invalid-31791 Sail Date: August 17, 2013 Ship: Carnival Ecstasy Cabin Type: Oceanview Traveled As: Family (young children) Reviewed: 4 years ago
We cruised on the Ecstasy out of Port Canaveral on August 17th. After reading quite a few reviews, I was a little nervous about sailing on Carnival's 2nd oldest ship. From Day 1 any nervousness was erased by the courteousness of the ship's crew, the cleanliness of the ship, and the variety of activities available for all ages.
I traveled with my husband, 2 daughters ages 12 and 14, and my parents (both seniors in very early 70's). Arrival at Port Canaveral gave us a little bit of a shock when we learned it would be $90 each to park our cars. We ended up checking our bags with the porters (very helpful and courteousness) then heading out to find offsite parking. It was about $35 cheaper to park offsite. However, the downside was waiting for the pickup shuttle at the end of the cruise.
Embarkation was no easy, no complaints. We were on board by 1:00 and our cabins were ready. Our room steward, Javier, stopped by to introduce himself. I was amazed that he was able to remember all our names and greeted us by name for the entire cruise! We asked for ice for the girls and the ice bucket was filled everyday (if not twice a day!) without us having to ask.
One review I had read mentioned that there was a musty odor on the stateroom levels. I have to admit that it did smell musty initially, but it was not unbearable and I was not aware of it after the first day. I did notice that the stewards were constantly cleaning everything, including the walls and doors outside the staterooms. I imagine this is to reduce germs and bacteria with so many in such close quarters. I was very appreciative of this.
We had initially booked a stateroom for the 4 of us. I ended up changing this to 2 staterooms a few days before we sailed. The rooms are a good size but I would have been very close quarters and I was very happy I called to see what our options were.
The food was good, a lot of variety, and plentiful. We ate in the MDR for 3 breakfasts and all dinners. We had Your Time seating and never had to wait more than 20 minutes (and that was only on 1 night). We ate lunch in the MDR on our day at sea. The selections were good, something for everyone. Our waiters were wonderful and very courteous. It had been 20 years since I last cruised and I remember the waiters being a lot more attentive. I think they have more tables in their sections now so are stretched a little thinner.
Our ports of call were Freeport (did not visit), Nassau and Half Moon Cay. Staying on board while in port is great! No lines No Waiting! We did book a kayak/snorkeling excursion while in Nassau. That was fun except that the water was a little rough (we were warned before hand) and the girls did not feel well afterwards. Our most fun port was Half Moon Cay. I wished I could have brought the beach home! We rented snorkel equipment (I would do this next time instead of the excursion), inner tube and floating mat. There was not much shade so we only stayed until around 2pm. I would consider renting one of the cabanas next time, especially since we would not have to rent the snorkle or beach floaties.
Our ship was the only one in port (not sure if this is the norm). Getting a tender ticket was no big deal. Each tender holds between 150 -200 people. We got to the main lounge around 9:15, were called about 5 minutes later and were on the island by 9:45. i had debated purchasing the Faster to the Fun for priority and am glad I did not waste the money.
My girls did not try the Circle C so I cannot comment on that. They did like the water park but we did not use the pool. There were way too many people in that pool. If there was one recommendation I would make, it would be for a larger or another pool. We spent most of our time at the water park and lounging in the sun. When the girls were not with us, we spent our time at the Serenity deck. Only downside is there is not much of a breeze. But is was quieter and less crowded. Actually had an opportunity to use the hot tub by ourselves for a few minutes.
I made a visit to the casino twice to make a donation :-). My mom did "win" $100 a couple times but gave it back. The shows were great. We saw the end of the Motor City and all of the Brits. Caught the same comedian twice at the Punchliner. I was glad that his routine was a little bit of improv so it did not feel like the same joke twice.
I would recommend that everyone bring a sweater and long pants. It is very cold on the inside of the ship. The cabins tended to be very difficult to regulate since it is just a dial on the ceiling. The dining rooms and inside common areas are also kept chilly. Cruise casual for dinner is not the same every night. Some nights, shorts were ok, other nights it was not.
I will definitely do this again. I won't wait 20 years this time however :-).
Food and Dining
5 out of 5
Lots of choices most times of the day.
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Lots of variety. Need to plan to be able to see most of it.
*Cruiseline.com is not a booking agent or travel agency, and does not charge any service fees to users of our site. Our partners (travel agencies and cruise lines) provide prices, which we list for our users' convenience. Cruiseline.com does not guarantee any specific rates or prices. While prices are updated daily, please check with the booking site for the exact amount. Cruiseline.com is not responsible for content on external web sites.
Every Wednesday you'll receive the latest articles, deals, and news from the Cruiseline.com team, plus tips and photos submitted by our vibrant community of diehard cruisers. You'll also get a free gift — a downloadable, printable PDF of our guide to cruising!
Sign up for weekly cruise deals.
Join other subscribers and get the best cruise deals of the week in your inbox every Thursday.