My daughter and I were on the Elation May 1-8. She's 17 (K)and I'm 35, her first cruise, my second. We drove from Missouri overnight and parked the car with EZcruiseparking.com. $45 for the whole week and they shuttled us right to the door, I would recommend them! I'll break this down into days.
May 1: Boarded the ship about 1 pm with no problems, the only lines we had were to have our picture taken! We got on board, and went straight to our cabin. I needed to put a cash deposit for my S/S card, and the line seemed long, but it moved pretty fast. Everyone was so nice and even though our cabin wasn't quite ready, our steward let us store our stuff in the room. Napped right through our late seating but met new friends in Duke's piano bar (pretty smoky, and I'm a smoker!) and then into the disco later. Good music and a wide variety of people.
May 2: Day at Sea. Slept in late and headed up on deck around 1. We found deck chairs with no problem, but we did have to move to the upper deck. Plenty of waitstaff and the entertainment was pretty good. Formal night was nice, lobster and prime rib were excellent!
May 3: Progresso. The only port we didn't have a planned excursion. Took the free shuttle off the pier, no problems. They dropped us off in town about 3 blocks from the beach in a market area. Nice stuff and fairly cheap. K bought a sterling choker necklace for $15. Walked to the beach and rented a jet-ski for $30/30 minutes-what a blast! Laid in the sun for awhile and headed to a cafe (name?) across the street. Best margarita I ever had! 2 margs, 2 Corona, 2 quesadillas with fresh pico, guac, and cream: $16. Walked back to shuttle and back on ship.
May 4: Cozumel. Shore-snorkel and beach break with Island Marketing, $40/pp. Cab ride from Punta Lagosta to Uvas Beach Club, $10. Very nice! Private snorkel guide, 2-hour open bar and fajita lunch. Great day...Back on ship by 4:30 to nap!
May 5: Belize. Tendered off around 10, met with guide for Xtream Cave Tubing with Island Marketing, $60/pp. They were great! 2 caves, air conditioned shuttle and we arrived after the Carnival groups that paid $100/pp for only 1 cave. Lunch there was fantastic, BBQ chicken, tons of extras and dessert for $5/pp. We were there during dry season so the water was down, but there we no bugs at all. About 20 of us in the group with 2 guides. Great trip!
May 6: Day at Sea. Decided we needed to do a little room maintenance after we slept in. Nice quiet day.
May 7: Day at Sea. Back up by the pool after sleeping in. Did some last minute shopping, much better deals than the first days. Another formal night and excellent dinner. Got packed and ready to go. Didn't party too much since we had to get up early and drive home.
May 8: Back in Galveston. Up by 7, off the ship by 9:30, we were some of the first to debark so our experience was really good.
Comments: 1. My daughter had a good time b/c she found some kids her own age, but there really wasn't as much for her to do as I thought there would be. The "teen" functions were more geared towards the 13-16 age group and they were a little immature for her, but then she was too young to be in the disco after 11 and couldn't gamble or anything. 2. I saw some signs of wear on the stairwells and such, but overall, the ship was in really good condition and I have to say the staff was excellent. Very attentive, courteous and helpful. 3. We were on the lowest deck towards aft, but I noticed very little noise, either ship or from other cabins. There was a lot of rocking motion the first night, but smooth the rest of the trip. 4.
The only real complaint I have is about tendering off in Belize. Of course, they let the Carnival excursions off first, but they had everyone else meet in the Cole Porter Lounge. They do this every week, but everything seemed so disorganized. Our private excursion group was to meet at 9, but we didn't get off the ship until around 10 and were concerned we'd miss our trip. We were issued a number to get off the boat, but everyone was standing in line and even though we were issued a "6" sticker, everyone was just getting to the tenders as fast as they could. Didn't spoil our trip any, but the whole process could've been done better.
5. K and I missed dinner the first night and met our dinner mate on formal night. Apparently, the man at our table (his 2nd week on board) had requested that single women be assigned to his table, and he acted rather inappropriately to myself and my daughter. We skipped dinner on the 3rd and 4th nights until someone suggested that we ask to change tables. The maitre d' was very accommodating with our request and I really appreciated that. Great service! 6. Overall, a great trip, but there were very few "single" people to hang out with that weren't trying to "hook-up." Certainly this cruise catered more to couples, but I have a man at home and wasn't trying to find a date, so I did spend quite a bit of time alone. I did entertain myself pretty well and I met some awesome people on the ship. Having a cruise port within driving distance is very nice, there were a lot of Texans on board and most of the passengers that I met were either from TX or somewhere in the midwest.