We got to Houston Sat. night and stayed at the Days Inn. (Will never stay there again). We had read the name and number of a Taxi driver on this board and set up for him to pick us up at the hotel. Terry Huse is a very nice guy, dependable, with a comfortable little mini van. It cost us about $76 for all 4 of us. Much cheaper than we had been quoted for shuttles.
Embarkation was quick and smooth. Even though we did have to wait a little while for a group of TAs who were taking a tour of the ship, we were still eating in Tiffany’s before 1:00.
As we left Galveston, it was a bit chilly and bumpy. But we learned from our last cruise and DH started the Bonine 3 days before and never had a problem. We had booked a 6B Guarantee and got exactly what we paid for. We were in M64, just 2 rooms aft of the forward elevators. The cabin was good sized and we seldom felt overly crowded even with 4 of us, especially since our teen was rarely there with us. Not quite enough drawer space (would be perfect for 2 or 3) and it was a good thing we brought extra hangers.
First day at sea was fun, a little cold to swim, at least for us grownups - our 10 yo had the pool mostly to himself. We were told there were about 100 kids on board, with a fairly even spread of ages. So both boys eventually found kids to hang with. I did drop by the wine and cheese party, but couldn't tell who were Cruise Critics and who weren't. Next time, we'll have to set up our own meeting. Loved formal night (both the prime rib and lobster were great). Everyone looked so elegant and every time I thought I’d seen the most beautiful dress, here came another.
By the time we got to Progresso it had warmed up to 95. Made for a hot dry tour in Chichen Itza. Our guide Gabriel said it was worse in the summer because of the humidity. The ruins were great, but did not have enough time to see everything. The bus ride was long, but comfortable. Hint: eat your sandwich before the tour, otherwise it gets hot and yucky. Didn’t see much of Progresso, except the pier, which as you've most likely read is almost 6 miles long. Actually, most of it seemed more like a breakwater than a pier.
In Cozumel, we rented a taxi for $15 each way (up to 4 people) to Chakanaab, $10 pp to get in. Beautiful park, wonderful for snorkeling or just lounging in the free chairs on the sand. We went back to the port about 3:00. Plenty of time to check out the shops, then back on the ship.
They need to spend more time in Belize. Having to tender so far takes away much needed time from other things. By the time we got to the pier we had just enough time to book a 3 ½ hour Goff’s Cay tour, do the tour and catch a tender back to the ship. I had wanted to go to Cay Caulker, but there would have been no time except by taking a ship’s tour that took you straight from the ship to the island. Goff’s Cay is a cute little sandy island with a few palm trees, brush and a grass hut pavilion, surrounded by white sand and crystal clear water. The fish here were not as colorful as they had been at Chakanaab, but the water was warmer and perfect for kids to play in the sandy shallows. If you have a bad back, ask to be seated in the very back of the tenders and tour boats as the water can be very choppy and the boats go very fast, slapping the bows in the water. The little hamburger joint inside the one of the buildings at the tourism village in town had the best prices on food, soft drinks and beer that we had seen on the whole cruise.
Another two more fun, relaxing and increasing cool days at sea and we were back in Galveston. (The prime rib on the second formal night tasted re-heated, but for the most part food was good). Friday evening, the captain warned us that we would be heading into a cold front and could expect some rough seas, but Saturday morning came and still no really rough seas. There was a bit of wind, so they closed the open decks. Later we were informed that we had gone east around the storm and were now south of Louisiana, heading west to Galveston.
As our only other cruise was on the Celebrity Mercury last April, we had to make some comparisons. The service was wonderful on both ships. Mercury’s ambience was a little more elegant, Elation’s more casual. Both ships had lots to do all the time. Both ships had too few elevators at key times. But Elation’s elevators were weird as sometimes empty elevators would pass you up and sometimes would show they were on more than one floor at the same time or would sound an overweight buzzer with only a few people on it. Overall, the food was a bit better on the Mercury with more and better selections on the buffets, breakfasts and desserts. Elation’s lobster and filet mignon were scrumptious and the pizza, hamburgers and soft serve ice cream were tops. (Tip: you can ask for grilled chicken in the hamburger buffet.) Having food 24/7 was a plus for our teen. Elation’s room service was definitely quicker, but could not quite understand that my 10 yo wanted only bacon on his sandwich (they messed that order up so much it was almost comical). We really liked the shows on the Elation, the comics were funny (so was some of the audience) and with the added plus of a cruise director who can really sing. I think our favorite show was Spin.
Debarkation was long, but we weren't in a hurry as our flight was not leaving until 5:00 pm. Luckily our waiting area was the Lido deck and they didn’t start taking the breakfast buffet down until just before we left. Had to wait a while for a taxi as many rude people were stealing taxis from others who were there first. They need a better system there. But it was a nice day, so except for no seating, the waiting wasn't too bad. Nice cab ride back to Hobby, then a long arduous air journey back home with many stopovers etc.
We would do it all again in a heartbeat and I’ll be happy to answer any questions.