We booked this cruise in order to take my parents, aged 78 and 82, on their first cruise ever. We thought October would be a calm time, free of many children, and we were right. The word for this cruise was CALM!
We drove down the night before and stayed at Slidell. Bought some waters and wine at Walmart and got to the port around 11:00. Check in was fairly smooth. This was the first cruise where they actually inspected all drinks - shook every water, cut open the box of Pepsi, checked the wine bottles - and sent us on our way. We were on by 12:00 and our rooms were ready by 12:30! The buffet was nice and didn't get crowded until later. First day - uneventful, had a lengthy muster drill, suitcases arrived before sail away, first dinner at 5:45 and were seated at a table with Feland, Stedwick and Fernando - just our lucky day I guess as they were some of the best wait staff we have ever experienced - what a treat.
We had Any Time dining and went at the same time each night - 5:45, a table for 6 was always immediately available and we always got the wait staff we requested. The food was VERY good. There was nothing that was disappointing - the prime rib was especially good. Dinner was always around an hour and 15 minutes and the waiters did some kind of entertainment every night but one - very good, fun, entertaining. We ate most lunches at the buffet and everything was great, same with breakfast. Although the ship was full, the buffets did not seem overly crowded this time (Freedom cruise in June had ridiculous lines). There was no fish and chips place nor was there Indian food on Elation.
At sea days were usually spent relaxing on the Serenity deck and we never had trouble finding chairs. Hot tubs were relaxing but not too hot. We used the gym/track daily and both were pretty empty. As I said, this was a different crowd - older, calmer, not too wild, not too active - just a lot of relaxation.
We had two stops - Progreso and Cozumel. Both were good although we docked at Puerta Maya this time and we had been at the pier with the Senor Frog's before - I preferred that dock. We just wanted to walk and not take a taxi or visit a beach and there wasn't much around this dock (but the shopping right there was very good). I must say the locals were very kind - yes, they constantly tried to sell their goods but they are trying to make a living. A simple no thanks is all that is necessary. The double decker bus ride in Progreso was fun - definitely glad we did that. In Cozumel we just walked around, found an area to sit and watch snorkelers, divers and boats and then shopped at the port - found everything we were looking for and prices were not bad.
We attended the Rock and the Win shows - Win was excellent! The shows on the first and last nights were too late for us - 10:30. So, we didn't attend those. We went to karaoke and the comedy shows often and they were very good. The various entertainers throughout the ship were good - piano bar, Drama Bar, all were good.
Casino - someone won the Vault the very first night - an ipod and $500 so that was popular the rest of the cruise. There were no other winners. The casino wasn't overly crowded but busy in the evenings. I do not like smoke and that was really the only place I noticed much smoking.
Do not waste your time on the "Blow out sales" - I didn't see any better prices than I had seen all week. There is not much shopping on Elation but they do have one of those $10 shops and those seem like good deals. I did not attend any art auctions or any of the shopping sales pitches.
Overall, just a calm, relaxing week with good food and good weather - what more can one ask for while cruising?