Carnival Ecstasy - Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Carnival Ecstasy


Berlitz’s Ratings

Ship: 309 out of 500

Accommodation: 138 out of 200

Food: 212 out of 400

Service: 256 out of 400

Entertainment: 73 out of 100

Cruise: 244 out of 400

Overall Score: 1232 out of 2000

Carnival Ecstasy Statistics

Size: Large Resort Ship

Tonnage: 70,526

Lifestyle: Standard

Cruise Line: Carnival Cruise Lines

Former Names: Ecstasy

IMO Number: 8711344

Builder: Kvaerner Masa-Yards (Finland)

Original Cost: $225 million

Entered Service: Jun 1991

Registry: Panama

Length (ft/m): 855.8/263.6

Beam (ft/m): 103.0/31.4

Draft (ft/m): 25.9/7.9

Propulsion/Propellers: diesel-electric (42,240kW)/2

Passenger Decks: 10

Total Crew: 920

Passengers (lower beds): 2,056

Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 34.4

Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.2

Cabins (total): 1,026 or 1,028

Size Range (sq ft/m): 173.2-409.7/16.0-38.0

Cabins (for one person): 0

Cabins (with private balcony): 52

Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 22

Wheelchair accessibility: Fair

Cabin Current: 110 volts

Elevators: 14

Casino (gaming tables): Yes

Slot Machines: Yes

Swimming Pools: 3

Hot Tubs (on deck): 6

Self-Service Launderette: Yes

Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No

Library: Yes

Onboard currency: US$


A floating fun palace for ultra-casual first-time cruisers

Overview. Carnival Ecstasy is the second in a series of eight almost identical ships in Carnival’s Fantasy-class ships. Although externally angular and not at all handsome, this is nonetheless a popular ship - aimed at anyone taking their first cruise.

The Ship. Carnival Ecstasy - now well over 20 years old and looking tired - has open deck space that is inadequate when the ship is full. The aft decks tend to be less noisy, whereas all the activities are focused around the main swimming pool and hot tubs (one with a thatched shade). For those who prefer European-style sunning there’s also a topless sunbathing area, as well as Serenity - an adult-only ‘quiet’ lounging space on Deck 9 aft. There is no walk-around open promenade deck, although there is a short jogging track atop ship. The lifeboats, six of which double as shore tenders, are positioned high in the ship.

The interior spaces are well utilized and the general passenger flow is good. The interior design - the work of Miami-based creative genius Joe Farcus - is clever, functional, and extremely colorful. He calls it ‘entertainment architecture.’ The ship’s interior design theme is mythical muses and music. You’ll find a rather nice Rolls-Royce car (and coffee shop) located on the indoor promenade.

The interior focal point is an ‘open’ atrium lobby, whose balconied shape recalls some of the world’s great opera houses; dressed to impress, it spans six decks, and is topped by a large glass dome. The lowest level of the atrium lobby is where you’ll find the purser’s desk and shore excursion desk, together with a popular Atrium Bar (with live music), as well as a small sushi bar off to one side.

There are public entertainment lounges, bars, and clubs galore, with something for everyone (except quiet space). The public rooms, connected by a double-width promenade called City Highlights Boulevard, combine a colorful mix of classic and contemporary (think garish) design elements. Most public rooms and attractions lead off from this boulevard - a sort of shipboard Main Street which runs between the showlounge (forward) and the Starlight Aft Lounge/nightclub. Gamers and slot players alike will enjoy the almost non-stop action in the Crystal Palace Casino. There is also a fine-looking library and reading room, but few books, and a 1,200-sq-ft (111-sq-m) conference room.

Carnival Ecstasy is a floating playground for the young and young-at-heart, and anyone who enjoys constant stimulation and lots of participation events. Because it’s a large resort ship, there will be lines for things like shore excursions, security control when re-boarding, and disembarkation, as well as sign-up sheets for fitness equipment.

Forget fashion - the sine qua non of a Carnival cruise is all about having fun. While the cuisine is just so-so, the real fun begins at sundown when Carnival really excels in sound, lights, and shows. From venues such as the Stripes Dance Club/Disco to the Society Cigar Bar, the ship’s interior decor will certainly entertain you.

Carnival Ecstasy, however, is not for those who want a quiet, relaxing cruise experience. There are simply too many annoying announcements, and a great deal of hustling for drinks. Shore excursions are booked via the in-cabin ‘Fun Vision’ television system, so obtaining advice and suggestions is not easy. The art in the Art Gallery is rather tacky, to say the least!

Families. Youngsters have their own play areas, with children’s programs divided into five age-specific groups under Camp Ocean (ages 2−11 - with children ages 2−5 called ‘Penguins’; 6−8-year-olds called ‘Sting Rays’; 9−11-year-olds called ‘Sharks’). Tweens have ‘Circle C’, while teenagers have their own ‘Club O2’ - a chill-out (no adults allowed) room/disco. Also, soft-drinks packages can be purchased for children (and adults).

By the end of 2015, the words and world of Dr. Seuss will have been rolled out as part of Carnival’s children’s program (check before you sail) − from ‘green eggs and ham’ for breakfast, served by waiters in Dr. Seuss-inspired uniforms, and characters such as the Cat in the Hat, Thing One and Thing Two, and Sam attending, to special showings of movies such as The Cat in the Hat and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (these will be shown outdoors on the poolside Seaside Theater screen on Lido Deck).

Accommodation. There are several types of accommodation and prices, according to facilities, size, and location. The standard outside-view and interior cabins have decor that is rather plain and unmemorable. They are marginally comfortable, yet spacious enough and practical (most are of the same size and appointments), with good storage space and practical, well-designed no-nonsense bathrooms. However, if you have a queen-bed configuration instead of the standard twin-bed layout, note that one person has to clamber over the bed - an ungainly exercise.

Anyone booking an outside suite will find more space, whirlpool bathtubs, and some rather eclectic decor and furniture. These are mildly attractive, but so-so, and they are much smaller than those aboard ships of a similar size of competing companies. A small gift basket of toiletry samples is provided in all grades.

Book a Category 11 or 12 suite and you get Skipper’s Club priority check-in at any US homeland port - useful for getting ahead of the crowd.

Room service items are available 24 hours a day, although in standard-grade cabins, only cold food is available, while occupants of suite-grade accommodation have a greater range of items (both hot and cold) to choose from.

Dining. The two large main dining rooms, Wind Star and Wind Song, are located amidships and aft. They have ocean-view windows and are noisy, but the decor is attractive, although extremely bright. Choose either fixed-time dining (6pm or 8.15pm) or flexible dining (any time between 5.45 and 9.30pm).

The food is so-so. Presentation is simple, and few garnishes are used. Many meat and fowl dishes are disguised with gravies and sauces. The selection of fresh green vegetables, breads, rolls, cheeses, and fruits is limited, and there is much use of canned fruit and jellied desserts. There’s a decent wine list, but no wine waiters. The waiters sing and dance, and there are constant parades - so it’s really more about ‘foodertainment’ than food quality. Remember, however, that this is standard banquet catering. If you want something really simple, there’s an ‘always available’ (when the dining rooms are open) list of ‘Carnival Classics’ that includes mahi mahi (fish), baby back ribs (beef), and grilled chicken. Note that the two main dining rooms are not open for lunch on port days.

Other dining options. A Lido café (Panorama Bar & Grill), features the usual casual self-serve buffet eats, most of which are non-memorable. The venue includes a deli counter and pizzeria. At night, the venue morphs into the Seaview Bistro, a casual alternative to the main dining rooms, for pasta, steaks, salads, and desserts. Outside on deck is a Mongolian Rotisserie Grill.

A patisserie offers specialty coffees and sweets (extra charge), and a so-called sushi bar off to one side of the atrium lobby bar on Promenade Deck is open prior to dinner; if you know anything about sushi, don’t expect authenticity.

There is no specialty (extra-charge) restaurant, as aboard some of the larger ships in the Carnival fleet.

Entertainment. The 1,010-seat Blue Sapphire Showlounge is the venue for large-scale production shows and major cabaret acts - although 20 pillars obstruct some views. During a typical cruise, there will be one or two high-energy production shows, with a cast of two lead singers and a clutch of dancers, backed by a large live band.

Spa/Fitness. SpaCarnival is a large, glass-wrapped health, fitness, and spa complex located on the uppermost interior deck, forward of the ship’s mast, and is typically open from 6am to 8pm daily. It consists of a gymnasium with ocean-view windows that look out over the bow and the latest in muscle-pumping electronic machines, an aerobics exercise room, men’s and women’s changing rooms, sauna and steam rooms, beauty salon, and body treatment rooms. Some fitness classes incur an extra charge. A common complaint is that there are not enough staff to keep the area clean and tidy.

Sporting types can play basketball or volleyball, or table tennis, go jogging, or play mini-golf.