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Background Information This was me and my wife's second cruise. Prior to this cruise on the Carnival Elation, we went on substantially the same cruise out of New Orleans, LA on the Carnival Fantasy in 2009. We were excited to cruise again, as we had a great time on our first cruise. Travel To Port of Embarkation Travel to the Alabama Cruise Terminal in Mobile, AL was mostly uneventful. We only live about three hours away in Alabama, so the port was nice and close for us. We got in the line of cars trying to get into the parking deck of the terminal at around noon, and waiting in line about 30-40 minutes before handing our bags off to a porter ($5 tip) and parking our car in the parking deck. We moved pretty swiftly through the line in the terminal, and got checked in and actually on the ship at 1:25pm. Staff were indicated that the Staterooms would be open in 5 minutes (1:30pm), but we were hungry, so we proceeded to the Lido deck buffets instead. I had some decent Thai food from the Magnolia grill and my wife had the buffet at Tiffany's. Stateroom Our stateroom was U3 on the Upper deck. This is one of the rooms that is considered an Interior room for the sake of pricing, but is actually an external room with a porthole. The room had a nice amount of space in it, with plenty of closet and drawer space for all of our things. The only complaint I have is the way the Elation keeps the life vests in the corner of the room under the television. This requires the guest staying on the far side of the bed to climb over the bed to get to their side. The guest cannot walk around the bed because the vest container takes up all the space in the corner of the room. On Fantasy, the vests took up some of the closet space. I would prefer that arrangement again. Other than that, we had no other real complaints about the room besides the fact that the sink drained abnormally slowly and we had to put a towel under the door to keep out the light at night. We experienced no noise or rowdy guests at night. Our room steward, whose name we abbreviated as "Roki" was excellent, and kept our ice container full of us, and always had the bed made and turned down magically when we returned to our room. Ship Info We really like the Fantasy class ships. They are nice and large which seems to help keep the rocking motions at bay (thank you stabilizers), and being on a ship with the azipod system seemed pretty neat, especially during the docking and departure sequences. Having a stateroom at the front of the ship resulted in loud noises during the docking and anchoring phases, but it wasn't bad enough to bother either of us (and we knew to expect it from our prior cruise). Everything on the ship always seemed to be freshly cleaned and in good order. We never experienced any maintenance issues or malfunctions of any kind. There is always something to do on the ship, which leads nicely to: Activities / Entertainment We attended many activities aboard the ship including shopping, theater, comedy, and just plain fun things. We went to most of the shows except the opening night show. We were just too tired and took a nice 12 hour nap! The musical and dance numbers were good. The dancers did an excellent job. I was not all that impressed with the lead male and female vocalists. Ironically, I actually think they were trying TOO hard. They have microphones, so backing off on the volume and intensity to actually hit notes that are in the correct key would have seemed appropriate. They had a guest female vocalist the second night who was absolutely amazing. She was singing very jazzy/bluesy songs. The adult and family friendly comedy shows were great. Ironically though, the cruise director Felipe was just as funny as the comedians most of the time. The Marriage Show was a really good time, as was a Family Feud Battle of the Sexes game. One of the male (American) fun host guys taught some dance classes. By far his teaching the Zombie dancing from Michael Jackson's Thriller was the most fun. I merely watched, but it was very entertaining. Obviously the Farewell show with free alcohol was a hit for the small number of people that attended. The Staff handled this in what I considered a sneaky (but perhaps non-intentional was). The Capers from the day before listed the free alcohol farewell show in them, but the day it was actually going to occur didn't actually mention the free alcohol at all and was not included in the things "you shouldn't miss" for the day. This didn't bother me one bit, as I knew about it, and the less people that were there, the more alcohol for me. Unfortunately I drank way too many whiskey sours and come dinner time, I couldn't eat my excellent Indian food as I was too full of drink. All in all, the entertainment and activities were great. I particularly enjoyed the adult scavenger hunt. My wife and I managed to get all the answers right, but another family beat us to it! Darn! Service As I said above, the steward service was great. We made sure to tip him extra for all of his hard work. All the room stewards were friendly as we walked the halls, even if we didn't belong to them. The dining room staff was similarly friendly and helpful. We put in an order for room service one morning and it was delivered within 5 minutes of the range of time requested. We had no service related complaints. Port & Shore Excursions We didn't do any excursions this time, as the one we really wanted to go on was unavailable. We really wanted to tour the ruins on that day long excursion, but due to some unexplained mess going on in Mexico, it was not available. We elected instead to take a taxi to Downtown Cozumel and shop there. Everything went smooth until I had an allergic reaction to something unknown (could have been one of the many tequilas I sampled, or perhaps a bug bite) which resulted in my hands and neck swelling up. I came within minutes of either going to the Cozumel hospital or the Ship's infirmary. I elected to take a taxi back to the ship, and took a benedryl I had on my on the way back. By the time I got to the ship, the swelling was going down, so I ate lunch on the ship, and then took a shower and a nap, and I was fine. Dining All of our dining experiences were great. We ate all dinners in the Inspiration Dining Room with Maryna as our head waiter (from Ukraine). She was very good at her job, took note of my birthday occurring on the ship, and made sure I got sung to and received a special dessert. We made sure to tip her extra as well. Almost all of the food was excellent. The food I liked the least was the steak. The traditional flat iron steak was decent but the prime rib was lacking. Every night I ordered shrimp cocktail and one other started, and usually ordered two dinners (but only ate the parts of each that I cared to). My wife tended to only order one of each. Dessert was always very good, with Warm Chocolate Melting Cake being my eternal favorite dessert of all times. For lunch, we ate twice in the Lido deck buffets and twice in the Imagination Dining Room. Both experiences were good, and I have no complaints. My wife was a bit shocked over what the Antipasto started consisted of (as it was almost all seafood, which she hates). Other than that, no other real surprises. It was silly to me that I couldn't get Caesar dressing with my salad at lunch, which Caesar salad is available as a starter every night at dinner. No other food related complaints. Disembarkation Like many other reviews I have read mentioned, we decided to get the most out of what we paid for by checking our luggage, waking later the morning we arrived at our terminal. We took our carry-ons to the Lido deck buffets and had a nice brunch before our zone was called. We proceeded of the ship with no line to speak of, retrieved our luggage and made it through customs in about 15-20 minutes. This was the opposite of the nightmare we experienced getting of the Fantasy the year before, which literally took hours. This process went very smoothly. No complaints here. CRUISE DIRECTOR I'd like to take a moment here to give special recognition to Felipe Couto. Felipe was an excellent cruise director. He was always full of energy, yelling and receiving in return plenty of "WOO HOO". Having only been on one other cruise before where Hennie was the CD ("I said bye-bye"), I found Felipe to be just as engaging. At first I had a hard time with his portuguese accent (he's from Brazil), but soon I was understanding everything he was saying just fine. He was as funny as the comedians and as energetic as the dancers. I liked the way he just straight up explains the energy formula to the guests (the more energy you give us, the more energy you will receive in turn). I also like how when he says things like "You guys are the best cruise ever" that he jokingly but honestly admits that he says that to every cruise (yet somehow paradoxically believes it too!). His anecdotes about his mother are also touching and sometimes humorous as well. I'm lucky that I got to have him as a CD, as he is inly scheduled to be the CD for three consecutive cruises before handing the ship back over to his predecessor. Summary In summary, we had a really nice cruise. The food, activities, staff, entertainment, and cruise director all met or exceeded my expectations. I see a bunch of folks complaining about certain aspects of Carnival cruises such as noise, caffeine level of the staff, etc., but I think those people are missing the point. Carnival is trying to provide a Fun Ship, not an old boring ship. Ultimately, a cruise is what you make of it. If you want peace and quiet the whole time, you can stay in your room, order room service, and walk to the aft elevators to sun on the Serenity Deck. For the opposite experience, attend as many of the activities as you can, party the night away with Karaoke, and have a blast. That's what is great about Carnival. You can do both just as well. Again, a cruise is what you want it to be.

A joyride to Cozumel and back!

Carnival Elation Cruise Review by Khariz

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
Background Information
This was me and my wife's second cruise. Prior to this cruise on the Carnival Elation, we went on substantially the same cruise out of New Orleans, LA on the Carnival Fantasy in 2009. We were excited to cruise again, as we had a great time on our first cruise.
Travel To Port of Embarkation
Travel to the Alabama Cruise Terminal in Mobile, AL was mostly uneventful. We only live about three hours away in Alabama, so the port was nice and close for us. We got in the line of cars trying to get into the parking deck of the terminal at around noon, and waiting in line about 30-40 minutes before handing our bags off to a porter ($5 tip) and parking our car in the parking deck. We moved pretty swiftly through the line in the terminal, and got checked in and actually on the ship at 1:25pm. Staff were indicated that the Staterooms would be open in 5 minutes (1:30pm), but we were hungry, so we proceeded to the Lido deck buffets instead. I had some decent Thai food from the Magnolia grill and my wife had the buffet at Tiffany's.
Stateroom
Our stateroom was U3 on the Upper deck. This is one of the rooms that is considered an Interior room for the sake of pricing, but is actually an external room with a porthole. The room had a nice amount of space in it, with plenty of closet and drawer space for all of our things. The only complaint I have is the way the Elation keeps the life vests in the corner of the room under the television. This requires the guest staying on the far side of the bed to climb over the bed to get to their side. The guest cannot walk around the bed because the vest container takes up all the space in the corner of the room. On Fantasy, the vests took up some of the closet space. I would prefer that arrangement again. Other than that, we had no other real complaints about the room besides the fact that the sink drained abnormally slowly and we had to put a towel under the door to keep out the light at night. We experienced no noise or rowdy guests at night. Our room steward, whose name we abbreviated as "Roki" was excellent, and kept our ice container full of us, and always had the bed made and turned down magically when we returned to our room.
Ship Info
We really like the Fantasy class ships. They are nice and large which seems to help keep the rocking motions at bay (thank you stabilizers), and being on a ship with the azipod system seemed pretty neat, especially during the docking and departure sequences. Having a stateroom at the front of the ship resulted in loud noises during the docking and anchoring phases, but it wasn't bad enough to bother either of us (and we knew to expect it from our prior cruise). Everything on the ship always seemed to be freshly cleaned and in good order. We never experienced any maintenance issues or malfunctions of any kind. There is always something to do on the ship, which leads nicely to:
Activities / Entertainment
We attended many activities aboard the ship including shopping, theater, comedy, and just plain fun things. We went to most of the shows except the opening night show. We were just too tired and took a nice 12 hour nap! The musical and dance numbers were good. The dancers did an excellent job. I was not all that impressed with the lead male and female vocalists. Ironically, I actually think they were trying TOO hard. They have microphones, so backing off on the volume and intensity to actually hit notes that are in the correct key would have seemed appropriate. They had a guest female vocalist the second night who was absolutely amazing. She was singing very jazzy/bluesy songs.
The adult and family friendly comedy shows were great. Ironically though, the cruise director Felipe was just as funny as the comedians most of the time. The Marriage Show was a really good time, as was a Family Feud Battle of the Sexes game. One of the male (American) fun host guys taught some dance classes. By far his teaching the Zombie dancing from Michael Jackson's Thriller was the most fun. I merely watched, but it was very entertaining.
Obviously the Farewell show with free alcohol was a hit for the small number of people that attended. The Staff handled this in what I considered a sneaky (but perhaps non-intentional was). The Capers from the day before listed the free alcohol farewell show in them, but the day it was actually going to occur didn't actually mention the free alcohol at all and was not included in the things "you shouldn't miss" for the day. This didn't bother me one bit, as I knew about it, and the less people that were there, the more alcohol for me. Unfortunately I drank way too many whiskey sours and come dinner time, I couldn't eat my excellent Indian food as I was too full of drink.
All in all, the entertainment and activities were great. I particularly enjoyed the adult scavenger hunt. My wife and I managed to get all the answers right, but another family beat us to it! Darn!
Service
As I said above, the steward service was great. We made sure to tip him extra for all of his hard work. All the room stewards were friendly as we walked the halls, even if we didn't belong to them. The dining room staff was similarly friendly and helpful. We put in an order for room service one morning and it was delivered within 5 minutes of the range of time requested. We had no service related complaints.
Port & Shore Excursions
We didn't do any excursions this time, as the one we really wanted to go on was unavailable. We really wanted to tour the ruins on that day long excursion, but due to some unexplained mess going on in Mexico, it was not available. We elected instead to take a taxi to Downtown Cozumel and shop there. Everything went smooth until I had an allergic reaction to something unknown (could have been one of the many tequilas I sampled, or perhaps a bug bite) which resulted in my hands and neck swelling up. I came within minutes of either going to the Cozumel hospital or the Ship's infirmary. I elected to take a taxi back to the ship, and took a benedryl I had on my on the way back. By the time I got to the ship, the swelling was going down, so I ate lunch on the ship, and then took a shower and a nap, and I was fine.
Dining
All of our dining experiences were great. We ate all dinners in the Inspiration Dining Room with Maryna as our head waiter (from Ukraine). She was very good at her job, took note of my birthday occurring on the ship, and made sure I got sung to and received a special dessert. We made sure to tip her extra as well. Almost all of the food was excellent. The food I liked the least was the steak. The traditional flat iron steak was decent but the prime rib was lacking. Every night I ordered shrimp cocktail and one other started, and usually ordered two dinners (but only ate the parts of each that I cared to). My wife tended to only order one of each. Dessert was always very good, with Warm Chocolate Melting Cake being my eternal favorite dessert of all times.
For lunch, we ate twice in the Lido deck buffets and twice in the Imagination Dining Room. Both experiences were good, and I have no complaints. My wife was a bit shocked over what the Antipasto started consisted of (as it was almost all seafood, which she hates). Other than that, no other real surprises. It was silly to me that I couldn't get Caesar dressing with my salad at lunch, which Caesar salad is available as a starter every night at dinner. No other food related complaints.
Disembarkation
Like many other reviews I have read mentioned, we decided to get the most out of what we paid for by checking our luggage, waking later the morning we arrived at our terminal. We took our carry-ons to the Lido deck buffets and had a nice brunch before our zone was called. We proceeded of the ship with no line to speak of, retrieved our luggage and made it through customs in about 15-20 minutes. This was the opposite of the nightmare we experienced getting of the Fantasy the year before, which literally took hours. This process went very smoothly. No complaints here.
CRUISE DIRECTOR
I'd like to take a moment here to give special recognition to Felipe Couto. Felipe was an excellent cruise director. He was always full of energy, yelling and receiving in return plenty of "WOO HOO". Having only been on one other cruise before where Hennie was the CD ("I said bye-bye"), I found Felipe to be just as engaging. At first I had a hard time with his portuguese accent (he's from Brazil), but soon I was understanding everything he was saying just fine. He was as funny as the comedians and as energetic as the dancers.
I liked the way he just straight up explains the energy formula to the guests (the more energy you give us, the more energy you will receive in turn). I also like how when he says things like "You guys are the best cruise ever" that he jokingly but honestly admits that he says that to every cruise (yet somehow paradoxically believes it too!). His anecdotes about his mother are also touching and sometimes humorous as well. I'm lucky that I got to have him as a CD, as he is inly scheduled to be the CD for three consecutive cruises before handing the ship back over to his predecessor.
Summary
In summary, we had a really nice cruise. The food, activities, staff, entertainment, and cruise director all met or exceeded my expectations. I see a bunch of folks complaining about certain aspects of Carnival cruises such as noise, caffeine level of the staff, etc., but I think those people are missing the point. Carnival is trying to provide a Fun Ship, not an old boring ship. Ultimately, a cruise is what you make of it. If you want peace and quiet the whole time, you can stay in your room, order room service, and walk to the aft elevators to sun on the Serenity Deck. For the opposite experience, attend as many of the activities as you can, party the night away with Karaoke, and have a blast. That's what is great about Carnival. You can do both just as well. Again, a cruise is what you want it to be.
Khariz’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin U3
Nice closet, slow draining sink, light visible under the door, odd life vest holder in the corner that prevents the guest on the far side of the bed from walking around the bed.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Cozumel
    Cozumel is a good port. There any many activities and shore excursion available ranging form swimming with dolphins and snorkeling to taking a speeding twister boat to a private island for a nice relaxing time.
    Shopping is also good, with cruise-ship-guest-only areas immediately near the ships, and ample transportation to the main downtown area where much more shopping is. The cruise lines do an excellent job of telling you who it is wise to shop with and how, and who it is not wise to shop with. They explain how to haggle and bargain in on-board shopping seminars, which are invaluable for new cruisers.
    We probably spent about $200 total in jewelry, souvenirs, and trinkets, but if we would have purchased the exact same items in the States, we probably would have paid double. We also managed to find some rare flavored tequilas that are no longer imported into the U.S., so we made sure to drag back a couple of those as well.
    As with the cruise ships themselves, Cozumel is mostly what you choose to make of it. You can party all day and stagger back onto the ship, you can shop in hundreds of stores for thousands of different types of merchandise, or you can just relax on some very beautiful beaches and return to the ship completely relaxed.
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