booked easily after reading reviews and discovering carnival elation was the
only ship that goes to progresso, mexico for access to chitzen itsa. cheap. cost $299 for five nights. i always try inside cabin first time. i now book an outside on holland america and royal carribean. on norwegian i book a veranda. i need a fair amount of luxury and quiet plus control of heat and a/c, but i start w/ an inexpensive room then adjust to my preferences if cruise line warrents a second cruise based on itinerary and ship comfort.
flew in and stayed at the hilton airport (reviewed on trip advisor)for one night. embarkation smooth. first impression of ship - noisy - went to library (my bastion of peace and quiet on other cruise lines) where i was assaulted w/ loud music piped in from a ceiling speaker and squealing children. as a great-grandma i'm tolerant of little ones exuberance, but not in a library.
cabin bigger than norwegian; smaller than HAL, but no control over air More
conditioning - off or on only. pleased to find we had portholes that let in natural light. flat screen w/first run movies and TCM. in the bow of the ship we felt the waves and during cruise went to guest services to get dramamine. suprised i was charged $3.77 for 4 pills when NCL, HAL, RCI and agean oddesy give them out free. cabin was filthy. we had housekeeping inspect it. room stewart shampooed dirty carpet, dusted and recleaned bathroom. i'd have thought he'd have inspected cabin and made sure it was clean, but next day had to have
mirrors cleaned. nasty.
booked shore excursions to uxmal. cruise director gave a detailed outline of mayan ruins and we changed from chizen itza to uxmal on his reccommendation. thanks, wilie. grateful for his experience. i also attended a trivia game w/ willie while my daughter shopped the sales on the ship, great fun. cruise director has the wicked wit often found in brits.
assigned illusion dining room (a table for 10) -- imagination dining room had tables for 2 or 4. i'd requested table for two - what happended? as a result we avoided dining room on shore days because we were too tired to socialize & we were forced to go upstairs to the buffet. dining room food was very good. the buffet was wretched. carnival buffet had the worst food i've ever been offered on any cruise line. loud music. other cruise lines have background music i can tune out, but not on the elation. music over-powering. tired, but happy w/ shore excursions returning to ship i had to choose bad food and noise or good food, quiet and socializing. a lose-lose. pizza bar made a great ceasar salad compared to the soggy dressed, wilted rommaine monstrocity on the salad bar. tried room service to solve problem, but food came from salad bar. lose-lose. no way upgrading cabin will fix the food.
i enjoy dressing for dinner and carnival, who also own holland america, provided that option in the dining room, but HAL honours my request for a table for two and if i go for early dinner on norwegian a table for two is available.
i knew carnival was in the same catagory as norwegian so i didn't expect it to be HAL (my first snd preferred cruise line), but even the spa was second rate. RCI, HAL, NCL offer a jaccuzi in their spa and i gladly pay extra for the peace and quiet. elation didn't have a jacuzzi plus there massage was lousy. had a massage on holland america last may for $119. it was fabulous. carnival elaton provided the same sevice for $139. and it was ho-hum.
disembarkation smooth. taxis waiting to whisk us back to the airport hilton
(30.) we had a 8 am flight the next day.
noisy. lousy food. no control over heat and cold in cabin. ho-hum massage and no hot tub in spa outweigh visiting uxmal no matter how great the shore excursion carnival provided. at least on norwegian i can upgrade to a veranda. Less
shore excursion rep let us take this tour alone when the mexican park is
usslly provided as an add-on. we met joshua on the dock. he quickly bonded because he'd lived in vancouver for 9 yrs. and my daughter and i live there. another mother and daughter duo from USA joined us. we picked this tour because we're history buffs and the tour offered an overview of mexico, past and present. joshua was aztec and shared his personal experince of the day of the dead as well as mayan history and culture. park was touristy, but i expected that. tour lasted 2 hours w/ a break at a outdoor restaurant. reccommend a coconut drink ($2.) in the shell. cool and refreshing.
cruise director reccommended uxmal over chitzen itsa (he'd been to both) we took his advise. no regrets. guide gave a thorough history and cultural explanation of the mayans in relation to the ruins. drive there on air=conditioned bus 45 min. 2 hrs. at ruins incl. free time to climb and explore. bought a book on mayans w/ great pics of various ruins incl. uxmal at gift shop. snacks, clothing, jewelery and souveneers also available. bring camera. ruins riviting. 45 min. back. tour to chitzen itsa 2 hrs. drive there and 2 hrs. back. uxmal an easier day and less crowded.