December 2014 - Carnival Ecstasy to Caribbean - Bahamas
This cruise was about what I expected and we were on it primarily because it fit our schedule. Having said that, I have finally learned my lesson and will avoid Carnival in the future. I took my first cruise with Carnival in 1997 and remember being blown away with the food choices and quality. My wife and I also very much enjoyed the ports of call. Since then, Carnival appears to have gotten gradually worse and worse each time I have cruised with them. The food has been mediocre for some time. This time, the service in the main dining room was slower than I have ever seen, although the people we interacted with were extremely nice. We sat for ten minutes before being addressed on the first night. I tried breakfast in the dining room once (first time) and they were severely understaffed during those hours.
We decided against an organized shore excursion for Nassau and didn't regret it. We tried a resort for the day package booked via at the Nassau Hilton Resort, a short walk from the ship. We were well received by the hotel staff. We had the beach and pool almost to ourselves with maybe twenty other people on site. This was with a total of four cruise ships in port. The only downer was the food. I was expecting access to a full resort menu, but was given a one page lunch menu for the poolside bar. Two club sandwiches, two mahi-mahi wraps, and drinks (a total of four beers and a daquiri) ate up a $140 food credit ($40 per adult, $20 per child). I would have gotten a similar meal elsewhere for about $50 max.
The formal night was a disappointment. The vast majority of cruisers ignored it. However, the dining room menu was good on this night.
We watched three shows on this cruise, a first for me. The shows were well done, but it was the same troupe singing and dancing to different themes for each show. They worked hard, but by show number three, I was ready for a new face or two.
I have been fooling myself by upgrading our cabins to balcony and larger rooms. However, this doesn't really improve the cruise itself. In the future, I will seek out more expensive cruises which I hope will be worth the extra money.