295 Galveston to Caribbean - Western Carnival Ecstasy Cruise Reviews

Well, just returned from our first....and last....Carnival cruise. Hated the Ecstasy, she was filthy, the service was appalling and the layout of the ship was terrible. There were muliticolored squares, triangles and every other ... Read More
Well, just returned from our first....and last....Carnival cruise. Hated the Ecstasy, she was filthy, the service was appalling and the layout of the ship was terrible. There were muliticolored squares, triangles and every other geometric shape imaginable all over the walls and hallways. I felt like I was being hypnotized or tortured all the time. It is obviouse she has been dry docked and the public areas had been redone with modern glass tile, etc. But leaving things such as dirty rag mops in plain sight in a courner of the public toilets(every day!) is just not acceptable to me. Several times we sat down in the bars at filthy tables where the sugar in cocktails was still dried on and visible and had to ask for someone to come and wipe them down. One had drippy ice cream all over it and I watched an employee who was "dusting" a desk nearby who never came over to wash off the table, although she was there for 15 minutes or more. I felt like I could not put a hand on anything without wanting to go get more sanitizer! The bedding was good but nothing like we are used to being RCCL regulars. When people say the cabins are bigger, they are talking about maybe 10 sq ft bigger because the layout is so bad the extra space is wasted on things like portman beds on the wall so close to your bed you bump your head on them. The quality of construction was really substandard on most things. I liked the effort that has been made to update this ship, but even compared with older ships we have been on with RCCL, there is no comparison. Food was pathetic. I do not understand how those on these boards always say they love Carnival, especially her food...ich! And the chocolate melting cake...O.K. one night, all raw dough the next. The only redeeming aspect was the pizza which was amazingly good and the crab cakes were tasty. Nothing else is even mentionable. Our port days were as expected, and Nachi Cocom in Cozumel did make the cruise worth going, but after 7 times there, we expect it. We stayed onboard in Progresso and it was somewhat enjoyable to be the only two of maybe 10 people in the pool (the only time we could get into it as it was always so over crowded) and the slide is fun, we enjoyed being the only ones on it for most of the day. But we really missed having our adults only RCCL solarium as Carnival's adult retreat only had scummy hot tubs, one of which was not working at all. No pool at all. We were determined to give Carnival a chance to wow us, but alas, there is no Wow in Carnival. This was the only cruise out of 13 taken that we could not wait to get home. The best day of our cruise...getting off! Even excusing Lee, the tropical storm that was coming in, we were 3 hours late, which is understandable, but it still took almost 2 hours to disembark once docked and we were "self assist"! Some things, small or otherwise can be overlooked, and we are half full people most of the time, but when there are so many shortcomings thrown together, you cannot overlook them all. All I can say is that it is obvious that Carnival cruisers, or at least most of them do not have anything to compare their cruises with. They should do the same and give other cruise lines a chance to prove what I am saying about this one. We got to know some wonderful cruisers though, who made it bearable for a while. Carnival...get your act together, I don't even think we will venture upon Magic when she arrives...too scared! We expect nothing from Carnival for this unenjoyable cruise, caveat emptor! But we have learned our lesson. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
My bff and I just got back from our cruise! We had the most relaxing time! Food was outstanding, rooms clean and staff wonderful! First the food...24 hours a day there is always food. You can order as much as you want in dining room or ... Read More
My bff and I just got back from our cruise! We had the most relaxing time! Food was outstanding, rooms clean and staff wonderful! First the food...24 hours a day there is always food. You can order as much as you want in dining room or can go to the grill for hamburgers and hot dogs. There is a Mongolian grill and rotisserie. Buffets, pizza and deli! I tried foods I would not have ordered in a restaurant such as, escargot, alligator, stuffed mushrooms and sushi! Deserts were great too! Our room was always clean! They came in twice a day morning and evening! The towel animals were great along with the chocolate every night! There is staff around every corner and everyone had a smile on their face! We were very impressed with this cruise! We did run into Tropical Storm Lee on our way home and the captain kept us very informed and the staff did have to rearrange some of the events but went very smooth for us! Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Carnival Ecstasy August 15, 2011 - August 20, 2011 Galveston - Progreso - Cozumel - Galveston This is our fourth cruise with Carnival (Ecstasy 2007, Fantasy 2008, & Conquest 2009). We also sailed on Voyager of the Seas in ... Read More
Carnival Ecstasy August 15, 2011 - August 20, 2011 Galveston - Progreso - Cozumel - Galveston This is our fourth cruise with Carnival (Ecstasy 2007, Fantasy 2008, & Conquest 2009). We also sailed on Voyager of the Seas in 2010. We are a party of 4, including 2 boys (7 & 9). Embarkation: This is our 4th departure from Galveston. I've learned that 11:30am is about the earliest general boarding starts. We only live ½ hour from the port so can fine tune our arrival time for minimal waiting. This cruise, we arrived at 11:20am. Thru Xray by 11:30am. At check-in station at 11:33am and saw the boarding of the early arrivers just starting. 11:38am had S&S card in hand and proceeded straight to the boarding line w/o having to sit down and wait. This longest wait was for the embarkation portrait which we have yet to buy so skipping it would have saved ample time. We set foot on the ship at 12 noon. I don't think we could have timed it any better to minimize the wait. I don't know if this timing will work for other sized ships and/or other ports but for Galveston with Ecstasy, Conquest, and Voyager, this will work great. I'll find out in a few months when we sail the Carnival Magic if arriving between 11-11:25am is still best... I packed 10 soda bottles and 1 wine bottle in my carry-on. The Xray technician pointed me to the table for detailed checking. The person here inspected each soda bottle for unopened cap and promptly waved us on. Since I've seen the question asked about bottled water as carry-on, I did observe a person with a small dolly pulling 2 cases of water and had no issue getting on. I can only assume they had 4+ members of their party to stay within the rules of a 12 pack per person. We headed straight for lunch on Lido. We were done by 1pm and tried to go to our state room to drop off carry-on but employee was at the elevators to ask that we wait. We visited the casino (closed) and Camp Carnival to fill out paper work for the kids. The time was very close to 1:30pm so we headed down the elevator closest to our room. There were other passengers waiting at our floor. The door to the hallways was still closed so everyone waited. At 1:30pm exact, a person took a peek behind the door and found no one on the other side so we all walked to our room. The stateroom attendant was quick to come by and introduced himself. Muster drill was different than what we had experienced in the past. We didn't have to drag the life jacket with us. It is probably safer to not make the stairs and hallways more crowded with those equipment. We had early seating for MDR as we always do. While we requested a table for 4, we were seated with 2 other families of 4 each. Only think I didn't like was that our long table which would normally seat 10 was crowded for 12. The Maitre'D probably chose our 3 families with all boys around the same age so it was a good thing. Both families were very nice with great conversations so no horror stories to share here. A few days before sailing I read about new MDR menus but ours were still the old one. Shrimp cocktail was still there every day and no ½ pound hamburger although I would have liked to try the burger since the reviews for it is usually awesome. After dinner, we went to the theater for the evening show. Great show as always. Day 2: At sea I enjoy sea days as you're not on tight schedules to get off the ship and rush to excursions, etc... We went to a trivia event. Kids went to Camp for a short time. Had leisurely lunch then played in the pool and water park. The small pool was quite packed but it was nice to cool off. Dinner was formal. Portrait times started at 5pm so we got dressed and took pictures at 8-10 settings...I lost count. We were early enough so didn't have line to wait if at all. By the time we were tired of posing, it was time for dinner. I had the lobster of course. This is the first cruise that our waiter didn't push multiple lobsters to me...even without my asking. Must be budget cuts...oh well. Day 3: Progreso This is our 2nd time in Progreso. Our kids are still too small to enjoy and appreciate the Mayan ruins so will do that excursion at a later year. I did recall $20 beach massage so headed straight to the beach. The prices vary. The market where the shuttle bus dropped us off wanted $35/hr so none for me there. The lady running the massage show at the beach wanted $25/hr. I counter offered $20 and was promptly accepted. My family was also allowed to use the beach chair and umbrella as part of my package which was nice. It wasn't the greatest massage I've ever had but what did you expect for $20. I've since heard others getting $15 so I overpaid ? After some light souvenir shopping, we headed back to enjoy the pool and water park. We must have missed the emergency drill all of the past time but heard on the speakers a call to "abandon ship". Not only did employees went to their life boat positions but they actually lowered several boats to the water and drove around in circles. Glad to know that those equipments get tested regularly. Our last cruise with Royal Caribbean, we enjoyed lots of trivia, Sudoku, etc...challenge and earned medals as well as all kinds of paraphernalia so was looking forward to "ship on a stick". 2 events mid day were no show by the entertainment staff. I was unhappy at making time to attend but employees did not so I complained to the Guest Services desk. I was pleasantly surprised to get a phone call from the CD that evening to apologize and some "ship on a stick" sent to our stateroom to make up for it. Very nice to see even little problems like these taken cared off instead of just ignored. Day 4: Cozumel We've been to Cozumel many times and have always taken a cab to Mr Sancho for a little beach time for the kids. This time we decided on an excursion and chose Passion Island by powered catamaran. It was 45 minutes transit each way and a 3 hour stay. Beach was immaculate with kayaks, paddle boat, sail boat, inflatable climbing and sliding toys. Also included was open bar for basic drinks and all day buffet. The mahi-mahi was awesome but they couldn't cook it fast enough as it was always out. Overall, the place was very nice. However, if you're budget conscious, you can book separately other all inclusive places for less. We were back at the pier by 2pm for a 4pm sailing. We had time to get back on the ship for a clean shower before heading back down for very quick shopping. There was no evening show except for dance lesson on stage and game show with passengers as contestants. The Deck Party with Mexican buffet was on this night. I still miss the formal midnight buffet but again...budget cuts. Day 5: at Sea Work up late and had another casual day at various events on the ship as well as pool and water park. We opted for the late debarkation so had to set our bag out between 6pm-12am. The evening show was another song/dance...awesome. Day 6: back in Galveston We were zone 14 and was called pretty much on schedule for a 10am exit. We didn't see this in the past but after picking up our luggage, there were 2 lines thru custom. A vary short line if you had a U.S. passport and a much much much longer lines if you were non-citizen or just had a birth certificate. Glad we always used passport. Areas of complaint: For a 5 day cruise, lunch on Lido was "American" for 3 of those days. In the past, it used to be of different ethnicity just about every day. Evening show had 2 days as entertainment from passengers, i.e. game shows and talent show. I would have liked more from the singer/dancer staff and/or magician and comedians, etc... Overall, we had already booked a holiday cruise on the new Carnival Magic when it arrives in Galveston. However, hearing that the Ecstasy was being relocated, we wanted one last cruise before it would be based far away and likely not be sailed by us again. It is unfortunate that signs of budget cuts were everywhere so it wasn't as nice of an experience as we've had on this ship in the past. We also noticed that they didn't provide us survey forms as in the past. We hear that they are going to electronic surveys to random guests thru email. This is just as well as my ratings would not have been "exceed expectations" in most instances. Looking forwards to a great trip on the Magic in a few months. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
This was my husbands and I second cruise,kids first. We were at the terminal by 11:30 and breezed right through security and on to the board. I don't know if I would go this early or not next time because nothing really opens until ... Read More
This was my husbands and I second cruise,kids first. We were at the terminal by 11:30 and breezed right through security and on to the board. I don't know if I would go this early or not next time because nothing really opens until after 1:30 including being able to go to your room. My husband on the other hand liked being there early. We parked at Galveston Park and Cruise right across the street in a secured enclosed parking garage for $40 for the week. Excellent location! Just walked our bags across the street and we were at the terminal.The food was average but didn't expect anything more. Our room steward and the housecleaning crew were very friendly. The guest services, bar staff and some of the dining crew were not as friendly. My 9 yr old complained some of the staff wasn't very friendly to kids.He went to Camp Carnival a few times for 9 - 11 year olds. He doesn't like to leave our side so we had to force him to begin with. He enjoyed the treasure hunt but said there was too many people in the room for a video game activity. He also wished there was more sport activities. Seems like there should have been more variety of activities and he also complained some of them were too juvenile. My 15 yr old loved the club for his age and he is on the shy quiet side. He met a new group of friends and a few night he didn't come back to the room until 2 or 3 in the a.m. He loved the independence the ship provided.We fell in love with Progresso...it was beautiful and the 2 story bus for $3 was a steal and a great way to see the city! The beach was clean and had a brand new sea wall. Next time would like to spend time at the restaurant on the beach that had a pool and playground for kids. You saw beach side massages everywhere! They were very friendly, offered my son the outdoor shower to wash his feet off because he was not happy about not getting the sand off his feet and has sensory issues. The manager also brought us 2 nice cold Cokes to the street while we were standing there. Felt very safe, saw police a few times. Cozumel was a rain out so we canceled our excursion but I was determined to go downtown so we bought rain parkas from Don Juans ( i had prepared and brought our own, but kids said they were cheap so we spent $5 a piece on the new) grabbed a cab and away we went. The boys complained about being wet and wanted to go back to the boat so we didn't stay long. After returning to the pier we ate lunch at Panchos, which we had eaten at the one downtown on a prior cruise, and of course still has the best food. Its pricey, about $65 dollars for 3 entrees, 2 alcohol drinks and 3 cokes.The shows were really good and cruise director and his fiddle was outstanding! The comedians were excellent.Overall had a great time and hope to return next year. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
First off don't let your expectations get too high. It is a vacation...relax and enjoy it. Embarkation was easier than I expected. Make sure to get a passport of some kind...the lines ARE shorter. Just follow the lines there are ... Read More
First off don't let your expectations get too high. It is a vacation...relax and enjoy it. Embarkation was easier than I expected. Make sure to get a passport of some kind...the lines ARE shorter. Just follow the lines there are people there to direct you and answer any questions you have. Keep your passport and your boarding pass in your hands until you get your sail & sign card. If you can use a credit card, it's faster and you don't have to go to the guests services desk when you first board the ship. That line was very long. You can change it at any time, they don't charge anything until the end of the cruise. You can go to guests services at any time to check your balance. Everything gets charged to your sail and sign card. Keep it with you at all times. If you like going to the casino, you use the card there also. Put your card in the slot machine, put in a pin number and then insert cash. Credits will be added to your card. You can cash in your credits at any time. Simple and very easy to use. If you like playing the tables you will use cash and recieve chips. We did buy the bottomless bubbles tag for our cards, this way you can have all the soda you want. It cost about 25$ per person. Realize that just because you have already paid a 10% gratuity for your cruise it doesn't mean that you shouldn't tip the people bringing your drinks. I tipped mine frequently and eventually didn't have to hunt down a waiter to bring me one they will look for you and bring your favorite drink to you automatically. A dollar goes a long way.There was alot of noise and confusion in the beginning. It is very unorganized and a bit overwhelming. Find a quiet place outside the ship somewhere where you can wait for people to get adjusted and then go to the Lido deck and grab a bite to eat. Yes there are lines, yes there are alot of people and yes you will adjust to it. If you are a smoker, there is limited places around the ship. Make sure you familiarize yourself with these places. They will be listed in the newsletter they place in your cabin at night. When all else fails, go to the casino. Also, the bathrooms were kinda hard to find. Make sure you know where there is one on all the main decks, Promenade and Lido for sure. Catch the shows, they are very enjoyable. Don't do Bingo...to much money for very few games...big dissapointment for me. We did some trivia and spent alot of time in the casino. Not very good payouts though so don't expect to get rich there. There are alot of things to do. Pick and choose the night before and leave some time to just relax and look at the water. Make sure to go as far forward on the ship just for the experience. It is very windy but you feel as though you are actually flying. Awesome. Alot of people hang out around the pool and there is only one which is very small and usually has alot of kids in it. If you want to lay out in the sun find a quieter place to do it than poolside. There are plenty of places around the ship.Enjoy the nightlife. There are clubs and a disco and of course Karaoke. Even if you don't want to sing it's fun to watch other people. You must get all dressed up for the formal night and take advantage of all the picture taking. The pictures are exspensive but very good quality. They were about 25$ per picture. Take alot and choose your favorites. I love ours. The atmosphere in the dining room was alot of fun....was the food great...NO but it was still worth going. Remember, the food is already paid for. You can order anything on the menu you want. I would suggest ordering two of every course. Two appetizers, Two main and Two desserts. No use wasting time. If you don't like any of it there's always the buffet.You can feel the ship rock some. When we left Cozumel the Captain was trying to outrun a storm and the rocking became really bad. Several people were sick but not too bad. I have a very sensative stomache and there were no problems for me. If it gets really rocky try to stay towards the middle of the ship. Not as much movement there. Don't go lay down...try to stay active it will take your mind off the movement.Cozumel was a dissapointment for me. We don't really care about getting in the water so there weren't any excursions we wanted to go on. We decided to just do some shopping. There aren't any beaches by where the ship docks. I'm not sure if there is any at all. You may have to ask someone on the ship for help there if you just want to relax on the beach. I did buy some jewelry and you can bargain with these people. Go back and forth between the shops even if they are affiliated with each other. There is a shopping specialist aboard the ship named Hila, she will help you with your purchase in making sure it's real and of the best quality for the money and she will do the haggling for you. Remember these few things...If you say something is pretty they are going to do their best to sell you that item wether you can afford it or not. Sometimes it's best to keep that thought to yourself. Stay with reputable shops. Don't go into those little side shop jewelers. They will try to sell you stuff that isn't real. If the price sounds too good to be true then it isn't true. If you don't care about that kind of stuff then by all means shop the little stores they are alot cheaper. Lastly, if they give you a rock bottom price and you still say no and they let you walk out the door, then thay have given you the absolute best price. No matter where you go all they will do is match that price. I guarantee that it is the best price you will get. But if it's still to high for you then let it go. Eat there if you want to. We didn't see anything exciting about eating there so we went back to the ship to eat. Nothing fantastic about Cozumel to me. The water is beautiful, just wish I could've put my feet in it. Once again if there are white sandy beaches out there I didn't see any and there was no information on where to go to see it. You will have to go out of your way to get information on this. By the way, get back to the boat early. We did and avoided a very long line and if you buy any alcohol or anything with a reference to a weapon (bought a leather whip for my step-son) expect to have it taken away. It's easy to get it back though.Debarkation was simple. We chose self-assist. Which means you take your bags off with you. If you can do this I think it is the easiest way. Just wait in your cabin till they call your deck number to unload. The people who clean your room will try to get you to leave it so they can get in there and get done. Again, tip your steward good. 20$ to ours and we weren't hassled at all. Other people were waiting in our room. So there it is and I hope it was helpful. I did enjoy it and we will go again. Next time we will go for longer so we will have time to rest and not feel like we are running to fill every minute. If you have any questions you can e-mail me and I will be happy to help.Relax and enjoy your vacation!!!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
This is a great ship! I am sad it is going to Louisiana. Our room, cabin U1 on Upper Deck (6) was nice. The two beds pushed together held my hubby, me and my 10 year old daughter, and my hubby and I are really big. The bed was comfortable ... Read More
This is a great ship! I am sad it is going to Louisiana. Our room, cabin U1 on Upper Deck (6) was nice. The two beds pushed together held my hubby, me and my 10 year old daughter, and my hubby and I are really big. The bed was comfortable and our steward was Dana...he was amazing! He always talked to us by name, made sure we had everything we needed and was very nice. I loved all the towel animals we got...we had a monkey hanging from the a/c vent one night after I had mentioned I'd like one and my mom got a bat! It was too cute! My mom was in the stateroom next to me. My daughter loved our porthole. It was big enough for her to get up and sit in and look out the porthole. The bathroom smelt a little in ports but it was bearable. Our steward always made sure our room was clean though and bathroom too. The ship was surprisingly easy to get around and didn't really take that long to go from one side to the other. My daughter enjoyed Camp Carnival, when she decided to go. She spent a lot of time on the lido deck pool and the jacuzzi. She and her two friends spent most of their time there. The water in Progresso and Cozumel especially was beautiful. Pretty blue. We got back in plenty of time for the ship to leave but in Progresso we had to wait about 15 to 20 min for a few late arrivals to get back to the ship and the same in Cozumel. We left port late there too! the dining room staff was awesome and our head waiter was getting ready to finish his contract and go back to India to see his family. Sodas are $1.95 per 12 oz can. Do yourself a favor and buy the unlimited bubbles soda card, the site says $35 for adults but it was only $30 once we got on the ship. With the way my hubby drinks Dr. Pepper and with me not liking the cruise water or tea, we sure got our moneys worth on the soda cards. We got one for our daughter too. Cruise water they serve in the restaurants is really nasty, imo. Take bottled water if you don't want a soda card. My daughter and the rest of us had an awesome time! We will definitely do another cruise in a couple of years. Met so many wonderful people and my daughter made 2 friends that she hung out with almost the whole time. Thanks to Camp Carnival!!! Hope everyone else had a great time too! Only two negatives were the excursion I booked in Cozumel, was a waste of time and money. Do not ever book Day at the Beach through Cruises Only. 2nd negative was getting through customs. We got put in the non US citizens only line and we stood in it for about an hour and we were only half way down. By the time we got there we were through in about 5 min. All in all, it was awesome! Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
A little background on our cruise history, this was my 21st cruise total, 19th with Carnival (Celebration - 2, Fantasy - 3, Ecstasy - 10, Elation - 2, Conquest - 1 and Triumph - 1) and 10th on the Ecstasy. I have 1 with Royal Caribbean and ... Read More
A little background on our cruise history, this was my 21st cruise total, 19th with Carnival (Celebration - 2, Fantasy - 3, Ecstasy - 10, Elation - 2, Conquest - 1 and Triumph - 1) and 10th on the Ecstasy. I have 1 with Royal Caribbean and 1 with Princess as well. My Mother (my cruising partner in crime) and I love the Ecstasy, and are so sad to see her moved to another homeport, so this was to be our "farewell" cruise of sorts. I saw the update Sunday morning "Ecstasy will be delayed Monday due to a medical emergency." Oh no, is the first thought, I mean anyone who cruises often knows that even the smallest glitch can really slow down embarkation. Soon after the Facebook message, the call and email came in from Carnival saying that embarkation would be delayed until 6:30pm on Monday evening. Oh well, what can you do. I just took it to mean I could finish packing in the morning, and sleep in a little. I mean we all want to be on the ship as soon as possible, but some things can't be helped; and I later learned on our Behind the Fun tour that the person taken back to Cozumel for medical treatment, was in fact going to be ok, so that's good news.We live in Katy, about an hour and a half from the Port of Galveston. We left the house around 1:30pm Monday afternoon and headed to the Strand to meet a friend of mine for lunch. About halfway to Galveston my buddy that was waiting for us sent me a picture, our ship was pulling in! It was about 2:30pm, just as Mr. Heald had promised on his Facebook page. We arrived in Galveston around 3pm and had a nice lunch at Yaga's Cafe. This little gem has been there for years, and if you go I recommend their cajun potatos as a side. Amazing! We walked the Strand a little, and drove down to the seawall after lunch, finally heading to EZ Cruise to park around 5pm.Embarkation:We had booked our parking at EZ Cruise online for $35 for 5 nights, so we checked in very quickly and were whisked away to the ship in no time. We checked our 2 large suitcases with the porters (one containing 2 12-packs of soda, as Mom wasn't aware you were supposed to carry them on. They did, in fact, make it to our room.) and headed up to the check-in area with our carry-ons. Much to our surprise, there was no line getting in the building, so far so good! Once up the escalator, we went to the VIP check-in line and were through security in no time. They did check my Mother's bag that contained 2 bottles of champagne, but since there were 2 of us sailing together, it was no problem and we were sent into the VIP room to get our Sail and Sign cards. This was my Mom's Milestone cruise with Carnival, so she was disappointed when they handed her a regular Platinum card. (No big deal, a quick trip to the Guest Relations desk once onboard and she had her fancy white card, lol.) Check in took a total of 15 minutes from entering the building until being seated in the waiting area, probably the quickest we've ever experienced. There were quite a few people that had been waiting already. We learned later that many didn't know of the delay until they arrived at the pier that day due to being on the road and not receiving the email/call. They were providing water and bags of chips, so it wasn't unbearable. We sat down for about another 15 minutes, and they began boarding around 5:30pm. There were 2 wedding parties that went first, then us in the VIP section, followed by zone 1, etc. etc.We're on a boat!! As we walked in they were giving away free, yes free mimosas as a thank you for being patient with the delay. Very nice, drink in hand and we're not even on the Lido deck yet, score! Rather then fighting the masses on the Lido, we went up to the Promenade. The mimosas were running low, so we stopped at the casino bar for our first official DOD. Ahhh... funship special, how I missed you! Since we weren't being let into the rooms until 8pm, we walked over to the sushi station and grabbed a snack. There was nobody else around (I assume people were eating up on the lido) so we sampled... then sampled some more. By the time we were done it was 7:15pm or so, and being the obedient cruisers we were, we decided to sneak into our room early. I know, I know, shame on us... but I was tired of lugging around the laptop, lol. Our room was E9, so the doors (still closed) to get to it were right in the middle of the madness of people still boarding the ship. We opened one and snuck in unnoticed, I guess the doors were open elsewhere because there were many others going into their rooms, we dropped off the bags and headed up to the Lido with our bottle of champagne. Now, we may have had a sushi snack, but who can resist the Mongolian Grill, especially when there's no line! I grabbed a bowl, and am pleased to report that it is still in fact DELICIOUS! We settled into out favorite spot for sail away, the open deck all the way aft, got a bucket of beer and a bucket of ice for our champagne and waited. No one was sure of exactly what time we were to set sail. We had been told that boarding would be from 6:30-9pm, so of course we knew it would be late. Side note: due to the delay, all passengers were given a $15 credit on our Sail & Sign cards for lunch that day. About 9:45, we heard that wonderful horn blow! We were off! We popped our champagne and toasted to the official beginning of our vacation. Since we'd been snacking all day, we didn't go to the MDR for dinner. Matter of fact, we didn't eat in there for dinner at all the entire cruise, lol. We sat back on the open deck for a while sailing down the channel, then decided to go check out the happenings around the ship. There would be no Safety Briefing tonight, it would be at 10am the next morning, eh... as long as it didn't interfere with breakfast I'm ok with that, lol. We found our way to the MDR, not to eat, but to be sure they had our reservation for the Chef's Table. Side note: John Heald is a very busy man, so be sure you go to the Maitre D and CONFIRM your reservation, they did not have ours. No big deal, there were plenty of spaces available still. (I hadn't put "please reply" on my request on the "ask John" section of his blog, so that was my fault.) He asked if we'd rather have dinner on Progresso or Cozumel day, um Progresso please... I do well to get back to the ship on time in Cozumel, lol. We stopped by the liquor store to pick up some bottles of Crown for my uncle, and ended up hanging around for a raffle. After that, we went down to Guest Relations to ask about the Behind the Fun tour, we were told we could book in the morning, sounds good., we headed to the casino. There was a particular machine I was interested in, the $.02 win a BMW/$25k machine. I found one that paid out pretty well, for a penny slot anyways, it would become my nemesis for the rest of the trips to the casino. Picking up our free tournament entry cards for the slot tournament, I decided it was time for a shot. We headed into Stripes disco. There were a lot of college aged people on this trip, and let me say this, they loooooved to dance. It was kind of fun to watch the girls compete for attention from certain guys and vice versa. My Mom was confused by some of the girls that seemed to think they were in a gentleman's club, lol. After a Jaeger-Bomb I decided maybe the club wasn't for good 'ol Mom and we went to the piano bar, which as usual was packed. Yes, it is smoky in there, and honestly this was my first cruise as a non-smoker, so previously I'd never really noticed. However, it wasn't enough to deter me from staying a while... Until hunger struck again. We found our way back up to the Lido buffet where they were serving hot dogs and hamburgers, yeah... a hot dog at 1am with sauerkraut hit the spot. We headed back to our cabin at the front of the ship. Let me recommend booking your cabin in the forward section, you will get lots of good walking exercise going back and forth to the Lido buffet/pizza/deli areas.1st Sea Day:We got up around 8am on the 1st sea day, we're generally early risers so even after a late night we're up before 9am. We went to Guest Relations and booked our Behind the Fun tour, I wanted to be sure and do that early as I would be very disappointed if it sold out. Next was breakfast in the MDR, we were seated at a table for 4 and then joined by a lovely couple. We started chatting, and guess what? It turned out to be aggie1 from our roll call! How perfect is that? We discovered we would be doing the chef's table the same night, and enjoyed some great conversation over some great eggs benedict. After breakfast it was time for the Safety Briefing. Our muster station was "A" and in the Blue Sapphire (main show lounge) so it was very comfortable. I still LOVE the fact we don't have to lug the life vests to the drill, so much easier! The drill lasted about 15-20 minutes, totally painless, they didn't make us go out to the lifeboats so that was nice. Well look at that? The gift shops are right outside of the Blue Sapphire and it's time for a raffle, another loss, lol. We did a little shopping, and headed back to the room to grab a bucket of beer and went to check out what was happening at the pool. It was packed, lots of chairs being saved, but still plenty of places to sit so I didn't see that it was a big deal on this day. Now, the "kid factor." I have no issue with children cruising, and there were quite a few on this particular cruise, HOWEVER... pleeeeease ensure your little angels are aware of the rules, and do not rely on Carnival staff to discipline them. There were kids in the hot tubs every day, not just sitting, but splashing, snorkeling (masks and all), etc. There were also parents that ignored the "adult only" rule on the Serenity deck, and would bring their little ones (some in strollers) down to relax with them. However, I don't see many kiddos that enjoy sitting quietly in the sun and just relaxing, lol. Really you can't blame the little ones, if their parents are not adhering to the rules, neither will they.We watched a little of the hairy chest contest, finished our beers and headed down to the Promenade to see what was going on. We headed to lunch in the MDR, we've been on so many cruises we rarely eat in the MDR anymore. Nothing wrong with it, I'm just never hungry when it's open, which is why now we sign up for the anytime dining now that it's available. However, this trip the way the activities were falling that first sea day the timing was right and we did enjoy eating in there. Now as I said, I haven't been in the MDR for lunch in a very long time, but I'm really glad I went today. I had the chilled avocado soup and Mongolian steak salad, both were fantastic! Hmmm.. The art auction is about to start. I'd never gone to one, and hey, there's free champagne, so why not? We looked around, nothing really caught our eye, but I wanted to see what people were going to buy so we hung around. We saw a gentleman spend $8k on some artist we'd never heard of, and in the end there was a Peter Max piece that was going for $28k, no takers? Didn't think so, I mean that's a nice SUV or about 28 cruises, lol. We relaxed the rest of the day, read some books and just laid around. That evening was the "elegant" evening, we decided not to get dressed up and just went up to the buffet for dinner. There was many of the MDR items on the buffet that night, including the prime rib, it was fantastic. Upon arriving back at our room we found our Platinum petit fours treat and settled in for the night.Progresso:I woke up to an earthquake! Not really, but let me say this, if you do not like being awakened by what I would later call the "shake n' wake" do not book E9. Whenever those bow thrusters were on, that room would shake like mad! We've stayed in every category the Ecstasy has to offer, so it didn't bother us, and I mean every category.. From a 1A to the Owner's Suite., I like variety, hehe. We didn't have anything planned for Progresso, so we took our time getting dressed and having breakfast at the buffet. Yes, there are bacon police, but they can be bribed with a pleasant smile and a "may I please have a little more?" We got off the ship around 10am or so and wandered into the large duty free store you have to pass through to get to the other shops, busses, etc. I ended up buying some cigarettes (3 cartons for $56) for a friend, ha! I just realized how contradictory that sounds. Hey friend, here are your sticks of poison, lol. I also bought a few bottles of a certain tequila requested by a few people and we settled in at the little bar in the middle of all the shops. I found my name on the wall from last October and they allowed me behind the bar to add the date for this cruise. We got comfortable, grabbed some Del Sol beers and watched the high school kids buying drinks, ah to be young and want to be older again, lol. After a few rounds and several of the shots they pour down your throat, we decided it was time to head back to the ship. We grabbed some Mongolian Grill and a spinach turnover (yum!) from the buffet and sat down on the outer deck for sail away. Oh, and to the woman that changed her baby on the open eating area on the Lido deck, shame on you. People are eating, just gross. We headed back to the cabin for a little rest, it was after all Chef's Table night, and we would need all our energy for the delicious treats to come! We missed the Past Guest reception, got the time wrong. Mom was disappointed, I felt really bad, and wouldn't be in charge of scheduling anymore, lol. We received our Platinum canapEs this night as well. I love this little treat. Let me just say, if you're into food, the Chef's Table is for you. It was simply delicious! We started with a tour of the galley with Executive Chef Suresh Babu, while in the galley you get to see how it functions during dinner (our Chef's Table was at 6:30pm) and were served appetizers and champagne. I've read in other reviews that some found it difficult to manage the plate and champagne flute, on our tour they had a table to place your items so you would have your hands free to enjoy your food. After our tour and reception, we headed to the Explorer's Lounge (library) where they had our table set up for dinner. The wine was flowing, the food was fantastic and half way through, I started to feel wonkie and had to retreat to the cabin. BOOOO! I will say that I only wish I would have gotten the name of the gentleman waiting on me that evening, he made sure my last couple of courses were boxed and delivered to me in the cabin so I didn't miss out on anything. My mother told him she could take the food to me, but he insisted on delivering it himself, a true class act and a great addition to Carnival's food service staff. We also received an autographed cookbook and 8x10 photo as party favors. After my super fancy room service, we turned in for the night to rest up for Cozumel. We had a great group for our experience, and I'm still bummed I had to sneak out early, but a big hello to my fellow CC members aggie1 and Rosenbeans, loved having dinner with you and yours!Cozumel:Again, we didn't have anything planned so we had a buffet breakfast and got off the ship around 11am. We walked through the shops to the taxis and headed into town to hit Carlos N' Charlie's. We hung around there for a little over an hour and 2 yard glass Del Sols later, headed back to the pier to get some shopping done. We didn't plan on spending a lot here, so I picked up some shot glasses and other knick-knacks for a select few back home and headed to Fat Tuesday's to sit on the swings. I can't stress how much I love Cozumel, and if I ever decide to skip a cruise and do an all-inclusive, it will be there. Everything is so beautiful, the beaches, the water, the people; it's just lovely. After swinging a while and finishing our beers we headed to Three Amigos. (Anyone see a pattern? We love our beer, lol) I did stop and climbed into the birthday cake at Fat Tuesdays for a picture, a friend back home was celebrating her 30th that day and what better way to say "wish you were here" than from inside a giant cake? We had a couple drinks at Three Amigos and got ready to head back to the ship. Uh-Oh, you HAVE to walk through the duty free shop, this could be bad. With a nice beer buzz going on, a fancy bottle of tequila caught my eye. I mean, it was just painted beautifully. 3 bottles of hooch later, we were in line to get back on the ship. Now I had zero plans to spend anymore money on liquor, but the free sample and my beer induced decision making said otherwise, lol. We went though security, and again checked our bottles to be picked up the morning of debarkation in the Stripes disco. That makes 6 to pick up now, wonderful, that's going to be fun carrying off the ship! When we arrived back in the cabin there was a letter for Mom to contact Guest Relations about her Milestone program. She had gotten her OBC for this trip, but they wanted to let us know she was still eligible for 25% off a booking in the future, nice! We headed up to the Mongolian Grill. OH NO! We were about 5 minutes too late, luckily a wonderful man named Ramesh let us get a bowl anyways. I'm pretty sure I told him I loved him, and we got our delicious afternoon noodles. This again is why I love the Ecstasy, the staff, they are simply outstanding. Everyone says hello, they go above and beyond to accommodate people and are always making sure the ship is spotless and everyone is happy. This particular afternoon we saw Executive Chef Suresh Babu bussing some tables on the Lido deck. What a guy, he is. I always appreciate upper management that isn't afraid to get dirty with everyone else. Bravo to him, he and his staff are great and truly understand what excellence is all about. Cozumel had worn us out, so after watching the sail away we headed to the cabin for a little sun and beer induced nap. That evening we had the buffet for dinner again, I don't remember what we had, by this point this day was starting to run together and we were exhausted. We grabbed some food and took it back to the cabin. We spent the late evening eating, reading, and called it an early night.Final Sea Day:Again with the breakfast buffet, yes we are creatures of habit. We were up early today because it was our Behind the Fun tour day! YAY! We met our group in the Explorer's Lounge at 8:45am and started our tour around 9am. Our first stop was the galley, we had seen this during the Chef's Table portion of our cruise so we were the galley pros, lol. Next was a trip below the water line. We went to the laundry room, where I learned that I need to invest in a sheet folding machine, it's pretty big, but who needs to put their car in the garage? We saw some of the food storage areas, and the I-95 (the only passageway the goes completely forward to aft on the ship. We learned about the environmental procedures. Everyone knows that they release food waste into the water, but did you know that several crew members have to got through all the food waste to ensure there isn't any non-food items mixed in before it can be put into the grinder and sent to the fishes? Remember that food you didn't finish off the buffet? Someone had to go through that later, talk about portion control! We also learned that all crew (Captain included) has to separate their garbage for recycling purposes. So your room steward literally picks through your garbage to ensure all plastics/cans/paper/food items are separated. Crazy! We saw the engine control room, backstage in the main showroom, got to go to the crew's outer deck, training room, mess halls (separate dining areas for officers and the Captain), lounge, and of course THE BRIDGE! Being on the bridge is worth the cost of the tour alone, just fantastic! An officer gave us a rundown of the instruments and then Captain Giulio Basso came out to visit and have a picture taken with us. He is a very friendly man, and knows what he's doing... A very good thing! A couple of notes on the tour itself. There is a fair amount of stairs to climb, however when going up or down more than 1 deck, we did use the elevators. There are no cameras, phones, or video cameras allowed. Security does wand you before the tour starts, so if you were planning on trying anyways you can forget it. I think this is fair for the chance to see things you'd never get to see otherwise.After that we headed to the casino, it was slot tournament day! We signed up for the 12:10 time slot, and went to get some pre-game cocktails. I sat down with that evil penny machine again, and what's this? I hit something! Now like I said, this machine was my nemesis, half the time I'd hit something and have NO idea where the lines were going, etc. Right before noon, I hit big, I mean it just kept dinging and dinging, it lasted so long Mom had to go and move me from the 12:10 time slot in the tournament. It turns out I'd won 6000 credits, of course since it dings for every credit, this took a while. Ah if only they were dollars, lol. With a little extra change in my account, I still had time before my turn in the tournament so I proceeded to put half of it back in. I was in one of the last rounds, neither Mom or I made it to the finals, but it's always still fun to play. One change in the last year or so that I don't like is that they time the tournaments now. I was watching the woman's machine next to me and because hers was a little slower resetting, she didn't get as many spins as I did. I think they should go back to the 100 (or whatever) set amount of spins, it just seems a little more fair. We headed for lunch, guess what we had... that's right! Mongolian Grill one last time. And as expected, it was again delicious. We went and played bingo after lunch, another loss, so we went to look for our pictures. After a long search we found them, they had a sale on albums and being a sucker for a good deal, we bought a couple.It was that time of day, too early to eat again, haha, so we went to the cabin grabbed another bucket of beer, read a little and took a cat-nap. That evening we discovered we were going to need another bag for all of our new goodies, as my beach bag from the $10 shop wasn't going to cut it. A quick trip to the Galleria shops, and we had a new rolling travel bag, flip flops and some make-up. I started the sad process of packing up the luggage, how did I get all this crap in here to begin with??? We got the checked luggage out into the hall, and went up to the Lido for the last trip to the buffet. Tonight they had the braised short ribs on the buffet as well as lamb, both were very good. We did a lap up on the outer decks, cashed in whatever we have left on our Sail and Sign cards from the casino, and headed off to the cabin. But what's this? Another surprise! Chocolate covered strawberries from the Behind the Fun tour, yummy! Stayed up late finishing up packing and reading, had our last bottle of champagne with a room service grilled cheese (classy, I know, haha) and drifted off one last time in those comfortable Carnival beds.Debarkation:NOOOOOO!!! This day is the biggest bummer, we try to make the most of it, and are never in a rush to get off the ship. We used to be those people that tried to carry everything off, and used our VIP status to be first off the ship. Then one day we realized how silly that was, I mean who wants to hurry to get OFF the ship? I want to be the last to get off! We went up to the MDR for breakfast this morning, eggs benedict (which by the way, they did have on the breakfast buffet one of the mornings) and bacon, and look! A couple of extra pieces of bacon to boot! We lingered around in there until about 9am and then went back to the cabin. Since we were on the Empress deck, and in the forward part of the ship, we were right by the gangway to debark. We waited until they called for the people in zone 1 with checked bags and left our cabin and towel animal zoo one last time. Debarking in Galveston can be a pain if you don't know what you're doing, so here's my advice. Grab a porter, and have your passport. Once we were off the ship we were out of the doors of the port in about 20 minutes. The people pulling their own bags had a line a mile long, and even worse if you were using a birth certificate rather than a passport. Onto the bus, and in the car I took one last look at the ship and the post-cruise depression set in. There was zero traffic, so we were home and doing laundry in no time.Final Thoughts:After the initial disappointment that Steve Cassell wasn't going to be our CD this trip, we were very pleased with Danny Ghilarducci. He was well spoken, not overbearing and entertaining. The bingo host Gary was also a lot of fun, we enjoyed playing bingo with him, even if we didn't win. "COME ON GARY!" We had beautiful weather the entire trip, and smooth seas. There was a live reggae band on the Lido sometimes during the day. I'm really not seeing the lack of live entertainment to be as bad as has been reported in the past few months. Picking up liquor purchased in ports in a designated lounge area, not a big deal. Ours was in the Stripes disco. All the booze was grouped by what deck you were on, and we were in and out of there in about 10 minutes, totally painless. The Ecstasy turned 20 years old this year (in April actually I think) and she is aging beautifully. There was always cleaning, painting, mopping going on somewhere on the ship. There is a reason why she wins the Crystal Eagle award repeatedly, she is a true gem in the Carnival fleet.If you have any questions for me ask away, I'm sure there are things I left out too, so if I think of anything else I'll add it in another post. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
We are fresh off the ship from 5 wonderful nights on the Ecstasy. Our cabin was a tight squeeze for our family of 5, but it was manageable. Our cabin steward was wonderful. Fresh ice was always in the bucket, and we came home to a ... Read More
We are fresh off the ship from 5 wonderful nights on the Ecstasy. Our cabin was a tight squeeze for our family of 5, but it was manageable. Our cabin steward was wonderful. Fresh ice was always in the bucket, and we came home to a different precious towel animal every evening after dinner. My 15 year old son and 7 year old daughter spent every minute they could in their respective Carnival Camp groups. My 13 year old son did not go to the ice breakers the first day, and by the time he got up his nerve to attend something, he felt left out. In the real world he is normally a very social kid. I would really encourage (force) (: your children to get involved in the very first activity on day one of the cruise. It makes a huge difference in how much fun they will have. All 5 of us ate our dinner every night at the late seating in the Windsong dining room. The food was surprisingly good and we were treated like royalty by our waitstaff. I felt sorry for people who did not take the time to eat in the dining rooms. It was a bit of a hassle to have an assigned dining time, but a major part of the overall great experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
I got a fairly good discount on this cruise through the company I work for so this was a good deal as far as vacations go. I took this cruise with my boyfriend and it was our first cruise. The cruise ship itself was ok, but the vacation ... Read More
I got a fairly good discount on this cruise through the company I work for so this was a good deal as far as vacations go. I took this cruise with my boyfriend and it was our first cruise. The cruise ship itself was ok, but the vacation was very nice and relaxing. Embarkation: We arrived around 11:30 and were on the ship no later than 12:15. It was pretty easy. We got on the ship, had lunch, took a tour of the spa, and headed to our cabins at 1:30. The cabins weren't at 1:30, but soon after. Spa: The spa is nice, though I think it is overpriced. We booked a couples hot stone massage, which they did not give us. We received the regular couples massage, but when they brought the receipt they changed the price. I know it was booked correctly because when we got the final bill it said hot stone massage. I was disappointed as they did not apologize, but at least they fixed the price. Excursions: We were supposed to go on one excursion in Progreso, but due to a misunderstanding between us and the cruise line we missed it. Customer service here was excellent. They rebooked us on a new excursion and refunded the difference. We ended up going to Dzibilchaltun Ruins. It was a nice excursion and the tour guides were very passionate. In Cozumel we did the cooking class and spent time on the beach. I would definitely recommend booking the cooking class. It was so fun and everyone (other guests and the chef) was so nice. I have heard many complaints about Playa Mia recently, but it was nice, clean, and fun! The ship: I knew going in that the ship was older and smaller so I didn't have very high expectations. The elevators are slow so we used the stairs a lot more than we normally would, but we did not see kids playing with the elevators like others have complained about. It is kept nicely and is very easy to get to where you need to be. The pool shouldn't even be called a pool. We never got in it because it was so small. Finding a quiet spot to lay out in the sun wasn't a problem. We went to the slide area and found plenty of open seats and there were hardly any kids in the area. The ship rocked. We felt the ship rock everywhere we were. The one show we saw was horrible and cheesy...I felt embarrassed for the entertainment staff for having to put on that show. The marriage show and some others were entertaining. The Food: We were disappointed by the food. Everyone we talked to enjoyed the food, but we thought it was ok at best. The best meal I had was when we opted to skip dinner in the main dining room on the last night and got dinner from the buffet. They had the same food, but we didn't have to wait on our waiter. Disembarkation: We did self assist and once our deck was called it took about 45 minutes to an hour to get through customs...though you can tip a porter a few dollars to take your luggage and get you to the front of the line. All in all, it was nice to be on vacation and we would cruise again, but on a bigger newer ship. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
We had been planning this cruise for months. Finally school was out and crusing time. We live about 2 hours from Galveston so i prebooked E-Z parking and paid and printed out 7:30 am and two stops we were parking our 3 cars. Loaded up one ... Read More
We had been planning this cruise for months. Finally school was out and crusing time. We live about 2 hours from Galveston so i prebooked E-Z parking and paid and printed out 7:30 am and two stops we were parking our 3 cars. Loaded up one van to the terminal and went thru security. Yes they did check our water bottles and also any other liquid. Got our S&S card and our classic picture with the toddler sleeping in his stroller. ON deck by noon and eating on the Lido deck. Food was great and at 1:30pm found our cabins and our luggage. 3:30pm the drill and off we went out to the blue ocean. We had a huge table for all 11 of us in the dinning room. We ate all 5 nights there and had wonderful food and wait staff. The grandchildren ate off the children's menu with every night having a glass of chocolate milk waiting for them. Food here and on Lido deck was really good. My husband and grandchildren enjoyed the ice cream. Entertainment was good and we went 3 nights out of 5. We all enjoyed the slide on the top deck as we sailed on the ocean. Pool was a great refreshing way to spend the afternoon. Progreso was great with the bus service. We did the double decker bus tour. Then shopped and back to the ship. Cozumel only 3 daughters, son in law and grandchildren got off. We walked around the shops and ate and back to the ship to swim. Photographs were great and i ended up with the canvas print. Basically i did not like the ship at all. After being on a larger ship makes a difference. Shopping okay and i got the matching earrings to the ring i bought in October on the Glory. All in all for a great family geat away for our family it was fun and we made lasting memories for us. ( sorry if there are typos the check spelling button is not working) Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
This was our first cruise . We had been looking forward to this cruise for several months. Expecting to relax and enjoy the week , but ended up very disappointed. We did start off our cruise with a message at the spa. It was great! ... Read More
This was our first cruise . We had been looking forward to this cruise for several months. Expecting to relax and enjoy the week , but ended up very disappointed. We did start off our cruise with a message at the spa. It was great! One of the best things we did while on the ship. However, is was quickly downhill from there....:-( There seem to be two extreme demographics, with NO in between. There was either heavy drinking/partying or age +65 card/trivia game playing. Lots of heavy drinking on ALL the deck areas. Very loud with no place to get away from the noise or the drunk people. Couldn't even enjoy the piano bar because of the drunk, screaming people. NOT the relaxing time we were expecting.The buffet was a school cafeteria line, that smelled so bad we couldn't even eat there. Regular dinning room was OK, eatable but still not really great. Not the luxury dinning that I expected. However the staff in the dinning room, was excellent! The cabins were great! The best thing about the whole ship! More room then we expected. The rooms were clean and well managed. The room steward was always very helpful and friendly.Overall, our voyage on the Carnival Ecstasy was a BIG disappointment, not the relaxing vacation we were longing for. I would be very hesitant to ever try Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
I was very excited as I have wanted to cruise for some time now. Both our husbands are military and couldn't get the time off so off we went without them and our kids. I had the most fun I ever had on a vacation! The cruise well ... Read More
I was very excited as I have wanted to cruise for some time now. Both our husbands are military and couldn't get the time off so off we went without them and our kids. I had the most fun I ever had on a vacation! The cruise well surpassed what everyone has told me about them on how great it was! The dinning was delicious! I had awesome table mates...that are now new friends. My best friend and I enjoyed comedy shows, scavenger hunts and the liars club. There was so much we still didn't get to see as we were busy checking out the ship and me taking pictures galore. We/she kept a blog of the experience on the Carnival fun forums site titled Fer & Dee's Fantastic Adventure on the Ecstasy. I can't wait for my next cruise and am already planning one with my husband this time! For the room it was pretty spacious...more then I expected. I loved having an aft balcony and not sure I could sail without that luxury. There were times it was a bit rocky way in the back of the boat however it didn't seem to bother me or my friend. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
This was our 2nd cruise, but the first on a Carnival ship. When booking, we were aware that Carnival is the budget line catering to the lower end of the cruise market, however a large group (32) of our friends and neighbors were going, and ... Read More
This was our 2nd cruise, but the first on a Carnival ship. When booking, we were aware that Carnival is the budget line catering to the lower end of the cruise market, however a large group (32) of our friends and neighbors were going, and so, against our better judgement, we signed on (I really had to twist my partner's arm, and may never live it down!). Suffice it to say, we boarded with low expectations, determined to have a good time come what may; viewing this as just a short, cheap getaway with good friends.1) The Ship: Ecstasy is a 20 year old dinosaur, considerably smaller than more current vessels with very little in the way of amenities or activities. While I found the Ecstasy reasonably clean and well-maintained, the decor screams Vegas, circa 1980s, with lots of neon and mirrors, very little in the way of luxury. Again we sort of expected this, so it was no great surprise.2) Fellow Passengers: The ship was over-crowded; the public spaces, even the larger areas, always felt like a busy shopping mall on a Saturday afternoon with people tripping over each other and pushing and elbowing. A wide variety of people ranging from what my partner jokingly referred to as the "Walmart shoppers," to seniors and families with small children. Throw in a healthy dose of teenagers, and you get the picture. I almost felt sorry for the few honeymooners we met, as this was anything but romantic. 3) Dining: forget it, go on a crash diet, unless you actually enjoy dining at Lubby's or Ryan's 3 times a day. The food was actually the worst part of the cruise for us; as a matter of fact, for everybody in our group. In the main dining room (WindStar) hardly a meal arrived that wasn't cold, and/or over-cooked or undercooked. The portions were miserable, and the quality was really, really subpar. This was one category where our expectations were actually not low enough, as a neighbor had led us to believe that the dining was the best part of a Carnival Cruise---NOT SO! The only thing good I can say about it, was the staff were all very pleasant and eager to please. After the third day, we simply stopped visiting the dining room. The only other options for feeding were the "Trough," better known as the buffet on Lido deck, or room service. These are actually worse than the dining room. Long lines of people jostling over too few tables and all for lousy, dried-out steam-table fare. The selections were pathetically few and never appetizing. One or the other of the two drink stations was invariably "out-of-order," creating a crush of people fighting for ice water, tea, or lemonade---which were the only choices. I don't remember the coffee machine ever being in working order. The one plus: the pizza station and deli at the very back of the cafeteria was surprisingly okay, and for the last 2 days, my partner and I ate there exclusively. Again from the long lines at these areas, I'd say we weren't the only passengers to do so. Roomservice was non-existent: no matter what time of day or night we placed an order, we were told it would be an hour to an hour-and-a-half wait, with nothing on the menu but cold sandwiches. We could never get ice sent to our room: I called our steward, who told us to call room service, who then told us to call our steward. We ended up fetching our own ice from the cafeteria.4) Service: excellent and friendly in certain areas, terrible in others. As I said, the dining room staff were all very nice, attentive people, as was our steward for the most part (except for fetching ice). The bartenders and waiters/waitresses were also very friendly and attentive. However the clerks in the on-board shops (particularly the jewelry store and the liqour/cigarette store) were extremely rude with no interest in their customers. Likewise the Guest Services Desk, where their motto seemed to be to help as few people as possible while offending everybody.5) Activities: a sad joke: the scheduled shows and entertainments never ran for more than 20 minutes at a time, and were mediocre at best. The parties and special events were boring and often poorly attended (surprising on such an over-crowded ship). The pool area, and the water-slides were swarming with kids and teenagers making it impossible for anyone else to use these facilities. We never could find seating on the pool deck, even in the bar area; they were always packed. Our principle forms of passing the time at sea were to drink in the various bars on the Promenade deck, or gamble; there was really nothing else to do. Our favorite haunt was the Neon bar just off the atrium, where the piano player was fantastic and the waitress kept a steady stream of alcohol flowing in our veins. On a side note: the kids club was directly beside the Neon bar, which I thought was a terrible design flaw, as all the kiddies coming and going were exposed to our drunken antics through the large glass windows.6) Casino: I don't enjoy gambling, so I'm probably not a good judge, however many fellow passengers complained about the "tightness" of the slots and the dishonest practices of the table-dealers. Apparently there's no regulation of gaming practices at sea. My advice, save your cash for the real thing in Vegas.7) Spa: my partner received a deep-tissue massage and was thoroughly pleased, so there's one plus.8) Cost: for a cheap, budget cruise, it really wasn't all that cheap. My partner and I spent roughly the same amount that we did at Atlantis, Bahamas last year, which is considerably more upscale than a Carnival Cruise. Since there was very little to do on the Ecstasy, we quickly ran up a hefty bar tab; not to mention the spa treatment, bingo games, casino nights, a little (very little) souvenir shopping---Carnival suckers you in on the cheap fares, then nails you on the incidentals.9)Motion: the rolling and rocking of the ship was bad, particularly on the return trip. Strangely, the sea was relatively calm, yet the ship still rocked for 2 days straight. On the last day at sea, it was so bad that passengers had difficulty walking or standing. We came to suspect (pure speculation) that the Ecstasy decided to cut fuel costs by sailing with the stabilizers retracted on the return trip; either that, or they simply weren't working. Overall: the only thing that made this trip enjoyable at all was sharing it with our friends: we kept ourselves entertained by our own merits, otherwise it would have been perfectly horrible. This will be our last time sailing with Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Though the Ecstasy is an outdated ship, it still had its charm. I was looking forward to taking my 80 year old father and Mother, along with my nephew on this 4 night outing. When cruising, there is something for everyone! This would ... Read More
Though the Ecstasy is an outdated ship, it still had its charm. I was looking forward to taking my 80 year old father and Mother, along with my nephew on this 4 night outing. When cruising, there is something for everyone! This would have been the case as well, had it not been overshadowed by the horrendous service and horrible attitudes. Of course, not all were like that, but most. Check In was a breeze (highly recommend the VIP check in) - the easiest ever! Loved the people that assisted us at every turn. My father was in a wheelchair and they made him feel so comfortable and it was speedy! I thought this was going to be a great cruise!It didn't take long after boarding to discover the major flaws in service. Where was the "welcome aboard" smiles and assistance... non-existent! After a lunch on the lido deck, it was time to explore our grand suite. Nice digs, nothing special but far better than a regular stateroom with a balcony. These rooms are small, no matter what category you choose. And, with 4 people, it was even smaller. However, it provided adequate space and the balcony was a plus.Waiter at dinner - horrible! I gave him 4 nights to improve, it never happened. We were always the last table to be done as service was SO SLOW. In addition, he continuously put plates in front of us that we didn't order. Don't know if the guy was new to being a waiter or not, but he was unfriendly and stressed to the maximum. First time ever I didn't get a picture of our waiter with us. Not a memorable experience at all.Food - hit and miss. Lunch in the restaurant was by far the best meal. Soups were awesome and the butter on this ship is amazing (could be the 80% fat content). We found that if we ate the bread and butter along with a soup, it was very satisfying. Other than that, it was scary. Lobster was HORRIBLE and the gulf shrimp they had to go with it was not edible (rubbery). Other entrees tried were just as bad including a salmon that I swear had been frozen for the past year! On the last night, a few of us tried the crab cake as an appetizer, took one bite and literally spit it into our napkins. Fishy, mushy, and a texture that told us if we ate this we could quite possibly get sick. I will also say that this ship has an excellent baker/pastry chef. Deserts were always above par and again, the bread was a highlight for us all. The buffet on the Lido deck was unedible as well unless you got the hamburgers.That brings me to another food related catastrophe - ROOM SERVICE. The worst room service food and service EVER! Having elderly parents with horrible sleep patterns, coffee was VERY important to us all in the mornings. We put our continental breakfast tag out every night and it was delivered on time. However, the coffee was un-drinkable (old like it had been sitting overnight). And, one morning, the 2 pots they brought us were delivered with no lids on the pots (little desert bowls were teetering on the top). That means when you went to pour it, coffee spilled all over you. In addition, one of the cups that they brought was cracked all the way down the side and when I poured the coffee in for my Dad, it leaked all over him and me. I was shocked at the lack of quality control and that they would allow a coffee tray to be sent to a room with cracked cups and pots with no lids. And, that wasn't our only room service mishap, not enough cups, not enough cream, no spoons, it went on and on. One evening it was late and we were back from Cozumel... we decided to have sandwiches and salads in our room. 3 salads - one dressing, 2 iced teas - 1 iced tea. 2 Reuben sandwiches - both with no sauerkraut and the meat was pressed something (mystery meat). Oh, and one morning I ordered danish because my dad was in need to something on his stomach... when I told them to send 8 (2 per person) they told me the rules were 6 maximum! OMG - did they really say that to me. Other problems rampant - service for 3 not 4 - this was a trend. It was sad to see how far Carnival has declined in service to their customers.Spa - booked a massage for my father and upon the reservation, was assured that they had male therapists, as he will not go to a woman. I left the ship for an excursion and left him at the spa. Upon our return, discovered that they have NO MALE therapists and he was given a woman. They lied to me outright and I believe it was only to book the appointment that was non-cancelable. He was embarrassed and upset about the whole experience.Casino was a joke as well. Based on what I observed, they certainly made their weekly quota at the casino. Dealers were so hot we had some that would deal themselves 3 to 4 blackjacks in a row. I am not saying they are cheating, but I am an experienced blackjack player. I was given two three's during one hand, and drew 2 more. About 4 more hands into it, those same 3's came out again to someone else, and again about 5 minutes later. Are those machines shuffling the cards? The video poker machines ($.25) were where my Mom and Dad spent their time. However, the max bet is $2.25 not $1.25 because it takes 10 quarters to bet max. We love Piano Bars and tried the Neon Bar one night. This guy was so loud that you could hear him 2 decks down. We didn't last long in there as every song he sang was screamed into the microphone. Chinatown Karaoke was our favorite and since it was my Parent's 61st wedding anniversary, the crowd went crazy and made them both feel so very special. Mind you, these were fellow cruisers though, and not the staff. They didn't give a flip. Which was apparent at dinner when I mentioned it to our waiter and nothing was ever done about it.Entertainment was horrendous... the shows were outright HORRIBLE - not even up to high school standards. The bands throughout the ship, for the most part, were subpar singing off note and off pitch.Cleanliness of ships was also an issue - tables left uncleaned for hours, public restrooms dirty, etc... I could go on and on but I won't. I have been on many, many cruises and don't expect a lot. I am not a picky traveler and everything does not have to be perfect. However, I was shocked at how very bad this cruise was. We made the most of it and enjoyed our time together. However, I would not recommend this ship to anyone for any amount of money. One interesting note... we had a missing passenger on the 2nd night. Have never experienced this - and they were extremely thorough by waking us every 1/2 hour all night with announcements in the staterooms for this passenger to call 7777 immediately. At around 4:00am they even did a room to room search showing everyone her picture. It was a night of no rest. Thankfully, they found her early the next morning passed out somewhere. Don't know why they didn't find her earlier! That was the talk of the ship for sure. Again, unless they address the serious service issue on this ship, stay away! Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
• Background Information: Spring break cruise to get to the sun after a LONG winter! Traveling - myself (48), DH (49) and DD (17). Previous cruises on Carnival Legend (2008) and Carnival Freedom (2010).• Travel to Port of Embarkation: ... Read More
• Background Information: Spring break cruise to get to the sun after a LONG winter! Traveling - myself (48), DH (49) and DD (17). Previous cruises on Carnival Legend (2008) and Carnival Freedom (2010).• Travel to Port of Embarkation: We flew into Houston Intercontinental on Friday - the day before sail date - direct flight. Not really any good options to get to Galveston so we rented a car and drove down - note this was actually cheaper than a limo or airport shuttle or even Carnival's transfers. • Hotel Information: We stayed at the Hilton Resort Galveston. We arrived late in the day so did not really have any time to enjoy the hotel's facilities. Hotel was VERY accommodating. At check in we talked to the Bell Captain and were able to choose our shuttle time to the ship - we chose 12:30. Got down early and since others did too, we actually left as soon as there were 15 people to fill the first van! Yeah!!!They offer free parking to guests that are cruising - and they have a very slick "system" for managing the parking. After filling out a form (car info, return date, disclaimer, etc.) you park in a large lot behind the San Luis resort (the Hilton is part of that complex) I hope they continue that even after the new ships come to Galveston. They load the luggage and family members on the shuttle and then the driver of the car follows the shuttle to the parking lot, parks, and then gets on the shuttle. NOTE: It did not appear that the lot was secure or monitored but maybe it is - DON'T leave valuables in the car. We ate dinner at the Rain Forest Cafe - good food. There is a nice Kroger Super market about a block away - we bought bottled water. Also there is an Ihop next to the Rain Forest Cafe for a good breakfast. The beach is across the street.• Embarkation: A little confusion getting off the shuttle at the port - lots of porters around but they really did not act like they wanted to help us - that's fine - I always make sure we can carry (pull) what we bring! Finally a carnival employee pointed us to a door - went to a large warehouse where a Carnival employee directed us where to put our luggage (according to deck). They have extra luggage tags if you need one. After dropping off the bags we went to the main check in point. Everything moved smoothly. Yes, there was a wait. I think we were on the ship by 1:35. One note - you cannot check a case of bottled water or soft drinks, so you have to carry it on. ALSO, they do check the water. After security they took the water over to a table and took some out, shook them, and then put them back. They looked at about a half dozen bottles, making sure to check the ones in the middle of the case. However, it was interesting that they did not inspect the couple of open water bottles we had in our bags that went through the x-ray. Oh the nice part of getting there a little later was that we could go right to the room. DD was worried about luggage but we got it about 5:15. Had time to unpack all but one bag (mine of course!) before dinner. • Ship Info: Love the remodeled Ecstasy!!! I had sailed on the ship in 2005. What a nice change! The palm trees around the pool are nice. The serenity deck is nice - although we did not spend much time there. The pool area aft where the water works and slide are is incredible. And even when the slides were going and kids were playing it was not noisy. We actually found this area more pleasant than the main pool - just not quite so loud with the music and announcements. This ship may not have all the amenities of some of the larger ships but I think it has character. And it is very well maintained.• Activities: We played putt putt golf on the top deck one day - lots of fun, great course. Went down the slides both in port and at sea - the highest one was closed the first sea day because of the strong winds. They are awesome and the twisting tube slide is fast - be warned if you are wearing a two piece!!!Went to the previous cruisers "party" - free drinks and appetizers! Our favorite was the whiskey sour. We went to the welcome aboard review show - it was okay - got a preview of the comedians who were very funny! The Country show the second night was very enjoyable - no not Broadway, but it was fun! But the best part of this show is that the cruise director plays the fiddle in it and he is FABULOUS!!! I cannot say enough about how much fun we had watching him. He played "Devil Went down to Georgia" and no maybe not the best voice but the fiddle part was so good - even watched him break a few bow strings (horse hair actually)! Comedy shows were big on our list - we saw all but one and they repeated them so if you missed one you could catch it a different night. Each performer did an early show (PG-13) and a late show (R). But the late show was not raunchy - lots of laughs! Also, DD and DH enjoyed the family comedy show on the last day. Also watched the NCAA final four in the Society bar and had a blast, lots of cheering for both teams! The Society bar is also the "only" officially sanctioned place where you can smoke cigars. If you want to enjoy a stogie out on deck, you probably won't be harassed if you stay in one of the designated (cigarette) smoking areas. They want happy passengers that buy drinks and look the other way.• Service: Excellent service! And very responsive to issues. The first night in the dining room it was obvious that they were out of sync in our area. This was fixed the second night with a different wait staff. Our room steward was nice- got our DD extra blankets. The bar staff was very accommodating! We still think the Legend may have been slightly better but this crew was great!• Port & Shore Excursions: We did the Cycling and Cave adventure in Progreso. Had fun! Since there have been lots of posts asking about that excursion I actually am posting a separate review of this excursion. And then went shopping and to Senor Frogs in Cozumel. We had been to Cozumel before so we took it easy this time. It was great being able to walk off the ship in both ports as the tenders have always made my DD sick. • Summary: An excellent shorter cruise! This ship is not getting older but getting better! Yes, there are a few things that are we could "complain" about but overall I would rank this cruise an A. By the way, the Freedom we would have given a B. We would definitely sail on this ship again.• Stateroom: On such a short trip we knew we would not spend much time in the room so we booked a cabin on the Main deck about mid ship - maybe slightly aft. This room was perfect - very little motion and close enough to all activities but not a traffic path. We rarely heard people in the hall and only heard the people above us of next to us a couple of times.• Dining: We prefer the early dining (6:00) and we were assigned the Wind Song dining room. We lucked out and got a table for just the 3 of us! It was great! Not all the food is great - but all of it is good! Some highlights: the lobster and shrimp on the second formal night - the lobster was sweet -the best we have had on a ship- and could have been served at any fine restaurant ashore - the mozzarella and tomato appetizer, crab cake and, stuffed mushroom appetizers are all good! The main thing was the service - our waiter, Eric, was very good and the crew "shows" got the whole dining room hopping.• Children's Clubs: Club O2: DD loved the Club O2. Her words: First day was more of an organizational day. As a 17 year old they did not participate in all the activities - more a place to meet and then go. The dance parties were fun and the movie night was decent. Because this ship is older, the club area is smaller than those on some of the newer and bigger ships. But, it was still very fun for our DD and is in contact with the kids that she met.• Disembarkation: Oh so sad to see it end! But very easy. Since we were spending the night in Houston, we did not rush off the ship. We did the "relaxed" or "zone disembarkation". We were off by 10:30. But you do have to be out of the stateroom by 8:30 (we were late). One note: you can bypass some of the lines after getting off the ship and collecting the luggage if everyone in your party had a Passport. We did and it probably saved us 20 minutes of waiting. The hotel shuttle was a little slow - we waited 20 minutes or so but they had to drop off people so maybe that was a delay. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Family Dw (61),DD (40), DGD (8) Grandpa (62). I'm limited by COPD. This info will help to understand levels of cruise features.Family flew in to Houston from Michigan April 1st I drove in from Louisiana picked them up and off to ... Read More
Family Dw (61),DD (40), DGD (8) Grandpa (62). I'm limited by COPD. This info will help to understand levels of cruise features.Family flew in to Houston from Michigan April 1st I drove in from Louisiana picked them up and off to Galveston.Friday in Houston at 3:30PM nuff saidWe stayed at the Bestwestern seawall which we find to be fine for overnight every time in Galveston.Saturday cruise day we used Lighthouse parking for the third time covered parking great service. Arrived at the terminal 11:00 AM used porters for luggage which is a must for me. Carnival provided wheel chair boarding for me and allowed rest of family to follow which was very fast on the Lido deck at 12:10 PM.My DGD is gluten intolerant and we spoke with Dining room hostess and arranged for her help everynight for next days meals for grand daughters meals. This was handled very well even with ATD and plenty of food on board that she could eat.I would say the food overall was good to very good and at the right amounts for our family's liking.The ship and crew are very well maintained and trained. Room steward was excellentkept my cooler drained and full of ice at all times.First port day family did Dzilbilchaltun ruins with Autoprogreso tours and had a great day.Second port day Cozumel was of to Chankanaab park and the Dolphin swim booked on our own before the change. This was a wonderful excursion for our grand daughter well worth the cost for a life time memory.Final sea day and off the ship weather was outstanding all week and sea weremoderate.I would say I think Carnival still provides a very good overall service for the cost.Overall a wonderful cruise and upon returning we stayed three days at the Casa del Mar in Galveston which we found to be perfect for the four of us the rooms are small condo type and very well located with two pools and a Kroger and Golden Coral you can walk to. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
We booked the March 5th cruise out of Galveston, and had amazingly good weather the entire time (five nights). As far as basic services, Ecstasy is very good. Food is good; the service in the MDR is almost excellent. Boris and Worshat were ... Read More
We booked the March 5th cruise out of Galveston, and had amazingly good weather the entire time (five nights). As far as basic services, Ecstasy is very good. Food is good; the service in the MDR is almost excellent. Boris and Worshat were very attentive and knew our names immediately. We ate in the MDR every night for the late seating. The Grand Suite was very spacious, having enough storage for twice as many passengers. Our balcony was on the starboard side and was next to a bump-out balcony. Some people have commented that they consider these suites as partially obstructed views, but I do not agree- I tend towards thinking it increases the privacy factor and if you are forward of the bumpout, you see all of the approaches clearly. The rooms and shiip are very well maintained- our suite showed signs of needing some carpet replacement in a few months. Decor is pleasant and there was constant cleaning going on. I wiped down surfaces myself when we boarded- I think that is a wise thing to do, since turn-around is quick. I was not impressed with our room steward on this trip. I think he was afraid to bother us, and we were out of the room frequently- getting ice was a big deal, so we didn't make much of an issue about it, knowing he was busy. I'd brought a collapsible cooler that only was filled once... and I feel that the stewards want their tips ahead of time before they give you attentive service. Since it's a common practice to do so by others, it sets up an expectation that not everyone is going to follow- tips should come after the fact for good service. We did not change the automatic tip, but I wish people would stop tipping before the fact. Privacy was important to us if we needed it. Room service gave us service a couple of times and was appreciated during the gap between lunch and dinner. Even though the rocky seas were a challenge, no bonine were necessary for our group- only a little malaise. So, my penchant for seasickness, did not ruin our vacation- and I would recommend that if these particular seas might be a testing point for future others considering future cruises on a smaller ship like the Ecstasy. The larger ships will be more stable in rough seas. The demographics on the ship are mixed... there are a lot of party folks on board. We had many older teens who had a lot of interiors opposite from the suites and and lot of them clearly had alcohol. Spring break was also going on in many areas in Texas and Louisiana- so there were many children on the ship, which were not using the the children's or teen's clubs on board. There were many little girls who were running loose with no supervision on the Lido stage. The master of ceremonies even made comments about how they needed to get off rails, get off the stage during the Hairy Chest contest and other games, with no parents responding. This is the shortest cruise we've taken, and the demographic mix was not all that good IMHO. Too many people trying to do too much, crowded pools and hot tubs, crowded starlight lounge... long lines in the Lido deck area, etc. Ecstasy has a lot of bottleneck places at certain key times, and I think people can get frustrated if you have no place to escape. Drinks were good if you ordered the classic drinks. It is worthwhile to order Bon Voyage liquor for your room by telephone order. The atrium bar had very good drinks. Most people I spoke with were unsatisfied with their cruise on Ecstasy. Much more so than we were, but I think that has a lot to do with the fact that we didn't try to do "everything" on the trip. We enjoyed our excursions and used the Serenity deck several times. We took the behind the scenes tour, which was very enjoyable... crew and Captain were very nice to us. I will prefer a longer cruise in the future- and we will have an opportunity for a cruise centered tour soon which will not attract the Ecstasy demographic. That is what I think was the cause of most of the dissatisfaction- that Carnival tries to be all things to all people. And sometimes, you find exactly what you like-so I'm going to rate the Ecstasy fairly high based on the basic things it provides and NOT things they have little control over, like rude fellow passengers, etc. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
We headed to Galveston the night before from Austin and stayed at the Sheraton Four Points. This was the best idea because it took us 6 hours from Austin due to the Houston traffic. Woke up Thursday morning nice and fresh. My wife and I ... Read More
We headed to Galveston the night before from Austin and stayed at the Sheraton Four Points. This was the best idea because it took us 6 hours from Austin due to the Houston traffic. Woke up Thursday morning nice and fresh. My wife and I parked the car at EZ parking a were immediately shuttled to the ship. My 6 and 8 year old (girls) stared at the ship for a minute in amazement.It only took us 15-20 to board the ship - I was amazed. We headed to the Lido deck for lunch and then toured the boat. Luggage arrived around 2:00. We should have wore our swim suits onto the ship - lesson learned. I was getting very annoyed with the waiters asking me to buy the drink of the day every 60 seconds. We all had dinner in the dining room that night. Instead of boring you with a minute by minute write-up I'll switch to likes and dislikes.Like- Kids loved Camp Carnival- Kids didn't want to eat dinner with us last two nights rather eat with friends made at CC.- Kids loved the Water slides- Hot Chocolate- Our room was set-up perfectly for us. One pull down bed and one trundle bed plus our King size bed- Serenity Deck for the adults- Mini golf- Photo opportunities - we got a great family photo on elegant night and it was only $22- Getting off the boat (last day) - kids watched Mega-mind in the Sapphire lounge and didn't mind the wait.- Breakfast- Room Stewart and Waiters/Waitress- Empress deck was an awesome location- Paradise Beach in CozumelSo-So- So many kids running on and off the elevators or jumping down the flights of stairs- The shows, why no show on Saturday night?- The food. Even though there is more food then you could imagine, we thought the food was average at best. Finding healthy food was a challenge.- Trying to get everyone off the boat at Cozumel was annoying and seemed dis-organized Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
General:The Carnival Ecstasy is a smaller ship running 4 and 5 day cruises and thus is rather inexpensive. Your shipmates are the types where cruise cost is the main factor, so you'll be on the ship with some very loud, ethic diverse ... Read More
General:The Carnival Ecstasy is a smaller ship running 4 and 5 day cruises and thus is rather inexpensive. Your shipmates are the types where cruise cost is the main factor, so you'll be on the ship with some very loud, ethic diverse and first timers. If you're looking for peace and quiet...look elsewhere.Arrival /Depart: The Galveston Cruise pier is very small so expect alot of traffic with people trying to unload baggage. Once inside you'll line-up for security and again to check-in. Both lines go fast so don't get in a hurry.Departure is painless if you use a porter to handle your bags. They'll get you through "imigration" faster.The renovations make it a very comfortable ship, but they still allow indoor smoking.I was pleased to note that they now only have a safety briefing without the lifeboat drill. The ship offers a Serenity Deck but those ethic diverse people made all the other users mad that were looking for "Serenity" (as offered in the Carnival literature). It amazes me that Carnival doesn't do something about that. Room (Window, empress deck): Very nice, clean and comfortable. Be sure and take your "room spray" and Lysol wipes.Food: The Dining room was great. Food and service were both good. The Buffet was packed (lines) with kids and those ethic diverse people I spoke of earlier There are no specialty restaurants on the Ecstasy.Sushi at 5:00 on the Promenade deck. Long lines so wait till 5:30 or 6.Casino: Ecstasy offers all the table games. They use a "master scuffle machine" for blackjack, so bet straight only and don't escalate. Craps and roulette are offered and would seem the better play although they don't pay the correct odds on many exotic bets. Slots are probably set at about a 60% return so stay clear ( LV 90+).Entertainment: The "piano man" got sick in Cozumel and they put him off the ship. So no Piano Bar. Lots of bands and music elsewhere. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Just some info about us. We are a family of 5. Myself, DH and 3 kids. This was my DH and my 2nd cruise. It was our kids 1st cruise. 5 Day Western Caribbean. DH and I had previously sailed on the Carnival Conquest in April 2009. Excellent ... Read More
Just some info about us. We are a family of 5. Myself, DH and 3 kids. This was my DH and my 2nd cruise. It was our kids 1st cruise. 5 Day Western Caribbean. DH and I had previously sailed on the Carnival Conquest in April 2009. Excellent cruise! Our Story Begins: We started out in Galveston on Saturday, the day of sailing. The weather was horrible. Back roads in Galveston were flooded, we parked with EZ Cruise Parking. This was our 2nd time to use them, and we will continue to use them for future cruises. Embarkation: We arrived at the terminal about 11am and was told that they would start boarding at 12:30pm. Well after sitting for about 15-20 minutes, the attendant announced that the wedding party was about to board and once they were finished, they would begin boarding. We were seated in the first section about 5 rows from the back...We were on the ship by 11:45. Very easy and painless. Once on the ship, we were went up to the Lido deck for lunch and we were approached literally every 3-5 minutes to purchase a Drink of the Day. After politely saying, "No Thank You" over and over with each waiter/waitress, here comes the next waiter/waitress asking. That got old VERY fast! When we were on the Conquest 2 years ago, DH and I were NEVER approached that often. The staff on the Ecstasy were definately pushing for drinks. We waited to hear a live band play Caribbean music or at least some kind of music. After about 2 hours on the ship, we began to hear music! First Night: Seas were a little rough. The ship rocked. I am not one who gets motion sickness of any kind. I found myself opening the box of dramamine and taking a pill. DH and kids seemed to be okay, just a lil woosie. We ate dinner in the WindStar Dining Room the first night.We had the "Anytime dining" and enjoyed it as we are used to eating an early dinner. (You can go in at 5:45pm) Our waiter was awesome. Right on top of things and approached us immediately by our first names. The kids thought that was amazing. We were exhausted, so we called it an early night after exploring the ship some. First Sea Day: Will this ship stop rocking PLEASE?!? My thinking was a stabalizer was broke. Nope, it was 45mph winds hitting it plus we had about 8-10ft swells. Our kids wanted to try Camp Carnival, so we brought them to the Stripes Lounge and left them there for about 3 hours so they could try it out. When pick up time came, we picked up the kids and brought them to the room to get their bathing suits on and took them to the Lido deck for lunch and to let them play on the waterslides. We enter the elevator, get up to Lido floor and our son got sick. It was horrible. Took him back to the room, got him cleaned up, gave him a dramamine, and he seemed to feel better. We all were nauseated from being on the ship rocking for 24 hours straight at this point. We sat out on the Lido deck for a while and let the kids swim and do the water slides. After that we went inside to get cleaned up and changed for dinner. We went to the dining room that night, it was formal night. We had pre-ordered a birthday cake for our daughter who will soon turn 12. (This was her birthday cruise). The cake was amazing. The waiters sang Happy Birthday to her. After dinner we decided to take pics with just about everyone who was offering. After the pics, we strolled over to the Rolls Royce Cafe and DH and I got a Cappachino. Very delicious. After we sat in front of the Cafe for a little while, we called it a night. Progreso- We arrived at 7am and watched the ship dock...FINALLY LAND! NO MORE ROCKING! We got off the ship and tried to find our land legs. We rode the free shuttle to bring us in town, did some shopping and visited Buddy's Bar and Grill. We also did the Double Deck Bus Ride. It was $3/person and we all enjoyed it. We arrived back to the ship around 12:30, and lounged around. Asked kids if they wanted to go to Camp Carnival, and after looking at the activities planned, they refused. Nothing sparked their intrests. That night the ride was alot smoother. We told the kids, now THIS is what is supposed to be like. We went to the dining room that night and was not impressed by the wait staff at all. Now I'm wondering, "Where is the dining room shows at? On the Conquest, it was nightly!" I was disapointed as we told the kids all about the dining room entertainment from our previous cruise. We went and watched a local dance company from where we are from perform and then we did a little shopping on the ship. Called it an early night as we were wanting to wake up early for Cozumel. Cozumel- We arrived at 8am and watched the ship dock. We were docked next to the Carnival Glory. BIG SIZE DIFFERENCE, but we knew we were on a smaller ship. It was amazing to see how large the Glory was compared to the Ecstasy. While in port, we decided to do our own thing, and explore Cozumel and let the kids do some shopping. They've been saving their money for over a year for this vacation. We had lunch at Carlos and Charlie's and thouroughly enjoyed it. We met a local man by the name of Pedro who took the time to give us a tour around and made us laugh. We sure enjoyed his company. Once on the ship, we waited for our ship to sail. Afterwards, we headed towards the dining room to see what the menu was to be served for the night. It was a fish night. We don't eat fish, so we decided to go the Buffet. They were serving just about the same things. Fish and Lamb. YUCK! So we ended up eating Pizza and the Deli. That night, the ride was smooth as well. We missed the Mexican Buffet, but we were exhausted from spending the day walking. We love Cozumel and our kids do too. Last Sea Day: Here we go with the rough seas again. Everyone has had their dose of Dramamine and are wearing Sea Bands. DH and I had booked the "Behind the Fun Tour" our first night on the ship as we were told there were only 16 spots. No children were allowed. So, we had asked our kids if they wanted to go to Camp Carnival, they looked at the planned activities and said "No, we would rather hang out in the room" So, DH and I went on our tour. After the tour and meeting the Captain, We tried to soak in as much sun and warm weather as possible. We then went up to our room and prepared our suitcases and set them outside the door to be picked up. (We don't like the self assist option after doing it on our last cruise). The last night, we went to the Dining room. Our waitress wasn't all that great. All I can think about is, how the staff were much more courteous and respectful on the Conquest. After dinner, we took the kids to the Family Comedy show which was really funny. We all ordered virgin Pina Colada's and enjoyed the show. We went to bed around 10:30pm. Dembarkation: We woke up and watched our arrival into the port of Galveston. We sat down and ate our breakfast from the Buffet. We were told if we wanted coffee, we had to go to the dining room. Seriously? I guess after enough people rasied cane, they decided to put coffee out at the buffet area. After self assisted guests were off the ship, the starting calling zones. They called zones 1-5. Then zones 5-7, then a staff member told us if we were ready to get off, that we could go ahead and make our way down to get off the ship that we didn't have to wait for zone 25 since our luggage should already be down there. Once we got into the terminal we immediately spotted a porter and he picked up our luggage from our zone, and we went straight thru customs. No line at all. We were off the ship and being taxied back to our parking area within 10-15 minutes. Final Thought: All in all we had fun and enjoyed our bonding time with our kids. We loved the ports. We however will never sail on the Ecstasy again. We prefer the bigger ships, there seems to be more to do and better activites for Camp Carnival. Also, we will hope for alot more courteous staff on our future cruises. As for Camp Carnival, We chose that our children not be allowed to sign their self in and out at their own leisure and run around crazy on the ship without supervision; Therefore, since they couldn't sign theirselves in and out, the activities for them was very limited. Most of the public restrooms were smelly and dirty, toilet paper everywhere, especially on the Lido deck. Maybe 2 public restrooms were nice. We will be sailing on the Carnival Triumph in November 2011 and the Carnival Magic in April 2012 and are looking forward to those. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Embarkation:Embarkation was very smooth. We arrived about 10:30 am. We went swiftly through security, stood in line to set up sign and sail for about 10 minutes. We then sat fairly comfortably waiting for our zone to be called (8). ... Read More
Embarkation:Embarkation was very smooth. We arrived about 10:30 am. We went swiftly through security, stood in line to set up sign and sail for about 10 minutes. We then sat fairly comfortably waiting for our zone to be called (8). Unfortunately, I was taken away from the area leaving my 15-yo sdd with everything, by security because they considered my scrapbooking hammer "prohibited." I told them there was nothing that said it was prohibited and was told it "could be used as a weapon." I told them to keep the dang thing, I could buy another $5 hammer! Nonetheless, this left my 15-yo not knowing what to do as they told us to start boarding while I was several minutes' walk away at the baggage area where they screen the bags before boarding. Still, the security folks were nice and accommodating and didn't accuse me of anything untoward. I returned to find they had called us for boarding, joined my sdd at the end of the line, and we moved quickly through for embarkation photo (whichI bought for her sweet 16!!) and boarding. Day 1:Upon boarding, we joined another couple we had met the night before on the Lido deck...the drink servers are indeed very frequent but I did not find them awful or even really intrusive. A shake of the head or flick of the hand did the trick generally. The ship is very easy to find your way around for the most part...everything is clearly labled and pretty much totally within sight right off the bat. I did not immediately go to guest services or shore excursions or anything. I visited the Mongolian Grill, as this was likely our only chance to do so before the lines hit! At 1:30 prompt, the doors to cabins were opened, and we dumped our things. Then, we returned to wander around a bit. We did do this, and then I spent some time in the hot tub. Muster was called about 15 minutes late, but I didn't mind!! That was also rather smooth, quick, and painless. Then...the bomb was dropped. Fog had us stuck. Port of Galveston closed the port---again. The captain sounded rather frustrated and promised to keep us updated-which he did, each time, stating "our situation is unchanged..." and sounding annoyed! I don't blame him. The fog was not that bad, and we can fly airplanes through thunderstorms and drive ships at night, but somehow a bit of fog renders us totally worthless?? lol So, nonetheless, as of 12:30AM on Day 1, we still were docked in Galveston. The activities still went on as planned, but without casino (don't care) or gift shops (oh well). Day 22:30 AM...we departed Galveston. I was forward and heard the thrusters that they use to push us off from the pier and sat bolt upright. I watched us leave port and went back to sleep about 3AM.We woke up about 7:05 for delivery of our room service, which we had requested at 7-7:30. Good food! We ate and lounged a little and went up to deck about 8AM where we found we were going almost 19 knots, and the wind was AMAZING!!! So bad that we literally had to fight to walk forward!! It was fun though. Nonetheless, Captain is trying to make up time so we can make our ports!! I also found an additional $20 credit on my S&S card where we "overpaid" port fees. Not sure how that happens, but okay! It's money! FYI: we were NOT given a credit for leaving port 10.5 hours late (nor did I think we really should have been).I went to the Serenity deck after the "Fun Aboard and Fun Ashore" talk at 10:30....found a chair fairly easily, albeit in the shade. Fine with me as I wanted to scrapbook! :) I note that Steve Cassel is quite funny but I have yet to see him around the ship. Still, a good an d interesting talk. Then at 1, we went to the talk on the shopping, with Martin, also fun. This evening was the Captain's Celebration. We dressed up for elegant night, and attended along Promenade, took advantage of photo opportunities. Met the hotel director, cruise director and a couple members of the fun staff...they all told me the Captain was "right down there" but I never did see the captain. It was really rather...well, unfun, compared to the former captain's receptions. They just kind of stood in a line here and there, talking to each other. I made a concerted effort to walk up to some of the officers and staff and say hello and ask them how they were doing, and felt like I was intruding on their conversation. It felt kind of like a wedding reception line, where you were maybe just supposed to walk along and say hello and keep moving. It just felt weird. I love Carnival, but I think this new format is a "fail." Going to the main lounge, shaking hands when entering and then actually getting some introductions on stage, and brief chat, was more enjoyable-even if the drinks are not free. So, while I had a nice walk along Promenade and took pics, I didn't get to meet the captain and really felt rather like the staff felt this a necessary evil. Even the smiles seemed fake on several faces. Exception to this was cruise director Steve.Elegant night was nice in the dining room. The lobster was a bit overcooked in my opinion, but Ramesh, our head waiter, was cognizant of the time as we told him we wanted to make the 7:30 comedy performance. We did. Our assistant waitress, Iryna (Iryana?) did a great job as well. She was from Belarus and was rather quiet but very attentive. :)We enjoyed the comedians and their PG shows as well as adult shows. Adult shows can get very "adult" but I enjoyed them quite a bit. I enjoy comedy period!The Xtreme Country show rocked. The dancers and singers were great, and Steve Cassel, cruise director, plays a MEAN FIDDLE!! Day 3 ProgresoI see a lot of complaining about this port and its dinginess or dirtyness. I personally like it. It's more authentic Mexican, and wares are more authentic and the people are more "Mexican," i.e., not a bunch of US transplants operating stores in Mexico. Many do not speak English. My rudimentary Spanish easily got me through though. We just got to the end of the pier, rode the $3 double decker bus and then hung out at the FREE beach. Do not pay for the "beach break" here, unless it offers soemthing more than a beach, because the free beach is easily accessible, free, and food/drink is very nearby. We just laid on the sand on our Carnival towels.We returned and had dinner after a nap. Then, we attended the game show in the main lounge, but skipped the talent show and the Mexican buffet, instead choosing to relax in the hot tubs on Serenity. Serenity is packed during the day, but at night, is virtually a wasteland and a beautiful place to chat, relax, and soak!Day 4 Cozumel:Smooth debarkation except for a lengthy line to get off the sihp. We were delayed still from leaving Galveston but it didn't realy affect us as we had the same length of time in port. We explored the shopping area at port before our excursion and then met our excursion. Stingray Beach could have been a tad more orgnanized and clear about where they wanted you when, but it was a good excursion. We went to Del Sol where we promptly saw the prices were too high, then grabbed a horse and buggy ride back to theship. This was a tad more spendy than I really felt necessary, but it was really nice to see a little of "old Cozumel."Chef's TableDid not disappoint. A very good, well put together, interesting event! I was stuffed. The chef, Taunus, was awesome. He was heading back to the CCL Freedom after our cruise. He even made sure my sdd had some more of the starter he had given us the next day at lunch upon her request. The wine and champagne were most definitely free flowing. the $75 charge was not, in my opinion, particularly too much, and I did leave an additional tip. Day 5 Sea Day:We relaxed most of the day. We did do the Groove for St Jude, which was a karaoke event at 4 on the last sea day. Lasted only about an hour. We went to the Fun Farewell, where a $5 tip by our tablemates and a $2 tip by us (I had forgot the rest of my money on my way to it) made sure the drinks were free flowing! Then off to dinner for our last dinner, and the Dream Voyage show. It seemed this show would have been more appropriate at the beginning of the cruise, and I'm not sure that it wasn't meant to be as we were incredibly bumpy the first sea day and there was a lot of dancing. I enjoyed Xtreme Country better than Dream Voyage, I admit, but it was still worth going to.More comedy at Punchliner and I went to pretty much all the shows. Tommy Drake was absolutely hilarious. Carl Faulkenberry was not as funny to me, although he was pretty amusing as well. Definitely like Tommy Drake more though. And what I noticed is that Tommy Drake's "adult" comedy was not "adult" just because he dropped a bunch of unnecessary curse words-which I did feel Carl did. To me, Carl's comedy was perfectly PG rated, and he made it "adult" by adding a bunch of F-bombs. Tommy's comedy was without curse words mostly but the subject matter and the comedy itself was decidedly adult.Debarkation:Went well. We ate in the dining room for breakfast. Went well. Then we finished getting our things together and moved to the Promenade deck to wait. We were asked to leave our stateroom by 8:30 AM and were in Zone 22, the last zones, to be called. I didn't mind waiting outside my stateroom, but the beverage service could have been better while waiting. I was there, with my carryons, waiting from about 8 to 10 or so, and had a hard time getting water. I would get some, but they'd give me a tiny glass-I don't understand being stingy with WATER, especially on the last day. If they are going to ask you to wait outside your stateroom, they could serve you a tad better, but all in all, it was fine. Once called, we proceeded easily. At this port, we were required to trudge down and get ALL our bags, then trudge BACK, with all our bags, to the end of the line, then drag ALL our bags through customs. There were porters, but they were not easily accessible and really, IMO, there should have been more. We did proceed fairly quickly, though the line was very long. We did have passports. Once through customs, we still were not really offered porter services so we had to lug all five of our bags between the 2 of us (I had a scrapbook bag as I was the sole adult, plus each of us had one large bag and one carryon, plus my purse), the length of the building to meet our shuttle. Hot TopicsKids: Not a bother. Despite being a major Spring Break cruise (almost all the passengers were from AK, KS, and TX and many on spring break), I found the kids, as well as the young adults, well behaved. There were only a couple times they were even slightly "bothersome" and that involved young teens being ... well, young teens. Truly, they were not a bother and were FAR from "ruining my vacation." They weren't running wild, didn't run into me, and did not cut in line. Smoke: Also not a bother. The Society lounge is a smoking/cigar smoking lounge and its placement just outside the Starlight (the second largest lounge which was converted into the Punchliner Comedy Club two of the five nights) was a little weird. One did have to walk through it to get to Starlight, although really there was another way around-through the restaurant on Lido, down into Serenity, and through the doors there. But the only INSIDE way to Starlight was through Society. This did not bother me a bit, but I did "notice" smoke there..it was really the only place I noticed it at all. Not once did I notice it on Lido or the outside areas.Total Experience:Awesome. Great cruise, plain and simple. My only thumbs downs were the new format of the Captain's Reception, and the requirement to lug ALL your bags through customs lines. I am not sure if it's still done this way, but in the past in other ports, i have been able to go through customs and THEN pick up my large bags. We had to walk and lug our bags quite a bit the way this one was set up. The food was good...I really didn't have anything bad. I used the MDR a lot, but did use Lido for breakfast on port days and a late night snack here and there. Found the food to be hot and decent. Eggs left a tad to be desired. Warm Melting Cake was, of course, a hit. Also had german chocolate cake for lunch in MDR and tiramisu. I enjoyed the tiramisu, although my tablemates decidedly did not! The ship was very easy to find your way around. I did NOT have the same problems some mention in finding appropriate elevators. They were clearly marked and well defined. Service was wonderful. I tipped my stateroom steward and my waiter and assistant waitress extra in addition to the S&S prepaid gratuities, as well as tipping the maitre 'd. And I felt like it still wasn't enough.I would give the Ecstasy five stars in pretty much every category. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Our cruise was awesome. This was our first cruise but I had done a lot of research into what to expect and tips of what to bring . I used a travel agent to get some advice for my first cruise and she got me a military / fire fighter ... Read More
Our cruise was awesome. This was our first cruise but I had done a lot of research into what to expect and tips of what to bring . I used a travel agent to get some advice for my first cruise and she got me a military / fire fighter upgrade that I wouldn't have known about had I not gone thru her. We also got $10 SNS credits each. Travel agents can give you more insight such as, "avoid that room, it's under a hallway" or "arrive at the MDR 5-10 minutes late to avoid waiting in lines" . We parked at Galveston Park-N-Cruise with a prepaid outside rate of $34 for the 5 night cruise. It's right across the street and we had no problem walking our bags to the terminal. Our car was there safe, ready, and waiting when we got back. Embarkation was a little crowded with lines that snaked around to go thru the metal detectors and then lines to get the Sign and Sail/Room card. There are a lot of stage areas where they try to get you to pose for a picture. If you know you don't want to pay $10 - $20 for a picture, tell them "no thanks" and you can avoid these stops. Once on the boat, there were staff people wearing red "ASK ME" shirts to point you in the right direction. The rooms were ready @ 1:30pm. We got to our room and met Andy our room steward who informed us of the lunch on the Lido deck, a guided ship tour, and the muster drill. Our room is a sideways room, with the door on the long side opening up directly to the sleeping area. Most rooms open to a hall with closets on one side and the bathroom on the other. Our room was smaller than the usual Carnival room. It measured 9.25 ft X 17 ft. The bathroom was moved to the shorter length side, there was no hall and we had a smaller closet. Most Carnival rooms are about 186 sq ft, ours was about 157 sq ft. But it was still big enough and felt roomie. There is a constant "white noise" as the engines roar and air is force circulated throughout the ship. I brought earplugs for sleeping but I never had to use them because the noise wasn't that bad. I would equate it to noise on an airplane. I found the bed to be extremely comfortable and the sheets were soft to compliment the very nice pillows. The Carnival Signature Towels were soft and large however the white bath towels were a bit hard and hospital like. The whole cabin was very clean. The shower has odd mechanics. There is a knob on the left and a knob on the right. The left knob operates the volume of water and the single right knob controls the temperature. I was very impressed with the vent hole above the toilet. It really sucks a lot of air which is useful to keep the bathroom smelling fresh, moisture free, and ventilate the entire cabin. It can clear a stinky bathroom in about a couple of minutes. I brought air freshener and never had to use it. There is an electronic programmable hotel safe in the closet for valuables, and I did put my wads of cash, passport, and wallet in there, but I never felt unsafe on the ship. We were midship on the 6th floor. There were 3 stairway/elevator wells but the middle one did not go to all the floors. I just told myself that when I left the room, all the way right took me to the Atrium, theater, gym, and all the way to deck 12 and all the way left took me to the eating places. I see the benefit of being a little higher up in floors. Many times you'll want to just bypass the elevator and just take the stairs. I wish there was a change in color scheme, or clearer signs on the stairs to tell you what floor you were on. The food fare in the main dinning room (MDR) was great. On the entrEe list, there are about 5 daily chef's selections and then below that are about 5 non changing "classic selections" We ate there every dinner and one breakfast. I had already "virtually" met one the people at my randomly assigned table thru the Cruise Critic Roll Call bulletin board and everyone at my table (all 10 of us) got along very well. I think that's why we all actually made of point to go to the MDR dinner daily. The waiters will get to know you and dinner usually ends with a talk by the Maitre D and some entertainment by the waiters. Our table was a long table at the window. Eating at the Panorama Grill or the outdoor Mongolian Grill was buffet style sometimes with lines but the lines moved fast. The hot selection wasn't extensive but was tasty and filling and changed daily. There was a simple salad and cold section and a large variety of deserts. These two grills located on the Lido deck serve food for longer hours then the MDR and you have a choice of sitting areas from outside open, outside sheltered, and inside. It's not uncommon to share a table with others but plenty of 2 seat tables were always available in the inside halls connecting the two restaurants and offered a great view. There is also a 24hr pizza place and a hot deli sandwich bar (closes at 11pm) . This boat doesn't offer a higher level "paid restaurant" like some ships, but the food options were more than enough. The free coffee was hit or miss. A few times the coffee was perfect, but the last breakfast it was too strong and almost burnt tasting. Odd, since it's a computerized machine that supposedly measures out the coffee and brews it as needed. There are only 4 hot tubs, 2 next to the only swimming pool and 2 on the Adults Only Serenity deck. The 3 story water slide takes you past the side of the boat and splashes you into a non-pool mini water park, but it's mainly used while in port. The few times that I made it up there, high winds kept it closed. There weren't a huge number of kids on this trip but I could imagine how that small pool and the entire Lido deck could become infested with kids running all over the place. I was told that the pool was filtered salt water and drained nightly. It's not huge and would probably be best to just lounge in since there is a divider that separates the deeper side from the shallow side. It's not for diving or doing laps. There are 2 Laundromats onboard with about 5 washers/5 driers and 3 iron/board stations in each. The cost is $3 per load. Irons are free but use them early for formal night. There is also valet laundry service as well as dry cleaning. DRINKS - Current as of 10 FEB 2011 Canned soda =$1.95 Bottled Water 1.5 liter =3.95 Bottled Water 0.5 liter = 1.95 Most 12oz beers = $4.95 Most 16oz beers = $5.75 to $5.95 Double Pour "Classic Drinks" = 8.75 with a receipt for a $5 match play in the casino Most other drinks are about $7.50 to $8.95 If your drink comes in a Carnival Souvenir Glass, you can trade it in for .75 - $1.00 off the next drink. 15% gratuity will be added for each drink. The Casino was better than expected although it was a little smokie in there on some nights. About half of the slots are penny multiline machines and several quarter slots. I believe there was only one craps table, two roulette, and several versions of 21 type tables. When in port the casino must close but it was open pretty much anytime at sea. There was a videogame arcade that I thought was a total waste of space. It was basically $1 for each game and $1.50 for air hockey. I think it would have been better utilized if decked out with LCD screens and Xbox / Playstation consoles where you can charge by the hour to keep kids busy. Our ship went thru 2 severe weather fronts the 3rd night and on the 5th night with high waves and apparent wind speeds of up to 65mph. The boat will rock in weather like the kind we went thru. Staying in an interior midship cabin helped minimize the feel at night but during the first weather system I had to excuse myself from dinner a little early due to rocking of the boat in the MDR which is positioned in the rear of the boat. The shows in the Sapphire Theater were sort of Six Flags-ish, with dancers sometimes not synchronized and on the last night of the cruise, one dancer almost lost her footing due to the rocking of the boat. I know the boat was recently updated a couple of years ago but the main theater and the lounge in the rear of the boat had a very 70's, Charlie's Angels feel (odd since the boat was made in '91). We saw the adult comedy show the last night, it was funny but definetly for adults. The main theater had a lot of seats where the view was obstructed or set to look at a view of the back of someone's head. The internet lounge was on the expensive side. I needed to check just one confirmation email for a private excursion in Cozumel. I was going to go with the pay by minute (.75 a minute) plan. There was a $3.95 activation fee and even in port, the internet is painfully slow. Total cost was about $9 and some change. If you go to Cozumel, the boat will dock at Puerta Maya Pier, newly rebuilt after a devastating storm. There is an internet wifi coffee shop there and you can still walk back to your boat in about 5-10 minutes to put up your lap top for an excursion. I wish I had done that. While in Cozumel, we went to a private beach called Playa Uvas. It was a $10 cab ride from the pier. The water was clear and our package included a snorkling tour, food, and all u-can-drink. When we were ready to leave, they walked us to the gate, flagged a taxi, and said goodbye remembering our names. Everyone calls you "friend" down there. Cozumel seemed like a nice place although the captain sent everyone a letter with sad news about someone on an RCL ship that was murdered the day before in Cozumel. He basically wanted to remind us to use safety precautions and to travel in groups. In Progresso, Yucatan the pier is about 5-6 miles long due to very shallow waters. I woke up very early to watch the sunrise from the top deck as the boat pulled into Progresso. It was awesome, warm wind, partly cloudy sky, and the twinkling lights of the town as we got closer to land. There are free shuttle busses that take you to the mainland provided for free by a company called Grupo Auto Progresso. They also sell their own tours . They offered some of the same Mayan ruin excursions for $20 cheaper. If you choose a Mayan ruins tour, be aware they it can be a bit of a drive to get out there deep into the Yucatan. It can get really hot and sunny. There are a couple of free beaches in Progresso but the water is not as clear as Cozumel. Debarkation was a breeze. Breakfast was served early that day and our cruise charges were printed out and slipped under our door. They dedicate a TV channel to information on the debarkation process. We did the self assist carryon luggage plan. They request that everyone be cleared out of their rooms by 830am and moved to the main theater or Lido deck. Our floor was called off the boat at 928am, cleared thru customs at 940am, and starting the car at 946am. All in all, I was really happy with this whole trip. I have always wanted to go on a cruise and I could barely sleep the night before. I was very excited. I was so pleased with the whole trip that I put $100 down on a future cruise before the trip was over. Looking at a 7 night cruise for next time. My Youtube reviews: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSOWWqfS6AQ SUGGESTIONS: I would bring along earplugs (even though I was fine with the "white noise" of the boat), a small alarm clock or cellphone clock set to airplane mode, a 3 way UL listed plug adapter since there is only 1 x 110volt and 1 x 220 volt plug, a small night light, a loufa sponge for the provided body soap liquid, disposable wire hangers since the ones Carnival provides can be foreign to work with, and a 1 liter empty water bottle and cheap food containers that will come in handy on the last day so you can store some non perishable food / water for a possible wait during debarkation or just to take to your room or on an excursion. I would also suggest some simple home printed business cards with your name, face book, email, and maybe phone number to trade with all the friendly people onboard that you meet. If you have a lanyard from home, you can get a hole punched in your Sail N Sign Card at the Casino or Guest Services. The casino had a long (wide) hole punch for the clamp style clip on my lanyard Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
My husband, son (age 7), daughter (age 6) , my mother and myself flew to Houston from New York State on February 18, 2011, the day before our cruise. We rented a car and stayed at the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort (which was acceptable, but ... Read More
My husband, son (age 7), daughter (age 6) , my mother and myself flew to Houston from New York State on February 18, 2011, the day before our cruise. We rented a car and stayed at the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort (which was acceptable, but not worth the high rate). The hotel allowed us to park our rental car in their lot for $20. The evening before the cruise, there was thick dense fog which continued into the morning of our cruise. We went to the terminal and dropped our luggage off and went inside. We were allowed to check in, but were told that the port was closed due to the dense fog. The cruise ship was outside the port waiting for it to open so that they could dock. We were told to walk around Galveston and to come back to the terminal at 6:00 pm for an "update". We returned to the terminal at about 4:30 pm and waited until 6:00 pm for the "update". The update was that there would be an update in an hour and this continued every hour all evening until about 10:00 pm. At that point were told that the port was still closed and that we had the option of getting a refund on our cruise or getting a hotel and returning in the morning. We were given a list of hotels in Houston (40 miles from the port) because all of the hotels in Galveston were booked. We had no option but to get a hotel because we were there from out of town and had no way home. The hotel list had incorrect phone numbers and after we finally got the phone numbers and made a reservations, we had to collect all of our luggage and take a shuttle bus to Houston where we were dropped off at our hotel. We were informed by Carnival that the hotel would be at our own expense, but they would give us a 25% refund on our cruise and $45 a person for meals. The next morning we were to return to the terminal for our cruise. Due to the delay, we would not be going to Progresso as planned only to Cozumel. The dense fog and the port being closed were outside of the control of Carnival; however, the decisions that the company made to deal with the situation were absolutely horrible. In the morning we were to get on Carnival's web site for an "update" on the situation at 9:00 am. No update came until 1:00 pm when hotel staff informed us that the port was open and that Carnival was sending shuttle busses to come and get us and take us to the terminal. Galveston has the capacity for two cruise ships to dock. There was a Royal Caribbean ship and the Carnival Conquest that were scheduled to set sail on that day. Instead of docking the Ecstasy and letting the passengers off that were stuck on there an extra day, Carnival decided that the Ecstasy passengers were already delayed in their trip, so they would dock the Conquest first so that that ship would not be delayed. Therefore, people who had been in the Ecstasy an extra night due to fog were not let off and the Conquest gusts were allowed to board as planned. Why would they not let the Conquest be delayed a few hours so that the Ecstasy guests who were delayed for two days could board? It was absolutely ridiculous. Those of us who were scheduled to sail the day before were taken to the Galveston Convention Center where we sat all day waiting for "updates". Carnival provided cokes and bags of potato chips that were supposed to appease us. There was no meal allowance given for the second day that we were delayed. We sat in that Convention Center until 2:00 am before they finally sent busses and allowed us to board the ship. We were told that the port was once again closed for fog and we may not be able to go to Cozumel either. In the morning we were given a letter stating that we would not be going to Cozumel, so we could disembark and get our money back or set sail for a 3 day cruise to nowhere. Being from out of state with no way home, we had no choice but to stay on the ship. The Carnival employees were rude and nasty and had no empathy for the situation. I understand that they were stressed, but the way we were treated by the staff was unacceptable. The waiters were rude and the guest services employees were even ruder. On the day we were to disembark, there was once again fog. We were told that the first passengers would get off at 10:30. If we got off at that time, we would just make our flight. We were trying to tell guest services that it was going to cost $150 a ticket times 5 for airport change fees plus the cost difference in the plane fare if we did not get off the boat with the first group. We were told that everyone wants off and it is "weather related", therefore, not their problem. We finally found once Carnival employee named Gary who got us in with the group to get off first. Gary was the only nice employee that we encountered on this cruise. We just made out 1:00 flight in the nick of time. The food on the cruise was good for the most part. We enjoyed the two shows and if the weather had been nicer, I think that we would have had a better time. It was too cold to use the pool since the water was so cold, and the two hot tubs were crowded. The kids enjoyed the camp carnival. A lot of the time we were bored, and it seemed like there was not much planned since we were supposed to be in port for two of the days. I would have thought they would plan more entertainment since were unable to get off the boat at the ports. This was my 6th cruise and I have loved every one of them until this one. We are supposed to be credited for 50 % of our cruise, but that is not worth it for a ruined vacation. Our family only gets one vacation a year and this year was a complete disaster. I will never sail with Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
I was traveling with my 4 year old granddaughter and this was her 1st cruise and my 4th. This was my 2nd time on the Ecstasy. I arrived on the island at around 2.45pm Friday, February 18th. I had a room reserved at the Hampton Inn and ... Read More
I was traveling with my 4 year old granddaughter and this was her 1st cruise and my 4th. This was my 2nd time on the Ecstasy. I arrived on the island at around 2.45pm Friday, February 18th. I had a room reserved at the Hampton Inn and Suites near the seawall. I have stayed here before and I highly recommend it. I have always had a clean room and very friendly service. It offers a free hot breakfast as well as free internet in the business center. There is a Wal-Mart, a bank and a gas station directly across the street and I know several restaurants in the immediate area. The seawall is within walking distance as well. I did notice that there was dense fog as I crossed over onto the island as I got closer to the seawall, it did get worse. Due to the dense fog I refused to drive after the sun went down so we walked to the Golden Corral to eat...not the best food in the world, but it was food. By the time I left the restaurant the fog was so thick I hear but not see the ocean. It was directly across the street from the restaurant! I went back to the hotel and checked Carnival.com and Cruise Critic. There were no updates on Carnival and no new threads on CC about the fog. I updated our Roll Call thread to let others know about the fog. Saturday I got up fairly early it was very foggy still. We had breakfast, went to Wal-Mart, checked Carnival.com, CC and Galveston.com to have a look at the harbor and cruise cam. No ship in port, no alert on Carnival and nothing new on CC. I made the decision to go ahead and check out of the hotel. This turned out to be: Bad decision number 1. I drove to the pier area and went directly to Park and Cruise. I had booked in advance and paid $35 for the 5 days. When I got there I was greeted by a very nice female employee who explained that since the Ecstasy wasn't back yet the lot was full. She did direct me how to park on the street and I was able to park at 25th & Strand. We walked around the Strand and down to Pier 21; we had lunch at the Olympia, visited the Harbor House hotel, the Ocean Star exhibit and took lots of photos (some of this I did after I checked in). At around 11am I began to get worried since the ship still had not arrived so I called Carnival again and got the 2nd of the many CSR's or Carnival Pier Rep's that I would speak to that day that would lie to me or avoid giving me a straight answer. She told me that that there was a delay in the docking of the Ecstasy and that due to "mother nature" the port was closed. I asked her why that information hadn't been made public on their website? Her answer? "Well we did send out an email and calls at 2.30". Now mind you it's about 11.30pm by now so I asked her 2.30 when? Her response: "Yesterday". At this point I called her a liar. I told her that I had checked my email Friday before I left work and just that morning before I checked out of my hotel and not only that ALL of my emails come auto to my Blackberry! And...I have a work phone number, my cell number, my home number and my daughter's cell number on my reservation! She said that "perhaps my emails went to my Spam box" - not bloody likely - but here let me check - NOPE NOT THERE! And then I asked her what about the phone calls - she said that "Calls Went Out" to advise "passengers to not come to the port and to contact Carnival or visit Carnival.com". That's all she would say. I told her that if calls had of gone out I would have gotten one - she said that maybe (she had an answer for everything) that I missed it - ever heard of voice mail? What about caller ID? She said that they might not show up on Caller ID - OMG! Every single call I get shows up!!!! And I told her that there was 4 phone numbers on my reservation and she was tellling me that NOT one of them would have been answered or shown up on VM? Her reply: "Well Mam you were notified and if not then I am telling you now". Oh Dear God. I hung up before I said a really bad word. We wondered around some more visiting the places I listed above. I noticed that sky had begun to clear so I called Carnival again and the Carnival rep told me it would be ok to check in. While passing Park and Cruise on the way back to my car I noticed that there was a guy standing out front holding a Park Here for $40 sign. I called out and asked if I would be able to park now, since I had pre paid and he said I could. I figured this would be one last thing I would to worry with; turned out later it was BAD decision number 2. I had to pay $7 more to park my car, since the parking I had pre paid for was still full and they would park me in the indoor parking building. We got my suitcase and there was a golf cart and driver who took us back to the corner and dropped us off. The parking is directly across the street from the terminal and they were very nice and very friendly and I will be sure to use them in the future. I am going to stop here and say that what I witnessed (phone and in person) during those 2 days leaves me convinced - even days later when I have had time to process everything - that Carnival must train their CSR's to evade, down play, avoid the truth - whatever you call it. Now I will also say that there was 1 or 2 who I met in person - the supervisor at the Convention center and the supervisor at the terminal on Saturday that actually tried to help. And the supervisor from Sunday morning from Guest Resolutions that spoke to me tried to help and was very helpful in calming me down and actually listening to me instead of talking and there was at least one CSR who didn't try to just pacify me to get me to shut up. I am not a difficult person to deal with...I don't yell or scream our cuss CSR's (well I did say one or two nasty words to one - I will tell you about that in a few minutes). I also want to add that once we boarded that ship - it was like heaven. All the staff was wonderful and let me tell you they took a licking and I never NOT once saw them frustrated or get nasty with those who were giving them hell. They would smile and be very friendly...they made what we went thought more tolerable. Terminal: As most know who have cruised out of Galveston on a Carnival ship there is not a lot in the way of comfort in this terminal. This was my 2nd cruise out of Galveston but I don't recall it being so spare - perhaps since I didn't stay that long the last time I just don't remember. I was there from around 2ish till 8 or 9. We got to the terminal and after finally finding someone to take my bags we went to the check in entrance and there was a Carnival rep handing out maps of Galveston and letting us know that the port was still closed however we could still check in. There was a bottle neck at the escalator so we were directed to the elevator. I had my boarding pass in hand and moved quite swiftly through the process. When it was my turn to check in I was told that I would not be getting my Sail and Sign card then and that I would also have to wait to establish my cash account. I was then directed to the back room for seating if I wanted to stay in the terminal, which they were discouraging. I opted to stay. The room wasn't very crowded but as time wore on it did begin to fill up. At around 5pm, they made an announcement that they would update us at 6pm. I had in the mean time been asking various Carnival reps about the likelihood of the ship coming in. I wanted to able to get my car before the people from Park and Cruise left for the day. I was told by 3 or 4 different Carnival rep's that I should wait and see. At 6.45pm they made another announcement that they would update us at 7pm. At around 7.10pm they made the announcement that the port was still closed and that the Ecstasy would not be docking. We were told that A.) We could opt to cancel and get a 100% refund or B.) Find a place to stay for the night, come back Sunday, receive a 30% (I think) discount plus the already offered $45 pp OBC. But we had to leave the terminal and if we checked luggage we had to pick it up. I called Park and Cruise and was told that no one was at the location. I was not able to get my car now. I got a copy of the letter with the hotels on it and it was laughable. Three hotels for 2000 people? We were told that they would bus us to Houston to the hotels. I called the first hotel on the list - the Holiday Inn and the line was busy. I called the 2nd number - the Hilton and it rang but it was the manager's private cell phone number. She was so very nice, she tried to transfer me to the hotel but with no success and I was disconnected. I tried right back and it went straight to her voice mail. I was going to call the 3rd number - the Four Season's and that's when I noticed that the area code (912) was incorrect. 912 is the area code for Savannah, GA. I had moved to Texas from there in 2006 and was very familiar with it. I went to the check in desk and tried to explain that to one of the person's there and she acted as if I were stupid. She asked me if I had even tried to call it. No, I hadn't since I didn't see the purpose, since I knew it was incorrect. She insisted otherwise and it was only after I flagged down her supervisor that I was able to get the correct area code for Houston. I called that number and they wanted $125 plus tax for the night. I am sure that it was a very good deal however it was way more then I could pay. I called the Hilton back and was able to get through and she gave me the direct number to the hotel and I was able to book a room there for $99 plus tax for the night. Again more then I wanted to pay, but I took it. So we board the buses. We arrive at the Hilton located near Hobby airport in about an hour. The hotel was rather nice. Check in moved very quickly despite having a bus load of people to check in! The staff were very polite and seemed to really care about how situation. We took our bags upstairs to room 316, it over looked the parking lot in front and further the airport. We went back downstairs and went to Jack in the Box to get something to eat. However it was closed. They close the inside at 9pm. It was just after 9pm. We went back to the hotel and to the hotel's restaurant. They were 5 minutes from closing, however, the hostess seated us anyways! I was so grateful! We tried to order food that would be easy to prepare. After eating we went upstairs and to bed. Sunday: The next morning we went to the Jack in the Box for breakfast. I would advise signing up for Hilton Honors - I am a member but I cannot find my number and the information that I registered under has changed and I didn't want to have to ask the front desk to look it up - the breakfast would have been free if you are HH member. After breakfast, I went to the business center to check Cruise Critic, Galveston.com and Carnival.com. I had to wait in line as there were a few ahead of me, and I want to say there are some very rude people in this world. I was sitting and waiting for my turn and when this man stood up, this other person who was just coming in the door, popped his butt right down in the chair in front of the computer! I said something and he said I could wait, since he wouldn't be that long! I wanted to smack him! Anyway, another guy who was leaving gave me his seat to so I could have my turn. I found that the port was open and that the ships were allowed to come in. For some reason - which is beyond my comprehension- the Conquest and Voyager were allowed to dock at the terminal which left the Ecstasy down at pier 10 which is an industrial type pier. No one seemed to know when the buses would return to Houston to pick us up. Some had been told 12, some at 1pm. I called Carnival and was told to ask the hotel. I called the front desk and was told to ask Carnival. So I called Carnival again. I talked to the one person who made me so angry. She also kept saying "if you can't stay where you are to head over to the convention center". I had already told her that I was bused by Carnival to Houston - that means that I don't have a way to get anywhere and I was calling to ask when the buses would show back up...I swear this woman did not listen to a word I said! Again, they are trained to ignore you. (insert the cuss words I told you about before here) I got so fed up with her that I asked for a supervisor. She kept trying to talk me out of it, but I work in a call center too and I let her know that I wasn't going anywhere until she put one on the phone. It worked. She put me on with a very nice supervisor with Guest Resolutions. There wasn't much she could do, but she was able to at least talk to me and help me understand what was happening at the port. I knew that Carnival was not responsible for the fog, or the port closing. But as I told her they were responsible for how they handled the communications portion of it. She apologized and said that they were working on better communications with their guests in events like this. I hope so because this was not acceptable on any level. Leaving Houston and at the Convention Center. About 1pm the buses show back up at the hotels. We board them and are on our way back to Galveston where we are taken to the Convention Center - where by the way no one was asked if that's where they wanted to go! But looking back I see that it was the best option. The ones who did not go to the Convention Center where not allowed into the terminal and had to wait outside. Now I know that there will be those who will disagree with me but the Convention Center wasn't all that bad. We were inside. We were safe. We had access to restrooms. There was a Kroger across the street. I didn't see any restaurants around but I didn't get out and look either. There were about 10 Carnival employee's there with us the entire time - so pretty much what we went through - they did to. They had given us soda, chips, coffee, water, and later on candy, pretzels and nuts. They also had movies for the kids. The kid really enjoyed this. Upstairs there was a hair show and they had set up a concession stand where I was able to get pizza and burgers for us. As it got later and later we began to ask when we would board. We knew the ships were in port. We were being told that we had to wait for the Conquest to disembark and embark her passengers before we could board. I don't think this was fair. I don't know if Carnival made that decision or if it was the Ports decision and whoever made it, should be smacked! We were on our 2nd day waiting and the Ecstasy should have taken priority. But as everyone knows it didn't work out that way. As it turned from day light to dark there had been buses parked outside. They left abruptly and no one seemed to know why. It would be after midnight before we saw those buses again. By that time people were really angry. At one point the news media showed up with cameras. I was close enough to see what was happening but not close enough to hear what was being said. There were 2 Sheriff's deputies there as well and I guess they made the reporter go outside. They allowed him to interview people outside on the steps. At one point and I don't remember what time it was - we were told that the Conquest had been struck by a barge and could not move until it was cleared by the Coast Guard. The Voyager Of Seas was stuck behind the Conquest and the Ecstasy was docked elsewhere. Later we were told that they would begin busing back to the terminal where we would drop our bags and get our S & S cards and then be bused to Pier 10 to where the Ecstasy was docked and were we could finally board. The buses arrived sometime after midnight. It was officially Monday. I think I was on the 2nd bus and we loaded our bags. I was exhausted; The Kid was tired and grumpy and really didn't understand what was happening. We got to the terminal and no one seemed to know what we were supposed to do. I didn't know if I was supposed to take my suitcase or not. I didn't see anyone else doing so, so I left mine hoping that I would see it again and at the same time - not really caring if I didn't! We were herded up the escalators, back through the security lines, back to check in desk where we got our S & S cards, back down the exit ramps to the area where you would get your luggage upon debarkation and then to wait to board a bus to pier 10. In all it might have taken an hour. When we pulled up to that ship I knew we were almost done with what turned out to be a 2 day ordeal. We were in our cabin by 2am. There are a few things that I think could have been done better. 1. Carnival needs to put updates on their main page! Not bury it in the FAQ's section. 2. Train the CSR's to actively listen. Give out correct information. 3. Have a plan in the event this happens again. Don't wait till the last minute to make one. 4. Give information as soon as its received not hours later - be honest with their guests. Now, I know everyone will have different versions of what happened. But this is how I saw it. I will sail with Carnival again. I am happy with the compensation we were given. I think it was fair and just. I chose to stay on the ship Monday and went on the 3 day cruise to nowhere. After all any cruise is better than no cruise at all! The Compensation: While still at the terminal on Saturday and the Convention Center on Sunday we were given the 1st of many letters. This was letting us know that we would get a $15 per person OBC for meals for that day...later that did increase to total of $45 per person to cover our meals for Saturday. Later at the 7:10pm update were were told that if we wanted to cancel and go home we would get a 100% refund. If we decided to go ahead and sail with them then we would get a 30% refund of our cruise as well as the refund of any Port Fee's for missing Progresso. The next letter we received was to let us know that the fuel barge had struck the Conquest and that our embarkation would be delayed more. A bit later we were told that we would not be calling at Cozumel after all, but would be going to Progreso. This too changed later when it was known that we would not be going to any port at all. We then received a letter stating that we could board the ship, spend the night and if in the morning we wanted to cancel we would get a 100% refund and 25% off our next cruise. Or we could sail with them on a 3 day to nowhere; get a 50% refund plus a 50% discount toward our next cruise. We also would be refunded any port fees and taxes. Since I had already waited there for 2 days and wanted to "stick it out", I elected the latter. I have as of this writing received my refund and have already used it to book my next cruise. I do feel that the compensation we were given was very fair. The Ship: As I stated before I had been on the Ecstasy before. It's a older ship but I noticed that it had been dry docked and the upgrades were very nice to see. Since this turned out to be a Cruise to Nowhere, the crew had to redo the Fun Times a bit. There was still plenty to do. I was a little disappointed in the fact that the ship does not have a kiddie pool. I tried taking the kid to the adult pool and it was entirely too cold and too deep. The water was so cold it actually hurt! I found the slides and they did have one that was for her age group - even though some older kids pushed some of the little one's out of the way to use it too. There was a day when a group of teen's rode up and down in one of the glass elevators, basically they were sitting on the floor and not leaving any room for others to get on. Up and Down they rode for hours. Where were the parents? Where was security? The safety brief didn't take place until the 2nd day. Our muster station was in China Town which by the way is much more comfortable then it was on the Liberty, where we had to stand outside in 90 degree heat and humidity. Up on on deck it was rather cold and windy for the most part. The Captain did try to find the sun and he succeeded most of the time. The Cabin: We were on the Main Deck in Cabin M153 located midship. It was an ocean view with a king that could transform to 2 singles, plus a pull down bed. Nice cabin, the same size as almost all other cabins in Carnival's fleet. The kid loved the window. I never felt movement or vibration or noise at anytime. I met my cabin steward and he was very nice and pleasant. My cabin was always very clean and tidy and it was great having him. I will say that I wish they would wash the windows. The window was so salt stained and dirty it was hard to see out of it. Camp Carnival: I took my granddaughter to Camp Carnival, which she loved. Camp Carnival is located on the Veranda Deck - midship - I was given a cell phone incase my grandchild needed to contact me. I was told that if I lost it or the charger I would be charged $150 to my S & S card. I think the crew who works at Camp Carnival did an awesome job keeping the kids entertained and there wasn't a day when she didn't want to go back. They had to be picked up by 10pm each night or it would be $6 per hour extra. I thought about leaving her a couple of times later, but I knew she would probably be tired, so I picked her up at around 9.30 each night. They do close for lunch each day also. The Food & Bar: It was great! The service in the MDR was outstanding! I don't think I had a single thing that I didn't like. I was seated in the Wind Song dining room at table 315. It was a long 10 person table - and I was alone. I opted for the kid to have dinner in Camp Carnival, thinking that I would get some adult time. I don't recall the names of my head waiter or his assistant, but they were truly wonderful. I can tell you he was from Croatia. We had breakfast and lunch on the Lido Deck each day and the food there was good also. Since I had the grand kid I didn't order that many drinks - a total of 3. I think I paid $9 apiece for 2 of them and $13 for another. I also contributed $10 to the casino. Photo's: I get annoyed by the constant badgering by the "take your photo" people who come around. We didn't get an embarkation photo since it was so late when we boarded, but I think they more than made up for it afterward. You pretty much got our photo taken if you wanted to or not. They would just plop the hat on your head - which by the way I have a serious issue with - I got upset when they put the sombrero on the kid's head after taking it off someone else's head. Ever head of head lice? I refused to let them put it on me. I was sitting at dinner one night when the "pirate" jumped behind me and before I could say put that camera down and get away from me, the deed was done! I understand they are out to make money, but I think they really should get your consent before they go snapping away. I did take my granddaughter to get her photo done the last sea day and they did do an excellent job. The prices are high but it was worth it. I paid $20 for the large photo and $10 a piece for 2 5/7's. The Shows: The same shows as before. Maybe with one or two switch up's. The kid loved Extreme Country. I didn't take her to the other one as it was more risquE and adult themed. I also didn't go to the comedy shows. What does not get tired is Steve Cassel. I love him as a CD. He is very funny and I love when he plays the fiddle. In conclusion: I had a blast. She did too. Despite how it all started, it ended very well. The crew went over and beyond each day and I thank them for that. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
Carnival ecstasy day 1 5 day super bowl cruise with the crazies, whom I had never met before the cruise but they do seem to be a crazy group! And I mean that in a good way! Arrival and first impressions: Got off to a good ... Read More
Carnival ecstasy day 1 5 day super bowl cruise with the crazies, whom I had never met before the cruise but they do seem to be a crazy group! And I mean that in a good way! Arrival and first impressions: Got off to a good start, leaving the house about 930 this a.m. More on that later. Easy to find the Lighthouse parking, can see the ship from the lot. Buses waiting, park and off we go. Dropped off at terminal, give bags to waiting guy, then into building. No lines at arrival, which was 1230ish. Got thru security and check in quickly and boarded ship right away. Ship seems empty at that point, grab yummy lunch and we've arrived! Wander and find room, there's really no announcement that rooms are ready. Ship shows lots of wear and tear. At first the very loud colors that hurt the eye, something I do get used to. Locate room, small room, beds are barely apart, didn't realize the balcony had been carved out of room (maybe??), but ok for two people. There is a faint moldy smell in the bathroom that I later think might be coming from the water/pipes. It is worse when you turn the water on initially and if we leave the door open to the rest of the cabin. Room is freezing as is most of the ship, we are wearing jeans and hoodies for dinner! Room again shows the older side but surprised as bathroom is larger than usual with shower looking also larger. Two small closets, very few drawers, room seems very sparse. Why is there no heat! NOTE: I am to think this over and over again for the entire cruise. The ship seems very cold and our room, even after turning off the vent, stays pretty much cold until the last day!! If you are the type of person that gets cold easily, bring a sweater or a jacket to wear throughout the ship!! Day 1 continued to evening Ok, we ask our steward about the cold cabin and he is able to close the vent most of the way, the cabin is still chilly but not as bad as before, yay. We are too cold to change for dinner, the whole ship is fairly cold, brrr. I keep my hoodie and jeans on and this is the way we do dinner. Our table is for two, stuck into the middle of larger tables, our waiter seems harried even though he doesn't seen to have many tables. We find out later he also works the anytime dining, don't know how that works out?? Our table and two others seem to have been fitted into an area that should have many less tables. Every night we will weave our way into and out of the dining spot and it seems that we are almost sitting with others while we are really not. NOTE: we did not request a table for two and we had originally thought to try and change it, or maybe try the anytime dining, but after meeting our waiter we decided to just go with it. The waiter does seem to be very competent (he tells us he has been with Carnival for 15 years)l and he does deliver our dinner in a timely fashion after an initial wait. I have the salad and the veggie pie, which is surprisingly good with cinnamon, pumpkin and cheese. Yum! But the butter pecan ice cream has no taste at all so I only have one bite. That's ok, there will be many other desserts. Note to self: even if you think you won't want warm clothing for dinnertime like a warmer top, etc, you do! Tonight I would have been better dressed if I would have brought warmer tops, remember this for next time! After dinner we see the show, pretty typically boring, walk the promenade, take a motorcycle pic, which turns out quite cute, and then listen to a fairly decent country band. There are Crazy sightings all over the ship, promising for an interesting time. Tomorrow is nails in the a.m. And a seaweed wrap for dinner ! Yay for skipping the super bowl! More stuff I thought about; the coffee in the MDR Was actually hot when it came! Omg, i think that's the first time I've ever had hot coffee from there, and it was not bad either. Now it wasn't the best in the world by far, but it actually was drinkable and I ordered a second cup! This is unthinkable for me on a cruise as the coffee usually is very bad! Do I dare hope that all the coffee on the ship will be drinkable?? Fingers are crossed. The coffee does consistently arrive every time very hot and very drinkable - hooray! The band from the evening was the Contenders and I would have called them country western, but they did play some other music, even a little rockabilly, a good band and danceable. Note to band: after you get a good crowd and people are dancing, it's probably a good idea to keep that dance music going and not switch. The dance floor emptied out, then the bar emptied out, and that was that! We end up listening to this band most evenings as they seem to draw a crowd and are good at playing the dancing music, BUT, they also make the BIG mistake (in my mind) of getting a good crowd going then calling for a break, sometimes 15-20 mins after they're initial playtime, which then most people just wander away, to find something else to do. It was better when they played on Promenade deck as then people would hear them and wander back. So next up we stop at the disco, and there we find the happening place. Good music and lots of dancing going on, I guess we have some partiers on this ship! Another observation: the casino is larger then it first appeared, it wraps around behind the promenade, the downside to this is with it being a more closed area, it is very smoky and after a few minutes it is hard to breathe and not a fun place to be for a nonsmoker! Promenade deck has a good amount of tables, a sushi bar stuck in the corner and lots of picture taking areas. Another note, this ship seems very good at having the pics ready in a snap. Pics we have taken on the motorcycle earlier in the evening are up and ready for purchase by 10 pm! Wow, they are fast! Day 2 on the Ecstasy Wake up a little , well actually still awaiting room service. Then I can report back on the coffee..... Two things we learned about the Crazies: they like to party, they like to dance, sounds like a good thing to me! Today has been a good day, woke up, had coffee in bed, had a mani pedi. That went well except for the push for a sale, I really dislike that part! Got thru it and continued on...this afternoon flew by, lunch in the MDR, typical stuff, had a steak salad and some nondescript soup. Meet and mingle with the Crazies at 230, followed by the drink and dance fun. All you care to drink with munchies were $11.00, it was even more fun when the DJ showed up and the music began, about 45 people showed up and most in the dance floor, playing new and old but party just the same. Had a fun time. Next super bowl for LLS, and about 75% of the ship was in either theater, there was apps for free and reduced drink specials. I drop lls off and head to my spa evening. Seaweed wrap and massage, all 1.5 hours, hoping it goes well and I enjoy. Later we will meet up and see what's going on for the evening, Ship is good, people are nice, all is well so far, weather is warming up, and onto Progresso tomorrow for a double decker bus and a beach day. Ahhhhh, what a relaxing time, and I end up getting a free facial with my massage as you get a free treatment when you are platinum and schedule the first night. Two and a half hours after the start, I was so relaxed, my skin just felt like heaven, and they could have rolled me downstairs on a stretcher. But I took a shower, and went to find LLS as the game was ending. Plus I was getting hungry as we skipped dinner so we headed to the buffet with chicken strips in mind, I just love Carnival's chicken strips, yum! By now it is 10 pm and we wander, finally settling in the main promenade to listen to the country guys. They attract many people for dancing in the aisle and we have fun watching with an occasional dance while sipping wine. 11:30 rolls around and we are tired, head off to bed, first putting in our coffee wake up for Progresso. Carnival ecstasy day 3 Coffee and cereal arrive promptly at 730 and we wake up with the view of an industrial port out our window. After donning bathing suits, sunscreen and our cover ups, we head to deck zero to find the free shuttle to downtown. Many vendors have popped up here as the usual tours, hey lady....you want ???? Fill in the blank. We find our shuttle and take the quick 10 minute ride to the downtown where we find the double decker bus for a three dollar island tour. Which is not a tour at all, ends up being a 15 mins ride around the square, so we jump off and head the short walk to the beach. The beach is only partly full when we arrive at ten a.m., mostly locals selling massages, bracelets,the usual Mexico stuff. We find the bar that we had heard with the cheap drinks and are seated in the shade on the beach. Here we sit and enjoy drinks, chips and people watching as a parade of people come by with their wares. We do break down and buy a cute wooden bowl, two for fifteen and I end up getting a henna tattoo and one braid in my hair, what can I say, I'm on vacation! About one o'clock when we head back toward the shuttle, stopping but not buying at various booths. Make it back to the ship and I flop on the inviting bed for a short nap, then it's a shower and Internet for a while before we will dress for formal night and dinner. What a relaxing way to spend the day in Mexico! Note on the beach here; the water was very murky not too much seaweed but lots of shells, smaller ones in the sand. Straight in walk to the water but very crunchy and slightly hard to walk without shoes. Not something I wanted to swim in but fun to walk on and a pretty view. Getting used to the lay of the ship, we are in a convenient locale although I will say I like to be a little closer to lido for a walk to my coffee in the a.m. But being midship or is it meed sheep(??) we have a very stable cabin and it is quite quiet all the time. The loudness of the ship (as in the colors) starts to become the norm as you walk around and I'm beginning not to notice all the clash of colors throughout. To contrast our room is so plain, it almost hurts your eyes when you come out of the room! Another note: no fridges in this cabin and we have been ordering buckets of ice to chill our wine before dinner. Quiet evening, dressed for dinner, elegant night. Normal dinner fair, had the lobster, wasn't that appealing. Ended up with cherries jubilee for dessert, not many choices....had the waiter bring me a cookie to dunk into my ice cream. Went to Extreme country, the "show" to see, wasn't anything special. The only appealing feature was Steve Cassell the cruise director fiddled and he is good. I started nodding off half way through, after the show decided was just too sleepy and went to bed! the ship was rocking a lot, just makes me sleepy, zzzzzzzz! Fell into bed and fell fast asleep, slept all night, woke up about 6 am, but fell back asleep until room service knocked at 7. We are deciding if we are doing our snorkel today, seas are rough, it is very gloomy and cloudy and we're not sure it is the type of weather to snorkle. Carnival ecstasy day 4 Cozumel and Chefs table night Slept well last night, woke up when room service delivered the coffee, today they brought our sammiches, hooray, nothing like a sammiche to start the day. But today is drizzly, warm but drippy, We are not enthused to do our snorkel. We decided against it, as who knows if it will be a rocky, wet voyage and even though we would be getting wet once in the water, so not looking forward to spending time on a boat, drenched and chilly! We end up just taking a cab to downtown and walking the stores, do a little shopping and walk most of the way back to the ship. Time for a nap and I am looking forward to my cleopatra soak/massage. Then at 530 is the Recruiser party, followed by the Chefs table at 630. Hope it all goes well. The food on here has been ok, nothing special,although they do have the yummy chips, salsa, cheese and also the chicken strips I enjoy, so have munched those a few times. We have only done the room service, cereal, etc for breakfast, so don't know how the MDR is for breakfast, lunch one day in mdr was nothing great, buffet has had the same as always so all is just typical Carnival fare, as I don't cruise for the food it doesn't really matter, I am curious how the Chefs dinner will be. Also tonight will be the Mexican buffet and late night deck party we'll see if we make it! We gather at 6:30pm in the atrium by the bar to meet up with our fellow diners and the Chef. Having done the Chef's dinner before (and really enjoyed it) I was anticipating pretty much the same as before. This dinner proved different. First off, the Chef in the Ecstasy did not seem as charismatic, he did not engage very much in conversation or explain the food as thoroughly as at a previous C.D. We were a small group and had a fewer number of servers, but this was fine as our two were just excellent, always there to refill our glasses for water or wine. The food was comparable to my previous venture and the evening went by fast, when we finally left the library (where our dinner was held) it was 11pm!! Wow! As we have just finished a huge meal and we are quite full, we decide to work off some of that dinner by some dancing, first with the Contenders, then later finishing up at the disco, getting to bed probably about 1am! Sleepy time but a sea day tomorrow so this will be fine. Carnival Ecstasy, day 5 The Final Day, sniff, sniff This has been a great cruise, much relaxation, made some new friends, had some good experiences. Today I have booked the Behind the Scenes tour, and meet up is again in the library at 8:45a.m. This tour only takes up to 16 people and starts with refreshments and a security check (wanded) and handing over of the phone/cameras, before we can proceed. I will say it was a very informative and interesting tour, one I had done almost exactly previously (on another cruiseline that I will not name here) but still very good. One thing I enjoyed the most was that we got to spend time in the crew area, not their cabins but did get to see things like their recreation area and their dining rooms, which was of interest to me. The woman that lead the tour (and I'm sorry I don't remember her name) was very good with information and had been with the company for a while. Very cheerful and lively and gave a good tour. At the end you get a wonderful cap, lanyard and bracelet that shows you were on the tour. I high would recommend for anyone that is interested on how things work behind the scenes. You do end up also with a tour of the bridge, engine room and a pic with the captain (group photo). The rest of the final day is mostly made up of relaxing, tried our luck at bingo (nope) watched a few games going on, read, etc. Had dinner in the MDR for our final night, to say goodbye to our good waiter and staff. Enjoyed another magic trick, could not figure that guy's tricks out for anything!! It is a nice touch that Carnival has him go from table to table and show a little magic. Food again was normal, no big surprise there. I again had the veggie dish, which is the same I've had on other Carnival ships, very good and predictable. WE use up our credit in the casino, and LLS is happily surprised to increase her winnings - W00T! I sadly went through my $20 and had nothing left to show, but then again, I didn't expect to! The evening goes quickly with a little time listening to the Contenders, but they're many breaks (2 in about an hour) make us decide to make our way down to the disco, where some of the Crazies (wearing glowy things) have congregated for the last evening. We spend our last few hours dancing the night away, and then quickly back to the cabin before midnight to throw our stuff into the suitcases and out the door for them. Again, Carnival comes through with the little hang tag for our breakfast!! Yeah, more cereal and hot coffee before we need to leave our fun girls weekend! Leaving the ship and last thoughts: On our last morning, breakfast comes 10 mins early, but we are already up as the night was rocky and as we pulled into port, we both seemed to pop out of our beds. Quick showers and coffee and we were already to vacate the room and be on our way. We had the #1 tag as being Platinum that is one of the perks, so we make our way to the Starlight lounge to wait the clearance. After that, it kind of was a wait as clearance did not happen as fast as thought, but when we heard the call we made our way down to disembark (with the many sea of people) got off smoothly, located the bags, through customs and out on the sidewalk in no time. Found Lighthouse Parking bus very easily, boarded and were at our car in minutes. Started up the car, loaded the bags and were on the road. Dropped LLS off at the airport by 11am and were back home by noon! Another successful vacation and relaxing time! Thanks, Carnival! NOTE: these observations and thoughts were mine and did not reflect the thoughts or feelings of my good friend and cabin mate, who will write her own review, I am sure). Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
Carnival Ecstasy Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 3.5 3.7
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 3.5 3.7
Family 3.5 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.5 3.7
Enrichment 2.5 3.3
Service 4.5 4.1
Value For Money 5.0 3.8
Rates N/A 4.3

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