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jaowel

My Spring Break Ecstasy review..with photos

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This trip was the first one that our kids didn’t know about and let me tell you, it was hard to keep it a secret!! My DH and I almost blew it a couple of times. First let me tell you that we LOVE to travel! We own 2 weeks at a resort in Florida and have traded it many times to go different places over the years. We also own a camper and love to do that in the summer. One thing our kids have never been on was a cruise, so we decided that is what we were going to surprise them with this year for spring break!

I started looking for good rates last fall and we decided since we were going to drive to the port from Michigan, we would do a 5 night on the Ecstasy out of Port Canaveral. Then started the research! I can’t begin to tell you how much CC help with the planning of our cruise! Thank you to everyone that had good, honest and helpful reviews!

Since this was a surprise, we had to be careful not to let too much information out. We drove to KY on Thursday and stayed with family. Got up early on Friday and headed to FL. 13 hours (because of traffic!) later, we arrived at our hotel to stay the night before our cruise. We stayed at the Quality Inn in Titusville just outside the Kennedy Space Center. I got this room for around $70 and it was just fine for the 5 of us. It was clean and the beds were comfortable. We didn’t take them up on the free breakfast, so I can’t tell you how that was. We wanted a BIG breakfast, so selected one of the other restaurants that was right next door.

Now it was time for the BIG SURPRISE!! We printed off their boarding pass and a paper that contained lots of pictures of the ship and ports. We had them open them slowly…….and……”WHAT!!!! WE ARE GOING ON A CRUISE!!!” “TO THE BAHAMA”S!!! NO WAY!!” “THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!!

They were so excited! Only having done land based vacations they couldn’t wait to get to the ship!

We decided to park at “Park N Cruise” rather than at the port. It was less than $30 to park (it was $90 at the port).

Park N Cruise: It was very easy to make a reservation online. You don’t pay until you arrive and they send over a confirmation to you with directions to their lot. Once there, you will pull into a covered “barn”. Things were pretty busy because of spring break, so we felt a tad bit rushed to get out of car. Make sure you have everything ready to go before you get there. They had me go to pay and had my DH unload the car. Once you are unloaded, they will tell you where to park your car. It is a gravel lot, but it wasn’t dusty and the cars weren’t too packed together. Lock your car and keep your keys. We were on the shuttle in less than 5 min and at the port in less than 10 min. We arrived at the port around 10:50am. They drop you off in an area with other shuttles, so it was pretty busy. They were very quick to get our luggage taken care of and we were on our way to the ship!

We purchased FTTF (which we totally worth it IMHO) so there was no line to go through security or to check in. We were able to walk right up and board the boat, which was about 11:05 am. There are some crew members that don’t really know much about FTTF. Many of the doors are closed to the hallways, so when I asked about opening the door, a lady told me we couldn’t go to our cabin until 1:30 even with FTTF. I told her she was incorrect and I just went and ask someone else who told me to “go ahead and open those doors and enjoy my cruise!J

Our cabin was on the Empress Deck (room E162). It was below the galley, so I was a bit nervous about the noise that could come from above. Honestly, we didn’t hear a thing! We brought a small box fan and everyone slept like a brick! I was also nervous about the size of the cabin, seeing that we have 5 in our family.

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Once we put some of things away, we headed out to explore! What a nice ship! We have been on bigger ones, but this one was a very nice size and it was very clean. It was nice to be able to board early so we could check everything out before it got too crazy.

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The Serenity Deck

There was no line for lunch, but having just had a big breakfast, we didn’t eat right away. Then..SURPRISE!!! Grandma and papa decided to come too!!! Oh! The look on their faces…priceless!! Time for some fun!! Yeah! They also took one of our kids each night, so there was no trundle on the floor of our room J

The pool area is not very big and there were two hot tubs (one on either side of the pool). There were so many families on spring break that the pools were packed, so we stuck to the water park on the back on the first day. My kids loved the slides!

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To be continued...

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Our first day was at sea, so we just enjoyed the things that the ship had to offer. We did the towel folding class and explored the ship.

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The “flow” of the ship wasn’t great, but got used to it by the second day. There seemed to be areas that just ended and we had to go up or down the stairs to continue on the same floor.

We loved karaoke with Kim at the China town lounge. He was almost as entertaining as the “wanna be singers”! We “had” to go almost every night! I fyou have ever wanted to try your hand at singing, this is the place to try it J

The shows were ok. Two of my three kids feel asleep during the Motown one. Granted they had very full, fun filled days, but the shows could have been a little better. I had a hard time keeping my eyes open too! Don’t get me wrong, they were entertaining and glad we saw them, I just thought they could have been a little better.

The Hasbro game show was very fun! The audience was very involved, so everyone was laughing. The comedian that we saw at the “family friendly” show was terrible. He had such a hard time keeping it clean for the kids. I am sure that the adult show was much better, but we were not able to see it. I will be honest with you…the funniest person on the ship was the Cruise Director, Matt. He was hilarious! Every time he was on stage, we were laughing! Very funny guy!

The putt-putt course was ok. It looked very weathered, but being at the top of the ship, I can see why. It was pretty windy up there, so FYI….don’t wear a flowing skirt J It didn’t stop us from playing a lot though. There is a small deck that is up there with lounge chairs. They were hardly ever full, so it was a nice place to get some rays.

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The second day was Little Stirrup Cay. This was The Ecstasty’s very first time stopping at this Island, so we were interested to see how it was going to be! Since we had FFTF, we walked straight to the Customer Service desk and they walked us right down and we were able to get on the little boat to take us to the island. It was nice not to wait for a zone number.

The island was very nice.

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The weather was perfect, so we were very excited to have a beach day! To the left of the tender area is where the cabanas are located. These are very nice and there aren’t that many. There is no beach in front of them, so we opted not to rent one. There are PLENTY of palm trees for shade if we needed to get out of the sun.

TBC....

 

 

 

 

 

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Great review so far, sounds like you had a great time..

 

Quick question.. Do you recall how deep the water was in the Aqua play area with the rock climb and stuff. I see life vest must be worn so not sure how deep water is at that area.Our cruise in July has a day here and was looking to buy the aqua passes in advance.

Edited by Express Man

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Can't wait to read the rest. Thanks for the pic of the cabin. I'm so glad that the Ecstasy doesn't have the life jacket box in the corner of the room like Paradise did... it was quite awkward to get around. For some reason, I'm loving the faux palm trees and umbrellas on the Ecstasy. Does that make me weird? :p

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Your kids are about the same ages as the ones we are bringing. Can't wait to hear more about what they liked and didn't like. Also, did you happen to keep the Fun Times?

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I will post more tomorrow :) Everything is on my work computer. Lots more to see and tell.

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Hey there Jaowel, we where on the same cruise. We had a ball. I was a little uneasy about going during spring brake. All you hear about is how bad the kids are and they are all over the place. I did not feel that way. All the kids we talk to was well behaved and nice to talk to. I would do this again in a heart beat.

I don't know if you seen us but my husben was riding around on a scooter. We was always together.

Can't wait to read the rest of your review!

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"Do you recall how deep the water was in the Aqua play area with the rock climb and stuff. I see life vest must be worn so not sure how deep water is at that area.Our cruise in July has a day here and was looking to buy the aqua passes in advance." __________________

I am not quite sure of the depth. I didn't go out farther than waist deep. Some of those are pretty big, so I would think that it would be deep enough for people that jump or fall off of them not to worry about injury. There was a "life guard" sitting up on a chair over looking the area. Everyone looked like they were having a great time :)

 

@Deborah Grimes:

I think I did see you!! You had matching shirts the first day, right? I would do this cruise again as well. I agree with you about the kids and spring break. Our kids are well behaved (most of the time ;)) and I was happy that most of the children we came across were very polite. We had a wonderful time!

 

"Your kids are about the same ages as the ones we are bringing. Can't wait to hear more about what they liked and didn't like. Also, did you happen to keep the Fun Times? "

I think I have them. Is there something specific that you want me to post? :)

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Aww, warms my heart to remember packing my kids I to a cabin like that with me... Fun times!!! Good thing you had the grandparents, though! Looking forward to more.

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"Do you recall how deep the water was in the Aqua play area with the rock climb and stuff. I see life vest must be worn so not sure how deep water is at that area.Our cruise in July has a day here and was looking to buy the aqua passes in advance." __________________

I am not quite sure of the depth. I didn't go out farther than waist deep. Some of those are pretty big, so I would think that it would be deep enough for people that jump or fall off of them not to worry about injury. There was a "life guard" sitting up on a chair over looking the area. Everyone looked like they were having a great time :)

 

@Deborah Grimes:

I think I did see you!! You had matching shirts the first day, right? I would do this cruise again as well. I agree with you about the kids and spring break. Our kids are well behaved (most of the time ;)) and I was happy that most of the children we came across were very polite. We had a wonderful time!

 

"Your kids are about the same ages as the ones we are bringing. Can't wait to hear more about what they liked and didn't like. Also, did you happen to keep the Fun Times? "

I think I have them. Is there something specific that you want me to post? :)

 

 

I'd love to see them if you happen to scan them, but I really wanted to know if there was laser tag.

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"Do you recall how deep the water was in the Aqua play area with the rock climb and stuff. I see life vest must be worn so not sure how deep water is at that area.Our cruise in July has a day here and was looking to buy the aqua passes in advance." __________________

I am not quite sure of the depth. I didn't go out farther than waist deep. Some of those are pretty big, so I would think that it would be deep enough for people that jump or fall off of them not to worry about injury. There was a "life guard" sitting up on a chair over looking the area. Everyone looked like they were having a great time :)

 

@Deborah Grimes:

I think I did see you!! You had matching shirts the first day, right? I would do this cruise again as well. I agree with you about the kids and spring break. Our kids are well behaved (most of the time ;)) and I was happy that most of the children we came across were very polite. We had a wonderful time!

 

"Your kids are about the same ages as the ones we are bringing. Can't wait to hear more about what they liked and didn't like. Also, did you happen to keep the Fun Times? "

I think I have them. Is there something specific that you want me to post? :)

 

 

Yes that was us. We would do this again. I can't wait to read the rest of your review to relive the cruise!

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When you get off the tender boat there are some vendors to the right. They only take cash. I didn’t pay for the drinks that we had, so I am not

quite sure if they take Credit or Cash. My FIL bought everything that day J

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If you go to the right after you pass the vendors, you will find the area that lunch will be served. There are lots of picnic tables under pavilions to eat. There is also a bar that plays music.

This is the view by the lunch area.

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We walked along the beach past the bathrooms and volleyball courts and found the floating, inflatable water park. There is an extra fee for that and for some reason, my kids didn’t want to do it. We walked just a bit farther and saw a little bar with blended drinks and beer, so we stopped just before that and found our chairs for the day.

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This is one of the pathways that lead to the beach.

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This little island was beautiful once you got away from the crowded area. Chairs and hammocks are everywhere, so no matter where you want to sit, you will find something.

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I wish we would have walked a little farther down the beach. This spot was WONDERFUL! Not too crowded...Perfect.

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The water was so beautiful. It wasn't too cold for us, so we got right in!

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I have seen this tree pictured many times. It was so nice to see it in person! Being on this cruise with my kids, we wanted to stay somewhat close to the action. But, if...I mean WHEN, I come back with just my hubby, this is the spot we are going to spend the day! The beach is beautiful and there are shells everywhere!

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It was time to leave this beautiful place and head to the ship. Here she is from the tender boat

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Day three we were in Nassau. Pulling into port was BEAUTIFUL! The sunrise behind Atlantis made for some wonderful photos!

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This was one of the resorts that is very close to the pier.There were 4 other ships there besides us, so this port was BUSY!! We decided that we were going to do some shopping in the morning and head to the public beach in the afternoon.

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I used the coupons that we were given to get some free goodies at Diamonds International and EFFY. There is a key that was given to me the night before saying that because I was a VIFP, I had a chance of opening the “Treasure Box” at DI. Well, it didn’t open and I left the key by the others lying next to it. Little did I know that there is “Treasure Box” in almost every jewelry store and I could have tried it in all of them! Oh well, next time! While I shopped with my MIL, my kids went with my FIL to the Pirate Museum. The two older boys loved it; however my 5yr old thought it was too scary. Oh! P.S. Make sure your DH doesn’t have everyone’s sign and sail cards on him. Especially when he decides that he doesn’t want to go jewelry shopping and wants to go the Pirate Museum and doesn’t tell you. This will then leave you stuck at the building by the pier…watching 5 ship loads of people walk by to come and go to their ship. It might make you a tad bit grumpy waiting for an hour and half for him to walk by with your ID. We did walk through the straw market after checking out some stores. They were VERY pushy and they all have similar items. You could definitely barter with them on price. There were lots of straw bags, beaded jewelry, carvings and sundresses. We were going to go to the public beach for the afternoon, but decided to stay on the ship after lunch and enjoy the sun J It was nice to finally get some chairs next to the pool and enjoy the rest of the afternoon with very few people around us. I think next time we go to Nassau, we are going to buy a day pass somewhere or do an excursion.

 

 

 

 

 

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You just made me SUPER EXCITED. We are on the Ecstasy in the EXACT SAME ROOM and i also plan on surprising my children as they have never been on a cruise before either.

 

I want to know a little more about the room....was it enough room to walk around? was there a couch in the unit? did you feel cramped at anytime. I will be sailing with my 3 children DD16, DS15 and DD12

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Freeport was definitely not the nicest port to pull into. Although the sunrise was nice!

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It is very industrial looking and smelled of oil. The port is small but has some shopping, small stands for drinks /food and there is of course, Senior Frogs. There was a great band that played as we got off the ship. They reminded me of The Baha Men..very fun!

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I can see why people don’t really love this stop if they don’t venture far from the ship. We, however, had a BLAST!

We took a taxi to the other side of the island. For $10 per person (round trip), we were dropped off right at the Port Lucaya marketplace. The taxi will pick you up in the same spot they dropped you off. They leave every hour on the hour. We didn’t go through the marketplace because we heard that the prices were a bit more than they were in Nassau. We decided to go to the Grand Lucayan and purchased day passes.

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The walk way is between the hotel and the casino (directly across from the marketplace). You walk through security and you will be sent to a lady selling wristbands. Adults were $15 and kids were $7. This will give you use of the pool, chairs and facilities. If you want to just use the beach (no chairs), it was free. They only take cash as payment for the wristbands. The food and drink are crazy expensive and they only take credit cards for that. The resort has a great pool and I was actually happy that we paid to use it. My oldest and my FIL actually went parasailing here. He said it was on his “Bucket List”. Very fun!!

The kids loved this resort! They played some great Caribbean music (unlike the Lido Deck on the ship!) and the weather was perfect, so it made for a wonderful day in Freeport!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Here are some more photos of the resort.

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I would absolutely come back to this resort. If you don't want to pay for a day pass, they will let you use the beach for free. There is a public beach that is very close by that you could also use.

Our ship was leaving at 5pm so we headed to the taxi just before 3pm. It is about a 20 min drive, so we wanted to get there in plenty of time to shop a bit at Del Sol. We also wanted to get a pic with Senor Frog!

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When we got back on the ship, we decided to hang out by the pool and order a bucket of beer

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The ship does have a midnight buffet one night. It is a Mexican buffet and it was DELISH!! That is the night they also have a dance party on the Lido Deck. They do play a lot of music to get people up and out on the dance floor. i.e. The Electic Slide, The Wobble, and lots more. No matter how much you might hate the Macarena, it will almost always get you moving!

This was the ship lit up that night.

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The view looking toward the beach.

 

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On the "day at sea", they had a party in the atrium. This was also the night that Formal Wear was the attire in the dining room. It was SO MUCH FUN!!

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There was also a morning that they had all the chairs on the Lido Deck full of Towel Animals

 

 

 

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I just love that color!! Don't you??

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This is our group at dinner:

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We loved the wait staff! Jorge, Putu and Alen were fantastic and knew our names every time we saw them around the ship. My daughter’s favorite thing about dinner was “Sshhhhowtime!!” Once you have gone on this cruise, you will know what I am talking about J

They had Pizza (yummy!) and the Deli (delicious!) at the back of the ship on the lido deck. This was also where the omelet making station was in the morning. There was hardly ever a line there. They also had Rotisserie Chicken and The Mongolian Stir Fry station (both very good) next to The Grille (hot dog, hamburger, etc). The line for the Grille was ALWAYS long! The Rotisserie station had Chicken, mashed potatoes and veggies. I almost always walked right up for food. The Panorama Bar & Grill had duplicated “comfort food” and sweets on each side. There is a nice salad bar in the middle with ice cream and frozen yogurt. Quick tip…grab a cup and fill it half way up with vanilla ice cream. Then fill the rest of the cup with lemonade and stir together. Amazing on a hot day!!

We discovered that when it is close to closing time for those selections, they would have one side closed and the other left open for a bit. Many people thought that it was closed all together and end up standing in the grill line.

The food was wonderful. The only thing I didn’t care for was the Lobster Bisque. Oh! And the coffee was terrible on the Lido Deck in the morning!! It wasn’t so bad in the main dining room. It was so bitter. I will bring my own coffee and creamer next cruise. Other than that, we ate until we couldn’t eat anymore! There was never a morsel wastedJ.

Here is some "Food Porn" for you viewing pleasure:

This is what I had the first night. I can't remember what it was, but it was awesome!

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My Eggs Benidict in the main dining room. Get the sauce on the side so you know that is it made fresh :)ry%3D400

 

 

The Smoked Salmon

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The Warm Chocolate Melting Cake. Ask for it cooked more or you will get chocolate soup.

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This was the meal on Little Stirrup Cay:

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This cruise was wonderful! I would do it again in a hearbeat! I have turned my kids into cruise lovers! Look! I had to capture the moment when the boys ACTUALLY played together!

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We are looking forward to our next adventure...which I am sure will be on a ship!

From my family to yours, Happy Sailing!

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You just made me SUPER EXCITED. We are on the Ecstasy in the EXACT SAME ROOM and i also plan on surprising my children as they have never been on a cruise before either.

 

I want to know a little more about the room....was it enough room to walk around? was there a couch in the unit? did you feel cramped at anytime. I will be sailing with my 3 children DD16, DS15 and DD12

 

If you have the king split into two twins and have them put under the pullmans, there will be plenty of room. We did not have a couch unit. The only time we felt cramped was when we were trying to get ready for dinner. We had to do it in shifts. Ladies first ;) Because there are 5 of us, I think we might check into getting connected staterooms next time. If it is too much $$ we will stay in one cabin. All we did was sleep, so it wasn't a big deal. I would advise bringing a sound machine or small box fan. We didn't hear anything from the galley above us with the fan going. Bring a small power strip to plug in your electical things. There is only one plug. There is also 1 shelf in the bathroom. Bring a over the door shoe bag for your things. It is very small. There is no hair dryer either, so make sure you bring your own.

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Great pictures! Lots more of the palm trees on that ship than on Inspiration. I just love that they have umbrellas on Serenity. Other class ships don't have those.

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Well done review! Thanks for the effort and so glad you had a great time. DD and I will be on a 4 day at the end of June this year. I now feel like I know the ship. :)

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I enjoyed your review very much! I gotta ask... what kind of app did you use to edit your pics? I love how they turned out. I'm thinking about doing a self walking tour in Nassau when we're there and I think that any pics that I take of the historic buildings would look great with that aged effect.

 

Thanks.

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Awwwwww... Such a cute ending and pic!

 

We will be sailing on her in less then 2 weeks! I am super stoked! It's been too long since our last cruise (more then a year) and it looks like a few things have changed.

 

Was the party in the atrium listed in the fun times? That is new to us.

 

Thanks for your review!

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I enjoyed your review very much! I gotta ask... what kind of app did you use to edit your pics? I love how they turned out. I'm thinking about doing a self walking tour in Nassau when we're there and I think that any pics that I take of the historic buildings would look great with that aged effect.

 

Thanks.

 

 

It's called Photoscape and it is free to download. There are some VERY cool things that you can do with your photos. I edited them first, then went to Shutterfly to make a book. I just copied and pasted them from that site to here.:)

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Awwwwww... Such a cute ending and pic!

 

We will be sailing on her in less then 2 weeks! I am super stoked! It's been too long since our last cruise (more then a year) and it looks like a few things have changed.

 

Was the party in the atrium listed in the fun times? That is new to us.

 

Thanks for your review!

 

After dinner, they had a preview of Mowtown in the main showroom and lead everyone from there to the atrium. They were singing "Dancing in the Street" as they lead everyone out. They sang quite a few songs and everyone was dancing. It was very fun!

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Do you know if the pizza on the Ecstasy is the new thin kind or is it the old thicker kind?

 

Thanks!

 

 

They had both and they were very good. There were quite a few options available. We didn't have any complaints when it came to the pizza. I have heard on other threads that some didn't care for it. It was always good and hot when we got a slice.

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Nice photo review...thanks...the chocolate melting cake is usually hot when they deliver it...and if you let it sit for a couple of minutes it will move toward thicker. :):):):)

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We always like to go and get a slice of pizza before turning in for the night. I think it was the new dough because we both tasted it and through it in the trash. We never tried it again. We loved the old crust better.

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It's called Photoscape and it is free to download. There are some VERY cool things that you can do with your photos. I edited them first, then went to Shutterfly to make a book. I just copied and pasted them from that site to here.:)

 

Thank you! I'll have to download it asap. :)

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We surprised our boys 1 time, it was their second cruise and was 7 & 5 yr old at the time. We had planned a drive from Houston to Florida for beach vacation but 3 weeks before departure had a wild idea of stopping in New Orleans for quick 5 day cruise before finishing the vacation in Florida. As we pulled up to the port, the 7 yr old was happy but so startled by the change in plans that he vomited in the van.

 

We've learned not to surprise that boy ever again.

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