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Carnival Ecstasy, Fun Times

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Dec 10th, 2014, 02:17 PM
  #1
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Carnival Ecstasy, Fun Times

One of the advantages of having a rich uncle and living in South Florida especially this time of the year is easy access to cruising bargains. For about $130 per person we are again off on another cruise. This time we are on Carnival Ecstasy with port of calls in Key West and Cozumel, Mexico.

We are looking forward to our four day getaway that for us is probably cheaper than staying at home.
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Dec 12th, 2014, 04:22 AM
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Hey DMBT, I am waiting on the videos. I am trying to determine whether to go to Key West on a cruise or go for a few days, it's a little pricey. Have fun .
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Dec 12th, 2014, 03:00 PM
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tch912,

CCL Ecstasy was a pleasant surprise with lots of "Holiday Cheer"..

Unfortunately stop in Key West too short unless you are an early riser.

We had to catch the last bus back from town at 12:30pm since we actually docked on a Coast Guard pier... No walking back to the ship.
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Dec 12th, 2014, 05:18 PM
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Good information on time of stop. Maybe I might look at going to Key West in October or November.
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Dec 13th, 2014, 10:20 AM
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Fun Times And Holiday Cheer

After my last two cruises on the NCL Getaway and CCL Breeze I immediately sense a huge difference as I step into the atrium of the Carnival Ecstasy. For me, there is definitely a more intimate feeling to this ship and the welcome onboard greetings seem more genuine and personal.

With the atrium decorated for Christmas I almost feel like I have just arrived home for the holidays. A mandatory trip to the lunch buffet then it is time for what seems like a lengthy safety briefing in English and Spanish.

The usual get acquainted with the ship self-tour and the night ends in the hopping “Stripes” disco but not before busting with laughter from the comedians in “The Punchliner”. Show your love for Percy Crews 2 if you ever get a chance to see him perform. I doubt you will regret it, he is one of my favorite cruise comedians.

Our first port of call, Key West, is familiar to me but not our docking arrangements at a US Coast Guard pier which requires us to be bussed into town. With a short port call of from 7:30am to 1:00pm, you will have to be up early to enjoy your time in the “Conch Republic”.

It is an unusually cold day for all of Florida but it still is a beautiful day to stroll around the most southern point in the contiguous United States. The colder than expected weather has me shopping for warmer clothing and I find a bargain in the everything for “$5.00” store.

From seeing Ernest Hemingway’s home to “The Southern White House”, Mile Marker 0 and Hogs Breath (better than no breath at all) Saloon, Key West is a place you can enjoy anytime of the year.

Another mandatory trip to the lunch buffet and I enjoy dessert at an outside table as I watch the Ecstasy sail away to our next port of call, Cozumel, Mexico.

At 7:30pm it is really beginning to feel a lot like Christmas as many of us gather in the atrium for some “Fa-la, la, la, la, la, la”. And then as if by magic what most of all us dream about happens. It begins to snow from the skies above. A “White Christmas” occurs on the Ecstasy. Good Eats and Pizza end this night before we arrive for a long day in Cozumel.

A pass through “Duty Free” shopping then a short stop for a couple of Dos Equis at “Three Amigos” that offers free Wi-Fi that is slow and disappointing. I have to torture my body with two slices of moist and delicious banana bread and give up about US$10 at a nearby coffee shop for a better connection. The torture was worth it.

Strolling towards town we are enticed into a “Happy Hour” deal at Sunset Restaurant & Bar. With fast free Wi-Fi, $13 Fajitas, a beautiful sunset view and margaritas that truly say “Tequila” this is a new hot spot for me the next time I am in Cozumel.

Christmas lights are on as we head back to the ship and with a chill in the air even unusual for Cozumel this time of the year, the spirit of the season is alive and well in Mexico.

We are back on the ship just in time for the always hilarious “Love and Marriage” show then it is off to the Lido deck for “The Mexico Sail Away” party and mandatory “Mexican Buffet”. However, before the buffet there is some “Wobble, Wobble” and “YMCA” where I am glad to participate as an honorary dance instructor.

For me, no cruise would be complete without a little karaoke. Having to introduce ourselves, I try to mix it up and convince the audience that I was from Switzerland, no one fell for it. Maybe next time I'll try China.

A full day at sea would normally mean hitting the water slides and working on my tan but the weather this time around is just a bit too cold for that. Instead it is a round of golf where I get by butt kicked by eight strokes. Guess it's time to have a talk with Tiger, again.

Our only night at the formal dinner sitting turns out to be a bit of a triple treat. First, we are entertained by a table side magician. Second, we enjoy the usual dining room staff singing. Third, I get to have a huge slice of “Baked Alaskan” and three scoops of “Lime Sherbert”.

More “Holiday Cheer” in the atrium with an “Ugly Sweater” competition, “Jingle Bells” and a visit from “Old St Nick” himself. So far, all this holiday hoopla and crazy caroling is going to make it very difficult this year for me to be “The, the, the Grinch”. Guess I am going to need to eat a lot of onions in the next twelve days.

It is back to Punchliner for more laughs and some relationship advice. Ever been told.. “I need some space”.. translation ..“I need to get away from you as far away as possible”. Again, it is time to show some love for “Percy Crews 2”..

Faster than it seems that it should be and we are sailing back into the Port of Miami but I am not sure we have arrived back into South Florida. It's 53 degrees!

Video:http://youtu.be/fztUJCRxU00
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Dec 13th, 2014, 01:20 PM
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Yeah, I love the video as usual . This helps put me in the holiday mood. I wonder will the Christmas decorations be up on the Independence of the Seas December 28th? Thanks and as always I enjoy your trip reports. Thanks for showing the $5 store now that's my type of shopping.
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Dec 13th, 2014, 05:03 PM
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As usual your videos are very cool. It's always fun to watch them. .
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Dec 14th, 2014, 09:15 PM
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We have hesitated to do a Carnival cruise for two reasons, so I would like your opinion. I enjoy bands and music, but do not want to wear ear plugs at a concert, and like to be able to chat with DH at the pool without yelling across at him. We have been on cruises where it was fine and on a couple of others that were so excruciatingly loud, we could not sit through any concerts. How loud was the music in public areas and during entertainment events?

Also, I have asthma and smoke can sometimes trigger an attack. I have not had a problem before, but read that Carnival had fewer restrictions. How bad was it and could you avoid most of it fairly easily.

Thanks,
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Dec 16th, 2014, 06:34 AM
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tch912,

What are your ports of call? I'm sure the "Holiday Cheer" will still be going on the 28th. Will you be bringing 2015 in on the high seas?

Happy Holidays!
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Dec 16th, 2014, 06:35 AM
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jacketwatch,

Thanks ... Best Of The Season To You & Yours!
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Dec 16th, 2014, 07:05 AM
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Sassafrass,

I found music in common pool areas to be at a comfortable level. During typical cruise special events it may have been a bit louder but not ear plug wearing louder.

Carnival does have "Serenity", a free unlike on NCL, area for adults only. We often relax and enjoy the jacuzzi and nice lounge chairs there.

Only in casino areas have we ever found smoke to be an issue but it often depends on the crowd. It is easy enough to avoid.

Did an 8-Day on Carnival Breeze earlier in the year and really enjoyed it.

We have done most of our cruising on Carnival and have had only one or two minor "bad" experiences. Overall, Carnival is still our preferred choice for cruising.
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Dec 16th, 2014, 08:18 AM
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Thank you so much. Serenity area sounds very nice. I think we have to try Carnival for ourselves because a number of people, whose opinions I value, enjoy Carnival. So far, we have enjoyed every cruise we have taken.
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Dec 16th, 2014, 08:44 AM
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DMBT, I will be cruising to Grand Cayman, Falmouth, and Labadee on the Independence of the Seas. Yes I will be cruising on New Years. I am celebrating my 60 years of birth starting with the month I was conceived in, December .
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Dec 16th, 2014, 10:26 AM
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Sassafrass,

If you can I think you would really enjoy CCL Breeze... The only ship we were not to fond of was CCL Conquest. CCL Conquest and CCL Glory are in the same class. Although I have talked to others that have enjoyed both ships.
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Dec 16th, 2014, 10:29 AM
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tch912,

"Happy Birthday To You, Happy Birthday To You ...."

Would go on RCL just to visit Labadee, so I could say that I have visited Haiti since visiting mainland seems a little more challenging.

Enjoy your B-Day celebrations
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Dec 16th, 2014, 10:49 AM
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Thanks for your birthday wish, you are right about visiting Haiti. Although it is fenced off from the original Haiti, it still contribute to their economy. Royal Caribbean allows a small group of artist sell their crafts. Also they hire Haitians to work at the port.
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Dec 17th, 2014, 10:16 PM
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Happy birthday tch912. I gather your 60th birthday is sometime in August 2015?

It is kind of funny that of all my least favorite port of calls in the Caribbeans, all the so call private island / beaches such as Princess Cay, Half Moon Cay, Labadee are all on my list. We felt so restricted and confined at those port of calls.

We haven't been on a Carnival ship for at least 3 years now, so I am sort of out of touch on what they are like nowadays. Based on my recollection, they were more Vegas like in their atmosphere, the fellow passengers were more boisterous and the activities were fun to watch but not for participation (not at my age anyway ). I don't recall ever having a bad meal at the MDR and the service in general were good.
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Dec 18th, 2014, 08:28 AM
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We were on the CCL Legend last spring and E you nailed it. I did not like the ships decor and some of the pool side activities were frankly gross but the food was pretty good as was the service.

I would take a newer CCL ship but only for an embarkation port in say Europe.
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Dec 18th, 2014, 04:32 PM
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Eschew and DMBT my birthday is September 3, but sadly my mother only lived to 42 so I blessed to have lived this long. I enjoyed Carnival and Norwegian cruise lines. I want to try Royal Caribbean, plus I want this itinerary is because it goes to Labadee. I read Haiti is trying to get their tourism up and running. Royal Caribbean has had success there. Plus I want to zipline over the beach and water .
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Dec 19th, 2014, 09:39 PM
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I don't mind RCCL ships at all except for the "crowding". For whatever reason, DW felt the public area is more busy than ships from the other "brands". They have a lot to offer and you may like it.

tch912, zip line is not my bag If you like zip line you may want to try the two RCCL mega ships (Oasis and Allure) They have zip line right through the center of the ship!
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