Best Vacation Ever!
Carnival Ecstasy Cruise Review to Caribbean - Bahamas
We boarded in 30 minutes flat from shuttle to the port in Charleston to the ship. We had picked an early boarding time (11:30 a.m.) so this may have helped. We took a shuttle from our hotel with free parking for our car during the week. This allowed us to avoid the delay in the lineup for parking at the port. The port staff was great and efficient, our bags were taken and we had a short walk to the ship.
Upon boarding food on the Lido deck was already available, so we had a great meal to pass the time until we were able to access our room. Luggage arrived in a timely fashion. Crew was working hard to distribute it to the cabins. We loved the amazing service on board ship, our cabin was great and roomy for a cruise ship even though we had chosen an inside room as we were watching our pennies. Our room steward William (R142) made us towel animals and attended to everything including ice every day.
Loved the food on board as mentioned, but especially the fine dining in the Windstar Dining Room. Such a selection and wonderful service! The pool was rarely crowded despite the fact that there were many families on board – the new slide was busy. When we needed downtime the Serenity deck on board provided a quiet area to relax in sun or shade – drinks can be ordered and delivered to you by a waiter who circulates from one of the bars, or you can climb one flight of stairs to buy a drink for yourself. I can recommend the Lido deck buffet also for any meals or snack time; the food was always fresh and replenished quickly. We were not provided with a room service menu but we called room service anyway. They were most helpful in suggesting choices and sent the food very promptly along with a room service menu for next time.
Freeport – very commercial in the area close to the docks so let me recommend booking space on an excursion. We thoroughly enjoyed the one we chose – the Jeep Excursion. It was fully booked by the 2nd day of the cruise but they opened up a second excursion to accommodate the overflow. Grateful that my husband is a truck driver and so was able to operate a Jeep with manual drive, although there were automatics also. It includes a beach time stop of one hour, not enough time to bother renting chairs, there was free picnic tables to sit at and a bar at the beach. Another stop - light lunch at the Garden of the Groves was included. We dined by a waterfall and beautiful plants and birds. Time was provided to walk around the gardens (Note: Free Wi-Fi access at the gardens).
Nassau – booked a Private Island Beach excursion, which was nice but quieter. The beach is lovely but the provided lunch is sparse. Shops near the ship are commercial but the ship’s shopping director gives you a shopping map at both ports to help you find recommended stores. Bought Tortuga rum cakes at a shop in port that specializes in this product for a reasonable price, then found that the ship sold them onboard in one of the stores for much cheaper! Prices are good onboard, don’t miss the opportunity.
So much to do onboard, that we often carried the day’s schedule with us to keep up! Enjoyed the mini putt on deck, it was a little busy but everyone was patient, the course was in good condition and the ocean breeze gave a lovely cooling effect. All shows were great! Benjamin the cruise director was the best, and worked tirelessly to make sure everyone was entertained from morning until night. So much to do that we couldn’t do everything – will have to take another cruise. Enjoyed all of the shows in the main nightclub and the comedians onboard in the Punchliner Comedy Club every night; they gave us a good laugh. We enjoyed soft ice cream on the Lido deck on the way back to our cabins most nights. We will have to cut down on our consumption now that we are back home.
The disembark process off the ship was the only disappointment of the entire cruise. We followed the appropriate disembark time for our given deck, and were left standing in line with our luggage for over an hour by the elevators due to a backup in customs. We were prevented from leaving our deck to another, perhaps a waiting area could have been provided instead of making us stand in a crowd for an available elevator. I understand that this is only partially Carnival’s fault but they should accommodate passengers somehow during the wait.
· Ziploc bags varying sizes for wet bathing suits or sandwiches from the Deli.
· Travel Mugs for coffee, the ships coffee is good but the cups are small.
· Beverage travel cups for juice and water see above.
· Magnets to hang schedules and notes on cabin door.
· Arrive 15 minutes early for anytime seating so that you don’t have to wait in line for very long and so that you still have time for the shows.
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom