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I'll try to keep this short and hit on the highlights. We are a couple and traveled with about 6 other couples from the Carolinas. We drove to Charleston and stayed the night before downtown. Took Uber to the port in the morning around 11AM (5 blocks) so that part was easy. Immediately met on board with free Champagne which was served pretty much all afternoon. We bought the Cheers drink package so we also had other drinks. The ship is old and in need of some major cleaning (scum, mildew in bathrooms but nothing any worse than a medium cost hotel). After all, this is Carnival (Probably my 6th or 7th Carnival Cruise from various ports) not Celebrity. We knew what we were getting but but two things were VERY below par: 1) Quality of food in the formal dining rooms. I just to brag to people that would put Carnival down and say their food was not good. For 4-5 of my last Carnival Cruises I was amazed at the quality of food but not this time. Not sure if it was because it was New years, or because it was only a 5 day cruise but we only had one decent (dinner) meal in the dining rooms. The shrimp cocktail (which used to be fairly large) were about as small as you can get. The salads were awful and most entrees were of what you would expect in a very cheap restaurant. Only the Jambalaya and Prime Rib (ironically both served on the last night were decent). And the lamb shank--it was good too. EVERYTHING else was not very good (Thank God for the 24 hour Pizza on Deck Nine Aft!). 2) But the WORST thing was the wait one had to endure in the Open Seating Dining Room (Wind Star). Unless you ate at 5;45 or after 7:45 you would have to leave the Atrium (Deck 5) and go up one set of stairs and wait in line for at least 25 minutes---only to get a buzzer that would "go off" when your table was ready--usually 30-50 minutes later!! I know this ship was built post Open Seating era but I was told that the Dining Room (Wind Song) that had the formal dinner dining times of 6:00 PM and 8:15 PM was only half full for dinners. If Carnival knows that this is the trend why couldn't it have tweaked the dining long ago to allow for more "Any time Dining" to cut the lines down? The breakfast and lunch choices were good--the Wind Star was always available (better food) and the Lido Deck buffets (though the lines could get long) always had enough eating choices. And then, when in doubt, there was the Pizza (which was very good). As far as the bars were concerned the Atrium bar was always crowded and other than one or two bartenders they were very slow. The Bullfrog Bar on Deck 10 always had Excellent service. The muster was the longest and most disorganized in all of my 27 cruises! Not sure what the thinking here was. The crew was VERY friendly and happy. This was most welcome. I'll have to think twice about sailing any Carnival Cruise again. I'm not a food snob but unless the whole industry is cutting back on quality meals I'll have to explore other cruise lines.

New Years Eve Cruise--Charleston--5 Nights

Carnival Ecstasy Cruise Review by jimm942

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2016
  • Destination: Bahamas
  • Cabin Type: Ocean View
I'll try to keep this short and hit on the highlights. We are a couple and traveled with about 6 other couples from the Carolinas. We drove to Charleston and stayed the night before downtown. Took Uber to the port in the morning around 11AM (5 blocks) so that part was easy. Immediately met on board with free Champagne which was served pretty much all afternoon. We bought the Cheers drink package so we also had other drinks. The ship is old and in need of some major cleaning (scum, mildew in bathrooms but nothing any worse than a medium cost hotel). After all, this is Carnival (Probably my 6th or 7th Carnival Cruise from various ports) not Celebrity.

We knew what we were getting but but two things were VERY below par: 1) Quality of food in the formal dining rooms. I just to brag to people that would put Carnival down and say their food was not good. For 4-5 of my last Carnival Cruises I was amazed at the quality of food but not this time. Not sure if it was because it was New years, or because it was only a 5 day cruise but we only had one decent (dinner) meal in the dining rooms. The shrimp cocktail (which used to be fairly large) were about as small as you can get. The salads were awful and most entrees were of what you would expect in a very cheap restaurant. Only the Jambalaya and Prime Rib (ironically both served on the last night were decent). And the lamb shank--it was good too. EVERYTHING else was not very good (Thank God for the 24 hour Pizza on Deck Nine Aft!). 2) But the WORST thing was the wait one had to endure in the Open Seating Dining Room (Wind Star). Unless you ate at 5;45 or after 7:45 you would have to leave the Atrium (Deck 5) and go up one set of stairs and wait in line for at least 25 minutes---only to get a buzzer that would "go off" when your table was ready--usually 30-50 minutes later!! I know this ship was built post Open Seating era but I was told that the Dining Room (Wind Song) that had the formal dinner dining times of 6:00 PM and 8:15 PM was only half full for dinners. If Carnival knows that this is the trend why couldn't it have tweaked the dining long ago to allow for more "Any time Dining" to cut the lines down?

The breakfast and lunch choices were good--the Wind Star was always available (better food) and the Lido Deck buffets (though the lines could get long) always had enough eating choices. And then, when in doubt, there was the Pizza (which was very good).

As far as the bars were concerned the Atrium bar was always crowded and other than one or two bartenders they were very slow. The Bullfrog Bar on Deck 10 always had Excellent service.

The muster was the longest and most disorganized in all of my 27 cruises! Not sure what the thinking here was.

The crew was VERY friendly and happy. This was most welcome.

I'll have to think twice about sailing any Carnival Cruise again. I'm not a food snob but unless the whole industry is cutting back on quality meals I'll have to explore other cruise lines.
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Cabin Review

Ocean View
Cabin 6C M59
Cabin size was adequate and clean except for the mildew in the shower.
Upper Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins