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Tami Calabrese

Age: 38

Occupation:self employed

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Ecstasy

Sailing Date: January 12th, 2004

Itinerary: Baja Mexico

First off I would like to say that so many people on these boards complain about the "dirtiness" of this and this was not so on our trip. There was never any mess anywhere and people were working at all times keeping this older ship top notch. Second people complain about all the smoking on this ship. Well we went on this ship to smoke and figured since they now have their non smoking boat it would be a huge party. Wrong! All my literature said this was a smoking boat but upon sailing you are minded constantly that you may ONLY smoke in your room or in the outside/slash pool areas:(( Infect the literature Carnival provides says smoking is allowed in everywhere except the dining halls and children's areas. WRONG!

The embarkation process was a breeze and we were on very quickly. The boat was older yes, but still very pretty. the service in the dining rooms was A+ so we very rarely ate in the buffet style cafeteria as it tasted well, like a cafeteria. Also the food was incredible in the dining rooms as was the entertaining waiters. I love the dancing waiters:) The first night, the comedian is NOT to be missed as he was absolutely hilarious!!! The cruise director Dana was a sorry Jerry Lewis impersonator. Thankfully he had eye surgery and didn't see him that often. He was very scripted but I must say he was very good with impulsive comedic situations. His side kick Darcy was pretty quick herself. First stop Catalina. We rented golf carts ad drove around the island. A very nice place to spend the day. Just gorgeous. Next day Ensenada. I expected it to be a lush resort as you always hear about it. NOT! Might as well be in Tijuana and the prices are better in the garment district of LA. Infect a purse I wanted in my home town was CHEAPER than in Ensenada:( We were traveling with 4 small young children and did not want to take them into Mexico. our youth staff assured us it was safe and we did venture in the morning hours with them. Personally I was too worried about holding hands with the kids and counting kids to relax as it is truly a nasty place. We very soon took them back to the boat to swim at the water slide as the boat was much more fun and safer than Mexico. I did get hit to corn row my kids hair to which I have done in Jamaica and my first thought was who knows what diseases they could get. After returning that night everyone had the corn rows and I was kind of bummed we didn't do it until I heard a lady talking that in the middle of her head the health dept pulled up and they (the lady doing her hair) took her stuff and took off running WHILE in the middle of the ladies head:( So I guess it all turned out well:) We spent the remaining part of the day at the water slide and it was really nice as most people were in Mexico
..You basically the had the place to yourself that day. IN the afternoon, we took the horse back riding tour overlooking the coastline. While it was ok, it was expensive and the will not let you use your camera as they sell you a picture at the end. Kind of a bummer to pay 160.00 and then have to pay 10.oo more for a picture. They also just go in a set path and there is not room for stopping to look at the beautiful coastline. You are constantly being told to hurry up. The show that night I believe was their Vegas type show. Didn't do anything for us...We much preferred the comedians, jugglers, and volunteer type shows. Those shows were absolutely hilarious. Bingo was always a good way to lose a lot of money fast. But hey they do give away 1000.00 and a cruise. Got to try! My gosh don't miss the cruise activities such as the hairy chest contest. Although I had to stop eating because well, it was nasty, it was so funny! The ice sculpture as great as was the galley tour. Absolutely amazing to see how they handle so much food. Our room steward was not like previous trips where you never see them and think they are elves. He was always outside the door and I think the whole trip with 6 beds we only saw 2 or 3 towel animals:( This is a HUGE thing if you are traveling with kids! We would walk past rooms with these things on all the beds and the kids were disgusted to see only one in our room , half of the nights of the trip. Also watch your bill as they have a sneaky way of adding things you didn't use! We did get that resolved. Buy your liquor the first night as the deals are the best then. And very cheap. The only thing is they wont allow you to drink it on the ship as that is where they make their money. You get your booze the night before you leave. Cost us like 80.00 for coke cards. ouch! But if you ought them one at a time it would be even more. I was kind of bummed to know that my 12 yr old son could check himself in and out or Camp Carnival, thus resulting in us dropping him off and he checking himself out:( We couldn't get rid of him. The other kids went to the Juniors group. And well, they really didn't like it as it was daycare of mostly nothing. They were not impressed. We have done this with toddlers though that knew no better and they loved it. As for disembarking , they really have this down. It was as easy as anything on the ship. AS a family of six we went of course because this is basically one the cheapest ships in our area and I have to say it is definitely the most bang for your dollar. Next time we will do the new ship, doing the 7 day Mexico fro LA, although ,we may just not get off the ship. All in all awesome, ship, crew, food, and entertainment! We will do it again next year!

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