Sail Date: February 2019
Restaurants: Food was horrible. The Buffet(s) was closed almost every time I went to it (5:15pm, 7:15am, 6pm, normal times) The Guy's burgers were good but the rest sucked. I ate soft ice cream with a fork, got served a warm coke ... Read More
Restaurants: Food was horrible. The Buffet(s) was closed almost every time I went to it (5:15pm, 7:15am, 6pm, normal times) The Guy's burgers were good but the rest sucked. I ate soft ice cream with a fork, got served a warm coke with 4 ice cubes, I had a flat iron steak that was as tough and tasted like a boot sole, the service was atrocious and I waited well over an hour in the dinning room for pasta which tasted like it was prepared 2 weeks earlier from a can. Bars: they close early so there's no way to get 15 drinks from you Cheers Package, there's not enough time in the day. You have an 18% gratuity included but if you don't tip, they aren't coming back. The Casino Bar stays open late but it's tiny and the only bar open so it takes even longer to get a drink. Shows: I'm not big on shows but most people we talked to liked them generally. Princess Cays, Nice, beautiful, same crew as the ship so service was bad and we had to pay for all drinks and tips and the lunch was long line and dry hamburger (1). Ship: Nice weather and smooth till we headed home and with a 60 mph wind we go tossed around. Boarding and Debarkation was fairly easy. I will never, ever, never set foot on the Carnival Ecstasy again, Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
This cruise was booked last minute. We decided to sail out of Charleston SC for the first time. Usually sail out of Baltimore or one of the Florida ports but decided to try Charleston as it was only a 2 hour drive from home. Was a little ... Read More
This cruise was booked last minute. We decided to sail out of Charleston SC for the first time. Usually sail out of Baltimore or one of the Florida ports but decided to try Charleston as it was only a 2 hour drive from home. Was a little concerned after reading reviews of the port and the ship. Have sailed on this class ship before so we were somewhat familiar. We arrived at the port at our assigned time of 1130 and there were no lines. Dropped off our luggage and got into the pay to park line.This line seemed very unorganized. the people taking your credit card just kind of walked around complaining about there job.Thankfully the lines were short. Were directed to the parking lot took the shuttle to the terminal. Have to say this the crappiest port I'll ever sailed out of.The area looks like it should be condemned.What an eyesore. Check in was easy and fast and we were soon on the ship having lunch. Went directly to Guys Burgers,and had a great burger and then to the pizza place. Pretty good pizza.The deli also had good sandwiches. By this time the buffet was getting very crowded so we left. Most of the cruise we could not find a seat in the buffet. The weather did not cooperate as was cold except the one day in Nassau.Went one time to the dining room for the Sea day brunch. This is 95 % breakfast and 5% lunch. Not a lot of variety there and if you are hungry just order 2 of everything because the portions are very small. Never went back for brunch! Had anytime dining for dinner never had to wait. Service in dining room was ok. The food was kind of hit or miss.Our cabin was a basic outside cabin and we had enough room. The cabin guy did a good job.Shows were ok and the comedy shows were great. Did self walk off and were driving home at 8 oclock. Bottom line if you are looking for a cheap no frills cruise this is it. I will give the Carnival Sunshine a try when she arrives in Charleston later this year. Every one seems excited about that. Just remember you get what you pay for. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
This cruise was a gift to my Mom. It was her first cruise and my second. The ship is dated. Everything needs a facelift. Boarding the ship This was very smooth if you know what you need to do. Boarding passes need to be ready ... Read More
This cruise was a gift to my Mom. It was her first cruise and my second. The ship is dated. Everything needs a facelift. Boarding the ship This was very smooth if you know what you need to do. Boarding passes need to be ready as soon as you get off the shuttle. The first day all we did was walk and explore the ship. The first day we took the stairs all day which was exhausting after a while. Stateroom We had a room with a balcony. It was very clean and had lots of storage. The TV channels were not good. The shower was great. Small but the water came out fast and was warm. The Pool Very small. Forget the hot tubs because that is where is kids like to hang out. If you wants to get a chair pool side or on one of the lower decks you need to get up early to get a chair. The food The food was terrible. The hamburgers and the pizza were the best. The food in the dining rooms was especially terrible. I lived off pizza and soft serve ice cream. Water The water and ice are not good. The only thing we could actually drink was the lemonade. It is very tart. Staff The staff is very friendly. They are all from different countries so it is hard to communicate because if the language barrier. Princess Cays The island was beautiful. I would recommend water shoes because there are lots of pieces of rocks and corral. It was very hot. We went at 9:30am. The water taxi was no problem. It was fast and a great way to take pictures of the ship. The lunch served on the island was the best food I had. The line was long for lunch. The sand is very deep where the lounge chairs it is a work out. Nassau Crazy. 4 cruise ships were there at once. You are being screamed at to get your hair braided, rent a taxi, rent an ATV etc.. We walked around for 2 hours then boarded the ship. Days at Sea I am not a big drinker so it felt like ground hog day. The shows are okay. You can really feel the ship moving when you sit down at the shows. Would I cruise with carnival again? Probably not. For a girls trip, bachelorette party Carnival works but if you want to relax and enjoy some piece and quiet...Carnival is not for you. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
Why the Ecstasy- We chose to sail on the Ecstasy because it left out of Charleston, which is about a 3-4 hour drive from us and because it allowed all 5 of us (2 adults and 3 kids) in one room. So, for just $1600ish before gratuities ... Read More
Why the Ecstasy- We chose to sail on the Ecstasy because it left out of Charleston, which is about a 3-4 hour drive from us and because it allowed all 5 of us (2 adults and 3 kids) in one room. So, for just $1600ish before gratuities and excursions, we were able to take a 5-night cruise to the Bahamas in January. It also had a sail date that coincided with some days the kids had off from school. I also don't like being cold. General stuff- We found pretty clear direction for parking at Charleston and parked in an open lot by the water. The embarkation process and line was very similar to airport security. We did wait in line, but it wasn't an hour. I think the main thing that helped us enjoy this cruise was that we have only cruised once before, almost 20 years ago and separately in our early 20s. Our kids have never cruised, so this was a good starter cruise to see if they liked it. Because we have not sailed in so long and knew the price we had paid and how old the ship was, we did not have high expectations. We figured the room would be like camping, the ship would be old, the other people would also be the type of people looking for a cheap cruise, etc. We decided the make the most of it and be joiners to as many fun activities as we could find. I have celiac disease, so this was also a chance for me to try out how Carnival does gluten free. Kid stuff- Our kids were so excited to be on the ship, and they loved the towel animals. We have a 5, 7, and 10 year old. As soon as my outgoing 10 year old experienced the kids club, he was hooked. The 7 year old did not like it at first because she is a more reserved girl and didn't like feeling like she had to participate. She would avoid the club in the afternoon when the ages were mixed and they were playing games in the conference room, but she liked going in the evening when they were actually in the Camp Ocean room. The 5 year old didn't like being in with the 2-5 year old group as he is almost 6 and wanted to be with his siblings (or at least one of them). We found upon asking that he could move up one age group level, and after that he was happy. Even when his sister wasn't in there with him during the day, we had to convince him to take a lunch break on our last sea day. My daughter enjoyed making a paper maiche volcano, and my older son enjoyed giant speed stacks as well as all the other games and occasional access to the pre-teen club. They would also bring the kids together for dance parties in the night club sometimes. Camp Ocean has their own schedule, and their opening times and activity schedule is not in the regular schedule that is delivered to your room. You need to pick up their schedule from them early on. Camp is open most of the time, but they close from 5-6. They will feed the kids on the Lido at 6 so that you can have dinner without them. That is nice, but because they close/cost extra at 10, it made it a challenge for us to get dinner and also see one of the shows. The shows were usually at 7:30 and 9:30, and so we couldn't finish dinner in time to catch the first one usually, and the shows didn't usually end in time for us to get kids by 10, so we didn't get to see the 9:30 one either. If you eat dinner on the Lido, you can avoid this problem, but because of being gluten free, I preferred to eat in the dining room. We finally figured out on the last day which server was the best, skipped the appetizer, and got to a show in time. Day 1- So, let me say this to you first as your friend, esp if you have kids. Leave earlier than you think you need. Bring Dramamine. Our son puked in the car before we got out of town. Yes, he puked the day we were getting on a cruise ship. While finding a place to clean him up, my husband and I were trying to reassure ourselves that it was motion sickness from the morning rush hour stop and go traffic but also internally freaking out that it could be a virus. We were not out of our city but not close enough to home to turn back, so we just tossed the clothes he was wearing in the closest Dunkin Donuts and pulled some clean clothes from the suitcase. I thankfully had Dramamine for Kids ready in my backpack that I was going to give them about an hour before sailing, but I gave him 2 right away. He asked for a donut, and so we felt a little reassured that it probably wasn't a virus. We bought one for him, gave it to him when we got out of traffic, and he ate it and immediately fell asleep from the dramamine. He never puked again, but there were a few times on the ship that I could tell him tummy was turning and had a chewable dramamine at the ready. Definitely bring those. My friends went on this same cruise in November and had very rough seas and a lot of trouble. You can buy Dramamine for adults and for kids on Amazon, and keep it on your person on in your carry-on. We had dinner all together in the anytime dining room the first night. I had called to warn them of my dietary special needs ahead of time, but I hadn't gotten on the ship early enough to pre-order a dinner. They were still able to accommodate me very well for dinner. That night, I got the menu for the following night and pre-ordered my dinner. I ordered off of the regular menu, and they generally were able to specially make anything I wanted gluten free unless it was just very clearly gluten-based. There was a balloon artist there to entertain the kids a bit as dinner does take a long time. That first dinner took the longest. Day 2- Our second day was a sea day, and I had gluten free pancakes for breakfast. The kids swam as much as they could in the cold water and went down the slides once or twice, but they mostly stayed in the hot tubs. I tried to get a burger at Guy's burger because I heard that they could do that gluten free, but it was difficult to tell the guy what I needed due to the loud music. He did finally tell me that it would be 10 minutes to get the gluten free bun. That was fine with me, so I stayed put and waited. He didn't seem all that comfortable with me waiting though and asked a chef for help. I told the chef I would eat just about anything as long as it was GF. He told me to wait there, and he came back after a while with a delicious plate from the Blue Iguana. I wish I caught his name because I really appreciated that special service. We did go to the CLUE show, which was a little scary for young kids. Once the scary part was over though, the kids were into the whole Clue thing. Unfortunately, I didn't think that the staff made the most of the game, perhaps because it is a smaller ship and they have less staff. All of the other CLUE events were just showing up to have cards revealed. At the end, as far as I know, you still had to guess as you didn't have enough clues. Some of the details on the Clue card that they give you did not happen on this cruise (there were never characters wandering the ship available for you to ask questions, for example). Still fun to follow though. Day 3- Our third day was at Princess Cays, and our kids marveled at how beautiful the water was. The water was a little chilly, but the air was warm. The kids were fine to play in the water with the toys I bought. We never found much of a reef, but there is a little pier, and there were some zebra fish to check out over there. We also found fully intact conch shells that we of course let stay where they were. Water shoes would be a good idea here - even the swimming areas are a bit rocky. We did not do an excursion. If you go to the right when you get off the tender instead of going straight, you go around to the back of the tender and cross a bridge to more dining and beach chairs if the area straight ahead is busy. We enjoyed eating our buffet lunch over there, but I think the buffet was the same. There were some little food truck on that side though that may have had different options. Gluten free is never easy on a buffet line. There were a couple of things that actually said "gluten free" on the sign, but the music was blaring, and I didn't have much luck asking about the other items that might have gluten in them. For example, if you also follow this diet, you know that hot dogs and hamburgers can sometimes have wheat in them but don't usually. There were some dishes listed as gluten free, but the burgers and hot dogs were not. I had to just take my chances and grab a hot dog. At any rate, I had enough to eat, and it wasn't bad. There was plenty of fruit that I could have for dessert as all of the regular desserts had gluten. The clamshell blue shades are not free; you can rent them. If you wait long enough though, some people may go back to the ship and you can use theirs. :) Beware the buckets of beer. They are more expensive than you can think after gratuities and tax are added. Day 4- Our fourth day was at Nassau, and we did the Blue Lagoon family beach day excursion. It was clear where to go when we got off the ship as there were Blue Lagoon staffers right there on the pier. We did not have to go through a market. We had previously considered getting a resort day pass near the pier and walking there, but I am glad we didn't. Blue Lagoon took us to their island on a two story boat, and the ride was lovely. The island is beautiful, and the lagoon is shallow and fun for kids to play in. There are some games like giant Connect 4 on the island, but there wasn't a whole lot else. You can rent snorkel gear or kayaks, but I don't think kayaking would be much fun there. It says that tubes and mats are free, but I never saw any mats. We had to wait until the Royal Caribbean people left to get a tube. (Did I mention that we docked next to the giant Symphony of the Seas at Nassau? I was trying to tell my kids that our ship was waaay better, lol.) We had a great time here, lunch was delish, mostly because it had fried plantains. I also had to kind of just guess what would be safe and gluten-free for me as it was loud, and the person that I asked was not helpful though he tried. We took a walk around the animal encounter side and got to watch people having dolphin and sea lion encounters. It was a lot of fun to watch and not have to pay, esp since I think there was a minimum age requirement anyway that the kids could not have met. We watched them leaping in the water and being trained by a trainer to make a toot sound with their blow holes. That was a big hit with the kids, of course. Blue Lagoon island has a very interesting history that they don't advertise, by the way. We noticed a canon on the way in, and I looked it up on Wikipedia after we got back to SC. Pirates, WWII training, etc. Look it up! Day 5- We enjoyed the Dr. Suess breakfast on the final sea day. You must reserve this ahead of time and it costs $5 per person. Call guest services after you get on board - don't wait in the line - and they will tell you what number to call or transfer you to make the reservation. There are some good reviews of it on youtube - they have themed food, character photos (they didn't come to individual tables though), and decorations. My 10 year old was a bit too old for the story time and parade on the first day, but we did it as a family anyway, and my 5 and 7 year olds seemed to like it ok. I had the gluten free pizza from the pizza pirate. It took a little while to make, and the crust was thick, which I didn't expect. I actually prefer thin crust, but I was really happy just to be able to have pizza. It's pretty special that they make it fresh instead of just heating up a frozen one, and I am grateful that they offer it at all. We also did two scavenger hunts on the final sea day - the regular one (got a medal for completing in 20 minutes) and the Camp Ocean family one (got some swag but came in second and didn't get a ship on a stick). The pictures from those digital scavenger hunts are worth it alone. We did the final lip sync challenge show that night, which was fun, and the 80s trivia music night. We were being joiners, and my husband got chosen for his bad dad-dancing to compete in a dance-off. He finally won us not one, but two ships on a stick! (They gave him an extra one for doing the "Dirty Dancing" lift with Kyle.) Debarkation- On debarkation day, we left our luggage in the room and had breakfast in the Wind Song dining room around 7:30ish. That was very nice and not crowded, and they were able to give me GF toast. We had to be out of the room by 8:30am I believe, and there was a long line to get off the ship. It wasn't all that terrible of a wait though, and we were warm during that wait (it was cold outside now back in Charleston). After getting back through customs and everything, we did have to wait outside a little bit to get the parking bus. We were sad to leave that smelly, old ship! Unsolicited Advice- Here's my suggestions if you go on this cruise (which will only be a short time as the Ecstasy is leaving Charleston) - bring dramamine for adults and for kids. Bring a little cold, pain, and fever medicine just in case. Maybe bring something to neutralize odors. I did not find the various smells on the ship appealing, including in our room. I can't describe it, and it didn't ruin it, but just be warned. You do not need to bring beach towels. Bring games and books in case the kids don't want to go to Camp Ocean. Bring a book for yourself in case they do! The alchemy bar area is a nice indoors place to read. Bring plenty of sunscreen for the Bahamas. You might want to bring a way to play a movie for the kids, although there were more stations on TV available than I expected. Bring an extension cord or power strip that is not a surge protector. You do not need to bring a hair dryer, even if you are not in a suite. Our interior room had one in the drawer. Join in the activities. We especially enjoyed the scavenger hunts and trivia parties. If you want to see the shows and eat in the dining room, eat early and skip either the app or the dessert. Crispin is the best server. Bring cash for extra tips if you like - they work hard! Consider the Blue Lagoon excursions in Nassau. If you have the space and have kids, bring some inflatable beach toys and snorkel gear. That will help them be entertained at Princess Cays and maybe save you some money. You can bring a bottle of wine per person and a 12 pack of soda per person (no bottles). We brought the wine but not the soda (not expecting much room in an interior stateroom for 5). We didn't miss the soda. I would have been ok without the wine, but my husband had some. We put a corkscrew in our checked bag, and it was fine. I expected this cruise to be a ship in fairly poor condition with possibly bad food, constantly loud music, heavy drinkers, and smoke smell everywhere. The ship is not in great condition, but because I expected that, it wasn't that bad. The food was just fine in my opinion and often quite good. There was occasional loud music, but it wasn't all that bad. It was mostly annoying at the buffet when I needed to ask a question. All of the other times, I did what you are supposed to do and shook my booty. I didn't encounter any music or drinking behavior before 10pm that was inappropriate for the kids. It wasn't always Disney-level kid-friendly, but it wasn't therapy inducing either. No one was funneling beer near the kids or anything. There is a smoking area in one section of the upper Lido deck and allowed in the casino also. Because the casino is so open, it smells of smoke pretty strongly in that area. The kids weren't hanging out there though, so it was only annoying when I wanted to enjoy the live music in that area. Overall, we had a really good time, but I rated it a 3 because I know that it is not all that great compared to other ships. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This was an all-gal trip for three of us in our sixties. We have all cruised before and two of us cruised on this ship in January of 2013, almost exactly 6 years ago, although we left from a different port and the cruise length was a day ... Read More
This was an all-gal trip for three of us in our sixties. We have all cruised before and two of us cruised on this ship in January of 2013, almost exactly 6 years ago, although we left from a different port and the cruise length was a day shorter then. We chose this cruise primarily because we were on a budget and wanted the most bang for our bucks. Even though the itinerary wasn't particularly adventurous, we know that half the fun is the company on the cruise and we had adjusted our "cruise attitudes" for maximum tolerance. HOTEL INFORMATION: We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on Savannah Highway in Charleston. We chose this hotel because they participate in the "park and cruise" program so we could drive down from North Carolina (about 6 hours) and leave our car in the parking lot for the duration of the cruise. The hotel was sparkling clean, beds were comfortable, and there was a surprising number of electric and USB outlets. The breakfast was outstanding with not only the danish and coffee, but omelets, sausage, yogurt, a pancake maker, and just about anything one could want for breakfast. The shuttle to the port was quick and easy. The room covered two tickets, a a third was only $20 -- for both ways! This was a pleasant surprise. CRUISE PORT: I had never cruised from Charleston and I was a little surprised how much of the embarkation takes place out in the open parking lot as you rattle and roll through bumpy pavement from tent to tent checking first passports/ID and then boarding pass, etc. It felt that there were just too many passengers to let board at one time, so they manufactured these little stops to take up some time along the way. We had purchased Carnival's "Faster to the Fun" option and once we got through the parking lot, we were very quickly through security and on the ship. Except that the bunk had not been lowered, our cabin was ready for us. Charleston is quite a bit further north than its sister ports on the east coast, and the temperature was quite brisk on embarkation day. Most wore sweaters or jackets and only a few were enjoying the pool (more in the hot tubs). SHIP INFORMATION: I sailed on the Ecstasy in 2013 and have had the pleasure of cruising a number of times since, mostly on Carnival. This is a very small ship, in comparison to the rest of the Carnival fleet. There is no room for an outside theatre as many of the Carnival ships have, and there is a central elevated stage for music and contests and such. Movies were shown in one of the larger lounges. It's easy to quickly walk the length and breadth of this small ship. There are not as many outlets for evening entertainment, but that was not very important for us. I managed to get my 10K steps goal in every day but the last one. Our cruise director was Leon and I felt he did a good job and seemed genuine -- I especially liked his admonition at the conclusion of each of his talks reminding us to "be kind to one another" -- much needed advice on a cruise ship. CABIN Riveriera 145 (window view): Even though the Ecstasy was refurbished in 2017, I don't believe those improvements extended to the cabins. Our cabin was Riviera 145 -- a window room with two regular beds and a bunk. It looked identical to the room we had in 2013 (which was just down the hallway). I had gotten used to bigger rooms and was a little dismayed at first at the size, but when I compared photos later, it was indeed the same. We had the steward move one bed beneath the bunk, and that resulted in the most space available. The room was comfortable and there was enough room for clothing and accoutrements of three women traveling together. There was no full-length mirror in this cabin (usually on the inside of a closet door), but the vanity mirror was sufficient. Our room steward Roy (from Indonesia) kept our room in tip-top shape throughout our trip, leaving towel critters each evening, and always remembering our names and inquiring about our day's activities and adjusting his schedule to our convenience. There is no refrigerator in this cabin, but Roy provided an ice bucket and refilled it each evening. DINING: I had just returned from another Carnival cruise in December, so I was able to compare menus from a larger ship. The food in the dining room was tasty and there were always acceptable viands each evening. I was a little disappointed that no lobster was offered -- apparently that is now reserved for cruises of 7 days or longer. I could have paid the $20 extra for lobster, of course, on any evening. I enjoyed many of the "Port of Call" selections which I thought were very tasty and reinforced the theme of each island we visited. The sea-day brunch offered was not as nice as what was offered on the Glory just 3 weeks before. There, we had been offered filet minon and eggs and other upscale items that were missing from the Ecstasy menu, but ::shrug:: that was hardly a deal-breaker. We ate at the buffet several times, enjoyed the Guy's Burgers several times, and ate our breakfast from the buffet out on the deck every morning. ENTERTAINMENT: We caught one production show, but it seemed identical to the Motown show offered on Carnival cruises for several years. We were not exactly disappointed, but we didn't choose more of those productions. Two of my cabinmates wanted to see the PG comedy show, but it was always scheduled during our dinner hour, so we missed that. Contests and such were held on the lido deck and we hung out on the peaceful Serenity area, so we missed most of those. SHIP SHOPS: Carnival really needs to do something about their shops. They are boring and overpriced. I'd like to see some handmade products from the places or areas visited. There is even room for local craftspeople to demonstrate and sell items, possibly jewelry, for example. Carnival can do a lot better than what they are currently offering, and it would not be for naught -- I would gladly buy items like those featured on Novica or Gifts with a Cause. Even their ho-hum tee-shirts need some new designs. I'm growing weary of their neon offerings with shady sayings. Please. Do something here. GUEST SERVICES: We had no problems and the time or two we had a question or needed a small service was quickly handled. FASTER TO THE FUN: Unless we book a suite, we consider the $$ paid for this well worth it. We like the expedited embarkation and debarkation and having our cabins ready when we board the ship. On this cruise, we also used the priority tender service. Until I get to the Platinum level, I'll continue to purchase this option gladly. PORTS: • Freeport -- well, Freeport cruise terminal was boring. I saw mostly overpriced items from India and China. And the same thing at soooo many shops. I purchased nothing here, although I had money to spend! That's a terrible feeling on both sides of the bargaining table. Next time, I'll book an excursion. The last time I visited Freeport, I took a bike tour and that was a good way to get out into the island a bit. There certainly is nothing in the cruise terminal worth hanging around for. This could also be a good day to stay on the ship and enjoy the amenities there. • Half Moon Cay -- I've visited several times and it's beautiful, but I believe they need to do some landscaping work here. There is almost no shade except under man-made shelters. The beach is looking very barren. Carnival needs to culture some trees, make some shady hammock areas, something other than sun on a blistering beach. The Beach BBQ was adequate, but nothing really to write home about -- dry burgers and long lines. We had a brief shower while here, but managed to wait it out and it passed over quickly. • Nassau -- this trip, we booked an excursion to Blue Lagoon Island and it did not disappoint. My sister and fellow-traveler visited this location in the 90's and it was just beautiful. Carnival could take some pointers from the way they have things set up -- multiple kinds of places to enjoy the beach (beachfront, lagoon-front, and small-inlet-front) with a plethora of chairs and plenty of filtered shade and sunny areas. The meal offered with the excursion was similar to the private island BBQ, but what a difference! Burgers were moist and delicious; there were several local recipes offered (fried plaintain and rice dishes and delicious jerk chicken). We also had an opportunity to interact with the dolphins for less than $20!?! That was for a "dolphin kiss" and a photo (on a CD!) for just $19.99. Since there were only 3 of us, our guide ended up giving us the rest of the dolphin encounter for free. It was amazing. I also appreciated the way they "keep" the dolphins here -- they are free to swim out to sea, if they like, but they are tagged and monitored if they do so. I felt it was a good balance of caring for marine animals while letting us enjoy them. Five stars for this excursion to Blue Lagoon Island. DISEMBARKATION: Our Faster to the Fun privileges had us getting off the ship by about 7am! We were picked up our car about headed home by 7:30-ish. Amazing! We also had the option to say in our cabins until 8:30am and we considered that, but as there was snow coming at home, we opted to leave early. Note that unlike other Carnival ships which provided a continental-type breakfast for priority guests, this was not included for FTTF guests and ther was only 15 minutes between the start of continental breakfast on Lido and the leaving time in the lounge. We got a biscuit down the road. SUMMARY: If you are a "tourist" -- one who sees what he comes to see -- then you may not enjoy this small ship with its limited itinerary; but if you are a "traveler" who can take joy in most experiences and "chew up the meat and spit out the bone," when it comes to challenging experiences then you will likely enjoy your time on the Carnival Ecstasy. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We cannot tell you how excited we were to leave on 1/6/19. We were eloping, taking our first cruise, and my soon-to-be husband was leaving the country for the first time. His name is Brandon. That'll be in important here in a second. ... Read More
We cannot tell you how excited we were to leave on 1/6/19. We were eloping, taking our first cruise, and my soon-to-be husband was leaving the country for the first time. His name is Brandon. That'll be in important here in a second. We get ready on the morning of the 9th for our wedding and go to the library to have our ceremony. The officiant is reading a manual on how to perform weddings when we arrive. That's a little odd but whatever, we get it. Wanna stay sharp. The ceremony begins. The officiant seems nervous but heck, so are we! He talks about marriage for a minute and then launches into the canned vows... my fiance and I have brought our personalized vows with us written on cards. We both stumble through the generic ones thinking ... maybe ours will go after that? What is happening? Then the officiant calls my fiance JUSTIN and we both look at each other. Something is very wrong. He then has us bow our heads and starts a prayer. Neither my husband or I have any problem bowing our heads for a prayer at other ceremonies. We however never approved a prayer for our own wedding day and certainly wouldn't have approved THIS ONE. Is it too much to ask to just be given what you paid for on your wedding day? Before we left for the cruise, the wedding planner and I had a very clear email thread where the details for the ceremony were mapped out. They weren't anything special but they were what we wanted; we were an easy couple! At no point did anyone even ask us about a prayer. I was even sent a script for the generic wedding that I edited minimally and sent back - at their request. Why did I go through any of that if they weren't going to use any of it?! Later, when we were back in our room and had recited our ACTUAL vows sitting beside one another on the bed, my husband said that during the middle of the ceremony, once he could tell there had been a mix up, he wanted to just interrupt and say "can we just do the pictures so we can go?" I completely understood what he meant. It felt like a bad dream. So we get home, and I send a colorful email to the carnival wedding team ON THE SAME THREAD where all of our instructions for the wedding were approved in clear detail, and let them know that something went very wrong. They offer me a couple hundred dollar refund for the officiant's service, which was clearly botched. Yeah, our ceremony was something out of a bad romantic comedy, but i'll just take a couple hundred bucks instead of a full refund for our wedding. Sure. So, they tell me a resolution team will contact me within 7 business days. I wait. Those business days come and go. No one has contacted me. It's been weeks. I reply on the active thread demanding they at least give ME the email address of this illusive department that was supposed to contact me. Crickets. This is a nightmare. I have yet to hear anything back. So, in tears today, I filed my first ever better business bureau complaint against Carnival. If you had told us. before our wedding, that we'd be sitting on some BBB website, filing a claim against the company that would perform our wedding, I would have laughed. I'm the type of person who would rather keep something I don't like than deal with the hassle of getting a refund. So, I do not recommend carnival cruise line for anything purely based on their indifference to handling what is a truly sad situation for my husband and myself. But also because the food was completely underwhelming, the bed in our ultra fancy suite [literally the nicest room we could purchase] was two twin beds pushed together where they slide apart if anyone tries to lay remotely close to the center - just what we were hoping for on our honeymoon, because there was cigarette smoke wafting into different non-smoking and unavoidable areas of the ship at all times, and because the entire trip felt like a weird upsell designed to get us to spend more money. One positive: the staff that maintained our rooms was SUPER kind and personable and did an amazing job Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
This was the first cruise for my wife and I and we absolutely loved it. We tried to do some research before booking the cruise and asked some friends and family and they all said they enjoyed carnival. We do plan on trying some other ... Read More
This was the first cruise for my wife and I and we absolutely loved it. We tried to do some research before booking the cruise and asked some friends and family and they all said they enjoyed carnival. We do plan on trying some other cruise lines just to get some variety and be able to compare the experiences but we will definitely sail with carnival again. When we first saw the ship we realized how old it was and thought we would be very disappointed but once we got aboard we saw how wrong we were. The ship was very up to date and well decorated. First off the room, it was small but there was adequate room to move around. Some people will probably complain that the room is too small but you have to manage your expectations going in. Don’t expect a spacious hotel room, it is a boat that holds thousands of people so there’s only so much room. One negative is that there is only one outlet but they tell you ahead of time to bring a power strip (not a surge protector those are prohibited) so we were able to charge both of our phones and anything else we needed to charge. The mattress was very firm and comfy and the sheets were smooth. Our steward was amazing, every time he saw us he asked us how our day was and knew our names after the first day. He kept everything very clean and organized. Next the food, delicious. We ate at the main dining room (wind song) most nights and ate the buffet the other times. No matter which place you went the food was expertly prepared and was an extremely high quality. We selected late dining so we had the same table and same wait team every night we ate in wind song. The team was very knowledgeable, friendly, and accommodating. We didn’t know what a lot of the dishes were and they were able to explain and recommend several of the dishes based on our likes and dislikes. The one negative was the lack of options. The served the same food in the buffet room and the wind song room so really the only reason to do the reserved dining was to have the more upscale atmosphere and be waited on. The only other options on the entire ship was pizza pirate and guys burgers. The pizza was pretty disappointing, always had to wait 10 minutes and it was very thin and light on cheese/toppings. Guys burgers was delicious but anything gets tiresome if you eat it for 5 days straight. There were no extra restaurants that you could pay extra to eat at, which I thought would be included. I don’t drink but there were certainly plenty of different alcoholic options so people who like to drink will have plenty of options. Embarkation and debarkation were very smooth and easy. I did forget to print our boarding passes/ room luggage tags beforehand but they had luggage tags to hand write on and I was able to show our boarding passes on my phone for the most part until the printed one for me. Entertainment was great, I personally enjoyed the trivia, (even though I didn’t know most of the answers) and the musical shows. There was a wide variety of things for people of different tastes and ages. Two dedicated kids/teens hangouts/groups so always something for them to do. There were quite a few activities that were targeted to get you to buy things either on the ship or in the ports which was disappointing but I expected that kind of commercialization coming in. Leon, the entertainment director, was very funny and interactive with the crowd. You could see that he really cared and tried to make an impact on everyone. There is mini golf on the very top deck but it’s almost impossible to play, unless you’re docked, due to the wind. There was a wide variety of shore excursions to choose from at each port, each one we chose was easily accessed and fun. The Charleston port was very dirty and looked in very rough shape, Freeport wasn’t much to look at except for a very small shopping area right off the boat. However I don’t hold either one of those against Carnival because they have no control over that. Half moon cay was beautiful and the free beach and lunch was amazing. No activities to due other than the beach really but everyone needs a relaxation day. Nassau was by far the best port. Very vibrant culture, lots of shopping and excursions, and a private island (blue lagoon island) a short boat ride away. Don’t waste your money on the endless bubbles program. You can only have 1 soda at a time and you have to hope that the bar you’re closest to has what you want I n stock. They literally just pour cans of soda and ice into a cup and hand it to you. You’re allowed to bring a 12 pack (per person) of cans on board so I suggest doing that since it’s much cheaper to purchase that and easier to access them. On the other hand the endless cheers program seemed so be worth its money if you plan on having more than a few drinks. I can’t personally speak to it because I didn’t purchase it and I do not drink. Overall it was a great experience for a first cruise and we will definitely be sailing with carnival again! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise as an inexpensive getaway for a group of women. The ship is small and is on the older end of cruise ships. Carnival manages to pack most of the amenities offered on the larger ships onto the ecstasy, but the layout ... Read More
We chose this cruise as an inexpensive getaway for a group of women. The ship is small and is on the older end of cruise ships. Carnival manages to pack most of the amenities offered on the larger ships onto the ecstasy, but the layout isn't quite as intuitive. Guys Burger Joint, Blue Iguana Cantina, and the Wind Star dining room were the dining highlights. The food was exactly what you'd expect on a carnival cruise! I was impressed with the breadth of activities and entertainment - from Trivia to Shows to Dancing til Dawn - this ship has you covered. For the bars, I really enjoyed the piano bar's entertainment. The alchemy bar was my favorite out of all of the places to grab a drink on the ship. The ports of call were beautiful - as are all islands in the Bahamas. There isn't much to see/do without an excursion in Freeport - I went to the beach that day. Halfmoon Cay was absolutely stunning, and I had a lot of fun doing a stingray encounter. If I am ever in Nassau again, I don't think I would book an excursion. Junkanoo beach is a public beach within walking distance, and there is plenty of shops that can be visited on foot. Even some of the big attractions are only a short cab ride away. I did book a ship excursion to Adastra, and that was very interesting (but again, could have been done not through the ship). Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
Wanted to thank the cruise line and staff for a great vacation. I will definitely cruise with Carnival again. The ship was clean and the room was ready when we got on board. The cabin was enough space for my wife and I and was equipped ... Read More
Wanted to thank the cruise line and staff for a great vacation. I will definitely cruise with Carnival again. The ship was clean and the room was ready when we got on board. The cabin was enough space for my wife and I and was equipped with everything that we needed. The lunch options and the dinner options were both very good. For the entertainment we took advantage of a lot of the entertainment options on the ship. The service was very good. Before me got on the check in when very smoothly. That bags were in the room and it seemed like there were plenty of staff to assist with everything. The itinerary was good. We've been to the Bahamas a few times, but I think this time of year was the best time to go with the best weather. Docking in the ports and shore excursions were all on time and we had a good time. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
This is our second trip on the Carnival Ecstasy on the Rivera level (4th Floor) with a portal ocean view.. Upon arriving at the port we were charged $20 per day ($120) parking though last trip they provided complementary parking with ... Read More
This is our second trip on the Carnival Ecstasy on the Rivera level (4th Floor) with a portal ocean view.. Upon arriving at the port we were charged $20 per day ($120) parking though last trip they provided complementary parking with my Military ID. They commented that they never offered a military discount..(I must be nuts, right?) The Terminal - Entering the terminal we were quickly greeted and given big smiles by happy staff members quick to offer a "Happy New Year" as this was New Year's Eve. We were impressed by their quick wit and great attitudes. We had an 11am boarding and we were on board by 11:05am.. Great News!! The ship - was decked out for the holidays and the atrium was beautiful! Shortly after boarding staff were serving up free champagne! A New Years Eve treat.. Yay! It's a classic pretty ship with plenty of nostalgic looks, neon and a feel of ole grandeur. but despite a recent dry doc seem to be really showing her age. I really wish they had upgraded the same old tire hot tubs at dry-dock.. No consistent temps, jets were weak and guards missing on the bottom and sides.. The Bad: Everyone said it was the worst smelling ship they had experienced. I heard it on elevators, bars, casino, pools etc... I did notice and it was bad, but I've gotten used to a tolerable smell level on ships by now.. but it was bad.. The Cabin - We made our way to our cabin and BAM!! it was ready!! Yes!! all going well and as planned! The cabin looked good but only a King and a trundle ... we were a group of four..?? In short order in speaking with Guest Services they installed what look like an aluminum gurney (like an ambulance gurney without legs) small frame bed on the floor... Weird right, but ok.. my Kids were game.. The bad: the drains failed, room smelled uck!!! nasty.. No Fridge, and I had to pull away from the blackjack table to figure out if my kids would be charged for a PB&J sandwich as the new room service charges/rules are crazy! I'm sure that's covered elsewhere on cruise critic! Dining - Having spent nearly half a year at sea I've eaten in quite a few Dining Rooms and in fact I've been in this very dining room before.. but this table was crammed so tight and elbow to elbow that I thought I was in a airline coach seat. It was so contentious just to get your elbow up to eat that we gave up and left..Not to return. They said they were full and sorry. Food - Spend the $20 up-charge and get the Surf and Turf (Wonderful!!) The rest was, well.... let's just say "Carnival Food"..Enough said? Entertainment - Comedian John Mulrooney was very good! Go see his show! Excursions - We did the DeepSea fishing it was fun and the Kids luved it!! Same with the parasailing! SPA - The Spa Manager (Razvan ?) was great.. He probably was one of the best spa managers I've seen on ships.. He went out of his way to ensure we had great service.. We used almost all of the services, my son got a haircut, daughter a mani-pedi and facial for the wife... ahh and for me you ask? I did everything else. LOL.. yes try the Bamboo it's the best! The Casino - Slow drinks as usual, and no comp on the drinks and I've played enough to not care but only to say I should have been comped considering the level of play.. Halfmoon Key - really nice except the smell coming from the water park.. Smelled like the ship... Nasty .. Disembarkation - Went Great! Smooth... Summary: Will not repeat on this ship, looking at canceling 2 future bookings on Carnival. The nickle and diming is bad.. real bad.. Drinks were more, gratuity is more, parking is more, stores were more etc.. Read Less
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 4.0
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 4.2
Value For Money 5.0 3.9
Rates N/A 4.3

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