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We selected this cruise as a graduation present for my wife. When I asked her where she’d like to go, she said that she really wanted to see some of the Mayan ruins. After looking at the various excursions that Carnival offered, she decided that Uxmal was her choice, as you have so much access to the site, and that meant that our choices were the Elation or the Triumph. We chose the Elation as the dates worked better, we had never been to New Orleans, and we could drive that distance which left more money for onboard and my wife did not have to limit her wardrobe. We were accompanied by my wife’s cousin, Pat, my mother, and my wife’s best friend, Michelle, and her husband for a party of 6. The week before our cruise my wife and Michelle went shopping for a graduation dress. Instead of buying one dress at Belk or a fancier store, she found 6 at Marshall’s and Ross and suddenly, driving to the port seemed like an excellent decision. The dresses all required separate shoes, so I quickly printed another luggage tag too. On Saturday, my wife fulfilled her dreams and graduated Law School, we celebrated and then drove home so we could finish (start?) packing and get the house ready for the couple that came to sit with our kids. We left Chattanooga about 9 on Sunday; it’s an easy, but boring drive straight down I-59. We made a couple stops, but were at our hotel by around 5 and quickly found the rest of our party. We stayed at the Quality Inn Maison St. Charles. I thought the hotel was charming; it’s a collection of refurbished buildings around a courtyard. Our room was nicely decorated and comfortable. A trolley line runs right out front to Bourbon St. and there were plenty of restaurants within a block or two. We ate at Zea’s, the food was delicious, then went across the street and West one block to the Blind Pelican, where we had grilled oysters for “second dessert”. After dinner, we walked my mother back to the hotel and the rest of us boarded a trolley for Bourbon St. I’m glad I went, but I don’t think that Bourbon St. is really my thing. We had some fun, and steered clear of the scarier parts. We headed back to the trolley around midnight to get a little sleep before the morning of our cruise. Monday was embarkation day, but we had a couple more things to do first. We always go to Target on our way to a cruise, so we headed across the river to Gretna to grab a few things (after a quick trip in the wrong direction, the highways in downtown New Orleans are insane) then headed back to punch one more ticket, a trip to Café du Monde. We were able to park on the street for a couple dollars a couple blocks west, and walked down past the cathedral to Café du Monde. It was fun to stop in, and the street performer outside did an excellent impression of Louis Armstrong. The beignets were good, and the coffe was very strong (I forgot that café au lait is their specialty). We saw the crew from NCIS, which was filming in front of the Cathedral, and made our way back to our cars, finally it was time to head to the port. We dropped off our luggage, as well as our DC and my DM and headed to the garage. I chose to park at the Fulton Street garage. It was cheap, but I kind of felt that I got what I paid for. $8 per night gets you a rooftop spot, but it was a long drive up (there are 8 levels before the roof), you have to walk down a flight of stairs to get to the elevator, we didn’t have much to carry so we helped some women with their bags, and the shuttle seemed back up, so we walked around the convention center (which is huge) and back to the port. I also managed to lose (if I ever had it) the information for the shuttle back to the garage, so I walked that too. Check in was very easy, and the lines weren’t too bad considering it was about 11:45 when we got to the port building. The embarkation photo was taken much earlier in the process than we’re used to, we had planned to take one as a group as on our other cruises the photo has been the last stop, but here they took our picture before we got out Sign and Sail cards. We were on the ship just before 1 p.m. and took a chance that our room (U128, an Ocean View) might be ready. It was, so we dropped our carry-on luggage and headed to the Lido Deck. We managed to find everyone form our group and found 2 sunny tables, everyone grabbed some lunch and we chilled until it was time for safety briefing. I ended up checking out our dining situation and headed back by our room where I found that our luggage had already been delivered. Our muster station was on the Lido deck, another first for me. It made the drill a little chaotic, but we got through the process. With that out of the way, we headed to the promenade deck to watch the Elation sail away through the windows there. We love the Fantasy class promenade decks, they are great for people watching, the bar servers are generally attentive but not as pushy as the ones on the Lido, and the Taste Bar is nearby for appetizers. I really preferred the sushi bars, as they were available every night, rather than just 3 night as Taste was. After a drink and a nibble, we tried our hand at trivia, and got changed for dinner. We also made a quick stop at the liquor tasting. We had late seating in the Inspiration Dining Room (on previous cruises we’ve used anytime) as we thought it would be nice to eat together every night. We were initially given a booth the first night but moved to an empty nearby table for the other 4 as we were cramped and the waitstaff had a long walk around a line of booths to sever the far side. Our head waiter was Costinel, and he was assisted by Toshe and Roxi. I think it took us a night to get to know each other but their service and menu knowledge were good, of course except for Pat and my mother, I think we know the menu as well as the servers anyway. Tuesday was a sea day, we got up early, I went to the gym and when I got back my wife went to yoga. The elliptical machines had touchscreens that did not work very well, something that surprised me, I would have thought they might have been replaced on the recent dry dock, and my wife thought the yoga class was only ok, but maybe it was just different from her class at home. After our efforts at being healthy, we headed to brunch. I think that the sea day brunch is a great menu and always have trouble choosing but I knew that I had two chances on this trip. The rest of the day included some casino play by the ladies, a nap ( a sea day imperative) some reading in the sunshine, and I let my wife talk me in to participating in the Beyonce ‘Single Ladies’ dance class. Following that and another trip to the Promenade deck to check out our photos and hit up the Taste Bar, it was time to get dressed up and take pictures. I really don’t care for pictures, but my wife enjoys it, and I know that she puts up with a lot from me, so I never say no to posing for pictures on a cruise. We had some really nice shots taken, had some with our whole group and suffered through some very odd poses. By and large I thought the Pixels crew was pretty good, although on other ships we’ve managed to really mesh well with at least one photographer. Dinner was excellent again, and we made it out in time for the show. ‘Win’ was the show, I did not care for it, it seemed very cobbled together, and I did not care for the male vocalist, to me it seemed that he was just screaming the whole time. With a big day planned for the next day, we didn’t stay out too late. Day 3 was our stop in Progreso. We chose the excursion to Uxmal. I know that we could have done the trip cheaper with Groupo Autoprogreso, but the Carnival trip was longer, and the ship was only scheduled in port for 7 hours, which left little time if anything went wrong. Our excursion was great. The guide, Felipe, was knowledgeable and funny, he kept us informed and entertained. The site itself was majestic, and you get lots of up close access to the ruins at Uxmal. The reception center contains a very good restaurant, which was definitely a step up from the provided snack (ham sandwich, banana and cookies, all edible but nothing special), especially the fresh corn tortillas. We shopped a little, dollars were accepted by all the vendors, and hopped back on our bus for the return trip. We returned to the port about 10 minutes before the “all aboard” time, so we missed out on the shopping there, but we didn’t NEED anything anyway an dwe had a full day coming up in Cozumel. We rested up, the ladies tried their luck some more and we enjoyed another nice dinner with our Dining Room team. We skipped the ‘love and Marriage Show’ but enjoyed the comedians in the Cole Porter Lounge. One more quick trip to the Casino and some fun looking at photos wrapped up the night. Day 4 found us in Cozumel. If you’re on a Caribbean cruise with Carnival, I think Cozumel is a required stop, but it’s full of fun things to do. While our friends headed to Passion Island on a catamaran (you can also take the Twister jet boat), we headed out to shop and visit some places we ran past in January when we participated in the Amazing Race shore excursion. We had a great time strolling and shopping, then took a cab to La Choza for lunch. I had read about the restaurant several times, the overwhelming themes seemed to be great food, amazing sauce for their chips, and free wi-fi; what more could one want. If anything, the quality of the food was undersold, the pink sauce was fantastic, and they offer a pair of wireless networks included with the meal. We took a quick tour of the Mercado Municipal and headed back to the main strip. After a little more shopping, we headed back to the ship. We rested up a little, posed for pictures enjoyed dinner again, and got ready for the deck party. By and large, I think the quality of the deck party is up to the people cruising, and with lots of people willing to participate, this one was fun. The Entertainment Staff was pretty solid and I had a good time. After the deck party the ship seemed very quiet, we tried to dance at the Romeo and Juliet night club but there was no atmosphere, so we headed in for the night. Day 5 was our final day and was spent at sea. I went to towel animal class, which is always fun, tried to sit through Towel Animal Theater, which is geared for 5 year olds, attended the future cruise talk, then found some of my group for lunch and the chocolate “extravaganza”. We participated in the digital scavenger hunt but did not win, and then I finally won my trivia trophy (I have one from each of the ships I’ve sailed, so I didn’t want to leave without one). The CD, Steve Knisley and one of his assistants hosted a Q & A session that was fairly interesting, then it was time to pack and get ready for a few more photos. We enjoyed our final dinner, went through our photos again, and found a few seats for the Magician’s show. The table artist on the Elation was more of a mind reader, and while I was impressed with his dining room tricks, I have seen better shows. Saturday morning meant debarkation, which went pretty smoothly, then a drive home. We really enjoyed this cruise, and I would recommend the trip, especially if you would like to see any of the Mayan sites. I know that the Elation is older and does not offer the bells and whistles of the newer larger ships, but her crew is friendly, and I think that the smaller size allows them to provide better service.  

Great little ship, fantastic cruise

Carnival Elation Cruise Review by Mutumbojimbo

Trip Details
We selected this cruise as a graduation present for my wife. When I asked her where she’d like to go, she said that she really wanted to see some of the Mayan ruins. After looking at the various excursions that Carnival offered, she decided that Uxmal was her choice, as you have so much access to the site, and that meant that our choices were the Elation or the Triumph. We chose the Elation as the dates worked better, we had never been to New Orleans, and we could drive that distance which left more money for onboard and my wife did not have to limit her wardrobe. We were accompanied by my wife’s cousin, Pat, my mother, and my wife’s best friend, Michelle, and her husband for a party of 6.
The week before our cruise my wife and Michelle went shopping for a graduation dress. Instead of buying one dress at Belk or a fancier store, she found 6 at Marshall’s and Ross and suddenly, driving to the port seemed like an excellent decision. The dresses all required separate shoes, so I quickly printed another luggage tag too. On Saturday, my wife fulfilled her dreams and graduated Law School, we celebrated and then drove home so we could finish (start?) packing and get the house ready for the couple that came to sit with our kids.
We left Chattanooga about 9 on Sunday; it’s an easy, but boring drive straight down I-59. We made a couple stops, but were at our hotel by around 5 and quickly found the rest of our party. We stayed at the Quality Inn Maison St. Charles. I thought the hotel was charming; it’s a collection of refurbished buildings around a courtyard. Our room was nicely decorated and comfortable. A trolley line runs right out front to Bourbon St. and there were plenty of restaurants within a block or two. We ate at Zea’s, the food was delicious, then went across the street and West one block to the Blind Pelican, where we had grilled oysters for “second dessert”.
After dinner, we walked my mother back to the hotel and the rest of us boarded a trolley for Bourbon St. I’m glad I went, but I don’t think that Bourbon St. is really my thing. We had some fun, and steered clear of the scarier parts. We headed back to the trolley around midnight to get a little sleep before the morning of our cruise.
Monday was embarkation day, but we had a couple more things to do first. We always go to Target on our way to a cruise, so we headed across the river to Gretna to grab a few things (after a quick trip in the wrong direction, the highways in downtown New Orleans are insane) then headed back to punch one more ticket, a trip to Café du Monde. We were able to park on the street for a couple dollars a couple blocks west, and walked down past the cathedral to Café du Monde. It was fun to stop in, and the street performer outside did an excellent impression of Louis Armstrong. The beignets were good, and the coffe was very strong (I forgot that café au lait is their specialty). We saw the crew from NCIS, which was filming in front of the Cathedral, and made our way back to our cars, finally it was time to head to the port.
We dropped off our luggage, as well as our DC and my DM and headed to the garage. I chose to park at the Fulton Street garage. It was cheap, but I kind of felt that I got what I paid for. $8 per night gets you a rooftop spot, but it was a long drive up (there are 8 levels before the roof), you have to walk down a flight of stairs to get to the elevator, we didn’t have much to carry so we helped some women with their bags, and the shuttle seemed back up, so we walked around the convention center (which is huge) and back to the port. I also managed to lose (if I ever had it) the information for the shuttle back to the garage, so I walked that too.
Check in was very easy, and the lines weren’t too bad considering it was about 11:45 when we got to the port building. The embarkation photo was taken much earlier in the process than we’re used to, we had planned to take one as a group as on our other cruises the photo has been the last stop, but here they took our picture before we got out Sign and Sail cards. We were on the ship just before 1 p.m. and took a chance that our room (U128, an Ocean View) might be ready. It was, so we dropped our carry-on luggage and headed to the Lido Deck.
We managed to find everyone form our group and found 2 sunny tables, everyone grabbed some lunch and we chilled until it was time for safety briefing. I ended up checking out our dining situation and headed back by our room where I found that our luggage had already been delivered.
Our muster station was on the Lido deck, another first for me. It made the drill a little chaotic, but we got through the process. With that out of the way, we headed to the promenade deck to watch the Elation sail away through the windows there. We love the Fantasy class promenade decks, they are great for people watching, the bar servers are generally attentive but not as pushy as the ones on the Lido, and the Taste Bar is nearby for appetizers. I really preferred the sushi bars, as they were available every night, rather than just 3 night as Taste was. After a drink and a nibble, we tried our hand at trivia, and got changed for dinner. We also made a quick stop at the liquor tasting.
We had late seating in the Inspiration Dining Room (on previous cruises we’ve used anytime) as we thought it would be nice to eat together every night. We were initially given a booth the first night but moved to an empty nearby table for the other 4 as we were cramped and the waitstaff had a long walk around a line of booths to sever the far side. Our head waiter was Costinel, and he was assisted by Toshe and Roxi. I think it took us a night to get to know each other but their service and menu knowledge were good, of course except for Pat and my mother, I think we know the menu as well as the servers anyway.
Tuesday was a sea day, we got up early, I went to the gym and when I got back my wife went to yoga. The elliptical machines had touchscreens that did not work very well, something that surprised me, I would have thought they might have been replaced on the recent dry dock, and my wife thought the yoga class was only ok, but maybe it was just different from her class at home. After our efforts at being healthy, we headed to brunch. I think that the sea day brunch is a great menu and always have trouble choosing but I knew that I had two chances on this trip. The rest of the day included some casino play by the ladies, a nap ( a sea day imperative) some reading in the sunshine, and I let my wife talk me in to participating in the Beyonce ‘Single Ladies’ dance class. Following that and another trip to the Promenade deck to check out our photos and hit up the Taste Bar, it was time to get dressed up and take pictures. I really don’t care for pictures, but my wife enjoys it, and I know that she puts up with a lot from me, so I never say no to posing for pictures on a cruise. We had some really nice shots taken, had some with our whole group and suffered through some very odd poses. By and large I thought the Pixels crew was pretty good, although on other ships we’ve managed to really mesh well with at least one photographer. Dinner was excellent again, and we made it out in time for the show. ‘Win’ was the show, I did not care for it, it seemed very cobbled together, and I did not care for the male vocalist, to me it seemed that he was just screaming the whole time. With a big day planned for the next day, we didn’t stay out too late.
Day 3 was our stop in Progreso. We chose the excursion to Uxmal. I know that we could have done the trip cheaper with Groupo Autoprogreso, but the Carnival trip was longer, and the ship was only scheduled in port for 7 hours, which left little time if anything went wrong. Our excursion was great. The guide, Felipe, was knowledgeable and funny, he kept us informed and entertained. The site itself was majestic, and you get lots of up close access to the ruins at Uxmal. The reception center contains a very good restaurant, which was definitely a step up from the provided snack (ham sandwich, banana and cookies, all edible but nothing special), especially the fresh corn tortillas. We shopped a little, dollars were accepted by all the vendors, and hopped back on our bus for the return trip. We returned to the port about 10 minutes before the “all aboard” time, so we missed out on the shopping there, but we didn’t NEED anything anyway an dwe had a full day coming up in Cozumel. We rested up, the ladies tried their luck some more and we enjoyed another nice dinner with our Dining Room team. We skipped the ‘love and Marriage Show’ but enjoyed the comedians in the Cole Porter Lounge. One more quick trip to the Casino and some fun looking at photos wrapped up the night.
Day 4 found us in Cozumel. If you’re on a Caribbean cruise with Carnival, I think Cozumel is a required stop, but it’s full of fun things to do. While our friends headed to Passion Island on a catamaran (you can also take the Twister jet boat), we headed out to shop and visit some places we ran past in January when we participated in the Amazing Race shore excursion. We had a great time strolling and shopping, then took a cab to La Choza for lunch. I had read about the restaurant several times, the overwhelming themes seemed to be great food, amazing sauce for their chips, and free wi-fi; what more could one want. If anything, the quality of the food was undersold, the pink sauce was fantastic, and they offer a pair of wireless networks included with the meal. We took a quick tour of the Mercado Municipal and headed back to the main strip. After a little more shopping, we headed back to the ship. We rested up a little, posed for pictures enjoyed dinner again, and got ready for the deck party.
By and large, I think the quality of the deck party is up to the people cruising, and with lots of people willing to participate, this one was fun. The Entertainment Staff was pretty solid and I had a good time. After the deck party the ship seemed very quiet, we tried to dance at the Romeo and Juliet night club but there was no atmosphere, so we headed in for the night.
Day 5 was our final day and was spent at sea. I went to towel animal class, which is always fun, tried to sit through Towel Animal Theater, which is geared for 5 year olds, attended the future cruise talk, then found some of my group for lunch and the chocolate “extravaganza”. We participated in the digital scavenger hunt but did not win, and then I finally won my trivia trophy (I have one from each of the ships I’ve sailed, so I didn’t want to leave without one). The CD, Steve Knisley and one of his assistants hosted a Q & A session that was fairly interesting, then it was time to pack and get ready for a few more photos. We enjoyed our final dinner, went through our photos again, and found a few seats for the Magician’s show. The table artist on the Elation was more of a mind reader, and while I was impressed with his dining room tricks, I have seen better shows.
Saturday morning meant debarkation, which went pretty smoothly, then a drive home. We really enjoyed this cruise, and I would recommend the trip, especially if you would like to see any of the Mayan sites. I know that the Elation is older and does not offer the bells and whistles of the newer larger ships, but her crew is friendly, and I think that the smaller size allows them to provide better service.
 
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Cabin Review

Ocean View
Cabin 6D U128
Carnival offers basic cabins, but you 'll find everything that you'll need. We had a hair dryer which is not always the case on a Fantasy Class ship. I like being high enough to take the stairs to most locations, but we chose the Upper Deck as to make sure that we were not beneath the galley or show lounge. I was surprised that the televisions were not updated during the recent drydock but they were good enough.
Empress Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins