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We chose this cruise for a quick getaway and departure port would eliminate airfare. We read plenty of reviews prior to boarding so our expectations would be accurate. I have sailed twice with Carnival in the past and three times with NCL. We chose to drive down the day before and stayed at the Quality Inn in Mount Pleasant, SC. They had a cruise package that included shuttle to/from port and parking for the 5 days of the cruise, only $40. Hotel was fine; clean, hot breakfast was great (eggs, french toast, cereal, bacon, sausage, pastries, biscuits and gravy, grits, fruit, coffee, assorted juices, etc) . Staff was very friendly. The only problem we encountered was that the shuttle that was to pick us up at 11:45 am the next morning did not show up until almost 1 pm. After we called the shuttle service directly, we were told that the hotel did not notify them that we were there. Shuttle driver was apologetic and friendly. We would not have cared except we'd paid for FTTF and it kind of defeated the purpose by the time we arrived at the port, unloaded, checked in, etc. Embarkation/Disembarkation: Check in at Charleston was a bit hectic; disembarkment was a piece of cake. We were off the ship and at our shuttle within half an hour. Beats Miami by a long shot!! We were on the road headed home equipped with Starbucks before 9 am. Cabin: We stayed on Empress (deck 7) forward, cabin E11. The cabin was what we expected, fine for 2 people to maneuver. However, if you are a light sleeper, it could be troublesome. The cabin is located directly under the Blue Sapphire Theater where you can hear lots of "thumping and bumping" during late night shows, if you happen to be in your cabin, which we were. You also hear the early morning noises of coming into port, creaking and moaning of anchor or whatever it is that is located Forward. Very, very loud. Our steward, Slam, was wonderful. Very gracious, tidied our cabin quickly and left fun towel animals almost every day. Food: This was one of the most frustrating parts of the cruise. Without fail, every time we went to Lido buffet, one side was closed. Breakfast, lunch, dinner....every time. I couldn't understand why, at peak hours, they would close one side. The lines would wrap to the other end of Lido, people hungry and waiting for quite some time. My mom is disabled so I would often wait in line for both of us and make two plates to keep her from having to stand for so long. Pleasant surprise was the Mongolian Wok on embarkation day. We had very little wait, maybe 5-7 minutes, which was much better than we'd experienced on past cruises. Flavor was better on Ecstasy also, in our opinion (Ecstasy vs. Valor). The dining room was "okay"; prime rib was cool to the touch (ordered Medium), ribs were actually very tasty, Chocolate Melting Cake was wonderful. Service was pretty good; they visited our table frequently (but not too frequently) until the last 20 minutes when we didn't see any of them and finally left. Pool: I'd read a lot of reviews stating how small the pool is. I was actually kind of impressed with the size compared to Valor and even the Norwegian Epic. It was easily twice the size of the one on NCL Epic but the difference is that there is no pool on Serenity deck, only whirlpools. Didn't bother us in the least. Bar Service: Bar service was great, especially on Lido and Verandah. Fast and Friendly. However, the last day (sea day), we were not able to find a server to place an order one single time. I went to the bar to order sodas, water and frozen beverages every time. Ship: Poor Ecstasy.. She is really, really showing her age. I was equipped with the mindset that this was the 2nd oldest ship in the fleet and to not expect too much but even I was surprised at her signs of aging. Lots of rusted out holes, missing tiles... The elevators were very confusing. Outside the elevators the floors were listed by abbreviation: L for Lido, E for Empress, V for Verandah, M for Main, U for Upper....inside the elevator the floors were listed by number. Basically you had to train your brain to translate. It wasn't a big deal by day 3 or so. Sidenote: The last day of the cruise, our sail and sign cards quit working as keys for our cabin. A steward down the hall came to try her master and it worked. Ours just flashed red. She contacted the technician right then and there and asked that he come check our lock. My disabled mother had broken her toe earlier that day so was just wanting to lay down for a bit. They let us in our room so she could rest. A while later, we decided to walk to the casino to pass the time until the technician would arrive. Two hours later (three hours since call placed to technician) and my mother tried to get in our cabin. The lock still wouldn't work. At this point she was in so much pain that tears ran down her face; I had her sit on the stairs closest to Guest Services (no benches available in that area) while I ran over to Guest Services. Iris was wonderful. She called and requested immediate attention for our situation. She expressed sincere concern for my mother and her pain. When I returned to my mom, a young man, Josh, part of the Entertainment Staff, had walked by mom, stopped, knelt to her level and was gently stroking her hand and comforting her while she cried. He was the kindest young man we have ever encountered while traveling. He helped me guide my mother back to our cabin at a snail's pace, laughing and talking softly the whole way. Iris walked with us also. My mom hugged him when he left us. Carnival has two gems in Iris and Josh. I'm writing directly to Carnival to commend them. I don't know if I would sail Ecstasy again. It would have to be an incredible deal otherwise I would definitely sail Sunshine out of Charleston, versus Ecstasy. The ship is very easy to navigate for the most part; very small so it doesn't take too long to get from one end to the other. The elevators worked pretty well if you are dependent on them to move from deck to deck like we were.

Great time if you go to relax and don't expect too much from the ship.

Carnival Ecstasy Cruise Review by ncstapletons

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: September 2016
  • Destination: Bahamas
  • Cabin Type: Interior
We chose this cruise for a quick getaway and departure port would eliminate airfare. We read plenty of reviews prior to boarding so our expectations would be accurate. I have sailed twice with Carnival in the past and three times with NCL.

We chose to drive down the day before and stayed at the Quality Inn in Mount Pleasant, SC. They had a cruise package that included shuttle to/from port and parking for the 5 days of the cruise, only $40. Hotel was fine; clean, hot breakfast was great (eggs, french toast, cereal, bacon, sausage, pastries, biscuits and gravy, grits, fruit, coffee, assorted juices, etc) . Staff was very friendly. The only problem we encountered was that the shuttle that was to pick us up at 11:45 am the next morning did not show up until almost 1 pm. After we called the shuttle service directly, we were told that the hotel did not notify them that we were there. Shuttle driver was apologetic and friendly. We would not have cared except we'd paid for FTTF and it kind of defeated the purpose by the time we arrived at the port, unloaded, checked in, etc.

Embarkation/Disembarkation: Check in at Charleston was a bit hectic; disembarkment was a piece of cake. We were off the ship and at our shuttle within half an hour. Beats Miami by a long shot!! We were on the road headed home equipped with Starbucks before 9 am.

Cabin: We stayed on Empress (deck 7) forward, cabin E11. The cabin was what we expected, fine for 2 people to maneuver. However, if you are a light sleeper, it could be troublesome. The cabin is located directly under the Blue Sapphire Theater where you can hear lots of "thumping and bumping" during late night shows, if you happen to be in your cabin, which we were. You also hear the early morning noises of coming into port, creaking and moaning of anchor or whatever it is that is located Forward. Very, very loud. Our steward, Slam, was wonderful. Very gracious, tidied our cabin quickly and left fun towel animals almost every day.

Food: This was one of the most frustrating parts of the cruise. Without fail, every time we went to Lido buffet, one side was closed. Breakfast, lunch, dinner....every time. I couldn't understand why, at peak hours, they would close one side. The lines would wrap to the other end of Lido, people hungry and waiting for quite some time. My mom is disabled so I would often wait in line for both of us and make two plates to keep her from having to stand for so long.

Pleasant surprise was the Mongolian Wok on embarkation day. We had very little wait, maybe 5-7 minutes, which was much better than we'd experienced on past cruises. Flavor was better on Ecstasy also, in our opinion (Ecstasy vs. Valor). The dining room was "okay"; prime rib was cool to the touch (ordered Medium), ribs were actually very tasty, Chocolate Melting Cake was wonderful. Service was pretty good; they visited our table frequently (but not too frequently) until the last 20 minutes when we didn't see any of them and finally left.

Pool: I'd read a lot of reviews stating how small the pool is. I was actually kind of impressed with the size compared to Valor and even the Norwegian Epic. It was easily twice the size of the one on NCL Epic but the difference is that there is no pool on Serenity deck, only whirlpools. Didn't bother us in the least.

Bar Service: Bar service was great, especially on Lido and Verandah. Fast and Friendly. However, the last day (sea day), we were not able to find a server to place an order one single time. I went to the bar to order sodas, water and frozen beverages every time.

Ship: Poor Ecstasy.. She is really, really showing her age. I was equipped with the mindset that this was the 2nd oldest ship in the fleet and to not expect too much but even I was surprised at her signs of aging. Lots of rusted out holes, missing tiles...

The elevators were very confusing. Outside the elevators the floors were listed by abbreviation: L for Lido, E for Empress, V for Verandah, M for Main, U for Upper....inside the elevator the floors were listed by number. Basically you had to train your brain to translate. It wasn't a big deal by day 3 or so.

Sidenote: The last day of the cruise, our sail and sign cards quit working as keys for our cabin. A steward down the hall came to try her master and it worked. Ours just flashed red. She contacted the technician right then and there and asked that he come check our lock. My disabled mother had broken her toe earlier that day so was just wanting to lay down for a bit. They let us in our room so she could rest. A while later, we decided to walk to the casino to pass the time until the technician would arrive. Two hours later (three hours since call placed to technician) and my mother tried to get in our cabin. The lock still wouldn't work. At this point she was in so much pain that tears ran down her face; I had her sit on the stairs closest to Guest Services (no benches available in that area) while I ran over to Guest Services. Iris was wonderful. She called and requested immediate attention for our situation. She expressed sincere concern for my mother and her pain. When I returned to my mom, a young man, Josh, part of the Entertainment Staff, had walked by mom, stopped, knelt to her level and was gently stroking her hand and comforting her while she cried. He was the kindest young man we have ever encountered while traveling. He helped me guide my mother back to our cabin at a snail's pace, laughing and talking softly the whole way. Iris walked with us also. My mom hugged him when he left us. Carnival has two gems in Iris and Josh. I'm writing directly to Carnival to commend them.

I don't know if I would sail Ecstasy again. It would have to be an incredible deal otherwise I would definitely sail Sunshine out of Charleston, versus Ecstasy.

The ship is very easy to navigate for the most part; very small so it doesn't take too long to get from one end to the other. The elevators worked pretty well if you are dependent on them to move from deck to deck like we were.
ncstapletons’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Interior
Cabin 4D E11
Cabin: We stayed on Empress (deck 7) forward, cabin E11. The cabin was what we expected, fine for 2 people to maneuver. However, if you are a light sleeper, it could be troublesome. The cabin is located directly under the Blue Sapphire Theater where you can hear lots of "thumping and bumping" during late night shows, if you happen to be in your cabin, which we were. You also hear the early morning noises of coming into port, creaking and moaning of anchor or whatever it is that is located Forward. Very, very loud. Our steward, Slam, was wonderful. Very gracious, tidied our cabin quickly and left fun towel animals almost every day.

Sidenote: The last day of the cruise, our sail and sign cards quit working as keys for our cabin. A steward down the hall came to try her master and it worked. Ours just flashed red. She contacted the technician right then and there and asked that he come check our lock. My disabled mother had broken her toe earlier that day so was just wanting to lay down for a bit. They let us in our room so she could rest. A while later, we decided to walk to the casino to pass the time until the technician would arrive. Two hours later (three hours since call placed to technician) and my mother tried to get in our cabin. The lock still wouldn't work. At this point she was in so much pain that tears ran down her face; I had her sit on the stairs closest to Guest Services (no benches available in that area) while I ran over to Guest Services. Iris was wonderful. She called and requested immediate attention for our situation. She expressed sincere concern for my mother and her pain. When I returned to my mom, a young man, Josh, part of the Entertainment Staff, had walked by mom, stopped, knelt to her level and was gently stroking her hand and comforting her while she cried. He was the kindest young man we have ever encountered while traveling. He helped me guide my mother back to our cabin at a snail's pace, laughing and talking softly the whole way. Iris walked with us also. My mom hugged him when he left us. Carnival has two gems in Iris and Josh. I'm writing directly to Carnival to commend them.
Empress Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins

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