was a little weird. One did have to walk through it to get to Starlight, although really there was another way around-through the restaurant on Lido, down into Serenity, and through the doors there. But the only INSIDE way to Starlight was through Society. This did not bother me a bit, but I did "notice" smoke there..it was really the only place I noticed it at all. Not once did I notice it on Lido or the outside areas.Total Experience:Awesome. Great cruise, plain and simple. My only thumbs downs were the new format of the Captain's Reception, and the requirement to lug ALL your bags through customs lines. I am not sure if it's still done this way, but in the past in other ports, i have been able to go through customs and THEN pick up my large bags. We had to walk and lug our bags quite a bit the way this one was set up. The food was good...I really didn't have anything bad. I used the MDR a lot, but did use Lido for breakfast on port days and a late night snack here and there. Found the food to be hot and decent. Eggs left a tad to be desired. Warm Melting Cake was, of course, a hit. Also had german chocolate cake for lunch in MDR and tiramisu. I enjoyed the tiramisu, although my tablemates decidedly did not! The ship was very easy to find your way around. I did NOT have the same problems some mention in finding appropriate elevators. They were clearly marked and well defined. Service was wonderful. I tipped my stateroom steward and my waiter and assistant waitress extra in addition to the S&S prepaid gratuities, as well as tipping the maitre 'd. And I felt like it still wasn't enough.I would give the Ecstasy five stars in pretty much every category. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
This was a mother/daughter cruise. As each of our children has graduated high school, we went on a family vacation. This time it was just myself and my daughter as my husband had obligations with the older children, which are grown now, ... Read More
This was a mother/daughter cruise. As each of our children has graduated high school, we went on a family vacation. This time it was just myself and my daughter as my husband had obligations with the older children, which are grown now, and my son had school sports activities during spring break.       Based on our prior experience, we were really surprised with the menu in the dining room. The quality of the food was really lacking. There was never any steak on the menu other than a flatiron steak or shoulder tenders - both of which are just different cuts of chuck. No filet mignon at all. On our prior cruises we were presented with a menu that had a full 5 courses. The portions were sized so you could order all of them and finish them without feeling too stuffed. The menu on this ship just had a section called "starters" which put together soups, salads, and appetizers. There was only one new salad every night - all the other items were labeled "Carnival favorites" and were on the menu every night. They even rotated the "new" entrees - so there were repeats during the 5 night cruise. This was also true of the buffet on deck - there were 2 "American" days - with the same food.       Also the service in the dining room was terrible. We chose the "your time" dining which worked out great in that we could go eat whenever we wanted - and we never waited for a table. But once we sat down the service was really slow. They didn't even have a full place setting on the table - only one fork! I had to flag the waiter down to get anything from the bar. I like to have a glass of wine with my entree and after receiving the wine after I'd already eaten my entree twice, I gave up and quit ordering anything other than water or tea. There were no wine stewards. And on more than one occasion the busboy gave us water without asking if we wanted water or tea. We were never offered coffee with dessert, either. We had to ask, and again, I finished dessert before the coffee was brought.       I was also shocked to see the age in the casino was 18. When we went with my then 19 year old step-son 5 years ago, the age was 21, and they checked. They were not checking this time. My 18 year old daughter, who looks like she's 15 or 16, sat at a slot machine for over half an hour and no one checked her ID. I saw lots of young men playing tables that didn't look 18.       I can't even comment on Progreso - we never made it. I don't know whose idea it was to build a 6 mile long pier. We got off the boat - and were in a huge mob of people waiting for the shuttle bus and non-existent taxis. We walked around the shops for awhile and kept checking back, but the line never got any shorter. So we finally decided just to get back on the ship and hang out by the pool - that was the best decision. No-one was there, and all we wanted to do is lay out anyway.       Cozumel was nice. We were docked right in downtown! We just walked off the ship and right across through the mall - and saw a Starbucks! Yay! I got a 4 shot americano, and they took my daughter's Starbucks card! They had internet access, too. If I'd known that, I would have brought my laptop from the ship. But I didn't want to go back and get it - too long of a walk to do that!       We took a cab to Paradise beach - I highly recommend that. It is $15 each way for a taxi, it costs $2 for a beach chair, and you have to buy $10 worth of food/beverage - which is about 2 margaritas. For another $12 you can get a wristband to use their water toys and snorkel gear. It was a nice, clean, updated place. The bathrooms are nice, and they have private changing stalls, and showers that are out in the open to rinse off the salt and sand. Much cheaper than a shore excursion, and you can do it at your own leisure.       The other thing that was lacking on the ship was the entertainment. They had 2 comedians, but they only did shows on the sea nights. One night the entertainment was a bingo game, then "game show night". These things seem like they should be afternoon entertainment, not nighttime. They did the bingo more than once at night, too.       My daughter and I both had the same impression - if we'd never been on a cruise before, this one would make us never want to take another cruise again. I actually talked to more than one person on the cruise that were first time cruisers and felt the same way. This was my 3rd Carnival cruise, and it will unfortunately be my last. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
This was a special cruise for me because I was celebrating my big-50! We sailed out of Galveston after a short wait in the port terminal. My husband and another couple were all excited that our sail date had finally arrived. We were ... Read More
This was a special cruise for me because I was celebrating my big-50! We sailed out of Galveston after a short wait in the port terminal. My husband and another couple were all excited that our sail date had finally arrived. We were directed to go to the Lido deck for lunch while our luggage was being delivered to our rooms. Buffet was not bad and people seemed to enjoy the variety between burgers and Mongolian. Our luggage arrived around 1:30. Weather was chilly but not unbearable. First night on ship we had a chance to explore and take in the shows. Tuesday was my birthday and cold or not I was going down that slide! I did and it was very cold! I can see why the kids flock to this slide as it was very tall and very fast moving. We had dinner in the Wind Star dining room where our server, Ann took very good care of us including singing Happy Birthday with some of the crew. Food was good, my fish was cooked perfect and no complaints. Flat iron steak was given an 8 by my husband and friend. Play the casinos early soon as they open. They seemed to pay out quicker. Maybe because off the passengers losing the day before. Not sure. Kind of smokey in there also. Wednesday Progresso 60 degrees- Stay on the ship! This port should be removed from the trip. We were shocked at how the town was so ran down. Not pretty at all and the women kept coming up to us and asking if we wanted a massage for $20. Very annoying. Some decent shops farther into town but afraid to walk further. We got back on the bus and headed back to the ship early. Also, might note the armed security or police at every main entrance. That was unnerving to say the least. I will get off the ship at this port again if we sail with Carnival. Wednesday night's entertainment was good as was our dinner! If you have a sensitive stomach don't touch the eggs. Desserts seemed to all taste the same except for the chocolate pudding cups! Coffee was like mud, however our friends drink lots of coffee and loved it. Thursday-Cozumel and 72 degrees. We had to wait for disembark due to Carnival's sister ship trying to get into the port. This put our excursion late about 30 minutes. We took the buggy ride, lighthouse, snorkel tour. Our guides, Memo and Arthuro were great! They told us of the Myan history and took care of our group that went snorkeling. No fears here. Safety is number one. The Mexican buffet on the beach needed help. Be sure to take drinking water and or soda. If you are not snorkeling you also might want to take snacks with you. The buffet does not set up until later. After returning to the port we took a cab downtown to Jimmy Buffett's Margaretville Bar for some t-shirt. Cab ride was $18 plus tip. If you speak Spanish you might have gotten a cheaper ride. Back to the ship and long line to board again. We learned that night that a fellow passenger had died Wednesday night. Some passengers were talking about it and nobody knew how she died. So sad for her fiance and family to get the news. Our prayers are with them. Friday-At sea all day and it rained! I didn't mention that since Tuesday my face looked like a lobster! I must have been allergic to the pillows or whatever they washed them in. PS a visit to the ship's doctor will not be covered on your insurance. You will pay with your sail and sign account and they will give you bills so you can claim. Remember this might be out of network and you will only get a portion of what you paid. The ship's crew was always smiling and polite and helpful if you got lost. I went to the spa for the Daily Special-facial, hand and foot massage. I called ahead and made the appointment. I was told if I was 15 minutes late they would keep have the cost and cancel the appt. I was 25 minutes early and was checked in and escorted to the inside waiting room. Where I sat for another 30 minutes. Finally, I was taken to the room for my facial. I expected in a separate room from where they cut hair but that was not the case. I was escorted to a chair while the masseuse gathered his materials. Beside me a lady was having her hair styled and another passenger was getting a facial. It was not peaceful as the lady never stopped talking. My masseuse was good and it felt great! Would have enjoyed it more in a peaceful environment. Random notes-The launderette was not so nice. No change machines and no place to sit. Did I mention how hot it was in there? Last night on the ship went again to the Wind Star dining room. Food was good not great but longer to get waited on this time. Note* Last day of cruise all the shops have sales on t-shirts and gifts. Wait and buy then to save a few dollars. After breakfast we were told that we would disembark late. If you carried your own luggage on you would leave first. Floor levels were called next. Don't expect too much here. You will stand in line to leave the ship and in customs. Pack all things you are claiming in one bag so the line will move faster. Fill out your US customs forms the night before. All together I would rate this cruise on a scale of 7 out of 10. Not great, but then again, you get what you pay for. I think it's a good cruise ship for families looking for a bargin or first timers. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
This was my first Carnival cruise, and I'm pleased to say that almost everything was better than I was expecting. The service we received in the dining room (thanks Richard!) was top notch, and far better than my other two cruising ... Read More
This was my first Carnival cruise, and I'm pleased to say that almost everything was better than I was expecting. The service we received in the dining room (thanks Richard!) was top notch, and far better than my other two cruising experiences (NCL and RC). Being on one of the older Carnival ships definitely had its downsides: the pools were very small, and the design/decor/layout felt very dated compared to my trip on RC's Liberty of the Seas. We loved Nachi Cocum in Cozumel, took about a thousand pictures at Chichen Itza, and I managed to make it a week without being sunburned. Overall, we had a great time on our 5 day cruise, and I was pleasantly surprised with how well Carnival matches up against Norwegian and Royal Caribbean. The Ship: If you want a ship with all the amenities of the newest ships (bowling alley, ice skating rink, etc.) then this ship isn't for you. However, we just wanted to have a good time with our friends, so the Ecstasy was just right. I have to complain a little bit here because the age of the ship is definitely a downside. The art/lighting in the hallways was truly ugly. The "art" in the stairwells should be burnt (it might be an improvement). The carpets are awful looking too. Getting around the ship is a bit tricky because of the layout. Getting from one end of the ship to the other isn't as easy as you would think. The dining rooms should also be renamed; many people were getting confused about the WindStar vs. the WindSong. The first night we were among the hordes who went to the wrong dining room, and had to spend 5 minutes making our way to the other one. Being on the Ecstasy really helped me appreciate how far shipbuilding has come in the past 15 years. Embarkation: It was a cinch, and I'll definitely consider sailing out of Galveston again simply because it was so easy. Anyone who doesn't check their luggage at the curb is nuts. It was delivered promptly to our rooms, and it really saves a lot of work not lugging it around through the security lines. Checking in was extremely fast for those that got all of their paperwork filled out online. If you plan on booking excursions when you get on the boat, definitely try to arrive as early as possible. The line for the shore excursion desk was massive later in the afternoon. The lifeboat drill took ages, for no apparent reason, which soured our mood a bit for the sail out. Dining: The buffet was decent for a buffet, but we quickly discovered that breakfast in the dining room was both tastier and calmer than the buffet scene upstairs. Breakfast was also a great opportunity to meet other passengers, and throughout the week we never really ended up seeing many of the drunk, redneck cruisers of Carnival's reputation. In fact, I found this cruise far more laid back than my week on the Liberty. Dinners were excellent for the most part; the quality of the food seemed to vary a bit though it was never awful. Dessert was my favorite part of the day, and I really fell in love with the chocolate melting cake. Overall, it was still quite a bit better than I had on RC last year, perhaps because we had about half as many passengers. I definitely recommend the 2nd seating for dinner, we didn't feel rushed, and I was told the 1st seating was more rowdy and noisy. We had a blast dancing with our waiters on the various nights, but if being asked to interact with your waitstaff makes you uncomfortable, I'd recommend a different cruise line. We mostly lunched by the pool, which had the requisite burgers, hotdogs and fries. The room service menu was short, but we managed to find some tasty sandwiches which got delivered very quickly. Sea Days: I couldn't believe how easy it was to find open deck chairs on the Ecstasy. There were plenty to be found, even at peak times on our sea days. I recommend the aft pool on the veranda deck if you just want to soak up the sun in peace. However, if you're traveling with children who are dying to swim, pick a different ship. The pools were very small, and other than the big slide, the open decks don't offer much for kids, especially the under 10 set. Since our group just wanted to tan and read simultaneously, it was ideal. We didn't do many of the activities offered on board during the day, but the line dancing class was fun, even if it did seem a bit short. Entertainment: The stage shows in the evening were truly awful. The show that really cinched it was "Xtreme Country". I'd wager 90% of the cruisers on our ship were from Texas, and the theater was near full with country fans. The terrible costumes we saw at the welcome show the 1st night were a portent of things to come. It seemed like Xtreme Country was attempting to mock southern culture and country music. The song choices were often bizarre, and I cringed each time the dancers came back from a costume change. It was unbelievable how many unflattering, and just outright strange costumes they managed to fit into the show. It was a good thing were were drinking. The passenger talent show was a bit better. It was 6 (maybe 8, I was drinking) slow songs in a row. I can't imagine why the staff auditioning acts didn't encourage anyone to change their act; anyone singing an uptempo song would surely have stolen the show. It was the most boring talent show I've ever attended. I kept hoping the evening entertainment would improve, but sadly it never did. The comedians were okay, but not good enough to balance out the other awful evening entertainment. We had much more fun just going to the piano bar Ports: Cozumel was first, and was wonderful. We pulled in late because of weather issues, but it cleared up right as we were getting off the ship. This was my first visit with the new pier (Puerta Maya), and I was surprised by how far south on the island it is compared to the others. Plenty of shopping right there are the pier, though you'd be smart to do your shopping at the Progresso pier instead. Coming into Puerto Maya made the cab ride down to Nachi Cocum shorter, but we missed out on seeing anything of San Miguel. Nachi Cocum was lovely, and definitely deserves the raves it gets on this website. The food was good, the beach was clean and uncrowded, and the staff was very attentive. We rented a kayak (~$15) and a beach mat ($8), swam a little bit, but mostly drank daiquiris and margaritas. I doubt I'll ever be doing any other excursions in Cozumel again; Nachi Cocum was the perfect beach day. Progresso wasn't quite as perfect. We chose the Chichen Itza excursion and booked through Carnival, and I'm glad we did. Our buses were late getting back from Chichen (I suspect because of a miscommunication about docking time and the time change), and the boat was held for us slowpokes. I wouldn't be comfortable doing Progresso on my own because of the long travel times to anything worth seeing, and because of the increase in violence in Mexican cities. We felt quite safe on our excursion, though. My biggest complaint about this port is that the bus ride to and from Chichen Itza was LONG. The ruins were great to see, and I really enjoyed the tour, but its not something we'll be doing again. We didn't have time for anything besides the excursion, not even shopping at the pier before or after. I definitely regret not being able to shop at the pier; the prices were much lower for most things compared to Cozumel. I spotted some $1 necklaces, cool luchadore masks, etc. though we weren't able to actually buy anything. TIP: Bring food with you on the bus. The packed lunch provided with the trip is extremely small, and lots of people didn't like the sandwich or chips provided. Disembarkation: I wish it went as smoothly as embarkation. The wait was really long, and the staff seemed unorganized or confused. Putting your bags out the night before doesn't save you any time, and only saves you a tiny bit of work. As soon as you're off the very short gangplank, you pick up your luggage anyway and have to drag it through the long, long lines for customs. Our customs agent was fast, but I think that there just weren't enough agents to process everyone quickly. Once through customs, getting picked up is a breeze. We're already planning our next girl's cruise, and I'd be happy to host it on Carnival again. We'll definitely be going on a newer ship though. :) Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
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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