Number of Cruises: 3
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Ecstasy
Sailing Date: May 12th, 2005
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
This was my first time on the Ecstasy, I was on the Carnival Celebration twice before before it was moved to Florida.
I felt compelled to write after reading other reviews....
The Ecstasy was gorgeous, especially compared to the older Celebration. Getting on the ship will be a bit of a wait, even if you have previously completed your online pass information. Make sure you have your tickets filled out before getting there w/ the credit card you wish to use for your onboard sail and sign account. Be patient, you are on vacation!! Once you get on board you can immediately start eating and drinking until you are called for muster. Muster is an annoying but necessary experience, take pictures in your life jackets and have fun with it.
Night 1 - Casual dining
I have to say I always get the chicken w/ peanut sauce as my appetizer, peppercorn steak as my main meal and chocolate decadence as my desert. Has always been great on both ships! Service by Waiters was great, always attentive. Water, tea and coffee all complimentary w/ your meal. Bar waitresses come around quite frequently for liquor orders, this will definitely cost extra. If you are a minimal wine drinker like myself, order one bottle of wine the first night and they will bring it back for you all week. Much cheaper than buying by the glass each dinner. Spent the later part of the evening in the casino and Stripes dance club. The onboard casino is great fun, but I wasn't having the luck I have had on previous cruises so I decided to go dancing instead.
Day 2-Day at Sea
In the sun from 10-6! Was such a beautiful day :) I drank too much, but not enough water. Make sure to add water to your daily plan, as the alcohol and sun combo will make you sick!! Even w/ 45 spf sunscreen I was burnt, that Caribbean sun is different than Texas sun. Keep reapplying people, I am not kidding.
Night 2-Formal night (4day cruises)
Do not skip the sit down dinner as this is Lobster and Prime rib night. Order as many as you want, but they will usually bring to you one at a time. My friends had 3 each!! I would advise to make this an early night as you are spending the day in Cozumel the next day and don't want to feel like crap.
Day 3 - Cozumel
Eat breakfast first, it is already paid for! If you wait until mid morning to get off ship you will avoid the longer lines. We spent the earlier part of the day at Fat Tuesdays drinking and eating chips w/ guacamole - simple, but very good and filling. An alternative to an excursion here is taking a cab to Mr. Sancho's. It will be about $28 round trip in a taxi. The have the following….very nice beach, food, drinks, shopping, trampoline w/ harnesses (wouldn't advise doing after eating and drinking like I did-barf), nice pool w/ waterfall, bathrooms, showers, snorkeling, massages for a small fee, jet ski rental and the opportunity to parasail. Personally for me this was better than going to Passion island the year before. Passion island was about $75 pp and includes a bus ride, getting on a transportation boat, on the island for about 2hrs, then getting back on the boat, and bus ride. Does include a buffet and free Corona and fruit punch drink. You will also probably have to wait on someone as there is usually a person that will overdue the "free" drinking. (Sorry, thought you might like a comparison). Again I stress, bring lots of sunscreen as the heat and sun are brutal this time of year. Might want to bring some Off bug spray as certain times of year the bugs are quite bothersome.
Night 3 - Casual night/recovery
Good luck on this night, as you are going to be completely wiped!! I ate in the pizza bar and the pizza was delicious, many different choices. Also stop by the 24hr ice cream cone machine.
Day 4 - Day at Sea
Be prepared to have several Bloody Marys on this day, even if you don't like them I swear by them now - they have healing powers. They are on special every morning you are on the ship. Great day to shop in the gift shop if you haven't already, usually will have last day specials - especially on t-shirts. Play bingo, go to the casino, and just get your last chance rest/relaxation. They have spa services too, I have done the massage -but it will be costly. Look for advertised specials in your daily newsletter, but make sure you schedule an appointment early because times fill up fast. Great option for the last day though, will definitely relax you!!
Night 4 - Casual/last night!!
Something I didn't do on this last day was take a nap or rest, I ran out of steam by 11 with all the sun and drinking. I missed out on the last night of craziness, so take a nap during the day!! Ate in the pizza bar again, as I definitely would have fallen asleep at my 8:30 dinner seating.
-Get to the port early, around 12 to avoid delays. You can board at 1:30.
-Order the bucket of beer. You get four iced down beers for around $11.50.
-Get to the pool around 9 if you expect to get a deck chair, go to the breakfast buffet and bring it back. Very relaxing.
-Watch it before you jump into the pool, they are salt water!!
-Don't expect to stay on the ship at ports to enjoy time without the crowds, this is when Carnival drains the pools/hot tubs and they paint and do maintenance. Also, the casino and gift shops are closed until you are back out in international waters.
-Try to get the early seating dinners, 8:30 was awful for me. You get so tired eating that late.
-The day you disembark, enjoy your last breakfast and then wait in your room until they call your color. Don't try to get in all the dumb lines.
-Be prepared to be charged gratuities of $10 a day per person. This goes to your room stewards and wait staff. You CAN adjust this at the pursurs desk if you don't feel you got great service. Of course you can always tip more too.
-Use room service, especially for breakfast. It is free and a great way to get a wake up call.
-If you are in an inside cabin, bring a nightlight - it is quite dark, like sleeping in a cave :)