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Beth Porter

Age: 46


Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Ecstasy

Sailing Date: June 27th, 2005

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

Boarding was easy, they let us on at noon, but we couldn’t get to our rooms till after 1:00. Not a problem, we were invited to the buffet restaurant for a full lunch. We left Galveston on time; our luggage was in our rooms by 5 or so. Food on board was good in the main dining rooms, ok in the buffet restaurant. Pizza was good, but all they ever had was pepperoni. Fountain cards were a waste for us; the kids usually preferred the fruit punch and lemonade in the buffet restaurant. Drink service was poor most of the time, terrible some times, unless you wanted the drink special of the day, that was easy to get. Shows were ok; we took in 3 of the 5. We played Craps in the casino 4 times, the workers were not very professional and would get the payouts wrong if you didn’t watch them. I asked my cabin steward for a wine bucket w/ice for the bottle of champagne I brought on board, it took 3 hours and was a gallon plastic bucket when it showed up. They had an orientation meeting for parents of the younger kids, but none for our 12 year olds. We checked out the camp carnival and found NO information for that age group. The older kids (15-17) had some activities and a nice area for them to meet in. Our first day at sea was rainy all day; we didn’t find much to do indoors. Our TV had bad reception on the movie channel, I called to have it fixed and they tried, but it never was very good. We stopped in Cozumel first and the snuba was great (although it was from a beach, not from a boat as I had imagined it would be). We took a cab on our own to the Playa Mia Beach Club and paid $10 each to get in, for that you got use of the chairs, floats, pool, water trampolines…. It was ok, the water was not very clear due to some sea grass and lots of people, but it was clean and friendly. An umbrella at the beach was $4 extra. We ate at the restaurant, ordering off the menu (not the buffet) and it was all good except the chips, but cost $90 for 6 of us! They also had a small native zoo that was kind of fun. We rented Jet Ski’s for $35 for 15 minutes. It was a blast! The next day we docked at Calica. It was a gravel pit, but I had already read that, so was not disappointed. We got off the ship quickly and to our bus. We had booked the Tulum/xel-ha trip due to leave at 7:30, 30 minutes before any other of the tours to Tulum. Unfortunately, we had to wait till 7:50 to leave because 2 ladies were late! Tulum is full of misquotes and other biting bugs, take some Off or buy some before you go into the site (the sellers will tell you that “you will need it” and they are correct). They make you stay on pathways and don’t let you get very close to the buildings, but it’s interesting. Xel-ha was very nice, but be sure and put your sun block on before you get in because they don’t let you use sun block once there. We saw lots of fish while snorkeling and there were plenty of chairs to sit in. Last day at sea we saw the ice carving demonstration, it was good. Also they had the towel folding demo, but it was obvious they wanted you to buy that book.
It sounds like we had a terrible time, but it was a good vacation, just did not live up to my expectations for a cruise (it was my first). My advice would be to book your shore excursions on-line if you are going to do them thru the ship (you won’t have to wait in line or find out it’s sold out) and get your kids to the kids programs that first night so they can meet the other kids early. The ship was clean, in general (our bathroom had some mold) and the rooms were spacious enough.

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