I just returned from the 02/12/07 sailing to the Bahamas on Carnival's Elation. I was traveling with a group of 32 people and this was the first cruise for a lot of the people in the group. This was the 7th ship that I have been on and my 2nd cruise on Carnival.
We choose to drive down from Atlanta the day before and stay in the Comfort Suites in Cocoa Beach; they provide a free shuttle to and from the port. I would probably not stay in this hotel again. It has a three star rating but I would give it 2 stars at the most. The room was okay but really smelled like smoke and we had to sleep with the balcony door open to let in fresh air. Next time we will probably stay at the Residence Inn or Country Inn and Suites which are a little closer to the port and looked much newer and nicer.
Embarkation - We arrived at the port around noon and were on the ship within 15 minutes. We did not try to go to our room since we were told it would not be ready until 1:30. Instead we headed up the lido deck and had lunch and our first drink special of the day. The weather was nice although alittle chilly. We were familiar with this ship having sailed on Elation's sister ship Inspiration last year so we spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out with friends. I was also the group leader for this cruise so I spent this time making sure that everyone's room was okay and that everything was in place for our group.
The muster drill was on time at 3:45 we were sailing away on time at 4:00pm. It was smooth sailing for the rest of the evening. We had a wonderful dinner in the Imagination dining room and everyone was just very excited to be together on a cruise. We had our first taste of the chocolate melting cake and it is very yummy.
The seas were a little rough the first night but nothing crazy, just enough to rock the ship a little. The weather stayed below optimal throughout the next day as well, which was our only sea day. It was cool and windy but the sun did come out later in the day and many people enjoyed the pool.
Our room stewards Tatiana and John were wonderful. The knew our names by the 1st evening and addressed us by name for the rest of the cruise. Our room was kept spotless and they were always smiling whenever we saw them.
The welcome abroad show was okay. The comedian was very funny though and I would have liked to have caught his adult comedy show later in the cruise, I just couldn't stay up til midnight to see his next show.
Although we are in our late twenties and early thirties, we tend to get up early and enjoy the ship when it is quiet in the morning time and are usually tired and in bed by midnight. But this ship had lots to keep you entertained into the night if thats what you enjoy. There were not many kids on this sailing.
Grand Turk - Grand Turk was our first port of call and we choose to take a taxi to see the town and get away from the cruise center. It was a beautiful sunny day, 90 degrees. I am of the mindset that is makes no sense to cruise to different islands and then hang out at Senior Frogs or the like. I figure I can do that at home. We asked the taxi driver to take somewhere that had great snorkeling directly from the beach. He recommended the Bohio Dive resort and we were off. We had a great day there. The beach was beautiful and the snorkeling was great!! It was neat to see the town and and pools where they used to make salt. Bohio was very nice and I would consider going back there to do land vacation. Snorkel equipment was $20pp and the was a restaurant and bar at the resort.
Half Moon Cay - This was our favorite port! The beach and sand were amazing. The sand in beautiful white sand and it feels like you are walking in flour!! The water was beautiful and the Bahamian barbecue provided by Carnival was very good. We did not do any excursions here and choose to just spend a lazy day at the beach. Lots of people in our group rented the cabanas and clam shells so we had 3 cabanas in a row that belonged to out group and everyone had a wonderful day at the beach. I would come back to this island in a heart beat. It was everyone's favorite port during our cruise.
Nassau - We went off without the group today to do a site inspection on Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort. The weather was not great as it was windy, rainy, and very cool. Temps reached around 74 degrees later in the afternoon. We took the #10 jitney to Sandals with no problem and it was $1pp each way. Sandals was okay but I am glad that we did not pay the $220 per couple it would normally cost for a day pass there. The breakfast and lunch we had there was comparable to the food on the ship. Visiting here made me thankful we were on a cruise! I really enjoy cruising versus a land vacation.
The ship - The Elation is a well kept ship and while it does have some pretty dark colors and gaudy features in some areas, it is still a very pretty ship. One of our group members response to seeing the atrium for the first time was that it was so ugly it was beautiful! Having been on the Fascination and the Inspiration, sister ships of the Elation, I thought that the Elation is prettier.
The production shows throughout the week were not that great. The performers were very good but the show itself was fair to poor. Some of the choreography was questionable. Most of our group sing together in a choir at home so we had the opportunity to perform in the talent show and that was really fun. It was neat having people come up to us for the rest of the cruise and make comments and seeing us perform on stage.
Overall we just had a very good time! The food was very good most of the time. The breakfast buffet is the only place it lacked. The lido was great for lunch, didn't try it at dinner. The sushi bar every evening was great and I was pleased to fin out that it was decent sushi, much better that what I had on the Norwegian Majesty in December. I lover the coffee bar and enjoyed soy cappuccinos and chai tea several times during the cruise.
This is a great itinerary and I would highly suggest it to others especially since it will not be offered mush longer as the Elation is being moved to Mexico and as of yet Carnival had not given another ship this itinerary!