Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Carnival Ecstasy

The Carnival Ecstasy launched in 1991 is one of the older ships in Carnival's fleet.  It recently underwent a huge renovation to bring it more current.  See the full information for the Ecstasy on Cruise Critic where I research each cruise before sailing or recommending it to a client.  

I had sailed on its sister ship, the Fantasy in 1994 shortly after it launched.  Of course that was quite some time ago, and cruising has changed quite a bit since then.

However, I wanted to try the Ecstasy firsthand since I have many clients inquiring about sailing on it. Here is my experience this past week...

I booked this cruise in October 2012 for the February 7 sail date - 4 night Bahamian cruise for my teen daughter and myself.  I had booked a couple of spa treatments for my daughter and myself as well and prepaid. I also booked an new option at Port Canaveral only called Faster to the Fun which gives a taste of what a Carnival VIP gets, I must say I really liked this option.  You only have to book this for one person in the stateroom and it covers everyone.

Priority Check-in with Express Boarding
The quicker you board the ship, the quicker you're holding a frosty drink.

Guaranteed Stateroom
Your stateroom will be ready as soon as you board, so you can relax or freshen up for the fun you're about to have.

Express Luggage
Your luggage will be expedited to your stateroom so you can unpack and get settled in for a great vacation!

Guest Services
You'll have a dedicated phone number and line at Guest Services so you can quickly have your questions answered.

Dining Reservations
Priority Main Dining Room and Specialty Restaurant reservations.

Tender Priority
You will have the option to choose a priority tender from the ship to shore (multiple departure times may be possible), so you can explore ashore as quickly as you would like.

We're always sad to see you go. But when your cruise is over, you may choose an early or late disembarkation time upon arrival to your homeport.

We skipped the lines, went straight to the VIP line, dropped our carry on items in our room before heading to the pool and we were set.  We were ON THE SHIP and sitting by the pool at 11:10am! How cool is that? 

I would definitely purchase this option again!

I am not sure if I have cruised too much, if my food expectations are too high, or what, but the Lido indoor buffet just did not look good to me at all.  I do realize on the smaller ships it seems to me that the food choices are less appealing.  I had a salad and some grilled fish.  

The ship has a resort-style feel to it.  The pool deck has palm trees.  It looks just like the Carnival Sensation deck.  They did not put a jumbo screen up unfortunately which is a shame.

I like that the water slides were moved out of the main pool and onto a deck by themselves.  Two small hot tubs on the Lido deck flanking the pool.  In my opinion, there are NEVER enough hot tubs on a ship.  These are very small ones.

Our room was an inside stateroom.  We actually like the inside staterooms because they are always dark if you want to take a nap.  :)

Our dinner was the second seating in the Windsong dining room.  My daughter and I were seated at a table for 12 and we were the only ones who showed each night.  It was kind of awkward being at a huge table all alone.

Dinner is usually a lot of fun and we really enjoy it.  The dining room was WAY TOO COLD! I am a hot nature person and when I am cold everyone else is FREEZING.  My toes and fingers were numb.  It was really too cold to enjoy dinner.  I asked if they could make it less cold and they just laughed and went on.  Everyone was shivering.  

We were so cold when we left, we went straight back to our room for some HOT showers to warm up.  We were on the lowest floor R214 and this is where the night mare began.

My daughter took her shower first.  Then I got my shower.  When I went to step out, my flip flops were FLOATING in the bathroom.  Our drain was not working.  GROSS! I stepped out put on a robe and called our "dedicated guest services" line.  A plumber was sent out to snake the drain.  He didn't even clean the sewage up from the floor.  GROSS! 

Then the smell began...we could smell the sewage.  It was awful.  We called the room steward and he said he would call the plumber again that a lot of the staterooms near us were having the same problem.  Great.

Once they supposedly had it fixed, we went to bed only to wake up to a horrid stench, severe headaches, and nausea! No wonder.  We called again.  The room steward called the plumber.  We dressed and went to guest services.  They came to the room.  Of course by that time the plumber had already fixed it and sprayed a deodorizer.  

One would think that we would have been offered another room.  But, NO.  Nothing.  This went on the entire 4 day cruise.  

We did go to the spa for our manicures.  They kept trying to sell us their $30 hand lotion etc.  They became upset that I did not purchase.  There is no consistency within the spa.  The girl that was doing my manicure had just ship hopped from Royal Caribbean that day.  Apparently they can do that whenever they like.  My daughter had a teen manicure while I had mine.  I felt that both were more interested in selling products rather than doing a good manicure.  I would not do another manicure.  As a matter of fact, after the way we were treated during the manicure, I cancelled the pedicure we had scheduled later in the cruise.  They are very overpriced.  The manicure was very shabbily done. 

I also did the Ionithermie treatment for detox and inch loss.  The girl, Melissa that did that treatment was very nice.  She was wonderful.  This I would recommend.

Could I in good conscience recommend this cruise? Not really, although it may have only been in the lower section of the ship.  But obviously Carnival Ecstasy has some serious plumbing issues that need to be addressed. This cruise experience gets a thumbs down overall.

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