This is a rundown on our June 25, 07 cruise on the Ecstasy out of Galveston. I hope this might help some first timers, as we were, with some of their questions.
First, getting on the ship. I drove up and dropped off my wife and two kids with our luggage. A porter immediately put our bags on a cart and took them off. I drove to a parking area (Lot A) and paid $ 50.00 for parking. A shuttle came around within several minutes and took me back to the ship. The earlier you get there, the less time you have to wait in line. We had our Fun Passes filled out and got thru in about 5 minutes. We then sat and waited to board the ship. The later it got, the lines really started to back up. We got there about 12: oo noon. Our paperwork stated boarding started at 1:30. Go early if possible.
Next, our cabins. I was cheap and bought inside staterooms. Spend the extra money and get a window. It’s worth it and I wish I had. The beds were very comfortable and the rooms had their own thermostat. The bathrooms were small, but that’s to be expected. My wife complained of a urine odor in ours and they came and sprayed something and she didn’t have any more problems. There were two disposable razors and some toothpaste and an Oil of Olay sample on the sink. The water is VERY hot and gets hot quick! Be careful. The two twin beds can be put side by side if you want them that way. There is a TV with a variety of channels.
On board activities. There’s plenty to do, and most of it is really fun. Even though it may sound corny or just not your thing, try them, you’ll be glad you did. My kids dragged me to a Digital camera scavenger hunt one afternoon and I ended up having a great time. The evening shows are great, don’t miss them. I only wish the deck chairs were available after dark. Seems they have to be put up nightly so the crew can wash the deck. This is where a balcony would be great, but out of my price range. The pool gets very crowded. People came early and put pool bags and towels down to reserve their chairs. The casino is larger than I expected. The tables sometime got crowded but there was always slots available (Very tight slots, that is)
The Food. The dining room is not to be passed up. It is a gourmet type food that allows you to try thing that normally you would not order. We were all pleased with the food there. The menu changes every day, but has alternate selections that stay the same. There’s always grilled chicken breast, a sirloin steak, Chicken fingers and more. The buffet is usually good but can get very crowded at times. Twice we had trouble finding a seat. There is free room service also. My kids ordered sandwiches late at night several times. You’re supposed to tip them when they bring it to you. They have a pizzeria that’s supposed to be open 24 hours. Hamburgers and hotdogs are available at the pool. Sodas cost extra. We bought soda cards for $22.00 each that were good for the cruise.
Excursions. I can only comment on Progresso. If you are going to one of the several Mayan ruins, Tours can be had for about half the price of carnivals excursion. There is a tour company inside the shopping area that you have to walk thru at the pier. We went to Dzibichaltun and had about 30 people from the ship on the air conditioned bus. My son and I had booked a private fishing guide in Cozumel and my wife and daughter took a submarine excursion thru carnival. I doubt if that type of excursion could be booked except thru the ship. The people in Progresso were very aggressive trying to get you to buy from them, but all were polite and respectful if you said no.
Disembarking. We carried our own bags off the ship and were allowed off about 7:30am. We had eaten breakfast in the dining room, came back and got our bags. We went right off and there were six lines open at the customs area. A very short wait and we were out and on a shuttle with our luggage to the car. We drove out of the parking lot at 8:15. There is a drug dog that checks the bags from the ship, but none checked ours as we walked off.
Overall we had a great trip. Can’t afford to go back anytime soon, but we will go back.