We live only 146 miles from New Orleans so we decided to drive to the port for embarkation. After hearing quite a few stories about heavy lines to board the ship we arrived a few hours early. To our surprise there was not a person in front of us. We checked our bags and strolled through security with no problems at all, what a great way to start our trip.
Once onboard we were able to easily find our rooms with cruise staff at every corner helping to guide our way. I was quite impressed with the size of the room; it was larger than what I imagined in my mind's eye. This was not only our first cruise but a cruise to celebrate my 40th birthday so I wanted to make sure we cruised in style by booking a Suite with a balcony. Now in hindsight, there was so little time we were actually in our room that we could have easily booked a regular cabin.
I used cruise critic as my main reference point so I did know that Carnival Elation was an older ship but to us it was very up-to-date. Of course you could see somewhere but overall it is a beautiful ship.
The Carnival Staff were so much fun! From our room Steward "Sonny" right back to our Head Server "Orlin" we were in stitches the entire time! The hosts onboard were amazing as well, my favorite being "Blake!" LOOK OUT WILLIE he's going to get your job in no time! Speaking of which, the cruise director was very impressive, so much fun. When at sea we had many things to do, not being "sun worshippers" there was plenty to keep us entertained such as Trivia games, scavenger hunts, comedy clubs, spa, pool, Jacuzzi, food. Did I mention food?
The food was AMAZING. During breakfast and lunch we hit the buffet as well as the pizza stop, hamburger stop, Mongolian grill, sushi. At night we did dine in the dining room and I'm so happy we did. Did I mention that "You look .... MARVELOUS!" The staff had a small bit of entertainment at our tables every night! Of course someone leaked that it was my birthday so I was presented with a special dessert and singing along with a napkin bow on my head?. Make sure to bring your appetite, if you want to be adventurous go ahead and try anything and if you don't like it get something else!
We did book shore excursions through the ship before the cruise. In Progresso we chose to tour the Mayan Ruins which I highly recommend. The guides are extremely knowledgeable and of course entertaining. After small lessons in history, we were free to explore on our own. Make sure you bring a swimsuit because there is a natural watering hole to cool off. This time of year the high temperature was only 82 but having clear skies all around you will need to bring a hat and most important sun block. The second excursion we chose was in Cozumel. While many would choose a beach excursion we decided on an "all terrain X-rails to Jade Caverns" This was a fun experience but ROUGH RIDING. It isn't for the faint of heart. The best part of this excursion was the actual Jade Cavern, awesome time and Bat caves too!!
I've just returned to work and I'm already planning our next cruise!