Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise because we love to go the Caribbean this time of year and enjoy the Royal Caribbean ships. We have been on other cruise lines but like Royal the best. This time we enjoyed the owners suite which comes with some extra ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we love to go the Caribbean this time of year and enjoy the Royal Caribbean ships. We have been on other cruise lines but like Royal the best. This time we enjoyed the owners suite which comes with some extra perks. They offer a variety of activities and entertainment throughout the cruise. Some of my favorite are the cupcake decoration classes and the Trivia challenges where you tend to make new friends. I like being in the middle of the ship and prefer the higher floors. We enjoy sitting on the balcony drinking coffee and eating breakfast on cruise day mornings. Strolling down the prominade shopping and people watching and maybe a stop in the ice cream parlor. Cozumel is one of my favorite ports because there is so much to do and the water is such a beautiful color of blue. We enjoy the cruise life. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We chose to try Royal Caribbean to see what the difference between the only other cruise we had experienced, would be. We had heard some people were more satisfied with Royal Caribbean than Carnival. Regrettably, we were most disappointed ... Read More
We chose to try Royal Caribbean to see what the difference between the only other cruise we had experienced, would be. We had heard some people were more satisfied with Royal Caribbean than Carnival. Regrettably, we were most disappointed and would not recommend the cruise line. I was relegated to having to go on a scavenger hunt to get the number of bottles of water that I needed to consume with the medication that I take, even though I paid for a beverage package that included water. The number of venues for entertainment were limited and the quality of the musicians and singers was poor. The ship is fully equipped to entertain children and teenagers but leaves much to be desired in keeping adults entertained. The sauna in the spa was not working. During a massage session, the attendant never even offered a robe and I was asked to simply remove my clothing and lay down on the massage table. The Windjammer Café had a peculiar odor as you approached the entrance as if the cleanliness of the area was not a pleasant one. On a positive note, the waiter and assistant server for dinner in the Dining Room were top notch. The ports and shore excursions were also top notch! I traveled with my husband only and there were far too many children on the voyage to be able to enjoy the time at sea. It was when we would get off the ship that we had the best time. I would not go again on a Royal Caribbean cruise and in all honesty not be able to recommend the line to anyone. Read Less
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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2015
This was my first cruise. I showed up on the ship and was like a kid in a candy store. I was amazed on how big the ship was and also how many things they had to do on it as well. The crew was so accommodating, friendly and so nice. ... Read More
This was my first cruise. I showed up on the ship and was like a kid in a candy store. I was amazed on how big the ship was and also how many things they had to do on it as well. The crew was so accommodating, friendly and so nice. My best friend and i left the cruise with friendships with some of the crew. Joined there Facebook pages and are staying in touch with them The food was great as well. Guys burgers were SOOOO GOOD! Sit down dinner (Anytime seating) was also great. We always got in line around 5:30 to make sure we got tables and also sat at the community tables where we met some amazing people as well. We used room service, which was prompt! The shows where the performers danced and sang was phenomenal. We had joined a page with people whom were going on the ship as well as I, and we met a lot of people whom we hung out with through the length of the cruise. I am definitely gonna be going on another cruise (i'll give it 2 years so we can save money on the side each paycheck) so we can definitely do what we want. Please, Carnival Freedom ship was great!!! Just an all around great experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
This was our 5th cruise and first on Royal Caribbean (have another one planned in Oct). Have sailed Norwegian and Princess twice each before. Since we live in Texas, Galveston is great to sail from as no air travel is needed. Something ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise and first on Royal Caribbean (have another one planned in Oct). Have sailed Norwegian and Princess twice each before. Since we live in Texas, Galveston is great to sail from as no air travel is needed. Something broke down on embarkation and line was long and slow, but disembarkation was fast and early! SHIP: Needs a third bank of elevators at the aft - long walk to them from our cabin. Remodeled, but the Promenade Deck 5 was way too crowded - bars, shops, kiosks in the middle - way too much. Way too many jewelry stores and not enough clothing stores. At sale times, the Promenade looks more like a Morrocan Bazaar than an elegant shopping area. RC could take some design tips from Princess. The Casino is in middle of ship on Deck 4 with both ends open so bars with entertainers like Boleros & Schooners on Deck 4 smelled the smoke. Smoke drifted up the open stairs to Deck 5 all the time. You had to pass thru Casino to get from one area to another on 4. Also, there was a staircase going from the Casino up to the Promenade on 5 and acted like a chimney and funneled all that smoke up. Worst thing - it was right next to the wine bar on 5 so did not make for good swirling, sniffing, and sipping of wine. Very poor design. Stairs need to be closed. Casino needs to be at one end, up high, vented to outside and completely closed from rest of ship - gamblers will find it! but other passengers will not have to smell it! ENTERTAINMENT: Never went to the theater but heard comedian wasn't very good. Best entertainment was the ice skating show. It was marvelous! Very professional and did a lot in that small space. Wish they had 2 different shows each cruise. Liked the CW band at Boleros, but time interferred with dinner so not much time to dance until started again at 10:45 - too late for me. Never made it to the piano bar at Schooners as was always too crowded. Both of these entertainment bars need to be given more space and away from smoke. Watched the flow rider and rock climbing wall - wish I was young enough to do it. DINING: Ate one breakfast and lunch in Windjammers - OK but nothing special. Coffee was awful, so we bought Starbucks at the Promenade Cafe and sat on our deck to drink it. Food was great in the dining room at lunch (3) and dinner (3). Had anytime dining with no problem getting in and had same area and waitstaff - Eglan & Carl. Ate at all 4 specialty restaurants - all very good, but Izumi is all a la carte pricing with no added fee. Turned out to be very expensive. The others are worth the surcharge. EXCURSIONS: Only went on one excursion through the ship - Salsa, Salsa, Margaritas (Cozumel) - and really enjoyed it. Was not available privately. Did the stingray/snorkel tour privately on Grand Caymen. No need to pay ship prices as all people/boats do same thing at same time so find cheapest. Tendering on GC is a hassle. They need to build a port like at Falmough. Line to get back to ship was so long, I am surprised no one was left (don't really know). OVERALL: Except for some design flaws, really enjoyed the ship and cruise, but probably won't do those islands again. Will try the Eastern Caribbean next and may or may not go RC depends on time, price, cabin availability. The ship is not as important to me as the itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
We were dissappointed with our cruise especially since we have sailed on Royal Carribean and were very pleased. It seems that the Mariner has cut back in many areas to save costs. Our getting on the ship took a very long time...about 2 ... Read More
We were dissappointed with our cruise especially since we have sailed on Royal Carribean and were very pleased. It seems that the Mariner has cut back in many areas to save costs. Our getting on the ship took a very long time...about 2 hours...and getting off was not as quick as we would like. We had two terrific waiters in the dining room and the food there was good but not exceptional, i.e, the French Onion soup was more like a broth without the layer of cheese on the top....they have eliminated the lobster and surf meal and did not do the Baked Alaska desert. We did not like the buffet lines and food at the Windjammer Cafe...it was like bumper cars going from one serving line to another....they should have two long serving lines instead of the multiple serving stations....the Roast Beef and hamburgers are cooked way too much. The interior cabin room is small at 167 square feet so consider getting a larger one. The fitness center is terrific, two great instructors who gave free Stretch Classes and Talks on Physical fitness and plenty of workout equipment, the staff there is very nice and helpful. We did not like the two R.C. Singers and Dancers and Orchestra shows. The Orchestra plays way too loud drowning out the singers. The other problem is that they allow smoking in a number of the bars and Casino. The also need more musical groups in play in the bars and lounges expecially before 10 PM...it seems like everything starts after 10 PM. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
I have to start off by saying Bassic said it best in their review of this ship. It wasn't terrible . . . . it just wasn't what I was hoping for and I believe my expectations were pretty low considering I had chosen Carnival for ... Read More
I have to start off by saying Bassic said it best in their review of this ship. It wasn't terrible . . . . it just wasn't what I was hoping for and I believe my expectations were pretty low considering I had chosen Carnival for my cruise. The ship is really a beautiful vessel. It's really got fun, personality and beauty all wrapped up into one. When we pulled into a port we were definitely the big fish in town. That was pretty impressive. I totally agree that the layout takes some getting used to. I think it took most of the trip before we actually got the exact layout down. It's very big and the elevators and stairs do not always get you where you want to go. The rooms were bigger than I had anticipated which was nice. My room had two twins, sofa, long vanity and TWO BATHROOMS !!!!! I loved having TWO!!! The staff on the ship was VERY hot and cold as far as attitudes. My room guys were above and beyond EXCELLENT. I could not of asked for a better group of people taking care of my room. The manager in the casino was SUPER EXCELLENT !! I know he's in the business to bring more money to the casino but he was sensational. He always addressed the guests by name, was quick to ask if he could bring you anything or do anything for you, he took the time to just visit with the guests . . . . very professional and all around great guy. I did speak with Guest Services on a couple of occasions and they were hot and cold. I agree that the complaints were probably overflowing but some of the staff was very helpful but others would respond with a very snippy response. This is something I didn't appreciate because I was merely asking questions and not complaining. 80/ The girls at the desk in the spa were not not my fave. Again, very short and snippy. But my massage lady for me and my daughter were very very nice. I do not feel I got my moneys worth though. I paid $170 for a 50 min stone massage and the poor girl kept dropping the rocks and eventually dropped the lid to the heater that they're kept warm in. I bet she spent atleast 30 - 40% of her time arranging things and picking stuff up that she had dropped. But she was nice. 80) As far as meals, the sit down meals were pretty good. The main dish was usually very good but I didn't have very good luck with the sides that would come with it. The appetizers and desserts were usually very good as well. As far as everything else, it was very average as I would think would be expected. The service in the dining rooms was very slow for us and we were in early seating. There was a couple of nights that it took over an hour to get our meals. The staff was cordial but not happy to be there . . . . we felt like they were strictly there to do their job and go home. We were there the night of the fight. Very entertaining but a little taken aback by it all. We had signed up for an excursion in Cozumel which had a time change on it. The cruise said they gave us a notice of it but we didn't get it. Therefore we were left behind and weren't able to go. Unfortunately they said they left the notice on our door but we also had kids on our floor that were stealing the mail. 80( The money was refunded but it took ALOT of talking to get that done. The change in port was upsetting only because they knew the problem existed with the ship WAY before they picked us up and they could have offered other solutions which they didn't. Progreso was a TERRIBLE port . . . to the point some of the guests were slipped drugs in their drinks and they had to be carried back to the ship and then wheeled back to their rooms in wheelchairs. That's not the fault of Carnival but Carnival could have picked a better place to dock especially since they knew from the Transatlantic sailing that there were problems. They had plenty of time to work out a better location. Carnival led the guests to believe that the issue happened just as they were pulling into Galveston and they had to make other arrangements with little time. Very untrue and disappointing. Many of the guests were unhappy. I was disappointed. With some tweeks this will be a very very good cruise. It does have alot of potential. Its unfortunate the ship had problems because it changed the attitude and schedule of alot of things. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2011
I live thirty minutes from Galveston so it was a simple matter to drive over on the morning of the 3rd. I was traveling with three friends and we arrived around 11AM. We always park at the EZ Cruise parking. By making reservations on-line ... Read More
I live thirty minutes from Galveston so it was a simple matter to drive over on the morning of the 3rd. I was traveling with three friends and we arrived around 11AM. We always park at the EZ Cruise parking. By making reservations on-line you can park for $35 for a five day cruise. The people at the parking lot are very helpful and we were taken without delay to the port. After checking our bags at the curb I was expecting to have a long wait in line to go through the security area and board the ship. On the two previous Ecstasy cruises embarkation was a long and tiring experience. It seems that the Port of Galveston must be listening to the complaints from cruise critic members because this time embarkation was handled very efficiently and in less than thirty minutes we were boarding the ship. CABIN: Our cabins were not ready so we went to the Lido deck for lunch. We were met with another pleasant surprise, the Mongolian Buffet. I have always thought that the Ecstasy had the best hamburgers but with the Mongolian Buffet they are now second place. Within an hour the cabins were ready and we went below to stow our baggage. The cabins haven't really changed and are still at best utilitarian. There is not really any place to comfortably sit except on the bed. The cabins are small but do have adequate closet and drawer space. The cabin attendant was very good and kept the ice bucket filled, plenty of clean towels, and the room in neat order at all times. DINING: I was in need of gaining a few pounds and found doing so to be very easy. The food in the buffet was edible but nothing spectacular. The main dining room was a very pleasant experience. The waiter was very good despite having a lot of tables. Each night the menu had entrees that were tasty and nicely presented. Two of our table mates ordered a complete Indian Dinner and were kind enough to share it. It was very good and I was impressed that Carnival was willing to prepare this as an off-menu item. Since I wasn't overly impressed with the buffet the grill on the Lido deck became my venue of choice for lunch. The Ecstasy still has the best hamburgers of any of the ships I sailed. They cook them on the grill as you wait and serve them hot. All in all I think the Ecstasy holds its own with other ships when it comes to food. OTHER: One of the nicest things that have been added to the Ecstasy in its last retrofit was the Serenity Deck. It isn't in the most convenient place but worth the effort to reach. The young lady who was the attendant was extremely nice and did an excellent job of enforcing the adults only rule. There were nice lounge chairs, two hot tubs, and an area that was shaded. The serenity deck became my favorite place to relax, read, and nap. Being just below the pizza preparation area, the nice aroma drifting down around noon always let you know it was getting close to noon. I also enjoyed the 3PM Tea Time on sea days, the pastries were delicious and the waiters were very attentive. ENTERTAINMENT: The shows in the main show room were nothing special. It may be because I had seen them before but after several years I did think that some changes would have been made. The show band was good but most of the singers and dancers were what one would expect at a high school musical production. DEBARKATION: Another pleasant surprise. In the past self-assist was a nightmare with a mad dash being made by passengers creating long waits. Carnival seems to have gotten a handle on this situation because this time when your deck was called the process was efficient and you got off the ship in a short time. Also clearing customs has also been made much more efficient. In less than thirty minutes from the time our deck was called we were at the curb and on our way to the parking lot. I hope this was not a one time event and that in the future embarkation and debarkation continues to be handled efficiently. CONCLUSION: Carnival is still the "party" group but for a quick get-away the four and five day cruises out of Galveston are a bargain as long as you don't drink too much. I took my first cruise on the Ecstasy some years ago and will always remember just how great I thought she was. In truth, the Ecstasy isn't nor never will be a ship with a lot of "wow" but she offers her travelers a cruise that is worth the money. Read Less

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