My wife and I traveled to the Bahamas on the Carnival Cruise Ship the Ectasy, we were invited to take a cruise with a couple we have known in Florida for quit some time. We had never taken a cruise but had always wanted to, so we thought this was the perfect time to undertake this adventure.
We decided to take a cruise to the Bahamas for 4 nights aboard the Carnival Cruise Ship the Ectasy. It is home ported during the winter in Port Carnival, FL just outside of Orlando. Since we winter in Florida, this was very convenient and we could just drive there from our campground in a couple hours.
We made all our reservations and planning over the internet. We booked our cruise using a web site called cruises. It was simple and quick. After the reservations were made we then had to log into Carnivals Cruise main web page and register so we could complete all the other online check-in requirements such as our passport info. After all this was completed, we then were able to print out our luggage tags for the cruise and we were ready and waiting for the big day to come. The whole online check-in process took approximately 30 minutes to complete. You will need a credit card for this, as they will ask you to set up your onboard charge account during the process.
The boarding process was actually a lot easier than I had imagined. I hear all these horror stories of long lines and standing for hours, the line was long but from beginning to end it only took about 15 minutes to get through the line and enter the ship. I had VIP access due to the room we had but our traveling companions did not, and we bordered only about 5 minutes apart from each other.
We had the Grand Suite, room U107. Since this was our first cruise we wanted a balcony and didn’t want to take a chance of being in a room too small. Our traveling companions were in R8 and had an interior small room. There room, though, was still much larger than I had imagined there’s to be and would have been very comfortable there if I only spent time in the room to sleep. Our room was much larger. It had a couch and sitting area separate from the bed. The room also had a walk in closet and a full bathroom with tub. I think the extra space was worth the additional costs, especially when my wife and I are the type that enjoy to spend time away from everyone and the room is the only place to do that on a ship.
Things to do on the ship:
1) Casino: the casino is where my wife and I spent most of our time. We love to gamble when at sea. The casino cannot open till they are in international waters so it opens and closes about 30 minutes from port. It had plenty of slots and tables to entertain anyone’s gambling urges.
2) Dinning: Dinning was outstanding. You could either go to the dining room or have a nice sit down meal with many different menu options and you can order as much as you like, or you can go to the back of the ship and eat at the 4 different buffet type meals. There is no reason to ever go hungry on this ship as it serves almost around the clock and room service is available 24×7 for free.
Nassau was the first port we stop at on our trip. This was a beautiful port but I felt the entry to and from the port area from the ship was very cluttered. People all around trying to sell you things and made it hard to get through them. It also was a very long walk from the ship to leaving the port area and our traveling companions had difficulty walking that distance and then walking around town at the same time. We did purchase many things in town and the straw market area was outstanding. You can bargain with people and never pay the price they are asking. I got a Cobra walking stick for half the price they were originally asking.
Freeport was the second stop on this 4 day cruise. This port was a lot more enjoyable to my wife and I. The ship was right there on the port and the shops were very nicely organized and the people were not as pushy. We did decide to take a tour of the island which we purchased at the port for less than half the price the ship was offering them for. This tour was fantastic. We got a history lesson of the island and they stopped at the beach for 30 minutes and a big shopping center for 1 hour.
Day at sea
The day between the ports of Nassau and Freeport was spent at sea. This was very enjoyable and the Carnival Cruise line did everything to make sure people had a good time. Also, since you are at sea the whole day, the casino is also open the entire time. The one thing I thought this ship was short on was pool space. There is only one pool and its medium size at best, so it was always packed and you could only get in and stand in the water and not really do any swimming.
In closing this trip was one of the best things my wife and I have ever done. We have actually already booked another trip with Carnival, but this time for a 7 days trip. The Ectasy ship is a wonderful ship but it is small in comparison, thus it only takes 4 and 5 day cruises and not the longer ones. I did enjoy some of the smallness though because it does limit the number of passengers also.