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8 Galveston to Cruise to Nowhere Cruise Reviews

This was my first cruise, and i was so excited, was rather amused to see so many kids knowing that christmas break had not started yet, and there was a rather obnoxious thug like group that ran unchecked the entire time. There were so ... Read More
This was my first cruise, and i was so excited, was rather amused to see so many kids knowing that christmas break had not started yet, and there was a rather obnoxious thug like group that ran unchecked the entire time. There were so many people, and the noise level seemed very loud. The music at the pool was not relaxing, it was of the "hip hop" variety for the most part. Not all of us are into it, and after two days of watching certain people "whip" and nae nae. I wanted to puke. We were not able to use the hot tubs because they were packed with kids that should have been in school. There were also people smoking out on the main deck, no one said anything to them. Our cabin was on the second level, towards the front of the ship, and not only did we feel waves, it sounded like doors slamming all night, this also added to my frustration. The hallway smelled like sewage, and towards the end of the cruise, many places smelled of vomit. The chairs were also sticky right along with the floors. So by saturday, i was more than ready to get off the ship, and honestly had no desire to get back on. We only had 6 hours at cozumel, which is also crap. The process of unloading the passengers was mass confusion, and everyone began crowding, it could have been a disaster, so much for all their "safety"concerns. We were also warned to be back by 330 pm or they would have no problem "leaving us". Many of us bought alcohol and it was promptly confiscated upon return. That way they could continue to charge over inflated prices for drinks. The bottles we bought were for gifts. They had no worries with us. My husband stood in line for over an hour the last morning in order to retrieve them, others spent longer. We did go to the comedy club on Saturday night, and even then, kids were there as well, although they were asked to leave for the late performance, which was actually the best part of the cruise. For the most part, i was stressed getting off this tub, and i won't be back. I do not feel like Carnival takes safety seriously, or their security would have been more present enforcing rules. Parents do not parent anymore, and people do not act like adults. That dosen't mean that i want to spend several days putting up with it. I can get enough of that at the mall. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
First, we arrived in Houston, on Jan 12th, and looked and looked for Princess people. We finally found the table with 2 people hidden under the escalators. On the table, were many paddles that had PRINCESS printed on them. But, no ... Read More
First, we arrived in Houston, on Jan 12th, and looked and looked for Princess people. We finally found the table with 2 people hidden under the escalators. On the table, were many paddles that had PRINCESS printed on them. But, no people to hold the paddles up and direct pasengers. We checked in and were assigned bus #5. We were told, would be an hour to 2 hours. Then, we had to take our luggage to the bus an hour later. Normally Princess takes the luggage at the carrasel, and we don't see it until it arrives in the room. We arrived in Galveston about 2:10 and I told my husband, something is wrong, there is not a Princess ship docked. When we got off the bus, and rounded up our luggage, we were told, there is a delay, and could be a few hours. Now, I am still wondering where the Crown Princess is. We headed down the dock to a restaurant, and about 3:30pm, here comes the Crown Princess. By 4:30, all or most of the passengers booked on the Jan 12th cruise aboard the Crown are in the terminal and those not in terminal are driving around waiting for a parking lot to open. No open spots as the cars still parked belong to passengers still on the Crown. This terminal in Galveston was not meant to hold 3,000 passengers. There were maybe seats for 1200 people. Leaving about 1800 people with no place to sit. About 4pm, Princess announced, Sorry, we are bringing in more chairs, water and sandwichs. None of the above promised items appeared. Most of us are sprawled out on the floor, and wondering, are we ever gonna get aboard. Elite were boarded first, 8:15pm, and the last were welcomed aboard by 10:15pm. First drill held at 10:50pm and the Crown set sail at midnight. When we were boarding, the photo guys from the Crown were stopping everyone, and wanting to take "Welcome aboard pictures" and this was slowing the boarding process down as some were to kind to say "you got to be kidding". I cannot say what we said, would be kicked out I think. Princess will argue, they have no control over an act of god. And I agree 100% with that. But, fog is common in Galveston, and they should have had a plan in place just in case this above scenerio happen. Many folks never made the fire drill as they were tired, and because the drill was going to happen, they could not get any thing to eat at the buffet. First time cruisers, and there were many, stated, "First cruise, and last cruise." Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
This review is for the ship "Ecstasy" with Carnival Cruise Lines. Since the port in Galveston was closed due to fog and we did not make it to Mexico, I can only give tips that are useful while on the ship. This is a ... Read More
This review is for the ship "Ecstasy" with Carnival Cruise Lines. Since the port in Galveston was closed due to fog and we did not make it to Mexico, I can only give tips that are useful while on the ship. This is a "fun" ship which means if you like to party (drink & dance) and/or have children then this is the ship for you. Following are some tips that might make your sail easier: The food on deck is cold and bland. Go to the dining room and spend a few extra minutes. I was seated right away and it's worth it. Although I consider the staff to be professional, trust no one. That's why they put a free safe in the room and yes the employees are in and out constantly to tidy up. Play the casino the first two days (out to sea) as they are "loose" but take your chances coming back (returning to dock) and they "appear" to tighten up. Most of my fellow passengers including me suffered from sinus problems so pack the meds if you have them. Don't assume the ship will have the medication you need. Take advantage of the many ship-sponsored photograph opportunities. The sitting is unlimited and free with several backgrounds from which to choose. That way you get a full session and only pay for the ones you want. The pictures are ready the next day and can be viewed at your leisure with no sales pressure. I was impressed that there was no selling of timeshares or free cruises. Thank you for that Carnival Cruise Lines! Bring a hairdryer because they don't provide one in the room. Bring a power strip because there is only one outlet. Customs takes a long time. If you are leaving out of Houston, book your flight three (3) hours later so you can make it on time. Seriously. Wait for the sales in the gift shops that happen on the return trip. Everything seems to go down in price when returning to port. Take a watch. I saw one clock on the whole ship and you will need to know the exact time to make it to each event. Don't bother using your cell phone because you won't get reception in your room which means the time on it will be wrong. Use the elevators next to the casino. There is no wait and it's in the middle of the ship so easy access to everywhere. I hope this helps and wish you the best on your cruise! Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
Ecstasy Cruise-April 23, 2009 & April 27, 2009-Back to Back I am 47 and went on this cruise with my DW 42. The second leg of the Back to Back was my DW's birthday cruise. This was our fifth and sixth cruise, all with Carnival. ... Read More
Ecstasy Cruise-April 23, 2009 & April 27, 2009-Back to Back I am 47 and went on this cruise with my DW 42. The second leg of the Back to Back was my DW's birthday cruise. This was our fifth and sixth cruise, all with Carnival. This was our first time on the Ecstasy. The first leg went to Cozumel Mexico. The second leg was supposed to go to Progresso and Cozumel. We stayed in an inside room U131 on the Upper Deck on the first leg and in an ocean view room U129 on the Upper Deck on the second leg. This was the first time we ever sailed without a balcony room. We drove down from Dallas to Galveston the day before our cruise. Hotel: We stayed at the Hilton on Seawall BLVD in Galveston. The room was very nice. It over looked the pool and had a view of the Gulf of Mexico. Being HHonors members we had a free continental breakfast in the morning. Embarking: We took the free hotel shuttle and headed out to the terminal at 10:15am.. I followed the shuttle to the San Luis Hotel to pick up more passengers. We parked our car there for free for the cruise. On the shuttle there was a big family group that was celebrating their Grandmother's 73rd birthday on the cruise. Happy birthday, Grandma. We arrived at the terminal around 10:45am. At the terminal a porter took our luggage immediately. We immediately checked in. We had a short wait before we boarded. We were in zone 2 for boarding. There were plenty of chairs to sit in. We boarded the ship at 12:05pm. Since our room was not ready yet we headed to the Lido deck for lunch.. After lunch we headed to our room to drop off our carry on luggage in our room. We next explored the ship. On the Promenade Deck we saw the Shopping Talk person, Christie K. We asked her on how the shopping was in Progresso. She said they did not have good quality of diamonds there. She also said that you got better prices in Downtown Cozumel than at Carnival's pier. Since we were supposed to be Cozumel twice, we decided to do our major shopping on the second leg in Cozumel. The Ecstasy held the Muster Drill at 3:50pm. Our muster station was on the Lido deck. Unfortunately the Captain decided to do sail away during the Muster Drill This was the second time out of five Carnival cruises that sail away was done during Muster Drill. Carnival, please stop the practice of Sail Away during the Muster Drill. Ship: The ship was laid out nicely. It was easy to navigate. The decor was nice. The cabins had flat screen TV. This ship does not handle the waves too well. The entire 9 days the seas were either slight or calm. In slight seas you felt movement. I would hate to be on this ship in moderate or rough seas. My main complaint is that all of the outside windows were filthy. There was no attempt either in Galveston or in Cozumel to clean the windows. Room Stewards: Our room stewards were excellent in cleaning our room. I am sorry I did not get their names. They were magic. The room was cleaned by the time we got back from breakfast and the turn down service was complete by the time we got back from dinner every day. They kept our ice bucket full. We met both our room stewards in the hall on Saturday night on the first leg. We explained to them that we were doing a back to back and we would be moving to the room directly across the room hall. Sure enough on the day of the second leg our second room steward had our room ready by the time we got back from breakfast at 9;30am We were able to move our luggage to our new room. Dining Room Staff: On the first leg we had table #100 in the Wind Star Dining Room. Our eight table mates were on their very first Carnival cruise. Our dining room waiter was excellent. I am sorry that I forgot his name. After the first night when we ordered iced tea, he had the sweeteners and lemon already on our table when we arrived afterwards. He was very helpful in explaining some of the items on the menu, asking on how our day went, and memorizing our names. What is amazing about this he saw us in the dining room at the beginning of the second leg and said hello to us. The next day we were eating lunch in the Lido buffet. He saw us and asked how we were doing. We also saw him on the last night of the cruise. He remembered us and said hello to us again. On the second leg our dining table was 146 in the Wind Star Dining Room. We had 6 new Carnival cruisers and one repeat couple at our table. Our waiter name was Madre. He and his assistant were excellent. Cruise Director Staff: Cruise Director, Steve Cassel, was excellent. He was very funny in the events he hosted. In the X-Treme Country review show he was excellent on the fiddle. In the talent show he was excellent on the violin. He also did a juggling act on another show. He was very good. The only complaint I had with Steve is our Cruise Critic Meet and Greet did not go off as planned. We had made arrangements with Host Mach of Cruse Critics. He made the suggestion for us to have the Meet and Greet in the Neon Lounge at 2:30pm on Tuesday, the first sea day. Our Cruise Critic roll call agreed to this. I talked to Steve on Friday on the First leg to confirm the Meet and Greet. He said he would confirm with the Hotel Manager and have it posted in the Tuesday Capers. Our Cruise Critic Meet & Greet was not posted in the Tuesday Capers. Members of our roll did meet in the Neon Lounge anyway. One other issue is that they were setting up the Neon Lounge for the 3:30pm Tea Time. We moved 2 rooms down to the Card Room. Some of the roll call members missed the meet and Greet because of the confusion. Now it is possible Steve could have missed this because he was busy trying to scramble to arrange new activities because of the extra sea days we were having due to the missed ports.. Steve's assistants were wonderful. I went to many events and trivia contests. (I won two Ship on a Stick playing trivia) All of them were very nice. Shows: As this was a back to back cruise the shows were repeated on both cruises. Any show we saw we only saw once. We never went to the Sail Away shows. We saw the X-Treme County, The Juggling Show, the Passenger Talent Show, and part of the Dream Voyage revue show. The shows were good. As mentioned earlier Steve Cassel was great in the shows. We saw all 3 comedians on the back to back. They were good. Because we were not able to go to any ports on the second leg, the Ecstasy was not able to switch out the comedians Saturday-Cozumel: We saw no signs of the Swine flu in Cozumel. No one was wearing masks. We shared a cab with some passengers from the Fantasy to Paradise Beach. The beach was great. There were plenty of lounge chairs with umbrellas. The beer was great. The nachos platter was great. The one funny we saw was a lady with a bowl a chips and dip. She walked a few feet away to take some videos. During that time a few birds swooped down and took chips from her bowl. After a few hours of eating, drinking, relaxing, and getting sunburned, we took a cab back to the pier. We did a little shopping on the way back to the ship. Monday April 27-Back to Back turnaround: Since we not getting off the ship we did laundry the night before. We packed our stuff to move it to our new cabin. About 7:50am the cruise director made an announcement that we would not be docking until 9 am. We went up the Lido deck around 9 for breakfast. When we got back we moved our luggage to our new cabin. Since we did not have a key we headed to the casino area to watch the other passengers leave the ship. Under my breath I snickered at them because they had to get off the ship and we got to stay. Little did we what would be in store for us on the next leg. Around 11 we started texting friends and family. At this time was when we learned about the seriousness of the Swine flu. We did not watch any news shows on the first leg. I called a fellow Cruise Critic member that was going on the Conquest on May 2nd. She said that there was talk on their roll call over the weekend that they would not be going to Cozumel. Around 11:30am the last call came for passengers to leave the ship. We headed to the Information Desk to be escorted off the ship. While there we discussed what we heard about the Swine flu. They replied that they did not hear anything about missing any ports. At 11:45am as we being escorted off the ship, they mentioned to us that they would start boarding the ship in 25 minutes. We were led straight to the customs agents, We gave him our immigration card, he checked our passports, and we went right back on to the ship to the information desk to receive our new sign and sail cards. At 12 noon we were ready to go. We headed up to the Promenade Deck. As we passed the Specialty Coffee shop we saw the TV was on CNN broadcasting information on the Swine flu outbreak. Standing next to us was the employee from the Coffee Shop. The spokesperson from the CDC stated that a travel advisory was issued that no nonessential travelers go to Mexico. There was a crawl on the bottom of the screen stating this. Also on the top left side of the TV screen were the words earlier today. This means to me this travel advisory was issued well before the embarkation process began. This also meant to me that we were not going to our scheduled ports. We headed to our room to relax a little bit. We watched some TV. Around 1pm we went up to the Lido Deck to eat lunch. We then walked around a little while. We then headed back to the room. At 3:45 it was announced that Muster Drill would begin in 10 minutes. When the Muster Drill began our room Stewart told us that we did not have to go to the drill since our Muster station was the same as last week. The Muster Drill was over at 4:10 pm. At that time Cruise Director, Steve, announced that the sail away would not be until 5pm. There was no announcement ever made at any time about the port situation. Tuesday April 29-Cruise to No Where: The cruise proceeded as normal until 11am Tuesday morning. My DW went to the shopping talk at 9:30am Tuesday. At 11am when Travel talk was supposed to begin, Steve made an announcement that the talk was canceled. He said they were monitoring the swine flu situation. He said the were no reported flu outbreaks on any Carnival ship or in any of the ports Carnival visit in Mexico. The would have an announcement at 5pm. The Captain's Reception was at 5pm. We expected the announcement then. When Steve got on stage he said that Captain was still in discussions on the bridge. An announcement would be made as soon as possible. Around 8pm Steve made his announcement. He said we would read from a letter that would be put into the cabins. I will quote directly from the letter dated April 28, 2009. " We know there has been recent news coverage about the swine flu in the last few days and want to take this opportunity to make you aware of some important information" "There are currently no reported cases of swine influenza on Carnival ships or in any of the ports that we visit in Mexico. However, the CDC issued a Travel Health Warning yesterday which recommended the postponement of non-essential travel to Mexico. Accordingly, we have made the decision to cancel our calls to Progresso tomorrow and Cozumel Thursday. Although we will be making a quick operational stop in Progresso today for clearance purposes, we will not be disembarking any guests. A $40 per person credit to your Sail and Sign account will be provided to cover a refund of the government fees and taxes for the missed ports. Shore excursions will be automatically refunded to your Sail & Sign account." There are 2 issues about this. 1) No alternative ports. This being a 5 day cruise there are virtually no other ports that Ecstasy could go. The closest near Cozumel would be Grand Cayman. That would be a hard stretch on a 5 day cruise. The only day we could go there would be on Wednesday April 29. The other possible port would be Key West. The Fantasy out of New Orleans was able to go there. The days the Ecstasy could have made port there were either on Wednesday, April 29 or Thursday, April 30. Since the Ecstasy could not make these ports an announcement and the letter should have stated this. This would have soothed many passengers on this issue. The Travel Health Warning: As indicated in Carnival's own letter they knew about the travel warning before embarkation. As I indicated I knew it while on the ship before embarkation. According to a Houston ABC13.com news report on Saturday May 1st it was stated that Carnival said that the travel advisory was not issued until we out at sea in the middle at the cruise. That is a flat out lie. As a loyal Carnival cruiser their deceitfulness in this matter has me very mad. I contacted the Guest Care Department and the lady representative stated that they did not receive the official email notification until April 28 that we were not porting in Mexico. I asked how come Carnival did not know for over a day about the Travel Advisory. I told her what that I saw the news account on the Ecstasy at noon on April 27. She said that Carnival does not go by news accounts, but they wait for official notification. After discussing this issue she finally admitted the email she was referring to actually come from. There is no way some one in Carnival's Corporate Headquarters did not know about the Travel Advisory when it first came out. As I mentioned before I saw this notification on the TV channel that Carnival provided on the ship. You mean to tell me no one in Carnival's Corporate Headquarters ever watched the news or verified the Travel Advisory on the CDC or US State Department's web sites for over 24 hours after it was issued? I don't think so. What Carnival should have done is be truthful and inform everyone when they arrived at the terminal. They should have told everyone that they would not be going to the ports, they are trying to find alternate ports, and most likely that they would not be going to any ports. They should have given the passenger the option to cancel with no penalties. Would some passengers canceled? Yes. Would we have canceled? Possibly. Wife's Birthday: I would like to thank several people to help make my Wife's birthday special. I first want to thank Cruise Critic Host Mach for getting in touch with Carnival's Senior Cruise Director, John Heald for us. I want to thank John for contacting the Ecstasy management for us. I want to thank the Chief Purser for sending a plate of chocolate covered strawberries after the Muster Drill on the second leg. We are not sure if this was for my wife's birthday or that we were doing the back to back. We thank you regardless. I want to thank Cruise Director, Steve Cassel, for providing the bottle of Champagne at our dinner table. We like to thank our Maitre D for the chocolate birthday cake. Our tablemates and us really appreciated this. I want to thank John Heald again for the fruit, cheese, and nut basket that was in our room when we got back from dinner. Debarking: We went to the scheduled Debarkation talk on Friday at 11am. Instead of giving his talk Cruise Director, Steve announced that their was a medical emergency and that we were heading to Galveston at maximum speed. He said that they were also in discussions to see if passengers could be given the option if they choose to disembark at that time. We were told the talk would be rescheduled for 4:15. Since we were due to be at pilot's station around 6:45pm, the casino and the shops had to be closed around 6pm. After we left the talk we went to the stores to buy some of the items we were planning to buy in Cozumel. After lunch we headed to the casino. After making donations to the casino all week, the casino finally started making donations to us. Unfortunately the casino closed before we could get back all our donations. At the debarkation talk Steve again mentioned the medical emergency. He said the it was known to Carnival last night. We would be docking around 8:30pm. After the medical emergency was off the ship, self debarkation would begin. General debarkation call was at 9:50pm. With a 4-5 drive to Dallas we decided not to take this option. Many passengers did so. Our general debarkation call for zone 6 came at 8:50am Saturday. Since we did not have to go through customs, we were at the hotel van by 9:10am. I am not questioning the medical emergency. Many passengers have raised some questions about arriving in port 12 hours early. If the ship knew they about the medical emergency the night before, why was the ship not at maximum speed at 9am when we went to breakfast? We were still going at the slow pace that we have been doing the last 2 days. Why was this person not airlifted or the ship met by the Coast Guard? According to the satellite photo that was posted on the Lido deck Buffet area every day, at 6am Friday morning the Ecstasy was positioned about midway up the Texas coast between Galveston and Brownsville on a line with the Texas-Louisiana coast. These 2 options could have been easily been done for this medical emergency if it was possible to do so. Did Carnival use the medical emergency as an excuse to get the irate passengers off the ship? With the casino and the shops being closed this left us with little else to do Friday night. I am not complaining about the casino being closed as it saved me from making another donation to the casino. After this I have to say that we are officially balcony snobs My DW loved our past balconies. She loved sitting out there watching the waves go by. This definitely would have helped on this cruise. She said we can never cruise again without a balcony. I have to agree with her. The Ecstasy is going into dry dock and will be getting balconies. Unless we can get one of those balconies at a good price, we will not sail on the Ecstasy again. Overall we had a good time. Of the five cruise we have taken we will rank this as number five. I say this because of the 5 sea days on the second leg and 8 of nine days a sea days. It got boring at the end. Doing my call to Carnival's Guest Care Department I was informed that Carnival is doing nothing at this time about the issue outlined above. She said Carnival may possible do something in the future. To be honest unless Carnival fairly rectifies this cruise to nowhere for what happened as described above, we will be hard pressed to book another cruise with Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
This ship was 2 days late returning to port because of hurricane Gustav. As a result, at least 50% of the folks cancelled their cruise and an e-mail with a $99 last minute cruise to nowhere caught DH's eye. He called and booked right ... Read More
This ship was 2 days late returning to port because of hurricane Gustav. As a result, at least 50% of the folks cancelled their cruise and an e-mail with a $99 last minute cruise to nowhere caught DH's eye. He called and booked right away. The options were an assigned midship cabin or a guaranteed inside or oceanview (extra $20 per person) We opted for the latter, hoping to get an oceanview on the empress or upper deck. At the dock, the porter told us that our assigned room would be R225, a 6A cat right above the water line. The Riviera deck was fine though, since the elevators were never crowded from the bottom up and I enjoyed watching the waves at night. Embarkation: we saw the Ecstasy on the webcam arriving in the port at 0840. We were told to arrive at the dock by 1400; we arrived at 1330. WHAT A MESS! We stood a minimum of 3.5 hours in 3 different lines. The first line was outside in the heat for 1.5 hours. The second line was before security checkpoint. There was one checkpoint reserved only for VIPs (10 cruises or more) and unused most of the time. The other checkpoint was closed so there was only 1 open checkpoint the entire time we could see that area. Some of the staff was quite frustrated when directing us through the mazes. The check-in maze was another heavily populated area with a lot of screaming children; one woman had a broken foot, another had a breathing machine, some had canes. There was no special line or speedier check-in for them. I asked if the delay was partly due to the fact that we were unable to complete our sign and sail card online. Who knows? When we finally embarked, both my hips had given out and I had trouble making it to the stateroom. We were also told that the ship was overbooked by 15 cabins. We were not offered the usual fold up map given at boarding. That map is so useful. This was our 3rd time on the Ecstasy. We had noticed some change, the 2nd time; a mini putt had been added and the Panorama grill had been renovated. The rooms had also been refurbished. Ecstasy is not young but she is well maintained. The PA system needs help though; the captain is barely audible during his standard noon announcements at sea and the screeching sound is hard on the ears. The stateroom was bigger than average with a lot of space for storage. It had an extra bunk bed. The usual robes were in the closet and the big Carnival towels were new. The shower was bigger. The toilet seat needed to be changed though; it was all scratched. If you really want a good shower, go to the spa. The gym had a lot of "Life Fitness" new equipment, the treadmills, elliptical, bicycles and weight machines were functional except for the abdominal machine which didn't have an OUT OF ORDER sign on it. As a result, I jerked my neck when I tried to use it. None of the staff was present and when someone showed up, no sign was placed on the machine as it remained broken. The plasma screen TV was playing loud rap video...and later country and western...poor taste in music. I was disappointed to see that the gym was closed the morning of debarkation despite the postings stating open daily from 0600. The pools and decks were crowded. The chair hogs were "en masse" and filled chairs with their pink hats and ugly flowered bags as their reservation card. Security ought to vacate chairs unused for an hour and put all the items in the lost and found. That would cure some. Because there was no breeze, I went to the outdoor shower every few minutes to cool off. We sailed at about 10 knots an hour during the heat of the day. The water slide is very popular with adults and a lot of fun to try. Watch out for kids on landing! Even though I got cleared for takeoff, I almost crushed one on landing. The shops were not as well stocked as usual. There were no mugs, no visors, and hardly any t-shirts. There was no Milagro tequila despite a special offer on some pamphlets left in our room. Bijoux Terner was so poorly stocked that we emptied out the showcase window. That store is very small and was very crowded. The clerk told me to come back later when I asked him if I could buy items that were locked up in the showcase. I went back 3 times before he finally was able to get away. Another clerk told me that they couldn't sell the items in the case because they were all damaged... and I just fell off the turnip truck... The food was excellent! The service in the dining room was very nice and professional but the pepper mill was not offered once. We felt rushed to leave so the 2nd seating could start on time. We were not assigned a table prior to boarding so once again, we waited in line to get assigned to Wind Song's table #237, a table for 6 with very nice dinner companions. The maitre d' was not seen after this assignment other than to greet us at the entrance. We enjoyed the fat chocolate cake at the Rolls Royce Cafe. DH went back later for a slice of the black forest cake. I was too stuffed to try the sushi bar and I missed the gala buffet. I enjoyed a nice slice of chèvre pizza at the bar and absolutely loved the jerk chicken on Caribbean buffet day and the fish masala and chicken tikka on Indian buffet day. The beets and goat cheese salad was great too. The breakfast buffet had 2 omelet stations by the pool but an egg white omelet is not readily available. I enjoyed hardboiled egg whites and made my own concoction with salsa and bacon. The coffee is really just dark water. I carry my Folgers singles to add a bit of taste to the very light brew. The ship's drinking water is something I was unable to stomach; it smelled and tasted rotten to me. The bars are numerous and the bloody Mary was on special until 10:30, a fine temporary substitute for water. We had brought at least 8 liters of water and ran out the last night. The security officers were great, forever present, and quite strict about smoking in prohibited areas and about bringing drinks into the pools. They do a great job of patrolling the ship and watching over us. Our cabin steward was the nicest and sweetest steward we have ever had. He ran in front of us to open our door. He refilled our ice chest with ice and kept the room nice and clean with fresh towels and chocolates and animal towels. The bar waiters on the decks were very efficient and quiet compared to the ones working back in May. Too bad we never got to see Friendship Freddie! The captain's party was in the Blue Sapphire lounge and only a couple of people went on the high stage to dance, a rather intimidating thing to do unless you are a ham and a good dancer. The band was great at this party; they offered a good variety of free drinks and plenty of appetizers. The pool entertainment consisted of a 2 man Caribbean band. The one man band in the casino is an ole' timer with his beret backward. We remembered him from the Conquest, last December, when our friend kept feeding him tequila shots. The singer of the band in the Chinatown disco got food poisoning and missed the last night. We were told that they were awesome. Two couples that we have met on the boards and cruised with before were on this cruise and it was great fun to join them for some line dancing and in the disco. CC has done so much for meets and mingles and making new friends. In the casino, I enjoyed the BMW slots and won for the first time ever on a cruise. The machine's handle was broken...maybe that's why. DH played his usual blackjack and was quite disappointed at the continuous card shuffling machine now used. This new tech definitely puts a damper on this game since there is no gaming control at sea and some cards could be removed from the decks. Card counting is also a thing of the past, I guess. One great thing about a cruise to nowhere is that you don't clear customs when you get home. They added 3% to our purchases on board. Would we take a $99 per person last minute cruise to nowhere again? Here is what it really cost: $188 + $54 ($9 per person fuel surcharge per day) + $80 (federal taxes) + $40 (oceanview) + $60 (gratuity more $$$, bar service more $$$ miscellaneous purchases $$$, house sitter $$$... Our deal was a better one than the arrangement Carnival made with those who had originally booked the departure for September 1 but lost 2 days. Although they are getting 50% off their next cruise, the cruise line would not remove the port charges for this cruise, and the additional gratuities for the 2 days lost. Carnival needs help in designing a system for last minute unusual situations. Some ladies who had just gotten off told us to make sure we would do the self assist upon our return. They complained that it took them 4.5 hours to disembark. Wallet permitting, yes we'd do it again but we'd go to a restaurant after checking in the luggage instead of waiting in line for 3.5 hours. My hips won't stand for another. The good thing is that we were all one big family by the time we boarded: we all knew each other after spending so much time together. Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
I know that is an odd statement to make when it cost us 2 days of our cruise. But we have been to Cozumel 100 times and we were not even going to get off the ship in Progresso...so we did not miss a thing!! Embarkation was very easy ... Read More
I know that is an odd statement to make when it cost us 2 days of our cruise. But we have been to Cozumel 100 times and we were not even going to get off the ship in Progresso...so we did not miss a thing!! Embarkation was very easy for us. We waited in the air-conditioned section where the folks were getting OFF...until they opened the door. Then when the first group escorted to the holding room (also A/C), a Carnival Rep came and got us and took us in also. We had VIP Check In once we got indoors...so it was fairly quick (once they started checking in) and we were on the ship. This was our first cruise to nowhere...and let me tell you..nowhere is FUN! Goose and his staff had trivia going BEFORE there was even a Muster Drill. They were determined to pack in as many "ships on a stick" as possible!!! They even had the Past Cruiser's Party...not usually done on cruises less than 5 days long. But Goose wanted folks to have as much of what they expected as possible!! Food was pretty consistent with Carnival's other ships. Not 5 star, but you get your money's worth. The Prime Rib was good on formal night. I don't do the buffets, but I tried it for breakfast and it was fine. Hubby loved the sushi. He also had the chili relleano (sp?) (be prepared...it is SPICY!) Staff and crew were great. We had a good routine. Breakfast...walk our 2 miles...hot tub in the AFT top by the golf cage... shower and dress for lunch (formal dining room) .... enjoy the afternoon festivities... change for dinner (formal dining room) ... hit the sushi after dinner and then....KARAOKE!!! Aretha and Joey ROCKED in karaoke!! Hubby goes to the shows...I do karaoke. Our son LOVED Club O2. All these years and all these ships and I can't tell you the decor on any of them. Everything looked fine to me. As long as all the important things work...I am happy. And they did!! Beds were comfortable. Cabin Steward was excellent! (Hey Edgar!!) Enjoyed sailing with Dakota again. Lee (lead singer) had some health issues that last night, but the Music Director (sorry I don't remember his name) worked some magic by putting Jimmy (solo promenade) with Dakota to finish out their session. It worked well. We send Lee our best and hope he is feeling better. Piano bar was fun. I only got to go one night due to the limited schedule, but Angela had a good crowd and worked them well! So why do I LOVE hurricane season....because with the 50% off a future cruise...hubby FINALLY agreed to let me have a Penthouse Suite. We booked it immediately after we got home. My PVP set it all up over the phone!!! Come January on the Fantasy....we will be cruising "in style". Thanks Gustav!!! (Goose's real name, btw...which we found ironic!!!) Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
Took advantage of a hurricane special. A half cruise to nowhere for 3 nights on the Ecstasy. We paid 99 dollars plus the normal taxes and fuel surcharge. The price was certainly right but the fuel surcharge should have been reduced. ... Read More
Took advantage of a hurricane special. A half cruise to nowhere for 3 nights on the Ecstasy. We paid 99 dollars plus the normal taxes and fuel surcharge. The price was certainly right but the fuel surcharge should have been reduced. We cruised a few hours out of port and sat dead still in the water for the next 2 days. When we returned the people in Galveston told us we were anchored just off Corpus Christie. I missed the feel of cruising that I was looking forward to. The Lighthouse parking made us pay full price of 40 dollars which didn't seem right. I will not use them again. We had less than 24 hours to pack, sleep, and drive 6 hours to Galveston. No problem since we decided we would forgo the formal dining room on this trip. Our cabin was spotless! The food in the buffet was actually quite good. Such as Lamb mole with steamed rice and shrimp tempura. The entire crew was eager to help and assist. Carnival goes the extra mile to those that are handicapped. I was treated like royalty. My only gripe is with the music in the casino. When I looked around the casino was 90% over 50. The music was rap which eventually got on everyone's nerves. Who chooses the music? Seems like it was chosen by the casino staff for their own pleasure. It certainly wasn't geared to the customers. Other than that it was a great cruise. Seemed like they had alot more activities than usual. They did their best to keep over 2,000 people entertained. Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
Let me say that I have never had a "bad" cruise....but this one was sub par in almost every area. Carnival cut 2 days off our itinerary due to Hurricane Gustav. Let us know less than 24 hours prior to sailing....kinda ... Read More
Let me say that I have never had a "bad" cruise....but this one was sub par in almost every area. Carnival cut 2 days off our itinerary due to Hurricane Gustav. Let us know less than 24 hours prior to sailing....kinda short notice. Could have been done sooner, but I can deal with that. Embarkation on the Ecstasy was horrific. Waited over 3.5 hours. They had alot of cancellations due to the hurricane so they sold those rooms for $99, which drew alot of what I consider a less than desirable crowd. My wife's sail and sign card was not yet printed and we had to wait another 15 minutes once we got to the Carnival rep. Once onboard I immediately noticed a "sewer" smell. It was all over the boat. Now I have sailed older boats and didn't expect this one to look new, but.... it was in sore need of a face lift. VERY dated interior. Elevators sounded like parts were falling off. Carpet in some halls was worn through to the deck below. Our cabin was comfortable and clean... Room steward was good, always kept ice in the room for my drinks. Food was OK, I have had better, but it wasn't bad. Dining staff was polite but not overly friendly. Camp Carnival was good for my 10 year old daughter, counselors were late for some of the events, and one would not let her color shirts one afternoon because her pants were still damp from the pool area. I thought that was ridiculous. Other times it was great for her. On a bright note, Goose, the cruise director was GREAT! Kept things going out by the pool. The comedian was good although his "adult" show wasn't that funny. More gross than humorous... Liquor store guy let me take my bottles to my room on Friday night. Overall I had a decent time. I will cruise Carnival again as I have had a GREAT cruise with them in the past and will get a healthy discount due to our shortened cruise, but this ship just needs alot of TLC to get back to an acceptable standard. I think this would be a good first cruise for someone, but if you have been on bigger nicer ships, you are likely to be disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date September 2008

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