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David Shelton

Age: 46

Occupation:Engineer

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Ecstasy

Sailing Date: 2010-11-22

Itinerary: Western Carribean

IMPORTANT ADVICE FOR PARENTS INCLUDED 2ND cruise, both on Ecstasy (Aug 06 & Nov 10). Probably a good place to start w/ cruise ships, but we'll be upgrading next time to get a nicer experience. Went with the kids this time, Carnival does a great job providing interesting activites for the kids to do. Some of their craft projects were a bit too juvenile for the age involved, but overall they did a pretty good job. It ain't the Ritz, but it's fun for the family. Its clean (enough), the food isn't going to win any awards but there's plenty of it. Overall, had a good trip both times, and looking forward to going again.

Without a doubt, the #1 most in-demand kid activity on the ship was: PING PONG! (NOT kidding). 2400 people, and just two tables, right in the pool area so everyone can see. When/if you do finally get a chance to play, you have a constant stream of people going by asking if you're finished yet, or worse, sitting next to you while you're playing w/ your kids making rude comments about how they wish you'd hurry up and let them play. AND, they only check out the balls and paddles from 9 am until 8 pm. The rest of the time, the table sits there unused, in a cool, well-lit area. My advice to parents taking their kids: before you leave, go to Wal Mart and buy a set of paddles and a dozen balls (they tend to blow into the ocean), then you can play in the mornings and evenings, whenever you want. I promise you, if you're going with kids, this will be the best $10 you spend on the whole trip. Better yet, buy several sets and you can sell them to the desperate parents walking by begging to borrow your stuff so their kids will quit crying.

Next most in-demand activity was miniature golf, REALLY cool course on the top deck in the front of the ship. My advice, go play this the second you get on the boat, while you're waiting for your luggage. Because, as soon as the ship takes off, there’s about a 50 mph tsunami wind on the golf course, blowing the golf balls off the green. Someone has to literally hold your ball still so you can putt, like a kick-off on a windy day, not kidding. We finally resorted to golf-bowling, where you just roll your ball towards the hole, closest to the pin wins (you get forward progress), and the loser has to chase down the golf balls so you can play the next hole. It works.

Progresso: Wow, is this just simple charity or what? Why does Carnival stop here, other than just to show us what Mexico looks like (sad families living in dire poverty)? IMO, they should skip this stop entirely, just go to Cozumel for a 2 day overnight stop. Would be a MUCH better vacation. Anyway, at Progresso, we did the dune buggy excursion, it was ok, but you do have a 1 hour drive in basically a convertible, twice. A blast for the first 10 minutes, then a beating for the next 50. And then you do it again to drive back to town. After a brief stop at some cool ruins, we then went to a nice resort (probably Progresso's finest, which isn't saying much) for 90 minutes of beach/pool/buffet. Unless you just want to see some ruins, stay on the beach near the dock and save $90/person.

Cozumel: Did the Catamaran excursion (snorkeling + beach fun), pretty cool, thumbs up. The couple going with us did the Adventure excursion (zip lines, rock tower, etc) and also enjoyed it. You can't go wrong on Cozumel, wish we'd been there two days...

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