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1,389 Carnival Galveston Cruise Reviews

First off, I have to say that I had the time of my life! My husband & I were celebrating our 20th anniversary and sharing the cruise experience with 5 other people......5 of us were on our first cruise. While the ship wasn't ... Read More
First off, I have to say that I had the time of my life! My husband & I were celebrating our 20th anniversary and sharing the cruise experience with 5 other people......5 of us were on our first cruise. While the ship wasn't everything I expected (I was raised watching "The Love Boat"), it exceeded in many others. I had pictured a much larger atrium, some of the halls were a bit musty smelling and the carpet was in need of some major cleaning, but for the most part, it was a nice ship. I loved the fact that I could do as little or as much as I wanted. Traveling with a "seasoned cruiser," we were kept busy 99.9% of the time, between the silly games, shows, "Carnival Colors" competitions, etc. Each of us walked away from our cruise with a Carnival medallion for having won some sort of competition. We sang Karaoke on more than one occasion at the Cole Porter Lounge....a real blast! The Blues Brothers show in the Mikado showroom was outstanding......all of us loved it!!! We had a blast learning an Austin Powers dance number, which we still remember to this day! Our Cruise Director, Chris and his staff were awesome. Never a dull moment with any of them. On the food front, there was only one dinner out of seven where absolutely nothing prepared sounded appealing to me. Four of us broke away from the group of seven and headed to Tiffany's for a 'junk food' dinner of the best pizza on high seas.....possibly the best pizza anywhere! The other three from our group opted to dine in the dining room, which was more than fine by us. The service in the dining room was always outstanding.....by the end of night two our wait staff knew exactly what we wanted to drink, what salad dressing we preferred and how we wanted our steaks prepared without a refresher course nightly. That speaks volumes to me. On to the Ports of Call: Our Progresso port of call was cancelled due to some nasty crosswinds so we had to visit Cozumel twice (a real sacrifice.....NOT!). Our first stop there, we did the catamaran, snorkel, beach combo and had the time of our lives. All of the catamaran crew catered to each and every one of us. I highly recommend this excursion. Our second port of call was to Belize where we did the cave tubing expedition. Awesome! I've tubed more than a few rivers and this one is right up there. The water was clear & beautiful. Again, another high recommendation! Our last port of call was Cozumel....part 2. This time, we opted for no excursions and just hit the town. We shopped, ate and paid a visit to Senor Frogs (a must). It was a very memorable visit. All in all, I have nothing but great things to say about my first experience. In fact, I had so much fun that I've booked yet another cruise with Carnival in September aboard the Ecstasy. I'm looking forward to my next cruise and all of the fun I'm sure to have. For the money, there is definitely no better bang for your buck. Read Less
Sail Date November 2004
First of all we are 27 & 28 years old and married, no kids. I think that is important for you to know where we are coming from. This was our first cruise. -Getting from Houston to Galveston was a snap. Really made easy with this man, ... Read More
First of all we are 27 & 28 years old and married, no kids. I think that is important for you to know where we are coming from. This was our first cruise. -Getting from Houston to Galveston was a snap. Really made easy with this man, L.J. Cormier (Texas Cruise Ship Shuttle cruiseride@msn.com). He gives you a tour of Houston and Galveston $125 each way. Way worth the money (no stress). We got his name by looking on these forums. -Embarkation was a breeze. Just some security checks and ID showing and you're on the ship. -Baggage didn't get to the cabin till about 6pm. Dinner is casual that night anyway. NOTE - Your dinner time request and it is just that, a REQUEST with these people. If you're not old (60+) or have kids, you don't get seated at the early time. We got stuck with 8:30pm even though we requested 6:00pm. -Room was small. We booked the 4a guarantee and were upgraded to the upper deck (very convenient). As a side note we missed hurricane Francis but we did have some rocky seas. Take your motion sickness patches or pills. -Food was fantastic in the Imagination restaurant. Tiffanys is your typical buffet food. Pizza was awesome!! Desserts were lack luster. NOTE - If you drink soda, buy the Soda card immediately once on the ship (we used 1 card for my wife and I) $30. Loved the Sushi bar by the casino (ate it every night as pre-dinner snack). Food by the pool was always good, burger and fries always hit the spot. -Entertainment was good. Good comedian the first night, not so much the second. Shows were good (Vegas style - women in G-strings). Casino was fun (don't expect to hit is big on the slots), played blackjack most of the time. Karaoke was fun. Dukes bar is great if you like live piano music. The singer Damian stole my wife heart for a while. Overall, always something fun and new to do. -Sundeck was nice. Didn't have to fight for chairs. Very relaxing. I wish there was more pool area though. Pools were small, not much to stretch out in. There is always a waiter there to sell you booze. NOTE - If you like to party and don't want to pay $2.95 a drink, we brought booze on board via mouthwash bottles and a small flask. -Progesso was ok. Don't book the Corona Beach Party. We didn't do it but heard it was a waste of money. I was happy taking the $2 city tour and walking around shopping (I usually don't like to shop too). I say do all your shopping as far as clothes and trinkets there. And while you're walking around enjoy the $1 Coronas. -Cozumel was great. We did the Royal swim booked through Shoretrips.com. Cheaper and way more personal attention with dolphins. Taxi was very easy to get. The only thing I would do different is book snorkeling in the morning and dolphins in the afternoon. We snorkeled at the dolphins park but we heard the snorkeling excursion through shoretrips.com was awesome. Also, buy your tequila and vanilla here. -Belize we did cave tubing booked through shoretrips.com again. They were there waiting for us by the pier when we got off (it was easy). Our transportation guide was good. Don't book cave tubing if you cannot hike for 45 minutes. Very rewarding excursion. My favorite just because of our guide and we had a small group (250 people booked this trip through the ship, and our group was 10). Debarkation takes all morning. Save a little of your book to read during the process. Overall we had a great time. There were some kids around but not an overage (I think just because of school time). I would book again with Carnival but on a different ship (we always try something different) and if we were with friends to party with. The ports were good. Service was good. There is no reason I can find not to travel on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2004
This was my 2nd cruise, first on Carnival. There were 5 in our group - my son and my friend and I were in a junior suite on the Veranda deck and my daughter and her friend (24 & 23) were on the Empress deck. Having sailed last year out ... Read More
This was my 2nd cruise, first on Carnival. There were 5 in our group - my son and my friend and I were in a junior suite on the Veranda deck and my daughter and her friend (24 & 23) were on the Empress deck. Having sailed last year out of Galveston on Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody, I opted for Carnival for this trip based on its reputation for appealing to young adult cruisers. It proved to be a good choice for us; we all found activities to enjoy, and it was a great trip! We stayed in Galveston at the Holiday Inn Saturday night. They offer a free shuttle to and from the ship, which saves the hassle and cost of parking. I wish I'd planned on more time in Galveston, as it's a pretty city and we were right on the beach. Getting on the ship was fairly quick and easy. Everyone was friendly, the only delay came when they took three of us to a different check-in area, because we were in a suite. We then found that, because my daughter was going to be on my credit card, we had to check in together. I was immediately glad that I'd invested in walkie-talkies, as we were quickly able to be in contact and find each other (tip: get the dual channel walkie-talkies, or you'll be hearing lots of others talking on them). Unfortunately, getting off the boat the next Sunday wouldn't prove as easy or fun. - Although we were one of the first groups off the boat, and it was just past 11:00, a lot of people were arriving to get on the ship. There were traffic jams and the police weren't doing much to manage the traffic.... It would help if Carnival would control the access and not allow check-in that early, and if passengers would respect the stated check-in times, because in 7 days they'll be the ones trying to get off and out. Getting back to the fun stuff: The rooms were roomy and clean. The suite we had was perfect for the 3 of us. - The sofa made into a bed, but even with it made up there was plenty of room to get around. We had a refrigerator, which came in handy, and a VCR, which we never used. We took an over-the-door shoe bag for the bathroom door, which really helped keep us organized, and I also took a hanging shoe bag for the closet, which helped because we had a lot of shoes. We enjoyed having a balcony, although I was disappointed that it had a door instead of sliding glass. The balcony was great when we were in or leaving port, but I'm not sure if it would be worth the money if there'd just been 2 of us. Our room steward was "Super", which he was, very quiet but efficient! Sometimes we gave him very little time between one of us going from and one returning to the room, but he always managed to get it done! My daughter was very satisfied with her room, especially the roominess of the bathroom. Their steward "Antonio" deserves an award for managing to maintain their room in between their wardrobe changes! We took 7 or 8 water bottles and 10 or 11 Cokes on with us, and would definitely take more of both next time, as we went through it all. The shore excursions were great! - In Progresso, we went to the Mayan ruins at Chitchen-Itza; it was a long drive, but a good way to see some of the countryside and the ruins were interesting. Because of the tight timing, we didn't get a chance to shop in Progresso, where I hear the prices are cheaper. Many people didn't seem to like Progresso, especially the ones who went to the beach, which didn't seem very nice. There definitely weren't many choices for shore excursions, aside from the ruins or Merida. In Cozumel, 3 of us did the Unlimited Snorkeling (good if you're a beginner, but next time I'd go on a boat), then went to Coconuts to eat - it's on the other side of the island, a 20-30 minute cab ride ($40 roundtrip), however was well worth it! - Our table was literally on a cliff overlooking the ocean, and the food and margaritas were great (we had fajitas & grilled shrimp). My daughter and her friend did the Catamaran Sail/Snorkel/Beach party trip, ending up on Paradise Beach, and loved it! At Belize, two of us did the airboat/tour of the city and the other 3 did the cave tubing. The airboat ride was interesting, but it was very hot that day, which was uncomfortable unless we were moving. Belize is very poor, so the tour makes you appreciate what we all take for granted. The kids loved the cave tubing. - I booked the girls on Coral Breeze in advance by internet; the cost was $30 less than the ship's cruise and includes a meal and much smaller groups. My son went with one of the ship's groups, and enjoyed it as well. They make a big deal about the risk you take if you're not on a ship's excursion, that the ship won't wait for you if you're delayed, but the companies (at least Coral Breeze & Xtreme) seem to have it organized so that everything goes smoothly. One comment about the shore trips: do make sure you're back to the ship on time!! - They aren't kidding when they say they'll leave without you!! - I heard 4 people were left in Progresso, and had to take a bus or taxi to catch up with the boat in Cozumel! We also heard that a couple who'd rented a scooter in Cozumel got pulled over and was told they either could pay (the police) $200, or be taken to the police station and miss the boat; they paid the police! The entertainment on the boat was adequate, but not much more than that, in my opinion. This is the one area where I felt that Royal Caribbean was clearly better. One comedian was good. Also a couple of drunken hecklers were a real pain and should have been thrown out by the staff. They basically were allowed to just about ruin the show! The piano player in Duke's was awesome, and I wish I'd spent more time in there! My daughter loved the disco, although I thought it's decor was a bit strange! We ate in the dining room every night. Luba was a great server! We had 8:30 seating, which we actually liked very much. It was nice and quiet, and we had plenty of time to get ready after the day's activities (and the girls liked getting a quick nap in before their evening activities!). The down side was that once we ate, we were too full for any of the late night eatings! The menu had a nice mix of "standard" and more exotic fare, which suited our varied tastes, and you could order extra desserts, or whatever. I never ate in the dining room for breakfast or lunch, although I did eat several times in Tiffany's, which was good. We ordered room service on the excursion days, which was helpful time-wise but it would have been nice to have hot choices as well. The burgers by the pool were great! My daughter and her friend used the spa the first night; it was pricey, but they did the "daily special" which was a bit more reasonable, and they loved starting the cruise out in such a relaxing way. Bingo was frequent and, therefore, expensive, unless you won, which we didn't! I wish they'd do something about the pictures - they take them all the time, but we could never find all of ours, and they rotate them so it's hard to choose between your pictures, plus it was always crowded, so we didn't spend a lot of time looking for them or buying. There were a lot of kids on this cruise, as apparently several schools in Texas were on fall break. Most were well behaved, except for a few who were running wild; we were grateful to be on a quiet deck. From reading other cruise reviews, it's clear that what you get from a cruise depends on what you're expecting and your own attitude! - Yes, there were laundry bags in the hall most of the time, and there was a slight musty smell in some of the ship's areas, but these are small things. Overall I found the ship's staff extremely friendly, and I never made a request that wasn't met. The cruise was very convenient for us, with 3 of us in Texas and my daughter and her friend flying from California. The weather was beautiful and the excursions fun. On the ship, there was something for everyone (and not enough time to do everything), and we enjoyed being able to do what we wanted, whether as a group or on our own. With it being my daughter's first cruise, she absolutely loved the whole experience, especially "having everything you want right there." Her only complaint, when she called me Monday after getting back to California Sunday night, was that she'd been awake all night because she couldn't sleep without the rocking of the ship!! We would all definitely like to go again, either on this cruise, or another Carnival one.... Read Less
Sail Date October 2004
Elation October 17-24, 2004. We are myself and wife in mid 50's and son and daughter in mid twenties. This was the 6th cruise my wife and I have taken. We flew into IAH on Saturday, picked up baggage and found shuttle to car rentals. ... Read More
Elation October 17-24, 2004. We are myself and wife in mid 50's and son and daughter in mid twenties. This was the 6th cruise my wife and I have taken. We flew into IAH on Saturday, picked up baggage and found shuttle to car rentals. At IAH, there is just one shuttle to all rental agencies which are housed about 1 mile from the terminal. Because we like to arrive a day early and we found prices at Houston hotels about ½ the prices at Galveston, we had decided to rent a car from Enterprise for the two one-way trips between Houston and Galveston. We discovered the full size car we reserved was not big enough for our luggage, so had to upgrade to a SUV ($68 + $22 in tax and fees for the 24 hours). We probably could have gotten by if we had some rope and tied the trunk down. Our hotel was the 4 star Renaissance on the west side of Houston. It is a 4 star which we got on a bid through Priceline.com for about $60 (additional $8/day for parking). We have used Priceline on several occasions for our precruise stays and have always been very satisfied with the accommodations. The Renaissance was very nice: large rooms, nice pool and exercise room, and very quiet. We were obviously in an upscale, business area of Houston where everything was pretty well shut down for the weekend. Although there were restaurants and cafes in an attached, enclosed mall, everything except the small movie theater in the mall and a very large movie complex about a block away was closed for the weekend. We did drive over to a large shopping mall to the northwest and had about the best Mexican food we've ever found at a place called Guadalahara's. On Sunday, we drove to Galveston, stopping at a Walmart along the way to pick up some sodas and other last-minute essentials. The road between Houston and Galveston is lined with shopping areas and restaurants. I dropped the others off at the terminal with the luggage at about 11:30. It was pretty hectic at the terminal with many passengers still disembarking. It took about 15 minutes to work my way through the traffic and get back on the road. I returned the car to the Enterprise office about 3 miles back up the road and caught their shuttle back to the ship with no problem. I found the rest of the family sitting on the floor on the second level near some round tables. We discovered that those at the round tables were the first to be taken through the security scanners to the ticket agents - after about 3 wedding parties were admitted. Having been on the Paradise out of Miami last year, I was prepared for what I thought must be the typical, Carnival muck-a-muck boarding "system." This, however, was about as organized an embarkation as I have encountered. We were one of the first to turn over our documents and pick up our boarding passes, and then we were seated in the farthest section of chairs to await boarding. After about 20 minutes, we were given a brief orientation. Then our section was led to the welcome aboard photographer and then to the boarding pass photographer, and, by 12:45, we were on board. The layout of the Elation is pretty much the same as the Paradise, but the dEcor is remarkably different. The Elation, particularly in the buffet and in the atrium, is covered in bright (gaudy?) stained glass. The art in the stairways is also jump-out-at-you bright. The wildest room was the disco with its rather frightening looking red and white clowns guarding the door. My favorite room was the Mark Twain library, though I really liked the wall murals in the Romeo and Juliet lounge. We all liked the piano lounge with its wild, New York sculptures and a very talented performer, but, by the third day, none of us even wanted to walk by it during the day due to the reek of smoke. It became impossible for us to get near the place in the evening. The dining room was very dimly lit with low ceilings. We were in a 6-person booth and, as much as we've enjoyed getting to know new tablemates on previous cruises, thankfully, no one else showed up to share the table. It would have been very tight quarters sitting in the middle. As was true on the Paradise, it seemed impossible to find a seat in the theater which did not have an obstructed view of some portion of the stage. We did get to most of the performances and found them entertaining - about standard fare for cruise ships. The scavenger hunt was conducted differently than I've seen done on other ships. Passengers were invited to bring bags full of stuff to the theater to provide the requested items. I would have to say, though, that the folks at Royal Caribbean have provided us with the most entertaining scavenger hunts. The truly outstanding aspect of this cruise was the service at our cabin and at our dinner table. Our cabin attendant, Innocense, seemed to always be in the passageway, wishing us a good morning, a good day ashore, a good evening. He seemed genuinely happy, and he was always smiling and warm. Our very young pair of waiters, Jose and Luis, were equally friendly and warm and very efficient. They could not have been more attentive and responsive. The ports: Progreso We had originally planned to catch a ride into Merrida, but, since this was our first trip to this port, we decided to just spend the day in Progreso. Just off the ship, at the end of a very long pier, several shops are set up with prices about the same as found at the stalls and shops in town. If you just want to shop, you need go no further. Free buses take passengers into Progreso and leave them about 2 blocks up from the beach. There is a city square there with many open-air booths selling all sorts of crafts, t-shirts, etc. Tour busses are also available there for tours around Progreso. We walked down to the beach, then back up through the town. We occasionally passed other passengers in town, but most of the people we saw were residents, not tourists, but we never felt uncomfortable or conspicuous We found a place with about 6 computers available with internet access for $1 per hour, and everyone got caught up on their emails. We walked as far as the central park and never felt uncomfortable on the streets of Progreso. It was a nice opportunity to see how the people of Mexico live. We did find the market not intended for tourists which included meat and fruit stands which should have given us second thoughts about eating at the local restaurants. Back at the beach, we stopped for lunch at what looked like the nicest restaurant along the Malecon - the one with the large thatched roof. The chips and guacamole were great, and my wife and daughter decided that was enough, but my son, my daughter, and I decided to try the tacos and burritos, It took nearly an hour for the meals to arrive. They were cold and, after smelling hers, my daughter opted out. I wish I had that good sense. Montezuma's revenge is not a fun time. As others have mentioned, the water looked pretty murky along the beach. A few people were swimming, but it didn't look too inviting. Cozumel Having done some research, I decided on Paradise Beach for the morning, then shopping in the afternoon. The ship docked at the pier outside of town The cab to Paradise Beach was $12 each way. I brought my own snorkeling equipment and planned on a stop at Dzul Ha on the way back to the ship, but the snorkeling was so good at Paradise, I didn't get to Dzul Ha this trip. There are some orange floats out near the eastern edge of the beach area where there is a large coral formation and lots of different, colorful fish. Just past the floats, I found a stingray, and under a moored sailboat near the western corner, I found a barracuda hiding in the shadow. There were even a few starfish just past the iceberg. There is a large undeveloped area to the side of Paradise Beach which would probably make for good snorkeling as well. By the time we cleaned up and headed back out into the heat, we weren't so keen on the idea of going off to town and were content to wonder through the stores at the pier. Prices seemed to be about like they were last time we were in shopping district, and there was plenty of everything available. Belize: We had reserved an innertube ride with Xtreme, and, even though we were on the first shuttle, we were the last to meet at the bandshell. We divided into two groups for the 45-minute ride out to the river. There are some good reviews of the ride through the caves at the Belize Port board, so I won't go through the details again. There is a new, large, restroom/changing area at the river, but the last 15 minutes of the ride is along the worst road I've ever seen; even where there weren't ruts and holes, there were large, loose rocks instead of gravel. I assume the ride would have been more comfortable in a bus, but maybe not. The ship excursions go through one cave with a shallow, gently sloping entry point; the private outfitters go through 2 caves and charge less money. The landing at the top of the second cave is a longer walk, and the entry is accomplished by either jumping in from about 10 feet or rappelling down about 5 feet of rope. I'd recommend this only for the fit and able. During the drive to the river, we passed the road to the zoo and to a baboon sanctuary, places I hope to see another time. Belize is a place that has not yet been "Americanized" by tourism, so, like Progreso, it is easy to step off the ship and into a foreign culture. I hope to get back there before that changes. Due to the fact that there are virtually no beaches along its shores, that might happen more slowly here than other places. Belize is building a port shopping area much like we saw in Cozumel. There are many people there offering tours and trips for those not on ship excursions. We had about an hour to look around there before returning to the ship. There was a pharmacy among the shops, and we did find prescription medications cheaper here than at the other two stops, but the selection was limited. Prices of other items also seemed to be a little lower than we've seen elsewhere. Debarkation: We had heard about difficulties getting rental cars from Enterprise for the trip back to Houston, so I had made late afternoon reservations for the flight back. We decided to have a leisurely morning on board and not worry about being the last ones off the ship. We were the last group called at about 9:30. The line to get through immigration was about 15 minutes. The Enterprise office at the terminal was easy to find, and our paperwork was waiting for us. We were only allowed to send one person for the car with no luggage. I was surprised when I was instructed to board the parking lot shuttle. Apparently Enterprise was initiating a new method and having people pick up the rental cars at the nearby parking lot rather than at their office. Unfortunately, the new plan didn't work very well. They were not able to shuttle cars to the lot fast enough, and I ended up sitting in the parking lot (no shade, about 100+ degrees) for nearly two hours waiting for a car. Those who complained loudest were given cars first. I'm not a complainer, and other people really were missing their flights, so I was last. To Enterprise's credit, they upgraded me and they made the car and the gas free. The last few who left before me were given 50% reductions. I am a devoted bargain hunter, and I have come to understand that as long as I am willing to force businesses to cut their prices, I should be willing to accept something less than the best service. I am also a teacher, and it works like that in my classroom every day. People want to pay less and less for education and, at some point, all the dedication in the world does not compensate for the lack of funds. Class sizes grow; learning diminishes. I wish I had a way to say to some of my students, "Sorry you didn't get the education you should have, but we'll make that last year a free one for you." Speaking of good service, I should mention that my son got to the Houston airport and discovered he had not changed his reservation to the later flight as the rest of us had, and his flight was long gone. Northwest (in Minnesota we like to call them "Northworst") put him on standby for the later flight at no cost. Then, when the agent at the gate saw he probably wouldn't make that flight, he was put on a connecting flight with a reserved seat through Memphis and arrived home 20 minutes after we did. It was a great cruise, and we look forward to our next one even more. A few hints: Bring along a small decoration to hang on your cabin door (along with a small roll of duct tape) to make it easier to find your way home. We have a little Christmas ornament in the shape of Minnesota. Keep a small suitcase in your room the last night and wheel it off with you in the morning. You won't feel so pressured to get every little thing packed away that last night. Buy film when you get there and have it developed before you return.. Those x-ray machines at the airports are brutal. Read Less
Sail Date October 2004
This was our first cruise, myself, and my two sons, 17 and 13. We had been planning this trip for quite sometime and we were very anxious to get away! There was always something to entertain us no matter what our interests were. The kids ... Read More
This was our first cruise, myself, and my two sons, 17 and 13. We had been planning this trip for quite sometime and we were very anxious to get away! There was always something to entertain us no matter what our interests were. The kids made some friends to hang out with and absolutely had a fabulous time. We were able to spend some time together, but yet do our own thing. Progresso was our first stop, kind of a poor city, but some good shopping. Cozumel was fabulous....lots to drink (try Pancho's Backyard) excellent margaritas (don't get the large or you'll have trouble making it to see anything else). We did some snorkeling in Cozumel which was beautiful. We went cave tubing in Belize, gorgeous scenery, but very tiring. It made us all thankful for what we have here in the United States! Our cruise director was hilarious, very entertaining! The shows were very professional, the comedians were awesome, only the juggling act was lacking. We got to do a little gambling, no luck at that, lots of Bingo games, no luck at that either. Everyone on the ship was very helpful and attentive. Our room steward kept our room very clean and it was fun to come in each night to find our what type of towel animal we had on our bed. Food was never an issue, anytime you were hungry or not hungry, there was always something to eat. There was a good variety for all the different likes and dislikes in our family. Of course, my 13-year-old thought the 24 hour pizzeria was absolutely the best ever! The kids often talk about what a great time they had and I find myself thinking about what a great week we had quite often. This cruise is something that I'm sure we will talk about in a positive way for many years to come. I would recommend this cruise to anyone, had an absolutely wonderful time and we're ready to do it again!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2004
This is my first review so I will just write what I think. This was my first cruise. It was well worth the wait. It took a while to get on the line was long, about as long as line to ride the roller coaster The staff was great I can't ... Read More
This is my first review so I will just write what I think. This was my first cruise. It was well worth the wait. It took a while to get on the line was long, about as long as line to ride the roller coaster The staff was great I can't say enough about them from the top to the bottom they were great, they were so polite and friendly everytime I saw them day or night. I think the cabin steward went into my cabin every time I left it,it was always spotless.The whole ship was kept spotless shined and polished. I had the late dinner seating and the staff there was great and very upbeat even at the late time of the day, The shows were all very entertaining, the cruise directer was very good there was always something to do We were on the tail end Of Ivan and had rough water a couple of days. We made all three of our scheduled ports. Progesso was ok it rained on us,most all of the excursions were cancelled in Cozomel,Belize was fine. But we got there and back safe and sound I will be looking forward to another cruise soon. Read Less
Sail Date September 2004
Hello! My wife and I traveled with our best friends, Randy and Amy, their parents, and Amy's aunt and grandmother. There were 10 of us in all. We left on the Elation on 9/12. Embarkation was not too bad. We drove to Galveston on ... Read More
Hello! My wife and I traveled with our best friends, Randy and Amy, their parents, and Amy's aunt and grandmother. There were 10 of us in all. We left on the Elation on 9/12. Embarkation was not too bad. We drove to Galveston on Saturday and stayed the night at a hotel on the seawall. We arrived at the ship about 10am. We were one of the first groups to arrive and waited in the terminal while 3 different wedding parties were brought on 1st. Once the line got moving, I would say we passed through all the checkpoints and were on board by about 12:15. We went right to our cabin and were able to put our stuff away before heading to Tiffany's for lunch and to watch some football.There was a lot to absorb for us first time cruisers, and we tried to explore a little that afternoon. The muster drill was pretty painless, and then it was up to the deck to watch us leave the port. The ship left Galveston about 4pm. That night we ate in the main dining room and then went to the show in the Mikado lounge. The cruise director, Risa, came out and started us off with an icebreaker audience participation called the "spoon game". I was one of the poor souls dragged onstage to participate. We had a lot of fun though, and one man named Billy was very embarrassed on the stage during the game when he got the spoon tangled in his clothing. Risa made a point after the game to point out that our antics would be seen on the in-cabin travelogue channel over and over. She wasn't kidding. I bet I saw that spoon game 100 times. Monday my wife and I explored the ship and in the process, had quite a few drinks. We were having a great time. I even won $125 at bingo that afternoon. We also watched the "not so newlywed game" in the Mikado lounge and really had fun. Risa is a great cruise director. That night though, the ship crossed into the wake of Hurricane Ivan. It was very rough seas. That, and our drinking caused my wife and I to miss miss the captain's cocktail party and the 1st formal night dinner. We just stayed in our room sick. It was awful. On the TV that night we saw footage of the party. The captain felt that we might not make our stop in Progresso due to the weather. We would just have to wait and see. Tuesday, I got up at 5:30 am to see the ship was pulling into port at Progresso. I went up to the Lido deck for breakfast. There were seasick bags everywhere you looked. I guess we were not the only ones to feel sick Monday night. Progresso was a pretty depressing stop. It was very overcast and drizzled all day. The town is very poor. We bought a few items, but we were on a limited budget, and decided to wait and see what the other ports had to offer. Bad idea. Progresso by far had the best deals on local arts and crafts. Plus you could barter with the sellers if you didn't like the price. If you see something you want in Progresso, buy it. Chances are you will see the same merchandise elsewhere but pay more for it. We didn't have a lot of fun here, so we went back to the ship and took a nap. Tuesday night, the seas were even worse. The ship was rocking like crazy. I saw many ships personnel wearing seasick bands. My wife and I were much better prepared this night, as we stayed away from the alcohol during the day. Drinking for us only intensified the seasickness. We met up with our friends Randy and Amy, and waited for dinner. We pretty much just sat in the atrium and watched people stumble around. I decided there was no way that I was going to confine myself to the cabin again tonight. Our cabin was at the very front of the ship, and it seemed like we noticed the movement much more when in there, than when we where out and about. This actually turned out to be a really fun evening for us. We 4 were the only ones at our table for dinner. You could really feel the movement of the ship in the dining room. The waiters told us that it was one of the worst nights they had ever seen on the ship. The waiters also performed a dance to the "ketchup song" which was a lot of fun to watch. After dinner we went to Mikado and played bingo. Randy hit the $600 jackpot. Then Risa came out and told us that most of the passengers had stayed in their cabins tonight, and that we were the die-hards for sticking it out. You could see the curtains swaying behind her on the stage with the movement of the ship. After a fun audience participation story, we were entertained by Lubo the Great. It was an incredible balancing act, made even tougher by the movement of the ship. He put on a great show. Wednesday we were in Cozumel. We had a great time. The weather was beautiful. We did some shopping, then had lunch at Senor Frogs. This is a great stop if you want to party. The DJ at Senor Frogs did a great job in keeping everyone entertained. Everyone at our table got one of the famous Senor Frog tequila shots. (I will let you experience that for yourselves). We had a great time here. We then went to the beach at Playa del Sol. It was very beautiful there. We swam and sunbathed on the beach till it was time to get back to the ship. We didn't take any of the ship excursions. We just made our way around town ourselves. Amy's parents are experienced travelers, and pretty much were our guides. I will say that a couple of the cab rides we took were quite exciting. I guess there are no traffic cops in Cozumel. The shopping was much more expensive than Progresso, and you could not barter at any of the shops. They had a pharmacy here with much better prices than the US on many medications, so it's a must stop for some of you. Due to the hurricane, all of the underwater excursions were cancelled, upsetting a lot of people. Like I said earlier though, we had a great time on our own without the excursions. Thursday we went to Belize City. The tendering to the shore was not as bad as I had thought it would be. Belize City has a very nice little port area you are brought to with air conditioned shops. This area looked very new. The people that ran the shops all spoke english. The prices here were pretty high for everything though. The humidity was almost unbearable, so we didn't stay here long. Back to the ship and the AC for us. We spent the last 2 days at sea just enjoying the ship. We saw the Spin show on Friday night which was very good, and then a comedian later that night. With Monday and Tuesday night's rough weather a distant memory, we relaxed and sampled the nightlife the Elation had to offer. We once again had a great time. The debarkation seemed slow to me, but it seemed to go pretty smoothly, so no complaints here. From reading the boards, I had a pretty good idea of what to expect on our trip. Here are some other observations from our trip: Be prepared to walk. Alot. I ate a lot, but I also got plenty of exercise walking all over the ship. Things are pretty spread out. The in cabin TV sucks (pardon my french). We got out and experienced this ship and tried to go to every show, plus we toured every port. You still have a lot of down time to spend in your cabin. A little variety on the tube would have been nice. People let their children run wild on the ship. I saw young children up on deck after dark just playing around unsupervised. I would never let my daughter out of my sight on a ship. Children were not as big a problem as I had read about on summer cruises, but there were enough running around to be annoying to me. Play bingo. Not a lot of people participate. Between us we won over $1000 just playing bingo every day onboard. That's a lot of extra cash for drinks and the casino. The only night that was packed was the last night when the jackpot was $2000. We had late seating for dinner. I would go for early seating next time. You seem to be in a rush to make the shows after dinner. The dinners in the formal dining room were great. My favorite part of the trip. Our waiters were Ele and Jenny. They did an awesome job and made dinner a lot of fun for us. Also the Maitre D' D Stipe did a great job entertaining us every night. I have read how people say they never see the Maitre D' d all week until it's time for him to get his tip, but on this trip, Stipe was very involved every night. Great job. His assistant Katerina was also very nice. The cruise director Risa kept us very entertained and informed. The whole staff did a great job. Aside from the weather a few nights (out of the staffs control of course) we had a great time and look forward to our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2004
Elation Sept. 19-26 Review Overall This was a fabulous cruise and I would highly recommend it. Parking: We arrived in Galveston around 10:30. We parked at EZ cruise parking. We paid $35 but the price went up by the time we returned ... Read More
Elation Sept. 19-26 Review Overall This was a fabulous cruise and I would highly recommend it. Parking: We arrived in Galveston around 10:30. We parked at EZ cruise parking. We paid $35 but the price went up by the time we returned from the cruise. It is now $45. For $10 extra they will put a cover on your car. We unloaded our luggage from the truck and only had to wait about 10 minutes until a shuttle van came. EZ cruise employees loaded our luggage in the van. We were at the cruise terminal by 11:00. EZ cruise employees found a porter and loaded our luggage right onto the porter's cart. We tipped the porter and walked to the entrance. Embarkation: We had to wait in the terminal for about ½ hour. They did not open up the lines until 11:30 (except for travel agents). We went through the security checks then we had to go to check in with cruise employees. They had a separate line for non-US citizens and we did not have to wait at all. We walked right up while there was a long line for US citizens. We were on the ship and eating lunch by 12:15. Muster Drill: This went slowly. We were lucky we met in one of the lounges so it was cool and air conditioned. It just ran on for too long because by the time we took our life jackets to our room and went back on deck the ship had already pulled away. Decor and upkeep: The ship's dEcor is pretty unusual, lots of different colours. It all seems to go together and work though (in most places). The Mikado and Cole Porter lounge were quite nice. The Jekyl and Hyde lounge was a little unusual. They had these red and white statues and at night when the music is playing the eyes light up and the head moves back and forth. A very strange effect. Everything was kept up and clean in most of the public areas. During the cruise many employees were cleaning. If a cup or glass was left in a public area it was quickly picked up. The only thing I noticed was that on the main deck the carpet down the entire length of the hallway was water stained. In some areas of this hallway there were was a "musty" smell. Also there were laundry bags along the hallway at most times. The odd time I caught a whiff of a sewer smell in different areas of the ship. Dining and Drinks: We had early dining in the Inspiration dining room. My sister and I "linked" our reservation and were seated together at a table for 4. It was very private with just us and our husbands. Perfect since I do not get to spend too much time with my sister. We ate in the dining room every night. The food was very good. Sometimes we couldn't decide what we wanted so we ordered 2 starters or entrees. The meat was always cooked exactly the way we requested. The service we received from Sladjana and Svetlana was impeccable. We were very impressed. They remembered our names and preferences after the first night. We ate breakfast and lunch in the dining room twice. The food at breakfast and lunchtime was good. I found it a little awkward though because it was open seating and you are seated with different people every time. On the final day of the cruise our waitress recommended that we eat breakfast in the dining room because Tiffanys would be very busy. I'm glad we took her advice. After going through immigration we had a leisurely breakfast in the dining room. We ordered room service for breakfast once. It was delivered promptly and had all the items we ordered. All other meals we ate at Tiffanys. There was a buffet set up at 11:30 at night in Tiffanys. It was good for a quick snack. The food in Tiffanys was standard buffet fare. Edible but not super good. I tried the pizza and calzones and they were OK. We took 12 pops with us on the cruise. Carried on in plastic grocery bag. No hassles at all. We only drank 10 of them (and I am a big pop drinker). There were so many other things to drink that were included in our cruise fare. There was water, juice, iced tea, coffee, hot chocolate and tea in Tiffany's 24 hours a day. The water was very good. No need to buy bottled water. I only purchased 4 drinks the entire cruise. They were quite strong. My sister attended the past guest party and they had free drinks that were also very strong. I went to the midnight buffet "viewing" but did not bother to go back when it was time to eat. The lines were crazy. My sister waited in the long line and said the buffet was pretty "ravaged" by the time she got to it. Cabin: Our cabin was an oceanview cabin on the main deck. It was a good size and clean. There was more than enough storage for the 2 of us. There was a small shoebox sized safe in the closet. There was a small ice bucket and several bottles of pop and water on the dresser. The pop is very expensive. The bathroom was a good size. I had been expecting much smaller. There was a very large medicine cabinet with lots of shelving that held our toiletries. Lots of towel racks. They were great for hanging wet bathing suits from. There was a basket in the bathroom with some toiletries ie. razors, Listerine pocket packs, small toothpaste, hand cream and dental floss. The shower had shampoo and Lever 2000 shower gel in a wall mounted dispensers. The TV showed 3 movies daily playing over and over. There were a few regular channels that were slightly fuzzy and channels showing ship related programming. Many of the talks such as the excursion and disembarkation talk were replayed. I didn't really watch much TV there was too much else to do. On the regular channels they showed both the movie Titanic and Castaway, a bad omen? LOL. The cabin steward came in the morning when we were at breakfast and at night to turn down the bed. He never came in between to bring ice or anything. I did page him once during the specified times and he never responded to our page. I do not know what his name was as I only met him once. That is when I went looking for him to return a bottle of toilet cleaner he left on our bathroom counter. Basically I feel that he gave only average service. It doesn't seem like he went out of his way at all. I had read many reviews where cabin stewards seemed to make more of an effort. Activities: We spent a lot of time in the pools and hot tubs. We usually went to the pool on the veranda deck because it was less crowded. We never had trouble finding a lounge chair anywhere we wanted to sit. The hot tubs in the spa area were never crowded. There are also very nice showers with 5 shower heads in the spa area. I enjoyed finding a shady area and reading a book. We attended all the game show activities and they were very funny and we really enjoyed them. We also went on the galley tour but skipped the napkin folding and ice carving demonstrations afterwards. My brother in law also participated in the slot tournament. Shopping: We bought a few souvenirs in Progresso and Cozumel. But be warned that the prices are jacked up. My sister is fluent in Spanish and overheard one vender tell the other to put the prices up because we were "from the boat". We bargained the prices down on everything that we did buy. In Belize we didn't buy anything as we found the island we went to very expensive (San Pedro). We bought a few things from the Carnival gift shop. They had nice $10 watches. They had some overpriced things on board but some reasonably priced items too. We didn't go looking for anything very expensive, mostly we just bought little trinkets. They had a store called Bijoux where everything was $10. They had purses, scarves, watches, hats and costume jewelery. Excursions: We took all Carnival excursions. Progresso: We went on the Corona beach break ($35). This excursion took you on a double-decker bus to the beach where it was all you can drink included (pop, water and alcohol). We thought we would spend time in the water but it wasn't nice at all very dirty. We ended up walking a block to the shopping area for a little while. My brother in law stayed at the beach and got very drunk off the free Coronas. I drank Pina Coladas which were very good but not very strong. We returned to the ship by 1200 and went for lunch at Tiffanys. If I had to do it again I would just take the free shuttle to the shopping area. Cozumel: Here we went on the Catamaran sail, snorkel and beach party ($55). This was a great excursion. We went out on the catamaran and they took us to a place to snorkel. We took our own snorkel gear but it was included for those that didn't have it. When we were in the water they fed the fish tortillas to attract them. The water is so blue there, we had a great swim. They take pictures of everyone and they can be bought for 12$ each. They sell water cameras on the Elation but we bought some at Target before we went and they were cheaper from Target. Underwater cameras are a must have for the snorkeling excursions. After the snorkel they opened up the bar. They had pop, beer and margaritas. They blast the music and there is a large area on the boat for dancing. We went to a secluded beach. There is a restaurant and restrooms there. For free there are floating mattresses, Kayaks, lounges and umbrellas. We spent most of our time there in the water. After 2 hours we went back on the catamaran and back to the ship. This was a half day excursion. After lunch on board we walked into Cozumel to look at the shops. Our last stop was Senor Frogs. Warning the drinks are very strong LOL. Belize: This was my favourite stop. We went on the Shark/Ray alley snorkel ($79). A speed boat picked us up at the ship and took us to a small island to get our gear. On the way we saw wild dolphins and many birds from the boat. We went to an area where the sharks and Rays congregate. They threw sardines in the water and it was like a feeding frenzy with many sharks and rays. When we got in the water the shark mostly disappeared as apparently they are shy, but we were able to see the Rays and other fish. The rays weren't shy at all and didn't mind being petted and touched. We went swimming away from the boat and were able to see the odd shark although they were mostly swimming away from us LOL. After the snorkeling we went to San Pedro Island for a buffet lunch of chicken, rice and beans. There was also a cash bar. Fruit punch was free. We had a few hours to go shopping. This island is very expensive so we didn't buy a thing although we did stop for ice cream. The ride back to the ship was about 1 ½ hours. It was a very full day and we couldn't stop talking about how great it was. Entertainment: We went to most of the shows. The 2 shows by the Elation dancers were very good. Two of the comedians were very funny. Thomas brown was the best. The third comedian wasn't funny at all. The balancing act by Lubo was pretty good. There was also a variety show by a fellow who played the saxophone and harmonica. I didn't enjoy it too much but the "older" passengers seemed to enjoy it. Pictures: I swore I would not buy the "over priced" pictures before I went but I ended up spending about $200 on pictures. I bought formal portraits of me and my husband together and my sister and me. We ended up getting a portrait of all of us blown up to 16x20 on canvas for our mum. The formal portraits were totally worth it for me. I would never get the opportunity to dress up and get pictures taken with my sister who lives in another country. They had really nice backdrops and we went around and had tons done and bought the best. The portraits that we didn't buy were the silly ones they took out and about the ship. Like the pictures taken with a pirate as we were exiting the dining room one day or pictures with funship Freddie (who thinks up this stuff?). We had photo finishing done on the ship. The pictures turned out very good. The price isn't bad. It's $6.48 for 24 prints but be warned instead of being a few dollars more for double prints it is double the price. Disembarkation: We were a little late docking in Galveston and the immigration guards were a little late getting on board so they didn't start processing people until a little later. As a non-US citizen we went through immigration separately. It took about 30-40 minutes to go all through the line. The US passengers had a way longer line to go through. After we went through immigration we went to breakfast in the dining room. We had pink coloured tags and last to be called. We waited up on the Aft Lido deck behind Tiffanys. I took cards and we enjoyed our last few hours relaxing. There were crowds of people on the Promenade decks and around the Lido pool. We stayed away from the crowds. We ended up getting off the ship close to 11 am. It was a madhouse when we got out to the terminal. There were big lines waiting for shuttles and the traffic was very backed up. It was complicated by the fact that there was a biker convention on and many streets were closed. It took 45 minutes to wait for the shuttle to get back to the parking lot. EZ park only had 2 mini buses and 1 van going. Dolphin parking lot had big full size greyhound type buses so the line for the Dolphin lot moved way faster. Read Less
Sail Date September 2004
I travelled on the Elation with 3 other ladies out of Galveston on September 26th, 2004. We had two ladies to a cabin. We had an ocean view on the Riviera deck, next to the elevator. I thought there would be a lot of noise there due to the ... Read More
I travelled on the Elation with 3 other ladies out of Galveston on September 26th, 2004. We had two ladies to a cabin. We had an ocean view on the Riviera deck, next to the elevator. I thought there would be a lot of noise there due to the elevator and stairs, but we didn't hear a thing. I was a little concerned about the weather before we left, due to the hurricanes, but we had beautiful weather and smooth sailing the entire time. This was my 3rd cruise. I sailed on the Jubilee and the Celebration, both out of Galveston, before this. We parked our car at the Dolphin lot Sunday around 11 a.m., for a fee of $60 for the week. We got on the bus quickly, and we were taken to the pier for embarkation. Unfortunately, getting off the cruise and back to the car the next Sunday was not that easy. It was VERY hot, sunny, and humid when we came home, and we waited over an hour to get on the Dolphin shuttle to take us back to the parking lot. A lot of people had parked in that lot, so we were all trying to get back to it at the same time. I would suggest a bottle of water and an umbrella so you will at least have some shade while you wait. Oh, and a lot of patience! The ship was very clean. Our room steward, Germano, took very good care of us in our cabin. I had brought a small lunch box type cooler, and he kept it full of ice for us the whole time so we would keep the bottled water, sodas, and booze that we brought cold. The water on the ship tasted fine, so I would not have brought as much of that. As far as soda, I was glad I brought that since the unlimited soda cards they sell on the ship are $38.00 and its hard to get the bartenders to serve you once they know you have the card. People were actually stopping me and salivating as they asked me where I bought the bottle of soda. If your a soda addict like I am, take your own! Same with the booze; its a lot cheaper that way. The shore excursions were fun, except for Progresso. I had heard the shopping and city tour were not worth seeing, so we opted for the Corona Beach Break. They took us to the beach, but it was right next to a large bridge, so their was not much of a view right there. Plus, there was a sign up prohibiting swimming. You could go jet-skiing, or for a ride on a banana boat, but no swimming. That was a disappointment to me. They served chips, salsa, and guacamole, which were all good, but the drinks were very weak. The other problem I had was the vendors trying to sell you stuff. I have no problem if they set up booths so you can go look at the merchandise on your own, but I don't like people repeatedly walking by over and over again asking if you would like to buy anything while you are trying to have a conversation, read, or relax. In Cozumel, we did the Catamaran Sail, Snorkel, and Beach. It was a blast. We also did the Barrier Reef Snorkel in Belize, and that was also a blast. I liked the Barrier Reef Snorkel better; it was prettier and we saw more fish then we did in Cozumel. The entertainment on the ship was good. They had a good Reggae band at the pool, and a band called "Dirt Poets" played at night in the club. There was other entertainment, but those were the two I enjoyed the most. They also had a country music guy who was also pretty good. The comedian, Kenny Miller, was very funny. We went to the dining room every night for dinner. Rolando and Tina waited on us, and they were a lot of fun. The food was really good. Several nights I had several appetizers since they all looked so good, and the entrees were very tasty. For dessert we had Key Lime Pie, Baked Alaska, and several other tasty things. The buffet in Tiffany's was good for breakfast and lunch. I had omelets every single day for breakfast, and they were GOOD. The pizza was also very good. I had no complaints at all with the food, as my scale can tell you. I was 5 pounds heavier when I came home! I used the gym 3 or 4 times. They have a lot of good equipment in there as well as free weights. My only complaint was it was very warm in there, and they only had one oscillating fan going. I had a seaweed wrap and a massage one afternoon in the spa. I enjoyed the experience, but they try to sell you a lot of overpriced products afterwards, and I could have done without that. They also have two hot tubs, a dry sauna and a steam sauna up in the spa, and those were very nice and enjoyable. There were not a lot of kids on board, but the ones that were there were all behaved. One day, I was in a hot tub, and a lady got in with her 4 kids. It was about five minutes later when a security guard came over and told her she had to take them to the other hot tub, as the one they were in was for ages 18 and older. Later on I saw another family with two small children in the hot tub, and they were also told to go to the other one. They had one little girl in their lap, and one just sitting in between them, being very good. I was glad though, that there is a hot tub for the kids to go to, and that the 18 and older rule was being enforced. It was an awesome cruise, and I highly recommend it. I ran into a lady that said she took the 7 day Norwegian cruise last year, and she said it was a lot better then the Elation. She said the staff was friendlier, and there were a lot more activities. She said she was bored on the Elation. I like to relax, so I was not bored, but I think we will try the Norwegian next year for something different. Happy Cruising!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2004
Well I have been on a total of 5 cruises. I have always been very bleary to try Carnival Cruises. I have always heard they are very wild and everyone drinks too much and things get very out of hand. Well at the urging of my travel agent I ... Read More
Well I have been on a total of 5 cruises. I have always been very bleary to try Carnival Cruises. I have always heard they are very wild and everyone drinks too much and things get very out of hand. Well at the urging of my travel agent I decided to give the Elation a try. Let me tell you this was one of the best cruises I have been on. We loved every minute of it. We had a blast. I will go on a Carnival Cruise again. Of course when we got there we encountered a lot of madness, traffic etc but what do you expect 2,000 people are trying to board at the same time you are. Hello! The lines were long and it seemed like we were in line forever and when it finally came to our turn the Carnival people were so amazingly nice and friendly. I mean no matter what cruise you take waiting to board is a given. So just get over it if lines bother you. The cruise is worth the wait. We boarded and we were starved so up we went to eat. The food was delicious from day one to the end. We ate breakfast and lunch at Tiffanys and dinner always in the main dinning room. The food was excellent and if we didn't like it or it was not what we wanted they would take it away and bring you something else always with a smile. It was never a problem. They called us by our names after the first meeting. They were the greatest! Now as far as our room steward he never met us never came in to our cabin which I found unusual. He did a great job of keeping our room spic and span and cleaning it right after we left for breakfast but I really have no idea who he was. A few times someone did say Hello in the hallways so I assumed it was him. That bothered me at first but I cannot say anything bad about him. We never did room service. As far as the port were concerned I had heard that they were not the greatest. Well ok Progresso we shopped took a city tour once we went to the market to shop and walked along the beach and drank some Mexican beer which is great I might add. We enjoyed it but went back to the boat to eat and rest. Those cold towels they give out when you return are wonderful!! Cozumel we did the Passion Island excursion we really enjoyed it the guide was wonderful and waited on you hand and foot. Then we were dropped off at the end of town to do our shopping. It was great. Belize was Ok too. Actually we didn't do any excursions did a little shopping and went to the boat for our meals. I was very impressed with the Carnival staff they were all so friendly and helpful all the time. From the minute we boarded till the time we stepped off the boat. I will never again think twice about going on Carnival. The entertainment was Ok some of it not to my taste but they have to make everyone happy! Good Job Carnival Keep up the Good work. Only one complaint -- make all the smokers go outside and smoke. The lounges were so smokey I could not stand to go in them. Read Less
Sail Date September 2004
I found this cruise for a really good rate and 3 friends and I booked 2 small inside cabins (the ones with 1 upper and 1 lower). Day 1-We flew into Houston a day ahead of time, picked up our 1 way rental car, and stayed at the Wyndham ... Read More
I found this cruise for a really good rate and 3 friends and I booked 2 small inside cabins (the ones with 1 upper and 1 lower). Day 1-We flew into Houston a day ahead of time, picked up our 1 way rental car, and stayed at the Wyndham Greenspoint (booked through Priceline). Hotel was nice, close to restaurants/mall, served it's purpose well. Day 2-We drove to the Enterprise rental office in Galveston to return our car. We were told that they were really busy and the shuttle may be a while to take us to the ship. One of the agents ended up having us load our luggage back into the SUV and took us to the ship himself. The embarkation went very smooth. One of my friends needed a wheelchair, so we ended up bypassing the lines and went right to the front and then onto the ship. The ship was beautiful and our cabin was about what I expected. Small, 1 upper bed , 1 lower bed, corner table, small vanity with drawers on the side, small closet for hanging items (bring extra hangers!), and other side with shelves and safe. Bathroom was fine, shower was actually a good size with nice shower head and HOT water. We had main seating in the Imagination dining room with great waiters and fun tablemates, including surrounding tables. Carnival has started this new thing where all dining rooms are divided into 3 colors (red, white, blue) and teams earn points throughout the week by participating in various activities. We were the blue section and had a great time promoting our team. Food was very good, overall better than I had on last cruise on the Diamond Princess. Day 2-At sea. Just enjoyed the ship, participated in activities and added to the bar bill! Day 3-Progresso, Yucatan. 3 of us did the "Merida City and Shopping Tour." It was a pretty city and the tour operators were interesting, kept an eye on everyone and spoke good english. Shopping opportunities were few and overpriced, so we didn't buy much. Day 4-Cozumel, Mexico. 3 of us spent a couple hours shopping and dealing with a credit card issue. Credit card company blocked card usage when it showed it was being used in Mexico. Just a warning, let your credit card company know you are leaving the country and get a phone number that can be called internationally in case of any problems! We then went to Paradise Beach to spend the rest of the day. Had quite a few drinks, did some snorkeling, layed in the sun and ate some of the best nacho's I have ever had! Just sorry the credit card thing took up so much time, would have loved to stay longer. Day 5-Belize City, Belize. 2 of us went on the "Coral Breeze Shark/Ray Alley" snorkel trip. Tendered from ship to meet Coral Breeze representative, had about 30 minutes to shop before tour left at 10:00. 45 minute boat ride to Caye Caulker to drop off lunch orders and bathroom break. Short boat ride to "Alley" to snorkel with rays (sharks swam off when we entered the water). Then another short boat ride to "Coral Gardens" to snorkel a trail through the coral canyons. The water was choppy and the current was strong so many people in our tour decided to stay on the boat. I didn't really enjoy this part of the trip because it felt like a fast power swim without time to enjoy what was around us. It would probably be a lot more enjoyable if the water had been calmer and we hadn't been so rushed. We had now worked up quite an appetite and headed back to the island for lunch. We arrived back in Belize City 45 minutes before the last tender, but were too tired to do any more shopping! Day 6 & 7- Days at sea. Sleep in, eat, sunbathe, drink, eat, activities, drink, eat, you get the picture! Desembarkation- Getting off the ship wasn't too bad, just sad! Unfortunately, we had real issues with Enterprise rent-a-car. We waited over an hour in the hot sun for a shuttle to pick us up. They had a very nice representative in front of the terminal to meet us, but the shuttles kept driving pass the Elation and over to the RCCL ship next door. After quite a few phone calls, the rep eventually got one to stop and packed us in standing room only for the ride to the office. We had reserved a premium class car that was supposed to hold 6 people and 5 large pieces of luggage. We ended up with a Mitsubishi Galant the barely held 4 people and we had suitcases beside us and on our laps. The parking lot at Enterprise was full of SUV's, Cadillac's, and minivan's, but they didn't even offer us an alternative. We saved about $20 each by renting a car, but a shuttle would of been so much easier and lot's less stress! Most of the staff was awesome. Cruise director was good at her job and you could tell she actually enjoyed it. She even had a "meet and greet session" the last day of the cruise where she answered every question we threw at her! Dining room staff was impeccable. Our waiter Aleksander and assistant Camilla were friendly, entertaining, and went above and beyond. They knew our names and preferences from day 1, were always right there when needed and usually before you knew you needed them!!! My only real staff complaint was our room steward. It often took him quite a while to clean our room (had breakfast, played trivia and room still hadn't been cleaned up), often forgot to replace beach towels, and never picked up room service forms one morning. Also was hard to get a hold of him to correct the problems. Luckily they have towels available at the pool. He did make cute towel animals though! Entertainment- We enjoyed the shows and the first comedian, but didn't really enjoy the balancing act or the second 2 comedians. I didn't make it to the talent show, but heard it was GREAT. We participated in quite a few of the onboard activities including dance lessons, trivia, game shows, I was even on stage the first night sticking a spoon up and down my dress! We also bought one of the auctioned race horses the first night and carried her with us around the ship (she looked lovely in her beaded gown on formal night!). By participating in activities, we met lots of great people and totally enjoyed the "Fun Ship" experience. We are all looking forward to the next one! Read Less
Sail Date August 2004
Just got off the ship, so wanted to give my review while its fresh in my mind. This is my third cruise, first with Carnival, and first with my family. I did my other 2 so many years ago, that its hard to remember for comparison. We [me ... Read More
Just got off the ship, so wanted to give my review while its fresh in my mind. This is my third cruise, first with Carnival, and first with my family. I did my other 2 so many years ago, that its hard to remember for comparison. We [me (38), husband (42) kids (7 and 7)] flew into Houston Hobby the nite before, rented a car, and stayed in a motel right by the airport, which proved to be a good decision. We got up the next morning, ate our complementary hotel breakfast, and headed down the single highway 45 minute drive to Galveston. Very Easy Drive. Had a little time left over, so went to see the seawall in Galveston. I have never been to Galveston, so I appreciated a little time to check it out. First complaint: returning car at Enterprise in Galveston. Now I shouldn't complain, as the rates were very low, but they have one shuttle that holds no more than 10 people, and a sea of people waiting to get from the agency down to the ship terminal. The staff at Enterprise was very nice, however, and took some people over in their large cars. They said they go through this every Sunday, which proved to be the similar case on the way home. We got to Enterprise around 12:15, and the ship by 1:45. Desembarkation: Hard for me to comment because dear husband is a Canadian citizen, and therefore, went to the "Non-U.S. Citizen" line, which was empty, walked right up to a check in person, and was on in less than 5 minutes. We received our luggage around 5 p.m. that night, so I thought that went smoothly. Plus all that I smuggled on board came right to our cabin, so no complaints there. Muster drill: Was very smooth. I read somewhere to bring bottled water, but we met in Cole Porter Lounge and just sat quietly in an air conditioned room. We were supposed to meet our cruise critic group right after, but only found one person. So if you arrange something like this, make sure you know what some one looks like or bring signs. Room Steward: Great! He really kept the room cleaned, did so very quickly, kept our cooler full of ice, and made great towel animals that my kids loved. Pool: TOO SMALL!!! The slide was pretty fun, but the line was slow. The pool was always too crowded to swim. The jacuzzi, full of kids. Plenty of chairs in the sun, although I prefer shade, which was minimal, but may have been the only shade person on board, so that always worked out. Food: I give it a B+. We always ate dinner in the Inspiration Room, and most of the dishes were good, and the desserts were average. I think by the time you get in your fourth or fifth day, you have just eaten too much, and no food is appealing anymore. We only ate one lunch and one breakfast in the dining room, and didn't care too much for either. Tiffany's had good lunches, average breakfasts, but many choices. Pizza was good and their Caesar salad was really good. They kept running out of coffee at breakfast, which was a bit annoying. But you could go to the pool area right outside and get a cup. The poolside food was good too, if you want really casual food and good fries. One note: We had the early dinner 5:45 seating. Didn't care too much for it cuz we'd have to start getting ready by 5, and miss all the evening activities, or rush after coming in from port. I kept it only cuz my kids ate with the camp at the same time, but would've preferred either the 6:15 seating in the other room, or the 8:00 p.m. seating. 8:30 for us would be too late. Wait staff: Really enjoyed our waiter and head waiter. Nice guys. We were also seated in a table for 4, with just ourselves. Personally, I would have preferred a table with more people to meet, but with kids 3 nights, I think we did others a favor. Dear husband preferred just us alone, so he won. The staff at Tiffany's was always nice and helpful. The maitre'd--never saw him...that is until the last night when he was accepting tips. Big sore spot with me!!! Drinks: Mixed drinks were good. I tried to stay with the special for the day in order to keep the bill down. Good selection of beer. No one ordered a soda, so can't comment on that. Kids Camp: kudos to the kids camp!!!! My 7 year olds really enjoyed themselves at the camp. The counselors kept them entertained, and wanting to come back. The facilities were very nice. They ate dinner with the camp 4 nites, which gave husband and I some time to ourselves. I compliment the staff of the kids camp. However, I think that those kids over 10 did not spend much time in the camp cuz I kept seeing them running around all over the ship, which I will comment on later. Fitness room: Nice, large, lots of equipment. All the machines in good working order and never too crowded. Just DO NOT go there in sandals, because they will make you go back and get gym shoes. No getting away with that, even to just lift weights. Didn't use the spa, so cannot comment on spa stuff. Cabin: We had a 6D, upgraded from a 6A, ocean view, unobstructed, and cannot complain about the room. We fit a family of 4 in just fine, and the beds for the kids came down and was put back up by the steward. Didn't like my neighbors, however. One group smoked somewhere, cuz our halls and my room smelled, and the neighbors on either side of us had kids in the 10-13 age range that were screaming up and down the halls, slamming doors late at night. I even went out at one point and yelled at them. It worked for a minute. Luckily I brought earplugs, so I got some sleep. Elevators: OK. Most worked just fine, a little slow, but what do you expect. HOWEVER, the aft elevators over by the back dining rooms would not stop at floor 7. I kid you not, I would hold down the up button and watch each elevator as it went from 6 to 7 to 8 without stopping. I don't think we took it at all unless someone was getting off at our floor. Overall staff: I only saw or met very friendly staff. Risa, the cruise director was good, and her assistant, the English (or Irish) girl (can't remember her name) was very funny. Didn't care for Mike's voice, esp. at the pool during the survivor game. Two hours of listening to him never stop yelling in the mike gave us such a headache. The picture people were ok, some better than others. Entertainment: C-. Did not like the L.V. Review show the first formal night, comedians were ok. Must say I really didn't stay around for the other shows. Karoke never got much of a following and I felt sorry for the karoke director cuz she was the only one I saw singing. I heard she was new. I really liked the "Dirt Poets" which were a rock band that played in the R&J lounge. Didn't really listen to the Orchestra, sorry. And we liked the pool band, even though I read a lot of comments otherwise. Activities: B-. Now I know you are on a cruise ship, so its hard to keep things lively, but too much Bingo!!! I liked some of the games they played in the Mikado lounge, but didn't care for a lot of the activities going on around the pool. I guess if you like games, you will enjoy that part. Only gambled a little and lost everytime, but watched a guy win $475 at craps the last night, so that was exciting. I liked the art auctions, even though I never purchased any. It seemed like they had good deals on the art. Auctioneer, however, ANNOYING! Shore excursions: Did everything on our own so can't comment. We took a 20 minute taxi ride in Progresso to Dzibilichun, which I still cannot pronounce, but found it very intesting. They have a museum that is air conditioned, and some ruins that are not as grandiose as Chitchen-Itza. We didn't do it, but if you go, you really should purchase a guide. We took our kids, so going on our own, and quickly, was a good way for us. We stopped at the beach before getting back on the ship, and I must say I heard so many bad reviews of the beach in Progresso, that I was surprised at how nice they were. The were typical of any Mexican beach, but much cleaner. Yes, you were approached by people selling stuff, but hey, that is Mexico. By the way, if you are going to shop, do it here. Its much cheaper. In Cozumel we rented a car and went to several beaches, including Dzul Ha for snorkeling and Paradise for the trampoline. The ocean water is so clear and the snorkeling fantastic. Best part of Paradise was going next door to S.F. to use their fresh water pool. All we did was buy a few drinks and they did not bat an eye. We also drove around the entire island to check out the other side. One comment: If you rent a car, be sure you know which dock you are coming in at, cuz there are two docks, at least 2 miles apart, and we had our car at the wrong dock. Belize, we went on the Coralbreeze snorkeling tour. Loved swimming with the sharks and stingrays. And loved Caye Caulker. Didn't have enough time there however. Tender process was much better than I expected, and wished I hadn't stressed over getting up early to get a tender ticket. We got off and waited for the rest of the tour group, so we might as well have stayed on and slept in. Getting tender back was just as easy, and we made it back in plenty of time. Two days at sea: Too long, sorry. Although I enjoyed the whole experience, I would have preferred more ports, and less time on the ship. Freebies: Not many, so let me fill you in on what I know. Meeting the captain party on formal night. Make sure you go cuz they hand out free drinks. And several of the art auctions had free champagne. And good prices on art if you are into that. Wine and cheese party had good wine prices, and there is bloody mary's for cheap from 9-11 most mornings. There is always the special of the day, and if you don't get the souvenir glass, its very reasonable. My kids did not get the soda card, so they just drank juice, lemonade and punch. My kids love to complain, but never mentioned anything about not having a soda card so that worked out fine. I also read somewhere that kids can have a soda for free at dinner, but we never asked. We brought sodas in our cooler, so they drank those when they came to the room. Also brought bottled water, which I highly recommend, and a lot! You will need it for the ports. Desembarkation. Again, we went with dear husband to go through customs early with non-U.S. citizens, which flowed well. If I had to do it again, I'd sleep in, and be the last to go through customs, cuz the line was always long, and everyone ended up getting off about the same time. Back to the car rental: Enterprise was sending half its customers on the shuttle back to the agency, and the other half to walk across the street and get your car in a parking lot. I did the latter, then went back to get the family and luggage, which was tough trying to get back to the dock. Very crowded. But we got out in plenty of time to make our flight. I guess I cannot complain too much about Enterprise except they need to have all their staff come in on Sundays and get another shuttle! Overall, I'd give the ship a B+ and my experience an A-. Read Less
Sail Date August 2004
We arrived in Galveston VERY early, thanks to the men with us. They were too excited to sleep, so we drove down in the middle of the night. On this trip, it was me, my s.o., dd, and her bf. (hope I have those abbreviations correct!) We met ... Read More
We arrived in Galveston VERY early, thanks to the men with us. They were too excited to sleep, so we drove down in the middle of the night. On this trip, it was me, my s.o., dd, and her bf. (hope I have those abbreviations correct!) We met my sis and her family for breakfast-they were vacationing there-rode the ferry, went to Wal-Mart ( of course, can't go on vacation without going to wally-world!), and finally it was TIME! Found the E-Z cruise parking lot without problems. The only problem we had then, was they were busy or didn't have enough shuttles, or something, because we had to wait about 45min in the heat and humidity. We finally made it to the ship. Going through security was quick, check-in was another matter. We were not asked about fun pass(they were done!), just pointed to a line to wait in. Of course, this was the slow one. Anyway, we finally checked in and made our way to our room-R230. In the dungeon at the back! We were very impressed with the size, all 4 of us in an inside room, and it wasn't too bad! The decor could sure use some upgrading though, kinda Motel-6 shabby. The bathroom size was more than adequate, the storage was great. I am glad we brought the over door shoe rack thingy and the power strip. One hint-bring your own pillows! The ones we had were flat and hard. The ship-very pretty. This was our second cruise, the first being on the Rhapsody 2yrs ago. I liked the decor of the Rhapsody better, and getting around was much easier. On the Elation, there didn't seem to be any thoroughfares, you always had to go up, down, or around to get anywhere. The Food-Tiffany's was great, never long lines, but we usually weren't there at peak times. The pizza is the best! Inspiration dining room, second seating-service was outstanding, they have the Rhapsody beat! The food was delicious and well presented. The only thing we weren't thrilled with was the lobster, since when do you need a steak knife to cut lobster? My s.o. and dd's bf ate breakfast once in there, said the food was cold, so they opted to go to Tiffany's for all their other breakfasts. I, on the other hand, opted for room service every morning. Very quick, fair selection, and great coffee! Activities-now here is where there could be room for improvement. The few deck-side games I saw were limited in participation, like 3 couples for the balloon toss, etc. And they were pretty sparse. Survivor at Sea-out of 3000 people on the ship, they chose only 12. Need more activities that more can participate in. However, never had a problem getting a deck chair, didn't see any "saving" of seats, and not too terribly crowded. Were TONS of kids, more on that later. AND-the pool band is not as bad as everyone has been saying! It was so nice to just lay around, have a foo-foo drink and relax. We only booked one shore tour through the ship, Barrier Reef snorkel in Belize. Had to wait about 30 min in line on Monday afternoon, was only one person working the excursion desk. Shopping on board-typical cruise ship stuff, but they did have one section of the store that everything was $10, pretty neat. Did the free facial demonstration, hair demonstration, and galley tour. The galley tour was great, when we got in the Mikado lounge to wait for it, I thought, "how in the world are all these people gonna go through that kitchen?" But it was fine, and very interesting. After that, they had a napkin folding demonstration, and had all the towel critters on display. Ports-Progresso was so much more fun than I anticipated after reading things on these boards. We went on the $2 tram ride through town. Then went exploring. Found the local market, complete with chickens hanging from the rafters, fish being cut up, the smells, the flies, and the occasional dog wandering through! Then...we found the "2 coronas and beer lanyard for a $1"! YEAH! And walked along the beach, it was VERY pretty and clean. Didn't get in the water, kinda like Galveston's. Went shopping, have the best bargains here. The surprise of the day was when we made it back to the pier, there was a party going on! Had the drum band from the beach there, and beer and tequila shots. It was a hoot! Cozumel-Taxied to Chankanaab park for SNUBA and snorkel. SNUBA was $50p/p, I don't know what snorkel was, I had my own mask and snorkel, rented a vest and fins for $8. It would have been perfect, but a storm blew in and the water got choppy and dark. The park is gorgeous. Had guacamole and chips and beer at the snack bar. Then went to Senor Frogs-kids' idea, not mine-but had a ball. Wish we had time to go to Paradise Beach . Belize-the highlight of the trip. Did the Barrier Reef snorkel tour in the afternoon. Thought it was gonna be jammed packed, but it wasn't. The ride out to the reef is supposed to take 45min, but it didn't seem like it. The water was crystal clear, beautiful coral and fish. I never even made it to the island! They had kayaks you could use if you wanted to. The ride back was even better, rum punch with real rum in it, not watered down. That morning, we took a tender to Belize city, beautiful people there. They met us with flowers! Did some shopping, got handmade baskets and a hand carved shark. I would have liked more time to explore here. TIP-you set your clock BACK 1hr the night before. Shows-didn't go, but dd and bf did. Loved the Vegas show, and the "R" rated comedian afterwards! Casino-2nd highlight of my trip, because I won enough on the last night to pay for my s/s card! Also, placed 3rd in the blackjack tournament! Kids-This ship needs a curfew!!! Rhapsody had one 2yrs ago, my daughter will attest to that! There were kids running wild at all hours. Saw a group literally jumping on and over the furniture in the Cole Porter lounge at 1AM! And another group playing soccer in the lobby where the elevators are on our deck. Also, need someone to ENFORCE the "adults only" hot tub, pool, and shows! Disembarkation-Painless, except it meant we had to leave. All in all, we had a great time, but don't know if we would sail this ship again, especially when school is out! Read Less
Sail Date July 2004
We loved our Elation Cruise. This was our first (hopefully of many) cruise. Our only true disappointment was how many kids were on board. We were on our honeymoon (leaving my 8 year old w/grandma) and were surprised how many kids there ... Read More
We loved our Elation Cruise. This was our first (hopefully of many) cruise. Our only true disappointment was how many kids were on board. We were on our honeymoon (leaving my 8 year old w/grandma) and were surprised how many kids there were, most without parental supervision. If we take a cruise again, it will be while school is in session!!! We parked at EZ Cruise Parking (http://www.ezcruiseparking.com/) and this seemed to be a very smart idea. Not only was it cheaper than other places, it also had shorter lines getting to and from the ship. You can go online and register and make sure you get good directions. We did have a little trouble finding it. There were so many people on the streets with parking signs. The first day/night was a little rocky but smoothed out the next day. It was also a little rocky on our last night but not too bad. Neither of us ever felt sick. One of our favorite experiences was dinner. We ate in the dining room every night. Andrea and Antonio were our servers and they were EXCELLENT. Andrea was so sweet and took such good care of us. We were seated with 2 other young couples who were very enjoyable. The food was great and so plentiful! My favorite dish of all was the clam chowder served at Tiffany's for lunch. Speaking of which, they changed their cuisine everyday, even though we didn't always make it to lunch. If we missed lunch, they made hamburgers & fries (yummy!) later and there was always the pizza which was pretty good. Sushi was good too. Breakfast we usually ate from the buffet. On the first and last days we ate in the dinning room. It seemed to be the smart idea for the last day. Everyone outside the dining room seemed to be in a frenzy but the dining room was very relaxed. Our room was great. Even though we had one of the cheaper rooms with a ocean view, we loved it. Our room steward wasn't seen much but our room was always cleaned and sheets turned down with chocolates each night. We went to Chichen Itza in Progresso - LOVED IT! I had read that the sack lunch was terrible, but after a long day of walking, we found it pretty tasty. We also enjoyed the $2 beers on the way home. We had great tour guides and the bus was very nice! In Cozumel, we took a cab on our own to downtown for $6 and booked a snorkel trip for $60 (for 2) with one of the guys on the street. We were very nervous about this but it was a great time. Even though they told us we would see 3 reefs, we never left sight of the Elation. But this was our first time and it was a great experience. Again, we had great tour guides; and free beer on this trip! When we were done, we did a little shopping in town and then walked about 1 1/2 miles back to the dock. We ate at Pancho's Backyard - which we'd heard lots of raves about. We spent about $40 on this Mexican-American meal. Do not eat here if you want a true Mexican meal. By the way, a guy took our picture under water while we were snorkeling. When we got off the boat, he tried to sell us this 5x7 picture for $20. When we told him we weren't interested, he sold it to us for $5. In Belize, we took the cave rafting tour. WONDERFUL. With the exception of the air conditioner not working in our bus (it was about a 1 hour drive) we had a blast. We had a wonderful Belizian meal at a restaurant in the middle of no-where, that was owned by a retired Canadian woman. Again we had great tour guides. There weren't any bugs - one of my biggest worries - because the bats in the caves eat the bugs. The caves are in the jungle and the area is just amazing. I've read a lot about the photographers being in your face but we never saw any of that. There is plenty of opportunity to have your picture taken but almost always by choice. The 8x10s (most of the nice pictures) are $20 each and they do not discount them on the last day. We had a lot of fun taking pictures but hated that they were so expensive. We didn't do much on the ship. We went to one of the comedy shows and one of the music shows. Both were good. It seemed like a lot of the activities were geared towards all the kids, which was fine. They did have several good movies on while we were on board. We took cards and played a lot on the Lido deck. embarkation was great. We had absolutely no problems getting off the ship. Our wait for the shuttle back to parking was about 1/16th the wait of the other lines. Overall, we had the most fun we've ever had. We are looking forward to our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2004
We booked our 4rd cruise on the Carnival Elation July 18-25, 2004, and had a BLAST!! Here is our Review! (Galveston, fun day at sea, Progresso, Cozumel, Belize, fun day at sea, fun day at sea, Galveston). Boarding: On Sunday morning ... Read More
We booked our 4rd cruise on the Carnival Elation July 18-25, 2004, and had a BLAST!! Here is our Review! (Galveston, fun day at sea, Progresso, Cozumel, Belize, fun day at sea, fun day at sea, Galveston). Boarding: On Sunday morning really early we woke up, got ready and left for Galveston. We got in Galveston around 9:00 and had to wait in a little waiting room until the customs opened for us to go in. Finally after waiting we got to go through all the customs and get our s/s card etc.! After a little bit more waiting, it is now about 12:55, this guy told us how we were going to board and all. First look at inside of the Elation: When we walked in our first look was at the big Atrium!! With the Atrium Bar and the grand staircase with glass elevators it was just breathtaking!!!!! Also the ship smelled clean! Cabin: Our cabin was a little bit lower than what we normally book, but we were very much pleased with it! We had cabin numbers R170 and R182 on the Riviera deck!! We actually liked the lower deck! The only thing about it we did not like was that for the safety drill we had to climb 9 flights of stairs because they would not let us use the elevators! The rooms are also quite big! And in the window you can sit in it..our girls like to do that!! Food Tiffanys: Tiffanys is located on the Lido deck the 10th deck where the pool is. They serve hamburgers, hot dogs and different country foods, etc. But something that you should not miss is the Pizza!! It's very yummy!! Dinning room: We ate in the early Inspiration dining room. First we had waiters Joel and Rita but we had to change tables and got Henry and Nicholae! They were all the best!! In the dining room that's where the best food is!! They have a prime rib to die for! There are so many different good things to get in the formal dining room that I can't name all of them!!! The day you set sail they do not do this but the very first full day you have been on the ship the waiters sing and dance (and you can dance with them)! Its really fun!! My 4 year old just had a ball!!! Activities to do: The day you set sail there is a sail away party where you play games and learn a dance...its fun!! And also throughout the cruise the ship dancers teach you different dances such as the Austin Powers dance, how to Salsa dance and tons more!! Some other activities are the men's harry chest comp., Fun Ship Survivor, passenger talent show, Not so Newly Wed game (VERY FUNNY!!), Karaoke, disco, etc.!! Ports of call: Well..we went to Progresso, Cozumel and we were supposed to go to Belize but did not get to get to get off the ship because of the transportation strike!!:(..but the caption said over the speaker and said that they were going to make the day we were supposed to be in Belize a fun day at sea and then the next day be in Playa del Carmen! Progresso: In Progresso we did not go to town because we did not want to ride the bus all the way! But instead right where the bus waiting place is there are these little shops that you can go and shop!! Very clean and it's just enough if you do not want to ride the bus!! Cozumel: This was our 3rd time in Cozumel! Its great! When we docked there were two other Carnival Ships there..The Carnival Fascination and Glory. After we docked three other ships docked, the Disney Magic right beside us (when they docked the Disney horn was "When you wish upon a star!!), the Celebrity Century and the Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the seas! Cozumel was loaded with ships!!We went to Playa Mia Beach (the old Playa del Sol beach)! We had a good time there but it was just WAY WAY WAY TO HOT!!! So then we left back for the ship! Belize: Well can't say much about Belize because of the strike..But I know it would have been fun!! Playa del Carmen: Instead of Belize we went to Playa del Carmen, which was the prettiest town ever!! The only thing that we did not like were the big tenders!!They are soooo much different from the ones that were in Belize!! In Playa del Carmen we just walked around the beautiful town!!! Galveston: On Sunday morning we were SICK!!! We had to get off :(!! That was the worst part of the cruise!!! Ughhh!! But now we are getting ready for our next cruise on the Carnival Ecstasy 11-11-04!! CAN'T WAIT!!! Thanks!! If you have any questions about the Elation just ask!!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2004
The Elation was our first cruise, but definitely won't be our last! My wife and our 2 children (15 and 10) all had a wonderful time. We selected the Elation, as I believe most Texans do, because it's based in Galveston which is ... Read More
The Elation was our first cruise, but definitely won't be our last! My wife and our 2 children (15 and 10) all had a wonderful time. We selected the Elation, as I believe most Texans do, because it's based in Galveston which is a short drive from our home in San Antonio. We used the "Dolphin" parking lot and had no problems. They took us and our luggage right to the terminal and were there waiting to take us back to the parking lot when we returned. The boarding process was about what I expected. We got to the terminal about 1 pm and waited about 15 minutes to get through security and another 30 minutes to get checked in, even though we were using Fast Pass. Still, 45 minutes was tolerable and got us onboard in plenty time to explore the ship a little before departure time. At 2:30 pm, one of the social hosts, Jen, took a group on a quick tour of the ship with information that was invaluable to newbies like us. Our two oceanview rooms on the upper deck were very nice. Much larger than I expected and really bigger than we needed considering how little time we actually spent in the cabin! Everything was comfortable. My only criticism was that our cabins were all the way forward, where the first several cabins have two small, round, recessed port holes rather than the large square windows that other cabins have. Yes, we did see the water stains on the carpet that other cruise critics have mentioned, but did not find them horrible. They almost looked like they were part of the carpet design. Other than that, everything seemed new, clean, and in excellent condition. Summary: the Elation is a very nice ship. We took advantage of the Shore Excursions offered by Carnival, even though I believe you can save a considerable amount of money making your own arrangements via the internet or at each port as you arrive. For us, the security of knowing the ship would not leave us if we were part of a shore excursion connected to Carnival was worth the extra cost. In Progresso, we went on the Merida City Tour/Shopping trip. It seemed like a middle of the road excursion compared to the long tours to the Mayan ruins. Our guide provided a good tour onboard a comfortable bus. Our kids, never having been exposed to a relatively poor area such as Progresso/Merida City, were a little unnerved by all the pan handlers constantly trying to get us to buy something at the various shopping stops. Overall, it was a nice tour. Progresso isn't a great snorkeling or shopping destination, but I understand Carnival started stopping there because it is closer to the Mayan ruins than other ports. We heard all the preaching about being back on the boat 30 minutes before departure time and took it seriously, getting back onboard an hour early. Sure enough, within one minute of scheduled departure time, the door was quickly closed and the Elation headed for Cozumel! In Cozumel, we did "Snuba" in the morning. My 10 year son describes this as the "greatest thing he's ever done in his life!" What more can you say than that?! In the afternoon, we struggled to shop as the main street is torn up for sewer/drain work. Based on the pace of work I observed, it will be a mess for a long time. Be careful! Open or poorly covered open troughs abound... Along the way to Belize, we started swaying noticeably due to 6-8' swells. At this point I admitted to being wrong for mentally laughing at everyone that had sported dramamine patches behind their ears back in Galveston. But after one dose, I didn't notice the gentle movement anymore. In Belize, we went on a snorkel adventure to Geoff's Caye. If you take this excursion, DEFINITELY take the option to snorkel off the speed boat a few hundred feet from the island. The coral reefs and sealife are spectacular out there! Don't count on great shopping in Belize. There are several "tourist" shops on the pier, but this port is seems best enjoyed for the snorkeling and water activities. We ate dinner in the Inspiration dining room, and were thoroughly impressed by the food and the staff. Our head waiter, "Excel" was great and every dinner was wonderful. Our kids were reluctant to sign up for Camp Carnival the first day, but quickly admitted they were glad I'd pushed them into it. Meeting kids their own ages and joining them for activities literally made them "happy campers" and let mom and dad enjoy the cruise without having to constantly attend to the kids. My daughter is still emailing a group of friends she made. My only criticism of Camp Carnival is that the activities aren't really targeted for the older kids in the 9-12 yr old group. Food in Tiffany's was very good and the kids loved the 24 hour pizza bar! Entertainment was really good. We looked forward to the big show in the Mikado Lounge every evening. Resa, the cruise Director for the next 3 months, and the social hosts, Jen, Mike, and Darren were all fabulous. They had us smiling and laughing the whole week :-) The disembarkation process took a few hours, but getting a few thousand people off the ship was relatively smooth. We docked at 8:00 am and were back to our car by 10:45. Groups were called in an order established by the color of luggage tags. Until our color was called, we sat on the Lido deck enjoying our last breakfast from Tiffany's. After a great week onboard the Elation, why hurry to get off?! As I said, this was our first cruise ever, but definitely won't be our last. We're already looking at options for taking another cruise next year, most likely onboard a Carnival Cruise Line ship! Thanks for a great 2004 vacation Carnival! Read Less
Sail Date June 2004
We drove into Galveston on Saturday and spent the afternoon driving around the island and walking downtown looking at the lovely homes. It was a very pretty little town and we would like to have had more time to explore, we plan to go ... Read More
We drove into Galveston on Saturday and spent the afternoon driving around the island and walking downtown looking at the lovely homes. It was a very pretty little town and we would like to have had more time to explore, we plan to go back. We drove in via Bolivar Island and it was quite a sight with pasture on one side and beautiful, undeveloped beachfront on the other...nice. We left early for the port, around 10:30 am because, quite simply, we were so excited. The porters were friendly and helpful and before we knew it we were checked in (by friendly, efficient staff) and awaiting the time to board. The waiting area was neat, clean, cool and comfortable. The staff were very professional and patient. There were 2 wedding parties on this cruise, they took priority and were allowed to board first. Then it was our turn. We took our pictures with a tropical background and were off! My husband, 13 y/o daughter and 15y/o son were all so happy to finally be on our first cruise. We went to our cabin, which was ready (the time by then was around 12 or 12:30 pm). Put up our carry-on items and headed to the Lido deck for a buffet lunch, which was very good. Back in our cabins we didn't even know we had left port until my daughter ran in and told us, so we went back up and watched as we sailed out into the Gulf. Dinner the first night was fried shrimp for my daughter and myself, steak for my son and husband...all very tasty. The first full day at sea was full of activities...we went to the champagne art auction, BINGO, Survivor at Sea and relaxed by the pool on the aft deck. We enjoyed this area because it was quieter and more relaxing than on the Lido deck. I took a tongue-lashing for a question I posted on this site a few weeks back, a question I still think was valid concerning the dining room at night and the atmosphere. Well, anyone out there with teens who reads this, let me tell you my kids enjoyed dinner more than anything on the ship. They had new clothes for the formal nights and really enjoyed looking good and being treated very nicely by Carnival's staff. We were seated with a family from our home state with children of about the same ages as our own. Our conversations were lively and fun, everyone contributed and it was great. Our wait staff, Elisio and Mario, were absolute gems. Service was warm and with a smile, always. My daughter claims the chocolate souffle was the best experience she's ever had on vacation and has had dreams about it since! Seriously, though, the steaks, we found, were the best items we had as entrees and most everything we tried was tasty and beautifully prepared. We especially enjoyed desserts such as the baked Alaska and cheesecake. We toured Chichen Itza while docked in Progresso. We opted for Carnival's tour r/t the distance involved. We were off the ship, on the tour bus and on our way by around 8 am. The buses were comfy and our tour guide, Senor Juan, was GREAT. He gave us a 2 hour history lesson full of interesting tidbits that made the drive fly by. The pride he felt about his heritage was obvious and my children benefited greatly from this experience. The ruins were impressive, I didn't climb the El Castillo, but the others did and claim it's the "high" light of the trip. Wear tennis shoes and wear a sun visor or cap. It's hot, but no bugs. Great tour, lovely guides, great lesson for children on other cultures. We would do it again. I'm sorry that I can't review Carnival's nightlife...we were boring and just wanted to relax. After dinner we usually walked around on deck enjoying the stars, shopped a little, then headed to our cabins where we played Trivial Pursuit that we borrowed from the Mark Twain Library or read. The beds were soft and the rooms cozy...we all had new books we were enjoying...so evenings were quiet for our family. We were on the Riviera Deck, in the center of the ship, and it was quiet. Contrary to other reviews, we noted no problems with our location and noise. We all slept like rocks! I enjoyed getting a cup of coffee each morning and watching the sunrise on the top deck. Then I walked my usual 3 miles. We got to know the others who were up with us each am and really enjoyed this ritual...it was just beautiful...calm seas, clear skies, heaven. Cozumel was OK. We rode a cab to Paradise Beach and hung out there for a while. Yes, PB is wonderful. The staff was attentive, water beautiful (enter on the right, less rocks), and food was better than Carnival's. Nachos, tacos and Sol beer by the bucket! Nice. We shopped after that. Check your prices at home, know what you're looking for and go for it. We were docked right by the Glory and it was a beauty. Put your name on the window of your cabin so you can spot it from the dock! My daughter had her hair braided at the port for $35, full head, in case anyone is wondering, and it took about 40 minutes. Belize! Maneuvering the ship in between the cays made for a rocking experience. My husband and daughter snorkeled Goff's Cay. So-so review from these guys...said they enjoyed the reef off Bahia Honda in the Florida Keys more. Although, they did comment that the water was bluer and the fish they did see were impressive and the coral was pretty. I think there was just not a lot of any of these..I'm sure others may have had a different experience on a different day or location. My son and I did Xunantunich, and folks, this was truly an experience. They whisked us off the ship on a tender around 7:30 am and we were on a comfortable bus heading out of Belize City by 8 am. Again, knowledgeable tour guides. Gilbert was so informative! We traveled across Belize, into the mountains and to the ruins. What a view! The ruins had an adventurous feel as they are isolated and not fully excavated. We climbed the El Castillo and were treated to a stunning view of the countryside. Dinner was at a local hotel and was delicious (beans, rice, jerk chicken and plantains). We sat with a couple from Houston and just truly enjoyed the local fare. Nice staff, friendly, great day! The last two days at sea were full of activities or full of relaxation, whatever your choice. The Newlywed game was funny, even my husband liked it. Bingo was fun. Trivia games, art auctions and relaxing by the pool or in the cabin were our choices. We had our photo taken on both formal nights and I personally was glad we had a chance to do this. Everyone was tanned and happy...what better time for a family portrait? The photographers were helpful and good at what they do. Others may find this a bother...but I am thrilled over our photos. Our room steward was like a super efficient ghost...never saw him and our cabins were ALWAYS clean. When we did see him...always a smile! There were drunks all over the place at the grand gala buffet night and my kids were disgusted. But, since we weren't usually out that late we didn't find ourselves dealing with staggering, silly, drunk people except for that night. My husband said they were literally having to carry some gals off they were so sloshed...I had fallen asleep and missed the action. I looked at them as good role models for my children on how not to act. Thanks guys. Our cabin was always clean. The staff always friendly...always. We found plenty to do if we wanted to do it. The tours were wonderful ways to see other cultures, learn a lot, all in a day. The food was tasty. Loved the pastries at breakfast. Everything went smoothly embarking, disembarking, etc. One complaint, though. Galveston needs a little more room at the port for 2000 people to leave from and more cabs on Sundays. If you like nightlife, there was plenty of it. Everyone we talked to enjoyed the music, shows and bars, and from what we saw, they looked great. We did hit the slot tournament and everyone there was having a good time. The drinks of the day always looked good and were around $6 with $5 refills. Best thing we brought...adaptor with extra plug-ins for charging batteries, blowdriers, alarm clock. And, a highlighter to mark what you planned to do on the Carnival Capers. Would we do it again? Yes, tomorrow. We would tour Dzible...(sp?) ruins in Progresso, go to Chankanaab in Cozumel and try the Altun Ha ruins in Belize this time around. Oh, BTW, there weren't roving bands of wild children, either. (That we saw) Most were well behaved and fun to watch. I think the wildest folks were, naturally, the 20-somethings, and they tore it up at the bars in every port and on the ship...rock on guys. I'm just not up for the pain. We added tips to our steward and wait staff as we felt they went above and beyond. We also tipped our tour guides generously for their knowledge and friendliness. I hope someone benefits from my review...we can't wait to do it again, and when we do we plan to let the children invite a friend. This is a great way to see other places, meet people and spend time with your own family. Happy sailing. PS-Can't rate the children's programs, my teens weren't into it...if I had to do it again, I'd have brought them a friend. Read Less
Sail Date May 2004
We were quite pleased with this cruise. This was our 10th time to cruise and our fourth time with Carnival. Embarkation went really smooth and quick. We were on the ship within 20-30 minutes of our arrival at the terminal. We were ... Read More
We were quite pleased with this cruise. This was our 10th time to cruise and our fourth time with Carnival. Embarkation went really smooth and quick. We were on the ship within 20-30 minutes of our arrival at the terminal. We were traveling with one other couple and our dining time and tables were different. This was one of the first things we attended to. There was quite a line of passengers with dining seating mix-ups. They were able to move us to another table where we could dine together. We ended up at a table for 10, but only had 4 other women at our table. We found the food to be quite good. We had dinner in the main dining room in the evening, but ate at the buffets for breakfast and lunch. The breakfast buffet could use some improvement. Not much variety. For lunch, there was a nice salad bar, great hamburgers and grilled chicken(if you ask for it), pretty good pizza Chris a day and a few variations on the buffet each day. Our room (oceanview) was quite adequate with a nice size shower. We find that Carnival staterooms are a bit larger than other lines. The carpet in the halls on our deck (upper) was very stained. It looked wet and mildewed. The other decks looked fine. They were in the process of changing carpet in the main lobby areas where you got off the elevator and stairs. I suppose they will be changing the hall carpet fairly soon. Everything else throughout the ship looked to be in good condition. We only attended one show and two of the adult comedy acts. We enjoyed all of these. The entertainment in the nightclubs was pretty good. Different venues in each to satisfy different age groups. The ports of call were: Progresso, Cozumel and Belize. We enjoyed all of the ports and had great weather throughout our entire trip. Read Less
Sail Date May 2004
We came away from our week on the Elation, totally elated! "We" are six girlfriends who graduated from high school together....40+ years ago. Each year we plan a spring adventure. This was our first cruise. Through the years we ... Read More
We came away from our week on the Elation, totally elated! "We" are six girlfriends who graduated from high school together....40+ years ago. Each year we plan a spring adventure. This was our first cruise. Through the years we have become more particular, fussy and finicky and didn't know how Carnival could possibly keep us happy. We chose the Elation simply because of the convenience of embarking in Galveston. We came from Alabama, Florida and Texas to test the water. Our trip started with an overnight at the Galveston, Holiday Inn on the Beach, as it was one of the few hotels on the island that would take a one night booking. I cannot say enough about this hotel. I have never encountered a staff like this one. They simply cannot do enough to please their guests. We took advantage of their free parking for cruise customers and used their shuttle service to and from the dock. Our driver was Rodney, who was more than cheerful about loading and unloading our many bags. With a twinkle in his eye, as he lifted the 4th big bag onto the van, he said, " so you ladies are off on a months cruise?"....Our kind of guy. He gave us a mini tour of Galveston as he drove to the dock and told us exactly where to meet him upon debarkation, (we had no sooner gotten our bags together than he appeared). Carnival seems to have boarding down to a fine science....it was fast and worry free. From the time we were dropped off at the dock until we were on deck, with a drink in hand, was less than an hour. We had three cabins in a row on Rivera deck and were very pleased with the amount of room we had. We had read a review from an earlier cruiser advising packing an over the door shoe bag...a great tip, as it came in very handy for makeup, and various sundries that would normally clutter up a bathroom counter. By the time we finished muster, our bags were waiting for us in the hallway. We had checked a soft side ice chest that held cokes, water, a gallon bottle of Vodka and Bloody Mary mix, all of which made it up with our luggage unscathed. Floyd, our room steward had his work cut out for him, but he kept us well supplied with ice and anything else we needed and ran his area cheerfully and efficiently. We had the late seating in the Imagination dining room and were well served nightly by Steven and Rommel. They were fun and very good at what they do. We dined with them nightly and were always amazed at what a good job Carnival does with food service, especially considering how many meals they prepare daily. We each had different favorites throughout the week but overall were pleased with the fare. At the end of the cruise there seemed to be a lot of pressure to tip the maitre' D...this didn't sit particularly well with our group, as we rarely saw him and were only greeted by him on entering the dining room on our last night. If we had any dining room criticism it would be: if the maitre'D wants a tip, he should make a point at some time during the week, to briefly visit at each table. We had prepaid our tips but were more than happy to tip over and above to those who gave over and above. We seemed to gravitate to the Empress deck each evening for cocktails before dinner and a few minutes with the wonderful trio that plays there nightly. This bar is just outside of the Photo studio, which also deserves some mention. What a cute and friendly bunch they are...Leah, was always on hand to greet us and seemed to know immediately in which direction to point us to find our current pictures. The entire photo staff made looking at our sometimes ghastly photos a fun part of our cruise experience. We had read grumblings about the ubiquitous photographers, but we decided it was all part of the total experience, posed when they asked us to, and only bought what we wanted. We all took advantage of the spa, in one capacity or another. I highly recommend Edwin in the hair salon for a cut and style....truly one of the best cuts I've had in years. Several of us opted for the treadmills for morning workouts....less windy than the outside track. Our monday at sea, was extremely windy. However, this didn't deter us from finding our place in the sun, but did send us chasing hats and towels across the deck a few times Part of our group did the Chichen Itza tour in Progresso and were very pleased with the experience. Two of us did the Hacienda Tour, which was interesting and we had darling young guides, Mario and Vicco. The tour included one church and one hacienda. I would have liked a few more stops for comparisons. They did however, serve us a delightful light lunch on the veranda and were most anxious to share any information they could. We passed a public market in Progresso that I think would be worth exploring...maybe next time. In Cozumel three of our group did the kayak trip and loved it. Three of us went to Chankanaab and did the Royal Swim with Dolphins which we had booked online prior to departure. Recommend this highly, it was very exhilarating and showing your pictures when you get home will make you a hero to your kids. The Gardens at Chankanaab are well worth the trip. In the afternoon we took a cab out to El Sol Cabanas del Caribe for margaritas with Trinidad. If you are tired of touristy things by this time, I suggest this quiet get away. A small hotel, off the beaten path, with a lovely restaurant right on the water, and Trini's palapa bar on the beach. Quiet and restful...wish we'd had more time to enjoy the peace and quiet....next time! Belize was a nice surprise. We all did the Altun Ha and City Tour,with very knowledgeable young guides who gave us a great overview of Belize. It reminded me a lot of my early trips to the Yucatan, before cruise ships and huge hotel complexes. We had an enjoyable lunch in the courtyard of the Smoky Mermaid, a guesthouse and restaurant within walking distance of the tender dock. Bought Belizean Cashew Wine at Altun Ha on a whim, and was pleasantly surprised to find a poor mans version of Chateau d'Quiem...wish I had bought more bottles...next time! The last two days onboard were leisurely and delightful, each of us doing our own thing and meeting up occasionally for latte or lunch on the Lido deck. The casino onboard is small but they made loosing almost enjoyable. We tried the art auction, but lost interest early on. Several of us are veteran auction goers and thought this could have been more exciting...starting the bidding lower and working up would have allowed more people to get involved, a good auctioneer can always get his price. We all decided the shopping onboard was a nice surprise....good selections and good prices. The piano bar was fun, particularly for Elton John and Billy Joel fans. We never made it into the karaoke bar, but were told it can be the best entertainment onboard. The shows we attended in the Mikado were well done and very entertaining...our only complaint being that there are too many onboard options for a seven day cruise....There will definitely be a next time!!!! A quick PS: The unsung heroes of the Carnival fleet are all those people you pass everywhere, constantly cleaning and polishing, most with a smile or pleasant greeting...a very impressive crew. Read Less
Sail Date May 2004
Intro - This is a review of our trip on the Carnival Cruise Ship Elation from 11 April to 18 April also known as the Easter Cruise. My wife Jennifer and I have been on four other cruises, two of those were also on Carnival Ships ... Read More
Intro - This is a review of our trip on the Carnival Cruise Ship Elation from 11 April to 18 April also known as the Easter Cruise. My wife Jennifer and I have been on four other cruises, two of those were also on Carnival Ships (Jubilee, Triumph). The reason I write a review is so I can briefly relive the cruise and so that my family and friends can see what we did during our cruise. This review is based on my opinion and that's not to say that every one of the 2200+ people also on board had the same GREAT TIME that we did. If you have any questions, please email me at larryorvis@hotmail.com EARLY MORNING DEPARTURE - On 11 April, Departure Day, we had a 630 flight from St Louis, Missouri so that meant we were up long before that to drive there, nearly 2 hours. We had previously always flown in the day prior, but due to work constraints it was not possible this time. We arrived at the airport and had coordinated for Extreme Elegance (a limo company in Houston) to pick us up and transport us to the Port. Extreme Elegance did a good job on THIS end of the transportation; we were at the Port in no time at all. More on Extreme Elegance's performance on the last day of the cruise. EMBARKATION - For us, embarkation was extremely smooth. Due to our early flight, we were at the terminal by 1015 and were the first ones there. They don't start doing anything til 1100, so we had some time to relax in the terminal. As soon as 1100 hit, we were walking through security and right to the FunPass Check In Counter. A few minutes later, we were directed to have a seat in the 'waiting to board' area. They weren't going to board til noon, so had some more time to relax in the terminal. By about 1130, there were a few hundred people in the terminal and it was starting to get busy, but it was an organized busy. At noon, we boarded. The neat thing I liked about that was, they boarded you in order of when you got there, so since we were early, we boarded nearly first. By 1215, we were on the Lido Deck having a Burger and some Fries. ROOM SERVICE We took advantage of Room Service plenty of times, mainly after the shows, right before bed. They always said it would take about 40 minutes, but there was always a knock on my door in about 5 minutes. Great room service menu. OUR CABIN - Empress Deck 229 We had an ocean view cabin on the Empress Deck. Very clean cabin, beds were comfortable and our Cabin Steward - Widonna - was great. Everytime we stepped out of the room, he seemed to pop in the room, and make the beds, clean the room, and leave us another towel animal. FOOD We ate in the dining room for all but one of the Dinner Meals. I thought the food was really good. And the service was good also. The 24 hour Pizzeria was great and very popular. The breakfast and the lunch buffets on the Lido Deck were always fast and very little lines. The food in Tiffany's Restaurant was really good. They have the buffet lines with an assortment of food and they also make fresh sandwiches and salads. At night time, they have an variety of snacks, including crepes (mmm). And of course they have the 24 hour ice cream machines..... GYM The SPA/GYM was pretty good. Lots of weight equipment and plenty of treadmills. They also have a running track on the top deck of the ship. The good thing about the Gym is it owns the only 2 hot tubs that the kids couldn't get too. Very peaceful Hot Tub, with a huge skylight. OVERALL CONDITION OF THE SHIP I think the ship looks great. Nothing stood out as in need of repair or painting. As usual, maintenance is always ongoing as with painting. But the ship looks great and is in top condition. SHOWS We attended all the shows, with exception of the midnight comedy shows. The Elation Dancers and Singers did a good job. We enjoyed all the shows. "LUBO" the balancer was great, balanced all kinds of things, and unfortunately for him it was the rockiest day we were traveling. He was balancing all sorts of things, with the ship rocking back and forth. He was good. The comedians on board were all pretty funny. Even the cruise director Larry Garlutzo did some singing. Overall some great entertainment! The Mikado Lounge was always crowded, but we always able to get a good seat if we went to get a seat about 10 minutes prior to the start of the show. ACTIVITIES Nonstop activities. Each night we would look at the Carnival Capers and highlight what we wanted to do the next day. I'd say on average, we actually only did about half of what we highlighted; mainly because we became involved in something else going on. We took some golf lessons, played some trivia games, played some Bingo, took some tours of the ship and enjoyed the sun. KIDS Let's not fool ourselves, the kids run the ship. It didn't bother us, some people were pretty annoyed about this on our trip. We think it's okay to get into an elevator with 3 or 4 kids (8 or 9 yrs old) who are running the elevator, all you do is tell them where you want to go and they'll get you to the right floor. That's harmless. The kids were always doing activities around the ship. Yes kids are loud and they do run down the hallway. The kids own the pools and hot tubs. We just don't see the problem with it. ART AUCTIONS I had previously been to some of the art auctions on board, mainly because of the free champagne and its fun to watch some folks bid and spend lots of money. Same thing for this cruise, free champagne and it was fun to watch folks bid and outbid. Except this time, one thing was different - I looked to my right and it was my wife bidding and outbidding............. ? Needless to say we came home with a few pieces of art. PORTS OF CALL / EXCURSIONS - PROGRESO, Mexico - This port is very underdeveloped. But I do see great potential. I think if they add a couple of water activities to their excursion list, it will be a hit. Right now, the biggest reason for going here is the ruins. LOTS of folks went on tours to the ruins and from what I heard, they loved them. Jen and I decided not to take a tour at this port. Instead, we went into Progresso, shopped a little and then took the city bus to Merida, which is a large city about 15 miles away. We stayed in Merida no longer than an hour, went to an old church and that was about it. We were back on board by about 1pm. Which was fine also. COZUMEL, Mexico - Cozumel started out on a bad note, Larry Garlutzo announced that nearly all water excursions had been cancelled to due wind and rough seas.... You could hear the unhappiness throughout the ship. We had booked the Powerboat and Hideaway Beach Excursion. We walked to the shore excursion desk, which had atleast 100 people in line trying to change excursions, so not wanting to wait, we grabbed our snorkel gear, caught a taxi and headed to Chankanaab Park. We'd been there before and knew that they had plenty to do there. $10 for the cab and $12 for the entry fee. The seas were pretty rough alright. But by 10am, they had settled enough for the 'red flag' to be lowered and the 'yellow flag' to be raised. Snorkelers slowly ventured into the water and before you know it, there were lots of snorkelers out there. Jen and I decided to go for a dive. $35 and we were under the water. A few things to see there, only about 25 feet deep though. We went into the caves and saw some huge fish! A very good dive. At about 1pm, we decided to head back to the ship, change clothes and then do some shopping. We arrived back at the ship about 1:30 and found that all the excursions had been given permission to go ahead now. So I quickly found our Powerboat point of contact and before you know it, we were on the way to our excursion. Powerboat and Hideaway Beach excursion is supposed to have you drive your own boat (two seater) about an hour to a private beach do some beach activities and then drive your own boat back. Well due to the rough seas, we couldn't get to the private beach, so instead we just drove the boat in the local area for an hour or so. That was awesome, the seas were 4-6 foot rolling waves, so that made for some fun boating. We went airborne several times. AWESOME! After that we had some of the Mexican Buffet that they had set up for us, good food. And then to top that off, we went sailing and we learned how to Jib and Jive. That was fun too! Back to the ship by 5:30 and on our way to Belize at 6pm. BELIZE CITY, Belize - Belize was a tendered port, so we opted for the ship excursion again. This time we went diving. We did 2 dives at Turneffe Atoll. A great wall dive. Saw lots of sea life, including a huge Southern Ray, his wingspan was atleast 10 feet. Dove to a depth of 70 feet on the first dive and about 60 feet on the second dive. GREAT Dives! When we got back to the ship we hurriedly jumped on a tender for Belize City and did a little shopping before heading back to the ship. DEBARKATION - Debarkation was a breeze. On Saturday, I went to the Purser's to get some "early off the ship" luggage tags (Orange), because we had an early flight from Houston (1:10pm). We put our luggage out in the hall just before going to sleep on Saturday night. On Sunday morning, we docked about 6am and we woke up about 7am. Our luggage tag color was called about 7:30 to go to the Cole Porter Lounge for immigration, which took a few minutes to wait in line and then show the Immigration Officials our proof of citizenship. Then we went to the Dining Room to have breakfast. We finished breakfast about 8:30am, took a quick last walk around the ship and just before 9am, they called our color and off the ship we were. Getting our luggage and clearing Customs was very easy. By 9am we were on the curb waiting for our ride from Extreme Elegance. Unfortunately their philosophy was first come first serve, regardless of reservations. So needless to say, they left with out us. This is our third time out of Galveston, so we expected the madness at the Galveston port. After some scrambling to get a ride to the airport, we made it in time for our flight. BUT I recommend that you do not use Extreme Elegance Limo Services. In CONCLUSION - We absolutely had a great time. The price for this cruise was perfect and due to the prices dropping after we booked, we got an upgrade. The ship is in top condition and the staff was always friendly and courteous. I wouldn't hesitate to book this cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2004
Carnival Elation- April 11-18, 2004 Who we are: I am Becky, a 36 yr old single mom of Dottie an 18 yr old daughter. We had cruised the Elation exactly 2 yrs ago to the Mexican Riviera. We both had lots of fun, so decided to try this new ... Read More
Carnival Elation- April 11-18, 2004 Who we are: I am Becky, a 36 yr old single mom of Dottie an 18 yr old daughter. We had cruised the Elation exactly 2 yrs ago to the Mexican Riviera. We both had lots of fun, so decided to try this new itinerary. Flight/embarkation: We had a 6:05am Continental flight out of Seattle, WA. Our flight left about 20 minutes late, but we arrived on time at Intercontinental airport. We headed to baggage and found the Carnival Rep. right away. We had booked the Riviera deck with bunk beds and were happy to find our cabin to be on the Empress deck #127. It was almost exactly mid-ship, so was very handy for getting around the ship. After an hour long bus ride, we arrived at the pier. There was almost no line, so we were on board by 2:30. Our Cabin: As stated we were in E127. It was just up the hall from the Atrium. It had one odd feature, which I will describe at the end. We briefly met our cabin steward, then headed to the purser's desk to put our cash on our accounts. While waiting in line we met Jim, Dan and their families. I met one other couple, but I'm sorry I don't remember their names. The lifeboat drill interfered with meeting any other cc'ers. Sailaway: Just before sailaway I bought my daughter and myself a couple of foo-foo drinks. I bought both drinks on my S&S card with no trouble for my daughter. I gave it to her right at the bar. More on drinks in a moment. Dining Room: We wanted 6:15 dinner, but were assigned 5:45. I didn't bother to change it, so we had the Inspiration Dining Room. We were at table 244. Our waiter's name was Uan and he was great. He was very friendly with us, though he had trouble with my daughter's name at first. LOL Uan did everything he could to see that we were happy with our choices. His assistant (don't remember his name) was also very good. He kept our glasses filled with whatever we were drinking. He came around with bread frequently. We were at a table for 6, but we only had 1 other mom and daughter with us all week. I personally only eat in the dining room 4 nights (1st, last, and both formals). I enjoyed all of my dinner choices and ate lots of prawns, which I love. Casino: Dottie and I went to the casino after dinner. While at the casino, Dottie bought her own drink on her S&S card with no problem. (She tried later at the pool bar and the bartender wouldn't sell it to her). I think that the casino goes by International Waters Laws and that is why my daughter could buy drinks in the casino, but not the Lido pool bar. Ship policy may state drinking age as 21, but it depends on where the person tries to buy alcohol, I guess. I didn't have a problem with Dottie having a drink or 2. She was more responsible drinking than I was. LOL That was about it for me the first night. I had been up all night the night before leaving, so I was in bed by about 10:30. Monday/Day at Sea: I spent most of this first day on the Lido deck. I had my coffee and my book and a nice table to myself. It was very relaxing to just kick back, people watch, eat when I wanted, etc. At 11:30am they were having Craps lessons, so I went to that. It was interesting to learn, though I never actually played. I tend to stick to the slots. We both gambled a little bit that day. Monday was the 1st formal night/Captain's cocktail party. We went to the party and I had several drinks. Before the crew introductions they had the video guy running around interviewing people. They came up to Dottie and did a Cinderella type skit (you know, see if the shoe fits) and he chatted with her for a couple of minutes. Though we didn't buy the Travelog video, we got to see Dottie on T.V. several times the rest of the cruise. That was kind of cool. After the party we went to dinner and enjoyed that. I (of course) had the lobster and it was better than 2 yrs ago. After dinner we went to the "big" show. It was Rhythm and I liked it well enough (same as 2 yrs ago). After the show I changed to comfy clothes and headed to the Jekyll&Hyde disco. Unfortunately, they don't play dance music until after 11, so I had to go to the Romeo and Juliet lounge and listen to a country duo named Souvenirs. They were alright, but I'm not really into country music. I was up until the wee hours dancing and drinking the night away in the disco. I headed back to my cabin after a late night (or should I say early morning) coffee at Tiffany's. We were due in Progreso the next morning, but we didn't have any plans there. Tuesday/Progreso: We both slept very late on this day (I think it was noon when we finally got up). We got off of the ship and went on the pier and bought some souvenirs and then got right back on board. Lots of people seemed to enjoy either the Merida tour or the ruins tour, but we didn't do either so I can't comment on those. Wednesday/Cozumel: I had booked a Wild and Crazy Beach Day at Playa Sol Park through the internet. It was supposed to include parasailing for Dottie. When we got to Cozumel it was so windy that parasailing was not possible (the ship had to cancel a lot of excursions that day). Since we had already paid for the parasailing, they let Dottie use a wave runner instead. She rode for about 30-40 minutes and had lots of fun. This package was food and drinks inclusive, so of course I had my share of margaritas. When we were done at the beach, we took a cab to Carlos and Charlie's. We had lots of fun and ended up sitting with a family from the Elation. We took a cab back to the ship and were back on board in plenty of time for sailaway. Thursday/Belize: We had to tender in at this port. We had booked a jungle horseback ride online. There were 6 of us on this tour. A family of 4 and us. Our guide was very good and he took us on a city tour of the Northern part of Belize on the way to the spa. It was about 1-1/2 hr drive to the spa. We met our horse guide and got our horses and we were off. They had several baby horses that were so cute. While we were on the ride we saw some spider monkeys that came to show off for us. Later we saw some vultures circling around and our guide told us a jaguar had killed one of the babies (the carcass was still on the ground). This same jaguar had killed 2 of their other horses recently as well. The ride lasted about an hour and I even got my horse to gallup a couple of times. After the ride our guide drove us back to town and took us on a Southern city tour. We got back in time to get our hair braided. Dottie got her crown done and I got my full head done. The last tender was scheduled for 4:15 and we got on the 4:00 tender. Friday/Day at Sea: Another relaxing day at sea. 2nd formal night this night. The past guest party was on this night in between dinners. They had snacks and free drinks and showed a video on Carnival that was interesting. I went to the Cole Porter lounge and saw the Dirt Poets. They were a pretty good rock band that played lots of different rock music. I stayed there until the disco opened. Another late night dancing the night away. Saturday/Last Day at Sea (boo hoo): Our last day at sea. It was very relaxing. I participated in the slot tournament, but didn't do good enough to be in the running. Oh well, it was fun anyway. We went to the horse races, just to have seats in time for the Newlywed/Not So Newlywed Game. That was pretty funny and the newlywed couple won. After our last dinner I went back to the cabin to get my packing done. We had our bags packed and out by about 10:30. Sunday/disembarkation: I had to go to customs at 7:00am to declare my 1 extra bottle of alcohol. They didn't bother to charge me any duty on it. We were scheduled for a 12:05 flight, so had the orange tags. They called for orange at about 8:30 to go to immigration. That probably took 15-20 minutes. We stopped by our cabin and picked up our carry ons, then went to the Mikado Lounge to wait to be called. They called for orange about 9:15 (I think). We went and found our luggage with no problem. We found our bus and were the last 2 on it. Good thing, too we got to our gate about 5 minutes before they started boarding. A little too close for my liking, so I'll remember that, next time. Our flight home was fine and they showed the movie Big Fish. I let Dottie use the headphones to watch it. Overall/Impressions: It was really great to be on the Elation again. When we first saw her again it was like finding an old friend. They had changed some things around (the seating arrangement in Romeo and Juliet, for example). Most of it was the same as I remembered. I did like not having to waste any time trying to find my way around. Yes, there are some minor carpet stains, but that is the least of my concerns on a cruise. This cruise is especially good for cruising families and younger people (or the young at heart). There's always something going on, even if you just want to relax quietly on board. Funny Story: If you've taken the time to read this far you're probably wondering, where's the funny story? Well, here it is. For whatever reason our cabin had a pole in it. I guess a support pole. On Monday night after apparently drinking and having way too much fun, I was back in my cabin. I didn't have the lights on, since I didn't want to wake Dottie up. I was coming back from the bathroom and walked face first into the pole. I remember thinking, at the time, "That will probably hurt in the morning". Well, I was right! When I woke up at noon, I got up and looked in the mirror, I had given myself a black eye (thanks to my glasses) and a cut in my left eyebrow. When I went to put my glasses on I had to bend them back into shape and wipe off all of the make-up from on the inside of the lens. LOL In my own defense, the pole was right in line to my bed from the bathroom and I almost did the exact same thing on Tuesday night (and I hadn't had anything to drink on Tuesday). Thank you for taking the time to read my review. If you have any questions or comments, post on the boards or email me at xanthlover.1@juno.com. Becky Read Less
Sail Date April 2004
Ok, here are a few things you NEED to know when traveling this ship: 1. During embarkation, the earlier you get there the better. We showed up at 1:30 and did not make it on until close to five. I'm not sure, but I think it's ... Read More
Ok, here are a few things you NEED to know when traveling this ship: 1. During embarkation, the earlier you get there the better. We showed up at 1:30 and did not make it on until close to five. I'm not sure, but I think it's quicker to NOT fill out your Fun-Pass ahead of time. That line was much shorter, and seemed to move much faster. 2. During the muster drill (especially if you have children) wait until the last possible moment to go to your assigned meeting area, wait to put the life jacket on your children there and then as you go out to the lifeboats find the nearest open bench seat and sit there. Once all of the guests file in in front of you, take the vests off. (It doesn't hurt to have water or a snack for your children.) 3. If you drink and are trying to sneak liquor on board, do it in Texas and put it in your luggage. They were checking bags AND water bottles closely, especially at Progresso where it is VERY cheap. SPEAKING OF PROGRESSO -- many people who post hated it. Do this... don't book an excursion, go into town on the shuttle, grab a dollar Corona (3 for 2 bucks at the bar up the street from the statue by the beach) and sit on the beach. Play in the sand, then go eat at Sol Y Mar right there on the beach. The enchiladas are fantastic! Then go shopping and walk through town and take in a traditional Mexican city that is not yet a tourist trap -- Buy your handmade stuff here (you'll thank me once you get to Cozumel). 4. Cozumel--My best advice to you here is if you didn't book an excursion on the boat (I still advise not to, because you can do anything they have cheaper right off the boat) is to RENT A CAR. 25-50 bucks a day and you can drive all over the freakin Island! A cab ride costs $15 one way and it cost you each time you go to another beach. Snorkeling is great at Playa Corona and is not as crowded as Chankanaab (no dolphins though). If you saw what Playa Del Sol is like, Mr. Sanchez is right by it, it has the same amenities and no entrance fee. 5. Belize -- All right, here is where you might want to book an excursion, and here's why... the boat doesn't go to port, so you ride a tender into Belize City. IF YOU DID NOT BOOK AN EXCURSION ON THE BOAT, THE EARLIEST TENDER OFF IS AT 10:00. Carnival doesn't care if you booked something on your own and you miss it. If you don't care to spend the extra bucks, spend the bucks. Otherwise do this... if you want to go cave tubing don't book on the boat, wait the extra two hours and book in Belize City (they will be waiting for you). If you want a caye, book on the boat. If you want shark and ray alley, the better trip is a flight to San Pedro and a boat trip, snorkel or dive, but you won't get there until much later than the ship-booked boat trip that leaves straight from the ship (but you spend most of the time on a long boat ride to Ambergris Caye and the plane ride is much better). You can also book your trip on your own, then make sure you are in Cole Porter at 7:30 to get on the 1st tender then go to the assistant cruise director and tell them you have an 8:30 excursion you have to make and to please try and sneak you on with the cave tubing group (it's worth a shot). 4. Ship Food-- If you are a beef-lover, don't order it. The seafood is very good, and be sure you order more than one lobster on Monday night! Stick to Tiffany's or room service for breakfast, lunch and dinner in the dining room are good, but if you have early dining, it interferes with the sunset watching and some of the early shows. Room service sandwiches and wraps are a welcome break from the fancy food! 5. Get in on every free drawing and raffle you can, (this is especially true of the art auctions). Also, if you are in the market for art, the ship stuff really is a good deal, but go to the 1st auction and don't be afraid to buy it then, because the price goes up each time they sell a piece. 6. Camp Carnival is fantastic no matter what age your children are.  7. Have fun and enjoy your time at port and don't be in a hurry to get back on the ship (you'll be sick of it by Saturday night). Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
Our cruise dates were 3/14-3/21/04. It began with a great surprise as we had booked a 4A and were upgraded to 6D. Galveston was cool and rainy as we headed for the terminal. We had stayed the nt before at Hol Inn Express and they had free ... Read More
Our cruise dates were 3/14-3/21/04. It began with a great surprise as we had booked a 4A and were upgraded to 6D. Galveston was cool and rainy as we headed for the terminal. We had stayed the nt before at Hol Inn Express and they had free parking and a shuttle which took us to the ship and picked us up. That all worked out great and right on schedule. Embarkation was fairly easy (we did the funpass) and moved quickly. We arrived at the terminal at around noon and were on the ship eating before 1pm. The ship was absolutely beautiful. As you enter, you walk straight into the atrium which is very elegant and there is a piano bar playing music. Of course, we went quickly to our room which was also located on the entrance deck (Empress)to check it out. It was set up very nicely and I was happy to see how large the shower was. There was plenty of closet space, drawers and a vanity with a large mirror. There was a full length mirror on the back of the door. Since we were upgraded to the window room, we also had bathrobes to use. I was glad I brought a power strip as there is only 1 plug and it is not in the bathroom. My son was quite comfortable with the pull down bed (as we found him napping in it several afternoons). We had no problem with our twin beds staying together. As for the rest of the ship, we were happy with just about everything. The weather cleared up the next day, and remained wonderful the rest of the week. We only ate dinners in the dining room and they were all good. We ate breakfast and lunch at the buffet, or hamburgers on the lido by the pool and pizza. Our ship was full and the lines were never too long and moved quick. I don't think I've ever seen so much ice cream being eaten. We bought our son a soda card (well worth it). We mostly drank the free punch,lemonage,tea, orange juice,grapefruit juice, coffee and hot chocolate. Alcoholic drinks were expensive so we limited our purchases. Most mornings by the pool, bloody marys were $2.95 until noon and they were good. The daily "specials" were $6.95 and you could get a refill for $4.95 (you keep the glass). We didn't do any excursions as funds were limited, but we did find enough to do at the ports. In Cozumel, we rented a vehicle and drove around the island and stopped at a few beaches. One beach was free and had lounge chairs,umbrellas,a water trampoline,a climbing rock and kayaks and floats all free. I think it was Paradise Beach but I'm not sure..it was right next to San Francisco beach. I know this is long so I'll try to wrap it up. The only negatives I can point out is that on the ship, we did see the water stained hallway on the Upper deck but it was not in a main area, only the hall between rooms. We didn't see any other "problem" areas and found the ship to be very clean. Considering this was spring break and there were a lot of young kids/teens, I thought everything looked great. The buffet food did get a little boring, but it was our choice to eat there so often and it didn't slow us down as we all gained 10# during the cruise. The gala buffet looked magnificent. The shows were all good and we really enjoyed the comedians. Unfortunately, we did not win in the casino nor at bingo, but we had fun trying...no wait...I did win 325 nickles at once on a nickle slot. Got excited till I figured out it was only about $15. We met up with another family I had met through this message board and that was really nice. I hope they enjoyed the cruise as much as we did. If anyone has any specific questions, I'll be glad to answer if I can. I would recommend this cruise to anyone, especially families. Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
We just returned from our 7 day cruise aboard the Carnival Destiny. This was just our second cruise, the first being one year ago aboard the non-smoking Paradise. We flew into Houston Hobby Airport, which is about 20-30 minutes closer to ... Read More
We just returned from our 7 day cruise aboard the Carnival Destiny. This was just our second cruise, the first being one year ago aboard the non-smoking Paradise. We flew into Houston Hobby Airport, which is about 20-30 minutes closer to Galveston pier than Houston International. Instead of paying $66 R/T each for the Carnival shuttle (since there were 5 of us) we took a cab from the airport. You can catch a cab right outside baggage claim and it costs $70-$80 to get to the pier and the same to get back to the airport. The other option we found is a limousine service for $50 each, which is still cheaper than the shuttle and they will be waiting for you at the cruise terminal when you return so you don't have to stand in line for a cab. Having cruised on Elations sister ship, we found navigating the various deck levels and hallways easier as we were already familiar with the ship layout. As always, the food was wonderful and you certainly get spoiled being waited on daily for a week. Our cabin steward was great. Almost every time that we left the room, we returned to find that he had tidied it up, left fresh towels and filled our ice bucket. Before leaving we read some reviews where people talked about the dinner staff being rude to them, refusing if they ordered more than one entree, etc. We didn't experience anything like that. Every waiter/waitress that we dealt with (including our head waiter at dinner) seemed more than happy to fulfill our every request. They were jovial and fun to interact with. The first port, Progresso, was kind of a disappointment. We did go inland to visit some Mayan ruins which was interesting. Many people booked shore excursions for $50 apiece to the same ruins we went to. We got off the boat and there was a stand where they were selling shore excursions. We paid $12 each for the van ride and then paid $6 each to get in the ruins (ended up being less than $20 each). We didn't have a tour guide, but there are plaques on the ground that you can read as you go along explaining the various structures (in English). Our van driver waited right outside for us and was took us back to town when we were ready. Think about booking your own shore excursion on land if you want to save money. Many people went to the beach and were disappointed because it was not very clean or pretty. It was extremely windy at this stop. I'm not sure if it is always that way, or if we were just there on a bad day. I would suggest doing some kind of shore tour at this stop or just staying on the ship. There is a small shopping area right when you get off the ship that had better prices on souvenirs than Cozumel. Cozumel was beautiful. We took a cab for $6 downtown and walked around shopping some. The kids (ages 22, 25 & 26) did the Fiesta Party Boat. It cost them about $50 apiece and they had a great time. All the rum punch and shots you can handle (many had more than they could handle). The boat takes you to Playa Del Sol which is like a private beach with volleyball, a pool, a trampoline and climbing wall out in the ocean, etc. It seems like the shore tour to Playa Del Sol was about $40 per person so for just $10 more you get the party boat experience with it. In Belize we paid $90 each (pretty steep) for the cave tubing adventure. I thought is was kind of expensive, but no regrets. Our tour guides were great. It was a lot of fun, even if the water was cold. The bus ride was about 45 minutes. We spent about 1 hour or so in the water (80% in the cave/20% in the sun) and then stopped for lunch on the way back. There is a tourist mall of sorts right at the pier for a little shopping. Belize is beautiful. We spoke to many people who went snorkeling and had a great time. Overall, this cruise went very well. We got cabin upgrades that were unexpected. The weather, although windy was great. The service on-board was wonderful and the ship (except the carpeting in places) was very clean. I would have no reservations recommending this cruise to someone. The only difficulty we had was on the last day. We were supposed to be ready to go through customs at 7:30 and it was closer to 9:30 before it happened. This put us 10:30 or so getting off the ship which was kind of a bummer because we got up at 6:00 to make sure we were ready in time, only to wait around quite awhile. Then we stood in line over 30 minutes waiting for a cab to get back to the airport. We were a party of 5 with lots of luggage and needed a van which made it a little more difficult, but everyone was having to wait. I tried calling two different cab companies but they both told me all their cars/vans were dispatched and we would just have to wait. We got to Houston Hobby airport at 11:30, which was plenty of time for our 2:30 flight. Hope this information is helpful. Happy cruising! Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
We just returned from a great vacation on the Elation. I had read that this ship had been refurbished in Fall, 2003. It looked great to me. Not perfect. But MUCH better than my 2 previous cruise ships!!! I've never seen so many ... Read More
We just returned from a great vacation on the Elation. I had read that this ship had been refurbished in Fall, 2003. It looked great to me. Not perfect. But MUCH better than my 2 previous cruise ships!!! I've never seen so many smiling faces or been around so many friendly people. The staff acted like they were glad you were there. They were happy to see you. Our group did some Carnival sponsored shore excursions & went on our own for others. IF you take teens, remember that the legal drinking age in Mexico is 18. It seemed to me that if they appear even close to 18, they won't have any difficulty finding alcoholic drinks. The laws & rules about this seem to be pretty flexible. IF you send your teens on shore excursions, either GO WITH THEM OR send them with Carnival sponsored excursions. DO NOT LET THEM GO unsupervised. The potential combination of no parental supervision with easy access to alcohol could prove to be dangerous. The great thing about our port days were we were in port ONLY in the daytime & out to sea by nightfall. This was MUCH safer with teens, than having them in ports at night. Personally, I did one Carnival shore excursion, and went twice on my own. Also, I got a workout climbing all those steps. In addition, I took country line dance lessons (group) on the ship's stage. I hadn't danced in 20 years & had a great time. So, who cares if I messed up over and over; I was never going to see these people again, right? :) I also played trivia, famous faces, and Bingo. I saw some shows on the stage..they were great! I highly recommend this cruise to anyone wanting FUN! My husband said It's JUST LIKE THE COMMERCIAL! He didn't really wanted to go but had the time of his life! I think *MAYBE* he had MORE fun than I did! He spent nearly every waking moment in the casino. He loved it! He said that the Elation's jogging path was the nicest he had ever been on. All surfaces seemed very clean. I noticed the food servers wearing gloves, etc....One man's entire job seemed to be wiping down the beautiful glass surrounding the ship's atrium area....one day on the inside; the next day on the outside and so on and so on. The dining room dinners were very good, as was our waiter and bus boy. Loved them! We never went to the dining room for breakfast or lunch....just went to the buffet line...including the most DELICIOUS omelets I've EVER had.....cooked right in front of me by the most charming and handsome chef......Praboth! ( I think! ) Free ice cream & pizzeria 24/7; room service at no charge, just a tip. The $70 gratuity fee is now AUTOMATICALLY charged to your bill and then your charge card. You don't need to bring cash for this anymore. A can of Coke was about $1.50 + 15% tip added on. I think a 20 oz bottle of Coke was abour $2.25 + 15% tip added on. A water bottle was about $1.50 + 15% tip added on for a regular size. About $3 or so for a large bottle. The pop & water bottles in your cabin are NOT free. I am severely allergic to smoke. I cannot be around it...ever. The ONLY bad problem I ever had was when I walked near the casino. I could never enter it, as the smoke was horrible in there. Most public areas were smoke free. Some outdoor deck areas were designated smoking. I just never could distinguish where the non-smoking outdoor areas were. You can now call U.S. directly from your cabin for $6.99 per minute via satellite. That's right, PER MINUTE! I never could get my MEXICAN Wal-mart phone card to work from Mexico. Had to put the few calls I made on my charge card, from pay phones. Made one from Belize also. We used the internet.....briefly. It was fine. Unexpected: Cozumel had changed--tons since I was there 2 years ago. There is a very nice shopping area just off the ship. We didn't even go downtown. We took a cab $12 each way (total for 2 people) to Paradise Beach...entered for free. Since I only drank Pepsi instead of alcohol, I didn't get much attention from my waiter. Also, their employees could have spent a little more time cleaning up the beach. There were cig butts everywhere........The ocean kayaks & rubber float mats were free to use, as well as chairs with umbrellas over them. Also, there was a ROCK CLIMBING thing in the ocean for the kids to climb up on one side; slide down the other side. Also, a water trampoline. They had a great menu there, but we didn't eat. We originally had heard the San Francisco Beach was the best but our taxi driver suggested Paradise Beach. They were right next to each other anyway. Also, I believe that the Carnival sponsored Fiesta Party Boat (triple decker) was next to, just on the other side of Paradise Beach; I believe it was called Passion Island. Ours was a beautiful, sandy beach. DO NOT leave the ship without small bills. I had $20's & couldn't get ANYONE on shore in PROGRSSO to break it......even tried to buy a bottle of water, just so I could get the change. No luck. I had already spent my 1's, giving tips to the: Shuttle driver, lounge chair delivery person and 1st guitar playing-singer singing LaBamba. I would have spent so much more money & tipped even more, had someone just given me some change on shore. Wish I would have taken lots of small bills. Actually, after that happened, I went to the information desk & did break some $20's into nothing but ones; shared them with others in my group. The other port was Belize. Very nice. If you shop just off the ship, DO NOT BUY anything in the beautiful shops without prices on them, UNLESS they will bargain. The street vendors, a block away from the nice stores will bargain. Example: I went to one cute little shop; they had cute little ceramic Christmas trees for $10. I bought two, went a few doors down, they had them for $5.00. Also, at the first store, they had a paper map of Belize--no prices listed on them. I had picked one up; when the clerk told me $5.00, I put it back. A different store across the way had the same map for $2.00. Also, in the same beautiful shopping mall area, I entered a TSHIRT store. Nothing but tshirts. The guy told me theirs (NO PRICE TAGS ANYWHERE!) were $18. But he'd give it to me for $16. By the time I left, I bought 4 for $44.00. Another little gift shop refused to bargain...AT ALL. Price what you want, then shop around if you have the time & want to mess with it.......... The only obviously worn problem was the carpeting in the hallways. It had some stains, but didn't appear really bad and wasn't smelly. Everything else about the Elation's appearance was VERY GOOD! The cruise director & asst director, Larry & Cindy were EXCELLENT! All in all, this vacation was a DREAM & I would highly recommend this! We're already talking about when we can go AGAIN! :) Not soon enough for me! BEST WISHES ALWAYS!!!! :) Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
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