Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Ecstasy
Sailing Date: June 23rd, 2003
Itinerary: Catalina and Ensenada
To start I must say that I had an excellent time and it was worth every penny. This was my second cruise, my first cruise was on the now defunct Premier Cruise Lines Big Red Boat to the Bahamas in 2000. Although the line is gone and the ship is who knows where, it is a great cruise to compare with this one as the cost of the cruises is comparable (Premier was actually cheaper).
When we first showed up outside the terminal there were lots of porters and lots of people but no Carnival employees to tell you what to do. Do you check in? Do you just give your bags to the Porters? Are these porters for the Carnival ship? We asked around and figured out that if you have your Carnival on your bags then the Porters will see that it gets to your room. The rest took about an hour, The new Long Beach terminal is very nice.
I was impressed with the Ecstacy. It was big, clean and seemed to have everything you would need or want on a ship. The stateroom and hall colors seem very outdated even for 1991 when the ship was built. Our room was larger then the Premier ship I was on in 2000. The two twin beds were pushed together but you could hardly tell. The boat had lots of Deck chairs deck space. I really have no complaints about the ship itself, it was great.
The ports of Call
This was our best day. Do what we did and rent a Golf Cart! For a few bucks you can rent a cart and drive around the island and go up to the top of the hill and look out at the ocean, the ship and the town. They will provide you with maps. We also went snorkeling at Lovers Cove and it was way better than I expected! Carnival will charge you $30 for this excursion but don’t pay for it! The cove is a five minute walk (you walk with the carnival excursion anyway) and you can rent snorkel stuff there for about $10 We used our own snorkels that we purchased at Wal-Mart before we left home. That being said, I guess the Carnival excursion may not be a bad thing if you would like more guidance in the water. The fish were great, the water was great and even the weeds were cool. We spend the rest of the day on the beach and had a great time. Although the island is not far from LA, you feel like you are far, far, away.
We had a good time. We went shopping and walked around, that’s about it. It took us about 10 minutes to walk to the shopping area, we were glad we did as it was a chance to walk around in a city that makes you appreciate where you live. That’s about it for Ensenada, there isn’t much to do but it is a neat stop.
I liked it all except for the “Las Vegas Show”. I was glad when it was over and my wife fell asleep in the middle of it. All the other shows and comedians were pretty good. The in-room TV’s have few channels and one or two movies playing continuously. No big deal but how hard is it to get a dish and a few more channels?
Well, it was OK. I loved the dining room food, the Pizza and Burgers were good but not wonderful. My biggest complaint is the midnight buffets. Just not as impressive as my last cruise. On one night we got their at 12:30 and they had already shut it down!! It started at 11:30 and they closed it exactly one hour later even though there were still lots of people wanting to eat (especially me!) You will eat well on this cruise. When I got home and got on the scale I realized that I had set a new personal record. I would give the food a 7.5 out of 10.
This does not have to be a stupid boring process but carnival makes it so. They kick you out of bed at 7 so you stand around for 3 hours with nothing to do. There is breakfast, but while you are waiting for you “color” to be called there is literally nothing at all to do but sit around. For crying out loud, how hard is it to throw the comedian on stage, or to have music by the pool (which is empty ant this time) or to have a another free throw competition or something. You can’t even lay on your bed, or watch TV. You must do nothing at this time. Once our color was called it was a piece of cake.
My overall view
My wife and I had the time of our life and I would do it again in a second! There are a few things that need to be improved but nothing that will have much impact on how much fun you have. Go and have fun! I am happy to answer any questions you may have so send me an e-mail if you wish.