Carnival Ecstasy Cruise Review by hillbillycruisers
This was our third cruise out of Galveston, but our first time with Carnival and first time on the Ecstasy, and we were hoping it would be as fun and relaxing as the previous two..and it was great! We enjoyed this cruise with my wifes parents, and spent time with them and also had plenty of time for just us. We drove down to Galveston a day earlier than usual so we could see some of the island...and while there is still a lot of damage, the people there have done a remarkable job getting things repaired. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Resort on the Beach for two nights, and enjoyed eating at Caseys and the Spot. Embarkation was Monday, Dec. 8 and we took advantage of the resorts free cruise parking and shuttle and arrived at the pier around 11 am. The Ecstasy had arrived a bit late, and we had to wait around an hour before we could board, but soon we were up on the Lido deck eating a very nice lunch. After lunch, it was off to explore the ship until around 1:30 when our cabins were ready. We had an ocean view cabin on Riveria deck R237 in the aft part of the ship...it was our first time in the back of the boat, but it didn't feel any different to us. We both thought the cabin was very well laid out and very spacious, and the bathroom seemed bigger than what we'd remembered. Our cabin steward did a fine job, and I'd like to be able to tell you his/her name..but I cant, as we never once met him/her. This surprised me and I thought it a little unusual that we didn't ever see them even once...but whoever was doing it did a fine job, with the usual towel animals and kept us with plenty of ice. We suffered through the lifeboat drill, in a very warm room...thought this one area where Carnival needs improvement. It was fun being on deck as we sailed away, heading away from jobs and responsibilities and towards fun and relaxation. The first night we ate in the Windstar dining room, as we did every night. We sat with my wifes parents at a huge table that seated 10 people, but the other 6 people never once showed up. This was disappointing, as we were looking forward to meeting new folks and enjoying their company. WE had first seating, and one night a very nice couple from Texas who usually ate at the late seating ate with us, and that was nice, but the rest of the time, it was just us. Our head waiter was Elder from Honduras, and he did a fantastic job. His humor and personality made it fun each night. Our assistant waiter was from Indonesia, and we couldn't pronounce his name, so we called him Sue for short. He was very quiet, but did a fine job. As far as the food goes, I thought for the most part it was very good..with only a couple of exceptions, one being the mushroom appetizer and another being the iced tea. The iced tea was horrible...Carnival needs to come up to Missouri and let one of us hillbillies show them how to make good tea. I really enjoyed pretty much everything else and must admit I ate like a pig on some nights, with more than one appetizers and entrees on some occasions. And the warm chocolate melting cake!! I tried more than one desert, but always had the WCMC each night...and soon learned to order it with an extra vanilla ice cream and a glass of milk. There was a table next to ours with some really fun folks who had to make fun of my milk each night. They seemed like real nice people, and we were a little envious of them...since they had a full table and we didn't and they sure did have fun every night! We ate lunch twice at the Lido deck buffet and once in the Windstar with some nice folks from our roll call, which was fun. We ate at the lido buffet for breakfast each morning, and thought the food was very good, especially the omelettes from the omelet station. We also took advantage of the 24 hr pizza bar, and ate at the midnight mexican buffet the night they had it..and it was very good. As for the entertainment, we enjoyed all the shows and liked the two comedians...even went back for the late night R rated comedy shows. The cruise director was Steve, and he's got to be the best and most talented cruise director in the business. He does an excellent job, and is a very fine fiddle player and a pretty good juggler. We also played trivia every chance we got, and actually won 3 of the games...so now I have multiple Ships on a Stick trophies in my den!! We also enjoyed the Karaoke several times...some of those people could really sing. The talent show night had some really fine singers..we especially enjoyed the lady who sang I Will Always Love You...if she isn't a professional, she needs to be! We went out dancing a couple of nights and had a good time...enjoyed the music. We wanted to try out the piano bar, but the cigarette smoke was too much for us two non-smokers. The smoke only seemed a problem there and in the casino...but that didn't stop us from losing around 60 bucks there. On our two sea days, we relaxed on deck a lot and read...and people watched!! The hairy chest contest was fun. The weather wasn't too bad on deck, but the wind was pretty strong. We had a couple of wavy days at sea, but nothing like the rough seas on our last cruise. Our first port was Progreso, and although we'd never been there, we had a heads up on what to do from reading the post on cruise critic. We took the double decker bus tour of the town, which was interesting, then walked around exploring the town for a couple of hours. Shopped at the little flea market and also walked around the local market. We ran into my inlaws, and together we did some sightseeing...bought a few things, took some pictures...then it was off to the beach. I had promised my wife a beach day, and it turned out to be near perfect. We ended up at Buddys on the beach..enjoyed margaritas and beer and chips, salsa, and guacamole. My inlaws went back to the boat, but we stayed and had a blast..the weather was perfect..the water felt good and the waiters would bring the drinks down to the waters edge where we sat in the beach chairs.There was good music playing and we had a good time there. The next day was Cozumel, and we just went sightseeing and shopping. It was a little cooler...but good for walking around. We ran into the nice couple from Texas who had dined with us the night before...and we took them to our favorite restaurant La Mission...where we had very good fajitas. By the time we got back to the boat, we needed a nap! The next day was our last sea day..and we were heading back to the real world...where there are no Elders waiting on us hand and foot...no nameless cabin stewards cleaning up after us...and no more warm chocolate melting cakes. We arrived back in Galveston just a little late, and we were one of the first off the boat as we had done the self assist debarkation. This was another area Carnival needs improvement, although I'm not sure what they could do to help eliminate the mess it turned out to be. But we survived it and was off the boat and doing the free shuttle thing back to our car. This cruise was very enjoyable and we really had a fun, relaxing time...the price was very well worth it and we would definitely cruise Carnival and the Ecstasy again!!
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