Carnival Ecstasy is a Fantasy class ship. Fantasy class ships make up about a third of Carnival’s fleet. The Ecstasy launched in 1991. It is 855 feet long and holds a maximum of 2056 guests with a crew of 920.
Dining Room Dress Code – Carnival’s dress code is not too strict. In the daily FunTimes they don’t say what to wear, just what not to wear. Casual nights make up the majority of the cruise with just one elegant night on the Ecstasy’s short cruises. There is a more extended version on Carnival’s website. which has do’s as well as don’ts. The general dress code information on the website says no jeans on formal night, but the version in the Ecstasy’s Fun Times did not.
Cruise Casual: No gym or basketball shorts, flip flops, bathing suit attire, cut-off jeans or men’s sleeveless shirts.
Cruise Elegant: No cut-off jeans, men’s sleeveless shirts, shorts, t-shirts, sportswear, baseball hats, flip-flops or bathing suit attire.
Most people did not get overly fancy on formal night on this ship, which is understandable since the majority probably would not pack a lot of clothes for such a short trip. Dresses or skirts suitable for church or school were the norm for females and nice pants and shirt for males, with the occasional suit or sport coat thrown in on the males and a few fancy dresses on females. We did see one family walk by in black tie formal attire.
The Ecstasy has two launderettes, a fact we greatly appreciated having come straight there from a 17-day cruise on a ship without any self-serve laundries. I hadn’t thought they’d get much use on a ship doing only short cruises, but on the first day one of the washers already had a load going when I went looking to locate the launderetts and several people came in to use the iron while we were in the laundry room. Washers and dryers on this ship still take quarters, $3 each for wash and for dry. Quarters are available at guest services or the casino, but I brought my own so I could get things washed before the casino opened without having to wait in the long line that always builds up at guest services on boarding day.
Carnival Ecstasy currently mainly takes short 3-4 day cruises out of Miami, allowing for people with busy schedules or lower vacation budgets to take a short getaway. Short cruises also make a great way for people who have never cruised to try it without making a long time commitment to something they know nothing about. Shorter cruises and trips to warm places tend to attract a younger crowd so this cruise had a lot of younger couples and plenty of families with children. Many of the kids on our cruise came from Tennessee because they had some sort of fall break from school there. I’ve learned a lot more about the world through traveling than I ever did in school so these kids probably gain a lot of knowledge from their travels.
Carnival’s motto is the fun ships, and the vibe on the Ecstasy is party. They have sail away parties at every port and scheduled ship events such as comedy shows and night clubs that last well past midnight. Music plays around the ship a good portion of the day, though the Lido deck by the pool could do with turning the volume down a bit.
The back outside deck has waterslides and a bit of a splash park. The tallest slide, the yellow twister which Carnival has on a lot of their ships is fun and usually fast, though wind direction can affect the slide speed. They also have a smaller 2-lane blue slide where people can race if they want and this one is also pretty fast. A miniature 2-lane blue slide sits next to it for the younger children and in between the slides a few different sprinkling apparatus give kids a place to splash and play.
Though Carnival’s oldest and smallest ships make up the Fantasy class, the ship does not feel small. The hallways are wider than the average cruise ship and the foyers where stairs and elevators meet between floors are big enough to be a room. The ship has lots of public spaces and a couple different shopping areas. The theater reminds me of old style Las Vegas style showrooms with booths around the edges that were for the VIP’s in Vegas, but anyone can sit there on the ship. The smaller theater and one-story dining rooms are where the smaller size of this ship shows.
Décor on the ship is bright colors, setting the tone for a happy mood. Walls in the cabins are not magnetic, but the cabin and bathroom doors are.
Like all Carnival ships, Ecstasy has activities for kids that extend beyond their Camp Ocean children’s program. Seuss at Sea includes a Dr. Seuss Parade, storytime, and the fun for all ages Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast. Towel Animal Theater is another hit with kids that is fun to watch for any adults who love the towel animals as well. Hasbro the Game Show is fun for all ages, as is the mini golf.
There is plenty of entertainment for adults as well with nightly shows, comedy, bars, nightclubs, and the serenity deck for child-free relaxation. Daily activities are listed in the Fun Times, which is delivered to each stateroom in the night before. Activities include fitness classes, trivia and karaoke.
The Ecstasy had a lot to like, but it also had one huge problem. Indoor smoking is allowed in the casino and in one of the nightclubs when open. The casino is open to a large area of other public places including the coffee bar and candy store as well as a couple nightclubs and some shops. Since no walls separate the casino from these other public spaces the whole area is smoky. It also wafts out into the multi-level atrium so on this ship with my tobacco smoke allergy that’s a pretty large area I had to avoid. It’s not just me either. Carnival loses lots of casino business due to the smoke. Ever since they made the balconies non-smoking lots of smokers congregate in the casino just to smoke, driving out would-be casino users. Carnival needs to re-think their policies and make a fully enclosed lounge into a smoking lounge. Add smokeless ashtrays and good ventilation and require the door to stay closed so the smoke stays contained within that room giving smokers somewhere to go where they can be comfortable and nobody else has to breath in their smoke.
We picked porthole cabin R4 near the bow on deck 4 because in the deck plans it looked bigger than the average size cabin. It was indeed a large cabin, but although it was not near any public smoking areas a smoke smell sometimes permeated the cabin, particularly in the evenings and into the night. At first we weren’t sure if that meant our room was above a crew bar since deck plans never show the crew areas, or if the smell came in through the air conditioning unit, which could be turned up or down but not off. Later after talking to other guests with the same issue we figured it was probably the air conditioner, though it didn’t affect all rooms because some other guests we talked to said they did not have that problem in their room. Luckily it was more smell than actual smoke and not constant.
Because of the smoke issues this class of ships would not be my first choice for future cruises unless Carnival decides at some point to do something about the smoke. Making all indoor areas of the ship non-smoking on all their ships sounds good until you look around the ship and realize that there seems to be a greater percentage of smokers on Carnival ships than there is either in the general population or on ships from some of the other cruiselines. Sending them all outside would probably make the outer decks uninhabitable for all the other passengers. They already smoke in non-smoking areas on the outside decks and nobody does anything about it even though it is a fire hazard as there is nowhere to safely dispose of the cigarette butts. So it seems like the answer would lie in confining all smoking to a fully enclosed lounge.