I’ve been firmly on land for a little more than a week now, maybe too long to wait to write about eating aboard the Carnival Ecstasy. Still, it deserves discussion as a most unusual experience. The logistics alone that go into feeding and serving hundreds of people on a single boat for eight days blows my mind even now, not to mention the number of locations we had to choose from over the course of the trip.
Let’s begin with the center of all food and booze on the Ecstasy, the Lido deck: home of three different bars, a buffet, a pizza joint, a deli counter, Guy’s Burger Joint, and Blue Iguana Taco Bar. It’s a lot of food for a lot of people, though not every location is open for all mealtimes. It felt like a minefield for every lunch that I had to navigate through to make sure I got to the meal I intended, not the meal that distracted me. I was never really successful. We’ll talk about these individually another day.
Then there were the dining rooms. The Ecstasy has two, and passengers were assigned to one or the other at the Start of the trip. I didn’t get to eat there too often due to some recurrent sea sickness, much of which bothered me most on that deck. I missed some pretty impressive meals according to my husband, and as much as I hate to admit it, most of what I ate up there was quality.
There were multiple bars on board, all with different themes and drinks to be tasted. Everyone has their favorite on board, and mine was on the Lido deck. Though there is a stand out, amazing martini bar toward the back of the ship, I gravitated often to the Red Frog Rum Bar by the pool. We’ll talk about the bars on board later when we get to the International Waters Bar Crawl.
While the Ecstasy was home to food I will remember for the rest of my life, much of what is going to stick with me came from the three ports we stopped at. If you aren’t familiar with the Ecstasy’s path, then here it is: St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. San Juan, Puerto Rico. Amber Cove, Dominican Republic. This was only the second time I have ever left the country.
I want to share with you the details of my journey not only to talk about the food, but also so that I will have something else to look back on and remember one of the greatest journeys of my life. While I do not cruise well, each stop held surprises for me. We were marvelously lucky to be in San Juan for Ash Wednesday, and the tour we took in the Dominican lead us to great food and good booze.
For the next month, I will release a new article about the trip I managed to worm my way into with my husband at least once a week. We had so much fun, ate so much food, and tasted some great rum and beer from all over the Caribbean. To get to do it is a privilege in its own right. To document it is something else entirely.
Thank you again for your patience while I have been away. Hopefully this is the start of another regular schedule. I have already failed to complete one of my food resolutions for the year: a cookbook for every month, but that’s okay. We won’t let it happen again this year.
Cheers to Spring, everyone! Look out for our April Cookbook of the Month very soon.
An idea born in Normal, Illinois, Eating Normal hopes to chronicle the eating Experiences of a Red bird.
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