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Clifton Sandlin

Age: 47


Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Ecstasy

Sailing Date: June 27th, 2005

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

This was our first time to cruise and we were very skeptical as to how any of us would enjoy the trip. We brought along our two kids, daughter 15, and son 11. We live in North La. and drove down to Galveston the day before the trip. Galveston was not what I had expected...dirty water, etc. However, we had a nice room at the Ramada ltd. and found a great Mexican restaurant named Salsa"s to dine at the night before. Boarding the ship the next day was a snap. We quickly toured the boat and took a few pictures like most tourists I imagine. We then ate at the buffet. Great cheeseburgers, French fries, hot dogs, etc. The grill was great. We had gotten on board soon after 11:00 a.m. and was told our luggage would be in our room by 1:00. It wasn't. It didn't arrive until around 5:00 p.m. I can understand the delay with that much to care for...I'm just a little impatient. About the only real problem it presented was we didn't have our swimming gear so remember to bring a change of clothes in a carry on bag.

We had scheduled the late seating for the dining room. The food was wonderful every night. I can't stress that enough. It more than met our expectations, as did the lunches in the dining room. As a matter of fact, we were extremely pleased with ALL the food venues on board the ship...and we are a picky eating family. My wife is an excellent cook and she was impressed with almost all of the items we were offered, my daughter is a yogurt specialist and gave the soft serve yogurt an "A", my son is a pizza expert and said the pizza was great, and I am probably the most hard to please of all and I loved it all. The waiter we had each night, Florin, was very good. We had different waiters at lunch and you could tell the difference. I guess it's just luck of the draw in that respect so good luck. As for our room steward, we had a gentleman names Moses and he also was great. We never lacked for anything, ice, towels, room cleaning, towel animals at night...everything was great. We were on the Main Deck about mid ship and the room was great. Moses made our bed into a Queen size and it was very comfortable. About the only bad thing I can relate was that it rained on our "fun day at sea". We played bingo a few times and I thought that $20.00 for a bingo card was a little steep but it was fun. I probably will skip that next time though.

The nighttime shows were very good. The singers and dancers were good. We had a sword swallower/magician/comic one night and he was pretty good. We went to one late night adult comedy show and wasn't impressed. I know it was pointed out to be adult, but this guy was just plain vulgar. I was not happy with the fact that any kid could walk up to the doors of the Blue Sapphire theater and hear the entire show as well. There wasn't even anyone checking at the door to stop kids from entering. So if you go and have kids warn them to stay away from the late night adult only shows! As for excursions, I booked all of ours on- line through local businessess and avoided the cruise line excursions. I saved quite a lot of money by doing this and I highly recommend you do the same if you can. We went on a two hour horseback ride in the jungle which was O.K. just very hot and there were a LOT of mosquitoes. We're from Louisiana and even we were impressed with the Mexican mosquitoes! Carry a strong variety of insect repellent. We also went to the state park in Cozumel. It was very nice and we had a great time snorkeling there. Don't eat there though! It cost me $71.00 AMERICAN to get out of the restaurant and we ate sandwiches. We went into downtown Cozumel and shopped the rest of the day. My wife got a beautiful ring and a bracelet for a "great deal". She was happy so I was happy. One thing I forgot to a car instead of the taxi in Cozumel. We had a 4wd jeep for all day for $30.00. We had a great meal and a good time at Carlos and Charlie's in Cozumel to cap off our first excursion day. The next day in Playa Del Carmen I had booked a 4 hour catamaran ride through Fat Cat Tours. It was really fun. The marina they dock at is great. There are four dolphin pools there and you can get really close the the dolphins for pictures. Swimming with them is very reasonably priced if you want to do that. Look on the web for "Dolphin Experience" Cozumel and you can get more info. But like I said the Fat Cat was great. A few folks got sick so take something for motion sickness before the trip. They have an open bar, soft drinks, water, chips & salsa, fresh fruit, snorkeling, swimming, and the cargo net ride is great. That was a four hour trip and including transportation to and from that's about all the time we had on that day.

The rest of the trip was sailing back to Galveston. We hung out by the pools, ate a lot, etc. As far as the kids go, they had a good time as well. We went to the Carnival Kids meeting on the first night and it seemed like a pretty good program but my son makes friends easily and soon had a "crew" and was all over the place. My daughter met a nice girl on the first day and soon after they met BOYS. Need I say more? So the kids loved the trip as well. After reading a lot of reviews like I said to begin with we were skeptical but we very very pleased with this trip and highly recommend it. It could be that we were just lucky but everything just seemed to go right for us in regards to the boarding, rooms, food, and other things I see in other peoples reviews that go wrong. Good luck on your cruise and I hope it is as good as ours was.

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