oldmedic Posted September 10, 2006 #1 Share Posted September 10, 2006 Carnival Ecstasy Sept 04-09,2006 Background: This was our 8th cruise on Carnival, our 9th cruise total. (One on RCCL on the Rhapsody). Our first time on the Ecstasy, Third on this class of ship (Inspiration, Elation, and Ecstasy). We have done these ports several times. We tend to choose cruises based on the economics, and the time of the year that we sail. Embarkation: We had a later than normal start, which really was a blessing. We chose to drive to Galveston via the causeway rather than taking the coastal route (hwy 124 to 87 to the Ferry) due to Labor Day traffic congestion at the ferry landing 1-2 hr wait in line just to get on the Ferry. Traffic was generally light and it seemed to get us to the terminal just as fast. This was the first time we have been this route to the terminal, and had no problems finding the way once we got into Galveston proper. (follow the Blue Signs posted) On arrival at the Terminal, I dropped Amy (Sweetnell) off at the Terminal with our luggage and drove to the EZ Cruise parking lot, where I was instructed to follow the bus to parking lot #2. This is the first time we have had to park at #2, which EZ Cruise apparently uses for the 4 and 5 day cruises, leaving lot # 1 for the 7 day cruisers. It took about 20 minutes to load those that were waiting and their luggage on the short bus. Since we had booked this cruise just days before departing, we did not have documents or luggage tags, which was not a problem, because the porter looked at a list and found our room number. The only information they required on the luggage tag was the room number. I met Amy at the upstairs waiting area, signed the form with the credit card information on it and we walked directly through the x-ray line and up to a check in person without a single moment’s wait. I failed to mention earlier that we arrived at the terminal at 11:40 am. (Which is when we will probably start getting there from now on so we don’t have to wait in line to get on the ship.) After the obligatory boarding picture, we were able to drop our luggage off in our room (R71), which turned out to have two regular beds, and two fold down beds. I guess you could sleep 4-5 people in this room if necessary, but there was plenty of room for two of us. Just a word of warning, if you have a fold down bed above your head, either be very careful when laying down, or getting up, or sleep with your head at the foot of the bed (which makes watching tv in bed a bit awkward). After dropping our bags and meeting our room steward (Inkay), we headed up to the Panorama grill for a bite of lunch, prior to the lifeboat drill, scheduled for 4:00pm. There is a combination pizza place and sandwich bar at the back of the room. They serve a wonderful Rueben sandwich and Amy loves the Tuna Salad Sandwich. I did have the pepperoni pizza a couple of times during the cruise and it was good, but not great pizza. The menu changes each day in the buffet style grill, each a different international taste. There is also a salad bar daily, with fresh fruit and various desserts available. Drinks available included tea, punch, lemonade, coffee (regular and decaf) Breakfast drinks also included hot chocolate, apple juice, orange juice, fruit punch, milk, chocolate milk and hot tea. . But, I digress, I will discuss the food later…. Life boat Drill- We were assigned to live boat muster station “A” which met in the main lounge(which is divided into two decks) just a word of warning, if you have trouble climbing stairs, sit on the upper deck, which is two less banks of stairs you have to climb when going to the actual life boat stations. This was probably the one disappointment of the cruise for us. The abandoned ship drill was still in PROGRESS when we left the dock for sailaway!!! We did complain about this on our comment cards, but I am not sure if it will do any good or not…. The drill was completed before we were completely out of the channel, but we still missed seeing the lines cast off and the thrill of sailing past the docks and waving bye to the people watching us leave. Our luggage was waiting for us when we returned from the short meet and greet that we had planned. We had a drink with Snoozeman, but missed everyone else from CC. We unpacked, with plenty of room for both folded and clothes that were to be hung up. Just a hint, we always take extra hangers, as there seem to never be enough in the closets. We just buy the cheap hangers and leave them for the next occupants of the rooms, not sure if the room stewards leave them or not, but we leave them anyway. Dining- There are several dining options available to guests on the Ecstasy. There are two dining rooms, the Wind Star and the Wind Song. We were assigned to table 115 in the WindStar. Table for 8, next to a window. We choose to have the late dinner seating due to the fact that we do not want to be rushed to get ready for dinner after returning from excursions on port days. For those traveling with children, this may be too late, but it suits us well. Dinner companions were great. One couple from Victoria, Snoozeman, from Bourque county, and another couple which did not show up again after the first night. He was apparently a meat and potatoes type person which didn’t like the type of cuisine offered in this setting, but there are so many other dining possibilities on ship that this is not a problem. Other possibilities include the buffet style in the Panorama grill, a hamburger/hotdog French fries style line at the Lido deck, the Sandwich/Pizza bar, and of course 24/7 room service (with a limited menu). There is also soft serve ice cream and frozen Yogurt machine in the Panorama grill. We do not see how it would be possible for any person to ever go hungry on a Carnival Cruise.!!!… We found several meals during the cruise which we really enjoyed. Amy had the Baked Talapia one evening and thought it was wonderful. I had fish combination one evening which included fried Talapia, persh, shrimp, and (I believe clams) which was very good. I also had the BEST Prime Rib of any I have had on a cruise. Amy had a vegetarian dish (Princess medly??) that was a vegetarian dish over a pastry which she says is her favorite. Other honorable mentions were the fried prawns, chicken tenders(a starter) and our favorite dessert of the cruise Bitter and Blanc….The Cappacino pie was also great!!!. If you do not see anything to your liking on the menu, a steak and baked potato, or baked chicken or Pasta dish is always available as alternates (although this is not mentioned anywhere on the menus). You may also order more than one selection from the menu if you see something that you would like to try…(which all of us at our table did) and, the wait staff is not shocked when you do this lol…. The coffee was good, and after the first night, the iced tea either got better, or we got used to it., not sure which one…As Snoozeman pointed out in his review, the tables are set up with the full set of silverware, not the shortened American version. (which was nice) If you are not sure which piece to use, just work from the outside in… just a note, the breads are wonderful, (but would be even better if Carnival still used Presidents butter). Entertainment- There were two production shows, both good. The Ecstasy singers are some of the best we have seen, the dancers still wear the t-backs, but cover up more than those in the past, and there are two of the dancers which are for lack of a better term, “specialist”. These two perform some intricate ballet movements and choreographed or gymnastic movements set to music… The Comedians were good during the cruise, what I would consider average for what our experience has been on cruises. We attended two of the late night “R” rated events. We did not attend the Captains cocktail party on formal night, or the return guest party on Thursday evening. The Captains cocktail party is held in the main lounge, which if we had gone, we would have preferred to rather than one of the bars, like on the Conquest class ships. Casino slots seemed to be tighter this time than on past cruises, but that may just have been my perception, rather than the actual occurrences. I did end up in the slot tournament finals as the “wildcard” slot . Each player received a ticket to have a space in the finals, and a ticket was drawn to fill that space. Nine players qualified for spots and one player(myself) was entered by a lucky draw. The winner of the Tournament got $500. a ship on a stick, a t-shirt and some mardigras beads, and one scratch off ticket for a chance of a free cruise. Needless to say, I didn’t win a free cruise…. What is there to do on a cruise ship?- This was probably the most laid back cruise that we have done to date. Activates each day included at least one nap, some times more…. We had an inside room, (which is always dark enough to be able to sleep at any time day or night ). The only other problem we encountered during the cruise was that every time our room steward came into the room, he would open the vent all the way (on the a c). If you are the slightest bit cold natured, you will freeze in the public rooms, so be sure to take a jacket or cover up of some type with you. Reviewing your Carnival Capers each evening will inform you of a multitude of activities available the following day. You can choose to do as much, or in our case as little as you want to do each day. We enjoyed having one of the pools to our self the day we docked in Progreso, as we chose not to get off the ship here. We literally had the pool and hot tubs on the promenade deck at the aft of the ship to ourselves(by the basketball court) for about two to three hours that afternoon. Amy wants to warn everyone that the sun is much hotter here and to make sure to put on sun block (even your feet!!! , which is the one part she forgot to do…. OUCH!!! Resulting in sun burnt feet…This is the first time I have purchased a coke card, and I must say , I did get my moneys worth… As always, the ships photographers are everywhere!! I wish Carnival would offer some type of all inclusive photo offer, it still bothers me to see how many prints are simply trashed on each cruise because they print all the pics they take. We did not attend the newlywed, not so newly wed game this time, but our tablemates did and said it was hilarious as usual. Carnival seems to be offering a lot more excursions now, for all types of interest. Our suggestion is to research, research, research. There are always private tour guides available at the piers that are much cheaper than those offered by Carnival, but be warned that if you are late returning from a private excursion, The ship may not wait on you…. If you are on a Carnival sponsored excursion and are late getting back the ship will wait on you… that being said, we have never used a ship sponsored tour, and have always been back on time. We did go to Paradise Beach while in Coz, and did the Fury Catamaran from there. $35.00 p/p for about two hours. There were only 12 persons on the Catamaran(hello to cc member Jenny cat and her family.) The crew took great care of us and we enjoyed the trip with them. Debarkation- Carnival is offering self-assist debarkation for those wanting (or needing) to get off the ship early. You are eligible to self disembark if you can handle your own luggage without any assistance. This is great for those guests that pack light, which we have not mastered yet. Since we have such a short drive home, we are not generally in any kind of rush to get off the ship, and enjoy a leisurely breakfast and then wait for our colored tags to be called. We were off the ship around 9:30 and away from the terminal at 10:22 , home at 11:30a.m. Carnival has definitely improved this event since last January, it went extremely smooth. Amy found the luggage while I went to the porter line to get a porter. Security was extremely heavy due to Mrs. Bush being in town for the Dedication ceremony for the USS Texas. pics from this trip are posted at: http://www.oldmedic.smugmug.com Just a closing note: We enjoyed meeting the other cruise critic members on the cruise, and it is obvious that there are more and more of us going on cruises. As I have always said, the worst day of cruising is better than the best day at work. Until later, oldmedic and sweetnell Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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