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535 Carnival Galveston Cruise Reviews

First Time cruiser please read: This was our first cruise. After comparing an all-inclusive vacation to Cancun to an "all-inclusive" cruise, I decided to take the cruise. I've never taken a cruise before and the thought of ... Read More
First Time cruiser please read: This was our first cruise. After comparing an all-inclusive vacation to Cancun to an "all-inclusive" cruise, I decided to take the cruise. I've never taken a cruise before and the thought of being on a cruise, being catered to sounded appealing. I envisioned a nice, luxurious boat, nice eating areas and rooms, I envisioned being totally pampered. I was Wrong! I was one of over 2,500 guests. When you book your cruise you are told that alcoholic beverages, soda and bottled water are NOT included; however, the charges for those items really add up. On this 4 day cruise, I spent an additional $350.00 dollars on gratuities, sodas, water and drinks. RIPE-OFF!!! The rooms on the cruise were very basic dorm-like cabins. It was just a room. Not good when you compare it to a 4 or 5-star room in Cancun for about the same price. The cruise was OK, nothing spectacular. Now I can say, "I've done that and probably never again." The food in the formal dining room was great, but all other food was just your average buffet food w/literally hundreds of people serving themselves w/the same utensils, sharing all kinds of germs. (Imagine the food and pushy people at the Golden Coral or Sizzler Restaurant, like that but worse because you have about 2,500 guest on the boat.) The drinks available were tea (it tasted awful), lemonade, tap water, coffee and O.J. Besides the Coffee and O.J. - all tasted weird/different and left you dying for bottled water. ($$$$) Overall the boat and rooms were very clean. The staff was friendly enough. Plenty of entertainment. (not always what you may want, but plenty of things going on if your willing to participate in games and trivia, bingo (at extra cost), gambling (drinks are not free when you gamble at this casino)) . What I really Hated about this cruise - - Out of the 4 nights I was on the boat, I was only able to enjoy Caribbean waters for about 5 hours. Once docked at your destination, you have a few hours to sight see and take tours. Not enough time to enjoy the beautiful waters and beaches. The best part of the cruise was the beach and water in Cozumel, unfortunately we only spent a few hours there. Next time I'll just go directly to the source of what is beautiful about Cozumel/Cancun - The Beaches, sand and water. I won't waste my time on a boat where all you really do is eat, drink and lay-out in the sun. This is fun, but not for 3 full days. I love to sight see, take tours, snorkel, lay out on the BEACH, take a swim in the beautiful ocean waters, every day of my vacation. This is not an option on a cruise. A typical day on the cruise- Wake up eat breakfast, layout and watch people run around (lots of kids), listen to music, get bored, eat lunch, layout again, get ready for the formal dinner (this was the highlight of our cruise), watch a show, gamble (because nothing else was entertaining enough for us) then time for bed. One night we watched a comedy show/club. This was expensive, even though the entertainment was free, the drinks weren't. After 4 days of this, it was Boring! A first time cruiser needs to really weight their options. Knowing what I know now, I wouldn't have taken the cruise. I would have just taken the land vacation to Cancun because you get more for your money. You are not restricted to whatever the cruise has lined up for you to do. A land vacation offers more sight seeing, more beach time, ALL beverages included, 4 & 5 Star hotel rooms, etc... Read Less
Sail Date June 2005
This cruise week came nowhere near expectations, which considering that this was Carnival, were not very high to begin with. The cruise was chosen as an economical family reunion venue. As it turned out, not too many came fortunately. I ... Read More
This cruise week came nowhere near expectations, which considering that this was Carnival, were not very high to begin with. The cruise was chosen as an economical family reunion venue. As it turned out, not too many came fortunately. I would not like to have answered to them. As succinctly as I can put it, if this had been my first cruise, there would never have been a second. Since we are mature grandparents with fifteen cruises behind us, I feel we are capable of making reasonable judgements. There are some good things to say that I should relate. Embarkation and debarking were efficient and easy. Once on board, after running the gauntlet of photographers, however, one was left to his own devices to find his cabin. The staff was friendly, courteous, (with one glaring exception) and tried hard to make this a memorable week. Unfortunately, our steward and table servers left something to be desired. Service was slow, but accurate. Requests to the steward had to be repeated a couple of times to get a response. (I suspect he was pretty much overworked). The children's program was excellent. The ship, considering its age, was in good condition. All ports were made on time. The ship rode well and was very quiet. So much for the good stuff: Now for the negatives. It might be best if I relate them in bullet form. 1. The biggest problem was the packs of unsupervised unruly, discourteous pre-teen and early teens running around the ship at all hours. Not only were they a distraction, they also provided a considerable safety risk to anyone caught on the stairs when they came by. Apparently the parents were too busy in the casino, in the bars or at the mostly immature entertainment venues. The ship security seemed to care little about the problem. 2. The dining room food was at best mediocre. Selections were slim, entrees poorly presented, and not particularly tasty. All soups, whether hot or cold, arrived tepid.(slow service). The lobster was inedible. To be fair, the red meat selections, though usually overdone, were pretty good. The buffet in the Tiffany was particularly unappetizing. The highly touted pizza was suitable for only the undiscriminating palate of our seven year old grandson. 3. The stateroom was barely big enough to fit the connected twin beds. Extra seating was either the vanity stool or one small chair. To gain access to the window one had to climb over the bed. Storage space was adequate. The bathroom was about the only good thing about this cabin. 4. There was no entertainment suitable for mature, (not adult, which on this boat was quite immature) people. Such as they were, shows and deck activities were geared to the very young passengers. There were no evening dance venues available for anyone except the under thirty hard of hearing. 5."Here's your hat, what's your hurry?" By Thursday evening our steward was stocking the cabin with linens and supplies for the next cruise stuffed above the TV. This was not only insulting, it was also a significant fire hazard. Suffice it to say, there will be no Carnival cruises in our future. I recommend that any person over the age of thirty be very careful about choosing this cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date June 2005
We had a very nice time on the Elation but I have had four cruises with the Princess ships before this one with Carnival. Princess ships are so much better, I will not cruise with Carnival again. The service, the FOOD, and the stateroom ... Read More
We had a very nice time on the Elation but I have had four cruises with the Princess ships before this one with Carnival. Princess ships are so much better, I will not cruise with Carnival again. The service, the FOOD, and the stateroom was much better on the Princess Cruise Line. For example, we got a full suite on Carnival, I got a mini-suite on the Princess but it was a better stateroom than the full suite on the Carnival. I have had a suite with Princess, which you had flowers in your room, fresh fruit everyday, appetizers served every afternoon, a stocked wet bar. All these things were included. With Carnival none of this was given, they placed Cokes in your room but for $2.50. The buffet dining was not good at all, selection was very poor. The times I was with Princess the buffet was excellent with multiple choices. We had our 2 grandchildren with us and the children's program was excellent with Carnival. There were only 2 laundries on the whole Carnival Elation for over 2000 people. Every Princess ship I went on has a laundry mat on very floor with a place to sit when doing clothes. I live close to Galveston where Carnival has ships leaving but I will fly from now on to a port to go with Princess. One last thing, there were no differences in the prices, I paid the same for Carnival cruise as with Princess. Read Less
Sail Date June 2005
We are a group of 6 (Grandparents, Daughter & Son-in-Law, grandsons). Galveston is a lovely port, enjoyed that. Carnival has embarkation and disembarkation figured out it is nice. Elation is a nice ship, easy to get around, clean. ... Read More
We are a group of 6 (Grandparents, Daughter & Son-in-Law, grandsons). Galveston is a lovely port, enjoyed that. Carnival has embarkation and disembarkation figured out it is nice. Elation is a nice ship, easy to get around, clean. Our cruise price was close to many 7 day cruises from other lines in this category. Steward service was good, average. Personnel aboard was generally friendly and helpful. We have cruised 15 times and the formal dining experience was awful. We tried it twice and gave up. They put us in the middle of a cluster of tables of 8, we were 6, and it was so crowded, I could have grabbed a napkin from the lap of someone at the other table! My general impression was help is cut in numbers and personnel on the ship are overworked. Tiffany's food was average. Hamburgers were average. Pizza was average. Our stateroom was nice, great storage, great bathroom, nice feature was beds could be apart or joined together. The pools were nice and enjoyed by all. We would have liked an area a bit away from the busy area in the shade, but that was hard to find. they had many no smoking areas, that was nice. The heads of kids was a problem, they were very loud in stairways and down hallways at all times of the night. Our grandchildren loved Camp Carnival. They were constantly entertained. We enjoyed a nice beach at Progresso. But be prepared for many visits from locals trying to sell their wares. In Cozumel we visited Paradise beach, it was fun and comfortable. Keep in mind you can taxi to any beach in Cozumel, many are available at the port. We took a ship tour to Rendezvous Caye in Belize, the advantage was you could go directly from the ship. We snorkeled and loved it. My favorite days at sea were so nice, calm seas, cool breezes. Overall, don't expect 5 star service or food, but our grandkids had a 5 star experience for a reasonable price, guess we got what we paid for....but I have had better food and dining for the same price per day on other lines. Read Less
Sail Date June 2005
Carnival Ecstasy 05-12-05 through 05-16-05 Well, I have now been on a more modern vessel than my last Carnival cruise. I went into this one with an open mind as to what Carnival had to offer over other cruise lines I have been on in the ... Read More
Carnival Ecstasy 05-12-05 through 05-16-05 Well, I have now been on a more modern vessel than my last Carnival cruise. I went into this one with an open mind as to what Carnival had to offer over other cruise lines I have been on in the last few years. I will qualify this by saying I was a chaperone for band students on this trip and was not allowed to drink and had a midnight curfew. With that said, on to the review. Embarkation Embarkation for this trip was through the Port of Galveston, Texas. Our group arrived and we were hustled along through the boarding process. I would comment that the various personnel behind the counter were apparently working from different playbooks when it came to who was authorized to charge to a room card and what the initials meant next to each of their names. Our lady said that I had to initial each person in my room's name, otherwise they WOULD NOT be able to charge and this would be entered into the computer. The lady right next to us, waiting on another chaperone in our group, said that if the chaperone had to initial next to their names or they WOULD be able to charge on their room card. She did it one-way and I did it the other way. Once we were on board, we both checked and found out that ALL of the cards were ACTIVE to charge on our room's accounts. Thus, if you do not want other persons in your room to charge on your account, check with the purser's desk once you board. The walk up the companionway to get to the Ecstasy was all right. If you are handicapped in any way make sure you make it known at curb side so that you can get some assistance boarding. We stopped for the mandatory boarding photo. Went up another passageway to the Boarding ID photo and whisked right on in to the ship. When we actually boarded the vessel, it was nice having the elevators in the main lobby working and not being occupied by the crew as they were moving luggage. We went to our rooms and checked them out. Rooms and arrival of luggage Our room was M92 and it was advertised as being 185 square feet of space. I was looking forward to the extra footage over the 154 and 172 sq. foot rooms I had been in on other vessels, but there was no real difference. Inside staterooms are inside staterooms. There was no real size difference at all. The room safe was a key operated safe. You had to get a key from your room steward. The keys were kept in a closet near the rooms. You had to turn in your key the last night onboard. Our luggage arrived faster than any other cruise line I have been on, bar none. There was plenty of closet space and shelves for clothes. The bathroom was average. The shower stall was longer than some I have been in on other lines. The showerhead was workable for a 6'4" person. Onboard Day 1 This was my 13th cruise. Thus, I had a lot of other trips with which to compare this cruise. We began the usual get familiar with the ship and the location of bars, theaters, pools, grills, and casino. Shortly before departure there was the mandatory "life jacket" drill. We started in the forward lounge and were then escorted to our boat stations. This drill took a bit longer than others I have been on. I do not know if it was a different type of inspection for the ship or if this is normal for Carnival. I have sailed from Galveston on the Rhapsody of the Seas and their drill did not take that long. With the "life jacket" drill over, we began to relax a bit and watched the vessel leave the confines of Galveston. It was an easy journey out of the port and we were soon underway and outside the breakwater. The real cruise had begun. We hung out on deck until shortly before dinner and then made our way to first seating dinner (supper to those of us down South). We were seated at table 102 in the Wind Star dining room. It was set up for ten (10) and was by the "kitchen" and a window. Lamine was our waiter and Victor was the assistant waiter. Both did an excellent job with our table of nine new cruisers and me. Once I had told Victor that I was an ice tea drinker, I never ran out. The meals were average cruise ship fare. The appetizers were well received and tasty. The salads were somewhat plain. There was no "Caesar" salad on request as there usually is on any other vessel. The filet was cooked correctly and was tender. The various fish dishes were tasty, according to my table companions. The desserts were somewhat uninspired and bland. The coffee was good. We finished with plenty of time to talk and we were not rushed in any way. Day 1 Main Show -- The Blue Sapphire Lounge was not well situated for the shows. It was more of a flat lounge area with no "theater" style seating on an incline. The stage was large. The entertainment was good, but nothing spectacular or out of the ordinary. The dancers were energetic and the singers were adequate (any one of the entertainers could dance or sing me under the table, but that is the way it should be). The band was good. The Carnival mascot (their smokestack) appearing during the opening show was "LAME". At least we did not have to listen to the normal boring cruise jokes. The comedian was average and not really exciting or overly entertaining. Lounges I did not make many of the lounges on day one. There was salsa music going on in one, I believe it was Stripes. There was rock and modern menu items going on in another (Chinatown). I avoided the Starlight Lounge with its Karaoke show as the Karaoke sounded like someone skinning a live cat. The casino was active and there was plenty of room for anyone to play. There were several other lounges, but I did not visit them. Meals outside of the main dining rooms The Panorama Bar & Grill is the main area to "graze" or eat outside of the formal dining rooms. It had buffets, omelets to order, waffles, pancakes, and normal breakfast staples. In the rear of the room is the pizzeria and deli. There was almost always someone at the deli. Since I had to turn in relatively early, I did not check the closing time for the deli. I do know that it was open at 12:30 a.m. There was a Mexican food buffet one night. It was a decent Mexican food buffet. There were NO beans in the taco meat. Way to go. The enchiladas, sopapillas, chili rejenos, and Mexican rice and beans were good. The staff for this meal was very friendly. Day 2 AT SEA I was up before my charges. I left the room at about 7:30 a.m. I headed for formal breakfast in the Wind Song dining room. My mission was to get eggs Benedict. To me, this is the telling meal for a breakfast dish on a cruise. I was disappointed. The eggs were overcooked. They were poached hard. There were no runny yellows in the eggs. That mixes so well with the Hollandaise sauce if it is done right. Oh well, I presume they are trying to avoid E. coli or salmonella. My table companions were from San Antonio and Fredericksburg, Texas. We had a good chat. It was their first and second cruises. I holed up on the Promenade Deck and began listening to a book. I drifted in and out of the book, watching people walking by and talking to some of the kids in our group. After a while, I moseyed up to the Lido Deck and talked to the "Chaperone on Duty" and took in the sights. The pool was in full use. The ping-pong tables were alive. People were coming and going from the Panorama Bar & Grill and the outside snack bar was doing a lively business. Sunbathers were everywhere. I was relaxing in the breeze and the shade sipping on a Mr. Pibb (sorry no Dr. Pepper). A group of us went to formal lunch. It was again in the Wind Song dining room. It was good. The selection appeared to be in line with most other cruise ships for lunch. The afternoon was spent lounging around listening to my book and just being lazy. I went on "Chaperone Duty" in the mid afternoon and stayed in the shade. We observed that a few people were already getting "sun roasted" by not using sunscreen. They would feel it later. This was formal dinner night. We had an enjoyable time sitting with our group. Lobster tails and steak were the fare of the day for me. The tails were typical "Caribbean spiny lobster". They were tasty and the steak was good. The appetizers were good. However, again dessert was a disappointment. Nothing was "succulent or really taste stimulating. You expect the desserts to be real closers on a cruise ship and for the second night in a row, it was bland. Main Show The main show was better tonight. It involved a spin-off on the Broadway show "The Wiz", but they just named it "Oz". There were other numbers from other shows and it was entertaining. Again, I have seen much better on other cruise lines, but it was worth watching. Lounges After the show, we roamed the onboard shops and then headed to the lounges to check out the music. The kids were having fun and were found almost everywhere. They were "banned" by us from the Promenade Deck Lounges and Casino. They could go to Spirals Club and the Video arcade on the Promenade Deck. The Explorer's Club (library) and the Neon Lounge seemed to be fun spots for them as well. Several of them listened almost daily to the musicians on the Empress Deck in the Grand Atrium. We visited by the pool and then went to the Panorama Bar & Grill for before bed snacks and drinks. With Cozumel being tomorrow's main feature, we hit the room and got to sleep. Day 3 Arrival in Cozumel When you are traveling with high school kids, don't expect to sleep late. They want to, but I figured that when I woke up in the morning, get dressed and get out of the room and leave them a wakeup call. I went up to the forward observation platform and watched the sun coming up and the flying fish lead the ship into Cozumel. It was a relaxing start to the day. I headed to formal breakfast once again. I had to try the eggs Benedict one more time. They were still overcooked. I met some people from Dallas and Houston at breakfast. One of the people there knew me by name. I was somewhat taken aback. She told me that she was a young man's mother who was friends with my youngest brother. You may meet someone you know; so don't believe that about never seeing them again. We all talked about cruising and the enjoyment of it all. These were first time cruisers as well. I got my charges up. I sent them off to eat breakfast. At about 9:00 a.m. we prepared to disembark in Cozumel. This was the most messed up disembarkation that I have ever been a part. The stairways were crowded from the Riviera Deck back up to the Atlantic Deck at the mid ship stairs. The down elevators were all packed. So, we went up in the next elevator and then rode it back down. The situation was cured and we got off the ship five to ten minutes ahead of our companions. We gathered up at dockside and then were checked off. We caught our taxi and went to Mr. Sancho's beach. It was a nice beach. The beach was clean, the water gorgeous, and the attendants were courteous and helpful. They had a sand volleyball court. The tables, umbrellas and chairs were free. We purchased drinks from them. A Coca Cola was $2.00. A few people order light meals. We stayed there for about three and a half hours and then headed back to the ship. The kids did some light shopping in the "curio mall" and then we re boarded and ate a late lunch. I went back to the Empress Deck and lounged while listening to my book and watching people go by. The ship's departure that afternoon was interesting in that a sister ship the Sensation was also in port. The ships went through their departure horn sounding and replies as we departed. Shortly the beautiful azure water of Cozumel gave way to the deep blue of the depths. Dinner that evening was below average. The tenderloin I had was anything but tender. I requested a different entree. It was a chicken course and it was adequate, but it was not what I wanted. Other diners at my table had the tenderloin and they said theirs was "tender". I had Lamine bring me another tenderloin for another go at it, but it was tough as well. I left it there. I had read the menu in the hallway and saw several desserts that looked promising. The waiters did not take our dessert order, but instead brought everyone a Grand Marnier Souffle. It had vanilla sauce and was all right, but it had too much of an egg taste to it. One out of eight kids ate it and thought it was good. The rest took a bite of it and then asked for ice cream. I asked for the chocolate cake. It was plain and uninspired. A scoop of vanilla ice cream helped. The kids had a free evening. Some spent time on deck playing shuffleboard, ping-pong, talking to each other, watching the stars, playing cards, and what not. I relieved one of our nighttime chaperones and let them go to the show. I was told that it was a western themed show and was the best of the week. I was glad they got to go, as I am not a country music aficionado. There was also a scaled down version of the grand buffet in the Wind Star dining room tonight. The food at it was somewhat bland and lacking quality and taste. The presentations were interesting, but not awe inspiring. I think those days are gone on most cruises. We snacked a little and then headed for bed. Day 4 AT SEA I let the kids sleep until they wanted to get up. I got up at 7:00 a.m. and headed up to the main deck. I ran across my wife. She was chaperoning in a different room. We got five chaperones together and went to breakfast in the Wind Song dining room. This was the last chance for eggs Benedict done the right way. They were oh so close, but still overcooked more than I would have liked. I had to switch off to the French toast. It was good. I headed back to my nook on the Empress Deck and continued my book. Several of the kids came by and thought that they were catching me sleeping (I rest with my eyes closed) and as they would ease up to “surprise me”, they would stop suddenly as my eyes open looking directly at them. That got to be a game as the day went on. Lunch came and went. Good soup and an average club sandwich. The afternoon was spent around the pool deck watching the kids play. I headed to my room to pack and get my stuff out of the way before night and dinner. We cut the kids loose to play and be kids. Some of the chaperones headed to Chinatown Lounge to dance and listen to old time rock and roll. It was supposed to be disco, but they never got there. This was no real loss. We ended the night here and headed to bed. My charges took my advice and had their bags packed and placed in the hallway to be picked up. I just topped my bags off and put them in the closet and carried them off the next day. Day 5 arrival at Galveston I was up before the sun. I got dressed and headed up to the observation deck to take pictures as we approached Galveston. There weren’t many people up with me. After taking some pictures, I went to breakfast with my wife and several of the chaperones in the Panorama Bar & Grill. I had a continental breakfast and then headed to my room to roust my charges out of the room and make sure they had their belongings. We went to the Blue Sapphire Lounge to wait for our color to be called. Being that we did not have flights departing, we waited until almost 10:45 a.m. before we were called to disembark. You do not want to be RED. Leaving the ship was easy and took a few minutes to gather up the kids’ luggage and head for the curbside to await our buses. There were no problems with customs on departure. General comments For most of our group this was a first time cruise. There were a number of shortcomings on the cruise that were not handled well by the Ecstasy Staff. There was supposed to be a trivia contest. Several of the kids went to play and no one from the ship showed up to hold the contest. There was supposed to be a shuffleboard contest. Again, no one from the Ecstasy Staff showed up to run the contest and several of the kids were again disappointed. This happened at a few more events and the kids were disappointed that the games did not come off. There were no cards in the card room. You had to bring your own or buy two decks from the gift shop at $6.50. There was a showing in the Explorer’s Lounge of some artwork by the staff of Park West Galleries. When I started to enter, I was told that the lounge was being used by them to show off their art and that I had to wait to enter. That was too bad. I would have liked to see what they had on this trip for sale later that day. I usually attend at least one art auction a trip. He was somewhat surprised when I was the only person to identify a Rembrandt that none of his “guests” could tell him who the artist was in their conversation at the close of the showing. I have purchased from them on RCI and Princess, but after this rude treatment, I will reserve my funds for someone who wants my business. They tend to be full of themselves and push what they want to get rid of at the time. I am sure that other cruise lines are now doing it, but you should not be charging your passengers for cookies that are made in the galley. They should be given to them. The staff of the photo shop was the most discourteous group that I have come across on any ship as to an entire section group. I had asked about some photos that had been placed on the board several days in a row of my daughter and wife. I was actually told to come back when I had spare time. I was there at 2:00 p.m. in the afternoon. That seemed like spare time to me. I was told that they did not know what the person looked like in the picture that I was searching for even though I pulled three pictures to show them the sequence numbers that were appropriate for the shot (one on either side), a group picture with the person in it, and a portrait of the person. I was told to come back the next day, as more photos would be posted (although I had already been told by another staff member that that sequence was all up on the board). I was told that they would have to check on it and if I could, get with them on the Monday we arrived in port and they would check on them. This was all unacceptable. I will say that one young lady in the photography staff did not fit into this mold. She was the exception and I believe her name was Gillian. She was courteous, interested in resolving and fixing my problem (lost photos), and she came through on her promise to find them and have them waiting for me. Thank you, Gillian. I did note your service and courtesy in my comment card to Carnival. There were also other positives that occurred as well. The purser’s staff was courteous and prompt in their dealings. The bar staffs were all friendly. Our room steward was prompt and efficient. As mentioned above, Lamine and Victor did a great job in the formal dining room. The wait staff in the Wind Song that I dealt with at breakfast and lunch was courteous and friendly. The “golf pro” went out of his way to make several of our kids feel good with his friendliness and helpfulness. They were up by his area every day to play shuffleboard and he made it a point to have the pucks and sticks present for them when they arrived. He talked to them and made them feel at ease on the ship. I believe he was from Canada. The pizza was as good as any cruise line I have eaten pizza on in thirteen cruises. The hamburgers were first rate. If I did not have other cruise experiences with which to gauge this cruise, I would have very little to comment about except for personnel issues (good and bad). Please don’t get me wrong I had a good time. However, I have sailed on NCL, (RCCL, RCL, and RCI), Celebrity, Princess, and Carnival and I would not purposefully sail on a Carnival Cruise Line ship again. They are good for the money you are spending, but I would rather spend a little more and go with a cruise line such as Royal Caribbean. There were limited activities for everyone on board compared to other cruise lines I have sailed on. Our wait staff was good and this comment is not aimed at them. The overall dining experience and the food was not as high in quality, choice, and taste. The menu choices and overall quality of the meals were not up to par with other cruise lines. There also was not as much room to sit on the Promenade Deck and relax. The computers should be moved to a Media Room that would offer some privacy to users if they need to conduct business while on the ship. I did, but I was not able to do so due to the openness of the computer screens and the ability of others to watch what you were doing. I think the main draw for our group on this cruise was the location of the ship compared to our homes and the length of the cruise. I am looking forward to our family cruise in July 2005 on the Explorer of the Seas. Woo!!! Hoo!!!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2005
This was the first cruise my wife and I took, and I suppose we were victims of hype. We experienced many positives and some negatives, which I had never heard expressed by cruising fans. It started with leaving our luggage basically ... Read More
This was the first cruise my wife and I took, and I suppose we were victims of hype. We experienced many positives and some negatives, which I had never heard expressed by cruising fans. It started with leaving our luggage basically unattended in the care of strangers; Carnival employees who seemed to pay little attention as was proven by the fact that we walked away then came back and rummaged thru our luggage about 10 minutes later. We were not questioned. Then the disorganize check-in process where the nice lady behind the counter snapped at me when I asked if she was sure our luggage would actually get to our room since she changed our cabin assignment. We actually got a much nicer accommodation than we had paid for and that was wonderful, but sure enough our luggage was left in the hall outside our original cabin. (Again this is a security thing since my wife's jewelry, my Minolta and all our other stuff was there.) During the cruise I was amazed with how friendly most of the ship staff was. Especially the Dining room staff. Restaurants? The food however tended to be fatty and greasy, and when it was a fish entree, extremely fishy. I also noticed that the things from dinner tended to be recycled in "Tiffany's" the next day. I found that the times for breakfast and lunch in the main dining room was rather rigid and limited, only 1 of which was available for those meals. They only used both Dining rooms for the Dinner meals. We wound up eating hamburgers and french fries far to often for only a week long vacation. Breakfasts were an even worse experience in "Tiffany's". The juices tend to taste like someone routinely added an extra quart of water to the mix. Speaking of mixes. The pancakes tasted like they were made from "Jiffy" pancake mix. "Pizza" was a largish disappointment also. Pizza Hut could give them lessons. All in all on a scale of 1-10? I would rate the food quality at about 4. Bars. We didn't count them but about half of them were never "staffed" at anytime during the cruise that we could detect. They looked nicely appointed, but no one was behind the counters. Since the only drinks which were 'included' were the ones in "Tiffany's" and since our cabin was at the other end of the ship, we consumed a lot of alcohol. Which they charge a lot for and the fancy 'drink of the day' are weak so we were not drunk but my bar bill definitely reflected the process of encouraging the cruiser to drink from the bars. Pictures. Ok I did get a few very nice pictures of me and my spouse, but these people obviously make a LOT of money on pictures. Be prepared to spend about 16 bucks a shot on pictures. And they probably will try to take about 7 pictures of you per day. Generally? If you had a special one you want try to remember exactly what you were wearing because you can spend hours trying to pick out YOUR picture from the literally thousands on display. 2000 guests or so times 7, and they might not all get there the next day, it might be 2 days before they show up. Activities. Ok this really got to us. In your cabin every morning is a little newspaper with tomorrow's activities on it. But MOST of the activities tend to be clumped so they overlap rather than spread out so you can be entertained most of the day or night. And not much happens early in the day, or late at night. I thought cruises were supposed to be jumping after dark. Dancing was basically nonexistent except mid day by the poolside to calypso music play too loud. So much for all those cute costumes and shoes my wife packed to go dancing in. Several activities got mentioned as "happening the next day" but were not listed in the paper, and some never came off at all. But even more amazing was when we asked about something that was supposed to happen at the Purser's Desk and the got out the little paper and checked it. DOH! They had no idea what was happening on the ship? Oh and did I mention that they LOVE bingo? BORING! Hot tubs? They had several to use, but not after 10 pm!?! I mean hey! The kids and teenagers finally got to bed and then we headed for the hot tubs and found them covered! Art at sea. Ok this was actually very enjoyable and we did buy some. I mean they put out some impressive stuff. Rockwell, Dali, and other big name stuff at reasonable prices. Excursions. Ok We had a really great time at Chichen Itsa, great tour money well spent. Be prepared to be mobbed by Mayan people who are all trying to sell you the same thing. They will haggle, but they will also nag, and there were hundreds of them. Sort of threw a damper on this. You will feel sorry for them. Especially the old woman selling hand embroidered handkerchiefs. This is the only income she has, buy one for god's sake! As for the rest of them if something catches your eye? Buy it, it is cheaper there than in the little store the bus stops at. Treat it like any bazaar anywhere, stop and look at some things then move on. Cozumel was GREAT for shopping! The Snorkeling sailboat was fun but I really expected more than a half hour of snorkeling and an hour on the beach for 50 bucks a head. Be aware that almost all excursions cost more in Belize though. Debarkation at the end of the cruise was a fiasco. But by then they already got all the money they are getting from you, and want to get the next group on, don't you think they could manage to make it easier on people to leave? Oh and did I mention that once again the standard method of leaving the ship involves leaving your luggage to be picked up in the parking lot, now loaded not only with the things you brought, but the things you bought along the way. No thanks we took ours with us! All in all I would say that this was a memorable experience, and very different from other vacations we have done, but if this is Carnival? Next time I will take the advice of some of the people we met on the ship and go Celebrity, HAL, or Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date May 2005
Our impression of this, our 3rd Carnival cruise, is that Carnival has decided to mass market cruises. In fact, their stated goal is to have 5 million cruisers per year. The only problem with this goal is that Carnival seems to have lowered ... Read More
Our impression of this, our 3rd Carnival cruise, is that Carnival has decided to mass market cruises. In fact, their stated goal is to have 5 million cruisers per year. The only problem with this goal is that Carnival seems to have lowered their standards and quality of service to keep prices low so as to appeal to this "mass market." The Elation is a fine-looking ship, better than many ships we have taken. However, the food was, at best, mediocre. We are hardly difficult to please, but lunch was so bad that most of the days we found ourselves eating hamburgers on the Lido deck instead of the buffet. When we did try the offerings on the buffet, the food was cold - apparently the food warmers were not working properly. The dinners were also not up to the level of past cruises. Steaks were tough, lobster was overcooked, and food selection appeared to be more limited than in the past. Service was also disappointing. Cabin stewards are readily available only in the morning and for the evening bed turndown. In the past, stewards seemed to always be cleaning cabins, meeting cruisers' needs, etc. Now, if one is not up and about when they are cleaning cabins, the cabin does not get cleaned. Cabin stewards do have a pager number, but we received no reply at all to repeated pages. It appears Carnival has decreased the number of stewards, thus increasing the workload of those remaining. The result is lower costs for Carnival and less service for the customer. The itinerary was fine. Cozumel offers, among other attractions, magnificent snorkeling, Progresso (and Merida) are interesting, and Belize offers tours to the rain forest and a baboon sanctuary. We enjoyed our times in all three ports, but some of those we met onboard did complain about the cave tubing - apparently the water in the river was too low for much enjoyment. Will we use Carnival again for a family vacation? Probably not. Vacations are important to us and we will pay the few extra dollars for a much more enjoyable cruise experience. Of our 6 cruises, this was probably overall the worst food, and certainly the worse service. The net result? The most disappointing cruise we have taken. Read Less
Sail Date May 2005
We left for our cruise on Jan 29 2005, my wife my two sons and me. We flew from Vancouver B.C., to Houston, TX, via Phoenix on America West Airlines. It was a good quick flight at a reasonable price but ill pack a lunch next time (the ... Read More
We left for our cruise on Jan 29 2005, my wife my two sons and me. We flew from Vancouver B.C., to Houston, TX, via Phoenix on America West Airlines. It was a good quick flight at a reasonable price but ill pack a lunch next time (the peanuts just don't hold you over). We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express by the airport -- great room at an awesome price. I highly recommend it. The next day we had arranged for a shuttle to pick us up at our hotel to take us to Galveston. We used Texas Shuttle Service (owned and operated by L.J. Cromier). L.J. gave us a short tour of downtown Houston before dropping us of at the pier. Embarkation: This was the quickest I've ever had getting on a cruise. Being non-U.S. citizens our line was very short and we pretty well just walked right on. I think the picture-taking took longer than the paperwork. The boat: My first impression of the Elation was good. When you first walk in you are in an eight story grand atrium -- the most impressive I've seen. Our cabin was fine, nothing fancy and more room then we've had on other boats (Royal Caribbean for example). We had a few minor problems with our cabin (a picture had fallen off the wall) and our cabin steward took care of it right away. I didn't really like the layout of the boat. It seemed like we were always having to walk past the casino and the bars that allowed smoking. The shops were great with very helpful staff. Dining: We had requested an early seating and when we got on the boat it was changed to the late seating so I had to stand in a line for 90 minutes to see the maitre d' and we were put on a waiting list. On the second night we got changed to the early seating. Our waiter and assistant waiter were good at taking care of all our dining needs. Our assistant waiter, Valentina (from Bulgaria), was very good with the kids. The food was good but not great. I had to keep remembering the great deal I got on the cruise, then the food tasted a little better. Entertainment: We were not impressed with the entertainment. We actually had to walk out on one of the comedians making ethnic jokes. The ports: Definitely the highlight of the trip we didn't get any excursions through the boat. Progresso: We went the Mayan ruins, Dzibilchaltun, and then we shopped around in Progresso. Total cost for the day minus shopping $120 and that included a private guide at the ruins and taxi rides. Cozumel: We went to Chankanaab Marine Park where we snorkeled and my wife and boys swam with the dolphins -- total cost $380. Belize: We took a tender boat from the ship to the city and walked over to the marine terminal and took a water taxi out to a little island called Caye Calker. It was very nice and easy going. We had lunch there and did a bit of snorkeling. We were too late to get a boat to take us out to the reef (the second biggest barrier reef in the world). The snorkeling around Caye Caulker wasn't that great, but the place was charming and well worth the trip over. We felt rushed there being as we had to get the 3 o'clock taxi back to the ship. Total cost for the day, $90 lunch included. Disembarkation: Again this went very smoothly. We carried our bags off the boat and we were off by 10:00 a.m. We had arranged with L.J. to pick us up by 10:30 am and he didn't pick us up till 11:30 a.m. His explanation for being late was that this time worked better for him. He then with us as his captive audience proceeded to tell us about the merits of U.S. foreign policy. He took phone calls in between his talk and ended up overbooked and dropped us off at the wrong terminal. If we didn't have a late flight we would have been screwed. All this being said, we did have a good time overall, but I think we'll try a different cruise line next time. Read Less
Sail Date January 2005
Hello, we went on a 5 day cruise from Galveston to Cozumel and Calica to celebrate our honeymoon. This was our very first cruise and I have to say that for the money it was a fairly good deal. When I booked the cruise they did ask if it ... Read More
Hello, we went on a 5 day cruise from Galveston to Cozumel and Calica to celebrate our honeymoon. This was our very first cruise and I have to say that for the money it was a fairly good deal. When I booked the cruise they did ask if it was to celebrate anything and I did tell them that it was our honeymoon. I expected to receive something in our stateroom for our honeymoon, but we didn't receive anything. We did have a song sung to us by our waiter at the formal dining night congratulating us on our marriage. This was fun. Our room was as expected for a cruise ship. We did not have a balcony or anything fancy. We did have a window which I loved. It was awesome to wake up and see the ocean every morning. Plus, we could see as we pulled into port. The food on the Ecstasy was a whole other story. First off, the buffet at the back of the ship, the Panorama Bar & Grill, was horrible. Just the thought of that room makes me sick. We did not have a good food experience on board. The cruise director kept making jokes about how all or your clothes would magically shrink when you got home, but my husband and I actually lost about 10 lbs each. We did order room service a lot, however, the room service menu never changed and got a little bland. I was under the impression that you could order the same meals that were being served in the dining room that night, but I was wrong. The activities on the ship were decent. We did attend the shows and the comedians. The pool was not big enough for all who wished to get in. I also think that every ship should have an adults only pool. The pool on the Ecstasy was filled with children every time I walked by. Our cabin steward was excellent. She had our room clean as soon as we stepped foot outside. We could go to the bar to get a Coke and come back only to find our bed made, towels replaced and a little towel animal saying hello. We chose to do the dolphin encounter in Cozumel and I highly recommend it. Although you don't actually get to swim with the dolphins, you do get to pet, touch and kiss them. They also take your picture kissing the dolphins and put it up for sale in the souvenir shop. The pictures are a bit pricey but I think they are well worth it. Unfortunately my picture was never put up on the wall for some reason. My husband's was though. In Calica we chose to do a shop/beach tour. The cost was $30 a person and I do not recommend this tour. They take you to several different areas on the island to shop, but they only give you about 30 minutes at each stop, so you have to rush through the stores and you really can't enjoy it. Then they take you to a private beach resort. This was a very nice beach. They have a little restaurant and bar. It was cloudy the day we went so we didn't get the whole effect. I do not recommend taking a cruise that stops in Calica. Your ports is a limestone mine and there isn't much around. You have to take a taxi or a excursion to get to anything worth while. Overall, our experience with The Carnival Ecstasy was average. For a first time cruise it was as expected and worth the price, however, now that I know what I am doing I am going to try something a little nicer. Read Less
Sail Date November 2004
This was my fourth cruise and my husband's sixth. He had been on Carnival before, but I had cruised on RC and Princess. We love to cruise. We had a pretty good time, but will never cruise on this ship or Carnival again. The ship is ... Read More
This was my fourth cruise and my husband's sixth. He had been on Carnival before, but I had cruised on RC and Princess. We love to cruise. We had a pretty good time, but will never cruise on this ship or Carnival again. The ship is dark - art deco decor - and nearly always seemed to be crowded and even smelled bad!! Lots of sloppy, dirty people in the cafeteria, which is on the stern of this ship, nearly any time of day or night. The food in the dining room, however, was good. And Carnival did a great job of finding maybe the only eight people on the ship that we had things in common with for our table mates -- and all of us at the dining table agreed on that. The walking track on the upper deck was so short it made me dizzy going around it. Our room was big and clean, and it was OK, in spite of the unattractive brown and orange (Halloween?) decor. I don't even remember a fitness center or exercise programs. The shows were mediocre, and the trivia was all individual and for winning you get a cheesy little plastic ship-on-a-stick instead of the cruise loyalty items on RC and Princess. Believe me, Carnival would get much better advertising out of a hat than a ship-on-a-stick!! If you want to wear a wet swimsuit to dinner and be around folks who smoke while breathing on an oxygen tank (strange but true!!), this is the ship for you. In fairness, it WAS a fun ship - lots of folks were having LOTS of fun and being really loud - which is fine. And the ports of call were the same W.C. ports whichever ship you sail, and they're fun! If you're a frequent cruiser who likes a pretty ship and a cleaner atmosphere, I'd opt for one of the RC or Princess ships from Galveston. The price is even similar. Read Less
Sail Date May 2004
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