Shy Girl Goes To Sea. An Ecstasy Review 11/17/11

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2,315 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
So, I am literally JUST off the ecstasy. Just got home, tackled by my dogs, and put in my first load of laundry.

I'm going to take a stab at writing a review, pictures are being uploaded and will be added later. This was my first cruise. It was badly needed. I work as an EMT and recent workplace politics has made my job kind of stressful. On top of that, a week and a half ago I was dumped by my boyfriend for another woman. This was my first real vacation. I went by myself. I had planned to go by myself as my (now ex) boyfriend was unable to get off work and a friend kept saying she wanted to go but never got around to putting down the deposit. I am a VERY shy person, so my grandmother was convinced I'd have an awful time and be lonely.

So, it's the wee hours of thursday morning (around 4am.). I am awake, and wake my mom up by shrieking "I'M CRUSING TODAY!!!!" which made the dogs bark. I got a shower, got dressed, made sure I packed everything, made sure my phone was charged.

I got a donut and orange juice for breakfast, but I made the mistake of getting up and leaving the donut on a plate on the coffee table. I came back to no donut and a very guilty looking boston terrier. I spent the rest of the morning reading up on cruise critic.

9am rolled around and we picked up my Grandmother. She was there to keep my mom company on the drive back, because my mom isn't used to driving much. We had to stop in at my little cousins thanksgiving play. I could barely sit still in my seat I was so excited.

1030ish we left, and we were off for Port Canaveral!

The drive was a little over an hour, and it was rough, I think it was I-95 was the worst road ever. Half of each lane was repaved. Only half. So both were horribly uneven and I hate driving on uneven roads.

I started shrieking again as we saw DCL's Dream, and The Carnival Sensation from the road. I was bursting with excitement when I saw the signs pointing toward the ecstasy terminal.

We arrived at 1130. I found the terminal confusing. We drove up to a bunch of guys standing around a cart. Someone knocked on the trunk for me to open it, I popped it open, he took my bags and threw them on the cart. I never got a chance to tip him because he never came to the window. Then we kept driving looking for where I was supposed to get out. Some cruise employee told us to just pull off to the side and I'd get out. I set my mom's GPS so she could get back, pulled over, got out. We switched sides, grabbed my bag and I was off.

I got my passport and boarding pass out, and was directed by a smiling old man into line. I got into the port and was directed to another line to check in. At the head of the line there was a man directing you to open desks to check in. All the "Regular" lines were full, so he directed me over to the Platinum line, which was completely empty.

A rather rude and abrupt Carnival employee told me that I couldn't do that. I tried to explain that this is where I was told to go but she wouldn't listen, until the woman at the desk (i forgot what her number was) told her that yes, the guy at the line had told me to go to her, and that she was checking in guests while there were no platinum guests to check in.

I must have gotten there at the right time because as soon as I got my stuff out the platinum desk became crowded. I got pushed out of the way by some man's back pack.

Here's a tip: I bought a passport cover on Etsy. It looks cute, but the passport had to be taken out of it's cover to scan. The bending of the passport to take it out caused more damage then just leaving it out uncovered. So, if you have a cover I would recommend not using it.

After she gave me my sail and sign card, I was off! I took the embarkation photo, I was literally directed in front of something and then told to turn and smile before I knew what was happening. The carnival staff was very quick and efficient. Then I got to the part where they scan you sail and sign card (Beep!) and take an ID picture.

Up the gangway I went, and as soon as I stepped into the ship I was swept into a elevator by another carnival employee and was taken up to the Lido deck.

I was amazed by the atrium... It was... wow! I stared down for a good five minutes before I made my way around to the double doors and stepped out onto the lido deck!

Over all, I found the terminal a little confusing, but the check in process was fast and easy and the employees were very pleasant. (Aside from that one lady who kind of yelled at me :P)

More to come when I can get these pictures up!
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491 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
Oh goodie! I love an ecstasy review. Hope you had a blast! Sorry about the boyfriend. His loss! There are other fish in the sea (haha bad pun!)

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Ecstasy 10/2010
Magic 6/2012
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Tampa, Florida
1,099 Posts
Joined Sep 2004
I love the start of your review.

Good for you, that you took the leap and went solo. I don't think I ever could do that, and I've cruised a bunch a times!

I'm looking forward to more of your review and some pictures as soon as you can get them loaded.

Don't forget to take the laundry out of the washer!!

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2,423 Posts
Joined May 2007
Enjoying reading your review! Keep it coming!
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Tampa area
15,076 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Thanks for using paragraphs - makes it easier to read.

Wow, escorted to Lido!
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2,315 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
Let me start off by saying, I know the Ecstasy is a "small" ship, but to me it felt huge. I never felt crowded, even on sea days. I was a little bit surprised at how small the pool was. Considering there were thousands of people on board, I'd expect a pool bigger than what was in my grandma's back yard. Maybe she just has a big pool, but I'd swear they were about the same size. Despite it's small size, it never seemed overly crowded. The hot tubs were often crowded, and most often it was little children and teenagers.

On the lido deck, my stomach growled. I knew I wanted to get lunch first before I went exploring. I headed for the Mongolian Wok. I LOVE Chinese food. I was disappointed to see they only had three sauce options, and none that I've tried before. The line moved quickly. I ate here three days of my four day cruise and I never waited more than 20 minutes in line.

Today I waited maybe 5. I got thai bbq sauce with shrimp, lo mein noodles, rice noodles, bean sprouts and carrots. I picked thai bbq because it didn't sound spicy. The Mongolian Wok had three sauces every day: Thai bbq, Black Bean, and Szcheuan ( I think I spelled that wrong.) It also had pork, chicken and then some kind of sea food. On the first day it was shrimp.

I headed over to the drink station. I've heard awful things about the water, and not so good things about the lemonade. I chose the lemonade (I don't drink tea.) I found a table in the walk way between the pool grill and the panorama restaurant by a window. Loved the location, I could watch out the window.

Thai BBQ was too spicy for me. I drank a lot of the lemonade while eating. Let me say, despite what I've heard I LOVED the lemonade. I considered not buying a soda card because it was so good, but in the end, I decided I needed my caffeine. After lunch I made the obligatory phone calls to friends and family, the "Haha, I'm on a cruise eating free food! Are you jealous? You should be!" I sent a few texts and then decided it was time to go.

I didn't know what to do with my tray. I picked it up and started to wander around. I didn't want to seem clueless so I didn't ask anyone. One of the crew members smiled and said Hello! I decided to look stupid, and asked him where to put my tray. He took it from me and told me I just leave them at the tables.

I felt funny about this all cruise.

But, on to the rest of the ship. I wandered for awhile and snapped some pictures.

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2,315 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
I headed over to the table set up on the lido deck and got my soda card. I also purchased the Carnival Tumbler. I would highly recommend it, it kept drinks cold and it was a lot easier than carrying around an open cup from the bar. And it holds more.

I went to buy a soda, and noticed that the employee forgot to put the sticker on my card, so back I went! Lucky I saved the reciept, I thought I'd trashed it ( I do most reciepts.)

I went back, got the sticker, and started walking around again. It was there that I ran into my supervisor from when I worked at a fast food chain. Small world! He was there with his family on their fifth cruise of the year (So jealous.)

By this time, I'd forgotten I was thirsty and went to find a quiet place to call my mom and make sure she got home okay. I decided to sit by the rolls royce cafe. I kept meaning to come by and try something from here, but I just couldn't justify spending money on pastries or a milkshake when there was free stuff and free ice cream. It did look good, but I never did try.

Ooops! She didn't know how to use her GPS so she ended up winging it, but made it home okay.

The rooms were ready now, and I headed down to mine. I was staying in a 1A on Empress. The easiest way to get to these is by taking the aft elevators straight down. If you go into the state room hallways anywhere else, you hav to walk and walk and walk, then turn into the elevator area, and then go. They're not with the rest of the state rooms.

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Jax, FL the port is about 10 minutes away from my house!!!
1,764 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
Great start! I am loving it! I can't wait to read more.... you are doing awesome. I say forget the ex.... his loss! Glad your mom made it without the GPS!
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75 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
Originally posted by TriciaEMTB
I got my passport and boarding pass out, and was directed by a smiling old man into line. I got into the port and was directed to another line to check in. At the head of the line there was a man directing you to open desks to check in. All the "Regular" lines were full, so he directed me over to the Platinum line, which was completely empty.
I wonder if this guy gets around...we had a "smiling old man" also direct us to what was probably the VIP line on our trip in June, but we where coming out of New Orleans. Being our first cruise, we where just going where we where told, but some of the other passengers could be heard muttering under their breath.
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Next Cruise: Emerald Princess Dec 2014

Days at sea to date: 33
Previous: Norwegian Pearl June 2014 : Carnival Magic Dec 2013 : Carnival Magic Dec 2012: Carnival Triumph Dec 2011: Carnival Triumph June 2011 :
2,315 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
I liked my state room. It was big enough for just me. I had planned on alternating sleeping on the top and bottom bunk (Come on, who doesn't like the top bunk?) but found it a little claustrophobic up there. I also found the bottom bunk to be cramped with the other one on top of it, so I decided to write the steward a note to put away the top bed.

I felt like I was the only one on that hall because I never saw anyone else, or heard them for that matter! We had a rough last night on the sea, and that was the only time I ever felt movement in bed. I slept like a baby, I don't recall ever hearing much noise. That being said, I can sleep in a diesel ambulance with the engine and radio in the background, so I am not the most reliable source when it comes to the quietness of a room. I'm really good at kind of blocking it out.

Oh! Before I forget, my "goody basket"

I had a sweet pea body lotion, some kind of body wash, two packs of breathe right strips, one soap bar, and one packet of tooth paste.

I unpacked some of the stuff from my messenger bag, read through the Fun Times and laid down on my bed to test the comfortableness.

I wish i could have packed the bed, or at least the pillows, and taken them home. They were the most comfortable pillows I've ever laid on. I figured out where my muster station was, then headed out again for a drink!

Now when I say drink, I mean soda. I don't drink, I hate the taste of alcohol, blech! I went to the metropolis bar, and ordered a coke.

And after wandering around a little more, I headed into The Society Bar trying to get to The Starlight Lounge. There was a private function. I had to wait.

About 20 minutes before the safety briefing, they opened it, and I went and grabbed a seat at my muster station:
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Orange Park, Florida
4,763 Posts
Joined Mar 2002
Love the review!! I'm sending a link to my son and d-i-l, our cruise is this coming Sat and we are all so excited! Nice to see current pics of Ecstasy, too.
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2,315 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
After the muster drill it was sail away! He's untying the ropes!

I found a spot in the back, because that was the side pointing out to sea. I was all set to watch, and then a bee decided to attack me. I am not allergic, but I don't like getting stung. I dodged it and it flew away, only to come back to stalk me. Maybe it was the flower on my shirt? I don't know, all I know was that bee was out for my blood!

So, I stumbled away to go find another bee free spot.

Soooo... The boat made a big U-Turn to get out of port.

All in all, I don't get the excitement for being up on deck for the sail away. Port Canaveral is ugly, and I was glad to leave it behind. I did not find a spot for any other sail aways. I found better things to do with my time. I didn't even pay attention to the all aboard/departure times because I was back well before.

After that, I headed down to the China Town Lounge for the Shopping Talk!

The Shopping Talk was hosted by Hila. I didn't realize that this was all going to be super expensive stuff, jewelry and stuff from Del Sol. Not like where to shop for souveniers for the rest of the family. I'm not buying expensive jewelry for my three year old little cousin at home

Hila was fun to watch, she's very energetic and funny. She enticed us to a gem seminar the next day by promise of a free 1ct Sapphire. She didn't tell you she gives you a flyer for it to be turned in at a store in Nassau.

Actually, if you turned in all the flyers for free stuff, you could've gotten some nice soveniers. I planned to do this, but I didn't... More on that later

After that, it was time for dinner!
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St. Charles Missouri
6,907 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
great job
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2,315 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
Originally posted by GloriaF
Love the review!! I'm sending a link to my son and d-i-l, our cruise is this coming Sat and we are all so excited! Nice to see current pics of Ecstasy, too.
I hope you guys have a blast! I really enjoyed my cruise. It is a good ship, the layout is a little confusing, but we sailed at capacity according to one of the entertainment staff people and it didn't feel crowded at all.
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2,315 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
I had anytime dining.

If I sail solo again, I will do traditional dining. I loved being able to eat whenever, but two out of four nights, I didn't have anyone to talk to while eating. I was never asked if I'd like to sit alone or if I'd like to sit with others, it seemed that however many you came with is however many you would be sitting with.

Once I was seated off in a corner by myself and the next couple was several tables down. It was a little odd, and I felt very isolated. Another time, the people I sat next too didn't want to talk.

This night, however, I was seated next to a couple. One was a mechanic and one was a nurse. I love meeting other health care professionals. After appetizers, they introduced themselves. I was thankful, as I'm VERY shy.

Meals were a little difficult for me. It was really the only time I felt lonely. While feeling lonely I began to reflect on being dumped and it was kind of a downer.

Anyway, I found the service in the dining room to be hit or miss. The first night the waiter just came up and mumbled for my order. I wasn't even sure what he said. I was already nervous about dinner. The fanciest place I eat is Chilis. While this wasn't five star, it was definitely not Chilis.

I ordered minestrone soup and pork steak

Carnival seems to have a thing about putting weird food together. A black olive in the mac'n'cheese? Hmm! Weird! And folks, it does get weirder later on!
Followed by the famous warm chocolate melting cake. I LOVED this

I had been reading reviews about horrible cold food on the Ecstasy. My food was almost always hot (the exception is one breakfast.) and very good.

I timed it right to see the waiter dance. They danced to Low by Flo Rida. It was awesome, so much fun! One older lady got up and start jamming out with the waiter, I was a little envious, she looked like she was having a blast.

Oh, and they had REAL butter.

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666 Posts
Joined Dec 2007
Hi! Patricia ...We were on the same cruise! I felt pretty good about everything except maybe the long wait thru immigrations at Key West...Glad you had a good time.
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