12 Miami to Caribbean - Eastern Carnival Ecstasy Cruise Reviews

My children and I decided to take the cruise during the Christmas holiday in place of more clothes, video games, tech things they already had. Boarding the ship was okay, lots of places to "check in" with each station doing ... Read More
My children and I decided to take the cruise during the Christmas holiday in place of more clothes, video games, tech things they already had. Boarding the ship was okay, lots of places to "check in" with each station doing something different. But not too bad. The wait to actually get on the boat was not long either. Our room wasn't quite ready yet so we were ushered to the Lido deck for the set sail party. Music, food, drinks!! It was great fun! Our room was small but that should be expected - you are on a boat after all. Closet space was good. Remember to bring a small surge protector as there is only one outlet. The kids, 21, 18, and 13 all enjoyed the 24 hour grill by the pool A LOT! And I enjoyed that I wasn't "nickel and dimed" to death asking for money for the snacks, drinks, et. My 13 year old did the Circle C Club and they always has plenty of things to do for them -- even a dodge ball game! He had a great time. The food in the dining room was super! The wait staff was super! Our room Steward was AMAZING!! The only bad thing was that my daughter got sea sick (we had rough weather during the night the whole cruise) and getting that under control not so easy. The comedy shows were laugh out loud funny. Everything really was well worth the money. We all want to go back and soon! (maybe not my daughter though.............) Great vacation!!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Got a Carnival gift card with some reward points - having never been on a cruise before, decided to give Carnival a try. If I had to describe the cruise in one word, that word would be GHETTO! Most of the passengers looked like escaped ... Read More
Got a Carnival gift card with some reward points - having never been on a cruise before, decided to give Carnival a try. If I had to describe the cruise in one word, that word would be GHETTO! Most of the passengers looked like escaped convicts and one was even taken off the ship in handcuffs when we arrived back in Miami. To be honest I am surprised it was only one. Embarkation was a disaster, no one knew what they were doing. We were supposed to get "priority" check in but we had to beg for anyone to help us, they just kept telling us to go sit in this room and that they would call us. How can they call us when they didn't even know we were there? They refused to take our paperwork. As far as the cruise goes, it was rowdy from the get go, people on their lounge chairs dancing in g-strings, half naked, children in the casino, the smell of sewage and marijuana filled the hallways. It was the type of people I went on vacation to get away from. I felt terrible for the crew, they were nice and tried their best. Now, on to the food. The website is a joke, it makes it seem like all the individual places are their own restaurants - they are not. They are all located in one big food court area where only half of them are open at any given time. We never did get to try the Mongolian Wok, it was either never open or had a line around the ship. How can they operate this way? How can only half (if that) choices in the food court be closed at prime lunch and dinner times?? My husband and I ate at the tiny salad bar 99% of the time because it was the only thing that seemed to be available at all times. The 24 hour pizza is a joke, thin, cheap, tasteless and ALWAYS a wait. There was never any pizza ready, the case sat empty the entire trip. As far as the dining rooms? All we wanted was a quiet corner away from the other passengers and even though it was late and the dining room was empty, they still insisted on crowding us in with all the loud, drunk, cackling idiots we did not want to be around in the first place. They refused to give us a quiet table so we could at least try to enjoy something other than the lame salad bar, but no, we were seated with the others, then looked at each other - and promptly left. The spa was nice but buyer beware - they try to upsell you expensive "at home treatments" after your service - even massages. I do have to say the employees in the spa were wonderful and very good at what they do - but I am sure corporate forces them to try to upsell product, not nice. We did not do any of the shore excursions, too expensive. We got a private taxi in Nassau and took a tour of the island, which was fun. The room we had was nice but beware if you are on V Deck, there is a gym right over your suite and they allow patrons to just drop their free weights on the floor making it sound like our roof was going to collapse. We were not informed of the gym when they called us to "upgrade" our inner stateroom to the balcony jr. suite. They open the gym at 6am and thats when the dropping begins. All in all husband and I had some nice quality time together but I will never, ever take another Carnival cruise again. Sadly it needs to be expensive to attract better quality people and hopefully get better service. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This ship is old, shaky and noisy...I was on cabin M192 and literally could not sleep with the engine sound! At times, the water on faucet and shower would come dark, kind of brown in color. In Key West, we docked at 7:30AM, and ship left ... Read More
This ship is old, shaky and noisy...I was on cabin M192 and literally could not sleep with the engine sound! At times, the water on faucet and shower would come dark, kind of brown in color. In Key West, we docked at 7:30AM, and ship left at 1:00PM (very short stay). In Cozumel, same thing, got there at 1:00PM and had to be back by 9:00PM. Food is OK, but you have to be in line a long time to get it. The "serenity" area, in the back of the ship should be renamed to: "let's party and make noises" area. Loud music from loudspeakers, young adults drinking and talking very loud (some profanities too). I have cruise with Royal Caribbean, and I can tell this Carnival (particularly this cruise) is horrible. I was so happy when we finally docked in Miami. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We drove from Orlando to Miami and it took us about 3 1/2 hours. The parking lot was confusing, but other than that was close to the spot of the boat. We purchased Faster to the Fun prior to boarding and I'm so glad we did. We were ... Read More
We drove from Orlando to Miami and it took us about 3 1/2 hours. The parking lot was confusing, but other than that was close to the spot of the boat. We purchased Faster to the Fun prior to boarding and I'm so glad we did. We were able to board right after the frequent cruisers, which was so fast. I recommend checking in online prior to arrival. We only waited about 10 minutes before we were called to board. Once on the ship, we were able to go to our room immediately. The overall look of the ship was just as I expected - gold and glass everywhere. Typical cruise boat, with some aging, but it is an older boat. So, don't expect a newer look. The boat was clean and felt clean. The crew were also vacuuming, cleaning, or doing something around the boat. The boat is small, too. I was disappointed with the one pool option. It was small for the size of the pool, in my opinion. On sea day, it was so crowded and it was so hard to find a chair. Serenity are (adult only area) had children in it at one point and no one said anything to them since they were quiet. The jacuzzis were always full and we didn't get to use them because of being full. We ended up purchasing the highest speed internet because my husband had some work he had to. It was perfect and had no glitches. It was $25 for 24 hour period. The entertainment on the boat stood up to the Carnival saying "The fun ship". There were so many options for shows and bars, we couldn't go to everything we want. We always had something to do. We really enjoyed the Blue Sapphire lounge shows, especially with the Cruise Director, Calvyn. I had a hard time walking through parts of the boat because they were smoking areas and the smoke permeated those areas. The dining was somewhat disappointing. We ate breakfast in the Lido buffet 3 out of 4 mornings. It progressively got worse. We ate the brunch in the MDR and wish we had stuck to that entire trip. It was definitely much more tolerable than the buffet. The lines for the buffet were always long and it was always crowded in the morning. The lunch buffet was better. We never ate dinner in the buffet, ate at the MDR every night. The dinner in the MDR was good. The one dish that was something I'd never order again was the lasagna. It had a really weird cheese sauce. The crab cakes were delicious and so was the $20 surf and turf. The 24 pizza place was delicious, too. I sort of wish we had done that for dinner one night. It was so good. We did the hop on hop off tour in Key West. That was so much fun and I'm glad we booked that through the cruise. My husband had never been to Key West before, so it was a good way for him to experience/see it all in a short amount of time. We were only there from 7am to 1:30 pm, so we had to really utilize our time. Our second stop was Cozumel. This being our first time there, we did some research beforehand and booked a private beach outside of Carnival. We chose Nachi Cocom and we are so glad we did. It was only $55 pp and was all inclusive of food/beverages. There was a private beach with private beach huts, chairs, hammocks and servers. A pool with a swim up and hot tub were also available. The taxi from the port to the beach was $17 one way for 2 people. We met some people at the beach club and rode back with them, so we shared the taxi (10 people ended up costing $38). I definitely recommend meeting people and riding with them to cut back on the cost of the taxi. We definitely will go back to Nachi Cocom if our next cruise stops in Cozumel. Disembarkation was easy since we had FTTF. Where we parked was a lot down from where we ended up disembarking from. So, our walk back was long and hot and humid. I wish we had known that, but oh well. No one's fault about that. Overall, it was a great cruise and I'm glad I gave Carnival a chance. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was my 2nd cruise and my husbands 1st cruise We read all kinds of reviews about the ship and they weren't on the same boat I was. It's an older ship, however I only know that because I looked up the year it was ... Read More
This was my 2nd cruise and my husbands 1st cruise We read all kinds of reviews about the ship and they weren't on the same boat I was. It's an older ship, however I only know that because I looked up the year it was built. We arrived in our room. We were both thrilled at the size of the room and the balcony We had a drink on our balcony and took a tour of the ship. Our favourite spot was lido deck We had early dinning. The food was always amazing ! No complainants at all. We sat with a nice group of people and hung out with them on the ship The piano bar was amazing we had so much fun. The comedy shows were fantastic The casino was very fun The ports were key west and Cozumel Mexico. In key west we did the pub crawl. 5 bars and 5 drinks and it included a walking tour of the town And in Mexico we did swimming with sting rays. Both so much fun The cruise is what you make out of it. Our plan was to go and have fun and make memories, and that's what we did. We had a great time. The boat was clean, well looked after. The staff new us my name and were very helpful and the food was fantastic. My only compliant was having to leave the boat lol. I would recommend this cruise to anyone Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Ship is old pool area very small for amount of people on board One full day w/out use of pool due to leak! Food was poor quality Only one side of buffet open so long lines to get food! During cruise they were workers doing repairs and ... Read More
Ship is old pool area very small for amount of people on board One full day w/out use of pool due to leak! Food was poor quality Only one side of buffet open so long lines to get food! During cruise they were workers doing repairs and painting which blocked spaces from walking and smelling that nasty paint in the heat! Waiters did like waiting on u if u had the "cheers" card because they don't make money off you! Not handicap accessible a lady in a wheel chair couldn't get to the pool because a high tile lip all the way around the pool which was 5 feet apart from pool! Save your money & not use this cruise ship! Out dated! Plenty of workers behind customer service desk yet ignored!!! Or talking amongst themselves instead of us u. Line! I would suggest Triumph ship for a crusie very nice big lots of pool space lots of food at the ready always! Love to cruise but seriously thinking of using another cruise line next time ! Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
I found a great deal on the Ecstasy. I took my wife and 2 kids and paid a little over $1K. Not bad. When we got to the ship, the inside looks tight, like a small bus. They only had one pool. Very few shows and seems that everybody there ... Read More
I found a great deal on the Ecstasy. I took my wife and 2 kids and paid a little over $1K. Not bad. When we got to the ship, the inside looks tight, like a small bus. They only had one pool. Very few shows and seems that everybody there wanted you to buy something. The first night there was a pool party and all these college kids were partying like there was no tomorrow. Too raunchy for my teenagers. I mean very flaunty bikinis, sexual gestures and drunkenness seemed to be the theme of the day. When we landed in Cozumel, we were scammed and rented a 40 year old volkswagen for $60. Never, Never use CP Rentals. They are slick trying to rent broken down cars for as much as they can. My kids had a great time at Las Uvas. I highly recommend Reyes the snorkeling instructor. Great beach front, drink, bathroom, hamacas, snorkeling and pool for only $12. Not bad at all. We were unsure as to where to eat and my kids were traumatized with the how poor the natives live so we chose to dine at the ship. With regards to Key West, we were standing in line for 1 hour before imigration decided to start checking people off the ship. By far the worst part of the trip. And when we got off, again, another tourist trap. everyone selling the same thing trying to get you to buy their cheesy shirts and hats. We rented an electric car only to find out that we toured the entire key west in under 2 hours. After that, boring. All in all, I can't complain about the waiters and the food on the ship. Persy Crews II the comedian was the best. The other guy George, should quit his job as a comedian. It is a great trip for the money. I won't do it again, though. I'd rather pay $500 per person and go on Royal Caribbean. Much nicer ships, shows and ammenities. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Overall this cruise was not my favorite. I will break it down below: First off: I would suggest not going during College/University Spring Breaks. The month of March basically. Me and my girlfriend felt we were on the set of MTV's ... Read More
Overall this cruise was not my favorite. I will break it down below: First off: I would suggest not going during College/University Spring Breaks. The month of March basically. Me and my girlfriend felt we were on the set of MTV's Spring Break shows the whole time. The ONE pool on this boat was filled to capacity most of the time as well as the Jacuzzi. Screaming drunk kids running through the halls all night yelling college school chants. If you want a relaxing experience..avoid this time of the year on probably any cruise line, but in particular Carnival. Embarkation: This was the fastest experience getting on a cruise so far! Hint:Get to the Port early! They say they don't start check-in until 12:30, but you don't have to wait till then. Basically, we were on the boat and heading to lunch by 11:30 am. Cabin/Cabin Steward: The room size was good.. we had a balcony room for the first time. I really enjoyed that. However, the room showed its age. I dont think steward paid attention to detail, cleaning wise. There were towels that looked dirty, with the last cruisers hair stuck to it. ( Hair was all over the room actually) Then the bathroom always smelled like pee/poo/sewage. The room was also the dustiest room ive seen. ( Probably the reason I ended up sick) Food: The food was pretty blah...more options are needed. I was excited about Seaday Brunch...nope..it was terrible!. Why were the pancakes like a pale yellow/white and tasted like paper? smh.. Food Service During dinner and breakfast: Very slow! Food took forever every time in the dinning room. If you want your food in a decent amount of time.. go to the buffet. Entertainment: Punchliner Comedy shows were great. Comedians were pretty good! Go and get your seats early. Ports: Key West is awesome if we had more time there.. 7:30 am -1pm.. not enough time at all. But the bars seemed to be open pretty early. Cozumel...very nice place! Do the private beach excursion. It was the best part of the whole trip!! Debarkation: Once again.. VERY fast experience.. take your own luggage off the boat, and don't wait till your floor has been called. Get up early, and get yourself down to gangway and roll out! Conclusion: I think this boat is about ready to be retired(circa 1991). I would not suggest to any of my friends to get on this boat, and I will look at bigger newer boats from now on. Hope this helps.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
My husband and in-laws just got back from our very first cruise on Carnival's Ecstasy of the Sea cruise ship. We were so excited to be taking this cruise and from what our friends have told us about their cruising experiences we were ... Read More
My husband and in-laws just got back from our very first cruise on Carnival's Ecstasy of the Sea cruise ship. We were so excited to be taking this cruise and from what our friends have told us about their cruising experiences we were more than ready to be pampered and well fed. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Monday 2-3-14: We had an uneventful check in. Everything was quick and easy. We arrived at our inside state room and it was larger than we expected it to be. The room was rather "worn and out-dated" but we weren't too concerned because we were planning on spending our time on deck and in the pool. My husband turned the air conditioning knob located above the bed to give us some cool air and flecks of black grime started coming out. It was greasey and smeared our sheets and floor. We called customer service and the maintenance people came in about 20 minutes. They put a new filter inside and housekeeping changed the sheets and vacuumed the floor. We met "DD" our personal attendent who is in charge of keeping our cabin clean. He was very personable and called us by name. He never asked us if we had any requests such as ice in the room or another pillow, but in all fairness, he was taking care of alot of other people as well. NOT as personal as we expected, but what do we know. We shrugged this off. We went up to have a late lunch at the Lido Deck buffet. The food was just "ok". It was a higher grade than institutional at best. The dessert bar looked better than it tasted. The cakes are dry and other items had no taste. Thank goodness for the ice cream station. There is ample seating for everyone and the views are great. There is also the Mongolian Grill which has stir fry items. This wasn't too bad, but they kept running out of veggies. If you are 65 yrs. old or older, you will love the food. I am 54 yrs. old and expected better quality. No offense to my elders, but my in-laws loved the buffet because they could eat as much as they wanted. The formal dining room- everyone is assigned to their own formal dining area- was pretty nice. Ours was the Wind Star Dining Room. The ambiance was beautiful, but again the food was sub-par. My starter was shrimp cocktail. I recieved 5 salad sized shrimp on a plate with cocktail sauce. What the hell? I'm in Florida and the seafood should be fabulous. Not the case. My expectations from there just went downhill. I was right. My hot food was lukewarm and my cold food was not cold. Portion size is lacking and just some advice- don't order anything extra like a baked potato instead of the pumpkin puree. They will take your order, but you won't get the substitution. One GOOD thing to order: CHOCOLATE MELTING CAKE. It was awesome. Rich and delicious! You will be assessed a "gratuity" for all dining, so don't leave any cash on the table thinkiing they won't charge you the additional gratuity. Speaking of gratuities, you are also charged a housekeeping gratuity. The housekeeping staff do work very hard but I felt like I was paying their wage for Carnival. The entertainment was lacking for people my age. No- I do not want to pay to play bingo, I do not want to learn how to make towel animals and the Hasboro game show was as lame as it gets. BORING. The adult comedy show at 9pm was funny and the Britts variety show was good. Other than that, you have to make your own fun. Ecstasy has only ONE medium sized pool and 4 hot tubs. For over 2000 people, this just does not compute. The same people monopolized the pool and the hot tubs. Their was only 3 hot tubs working on one day. The Serinity Deck for adults only was nice but limited for space. Good luck finding a lounge chair. The mens restrooms were often out of service, so you needed to go to your cabin to use the restroom. The elevators were at times not working as well. Do ALOT of walking prior to getting on this boat. You will be using your legs with all the stair climbing you will be doing to get to the outside decks. Don't bother with the "art show" where you can purchase "art". No deals here. The one good deal is with their $20.00 watch sets from Bella Rosa. Very nice selection and a good deal. The jewelry shops will try to sell you their diamonds and watches, but be very careful. The diamonds may not be the quality you would normally want to purchase. The shore excursion we chose was the Twister. It was a boat ride to a private island in Cozumel. This was an all in-clusive excursion which included alcoholic drinks and a nice food buffet on the island. This was a HIGHLIGHT and so much fun!! My closing comments are: be careful about your alcoholic drinks on board the ship. $$$$ The pop is also expensive. This is an OLD SHIP that has had "some" refurbishing. I felt like I was slumming it in comparison to the other ships out there. We had a nice time but we didn't feel as though the crew went above or beyond. The senior officers didn't even speak to us in passing. Would I cruise on the ECSTASY again? NO. Will I cruise again after my first time cruising experience? YES!! Probably not with Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
My best friend and I decided to go on a cruise, this being her second cruise and my first. We are from Ontario,Canada so we decided to drive down to buffalo and spent the night at Best Western and got the park and fly package. Her car ... Read More
My best friend and I decided to go on a cruise, this being her second cruise and my first. We are from Ontario,Canada so we decided to drive down to buffalo and spent the night at Best Western and got the park and fly package. Her car stayed at an off-site parking lot for the duration of our cruise (4 days/5nights). The hotel was going through renovations so it was nothing special to mention, it was just more convenient for us as our flight was at 6:30am. We flew with Southwest airlines and they had great service, our flight was on time and they offered a beverage and snacks on board in a timely manner. We flew into Fort Lauderdale as it was much cheaper and less busier to do so. We paid for a shuttle to take us to the Port of Miami as well as to take us back to Fort Lauderdale airport once we finished our cruise. When we arrived at the port of Miami we gave our checked luggage to people who would later deliver it to our rooms. We only brought a backpack and a purse as extra as you are allowed a carry-on item and two checked bags for no cost on Southwest Airlines. We then went through security and stood in line gave the port our tickets and waiting to be called on board via numbers we received. I must say I did a lot of reading prior to my cruise and I am thankful I did. I may have brought a bit too many clothes, some that I didn't even wear (but what girl wouldn't lol). On board the Carnival Ecstacy ship it is very retro and has lots of neon lights. Some people may not like the decor, but I didn't find it as big of a problem as I've read in other reviews. It was very pretty to be in the atrium (center of the ship where the information desk is located and where you arrive when you first board). One thing I suggest for everyone to do is to bring an extension cord with more cord plugs! There is only two in your room and one in the bathroom (located at the top of the mirror so very hard to use properly). Also, duct tape proved a very good product to carry as well. We used it for my suitcase as the back had a slight rip near the seem. As well as on the way back we decided to check our backpacks as we had bought a few more things and we used the duct tape to secure all the zippers in place. The first night was relaxing, it was wonderful to get away from work and the stress of everything. Although, we didn't stay up too late as our excursion was very early the next morning. We were supposed to arrive at port in Key West around 7:30, although we didn't get off the boat until around 8am and were already late for our Excursion. We signed up for Jet Skiing (not through carnival). It costs around 110us, and we had to take an open book test before hand that gave us the license to drive them. (It lasts a year so if we go back in time we can use it again). This excursion was amazing! I honestly loved it more than any of the ones we did. We got to follow each other around the ocean, beside our cruise ship and to a sand bar and see amazing houses along the beaches. It was fantastic! We took a waterproof camera with us so we could take our own pictures, so glad we did. Also I recommend some good sunglasses, it gets a little windy and your eyes might water. When we got back, we were very close to stores and where we had to be to get picked up to go back to our boat, but we still had around 2 hours left in Key West. I heard about this really great slushie place that serves then with alcohol called Fat Tuesday. We decided to ask around and find it and we took a Tandem (Two-person bike) to go find it. It was so difficult to ride I could only laugh as we made our way there. Fat Tuesday was amazing, tasted so good and you could mix different kinds. We bought a water bottle that had the Fat Tuesday label and got it filled for 10.5$ and refills were around 7$. We looked around a bit but wanted to do more shopping in Cozumel Mexico, so we went back to the ship. The boat had great events going on, shows and karaoke. We loved Karaoke and the cruise directors were in great spirit always happy and wanting people to have fun! My friend was amazing at singing so we always went back. They're was wonderful talent aboard the ship! We also played bingo which was fun and they had this great game with Genders and it was hilarious, definitely recommend going. (Go Ladies!) Our next excursion was the dolphin one in Cozumel, it was through Carnival and we received our tickets in our room as we paid ahead of time. This was a really neat excursion, although I found it very rehearsed and wanted to interact more with the dolphins then we got to. On a plus side there was an open bar and a buffet to feed everyone. As well as snorkeling and kayaking for free, gear included. We weren't up for much once we saw stingrays in the snorkeling area. I bought a photo with the dolphin, but the packages were pretty expensive, I paid 30$us for one photo. We decided we wanted to get some shopping done before the day was over so we went back to the boat, grabbed our Fat Tuesday water bottles and went back to Cozumel. There was a Fat Tuesday right near the port so it was really cool to have the bottle already. We wanted to bring back souvenirs for our friends and family so we toured around. Everything is pretty close together and you do have a few people asking you to come see their shops. We just kept walking.. keep in mind you can bargain for things that you think might be too expensive. If they really want the money they will sell it. Our cabin was fairly small, but good enough for two people. We had two separate single beds, good enough closet and drawer space as well as a nice window with an ocean view. The blankets were so comfy and the air conditioning you can control in your room. Anywhere in the ship can get pretty cold, I brought a couple sweaters and I'm really glad I did. We only had one formal night and it was on our second day. The dining was amazing and the food was so great, especially for people who want to try different things like shrimp and snails, unless that is an every day for you. I on the other hand stuck with chicken and beef. I heard the lasagna was amazing, although I didn't get to try it myself. The pasta was a little harder than I wanted it and I would of preferred to have Parmesan cheese offered as well. Although everything else was amazing, the service was great, our waiters were wonderful and it felt great to be treated. If you get desert order the chocolate melting cake it is to die for! We decided to do one more excursion because or flight was an evening one on disembarkation day. We looked at the desk near the information desk to see if there was anything we could do. We hadn't been to a beach yet and we wanted to get some more pictures. We saw one for the south beach tour and scooped it up for 49.99us/person. I was already burnt but definitely wanted to see a beach still. We decided to take our own luggage instead of checking it again, also because we were one of the first people off with this excursion and that felt good no waiting in long lines. We got off the boat at around 8am (so early and was so upset to leave). We then went on a bus and took the tour, we traveled around south beach and saw the old buildings that are apart of the city's art deco and was really neat to see! Then we stopped near the beach and got to enjoy the day there or go shopping and/or out to eat. We decided the beach first, although the sun wasn't completely out and it was cloudy, and apparently cold weather to Miami, but to us it was still very nice. The water was warm and we got great pictures. We then went to a few stores got some more souvenirs and headed back on the bus that took us to Miami airport where we transferred to another bus and drove to Fort Lauderdale airport. This trip was by far the best and I didn't want to leave. It has many things for children to do as well, although this was definitely great as a kid-free vacation as well. I want to go again asap, planning for next year already!   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
I have been sailing on Carnival for a number of years and am a gold member. I agree with other cruisers that the quality of the food is less than what I have experienced in the past. Despite, this, I had a great time. I like to read these ... Read More
I have been sailing on Carnival for a number of years and am a gold member. I agree with other cruisers that the quality of the food is less than what I have experienced in the past. Despite, this, I had a great time. I like to read these reviews to get some tips and will share some of my experiences. We flew in the night before from Atlantic City on Spirit Airlines. We flew to Fort Lauderdale as it was far cheaper than flying into Miami. There is a train that runs from FLL to MIA for about $5 per person each way with a short free shuttle when you get to FLL. You can also rent a car for $25 for the day and take it to MIA and leave it there. We chose to rent the car as it gave us the opportunity to purchase a few items including the bottle of wine each that Carnival allows you to bring on the ship. I had arranged to stay at the Hampton Inn near Miami's Doral Mall. It is a little further out but they offer a free shuttle to their hotel and to the cruise port. It is a very clean hotel that offers a free breakfast as well. In addition, the mall is within walking distance. There is a Cheesecake Factory and other nice restaurants close by where you can walk. The area seemed safe as well. I have stayed near the airport and was afraid to leave the hotel in the past. We bough the Faster to Fun pass for the additional $50. My boyfriend hates lines and this got us onto the ship immediately where our cabin was ready. Our bags were delivered within a half an hour. Having immediate access to the room allowed us to bring out own soda, water and wine without having to drag it around the ship waiting for our room to be ready. In addition, I was able to change immediately and start my vacation. We were also the first ones off the ship and made our way through customs very quickly at debarkation. In the ship, I highly recommend going to brunch. The pork chops and cheese grits were the best things that I ate all week. Yummo!!!! In addition, you can not go wrong with the warm chocolate melting cake in the main dining rooms. In the breakfast buffet, I found the salsa to be amazing. As for the ports, we did not have the best weather in Key West but had fun anyway. We decided to forgo the bar crawl and did one of our own. Schooner's Wharf which is about a quarter of a mile form the ship has a happy hour that starts at 8AM. Of course we hit that hard. Drinks were $3. The Key West Winery and Rum Distillery both have free tastings that start at 10am. Of course we went to Sloppy Joes for drinks and bar food. I found out they have a webcam. I posted an update on Facebook and my sister saw me eating my nachos and drinking some wonderful drinks. Cozumel was beautiful. We did the BEST excursion, La Casa en La Playa. They only allow 32 people per cruise to join that excursion. Buy it before the cruise if you want to do it or else it will be gone. The tickets will say bring a towel but you don't have to. They supply one. It is $119 per person but well worth the money. They take you by taxi to this house where they treat you like their honored guests. They have waiters, a bartender and chef there to serve you. When you arrive, they greet you with a cool non-alcoholic lemonade. Then you hit the beach and the drinks start flowing. They have all top shelf liqour and will make you whatever you want. I chose the rum punch. It was incredible. They made them doubles. They provide tapas upon your arrival and later homemade nachos with very good pico. For lunch, they will set you up at a private table under the trees or serve you right on the beach. There are hammocks, beach beds, loungers and chairs all for your enjoyment. They provide umbrellas, showers and bathroom facilities. They will teach you to make guacamole. For lunch, we had the fajitas. They were wonderful. The chef also made us nutella crepes. We did shots of kahlua with them. Very good. One tip, the water is rocky. Bring water shoes. All non-motorized sports were included. There was some awesome snorkling. We could not kayak because the surf was rough that day. I will go on a cruise again to Cozumel just to do this excursion. The staff was so gracious. I have to add that on the ship, the love and marriage game was hillarious. The commedians were hysterical and towel puppet theater would be great if you have kids. I agree that the cruise director was not as present as I have experienced with other cruises but it did not detract from my experience. We stayed in an inside cabin on the Empress deck. The cabins are older but the beds are very comfortable. Calling home is now only $1.99 a minute which is reasonable. Internet access continues to be very expensive. I like that Carnival continues to give you chocolates at bedtime and makes towel animals every night. This is something that Norwegian has cut back on. When we got back to port, I took SAS transport back to FLL. Steve the owner is very accomodating, reliable and easy to deal with. The cruise was a huge bargain. We paid nder $550 for both of us. January cruising is very reasonable. I just did the Norwegian Breakaway In November and had a much different experience. The food and entertainment on the the Norwegian Cruise were higher quality but I also paid four times what I did for this cruise. I hope this helps when you are making your plans.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Carnival has downgraded service on this ship to the point of nearly non existent. While the Cabin Steward and the Waiters at dinner did their level best to make the experience enjoyable, the Captain was notably absent even from his own ... Read More
Carnival has downgraded service on this ship to the point of nearly non existent. While the Cabin Steward and the Waiters at dinner did their level best to make the experience enjoyable, the Captain was notably absent even from his own welcoming party. The officers that did attend were bored and couldn't wait to get out of there. The cruise director was a voice on the ships announcing system. Programs offered on other cruises as noted on their website were not offered on this cruise. Food was barely acceptable same menu all cruse long on the Lido deck with no change in main dishes or rotation of pastery etc. Lobster offered for dinner was a rock shrimp tail the prime rib you could see through the cut. Shore excursions were expensive and short as the port time was short in both Key West and Cozumel To add insult to injury we were returning guests who were downgraded to new guests first time sailing. When we called Carnival to express our concerns we were told we can't do anything about it we are sorry you can always take your business elsewhere which we plan to do.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Carnival Ecstasy Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 3.5 3.7
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 3.5 3.7
Family 3.5 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.5 3.7
Enrichment 2.5 3.3
Service 4.5 4.1
Value For Money 5.0 3.8
Rates N/A 4.3

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