4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
9 member family & neighbors had a good time, but not because of ship and crew. I was surprised how much the food was obviously rationed. Lido buffet only open for short periods of time, and often out of basic food. Sandwich and ... Read More
9 member family & neighbors had a good time, but not because of ship and crew. I was surprised how much the food was obviously rationed. Lido buffet only open for short periods of time, and often out of basic food. Sandwich and pizza counters in buffet area were not only understaffed but pretty obviously moving very slowly. Mongolian Wok place OK, but rarely open, and the appetizer tasting place didn't even open some days per schedule, and short hours others. Only thing open often and everywhere were the bars. Service was poor. Daughter and fiance rarely saw their room steward, and did not get a single request filled, including those called into housekeeping, the entire trip. Our steward in room around the corner from them was OK; the $20 tip the first day might have helped. The sit down breakfast and lunch restaurant was sooo slow, and the food was minimal and most was cold. Our dining room service was OK the first few days, but then our head waiter paid more attention to other tables and left us to jr. staff. He couldn't believe one evening when our entire table stood up and went to a nearby bar: after seated for over an hour nobody had taken any drink orders at all. Ship was clearly dated, with lots of maintenance needed. Faded railings are one thing; visible rust and one welded on repair plate on the topmost wing-like structure didn't present a very good presentation to the world. This was my wife & daughter's 5th cruise in the past 7 years, and they said it was far and away the saddest experience they had. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
At the last minute we decided to take a cruise for 4 women--moms and daughters--- (we flew to Fort Lauderdale and took the South Florida Shuttle $70.00 to Miami..We stayed one night pre cruise at the Miami Holiday Inn Oceanfront)... ... Read More
At the last minute we decided to take a cruise for 4 women--moms and daughters--- (we flew to Fort Lauderdale and took the South Florida Shuttle $70.00 to Miami..We stayed one night pre cruise at the Miami Holiday Inn Oceanfront)... and then to save money on the cruise we chose to share a stateroom....just for the experience...it wasn't too bad, even though we only had inches of room.. We were only in there to shower and sleep. It was the first time we had seen a room with the pull-man beds..one pulled down over the head of the king size bed ( watch your head when you get out of the king size bed) and the other pulled down over the foot of the king size bed...the ladders are in the closet... but they weren't needed... The crew of the Ecstasy was great..they were kind.. considerate and very hard working people--- We had a good meal the first night in the dining room...the next day we were in Key West -- we were all shuttled into town because we had to dock a the Navel Port.. we were there from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm we didn't have much time so had to make the most of it ..we grabbed a map and started walking..took photos...shopped...stopped at the Southernmost Point Buoy and had a great couple of drinks in the The Bull & Whistle Bar......back on the ship.. we ate a late lunch and sat pool side...we had no rain but the clouds were heavy.... seas were a bit rough ...take the Dramamine-- it works... Next day we docked in Cozumel we were late due to rough seas...we walked around Puerta Maya the Carnival Port..it is very neat and tidy--of course they will barter with you..We enjoyed this area...there are jewelry stores and stores with very inexpensive products...1.00 and up.....look around before you buy----- we bought a beautiful Mexican sombrero ------he started out asking $35.00--- got him down to $23.00--- and I bought it--then we walked across to the next building and the same hat was $17.00 OH WELL ( it was a lovely sombrero) >our fault for not checking out the products before buying...after about an hour we took off walking for the town of Cozumel..we walked for about 45 minutes and stopped by a grocery store for souvenirs and some soft drinks had and walked to Margaritaville for margaritas ..when we walked out it was dark so we took a taxi back to port---$8.00 ( always ask the price before you get in) we shopped some more at the port. There are fun photo spots all over the port...restaurants and a bar....truly the prices aren't bad.... The day at sea was ok..there aren't many activities planned except gambling, bingo, and art auctions..there should be more offered in the activity choices ...that's just my opinion... Food was fine..no free lobster on this cruise -other then that, no problems with the food choices... If you like comedy-- I mean REAL COMEDY--- you will fall off the chair with laughter--- there are Wonderful comedians on this cruise...we cried with laughter each time we saw their shows, which are all different... Embarkation was smooth -- we chose to carry off our luggage .. We had breakfast in the dining room and then walked off of the ship---and took the shuttle to the airport...HAVE A NICE CRUISE ! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2016
Carnival has a welcome desk at Miami Int. Airport where you check-in, no line, and take a bus transfer to ship. We were relaxing on Lido deck with a delicious lunch and sunshine of Miami Port in no time. Carnival Ecstasy was a good ... Read More
Carnival has a welcome desk at Miami Int. Airport where you check-in, no line, and take a bus transfer to ship. We were relaxing on Lido deck with a delicious lunch and sunshine of Miami Port in no time. Carnival Ecstasy was a good value, excellent crew, plenty to do or not do. Both port calls (Key West, Cozumel) have plenty to offer. I went Jetski in KeyWest for first time. It was absolutely beautiful and fast. I went Snorkeling at Aquarium beach in Cozumel. It was fine and the beach property was well attended and clean ($15 for beach; $30 includes snorkeling from a boat...) Punchliners Comedy club was a hoot! We only caught one or two other shows: all good! Wind Star dining room was delicious both for breakfast, brunch and dinner. I opted for the (extra $20) lobster dinner on two nights: it was worth it! Lobster tail was 8 oz-10 oz! There is a short promenade where we saw a gorgeous sunset leaving Miami! Memories like that you can't get at a Motel 6! All ship facilities were good. Including: spa, pools, serenity area, casino, lounges (many), golf on top, etc. Only negatives: Karaoke was missing the Song books. Dining room background music was very loud. You will have a good time! Do it! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
I read through so many reviews before my husband and I took our cruise in January, that I thought I should come back and share our experience as well! We sailed to Key West and Cozumel on the Carnival Ecstasy at the end of January. It was ... Read More
I read through so many reviews before my husband and I took our cruise in January, that I thought I should come back and share our experience as well! We sailed to Key West and Cozumel on the Carnival Ecstasy at the end of January. It was my husband's first cruise and my second. It was also our first vacation without the kids in our 15 year relationship! THE GREAT- Embarkation was easy and quick. The crew of the Ecstasy are wonderful, hard working people. I did not encounter one person who wasn't kind, courteous, and willing to help. Eden at the Piano Bar was spectacular. If he is on your cruise, definitely go see him! Also, don't miss out on the chocolate melting cake. I love it so much I found a recipe to make it at home! In Key West we rented bikes for the day at $13 apiece and rode around the island. That was one of my favorite things about the vacation. THE GOOD- Everything was solidly good. The rooms were a good size, the activities were good, and the food was good. Not much was extraordinary, but for the amount of money we paid, it was perfect. Please don't take this cruise expecting everything to be 5 stars. If you want a 5 star experience, you have to pay for it! The shows were not spectacular, but they were entertaining. We only saw one comedian. He made us laugh, but he also went a little blue. Our excursion to a chocolate factory in Cozumel was also good. The tour guides were excellent, but I likely would not choose that excursion again. THE BAD- I unexpectedly found myself needing feminine hygiene products. The ones available on board are awful. Bring your own, even if you don't think you'll need them! Unfortunately, the only other bad thing about our cruise was the other people. I can only hope that they somehow thought that because they were on vacation they could leave their kindness and manners at home. If people behave that way in their regular lives, I'd be even more depressed. As I said above, the crew are amazingly hardworking. A "please" and "thank you" would probably go a long way in making them feel like they are more than servants. It was shocking and depressing to hear the way people spoke to the crew, especially the dining room staff. So please be kind and treat others the way you want to be treated, even on vacation! :-) Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2016
My wife and I won a "free cruise" when we bought into a time share a couple of years ago. TAV was the name of the service that administered the "free cruise," which of course was limited in dates and ships. Carnival ... Read More
My wife and I won a "free cruise" when we bought into a time share a couple of years ago. TAV was the name of the service that administered the "free cruise," which of course was limited in dates and ships. Carnival Ecstasy was one of the ships and this (leaving Jan. 18) was one of the dates. By the time we paid the fees to TAV associated with the cruise, we came up about $20 each short of what we would have actually paid to go on the cruise ... so it wasn't free :) But ... we decided to make the best of it. We have cruised five previous times on Royal Caribbean and had great experiences. We knew this was an older Carnival ship (second oldest) and read many reviews on Cruise Critic (that were very helpful). We left our children at home, and flew down on Sunday thanks to frequent flier miles. We got a free shuttle from the airport to our motel (Courtyard by Marriott) and paid 10 apiece for a shuttle to the ship on Monday morning. We got to the port around 11:30 and got right into the waiting area, where we chatted up other travelers. It should be noted when we left Minnesota on Sunday it was 15 below zero ... so temps in the 70s meant we had a 90 degree difference. All good so far! We stayed in the lowest tier of room, but only used the stateroom to sleep. It was about what we expected, maybe a little dirtier than it should have been, but quieter than expected. The casino is open air so the ship is smoky. I guess we knew that coming in, but it's a complaint of people who don't smoke. The food was just fine ... hey, much better than we eat at home. We sat at a table with four other couples who were great dinner companions (I hope we were as well). The shows were entertaining, good singing and dancing. My wife liked the Mongolian Barbecue on the pool deck. We also used the workout room a lot. Service was very good in the dining areas and by the cabin steward. No complaints there. We didn't take part in too many shipboard activities. Obviously, it's a smaller ship, so there is a lot less to do on board, but we expected that to be the case. Key West was a nice stop, a little cool. We rented bikes and tooled around town and bought the only thing we forgot to bring -- sunglasses. We had to be back on ship by 3, so spent the afternoon being lazy. Cozumel was Day 2 ... we got right off the ship when it docked at noon and rented, on a whim, a scooter for 50 bucks. We spent the day beach-hopping around the island, and ended up driving on a complete circle around the island (40 miles). A little hairy in town, but I drove like a maniac and figured people would get out of my way! Day 3 was a day at sea, the weather was cloudy and cool. We just tried to relax and work out and graze the buffet lines. Check out in the morning was really nice. We had an early flight, so walked off the ship with our luggage and got to the airport by 9 a.m. for an 11:30 flight. In summary -- the cruise was exactly what we expected. We did something I bet some people don't do -- we didn't spend one red penny on board ship. How about that? Having said that -- we would have spent money to buy a CD of all the pictures that were taken of us. That wasn't offered. And we didn't love the pictures that much to buy them for 20 bucks each. I guess some Carnival ships do offer CDs of all the pictures. Some other people have commented that generally people were rude. I would say one thing about that -- the $50 "all you can drink a day" feature was used by a lot of people, and I think if you throw down 12 drinks a day "just to get your money's worth" you are going to be more rude than usual. Plus, there were very few families on this cruise (given it was during the school year), so mostly people who were there to party (but most of them were older, so yeah). Almost any cruise is a good cruise, and I would say this was a good one. However, and I hope this is the spot to say this ... given the choice between Carnival on a similar itinerary or Royal Caribbean, I would pay more for Royal. To me, the dealbreakers are that Carnival has too smoky of a casino area (and the area around it gets smoky) and the people traveling on it are a little too edgier. Hope that doesn't offend anyone. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
About the Reviewer: I’m a 34 year old male who traveled solo on the 1/18/16 sailing of the Carnival Ecstasy to Key West, FL and Cozumel, MX. This was my 34th cruise and 3rd time sailing with Carnival. I previously sailed Carnival in 2005 ... Read More
About the Reviewer: I’m a 34 year old male who traveled solo on the 1/18/16 sailing of the Carnival Ecstasy to Key West, FL and Cozumel, MX. This was my 34th cruise and 3rd time sailing with Carnival. I previously sailed Carnival in 2005 on the Destiny (now re-named something else) on a normal cruise and on the Carnival Inspiration for Groove Cruise in 2015. This cruise fit my travel schedule and cost as much as two nights at a hotel in South Beach for the same time frame I was looking for. I was actually getting off this ship at the end and boarding another cruise on Friday when we returned. I’m an avid lover of nightlife and good quality electronic dance music. I’ve sailed on other cruise lines including Norwegian Cruise Line (with over 20 cruises on them), Princess, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean once. I prefer to write my reviews in the order I experienced things. With that said here’s my impressions: Day 1 – Embarkation in Miami, FL I arrived to the pier after using SAS Transportation to get from a hotel I stayed at in Fort Lauderdale to the cruise port. I arrived to the pier shortly after 10:30AM. It was quiet and a lot of the previous cruisers were still hanging outside the terminal at that point. I went inside, presented my passport and then went through security and upstairs to check in. The check in was fast as I was there early. Next was a wait and more waiting and even more waiting. The ship didn’t start boarding until after Noon so it was forever in the terminal. Unfortunately so many people had arrived that it was standing room only in the terminal. When they started to call boarding numbers it was complete chaos trying to get into the area to board. For my first impression of Carnival, I wasn’t impressed with this embark. Norwegian would let you on the ship but restrict you from your cabins until 1:30PM. Carnival did the same thing but made everyone wait forever to get on. Since the Carnival Ecstasy is a sister to the Inspiration I was on just a few months back, I already knew the layout and headed to get some food at the buffet before the throngs shore-side arrived. The Ecstasy buffet wasn’t as crazy looking as the buffet on the Inspiration, although the buffet food choices were just as limited as they were on the Inspiration. I was pleased the décor had changed somewhat. After finishing lunch, they said the rooms were available and I headed to my cabin. Stateroom E56: This is a handicap interior room by a noisy crew entrance and crew stairwell. During the course of the cruise I had to use ear plugs to get sleep but otherwise for being an insanely cheap room, it was huge for one person! Upon arrival to my cabin I also had four 12 packs of water I ordered in the Fun Shops. The cabin steward was very nice and friendly but inquisitive as to why I wanted so much water. The desk was full of water. Since I was in a handicap cabin, there was tons of space to move around but that also meant the same for water in the shower. There’s no lip to handicap bathroom showers and so when you take a shower you end up washing the whole bathroom floor too! That was a constant pain but the steward left extra towels knowing I’d need them to mop up the excess water. Touring the Ecstasy: I started on the E deck and moved my way up going deck by deck. The central atrium was mobbed with people doing cash folios so I skipped the gallery area and just headed up a deck. The library, neon bar and Wind Star were located here. The best décor of the ship was in the library I thought. Wind Star would be my dining room for Anytime Dining. It was simplistically designed with décor. Neon bar was just that with neon light structures and this was home to the piano bar and some of the solos and GLBT gatherings. Next up was the Promenade Deck and walking forward to aft, the odor of smoke on this deck was hideous. They need to install scrubbers or curb the smoking. The open air casino was permeated with it. Traveling further aft I stopped into the China Town karaoke bar and snapped some pictures and then popped into Stripes where the odor of smoke was again prevalent. The Rolls Royce along the Promenade was a good touch by the coffee bar and then all the way aft was the comedy club known as the Starlight Lounge. I continued to tour the ship and headed up one more deck to the Lido pool deck. It was odd to see so many deck chairs out although the weather was too cold to actually hang out there for any length of time. On the Inspiration all the deck chairs were removed for the entertainment. The Carnival Waterworks aft was also open but the winds were up and blowing all the water out into the walk way. Overall the ship wasn’t as tacky in décor in comparison to the Inspiration but still had a lot of metallic feels to it. After exploring the ship it was time for muster drill and cast off. Muster drill took seemingly forever as not everyone was attending like they were supposed to. Once muster drill was over there was a party on the pool deck. The cruise staff introduced themselves and then led cruisers in what would be several of the same line dances performed throughout the cruise (Cupid Shuffle, Electric Slide, even the Macarena… yes I said Macarena, etc!)!! I wasn’t expecting a lot as this was Carnival but so far the music was a complete let down. I swear the DJs only had the same 10 songs in their playlist! Once the ship sailed out of the channel past South Beach it was time to head inside and get ready for dinner. I dressed up for dinner but dining solo was not something I enjoy doing for dinner so I did a table share. The first night of the cruise the table share was a ton of fun, I met some people from my area and we talked quite a bit. Our waiter Ricardo was amazing. The service from him and his assistant was just great and he always remembered my name the rest of the cruise although I never sat in his section again. I was always around his section but never in it. The wait staff performed for us and then tried to get me to dance to Gagnam style. I was all set with that. I’ve never been on a cruise line where they sing and dance for you at dinner. I guess that’s why they’re called the Fun Ships? While the dining room service was great, the food was a whole other story. The food was salt laden and the meat was super fatty. I know I didn’t pay a lot of money for the cruise but the food quality was prison grade. I’m not a foodie at all but the food on Carnival, even the Inspiration, is so subpar that I would give it as punishment to prisoners. Couldn’t go wrong with a fruit plate so I did that every night for dessert at least to try and balance all the sodium I was putting in my body. There was a gap in the schedule after dinner so I went back to the cabin and purchased the wifi for work. I did the 4 day $35 mid-grade package which was enough for me. I didn’t need to stream anything. The connection speeds were fastest during the night and early morning hours but during the daytime hours they weren’t that overly bad either in comparison to NCL’s wifi which is horrid. I give props to Carnival for having a good wifi for an affordable price. Blue Sapphire Entertainment: WELCOME ABOARD SHOW Dubbed as the all new welcome aboard show, this show featured the towel animals conversing along with the Cruise Director Adam. The show was a little light on entertainment value and I was losing interest. The production cast did a couple of numbers and the show was over. I could’ve missed it with no issue. I decided post-show to check out the Stripes Nightclub. I walked in and was overwhelmed with the amount of people who were smoking in there. I dislike smoke and I can’t understand why Carnival allows it so much. NCL has a stricter no-smoking policy for their nightclub venues. I wasn’t feeling the vibe with the music or the smell so I left and went to bed. Day 2 – Key West, Florida Our port time was early and if you didn’t get up you’d have missed the whole time in port. I got up around 7AM just after we finished docking and headed to the dining room for breakfast. It was a cold day in Key West so dressing up in layers was essential. I didn’t have anything planned except walking the island. It’s a small island and walking friendly. I went to get some supplies for my next cruise at the Walgreens by the Starbucks. It was going to be my last Starbucks fix for a while. I went to the Southernmost Point on foot and then circled back to the lighthouse and went to the shops along the way on Duval St. I stopped by the Bourbon Street pub for a quick drink towards noon and wandered back to the ship. It was a lazy port day but at least there was stuff to walk to. Back on the ship I grabbed lunch at the buffet before heading out on the back deck to watch the ship sail off. It was cold, overcast and very windy. As we sailed away I noticed for the second time Kone elevator operators hanging out in the passenger area aft. For those that may not have known, over Christmas this ship had a mishap which resulted in a crew member’s fatality due to faulty elevators. Seeing them re-assured me that the elevators were not safe and I continued to take the stairs the entire cruise. My thoughts go out to the crew member’s family and to the crew on the ship who had to witness that horrific scene (not to the idiot who filmed it and got it aired all over network tele in the USA). I took an opportunity to grab a nap before heading to the dining room for dinner. I had a different waiter tonight and did a table share again. Tonight’s table share was a bit more awkward. I was the only solo at the table and people just weren’t talking. Why share a table if you want to dine in silence or be lovey dovey with someone? I found that a bit rude of the guests but didn’t let it get me down. It was the formal night of the ship. I dressed in a button down shirt and dress pants and was allowed into the dining room with no issue. I was told since it was a short haul cruise that the dress code is not strictly enforced and it wasn’t. The meal itself was disappointing. Tonight was prime rib and it was awful. I asked for it medium and it came medium but it was overcooked on the outside and the toughest piece of rubber meat I’ve had at sea in a good long time – if ever! The food quality was seriously disappointing. The fruit plate was on point though! Blue Sapphire Showtime: MOTOR CITY This was the first big production from the Carnival Ecstasy staff focusing on the sounds of the 60s, 70s and 80s with classic hits such as Dancing in the Street, Respect and Brick House. I watched both the first and second show. Once the show is over they try and get you out on the city (ie. atrium) and then get you to stroll the ship from venue to venue to get you acquainted with them. I returned for the second show as I was bored before retiring for trying the Stripes Nightclub. I lasted one song in there and was done. I went to bed hoping for sun the next day. DAY 3 – Cozumel, Mexico We had a late arrival into the Cozumel in the afternoon so the morning was leisurely. I had breakfast in the main dining room and then went topside to find it not only sunny but warm! I couldn’t get back to the cabin fast enough to get changed into a bathing suit and head topside. I went high up on the deck where the funnel was and grabbed a lounger. I stayed there reading my magazines and watching the ship arrive into Cozumel. As we docked next to an Aida cruise ship, their soot was landing on me so I went in and got some lunch. I decided to head out to the pier and see what was going on, if anything. No excursion was booked, just another lazy day hanging out. The Carnival pier insists on sending you through the bottleneck of the duty free shops. It’s SO annoying as shoppers stop and clog the access ways. There are armed guards who make you stay inside the store. I was beyond annoyed going through it so decided to make the most of the Carnival contrived shopping mall at the end of the pier. I went outside the Puerto Maya entrance and walked a mile south towards downtown Cozumel and the downtown pier NCL uses. I was melting and forgot to grab a water from my cabin before heading out so I headed back. Who wants to dehydrate on vacation? Back inside the port I went to the Fat Tuesdays and sat at the bar looking out at the ship on a swing and got a water and beer. I found myself sitting at the Carnival crew party they were having there. Since we were docked until 10PM, the crew, especially those in areas of the ship closed when the ship were in port were having a grand time with the food and the music and the drinks. Crew always know how to party better than guests – this was no different. I got back on the ship and changed for dinner. So many people were still ashore the dining room was empty so I sat by myself and did some work on the wifi. A nice couple next to me struck up a conversation with me at the two top. I felt bad tonight for the assistant waitress in that section as the head waiter who was nice to me was being a complete jerk to her. She was astute to me still eating when she went back for the desserts and didn’t get mine. I finished eating in her absence and he yelled at her for it. I’m laidback and there was no need for that. I wasn’t waiting that long at all. She handled it well given he wasn’t quiet about it. She deserves a promotion to waitress. Wish I could remember her name! I decided to stop by the Gender Showdown in the Blue Sapphire. It was a pretty weakly attended game show for those who decided not to get drunk while shore-side in Cozumel. The questions were silly but it was something to do. Tonight’s featured entertainment was the pool deck party at 11:15PM. I watched the ship cast off from Cozumel before heading back to the cabin to change quickly for the party. The pool deck party kicked off with the typical line dance songs. The cruise staff seemed amazingly disinterested as it was the Assistant Cruise Director running the show. They literally did the same line dance songs they always did and within 30 minutes were running out the back side of the stage area to their crew area. I have never seen a more disengaged cruise staff than on this ship. They were not Fun but rather seemed drab and just going through the motions. I’m not sure if they’re nearing the end of their contracts or what but they were not fun and not very good at keeping the fun going! I just gave up and went to bed. Fun ships… boring. Day 4 – Sea Day heading for Miami, FL Another grey overcast cool day in store on the Carnival Ecstasy. This morning the main dining room was closed for breakfast only leaving the buffet. So many people partied hard the previous night that it was nearly deserted. That was fine for me! I spent the day reading the remaining magazines I brought with me at the pool deck in a wind sheltered alcove and staring at the Norwegian Pearl which was alongside us and then pulled ahead of us. I did a workout in the ship’s gym which was quite extensive for a ship at sea. During my work out they announced a medical emergency on my deck and on the side I had my cabin on. I hope the person was able to be saved as they had a lot of medical equipment out in the hallway when they opened the fire doors. Later that afternoon while I was getting ready for dinner they had another announcement about something in the fuel separator area of the ship. This sent crew up and down the crew stairs by my room and more announcements could be heard in the crew area. Again the fire doors were closed to my section of the deck and crew were donning fire gear. I poked my head out and the steward told me it was just a drill. I was done with this non-sense as the announcements were still going in the back in the crew area. It made me seriously uneasy at this point. I continued on with my vacation keeping an ear to the PA system for any more announcements. Tonight’s farewell dinner table share was actually the best of the whole voyage. I met several people who were traveling together and decided to try a random share. They all knew each other but they were friendly and talkative. Finally some decent dinner conversation with a ton more fun! Wish I had met these ladies earlier in the cruise. It was a nice dinner but again the food was something else. The baked Alaska was interesting as was the meat dish again. Salt everywhere! I can’t fathom why people might have cardiac issues while sailing on the Fun Ships! After dinner it was time to re-pack the suitcase, leave a stack of clothes for crew welfare, get the documents ready for debark and then head to the theater for one last show time. Blue Sapphire Showtime: THE BRITS A British invasion takes over the main show lounge for the night with hits from the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and many other British icons. Sorry, no Spice Girls here but it was an enjoyable performance. Again they brought everyone out to the atrium after the show to get people engaged and to continue the fun. I went for both shows before heading back and putting out the luggage for the night. I decided to check out the comedy club and stayed for a bit before eventually retiring for the night. Day 5 – Disembark – Miami, FL I had disembark breakfast in the open aft dining room. It was pretty quiet given the ship was in full on announcement mode for the Easy Walk-Off folks to leave with their luggage. I tried to stay in my cabin as long as possible as I was going next door to the Norwegian Pearl and the terminal was not opening until 10AM for new guests. It was raining and cool outside. I vacated the stateroom 30 minutes late and went up to the Promenade deck until they asked the remaining 25 guests who were still on the ship to get off. I was off the ship by 10AM and on my way through customs. If only the embarkation could have been as organized and flowing as the disembarkation, it might have left a better first impression. To sum it all up, this was an experiment to re-try Carnival as my cruise line of choice – Norwegian Cruise Line – is going through a lot of turmoil with a new CEO. I thought it would be nice to go someplace besides the Bahamas for the pre-cruise cruise. Looking at the positives, the crew were great (minus the cruise staff) and very attentive and friendly to me. Stateroom stewards, dining room servers and front desk helpers were all excellent. The production shows are always a good time with the understanding that they’re not Broadway performers but rather cruise ship performers. Were some of the songs not the greatest for their voices, yeah but I can’t fault them because they were clearly having a good time. That’s just about where my praise ends. Carnival’s unusual practice of allowing smoking so prevalent on their Promenade deck and specifically their nightclub led to me not going into it and cost Carnival significant bar revenue losses. I didn’t buy the drink package and I’m thankful I didn’t. It would have been a waste! I live for nightlife and this was an epic fail on all counts by Carnival. Get with the times and fix your smoking policies! I don’t want to smell like an ashtray leaving your club. Also, hire DJs who know who to play songs and get them to play CURRENT songs (cupid shuffle every night?)! The food was another major area of disappointment. This was prison food in both what was offered on the menus (comfort foods?) and what was actually given to guests to eat. It wasn’t palatable. Thank goodness for fruit plates! Lay off the salt Carnival… you’re going to kill people! Also, hire a meat chef who knows how to cook a prime rib! The cruise staff were also a miss. They wanted to get a party going and then constantly sneak out the back hoping no one would notice. To be on a Fun Ship means you’re to have fun. This ship bored me to death. If it wasn’t for the port calls and the day of sunshine in Cozumel and the work I had to do, I might have gone stir crazy on this tub. I guess the experiment failed. If Carnival is the ship used for the charters I take then I have no choice but otherwise, definitely not sailing on the Ecstasy or most likely Carnival as a normal passenger again. Next line to try is MSC. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
Were are recent "Empty Nesters" and travel frequently, just never did the cruise thing. Boarding was better than we anticipated and really easy but we sprung for priority boarding - worth the extra $50 for us. Drove to the ... Read More
Were are recent "Empty Nesters" and travel frequently, just never did the cruise thing. Boarding was better than we anticipated and really easy but we sprung for priority boarding - worth the extra $50 for us. Drove to the terminal and it was well marked and easy to navigate. Got a Junior Suite on the Veranda Deck and loved the location, our steward was very polite and attentive. We were pleased with the cleanliness of our cabin. We're foodies and the dining left a LOT to be desired. We chose Any Time Dining because we aren't in for the whole meet and eat with strangers at dinner thing we heard about, and for the most part it worked for us - different couple next to our "two top" every time and most were happy to keep to themselves. The food was average at best, quantity just doesn't make up for quality. Example Shrimp Cocktail was 31-40 size shrimp, soggy and presented in a plastic bowl - no thanks. The last night we paid the extra $20 for a meal upgrade to a surf and turf- should have saved our money. Filet was fatty and undercooked and the tail was small and rubbery. The wait staff was pleasant enough but seemed to be locked into their "system" and didn't appear too happy to deviate from it. Example- our "Headwaiter" wouldn't take a drink order and the bar service was SLOOOOW. Overall we got the impression we were eating dressed up cafeteria food. The Buffet lines on the Lido deck were OK but we try to avoid the "germ and booger" magnets they are with all the unsupervised kids running around. Hand sanitizer stations throughout the ship were a great idea - but I only found one that actually worked! The entertainment we saw was quite good, but the great majority of it was later than our usual bed time ( not the ships fault). Much of the ship seemed "empty" - as we never once saw many of the themed clubs open- again maybe it was because we weren't up at midnight. Loved the library - nice quiet well appointed space. Our "first choice" excursion was cancelled so we had to pick another - no biggie. It was well organized and easy off and back on the ship. Disembark was as easy as embark- carried our own - piece of cake. Overall the experience felt kinda "dated". IDEA - rather than passing out daily activity schedules ( kind of like church bulletins) how about an APP and a shipboard intranet wifi system? Overall a novel experience but we really aren't sure we will do it again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
Our trip included our family of 4 including our son and daughter who were 4 and 6 at the time of the cruise. Before the trip began, it didn't start off well. We booked over the phone with Carnival and were told we were going to ... Read More
Our trip included our family of 4 including our son and daughter who were 4 and 6 at the time of the cruise. Before the trip began, it didn't start off well. We booked over the phone with Carnival and were told we were going to receive a $75 shipboard credit. After booking, I checked and we had only received $65. $10 wasn't that big of a deal, but I called to see what had happened. My experience with their customer service went down hill from there as they called me a liar and said no one ever told me I would be getting $75. It took me suggesting they listen to the recording and get back to me, for them to do that. It should have been something they suggested instead of offering no apology and something like, "we're sorry you must have misunderstood." A couple of days later I received a sheepish call from customer service saying they had added the $10 to my account. That said, I think they felt bad, because when we got on board we had a $120 credit. We drove from Central Florida to Miami to get on the ship. The embarkation process was quick. We did not buy the $49 upgrade to get on early. We arrived at 12 noon and pretty much got right on after going through the lines. Overall the food was mediocre. I had one main dish at dinner that I really liked. I think it was a chicken and pasta dish. Otherwise, everything else was either over or under cooked and the variety was not much to shake a stick at. I did try the Pizza Pirate and it was a good thin crust pizza, but you have to hit the timing just right or you'll wait for a while. We were a little worried because less than 1 week prior to our sailing, a crew member died while trying to fix one of the elevators, which we rode on a couple of times. There was no hint of blood or tragedy and the crew was taking it very well. However, I did think the ship was cursed. The first night at about 3 AM, they woke everyone on board because they had a report of a possible man overboard. We had to wake the kids up and go to guest services and swipe our cards. At 8 AM the next morning, they were still searching along with the coast guard, but then stopped. They said everyone was accounted for at that time and we continued to Nassau. I still don't know exactly what happened. However, the crew compensated for the disruption and were not phased. They even extended the time in Nassau so everyone could explore. This is the beauty of being so close to Miami. The kids enjoyed their time in the kids club and we enjoyed our time alone. Motly we went to dinner and the comedy shows. The cabin was big enough and my daughter liked sleeping on the upper bunk. The only downside was the location. It was in the aft of the ship and I could feel all the vibrations of the engines as well as the motion. I usually don't get sea sick, but I was worried I might on this cruise. Maybe I'm just getting older. Next time I will try to book mid-ship. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2016
As a prior passenger commented, we were also somewhat concerned about the incident that took place, a week before our cruise, whereby an elevator repair man tragically lost his life. As if that wasn't enough, we also had to contend ... Read More
As a prior passenger commented, we were also somewhat concerned about the incident that took place, a week before our cruise, whereby an elevator repair man tragically lost his life. As if that wasn't enough, we also had to contend with the false man overboard report in the middle of the night. However, these two incidences were clearly out of the control of Carnival Cruise Lines. We had purchased the faster to the fun pass and literally jumped ahead of quite a few passengers waiting in a Disney type line, well worth it. In addition we also purchased the Cheers Service, for the four of us, also worth it. If you are not a drinker, do not purchase this. We experienced excellent customer service and, overall, the food was fresh and tasty. We had the pleasure of listening to the group Magic Tractor for two nights, they did an amazing job. My only caveat was the cleanliness of the sink, I literally had to clean it myself to my satisfaction but that's me being picky. We had a great time at the Bahamas and would definitely return on this ship. Read Less
Carnival Ecstasy Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 3.5 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 3.5 0.0
Family 3.5 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.5 0.0
Enrichment 2.5 0.0
Service 4.5 0.0
Value For Money 5.0 0.0
Rates N/A 0.0

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