Number of Cruises: n/a
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Ecstasy
Sailing Date: December 29th, 2003
Itinerary: Baja Mexico
My wife and I were able to take a four day cruise over the New Year holiday on the Carnival Ecstasy. Here is my review of the cruise.
We were booked in a category 11 cabin which allowed us to use the Skipper’s Club. The Skipper’s Club program is an exclusive service with special registration and boarding privileges. We were able to bypass the main lines and board very quickly. The debarkation process went very quickly except that we were unable to use the elevator to get to the exit level. We had our son in a stroller and had to make a couple trips to get all our luggage and the stroller down the stairs. Rating 8/10
The Ecstasy is an older ship first sailing in 1991. The ship has held up well for her age. Especially considering there was a fire on this ship in 1998.
The main problem with this ship is the layout of the public areas. There is not a good way to get from the front to the back of the ship. Navigating the decks of this ship is very frustrating. Ranting 9/15
My wife and I were booked in a category 11 verandah cabin. There was plenty of room in the cabin even though the layout wasn’t the most convenient. The floor plan needs to be rearranged to make better use of the available space. The balcony was small with barely enough room for 2 chairs. I was able to look at a category 12 balcony cabin and found it to be wonderful. If I would ever travel on this class of ship again I would only stay in a category 12. It had a huge room with a separate sitting area and a large balcony. There was plenty of storage area for luggage and you still had a lot of room to move around. Rating 12/15
In general the service on the cruise was very good. Our cabin steward took care of all our requests promptly and kept our cabin immaculate.
However, the restaurant service left a bit to be desired. The pacing of the meals never seemed quite right. In fact at dinner one day I never received my salad.
I also stopped in one store aboard the ship and was greeted by a sarcastic cashier. I never though I would see such attitude from a cruise ship worker. Rating 9/15
Food and Drink
In the main restaurant, breakfast and lunch were just average and the dinners were below average. For dinner on the last night they served some sort of processed turkey. It was not good. The ship’s buffets were good, but offered a limited selection.
The bartenders did a good job with the variety of drinks I ordered and the prices weren’t that expensive.
The transfer to the cruise port from LAX was about a half hour by bus. We boarded the ship at Long Beach Cruise Port. Our ship was right next to the original Queen Mary which is now a hotel. I thought it was a fairly nice port to board a ship and offered a nice view of the city at night while we sailed out.
Our first stop was at Catalina Island. Catalina has been a favorite destination of yachtmen since the turn of the century. It was a nice place to go for a stroll through town. There was plenty of action at the stores and sidewalk cafés to keep your interest and beautiful scenery to please your eyes.
Our last port was Ensenada, Mexico. If you ever go on a cruise and stop at Ensenada, please do yourself a favor and book a shore excursion. We went to town ourselves to look around. We did not feel safe with our 10 month old son with us, but it might have been ok if it was just the two of us.
We used the Carnival transfer service from the airport to the ship. These workers need a little bit of customer service training. They weren’t the friendliest of people and the service was rather slow.
On New Year’s Eve we turned in early because our son was very tired (so were we). We were awoken in our cabin by an announcement and countdown to midnight. Most of the announcements during the cruise were only played in the hallways of the ship. This one was broadcast right into our room.
While we needed this vacation, it was not the greatest of cruises. This probably has more to do with the fact it was a short cruise over the holidays.
Once again our final ratings.
Embarkation/debarkation - 8/10
Cabin – 12/15
Service - 9/15
Food & Drink - 8/15
Ports - 8/15
Miscellaneous - 6/15