329 Galveston Carnival Ecstasy Cruise Reviews

Well, just returned from our first....and last....Carnival cruise. Hated the Ecstasy, she was filthy, the service was appalling and the layout of the ship was terrible. There were muliticolored squares, triangles and every other ... Read More
Well, just returned from our first....and last....Carnival cruise. Hated the Ecstasy, she was filthy, the service was appalling and the layout of the ship was terrible. There were muliticolored squares, triangles and every other geometric shape imaginable all over the walls and hallways. I felt like I was being hypnotized or tortured all the time. It is obviouse she has been dry docked and the public areas had been redone with modern glass tile, etc. But leaving things such as dirty rag mops in plain sight in a courner of the public toilets(every day!) is just not acceptable to me. Several times we sat down in the bars at filthy tables where the sugar in cocktails was still dried on and visible and had to ask for someone to come and wipe them down. One had drippy ice cream all over it and I watched an employee who was "dusting" a desk nearby who never came over to wash off the table, although she was there for 15 minutes or more. I felt like I could not put a hand on anything without wanting to go get more sanitizer! The bedding was good but nothing like we are used to being RCCL regulars. When people say the cabins are bigger, they are talking about maybe 10 sq ft bigger because the layout is so bad the extra space is wasted on things like portman beds on the wall so close to your bed you bump your head on them. The quality of construction was really substandard on most things. I liked the effort that has been made to update this ship, but even compared with older ships we have been on with RCCL, there is no comparison. Food was pathetic. I do not understand how those on these boards always say they love Carnival, especially her food...ich! And the chocolate melting cake...O.K. one night, all raw dough the next. The only redeeming aspect was the pizza which was amazingly good and the crab cakes were tasty. Nothing else is even mentionable. Our port days were as expected, and Nachi Cocom in Cozumel did make the cruise worth going, but after 7 times there, we expect it. We stayed onboard in Progresso and it was somewhat enjoyable to be the only two of maybe 10 people in the pool (the only time we could get into it as it was always so over crowded) and the slide is fun, we enjoyed being the only ones on it for most of the day. But we really missed having our adults only RCCL solarium as Carnival's adult retreat only had scummy hot tubs, one of which was not working at all. No pool at all. We were determined to give Carnival a chance to wow us, but alas, there is no Wow in Carnival. This was the only cruise out of 13 taken that we could not wait to get home. The best day of our cruise...getting off! Even excusing Lee, the tropical storm that was coming in, we were 3 hours late, which is understandable, but it still took almost 2 hours to disembark once docked and we were "self assist"! Some things, small or otherwise can be overlooked, and we are half full people most of the time, but when there are so many shortcomings thrown together, you cannot overlook them all. All I can say is that it is obvious that Carnival cruisers, or at least most of them do not have anything to compare their cruises with. They should do the same and give other cruise lines a chance to prove what I am saying about this one. We got to know some wonderful cruisers though, who made it bearable for a while. Carnival...get your act together, I don't even think we will venture upon Magic when she arrives...too scared! We expect nothing from Carnival for this unenjoyable cruise, caveat emptor! But we have learned our lesson. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
My bff and I just got back from our cruise! We had the most relaxing time! Food was outstanding, rooms clean and staff wonderful! First the food...24 hours a day there is always food. You can order as much as you want in dining room or ... Read More
My bff and I just got back from our cruise! We had the most relaxing time! Food was outstanding, rooms clean and staff wonderful! First the food...24 hours a day there is always food. You can order as much as you want in dining room or can go to the grill for hamburgers and hot dogs. There is a Mongolian grill and rotisserie. Buffets, pizza and deli! I tried foods I would not have ordered in a restaurant such as, escargot, alligator, stuffed mushrooms and sushi! Deserts were great too! Our room was always clean! They came in twice a day morning and evening! The towel animals were great along with the chocolate every night! There is staff around every corner and everyone had a smile on their face! We were very impressed with this cruise! We did run into Tropical Storm Lee on our way home and the captain kept us very informed and the staff did have to rearrange some of the events but went very smooth for us! Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Carnival Ecstasy August 15, 2011 - August 20, 2011 Galveston - Progreso - Cozumel - Galveston This is our fourth cruise with Carnival (Ecstasy 2007, Fantasy 2008, & Conquest 2009). We also sailed on Voyager of the Seas in ... Read More
Carnival Ecstasy August 15, 2011 - August 20, 2011 Galveston - Progreso - Cozumel - Galveston This is our fourth cruise with Carnival (Ecstasy 2007, Fantasy 2008, & Conquest 2009). We also sailed on Voyager of the Seas in 2010. We are a party of 4, including 2 boys (7 & 9). Embarkation: This is our 4th departure from Galveston. I've learned that 11:30am is about the earliest general boarding starts. We only live ½ hour from the port so can fine tune our arrival time for minimal waiting. This cruise, we arrived at 11:20am. Thru Xray by 11:30am. At check-in station at 11:33am and saw the boarding of the early arrivers just starting. 11:38am had S&S card in hand and proceeded straight to the boarding line w/o having to sit down and wait. This longest wait was for the embarkation portrait which we have yet to buy so skipping it would have saved ample time. We set foot on the ship at 12 noon. I don't think we could have timed it any better to minimize the wait. I don't know if this timing will work for other sized ships and/or other ports but for Galveston with Ecstasy, Conquest, and Voyager, this will work great. I'll find out in a few months when we sail the Carnival Magic if arriving between 11-11:25am is still best... I packed 10 soda bottles and 1 wine bottle in my carry-on. The Xray technician pointed me to the table for detailed checking. The person here inspected each soda bottle for unopened cap and promptly waved us on. Since I've seen the question asked about bottled water as carry-on, I did observe a person with a small dolly pulling 2 cases of water and had no issue getting on. I can only assume they had 4+ members of their party to stay within the rules of a 12 pack per person. We headed straight for lunch on Lido. We were done by 1pm and tried to go to our state room to drop off carry-on but employee was at the elevators to ask that we wait. We visited the casino (closed) and Camp Carnival to fill out paper work for the kids. The time was very close to 1:30pm so we headed down the elevator closest to our room. There were other passengers waiting at our floor. The door to the hallways was still closed so everyone waited. At 1:30pm exact, a person took a peek behind the door and found no one on the other side so we all walked to our room. The stateroom attendant was quick to come by and introduced himself. Muster drill was different than what we had experienced in the past. We didn't have to drag the life jacket with us. It is probably safer to not make the stairs and hallways more crowded with those equipment. We had early seating for MDR as we always do. While we requested a table for 4, we were seated with 2 other families of 4 each. Only think I didn't like was that our long table which would normally seat 10 was crowded for 12. The Maitre'D probably chose our 3 families with all boys around the same age so it was a good thing. Both families were very nice with great conversations so no horror stories to share here. A few days before sailing I read about new MDR menus but ours were still the old one. Shrimp cocktail was still there every day and no ½ pound hamburger although I would have liked to try the burger since the reviews for it is usually awesome. After dinner, we went to the theater for the evening show. Great show as always. Day 2: At sea I enjoy sea days as you're not on tight schedules to get off the ship and rush to excursions, etc... We went to a trivia event. Kids went to Camp for a short time. Had leisurely lunch then played in the pool and water park. The small pool was quite packed but it was nice to cool off. Dinner was formal. Portrait times started at 5pm so we got dressed and took pictures at 8-10 settings...I lost count. We were early enough so didn't have line to wait if at all. By the time we were tired of posing, it was time for dinner. I had the lobster of course. This is the first cruise that our waiter didn't push multiple lobsters to me...even without my asking. Must be budget cuts...oh well. Day 3: Progreso This is our 2nd time in Progreso. Our kids are still too small to enjoy and appreciate the Mayan ruins so will do that excursion at a later year. I did recall $20 beach massage so headed straight to the beach. The prices vary. The market where the shuttle bus dropped us off wanted $35/hr so none for me there. The lady running the massage show at the beach wanted $25/hr. I counter offered $20 and was promptly accepted. My family was also allowed to use the beach chair and umbrella as part of my package which was nice. It wasn't the greatest massage I've ever had but what did you expect for $20. I've since heard others getting $15 so I overpaid ? After some light souvenir shopping, we headed back to enjoy the pool and water park. We must have missed the emergency drill all of the past time but heard on the speakers a call to "abandon ship". Not only did employees went to their life boat positions but they actually lowered several boats to the water and drove around in circles. Glad to know that those equipments get tested regularly. Our last cruise with Royal Caribbean, we enjoyed lots of trivia, Sudoku, etc...challenge and earned medals as well as all kinds of paraphernalia so was looking forward to "ship on a stick". 2 events mid day were no show by the entertainment staff. I was unhappy at making time to attend but employees did not so I complained to the Guest Services desk. I was pleasantly surprised to get a phone call from the CD that evening to apologize and some "ship on a stick" sent to our stateroom to make up for it. Very nice to see even little problems like these taken cared off instead of just ignored. Day 4: Cozumel We've been to Cozumel many times and have always taken a cab to Mr Sancho for a little beach time for the kids. This time we decided on an excursion and chose Passion Island by powered catamaran. It was 45 minutes transit each way and a 3 hour stay. Beach was immaculate with kayaks, paddle boat, sail boat, inflatable climbing and sliding toys. Also included was open bar for basic drinks and all day buffet. The mahi-mahi was awesome but they couldn't cook it fast enough as it was always out. Overall, the place was very nice. However, if you're budget conscious, you can book separately other all inclusive places for less. We were back at the pier by 2pm for a 4pm sailing. We had time to get back on the ship for a clean shower before heading back down for very quick shopping. There was no evening show except for dance lesson on stage and game show with passengers as contestants. The Deck Party with Mexican buffet was on this night. I still miss the formal midnight buffet but again...budget cuts. Day 5: at Sea Work up late and had another casual day at various events on the ship as well as pool and water park. We opted for the late debarkation so had to set our bag out between 6pm-12am. The evening show was another song/dance...awesome. Day 6: back in Galveston We were zone 14 and was called pretty much on schedule for a 10am exit. We didn't see this in the past but after picking up our luggage, there were 2 lines thru custom. A vary short line if you had a U.S. passport and a much much much longer lines if you were non-citizen or just had a birth certificate. Glad we always used passport. Areas of complaint: For a 5 day cruise, lunch on Lido was "American" for 3 of those days. In the past, it used to be of different ethnicity just about every day. Evening show had 2 days as entertainment from passengers, i.e. game shows and talent show. I would have liked more from the singer/dancer staff and/or magician and comedians, etc... Overall, we had already booked a holiday cruise on the new Carnival Magic when it arrives in Galveston. However, hearing that the Ecstasy was being relocated, we wanted one last cruise before it would be based far away and likely not be sailed by us again. It is unfortunate that signs of budget cuts were everywhere so it wasn't as nice of an experience as we've had on this ship in the past. We also noticed that they didn't provide us survey forms as in the past. We hear that they are going to electronic surveys to random guests thru email. This is just as well as my ratings would not have been "exceed expectations" in most instances. Looking forwards to a great trip on the Magic in a few months. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
We were so excited to be going on vacation on our first cruise with our 3 yr. old and 6 yr. old. However, as soon as we stepped on the ship we noticed the foul, musty smell and also noticed how ugly the carpet and interior was. Kind of ... Read More
We were so excited to be going on vacation on our first cruise with our 3 yr. old and 6 yr. old. However, as soon as we stepped on the ship we noticed the foul, musty smell and also noticed how ugly the carpet and interior was. Kind of surprising. But it was ok, there was lots of fun to be had. Who cares, we'll get used to the smell and just won't worry about the ugly interior. So we get to our room. No complaints about our room, in fact the bed was very comfortable, but our bathroom smelled like a port-o-potty. First thing we did was go eat some of the buffet food we heard so many good things about. It was nasty!!! Next we get ready to go swim. The pool was TINY and packed full of adults who were all drinking and 4'9" deep. Not exactly kid friendly. So we went upstairs to the slides. It was better up there, but my 3 yr. old could only play on one little slide. That was the only thing available for someone his age to play in/on. We did take advantage of Camp Carnival for the kids and they enjoyed that. But unfortunately there just wasn't much for all of us to do together. During our time on the ship, we ate dinner in the restaurant. It was ok but not great. It was much better than the buffet's though. The buffet was never good. When we stopped in Cozumel, we had a blast. It was beautiful there and the food was great. We wished that we had just spent our money to fly straight there and spent those days in Cozumel instead of on a smelly, crummy ship. All in all, we went expecting a Carnival and that's far from what we got! Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
This was my husbands and I second cruise,kids first. We were at the terminal by 11:30 and breezed right through security and on to the board. I don't know if I would go this early or not next time because nothing really opens until ... Read More
This was my husbands and I second cruise,kids first. We were at the terminal by 11:30 and breezed right through security and on to the board. I don't know if I would go this early or not next time because nothing really opens until after 1:30 including being able to go to your room. My husband on the other hand liked being there early. We parked at Galveston Park and Cruise right across the street in a secured enclosed parking garage for $40 for the week. Excellent location! Just walked our bags across the street and we were at the terminal.The food was average but didn't expect anything more. Our room steward and the housecleaning crew were very friendly. The guest services, bar staff and some of the dining crew were not as friendly. My 9 yr old complained some of the staff wasn't very friendly to kids.He went to Camp Carnival a few times for 9 - 11 year olds. He doesn't like to leave our side so we had to force him to begin with. He enjoyed the treasure hunt but said there was too many people in the room for a video game activity. He also wished there was more sport activities. Seems like there should have been more variety of activities and he also complained some of them were too juvenile. My 15 yr old loved the club for his age and he is on the shy quiet side. He met a new group of friends and a few night he didn't come back to the room until 2 or 3 in the a.m. He loved the independence the ship provided.We fell in love with Progresso...it was beautiful and the 2 story bus for $3 was a steal and a great way to see the city! The beach was clean and had a brand new sea wall. Next time would like to spend time at the restaurant on the beach that had a pool and playground for kids. You saw beach side massages everywhere! They were very friendly, offered my son the outdoor shower to wash his feet off because he was not happy about not getting the sand off his feet and has sensory issues. The manager also brought us 2 nice cold Cokes to the street while we were standing there. Felt very safe, saw police a few times. Cozumel was a rain out so we canceled our excursion but I was determined to go downtown so we bought rain parkas from Don Juans ( i had prepared and brought our own, but kids said they were cheap so we spent $5 a piece on the new) grabbed a cab and away we went. The boys complained about being wet and wanted to go back to the boat so we didn't stay long. After returning to the pier we ate lunch at Panchos, which we had eaten at the one downtown on a prior cruise, and of course still has the best food. Its pricey, about $65 dollars for 3 entrees, 2 alcohol drinks and 3 cokes.The shows were really good and cruise director and his fiddle was outstanding! The comedians were excellent.Overall had a great time and hope to return next year. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
First off don't let your expectations get too high. It is a vacation...relax and enjoy it. Embarkation was easier than I expected. Make sure to get a passport of some kind...the lines ARE shorter. Just follow the lines there are ... Read More
First off don't let your expectations get too high. It is a vacation...relax and enjoy it. Embarkation was easier than I expected. Make sure to get a passport of some kind...the lines ARE shorter. Just follow the lines there are people there to direct you and answer any questions you have. Keep your passport and your boarding pass in your hands until you get your sail & sign card. If you can use a credit card, it's faster and you don't have to go to the guests services desk when you first board the ship. That line was very long. You can change it at any time, they don't charge anything until the end of the cruise. You can go to guests services at any time to check your balance. Everything gets charged to your sail and sign card. Keep it with you at all times. If you like going to the casino, you use the card there also. Put your card in the slot machine, put in a pin number and then insert cash. Credits will be added to your card. You can cash in your credits at any time. Simple and very easy to use. If you like playing the tables you will use cash and recieve chips. We did buy the bottomless bubbles tag for our cards, this way you can have all the soda you want. It cost about 25$ per person. Realize that just because you have already paid a 10% gratuity for your cruise it doesn't mean that you shouldn't tip the people bringing your drinks. I tipped mine frequently and eventually didn't have to hunt down a waiter to bring me one they will look for you and bring your favorite drink to you automatically. A dollar goes a long way.There was alot of noise and confusion in the beginning. It is very unorganized and a bit overwhelming. Find a quiet place outside the ship somewhere where you can wait for people to get adjusted and then go to the Lido deck and grab a bite to eat. Yes there are lines, yes there are alot of people and yes you will adjust to it. If you are a smoker, there is limited places around the ship. Make sure you familiarize yourself with these places. They will be listed in the newsletter they place in your cabin at night. When all else fails, go to the casino. Also, the bathrooms were kinda hard to find. Make sure you know where there is one on all the main decks, Promenade and Lido for sure. Catch the shows, they are very enjoyable. Don't do Bingo...to much money for very few games...big dissapointment for me. We did some trivia and spent alot of time in the casino. Not very good payouts though so don't expect to get rich there. There are alot of things to do. Pick and choose the night before and leave some time to just relax and look at the water. Make sure to go as far forward on the ship just for the experience. It is very windy but you feel as though you are actually flying. Awesome. Alot of people hang out around the pool and there is only one which is very small and usually has alot of kids in it. If you want to lay out in the sun find a quieter place to do it than poolside. There are plenty of places around the ship.Enjoy the nightlife. There are clubs and a disco and of course Karaoke. Even if you don't want to sing it's fun to watch other people. You must get all dressed up for the formal night and take advantage of all the picture taking. The pictures are exspensive but very good quality. They were about 25$ per picture. Take alot and choose your favorites. I love ours. The atmosphere in the dining room was alot of fun....was the food great...NO but it was still worth going. Remember, the food is already paid for. You can order anything on the menu you want. I would suggest ordering two of every course. Two appetizers, Two main and Two desserts. No use wasting time. If you don't like any of it there's always the buffet.You can feel the ship rock some. When we left Cozumel the Captain was trying to outrun a storm and the rocking became really bad. Several people were sick but not too bad. I have a very sensative stomache and there were no problems for me. If it gets really rocky try to stay towards the middle of the ship. Not as much movement there. Don't go lay down...try to stay active it will take your mind off the movement.Cozumel was a dissapointment for me. We don't really care about getting in the water so there weren't any excursions we wanted to go on. We decided to just do some shopping. There aren't any beaches by where the ship docks. I'm not sure if there is any at all. You may have to ask someone on the ship for help there if you just want to relax on the beach. I did buy some jewelry and you can bargain with these people. Go back and forth between the shops even if they are affiliated with each other. There is a shopping specialist aboard the ship named Hila, she will help you with your purchase in making sure it's real and of the best quality for the money and she will do the haggling for you. Remember these few things...If you say something is pretty they are going to do their best to sell you that item wether you can afford it or not. Sometimes it's best to keep that thought to yourself. Stay with reputable shops. Don't go into those little side shop jewelers. They will try to sell you stuff that isn't real. If the price sounds too good to be true then it isn't true. If you don't care about that kind of stuff then by all means shop the little stores they are alot cheaper. Lastly, if they give you a rock bottom price and you still say no and they let you walk out the door, then thay have given you the absolute best price. No matter where you go all they will do is match that price. I guarantee that it is the best price you will get. But if it's still to high for you then let it go. Eat there if you want to. We didn't see anything exciting about eating there so we went back to the ship to eat. Nothing fantastic about Cozumel to me. The water is beautiful, just wish I could've put my feet in it. Once again if there are white sandy beaches out there I didn't see any and there was no information on where to go to see it. You will have to go out of your way to get information on this. By the way, get back to the boat early. We did and avoided a very long line and if you buy any alcohol or anything with a reference to a weapon (bought a leather whip for my step-son) expect to have it taken away. It's easy to get it back though.Debarkation was simple. We chose self-assist. Which means you take your bags off with you. If you can do this I think it is the easiest way. Just wait in your cabin till they call your deck number to unload. The people who clean your room will try to get you to leave it so they can get in there and get done. Again, tip your steward good. 20$ to ours and we weren't hassled at all. Other people were waiting in our room. So there it is and I hope it was helpful. I did enjoy it and we will go again. Next time we will go for longer so we will have time to rest and not feel like we are running to fill every minute. If you have any questions you can e-mail me and I will be happy to help.Relax and enjoy your vacation!!!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Booking: We booked online and never had a bit of trouble. We also booked out Excursions online and that too was seamless. We both ordered some surprises from Bon Voyage and the only issue we had there was not asking for an e-mail receipt ... Read More
Booking: We booked online and never had a bit of trouble. We also booked out Excursions online and that too was seamless. We both ordered some surprises from Bon Voyage and the only issue we had there was not asking for an e-mail receipt and not being able to "confirm" our orders. Being a Texas Port, our Drink Tickets got to us after we had our first drinks during departure. Documents: We never had a bit of trouble with documents at any time. The system was easy to use and everything printed very easily. We both have Passports and are glad we did (more later re: debarkation). We made copies of them for shore excursions and should have had them with us but forgot. Not an issue but could have been I guess. Excursions: We booked our Shore Excursions on Carnival's site and had a very trouble free experience. We may have paid a little extra but the convenience and peace of mind knowing that Carnival knew where we were and when we'd be back was worth it to us. The tickets were delivered to our stateroom the first night and everything worked just like clockwork.Packing: We over packed. There I admitted it. We each had a large rolling check bag, a small rolling carryon bag, and a HUGE purse or reasonable backpack. Too much. We both had clothes left over, tools and gadgets we did not use, Jackets we did not need, shoes we did not wear. We did bring a Laptop for downloading pics and budgeting and were glad. Transportation: We live in Nacogdoches, Texas (120 miles N. of Houston) and added a weekend in Galveston to our vacation so we could drive down and be in town all weekend before departure. In reading all the concerns about transfers from Houston Hobby and Intercontinental to Galveston, we feel very fortunate to be able to drive down. So my best advice would be to plan on staying the night before in Galveston and taking a shuttle or walking to the terminal and not trying to juggle arriving the day of departure.Lodging: Even though this is not a review of hotels, I must include; staying at the Harbor House almost next door to the terminal was nearly as nice as the cruise itself. We left our car in their gated parking lot for $20 and walked to the terminal on Monday morning in 10 min. The rooms all have harbor views and are all what I would call mini-suites. $119 - $199 is a little pricey but if you compare that to other hotels in Galveston, it is right in line. The Tremont House is also Downtown and in walking distance but has little parking. Many other hotels on the island have free parking and a free shuttle to the terminal.Parking: As I said, parking at the hotel and walking or taking a shuttle is the way to go but, all the other parking is right across Harborside Drive from the terminal and you can even walk to the terminal from some of them.Embarkation: Never, for a single step, once we reached the door of the terminal, were we ever out of site of a Carnival employee guiding us along the route to the check-in area and then onboard. The process was smooth, the lines were reasonable; the time it took was actually a little less than expected. We left the hotel on foot at 11 am and arrived at 11:10. We were onboard at 12:15. Not bad.Sail & Sign: There was some anxiety regarding how to fund our Sail & Sign Card. We got rid of all our credit cards a couple of years ago and use only cash and Debit Cards. Our regular checking / Debit Card is like everyone else's and contains just enough to pay the bills and day to day expenses, however, we have a Debit Card attached to another checking account linked to a separate savings account that we never use unless travelling. We estimated our Sail & Sign expenses then move TWICE that amount to the other checking account that card debits, so that it would cover any reserved amount and the actual charges. Then when the charges hit and the reserve is reversed, we move the remainder in the checking account back to savings. Worked like a charm.Cash: We used cash for all other expenses and split it up between us so that either of us was not carrying all of it at any one time. Cash in the ports will get you an extra discount sometimes.Ecstasy in General: What a nice ship. Ecstasy is the only Cruise Ship we have been on, and this is our second on her but I am somewhat familiar with commercial shipping and offshore facilities and this is a very nice "old" ship. She is even a little nicer now than in 2005 when we last sailed her. My only two "complaints" about the whole trip is, the window (port) in our Ocean-view Room could have been cleaned of caulk and smears on the outside and, the toilet tissue racks should be on the wall opposite the toilet rather than beside it so you could sit straight on the pot! She was spotless, up to date, and a joy to sail. We will miss her in Galveston even as we look forward to the Magic.Lido Buffet: As soon as we stepped on board we were invited to the Lunch Buffet on the Lido Deck and the feast had begun! They were ready and fully functional and the food was very good. The first thing we did after reading so much about it in the Forums is try the coffee. It was surprisingly good and turns out that it is the same as is served in the MDR and Room Service. The problem is that it sits sometimes and gets stale and overcooked. Stateroom: They said they'd let us in the stateroom corridors at 1:30 and they were done and right on time. The rooms are very nice, spotless, surprisingly roomy, 3 closets, 4 drawers, VERY comfortable bed and bedding, good lighting, nice size shower, flat screen TV, nice freebies, good body wash and shampoo on the shower wall, good towels, plenty of good pillows, adequate simple safe with 4 digit combination, ... Room Steward: She was fantastic. She was from Thailand and just as polite and nice as she was efficient. We never lacked for ice or towels, or service of any sort. We tipped her well on the last morning! She was worth it!Drill: We had the mandatory "Muster Drill" right on time at 3:30. It's nice that you no longer have to show up in your Life Jacket. We never did find out where our actual lifeboats were but fortunately, no icebergs were encountered in the Gulf and the "SS Stockholm" was far far away. Departure: Lines were cast and thrusters were engaged right on time at 4:00 while we were still at Muster. When we were released we went up on deck and bid farewell to Galveston from the Observation Deck right above the bridge. The weather was beautiful, although windy enough that DW "flashed" the upper deck (no beads please), the water in the ship channel was a lovely slime green but the seagulls, Brown Pelicans, and the Bottle Nose Dolphins seemed to love it and escorted us all the way to the Gulf. I am amazed how the water turns from brown to green to a lovely deep blue in just a few short miles even in the Gulf.MDR: WOW! Again after reading the Forums for weeks we were very pleasantly surprised at the quality, quantity, and presentation of the food and the level of service in the MDR. The whole experience was at the level of the very nicest restaurants on the mainland, maybe not the very finest in the world but what most folks would consider a very special evening out. The Appetizers were Spectacular, the Main Courses were a small step down the quality scale at Very Good, the Desserts were Sensational (The Warm Chocolate Melting Cake was everything it was touted to be), the Drink Service was Pretty Good (a little slow), and the Table Service was Outstanding. Our Head Waiter was from Nepal and was very attentive. You ask for hot sauce once and never have to ask again. We chose early dining because that is when we generally eat and wanted the experience of making closer friends with our tablemates than we might with Any Time Dining. It worked! Room Service: The selection is not huge but what we got, mainly morning coffee and Croissants was, right on time, hot or cold as indicated and always very good. The Croissants are buttery and melt in your mouth.Day 1 at Sea: Overnight, Monday, the seas built until we were running into a 50 kt headwind and 12 foot seas. There was a little movement but the stabilizers worked well and I saw no one sick. Not even DW, Jeanell, who is prone to be. She wore wrist bands and took Dramamine. No trouble! Due to the broken cloud cover the sunrise was really nice. Got up at 4:30 and had the deck to myself for a while. Later in the morning, the Serenity Deck was generally just that, SERENE! We could not go up on the Observation Deck due to a 65-70 kt wind over the deck but it was very nice everywhere else.Spa Carnival: DW had the Fire and Ice Manicure on Day 1 @ Sea and the Pedicure on Day 2 @ Sea and loved them both. They were a little pricey and came with some mild pressure to purchase Elimis stuff but all in all a very nice experience.Cruise Formal Night: This night was special in every way. All the folks were lovely, the staff was lively, the food was wonderful and ..... I even remembered how to tie a tie. DW was gorgeous in her Salsa Dress. We saw two teenagers in cut up jeans, tee shirts, and ball caps on sideways. The Maitre d' asked them to remove their hats or leave. They did so. Good for him!!Serenity: The Serenity Deck was just that SERENE. Generally it was anyway. We had one small teen invasion that was quickly repulsed, and one runaway Hot Tub that got to 115 deg before the boss intervened and had it fixed. I'm not sure the stern is the best place for it but I believe it is elsewhere on newer vessels in the fleet. Pretty much our favorite spot on the ship other than MDR.Progreso: We did not spend any time in Progreso proper. We went to Dzibilchaltun and viewed the ruins. Very informative, very organized, and did not take all day as a trip to Chichen Itza. It was hot and humid and we were pooped when we got back. We shopped a little at the terminal and went back on board. Wimps that we are. There were no other ships docked at one of the longest piers in the world. This was my choice of excursions.Cozumel: DW chose Snorkeling in Cozumel. Quite a surprise since she is a very weak swimmer; but it was wonderful. Antonio towed her and two other "terrapods" around behind a float so that all they had to do was breath and look. DW tipped him heavily. I thought she was going to kiss him! The shallow reef and beach area was destroyed by Hurricane Wilma, and has been extensively rebuilt. The coral is growing again, the artificial habitats are attracting fish and it is really amazing to see the progress. While she was being towed, I was able to dive on the reef in 12-20 feet of crystal clear water. We all saw thousands or multi colored fish, new coral, Stingrays, Star Fish, Sea Fans, ...While in Cozumel we did some serious shopping. With the help of Hila, the Shopping DIVA aboard Ecstasy, we were able to find a Ruby Pendant, we had saved (cash) for, that was perfect for DW. We also bought Vanilla, Hot Sauces, Tee Shirts, some costume jewelry, and coffee. Liquor was cheaper onboard so ... We docked at Playa Maya and it was actually a little nicer than downtown where we were in 2005. We shared the dock with Carnival Triumph (Coming to Galveston in the fall as our new 4-5 Day Cruise Ship) but since the area is so much larger than Progreso, it was not really any more crowded than Progreso. We took our S&S cards, our Driver's License, and cash ashore in a $4 watertight neck wallet and it was all we needed. We intended to take photocopies of our passports also and forgot.Day 2 at Sea: What can I say? Serenity, sea breezes, sun, a rain shower, good food, great companions, superior service, a beautiful ship; Friday at sea was magic. Dinner was my experimental evening. Escargot, Chateaubriand, Poached Pear. All fantastic!Fun Shops: The Fun Shops were just fine. A little small on Ecstasy, but just fine. Anything you might need you can get. I started a tradition; I am buying a watch on every cruise. I got a Citizen Echo-Drive Dress Watch for a very good 40% off retail, and a couple of "Box Watches" for gifts.Entertainment: The Comedy was good, the musicians were good and I'm sure the show was good, but again, as on our first cruise, we missed the show. Next time for sure. I wish they put it on more than one night per cruise. Maybe they do on a 7 day cruise?Debarkation: Beginning the night before, the instructions are plentiful, clear, and precise. WE packed up and had plenty room without taking out the extra god we brought. We attached out new Zone Tags and set them outside. They disappeared only to reappear in the terminal the next morning. We were in the third Zone after the Self Service folks; even so, we were off by 10:00 and walking to the car. No muss, no fuss, no hassle! We will try and pack better next time so as to qualify for the Self Service departure.Passports: Get a passport! If, for no other reason, the line in the terminal for customs is MUCH shorter (1/5) than the line for all other guests. It streamlines everything. Just get one!Port of Galveston: The "little" Port of Galveston is just fine and they do a very good job. They will have their work cut out for them to handle the Magic and the Triumph for Carnival, and a Princess ship, and NCL, and Disney but it can be done. There will be some growing pains but, as seamlessly as they handle things right now, my level of confidence is very high that by the summer of 2012, it will be ticking like a clock again.Summary: On a scale of 1-10, this cruise gets a 9.5 and our loyalty to Carnival as our preferred Cruise Line. I'm not saying we will not sail other lines but ... For example, we want to sail Hawaii in a couple of years. NCL bases a ship in Honolulu and you fly directly there and spend seven days in paradise. With Carnival and everyone else, you spend 12-15 days to visit Hawaii and still have to fly to the west coast unless you live there. Future Cruises: We will be booking a Seven Day Cruise out of Galveston aboard Carnival Magic for next summer. Then Hawaii, then Alaska, then .....Link to 200+ pics. Either Copy and Paste to you browser or right click and Open.https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/sredir?uname=112263849042548246386&target=ALBUM&id=5622561170080288449&authkey=Gv1sRgCLuoja6dj-jf8wE&feat=email Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
This is a great ship! I am sad it is going to Louisiana. Our room, cabin U1 on Upper Deck (6) was nice. The two beds pushed together held my hubby, me and my 10 year old daughter, and my hubby and I are really big. The bed was comfortable ... Read More
This is a great ship! I am sad it is going to Louisiana. Our room, cabin U1 on Upper Deck (6) was nice. The two beds pushed together held my hubby, me and my 10 year old daughter, and my hubby and I are really big. The bed was comfortable and our steward was Dana...he was amazing! He always talked to us by name, made sure we had everything we needed and was very nice. I loved all the towel animals we got...we had a monkey hanging from the a/c vent one night after I had mentioned I'd like one and my mom got a bat! It was too cute! My mom was in the stateroom next to me. My daughter loved our porthole. It was big enough for her to get up and sit in and look out the porthole. The bathroom smelt a little in ports but it was bearable. Our steward always made sure our room was clean though and bathroom too. The ship was surprisingly easy to get around and didn't really take that long to go from one side to the other. My daughter enjoyed Camp Carnival, when she decided to go. She spent a lot of time on the lido deck pool and the jacuzzi. She and her two friends spent most of their time there. The water in Progresso and Cozumel especially was beautiful. Pretty blue. We got back in plenty of time for the ship to leave but in Progresso we had to wait about 15 to 20 min for a few late arrivals to get back to the ship and the same in Cozumel. We left port late there too! the dining room staff was awesome and our head waiter was getting ready to finish his contract and go back to India to see his family. Sodas are $1.95 per 12 oz can. Do yourself a favor and buy the unlimited bubbles soda card, the site says $35 for adults but it was only $30 once we got on the ship. With the way my hubby drinks Dr. Pepper and with me not liking the cruise water or tea, we sure got our moneys worth on the soda cards. We got one for our daughter too. Cruise water they serve in the restaurants is really nasty, imo. Take bottled water if you don't want a soda card. My daughter and the rest of us had an awesome time! We will definitely do another cruise in a couple of years. Met so many wonderful people and my daughter made 2 friends that she hung out with almost the whole time. Thanks to Camp Carnival!!! Hope everyone else had a great time too! Only two negatives were the excursion I booked in Cozumel, was a waste of time and money. Do not ever book Day at the Beach through Cruises Only. 2nd negative was getting through customs. We got put in the non US citizens only line and we stood in it for about an hour and we were only half way down. By the time we got there we were through in about 5 min. All in all, it was awesome! Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
A little background on our cruise history, this was my 21st cruise total, 19th with Carnival (Celebration - 2, Fantasy - 3, Ecstasy - 10, Elation - 2, Conquest - 1 and Triumph - 1) and 10th on the Ecstasy. I have 1 with Royal Caribbean and ... Read More
A little background on our cruise history, this was my 21st cruise total, 19th with Carnival (Celebration - 2, Fantasy - 3, Ecstasy - 10, Elation - 2, Conquest - 1 and Triumph - 1) and 10th on the Ecstasy. I have 1 with Royal Caribbean and 1 with Princess as well. My Mother (my cruising partner in crime) and I love the Ecstasy, and are so sad to see her moved to another homeport, so this was to be our "farewell" cruise of sorts. I saw the update Sunday morning "Ecstasy will be delayed Monday due to a medical emergency." Oh no, is the first thought, I mean anyone who cruises often knows that even the smallest glitch can really slow down embarkation. Soon after the Facebook message, the call and email came in from Carnival saying that embarkation would be delayed until 6:30pm on Monday evening. Oh well, what can you do. I just took it to mean I could finish packing in the morning, and sleep in a little. I mean we all want to be on the ship as soon as possible, but some things can't be helped; and I later learned on our Behind the Fun tour that the person taken back to Cozumel for medical treatment, was in fact going to be ok, so that's good news.We live in Katy, about an hour and a half from the Port of Galveston. We left the house around 1:30pm Monday afternoon and headed to the Strand to meet a friend of mine for lunch. About halfway to Galveston my buddy that was waiting for us sent me a picture, our ship was pulling in! It was about 2:30pm, just as Mr. Heald had promised on his Facebook page. We arrived in Galveston around 3pm and had a nice lunch at Yaga's Cafe. This little gem has been there for years, and if you go I recommend their cajun potatos as a side. Amazing! We walked the Strand a little, and drove down to the seawall after lunch, finally heading to EZ Cruise to park around 5pm.Embarkation:We had booked our parking at EZ Cruise online for $35 for 5 nights, so we checked in very quickly and were whisked away to the ship in no time. We checked our 2 large suitcases with the porters (one containing 2 12-packs of soda, as Mom wasn't aware you were supposed to carry them on. They did, in fact, make it to our room.) and headed up to the check-in area with our carry-ons. Much to our surprise, there was no line getting in the building, so far so good! Once up the escalator, we went to the VIP check-in line and were through security in no time. They did check my Mother's bag that contained 2 bottles of champagne, but since there were 2 of us sailing together, it was no problem and we were sent into the VIP room to get our Sail and Sign cards. This was my Mom's Milestone cruise with Carnival, so she was disappointed when they handed her a regular Platinum card. (No big deal, a quick trip to the Guest Relations desk once onboard and she had her fancy white card, lol.) Check in took a total of 15 minutes from entering the building until being seated in the waiting area, probably the quickest we've ever experienced. There were quite a few people that had been waiting already. We learned later that many didn't know of the delay until they arrived at the pier that day due to being on the road and not receiving the email/call. They were providing water and bags of chips, so it wasn't unbearable. We sat down for about another 15 minutes, and they began boarding around 5:30pm. There were 2 wedding parties that went first, then us in the VIP section, followed by zone 1, etc. etc.We're on a boat!! As we walked in they were giving away free, yes free mimosas as a thank you for being patient with the delay. Very nice, drink in hand and we're not even on the Lido deck yet, score! Rather then fighting the masses on the Lido, we went up to the Promenade. The mimosas were running low, so we stopped at the casino bar for our first official DOD. Ahhh... funship special, how I missed you! Since we weren't being let into the rooms until 8pm, we walked over to the sushi station and grabbed a snack. There was nobody else around (I assume people were eating up on the lido) so we sampled... then sampled some more. By the time we were done it was 7:15pm or so, and being the obedient cruisers we were, we decided to sneak into our room early. I know, I know, shame on us... but I was tired of lugging around the laptop, lol. Our room was E9, so the doors (still closed) to get to it were right in the middle of the madness of people still boarding the ship. We opened one and snuck in unnoticed, I guess the doors were open elsewhere because there were many others going into their rooms, we dropped off the bags and headed up to the Lido with our bottle of champagne. Now, we may have had a sushi snack, but who can resist the Mongolian Grill, especially when there's no line! I grabbed a bowl, and am pleased to report that it is still in fact DELICIOUS! We settled into out favorite spot for sail away, the open deck all the way aft, got a bucket of beer and a bucket of ice for our champagne and waited. No one was sure of exactly what time we were to set sail. We had been told that boarding would be from 6:30-9pm, so of course we knew it would be late. Side note: due to the delay, all passengers were given a $15 credit on our Sail & Sign cards for lunch that day. About 9:45, we heard that wonderful horn blow! We were off! We popped our champagne and toasted to the official beginning of our vacation. Since we'd been snacking all day, we didn't go to the MDR for dinner. Matter of fact, we didn't eat in there for dinner at all the entire cruise, lol. We sat back on the open deck for a while sailing down the channel, then decided to go check out the happenings around the ship. There would be no Safety Briefing tonight, it would be at 10am the next morning, eh... as long as it didn't interfere with breakfast I'm ok with that, lol. We found our way to the MDR, not to eat, but to be sure they had our reservation for the Chef's Table. Side note: John Heald is a very busy man, so be sure you go to the Maitre D and CONFIRM your reservation, they did not have ours. No big deal, there were plenty of spaces available still. (I hadn't put "please reply" on my request on the "ask John" section of his blog, so that was my fault.) He asked if we'd rather have dinner on Progresso or Cozumel day, um Progresso please... I do well to get back to the ship on time in Cozumel, lol. We stopped by the liquor store to pick up some bottles of Crown for my uncle, and ended up hanging around for a raffle. After that, we went down to Guest Relations to ask about the Behind the Fun tour, we were told we could book in the morning, sounds good., we headed to the casino. There was a particular machine I was interested in, the $.02 win a BMW/$25k machine. I found one that paid out pretty well, for a penny slot anyways, it would become my nemesis for the rest of the trips to the casino. Picking up our free tournament entry cards for the slot tournament, I decided it was time for a shot. We headed into Stripes disco. There were a lot of college aged people on this trip, and let me say this, they loooooved to dance. It was kind of fun to watch the girls compete for attention from certain guys and vice versa. My Mom was confused by some of the girls that seemed to think they were in a gentleman's club, lol. After a Jaeger-Bomb I decided maybe the club wasn't for good 'ol Mom and we went to the piano bar, which as usual was packed. Yes, it is smoky in there, and honestly this was my first cruise as a non-smoker, so previously I'd never really noticed. However, it wasn't enough to deter me from staying a while... Until hunger struck again. We found our way back up to the Lido buffet where they were serving hot dogs and hamburgers, yeah... a hot dog at 1am with sauerkraut hit the spot. We headed back to our cabin at the front of the ship. Let me recommend booking your cabin in the forward section, you will get lots of good walking exercise going back and forth to the Lido buffet/pizza/deli areas.1st Sea Day:We got up around 8am on the 1st sea day, we're generally early risers so even after a late night we're up before 9am. We went to Guest Relations and booked our Behind the Fun tour, I wanted to be sure and do that early as I would be very disappointed if it sold out. Next was breakfast in the MDR, we were seated at a table for 4 and then joined by a lovely couple. We started chatting, and guess what? It turned out to be aggie1 from our roll call! How perfect is that? We discovered we would be doing the chef's table the same night, and enjoyed some great conversation over some great eggs benedict. After breakfast it was time for the Safety Briefing. Our muster station was "A" and in the Blue Sapphire (main show lounge) so it was very comfortable. I still LOVE the fact we don't have to lug the life vests to the drill, so much easier! The drill lasted about 15-20 minutes, totally painless, they didn't make us go out to the lifeboats so that was nice. Well look at that? The gift shops are right outside of the Blue Sapphire and it's time for a raffle, another loss, lol. We did a little shopping, and headed back to the room to grab a bucket of beer and went to check out what was happening at the pool. It was packed, lots of chairs being saved, but still plenty of places to sit so I didn't see that it was a big deal on this day. Now, the "kid factor." I have no issue with children cruising, and there were quite a few on this particular cruise, HOWEVER... pleeeeease ensure your little angels are aware of the rules, and do not rely on Carnival staff to discipline them. There were kids in the hot tubs every day, not just sitting, but splashing, snorkeling (masks and all), etc. There were also parents that ignored the "adult only" rule on the Serenity deck, and would bring their little ones (some in strollers) down to relax with them. However, I don't see many kiddos that enjoy sitting quietly in the sun and just relaxing, lol. Really you can't blame the little ones, if their parents are not adhering to the rules, neither will they.We watched a little of the hairy chest contest, finished our beers and headed down to the Promenade to see what was going on. We headed to lunch in the MDR, we've been on so many cruises we rarely eat in the MDR anymore. Nothing wrong with it, I'm just never hungry when it's open, which is why now we sign up for the anytime dining now that it's available. However, this trip the way the activities were falling that first sea day the timing was right and we did enjoy eating in there. Now as I said, I haven't been in the MDR for lunch in a very long time, but I'm really glad I went today. I had the chilled avocado soup and Mongolian steak salad, both were fantastic! Hmmm.. The art auction is about to start. I'd never gone to one, and hey, there's free champagne, so why not? We looked around, nothing really caught our eye, but I wanted to see what people were going to buy so we hung around. We saw a gentleman spend $8k on some artist we'd never heard of, and in the end there was a Peter Max piece that was going for $28k, no takers? Didn't think so, I mean that's a nice SUV or about 28 cruises, lol. We relaxed the rest of the day, read some books and just laid around. That evening was the "elegant" evening, we decided not to get dressed up and just went up to the buffet for dinner. There was many of the MDR items on the buffet that night, including the prime rib, it was fantastic. Upon arriving back at our room we found our Platinum petit fours treat and settled in for the night.Progresso:I woke up to an earthquake! Not really, but let me say this, if you do not like being awakened by what I would later call the "shake n' wake" do not book E9. Whenever those bow thrusters were on, that room would shake like mad! We've stayed in every category the Ecstasy has to offer, so it didn't bother us, and I mean every category.. From a 1A to the Owner's Suite., I like variety, hehe. We didn't have anything planned for Progresso, so we took our time getting dressed and having breakfast at the buffet. Yes, there are bacon police, but they can be bribed with a pleasant smile and a "may I please have a little more?" We got off the ship around 10am or so and wandered into the large duty free store you have to pass through to get to the other shops, busses, etc. I ended up buying some cigarettes (3 cartons for $56) for a friend, ha! I just realized how contradictory that sounds. Hey friend, here are your sticks of poison, lol. I also bought a few bottles of a certain tequila requested by a few people and we settled in at the little bar in the middle of all the shops. I found my name on the wall from last October and they allowed me behind the bar to add the date for this cruise. We got comfortable, grabbed some Del Sol beers and watched the high school kids buying drinks, ah to be young and want to be older again, lol. After a few rounds and several of the shots they pour down your throat, we decided it was time to head back to the ship. We grabbed some Mongolian Grill and a spinach turnover (yum!) from the buffet and sat down on the outer deck for sail away. Oh, and to the woman that changed her baby on the open eating area on the Lido deck, shame on you. People are eating, just gross. We headed back to the cabin for a little rest, it was after all Chef's Table night, and we would need all our energy for the delicious treats to come! We missed the Past Guest reception, got the time wrong. Mom was disappointed, I felt really bad, and wouldn't be in charge of scheduling anymore, lol. We received our Platinum canapEs this night as well. I love this little treat. Let me just say, if you're into food, the Chef's Table is for you. It was simply delicious! We started with a tour of the galley with Executive Chef Suresh Babu, while in the galley you get to see how it functions during dinner (our Chef's Table was at 6:30pm) and were served appetizers and champagne. I've read in other reviews that some found it difficult to manage the plate and champagne flute, on our tour they had a table to place your items so you would have your hands free to enjoy your food. After our tour and reception, we headed to the Explorer's Lounge (library) where they had our table set up for dinner. The wine was flowing, the food was fantastic and half way through, I started to feel wonkie and had to retreat to the cabin. BOOOO! I will say that I only wish I would have gotten the name of the gentleman waiting on me that evening, he made sure my last couple of courses were boxed and delivered to me in the cabin so I didn't miss out on anything. My mother told him she could take the food to me, but he insisted on delivering it himself, a true class act and a great addition to Carnival's food service staff. We also received an autographed cookbook and 8x10 photo as party favors. After my super fancy room service, we turned in for the night to rest up for Cozumel. We had a great group for our experience, and I'm still bummed I had to sneak out early, but a big hello to my fellow CC members aggie1 and Rosenbeans, loved having dinner with you and yours!Cozumel:Again, we didn't have anything planned so we had a buffet breakfast and got off the ship around 11am. We walked through the shops to the taxis and headed into town to hit Carlos N' Charlie's. We hung around there for a little over an hour and 2 yard glass Del Sols later, headed back to the pier to get some shopping done. We didn't plan on spending a lot here, so I picked up some shot glasses and other knick-knacks for a select few back home and headed to Fat Tuesday's to sit on the swings. I can't stress how much I love Cozumel, and if I ever decide to skip a cruise and do an all-inclusive, it will be there. Everything is so beautiful, the beaches, the water, the people; it's just lovely. After swinging a while and finishing our beers we headed to Three Amigos. (Anyone see a pattern? We love our beer, lol) I did stop and climbed into the birthday cake at Fat Tuesdays for a picture, a friend back home was celebrating her 30th that day and what better way to say "wish you were here" than from inside a giant cake? We had a couple drinks at Three Amigos and got ready to head back to the ship. Uh-Oh, you HAVE to walk through the duty free shop, this could be bad. With a nice beer buzz going on, a fancy bottle of tequila caught my eye. I mean, it was just painted beautifully. 3 bottles of hooch later, we were in line to get back on the ship. Now I had zero plans to spend anymore money on liquor, but the free sample and my beer induced decision making said otherwise, lol. We went though security, and again checked our bottles to be picked up the morning of debarkation in the Stripes disco. That makes 6 to pick up now, wonderful, that's going to be fun carrying off the ship! When we arrived back in the cabin there was a letter for Mom to contact Guest Relations about her Milestone program. She had gotten her OBC for this trip, but they wanted to let us know she was still eligible for 25% off a booking in the future, nice! We headed up to the Mongolian Grill. OH NO! We were about 5 minutes too late, luckily a wonderful man named Ramesh let us get a bowl anyways. I'm pretty sure I told him I loved him, and we got our delicious afternoon noodles. This again is why I love the Ecstasy, the staff, they are simply outstanding. Everyone says hello, they go above and beyond to accommodate people and are always making sure the ship is spotless and everyone is happy. This particular afternoon we saw Executive Chef Suresh Babu bussing some tables on the Lido deck. What a guy, he is. I always appreciate upper management that isn't afraid to get dirty with everyone else. Bravo to him, he and his staff are great and truly understand what excellence is all about. Cozumel had worn us out, so after watching the sail away we headed to the cabin for a little sun and beer induced nap. That evening we had the buffet for dinner again, I don't remember what we had, by this point this day was starting to run together and we were exhausted. We grabbed some food and took it back to the cabin. We spent the late evening eating, reading, and called it an early night.Final Sea Day:Again with the breakfast buffet, yes we are creatures of habit. We were up early today because it was our Behind the Fun tour day! YAY! We met our group in the Explorer's Lounge at 8:45am and started our tour around 9am. Our first stop was the galley, we had seen this during the Chef's Table portion of our cruise so we were the galley pros, lol. Next was a trip below the water line. We went to the laundry room, where I learned that I need to invest in a sheet folding machine, it's pretty big, but who needs to put their car in the garage? We saw some of the food storage areas, and the I-95 (the only passageway the goes completely forward to aft on the ship. We learned about the environmental procedures. Everyone knows that they release food waste into the water, but did you know that several crew members have to got through all the food waste to ensure there isn't any non-food items mixed in before it can be put into the grinder and sent to the fishes? Remember that food you didn't finish off the buffet? Someone had to go through that later, talk about portion control! We also learned that all crew (Captain included) has to separate their garbage for recycling purposes. So your room steward literally picks through your garbage to ensure all plastics/cans/paper/food items are separated. Crazy! We saw the engine control room, backstage in the main showroom, got to go to the crew's outer deck, training room, mess halls (separate dining areas for officers and the Captain), lounge, and of course THE BRIDGE! Being on the bridge is worth the cost of the tour alone, just fantastic! An officer gave us a rundown of the instruments and then Captain Giulio Basso came out to visit and have a picture taken with us. He is a very friendly man, and knows what he's doing... A very good thing! A couple of notes on the tour itself. There is a fair amount of stairs to climb, however when going up or down more than 1 deck, we did use the elevators. There are no cameras, phones, or video cameras allowed. Security does wand you before the tour starts, so if you were planning on trying anyways you can forget it. I think this is fair for the chance to see things you'd never get to see otherwise.After that we headed to the casino, it was slot tournament day! We signed up for the 12:10 time slot, and went to get some pre-game cocktails. I sat down with that evil penny machine again, and what's this? I hit something! Now like I said, this machine was my nemesis, half the time I'd hit something and have NO idea where the lines were going, etc. Right before noon, I hit big, I mean it just kept dinging and dinging, it lasted so long Mom had to go and move me from the 12:10 time slot in the tournament. It turns out I'd won 6000 credits, of course since it dings for every credit, this took a while. Ah if only they were dollars, lol. With a little extra change in my account, I still had time before my turn in the tournament so I proceeded to put half of it back in. I was in one of the last rounds, neither Mom or I made it to the finals, but it's always still fun to play. One change in the last year or so that I don't like is that they time the tournaments now. I was watching the woman's machine next to me and because hers was a little slower resetting, she didn't get as many spins as I did. I think they should go back to the 100 (or whatever) set amount of spins, it just seems a little more fair. We headed for lunch, guess what we had... that's right! Mongolian Grill one last time. And as expected, it was again delicious. We went and played bingo after lunch, another loss, so we went to look for our pictures. After a long search we found them, they had a sale on albums and being a sucker for a good deal, we bought a couple.It was that time of day, too early to eat again, haha, so we went to the cabin grabbed another bucket of beer, read a little and took a cat-nap. That evening we discovered we were going to need another bag for all of our new goodies, as my beach bag from the $10 shop wasn't going to cut it. A quick trip to the Galleria shops, and we had a new rolling travel bag, flip flops and some make-up. I started the sad process of packing up the luggage, how did I get all this crap in here to begin with??? We got the checked luggage out into the hall, and went up to the Lido for the last trip to the buffet. Tonight they had the braised short ribs on the buffet as well as lamb, both were very good. We did a lap up on the outer decks, cashed in whatever we have left on our Sail and Sign cards from the casino, and headed off to the cabin. But what's this? Another surprise! Chocolate covered strawberries from the Behind the Fun tour, yummy! Stayed up late finishing up packing and reading, had our last bottle of champagne with a room service grilled cheese (classy, I know, haha) and drifted off one last time in those comfortable Carnival beds.Debarkation:NOOOOOO!!! This day is the biggest bummer, we try to make the most of it, and are never in a rush to get off the ship. We used to be those people that tried to carry everything off, and used our VIP status to be first off the ship. Then one day we realized how silly that was, I mean who wants to hurry to get OFF the ship? I want to be the last to get off! We went up to the MDR for breakfast this morning, eggs benedict (which by the way, they did have on the breakfast buffet one of the mornings) and bacon, and look! A couple of extra pieces of bacon to boot! We lingered around in there until about 9am and then went back to the cabin. Since we were on the Empress deck, and in the forward part of the ship, we were right by the gangway to debark. We waited until they called for the people in zone 1 with checked bags and left our cabin and towel animal zoo one last time. Debarking in Galveston can be a pain if you don't know what you're doing, so here's my advice. Grab a porter, and have your passport. Once we were off the ship we were out of the doors of the port in about 20 minutes. The people pulling their own bags had a line a mile long, and even worse if you were using a birth certificate rather than a passport. Onto the bus, and in the car I took one last look at the ship and the post-cruise depression set in. There was zero traffic, so we were home and doing laundry in no time.Final Thoughts:After the initial disappointment that Steve Cassell wasn't going to be our CD this trip, we were very pleased with Danny Ghilarducci. He was well spoken, not overbearing and entertaining. The bingo host Gary was also a lot of fun, we enjoyed playing bingo with him, even if we didn't win. "COME ON GARY!" We had beautiful weather the entire trip, and smooth seas. There was a live reggae band on the Lido sometimes during the day. I'm really not seeing the lack of live entertainment to be as bad as has been reported in the past few months. Picking up liquor purchased in ports in a designated lounge area, not a big deal. Ours was in the Stripes disco. All the booze was grouped by what deck you were on, and we were in and out of there in about 10 minutes, totally painless. The Ecstasy turned 20 years old this year (in April actually I think) and she is aging beautifully. There was always cleaning, painting, mopping going on somewhere on the ship. There is a reason why she wins the Crystal Eagle award repeatedly, she is a true gem in the Carnival fleet.If you have any questions for me ask away, I'm sure there are things I left out too, so if I think of anything else I'll add it in another post. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
We are fresh off the ship from 5 wonderful nights on the Ecstasy. Our cabin was a tight squeeze for our family of 5, but it was manageable. Our cabin steward was wonderful. Fresh ice was always in the bucket, and we came home to a ... Read More
We are fresh off the ship from 5 wonderful nights on the Ecstasy. Our cabin was a tight squeeze for our family of 5, but it was manageable. Our cabin steward was wonderful. Fresh ice was always in the bucket, and we came home to a different precious towel animal every evening after dinner. My 15 year old son and 7 year old daughter spent every minute they could in their respective Carnival Camp groups. My 13 year old son did not go to the ice breakers the first day, and by the time he got up his nerve to attend something, he felt left out. In the real world he is normally a very social kid. I would really encourage (force) (: your children to get involved in the very first activity on day one of the cruise. It makes a huge difference in how much fun they will have. All 5 of us ate our dinner every night at the late seating in the Windsong dining room. The food was surprisingly good and we were treated like royalty by our waitstaff. I felt sorry for people who did not take the time to eat in the dining rooms. It was a bit of a hassle to have an assigned dining time, but a major part of the overall great experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
I got a fairly good discount on this cruise through the company I work for so this was a good deal as far as vacations go. I took this cruise with my boyfriend and it was our first cruise. The cruise ship itself was ok, but the vacation ... Read More
I got a fairly good discount on this cruise through the company I work for so this was a good deal as far as vacations go. I took this cruise with my boyfriend and it was our first cruise. The cruise ship itself was ok, but the vacation was very nice and relaxing. Embarkation: We arrived around 11:30 and were on the ship no later than 12:15. It was pretty easy. We got on the ship, had lunch, took a tour of the spa, and headed to our cabins at 1:30. The cabins weren't at 1:30, but soon after. Spa: The spa is nice, though I think it is overpriced. We booked a couples hot stone massage, which they did not give us. We received the regular couples massage, but when they brought the receipt they changed the price. I know it was booked correctly because when we got the final bill it said hot stone massage. I was disappointed as they did not apologize, but at least they fixed the price. Excursions: We were supposed to go on one excursion in Progreso, but due to a misunderstanding between us and the cruise line we missed it. Customer service here was excellent. They rebooked us on a new excursion and refunded the difference. We ended up going to Dzibilchaltun Ruins. It was a nice excursion and the tour guides were very passionate. In Cozumel we did the cooking class and spent time on the beach. I would definitely recommend booking the cooking class. It was so fun and everyone (other guests and the chef) was so nice. I have heard many complaints about Playa Mia recently, but it was nice, clean, and fun! The ship: I knew going in that the ship was older and smaller so I didn't have very high expectations. The elevators are slow so we used the stairs a lot more than we normally would, but we did not see kids playing with the elevators like others have complained about. It is kept nicely and is very easy to get to where you need to be. The pool shouldn't even be called a pool. We never got in it because it was so small. Finding a quiet spot to lay out in the sun wasn't a problem. We went to the slide area and found plenty of open seats and there were hardly any kids in the area. The ship rocked. We felt the ship rock everywhere we were. The one show we saw was horrible and cheesy...I felt embarrassed for the entertainment staff for having to put on that show. The marriage show and some others were entertaining. The Food: We were disappointed by the food. Everyone we talked to enjoyed the food, but we thought it was ok at best. The best meal I had was when we opted to skip dinner in the main dining room on the last night and got dinner from the buffet. They had the same food, but we didn't have to wait on our waiter. Disembarkation: We did self assist and once our deck was called it took about 45 minutes to an hour to get through customs...though you can tip a porter a few dollars to take your luggage and get you to the front of the line. All in all, it was nice to be on vacation and we would cruise again, but on a bigger newer ship. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
We had been planning this cruise for months. Finally school was out and crusing time. We live about 2 hours from Galveston so i prebooked E-Z parking and paid and printed out 7:30 am and two stops we were parking our 3 cars. Loaded up one ... Read More
We had been planning this cruise for months. Finally school was out and crusing time. We live about 2 hours from Galveston so i prebooked E-Z parking and paid and printed out 7:30 am and two stops we were parking our 3 cars. Loaded up one van to the terminal and went thru security. Yes they did check our water bottles and also any other liquid. Got our S&S card and our classic picture with the toddler sleeping in his stroller. ON deck by noon and eating on the Lido deck. Food was great and at 1:30pm found our cabins and our luggage. 3:30pm the drill and off we went out to the blue ocean. We had a huge table for all 11 of us in the dinning room. We ate all 5 nights there and had wonderful food and wait staff. The grandchildren ate off the children's menu with every night having a glass of chocolate milk waiting for them. Food here and on Lido deck was really good. My husband and grandchildren enjoyed the ice cream. Entertainment was good and we went 3 nights out of 5. We all enjoyed the slide on the top deck as we sailed on the ocean. Pool was a great refreshing way to spend the afternoon. Progreso was great with the bus service. We did the double decker bus tour. Then shopped and back to the ship. Cozumel only 3 daughters, son in law and grandchildren got off. We walked around the shops and ate and back to the ship to swim. Photographs were great and i ended up with the canvas print. Basically i did not like the ship at all. After being on a larger ship makes a difference. Shopping okay and i got the matching earrings to the ring i bought in October on the Glory. All in all for a great family geat away for our family it was fun and we made lasting memories for us. ( sorry if there are typos the check spelling button is not working) Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
we expected this to really suck as we heard this boat was a mess and full of craziness. we we surprised.the boat and rooms were in good shape and we had a really fun time with the kids. we thought since a "smaller" ship that we ... Read More
we expected this to really suck as we heard this boat was a mess and full of craziness. we we surprised.the boat and rooms were in good shape and we had a really fun time with the kids. we thought since a "smaller" ship that we would be missing a lot of the amenities but everything was there despite being slightly smaller (other than huge mini golf course).PROs: water slides were great (and plenty of em), the shows knocked us out (how do they do that?)and someone even returned my wife's purse (full of all her cash), and cafeteria didn't SMELL!CONs: waiter was slow (probably because we were late every night), cruise director was ho-hum, elevators and floor "numbering" system still baffles me.hey, if you wanna an affordable beach vacation, knock yourself out.we had sun, we had fun, and my kids were in heaven with the trips to the beach and the shows and the water slidesnote : in cozumel go to paradise beach,,,the best ever adios Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
This was our first cruise . We had been looking forward to this cruise for several months. Expecting to relax and enjoy the week , but ended up very disappointed. We did start off our cruise with a message at the spa. It was great! ... Read More
This was our first cruise . We had been looking forward to this cruise for several months. Expecting to relax and enjoy the week , but ended up very disappointed. We did start off our cruise with a message at the spa. It was great! One of the best things we did while on the ship. However, is was quickly downhill from there....:-( There seem to be two extreme demographics, with NO in between. There was either heavy drinking/partying or age +65 card/trivia game playing. Lots of heavy drinking on ALL the deck areas. Very loud with no place to get away from the noise or the drunk people. Couldn't even enjoy the piano bar because of the drunk, screaming people. NOT the relaxing time we were expecting.The buffet was a school cafeteria line, that smelled so bad we couldn't even eat there. Regular dinning room was OK, eatable but still not really great. Not the luxury dinning that I expected. However the staff in the dinning room, was excellent! The cabins were great! The best thing about the whole ship! More room then we expected. The rooms were clean and well managed. The room steward was always very helpful and friendly.Overall, our voyage on the Carnival Ecstasy was a BIG disappointment, not the relaxing vacation we were longing for. I would be very hesitant to ever try Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
I was very excited as I have wanted to cruise for some time now. Both our husbands are military and couldn't get the time off so off we went without them and our kids. I had the most fun I ever had on a vacation! The cruise well ... Read More
I was very excited as I have wanted to cruise for some time now. Both our husbands are military and couldn't get the time off so off we went without them and our kids. I had the most fun I ever had on a vacation! The cruise well surpassed what everyone has told me about them on how great it was! The dinning was delicious! I had awesome table mates...that are now new friends. My best friend and I enjoyed comedy shows, scavenger hunts and the liars club. There was so much we still didn't get to see as we were busy checking out the ship and me taking pictures galore. We/she kept a blog of the experience on the Carnival fun forums site titled Fer & Dee's Fantastic Adventure on the Ecstasy. I can't wait for my next cruise and am already planning one with my husband this time! For the room it was pretty spacious...more then I expected. I loved having an aft balcony and not sure I could sail without that luxury. There were times it was a bit rocky way in the back of the boat however it didn't seem to bother me or my friend. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
This was our 2nd cruise, but the first on a Carnival ship. When booking, we were aware that Carnival is the budget line catering to the lower end of the cruise market, however a large group (32) of our friends and neighbors were going, and ... Read More
This was our 2nd cruise, but the first on a Carnival ship. When booking, we were aware that Carnival is the budget line catering to the lower end of the cruise market, however a large group (32) of our friends and neighbors were going, and so, against our better judgement, we signed on (I really had to twist my partner's arm, and may never live it down!). Suffice it to say, we boarded with low expectations, determined to have a good time come what may; viewing this as just a short, cheap getaway with good friends.1) The Ship: Ecstasy is a 20 year old dinosaur, considerably smaller than more current vessels with very little in the way of amenities or activities. While I found the Ecstasy reasonably clean and well-maintained, the decor screams Vegas, circa 1980s, with lots of neon and mirrors, very little in the way of luxury. Again we sort of expected this, so it was no great surprise.2) Fellow Passengers: The ship was over-crowded; the public spaces, even the larger areas, always felt like a busy shopping mall on a Saturday afternoon with people tripping over each other and pushing and elbowing. A wide variety of people ranging from what my partner jokingly referred to as the "Walmart shoppers," to seniors and families with small children. Throw in a healthy dose of teenagers, and you get the picture. I almost felt sorry for the few honeymooners we met, as this was anything but romantic. 3) Dining: forget it, go on a crash diet, unless you actually enjoy dining at Lubby's or Ryan's 3 times a day. The food was actually the worst part of the cruise for us; as a matter of fact, for everybody in our group. In the main dining room (WindStar) hardly a meal arrived that wasn't cold, and/or over-cooked or undercooked. The portions were miserable, and the quality was really, really subpar. This was one category where our expectations were actually not low enough, as a neighbor had led us to believe that the dining was the best part of a Carnival Cruise---NOT SO! The only thing good I can say about it, was the staff were all very pleasant and eager to please. After the third day, we simply stopped visiting the dining room. The only other options for feeding were the "Trough," better known as the buffet on Lido deck, or room service. These are actually worse than the dining room. Long lines of people jostling over too few tables and all for lousy, dried-out steam-table fare. The selections were pathetically few and never appetizing. One or the other of the two drink stations was invariably "out-of-order," creating a crush of people fighting for ice water, tea, or lemonade---which were the only choices. I don't remember the coffee machine ever being in working order. The one plus: the pizza station and deli at the very back of the cafeteria was surprisingly okay, and for the last 2 days, my partner and I ate there exclusively. Again from the long lines at these areas, I'd say we weren't the only passengers to do so. Roomservice was non-existent: no matter what time of day or night we placed an order, we were told it would be an hour to an hour-and-a-half wait, with nothing on the menu but cold sandwiches. We could never get ice sent to our room: I called our steward, who told us to call room service, who then told us to call our steward. We ended up fetching our own ice from the cafeteria.4) Service: excellent and friendly in certain areas, terrible in others. As I said, the dining room staff were all very nice, attentive people, as was our steward for the most part (except for fetching ice). The bartenders and waiters/waitresses were also very friendly and attentive. However the clerks in the on-board shops (particularly the jewelry store and the liqour/cigarette store) were extremely rude with no interest in their customers. Likewise the Guest Services Desk, where their motto seemed to be to help as few people as possible while offending everybody.5) Activities: a sad joke: the scheduled shows and entertainments never ran for more than 20 minutes at a time, and were mediocre at best. The parties and special events were boring and often poorly attended (surprising on such an over-crowded ship). The pool area, and the water-slides were swarming with kids and teenagers making it impossible for anyone else to use these facilities. We never could find seating on the pool deck, even in the bar area; they were always packed. Our principle forms of passing the time at sea were to drink in the various bars on the Promenade deck, or gamble; there was really nothing else to do. Our favorite haunt was the Neon bar just off the atrium, where the piano player was fantastic and the waitress kept a steady stream of alcohol flowing in our veins. On a side note: the kids club was directly beside the Neon bar, which I thought was a terrible design flaw, as all the kiddies coming and going were exposed to our drunken antics through the large glass windows.6) Casino: I don't enjoy gambling, so I'm probably not a good judge, however many fellow passengers complained about the "tightness" of the slots and the dishonest practices of the table-dealers. Apparently there's no regulation of gaming practices at sea. My advice, save your cash for the real thing in Vegas.7) Spa: my partner received a deep-tissue massage and was thoroughly pleased, so there's one plus.8) Cost: for a cheap, budget cruise, it really wasn't all that cheap. My partner and I spent roughly the same amount that we did at Atlantis, Bahamas last year, which is considerably more upscale than a Carnival Cruise. Since there was very little to do on the Ecstasy, we quickly ran up a hefty bar tab; not to mention the spa treatment, bingo games, casino nights, a little (very little) souvenir shopping---Carnival suckers you in on the cheap fares, then nails you on the incidentals.9)Motion: the rolling and rocking of the ship was bad, particularly on the return trip. Strangely, the sea was relatively calm, yet the ship still rocked for 2 days straight. On the last day at sea, it was so bad that passengers had difficulty walking or standing. We came to suspect (pure speculation) that the Ecstasy decided to cut fuel costs by sailing with the stabilizers retracted on the return trip; either that, or they simply weren't working. Overall: the only thing that made this trip enjoyable at all was sharing it with our friends: we kept ourselves entertained by our own merits, otherwise it would have been perfectly horrible. This will be our last time sailing with Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Wow! I don't even know where to start.The smoking was horrible. No one followed the smoking rules and they were never enforced either. Everywhere you went you felt like you were in an ash tray.Our stateroom was nice. We had an ... Read More
Wow! I don't even know where to start.The smoking was horrible. No one followed the smoking rules and they were never enforced either. Everywhere you went you felt like you were in an ash tray.Our stateroom was nice. We had an interior room and the size was not bad. The door was hard to close but we got a phone call from guest services asking if it was fixed (our stateroom cleaner must have let them know). Also, our vanity light would turn off after about 10 minutes, we would just keep clicking it on until it turned back on.The dining room was really nice. We sat with great people and had WONDERFUL servers. The buffet was a problem. It was on the same deck as the pool so people came in all sweaty and without clothing and shoes on to eat. They smelled and my husband thought maybe the rags were smelly too. I lost my appetite thinking about eating in there. There is ONE, let me say that again ONE pool on this entire ship, and VERY small. I never even touched the pool water. Also, there island band that played all day every day the same three songs got annoying very fast. Not only were they horrible, but they would let drunk people get up and scream (literally) in the microphone. Talk about a nice relaxing vacation on the ship. NOT!!!! We got woken up 3 of the 5 nights by loud drunk people in the hallways.The entertainment was nothing special. Maybe like a high school talent show (if you went to a small high school with no talent). The dancers were appalling. There costumes and dance moves were extremely sexual. There was no warning either. Other things they would say it was not suited for kids and I think this was worse. I would have died if I had a kid in there. The cruise director Steve was FANTASTIC! The comedians were great (but they hop ships).The ports were nice! I had been told "Don't go to Mexico, it's so scary." I never felt scared and enjoyed my time off the ship.Overall, I would rate this experience a 4 out of 10. I would compare it to staying at a Motel 6. I think a lot of the problems were the people on board. They were extremely rude and disgusting. The staff on board was great, but could not keep up with the nasty people aboard.I WOULD NEVER do the Carnival Ecstasy again, and am very hesitant about doing Carnival again. I called to tell them about these concerns and they really didn't take it all that seriously. I don't want to cruise with someone that does not take my happiness into account. I would stay away! Not worth the cheap price! Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Though the Ecstasy is an outdated ship, it still had its charm. I was looking forward to taking my 80 year old father and Mother, along with my nephew on this 4 night outing. When cruising, there is something for everyone! This would ... Read More
Though the Ecstasy is an outdated ship, it still had its charm. I was looking forward to taking my 80 year old father and Mother, along with my nephew on this 4 night outing. When cruising, there is something for everyone! This would have been the case as well, had it not been overshadowed by the horrendous service and horrible attitudes. Of course, not all were like that, but most. Check In was a breeze (highly recommend the VIP check in) - the easiest ever! Loved the people that assisted us at every turn. My father was in a wheelchair and they made him feel so comfortable and it was speedy! I thought this was going to be a great cruise!It didn't take long after boarding to discover the major flaws in service. Where was the "welcome aboard" smiles and assistance... non-existent! After a lunch on the lido deck, it was time to explore our grand suite. Nice digs, nothing special but far better than a regular stateroom with a balcony. These rooms are small, no matter what category you choose. And, with 4 people, it was even smaller. However, it provided adequate space and the balcony was a plus.Waiter at dinner - horrible! I gave him 4 nights to improve, it never happened. We were always the last table to be done as service was SO SLOW. In addition, he continuously put plates in front of us that we didn't order. Don't know if the guy was new to being a waiter or not, but he was unfriendly and stressed to the maximum. First time ever I didn't get a picture of our waiter with us. Not a memorable experience at all.Food - hit and miss. Lunch in the restaurant was by far the best meal. Soups were awesome and the butter on this ship is amazing (could be the 80% fat content). We found that if we ate the bread and butter along with a soup, it was very satisfying. Other than that, it was scary. Lobster was HORRIBLE and the gulf shrimp they had to go with it was not edible (rubbery). Other entrees tried were just as bad including a salmon that I swear had been frozen for the past year! On the last night, a few of us tried the crab cake as an appetizer, took one bite and literally spit it into our napkins. Fishy, mushy, and a texture that told us if we ate this we could quite possibly get sick. I will also say that this ship has an excellent baker/pastry chef. Deserts were always above par and again, the bread was a highlight for us all. The buffet on the Lido deck was unedible as well unless you got the hamburgers.That brings me to another food related catastrophe - ROOM SERVICE. The worst room service food and service EVER! Having elderly parents with horrible sleep patterns, coffee was VERY important to us all in the mornings. We put our continental breakfast tag out every night and it was delivered on time. However, the coffee was un-drinkable (old like it had been sitting overnight). And, one morning, the 2 pots they brought us were delivered with no lids on the pots (little desert bowls were teetering on the top). That means when you went to pour it, coffee spilled all over you. In addition, one of the cups that they brought was cracked all the way down the side and when I poured the coffee in for my Dad, it leaked all over him and me. I was shocked at the lack of quality control and that they would allow a coffee tray to be sent to a room with cracked cups and pots with no lids. And, that wasn't our only room service mishap, not enough cups, not enough cream, no spoons, it went on and on. One evening it was late and we were back from Cozumel... we decided to have sandwiches and salads in our room. 3 salads - one dressing, 2 iced teas - 1 iced tea. 2 Reuben sandwiches - both with no sauerkraut and the meat was pressed something (mystery meat). Oh, and one morning I ordered danish because my dad was in need to something on his stomach... when I told them to send 8 (2 per person) they told me the rules were 6 maximum! OMG - did they really say that to me. Other problems rampant - service for 3 not 4 - this was a trend. It was sad to see how far Carnival has declined in service to their customers.Spa - booked a massage for my father and upon the reservation, was assured that they had male therapists, as he will not go to a woman. I left the ship for an excursion and left him at the spa. Upon our return, discovered that they have NO MALE therapists and he was given a woman. They lied to me outright and I believe it was only to book the appointment that was non-cancelable. He was embarrassed and upset about the whole experience.Casino was a joke as well. Based on what I observed, they certainly made their weekly quota at the casino. Dealers were so hot we had some that would deal themselves 3 to 4 blackjacks in a row. I am not saying they are cheating, but I am an experienced blackjack player. I was given two three's during one hand, and drew 2 more. About 4 more hands into it, those same 3's came out again to someone else, and again about 5 minutes later. Are those machines shuffling the cards? The video poker machines ($.25) were where my Mom and Dad spent their time. However, the max bet is $2.25 not $1.25 because it takes 10 quarters to bet max. We love Piano Bars and tried the Neon Bar one night. This guy was so loud that you could hear him 2 decks down. We didn't last long in there as every song he sang was screamed into the microphone. Chinatown Karaoke was our favorite and since it was my Parent's 61st wedding anniversary, the crowd went crazy and made them both feel so very special. Mind you, these were fellow cruisers though, and not the staff. They didn't give a flip. Which was apparent at dinner when I mentioned it to our waiter and nothing was ever done about it.Entertainment was horrendous... the shows were outright HORRIBLE - not even up to high school standards. The bands throughout the ship, for the most part, were subpar singing off note and off pitch.Cleanliness of ships was also an issue - tables left uncleaned for hours, public restrooms dirty, etc... I could go on and on but I won't. I have been on many, many cruises and don't expect a lot. I am not a picky traveler and everything does not have to be perfect. However, I was shocked at how very bad this cruise was. We made the most of it and enjoyed our time together. However, I would not recommend this ship to anyone for any amount of money. One interesting note... we had a missing passenger on the 2nd night. Have never experienced this - and they were extremely thorough by waking us every 1/2 hour all night with announcements in the staterooms for this passenger to call 7777 immediately. At around 4:00am they even did a room to room search showing everyone her picture. It was a night of no rest. Thankfully, they found her early the next morning passed out somewhere. Don't know why they didn't find her earlier! That was the talk of the ship for sure. Again, unless they address the serious service issue on this ship, stay away! Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
• 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
Family Dw (61),DD (40), DGD (8) Grandpa (62). I'm limited by COPD. This info will help to understand levels of cruise features.Family flew in to Houston from Michigan April 1st I drove in from Louisiana picked them up and off to ... Read More
Family Dw (61),DD (40), DGD (8) Grandpa (62). I'm limited by COPD. This info will help to understand levels of cruise features.Family flew in to Houston from Michigan April 1st I drove in from Louisiana picked them up and off to Galveston.Friday in Houston at 3:30PM nuff saidWe stayed at the Bestwestern seawall which we find to be fine for overnight every time in Galveston.Saturday cruise day we used Lighthouse parking for the third time covered parking great service. Arrived at the terminal 11:00 AM used porters for luggage which is a must for me. Carnival provided wheel chair boarding for me and allowed rest of family to follow which was very fast on the Lido deck at 12:10 PM.My DGD is gluten intolerant and we spoke with Dining room hostess and arranged for her help everynight for next days meals for grand daughters meals. This was handled very well even with ATD and plenty of food on board that she could eat.I would say the food overall was good to very good and at the right amounts for our family's liking.The ship and crew are very well maintained and trained. Room steward was excellentkept my cooler drained and full of ice at all times.First port day family did Dzilbilchaltun ruins with Autoprogreso tours and had a great day.Second port day Cozumel was of to Chankanaab park and the Dolphin swim booked on our own before the change. This was a wonderful excursion for our grand daughter well worth the cost for a life time memory.Final sea day and off the ship weather was outstanding all week and sea weremoderate.I would say I think Carnival still provides a very good overall service for the cost.Overall a wonderful cruise and upon returning we stayed three days at the Casa del Mar in Galveston which we found to be perfect for the four of us the rooms are small condo type and very well located with two pools and a Kroger and Golden Coral you can walk to. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
We booked the March 5th cruise out of Galveston, and had amazingly good weather the entire time (five nights). As far as basic services, Ecstasy is very good. Food is good; the service in the MDR is almost excellent. Boris and Worshat were ... Read More
We booked the March 5th cruise out of Galveston, and had amazingly good weather the entire time (five nights). As far as basic services, Ecstasy is very good. Food is good; the service in the MDR is almost excellent. Boris and Worshat were very attentive and knew our names immediately. We ate in the MDR every night for the late seating. The Grand Suite was very spacious, having enough storage for twice as many passengers. Our balcony was on the starboard side and was next to a bump-out balcony. Some people have commented that they consider these suites as partially obstructed views, but I do not agree- I tend towards thinking it increases the privacy factor and if you are forward of the bumpout, you see all of the approaches clearly. The rooms and shiip are very well maintained- our suite showed signs of needing some carpet replacement in a few months. Decor is pleasant and there was constant cleaning going on. I wiped down surfaces myself when we boarded- I think that is a wise thing to do, since turn-around is quick. I was not impressed with our room steward on this trip. I think he was afraid to bother us, and we were out of the room frequently- getting ice was a big deal, so we didn't make much of an issue about it, knowing he was busy. I'd brought a collapsible cooler that only was filled once... and I feel that the stewards want their tips ahead of time before they give you attentive service. Since it's a common practice to do so by others, it sets up an expectation that not everyone is going to follow- tips should come after the fact for good service. We did not change the automatic tip, but I wish people would stop tipping before the fact. Privacy was important to us if we needed it. Room service gave us service a couple of times and was appreciated during the gap between lunch and dinner. Even though the rocky seas were a challenge, no bonine were necessary for our group- only a little malaise. So, my penchant for seasickness, did not ruin our vacation- and I would recommend that if these particular seas might be a testing point for future others considering future cruises on a smaller ship like the Ecstasy. The larger ships will be more stable in rough seas. The demographics on the ship are mixed... there are a lot of party folks on board. We had many older teens who had a lot of interiors opposite from the suites and and lot of them clearly had alcohol. Spring break was also going on in many areas in Texas and Louisiana- so there were many children on the ship, which were not using the the children's or teen's clubs on board. There were many little girls who were running loose with no supervision on the Lido stage. The master of ceremonies even made comments about how they needed to get off rails, get off the stage during the Hairy Chest contest and other games, with no parents responding. This is the shortest cruise we've taken, and the demographic mix was not all that good IMHO. Too many people trying to do too much, crowded pools and hot tubs, crowded starlight lounge... long lines in the Lido deck area, etc. Ecstasy has a lot of bottleneck places at certain key times, and I think people can get frustrated if you have no place to escape. Drinks were good if you ordered the classic drinks. It is worthwhile to order Bon Voyage liquor for your room by telephone order. The atrium bar had very good drinks. Most people I spoke with were unsatisfied with their cruise on Ecstasy. Much more so than we were, but I think that has a lot to do with the fact that we didn't try to do "everything" on the trip. We enjoyed our excursions and used the Serenity deck several times. We took the behind the scenes tour, which was very enjoyable... crew and Captain were very nice to us. I will prefer a longer cruise in the future- and we will have an opportunity for a cruise centered tour soon which will not attract the Ecstasy demographic. That is what I think was the cause of most of the dissatisfaction- that Carnival tries to be all things to all people. And sometimes, you find exactly what you like-so I'm going to rate the Ecstasy fairly high based on the basic things it provides and NOT things they have little control over, like rude fellow passengers, etc. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
We headed to Galveston the night before from Austin and stayed at the Sheraton Four Points. This was the best idea because it took us 6 hours from Austin due to the Houston traffic. Woke up Thursday morning nice and fresh. My wife and I ... Read More
We headed to Galveston the night before from Austin and stayed at the Sheraton Four Points. This was the best idea because it took us 6 hours from Austin due to the Houston traffic. Woke up Thursday morning nice and fresh. My wife and I parked the car at EZ parking a were immediately shuttled to the ship. My 6 and 8 year old (girls) stared at the ship for a minute in amazement.It only took us 15-20 to board the ship - I was amazed. We headed to the Lido deck for lunch and then toured the boat. Luggage arrived around 2:00. We should have wore our swim suits onto the ship - lesson learned. I was getting very annoyed with the waiters asking me to buy the drink of the day every 60 seconds. We all had dinner in the dining room that night. Instead of boring you with a minute by minute write-up I'll switch to likes and dislikes.Like- Kids loved Camp Carnival- Kids didn't want to eat dinner with us last two nights rather eat with friends made at CC.- Kids loved the Water slides- Hot Chocolate- Our room was set-up perfectly for us. One pull down bed and one trundle bed plus our King size bed- Serenity Deck for the adults- Mini golf- Photo opportunities - we got a great family photo on elegant night and it was only $22- Getting off the boat (last day) - kids watched Mega-mind in the Sapphire lounge and didn't mind the wait.- Breakfast- Room Stewart and Waiters/Waitress- Empress deck was an awesome location- Paradise Beach in CozumelSo-So- So many kids running on and off the elevators or jumping down the flights of stairs- The shows, why no show on Saturday night?- The food. Even though there is more food then you could imagine, we thought the food was average at best. Finding healthy food was a challenge.- Trying to get everyone off the boat at Cozumel was annoying and seemed dis-organized Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
General:The Carnival Ecstasy is a smaller ship running 4 and 5 day cruises and thus is rather inexpensive. Your shipmates are the types where cruise cost is the main factor, so you'll be on the ship with some very loud, ethic diverse ... Read More
General:The Carnival Ecstasy is a smaller ship running 4 and 5 day cruises and thus is rather inexpensive. Your shipmates are the types where cruise cost is the main factor, so you'll be on the ship with some very loud, ethic diverse and first timers. If you're looking for peace and quiet...look elsewhere.Arrival /Depart: The Galveston Cruise pier is very small so expect alot of traffic with people trying to unload baggage. Once inside you'll line-up for security and again to check-in. Both lines go fast so don't get in a hurry.Departure is painless if you use a porter to handle your bags. They'll get you through "imigration" faster.The renovations make it a very comfortable ship, but they still allow indoor smoking.I was pleased to note that they now only have a safety briefing without the lifeboat drill. The ship offers a Serenity Deck but those ethic diverse people made all the other users mad that were looking for "Serenity" (as offered in the Carnival literature). It amazes me that Carnival doesn't do something about that. Room (Window, empress deck): Very nice, clean and comfortable. Be sure and take your "room spray" and Lysol wipes.Food: The Dining room was great. Food and service were both good. The Buffet was packed (lines) with kids and those ethic diverse people I spoke of earlier There are no specialty restaurants on the Ecstasy.Sushi at 5:00 on the Promenade deck. Long lines so wait till 5:30 or 6.Casino: Ecstasy offers all the table games. They use a "master scuffle machine" for blackjack, so bet straight only and don't escalate. Craps and roulette are offered and would seem the better play although they don't pay the correct odds on many exotic bets. Slots are probably set at about a 60% return so stay clear ( LV 90+).Entertainment: The "piano man" got sick in Cozumel and they put him off the ship. So no Piano Bar. Lots of bands and music elsewhere. Read Less
Sail Date March 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
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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