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This was our 2nd cruise, but the first on a Carnival ship. When booking, we were aware that Carnival is the budget line catering to the lower end of the cruise market, however a large group (32) of our friends and neighbors were going, and so, against our better judgement, we signed on (I really had to twist my partner's arm, and may never live it down!). Suffice it to say, we boarded with low expectations, determined to have a good time come what may; viewing this as just a short, cheap getaway with good friends.1) The Ship: Ecstasy is a 20 year old dinosaur, considerably smaller than more current vessels with very little in the way of amenities or activities. While I found the Ecstasy reasonably clean and well-maintained, the decor screams Vegas, circa 1980s, with lots of neon and mirrors, very little in the way of luxury. Again we sort of expected this, so it was no great surprise.2) Fellow Passengers: The ship was over-crowded; the public spaces, even the larger areas, always felt like a busy shopping mall on a Saturday afternoon with people tripping over each other and pushing and elbowing. A wide variety of people ranging from what my partner jokingly referred to as the "Walmart shoppers," to seniors and families with small children. Throw in a healthy dose of teenagers, and you get the picture. I almost felt sorry for the few honeymooners we met, as this was anything but romantic. 3) Dining: forget it, go on a crash diet, unless you actually enjoy dining at Lubby's or Ryan's 3 times a day. The food was actually the worst part of the cruise for us; as a matter of fact, for everybody in our group. In the main dining room (WindStar) hardly a meal arrived that wasn't cold, and/or over-cooked or undercooked. The portions were miserable, and the quality was really, really subpar. This was one category where our expectations were actually not low enough, as a neighbor had led us to believe that the dining was the best part of a Carnival Cruise---NOT SO! The only thing good I can say about it, was the staff were all very pleasant and eager to please. After the third day, we simply stopped visiting the dining room. The only other options for feeding were the "Trough," better known as the buffet on Lido deck, or room service. These are actually worse than the dining room. Long lines of people jostling over too few tables and all for lousy, dried-out steam-table fare. The selections were pathetically few and never appetizing. One or the other of the two drink stations was invariably "out-of-order," creating a crush of people fighting for ice water, tea, or lemonade---which were the only choices. I don't remember the coffee machine ever being in working order. The one plus: the pizza station and deli at the very back of the cafeteria was surprisingly okay, and for the last 2 days, my partner and I ate there exclusively. Again from the long lines at these areas, I'd say we weren't the only passengers to do so. Roomservice was non-existent: no matter what time of day or night we placed an order, we were told it would be an hour to an hour-and-a-half wait, with nothing on the menu but cold sandwiches. We could never get ice sent to our room: I called our steward, who told us to call room service, who then told us to call our steward. We ended up fetching our own ice from the cafeteria.4) Service: excellent and friendly in certain areas, terrible in others. As I said, the dining room staff were all very nice, attentive people, as was our steward for the most part (except for fetching ice). The bartenders and waiters/waitresses were also very friendly and attentive. However the clerks in the on-board shops (particularly the jewelry store and the liqour/cigarette store) were extremely rude with no interest in their customers. Likewise the Guest Services Desk, where their motto seemed to be to help as few people as possible while offending everybody.5) Activities: a sad joke: the scheduled shows and entertainments never ran for more than 20 minutes at a time, and were mediocre at best. The parties and special events were boring and often poorly attended (surprising on such an over-crowded ship). The pool area, and the water-slides were swarming with kids and teenagers making it impossible for anyone else to use these facilities. We never could find seating on the pool deck, even in the bar area; they were always packed. Our principle forms of passing the time at sea were to drink in the various bars on the Promenade deck, or gamble; there was really nothing else to do. Our favorite haunt was the Neon bar just off the atrium, where the piano player was fantastic and the waitress kept a steady stream of alcohol flowing in our veins. On a side note: the kids club was directly beside the Neon bar, which I thought was a terrible design flaw, as all the kiddies coming and going were exposed to our drunken antics through the large glass windows.6) Casino: I don't enjoy gambling, so I'm probably not a good judge, however many fellow passengers complained about the "tightness" of the slots and the dishonest practices of the table-dealers. Apparently there's no regulation of gaming practices at sea. My advice, save your cash for the real thing in Vegas.7) Spa: my partner received a deep-tissue massage and was thoroughly pleased, so there's one plus.8) Cost: for a cheap, budget cruise, it really wasn't all that cheap. My partner and I spent roughly the same amount that we did at Atlantis, Bahamas last year, which is considerably more upscale than a Carnival Cruise. Since there was very little to do on the Ecstasy, we quickly ran up a hefty bar tab; not to mention the spa treatment, bingo games, casino nights, a little (very little) souvenir shopping---Carnival suckers you in on the cheap fares, then nails you on the incidentals.9)Motion: the rolling and rocking of the ship was bad, particularly on the return trip. Strangely, the sea was relatively calm, yet the ship still rocked for 2 days straight. On the last day at sea, it was so bad that passengers had difficulty walking or standing. We came to suspect (pure speculation) that the Ecstasy decided to cut fuel costs by sailing with the stabilizers retracted on the return trip; either that, or they simply weren't working. Overall: the only thing that made this trip enjoyable at all was sharing it with our friends: we kept ourselves entertained by our own merits, otherwise it would have been perfectly horrible. This will be our last time sailing with Carnival.

Heavy Drinking Required.

Carnival Ecstasy Cruise Review by Btru2u

Trip Details
This was our 2nd cruise, but the first on a Carnival ship. When booking, we were aware that Carnival is the budget line catering to the lower end of the cruise market, however a large group (32) of our friends and neighbors were going, and so, against our better judgement, we signed on (I really had to twist my partner's arm, and may never live it down!). Suffice it to say, we boarded with low expectations, determined to have a good time come what may; viewing this as just a short, cheap getaway with good friends.1) The Ship: Ecstasy is a 20 year old dinosaur, considerably smaller than more current vessels with very little in the way of amenities or activities. While I found the Ecstasy reasonably clean and well-maintained, the decor screams Vegas, circa 1980s, with lots of neon and mirrors, very little in the way of luxury. Again we sort of expected this, so it was no great surprise.2) Fellow Passengers: The ship was over-crowded; the public spaces, even the larger areas, always felt like a busy shopping mall on a Saturday afternoon with people tripping over each other and pushing and elbowing. A wide variety of people ranging from what my partner jokingly referred to as the "Walmart shoppers," to seniors and families with small children. Throw in a healthy dose of teenagers, and you get the picture. I almost felt sorry for the few honeymooners we met, as this was anything but romantic. 3) Dining: forget it, go on a crash diet, unless you actually enjoy dining at Lubby's or Ryan's 3 times a day. The food was actually the worst part of the cruise for us; as a matter of fact, for everybody in our group. In the main dining room (WindStar) hardly a meal arrived that wasn't cold, and/or over-cooked or undercooked. The portions were miserable, and the quality was really, really subpar. This was one category where our expectations were actually not low enough, as a neighbor had led us to believe that the dining was the best part of a Carnival Cruise---NOT SO! The only thing good I can say about it, was the staff were all very pleasant and eager to please. After the third day, we simply stopped visiting the dining room. The only other options for feeding were the "Trough," better known as the buffet on Lido deck, or room service. These are actually worse than the dining room. Long lines of people jostling over too few tables and all for lousy, dried-out steam-table fare. The selections were pathetically few and never appetizing. One or the other of the two drink stations was invariably "out-of-order," creating a crush of people fighting for ice water, tea, or lemonade---which were the only choices. I don't remember the coffee machine ever being in working order. The one plus: the pizza station and deli at the very back of the cafeteria was surprisingly okay, and for the last 2 days, my partner and I ate there exclusively. Again from the long lines at these areas, I'd say we weren't the only passengers to do so. Roomservice was non-existent: no matter what time of day or night we placed an order, we were told it would be an hour to an hour-and-a-half wait, with nothing on the menu but cold sandwiches. We could never get ice sent to our room: I called our steward, who told us to call room service, who then told us to call our steward. We ended up fetching our own ice from the cafeteria.4) Service: excellent and friendly in certain areas, terrible in others. As I said, the dining room staff were all very nice, attentive people, as was our steward for the most part (except for fetching ice). The bartenders and waiters/waitresses were also very friendly and attentive. However the clerks in the on-board shops (particularly the jewelry store and the liqour/cigarette store) were extremely rude with no interest in their customers. Likewise the Guest Services Desk, where their motto seemed to be to help as few people as possible while offending everybody.5) Activities: a sad joke: the scheduled shows and entertainments never ran for more than 20 minutes at a time, and were mediocre at best. The parties and special events were boring and often poorly attended (surprising on such an over-crowded ship). The pool area, and the water-slides were swarming with kids and teenagers making it impossible for anyone else to use these facilities. We never could find seating on the pool deck, even in the bar area; they were always packed. Our principle forms of passing the time at sea were to drink in the various bars on the Promenade deck, or gamble; there was really nothing else to do. Our favorite haunt was the Neon bar just off the atrium, where the piano player was fantastic and the waitress kept a steady stream of alcohol flowing in our veins. On a side note: the kids club was directly beside the Neon bar, which I thought was a terrible design flaw, as all the kiddies coming and going were exposed to our drunken antics through the large glass windows.6) Casino: I don't enjoy gambling, so I'm probably not a good judge, however many fellow passengers complained about the "tightness" of the slots and the dishonest practices of the table-dealers. Apparently there's no regulation of gaming practices at sea. My advice, save your cash for the real thing in Vegas.7) Spa: my partner received a deep-tissue massage and was thoroughly pleased, so there's one plus.8) Cost: for a cheap, budget cruise, it really wasn't all that cheap. My partner and I spent roughly the same amount that we did at Atlantis, Bahamas last year, which is considerably more upscale than a Carnival Cruise. Since there was very little to do on the Ecstasy, we quickly ran up a hefty bar tab; not to mention the spa treatment, bingo games, casino nights, a little (very little) souvenir shopping---Carnival suckers you in on the cheap fares, then nails you on the incidentals.9)Motion: the rolling and rocking of the ship was bad, particularly on the return trip. Strangely, the sea was relatively calm, yet the ship still rocked for 2 days straight. On the last day at sea, it was so bad that passengers had difficulty walking or standing. We came to suspect (pure speculation) that the Ecstasy decided to cut fuel costs by sailing with the stabilizers retracted on the return trip; either that, or they simply weren't working. Overall: the only thing that made this trip enjoyable at all was sharing it with our friends: we kept ourselves entertained by our own merits, otherwise it would have been perfectly horrible. This will be our last time sailing with Carnival.
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin 8A E238
Our balcony stateroom was simple and adequate without any frills. The bed was quite comfortable, and the room was always meticulously cleaned. The balcony was a pleasant extra; however very small, as was the "head" or bathroom.
Main Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins

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