10 Galveston to Caribbean - Eastern Carnival Ecstasy Cruise Reviews

My husband and I recently took our first cruise. I thought it would be an ok vacation and my husband was a little skeptical, but we decided to go because it was more affordable than some of the other options we had explored. Boy we were ... Read More
My husband and I recently took our first cruise. I thought it would be an ok vacation and my husband was a little skeptical, but we decided to go because it was more affordable than some of the other options we had explored. Boy we were surprised!! After the first hour on the ship it finally hit us we were on officially on vacation. The ship is a little dated and the carpet near the elevators was ugly enough to cause it's own sea sickness but other than that I really didn't have any complaints. My husband was a little stressed by the fact that the remote on the TV never worked when he tried to use it and when they came to fix it the silly thing worked every time....LOL! Lots of reviews seem to think the food is not all that great, however I am a chef and restaurant owner and I think what they do is an amazing job considering they are feeding over 3,000 people (three meals daily and then some). That is no easy feat I don't care who you are. Our waiter remembered our name after the first night and made us feel welcome. Last but not least, I was all about the adults only section where screaming little ill behaved brats are forbidden. Don't get me wrong I love well behaved children, but more times than not these days they are telling the parent what to do instead of vise versa, so a big KUDOS to carnival for offering this option. I only wish they offered an adults only cruise for patrons over the age of 25. Not only would I recommend this cruise to others, we have booked the same cruise leaving on Valentine's day 2011 as well as the second or third sailing of the Magic, coming to Galveston in Nov. 2011. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
This was our 4th cruise, 3rd on Carnival. We traveled with my sister and her family- all first timers, to see how they would like it.The good news is that they all had a wonderful time and plan to go on another cruise in the future. ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise, 3rd on Carnival. We traveled with my sister and her family- all first timers, to see how they would like it.The good news is that they all had a wonderful time and plan to go on another cruise in the future. Ecstasy is small compared to the other ships in the fleet. While I missed the spaciousness of ships like Conquest, it would be ideal for anyone who has difficulty walking distances. The ship has nearly everything available on the larger ships, just in a more compact form. It does not have an upscale specialty dining restaurant. Cabin U69 is a modified, not fully accessible, ocean view cabin. The only changes were a wider door, a somewhat lower bathroom step up, and a fold-down shower seat. It just barely worked for us. Although we had confirmed early seating for dinner, we were assigned to Anytime Dining upon arrival. It worked well for our group, but I really prefer the regular seating. It is nicer to get to know people over several days and the service is more personal. Anytime Dining feels more like going to a restaurant rather than cruising. I have also noticed a huge downgrade in the formality, menus, and special touches (like the elaborate midnight buffet) fleet wide since our 1st cruise in 2003. At least they still have the towel animals. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
I have been a member on CC for a few years. When I prepare for a cruise I really try to learn from other members points and ideas. I have been watching the Ecstasy reviews for sometime. I did notice that a lot of the reviews were negative ... Read More
I have been a member on CC for a few years. When I prepare for a cruise I really try to learn from other members points and ideas. I have been watching the Ecstasy reviews for sometime. I did notice that a lot of the reviews were negative and I went on the this trip with a open mind and was ready to have a great time. I have done both Carnival and RCCL for past cruises. All cruises were great and I expected the best on this one as well despite the bad reviews. There were two "shows". Very disappointed. My daughter is a dancer and I kept telling her about all she would see...She saw two shows...Hard to believe they have all of the dancers to just entertain 2x on a ship.... There were a few comedy acts and the poor cruise director. It seemed he just jumped in to fill up space. It was really kinda sad... I never saw him out with cruisers. He would walk through but never talked to anyone. Just looked like he was pretending to be on the radio most of the time and had a worried look on his face. Very disappointed with the Captains reception..If thats want you want to call it..They had some drinks but the captain did not stand at the door to shake hands and take pics like the other 4 cruises I have been on..VERY DISAPPOINTED. Guess he didn't have time to mingle with passengers like that. On other cruises the dancers are at the pool mingling and on the MC talking and playing games NOPE....No many activities by the pool. I saw there was supposed to be a bean bag game going on...I looked over and there was one staff and a couple of kids playing a quite game. On other ships they are on trying to get people involved laughing and playing. Seemed like it was meant to be quite. I have never taken a child before and my daughter did like Camp Carnival. So I don't know how that compares. There was HUGE language barrier however and that made it VERY DIFFICULT when asking questions about events. I would not have left a 2 or 3 year old there...Since I couldn't understand them and they couldn't me either...They seemed to have a lot for kids to do... The captain got on the speaker the last day to "talk". Seemed like he might have done that earlier..He explained a nautical mile ect...That was about it from him. The cruise director made an announcement about a passenger ill they we were taking back to Progresso and that was it until the last day to talk about disembarkation. Our sheets on the bed were never changed...Even though they had coffee spots on them...We went to 6pm dinner and took pics and came back to the room at 8:45 and the room was not ready and cabin steward didn't come until after 9pm...So we just got towels and sent him on his way. There was 2x we called him and he never came or called up back...So much for the pager system... We would come back to the room at 12pm and it was not made up and we would have to call to get it done. We had been out since about 8:30am.... Not quite sure happened with the food. The Lido hamburger was good the first day but every day there after...No so much..Dining room was not open on port days so LIDO here we come....Breakfast and lunch was the same thing over and over....They did do INDIAN, ITALIAN ect in the buffet line but it was about 4 main dishes and one side and was well Ok... Dining RM did well...The Chocolate Melting cake...TO DIE FOR.... IWAYAN was our waiter and he seemed to like being there and was very nice. However seems like most everyone just was there because they had to and just to get a job done...Guy from Russia in the gift shop was nice, Purser lady from South Africa was nice...I guess the Captain and the CD set the tone and if they don't interact and seem to bothered no one else will act interested either... How they got the Crystal Eagle award amazes me and they think they are going to get it again.... If this had been my first cruise I wouldn't do it again but because all the rest have been great I wont let this one stop me from future cruises. The most important thing is my daughter had a great time and watching her made the trip much better..So for that I thank them. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
I meant to post this in the review section after I polished it up - never found the time-so here is our unproofred review of our back to back cruise this past November Carnival Ecstasy 9 day B2B Review - November 15th - Diary of a ... Read More
I meant to post this in the review section after I polished it up - never found the time-so here is our unproofred review of our back to back cruise this past November Carnival Ecstasy 9 day B2B Review - November 15th - Diary of a Cruise Addict When shopping for our third Conquest Cruise out of Galveston DW and I (both in our early 40s) stumbled upon some amazing cruise rates for the 5 day Ecstasy cruise. While we loved the Conquest and understood the shortcomings of the Fantasy Class from our Inspiration cruise (almost 5 years ago) we went ahead and booked two cabins for ourselves and DS(11) and DD(9). Having only done 7 day cruises we became convinced that 5 days just would not cut it and booked the four day "chaser" to get a nine day cruise for about 2/3 the price of a 7 day Conquest cruise! We'll do a day by day and let you know why we think we made a great decision! We did 7 of our 8 hr drive from Mission TX the Night before. We used some "choice points" to stay at a Comfort Inn about an hour from the port. Having just moved to Mission TX, (and wanting to spend dollars on Cruise Tickets instead of plane tickets) Galveston is really our only choice (though we'll do NOLA for the right deal). Day One - Embarkation - "BEER GOGGLES in the Cabin" It is truly amazing that Galveston is back in business so soon after hurricane Ike. There are still patches of complete devastation, but life goes on where this is not the case. We did lighthouse parking and were at the terminal at 10:30. Had to wait longer than on our Conquest cruise, which surprised us, but we were still onboard by noon. It was cold and overcast so they had the hot tubs and the pools roped off. We were worried that we had made a mistake with this cruise as the welcome buffet was lackluster and the art-deco styling of the Panorama Grill is a bit worn so it looks real old. It just felt like they were skimping on everything the first couple of hours and we were not sure if it was because it was an older ship, a 5 day, or because Uncle Bob was not in charge anymore. It was just annoying little things-nothing big. Fortunately we only felt this way for about five hours. The welcome aboard show was first rate - we really liked Rosie, the lead singer, and at first glance the CD seemed OK. Dinner was excellent and our waiter, Kitten, made a point to know our names and did everything right with a wonderful smile on her face. She was absolutely wonderful. On the whole, a good first day that would have been great if there weather was better. A note on our Cabins - Carnival has a deal where you get upgraded from an inside to "two portholes" right at the bow of the ship. This was a super deal - there was a lot less foot traffic up there so it was super quiet except in port. Just over the bow thrusters - it sounds like you are in a wind tunnel. The floor plans are proportionately correct - the cabins that appear to be bigger actually are. The only drawback is that the portholes are not traditional portholes - that were described by DD as Binoculars. To fit a rectangular cabin into an angular section of ship, the cabins are set back from the hull. Our kids cabin had a four ft deep "cave" where the window would be and then the two portholes were at the end of 2ft long tubes. After a few cervesas DW and I dubbed these the "BEER GOOGLE" cabins. Day Two - At Sea - "Where are all the Straight people?" It was overcast through our whole first sea day - no fighting for deck chairs this day. Fortunately, the hot tubs on V-deck also remained "undiscovered country" for most of the cruise. We stayed in one most of the day occasionally joined by other couples who "happened to be" female-female. This was a real tough day for me. After each couple left, DW would punch my arm for enjoying the situation a little too much. The Captain's party was OK - and the Lobster Dinner was excellent. The show was after our 2nd seating dinner, so we tucked our kids in with a movie and hit the disco. Yep there were a lot of women on this cruise, and they seemed to like each other - a lot. Finally, DW in her best Melanie Griffin imitation, asked me "Sherman, where are all the straight people?" (think bonfire of the Vanities). She then suggested we turn in early - worked for me. Day Three - Cozumel - "The Friends of Bill W. meeting..." We've been to Cozumel at lot and we knew exactly what we wanted to do....Rent a car, go to Mr. Sanchos, and then Drive around the back side of the island. Again the weather kept it from being a great day but we had fun doing everything we set out to do. The Carnival Pier, Puerto Maya has been rebuilt and is better then ever. Only thing I did wrong was renting from Alamo instead of Executive. We were very pleased with the car we got from Executive (on our last cruise) - a brand new Laredo. I ended up renting a 15 year old POS from Alamo. Some of the recent threads on cruise critic regarding car rental scared the heck out of us - so I went we a company I knew and tried to get a car with full insurance for what we normally pay without insurance. We certainly got what we paid for. Back on board we reclaimed our spot in the hot tub where CD-Steve (over the intercom) gave us our best laugh of the day. "The Friends of Bill W. meeting scheduled for tonight has been cancelled due to lack of interest." The production show "Extreme Country" was great. CD Steve went up to the top of my CD appreciation list when he put his electric fiddle under his chin. He was AWESOME and its just fun to watch him enjoy what he's doing. Rosie's Rendition of "I Hope You Dance" was something we'll never forget. Apparently there was a repeater party that night - we didn't get our invitation till after the party had happened and there was also supposed to be a deck party but it got rained out. DW was scared to go back into the Estrogen filled disco - so a little Casino time was in order. Nice new nickel machines that kept us busy for $20 each. You can bill your sail & sing card with no fee or commission - right at the machine - and cash out if you wish. Day Four - Progresso - "The Flamingos were awesome " This was our first visit to Progresso and we fully intended to do nothing but parking our butts on Corona Beach, but it was raining as the free shuttle deposited us in the market square. Auto Progresso, the established tour operator, seemed a bit pricey and it did not seem like they had anything leaving ASAP. DS was interested in Mayan Ruins since seeing "Apacolypto" and DD wanted to see the Flamingos. One of the locals was putting together tours to a resort that was not as expensive as the reef club and, for about $120, the four of us got to see the Flamingos and some ruins before being deposited at a beach hotel. We dropped off three other couples at the resort before the 20minute drive to the flamingos and the ruins. When we returned, about an hour and a half later, they asked how it was - "the flamingos were awesome - all six of them." Honestly if you want to see Flamingos go to your local zoo. Our tour did not really have guide per say - just a taxi driver. The ruins got the job done as far as DS was concerned and we can say we "did that" - probably won't again. The beach club was nice, with all you can eat and drink - nothing fancy. The weather stayed overcast, the water was murky, so it was too cold to entice anyone to go swimming. The show was supposed to be a comedian who missed the boat (in the most literal sense) so Steve did some Juggling. He's good. We lost a little in the casino. DW rewarded my understanding of her losses with a trip to the Disco and we had a really great time. Day Five - At Sea - "Priceless" This was a much better day for the sun. The kids started to take to Camp Carnival and we made it to the newlywed game. Definitely - best answer of the show was "Do that in the bathroom" - the Question was "If you had a parrot in your room what phrase would it learn?" The "Dream Show" had some good Parts but it was not as good as "Extreme Country" We really appreciated Kitten and our bar steward. Every meal was an event and we debated staying with them for the next cruise - but ultimately we decided to see what the "aft" dining room was like. This was the Night DW and I looked forward to the most - partying like your getting off the ship without having to worry about actually getting off. We stayed in the Disco late (for us that's like 1:30) but the high point of our day came as we walked back to our cabin. Price of a 5 day cruise for 4 in two OV cabins about $800. Price for the same people for the "four day chaser" about $850. Seeing everyone's bags packed, sitting in the hall, when you have 4 DAYS left to go - PRICELESS! Day Six - Galveston - "Seven short blasts followed by one LONG blast!" We thought this day was going to drag and we were so, so wrong. We did sleep in till about 8:30 and had a full, sit down breakfast (for the first time) and then went back to the cabins to pack. The purser's desk tried real hard to keep us from having to do this - our cabins for the 4 day were much nicer then the "Beer Google Cabins" and the first day of the cruise we offered them as an upgrade to the next occupants but the Purser never heard back from the main office. It ended up not being a big deal. We packed in about an hour and reported to the Purser as directed at 10. There were still lots of folks on board but we got to cut the line and go see the customs guy who gave us a nice smile when we answered where we were going. The purser then escorted us back to the ship, called the steward to move our bags to the new rooms which had a welcome back gift of chocolate dipped strawberries. We finished unpacking just as the next bunch was let on board. The weather was so much better and everything was open. It was truly a drag to break way from it all for the boat drill. Our steward intercepted us and told us, since we had the same muster station, it was not necessary to do the drill again. The kids finished their home work in their room and DW and I had the best boat drill ever! This is a family board so I can't say too much, but lets just say the phrase "Seven short blasts followed by one LONG blast has a whole new meaning for us!" We enjoyed an absolutely wonderful sail-away in the hot-tub. Even went to the welcome aboard show again as they had a new comedian. A minor glitch came at our 2nd seating dinner. We had a new table in the same dining room - and our new wait staff was - well they just we're Kitty. We really wanted to try the Aft dining room so I re-approached the maitre'd and he came up with 4 seats at a table for 8 the following night in the Windsong dining room. Day Seven - At Sea - "The woman on the cowbell" The weather was so much better and we lived on the Lido deck. The ship was very full, but there were plenty of Deck chairs on the veranda and funnel deck - the main pool was crowded - but we feel like that's kind of the point. How can you beet all you can eat lobster for the 2nd time in 5 days? We kind of felt like Pierce Brosen and Selma Hyack in the movie "After the Sunset" (only DW is hotter then Ms. Hyack J). Our expectations were definitely exceeded when we met "Joe the Waiter." (This review was written shortly after the 2008 presidential campaign, and it seems real funny now - anybody reading in a couple months probably won't get the joke). Anyway, Joe struck us as extremely young for a Head waiter - he had a ton of personality - our kids loved him - he paced our meal wonderfully. His assistant was equally attentive. Kitten and her crew were a very tough act to follow and Joe was even better. We were paired with another family of four and we enjoyed their company. Yes, we did the show again and the atmosphere was almost electric - someone was definitely thinking when the decided to put the show "Extreme Country" on a ship full of Texans! The singers and dancers drew energy from the crowd - especially Steve - who literally shredded his bow fiddling "The Devil Went Down in Georgia!" We shied away from the disco this trip in favor of the Chinatown lounge which had a live band.. "The Happenings" or something like that. The woman on the cowbell was great - she gave us a fever and the only prescription was - More Cowbell! (Youtube "SNL Christopher Walken Cowbell" if you are confused at this point). Day Eight - Cozumel - "Merry Chris???" I was determined NOT to end up at Mr. Sanchos again and we hadn't gone on a real snorkeling trip for a couple of years - so we decided on the fury Catamarans. Having been to Cozumel like 10 times, the last thing I wanted to do was pay a premium to book a shore excursion through the ship - but that's exactly what ended up happening. The newly repaired Puerto Maya pier is "Carnival County." While the excursions are run by independent operators, they all make you book through Carnival - at their prices. The alternative would have been to take a cab someplace - so we sucked it up. I think $60pp plus tips plus $10 each for a hamburger lunch (cheap laugh alert) for "a three hour tour" is a bit steep. The Fury crews, the boat, and the beach was fine - but we could have spent the whole day a Chakakanab (sp) for about a third of this price and the Snorkeling is definitely better there. So we intentionally missed the boat and the private beach became truly private for an hour or so. We then wandered down the beach to Playa Mia and crashed there for a while before taking a cab back. Maybe the highlight of the Trip was taking the kids on a Jetski for 15 minutes each - we had a blast. We usually take a Christmas Card picture on vacation and DD had a great plan for this: Build Sandcastle Christmas trees and snowmen, write Merry Christmas in Shells and Corral and pose with DS for the Picture. This became the project de-jour - we spent over an hour on this - took pictures with the box camera, water camera, and digital camera. The kids looked great! Reviewing the photos on the laptop later that night in the cabin - DW points out: "Merry ChristAmas" what the heck is that? We spelt Christmas wrong. DUH! Anyway great weather made for a memorable day - but we can't drop $450 in a port and keep cruising like we do ($75pp for Fury, $100 for Jetski, drinks at Playa Mia, Cab back). Next time, we're bringing our backpack chairs and umbrella, charging the MP3 player, renting an insured car from Executive and filling the collapsible cooler with beer, wine and cheese at the local supermarket. There are so many places to relax on the, beautiful, undeveloped side of the island - that will be an awesome day. Day Nine - At Sea - "Old Friend" This was our 5th consecutive day of great weather. We had saved a couple things for the last day - the couples massage class - a sit down lunch in the dining room - neither of these things happened as we could not break away from the sunshine on the lido deck. There was serious discussion about staying on for the next 5-day. The day was capped with a view of a great sunset from the hot-tub. We ventured into the steam rooms and the sauna before the pre-dinner show. We did not pack until after our wonderful late seating dinner. Still not ready for our cruise to end DW and I returned to the Chinatown lounge for our last "Cowbell Fix". We finished our cruise with an open deck walk on a gorgeous night. Every other Sunday night the Ecstasy passes the Conquest port-to-stbd as both ships are about 6 hrs out from Galveston (around midnight or so). As I mentioned at the start of this review, The Conquest is an "old friend" of ours and we're sure we'll be cruising her again soon. FINAL THOUGHTS Even though camp carnival did not measure up to previous experiences our kids had a great time. Some would disagree - but we were very comfortable with kids that age having free reign so long as they used the buddy system and had the cell phone with them. We tested the cell phone to cell phone connection at sea once (that cost us $10) - but we never needed it after that - just something for emergencies - way better then the walky talkies we tried last cruise. The ship was decorated for Christmas - Nicely done! I'm still ticked that I spent so much for one day in Cozumel. I'm not pleased that Carnival is taking advantage of the situation by forcing monopoly pricing onto their pier. I hope this does not become a trend. The Fantasy class is a little small for us but the shows and the meals were as good as anything we've experienced on Carnival. We're hoping the Ecstasy will sport new balconies after her next drydock - we'll be back! Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
We are a family of 4 with 17 and 13 yo children and this was our First Cruise. Did alot of research on internet and reading reviews. Decided on this 5 day cruise due to price and the kids not missing too much school. Very nervous about ... Read More
We are a family of 4 with 17 and 13 yo children and this was our First Cruise. Did alot of research on internet and reading reviews. Decided on this 5 day cruise due to price and the kids not missing too much school. Very nervous about being sea sick due to previous deep sea fishing trip. Monday- planned to be early from reading on the message boards. WRONG. The ecstasy was late arriving due to weather and from the time we arrived with EZ Cruise parking and dropoff it took over 2 hours to clear security and checkin. We were told the Carnival Computers were having trouble and causing a slow checkin. Finally got on board about 2:30 - 2:45. Dropped off our carry on's and went to Panorama Grill. Very crowded as everyone was hungry after the long wait. Weather cold, windy and raining. Went on deck anyway to watch us leave port. Seas were rough and Captain stated 6-8 foot seas. Alot of persons getting sick. Not us though. Rough sea all night. Slept great Carnival beds are the best. Much better than most motels I have stayed at. Tuesday- Seas still rough and alot of rolling. Everyone including the crew talking about how rough. Alot of activities and everyone kept busy. The comedian at the night show seamed very poor and distracted. Did not talk about much except the ship rolling and about his "R" rated show for the adults later. Very disappointed. Food and service in dinning room was Very Good. Had the 8:30 seating in Windstar dinning room with ALEX and PORNCHAI as our waiters. They were VERY VERY GOOD. Wednesday - went into Progresso and shopped in the market which was small but OK. Went to the beach and skipped Corona Beach and walked a couple of blocks and stopped in front of San Marino restaurant. Used their shade huts with table and chairs. Hung out for about 3 1/2 hours bought cokes, chips and guacamole. Then had lunch and the whole bill totaled 26 dollars. The waiter did not push to buy anything but jump to when we need something. The beach was fine just not manicured as at Corona Beach but much cheaper. Thursday - Went into Cozumel and paid for snuba through carnival. Great time really loved it. We then went shopping and ate at a local restaurant - very expensive. A little more shopping and the boys then went parasailing. We talked with a local at one of the docks and paid only $45 per person. Normally $91 through Carnival. Friday - As we returned the seas became rough again once inside the gulf. Full day on board with so many activities that we had to chose and missed out on some. We hated to know this was the last night. Saturday- Used assisted debarkation as we were not in a hurry. Finally called about 10:35 and was off and through customs by 12:00. Note it is much quicker if you have passport. Those without were slowing everyone down. Overall this cruise far exceeded my expectations. Never sea sick. The service by room steward and dinning staff was unbelievable. Never left room for more than 30 minutes that it was not clean and straighten up. At least three times a day. Never had a noise problem as commented on by most reviews and the ship was 100 % full with over 2100 passengers. I would highly recommend this ship and Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
There are so many reviews that say the same thing, so I am not going to give a daily run down of our trip. Let me start by saying this was our first cruise and my husband was totally against it!! By the last day he was ready to get home ... Read More
There are so many reviews that say the same thing, so I am not going to give a daily run down of our trip. Let me start by saying this was our first cruise and my husband was totally against it!! By the last day he was ready to get home and book another one! The staff was really good, the room steward kept our room picked up constantly. We ate in the Wind Song dining room every night and the waiter and waitress were the best...they learned the names of everyone at our table and even when I saw her during the day in the grill she would still call us by name. Maybe I am easily impressed but WOW!!! We are not big drinkers, but we had a couple of Pina Coladas (they were awesome) each day, and did a little shopping. Total spent on our sail and sign (with added gratuity) $295.00. I thought this was a really affordable vacation. We opted not to do any of the excursions through Carnival. In Progresso we took the free shuttle, did some shopping then walked 2 blocks to the Corona Beach Club, to go on the beach there you had to book through Carnival, but we sat up on the porch and had the BEST guacamole ever!! Then we walked outside about 40 feet and boom FREE BEACH!! Right next door, the only thing at Corona was they had drinking games and a DJ (not worth the extra money unless you were looking to party). In Cozumel we went to the big pier (about 1/2 mile) and took a glass bottom boat tour...my DH does not like water so he liked staying on the boat and seeing the fish through the glass, the tour guide even swam under the boat and fed the fish so that they would come under the boat...I got to snorkel, it was my first time and it was GREAT!!! That was about a 3 hour tour so we had plenty of time to play, we walked into to Senor Frogs "just to use the bathroom"...yeah right we walked out 3 hours later. We are not usually big drinkers, but this was just toooo much fun!!! Couple of things I was not happy with...if you went to any event (be it a show, or contests) you had to get there a little early to get a seat and then if you saw a waitress she was absolutely not interested unless you were drinking alcohol. If you wanted a glass of water or tea you had to walk back to the grill area at the back of the ship. Not a huge deal but if you get thirsty and don't want an alcoholic drink you are pretty much out of luck. The other thing is anyone who doesn't smoke and says they were not bothered by smoke on this ship is crazy!!! I grew up in a house of smoke and noticed the smell everywhere...my DH was severely congested due to the smoke! I had heard that there was only a certain side of the ship for smoking, well I couldn't tell you which side that would be because everywhere we went someone had a Cuban cigar. This was definitely the best vacation we have ever taken and I would suggest this ship to anyone looking for a totally relaxing week away from real life!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2007
This was our first experience "Cruising" and it hooked us. No sooner than my husband and I got home, we started looking for additional cruises to take later on. Our cruise was 5 PERFECT WEATHER days with 1 sea-1 cozumel-1 ... Read More
This was our first experience "Cruising" and it hooked us. No sooner than my husband and I got home, we started looking for additional cruises to take later on. Our cruise was 5 PERFECT WEATHER days with 1 sea-1 cozumel-1 progresso-1 sea-and then your home itinerary. RECOMMENDATION: Pre-book your excursions through either your online or local travel agency or through the cruise line itself when registering online. ALSO-pre pay your daily tipping fee per person ahead of time. Saves lots of time standing in line trying to do the same thing on the ship FILL OUT ALL PAPERWORK BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO BOARD AND HAVE IT READILY ACCESSIBLE-they let my husband and I go ahead of a long LONG line of people just because we had EVERYTHING filled out and ready to go when we were boarding the ship for the cruise. We were thrilled with our cabin (U202)-My husband had rented a tux with accompaniments and it was there waiting for us when we go to our room. Luggage was delivered pretty fast and next thing you know we were enjoying a pre-set sail lunch which was AWESOME. We then did our emergency drill (you have to do this on everytrip before setting sail) but it was okay as we started meeting and greeting new people right away. Helped us "break the ice" We were not impressed with the Carnival Dancers show (the show was okay but the lead dancers, especially the female, was just too cheesy for us) but we loved the late night comedian shows and the band (both the Carnival and those schedule in the the China Lounge) were great!!! Our excursion in Cozumel took us scuba diving and a jeep tour that was wonderfully long but not too physically taxing. Our tour guide was sweet funny and knowledgeable as well as organized (no one got lost or lagged behind). We made it back in time for me to sign up for the Cruisers Variety show (I got to sing in front of at least 500 other cruisers for the actual show). We also had an small Mayan ruin excursion in Progresso which was very informative but hot...take a hat and lots of water if you go a-shore as you are at least 3-5 miles away from the ship when touring with planned tour or just checking it out on your own. We enjoyed lots of raffles for free merchandise managed by the boutiques on board but my husband most appreciated the "Social Lounge" because he is a smoker and they allow it there (Captain Scala even chatted with us one night while enjoying a very nice Cuban cigar). The food is to die for and you can die 24 hours a day!!! The hamburgers were some of the best ones we have had in a long time. Breakfast was fresh and yummie and if you ate in the dining rooms, the food presentation as well as taste was Gourmet to us!!! You are seated with several others from the cruise. If you happen to find your seating time or dinner partners not to your liking,you can always asked to me moved or changed. Your wait staff remain the same there for entire cruise and we felt like ours we old friends by the time we left. They have tons of activities on board and I know the we wished we had a few extra days at sea just so that we could go to all the art auctions, wine tastings, scavenger hunts, name that tune andall the other on-board games and activities offered. The most important thing to us is Customer service.. We were treated like we were made of gold!!! Everyone we met, from the person who cleaned our bathroom to the Captain of the ship was as courteous and as pleasant as they could be. I felt like royalty and with some, I felt like I was staying with friends. I never felt I was asking a dumb questions, or requesting something I shouldnt or putting anyone "out". You are encouraged to communicate with the staff and ask questions and make requests. You will notice that your wait staff may also be part of who helped you purchase that extra bottle of alcohol in the store or maybe who handed you a towel in the Gym because we found out that many of the crew and staff do double and even triple duty, filling other roles-and they do it without a hitch. We we so disappointed when we got home after our cruise ended that we turned around and started looking for another one and more specifically, one on the funship Ecstasy!!!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2007
We just got back from an Easter cruise, my husband and I and 4 children. (Ages 15, 10, 8, 4). Our ships was full of kids. 800 kids on board. It was during spring break. We arrived in Houston the day on a Friday to see the Cardinals play ... Read More
We just got back from an Easter cruise, my husband and I and 4 children. (Ages 15, 10, 8, 4). Our ships was full of kids. 800 kids on board. It was during spring break. We arrived in Houston the day on a Friday to see the Cardinals play the Astros. (Cards won). We drove to Galveston Saturday morning parked at EZ cruise. Paid for on line ahead of time cost $35 for 5 nights. Very convenient. Embarkment was very easy. Got on the ship around 11:30 had lunch and explored. Weather was horrible that day. Food- Was very good. Try the chocolate melting cake my kids loved it. My kids are picky eaters and there was always something they could find they liked. Formal night lobster was very good. Drinks- Very expensive. You could run up a very large bar bill. Soda cards are reasonable but they only have coke products and it is all out of a can. We were hoping for fountain soda. We did buy 1 adult and 1 child soda card and shared. We also brought on a rolling cooler with soda, 3 bottles wine. We did also sneak in some hard liquor in water bottles. We usually would buy the drink of the day and then mix our on drink later in the Carnival cup. This cut down on our bar bill. We also brought bottles of water because they charge for bottles of water. Shows-We enjoyed all of the shows. The first night we watched a comedian and the kids thought he was so funny. My husband and I later saw him at the midnight R rated show and he was really funny. We loved the Extreme Country show. Cozumel-We did not take any of the tours. We didn't want to get off one ship to get on another. We went Chankub (sp) park. I printed a coupon off their website. 63 dollars to get 6 of in. THis is where they do the dolphin swim. It was a nice park with a beach, waiters, outside pool. We brought our own sand toys and snorkeling gear. This was the kids first time snorkeling it was perfect. My daughter got her hair braided for $20. We stayed for about 4-5 hours then headed back to the ship for lunch. 40 dollars for the cab rides. Progresso- Very old Mexico. Beach was not very pretty. Too hot for bus tours. We played on the beach for 2 to 3 hours shopped around and headed back to this ship around 3 for lunch. Activities-Our kids were busy the whole cruise. Our oldest son played basketball all day and night. They played putt-putt golf. Camp Carnival is wonderful. Our 4 year old would asked to go for a couple hours everyday, they did so many activities with them she called it school. The 8 year enjoyed his time they had great activities for him. OUr 10 year was allowed to sign himself in and out. He picked a choosed what he wanted to do. Embarkment-Took a while. We did self-assist it seemed so did a lot of people. We were off the ship by 9:30 and headed home. It was a great time. For the price we paid we felt it was good bargain. SPA- I did do a spa treatment the last day. They run special every day so wait until the end of the cruise to get the best deal, otherwise pricey. I would not hesitate taking the kids again on this cruise, it is hard to please 6 people. But this cruise did. Relaxing for mom and dad and fun for the kids. Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
We were a group of 9 adults for the Feb 1 sailing for a 4 day cruise to Cozumel. We stayed at the Quality Inn and ate at Tortuga for dinner the night before the cruise. The hotel was great and the food and margaritas at Tortuga were ... Read More
We were a group of 9 adults for the Feb 1 sailing for a 4 day cruise to Cozumel. We stayed at the Quality Inn and ate at Tortuga for dinner the night before the cruise. The hotel was great and the food and margaritas at Tortuga were awesome. There were only 2 ships in port on the day we sailed. The weather for sailing was misty, cool and overcast; but the ship was comfortable and fabulous. Embarkation was a breeze. Some of our group was on board by 11:00 am, the rest by 1:30. From the first lunch on the Lido deck to the last breakfast before debarkation, the food was great. The variety and quality is over-the-top for the price we paid. I have seen some complaints in previous reviews and I can't understand what in the world they are thinking...the food is GREAT! The ship is in great condition and although we've been on the Zuiderdam in her first year of service and thought we'd be spoiled, we liked this ship as much if not better. The crowd is more lively and that's exactly what made the cruise so much fun. The activities are the usual carnival fare but the guests made the people watching so entertaining. The service was the best we've had from the dining room to the state rooms and we've sailed on 3 Carnival ships, one Holland America and a Viking River Cruise on the Rhine. The constant cleaning and friendly service was very impressive. We took a private excursion from Island Marketing to Nachi Cocom and had the single best vacation day of our lives. We have vacationed all over the world from budget accommodations to the highly refined sort and this was our favorite day in over 30 years of travel. Our group consists of some of the best travel partners you could ask for and that may have made the difference...but if you go to Cozumel and miss Nachi Cocom, shame on you!!! There were only 2 ships in port on the day we went to Cozumel so we didn't have to tender and the island wasn't too crowded. Entertainment was fine, except for the first night comedian act. The jokes were old and tired and his delivery was torturous, but the rest was just fine. The Filipino band in the China Town Club was our favorite. We didn't have any kids with us, but saw a few cutie pies marching around in pirate makeup chanting and having a good time. Debarkation was the easiest we've ever had. My husband liked the gym and said it is one of the best he's used on board a ship. Self-debarkation is the bomb. We were off the ship and on our way home in less than 30 minutes. We arranged this trip for our employees as a thank-you and ended up having one of the best vacations of our life. Can't wait to say thank-you again next year! ;) Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
We spent the night prior to the cruise at the Holiday Inn on the Beach. We have stayed there before. The hotel is okay, but seemed more rundown this time. It is right on the beach, the pool is okay. The rooms were smaller than I remembered ... Read More
We spent the night prior to the cruise at the Holiday Inn on the Beach. We have stayed there before. The hotel is okay, but seemed more rundown this time. It is right on the beach, the pool is okay. The rooms were smaller than I remembered and needed updates. Bathroom was dirty but the worse part was the room was overrun with ants. Service was satisfactory in the hotel. We took the first shuttle from the hotel to the ship. This is a service provided by the hotel and was free. The shuttle driver, Debbie, was great. She stored our car seat for the week so we didnt have to take it on the ship. We arrived at the terminal at 11:50. There was virtually no line. We went directly upstairs, immediately in the VIP line, because I was in a WC and we had a baby in a stroller. Ten minutes later, we were on the ship and up to the Lido deck for lunch. Couldnt have been better. Our rooms were not ready, so we had lunch. It only took about 45 minutes for the rooms to be ready. We had an ocean view and an inside. The OV was different than others we have had. The 2 beds were joined, more or less in the center of the cabin. We had one upper bunk and a roll-a-way. This worked well for us. The cabin was a little crowded and not so easy to move around in, but that was because of my scooter and wheelchair. The bedding was better than in the past; the pillows and comforters were great. Our inside cabin had the two beds pushed together, which worked well for our daughter and her baby. She had plenty of room for the two of them. She did have a room with a door, I assume an adjoining capable cabin The bathrooms were updated with the blue mats, and are the usual size for Carnival. The rooms have flat screen TVs and show first run movies everyday. You can also watch Denver local stations, cartoon network, boom (cartoons) and TNT. Of course, there are also the Carnival stations, onboard information, guest videos and shopping information. Luggage arrived well before dinner. No problems there. Another cruiser from this same ship was disappointed with the food. I have to admit that they had some legitimate complaints. The lobster was tough, some of the beef was tough, but for the most part our food was good. Typical Carnival fare. If you didnt like what was served, there were plenty of other options. We thought the sandwiches upstairs in the panoramic grill were very good. The pizza was okay, the Bistro was always good, but I didnt always care for their choices. We used room service three times. Something new this time, we were told there was a limit on how much each stateroom could order at a time. There were 6 in our group and we ordered all together. Someone was having a bad day. I asked at the information desk and was told that there was no limit. Our food arrived timely and was very good. The BLT had more bacon than vegetables. You dont often see that. I have to say here that we had the best dining room team EVER. Loredana from Romania and Putu from Philippines. They were attentive, friendly and provided great service. The whole Wind Star dining room staff was great. Head waitress, Loredana, another one, and Maitre d', Stan the Man were excellent. Let me say that this was our 12th cruise with Carnival. We are among those who didnt get credit for earlier sailing, thus the gold rather than platinum status. I only add that to make a point that we have sailed before. That being said, this was the most relaxed dining room I have ever seen. Rebecca, the cruise director is beautiful, friendly and funny. Her staff was great. We went to the first show. It was very good. I only saw part of the county show and it seemed good also. We never made it to the comedy shows, however other cruisers said they were good. We skipped the art auctions and bingo this time. There were the usual adult activities, hairy chest contest, newlywed game, ice carving, galley tour. The ones we saw were entertaining. We spent two evenings listening to guitar player outside the casino. He was funny and nice. I thought he had an average voice. It was nicer this year as smoking is not allowed in the area anymore. The internet café is just aft of here. It was busy all the time. We were able to manage our withdrawal and stayed off the internet for the whole cruise. Another poster mentioned the nightmare of self-debarkation. It was very crowded on the Empress deck starting around 7 am. We had to fight the crowd just to get out of our cabin to breakfast. I saw and heard the Carnival staff trying to direct the crowds, but the line did move slowly and people were observed cutting in line. We were again very fortunate. My wheelchair status along with the baby allowed us to use the special needs debarkation. We went to the Grand Atrium at 8:15. I had my own W/C, so we were allowed to leave immediately. We were through customs by 8:30, our Holiday Inn shuttle was 5 minutes away. We were back at the hotel and loaded in our van for the long drive home by 9:00 am. Read Less
Sail Date July 2006
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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