Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Ecstasy
Sailing Date: July 29th, 2006
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
Carnival Cruise Lines
Ecstasy Cruise Review
I recently returned from a 5-day cruise to Cozumel and Progresso, Mexico aboard the Carnival Ecstasy. Due to some of the more negative comments about the ship, I felt compelled to share what a wonderful experience we had. We were a group of 11 relatively inexperienced cruisers, with ages ranging from 15 – 62. Everyone had a terrific time, and many agreed that this was by far the best vacation ever!
Rooms – Because we booked this cruise several months in advance, we were able to get some great rates. Additionally, we originally registered for the bottom-of-the barrel interior rooms, but because we booked so far in advance, we were upgraded to rooms with windows on a higher deck. Our steward was wonderful, and he kept our rooms spotless!
Dining – The food was absolutely delicious. I think we all gained several pounds during the trip. We had dinner in the main dining room each evening, and my only complaint would be that some folks totally disregarded the dress code outlined in the reading materials provided. Each dinner menu contained several more exotic dishes and at least a couple of “safe choices”, such as salmon or steak, for the less adventurous. The waiters were very accommodating, bringing out as many entrees or desserts as we requested. We met one man on our cruise who ate 7 lobster tails one night! While the Panorama Grill’s turquoise décor would not have been my first choice, the entire area was always clean and inviting. All the food we sampled from the grill was delicious, especially the bread on the lunch salad bar! The breakfast buffet was another nice luxury that we quickly adapted to.
Activities – One of the things that I found to be amazing about our cruise was the volume and variety of activities available each day. I believe that while everyone in our group was vacationing together, we each had a totally different experience from the trip. Some of us spent the days at sea laying out on deck, while others spent time reading in the library, playing bingo, or attending the art auctions. I think everyone found something to do that suited them perfectly.
Spa – Although the spa treatments were somewhat pricey, our experience was very positive. We treated the teen girls to the “Pretty Princess” package, which included a facial, scalp treatment, bronzing, and choice of a facial product for $55. Both girls (aged 15) loved this. I was impressed with the products that they selected – full sized spa products!
Gym – Since the Ecstasy has been fully renovated, they have new, state-of-the-art equipment in the gym. Very impressive. Also, I highly recommend the Pilates class, which cost $10 and was well worth the price.
Teen Club – Our teens spent each evening happily participating in “Club O2” activities. They met lots of new friends and can’t wait to go again!
Excursions – We took the Playa Mia Beach Break Deluxe excursion in Cozumel. While we did have fun on the beach, I’m not sure it was worth the $75 per person price tag. The price of this ticket included transportation to the beach, a lunch buffet, an open bar, and several water sports. The food on the buffet was not very good, and because of the crowd we didn’t have an opportunity to use the kayaks or peddle boats. Massages, hair braiding, and snorkeling were available for an additional fee. BEWARE – our teens were served alcohol (real margaritas instead of “virgin”) on this excursion. Fortunately, they alerted us to the situation.
Overall, we found this cruise to be a very relaxing and fun experience. It was definitely worth the price, and we are already planning our next Carnival cruise.