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GeorgiaMomof4

My Ecstasy Review-2/1/20-The Cruise That Almost Wasn't

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Hello everyone!  I don't really have the time it takes to do an extensive review, but I did want to

at least do a quick one for you.  I always love reading any review that has been posted relating

to the ship we will be sailing on prior to our cruises and I bet many of you are the same.

 

First some background information -  I'm Angela (54) and this was my 14th cruise - all on Carnival.

My DH is Glen (56) and this was his 12th cruise - all Carnival as well.  We cruised with friends of

ours, Michael and Donna.  This was a couples only cruise - left our 6 kids at home and Michael and

Donna left their 3 at home.

 

Michael and Donna booked first and invited us to come along.  It took us a while to decide because

we already have an 8 day booked for Thanksgiving of this year for our entire crew of 8 so we had

not planned to cruise this February as we normally do.  We thought we would save that money

to put toward our November cruise.  After much discussion and thought, we decided we would

go ahead and do this 5 day cruise with Michael and Donna.  We booked on October 24, 2019.

 

Here is where the fun begins.  On October 28, my Mom who is 86 was admitted to the

hospital.  She was initially diagnosed with a UTI, but that was changed to

endocarditis - infection in her heart.  We were told the treatment would be 6 weeks of IV

antibiotics so our plan was to keep her in the hospital until she was released, send her to

a local nursing facility for some PT for her to get her strength back and then bring her to our

home to finish out the course of IV antibiotics.  The best laid plans often go awry as we all

know.  Unfortunately some of the antibiotics they were giving my Mom caused her kidneys

to fail and therefore she had to be put on dialysis.  Our week or so stay in the hospital ended

up being 5 weeks and we almost lost her a couple of times.  She was finally released to the

nursing home the day before Thanksgiving, only to return to the hospital 5 days later for

internal bleeding.  Back to the nursing home and she was there until Christmas Eve when

we finally got to bring her home with us. 

 

I'm sure many of you have taken care of elderly parents, hopefully with siblings that can help. I

do have an older sister who has no other responsibilities other than herself, but who also does

nothing to help with the care of our mother.  It is very hard, especially when you have children - we

still have 4 at home and also had a 1 month old foster son at the time, work a job and everything else

that goes with it.  My husband is disabled and  has been able to do so much for my Mom as far as

appointments and being with her at home - I don't know what I would do without him. 

 

Anyway, Mom was doing much better - still having to do dialysis 3 times a week but she is a 

trooper and was hanging in there.  On Jan 2, her dialysis team told us she was going to be able to

stop her dialysis because her kidney function was returning.  This was such a blessing - dialysis 

was very hard for my Mom with her age and health conditions. We were all so happy, it looked

like she was going to be returning to her old self and hopefully would be able to return to her

home (next door to us).  Unfortunately about mid month she started swelling and retaining

fluid.  We made several trips to the nephrologist  thinking it was her kidneys again.  They assured

us that her kidneys were continuing to improve and that wasn't it.  On Jan. 29 - just 3 days before

our cruise, EMS had to take my Mom back to the ER - she was having such difficulty breathing.

We then discovered that the heart infection had severely damaged her heart and she has something

called aortic regurgitation which basically means that when her heart pumps blood to the aorta, a

lot of the blood is flowing back down into the heart and it eventually fills up and seeps to the lungs 

and tissue around the heart.  The only fix for this is open heart surgery and my mother is not a

candidate for that because of her age and her health conditions.  We were told she would have to

go back on dialysis in order to keep the excess fluid under control.  She was so sick again and it

is hard to hear that your Mom can't be fixed, that they are basically just treating symptoms to

keep her comfortable.

 

Here we are - now 2 days before the cruise and I am basically living at the hospital.  She kept telling

us to go on our cruise - we needed to go and have a break but I just didn't know what to do.  I had

already lined up her care for while we were gone (my adult daughters and some of her cousins

were going to be caregivers for her) but I was so afraid to go and take the chance on something

happening while we were gone.  I knew there would be nothing I could do for her, but I didn't want

to leave my kids here to deal with everything in the event the worse happened.  After 2 round of

dialysis she improved quite a bit and was still wanting us to go. 

 

We finally made the decision we would go on Friday morning about 10.  I had not packed a stitch

of clothing for myself nor my husband, because I just hadn't had the time or the ambition to do so.

I went home and packed Friday afternoon, went back to the hospital to visit with my Mom after

her dialysis and we left to head for south Georgia where we would be spending the night before

our cruise at 8:00 p.m.  I had inquired on here about how hard it would be to get back home from

Nassau or Princess Cay and had received some awesome advice so I did feel much better about

the situation after receiving that advice.

 

Sorry guys - I know you're ready for the review so here goes!

 

Pre-Cruise -

 

I had booked us a hotel room in Lake Park, GA for Friday night before our cruise on Saturday.  The

original plan was for us to leave home around 6:00 and be at the hotel by 11:00 or so.  We ended

up getting to the hotel around 1:15 a.m. on Saturday morning.  I booked thru Priceline for about $95

total - it was a brand new hotel - Holiday Inn Express and it was very nice.  We did run into an issue

when I was checking in - something about an extra $5 charge for some kind of tax that Priceline

didn't want to pay.  After about 20 minutes of standing at the desk I was beginning to get annoyed.

The desk clerk finally got me checked in and said he would have his manager deal with Priceline

the next day.  I would have gladly paid the $5 just to be able to get checked in and get some sleep.

 

Embarkation Day -

 

We were all tired so we didn't get up extra early and try to head to Jacksonville.  We took our

time and left Jacksonville about 9:30 or so, made a stop at a Walmart when we got into

Florida and made it to the port about 11:30 or so.

 

 

Got to take my Mom to the doctor - so I will continue tonight or in the morning.  Thanks for

following along!

 

 

 

 

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Sorry to hear about your mom. My DH is on dialysis too. It's hard at any age. Looking forward to your review!

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OK I'm back - sorry for the delay.

 

Embarkation day - continued

 

The last time we cruised from Jacksonville we did park and ride at one of the various places

and were shuttled to the port.  We decided that we would just pay the extra this time and park

at the port instead of having to shuttle back and forth to our car.  It was $85 for the 5 day cruise.

I'm so glad we did this.  The parking at the Jacksonville port is right at the ship.  We unloaded

our luggage, walked about 200 feet and dropped our bags with the porter and headed into the

building to get checked in.  I guess we missed the initial rush because we were checked in and

through security in less than 10 minutes.  My husband and I are platinum and even though we

were able to go through the "faster" line, Michael and Donna still beat us through.  We had our

embarkation day photo made and headed toward the ship. 

 

Now, let me tell you a little about getting on the ship.  I'm not sure when this changed, but they

now have several ramps that you have to walk up to get onto the ship.  As I said before, my

husband is disabled and he made it walking but did have to stop once to catch his breath.  It is

a long walk and naturally uphill the whole way.  When we got to the top and ready to step

onto the ship he said "well, the good news is when we get off the ship it will be all downhill". 

 

We had booked an aft OV on Deck 7 - the Empress Deck which is the deck where you embark and

disembark on the Ecstasy.  We chose this deck specifically for this reason.  We always do self

assist debark and this makes it easier on my husband because we don't have to deal with any

stairs while dragging our luggage with us on debark day.   Since we were platinum we were able

to go straight to our cabin and drop our carry ons off before heading to Lido.  Michael and Donna

went with us and their room steward was quick to let them know their room wasn't yet ready.

 

One thing to note here - remember I told you we were on the ship by 12:00 or 12:15 at the latest?

Imagine my shock when we were walking down the hallway to our cabin and seeing that there

was quite a bit of luggage that had already been delivered.  I was amazed!  I had never seen luggage

delivered that quickly before.

 

We were all ready for lunch so we headed to the Lido deck for lunch.  I decided to try some tacos and

a taco salad for lunch, while Glen and the others headed to Guys for a burger.  We all met at a table

outdoors on Lido deck to eat.  It was cloudy and cool but we all had our jackets so we decided to stay

outside to eat instead of going back indoors.

 

After lunch we explored a little and then went back to the cabin and our luggage had already been delivered. 

I was very glad because I don't really feel like I can relax and enjoy myself until that chore of unpacking is

done and everything is put away.  I decided I would lie down and take a short nap thinking that muster would

be about 3:30 like it normally is.  Wrong - I didn't even get to sleep until they started making announcements

about muster.  Our muster was like at 2:30 which was really early!  Ours was in the Starlight Lounge which

is where the comedy shows were held.  It was all indoors and painless. 

 

Not long after muster, we were sailing away and it was only about 3:30.  We tried hanging out on Lido deck

back in the aft but it was too windy and cold.  Donna and I left Michael and Donna on Lido and went to the

spa for a spa tour - something I had never done before.  It was nice and we were able to register for some

drawing they would be holding at 4:45.  Needless to say, neither of us won anything.  I haven't used the spa

or salon since my first cruise back in 2004.  To me, the prices are just way too high and even though the

services are good, they are no better than what you can get back at home for usually around half the price.

This time though, with all that had been going on with my Mom I hadn't even had time to run and get

a pedicure at home and was in dire need of one so I booked a pedicure for Sunday morning at 8:00 am for

the hefty price of $75!

 

We collected our husbands and went back to the cabin for a while and then decided to head to dinner.  We

chose YTD for this cruise since there was only the 4 of us and while we normally still go eat between 6 and 7

we just didn't want to have to be there at a set time in case we wanted to nap after a port day or something.

There was a fairly long line but it went fast and once up to the Maitre D stand, we were seated immediately.

We were seated at a 4 top but the table right beside us was very close.  Turns out that the 2 men seated

next to us lived about 50 miles from us - it really is a small world.  They were neighbors cruising together -

this was a first cruise for one of them and they were a hoot!  We enjoyed small talk with them during dinner.

Don't remember what I had other than the strawberry bisque for an appetizer and the Tiramisu for dessert, 

but it was all good - especially the bisque and the dessert!

 

After dinner we strolled around and listened to a few bands and what not and ended up at the Welcome

Aboard show.  Our cruise director was Cam - first time we had him for a CD and he was very funny, engaging

and approachable.  A CD doesn't make or break my cruise but I have had a few of them that certainly

didn't add to my cruise experience.  Afterwards we decided we would head to the Starlight Lounge and

catch a comedy show.  We had to wait a while and Donna and I almost decided to call it a night because

it had been a long day but we waited it out.  The comedians for our trip were Mark Hawkins and Johnny

Millwater.  They were ok - not my favorites of other ones that I had seen on past cruises.

 

Headed back to the cabin for bed - had to be up early for my pedicure.

 

I have a few pictures that I will try to post along as well.  I didn't really take that many on this trip!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunday - sea day

 

I was up early to be sure I made it to my pedicure on time.  Normally when we have cruised in

February before, even if it's cool when we leave port in Florida, it's always warm when we wake

up the next day.  Not so this trip.  I had booked my pedicure early so I could get on outside and

lie down in a lounger and enjoy the sunshine and my book.  That wasn't going to be the case.

 

I went up for my pedicure and I enjoyed interacting with the girl who did my pedicure.  She

was from Jamaica and was really sweet and did a good job.  In addition to the pedicure she

put an eye mask and some cream on my eyes.  I know they are pushed to sell their products,

but to be honest my eyes were in fact a wreck.  Stress, lack of sleep, worry and crying the previous

week over my Mom had taken their toll on my eyes.  I might could see a little difference, but not

enough to purchase the products that she wanted me to purchase.  I did pull up

the products and check the prices on Amazon and the salon was actually pretty close in line to

what they were selling the products for as well.

 

Back to the cabin to collect Glen and we headed to breakfast.  Michael and Donna tagged along as

they had slept in.  We had breakfast and then Donna and I headed to the fun shops for the t-shirt sale

and to just browse around.  Purchased a couple of shirts and headed back to the cabin.  I made

another trip outside to the Serenity deck - a short walk from our cabin if you took the shortcut which

I'll tell you about later to see if it had warmed up any or if the sun was any brighter.  It wasn't, so back

to the cabin I headed.

 

Two things here -  I have never been on a ship that was traveling so slow!  We were like barely moving.  I'm

not sure if it was because we didn't have that far to go to get to our first port of Nassau; therefore, the

Captain was taking his time or what was going on but we were going very slow!   Now here's a tip about

getting to the Serenity deck.  This class of ship is laid out kind of weird.  You can get to the Serenity deck

from Lido but have to walk down the stairs at the back of the ship to get there, you can get their from deck 9

which is the deck the Serenity is on but you have to go out the back of the Starlight Lounge to do that.  Since

we were on deck 7 aft, I just walked all the way aft, then toward the port side and there is a large set of

stairs that take you to the restrooms for the Serenity area.  If you exit that door at the top of the stairs and

take the set of stairs right outside the door - viola - you're on the Serenity deck.  Easy peasy!

 

So, since it was still too cold to lie outside in the sun I decided I would take a nap.  I was still tired from the

lack of sleep I had the previous week so I decided this would be a good time to catch up a little.  I had no

idea that 4 hours later I would still be sleeping - Glen woke me up and said "Do you realize you have slept

all afternoon"?  I didn't and honestly I could have probably slept the rest of the afternoon, evening and night.

Reluctantly, I did go ahead and get up though.

 

Now, when we booked this cruise, I had no idea this would be Super Bowl Sunday.  I love football - more

college than NFL but I do enjoy some NFL.  Cam told us at the Welcome Aboard show that elegant night

would be moved to Monday since it was Super Bowl Sunday and that the tv's in all the lounges, lido,

bars, etc would all be playing the Super Bowl.  In addition, they would be having a huge Super Bowl Sailgate

party (including food) in the Blue Sapphire Lounge which was the main lounge forward.  We decided we would

skip the party and the MDR as there wasn't really anything we were excited about eating and just went to eat on Lido.  

All 4 of us had a nice salad (much better than what you get in the MDR) and then had various things off

the buffet, pizza or from the deli.  After dinner we went to the Chinatown Lounge for some karaoke.  I'm

definitely not a singer and Donna said she wasn't either unless she had a few drinks.  Cam was getting

to do the karaoke which was a treat for him since he said he usually wasn't able to.  There were some

good singers that entertained us.  We left there, headed to the Promenade to listen to the duo of Summer

Breeze.   

 

Glen and I decided we wanted to head to the Sapphire Lounge to catch the last bit of the game.

I'm a Georgian so I always root for the home team but since the Falcons were out and the Titans

got beat out as well, I really didn't have a dog in this fight.  I was pulling for Kansas City though since

it had been so long since they had a Super Bowl win!  The screen was huge in the lounge and there were

a lot of people there in their football attire, cheering and booing and carrying on.  It was a great

atmosphere and a lot of fun for everyone.  We all know the outcome - lots of disappointed 49er fans.

The lounge cleared out pretty quickly after the game.  Glen and I had great seats so we just stayed

put and hung out until the Love and Marriage show started.

 

 

A photo of the lounge and the huge screen -

 

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The Love and Marriage show was the same pretty much as always.  Maybe a different question or two,

but it was fun and we had some laughs.  After the show we headed back to the cabin - Nassau was our

port for Monday and we would be there early.

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I guess you can figure out now that I've posted more than I had planned.  I've had a few easy

days at work and decided what the heck!  Shhh!  Don't tell anyone I'm doing my review at work.

I'm sure none of you have ever done this!

 

Hope you're following along and enjoying!

 

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The Ecstasy was my first cruise and while we had a load of fun, I found the layout difficult to get around. Maybe it being my first cruise was a factor but it's a fun ship. We had a blast each night in the Starlight for karaoke.  Except for that one dude who thought it was cool to karaoke Nickelback, bad words and all.    

 

 

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Thank you so much for your review!  We are sailing the Ecstasy for New Year's.  Should be a good time! 🙂 

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I'm so glad you were able to go. Both my huband (age 62) and I (age 51) have lost a parent and worry abuot our remaining parents when we travel. In fact our last land trip on New Year's Day we got a call that they were removing his mom from life support so we threw everything in the car and raced home. She's still with us but no quality of life sadly.

 

We always try to make the best of everything and say when things are calm for even a few days we try to do something fun - whether we drive to the beach 4 hours away for the weekend or take a short cruise. It helps to rejuvenate you too both mentally and physically just like that pedicure you got!

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Hope your mom is doing better now.    Enjoying your review,  cruising on this itinerary in two weeks, keep the tips coming.

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Monday - Nassau

 

We arrived in Nassau early like around 7:00.  We didn't get up really early but we headed on

down to breakfast and then got ready to get off the ship.  There were no lines to get off

which was wonderful.  So many times on port days the lines are bad and there are so

many people wanting to get off at the same time.

 

We have been to Nassau several times and really didn't know what we wanted to do for

this cruise.  Back in January I did some checking and we decided to do a resort for a day

and ended up choosing the British Colonial Hilton.  The price was $82/per person for the

day and it included $40 in food and drink.  

 

The times for the Hilton were between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. I believe.  We got off the ship

around 9 or a little before and walked the short few blocks to the Hilton.  The hotel itself

and the grounds were beautiful.  We checked in at the front desk and paid the remainder

of our amount (we had to put a $20 deposit down when we booked) of $62/each.  This

had to be done with a credit card.  Once paid, we were given wrist bands, a voucher with

our food and drink credits that we would give to our waitress when she came by and I

think we also got towel vouchers.  

 

We ventured on outside and as I said, the grounds were beautiful.  Everything was very

well maintained.  We stopped off at the towel hut and got our towels (didn't have to bring

ours from the ship which was great) and he told us that we could sit anywhere we wanted

as long as their weren't already towels or personal items taking up those chairs or loungers.

 

We chose loungers on the beach with a little tiki hut umbrella (Glen isn't the sun worshiper

that I am - he needs his shade).  Michael and Donna had come along with us and they

sat right beside us.  It wasn't long before our waitress came by and gave us a menu and

explained how the voucher worked.  Even though we had paid separate, they put the total

$160 credit on one voucher and she said she would put all the food and drinks toward

that voucher.  We told her that was fine, that we would keep up with who had spent what.

 

Now - here is the part we didn't know about.  She also informed us that there would be a

27% charge for each item that was purchased from the menu.  It was broken down somehow -

15% for something (gratuity I believe) and the 12% who knows what that was for.  Well, as

you can imagine that cut a lot into the $40 credit we each had for food and drink.  We aren't

big drinkers so it wasn't a big deal to us and we had really just planned on getting some

appetizers anyway so it worked out fine for us.  Between the 4 of us we had a couple orders

of the cheesesteak fries, chicken quesadilla, several cans of coke and probably 4 or 5 mixed

drinks.  I think our total (including that 27%) came out to $157 and some change so we

almost spent all of ours.  All the food was good - drinks were fine as well.

 

So, this was fine for us but if any of you are big drinkers or eaters, you might want to pick

one of the other all inclusive hotels for just a little more money.  We started to do the Breezes

one I think for $102 which was all inclusive but we didn't want to spend the extra money, plus

we would have had to pay for a taxi to that hotel vs. just walking to the Hilton.

 

We had a good day - probably wouldn't do this again but it was fine for this trip.  The weather

was gorgeous, although the water was still a little cold for me to venture out in.  Oh, I almost

forgot speaking of the water.  They did have non-motorized water sports that were included

in the cost of your day.  I believe they had kayaks, snorkeling equipment and paddleboards for

your use.

 

Some pictures of our day at the Hilton -

 

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We hung out until about 2 or 2:30 and then headed back toward the ship.  Did a little shopping at the straw

market - which has gotten expensive I think and then boarded the ship. 

 

Glen went back to the room to nap and I headed to the Serenity deck for a nap and some more sunshine.

 

Coming soon - elegant night

 

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Good review! I just wish I could see the pictures. The 'link' won't open for me. :classic_mellow:

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You are trying to copy pictures from your Gmail, we can't see them. 🙂 You need to put them on an image hosting site that's public. Love the review so far!

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3 hours ago, teknoge3k said:

You are trying to copy pictures from your Gmail, we can't see them. 🙂 You need to put them on an image hosting site that's public. Love the review so far!

 

 

Dang - I knew that was too easy!  I'll try working on that this weekend!

 

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Hey Angela! Hope that your Mom is doing better now. Glad that you were able to get away and enjoy your cruise. Thanks for sharing your story with us. Looking forward to the rest! 😎

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1 minute ago, Joe817 said:

Beautiful pics, and yes they are posting correctly. 

Wonderful!  Thank you!

 

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OK - so now that I've got this picture thing figured out - here are a few more from our day

at the British Colonial Hilton in Nassau.

 

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Monday - Nassau port day - Elegant night

 

Sorry guys - it's been a busy week.  Hopefully I can get a couple more days done this morning though.

More doctors appointments this afternoon!

 

After returning from the Hilton for our day we had a little time before we had to get ready for

elegant night.  Glen opted to go back to the cabin to cool off and rest while I went up to Serenity

to enjoy a little more reading and sunshine.  Took a few pictures of the port area before we left

the dock.

 

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All too soon it was time to head back and get showered and dressed for elegant night.  It was kind

of odd having it on Monday evening instead of Sunday, but it had been changed because of Sunday

being Super Bowl Sunday.  No big deal to us either way.

 

We were dressed and headed down to YTD about 6:30 or 6:45 I believe.  I was afraid there would be

a line because of elegant night, but there wasn't.  Headed right in and were seated.  Dinner was standard

fare for a 5 night elegant night.  

 

After dinner we headed to the atrium bar because we wanted to get a good seat for the 70's & Motown

music trivia party.  I'm not sure if you've attended any of these music trivia parties on other ships, but

the ones I've been to (especially if you have a really great CD) are usually awesome.  Lots of music you

recognize and can sing along with even if you haven't heard the song in 20 plus years, lots of dancing,

laughing and generally just a good time.  Donna and I were lucky and snagged a seat right at the bar.  The

husbands decided they would sit off to the side and watch from a short distance away. 

 

As I said earlier, Cam was a really good cruise director and he made the music trivia a lot of fun.  It's great

to see so many people gather in the atrium area for these parties.  

 

After the trivia we decided we would catch the playlist production of Motor City.  We have seen it on

other ships several times but we enjoy it and decided there wasn't much else we wanted to do.

 

The show was good but honestly I'm ready for some change.  I think it's time they come up with some

new playlist shows - these have been going on for long enough already.  

 

I'm not sure what we did the rest of the evening.  I know at one point during the week I went to the casino

to play my favorite slot machine and was up by $130 (which is good for me).  And yes, by the end of the

cruise I had lost all I had won.  Nature of the beast I suppose.  Maybe one day I'll be smart and cash out

my winnings.....maybe!  

 

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Tuesday - Princess Cay

 

We arrived in Princess Cay early.  We knew we had the entire day so we didn't get up extra early,

but early enough that we would have time for breakfast and to get off the ship by 8:30 or 9:00.

 

Princess Cay is a tender port so it takes a little longer than just walking off the ship and being

there.  We were lucky though - there were 2 tenders loading when we headed off the ship at around

9:00 or so and we got a seat on one of those.  It wasn't long before we were on our way to the

island.  It was gorgeous day and the water was absolutely beautiful. 

 

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After the short ride from the ship to the island we got off and walked down the beach a little ways -

down past where lunch is served.  We found some loungers under a tree so we would have some

shade and some sun (once again for Glen and Michael who aren't sun worshippers).  It was a warm

day today.  I couldn't wait to check out the water and see what the temperature of it was.  It was a

little warmer than Nassau, but not a lot.  

 

Michael and Donna did some exploring, but Glen and I were lazy and just lounged at our chairs.  

It was crowded but it wasn't too crowded.  It wasn't long before we could smell the grilling smells

coming from the lunch areas where they were preparing the food for the day.  I believe the

lunch was served from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.  

 

After smelling those wonderful smells we decided to head to lunch about 11:45 or so.  Lines were

a little long but it was all in the shade so not a bad wait.  They had the standard island fare - burgers,

hot dogs, jerk chicken, slaw, potato salad and all the fixins.  Although I like my burger done, it was

a little too done on the outside.  All in all the food was good though.  They did have brownies, cookies and 

all kinds of fruit as well.  The brownies were delicious!

 

After lunch Donna and I decided we wanted to snorkel.  We had brought our own masks and had been

hearing some people sitting next to us talk about all the fish they were seeing just a little ways out so

we decided we would brave the cooler water and go check it out.

 

The water was cold!  I'm sure it probably wasn't for those who live in colder climates, but it was cold

to me.  Donna wasn't wanting to get in and I finally persuaded her to just take the plunge and do it.

After you got all in it really wasn't that bad, you adjust pretty quickly.  Initially though, it was cold.

 

I'm so glad we went in though because the fish were everywhere.  The water was crystal clear and

there were schools of all different kinds of fish swimming everywhere.  I loved the fact that there

were rocks right off the pier  that you could stand on and let the fish swim around you.  I'm sure it

helped that people were feeding them bread or whatever from the pier but they were everywhere.

There were some different kind that I hadn't seen snorkeling in other places that we've been.  We

ended up staying out there quite a while and then reluctantly headed back to the shore.  Now, I

had heard where Princess Cay was not a favorite of some people because of the rocks in the water.

This was somewhat of an issue getting in and out but you could almost step around them and avoid

most of them.  It isn't like Half Moon Cay for sure where there are basically no rocks at all in the 

water.

 

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This is what I came back to after snorkeling - Glen was taking him an afternoon siesta.  Exactly

what vacation if for though....

 

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It wasn't long before Michael and Donna decided they wanted to head back to the ship.  Glen decided

he would tag along with them because he had been out in the sun enough and wanted to cool down

some.  I wanted to stay and relax and read and soak up a little more sun so I told them I would head

back to the ship a little later.

 

It did get really warm and the sun was really strong so I opted to move from the loungers we had to

a different spot so at least some of me would be in the shade.  The sun had moved across the sky

and our chairs were no longer in any kind of shade.  I stayed about an hour and then headed back

to the ship as well.  Here are a couple of pictures I took as I headed back to the tender.

 

60252321024--F43ACD0B-85B5-4732-803D-9F1

 

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We had a good day in Princess Cay.  I have to say other than the rocks in the water, I think I like

Princess Cay better than Half Moon Cay.  

 

 

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Once back on board from Princess Cay I decided I would have an afternoon nap.  There

wasn't anything exciting going on that we wanted to do after dinner so we weren't in

a big hurry to go to dinner.

 

Nap time over, we got dressed and ready for dinner.  Once again there was absolutely no

wait for the YTD which was great.  We ended up sitting in the same area for dinner several

nights so we had the same wait staff.  It was Henry, Edy and Wonshim.  Henry was a nut -

he asked us if we had a nice day in Princess Cay and of course we said we did.  I asked him

if he had a nice day and he smiled really big and said that he had gone swimming with a 

mermaid lol!  I kind of doubt that but it was so funny the way he said it and the expressions

that he had.  I believe I had the lasagna tonight and it was really good - way too much to

eat though.

 

As we were coming out of dinner, we caught a little big of the 90's music trivia party that

was going on in the atrium.  Once again, Cam didn't disappoint.  He was making it fun

and interesting for everyone! 

 

We decided against going to the playlist production of America Rocks because we have seen

it multiple times.  We just strolled around the Promenade, maybe visited the casino and

eventually ended up on deck 11 in a comfy chair to watch the deck party.  We didn't hang out

there long - we were tired and decided to head back to the cabin.

 

Once back in the cabin I decided I would get a head start on that dreaded chore of packing and

packed everything up that I knew we wouldn't need for our last sea day and night.

 

I hate packing - that means this vacation that you have anticipated for so long is coming to a

close and you have to go back home to the "real" world...kids, work, bills, cooking, cleaning - you

get the picture.  Don't get me wrong, I love my kids and I did miss them and my Mom but it just

went by so fast!  Got that horrible chore finished and headed to bed.

 

 

 

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Wednesday - last sea day

 

We slept in a little later than usual and when I woke up I was worried I wouldn't be able

to get a good seat in the Serenity area.  I always tend to lean toward the Serenity area

when we cruise adults only because I've left my kids home and I prefer to just enjoy

the peace and quiet that the Serenity area offers.  

 

I love kids - having 6 of my own and being a foster parent for close to 15 years, we have

had more than 30 foster children come through our home.  I'm definitely not one of these

people who cringe at the sight of children on a cruise - heck they need to have fun too and

as parents who bring ours along sometimes it upsets me to see someone snarl their

nose at children on a cruise.  Anyway, I regress.  If we have our kids with us, our youngest

being 6 and 5, I always hang with them so they can slide and swim and play - this cruise

was for R and R though.

 

I made my way up to Serenity and found plenty of loungers left right on the front row with

a wonderful view of the ocean so I chose one and sat and ready and enjoyed the warm 

morning sunshine for an hour or so.  I had told Glen to give me a little time and meet me on

Lido deck and we would have breakfast.

 

Met him and we eat and he came and hung out with me for a little while and then retreated

back to the room.  

 

He was actually having some symptoms of a kidney stone (he has had many before so we

know all the signs) and was just trying to play it cool in hopes that the pain wouldn't get

so bad that he would end up at the medical center.  So I let him rest and chill and I stayed

situated on Serenity with my book and sunshine.  I napped, read, napped, read - well you get

the picture.  

 

Later on it was time for lunch - can't miss a meal while cruising you know so we met back

on Lido for lunch.  I think I had a taco and a burrito bowl from Blue Iguana today - love the

chicken ones!  They were also having the chocolate extravaganza on Lido so I tried a couple

pieces of chocolate cake.  One was to die for - but I don't remember the name of it.  Gosh,

it was so good - I wish I could remember the name of it.  The others were just ok to me.

 

I pretty much spent the rest of the afternoon up on Serenity and Glen went back to the

cabin again.

 

Earlier in the week we had each gotten a invitation to the VIFP Diamond and Platinum Gathering.

We were excited that it said that we could each bring a guest - this meant Michael and Donna

could tag along with us - they haven't quite reached Platinum level yet.

IMG_5045_heic-S.jpg

 

Since the party started at 5:15 I had to come in earlier than I really wanted to.  I wish they didn't have

it so early, especially on the last sea day when you're trying to soak up all the fun and sun you can on

your last day.  I realize they have to do it around that time for those who have early dinner though.

 

We got ready and headed to the party around 5:20 or so.  The lounge was already hopping with

people - they must have started earlier.  We found a seat and were served drinks immediately.  They

had some kind of vodka and punch drink I think already made up and were also taking orders for

anything else you might want.  There were waiters and waitresses going around with different

appetizers as well.  The booze was flowing - I think at one time between the 4 of us there were like

12 or 13 drinks sitting on our table.  They left all of us 2 each of the punch drinks and then brought

Glen 2 beer (he only requested 1).  I was really amazed - didn't think they would serve them so

freely.  Michael and Donna are more likely to drink than Glen and I are, but I think we probably all

had a slight buzz going by the time we left there.  We hung out in there until they ran us  out and

then we sat our in the area where the Alchemy bar was.  They had already cleared the majority

of them away - but here is a picture of all the drinks.

 

IMG_4979_heic-S.jpg

After we recovered just little we headed on to the MDR for our last dinner aboard the ship.  Once

again, there was no wait.  We were seated in a different area right in the middle of the dining room

tonight and had good seats for the final song - Leaving a Cruise ship! 

 

Michael had been ordering off the additional $ Steakhouse Menu for several nights getting the filet.

There wasn't really anything that caught my eye on the menu tonight so I decided to order the

filet as well.  Oh my goodness, it was delicious!  At one point I didn't even realize it and I was

cutting it with my table knife instead of my steak knife.  It was well worth the extra $20 in my

opinion.  We usually do the steakhouse one night when we cruise adults only but since the

Ecstasy doesn't have a steakhouse we weren't able to do that this trip.  To be honest, I think I

enjoyed that filet for $20 as much as I do going to the steakhouse when we go and it was

definitely cheaper.

 

After dinner we made our way back to the atrium so we could watch the fun farewell music

trivia party with Cam.  Once again, he was great.  It was all a lot of fun and one of the things

I don't mind doing each time they have one because it's a little different each time.

 

IMG_4988_heic-S.jpg

 

We strolled around a little after the trivia and then headed back to the cabin.  I did the rest of our

packing and then took my book back up to the Serenity area to read and enjoy the stars and water

before turning in for the last night of our cruise.

 

 

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Debarkation - 

 

We arrived really early in Jacksonville - probably 6:30 or so.  I woke up about the time to see us sail

under the bridge.

 

We showered, dressed and finished packing up our last minute items and headed to breakfast.  We

ate quickly so we could get back to the cabin to collect our luggage and be ready to debark.  We 

always do self assist debark because we drive to the port and when vacation is over, I'm just ready to

head home.

 

As I said at the beginning of the review we specifically booked the Empress deck because we knew

that was the embark and debark deck.  Our cabin steward was itching for us to leave our room so

we headed on up the hallway about 7:50 or so and waited with some others who were doing self

assist debark.  Since we are Platinum we could have met in the aft lounge on deck 9 and debarked

with all the other Platinum and Diamond passengers but we opted to not do that since Michael and

Donna aren't Platinum yet.  Lucky for us though - there was a staff member in the hallway where we

were and when he saw we were Platinum he allowed all 4 of us to go ahead and debark before the

others in the hallway got to leave.  It made it a little less difficult for Glen since he has some

mobility issues.   We sure were glad that it was all downhill on the ramp to leave!

 

We were steered to the Passport line at customs and Michael and Donna had to go to the other line

because Michael only cruises with his birth certificate.  They ended up getting out and to the car about

5 minutes before we did!  Not sure why our line was so slow - I thought having a passport would make

it faster.

 

We were in the loaded and in the car to leave at 8:30!

 

I'll be back tomorrow morning with some final thoughts.

 

If you have any questions, ask away.

 

 

 

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georgiamomof4, glad you had a good time, and got to go o the cruise. my MIL has been sick for weeks,(she has had two surgeries within a week, and then put in a nursing home and SIL in hospital too, and now BIL is ill.  But MIL got to come home today.  it is too bad we live so far from them. they all need some TLC.

 

I know that I told you to watch for rocks at Princess Cay, but I guess it is because I am legally blind without my glasses, that I kept finding the rocks.. DH is blind in one eye, so you know we found most of them..LOL.  Glad you are home, and I hope your mom is doing OK.  Thanks for the review!  I was excited about the review regarding the Hilton.  I have always wanted to do that, but worried that DH would have a hard time getting there.  As long as he keeps going to the exercise classes at the senior center we joined, he should be alright to go!

Edited by marshhawk

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Great review, did you attend any of the shows in the theatre,  if so, your thoughts,

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