February 1, 2007
If you like to hang out with people who drink and smoke, then you'll love the Carnival Ecstasy.
My family of 6 sailed out of Galveston for a 4-day cruise, stopping for a day in Cozumel, Mexico. We were attracted to Carnival because of their Kids Carnival program; our kids are 9, 7, 5 and 6 months.
Of the multitude of people we cruised with, only a small percentage were children. This made the kids program pretty desolate. Our kids were often the only ones to show up for activities, such as sports contests and game tournaments. So, they were a little disappointed in the kids program.
One thing I was really looking forward to was the food. There are many reviews stating how excellent the food is. I have to say I was a little disappointed. The food was, for the most part, very good. But it wasn't "excellent" as many had claimed. Actually the sit-down restaurant had the best food (and service) on the ship.
Our cabins were small, but quite adequate and clean. Unfortunately, we could smell the cigarette smoke from other cabins coming through our vents. We were unaware that guests were allowed to smoke in their cabins.
Speaking of cigarette smoke, there were people smoking (and drinking) all over the ship. Thankfully, the restaurants were non-smoking, but all the lounges and patios and cabin hallways were smoke-filled. It felt like a big party boat.
The ship offered activities all day and shows at night. But since we were keeping up with the kids, we only attended an "Austin Powers Dance" class. It was pretty fun.
The service on this ship was really outstanding. The staff was always pleasant and helpful. We really appreciated how clean everything was kept, including our cabins.
Cozumel was rather uneventful. We chose to walk and shop, and the mall area was very commercialized, and fairly expensive. It was hard to get the feel for actually being in Mexico. The weather was very hot there, while all our days on the ship were mid-60s. We would definitely pay for a shore excursion if we went again.
The overall feel of the ship can be summed up in this experience: We arrived early to a lounge to get good seats, and as we were waiting to watch the football game, a woman behind me said, "My friends and I are going to be using a lot of profanity during the game, so you might want to move your kids to a different area." Her statement was confirmed by her vulgar t-shirt. I knew she wanted our seats, but what could we do?
Even though we didn't fit into the party atmosphere, we don't regret going on this cruise, and the kids said they had a great time. Perhaps next time we'll fork out a little extra $$$ for a little better vacation.
It is true. You get what you pay for.