Thursday, November 16, 2017

Carnival Ecstasy 2017

We booked a 10-day cruise on the Carnival Ecstasy for $275 on Friday evening. We packed on Saturday and was on the ship on Sunday!

Our captain was Leonardo Contarino, Hotel Director was Frank Dillinder, Cruise Director was Gary Blair, and our maitre’d was Vinod. Our dinner servers for table 384 was Florin (Romania), Nilo (Phillipines) and Jazmin (Bosnia). Our cabin was R210 and our cabin steward was Rudolph.

Day 1: Charleston Embarkation 11/5/17

We got to the port around 10:30am and could drop off our luggage and pay for parking. Then we were made to leave the port and asked to return around 11am. When we returned, we got in a long line of cars waiting to park. Once we were parked, we got on a bus that drives us to the terminal but we had to wait a long time on the bus. It seemed like they allowed one bus at a time to unload. During the security check, they took away Don’s 2 unopened bottles of Powerade. Once we got on the ship we went straight to our cabin (R210) and dropped everything off before going to lunch on the Lido deck. After lunch, we walked around until we could go to see the Maitre’d about our dinner table. We tried to get moved to early dinner but he told us that there were no seats available but he did make sure we had a seating for 2 at late dinner. I’m surprised because as Diamond members, we are supposed to be guaranteed desired dining arrangements. At 3pm, we went to the Facebook meet up and there lots of people there! At 4pm we had the muster drill. Then we sat by the pool and relaxed until we went to the Punchliner club to see Jim Brick. We had seen him before and enjoyed him. After that we went to dinner at 8:15 and enjoyed it. At the table next to us were Mary and Dennis from Winston Salem who we had met on another cruise. They wanted us to move to their big table but we declined because we wanted to keep our table for 2.

Day 2: Sea Day 11/6/17

We went to the dining room for brunch but they were only serving breakfast so we left and went to the Lido deck for omelets. After breakfast, we found some lounge chairs on the Serenity deck and read until lunch time. I ran down to the room to get a pepsi for lunch and saw our cabin steward. I told him about not getting our Diamond perks and he said I needed to go to guest services who talked to the floor supervisor. Then we sat by the pool and read for a while. We went to our cabin to rest and there were our Diamond gifts (Yeti cups) and our letters with the drink coupon. A little while later, room service delivered a plate of goodies to us. At 4, I went to a photography class which was interesting and I got a pin for attending. We got ready for dinner early (formal night) and went to have some drinks in the alchemy bar before the comedy show. We met the best bartender, Ufuk from Turkey. At dinner, Florin talked me into having the prime rib and the lobster tail!

Day 3: Sea Day 11/7/17

In the morning, we went to dance lessons where we learned to do the hustle. We also went to a technology seminar on how to be safe on the internet. Then we went to a cooking demonstration and I can’t believe I won the raffle to go sit up at the taster’s table. The visiting chef from St. Maarten made shrimp tacos.  In the afternoon, we went to tea and I had cucumber sandwiches and scones which were yummy! Before dinner we had cocktails and got to know the bartender, Ufuk, who was making us custom martinis. Then we went to the comedy show and the comedian, Kim Harrison, lives in Columbia, SC about an hour away from where we live and she was very funny!

Day 4: Sea Day 11/8/17

It was pretty stormy yesterday with lots of lightning and thunder! We did go to 2 technology lectures on cooking and art which we enjoyed. We also went to the question and answer with the Captain and senior officers which was fun and interesting. Then our Diamond party was a free galley tour along
with a luncheon. We sat at a table with the senior engineer and the 2nd engineer who liked to talk. The lady next to me kept asking him about the Mafia which was embarrassing. I took a little nap in the afternoon before going for cocktails before dinner. We had drinks with the hotel director, Frank, and the food and beverage manager. Frank recommended a drink (the hotel director’s special drink) made by Natalia and Mark said that he could make it. I had a coffeetini. We ended up swapping drinks because we each liked the other’s drinks.

Day 5: Aruba 11/9/17

We had a lovely time in Aruba! We bought a day pass at the local bus terminal which only cost $10. We took the bus to Eagle Beach and spent a couple of hours there. The wind was blowing so it was impossible to lay on the beach or you would be sandblasted. Then we returned to the ship for lunch and a shower. We went back on the bus to the high-rise hotel area and walked around the shops. Then we took the bus back to the downtown and walked around there before getting back on the ship. The comedy shows were cancelled because the comedians never arrived due to flight problems. We went to dinner and then bed.

Day 6: Bonaire 11/10/17

We had a better time in Bonaire than expected. We walked around town. I met a lady knitting toys at the animal shelter booth. I promised her that the next time I came to visit that I would bring her some yarn. Then Don bought some artwork from a lady doing watercolors. There were no free public restrooms around. I saw a line in front of a restroom and got in it so I didn’t have to pay. We ended up having a beer with Dennis when we saw him sitting at a bar. His wife Mary has trouble with arthritis and couldn’t get off the ship. It was really sunny and hot there. We came back to the ship for lunch and relaxed until the ship left at 4. We had martinis before the comedy show and saw Vince Morris. I thought he was funny. After dinner, we went to bed.

Day 7: Sea Day 11/11/17

After breakfast, we went to the technology lectures on how to shout on the internet. then we had a dance class to learn the waltz. Don got frustrated so we sat and watched the others. We had lunch in the dining room where we ate the steak and eggs and deserve. We got our free Bloody Mary. We sat by the pool and it was hot and humid. At 2 p.m. we went to the veteran’s ceremony. Don got very emotional during it. Then we had another technology lecture on having a smart home. We went back to the cabin to watch some football before getting cocktails and then going to the comedy show. We saw Reno Collier and I thought he was funny. Dinner was very slow and this was the slowest service we've had the whole time.

Day 8: Grand Turk 11/12/17

We were supposed to go to Grand Turk but it was cancelled due to bad weather. People were upset! They had to make a new schedule. At 9, we went to Arts and Crafts. Then we went to the Lido deck to read and relax most of the day. We went to an acupuncture seminar but it wasn’t very good. We went to the Comedy Show and saw Reno Collier again. Since we didn’t go to Grand Turk, we couldn’t pick up our new comedians and the other ones couldn’t go home so they performed again. Dinner was much faster and the beef wellington was wonderful.

Day 9: Princess Cays 11/13/17

We arrived at Princess Cays at 8am and were the first ones on the tender. We got to the beach and I realized I left our water shoes on the ship. This beach was a lot rockier than Half Moon Cay but it was nice. It was a lot bigger than Half Moon Cay. We spent the morning swimming and then went to the island barbecue. After lunch, we went back to swimming. When we saw the rain clouds coming, we decided to head back to the ship. After cleaning up, we sat on the Lido deck and relaxed until dinner time. Before dinner we went to the alchemy bar and then went to the comedy show to see Reno Collier again.

Day 10: Sea Day 11/14/17

After breakfast, we went to the technology lecture to learn about astronomy. Then we had dance lessons to learn the merengue. Then we went to the seaday brunch. After that we packed our suitcases. At 3pm we went to the VIFP party where there were 546 platinum members and 104 diamond members. One lady won a prize and I recognized her as a member of our church! We had been on the ship for 10 days and never saw her before this! After the party, we went to another technology lecture on digital photography. Then we planned on having martinis before the comedy show but when we went to the show, we found out that there wasn’t a show. We went back to the alchemy bar and Don had 2 coffeetinis. When he ordered a third one, Ufuk (the bartender) said it wouldn’t be good for Don’s heart to have another because of all the caffeine. Then we went to dinner and after that bed.

Day 11: Debarkation 11/15/17

We left the cabin at 6am and went to breakfast on the Lido deck. We sat by the windows in my usual spot but every time the outside door opened, it was really cold and windy. Then we left at 7am to meet in the library for the Diamond members debarkation. About 8am, we were allowed off the ship. The area where the luggage was located was horrendous. They lined the luggage up in rows but one person could barely walk through them, much less get their suitcase out. Then when we got our suitcases, we had to go through a narrow path that had us going one way and people coming off the ship in the same path! Next, we got on a bus which took us to a central place in the parking area and let everyone off. Before leaving Charleston, we stopped at the Myth Café (84 Society St.) to visit Fatma who owns the café and used to work for Carnival. Her husband Baris is on the Sunshine out of Port Canaveral right now.

Things I Learned:

1.     Don’t bring bottled drinks in your carry on.
2.     We like Jim Brick’s comedy show.
3.     We like dinner tables for 2. Our service was fast and we could hear each other.
4.     We really like the alchemy bar but I need to stick to 1 martini or I’m too tired to eat.
5.     We don’t like late seating for dinner but the lines for any time dining were horrendous so I’d rather have late seating.
6.     There were lots of people from South Carolina on this ship.
7.     We really liked the technology lectures.
8.     We really liked the ballroom dance lessons.
9.     I like getting our laundry done the 2nd to last day which makes packing easier.
10.  We need water shoes if we go to Princess Cays.
11.  We did not need to rent chairs and an umbrella on Eagle Beach in Aruba.

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