Let me say up front - I hate reading those reviews when all people do is gripe and complain. I firmly believe any experience you have is up to you. You can choose to be miserable or choose to enjoy it. That being said - there were issues on this cruise - and if we focused on those issues - we'd be miserable. I include the good along with the bad and ugly.
This was our first time crusing out of NOLA. In the past, we would take the Elation out of Mobile. We got there and pretty much walked right on the ship. We usually try to board around 11:00 - 11:30 and have a bit of a line. This time it was around 1:00 - 1:30 and we walked right on. Our room was ready and our luggage arrived soon after. We had a fan and our extension chord confiscated. ERGGHH - Every other cruise we've never had a problem taking them on board. It wasn't so bad only having one outlet - but still. LOL What amazed me is when I went to pick up our items - the amount of booze people try and bring on board - the boxes and boxes of wine. WOW!! Want a little cruise with your drunk? hehehe
Our room steward was awesome. Our room was clean. All was well. Then the muster drill. This was the first time we were in contact with the "girl from hell!" She was part of the cruise director staff - and she was not happy about being there. She was literally telling people to shut up and stay still. (Everybody was fine). I watched her move through the crowd muttering under her breath about people and generally being rude to as many people at the muster station.
Because we booked about a week before the cruise- we had late dining. So we ate at Tiffany's buffet. Nothing great to write home about - but not bad either. Later during the week - we stayed away from Tiffany's - apparently a trout line (my husband's term for a sewage line) broke directly underneath the yogurt/ice cream machines/salad bar - and the whole side of the dining room smelled of urine and other not so pleasant odors. Plus the black sewage that leaked was never totally cleaned up and was in the grout of the tile and on the carpet. My husband who is in wastewater and water treatment talked to one of the engineers- and apparently there were leakages in the sewer line all over the ship - and he said they couldn't keep up because they weren't docked long enough to do much more than patch.
Our dining room staff was wonderful. Because we had late dining - there were no crowds and we were served right away. One cool thing - we've had our maitre-d on two other cruises - one on the Elation and the other on the Dream - and he remembered us by name.
Cozumel we did a snorkeling/diving excursion. Several people in our group could not do the dive because of the weather and having sinus problems. My husband was one of them - and the pressurization of the gear was making it unbearable. There were three others with the same problem. I don't really have sinus problems - but the pressurization this time even hurt my head and ears - so there was something wrong. Of course, nobody got their money back - and that's told up front - so we didn't expect anything. But the fact that three/four people had problems - makes me wonder if there was something not right with their equipment. I enjoyed the dive and even with us having to eat my husband's fee - it was well worth it. The guys on the dive were awesome and very friendly. They were very helpful as well. We spent a lot of time under water and checking out the marine life. Afterwards we were given free margaritas and could snorkel for as long as we wanted. We did the usual shopping around Cozumel and then returned to the ship.
Back on the ship we made our way to our room - and as we got into the hallway of our room - the smell of vomit was overwhelming. Our room was so bad I thought our steward had gotten sick. I sprayed room spray and we got ready for dinner. As we walked to the dining room - the hallways were just permeated with the smell - and in the line outside the room - it was the topic of conversation. For the remainder of the cruise - the smell was always lingering. Our poor room steward had no idea what was going on. He was so apologetic and I felt bad for him. I was glad I had room spray - it helped.
Since we've done this cruise several times - I spent a good portion of the day on the serenity deck just chilling. We played Bingo several times where we encountered the "girl from hell!". She called Bingo a couple of times. The first night she did - she was about 30 minutes late in getting it started and when people were grumbling - she told us to quit complaining. She started calling Bingo and was calling so fast - people were asking her to slow down - and she laughed and went faster. The guy next to me - got up and left and about 20 other people as well. Most went to guest services to get their money back. I myself thought about it - but I won. :) LOL It was the same way the next day during Bingo. And she made it known she didn't want to be there.
Then I saw her one night walking down "Elation Way" and a guy went up to her to dance and she called him a redneck drunk cracker and told him to get away from her. I actually said something to the bartender and she told me there's different rules for them than the rest of the crew and she always acts like that. My final observance with the "girl from hell" was during debarkation. Unfortunately, my husband I were the last group to debark. We on the Lido deck waiting for our number to be called and she was all over the Lido deck telling everyone - "get off the ship - your cruise is over - we don't want ya here." I did send an email to Carnival with no response.
This really was the first time in our 6 cruises that I ever witnessed anything like this - and I couldn't believe it. In fact, a good number of the crew did not seem to be happy about being there. The deli guy told a kid that he felt like a prisoner working for carnival. The poor kid had no clue how to respond.
We've done several "Booze Cruise" and even one during Spring Break. All out of Mobile - and let me tell you - this was the first time I really noticed that it was a "Booze Cruise". One guy had to be carried back onto the ship. There was a group of middle aged men who stayed at the Drama Bar constantly. Several times on the stairs someone had "lost their lunch" which could explain the smell to the extent we did. It wasn't annoying or bothersome - just what it was.
If this had been my first cruise - I probably would not do another one with Carnival because of this girl. Even though I had no direct contact with her- she really was bad. The Elation is older and showing some wear and tear- and hopefully they will have the sewage issues in check. My husband talked to our cruise lady with Carnival and she did say that the issue was addressed. I guess we will find out over Thanksgiving when we take the same cruise.
I could have taken the experience of one unhappy employee make my cruise miserable for me- but I didn't. I thought it was inappropriate and if you are having a hard time dealing with people - maybe do some stuff behind the scenes or fake it. Nobody can be "on" all the time. But when your job is to interact with people - you just have to suck it up.
We've been on the Elation several times- and experienced all they have to offer - so we just wanted to chill and other than the smells (LOL) it was okay. You make your cruise good or bad. If you set your expectations so high - then this would have been a total disaster. But, if you realize you're going to have the good and the bad - you'll be fine.
Pluse the crew may change - the "girl from hell" may be on another ship, the smells may be addressed - yeah- I'm realizing this review isn't really helpful. LOL I'm giving my room a 3 and not a 5 simply because of the smell. otherwise, our steward was impeccable.