Carnival Elation Cruise Review by wmfd819: I would NOT recommend taking this boat for a trip
Overall Member Rating
I would NOT recommend taking this boat for a trip
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: New Orleans
Ok, we just got off this boat this morning. I use the term boat because it is definitely not a "ship" LOL. First off, we were a group of 10, 5 adults, 5 children from 3.5-9. I'm going to break this down by category because its all over the place.
I knew something was up when I saw rolled primer paint all over the hull and rust everywhere around windows and fixtures. On our first cruise with RC, when you boarded the ship you got this "wow" factor, and you could smell the cleanliness. On Elation, it has a "dated semi-elegant" look, but smelled like an old dirty bar/casino. In the cabin hallways you could smell feces, and I don't mean just a whiff. It smelled like turds were flopping around in the floor. We were on Deck 7 (empress) and could smell it all over the place. Our cabin was livable, and Julio (our steward) did the best job he could with it, but old carpet with hair and fingernail clippings and the 1980's quasar television didn't do much for More me. The bathroom/shower was decent in size, but the black grout from the tiles didn't help much there. The room was in pink decor which was quite dated, and the room was always warm. You could feel the A/C trying to work, but that was about it. The photos on here just don't tell the tale. I actually didn't mind the interior room, just needs updating. It smelled like it had been wet also. The ship is decorated in simulated green stained glass, which makes it look incredibly dated and cheap as well. Also, we were eating in the inspiration the first night, and they had a spill and brought the steam vac in and worked right in the middle of our meal, and we could smell the exhaust from the vac, which was awful. Also, you'll hardly ever see anyone actually cleaning anything. On R/C people were always washing windows, etc. Didn't see much of that. More in the next sections.
We went to the Lido deck and ate at Tiffany's after boarding, and was COMPLETELY unimpressed with the food there. Again, RC had tables with fresh fruit, watermelons with "WELCOME ABOARD" carved, the whole deal. On this boat, nothing. The food was so-so at best, you got all your own beverages, and the staff was completely uninterested or borderline rude. We had the "bottomless bubbles" (which I will explain more later) and the staff was always uninterested in providing sodas. There was ALWAYS a line at every food venue. I waited at the Mongolian Wok thing for 30 minutes just to get a bowl of stuff. It wasn't bad but way too hot (spicy). The dining in the evening was fair, I'll talk about that service later, but the food was just decent. Every night on R/C, we talked about how awesome the food was, we NEVER had that "wow" feeling on this ship. It was literally like elegant hospital food. There were no venues to eat Filet Mignon, or even a ribeye. Flat Iron steaks were your standby food when something sucked. I had them bring me a flat iron one night the fish I tried was terrible. Their shrimp cocktail was good, but its hard to screw up a boiled shrimp. The best meal we had the entire time was the fajitas at Three Amigos in Cozumel if that tells you anything. Their Ice Cream was good.
I really didn't get to do much as far as the shows, but they seemed alright from the tv. I thought the welcome aboard show was sort of campy. Steve, cruise director, is a nice guy but he is no Marc Walker (Enchantment of the Seas CD). I'll just go into other things here. The pool on this boat is entirely too small! They have a slide that was only open from 10-6 or so, which sucks. On the back of the lido, there are three pools that look like Mickey Mouses head and eyes. This was supposed to be the children's pool area, but it was littered with drunk adults, and the children's pool was one of the "mouse ears" that was a re purposed hot tub hole. So, basically your kids get a glorified bathtub for the entire ship. The mini golf was awful, the carpet is completely torn to pieces, plus the holes were small. One thing I did enjoy was the in cabin quiz show, you connect with an ipad and do a trivia from your room, they did that once, and I thought that was neat. The casino was like any other, only I came home with about 300 more than I walked in with....thank you craps table!
This one is nuts....the bar staff was rude for the most part. That's because of the bottomless bubbles, aka unlimited colas. They're not getting gratuity off each drink so you are last in line on getting sodas. I'm just going to hit the good people aboard this boat so you know who to hang out with. Julio was the Empress deck steward, he was great. The headwaiter in the inspiration dining room named Fernando is a wonderful person and a great server. The team bar waiter named Gusti was also a great server. He was really good with my son (3 yrs old-Eric) every time he saw Eric he worked with him really well, as a matter of fact Eric was upset when I said this would be the last time he got to see Gusti. So when you go to inspiration, ask to be seated with Fernando. No offense to anyone but the Eastern Europeans that are servers are really rude.
IM GOING TO CALL THIS SECTION "PUSHINESS"
I REALLY felt like Carnival goes overboard(no pun intended) with the pushiness of the drinks and photos. They absolutely try to sell you everything.
I would NOT recommend taking this boat for a trip. I love going to New Orleans, but I probably won't go back if this was my only choice. Royal Caribbean was LIGHT YEARS better as far as preparing their ships and providing a memorable experience. Other than Fernando and Gusti, this cruise provided limited enjoyment. Less
Read more Carnival Elation cruise reviews >>
Read Cruise Critic's Carnival Elation Review >>
Cabin review: E161, E165
As I said before, the photos just don't tell the story. The rooms are cleaned but I would give them the same feeling as a Red Roof or a Motel 6 type room, old dirty floor, old TV, old bathroom, etc.
Port and Shore Excursions
We didn't get a lot of time to really get around Cozumel. Things were a lot more expensive there. If you get the time, go downtown. We didn't get to but that would have been the thing to do.
Also, Three Amigos has fantastic Fajitas! I prefer the steak fajitas.
Wish I had more to say about it but I just dont.
As usual, very pushy, not incredibly clean, but I loved it. DO NOT BOOK YOUR STUFF ON CARNIVAL. Get off the boat, go to the White Buses as soon as you can, they are called AutoProgreso. There they will offer you a trip to some place that has a hotel, beach, bar, buffet, etc. We paid 35 a person, and the kids were all free. It was going to be 200 for all of us with Carnival, but we got out for 70. Offer them 30, they can go down to 30 a person. The trick is, you really need to get off the boat early to get to actually enjoy the whole day. We got off at 10, and found this place and left out at 11, took 25 min to get there, then we had to leave at 210. So we only got a couple of real fun hours. If you would get off the boat at 8, you could get another hour 1/2 to 2 hours. It was a nice place, it wasn't 5 star but the food was decent, all the liquor you can drink, and their pool was nice. Beach was a little dirty, but if you get 300-400 feet out in the water its clear. The name of the resort is TechnoTel. Also, one other thing. If you want crap from Mexico, GET IT AT PROGRESO. It is CHEAPER. My wife wanted a hammock, they were offering them for 10 dollars! In Cozumel, they're 35 bucks. The medicine is less expensive and less regulated there as well.
Improved Rating due to a nice ...
Free but not really free...
Worse cruise ship and staff
Beautiful Ship but probably wo...
Good Introductory Cruise
Fun Time on Carnival Elation
Ok first cruise, but there won...