Carnival Elation Cruise Review by innola: Fun discount cruise
Overall Member Rating
Fun discount cruise
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: New Orleans
This 5-day cruise is a nice inexpensive vacation, especially if you live in New Orleans. We had inside cabins, which was a first for me, and they were fine. The price was unbelievably cheap. The ship is older, but very pretty. As with most Carnival ships, the pool are is cramped, but this ship has a Serenity Deck, which is really nice. The food was decent to very good, and the staff members we encountered were friendly and pleasant.
We always love the peaceful cruise down the Mississippi River. New Orleans and the little downriver towns are charming, and at night even the lights of the refineries are eerily beautiful.
Our first port was Progreso. Some people complain about this port, or even stay onboard rather than visit it, but I like it. It's not overly developed like Cozumel, and, being on the Gulf rather than the Caribbean, it's not the same amazing water as you will see in some other ports, but it's a pretty little Mexican town with some great little More restaurants and bars facing the malecon along the beach. It's definitely worth stepping off the boat and the ride down the pier is no big deal.
This time, we took a cab to Merida for most of the day, and we absolutely loved it. Merida is a huge, beautiful and bustling colonial city. The architecture is magnificent. We bought linen guayaberas and dresses (of course) and some other locally made items, walked around the beautiful plaza, visited the cathedral, and had some excellent traditional food for lunch at La Chaya. then we returned to Progreso for a little more shopping at the pier.
The second stop was Cozumel. We love the eastern side of the island, so we rented a Jeep and drove there. We stopped in at one of the little beach restaurants over there, then spent most of the afternoon at Paradise Beach, which is a very pretty property with great staff. We stopped in at some of the shops by the pier, but prices were crazy there and selection wasn't really worth the time it would take to get something down to a realistic price.. Shopping is much, much better in town. This time we didn't get to stop by my favorite spot in town, Las Palmas restaurant by the square, but I will make it a point to go there the next time I visit Cozumel.
We had good weather, so sea days were pleasant, and the ship didn't seem overly crowded. The people who were onboard were a nice cross-section of fun and pleasant people. Debarkation was easy and fast and customs was not at all annoying, which was a nice surprise.
All said, a very nice trip. I would do it again tomorrow. Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
Cozumel is a really busy port now, but I still love it. We rented a Jeep and drove to the eastern side of the island, which is so pretty and peaceful, for a couple of hours. There are several nice little beachfront restaurants over there. My favorites are Chen Rios and Playa Bonita, but I am not at all a fan of Coconuts, which is just a little raunchy for my taste (though many people do love it). We spent a lot of the afternoon at Paradise Beach, which was really pleasant. Because we were pressed for time, we were unable to hang out in the town, which is lovely. If you are shopping I highly recommend getting out of the shopping area at the pier and going to town. Selection, quality and prices are much better there, and there are lots of nice restaurants and bars there. One old favorite is Las Palmas, right by the ferry dock. Good food, good drinks, good people-watching.
Progreso is a nice little Mexican town with a quaint plaza, a nice local crafts market and some friendly, locally-owned restaurants along the malecon fronting the beach. It's very different from some of the other overdeveloped ports, which really appeals to me. I plan to go back there to spend a few days in the near future. Despite some other reviews here, I would strongly encourage people to get off the ship and see it while it's still relatively unspoiled.
This trip, we hired a taxi for part of the day and drove to Merida, which was wonderful. The city is just beautiful. The architecture is magnificent. There's a lush green plaza with colorful flowers fronted by an ancient cathedral. Shopping for guayaberas and other linen clothing is excellent, and there are lots of restaurants offering all types of cuisine, not just Mayan/Mexican (though that's what we ate, and loved it). I would definitely go back.
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