Find a Cruise

Pam

Age: 41 to 50

Occupation:Recently retired from waitressing/bartending

Number of Cruises: 3 to 5 Cruises

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Ecstasy

Sailing Date: September 4, 2000

Itinerary: Key West & Cozumel

Background

-This was my 4th cruise, 2nd on Carnival and my husband Chuck's 3rd cruise, 1st on Carnival... It was a surprise birthday gift for Chuck and he didn't know he was going on a cruise until the morning of sailing... I am 41 and Chuck turned 55 during the cruise...

Pre-cruise hotel-

We stayed at the Sheraton Biscayne Bay for 2 nights... The room was clean, but we had to call housekeeping to replace a lamp and 2 light bulbs... The pool was small, but not crowded... The restaurant was empty, but the food was ok.. We were able to check in for the cruise with Carnival on the morning of sailing, which saved a lot of time at the pier...

Embarkation-

Since we checked in with Carnival at the hotel, we were amongst the first to board the ship... We arrived at the pier at about 11:30am and were allowed onboard at 12:30, just after the keys were delivered to the embarkation area...

Cabin-

Our cabin was on the Empress deck, just behind the international information desk. It was a good location, midship and easy to get to... When we first got in, the cabin was clean although there was no amenities basket as Carnival promises and we couldn't find the room steward to put the beds together until hours later. There were 2 robes hanging in the closet, soap and glasses in the medicine cabinet. The room is a nice size, with one open closet, two with doors and shelves inside one,and a desk with 4 drawers... plenty of storage space... The safe in the cabin was small, square shaped, and required a key which we got from the cabin steward... There is no hairdryer and only one outlet...

Service-

Our waiter, Jesus from the Phillipines, and our asst. waiter, Balina from Bulgaria, were fantastic... They were there when we needed them, did not flinch when we made a special request, and our wine was at our table each night waiting for us... Our room steward, Diego, was an elderly gentleman who should retire... He was slow, did not speak much english, and seemed to pass all his work on to his assistant... When we asked why we didn't have an amenities basket, he said that there were none on the ship... After talking to the purser's desk, we were told that there WERE *some* on the ship, but we had to ask our steward for it... When we asked Diego once again, he said he would ask his supervisor... We didn't see him again until the last morning of the cruise...

Dining Room-

We were seated at a table for 8, next to a window, in the Wind Star dining room... The Head Waiter came to our table the first night and introduced himself, but we didn't see him again until the last night (Chuck's birthday AND tip night).. .As I said previously, our service was flawless and I will tell you about the food in another section... All of our tablemates had purchased the cruise through the same online auction that we used, and all but 2 were from the same state as us... Our tablemates consisted of a mother and daughter from Indiana, a gentleman (my age) and his friend, a couple, probably in their early 30s, and us, all from the Chicago area... The couple came to dinner on the first two nights, and then none of us saw them after that... We don't know if they switched tables or just didn't eat in the dining room...

Pool area-

We had no trouble finding lounge chairs at the pool, plenty were available.. I was disappointed though that there was no live band on deck as I had on the Imagination last April... There was a DJ and occasionally a live steel drum with background music... The daily activities were the usual, horseraces, trivia, ice carving demonstration, and of course, the hairy chest contest...

Food-

Skip this if you don't want details... I'm a foodie, so it mattered to me... Chuck and I ate in the dining room for all dinners, one lunch, and 3 out of 4 breakfasts... the other times, we ate on Lido deck...

Breakfast in the dining room- same menu every day... the lox was delicious and hand cut, the omelettes were hot, but the eggs benedict were very dry.. on lido deck, the eggs were ok, the coffee was strong, but the bacon was great...

Lunch in the dining room- I had only a California roll appetizer and chilled avocado soup... both were very good and all I missed were the chopsticks... Chuck had a burger with guacomole, grilled onions and bacon, and it was excellent... On the Lido deck, we had pizza twice, with caesar salad, which was wonderful, but another day we opted for the buffet, which was just fair...

Dinner- I love dinner... we were not afraid to order multiple appetizers and main courses, and we did.. here is a little rundown of what we had and what we thought of it...

Appetizers- Mussels and shrimp gratinee, great- duck breast with liver mousse, ok- crab cocktail, more like a crab salad, eh- grilled portabella mushroom, delicious- gazpacho, spicy but good- cream of wild mushroom soup, wonderful-shrimp cocktail, puny but tasty- lobster bisque, to die for-escargot, deeeeeeeelicious-french onion soup, standard- hickory smoked salmon, yummy-broccoli cheddar soup, not Wisconsin...

Entrees-Beef Wellington, tasty but tough for tenderloin- Rack of Lamb, perfect- Seafood Newburg, very good- Lobster tail, couldn't have been better- Prime rib, perfection- Grilled shrimp, huge and garlicky (yummmm)-Sirloin steak with 3 peppercorn sauce, very tasty- Veal Parmesan, tender and delicious- Chateaubriand, once again, tasty, but tough for tenderloin- Sea Bass with citrus vinigarette, tasty but not hot- Pork tenderloin medallions with Porcini Sabayon, yummy but on the dry side, a bit overcooked..

Desserts- The Grand Marnier Souffle was the best, everything else was ok... I did have a cheese plate one night, with a glass of port, and I think that was my favorite...

Debarkation-

We were amongst the first group to get off the ship and our luggage was easy to find.. Debarkation started at about 10am and we were off in less than 15 minutes...

Overall-

We had a great time as we went onboard with the attitude that any cruise is better than being at home... Since I had just been on Imagination 5 months prior, I was unable to avoid comparisons... Imagination was a better cruise for several reasons... I had better room steward service, the food was a bit better (although I liked the variety better on this cruise), I missed having a live band on the Lido deck, and something seemed to be lacking here... I can't quite put my finger on it though... We had the usual baby crying nearby one morning, a very nasty argument in the cabin next to us on the last morning, and one night, we heard kids running down the hallway... These are all things that I believe can happen on any cruise... As a positive, there were not many kids on this sailing and the ones that were there were out of sight/ out of mind... The weather was great except for a cloudy day in Cozumel, and the only shore excursion we took was a tour of SoBe after the cruise to kill time for our late flight out of FL...

We met some people from online on the first day of the cruise, which was nice, and we ran in to them a lot during our trip... I was disappointed that Carnival advertises amenities baskets and does not provide them (not a big deal, but don't tell people they are gonna get something they're not gonna get)...

Would I do it again??? If I were to do a 4 day again, I might choose another ship (Imagination), but yeah, I would do it again on Ecstasy too... It was a great relaxing vacation and I can't think of a better way to spend my time... We're taking our 4 kids on Triumph in 3 months, and I can't wait : ) I know they will have a blast!

Was this review helpful?

Yes No Email this review to a friend
 

Ask questions and get advice from other cruisers on our popular discussion board,