Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Ecstasy
Sailing Date: August 25th, 2003
Itinerary: Catalina Island and Ensenada, Mexico
We took the 4 day Baja Mexico cruise on the Ecstasy in late August. It was my first “real” cruise and my boyfriends second. Overall I was extremely pleased with our experience. We had a wonderful time. We are both in our late twenties and travel often. I believe that you make your own fun and the type of experience you have is up to you.
We checked in without any problems. We arrived around 3:30 so maybe this is why the lines were not long at all. Either way it only took us about 15 or 20 minutes to get from the bus to the ship. We found our room without any problems and our bags starting arriving probably about an hour after we did. Our room steward introduced himself right away. After the lifeboat drill was over we returned to our room (Riviera deck) and unpacked. Our room was very clean however there were stains on the rug in the hallway. I don’t know if this was the case on the other passenger decks or not. The rest of the ship seemed very clean. It had what I would call a Vegas look to it. Bright colors, neon lights. Definitely fun looking and not at all quiet or boring. I never did smell any cigarette smoke unless we were in the Casino where people were smoking. I never did feel the ship moving while we were in our room however I did feel it while we were seated in the dining room. The only thing I did not like about the room was that you had to push two twin beds together to make a queen. I loved the fact that there were extra pillows in the closet!!! Oh and a couple of times at night (after midnight) we heard one person running down the hallway for unknown reasons. It was a little annoying but it was not constant and I fell right back to sleep.
Our experience in the dining room was wonderful! We actually ate there all 4 nights, which we had not planned on doing but the food was just so good and our table partners were such good company that we just had to keep going back. Our waiter and waitress were more than happy to bring us a second entrée or appetizer. Anything we asked for we received quickly. They were extremely friendly and would always ask us how our day went and what we did that day. When we would see them other places on the ship they would always ask if we were enjoying ourselves. The informal dining in the Panorama grill was also very good. We ate breakfast there most mornings and lunch there if we had the chance. We loved grabbing a drink from the Panorama bar and taking it right outside to the deck on the very back of the ship. It was pretty quiet here and there was always a nice view. It was very relaxing after a day of shopping!
In Catalina we took the Inside Adventure tour which was basically a bus ride up through the hills of Catalina to the small airport they have there. We saw lots of buffalo and our tour guide was very informative. The road was very bumpy and there were lots of tight turns so this is not the tour for you if you get car sick. The views of the ocean were amazing! After our tour we just wandered around the stores and did a little shopping (prices were high) and picture taking before heading back to the boat. Overall I thought Catalina Island was very pretty and I would enjoy spending another day there sometime.
In Ensenada we went to La Bufadora. Now keep in mind that this is a blowhole, it is not one of the seven wonders of the world or a “must see” attraction. But, it was pretty and we watched it for maybe 10 minutes. If you enjoy looking at the ocean you should enjoy it. We even saw a dolphin swimming not far from shore while we were there. What I actually enjoyed most was the flea market shopping we did before getting back on the bus. Got some great things and had fun bargaining for the best price. If you do not like flea markets I would not recommend visiting La Bufadora. After our tour was over the tour guide (who was also very informative) was nice enough to drop us off in town rather than back at the ship. Here we did more shopping in some of the stores and we visited Papas and Beer (fun and loud!) and Hussongs. We had a couple of beers, bought some T-shirts and then slowly wandered back to the ship. Ensenada was much cleaner than I had pictured it. I guess I was thinking it would be close to Tiajuana but I was wrong. My boyfriend said it had been cleaned up a bit since he had last been there. We only had 2 children ask us for money which surprised me. While back on the ship we watched a beautiful sunset and then enjoyed looking at the lights of the city.
Our “fun day at sea” was exactly that! We laid out on one of the back decks all day long. I read a book while sipping a few tropical drinks and we watched the free throw contest they had later in the afternoon. We saw a large pod of dolphins swimming too! Very relaxing and enjoyable. Nothing like lying in the sun watching the ocean go by.
Getting off the ship was done by color groups and ours was one of the last groups called. We were lucky that Jerome the comic put on a quick show for us while we were waiting which made the time go by faster.
I would definitely recommend this cruise to anyone who is young at heart and wants to have a good time. See all the shows you can and do as many onboard activities as you can manage. One of my favorite things was the Captains cocktail/reception party which I didn’t really want to go to but ended up really enjoying once we got there. Take lots of pictures, you don’t have to buy any of them but they are fun to look at! The cruise director was very funny. Every staff member we encountered was friendly. Don’t go to your room right after dinner, walk around, see whats going on. There is always music to listen to somewhere or a show to see. If you do not have a good time on this ship it is because you do not want to. The service was wonderful from start to finish. Every time I think back on our cruise I just smile. We had a wonderful time and came back with lots of great memories. I can’t wait to cruise again and Carnival will definitely be my cruise line of choice.