Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Ecstasy
Sailing Date: June 21st, 2004
My wife and I went this cruise to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. We went on the Disney Wonder for our Honeymoon, so this was our second cruise. We had an enjoyable time, if not the best cruising experience we have had. As long as you go into the cruise with the mind set that you get what you pay for your ok.
Embarkation: Driving to Long Beach terminal was no problem. My wife’s father dropped us off, so did not end up paying $10/day. The process once you got into line was rather unorganized. There is no real signage to tell you what to do with your bags, or how to drop them off. (a ‘sign’ of things to come Although I had heard that the Fun Pass would aid in check in, in our case it did not. Too many people had either not filled it out, or not COMPLETELY filled it out, so the lines were slow.(they should have people move over and fill out the incomplete paperwork) Also when you arrive there are no signs to follow, but rather TV screens with directions, that we didn’t see until after security check. There is also no one to tell people to be sure to have the FUNPASS completely filled out, or what line to go in. You are then led to a place where you take some pictures (that you can purchase later) and take an escalator ride upstairs where you take another picture for your Sail and Sign card
Cabin: Once aboard the ship we found that our sail and sign cards had us listed as late seating even though for medical reasons my wife needed the early seating, and had talking to carnival about this just days before. SOOO first stop was to get that fixed. We then went to our rooms to find a very nice room, and the decorations I had ordered for the room ahead of time. Except the cake that was supposed to come with the package was not there. We later found out that they had changed the package and the cake was no longer included, which I was never informed about before the cruise. The room however was very nice, and the view from our room was great.
Food: We then wandered the ship, and got a quick bite at the Lido deck/Panorama Grill. A buffet style lunch with burgers/hot dogs/pasta/salads/fruits/dessert.
Our first dinner in the formal dining room (Windstar dining room) was pretty good. The food was good and the selection was wide ranging. Remember if you can’t choose from the many choices you can always order two entrees or two of anything you want. We ate all our dinners in the formal dining room, much better quality than what is offered in the buffet.
And after the first morning, we started having breakfast and lunch in the formal dining room as well. Just a much better quality of food. Otherwise it’s the buffet which is always the same selection of burgers fries, etc.
The draw of going on a cruise for 24 hour food is not that great on this ship, since the only thing that is open 24 hours is the pizza bar. They should at least offer fruits or snacks or something all the time. Although I did eat my fair share of Ice cream.
The room cleaning was great they did a great job of cleaning our room after we left for breakfast everyday. The room was nice and clean. We really never saw house keeping at all.
The waiters in the dining room were pretty good. The difficulty is communicating with the foreign staff; it’s very hard sometimes to understand the waiters, and other staff that have such heavy accents.
This ship is showing its age. And it’s a shame because to me, if carnival would invest a little money into updating the décor in the public areas, it wouldn’t look so dated. But maybe there is a new ship on the way. Anyway they keep it fairly clean. And the Smell that everyone complains about I think is the cleaning fluids that are used. They do clean around the clock, but it doesn’t make up for the dated décor. Other areas of the ship: Pools are salt water so we didn’t partake, plus they are always filled with kids.
We only went to one show, the final show. It was pretty nice. Our complaint was that most of the shows were late at night. My wife and I are not night owls, so when everything starts at 10:30 or later we didn’t want to stay up that late. We were also disappointed by the lack of entertainment while in Ensenada. You are in port from 8 am to 4:30, and there isn’t that much to do on shore to keep you busy all day, so there should be some entertainment on board. But there is not, made for a boring day for us.
Catalina is nice. It’s a good place to shop, and shop and shop. We also went on glass bottom boat tour. This was nice as well. A hint. We booked the first glass bottom boat tour. This allowed us to be the first people off the ship, and we missed the mad rush to board the ferry boats. Ensenada is ok. We decided to take a tour of the blow hole. But we did not book it on board. Rather we went with the company that was running the shuttle from the ship to downtown. TI was cheaper than whets offered the ship, and it didn’t include all of the other places the other tours offered. Just to the blow hole and back. There are lots of stores here selling the same stuff as in La Bufadora. Whatever price they offer you, I basically asked for half, and usually got it. I hope you like haggling; this place is the high pressure sales capital of the world!!
What a mess!! Went to breakfast, and returned to see our room being readied for the next cruise, so we were basically evicted. But we were told not to hang out in the main lobby, and many of the lounge chairs had been stacked, so we waited inside for a LONG TIME!! Our group was supposed to be off by 10am I believe, and when 10:30 came around we were going crazy. Then my wife and I realize that there are people in line with other color tags than what have been called. (You are disembarked by color) So we realize that no one is checking tags….so we got in line and got the heck out of there. Poor management of the disembarkation.
Summary: Its an ok cruise to get away from things. Just expect to get pampered in the lap of luxery, you defineatly get what you pay for. It’s a party boat, and its geared that way. Even though most of our boat was older folks, many with kids. If you go in knowing what to expect, and than you won’t go home disappointed.