by Heather Freymuth
December 21, 2001
ECSTACY: FACT OR FICTION?
"A day at sea is better than a day at work" and "a vacation (or a cruise) is what you make of it". When thinking about these famous statements, it makes me think about cruising. In the first case, I cannot wait until I can break away again, at last, and remember the best times I have had at sea. In the latter, I think of all of the potentially fantastic vacations I could have had.
Fantastic is an experience that I savor and enjoy each and every moment. Whether something simple, such as standing in the sun a couple of minutes before going into the office when I am already late, or experiencing a new restaurant, I savor each "special" experience. Cruising does that for me often; but not always.
Mediocre is "passing" through time, where there are moments that are enjoyable and there are moments where one watches the clock. For me, if I even look at my watch, and Yes, I always wear one, even on vacation, it means I think I am missing something. I accept mediocre all right, within certain terms.
As a fairly new, but seasoned cruiser, I accept certain things. Certain things include decent service, decent entertainment and decent food. On certain cruise lines, I expect higher than "normal" and in others less (Carnival). On a three day cruise I don't expect outstanding, or even very good, I just expect OK.
On the Ecstasy, I was EXTREMELY disappointed. I embarked with a great attitude (how hard is OK?). What I found was a very "big old boat". I cannot express how horrible I found this "burned boat". The announcements were annoying, typical of Carnival, but permissible. The accommodations were typical of Fantasy class. The dinning room service was actually good for Carnival, since I only overheard two conversations (out of three nights) about wages. I wish I had spent my 1k in Cabo San Lucas.
Our cabin was small, which is normal for the ship type, but I could not believe that about half of the tiles in our bathroom were missing! When one of us would walk into the bathroom, tiles would stick to our feet, amazing! In addition, my husband would joke every night, counting the number of lights that were out in the dinning room (about 30 to 40 percent). Our six dinner mates, none of whom had cruised before, "never even noticed", when we asked them the first night. (They sure noticed after that and started counting too: they thought it was for "affect").
The maintenance is horrendous on this "big old boat". Forget it! Check into the Motel Six in San Pedro, you will be better off!
I am horrified to think that Carnival Cruise Lines actually books people on this cruise. As a Carnival (at the time) stock holder and a chat host for a cruise magazine, I used to believe that the line had it merits. However, I will NEVER book a cruise again on this line and I even cancelled one that I had booked on the Legend, primarily because of the Motel Six comparison.
Also, I did say that I would never cruise on Carnival again once before after sailing on the Triumph, when she was six months "OLD". On that cruise, we hit the Book of World Records for the most passengers on a cruise ship, ever. Rhetorical: Do I consider this positive? (no deck chairs, no service, etc). That was another hell cruise and the first time I swore off Carnival. After this last time, NEVER NEVER NEVER again!