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Ecstasy Review Nov 4, 2006


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A friend and I went on the Nov 4–9, 2006 Ecstasy out of Galveston to celebrate her birthday. This was our first cruise. We stayed Friday night in Houston and drove to Galveston Saturday morning. Due to construction it took about 2 hours to get to Galveston – it would normally have taken 45 minutes. Galveston was very crowded that weekend with a huge motorcycle rally. We had planned to drive around Galveston for awhile before checking into the cruise, but drove straight to the cruise terminal and dropped off our luggage – it was 10:00 AM. We parked at Lighthouse parking ($40) and took shuttle back to cruise terminal.


We got into our first line of the day inside the terminal – there were about 100 people in front of us. About 11:00 they let VIP and handicap guests in – also a wedding party. Shortly after that they let us in – we went through security with no problem - then were directed to check in line. We were asked if we filled out our funpass online – Yes we did. The staff member directed us to the funpass line – there were about 25 people in this line. Because of reading here on cc I knew we could skip that line and went to the line for people who didn’t fill out the funpass. There was only one couple ahead of us. After checking in we were directed to chairs. Here we sat for about 1 hour. At 12:00 – 12:15 they began letting us on. They were very organized and let those who sat first in first – there were about 50 people in front of us. We had our picture taken, then up the ramp to the ship – we had another picture taken for our sail and sign card.

We then were directed to the Panorama bar and grill for lunch. After lunch we explored the ship and went to cabin at 1:15. We were in cabin R35 – an ocean view room. We booked inside gty – but when price of cruise went down we were upgraded to ocean view. We met our room steward – Inkay – he was the best. Some of our luggage was there already. We put our carry on in the cabin and went to explore more. About 3:30 we went back to the cabin and unpacked – our entire luggage was there. AT 4:00 was when the muster drill was to take place – but no announcement was made. Finally at 4:30 they announced the drill and we went to our station in the Blue Sapphire Lounge. This didn’t take long and the ship was sailing away before we made it back to the cabin to drop off the life vests. We ventured up to the top deck at the front of the ship – it was very windy. We celebrated sail away and saw dolphins jumping in front of the ship.


We had the 6:15 dinner time in the Windstar dining room at table 123. This was a table for 8 next to a window. Our servers were fantastic. Our tablemates were also fantastic and we had so much fun for dinner each night. We never even considered going to the buffet for dinner. Tonight I had the tropical fruit salad, sweet and sour shrimp – big shrimp with a yummy sauce. My friend had the fillet – it was very tender and tasty. For desert I ordered the black forest cake. One of our table mates ordered the melting chocolate desert – so I changed my mind and ordered that instead – our waitress brought me both – yum yum. We went to the casino for a while and made a $5 donation (I’m a big gambler – ha-ha). We then went back to the cabin to rest until our 8:45 show time. However the OU and Texas AM football game was on and we decided to relax and watch the game instead of going to the show. (OU – 17 Texas AM – 16).


We were awakened at 3:00 AM due to rough seas – I didn’t get much sleep after that. We got up at 7:00 AM – taking a shower was interesting in the rough seas. My friend got seasick and took some pills and put a scop patch behind her ear. We did eat breakfast in the dining room and my friend felt much better after eating. 2 people at our table had to get up and leave before eating due to being sea sick. We walked around for awhile – went to the shops and went to the shore excursion talk. All the outside decks were closed due to the high winds and rough seas. It was cloudy out and rained occasionally. We then went to the cabin to rest before lunch. The captain made an announcement that the winds were 40 MPH from the south and waves were 12- 14 feet.


We had signed up for the wine tasting. When we signed up with our waitress last night she told us it would be at 2:00 and the capers listed 2:00 – However it was at 12:30 and were given an apology and a credit on our sign and sail card. Tonight was formal night and the captains meet and greet – the captain was unable to make it due to the rough seas. Yes we have gone up and down continuously since 3:00 AM. I’m still doing fine and my friend is better. Tonight we had shrimp cocktail, strawberry soup (yummy) and lobster. The lobster was fantastic. No desert for me – I’m saving it for the midnight buffet. Our original show was cancelled due to the rough seas (to dangerous for the dancers), but we had music and a comedian. We went to the casino again and I made another donation. After that we went to the Chinatown Lounge and listened to Lifeline – a great band – everyone was having fun. We also went to the grand gala buffet at midnight – very beautiful presentation.


Monday 11-6 we woke up and the seas are still rough. We had breakfast at the buffet this morning. An announcement was made that due to the weather we would be getting into Cozumel late – about 11:30. We had booked the sail, snorkel and beach party excursion through carnival and were told the excursion vendors were aware of our late arrival and excursions would go on – just later. It was a long and boring morning. We sat in the city walk area for awhile. The cruise director Stuart was there and passed out deck of cards to passengers while talking to everyone. I didn’t hear anyone complain. I’m glad people realized that Carnival couldn’t control the weather. We did dock about 11:30 and off the ship at noon. It was partly cloudy and has turned into a great day.


We met our catamaran sail boat right at the dock. There were 50 people on our boat (another boat was ready and pulled in after we left). We went snorkeling first for about 45 minutes. We saw fish, but no coral. The water is so clear. Where we were was about 20 foot deep and you could see clearly all the way down. Then we took off to a private beach area for an hour. Our tour included all you wanted of beer and/or margaritas after the snorkeling. It did not include lunch, but they sold hamburgers with all the fixings on the beach for $8. They smelled and looked great, but we didn’t get one. We enjoyed an hour in the water – very nice. On the way back to port it was a party – everyone was up dancing to the upbeat music and having a great time – some more than others. On the way back black clouds began moving in and it sprinkled for a while. We got back at port at 4:30 – We went back on board. We showered and got ready for dinner.


Tonight I had cream of lyches (did not care for this), Beef Wellington – it was tough and chewy – but good flavor, and choc melting cake again. My friend had the seafood Newburg and said it was very tasty. At about 8:00 PM we hit some high waves again – not as bad as Sunday though. Immediately the nausea hit my friend. We went back to the cabin and had an early night. We missed the sail away party and midnight Mexican buffet. Everyone we talked to said it was very fun.


When we woke up the seas were much calmer. We both felt great. Today is Progresso. An announcement was made that we would be late here also. We didn’t make any plans, but wanted to pick up some souvenirs to take back home. We docked about 10:00. Today the sun is shining and the temp felt like mid 80’s. We took the free shuttle into Progresso. We walked around the market for awhile. I’m not a bargainer and don’t like to be pushed – I just kept saying no and walking off. After awhile we walked to the beach and sat in an open bar/restaurant and enjoyed the ocean and breeze. We had a drink and shared an order of nachos. Even sitting in here peddlers would walk up and ask you to buy something. But you could say no or shake your head and they would go. We walked back to the market and I knew what I wanted and got gifts for my husband and 2 boys. I also bought some pure vanilla to bring back for myself and family.


We then went back to the ship and had lunch. We shared a hamburger and fries at the panorama bar and grill. The hamburgers were tasty. Also sometime this week I had a reuben sandwich – also very tasty. We went swimming today and relaxed on the lounge chairs.


For dinner tonight I had grilled mahi mahi and grand mariner soufflé. I can’t remember what my friend had. The show tonight was X-treme Country. It was singing and dancing to country tunes. They announced that tonight was the last night for this group of dancers. We went back to the casino for awhile and I made another donation. My friend always won a little or came out even. We went to the midnight adult comedy show and walked out after about 15 minutes. To us it just wasn’t funny – others enjoyed it though. A late night buffet was listed in the capers at the Panorama bar and grill. My friend wanted to go – but it was just hamburgers and hotdogs. Off to our cabin for bed.


Wednesday 11-8-06. Today is my friend’s birthday. The sun is shining and the seas are very calm. We slept in until 8:45. We had a late breakfast at the Windstar dining room. I found I enjoyed the breakfast in the dining room more than at the buffet. We played bingo for the first time this morning. The couple sitting next to us won the free cruise. We listened to the departure talk then went to lunch at the Windstar – I had fish and chips and my friend had the baby back ribs. I decided that I preferred lunch at the Panorama bar and grill, pizzeria, or deli. I went on the galley tour – there was at least 400 people on this tour – We met in the Blue Sapphire Lounge and it appeared to be ½ full of people wanting to take the tour. We walked single file through the galley and saw some interesting things. It could have been better if they had someone to explain things at intervals. After the tour I went up on deck and rested in a lounge chair and tried to read – to much to look at and appreciate to get into my book. This is what a cruise is all about.


` At 5:00 we met back at the cabin and stated our packing and got ready for dinner. Tonight I had French onion soup, chicken quesadillas, Chateaubriand, Baked Alaska, and a piece of Della’s birthday cake I arranged to be delivered tonight. I arranged it through our waitress. They offer white or chocolate. Our waitress said the chocolate was the best and that is what I ordered – it was yummy. I ordered the small cake and it cost around $7. After dinner we finished packing and went to the show – it was a comedy act and “rockin fiddling”. The fiddler was fantastic – it was great - he opened the show with The Devil went Down to Georgia.


After that we went back to the cabin and set out our luggage. There was a lot of luggage already in the hallway, but I felt uncomfortable leaving our luggage out. Luckily the porter was picking up our luggage just as I set out the last piece. We had too much to do self assist. Next time I know I won’t need all I brought this time and maybe we can do self assist. The seas have been calm all day and we had a great at sea day.


Thursday – Our last day. We got up and ready and packed our last few items in the carryon. Made sure all documents for getting off the ship and going through customs were ready. The ship docked about 6:30 and about 7:30 they started announcing self assist could leave. We left our carryon in room and went for our last breakfast in the Windstar dining room. We then went back to the cabin and our room steward said to take our time in the cabin – we stayed here until 9:00. They still haven’t announced anyone else to get off. We went up on the Lido deck to wait.


Shortly after they started announcing the color tags to get off. I thought we would be one of the last ones called since we were on the Riviera deck. But we were the second group to be called. The line was long and the whole process took about 1 ¼ - 1 ½ hours. I did stand in line to get a porter and was able to bypass the longer lines through customs – I read that hint on here. There were 7 custom lines open – 3 for porters and 4 for the passengers without porters. The line for the porters was much shorter. The lighthouse shuttle was there and after a short wait we were on our way to our car.


By this time it is 11:00 and we decided to eat a seafood lunch in Galveston before driving home. We went to Bennos on the seawall and 12th. We got the seafood platter for 10.95. (What we have to pay for our food now?)


After thoughts – Our room steward made this cruise extra special. He greeted us every morning and evening. He wished us a good day and asked about our day each evening. We got a towel animal each night – an elephant, dog, stingray, monkey, and seal. Some passengers we talked with didn’t get towel animals each night. We left him extra money for his tip in the room. We left the waiter tips the same. And we also left a $5 tip for the maitre D – wasn’t sure what the normal tip would be.


We will be cruising again and have talked about maybe Feb 2008 to celebrate my birthday. This was a great vacation and I am now hooked on cruising!

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Kathy, VERY good review....it brought back very fond memories....werent all the motorcycles cool?? It was pretty neat to see so many in one little place...Anyway...I gotta go back to my group cruise stuff...trying to keep those boards alive to get more interest!

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Ahh, the memories of last Sunday and the waves. My wife spent almost all day in the room with seasickness. She was going to be brave and try to eat a bit in the Panorama Grill, but that didn't last long and she soon lost her stomach into one of the bags a crew member was handing out. She finally felt a little better that night for dinner. The funny part was that my step-daughter has the weakest stomach of anybody I know and it didn't affect her at all.


What a disappointment waking up Thursday morning and not being in Honolulu like Stuart had promised.

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About the neon decor - this was my first cruise and all the lights seemed normal and didn't bother me. It was noticeable mostly in the atrium area. All the other public areas weren't as loud looking.

I'm already hooked and have been looking at booking another cruise.


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