162 Port Canaveral (Orlando) Carnival Ecstasy Cruise Reviews

I have previously sailed the CCL Freedom and Legend so I have a rather lofty basis for comparison. The ecstasy is the second oldest ship in Carnival's fleet. This trip included me, my sister and my 16 year old niece. Since we live ... Read More
I have previously sailed the CCL Freedom and Legend so I have a rather lofty basis for comparison. The ecstasy is the second oldest ship in Carnival's fleet. This trip included me, my sister and my 16 year old niece. Since we live here in Florida, it’s only a little over a two hour drive to Port Canaveral so no hotel or flights for us (woo-hoo! We shared ocean-view cabin 171 on the Empress deck (7) which was a good location because it was close to both the lido buffet and our dining room. The flip-down bunk for the kiddo folds out of the wall and was in the way until our room steward came to put it away after we left for breakfast. If you have a choice – get a room where the extra bunks come out of the ceiling instead because they tend to be directly over the bottom beds and are not in the way. By the time I realized I could just turn the beds the other way, it was day 4. The Ecstasy had previously undergone many upgrades including the addition of the Serenity area (more on that later), a refresh to the lido buffet and the pool and probably some decor. Overall, the ship looked very nice. You could tell they had added some things because they were in places that didn't seem logical to me vs. placement of same things on newer ships. This ship does have the two new pool bars – Blue Iguana and Red Frog (great!) and the pool looks nice though there are few hot tubs (4 total) on this one. There is a whole water park on an upper deck, but sadly we never got to use any of the slides due to them closing at 5 every day and someone’s kid ruining it for everyone by having a leaky diaper which made them close the whole thing for the rest of the cruise - ??? (boo). The Serenity area on this ship is aft (fine), but in order to actually get to it, you have to go all the way to the back right corner of the lido buffet and down some stairs OR cut through the back right corner of the comedy lounge (????). There are no easily visible signs pointing you to it. Once there, we didn't have much trouble getting chairs (in January), but since Serenity is really small on this ship – grab a spot on sea days early. They have two hot tubs here, but they were not very hot and they were small and noisy (pumps). No bar in Serenity like on other ships, but there is waiter service. This ship was missing the giant movie screen that the other ships have, but we found plenty of other things to do at night. Stargazers tip – if you go all the way to the bow on the mini-golf course deck, there is a narrow walkway in front of the slanted glass windbreak where you can sit down against the glass and see all the stars. It’s dark because the bridge needs most of the lights off up there so they can see. Bring your pool towel to lay on and you butt fits right into the bottom curve of the window ledge. On board entertainment was good. We saw 4 comedy shows (my favorite) and watched Hasbro – The Game Show in the main show lounge which is rather fun. We watched the infamous “hairy chest contest” for the first time (when I take Hubby – he is sooooo not interested in that). It was hilarious! We went to the dance club on one night but stayed only 5 minutes because the smoke was so bad. I wish they would ban smoking in there along with the balconies! On The Legend, the club has two levels with smoking upstairs only so I was able to go dance for over an hour. Service was really good all around. I don’t think I remember actually understanding a word our cabin steward said (his accent was heavy), but he was friendly and did a good job. Everyone in the dining room was good too. Our server, a nice Russian lady named “Lucy” was super fun, but mysteriously kept bringing extra appetizers and sometimes extra entrees for random people at our 9 person table. Some crew members were friendly enough to say hello as we walked past, but others didn't (captain and first officer). Food quality was very good – no complaints there. The flat iron steak is my favorite along with lobster and crab cakes. Who can skip a warm chocolate melting cake…not me! There were plenty of things to choose from and on the 1 night that we ate at the buffet, I was able to have my steak and baked potato…and saved room for some pizza later. I love the pizza! I don’t know why exactly, but it’s so good. There was a midnight Mexican buffet on lido one night – very tasty. Weather in the Bahamas was crummy on both days – rainy and overcast. I actually wore a jacket. We didn't have any tours planned as this was a first cruise for my sister and she was happy just walking around looking at things. Shopping was fun and we found plenty of things to buy. Don’t miss the rum cake store in Nassau hidden in an alley next to a Burger King near the straw market – there are free rum cake samples. There is free wifi at McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts in Nassau too. Over all, this cruise was a lot of fun. My sister and niece really enjoyed themselves. I caught myself comparing the Ecstasy to the Freedom the whole time, but we were just going cheap on this one so I wasn't picky on what ship was going to the Bahamas. If I do another “girls week off” trip, I’ll choose a larger ship just because I like all the goodies that the Funship 2.0 program has added to most of them.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
My husband and I are in our late 40s and we drove to Port Canaveral from our home in NC. This was our first cruise and we chose this one because we felt it was the "Wal-Mart" of cruises ~ cheap with low expectations. Having heard ... Read More
My husband and I are in our late 40s and we drove to Port Canaveral from our home in NC. This was our first cruise and we chose this one because we felt it was the "Wal-Mart" of cruises ~ cheap with low expectations. Having heard so many stories (good and bad), we thought there might be chance that we would take the "24 hour guarantee" but luckily we didn't. It didn't take long for us to realize that we were unfair to Carnival by calling this a "wal-mart" cruise. We had a great time and will go again next year! We chose mid-Dec. to cruise to avoid the expensive holiday rates and the k-12 kids which worked out great; I can count on one hand how many children we saw. Unfortunately, we didn't consider the college crowd! All the colleges were out that week and the ship was full of students blowing off Fall semester steam. We didn't mind, they were funny and thoroughly enjoyed all the Lido deck parties. :) We had a room on deck 11 which we quickly figured out was the best place to be on this ship. Considering the ship only had 12 decks, we saw how cram packed the lower decks were. Even though we were on the same deck as the Lido (party) deck, our room was amazingly sound proof. On our balcony we could hear the music loud and clear but inside the cabin it was dead silence ~ we didn't even hear the guests in the rooms on either side of ours. The buffet food was just ok, and the dining room served most of the same foods only slightly better prepared. We had the "anytime dining" and had excellent, friendly service every time. We avoided most of the buffet for lunch (the chicken tenders and fries were good) but the pizza was horrendous; the deli was fantastic and our preferred lunch area. My advice: eat breakfast and dinner in the dining room, then head to the buffet for your ice cream (it seems to be a cruise ritual to get an ice cream cone every chance you can get ~ we followed this rule very closely!) In Freeport we took a Nature Tour of the Lucayan National Park which included: kayaking in the Lucayan park mangroves (awesome!), lunch in a covered pavilion on the beach (basic sandwich supplied), fed the raccoons our bread crusts (awesome!), spent 2 hours on a pristine beach with almost no one else, short walk through the park with guide narrating (and raccoons following), fed fish, then back to the ship. Our guide was fantastic and we would totally do this tour again. At port, we ate fried conch; which was good; a little chewy but tasty. In Nassau, we [unfortunately] bought into the "amazing shopping experience" hype and spent too much only silly Tanzanite jewelry. (Don't buy the "hurry before it's all gone" bull they feed you). But we got some good deals on t-shirts at Del Sol with the $25 coupon book (good for all shops in the Carribean/Bahamas, so keep it for your next cruise!) After shopping we had lunch at a local Asian restaurant and it was great. Then we headed to Tortuga's where my husband got a bottle of rum and enjoyed the rest of his day! In the afternoon, we took the Sea & See tour which was a little lame, but at least we got to see the town of Nassau without having to navigate our selves and we got a great boat ride down the inlet to see the over-priced movie stars' homes. Day at sea: Things to do: play the trivia games, play bingo, see the shows, enjoy the silly antics at the Lido pool, get to the comedy shows early for a seat, drink and be merry. Avoid: the casino, the art auction (total BS), towel animal theater, the Adults-only Serenity pool, and any expectation of getting a lounge chair on the Lido deck. At Little Stirrup Cay/Key (a.k.a. Coco Cay) we rented a tiki umbrella for the day on the quiet side of the island. For $49 buck (for 2), you get 2 giant bottles of water, a bottle of champagne, chips n' salsa, and 2 chaise lounges. It was so far from all the "party" spots and you can walk out 300 yards to see the stingrays with the water only rising to your knees. It was the most relaxing and peaceful day of our trip. We are totally spoiled having stayed in a junior suite (the only "mistake" we made as first time cruisers) but to be honest, we would not have been content in a smaller room even if it had a window because unless you have your own balcony, you have no where to go to get away from it all. I like crowds, but sometimes I just want some private, peaceful moments to myself. Our room was very spacious but we got a great deal on it. Tips: Go in mid-December when the ships are not full so lines are scrambling to fill them up with extreme discounts; wait until 2 weeks prior to sailing for the best prices, then pay for a balcony room, get upgraded to a junior suite 2 nights prior to sailing. No joke ~ we paid $500 each for a junior suite cabin on the Verandah deck (6 months earlier, the same cabin was $1,200 each!). AND, because we had a jr. suite, we had VIP embarkation, which meant we sailed passed all the lines and boarded the ship within 10 minutes of stepping into the building. Even though they are more expensive, it's best to book your shore excursions through the cruise line ~ no matter what happens on your excursion, that ship will not leave without you if you book through them! Unless you can drink at least 6 cocktails or 9 beers per day every day, do not waste your money on the $49/day/pp booze card (they cap you at 15 drinks so it's not exactly "unlimited"). Buy booze on the ship on the last day after 7pm that way you still get the discount and you can take it with you ~ which means you can start drinking it immediately (don't believe the BS that they will "run out"). Buy anything from the ship gift store on the last night of the cruise ~ steep discounts in there! (A hoodie on day 1 was $69 but on day 5 was $29). Want to get off the ship quickly on the last day? Go with the first group regardless of your "number" (they don't check) but make sure you have your room key, picture ID, passport, and declaration form IN YOUR HAND or you'll be taken off the line. We learned a lot on our first cruise and I hope our experience helps you!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
An awful gas filled the ship for most of the trip, smelled like sewerage/sulfur. My husband and I had an awful time breathing,as did alot of the other passengers. Our room was changed when we complained and we were able to breathe somewhat ... Read More
An awful gas filled the ship for most of the trip, smelled like sewerage/sulfur. My husband and I had an awful time breathing,as did alot of the other passengers. Our room was changed when we complained and we were able to breathe somewhat better as long as we were in the new room on the 7th level. It wasn't until the 3rd day that my husband was able to come out of the room for a little while. I was determined to make the best of it and waited until the rush to go onshore was over so that I would not have to wait long to disembark. On our last day, we both went offshore but were so full of whatever was in the air that we could barely walk around without stopping to catch our breathe. We really couldn't wait to get off this ship and were thrilled when we did. This elation was soon beaten down when we find out that we ended up returning to a different terminal than we left from. We parked in handicap parking, which was close to the terminal we departed from. Makes sense, huh? Now, with the change in terminals we are the furthest parking away from the ship! Best yet to come.... We called Carnival to complain and were on hold for 45 mins. The customer service agent offered us no compensation for our suffering. We were told that it would be put on our profile and maybe someone would get back to us. We are platinum members of Carnival, but this may be our last cruise with them. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
A little background - this was a getaway cruise for me and my three daughters, ages 19. 16, and 12. We needed the break after some rough family stuff (grandma passed away) in November and were really excited about it because we'd ... Read More
A little background - this was a getaway cruise for me and my three daughters, ages 19. 16, and 12. We needed the break after some rough family stuff (grandma passed away) in November and were really excited about it because we'd sailed the Ecstasy in March and loved it! Embarkation was smooth and painless - our cabin was ready (we're platinum), and we headed right up to the Lido deck for lunch. The food and beverage service throughout the whole cruise were exceptional. Whether in the dining room, at the Taste Bar, Pizza Pirate, Deli or Lido Deck buffets, the food was hot, fresh, and good. Our cabin steward was a little "off" - he didn't seem to understand the concept of waiting for a response, but would knock and enter immediately. We spoke first to him about it, and when that didn't work, went to guest services and complained and that took care of the issue. However, other things about him and about our service from him were just not up to par - while he seemed personable enough, and I can't really put my finger on any one specific thing (except that we NEVER had enough towels - not once ... well, once - the first day after I wrote him a note and left a small tip requesting that he give us a fourth beach towel and two more towels for the bathroom - but never again - and since that should be expected, I didn't feel the need to tip additionally from then on) but he kind of creeped all of us out, the room wasn't as clean as we are used to (I cleaned the dust off the ledges of the fold-down beds and it left a washcloth pretty dirty when I was done) and service was inconsistent throughout our cruise. While we did have a really good time, and the Punchliner's club (Scotty K and Tony Esposito were on our sailing) was a blast, the entertainment left a bit to be desired. That said, Shane - who hosts trivia and the comedy club - was hysterical and I truly enjoyed interacting with him and being entertained by him. The production shows were okay - I miss the live band, but they do a reasonable job and all of the featured singers have excellent voices. Oddly, there were two nights when there just wasn't anything for a family to do together after dinner- there were activities in Circle C and O2, but the main show lounge hosted an "18 and over" event (I think it was the love and marriage show, but it explicitly stated in the Fun Times that it was for 18 and over only -which struck me as odd the next day when they were airing it on the tv). Circle C and O2 experienced a few hiccups, too, when dancers did not show up for promised dance classes, sending the directors into a tailspin trying to organize something on the fly - my 16yo loves stuff like that, so she was pretty disappointed when the dancers didn't show, but came back laughing over how flustered the activities director was - she said "he'd never make it in the 'real world' working with teenagers because he just expects everything to be perfect and flips when something doesn't work". The bands and guitarists around the ship were fairly decent - I wouldn't write home about them, but they didn't make me run screaming, either. The cruise director, Jacques, has trouble saying his "r", so we had some fun in our cabin mimicking him - but he did a decent job as well. Not too annoying on the PA system. Honestly, though, I think that Matt Mitchum, the cruise director when we were on in March, ran a much tighter ship, provided more options for entertainment and activities, and the lack of these things were noticible. The Welcome Aboard show appears to have been retired - instead they ran Motor City the first night and then repeated it again later in the cruise, alternating it with The Brits, which also ran a second night. Would I book Ecstasy again? Not sure - I love the Carnival product, and the ship is really kind of a fun little ship with the Rolls Royce Cafe and the decor, but until she has a new CD, I think I'll hold off. We had a good time, but that's because we know how to make our own fun - three of five nights were great with entertainment and the other two were seriously lacking (repeated shows, nothing for those under 18, etc). Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
I went on this cruise with 15 of my friends to celebrate the end of the semester. I have been on a number of cruises before while others in my group have never been on a cruise. Overall, I had a great vacation because I was with friends ... Read More
I went on this cruise with 15 of my friends to celebrate the end of the semester. I have been on a number of cruises before while others in my group have never been on a cruise. Overall, I had a great vacation because I was with friends (and the price was nothing to complain about). Here's a little breakdown of the cruise: Faster to the Fun - the best thing I ever did. I was on board the ship at 11:30am. Embarkation went very smoothly and our room was ready. I was sitting down and having lunch on the lido deck by noon with no lines and lots of tables available (this wasn't the case later in the day when the rest of my group got on board around 1pm). Food. Food was really great. The dining room was fantastic - both food and service! Every night there would be multiple entrees I would want to try! Our orders always came quickly and were the right temperature. If we ever didn't like something (which was rare) our server was always happy to get us something else very quickly and always wanted to make sure that we were happy. Also, in regards to food - go to the dining room for breakfast. It is much more relaxing than the lido deck and room service breakfast was not as great. Even go to the dining room on disembarkation day - it's the best thing to do and you do have the time to do it! Cabin. We had an interior cabin. What I thought was odd was that instead of having a drop-down bunk for our third person, a trundle bed was brought in. This took up a lot of space (that we really didn't have to begin with) and the trundle bed was always out during the day, whereas the cabins that did have bunks were put away during the day. Also, there was no hair dryer. I had to ask multiple times for one before finally getting one to the cabin. Seemed rather odd that the cabin did not come with a hair dryer automatically. And the doors did not automatically close/lock to the cabin. This to me is a fire and safety hazard. Activities. Nothing lasted more than 30 minutes. Even the shows were 30, 40 minutes tops. It seemed that we were always being shuffled off to another acitivity. I also felt that there wasn't a great variety of activities for everyone. It seemed that they were trying to sell you something or get you to buy booze at events. Normally when I go on cruises, there are multiple events that I want to go to throughout the day. On this cruise, I would look at the schedule and not really see anything that interested me. The ship overall. It is an older ship that has been refurbished. I've been on similarly sized ships before and loved it. I felt that the Ecstasy did not have as many places to go and relax throughout the day besides the lido deck, serenity, and the numerous bars. On other ships, I've enjoyed relaxing in the library, various lounges, and on the promenade deck. On the Ecstasy, there was no true promenade deck. I always liked to take walks around the promenade deck or relax on a lounge chair there with a good book and watch the world go by. The only deck that was similar to a promenade deck was the lido deck, but it did not wrap around the ship entirely (so you couldn't do a lap) and as you got closer to the buffet, tables were set up for people to eat. There was a jogging track, but it was not covered and it wrapped around the mini-golf course (always was kind of worried about slipping on a rouge golf ball). The showroom aka The Blue Sapphire was okay. There were not many seats in the theater with good views unless you were in orchestra and in the front. Otherwise you either had to deal with an overhang from the mezzanine or a pillar. The seats in the mezzanine were not true stadium tiered seats so it was sometimes a little hard to see over someone's head (and I'm 5'8"). One thing that I did like was the various photo stations with the professional photographers. My friends and I got some great photos of us on the ship and there were so many different backgrounds to choose from. Just a tip for first time cruisers - if you don't like your photos, please put them in the recycling bins nearby - it helps clear up space for when more photos are put out as the cruise continues. By the end of the cruise, the photo staff had to set up tables with piles of photos because there was not enough space in the regular display areas on the walls. Ports. We stopped in Freeport, Nassau, and Little Stirrup Cay. I've been to all three ports before. There's nothing really exciting about any of them. In Freeport, the port has free wifi so there's that. Some of my friends took a taxi to a beach in Freeport and had fun. I chose to stay on board and enjoyed the pool while everyone else was away (it was nice and quiet). I didn't do much in Nassau either. A safety warning had been recently put out recommending that all passengers take the ship's shore excursions and not to wander on your own. And since I have been to Atlantis before, I decided to enjoy the ship. While in Little Stirrup Cay I relaxed on the beach. The water was cold (which I expected for December in the Bahamas) and had the buffet that was set up on the island. The buffet was okay. In the future I would make sure to get off the boat on the first tender and then head back for lunch on board. The tender service was pretty awful. It took an hour to get back on board in the afternoon and I had left earlier because I wanted to beat the last minute rush. I didn't go on this cruise for the ports, so I wasn't as disappointed as some other folks were. For some really nice islands, I would recommend Grand Cayman or Aruba when looking at cruise iteneraries. Overall, I had a good time because I was with friends and made the most out of it. Would I cruise on Carnival again? Probably not. I've cruised on Carnival before (a long time ago and the food was awful back then, so I was pleasantly surprised to see such an improvement in that area). The price would have to be really worth it for me to go again. I've felt that I have enjoyed cruising more on other cruise lines.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
My wife and I went on a 5 night cruise to the Bahamas aboard the Ecstasy. This is our 2nd cruise together and we are in our late 20s. This cruise greatly exceeded our expectations! The ship even though is old, was packed with fun. The food ... Read More
My wife and I went on a 5 night cruise to the Bahamas aboard the Ecstasy. This is our 2nd cruise together and we are in our late 20s. This cruise greatly exceeded our expectations! The ship even though is old, was packed with fun. The food was awesome. The shows were fun, and the ports of call were phenomenal. This review is based on the overall experience. CABIN: We had an oceanview on deck 6 forward. The room is a little outdated, but we barely spent any time in it. Lots of storage space and a comfortable bed. The rooms are not very sound proof, and generally need a renovation. Our cabin steward was great, greeted us by name and made sure we had everything we needed. DINING: We had anytime dining at the WindStar. The food was amazing on most nights. We especially liked the "didja" menu section, and got to try Escargots, Alligator tail, and Frog legs. The food was always well cooked and very delicious. Desserts were phenomenal, the warm melting chocolate cake was our favorite. Lunch buffet on the lido deck was mediocre however. We stuck with hotdogs and the mongolian grill. Pizza wasn't the best either. Still, the dining experience deserves 5 stars. ENTERTAINMENT: We watched the Motorcity and Brits shows. Both were fun musicals, but we would have preferred them to be longer than 45 minutes. The christmas show was good and we were pleasantly surprised how they involved the kids! The adult comedy shows were funny, but they were really late starting at 11pm. We had a lot of fun on this ship. Carnival really delivered their fun for all motto. The fun day at sea lived up to its name. We also were on the wall of fame on two nights and loved our free photos! PORTS & SHORE EXCURSIONS Little stirrup cay was amazing. We did yoga on the beach, which we highly recommend! The beaches were crystal clear and white sandy beaches. To snorkel you have to get a vest, even if you have your own equipment. There's a sunken ship and plane, we saw some of them, but my wife was stung by jellyfish so we had to swim back to shore. Nonetheless we had a great time here. Nassau, we did the carnival aquaventure excursion at Atlantis. I was worried Atlantis would sell out since there were 5 other ships in port that day. So we got the tickets through carnival for 180$ each. It is definelty overpriced, and to wait for the party to all assemble we arrived at Atlantis at 9:30. I think we could have gone there earlier if on our own, and probably got the same tickets for 125$. The waterslides and the current river were so much fun. We lost our sunglasses when our tube flipped with a big wave in the current river. But honestly we were having so much fun we didnt really care! We also went to the aquarium and the beach. Freeport, we took a taxi (5$ per person each way) to Lucaya. Went to the Grand Lucayan free beach. It was breathtaking. Crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches and lots of fun. Theres also a shopping area just across. SERVICE: All staff members were happy and fun to interact with. Service was prompt. VALUE: Well worth it. Unbeatable fun for the price. DISEMBARK Very easy. Although it was a little chaotic in the port because people weren't following the lines. We did the cruise line shuttle to Orlando airport. VERDICT 5 stars well deserved. We had a fantastic time. Great holiday vacation. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Carnival Ecstasy and Brilliance of the Seas: Nine nights back to back with a sprint across Florida Our last back to back cruises were several years ago on Carnival Inspiration. I have fond memories of that trip, and the serenity of the ... Read More
Carnival Ecstasy and Brilliance of the Seas: Nine nights back to back with a sprint across Florida Our last back to back cruises were several years ago on Carnival Inspiration. I have fond memories of that trip, and the serenity of the changeover day. This back to back was decidedly different. My wife and I originally booked a cruise for her thirtieth birthday on the 12/16/13 Brilliance of the Seas voyage. Then a few months ago she entered a cruise giveaway that Carnival was offering travel agents. She ended up winning a free cruise on the Carnival Ecstasy for the 12/12/13 sailing. So a back to back it became. The only problem? Ecstasy and Brilliance sail from opposite sides of the state. Ecstasy from Port Canaveral, and Brilliance from Tampa. Could it be done? Only time would tell. Day 1, The Ecstasy, Port Canaveral, 12/12/13: There was no rush getting down to the ship on Thursday. We stopped in Maitland and visited their Holocaust memorial. After the exhibit we continued on to the port. We got lunch on the way to avoid the chaotic mess that is the buffet during embarkation. The parking lot at the Radisson was busy, but we eventually got on the shuttle and headed to the ship. The Ecstasy was pulled up to Terminal 5, the very same terminal that I took my first cruise from back in the early 90s. Check-in went quickly, I like that Carnival still has a VIP security line and departure lounge. We were on the ship within a half hour, around 2 in the afternoon. The cabins were already open so we were able to drop our stuff off and get some rest before the muster drill. Our cabin was U157, an ocean view room on Upper Deck. It was in good shape, and had the big shower (for a cruise ship) that I've come to appreciate on the Fantasy Class ships. It was also close to the self service laundry ruin, which was convenient. I wish all cruise lines had guest accessible laundry facilities. I last cruised on the Ecstasy in September of 2012. Not much has changed on board, but I did notice that they had decorated the atrium and some other areas for Christmas. Everything was still very clean and well maintained. The only other notable change was the addition of the Taste Bar, which replaced the old sushi bar on the promenade. The ship's decor is still definitely old school Carnival, certain areas looking as if they were festooned by a lunatic with a kaleidoscope fetish. Still, I feel immediately at home and at ease on a Fantasy Class ship. It was after all, a cruise on the Sensation that got me started with Carnival back in 1999. Since then, fifteen of my twenty Carnival cruises have been on ships of the class. No other breed of cruise ship has garnered so much of my time and attention. I'm fairly certain that I could be set about to wander blindfolded aboard one of them and make my way around fairly easily. The only negative is that the newest one is now nearly fifteen years old. Carnival will undoubtedly begin retiring and transferring the old workhorses within the next few years. It will be a sad day when the Carnival fleet loses the last Fantasy clone. We reluctantly attended the muster drill which dragged on for a small eternity. There was a time when Carnival discontinued the march from the mustering stations on Promenade Deck up to the life boat stations on Lido Deck. Apparently the practice has been revived, and it adds about 30 minutes to what was once a fifteen minute affair. When we finally escaped the Lido Deck we changed into our gym clothes and stopped by the new Taste Bar. My first experience with the Taste Bar was on Fascination earlier this year. While I missed the sushi, it was nice to try different samples each night. This offering was a pork dish and some type of tomato soup. It wasn't great, nor was it bad. We then got our exercise out of the way in the gym. There is nothing much to report about the gym. The facility is adequate and clean. They do need to ratchet up on their maintenance efforts, my elliptical felt a little clunky and worn out. For dinner we were assigned "my time dining" and had no trouble getting a table for two when we arrived at the Wind Star dining room. The table was exactly six inches from the tables on either side of it, but a table for two nonetheless. We all tried to avoid awkward glances. Our serving team did a good job, but the food quality wasn't up to the same standard that I've had on my last few Carnival cruises. Now one could argue that I haven't done a Carnival cruise sober since 2011, all of my CCL cruises since then have been open bar. And food always tastes better when blasted. But I still feel pretty comfortable saying that the quality could have been better. Later in the evening I stopped into the adult comedy show in the aft show lounge. The comic was okay, but not really my style. I opted out, and instead spent some time on the observation deck above the wheelhouse. The night was beautiful, and the seas were just rough enough to make it interesting. Day 2, The Ecstasy, At Sea: I rarely make any effort to rise early on a sea day. This one was no different. My wife returning to the room from her spa treatment was my alarm clock, and it went off around eleven o'clock. For those interested in spa offerings, she booked the Spatophia treatment. It was 75 minutes long and cost $139 (plus gratuity). The package included a full body hot stone massage (or bamboo, the guests choice), foot, ankle and scalp massage, and a mini facial. She reported that it was thoroughly enjoyable, and worth the cost. The only downside being the spa product sales pitch at the end. My first stop of the day was at the Wind Star dining room for the new Sea Day Brunch. I was skeptical about this concept when I first read about it on cruise critic. I've always enjoyed the breakfasts and lunches in the dining room's versus going to ever crowded buffet. However, after experiencing the brunch concept I'm now a supporter. It's nice to have the option to sleep in late on a sea day, and still be able to get breakfast good in the dining room until 1pm. I'll always take Eggs Benedict over lunch food, and they were excellent! For some reason Royal Caribbean rarely gets the Eggs Benedict just right. On Royal, the eggs are usually poached solid, and the hollandaise sauce always tastes like lemon. We spent the early afternoon lounging around the ship. I got some pictures and worked on this review while my significant other read a book. We had to be selective with our choice of haunt since the entire starboard side of the ship had been filed with a smell of sewage. We first noticed it leaving the cabin and saw a crewman doing plumbing work in the hall. Unfortunately the odor wasn't limited to Upper Deck. It permeated all the way up to the Promenade. Whatever went wrong went VERY wrong. We stopped into the Neon Bar mid afternoon for tea time. Afternoon tea is one of the little traditions that Carnival hasn't cut (yet), and I'm positively thrilled about that. It's a little touch of class for a brand that has gone to extreme lengths over the last few years to only draw those with blue collars. The tea time on this cruise was the busiest I've ever seen. There were about thirty people lined up outside the bar before they opened, and probably another twenty that showed up later. The crew prepared a nice spread of cakes and pastries and had a good selection of various teas. After our daily workout we stopped by the Taste Bar for a snack. It was an Italian selection, a meatball with ricotta bruschetta. I'd like to tell you that we each only had one. I'd like to tell you that, but those were some good meatballs. The formal dinner in the main dining room was better than the first night. We met some nice table mates and had an overall great experience. After dinner we went to the comedy club, but ran into the same issue as the previous night. The comic just wasn't doing it for me, so we left for the piano bar. Luckily Milby is still playing the piano on the Ecstasy. He was the player during our guys cruise last year and we liked him a lot. So much better than the player we just experienced on Fascination. Milby is fun, plays great songs and encourages audience participation, just as a good piano man should. Day 3, The Ecstasy, Nassau: Our day in Nassau started early. At least earlier than I'm used to. We rose around 8 am and went for breakfast in the main dining room. After breakfast we headed ashore and caught the number 10 bus by the ice cream parlor. That bus ride (which cost us a total of $1.25 per person) took us to the Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort, which is where we spent our day. My wife does travel agent work as a side job, and was able top get us a comped day pass into Sandals. The bus dropped us off at the front gate and we met the sales rep. We spent some time on their private island and had lunch. We were given a tour of the resort before we caught the bus back to the ship. Sandals being an all-inclusive resort, we had several drinks and I got a little sideways. I found the following in my phone, I vaguely remember writing it on the bus ride back to the ship. I've tried to translate the really unintelligible stuff: Sandals was a ton of fun. We got the travel agent tour, lots of free beetle (I'm pretty sure I meant booze). We hung out in the hot tub. Free lunch! wy all the construction? (probably referring to the new hotel being built near sandals, need the actual name). The bus has odd mix of Caribbean jams, what's with all the synthEsizer? Lol lol lol........booze! send money post haste! Never saw so many port charlotte booze? (No idea) Uhhhhh oh ......I see enchantment car long ton! (should be Carlington, the Diamond lounge concierge on EN) Back on the ship I attempted to do my workout. Not the best of ideas with a head full of booze. I nearly fell off the treadmill, so I finished on the elliptical machine. Unfortunately I also left my small camera behind. I got all the way back to the room before I remembered it. Thankfully a nice lady held onto it for me. We sent laundry earlier in the day and got it back in the evening. Unfortunately someone got a little over zealous with the bleach ruined a few of our shirts. A pair of my wife’s jeans was also a little bleached out, but still wearable. She complained to guest services and they gave us a $55 on board credit to make up for the damage. We actually made it to dinner despite the continuing intoxication. I really can't say what the quality was that night, as all food tastes good to a drunk. Milby was playing the hits in the piano bar which is where we spent the rest of the evening. He and Brad are definitely my favorite two piano players on Carnival. Day 4, The Ecstasy, Freeport: Due to the low levels of blood in my alcohol system the night before, I started this day with a slight hangover. I should have stuck with the Stellas, but I finished the night with one of those horrid Fosters oil cans. That was a mistake. Fosters is awful stuff. So the first order of the day was a late breakfast. I capitalized on the empty ship and got the rest of my pictures. We also spent some time in the adult only Serenity area. We were apparently among many who felt no need at all to go ashore. The pool deck, Serenity area and buffet were busier than on most port days. There just isn't much to do in Freeport. You have to take a taxi into town, and that takes about twenty minutes. So we just hung around the ship and got a nice room service lunch. I can't recommend the steak sandwich, but the chicken fajita wrap was very good. In the afternoon we got our exercise done early so we could watch our final sail away from Freeport. Afterward we got packed up and did our own laundry in the self service machines. No need to tempt fate sending more stuff to the Platinum laundry. We made a final visit to the Taste Bar, which was very good. They had the crab cake starter in the dining room, one of my favorite cruise dishes. I had two orders, both were excellent. After our final dinner on board we stopped in to the piano bar to see Milby one last time. We had a good sing along before going to bed early; we had a long day ahead of us switching ships. Day 5, The Changeover We woke up early on our last morning aboard the Carnival Ecstasy. We decided to skip breakfast and just get drive thru on the way to Tampa. The VIP debarkation area was in the Chinatown Lounge at 7:15. The crew walked us off the ship and we were in the parking lot within fifteen minutes. It was a very easy process. The Radisson had two shuttles waiting on us, so there was no wait there either. This was definitely one of the fastest departures from Port Canaveral that we've ever had. It was a great cruise overall, very relaxing and enjoyable. After leaving Port Canaveral we had to make a stop to pick up my wife's parents before heading on to Tampa to embark on the Brilliance of the Seas. We had fairly light traffic until we got into Orlando. No surprise there, O-Town is usually a traveler's nightmare. It seems to only exist to prevent anyone from getting anywhere in a reasonable amount of time. But we eventually collected the in-laws and made our way to the Port of Tampa. It was time for round two. For anyone wanting to the check out the pictures of this cruise, follow the link below: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1958671 The second half of this review, our five night cruise on the Brilliance of the Seas, can be found here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1958948 Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Departed out of Port Canaveral, FL with my boyfriend, Tim. Ports included Freeport, Nassau & Half Moon Cay. Our first vacation together but his 1st cruise and my 8th. Embarking - wasn't longer than a hour and half. Went very ... Read More
Departed out of Port Canaveral, FL with my boyfriend, Tim. Ports included Freeport, Nassau & Half Moon Cay. Our first vacation together but his 1st cruise and my 8th. Embarking - wasn't longer than a hour and half. Went very smoothly and it was a plus that we both were able to bring a bottle of wine onboard which was nice. Ship - to my surprise for being an older/smaller ship that it was well clean and fresh looking. The workers are friendly as usual. There are 4 hot tubs and only 1 pool. We always were able to find a lounge chair to relax. Lots of beautiful lights especially inside the piano bar. Mini golf was fun and being able to get pizza-ice cream-room service 24/7 was a big help when we were hungry late at night. Cabin (M205) - interior which I wouldn't get again. It was just a little to small for us, we felt cramp a lot. The Ac would go from either be really hot or really cold. Made sleeping some nights restless. Lots of space to hang up/put away clothes. Nice big mirror and counter space along with lots of light switches. TV was one of the most annoying things in our room. We both got sea sick on different nights and while resting watching in bed the screen would just go black and we tried everything to fix it but...nothing. Rooms get cleaned twice a day which was done extremely well. I always could count on the bathroom having fresh towels after being on the Lido deck. Food/ Food Service - The food on this ship was just okay. Was your basic breakfast and lunch options on the Lido deck. Lots of tables to sit at and could always count on the Lido deck being clean. We had dinner at Wing Song which wasn't ever better than an disappointing experience. Our waiter rarely appeared other than to take our order. Getting water or a refill of any kind took an average of 15 minutes. Food was okay but selections small. We had asked for a cup of coffee one night after dinner and it never arrived, even after asking 3 times. Entertainment - The comedy shows were always funny and kept us entertained. Family friendly along with the adult show both made us laugh the whole time. Was lots of gambling completions and raffles for free things. Gift shop is nice and good prices on bottles of liquor. The main shows were played on repeat the whole cruise. We were able to make lots of new friends and had a great time with them on the Lido deck and the bar was always on point. Ports: Freeport was good for shopping. Drank out of coconuts and went to Senior Frogs. Lots of different places to shop if you take the $10 taxi (both ways) to a shopping center, casino and beach is also at shopping center. Half Moon Cay was beautiful. Its owned by Carnival so you and your shipmates are the only ones on the island. We did the Stingray Adventure extrusion which was a lot of fun. You get to swim with the stingrays and feed them pieces of squad. It is also along a coral reef which was pretty. Nassau we did Atlantics which was $129.99 a person with lunch included. Great price for the deal. Resort is huge and very nice. Wasn't packed so we were able to do everything in about 2 and a half hours then we relaxed by the pool and went along the white sand beach. Disembarking went easier than I thought. We decided to take off our luggage ourselves and I'm so happy we did. We were able to just walk right out to the taxi area and go home. It wasn't a bad or great experience. It was average so next time I'm booking on a bigger ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Prior to boarding the ship, I had purchased a pack of new t-shirts and slipped them into my suitcase. When unpacking on board the whole package was gone. BEWARE OF THE HOT WATER IN YOUR BATHROOM! IT WILL SCALD YOU. We had instructed the ... Read More
Prior to boarding the ship, I had purchased a pack of new t-shirts and slipped them into my suitcase. When unpacking on board the whole package was gone. BEWARE OF THE HOT WATER IN YOUR BATHROOM! IT WILL SCALD YOU. We had instructed the service desk to not apply gratuities to the credit card because we wanted to do cash tips. Upon arriving home we checked the credit card statement and found that we were charged the gratuities on TOP OF the cash envelopes. Food was so so, room attendant was great, the dining staff were great. The steak was good, but potatoes not done all the way through, I am glad I ordered a baked potato also. I see some of the reviews that the "class" of people were lacking, and I agree totally. The one formal night dining there were a good number of people who did suit up, but many did not, including a man in a printed t-shirt. I thought that is what the Lido deck was for. I had the unfortunate time of winding up near a highly intoxicated person too often. They tend to "take over the show", become obnoxious, or completely pass out. Personally I found the dining room seats very uncomfortable, giving my back additional pain for the length of time I had to sit there. Asking for the fruit plate with "just the watermelon" was not possible, you have to take it as it is listed on the menu. Music by the pool was too loud, too often. You can't even hear conversation if you shout. The 2 hot tubs are filled beyond capacity by children, allllll the time. What ever happened to school days? The swimming pool is small and very cold. Limited space on the outside deck to sit and watch the ocean. There is in fact, no seating on the Lido deck on the outside rail (I am not counting the storage units for life jackets), some choose to drag a lounge chair out there to get away from the loud music, myself included. Sure, if you go up one deck over looking the pool there is seating, but you have direct exposure to the loud music there too. Speaking of life jackets.... The muster drill at the beginning of the cruise was lacking in information. One of us is handicapped and uses a scooter. Elevators are out of service in a real emergency. Handicapped persons were instructed in the muster drill to remain in the theater lounge while everyone else proceeded to continue the muster drill up to the lifeboats, I assume that is where they went. We were never told. We were told that persons unable to navigate stairs would be taken care of... BUT NEVER TOLD HOW THEY WOULD BE TAKEN CARE OF. We were left in the dark of what to do in an emergency. I think I could get him down stairs, but most definitely NOT UP stairs. Another point we were not told of, do we go up or down? This was our first cruise on Carnival, and is our last cruise with them. I was really trying to keep an open mind figuring the line was working hard to improve their image from recent tragic events. But we will stick to Royal Caribbean or Celebrity, don't let Carnival ruin your view on cruising. BTW... pick pockets are on board the ship too, not just in port. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
My wife and I were simply overjoyed with this cruise. Yes, it's an older ship, but I can't imagine how the experience could have been handled better. The service to the room was outstanding., The maitre'd, Joseph, made ... Read More
My wife and I were simply overjoyed with this cruise. Yes, it's an older ship, but I can't imagine how the experience could have been handled better. The service to the room was outstanding., The maitre'd, Joseph, made dining fun and entertaining. The first few nights, I didn't tip the bartenders to see if I would continue to get good service . I did, so I made it up to them. The Unexsco dolphin encounter was great. I will say the snorkeling tour was kind overrated. You were basically paying for equipment rental and a very brief how-to session. There was no tour. That aside, the food was great, the service was great, and the crew did everything possible to make it a wonderful experience. I can't say enough about the Unexsco dolphin encounter. You could tell they really cared for the animals. I loved everything about this cruise, even down to the little towel animals on the bed every night. The food was great, both in the dining room and room service. I don't gamble, but my gambling shipmates had good things to say about the casino. The MoTown tribute was great, as was the tribute to British Music. I think I left claw marks as I was leaving the ship! Advice: You have two disembarkation options: Self-assist or letting them handle the bags. Take the latter option! The self-assist appeared chaotic. Take the "leisurely disembarkation" option and stay and have a late breakfast. They assign you "zones" and the groups are much smaller than through the disembarkation option. The Serenity Deck is for adults only. No rap music! We enjoyed hanging there immensely. The bow area of the ship was not open to passengers. I don't know if that's regular or due to repairs that were obviously ongoing. The waterslide was a blast. One criticism of the ship: Things aren't well marked. You just have to figure out how to get places. I was still finding connections our last day there, even though I like to roam and study places. The crew took pride in their work and really tried to give a good experience. I was lost one day and a man came over to ask if we needed help. I later saw a display and realized he was the head of the customer-service crew. That was a nice surprise. The crew was as friendly as they could have been. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
My wife and I took the Thanksgiving 4 day Bahamas cruise to Freeport and Nassau from Port Canaveral. Wife rides a scooter due to medical reasons. We arrived at the port around 2pm. A side note here: For all who have a scooter lift on ... Read More
My wife and I took the Thanksgiving 4 day Bahamas cruise to Freeport and Nassau from Port Canaveral. Wife rides a scooter due to medical reasons. We arrived at the port around 2pm. A side note here: For all who have a scooter lift on their vehicle, parking is FREE. It is the same at Ft. Lauderdale port as well, but easier at Port Carnival as they do not have to get a manager to come sign off on it. I think all ports in Florida allow free parking if you have a scooter lift. To be sure, check online what your port will do for it. I stress it is only for vehicles carrying a lift, and not just a disable decal hanging from your mirror. On this trip, it saved me $75 I think. I pulled up to the baggage drop off area. Very organized and quick I must say. Had a porter at my car as I pulled up. He pulled the bags out of the car. Since I already had the bags tagged due to printing them the night before, it was a breeze. I dropped my wife off with her scooter then went and parked. The regular parking garage was full at 2pm so I got put into the, what I call, the south 40 area (the other side of the exit booth for the parking). This is the 2nd time in a row I had to park there due to the time I arrived. No big deal though. Gave me a little time to walk and smoke a cig before I met back up with my wife. She had already breezed thru security/x-ray and was waiting by the elevator to the sign in area. I got thru security PDQ then met up with my wife by the elevator. Lines were not moving quickly at both security/x-ray and to get your sail & sign card. Must have been at least 100 people waiting to get checked in. Since my bride of 29 years uses a scooter to go long distances, we breezed thru both lines as they give the disabled VIP treatment plus we did a on-line check in months before the cruise so all we had to do was show our passport and we were issued our cards. After checking in, we were informed where the elevator was, and we were both on the ship within 5 min of leaving the check in counter. Cabin was M230 (main deck (deck 5) aft, port side balcony). Room was ready. We met our steward (Richard) who knew my name. He was very professional and nice. Did not miss a beat in his duties. I asked for bucket of ice to always be in the cabin, and it was. He changed it out twice a day. I had a issue with the TV in the room . He got AV department on it and they changed out the TV. Balcony was plenty big for the 2 of us. We used it a lot. Me more then her as that is where I did my relaxing and smoking from. Cabin wise, it was too small for my wife's liking. Her last 3 cabins have been either suites or disable rooms (she got spoiled). This cabin did not have a couch in it, which I truly missed. It did have 1 cushion chair with a back plus an ottoman. But I knew this months before and though I would adjust. I did, but was not truly comfortable watching TV (we spend a lot of time in the cabin). The bathroom did not have a table or good place to put the bag containing tooth brushes, etc. All that was available was a corner of the sink, but it worked. Common areas were always clean. Staff was friendly. Production shows were far and few between. They had the Brit Show and the Motor City show I think were the names. We attended both. I enjoyed them both. They have a coffee shop with some small sweet items as well for sale. I found the prices to be compatible with Starbuck, or even a little better in price. The MDR food was good. Always hot or cold as needed. I found the taste on all that I ate to be real good. The waiters (3 assigned to our table at one time) were top notch and always kept my tea glass full. They did not look like a chicken with their heads cut off in a daze. I think 3 to a table is working. We had 3 on our last 2 cruises and it looks like it is working just fine. Weather was not the best. Was a bit chilly for this Floridian on most days so I stayed away from the pool as it looked like most did (am sure that hurt the bottom line in alcohol sales). There was a meet up of Cruise Critic members for a slot pull that was arranged from the roll call page on here. There were 11-12 people that showed up. We contributed $20 each at 1 slot machine, each putting $20 bill all one after another before the 1st pull then did a set number of pulls (I forgot but it was like 12 pulls each I think) for the max money amount allowed for each pull.. After all pulled, it turned out we each lost $5 bucks (was not a good machine!!! LOL). Then we all went our separate ways....I must thank a women who I met who helped me out. THANK YOU. I never did get her name. I pulled my money from the cabin safe, but left it on safe by accident. She fronted me the $20 needed, as cards would not be used. After we were done, I went back up to the cabin and found the $20 sitting just where I left it. I brought it back and gave it to her, and all was good. We did not do any excursions (most were water related and it was too cold for my liking). Only walked off the ship to walk around the pier area and surrounding stores. It has been 20 years since we had been to Freeport. They have a few dozen junket shops at the pier. Location of the pier is in the industrial area. The shopping area on the island, I was told, is on the other side of the island, or a good taxi ride away. As my bride uses a scooter, it would be impossible for us, so we just lounged around the pier junket shops for an hour or so, then came back to the ship. Nassau was Nassau. I got to see their Navy ship tied at the pier again. I think they are close to derusting it and maybe take it out once in awhile....LOL We again just went around the pier area stores. My bride was looking for a certain type of dress and found it. She was a happy camper.... I used internet connection in Nassau from a Nassau pier area source for an hour at a cost of $10. Sat on my balcony and did my thing. Used all but 1-2 min. That is the only time I got on or cared about checking the internet Our afternoons (3 of them) were spent taking naps. Was WONDERFUL. My goal was to come on the cruise to relax. We did...:) Debarkation was a breeze. After about 1 hour from tying to the pier, they started letting zones off. We spent the waiting time at the buffet breakfast area enjoying our last ship's breakfast. All the other breakfasts were at the dining room midships where we were served and did not have to stand in line with plates for our food. I found my luggage easy enough. Got in VIP line, due to wife scooter use again, for Customs, and was outside walking to my car within 10 minutes. I had 2 bags so we just strolled to the car vice having me deal with traffic at the baggage pickup area. Then we just pulled out and away we went. Overall, the cruise met my desire of relaxation. Ship was clean. Staff was great. Food was good. I am sure there is some hit and misses with some cruises. this one was a HIT!!!! .   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
I've been blessed to have been on a few cruises across the gamut from budget to luxury. While Carnival is not known for luxury, I found that my cruise experience on Ecstasy was extremely good, especially given the price point. This ... Read More
I've been blessed to have been on a few cruises across the gamut from budget to luxury. While Carnival is not known for luxury, I found that my cruise experience on Ecstasy was extremely good, especially given the price point. This was a girls' trip--we're in our mid-30's--and all we wanted was to relax! We were in R160, an oceanview on the lowest level. The room was really very clean, especially the bathroom. I consider myself pretty particular about cleanliness, and I was not grossed out one time! In fact, this bathroom was cleaner than the one I had in my JS on this Imagination a couple years ago. Our steward, Eko, was really great and very unintrusive. I asked for ice once and he kept my ice bucket filled each day and night afterwards. The only downside is the noise early in the morning as the crew prepares the ship to dock. I'm not sure what the noise was, but it was loud and startling each port morning. We treated it as a nice alarm clock though and it really was not a big deal. I have to say the food was above average. Everything was served at the correct temperature, and some especially good items were the gazpacho, the strawberry chilled soup, the vegetarian Indian platter and, of course, the warm chocolate melting cake. The lower points for me were the prime rib (overcooked) and the veal (likewise). However, for the price paid, I would give the food and service in the dining rooms overall an above average rating. We had the deli once, a roasted tomato and mozzarella panini, and it was very good. The breakfast omelet station was, as always, really good and I loved the pico de gallo that was available to put on top. We visited Nassau and Freeport. In Nassau, we walked to Junkanoo Beach and paid $10 each for a nice lounger. The beach was clean of litter at our visit and there was a gentleman cleaning the seaweed as well. I would definitely go back. In Freeport, we paid $7 each way for a group taxi to Junkanoo Beaqch (yes, both places have a beach of the same name). We then paid $5 each for a lounge chair. It was absolutely gorgeous. Again, I wouldn't hesitate to return. I can't think of anything to complain about on this cruise. We had a great time in a clean room and received wonderful service. Perfect for a girls' weekend! Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
For first time cruisers, we weren't really sure what to expect. We had done our research, but of course, this is all subjective and so you will have to make up your own minds. 1. We paid for Faster to the Fun --- We thought it was ... Read More
For first time cruisers, we weren't really sure what to expect. We had done our research, but of course, this is all subjective and so you will have to make up your own minds. 1. We paid for Faster to the Fun --- We thought it was worth it. We jumped the long, long line at embarkation, our room was ready, bags were there quickly, first off on the tender at the private island a huge plus, and then priority disembarkation. 2. Our room steward was excellent. He took great care of us, said hi whenever he saw us, asked what we needed, really attentive to our daughter, making sure she had what she needed (she loved the towel animals each day). 3. We had an Oceanview on the lowest deck, Riviera, in the Aft portion of the ship. We liked it and weren't bothered by the elevator rides. The rumble of the engines was like white noise for sleeping, and when we had some weather overnight, we didn't feel it being so low. I joked that we were in "steerage", but it was not a problem. 4. We had late dining, which we liked with one exception. Our daughter wanted to participate in the Club C (12-14 year old program) events, and many of them started at the same time as the late dining. I would suggest to those with youth in this age group, you might want to consider the early dining, if you want to eat together. A couple of nights she ate in the Lido buffet instead of the dining room, and then went to the Club while we had dinner. Our waiters were very attentive. Fussed over my daughter when she was there, and really did a great job with the younger children at the table. 5. The pools on the ship were so small and crowded, we actually never went in. Our daughter didn't want to go on the water slide, so we didn't either. WE have decided to do it without her the next time! 6. For the dress up evening, we splurged and had my daughter go to the spa and get an "updo". The ladies were very nice and took great care of her. The photographers were lots of fun (although we spent WAY too much on the pictures....rookies!). 7. On the day at sea, our daughter enjoyed the Circle C events, I played some of the games (Scattergories, Family Feud) and my husband read a book on deck. His only complaint was in having a hard time finding a place with shade as he had gotten burned the day before. 8. Random thoughts....There was a strange smell on deck in some areas. I don't know if it was sewage or garbage. Couldn't figure that out. We bought the soda stickers for my daughter and myself. This was a nice perk. Even was able to use it on the beach at Half Moon Cay. Next time we go, we will probably bring some bottled water, quarters (in case you need to use the laundry machines....we needed to dry our swim suits....they just didn't dry out hanging in the bathroom), and snacks. That was one thing that seemed odd. We couldn't find a place to just have some snacks....like chips, pretzels, etc. We might have just not found the right spot. Overall we had a great time. About the time we had things figured out, we were done. We are already looking for another cruising opportunity next year. Sure, there were some things that weren't perfect, but that goes along with the adventure. Thanks Carnival for offering something we could afford with such terrific service. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Let me start by saying this was my first cruise, so I did a lot of reading beforehand to see what I was in for. There are a LOT of negative reviews on the Ecstasy, both here and elsewhere, so I was slightly nervous. However, for the great ... Read More
Let me start by saying this was my first cruise, so I did a lot of reading beforehand to see what I was in for. There are a LOT of negative reviews on the Ecstasy, both here and elsewhere, so I was slightly nervous. However, for the great price, my mindset was that I would more than likely get what I paid for. This trip was FANTASTIC. I am an adventurer by nature - my typical vacations involve hiking, backpacking, rock climbing...not much relaxation. After this cruise, I'm thinking I need to relax a little more. A little background - I cruised with my girlfriend and we are both 28 years old. Embarkation was a breeze - my girlfriend has cruised before and told me about some long experiences before this one, but we walked right through. I'd say from off the shuttle to on the boat took about 20 minutes. I had heard many horror stories about the size of staterooms - another pleasant surprise. Our room was far bigger than I was expecting, very comfortable and well-maintained. We were on the Main deck near the front of the boat. There was a little bit of a rocking motion a couple nights, but nothing that bothered either of us. The food was PHENOMENAL. This was my biggest concern as I had read many negative things about the food. The dinners were delicious every night, the desserts were amazing (believe the hype about the chocolate melting cake!), and we found the breakfast buffet to have plenty of options. Some complain about the lunch buffet being simple and repetitive but I understand as most passengers aren't on the boat during lunchtime! The staff really blew me away with the little things, like remembering my name. Bartenders I had spoken to only once prior would say hello to me by name, waiters constantly checked on me specifically and remembered my drink orders, our room steward was incredibly friendly and always had a smile on our face - my girlfriend's favorite touch was how on the last night he skipped the towel animal and left a towel heart on our bed. We had a great time on all three islands. Freeport was the least exciting but it also rained that day. We had a blast on Nassau (Atlantis Aquaventure was worth every penny!) and our expectations for Half Moon Cay were exceeded. What a beautiful island and a great way to spend a day. The on-ship activities were just right for the mood of the boat. Most passengers were content to lay on the deck and swim or read by the pool and I was happy we weren't bombarded with constant trite activities to "keep us busy". We won a 90s music trivia contest, attended "The Brits" show, and laughed a lot at one of the comedy shows. The casino kept me busy while my girlfriend worked out in the gym. I thought my first cruise might be my last because it's not my typical vacation - but I can't recommend this trip enough. I will absolutely cruise again, and while I am open to exploring other options just to see what else is out there, I wouldn't hesitate to cruise with Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
The Good: -Extremely fast embarkation/debarkation. It took only 15 minutes to embark and 5 minutes to debark. -Delicious food. Food was fresh, still hot, and of high quality. -Ship decor. Some Carnival ship's are gaudy and strange. ... Read More
The Good: -Extremely fast embarkation/debarkation. It took only 15 minutes to embark and 5 minutes to debark. -Delicious food. Food was fresh, still hot, and of high quality. -Ship decor. Some Carnival ship's are gaudy and strange. Not this one; It is just fun. It is themed fun bright colors, Cute Caribbean decor, (Example: Starfish all over the carpet in the room hallways, pictures of fun colored fish throughout the buffet. -CLEANLINESS! This ship is so very well maintained! The crew were constantly cleaning every square inch of it. So impressed. -Staff. Friendly, hardworking staff doing all they can to make your cruise enjoyable. -GORGEOUS spa area. Clean, beautiful, and elegant. -Great stateroom steward that greeted us by name each day and maintained our room very well. -The stateroom balconies were miraculous. They made the cruise for us. Worth every penny! Get a balcony room on the main deck (The lowest deck offering balconies). It is so neat to be that low to the ocean! -Great comedy. Loved laughing the night away. -The sports deck is gorgeous. We loved how it was never crowded. In fact, there were rarely more than 6-8 people up there. The sports deck includes the running track, mini golf course, and just nice areas to sit around by the mini golf course. -The Waterside in the back was super fun. BUT, it will only go fast for you if you give your self a good push and lie on your back! People who just sat down and started going hated it because they hardly moved. It is all dependent on the initial push you give your self going down it. The Bad: -Certain areas of the ship are always crowded, such as the main pool area and buffet. The buffet always had several minute long lines, especially the popular attractions like the Mongolian Grill, and American Grill. -The DJ music is so annoying. What happened to live bands on the lido deck giving you a relaxing resort like feel? Now it's just loud pop music blasted as high as it can go creating a heavy party atmosphere. There was no live music on the lido deck, only that annoying DJ. -The spa is wonderful, but they cheated us the last night of the cruise by closing an hour early. Very unprofessional. I guess that thought the cruise was close enough to done. -Neon lights in the dining room. I actually don't mind Carnival's neon lights throughout the ship. But in the elegant dining room, they need to go. -The wait time for room service is absurd. I first waited on the phone for 5-7 minutes just to be connected to someone to take my order, then you wait an additional 45 minutes for it to show up. -The hot tubs are not even close to hot enough. The swimming pools are freezing and they are all SALT WATER (obviously from the ocean). Step it up Carnival and give us fresh water in the pools. -Carnival doesn't do ice in the rooms any more? This was a disappointment to have to drink room temperature water. They didn't do it on my last cruise or this one. Strange. -This cruise had ALOT of alcohol and drunk people. Didn't really care for that kind of atmosphere. - The safety briefing was too long and disorganized. -The hairy chest men's contest was NOT family friendly. The things they had them do and what the girls did to them made it very suggestive and dirty. One guy got so out of line the director had to completely stop him. To Sum It Up: All in all a great cruise. What I love about Carnival, despite my complaints, is how much of a "bang for your buck" you get. For $200 dollars, this 4 night cruise couldn't have exceeded my expectation more. When you match the money with what you were delivered this cruise gets 5+ stars in a heartbeat. I highly recommend a 4 night cruise (NOT 3! - BOOZE CRUISE - TOO SHORT) on the Carnival Ecstasy.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
For a long time, I debated posting this but decided to go ahead. Despite the Cruise Critic review, the Ecstasy was disappointing. We had looked forward to the evening sushi bar because we enjoyed the sushi on our first Carnival cruise ... Read More
For a long time, I debated posting this but decided to go ahead. Despite the Cruise Critic review, the Ecstasy was disappointing. We had looked forward to the evening sushi bar because we enjoyed the sushi on our first Carnival cruise (Glory). While the Ecstasy deck plans onboard still show a sushi bar, it has been replaced with a "tastings" station. In the past, we've booked cabins with balconies but decided to experience the view at water level (Riviera deck). Sadly, condensation between the panes of glass entirely obscured the view. There was a persistent smell of sewage in the fourth-deck hallway. And the service in the dining rooms was inconsistent at best. After one meal enduring the self-centered "showmanship" of the head waiter (his claim to fame seems to be a long Spanish trill), we asked to be seated on the opposite side of the dining room. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We just returned from a four day trip on the Carnival Ecstasy. My wife and I (mid 40’s) decided on this cruise as a last minute '"parents only” getaway as, frankly, the deal offered by Carnival was too good to be ignored. In ... Read More
We just returned from a four day trip on the Carnival Ecstasy. My wife and I (mid 40’s) decided on this cruise as a last minute '"parents only” getaway as, frankly, the deal offered by Carnival was too good to be ignored. In the past we have been on Carnival’s larger ships including the Miracle (twice), Triumph (twice) and Liberty for 7 or 8 day cruises with our teenagers. Consequently our expectations were low given that Ecstasy is one of the older ships in the fleet and we thought this trip was going to be nothing more than a glorified '"booze cruise.” To our pleasant surprise the Ecstasy exceeded our expectations in almost every way! The Ecstasy itself may be one of the older ships in the fleet, but the hard working crew keeps her in excellent condition. Sure the Ecstasy does not have any of the 2.0 upgrades, but honestly they weren’t terribly missed on this short cruise. Whether it was because the ship wasn’t full or simply a matter of great planning we never felt crowded. We arrived at Port Canaveral at around noon and were on-board in a matter of 10 minutes or so (far better than at either Port Everglades or Miami). Disembarking the ship using the self-debarking option was even quicker. From the time leaving our cabin at 7:45am, walking up the stairs, exiting the ship, clearing customs and reaching the parking lot was about 7 minutes. VERY civilized. We certainly will consider Port Canaveral for future trips if the ships / itineraries match up. We never had an issue finding a lounger by the pool nor had company in the spa’s sauna and steam room. Our cabin was R147; an outside cabin on the Riviera Deck. If there was a negative to this cruise it was the cabin. Normally we book a balcony cabin so, of course, we prepared ourselves accordingly. However, the cabin on this ship is quite a bit smaller than the cabins on the larger vessels. If these two factors were the only issues then we wouldn’t be upset. However the largest issue with this cabin is its location! The cabin was extremely noisy for several reasons. First, it is located near the piping from the engine room to the smoke stack. When the ship is in motion the noise is quite noticeable. Second, this location on the Riviera Deck is just above a working area of the ship on the deck below. There is intermittent noise from below at all hours. Finally, as the cabin is located near the elevators there is considerable foot traffic outside of the cabin. Many people point to the food on Carnival as a negative. Having been on other cruise lines in the recent past I couldn’t disagree more. Although the food will never be considered gourmet, at least the menu is varied, there are plenty of options and the food quality is consistently good. The same certainly could not be said on one of Carnival’s rivals. For this cruise we chose '"Our Time” dining. We never had to wait more than 2-3 minutes and always had the option of whether we wanted to sit by ourselves or on a larger table. The service was prompt and friendly. The only negative of '"Our Time” dining is that you do not have the dancing / waiters. For some that might be a '"plus” and others a '"negative.” To each their own. The entertainment on the Ecstasy was standard Carnival fare. The two, thirty minute shows were '"The Brits” and '"Salute to Motown.” The eight member cast will never be confused with Broadway performers, but the shows were entertaining. There were always something going on around the pools, the announcements were present, but not obnoxiously so. We can’t comment about the kid’s activities on this cruise as we left ours behind. However, looking into the kid’s clubs at various points on the cruise it looked like everyone was having a great time. Final verdict '" Carnival provides an excellent experience at a bargain price. The Ecstasy may not be the newest ship in the fleet but she certainly isn’t ready for retirement either. We would readily travel on her again.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
I have sailed on most of the major cruise lines, but never on Carnival. We decided to take a family cruise and since we had people of all ages, including some young children we decided to give Carnival a try. It was inexpensive and I had ... Read More
I have sailed on most of the major cruise lines, but never on Carnival. We decided to take a family cruise and since we had people of all ages, including some young children we decided to give Carnival a try. It was inexpensive and I had heard good things about their kids program and it sailed from Port Canaveral which was only an hour and 20 minutes from home.We booked 4 rooms, three inside an a balcony. Shortly before sailing I received a call offering to up grade all of us to Grand Suites side by side for a very reasonable charge. We jumped on it and it proved some of the best money I have spent on a cruise. Embarkation was smooth, but the VIP boarding that goes along with a suite was nothing more than one overworked women in a very small office with 4 chairs. I am not sure it was any faster than standing in line, but we could keep the kids corralled. We did get to go right on board and our suite were ready. Very nice rooms, 400+ sq feet and a nice large balcony. The way I want to cruise from now on. One nice thing is there will be no more family cruises since they all want suites from now on. We went up to the buffet lunch and it was standard cruise fare. No better no worse. There were lots of hot dishes and hamburgs and hot dogs. The only bad thing was the pizza. not as good as Princess. Plenty of seating and good organization. The ship is an older ship, but is in good shape. Clean and constant maintenance in progress. Some of the quirky things you always find in older ships. The decor is 80's Las Vegas. Lots of neon. Once big pool and a waterpark, which the kids loved. Also, an adults only area at the stern with hot tubs and no pool. Was very popular. Seemed to be plenty of deck chairs and it was not a problem finding a place to sit or lay out. But I do not think the ship was full. One of the kids counselors said their numbers were down on our cruise. The service in all areas was very good. Room service was on time, cabin steward did an excellent job and the wait staff in the dining was really good. The kids really enjoyed Joseph, the supercharged maitre de who put on a little show every night. The only surprise and short coming I found was the entertainment. The shows were very good, but there were only two. Otherwise, lost of games and talent show type of entertainment. Never did find a place to listen to music and dance before or after dinner. Ports were Nassau, Freeport and private island. Nassau is Nassau and I could have stayed on the ship. The private island was great and we enjoyed Freeport. Freeport is much more laid back than Nassau Just took a can shopping and to the beach. Our younger kids loved the kids program and it gave the parents time to enjoy the ship without kids. Disembarkation was smooth and we were out of the port by 9:45am. Considering what we paid for this cruise, I took 11 people for 5 days for what it would have cost for 4 for 4 days on Disney, it was a great bargain. Everyone enjoyed themselves and the food was very good in the dining room and OK everywhere else. What more can you ask on a short cruise. I would cruise Carnval again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Let me start off by saying how nervous I was to be sailing on one of the older ships in the fleet.... Let me also start off by saying how mis guiding some of the other reviews for this ship can be. We sailed on Halloween out of Port ... Read More
Let me start off by saying how nervous I was to be sailing on one of the older ships in the fleet.... Let me also start off by saying how mis guiding some of the other reviews for this ship can be. We sailed on Halloween out of Port Canaveral. We stayed at the Four Points by Sheraton and utilized their park and cruise. For only $35 our car got to stay at their covered garage that was also extremely cure when it came to surveillance cameras and security. It also included transportation for up to four, which worked out great for the three of us traveling. We left the hotel at 10:30 and were at the port by 11. We did make a stop at the Radison to pick up another party, but there were only a total of three groups on the shuttle. That was surprising since Sensation and the Disney Dream were also sailing that day. Check in was fast and efficient. Since we were booked in an Ecstasy Suite we had priority boarding. How great it is to sit and enjoy a glass of ice water while you wait to check in. There was only group in front of us that was wrapping up at the priority check in desk. We quickly took our pictures and received our sign & sails along with our priority boarding placard. As we headed to the boarding area I noticed how short the check in lines were for non priority passengers were. We were about to sit down and wait for them to begin calling for zone boarding when I realized they had begun priority boarding. We literally walked onto the ship and right up to the lido deck for lunch. The Mongolian wok had the shortest line I had ever seen, so we took advantage of it. The rest of the cruise that line seemed ridiculous!! Since we are onto food, let's get all comments out now: we never had an issue. With the food, whether it be from the main dining room or the lido deck. They had ample selections and if you don't like something, order something else or help yourself to another selection from the lido buffet. The duck appetizer in the MDR was superb. In my group I think we tried just about every appetizer and entree offered. Our favorites were the Turkey, Flank Steak (the sauce topping was not a fav at our table though), the Lobster (don't be afraid to order more than one... We did!), and the Veal. When it came to deserts the melting cake always wins. I enjoyed the Bitter and Blanc bread pudding too! We also enjoyed the Wind Star brunch a few days. The Eggs Benedict and French Toast were great! Really though, I've never had a problem with the food on CCL, and if I ever run into something I don't like, I voice my opinion and get it switched and move on! Halloween night was amazing! One of the biggest party atmospheres I have seen on a ship! There were many costumes, which surprised me. We spent most of our time in the Neon Piano Bar with Milburn, who is by far the best piano man on the high seas! We had him on the Legend in 2010 and he was just as fun thin time around. The casino was smaller than other ships, but we still played. Didn't have Lady Luck on our side, but enjoyed it none the less. Ports of call: Nassau we chose the RIU Palace all inclusive Day Pass. Let me say how amazing it was. We had the beach and a beautiful resort style pool complete with a swim up bar! We lost track of how many drinks we had, so that means it was fun. The food at the resort was delicious! And the service at this resort was absolutely amazing! Freeport we chose Pat and Diane's all day sail and snorkel with private beach. This was the best excursion I have ever taken. The snorkeling was difficult, as the waters were rough. However, we were out there on the coral reef at Treasure Bay by ourselves for almost 30 minutes before any other excursion joined us. We proceeded to a private beach, there was no one around at all. We enjoyed BBQ chicken, fresh conch salad, and all the bahama mamas you could drink. The waters were warm and totally enjoyable. We found Freeport to better shopping than Nassau, but that was our personal opinion based upon the offerings we came upon. Overall, the Ecstasy was amazing! Our suite was great, our steward was very attentive. He even changed out pull out bed back to a couch for us each day! This really made us enjoy the room so much more. Our balcony was the extended grand suite ones, and that is now our favorite balcony type (aside from the aft wraps on the Spirit class ships). The ship may be old, but I never felt like it needed work. Great time, great drinks, great people, great vacation! Also, the cheers program was available. We did not do it this time, as we managed to get 3 liters of our own onto the ship. However, we will be partaking on our net cruise, as it is easier to have someone else make the drink for you.... And you don't have to worry about running to your room to freshen up. Don't be shy when it comes to the Ecstasy. She my not look like much from the outside, but she is greatly taken care of. You will have a blast! Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
So a few preliminaries- traveling myself and sweetness to celebrate 28 years of marital bliss. No kids, no boss. No problems Prior to boarding- night before and day of Booked into La Quinta using frequent stay points, first room had a ... Read More
So a few preliminaries- traveling myself and sweetness to celebrate 28 years of marital bliss. No kids, no boss. No problems Prior to boarding- night before and day of Booked into La Quinta using frequent stay points, first room had a funky smell. But a trip to the desk and we were moved, poolside. All is well! We booked parking through Radisson Park Canaveral, ½ half the price of muni parking and three times the service. We paid ahead to save a few dollars. Very fast service to the ship, bring a few single bills, they are much appreciated. Also for those who forgot soda and water to bring aboard both are for sale at a reasonable price… did you remember you can bring one bottle of wine or champagne per 21 year adult? Can’t buy it here stop buy a local ABC store…before you park! Boarding is very smooth, first Platinum class voyage "Woot.no problems getting through the doors to drop off our gear. The usual ship exploration, buy soda card for sweetness, unpack etc. Trip to internet café to purchase a package no "guy " available, system not up… Nice Lido lunch Any time dining positive experience one and only Night one was a hit; we asked for group seating and were sat with three lovely gals from Pittsburgh. We had a very nice meal and fun company. We ran into our ladies multi times, I played and won ship on stick with them! First in 10 cruises my dry spell is over! A nice run of casino benefiting future cruise plan finance. With tonight’s winnings I can buy three cocktails… with no extra tip Day two Nassau Bahamas " love the noon arrival time Normally we book ahead non ship excursions, IMO better and less cost. However was this trip is meant to be together time and not about the itinerary. As Floridians we have been to Nassau a lot. So we went into town to shop, collect a few freebies, and change for the ship recommended catamaran snorkel tour. Three hours. A very nice tour with some of the friendliest fish we ever met. Rum punch, as strong as you want served on the way back to port. And no working bath rooms, rest room, wash room as advertised on board. So water + rum punch+ time = need to um, relive one’s self.. Sweetness was miserable on ride home. I have to say town is a much different place after 6pm; aggressive vendors have thrown in towel. I enjoyed the walk back to the ship on the quiet island I met 25 years ago before the ships came daily. For some reason this was formal night, after our excursion, and app at senior frogs, we weren’t feeling formal, so lido Buffet. Casino let the future cruise fund grow to 5 drinks. The dice table is active and fun, a lot of arguing about pay outs, if you know dice prepare to go to battle.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We purchased Faster to the Fun and I must say that I feel it was worth it. We were on the ship at 11 am, dropped the carrying on luggage in our already made room and went straight for the WOK. No line there, drink of the day on the Lido ... Read More
We purchased Faster to the Fun and I must say that I feel it was worth it. We were on the ship at 11 am, dropped the carrying on luggage in our already made room and went straight for the WOK. No line there, drink of the day on the Lido and people watched. Let me tell you about ourselves. I am 45 DH is 55 and we are traveling with our daughter 22 and her daughter, my first GD  she is two. Sure we had this fantasy that DGD would love Camp Carnival and we could sit on the Serenity deck sipping cool drinks. But that didn’t happen. DGD is only 2 and she is going through the “I can’t be with strangers” phase. Oh Well. I know some of you are asking, “Why did you bring her?” Because the first week of our vacation was spent at Disney, the second week, on a cruise. It was a near perfect vacation! This is our 3rd cruise. We stayed on the Empress deck in room E58 ocean view. I had booked this cruise using a Carnival PVP. I really don’t see a need for a PVP but I had ended up making a few changes to my already paid in full cabin and she was very helpful. The room was spacious, clean and our steward was very attentive. Our bucket was always full of ice. We ordered room service a couple of times because the baby needs milk and we need midnight sandwiches. Room service was quick and yummy. I enjoyed our waiters for the “anytime dining” and the entire staff including the dining and clean up staff in the Lido eatery was so very friendly. The spa…. Okay. This was my first time ever having a cruise spa treatment. I have had spa treatments on land and apparently I have had some good ones because I was not impressed with the massage, the massage therapist, the room, or the whole experience. I thought it was sub par. I thought is could have been better. I got the 75 minute deep tissue hot stone massage. My daughter got the same thing. This was here first time ever getting a massage and she liked it well enough. I also went back the next day and got the Iontherarpy ( I know I have misspelled that…) but it is the therapy where that put you in a clay muddy mask and give you electric currents that make you lose inches. I did lose 6 inches. Total. I know this is an expensive treatment, but I just had to try it. I checked it off my bucket list. I thought it was a cool experience and I am glad I did it. We rented a Cabana in Half Moon Cay. I definitely recommend doing this! Well worth the money IMHO. That was the favorite part of the trip to the Bahamas. We did not do any excursions while in Nassau. DH, DGD and I just walked around town and shopped. We purchased a nice bottle of perfume and of course a couple of T-shirts. I also purchased a star fish painted up like Santa Claus. This star fish stinks. Do get me wrong, the paint job is pretty but it smells. Bad. Like they pulled it from the sea, painted it alive. IDK it is still drying out on my patio. It’s been there for 3 weeks… I liked the Ecstasy and I will advise anyone reading this to take her for a ride!   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
First of all, let me share with the readers that I am a Carnival Platinum member. I have cruised with Carnival on many different ships - Second, I am in my 40s, so it is entirely possible that the younger crowd may enjoy it more, but ... Read More
First of all, let me share with the readers that I am a Carnival Platinum member. I have cruised with Carnival on many different ships - Second, I am in my 40s, so it is entirely possible that the younger crowd may enjoy it more, but based on the people I talked to I kind of doubt it. Carnival Ecstasy is certainly a dated ship at this point. I believe it is due to go into dock for renovation before heading to Miami - and it needs it. I believe they must have moved some of the "cleaners" to other ships because of this, because it was largely pretty dirty and dingy. Food was mediocre at best - after two days it will taste very similar. Sure hope the kitchen was cleaner than the rest of the ship! The itinerary itself was pretty nice. Being able to stop at a private island for a day was nice. I doubt anyone from Carnival will read this - but I can tell you over the past three years Carnival has taken a turn for the worse. I wish I could have been platinum on Royal Caribbean at this point. Lesson learned.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
...you can't get there from here. Let me back up a bit. We just got off the Ecstasy and had a great trip. Good food, nice employees, no complaints. Getting on and off the ship was very easy (we didn't need First to the Fun). The ... Read More
...you can't get there from here. Let me back up a bit. We just got off the Ecstasy and had a great trip. Good food, nice employees, no complaints. Getting on and off the ship was very easy (we didn't need First to the Fun). The passengers were not rude, and no one dressed too trashy or complained about anything. Nassau was fine, and Half Moon Cay is even prettier then I remembered. Carnival has retrofitted this ship with a few balconies (which we opted for) and otherwise updated it as best as they can with flat screens, etc. The ship did list to the left at all ports including while anchored at HMC. She was fine at sea. Odd. Here's the issue. The Fantasy class ships have numerous dead ends. You really have to plan your route and walk to the correct elevator/stairs. You'll have fun and they are great for 3-4 day cruises. But it might be time to begin phasing them out.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Quickie review (sorry no pics) - Cast of characters: Myself53 4th cruise, DD19 3rd cruise, DD22 3rd cruise & DDBF22 3rd cruise . We had 2 Oceanviews R84 & R88. We live in St Cloud FL so it's an easy drive to Pt Canaveral. ... Read More
Quickie review (sorry no pics) - Cast of characters: Myself53 4th cruise, DD19 3rd cruise, DD22 3rd cruise & DDBF22 3rd cruise . We had 2 Oceanviews R84 & R88. We live in St Cloud FL so it's an easy drive to Pt Canaveral. Parked at Park n Cruise 1700 Sea Ray Dr Merritt Island, FL 32953 Phone Number 321-454-2500 for the 1st time, only $3.99 & tax per night - great savings over parking at Port Canaveral! (google to get this rate!) Easy shuttle, tipped driver $5 for 4 bags, then tipped port worker $5. Arrived at 11:35 - thru security & sail card & directly onto ship by 12:05. Went to Lido & had some fresh fruit then went around exploring the ship. ALL of our previous cruises were Carnival Sensation, fantasy-class sister ship, also out of Port Canaveral, so we felt right at home. Liked Ecstasy decor better, lol! Rooms were ready at 1:30 & 2 of our luggage arrived. The other 2 (of course the ones w/RR's inside) were late to arrive. Had me biting my fingernails for a few, but by 5pm they also arrived, all intact & RR's safe & sound (1st time, will do this again! Got 'em at Dollar Tree, thanks to someone here:)) Your time Dinner in dining room, had spring rolls, fish & WMC - all delish! Tried hottubs on Serenity, nice but not hot enough, oh well. Crashed & slept like a baby! Next day Freeport & Swim with the Dolphins, booked thru Carnival cuz I am a chicken, lol. Awesome! Dinner had stuffed mushrooms, fish again, skipped dessert! Next day was Nassau where DD19 & I shopped til we dropped. Got a bottle Old Nassau Dark Rum $9 (thanks to CC peeps!) D22 & DDBF22 hung out at Senor Frogs. Dinner was salad & indian vegetarian (dang that meal is good, even though I didn't know exactly what I was eating!) skipped dessert again. Next day was Half Moon Cay - our 1st time there. We rented Cabana #11, will do this again. Our cabana was in a great location, restrooms right behind us. The lunch served there was really good too - I had jerk chicken, salad & rum cake. We stayed as long as we could, the line to board the tender was long but moved fast. Dinner that night was pasta something & fish again, skipped dessert but later went to Lido & sampled a few desserts. Most were pretty dang good! Day at sea was spent resting, visiting shops, got a bottle duty-free Smirnoff $13, We each got a complimentary drink coupon to be used in the dining room at breakfast or lunch, so we went to the dining room for lunch - got a Miami Vice (yum!) and for lunch ordered just spring roll app., then went to Lido & got the deli turkey wrap. Sadly our cruise came to an end - we did self-assist & debarked around 9:15 am, long security line but moved fast, found our Park n Cruise shuttle area, waited under a tent-thing for about 15 minutes, then were shuttled back to our car, easy-peasy! Some highlights: Had an awesome cabin steward IDA Great servers GERMAN, DVMITRY, & JOSE Coffee was good - I brought an insulated mug & discovered 1/2 cup soft serve vanilla, topped off w/coffee was an awesome beverage. So good I didn't even purchase my usual coffee from the cafe. We ordered room-service breakfast every morning, excellent! Coffee, bagels, fruit & always delivered right on time! We missed the shows but did see the adult comedy - very enjoyable. Also watched the love & marriage show where a young man was brought to the stage along w/his GF - he proposed on bended knee (awwhhh!) very sweet to watch:) Played a trivia game or 2, DD19 wanted to win a ship-on-a-stick but it was not to be... Was a nice vacation & we are already looking to book again - would sail Ecstasy again in a minute!   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Just got back from a great 5 day cruise on the Carnival Ecstasy. Just wanted to provide updates as the reviews/research that I did before going on wasn't the most accurate/outdated. Departed out of Port Canaveral, FL with my family ... Read More
Just got back from a great 5 day cruise on the Carnival Ecstasy. Just wanted to provide updates as the reviews/research that I did before going on wasn't the most accurate/outdated. Departed out of Port Canaveral, FL with my family of two kids (ages 3 and 6) and husband. Ports included Freeport, Nassau & Half Moon Cay. We've previously sailed on 2 Princess Cruises and 1 Royal Caribbean and this was our first on Carnival. In comparison to those other cruises, this was a very basic cruise. We have been in need for a family vacation/getaway for sometime now and it can be difficult to plan with two little kids in tow. So for a trip that provided fun activities for the kids, meals that I didn't have to think to plan plus a little R&R - it did the job. But...it IS an older ship. The decor is a bit tacky (but can be viewed as fun after it grows on you for a few days). Fitness: Options are very very limited. The gym is small - about the size of a smaller hotel gym - not too many options to pick from. There is NO basketball hoop despite folks saying there is one - we walked the ship a couple of times looking. The only real option is a jogging track that you have to go 11.5 times around to equal a mile - so if you are into counting in your head 50 laps for a good run - have at it. Dining: Options are limited. Very basic here. Same food different days - truly. You are looking at burgers, hot dogs, a good Mongolian grill that's open only during certain hours for lunch. The sit down dining options weren't that great (the meatloaf was a bit scary looking and tasted like a sponge) - but hey, it's a nice meal that's cooked for you and you can eat as much as you want. You would hope that the midnight buffet was some sort of special offering/treat...nope, burgers and hot dogs. I was really disappointed in the kids menu. It's truly: burgers, chicken nuggets and pizza for five days in a row! When you ask for spaghetti or some other sort of option - the waiters get annoyed with you and there's no other option. So for the week I felt bad for my kids - I'm sure it's great and all - they are on vacation, etc - but as a mom that tries to mix foods up for them to make sure they aren't eating burgers or carbs all the time it was very disappointing. Staff: Overall decent. I was expecting Princess & Royal Caribbean treatment - folks say hi, if they can go out of their way to make your trip a little more pleasurable. I was put off by the Carnival Ecstasy dining crew - esp when they wouldn't help with different options for the kids - it was - hurry up and order type of scenario. Our room steward was a ghost - haha, but kept our cabin clean (which is a task in itself with two boys!). Ports: Not that bad actually. Freeport - we got a taxi right off the boat and decided to venture out on our own. Took a taxi (beware - they try to upsell you on other outings!) and went to the Straw Market & Grand Lucayan Resort area. Wish we started off at Grand Lucayan...gorgeous hotel that you can buy a day pass to - it has a zero infinity pool overlooking beautiful white sand beach. The little shopping area across the street wasn't all that great - it took us about 20 minutes to get through and realize they were mostly the little souvenir trinkets - nothing distinctly Freeport. Next we went to Nassau with the same idea - to explore on our own. Right when you get off the ship it was insanity - everyone was pushy and trying to get you to buy into their tour/excursion. Very pushy - I was getting frustrated and was about to give in just to get it done with. But when you move past all of that and get out onto the main street - it's easy to navigate - sidewalks are narrow - but my family handled it fine. We went over to the Greycliff Hotel (they have a small chocolate shop there) and also the John Watling's Distillery (this was great - they had coloring pages for the kids) and then took the Jitney to the Fish Fry area so my husband could get Caribbean food. Couldn't find the free beach that everyone spoke of - plus it was blazingly hot so we just walked around a little more and called it a day. Next time we head to Nassau, we will definitely research and potentially put down the money for Atlantis - it may have been more fun for the kiddos. Lastly, Half Moon Cay...gorgeous! But HOT HOT HOT! I thought I was being smart by getting one of those "clamshells" for the day...but rarely used it. It was far from where the kiddos were playing (they were all located in the back row) and there was no ventilation, hotter in the clam shell than sitting out on a chair. After a couple of hours I couldn't take the heat and took the kids back to the boat. Overall, the boat did it's job. The kids had fun (oh! one bummer was that Camp Carnival had odd hours - like on the first day it opened at 8pm and closed at 9:45pm...you would think after a big travel day they would help parents out! ha), we got some good meals out of it and got R&R. Not many activities onboard - we aren't big drinkers - we enjoyed our fruity drinks but not to the levels of other passengers and weren't casino goers. Oh and there's a large smoking area INSIDE on the ship - that was a little off putting too. Shows were ok - good diversion - but nothing to make sure you don't miss - the lead guy sang off key you wish he would just lip sync haha. We will think about Carnival again - but definitely only the newer ships that have more options for food, etc. Otherwise we'll be trying to go back to Royal Caribbean or Princess. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
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

Find a Carnival Ecstasy Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click