11 New Orleans to Caribbean - Western Carnival Ecstasy Cruise Reviews

We enjoyed our time on the Elation. She is a lovely ship, very well maintained and the staff was excellent. Cruising with kids is a little different than cruising without, but it is a very hassle free vacation for a single parent like me. ... Read More
We enjoyed our time on the Elation. She is a lovely ship, very well maintained and the staff was excellent. Cruising with kids is a little different than cruising without, but it is a very hassle free vacation for a single parent like me. I will break the review down into sections. Embarkation: We loved New Orleans, driving in New Orleans was interesting with all the one way streets. At the port, no one helped with our bags and this was bit problem as my 11 year old had a cast on his arm and we had a stroller to push and luggage. As soon as we got in line, we were sent 4 steps over to the porters who then took our bags. We purchased the faster to the fun pass, which I highly recommend. Let them know you have the pass or you will get directed to the wrong line. We got on the ship quickly. Our room was ready and our luggage arrived shortly after we took our carry on's to the room. Room: Yes, it is pinkish orange but not nearly as unpealing as it looks in photos. The room was dated but clean. Our room steward was amazing. Friendly, knew our names, kept our room super clean and of course I tipped extra for that. We were in R266. Our layout was two lower twins, and two upper bunks. We requested a crib, which we placed under the one upper bunk that we used. It was perfect. We used extra sheets to give our little girl some privacy. (okay, it was really so that the boys could stay up later without disturbing her.) Sail Away Party: singing, dancing... rather blah. The pools: We did not use the pool as planned. My 11 year old had the cast, the two year is not potty trained, and the pools were to deep for my 7 year old. However, he and I did spend time in the hot tubs. The children's pool... was full of drunk adults..... Entertainment: We enjoyed the Let's Rock show, and the family friendly comedy clubs. The welcome aboard show was a waste of time. There was a lot going on the ship in the evenings. Food: Hamburgers were great, the buffet was blah, pizza was fair, and we loved the sushi bar. We are breakfast, lunch and dinner in the dinning rooms most of the time. The food seemed better, and you did not have to navigate the buffet. Our waiters were amazing. We were seated right behind the wait station. An odd location, but we got our food, drinks and service fast and we got friendly with the staff. All of our food in the dinning room was great. Loved the lobster, steak, crab cakes, shrimp cocktail and fresh fruit for my 2 year old. Our drink waiter was great. We bought the bottomless bubbles on the 2nd day (it is cheaper on the second day!) I had planned on this expenince for the kids, but I thought I would drink tea. NOT! That was the most disgusting tea I have ever drank. The desserts are pretty, but other than the chocolate melting cake and chocolate chip cookies they are not that great. The chocolate extravaganza buffet was pretty but tasteless. All in all, I was pleased with the food. minus the deserts, tea, and most of the buffet. Camp Carnival: The kids went the first morning. My 7 year old went back for about an hour on the last day. I had pre registered, gone to the parent meeting, but there was an extremely long line on the first morning of people registering their kids for the first time. We had to wait 45 minutes. Then another 15 minutes to check in the 2 year old in yet another line. The 11 year old was not impressed but when I peeked in he did seems to be having fun. My 2 year old only lasted about 45 minutes before I had to pick her up and she did not want to go again. I will say, my kids are stuck like glue to me. Lot of other kids seems to enjoy it. I did take the younger two back for the cuddly bear, which they loved. Shore Excursion: We did the Dolphin Encounter with Dolphin Discovery. We loved it. However, I will say that my youngest and I were not able to stay in the water long because it is very hard to hold a toddler wearing a life jacket and reach out to touch the dolphins. There is fence to hold onto behind you but with one arm full of child, it is all about balance and my lack of balance made my daughter unhappy. It was still fun. The park itself was great. Nice pool, beach, and sea lion show. Disembarking: With the faster to the fun we were first to get off the ship other than those self assisting. we had a stroller, so we were able to use the elevator instead of the stairs. It was breeze except at customs were I was griped at and given a non compliance slip for not having passports. Overall: We were very pleased with our vacation. The kids met people from all over the world, ate new foods, tried new things, and we bonded as a family. I would go again, but if for any longer than 4 days I would book a larger ship with more to do. The staff was great. Everyone was friendly, happy, and great service. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
We are a couple that has been on five cruises with Carnival. We traveled with two other couples. One couple has been on a Carnival cruise with us before, the other couple had never cruised and was celebrating their 25th wedding ... Read More
We are a couple that has been on five cruises with Carnival. We traveled with two other couples. One couple has been on a Carnival cruise with us before, the other couple had never cruised and was celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. We are all in the late 30's to early 50's age range. We drove from Iowa down to New Orleans, staying at two hotels along the way. The first night we stayed at the Fairfield Inn in Memphis. Nice and clean hotel, very hot "hot tub", good breakfast. The second night we stayed in New Orleans, at the Drury Inn. Very lovely hotel, clean rooms, great "kickback hour" food and drinks, great breakfast. One highlight: One of the couples checked into their room and found that there was another family already using the room! They were upgraded to a whirlpool suite at no extra charge, and that made for a nice start to their anniversary trip. PORT: We planned to park at the port and weren't sure how long it was going to take to get there. We estimated about 45 minutes but it actually only took about 20 from the Drury Inn to the Port of New Orleans. We parked in the parking garage. (Note, we had a luggage topper on our minivan and it fit just fine inside the garage). The porters had our luggage unloaded and whisked away very quickly. EMBARKATION: The smoothest, fastest embarkation we've ever encountered. Everyone had smiles on their faces, were professional and moved people along quickly. They were taking pictures in the port instead of the gangway, so there was no struggle to wait for all that. You could take pictures at your leisure. One interesting thing that happened was that the fire alarm kept going off while we waited to board. We were never asked to evacuate though. We were called to get onboard and were escorted with music and a little parade! So cute. We were onboard the ship by 11am...a new record for us. STATEROOM: Our stateroom was M116. We've had both interior and balcony staterooms in the past, and found that we prefer an interior room. Cold, dark and quiet for sleeping. Spacious bathroom and storage areas. We never did meet our room steward the entire cruise. This was a drawback, as we like to meet him/her and tip extra! We had ordered "Happy Anniversary" room decorations from Bon Voyage for our friends and they were beautiful! One thing we noticed was that the trays from Room Service were left outside in the hallway for hours at at time. (Up to 12, from what we observed). We did not order room service at all during the cruise but many of the cabins on our floor did, and it was difficult by the evening to step around/over/between all the trays at times. Since we never saw our room steward, I can't help but wonder if there was something going on and they were understaffed. We've never had anything less than stellar service in this area before. SHIP: Our room was good, but there was a strong sewage smell in the hallway and in several areas of the ship. Next time we'll try to book the Verandah deck again, up closer to the action. We really like the layout on the smaller ship class. The decor was okay, not as over the top as some of the other ships. I liked the "city" touches that were included. Most of the areas of the ship were clean and well maintained. A few of the womens' bathrooms had missing/broken/almost broken faucets. We observed employees cleaning the areas of the ship (except those room service trays) at all hours of the day and night! DINING: We decided that on this cruise we wanted to experience the Main Dining Room as much as possible. So we ate breakfast, lunch and dinner in the MDR. We did try out the Deli and Pizza as well as the Lido for a few snacks. We also visited the Sushi bar a few times. The food was great, but I really miss the old menu. The new menu didn't have as many appealing foods, and they seemed to serve many of the "favorites" on the same day. Our dining staff was WONDERFUL! We enjoyed the singing and dancing, the service was top notch. Our regular server cut her hand on the first night so they had a "new" server fill in who had never been in the MDR before. He did a fantastic job. We never met the Maitre-d'. A note about the Pizza: Every time I tried to get pizza, there was a very long line, and the only kind available was Pepperoni. The pizza guy would ask "What kind would you like?" and no matter what I said, he'd give me a slice of pepperoni. It just made me laugh. ACTIVITIES: We kept busy the entire time. The Serenity Deck was great, minus a few "chair hogs" that would hold spaces all day and never showed up. The hot tubs were nice when they were working. Several times during the cruise they were shut down for "puke" in the pool and cleaning. Other activities we enjoyed were Afternoon Tea, the comedy clubs, martini tasting, the casino (lost my $20 and that was it for me), the nightly shows, Bingo, trivia, dance lessons, and I'm sure I'm forgetting others. The comedy club was much funnier at the "PG" rating level. There were a lot of drunk hecklers at the rated "R" shows and that took a lot of time/attention away from the comics. CHILDREN'S CLUBS: We didn't bring our kids this time, but there were a LOT of children on board. We found out during the cruise that the southern schools have a "fall break" week, and this was it. While it didn't ruin our vacation, we did have to ask kids to leave the Serenity deck a few times, and there were a few "tantrums" in the dining room to listen to. PAST GUEST PARTY: This seemed like an endless advertisement for Carnival. The drinks were strong and plentiful, the appetizers were few and not great. In all our cruises we'd never been to a past guest party before so I'm not sure if it was a fluke or if they are all like this. ENTERTAINMENT: "Extreme Country" was a great show. "Dream Voyage" was a bit wacky and strange. It was quite rocky during part of the cruise but the singers and dancers had it under control. Well done! PORT & SHORE EXCURSIONS: Progresso was cancelled due to high winds, so we only stopped in Cozumel. Our excursion was booked through Carnival and was the Isla Pasion via Power Catamaran. Passion Island itself was great, but the boat to/from was having engine issues. Rather than inform the passengers of that, they left us standing on the beach, with no shade, for over 40 minutes while telling us nothing. That was the only drawback to an otherwise perfect day. The food and drinks on the island were plentiful and delicious. The hammocks were relaxing. The bathrooms and shower areas were spotless. And for those who wanted to take part in activities, there were organized games all afternoon. There were four ships in port, including the Oasis of the Seas, so that made the shopping areas very crowded. In several visits to the port, I've never had to stand in line so much/long! BEHIND THE FUN TOUR: This was an amazing tour, and I would highly, highly suggest it to anyone who is a repeat Carnival cruiser. We learned so much on this 3 hour tour! My favorite part was getting to go backstage on the theatre as well as on the bridge, but the other areas including the galley and engine room were nice too. Again, highly, highly suggest this tour! PROFESSIONAL PICTURES: We didn't purchase any of them this time, and that's a first for us. The quality just wasn't there like it has been on previous cruises. ADULT BEHAVIOR: Carnival has a reputation for being a party ship, but in all our cruises we've never seen much evidence of that. This time, however, it was a giant party day and night. Along with people vomiting, removing their clothing, etc. I'm not sure if it's the people we cruised with (mainly Southerners) or what, but it wasn't the kind of behavior we want to see. And we're not prudes, which makes us question if it's time to move on to another cruise line. DEBARKATION: Extremely well organized and fast, we were off the ship by 8:30am. The port agents really moved people along! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
This is my 3rd Carnival cruise and second to Progreso and Cozumel. When we went before we were on the Carnival Holiday which is now not sailing out of the US. Positives: Fantastic service staff that were always willing to go above ... Read More
This is my 3rd Carnival cruise and second to Progreso and Cozumel. When we went before we were on the Carnival Holiday which is now not sailing out of the US. Positives: Fantastic service staff that were always willing to go above and beyond. Great food in the dining rooms. Buffet was a different story. Decent ports. Awesome cruise director. Negatives: Dated interior. Bad ship layout - we liked the Holiday much better...basically the main pool area is where everyone congregates all the time to eat, play at the pool, drink at the bar, etc. It was loud with lot's of loud music, there were kids and those without kids lumped together. Only one small pool, not enough places for people to eat. Multiple Maintenance issues - This was the worst thing about our cruise that may cause us to not return... We sailed out on Sat and Sat night (pretty late) the toilets stopped flushing and the a/c stopped working. The toilets were fixed by 9am but then went out sporadically throughout the rest of Sun until they were fixed for good later in the afternoon. The a/c was out until very late in the afternoon on Sun. It was pretty miserable. It was almost impossible to stay indoors in the ship b/c it was so hot. The light over the mirror in our room only worked half the time. The elevators by our room did not work. 2 seemed to be out completely and the other 2 did not seem to respond when we called it. It would only come to our floor if the button was pushed from the inside. Very frustrating when you can see that the elevator is bypassing your floor several times. Also, our bathroom stunk the entire time. Apparently this ship had just come off dry dock to get issues addressed but apparently it didn't work. Embarkation/ Disembarkation issues: Someone else's luggage was delivered to our room (room 168 vs. 186) upon embarkation. We purchased some liquor in port which was supposed to be delivered to our room by 9:30pm the night before we got back to New Orleans. It did not come so we called and it seemed that it was delivered to the wrong room and we were not the only ones. They finally brought it close to midnight when we were fast asleep. Upon disembarking and going to the luggage area we discovered that one piece of our luggage was missing. The folks in the terminal were less than helpful and even made a little joke about it which I did not think was funny. Most of my clothing was in that bag. We ended up having to track it down ourselves finding out that someone else took our bag and left theirs there. Crowd on the ship: We are both professionals with kids. (We left the kids at home) There were some folks that were "our people" but a lot of the folks on the ship were the "people of Wal Mart" type. I even joked about making a "people of Carnival" site because it was so bad. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Carnival Ecstasy Review 10-22-2011 sailing out of New Orleans -Our Final Ecstasy Cruise This was our 5th Fall Ecstasy Cruise. The first 4 were out of Galveston, our closest home port. We hate to see the Ecstasy leave TX so we wanted ... Read More
Carnival Ecstasy Review 10-22-2011 sailing out of New Orleans -Our Final Ecstasy Cruise This was our 5th Fall Ecstasy Cruise. The first 4 were out of Galveston, our closest home port. We hate to see the Ecstasy leave TX so we wanted one more cruise on her before she goes to the East Coast. We will miss her. She is our favorite. We love the smaller ship and the great affordability and value we get on the Ecstasy. This cruise cost us $322 per person for 5 nights, Ocean View, Empress deck, the best location on this ship. You just can't beat that. The triumph will cost us a lot more out of Galveston. Day 1: The embarkation at New Orleans was a breeze. Easy to find the port and the parking garage (tho expensive at $80 for 5 nights) was right there next to the ship and porters were waiting to take our luggage from our trunk. We got inside in about 2 minutes, had to wait about 30 minutes in line for documents, were on board by 1230, ate lunch, and then our rooms were ready at 130. We always get room E60. (You can find the piece of paper I put in a crack near the window where it was creaking 4 years ago. I put the paper there then to stop it and it's still there....and no creak.) The first day was great as is every day on a cruise. Last year, we found things on the Ecstasy less good than normal and my review shared that disappointment, but not this year. It was the old Ecstasy. The service was "excellent" and the food was "very good". I always like "fish" dishes a lot on Carnival, but never on Royal Caribbean. Carnival really does fish well. I do hate the Caesar salad with the Anchovy dressing. It is horrible. We like the new menu, and "comfort food" selection, although I never got it. My wife got it a time or two and liked it. Still the buffet, has better desert selections than the MDR. I am not a fan of the breakfast buffet, but I think that is because Royal Caribbean's breakfast buffet is excellent. I do like the omelet station. They are delicious and worth the wait in line. We tried "Your Time Dining" for the first time on Carnival and really liked it, just like we do on Royal Caribbean. It was different, however, in that we had a different table and different servers every night. I have liked having the same servers in the past, but I have to say it was very good. We got several nice tables, mostly by a window. All servers were nice and the "extra tip" issue was not there. Tips are automatic, but we always tip our servers extra at the end of the cruise due to great service all week, but this time, we never had the same server twice. They were just as excellent as they could be, and I assume they knew no extra tip was coming. I felt no guilt about not tipping extra because it wouldn't be fair to tip only the last night servers and it wouldn't be fair to us to be expected to tip them all, so it was money saved for us and I guess it's ok for them. They seemed happy, and even more attentive than last year, but it was more money saved for us, making the cruise even cheaper. When we got home, an email was waiting saying that Carnival is upping the Automatic tipping amounts. I wonder if this has something to do with it? It doesn't bother me. Also, I noticed that when buying drinks the receipt does not have a place to add extra tip for the server. On Royal Caribbean, there is and I always add a dollar extra. So I saved money there too. Never noticed that before. I spent much less on tips this cruise. There is no better vacation deal than a cruise. Some people I know just don't get that. They think it's too expensive. Its cheaper than anything else we do. The only negative today was that the windows in our cabin were dirtier than normal and also in the Dining room, spoiling the wonderful sunset view. Day 2: Sea Day This was a great sea day as they all are. Sea days are my favorite. I like the ports, but would just as soon have mostly sea days. I see a Transatlantic in our future. The day was perfect. There was a "Technical problem" for most of the day and many of the cabins were without AC and toilets. The common areas were mostly without AC and there was limited elevator use. Our AC and toilet was working so we were lucky, but many passengers were getting really upset by the time it was repaired at 4:30 PM. Those who spent the day on deck, didn't even notice. It was great outside! Anyway, it was no inconvenience to us and forgotten quickly by everyone. Day3: Progreso, Mexico We have been to Progreso several times and have been to Merida, Dzibilchaltún, and Terra Bonita ranch and enjoyed them all. We had never been to Progreso itself, so we decided to just get off and see what we could find to do. We had a great day. True there is not much there, and the water is brown and dirty and nothing like Cozumel, which we already knew, but it's all you can do out of Galveston or New Orleans on a 5 day cruise, so it's better than nothing and very enjoyable to us. We had 1 hour massages on the beach for $25 each. Amazing!. On a cot on the beach listening to the surf and feeling the breeze reminded me of our trip to Costa Maya, which we loved. We had a good lunch at "Bubba's". We had an enjoyable city bus tour for $3 each riding on top of the open air bus. The whole day was very relaxing and fun. Shopping was typical of Mexico, but unusual in that the street venders and musicians were everywhere, and even came up to you while eating in the restaurants or sitting on the beach. They were polite and went on their way, however, when you said, "No, Thank You". It makes me uncomfortable, but you can't blame them for trying to make a living. We were disappointed that there was no show this evening on the ship. We are always disappointed now in the missing shows on port days. We really used to enjoy the special acts that were brought onboard. We do like the comedians and the new comedy club, although we do not attend the "Adult" shows. The comedian "Mutzie" was really good. The Stage shows are wonderful always, no matter how many times you've seen the same one. They usually have different singers, so that makes it a little different. Steve Cassel is always excellent as a Cruise Director. The ship entertainer, "Jerry" is amazing...exceptionally amazing and has a huge audience wherever he plays on the ship. The band "Cooper's run " was very good too. That evening, at the "Welcome Back" party, we were again amazed at the amount of free drinks and hors d'oeuvres to all who attend. We always enjoy it and think it is a really nice gesture from Carnival. At the party, we heard from the captain that there was a tropical storm , "Rena", heading for Cozumel, which is where we were heading. He said we'd be gone before it got there, but we were worried about our much anticipated day at Nachi Cocom. The midnight deck party was really fun. We were too full to eat, so we didn't, but it was a nice night and enjoyable. We always end the night with a snack on the back of the Ecstasy, looking at the ship's wake and the starry night. We will really, really, miss the Ecstasy. Day 4: Cozumel We started this day getting ready for our day at Cozumel, knowing that a Category 3 storm was due here tomorrow. The sea was really rough, but the sky was cloudless for the most part. An announcement was made that most excursions would be cancelled due to the rough conditions. We were only going to sit on the beach at Nachi Cocom, so we decided to go ahead and hope for the best. So glad we did! It was another excellent day at Nachi Cocom. Our 4th time there and each time is perfect. There were about 25 people there and the conditions were wonderful. Lots of wind and no rain and partly cloudy all day. It was weird, seeing no parasailing, snorkeling, jet skis or anything on the water. I'm sure lots of folks were disappointed in their day, but ours was perfect. We were disappointed in only one thing today. The ship parked at the International pier due to weather conditions, right next to the newer pier that Carnival usually uses. It is not as nice, but ok. Lots of people were disappointed, but we were really disappointed more when we got off and Carnival personnel were at the end of the pier near the shopping area, shouting at us to not shop here, but walk to the other pier to shop. We thought that was in poor taste, but I guess they are contractually obligated to do that. Seems unfair to the venders there, but I think most folks shopped there anyway. Back on the ship that evening, we were again disappointed that there was no show, but we always have a great time no matter what is or is not going on. There was also virtually no dancing and music in the clubs unless it was very late. I guess we need to stay up later for that. It was a very rough sea night as we escaped Hurricane Rena. Many were seasick, even my wife, who has never been seasick in 13 cruises, but she was over it pretty soon and it didn't spoil our evening. We love the rocking of the ship when sleeping and always sleep like a log on the ship. We even have Carnival pillows at home! Day 5: Sea Day Perfect! Just perfect! Not a cloud in the sky and barely a ripple in the sea as well. It was my wife's birthday and the whole day was excellent. We spent a lot of time on deck sitting in deck chairs in a secluded area taking in as much of the beautiful view and sea breeze as possible on our last day. Before dinner there was a Farewell Party in the Chinatown lounge where free drinks abounded again as in the Welcome Back party. It wasn't well publicized or well attended, though it was open to anyone. People must not have known about the free drinks. I'm not much of a drinker, but I can drink those little Whiskey Sours all day when they are free! The waiters sang to my Wife at dinner. She looked beautiful! I could do with about 10 more days just like it. Again, I see a Transatlantic in our future...one day. Other Observations: Carnival just takes too many photos. We always buy one, maybe two, as a memento, and didn't even look for all of the ones taken. It would take all day! I don't mind the photo stations set out for volunteer photos, but it is really a bother forcing photos during dinner in the MDR, and exiting the ship at ports. I wish they would stop that. On the last evening, they didn't take any at dinner and it was a noticeable improvement, not being interrupted during dinner. The photo prices are higher and even more are wasted. I just can't believe they make money due to all the wasted ones, but maybe they recycle them somehow. Only once were we offered coffee after dinner with dessert, but when asked, it was always happily served. Just noticed they didn't offer it like they used to. Also, they just placed baskets of bread on the table instead of coming around and serving it. I like that better and I'm sure the servers do too. I noticed that every time you made any transaction, you were called by name. Then come to find out, that was on the opinion survey we got via email as soon as we got home. I did notice. The crew and staff are extremely friendly and try to make your vacation great and worry free. Disembarkation: It was even more of a breeze that embarkation! We did Self Assist so we could get off early and get on the road. We had a 7 hour drive home and had to work the next day, so we wanted off early. We ate breakfast in the buffet at 630 and saw an Amazingly beautiful sunrise over the Mississippi River bridge in New Orleans. Breathtaking. Then they called for us and we were off the ship by 730. Customs was not even up and running and the agents just took our declaration page and let us go. Took about 5 minutes from being on the ship to in our car and headed home. Wow! That never happened in Galveston! We had another great cruise on the Carnival Ecstasy. We will miss her. Thanks for the Memories. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Stayed one night pre-cruise at the Wyndam Riverfront. Nice 3 star hotel. Lots of hot water and great beds. This was my first cruise with Carnival. My previous cruises have been on Princess and Royal. Chose this short cruise to give ... Read More
Stayed one night pre-cruise at the Wyndam Riverfront. Nice 3 star hotel. Lots of hot water and great beds. This was my first cruise with Carnival. My previous cruises have been on Princess and Royal. Chose this short cruise to give Carnival a try. Embaraktion: Huge room full of people, 75% of which were carrying 12 packs of soda? I thought maybe they did not sell it on board. Give you a #card and you sit down and wait for your # to be called. Was on the ship approx 45 minutes after I arrived at the pier. Stateroom: Had category 8M, extended aft balcony. This ship has few balconies. This was the first for me on an aft balconie, and i was wonderful. Will look for this category in the future. Room pretty standard. One straight back chair to sit on or the bed. Bathroom has the dreaded clinging curtain. First day out the power went out and the toilets would not flush. Lasted all day and of course no coffee etc. Card provided on he first night to order breakfast, but not offered the rest of the cruise. Nice towel animals every night. Activities: Shows poor quality, few activities, and a terrible casino. Food: The worst I have ever experinced on any ship. Your hospital cafeteria has better food. They ration the bacon at breakfast to two slices per person. Desserts are served by the crew. Service in the dining room was good, but the food was just awful. One night there was enough! Crew: Lots of smiles and everyone always spoke. Smoking: If you do not like to be around smoke STAY AWAY FROM THIS SHIP! Overpowering. The smoking goes on EVERYWHERE! There is nowhere to go to get away from it. Debarkation: Smooth and quick. Used Carnival transfer to the airport. Quick, on-time, and the cheapest way to get to the airport. I would not sail this ship again. I enjoyed the balcony. Ports no big deal as I had been to them before. Poor quality food was a real turn-off. Would not sail Carnival again u was a much larger and newer ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
I cannot for the life of me figure out why so many people complain about this awesome little ship!! Obviously there standards are too high!! While I have no other cruise lines to compare it to, the value we received in booking this ... Read More
I cannot for the life of me figure out why so many people complain about this awesome little ship!! Obviously there standards are too high!! While I have no other cruise lines to compare it to, the value we received in booking this cruise was fantastic!! Where else can you go for 5 nights out of country, have all your food provided to you (and even more than you could possibly eat), a nice room with an ocean view, have the same quality entertainment you would find in any Branson-like city, and pay less than you would for two nights plus food in Disney World?? Embarkation was very quick, and easy. NOLA seems to know what they are doing. We got there early, and boarded in Zone 1. Had lunch on board and explored the ship. The food was just a little better than at Ryans. Public Areas were clean and organized. The only "cramped" area was the atrium where the photos were sold. Cabin was as good as any Holiday Inn I have been in, and better than some!! Fitness and Recreation areas were nice... but they were not used much by us... Enrichment, if you want to call it that, was derived by the atmosphere which we loved, and the comedians! I love to laugh, and had plenty of chance for that on this ship!! Rates were superb!! We booked less than a month out and paid less than $525 including insurance!! Beat that value all you naysayers!! Dining was great and is comparable to any 3 or 4 star restaurant. No it was not an Emeril's, but the food was good. The portions were small, but they would bring more if you asked. I had no issues with the food, and it was always tasty and served with a smile! Entertainment was equal to the shows we have seen in Branson! Except Mutzy the Comedian!! He is one of the funniest I have ever seen!! I will find him on another ship to book it! There was ALWAYS something to do. If you were bored, IT WAS YOUR OWN DARN FAULT!! Service, like I said was great, Always a smile, and it was great being greeted by my name at the bar, and in the MDR!! I paid extra to all the guys and gals because they did a great job!! We only did one shore excursion in Progresso, and it was a short one to the Mayan ruins. The ruins were cool, but the guide would not shut up, and rarely talked about the Mayans, but rather Mexico and how safe it really it is. The overall value was like nothing I have seen. We have already booked two more cruises for next year, and are looking for a third, maybe on the Ecstasy out of PC. If you don't have a good experience on this ship, your expectations are too high for the value you get! Maybe I look at things simpler because I am a simple man, that works hard for his money, and appreciates what it takes to provide a service. If you are looking for a 5 star hotel, with 5 star food, a Las Vegas show, and butlers and chambermaids, look elsewhere. If you you just want decent value, good food, and great service, get on this ship. I will again! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We boarded the Ecstasy on 10-13-11 for a 4 night cruise to Cozumel to celebrate my 40th birthday. We are experienced cruisers and kinda knew what to expect on this short trip. First, let me say it is obvious there are budget cuts on ... Read More
We boarded the Ecstasy on 10-13-11 for a 4 night cruise to Cozumel to celebrate my 40th birthday. We are experienced cruisers and kinda knew what to expect on this short trip. First, let me say it is obvious there are budget cuts on the 4 day cruise. We have done this 4 day cruise in 2007 and we noticed huge differences in dining, at both the buffet and the main dining room. As far as the buffet, the lines were extremely long compared to other cruises and the options were not very well receive by any of us. Our 9 yr old son even commented that their pizza was horrible and he loves pizza. So I tried it and he was right, it was horrible. The MDR menu was so slim that a couple of the nights there wasn't really anything appetizing. And as far as service, it was not the best either. The only night my husband received what he ordered was the last night. Our waiter would NOT write anyone's orders down and it created chaos because he would bring out the wrong dishes or give people at our table the wrong order. Very unprofessional and not expected for Carnival. Our day in Coz was ruined due to rain and high winds from a tropical low that had come across Mexico from the Pacific side. Not a big deal, Carnival cannot control the weather. We made the best of it. Boys watched movies and played in the arcade and I visited the spa for a nice treat. Son loved Camp Carnival of course. They had really great activities for all age groups. This is one area where Carnival really excels. The Ecstasy staff was wonderful. Our cabin steward was Julius and he was great. Very attentive and took care of us wonderfully. My caution to folks going on this ship would be to expect a "budget-friendly" experience. This boat does not give you the full cruising experience but it is a good start for a first timer. Basically, you get what you paid for. Which is why I am really looking forward to our May 2012 trip on the RCCL Allure of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
DADDYOFTHE7SEAZ went on his second cruise with CCL. Hats off to Carnival for providing me with another great vacation and I know that Mother Nature is out of your control.Myself and the wife 45 and 38 and our 2 kids 10 and 15 boarded an ... Read More
DADDYOFTHE7SEAZ went on his second cruise with CCL. Hats off to Carnival for providing me with another great vacation and I know that Mother Nature is out of your control.Myself and the wife 45 and 38 and our 2 kids 10 and 15 boarded an Amtrak out of Memphis to NOLA. We love riding the train. We arrived that afternoon around 4:00pm, it's just an 8hr ride from Memphis. Based on Tripadvisor reviews, we picked The Quality Inn & Suites on O'Keefe. The hotel is not the Ritz but it is clean and very efficient with a great staff(triple-AAA rate was $107.00). A $7.00 taxi per person will get you to Bourbon St. or a 15minute walk. We got to Nawlins a day before the cruise to hang out on Bourbon and eat at Deanie"s Seafood, which is very good. So after a good meal and walking the French Qtr. till about 10:00pm we headed back to our room to rest up for the next day. DAY 1--Left the hotel at 11:15am and was on the ship eating on The Lido by 12:30 needless to say embarkation was a breeze and probably would have gone even faster if the computers hadn't of froze for about 30 minutes. Set sail on time no problems. Day 2--Woke up to 40 mph winds and 30ft seas and half the ship was sea sick including my wife for the next 2days. In past cruises the seaband wristband worked fine but not this time. I was so-so but stayed full of food and ate apples as that was Carnival's best recommendation. Day 3--The sea was still a little rough but not as bad as the previous day that was the good news, the bad news is that they closed The Port of Progresso due to high winds and the ship couldn't dock, so we continued on to Cozumel and had a fun day at sea. Day 4--Cozumel was great. My family and I ran The Cozumel Amazing Race, this was our shore excursions booked thru Carnival. It was very fun and a perfect spin off of the T.V. show and then ate lunch at Three Amigos before boarding the ship. Rest of Day 4 & 5 was at sea heading back to NOLA. I must say these were the best days because everything had smooth out. Back in Nawlins, the disembark went just as smooth as the embark. Woke up around 7:00am on the ship ate breakfast and waited for our number to be called and by 10:00am we were off the ship headed to drop our bags off at the Amtrak and go to Bubba Gumps before the train leaves at 1:45pm. All in all anytime your cruising is better than being at home and can't wait for June 2012 for the next one!! P.S. Went to the formal dining room once and it was just O.K. I enjoy The Lido so much, I just hang out there and demolish their various buffet's Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We just returned from a 5 night Western Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Ecstasy. This cruise marks my 5th, and I had good and bad things I noticed. First, the good: The entertainment staff was EXCELLENT. This was far and away the ... Read More
We just returned from a 5 night Western Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Ecstasy. This cruise marks my 5th, and I had good and bad things I noticed. First, the good: The entertainment staff was EXCELLENT. This was far and away the best group of musicians we've seen. There is a variety guitar player named Jerry. He is a small, older Asian man, and when you watch him, you don't expect anything like what you hear out of him. He can do just about anything. Frank, the piano bar player, was amazing. He did a lot of stuff, most of it "in character." His Ray Charles was impressive. Our stateroom steward, Augustino, was easily the best we've had. This was the first cruise I've ever felt the need to tip above the recommended amount for any staff member. The port staff in New Orleans was phenomenal. I could not have asked for nicer people doing the difficult job of check in. Now, for the not so good: This ship needs more pools. When it went through it's last drydock remodel, it lost two pools. One was on the deck with the new Waterworks, and the other is now the Serenity deck. The result is that there is only one small pool for the entire ship. Now, in fairness, we enjoyed both the waterslides and the Serenity deck, but I would gladly trade either one for another pool. The only existing pool was always crowded, with people (kids & adults) splashing water into my drinks. There also seemed to be numerous elevators out of service, leading to long wait times and ride times on the elevators. The other major problem seemed to be the design and implementation of the Lido deck buffet. There were 8 unique food lines, which sounds great, except that for lunch (when most people eat the buffet, I would say), most of the lines are only open for 2 hours. I don't ever remember on any of my other cruises that the Lido buffet is closed in the middle of the day. The pizza and deli lines were ALWAYS slow, and the Mongolian buffet ALWAYS had 20-25 people in line. On our last sea day, all of the lines were so long, we decided it would be quicker to change clothes and eat in the dining room. Overall, we really enjoyed this trip. I liked the Ecstasy, in spite of what I see as some flaws in the current configuration. One tip, if you aren't too particular about your cabin, and you book early, try the PT (porthole) class of cabins. These cost what an interior cabin costs, but you still get two portholes. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
My wife and I traveled with three other couples from Indiana to New Orleans. They guys went down by train and the gals flew down. We all went home on the train. My wife and I have been on seven cruises and this was our fifth with Carnival. ... Read More
My wife and I traveled with three other couples from Indiana to New Orleans. They guys went down by train and the gals flew down. We all went home on the train. My wife and I have been on seven cruises and this was our fifth with Carnival. We were traveling with three other couples who we had cruised with three years ago. Our group generally has a great time together, so adding a train, a cruise ship and the city of New Orleans could only add to our fun. The guys arrived Sunday afternoon and checked in to our hotel, the Hampton Inn and Suites convention center. This hotel was very clean and we were able to explore the city via trolley. The girls came in late that night and we were all able to board the ship a little after 12:00 on Monday. This was the first Fantasy class ship my wife and I had been on, so we were a little nervous about what to expect in comparison with the bigger ships we had been on with Carnival. These fears were quickly put to rest as I found the Ecstasy to be a wonderful ship. We enjoyed the shows, but I do not like the fact that there are some nights with no show and they just play games like jeopardy and minute to win it. We also liked the late night comedians, but they were on the same nights as the shows, so you had to choose. In a perfect world, that could have been planned a little better. Our group really had a ball in the piano bar. I must say, this is an area I have never really frequented in all my other cruises, but we had an absolute ball in this bar. Please check out Frank if you ever get a chance. He truly made an impression on our group. Our stops were Progresso and we did the Corona beach party. I know a lot of people encourage you to go it alone in Progresso. I am so glad we did not follow that advise. There was military personnel everywhere and we were bused right to our excursion. We enjoyed the beach, the beer and the food. The girls got massages and our guide Alan brought the guys all kinds of food. In Cozumel, we did the best excursion I have ever been on. The dune buggy beach break was incredible. Our guides, Monty and Arturo took us through a small Mayan ruin, crocidiles, snorkeling, a light house and a real nice Mexican meal. The dune buggy ride was much more relaxing than I had anticipated. I highly recommend this tour. In conclusion, we enjoyed our time on the Ecstasy and I would love to sail her again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
This was a great cruise and a good value even though we lost money by waiting to buy it. Our itinerary took us from New Orleans to Costa may to Cozumel and back . The onboard experience was nice we had great service people. I would have ... Read More
This was a great cruise and a good value even though we lost money by waiting to buy it. Our itinerary took us from New Orleans to Costa may to Cozumel and back . The onboard experience was nice we had great service people. I would have created it higher if I didn't think we were being scammed by one of the stateroom cleaners. My wife forgot her shoes for formal night so we rented a pair from the formalities shop. she wore them and put them away just in case we needed them again. We didn't use them again and one of them strangely disappeared from our stateroom. my wife is anal about where she puts things so she noticed immediately. We asked our stateroom guy about the shoe and he recovered it and returned it within 5 minutes. His explanation was maybe it was picked up with the beach towels. Well the towels were never near the shoes, and when we asked for more beach towels he asked where were the ones we were given. DUH! you took them! It wasn't a major issue, he got us some towels. The only reason we wanted the towels were to insure we wouldn't get the $22 charge for each lost beach towel. We weren't charged for anything other than what we bought onboard. Besides that the cruise was great. Costa Maya: My wife thought we were unlucky to book a cruise to Costa maya. this is a little fishing town in the early stages of becoming a tourist spot. we absolutely loved it. we chose to take a chance and decide what we'd do once we were on shore. We booked a day at tequila beach with a local outfit. We paid $30 each and we were taken to a beach just a few hundred yards away from the amin beach everyone was going to anyway. We had unlimited drinks and less people to deal with. there's a local man that lives in the middle of the beaches. I got a hand carved monkey made form a coconut for $2. a good gift for my younger brother. he also threw a few oranges on a rock when we finally realized he was getting iguanas to come out for us to see. the people are very nice. Do understand that on the main beach there's a small market and people will try to sell you their items. On out beach there aren't any vendors and we actually walked to the other when we decided to shop. My advice is to shop with the locals first and stop by the dock vendors on the way back to the ship. there's some great little shops at both Costa Maya and Cozumel. I snorkeled right off the beach. It wasn't extravagant but I did see some fish, including 2 barracuda. there's snorkeling tours, horseback riding, jet skis, and parasailing right on the beach for great rates. I got my wife a 30 minute message for $15. she loved it. Jet skis can be rented for $40 per 1/2 our and it's $50 on the larger beach. Given there's more at the other beach , but in my opinion we got our day relaxing in the sun for a far better price. I loved this place and the fact that it is so new led me to believe I saw a diamond in the rough. It will never be the same a year from now. By the way if you like pina coladas, we had the best I've ever tasted. they use real Coconut milk. My friend says he was told coconut milk is natures laxative. I told him it is definitely natures' Relaxative. I want to go back before all the building are complete. this will definitely become a resort town. Costa Maya: There's far more to do in this well established tourist hot spot. It's a great place and you have so many options. we once again went ashore, but this time we skipped the tours all together. there are shops as soon as you get off he boat. we rented a jeep and travelled the entire paved part of the island. the beaches are gorgeous. we visited the mayan ruins. It's wasn't too interesting. it was pretty boring looking at old buildings and rocks. if you want mayan ruins go to the main land. the highest point was walking up on a huge iguana. We took off one way and he went the other, however I returned for a photo. HE started bobbing his head like on the discovery channel it was fun. he was so big he could barely run away and I could have easily caught him if I wasn't afraid. from there we made various stops at beaches. you have to see them. most were pretty open to the sea so surfing would be a good thing to do but we just watched the waves and walked the beaches. We chose to skip Punta Sur ( an eco park) due to the time we spent on the beaches and exploring. we were trying to make it to chacanaab park. We made so many stops we couldn't enjoy chacanaab and decided to go back to town. I wanted to go to carlos & charlies, a popular bar and restaurant, but I didn't want to eat there. We asked a local about good mexican food and he advised Carlos and charlies or senor frogs. I explained I wanted a real local restaurant. He walked me to a restaurant right around the corner from senor frogs and near the rental parking lot. It was truly authentic. there was no AC , only fans, it was a little warm. The owner was really nice and hospitable and I took his advice on my beer and it was great. similar to corona but better, much better. The food was absolutely great. I was afraid to ask for water but man I wish I could have had a few extra helpings. I live in Texas and I now realize what we have is very Americanized and not authentic. I had chilled rellenos, only because I recognized the name. I had forgotten it was stuffed pepper and I never was crazy about stuffed peppers but my mind quickly changed. My wife loved her dish just as mucha nd we exchanged a little. As I said I live in Austin TX , but I grew up in Louisiana and i know good food. This was great food. after filling ourselves we went to Carlos and Charlies. It's a very festive atmosphere and it's well know for it's 1 /12 foor drinks. The drink tasted great but it wasn't nearly as strong as advertised. maybe we should have stuck with a margarita or daiquiri. we completed our shopping and headed back to the boat full as ticks from the food . i forgot to mention the cuban cigars and jewelry we picked up near the restaurant. I don't smoke but these were good cigars. Oh well back to the ship. Entertainment: the shows were great. The adult comedy shows seemed to be better than the others. We had a blast at them. All the other shows are oK. My only real complaint is the holiday show. there's 2 main singers and the female singer has a great voice, but eh male needs a new line of work. he's nothing more than a lounge singer. he has a nice voice but nothing to lend him a leading spot. He must be the captain's son. He killed a great show. We enjoyed the night life. there's many bars to frequent and we enjoyed jaw jabbing with some college students From OU. Of course they pulled the we beat texas card and I dropped the LSU beat the tar out of you card. did I mention I'm originally from Louisiana. they left em alone to say the least but they were a blast. I did meet a wonderful family at breakfast and they actually loaned me my snorkel gear. Thanks Guys! If you have kids and are thinking about the arcade room it's not free. the casino is OK if you're in to that. they actually have a class to teach you how to play the games. I missed it but some people were pretty successful after the class. You can watch some of the shows and information gatherings on your TV later in the night. THe hairy chest contest didn't interest me or my wife. The onboard fear factor didn't either besides the dirty blonde in the contest. The salsa dancing class was fun. we missed the line dancing but I'm sure we'd have enjoyed those as well. there is always something to do. To occupy your time onboard. Remember sleep is a needed commodity. There is always contest and things you can win. the whole cruise I was hoping to win something. some lady won over $200, 000 while we were cruising. There's bing for $10 a ticket. it gets better as the cruise goes on. I won a $600 piece of art on the last day of the cruise. My wife had just got back and stated we weren't lucky enough to win anything and should stop wasting our time. I told her I'm always lucky when we're together and she's not griping. 2 numbers later I was a winner. YAH! Food: good but nothing to write home about. The all night pizza sucks, but the younger crowd didn't mind. Room service is better but only if you order something you know. the menu items weren't tasty other than the shrimp salad Sandwich. i was much happier with BLTs, ham& cheese and PB & J sandwiches. The fruits are very tasty and fresh I always got a fruit bowl with room service. The buffet was good and burgers and hot dogs are good. like I said the food is good enough for me. Don't miss your seat in the main dining room on the last night. stuffed crepes were good but not filling. Desserts were all great. even the low carb cheesecake was good. Bring plenty of extra money for shopping on and off the ship. liquor is cheaper on and off the ship we have 6 bottles to prove it. Don't buy cuban cigars if you don't plan to smoke it before debarking. Buy a soda card if you plan to drink coke or sodas. fruit punch and juices are free along with coffee and cappuccino on the lido deck. Take as many photos with the photo staff they do a great job. we didn't expect to buy any but a few we just couldn't pass up on and we wanted more. Buy single use cameras before you board the ship. don't forget 2 or 3 underwater cameras. I paid $8 for a decent one and $12 onboard for a lesser brand. basically make your cruise what you want of it. It's a great way to spend a vacation. don't be afraid of the local vendors they are just trying to sell you something and it's how they make a living. But you can talk them down to get even better deals. Read Less
Sail Date March 2005
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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