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Robin Vosbury

Age: 49

Occupation:Police Officer

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Ecstasy

Sailing Date: 2011-02-20

Itinerary: Cozumel

Great experience. The staff was very friendly and efficient, the weather was perfect until we returned to Galveston, and I would do it again.

The food was very good, but not excellent. Keep in mind that they serve basically the same fare on the buffet that they are serving in the main dining rooms, but without the fancy presentation and the extra tip. Go to the dining room at least a few times, though--if only for the wait-staff entertainment!

All the staterooms, even the inside cabins are roomy and very adequate. If you spend too much time in your stateroom, you are either sick or boring. Either way, you are missing the whole experience.

I don't participate much, but several kinds of music was always playing, the games were always going on, etc. The directors and staff do a good job of soliciting participation for the most part. The main shows in the Blue Sapphire showroom were good. They were "Vegas-style" productions with dancers, singers, props, themes, etc. Entertaining from a pure spectators point of view. As a lifelong musician who has worked extensively in production of this type, I was a little disappointed. Most of the music in the main shows was sequenced or otherwise recorded (though it WAS well-done), with the band playing along as mostly musical enhancements or even totally faking. The LD (Lighting Designer or Director) was really good! The lights and props were top-notch. The audio engineer was average. Too much fiddle, and the singers vocals were sometimes out of balance. The fiddle was to "muddy" or "dark" sounding as well. The lounge acts were mediocre, and the Jamaican stuff on the outside Lido deck all begins to sound the same after a few DAYS of hearing it constantly. Too loud also. They had a guest-only talent show, but I think they only did half of it. They only allow the first 8 people to sign up in the show, and a single family had the first 4 slots taken immediately. Complaints were flying. Could have been fun for others if that single family had shown a little bit of class.

Progresso was quaint and slow. A good place to shop a little etc., but nothing to write home about. They even warn you about that in their little excursion talk (you DO need to attend). DON'T buy the first things you see! Look around, and don't pay their first price. I bought a pair of "Ray Ban" sunglasses for TEN BUCKS! Think they might not be real??? Say it ain't so! Good shades anyway! We took the Deluxe Sail and Snorkel tour and loved it. If you have a C-card, the diving at Cozumel is fantastic. The coral reef is beautiful, and the beaches are wonderful. Many experienced cruisers will tell you not to book on the ships excursions, but I have never had any problem with them. Remember, you ARE on foreign soil, and U.S. laws do not apply. Mexico is fast becoming a dangerous place to be---but (so far)--only up north by the borders. You can get a head start on the excursion business by researching on the ship's site ahead of time. MOPST of those listed were available.

The weather (Feb 14-19) was perfect in Cozumel and Progresso. Even the water temp was fine. HOWEVER--when we got back to Galveston, the entire harbor was closed to ship traffic due to HEAVE, lingering fog. We waited for most of the day, the Carnival pulled anchor and went back into international waters, where they opened the shops and casino again. The cabin phone was open for free (instead of 1.99 per minute), and they fed us again just as though we were on a longer cruise. Music, shows, shops, casino, buffets, and dining room all opened back up. GREAT JOB, Carnival. Could have been a disaster! Next day, we went back into the channel area (along with 58 other vessels--I counted) and came on in around 2pm. Debarkation was as fast as it COULD be. Don't get in a hurry. These things take time. Overall, the lines were never bad at all in anything we did. But there WILL be lines. Believe it or not, you really CAN find some secluded areas, especially at night, where you can be alone. It WON'T be in the 4 hot tubs. They are usually full. Research the gratuity situation so you aren't blindsided. If you drink a lot of soft drinks, buy the unlimited option. You will pay a little more for all your alcohol purchases that at home, and they ADD a gratuity to each one. They will take more pictures of you than you have ever had taken, and they get a little aggressive with their sales hawking. You CAN ignore it Or, you can spend a couple hundred bucks on pictures, frames, etc. Go, relax, DO, and enjoy. It is a budget cruise, but it can be lots of fun.

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