Carnival Elation Cruise Review by STEEN2412
The Pier staff:
All were very informative and helpful. I cannot speak on specific embarkation procedures as I was a member of the Skipper's Club which allowed us to board without waiting in line. Carnival has a special desk for those guest reserving category 11 or 12 staterooms. It was my 50th birthday so my husband decided to splurge and we bought a suite.
Overall looking from our balcony we noticed a few people in line to try to determine how long they waited an it appeared it was no longer the 50 min. They seemed to be very well organized. We have been on 2 cruises prior to this, on the Inspiration and the Sensation.
The cruise staff:
Simon Predergast, cruise director was very entertaining and knowledgeable. Our room stewards, Roland & Pierre were wonderful as well. On previous cruises we never ran into them, these 2 made it a point to introduce themselves and make themselves available. Our dining room wait staff were great as well, and we enjoyed their service, their names were Ahmad and Louie. The food was very good, more varieties than on previous cruising. You truly can eat all day and all night.
Cameron the comedian, who performed on 2 or 3 of the nights was awful. Most of the people in the audience just sat there never responding to his jokes. Penny Gold was wonderful, she had a wonderful voice and did a marvelous tribute the Carpenter's. Drake Delucca was just fair alone, when paired with Penny he shined a little.
I didn't like jeans in the dining room. There were (we were told) 1100 kids under 17 on board out of a guest count of 2600+, this was considered a Holy week (we returned to port Easter morning). I have to commend the staff on a job well done with keeping the kids occupied for a good part of the day. My biggest concern was the running up & down the halls/stairs all evening, but considering there wasn't a lot to do after say 6:00 pm it really wasn't a big problem. I was more concerned someone would get hurt.
Lots of activities for all considering we were at sea the first 3 days of our voyage. The lunch option of hamburgers/hot dogs &fries was wonderful, makes you feel like a kid. They also had 24/7 ice cream &pizza. I'd suggest you bring good walking shoes to take the stairs. That way you won't fell so guilty about having ice cream after breakfast and before dinner. Be prepared for midweek shock when you receive your itemized bill for your sign & sail card. The line at the purser's desk was very long. I watched as angry parent's realized some of the charges some of those 1100 kids had signed for.
Puerto Vallarta: We took the Countryside tour/shopping. It was fun, we had a great guide, Santa who spoke very good English. The town was beautiful and she was very honest and informative.
Mazatlan: We took the pneumonia taxis from the pier into town. They should call them the suicide taxis as the drivers cannot read 'Stop/Alto' signs. They only make rolling stops in open vehicles that look like 4 passenger dune buggies. The island however was beautiful. Shopping was kind of pricey, We had lunch at the Las Cabolos resort, very good and well prepared.
Cabo San Lucas: We had a little delay getting off the ship because of customs so we were about 1 hour late leaving. We were however allowed to complete our entire stay and the ship was only 1 hour late leaving port. The tour we chose was OK, we were only shown the resort area of the island. Which of course is well kept. We didn't really see any of the "real" Cabo, very poor shopping selections.
We were informed on Thursday we wouldn't be retuning to San Pedro pier but instead going to the new Carnival terminal in Long Beach. It wasn't a concern because they provided all guests with complimentary motor coach transportation back to San Pedro or LAX. The buses weren't a problem but there was quite a delay getting off the ship. We realize now that the buses had a 60-minute trip to LAX and back which is why we had a 2 hour delay debarking. We were housed on the Promenade deck and beverages were available. Once again the staff was great. I did notice some of the same friendly faces. Luggage was lined up and easily located.
It was a wonderful trip & 50th birthday. I don't think I want to cruise again without a balcony. It was too cool some of the time for actually sitting out there for any length of time while sailing but being able to go out and look each day was wonderful. When we were in port it was wonderful to sit there and watch as we left each port in our own space.
I'd rate this cruise a 9 compared to the other 2 we sailing's we've had. They get better each time.
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