7 Galveston to Mexican Riviera Carnival Ecstasy Cruise Reviews

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 September 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 July 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 June 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 February 2010
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 September 2009
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 March 2008
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

Find a Carnival Ecstasy Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click