So, the Carnival Ecstasy.........heard it called a lot of things:
1. Rust Bucket
2. bad 1970's Porn decor
3. falling apart
4. dirty and smelly
Honestly all those are true, except the smelly part - we have no bad olfactory distress on our cruise.
The Carnival Ecstasy is an old ship. It looks unpleasing and could use a serious makeover. Its true the interior decor looks like a bad XXX movie minus the "brown chicka brown cow" music. We honestly didn't pay attention to the rusty hinges, screws and door handles. The interior isn't falling apart too badly, we were able to open all doors, drawers, and closets. This old ship wasn't dirty, just old and zero smells other than the smoke bellowing from the casino area, which is normal.
After saying all that, if you are gonna continue to read this review, it’s not all bad.
The Carnival employees aboard are super nice and helpful. I suppose they oughta be considering the appearance the ship portrays. I have an assumption that this is the ship Carnival sends employees to train before moving them onto a better ship. Everyone from the fella vacuuming at 4:45am one morning to the art auction people always greeting us with pleasantries. Please don't let the appearance fool ya.
Lets' break it down:
Embarkation - arrived 11:45am - 8 in our party - 4 different cabins. Onboard by 12:15 = smooth as roller girl in Boogie Nights!
Debarkation - smooth as silk
Cabin - ES - Great except TV - super grainy and horrible sound, but who cruises to watch TV. Also had a visit by security - told us to take down the hammock on our extended balcony. Guess that's a no-no like handcuffs, hotplates and hookahs. We complied with no complaining. I think we apologized too but we were hanging out with Ron Bacardi that day, so details are a little fuzzy, kinda like the TV.
Dining - late assigned dining (8:15pm) WindSong Dining Room - top notch service. In fact, it would have been the best dining service we ever received on a Carnival Cruise BUT there was no escargot on any nightly menu. Claimed it wasn't in season - my guess is another cutback or the ships too clean for snails - you decide. Food quality was spot on - no complaints. Seriously folks, the service was downright awesome, even cocktail service in the MDR was prompt.
Entertainment - CD was a boring. not naming names but the 12-year-old fella for a CD on the Sunshine deserves EMMY nominations compared to the current Ecstasy CD. Nothing memorable about her. The Punchline comedian, J.R. Brow is freaking hysterical! Don't miss his late-night set.
Pool, Hot tubs and Lido deck stuff - never very crowded, hardly any chair hogs. We learned a trick to getting children outta SWIMMING in the hot tubs. *Stand in the middle in the hot tub you wanna get in that is occupied by kiddos snorkeling and jumping around and ask the honeymooning couple "Is this the hot tub you had sex in, or is it the other one?" This works like a charm; no children were in that hot tub for the rest of the cruise.
Itinerary and Shore Excursions - decent......no excitement.... we paid for zero excursions. Princess Cays is an extension of the ship. We coulda stayed on the ship and kept sand outta our cracks but went ashore only because we had never been to Princess Cay. Nassau is Nassau. Been there done that........hells bells we got married in Nassau in 2012 it has not changed too much. Figured after seven years that something would be different like waistline, eyesight, or date night......wait, wait, wait that is the being married 7 years, not Nassau. Its still the same!
Overall it was a good vacation for the amount spent. We got our money's worth! We had a positive time, and nothing is ever perfect. If you have high exceptions of your cruising decor, you might skip the Ecstasy. If you have expectations of superb service and great food on a smaller ship, then by all means give the Ecstasy a whirl.
Would we book the Ecstasy again? Yes