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Ahhhhh!!!! Shucks!...It's over and I just wish someone would go to the Gourmet Grocery store down the block at 1AM, buy about 50 of everything and just lay it out for me....so I could pick out 1 or 2 items that would meet my late night desires to pig out! I just got back from the Carnival Ecstasy 4 Day Baja Cruise. It was my first cruise and having read all the reviews here and on a few other sites, I was expecting a shabby ship, shabby service, and honestly, was skeptical that this would not be the experience that I had hoped for.....ALAS....NOT TRUE. CONSIDERATION AND VERY EXTRA CARE: On our first night at sea, we lay several miles off Catalina Island and in the middle of the night while almost all of the ship was asleep, a passenger had a heart attack! The Captain knew that Medical Air Evac from Catalina Island costs an absolute fortune and opted, on the spot to simply turn the entire ship around and returned to Long Beach Harbour so that this person would be spared the cost and trauma of the EVAC....The passenger was immediately transported via ambulance to a Trauma Center in Long Beach and is now recovering nicely. Carnival didn't have to do this, in fact the return voyage cost thousands of dollars to the company, and the ship certainly had the infirmary capability to sustain this patient until Air Evac was arranged, however, this shows how caring these folks can be in an emergency and I applaud the Captain for this decision. The rest of the ship (except the very few who were awake at 4-5 AM had no knowledge about this incident, until it was announced at the farewell talk on Thursday night. In an emergency, this is how I would like to be treated! CARPETS: (I'd read a lot about them) - All clean and nice, on all decks ROOM SERVICE: - excellent and very fast - The 24 hour free room service was simply wonderful. Coffee each morning on the Larger than reported Balcony on my Suite V-17 Verandah Deck. Beds made each time I returned to my cabin- Turn down service with great little towel Animals, chocolate on the pillows...(AND 4 pillows on the Queen size bed instead of the expected skimpy 2 that I normally see. Baths were spacious and yes, I could reach down to get the soap without bouncing my hind quarters off the shower wall! BOARDING: - We had the VIP skippers club service and were checked in and on board in less than 15 minutes. PHOTOGRAPH SERVICE: The photographers were everywhere and the settings were great. One of my personal gripes about vacations is that when I travel with my wife, we end up with lots of pics of her, or me, and very few together...ECSTASY solved that problem for us....We have an entire album of great couples shots here for our memories....Cost is just a bit high but the quality of the photography is very good (I am also a photographer so I discriminate a lot here). SUITE: Spacious, Clean, and we could easily have slept 4 in our suite! STUFF TO DO: The Carnival Capers magazine was delivered each evening so we could plan the next days activities. Having been to Catalina Island several times before, I was a bit disappointed by my trip to the island and cut it short having seen this and done that before however the other guests did enjoy the tours. Using the Ships Tours was more expensive than if you just go it alone and explore. If I do this trip again, I will just stay on board and have a nice relaxing day on board instead. Loads of stuff for the Kids on board all day and night. MEALS: Well, what can I say. The service staff, waiters and assistants were always at our table, no waiting, moderately priced wines by ship standards, We had Lobster the first night and I asked for 2 dinners as I had heard the portions were a bit small....I couldn't eat 2 courses however....Very good. Filet Mignon, Lobster, Chateaubriand, Beef Wellington, Cocilles St. Jacques, All in all, a very well balanced and fulfilling menu (and I am also a gourmet cook)...Now, I do account for the fact that these folks are cooking for several thousand people so it is not quite up to 5 star standards but it was GREAT just the same. BOOZE: There is a bar on every corner it seems and the Drink of the day was a great buy for my group. I stayed pretty lit up for my entire cruise. DUTY FREE SHOPS: If you like buying high quality stuff like Louis 13th, Johnny Walker Blue Label, Don Julio Tequilla for about 60% off normal US Retail price, this is the place for you! Cigarettes at $20 per carton for the first carton then $15.00 for the next (In Tucson the current cost is at least $36.00/carton.....WOW. Nice selection of jewelry, knick knacks etc. at good prices too. CASINO: I won $460 starting with $50 in chips the first night of the cruise and Lost $100 the 2nd night so I didn't bother to visit the casino for the rest of the cruise....Lots of game choices but tough rules for Blackjack (no surrender) Some of the games are a bit tricky so ask about rules before you sit down if you are going to go for the big money here folks. A nice choice of games and descent slots as well....They seemed generous the first night and tougher on the subsequent nights. SHIP LAYOUT: Very easy to navigate, Elevators to all decks however after shows they are a bit slow. ENTERTAINMENT: We went to the "Vegas Style Shows" 3 out of the 4 nights and were not disappointed. Great booze, pretty girls, fairly good singers, OK Magic, Good comedians...definitely worth the time but arrive 15-25 mins early for front row seating. Bars: kareoke (hilarious), Teen club, Singles events, Disco (really fun).... FAVORITE SUNNING SPOT: I prefer to not hear the Regee Music on the Lido deck by the pool. I preferred the Stern of the ship next to the other pool looking out at the lovely ocean. The Bow observation deck was another great spot, GO up to the Sports deck if you like Star gazing at night...Its about the only dark spot on the ship at night. CRUISE DIRECTOR: Larry was informative and entertaining but he had a way of talking too much, especially at 8AM, and repeating himself that I found annoying on the loud speaker system....He could have waited until 9 or so, as it woke me up on 2 days of the trip (and of course, I had a hangover these days). ENSENADA TOUR: We opted for the La Bufadora and Winery Trip. Bufadora was nice but I could have used another hour of shopping time for those great Cuban Cigars and just to look around. The stop at the winery was Okay with the wine tasting, but not very informative or interesting. If I did this trip in the future, I would see Bufadora and pass on the winery trip....We visited Hussongs Cantina, the oldest structure in Ensenada, and had a FANTASTIC lunch at "Pappas and Beer"....it was really wild upstairs there however the outdoor seating allowed me to enjoy my Monte Cristo cigar and the waiters were funny as can be! My wife and I decided to stagger back to the ship which was about a 10 block walk in 90 degree heat....fun but a taxi might have been a better idea. TOPLESS DECK: Yep, they have one, (adults only) and it is scenic and relaxed. I had heard tales about this being a "Party Boat" but I didn't see anything out of normal descent taste. I think the party reputation is overstated. There were folks on the ship of all ages and lifestyles, adults, teens, kids etc and everyone seemed to have a nice time. TOUR AND SHIP STAFF: Everyone was just great, very helpful and they always had the answers I needed, (except at the pursers info window where I was misdirected several times) SUSHI ANYONE?: Not on Ecstasy however....They do have a "Sushi Bar" that is open from 5:30 till 8:30 but it's all rolls and no sashimi or true sushi at all....I was not pleased with this selection. Very Americanized and little good raw fish at all. My next cruise will definitely be LONGER as we always felt hurried to do this or go to that, and only one day at sea was not enough time to truly enjoy all that the ship had to offer. I will probably do an 8 day or longer next time. So, as a very discriminating first time cruiser, my overall grade of MS Ecstasy is WELL DONE... and I highly advise other first timers to take advantage of this kind of trip with Carnival. ecstasy is a great ship however and I would definitely cruise her again with no concerns. Good Cruising to you all! Paul Olson

Carnival Ecstasy - Mexican Riviera

Carnival Ecstasy Cruise Review by Paul Olson

Trip Details
Ahhhhh!!!! Shucks!...It's over and I just wish someone would go to the Gourmet Grocery store down the block at 1AM, buy about 50 of everything and just lay it out for me....so I could pick out 1 or 2 items that would meet my late night desires to pig out!
I just got back from the Carnival Ecstasy 4 Day Baja Cruise. It was my first cruise and having read all the reviews here and on a few other sites, I was expecting a shabby ship, shabby service, and honestly, was skeptical that this would not be the experience that I had hoped for.....ALAS....NOT TRUE.
CONSIDERATION AND VERY EXTRA CARE: On our first night at sea, we lay several miles off Catalina Island and in the middle of the night while almost all of the ship was asleep, a passenger had a heart attack! The Captain knew that Medical Air Evac from Catalina Island costs an absolute fortune and opted, on the spot to simply turn the entire ship around and returned to Long Beach Harbour so that this person would be spared the cost and trauma of the EVAC....The passenger was immediately transported via ambulance to a Trauma Center in Long Beach and is now recovering nicely. Carnival didn't have to do this, in fact the return voyage cost thousands of dollars to the company, and the ship certainly had the infirmary capability to sustain this patient until Air Evac was arranged, however, this shows how caring these folks can be in an emergency and I applaud the Captain for this decision. The rest of the ship (except the very few who were awake at 4-5 AM had no knowledge about this incident, until it was announced at the farewell talk on Thursday night. In an emergency, this is how I would like to be treated!
CARPETS: (I'd read a lot about them) - All clean and nice, on all decks
ROOM SERVICE: - excellent and very fast - The 24 hour free room service was simply wonderful. Coffee each morning on the Larger than reported Balcony on my Suite V-17 Verandah Deck. Beds made each time I returned to my cabin- Turn down service with great little towel Animals, chocolate on the pillows...(AND 4 pillows on the Queen size bed instead of the expected skimpy 2 that I normally see. Baths were spacious and yes, I could reach down to get the soap without bouncing my hind quarters off the shower wall!
BOARDING: - We had the VIP skippers club service and were checked in and on board in less than 15 minutes.
PHOTOGRAPH SERVICE: The photographers were everywhere and the settings were great. One of my personal gripes about vacations is that when I travel with my wife, we end up with lots of pics of her, or me, and very few together...ECSTASY solved that problem for us....We have an entire album of great couples shots here for our memories....Cost is just a bit high but the quality of the photography is very good (I am also a photographer so I discriminate a lot here).
SUITE: Spacious, Clean, and we could easily have slept 4 in our suite!
STUFF TO DO: The Carnival Capers magazine was delivered each evening so we could plan the next days activities. Having been to Catalina Island several times before, I was a bit disappointed by my trip to the island and cut it short having seen this and done that before however the other guests did enjoy the tours. Using the Ships Tours was more expensive than if you just go it alone and explore. If I do this trip again, I will just stay on board and have a nice relaxing day on board instead.
Loads of stuff for the Kids on board all day and night.
MEALS: Well, what can I say. The service staff, waiters and assistants were always at our table, no waiting, moderately priced wines by ship standards, We had Lobster the first night and I asked for 2 dinners as I had heard the portions were a bit small....I couldn't eat 2 courses however....Very good. Filet Mignon, Lobster, Chateaubriand, Beef Wellington, Cocilles St. Jacques, All in all, a very well balanced and fulfilling menu (and I am also a gourmet cook)...Now, I do account for the fact that these folks are cooking for several thousand people so it is not quite up to 5 star standards but it was GREAT just the same.
BOOZE: There is a bar on every corner it seems and the Drink of the day was a great buy for my group. I stayed pretty lit up for my entire cruise.
DUTY FREE SHOPS: If you like buying high quality stuff like Louis 13th, Johnny Walker Blue Label, Don Julio Tequilla for about 60% off normal US Retail price, this is the place for you! Cigarettes at $20 per carton for the first carton then $15.00 for the next (In Tucson the current cost is at least $36.00/carton.....WOW. Nice selection of jewelry, knick knacks etc. at good prices too.
CASINO: I won $460 starting with $50 in chips the first night of the cruise and Lost $100 the 2nd night so I didn't bother to visit the casino for the rest of the cruise....Lots of game choices but tough rules for Blackjack (no surrender) Some of the games are a bit tricky so ask about rules before you sit down if you are going to go for the big money here folks. A nice choice of games and descent slots as well....They seemed generous the first night and tougher on the subsequent nights.
SHIP LAYOUT: Very easy to navigate, Elevators to all decks however after shows they are a bit slow.
ENTERTAINMENT: We went to the "Vegas Style Shows" 3 out of the 4 nights and were not disappointed. Great booze, pretty girls, fairly good singers, OK Magic, Good comedians...definitely worth the time but arrive 15-25 mins early for front row seating.
Bars: kareoke (hilarious), Teen club, Singles events, Disco (really fun)....
FAVORITE SUNNING SPOT: I prefer to not hear the Regee Music on the Lido deck by the pool. I preferred the Stern of the ship next to the other pool looking out at the lovely ocean. The Bow observation deck was another great spot, GO up to the Sports deck if you like Star gazing at night...Its about the only dark spot on the ship at night.
CRUISE DIRECTOR: Larry was informative and entertaining but he had a way of talking too much, especially at 8AM, and repeating himself that I found annoying on the loud speaker system....He could have waited until 9 or so, as it woke me up on 2 days of the trip (and of course, I had a hangover these days).
ENSENADA TOUR: We opted for the La Bufadora and Winery Trip. Bufadora was nice but I could have used another hour of shopping time for those great Cuban Cigars and just to look around. The stop at the winery was Okay with the wine tasting, but not very informative or interesting. If I did this trip in the future, I would see Bufadora and pass on the winery trip....We visited Hussongs Cantina, the oldest structure in Ensenada, and had a FANTASTIC lunch at "Pappas and Beer"....it was really wild upstairs there however the outdoor seating allowed me to enjoy my Monte Cristo cigar and the waiters were funny as can be! My wife and I decided to stagger back to the ship which was about a 10 block walk in 90 degree heat....fun but a taxi might have been a better idea.
TOPLESS DECK: Yep, they have one, (adults only) and it is scenic and relaxed. I had heard tales about this being a "Party Boat" but I didn't see anything out of normal descent taste. I think the party reputation is overstated. There were folks on the ship of all ages and lifestyles, adults, teens, kids etc and everyone seemed to have a nice time.
TOUR AND SHIP STAFF: Everyone was just great, very helpful and they always had the answers I needed, (except at the pursers info window where I was misdirected several times)
SUSHI ANYONE?: Not on Ecstasy however....They do have a "Sushi Bar" that is open from 5:30 till 8:30 but it's all rolls and no sashimi or true sushi at all....I was not pleased with this selection. Very Americanized and little good raw fish at all.
My next cruise will definitely be LONGER as we always felt hurried to do this or go to that, and only one day at sea was not enough time to truly enjoy all that the ship had to offer. I will probably do an 8 day or longer next time.
So, as a very discriminating first time cruiser, my overall grade of MS Ecstasy is WELL DONE... and I highly advise other first timers to take advantage of this kind of trip with Carnival. ecstasy is a great ship however and I would definitely cruise her again with no concerns. Good Cruising to you all! Paul Olson
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