Sail Date: July 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: 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: 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: January 2011
This was our first Carnival cruise and we sailed with a 6 y.o. and an 8 y.o. The kids loved Camp Carnival and at one time refused to be picked up. The counselors there did a very good job. Our cabin was lovely, the balcony was a winner -- ... Read More
This was our first Carnival cruise and we sailed with a 6 y.o. and an 8 y.o. The kids loved Camp Carnival and at one time refused to be picked up. The counselors there did a very good job. Our cabin was lovely, the balcony was a winner -- beautiful view every day, not too windy. The bathroom had a stale urine smell that I could not get rid of. They cleaned the room very well twice a day, but I don't think they could do anything about the bathroom -- it was definitely clean, but just smelly. The shower was nice and hot with good water pressure. Nice toiletries were provided. We had two bunk beds in addition to a queen bed. We were told that the queen bed would be separated into two queens for safety once we would be using the bunk beds, however, the steward agreed easily to keep the queen bed together so my husband and I could sleep together. Of course, that made is difficult to get to the balcony and we also bumped our heads a lot. However, it helped tremendously to have it set up that way, because our children fell out of the bunk beds twice and they had our queen bed to fall into. They don't have good railing to hold the children in the bunk beds like Disney does, the kids kept falling out and our kids are definitely old enough for bunk beds. The ship was very unstable -- it rocked nonstop, even when there were no waves. Somehow we did not get sea sick, but the rocking was extremely annoying. I have been on many ships before and this is the most rocking I have experienced. In the middle of the night, sometimes there would be horrible noise -- we assumed it was the stabilizers turning on. The ship was clean and well-kept and had many public spaces inside, so you always had plenty of space for everyone, but outside places were very lacking and poorly designed. There was only one tiny pool, covered in kids. The pool was icy cold and our kids refused to go in it. there were two hot tubs extremely overloaded with people in the main outdoor area. There was a nice Serenity area, but it was impossible to get to it -- took us two days to find it -- and it only had hot tubs in it, not a pool and it also did not have a bar. The only sports area was on the top of the ship and there was a tiny mini-golf spot and a tiny jogging track. Both could not be used the entire trip due to incredible winds that took your breath away and threw your golf ball around. We kept trying to go up there many times a day, but always ran back down. It was not even windy outside, but the area is just badly designed. There was no basketball and only two ping-pong tables. It took us three days to get a turn at ping-pong. There was smoking almost everywhere on the ship. Smoking on the pool deck (the only pool deck), smoking by the restaurants, smoking in the main music/bar/casino area. Not good for families! We had to really search to get a table away from smoke. The food in the main restaurant was pretty good, but nothing amazing. We loved the anytime dining, walk in anytime and they sit you right away and the service was wonderful. The wine package was great also and the wines were good. The food in the buffet was quite terrible except for breakfasts and desserts. I never got to eat a burger because of the huge line every day. The sushi was hit/miss, the worst was that he would only make three kinds of sushi. One day rice tasted like bleach. The entertainment was good, we always felt entertained and it was quite fun. they had lots of tours in port, although we did it on our own. Playa Mia Beach was terrible -- don't bother! The worst part was disembarkation -- we were late into port because of the fog -- by 3 hours. It took 4 hours to get off the ship! We finally got off at 2 pm. They did not feed us lunch! The kids were exhausted and frustrated and we were near tears. The porter told us this was the worst he has seen in a long time! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2010
Parking ~ Parked at the lighthouse parking area for $40.00. Included storage of the car and transportation to and from the ship. Service was friendly and efficient. Embarkation ~ Overall the process went smooth, took about an hour to get ... Read More
Parking ~ Parked at the lighthouse parking area for $40.00. Included storage of the car and transportation to and from the ship. Service was friendly and efficient. Embarkation ~ Overall the process went smooth, took about an hour to get through all the checkpoints. Word to the wise don't take any photos till your on the boat, you will get an ear full. Room ~ I expected it to be smaller but it was adequate to house two people. The beds were surprisingly comfortable and drawer and closet space was not an issue, at least for two adult males, might be a bit rough for those females who tend to pack heavy. Bathroom was tiny but worked, water was nice and hot, however there was a faint mold smell in the shower area. It was not horrible but definitely noticeable. Word to the wise, bring a power-strip if you are going to need more then one outlet. Pool ~ I did not bother even going into the pool as I was not there to swim, however for those who enjoy the pool it is extremely tiny for the size of the ship. Also, if you want a chair by the pool go early, but if you just want to sunbathe a chair can be found on other decks without much trouble. There are 4 hot tubs, two by the pool area, and two in the adult only area. My suggestion would be to cut out one of the hot tubs and the stage and enlarge the pool. Food ~ Very adequate, Lido deck had your typical buffet style breakfast. Omelette station was my breakfast of choice and there was always a decent variety. The taste of the food was good, however the water tasted horrible. I would suggest bringing tons of bottles of water. Lunch was great and had a good variety, lines were never horribly long for either breakfast or lunch ate either on Lido or at the grill. Dinner was the best always dined in and had a great variety and 5 courses of greatness. The highlight was dessert, if you like chocolate the Chocolate Melting Cake is the best, do not miss it, and don't be shy to ask for seconds. Did get room service a few times, not the best variety but the chicken wrap was great and came pretty quickly. Casino ~ Decent casino for blackjack and slots, slots were not terribly loose but the dealers at the tables were friendly. They do have one roulette and craps table. They have one electronic no limit hold'em table. Great souvenir idea for a dollar they sell the old game cards at the cashier. Alcohol ~ Expensive, $25.00 for 4 beers and gratuity is charged every time. My suggestion would be to try to find a way to get in on board, however if they find it they will take it and you will be hard pressed to get it back. Entertainment ~ I spent most of my time at the Casino, but I did catch the comedian and he is definitely for a younger crowd. I found him funny, but for those who have sensitive senses of humor you may not like his routine. For you sports fans there is a cigar bar that has two horribly placed flat screens that can get ESPN or FOX Denver, if you must see a sporting event I would not count on it. The club is great, good lighting and the dj takes requests. Beyond that I did not go to any other shows, etc. Ports ~ Progresso is a miss, but at least got some shopping done. Cozumel is great. Carlos and Charles is where it was at for drinks and fun. Hate having to conform to a time schedule though, wish they would get rid of Progresson and just spend 2 days in Cozumel. Overall ~ Great trip, not to many kids, mostly recommend for a 21-40 crowd, singles for sure, but couples could enjoy. Ship is large enough that your not to on top of everyone, except the pool, but small enough to be managable, decent workout facility as well. I would cruis again. Any further questions feel free to email: solafide55@yahoo.com Read Less
Sail Date: July 2010
My wife and I embarked on our second Carnival cruise and fourth cruise together overall, the other two being on Royal. To be honest, we went in with low expectations for this cruise mainly due to horror stories we have heard about ... Read More
My wife and I embarked on our second Carnival cruise and fourth cruise together overall, the other two being on Royal. To be honest, we went in with low expectations for this cruise mainly due to horror stories we have heard about debarking from Galveston but also due to our previous experience with Carnival which had been somewhat underwhelming. We really enjoy newer boats with the new bells and whistles. I write that to set up the fact that we were genuinely impressed with the Ecstasy. The ship had plenty of activities, a great cruise director, an awesome slide in the 'Waterworks' section, a tranquil aft adults only Serenity section, a more than adequate fitness area, good food, and wonderful service. Considering this boat was 30,000 tons smaller than the next smallest ship we had sailed on, we couldn't believe the amenities that they managed to pack in. The only way that we could tell the ship ran out of room so to speak is that it only had one pool which was extremely crowded on sea days. We were still able to get a chair near the pool when we wanted however and enjoyed our days sitting beside. The water slide made me feel ten years younger since it afforded me an easy opportunity to interact with my two nephews. It is a large enclosed slide that offered hours of fun. The food was much better than our previous Carnival cruise and in general was better than we were expecting. On the last day my wife ordered a vegetarian Indian dish that was our absolute favorite dish on the cruise. Other meals included cruise standards such as lobster, various styles of steak, escargot, etc. The pizza on this cruise was the best of the four that we have been on. Another big surprise for us were the lines which always seemed to be under control and I never felt like I waited more than a few minutes for anything. The casino is smaller than most while still offering plenty of gaming options. A word for the Carnival and those who follow the odds, I will not be using Carnival Casinos again until they cease using automatic continuous shuffling machines at the blackjack tables. As far as shows are concerned we went to the Quest show and enjoyed it immensely as it is a Carnival tradition. We went to only one of the 'revue' shows and only set through half of it. That style of entertainment is not really our thing. The cruise director Steve did play a mean fiddle in the show that we went to which made the show worth it and he is the first cruise director that I ever had that made me regret missing the debarkation talk as he was apparently hilarious in it (according to my family). Our only real complaint about the cruise had nothing to do with the ship or Carnival at all and that is that debarkation in Galveston is a total nightmare. Our biggest tip is to use the porters as you enter the customs area as they let you bypass a line and can eliminate more than thirty minutes of waiting. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
This ship, while older has many updated features, from the floors, art, to the bathrooms. We sailed out of Galveston, TX in a balcony cabin. This was our first cruise, our honeymoon, upon boarding the confusion started. The cruise line is ... Read More
This ship, while older has many updated features, from the floors, art, to the bathrooms. We sailed out of Galveston, TX in a balcony cabin. This was our first cruise, our honeymoon, upon boarding the confusion started. The cruise line is not very good at giving instructions on how to board and how to find ones cabin. After about 30 minutes of wandering around we finally found our room and we were pleasently surprised to find the room so clean and with ample storage space, we were able to hang all of our clothes and put things away before the ship left the port. The balcony was worth the extra money, the time spent with each other watching the ocean sail by, and at times dolphins playing was wonderful! Room service was fast, however the food is not as good as expected, the coffee is bitter, and the smoked salmon is thick and not cold. Most of the food will be served at room temperature everywhere on board, even in the fine dining. The waiter in the Windsong was AMAZING he made sure we were full and ate plenty! The room steward was great and the service all over the ship was wonderful. Tipping a few extra dollars goes a long way also. The casino will eat ones money, the shopping trip talks are just a scam to get one to shop in certain stores, the game shows and comedies are WONDERFUL! Overall we will be going back again. There is indeed something for everyone, and time without cell phones allows reconnection on whole new levels. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
I was hesitant to book a Carnival cruise because of its budget friendly reputation but I was pleasantly surprised and feel it's an excellent value. Used Lighthouse Parking, no need to drop off your bags first then park, they will ... Read More
I was hesitant to book a Carnival cruise because of its budget friendly reputation but I was pleasantly surprised and feel it's an excellent value. Used Lighthouse Parking, no need to drop off your bags first then park, they will take care of everything for you. Pretty easy check in and embarking, lines went by fast. Rooms were ready by 1:30. Cabins - great tip to bring your own alarm clock and hairdryer. Very clean, nightly turn down service with hilarious towel art, including one made of a man in my bed, ice bucket always refilled. I would have liked foam pillows and high thread count sheets. No heat, only ac, it was a little cold at times. Very nice robes in the closet with amble room and a safe. Large suitcases can be pushed under the beds for storage. Bathroom was also quite large, always had hot water, large bath towels and pool towels provided. I would have liked a daily weather report in the room included with the daily events program. Food - Breakfast buffet has your standard items of hot and cold selections. Made to order omelets are by the pool, coffee pretty good, juice way too sweet you may want to mix with water. And the water on the ship is pretty tasty, no need to buy bottled water. I recommend having breakfast a few times in the formal dinning room , its so nice and delicious - eggs benedicts, Belgian waffles, made to order eggs and fresh fruit. Lunch - always ate at the buffet but again I enjoyed having breakfast so much in the formal dining room I wish I would have tried it at least once. Again food very good, pizzas and hand made sandwiches are excellent!! Highly recommend them. Burgers and nachos by the pool however no guacamole, my only compliant about lunch service. TONS of deserts, the best and most elaborate are reserved for the last day at sea, you must try all of them. Dinner - we chose anytime dining and there were six of us. Our first night we went at 7:00 pm and had to wait over thirty minutes. After that we went around 6:00 and never had to wait. You can request where you want to sit, three times we sat by the windows which was nice. Service was very good, but a little low at times. I can recommend the duck appetizer, onion soup, cesar salad (if you like anchovies), stuffed mushrooms, flat iron steak (they will offer this every night), prime rib and lamb chops were excellent, they will bring you additional items, just ask. I didn't care for any of the fish entrees, except the lobster and shrimp. The deserts were all very good as well. Carnival allows each passenger to bring on board one bottle of wine which you can bring to dinner; they state they charge a $10 corkage fee however I was never charged once, thank you Carnival, I really enjoyed brining my own bottle of wine to dinner. Another tip, bring plastic baggies or Tupperware to take sandwiches with you an excursions. Too tired to stay up for the midnight Mexican buffet, but I heard they had guacamole. Drinks - waiters can be a little pushy especially when they want you to order the drink of the day. Wine was about $5.50, beer $4. I had to tell a waiter to stop serving a stumbling drunk, that's about as wild as it got, except upon returning to port it was reported there was a suspicious death that occurred the first night. Carnival kept that WAY quite, FBI was on board investigating and was spotted eating breakfast in their FBI polos. Entertainment/pools - Went to the "County" and Bon Voyage shows, pretty good, some pitch problems as Simon would say. Only used the adult Serenity area hot tubs, very nice but can get crowded, vey nice lounge chairs. There is so much to do on this ship, you will never be bored. Public areas - Carnival could improve greatly in this area. Elevator areas are very dated with artwork damaged and in need of repair and/or replacement. Casino was small. Staff - exceptional! Very friendly, professional, courteous, all spoke English quite well. We had a problem with our bill and it was corrected without a problem. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
Background: I went on this cruise with my mother and grandma. I have been on several Carnival Cruises and an NCL. My mom has just been on Carnival, and this was my grandmothers first cruise. We booked the cruise in September for about ... Read More
Background: I went on this cruise with my mother and grandma. I have been on several Carnival Cruises and an NCL. My mom has just been on Carnival, and this was my grandmothers first cruise. We booked the cruise in September for about 330$ per person. We had an inside cabin, U96. We were a little nervous about going on the Ecstasy because of the dry dock and previous reviews. When we got to the port in Galveston(around 11:30) we were told we would board around 12:00. Well we didnt board until 1:30. This was not a big deal, except I would have liked them to not tell me a time at all if they were not sure. No big deal though we made a mad dash to the buffet line and had a good lunch. Explored the ship, very clean. When we started walking to our room we noticed a strong sewage smell in the hallways. Turns out it was in our room too. We ignored it and continued exploring. We do not spend a lot of time in our rooms, so the inside cabin for three people worked for us. I would not recommend for people who like a lot of room. At dinner we met our waiter Jaime, what a great guy. Overall the food in the main dining room was good. One day we even had special Halloween desserts. I forgot how much I liked having the same waiter every night. Jaime always made our dining experience the best. As for the buffet it was good, buffets stress me out though. The food was good and it was busy most of the time. But thats expected! The staff around this area work so hard to keep up. They really do a great job while still being friendly to everyone. Dont know how they do it! For the next 4 days the smell around our room remained. This was honestly my only complaint on the cruise, I have no idea where this smell came from and sometimes it was stronger than others. We had some spray and used it often! Other than that we loved our room and the location. The shows on the ship were also great. Comedians were okay, but I did not go to the late show where I am sure they were much better! Bar staff were great, I can't remember a time where I hade to wait more than a minute! Also, I thought the drink prices were very reasonable. If you looked for specials and didnt mind not having a souvenir glass. Many of my drinks were 4.95$. Also went to the spa/salon. For $79 I got a neck massage, foot massage, and facial. Thought that was a good price. Although the location was not my favorite, I got put where everyone was talking and it was hard to relax. Very good though! Cozumel was perfect as well. We did the MExican Cuisine and loved it. Spent the first few hours cooking and drinking, then we ate and drank, then we hung out at the beach and could use all of they facilities there. It was a great time. Getting off the ship was another rough area for me. We were about an hour late because of weather. Then everyone was in a mad rush to leave. Although they were calling floors not many passengers were listening and that caused us to be delayed again. All said and done I enjoyed my cruise on the ecstasy, i thought the employees on the ship made my trip great. I would definitley consider sailing on the Ecstasy again! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2009
We drove in from San Antonio that morning and arrived around 1 p.m. I think it would have been better to arrive closer to noon to allow more time for parking etc. We prepaid parking on line with Lighthouse Parking. You park your car in ... Read More
We drove in from San Antonio that morning and arrived around 1 p.m. I think it would have been better to arrive closer to noon to allow more time for parking etc. We prepaid parking on line with Lighthouse Parking. You park your car in their lot and they drive the shuttle right up to your car to get your luggage and take you to the port. The embarkation line looked long but it went smoothly and quickly. Our luggage arrived at our room that afternoon around 5 pm so don't put anything important in your luggage you may need ahead of time. As soon as we boarded we were directed to the buffet lunch. If you have some carry on luggage however, go to your room and drop it off before you go to lunch. Lunch was good (buffet room by pool) but warm and crowded as that first lunch involves everyone on board. Don't worry, by that night and through the rest of the cruise people are spread out eating at various places so the crowds diminish. We had an inside cabin which was roomy and comfortable. Every day, without asking, we received a bucket of ice. We rarely saw our room attendant but he always had the room clean and prepared morning and night. The dining room service and food was exceptional. And like everyone said, the chocolate melting cake is to die for. One night we had lobster tail that was fantastic; very sweet and tender. We were not able to enjoy some of the nightclubs because they were way too smoke filled. I wish the cruise line had some smoke free venues or a better ventilation system to take the smoke out of the clubs. The two pools are very small, wasn't impressed with that. Shows were great, really enjoyed them, especially the two comedy shows. Our favorite on board activity was the shows. We are not into casino, karaoke, or bingo. However, I brought a game along and it was fun playing in the game room while looking out the window to the ocean on a rainy day. I found the staff on board (except for dining room staff) not very friendly, thought they would be more so, similar to the friendly staff at all-inclusives we stayed at. For our Cozumel excursion we spent the day at El Cid Resort. That was so so. The liquor included was very limited and not very good and the resort is so close to where tour boats leave it made the water rough. We did see many colorful fish though. However, the waitress that served us on the beach, Virginia, was just fantastic. The next port, Progresso, was a disappointment. In order to go to Progresso, you have to wait on a very long line in the very hot sun to be shuttled into the city; too hot; too long wait so we just shopped at the shops on the pier and had drinks at the bar on the pier and that was enjoyable. If you purchase duty-free liquor to take home, you are allowed one bottle per person or else (you are told) you would have to pay tax on the extra. However, that is not really the case. Some people bought more thinking they will just pay the tax but when they get to customs they find out customs does not do that because it would take too long so I heard they just confiscate what you bought. So beware. Debarkation: If you want to get off the ship early you can do so by carrying off your own luggage. If you checked your luggage, you won't get off until later, however you can go to breakfast first which is nice and then relax anywhere on the ship until your deck is called. Guests disembark when their deck is called. When you get in line it takes a while to slowly work your way down the stairs to get off the ship. When you do get off the ship, it is worth your while and tips to stand immediately in the porter line, get a porter to get your luggage and take you to customs. It is faster than doing it yourself. We probably got off the ship around 10:30-11 am even though it docks very early. In summary, I would say it was a good time for the price we paid, which was a last minute discounted price. I don't think it would have been worth it paying full price because it is necessary to pay for all the excursions for each port and prepay tips which are not included in the cost of the cruise. If it were a choice of paying a full cruise price vs. flying to Mexico to an all-inclusive resort where you have access to the beach daily, I would choose the latter. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2008
We were on the Ecstasy during Easter week. Unfortunately, the ship did not provide any type of Easter service as promised, so the holiday was just spent as a regular day at sea. We were please to not experience the college break crowd, as ... Read More
We were on the Ecstasy during Easter week. Unfortunately, the ship did not provide any type of Easter service as promised, so the holiday was just spent as a regular day at sea. We were please to not experience the college break crowd, as this week's cruisers were families. We always select the most economical cabins (no windows) but were pleasantly surprised by the large size of this ship's economy cabins. Also, we were a little worried about how the ship might look due to its age and the fact that it was used to house Katrina refugees. The decor was dated, but it was well kept and clean in all of the public places. The fitness center had ample machines, which we appreciated. Our room was not very clean, but I think that was an isolated issue with our steward and not a regular occurrence. I always bring disinfecting wipes along and clean the frequently touched things in the cabin myself, so it wasn't a big issue for us. We have been on three other Carnival cruises and found the food on this one the best. Also, the staff in the formal dining room were the most friendly we have encountered. They sang songs and encouraged the guests to participate. It was a nice touch and fun without being tacky. The ports were our least favorite part of the trip. We are accustomed to sailing to Caribbean islands and found them much better than Cozumel or Progresso. My husband and I are athletic, so we usually just walk off of the ship and go on foot to a beach and shopping. Unfortunately, the nearest beach to the port in Cozumel was about 10 miles away. We didn't bother taking a cab to it because the day was overcast and rainy. Instead we opted to shop near the port. The shopping wasn't great and it didn't feel particularly safe to venture on foot away from the port. We found Progresso to be the worst port we have ever encountered. Cruisers were lined up for hours to take the free bus service from the ship to land (you cannot walk down the 4 mile pier to get to land yourself). Instead of waiting in the line for the bus, we walked over to a taxi and were able to get a taxi ride to land for $6.00. Progresso is a very poor looking town. There is a beach called Corona beach that is available once you take the bus or taxi ride from the ship to the land. The beach is okay (not particularly pretty and very crowded). Bottom line, if you want to have fun at these ports, it seems you should pay the extra money and go on an excursion. Our dinner partners went to Merida (about an hour away) and loved it. If the Ecstasy went to different ports (not Cozumel or Progresso), we would take it again in a heartbeat due to its affordability and the great staff and food. Also, we loved Galveston and found that beach better than the one we went to in Mexico. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2008
This was my 4th Carnival cruise and the first for my two boys--ages 14 and 11. Overall, I was very pleased with it. The weather was great, the shows were fun, and the boys were happy. The ship arrived in port about 4 hours late, so we ... Read More
This was my 4th Carnival cruise and the first for my two boys--ages 14 and 11. Overall, I was very pleased with it. The weather was great, the shows were fun, and the boys were happy. The ship arrived in port about 4 hours late, so we boarded 4 hours late, as well. Because everyone had to board at once, rather than staggered throughout the day, as usual, the lines were horrible. I knew when we were in line that we were in for a very different cruise than I had ever been on by the huge number of already drunk and obnoxious Texas college students in line. When we finally arrived at our cabin, it was very nice. However, we were completely surrounded by these same drunk college students. There were a few other families with young kids around us, but the rest were the most rude and obnoxiously drunk college kids (boys and girls) I have ever seen. Every night of the cruise, these kids (who were constantly totally blotto) would run up and down the hallway and scream. Every night, all night. The first night I and some of the other parents of young kids around us tried to talk to the college kids to ask them to go to one of the clubs, the pool, or anywhere except the hallway in front of our cabins to party. Their response was, "We are on Spring Break, and we are going to do whatever we want to do!" So rude! From then on, we all just took turns calling Security several times all night long every night. As soon as Security left, they would start up again. The worst was this loud, shrill Rebel yell that they would do all night long as they ran up and down the hall. They also had a stereo they would play loudly all night. Besides this, the cruise was great. We went to Chankanaab Park in a taxi in Cozumel. I had done this twice before and knew it was the way to go. Taxi for all of us was $10 each way, and the park was $50 for all of us, which included staying all day, snorkel equipment rental, bathrooms, showers, lockers, and deck chairs (there is also a beachside restaurant, which is very good and inexpensive). The beach is beautiful and not at all crowded. Very quiet and relaxing. The water is great and the kids saw tons of sealife while snorkeling, including coral reefs, an octopus, lots of large colorful fish, crabs, etc. This was their favorite part of the cruise. At Progresso, we went to the Dzibilchaltun Mayan Ruins Shore Excursion through the cruiseline. Kids loved it. It is smaller than Chichen Itza, so easier for kids to handle. It also has a limestone freshwater pool that the kids were able to swim in for quite a while, which they loved. The time for shopping at the port was short (only a few minutes) after the tour, but the shops all sell the same things at about the same prices. Typical Mexican trinkets. The only unusual thing was the sisal hammocks, which were $20 for a huge one. The service on the cruise was outstanding. We ate in the dining room for every meal. The kids couldn't get over the fact that they could order whatever they wanted off the menu and even everything on the menu, if they wanted. Such an economical trip for those with teenaged or pre-teen boys who eat constantly! They also tried the pizza and ice cream on deck too. The 11 year old loved the waterslide at the pool, and they both enjoyed the shows. They had no interest in the kids club programs for their age. Because they were both at the top of the age range, they felt they didn't really mesh with the younger kids or the programs. They found plenty to do on their own, though. All in all, it was a great trip, I will just NEVER book a cruise during the month of March again! Fair warning to anyone else who does. You will not be able to sleep for a full night for almost a week due to drunken college kids. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2007
My Husband & I have been on this cruise 2 times. We loved it and had a blast! There are tons of things to do on the boat, most of the time I forgot I was even on a boat. The most relaxing days were the days at sea. Rooms: Our first ... Read More
My Husband & I have been on this cruise 2 times. We loved it and had a blast! There are tons of things to do on the boat, most of the time I forgot I was even on a boat. The most relaxing days were the days at sea. Rooms: Our first time we got a room on the Rivera Deck, Oceanview. We weren't planning on staying in our room all day, so we didn't see the point in paying more for a suite. Our second time cruising on this ship we wanted to be on a different floor, so we booked on the Empress Deck. This was the exact type of room we had before. No big deal, we were not on a cruise to stay in our room the whole time. (Be careful if you book a room with a balcony. If you want private moments then ask exactly where it is located, for example by any stairs. As we were walking down the stairs from the track/mini golf area, we were basically right there on someone's balcony. I could tell they were upset, and they told me several people throw their half empty glasses onto their balcony.) However, the rooms are nice, and larger than what I expected. I slept the best I ever slept before. The rooms are VERY clean. Our stateroom steward was the same guy on both cruises (kind of funny that happened!) Each night, your steward pulls back your covers, makes a neat animal out of towels, and leaves mints on your pillow. One time the monkey (made out of a towel) was wearing my sunglasses. The Boat: The ship is very clean, and COLD! Bring a light jacket with you, even if it is suppose to be 150 degrees outside! Our first cruise I ended up purchasing a jacket from the gift shop for $60! It was worth it in my opinion. There is a lot of entertainment, see as many shows as you can, and contests going on all the time. We had the late seating dinner, both times. You still get to see the shows that are shown during your dinner time. They call it now, the Early Seating Show and the Late Seating Show. On Formal Night you will attend the Captain's Cocktail Party. Free cocktails are served along with hors d'oeuvres are served. There are also people that are running around taking your picture all the time while you are on board. These pictures are a very good quality. And with quality comes the quality price, $20 each! We splurged... they were really good pictures! The pool area of the boat is nice. We never got in it because of the slew of kids sliding down the water slide, we preferred the quieter side of the ship. But if it is important for you to get a lounging chair by the main pool, get there EARLY. There are lounging chairs everywhere and on various decks. For those of you who suffer from motion sickness, don't worry. The crew offers motion sickness medicine. I think you can get it at the Pursers Desk. I can easily get sick on rollercosters and stuff like that, but I was not affected by the movement of the boat. At night you can barely feel it moving from side to side. Nothing major, I thought of it as the boat rocking you to sleep. :-) The Food: Stay up for the Midnight Buffets and we made sure we went to the dining room every night. The food was so pretty and you meet some neat people too. The first cruise the food tasted plain, but that's probably because I didn't eat any of the sauces that came with the meats (I'm just that way). My husband was pleased most nights with the food. Desserts were really good. If we were still hungry after dinner, we went to the Lido Deck. Around 11:00pm every night I had my final ice cream cone of the day. It is true you gain 5 pounds the week you are on the cruise. That's when the gym and the track come in handy. We visited this once and reminded ourselves we were on vacation and we didn't need to do this! :-) Spa: The spa is wonderful! We absolutely LOVED our massage. One thing that is a MUST DO is go to their informative review the first day you set sail. They tell you about all of the services the spa offers. This is located in the spa area of the boat. They also take your names and put them in a box. Throughout the meeting (it only lasts about 30 minutes), they draw names to win spa packages. I won a pedicure (regular $50) and my husband won a couples massage (regular $280). We've never been so lucky... especially in the Casino... we broke our winning streak. Throughout our cruise we called it the Carnival Donation Center, just to kid around. We did see a lot of people winning, we just weren't so lucky! Cozumel: This was our first stop both times. First Cruise: We visited the Mayan Ruins in Tulum. It was very informative (we are both history nuts) and very beautiful. Behind the ancient civilization is a bluff that leads to a picture perfect, turquoise Caribbean Sea. This is a must do if you love history. Second Cruise: went to the Playa Mia Beach Party. We purchased the 4 hour one. We wore sun screen and still got blistered. But we didn't realize that till we got back on the boat. The water there is crystal clear. There were lots of things to do, like climbing an "iceberg" in the ocean, a water trampoline, snorkeling, and did I mention the open bar?? There was also a Mexican buffet included in the price... I prefer the Tex-Mex version of Mexican Food. It wasn't very good, but that's only my opinion. Watch out for the Golden Man you think is a statue... he's really a person that can stand extremely still. He scared the crap out of me! The souvenirs are a lot more expensive in Cozumel, so if you can wait to buy stuff, Progresso has the same stuff and they are a lot cheaper. They are also more apt to wheel & deal with you. Progresso: When you walk off the boat you are greeted by a really neat mariachi (sp?) band! You'll walk through a really neat shopping area (both times this is where we bought all of our souvenirs), and then head off on a bus to your destination down the longest pier in the world (not kidding). First Cruise: We did the Corona Beach Party. This was SO much fun! There is an open bar at this one too. They also have waiters on the beach to wait on you! They will bring you anything you want. We also ate some of the best salsa and guacamole we have ever had! Be careful, the sand is very soft, but when you get close to the water (also in the water) it feels really rocky. There are shells everywhere. Second Cruise: We paid a little extra and went to the Reef Resort. It was a little bit of a drive to get there. The resort was VERY pretty and had a very large beach. The water was warm and apparently good for snorkeling. I am not much on snorkeling! I was in knee deep water and I was chased out of the water by a funny looking brown/white fish! Not kidding. Soon after that there was a whole school of them swimming around really close to the shore. Neat to see, but I headed to the pool! There was an open bar and buffet at this one too. Food here was a little bit better, but I still prefer the Tex-Mex version. If you choose not to do an excursion there are bus rides to the mainland. These round-trips are FREE. There is a really neat local market at the end of the pier. Final Day of Cruise: If you are ready to get out of there, get up EARLY and head to the Main deck. There will more than likely be a line formed already. Make sure you have already filled out the Customs form you stateroom steward left you. Heading out early is reserved for guest carrying off their luggage, if you set your luggage outside of your door to pick up, they will call you later by the Deck you were staying on. (We didn't want to go on a hide-n-seek venture for our luggage, so that's why we chose to carry ours off. Our suitcases are black, and so were everyone elses!) Carrying off your own luggage is very easy to do, between the 2 of us we had 4 hands. Doing it this way gets you through Customs first. One thing we learned by watching the people in front of us is- you cannot bring Cuban Cigars back into the states, and you are only allowed to bring back 1 liter of alcohol if you are a resident of Texas (it's different for other states- just check on it.) Be honest with the Customs Agents. Most of them are very friendly, but if they suspect you lying to them, things can get not so pretty (that was mainly because the couple in front of us were drunk- both of them.) Read Less
Sail Date: August 2005
Aug. 22nd 2005, 5 day cruise Cozumel, Calica. Where to begin? The bottom line for me is the entire ,"were done with you, we have your money, go to bed now" attitude has got to go! You need to understand that on SO MANY Different ... Read More
Aug. 22nd 2005, 5 day cruise Cozumel, Calica. Where to begin? The bottom line for me is the entire ,"were done with you, we have your money, go to bed now" attitude has got to go! You need to understand that on SO MANY Different levels Carnival does NOT have your best interests at heart, no matter what they say or do! The saddest part is when they quite literally "roll up the sidewalks" at night, leaving you with no options but to go to bed. Forget visiting with friends or meeting new people, especially if you want a drink or two to enhance the experience, the bars are closed, the pool is closed, the deck chairs have been stacked and pushed to the corner, the music has been turned off. Now Please understand that I'm NOT talking about midnight, 2am, (I could understand that!), I'm talking about 10-10:30 PM! Everything you buy has an 18% gratuity on it, including drinks you walk half way around the ship to get yourself! (which you have to do when the wait staff quits at 10pm!) And can you believe this, the ONLY bar left open on Thursday night ran out of beer! The excursions: TOTAL JOKE! I was with a large group of 10 people. We wanted to do a jeep excursion. The Carnival web site said you could get a jeep that would seat 4 for $150, (give or take). Yet on the ship, it went up to $80 per adult, and $70 per kid. So a jeep with 4 people would cost $320?? And that Rebecca chick claimed that had sold out. So we get to Cozumel: First off, its FAKE! You are entering a totally fake area created for Americans. Bypass all of that crap, and keep walking down to the rental car place. Guess what? They have SCORES of Jeeps available for rental, (pick your color!) $50! We rented a Ford Econoline Van that held all 10 of us for $80 plus the $25 Mexican insurance. Went to a Grocery store in downtown Cozumel. Got a styrofoam cooler, 2 cases of Mexican beer, (cold out of a cooler!), 2 bags of ice, bottled water, $30 bucks! We all cruised downtown Cozumel, (the REAL Cozumel!), bought 6 Cubans, food, and some T-shirts, loaded in the van, and STILL joined in the jeep excursion! Went to the sample places and everything, but we had beer and food! Went to 4 different beaches, partied all day! Oh, and I recommend you visit the "Gentleman's Club" just outside the "FAKE" area, and spend your money there! The diving, swimming and snorkeling? Its done in the harbor where yours and 3 other ships are docked, where they are dumping their waste and such! Yummy! Calica: Total waste of time! Again, another "FAKE" area set up for Americans as a tent city, assembled just as the ship arrives. Again we rented a car for $50, went into town, got beer, and drove to cancun! Its the ONLY way to go! Its a quick trip because you need to be back by 3:30, but well worth it! Beware of Pemex! The ONLY gas stations in town! They cheat you! Watch that person pumping your gas like a hawk! They clear the pumps and claim they put more in then they did! My advice: 1) Buy the soft drink card, you use the HELL out of it! 2) Smuggle your own booze and bottled water onboard any way possible! 3) Bring a book or games. The "fun days at sea" are brutal! 4) Expect to spend $100 a day on board for just crap! 5) The casino is TIGHT! No real big winners, but lots of big losers! 6) The food is OK, but most of the waitstaff does not speak English and are on their first cruise, (I hear of 75% turnover) Overall, NO real value! Make your own fun! Read Less
Carnival Ecstasy Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 3.5 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 3.5 0.0
Family 3.5 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.5 0.0
Enrichment 2.5 0.0
Service 4.5 0.0
Value For Money 5.0 0.0
Rates N/A 0.0

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