20 Mobile First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

This was our first cruise, and I think it was good. Not sure I will do it again since I am bit restless but I have never been this relaxed after a vacation. Food: Every meal we had was warm, except the breakfast and frosted flakes in ... Read More
This was our first cruise, and I think it was good. Not sure I will do it again since I am bit restless but I have never been this relaxed after a vacation. Food: Every meal we had was warm, except the breakfast and frosted flakes in cold milk. The food was great, although going to O´Sheehans during lunch time was a bit tedious since the wait was 30-45 minutes to get food, But hey, it is busy what would you expect. Savor/Taste service was great and we got as many refills of wine we wanted. But I guess if you are obnoxuios and grumpy you get the service you deserve (as I have read many reviews stating that service is bad...) Pool area. As everywhere else in US there needs to be music at a very loud level all the time. This is why the cruise gets a 4 instead of a 5. It would be nice to be able to have a conversation without shouting. Other than that it was great. Kids club. Since mu kids do not speak English it was not that fun to be there except when it was free play and they could play Wii. Night life: Not much except, one nnight when it was Glow party and H2O rocked. Cabin, it worked since you do not spend much time in there. Lots of storage space underneath beds and other places. On shore: No excursion. Taking taxis on the islands are EXPENSIVE but it is worth getting off the ship and go to a beach. I gained 3 kg on the cruise (which is something like 7 pounds) since you eat, drink and do not do enough excersice... I guess to sum it up, if you expect to get served like royalty you will get dissappointed. If you expect to get what you pay for this is a good ship to sail on. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
My husband and I went on our first cruise on the Carnival Elation. As most people do on their first cruise, we learned many things about Cruising on this trip. A huge tip we could have used was to never book a cruise during ... Read More
My husband and I went on our first cruise on the Carnival Elation. As most people do on their first cruise, we learned many things about Cruising on this trip. A huge tip we could have used was to never book a cruise during hurricane season. Tropical Storm Lee started brewing in the Gulf the week before we were supposed to set sail and we did become a little worried that it might interfere with our itinerary, and well, it did. We were supposed to leave on Sept. 5 and due to the condition of the water (huge waves) our embarkation was moved to Sept. 6. So, our trip was delayed a day and our itinerary lost one of our ports of call. We were, to say the least, disappointed. Since we were already in Mobile we stayed at the Renaissance across the street from the Port. The hotel gave us a discount due to the cruise being delayed and hopefully insurance will reimburse us for that night. Carnival also gave us a 20% discount and a $60 credit on our sail & sign for the inconvenience of losing a day. They really went out of the way to accommodate and make up for the shortened cruise. Another tip we could have used is to never leave out of Mobile. It was pure chaos getting on the ship. From the moment we pulled up men were throwing our bags onto dollies and paying for parking was insane. They claimed that they prefer cash, but the credit card line moved much faster. The lines inside were congested and not one worker seemed to have any authority over the actions of other cruisers. This might be because they were all mostly over the age of 70 and everyone ran all over them. I do highly recommend the passport card and the Carnival funpass. Checking in took less than five minutes once we were at the counter. From there it was smooth sailing. On board we were graciously greeted by cruise staff offering us complimentary glasses of wine. We found our room with ease where our luggage was already waiting for us. We unpacked everything (a tip from another cruiser) and made our way to the hot tub. Our only mission on this cruise was to relax and take it all in. And we can definitely say mission accomplished. We went to a good many of the shows and wasted a lot of money on Bingo and alcohol. If anyone has the opportunity to see the comedian Kenny Miller, don't take it. He is horrible. Doug Funk on the other hand was hilarious. Corey, the cruise director was great at keeping us informed from day to day. His shows were particularly fun. I took advantage of one of the Spa specials and it was fabulous. We took the late dinner which is something I probably won't do again because most of the good shows are happening at the same time. Our wait staff was fabulous! Very happy to accommodate and kept us entertained each night with a song or dance. The food was hit and miss. The soups were always great and the greek salad was particularly fantastic. The warm chocolate melting cake was a favorite every night except the night that tirimisu was an option. Breakfast at Tiffany's was fun to say, but nothing to write home about. The only item that changed on the buffet from day to day was pancakes or french toast. Fruit was my friend for breakfast. Lunch was always good. The Mongolian Grill was a pleasant surprise and absolutely delish. We never took advantage of room service because the only menu we got was for breakfast. I'm sure we could have called and asked for anything, we just didn't spend that much time in the room to do so. Speaking of the rooms...they were a little dated in my opinion. Our tv was always fuzzy and skipped every other channel when using the remote. There weren't huge issues though since we didn't spend much time in our room. At our port of call, Cozumel, we prepaid for the Dolphin Encounter excursion. It was amazing! The staff was knowledgeable and friendly. Cameras were prohibited, so the only options for pictures were the ones the facility took for us and they were waaaaayyyyy over priced. ($30 each) and there weren't any pictures taken of me and my husband together, otherwise we probably would have splurged for a picture. From there we took a taxi drive to Paradise beach and for $2 we were able to use the beach lounges, umbrellas, fresh water pool, changing rooms, showers, and bathrooms. Well worth it! And while the water was a little murky (thanks to TS Lee) we were still able to enjoy ourselves. From there we made our way back to the shopping village Carnival dropped us off at and shopped and had lunch. Shopping was difficult with all the begging the locals did just to get you to buy their goods. Overall, our first cruise was a great experience. Carnival went above and beyond to make the most out of our shortened trip. We will definitely be cruising with Carnival again! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
I read the reviews regarding the Carnival Elation, sailing out of Mobile and many were so much more negative than positive. I was completely ready to back out of the deal. Let me tell you - I am so glad that it is just other people's ... Read More
I read the reviews regarding the Carnival Elation, sailing out of Mobile and many were so much more negative than positive. I was completely ready to back out of the deal. Let me tell you - I am so glad that it is just other people's opinions and not facts!! Because we found all the negative remarks to be just simply be false!! The crew was fantastic and friendly. Our cabin steward got to know us on a first name basis from day one and was very eager to make sure that we were comfortable and all our needs were met. The statements about the ship not being clean - the crew was constantly cleaning!! Our cabins were cleaned twice each day and when they were not cleaning rooms, they were washing down the walls in the hallways, scrubbing floors, mopping, etc. There were also claims that none of them were friendly and would not even speak to you. Again, simply false! Every time you pass a staff member in the hallway, they would always acknowledge you and speak to you. The food service was great - again, debunking claims that service was not good. They were always right there to refill glasses, take away plates, clear the table, etc. We enjoyed it so much that we booked future cruises with them. I would advise any first time cruisers to not always go by the negative reviews because everyone's perception is different. If you go looking for things to complain about, I am sure you will find them. However, if you are looking for a nice, affordable, great, relaxing time - then go and don't care what everyone else thinks and make it what you want!! We did and I am so glad!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Great trip! We started out on a 4 night 3 day adventure to Cozumel Mexico. Sailed out of Mobile, AL. After a 5 and 1/2 hour drive to Mobile, AL. We arrived at terminal. Unloading the car was fast and easy. We found the check in process ... Read More
Great trip! We started out on a 4 night 3 day adventure to Cozumel Mexico. Sailed out of Mobile, AL. After a 5 and 1/2 hour drive to Mobile, AL. We arrived at terminal. Unloading the car was fast and easy. We found the check in process fast and easy since we had done all of paper work and fun pass on line prior to our sailing date. Got on to the ship with no problem, found our room. It was actually bigger than I had planned for. Had a nice time just relaxed. First day at sea went thru rains. We slept most of that day away! Next day we arrived in Cozumel, booked shore excursion with the ship fast easy painless. We had a great time on beach just soaking up the sun and fun. We were transported back to the port. We went shopping for a while then headed back to the ship. Next day at sea waters were ruff. Made it back to Mobile, Al had to turn around due to bad weather and go back out to sea to escape ruff waters. Got an extra day at sea that we did not plan for. All of the staff were very nice. Made back to port next day which was open and we were able to dock and get off ship with no problems. Clearing customs fast and easy. Headed back to car for 5 and 1/2 hour back home. Overall first cruse experience was great, recommend it to anyone. Have already booked next cruise 7 months from now. Cant wait! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We were attracted to this cruise as Mobile was the closest port of embarkation to our home and the price was right. We paid about $350 each for a four night cruise from Mobile to Cozumel Mexico and back. We arrived at the Port terminal ... Read More
We were attracted to this cruise as Mobile was the closest port of embarkation to our home and the price was right. We paid about $350 each for a four night cruise from Mobile to Cozumel Mexico and back. We arrived at the Port terminal around noon on a Thursday for a 4pm sailing. From the time we entered the parking garage to stepping on-board the ship was an hour and a half. The parking process is very smooth. Drive up to the baggage drop off area and drop your bags then park the car. You must pre-pay your parking either with a credit card or with cash. (The cash line moves much faster). Cost was $75 ($15/day or portion there of). The deadline for boarding the ship is 2:30 but if you wait much past noon to park your car, the lot will be filled and you'll have to park at a satellite lot that will incur more time to get back to the terminal. The ship carries around 2200 or so passengers and we were told that it is always full so be prepared to stand in line to go through security and then get in another line to give Carnival your credit card information for your Cruise card which serves as your door key, ID, and charge card on the ship. The security screening was oriented toward screening out any liquor or weapons and was not as thorough as an airport screening. Once on board, you can proceed to the Lido deck and eat in the Tiffany restraurant. There are sandwiches, pizza, or a hot meal line....it's pretty crowded....remember 2200 others have the same idea. At 1:30pm, you can proceed to your stateroom where our bags were neatly placed outside the door. We were pleasantly surprised by the spaciousness of the cabin. We had the standard interior stateroom on M deck that had a nice sized closet, a chest of drawers, a very ample bathroom with a full size shower, sink, medicine cabinet and toilet. The bathroom was tile and it and the rest of the ship was absolutely spic and span. The bed was two twin beds push together to make a king size type bed and the bed was very comfortable and the linens were of high quality. The TV in the room was an old style tube TV that had a movie channel, CNN, CNN spanish, and a couple of rotating programs like the science channel plus the on board ship's channel for announcements and a channel that showed the ships's current location, speed, wind, and water depth. We shared an eight person table in the Inspiration Dining Room for the 6pm seating. The food was fabulous! My wife is allergic to Monosodium Glutemate (MSG) and we were told that there is no MSG aboard the ship in any form. You can order anything on the menu and have seconds if you desire. The famous Chocolate Melting Cake, lived up to its reputation as the best chocolate dessert you've ever tasted. There are several different themed bars on board that offer various styles of music for dancing or listening. The musicians were all Filipinos and were all uniformly good. The vast majority of the crew members are either Filipinos, South Asians,or Eastern Europeans and to a person, were helpful, cheerful, and provided absoutely first rate service. They were a joy to be around. There were some negative issues however. The right side of the ship allows smoking on open deck spaces and the casino, Jeckyll and Hyde, and Gatsby Bar and the Drama bar allow smoking also so if you're bothered by it, it tends to keep non smokers from these areas. Also, since they prohibit you from bringing alcohol on board, drinks on the ship are pretty pricey. The cost of the drink includes a 15% gratuity and a 6% tax which prices a glass of wine or a beer at more than $6 a piece. The dining room had a very nice wine menu but the same service charges apply. The last negative item was the quality of the entertainment. There was a production of 'Rock', sort of like a history of rock and roll that was well done but the production of 'Win" was disjointed and not very well choreographed or acted. There were a lot of different shore excursions you can sign up for in Cozumel. We took the glass bottom kayak tour of a reef followed by snorkeling at Chakanaab Marine park. Even Though it was early February, the air temperature was in the high 70's as was the water temperature. A bit cool, but you soon got used to it. The glass bottom kayak was a little bit of a disappointment as the 'glass' was actually plastic and after having been dragged up on the beach many times, was rather opaque. The snorkeling was fantastic however and was the highlight of our time in Cozumel. Cozumel is Ground Zero for cruise ship visits in the Caribbean. We were one of 5 ships there. Needless to say, the entire downtown shopping district is reliant upon the cruise trade. Everyone speaks English, prices are in dollars, and credit cards are accepted. Disembarkation was slightly faster than embarkation as passengers are disembarked by zones. Still, you have to clear customs so don't plan on a speedy get-a-way. It took us about an hour from leaving the ship to driving our of the garage...most of which time was spent waiting in line for customs. Overall, it was a great experience. The Elation while not new, is in very good shape and spotlessly clean. The crew is friendly and the food was excellent. I would recommend it to anyone and am already planning my next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
First of all, this was our 1st cruise ever. Went with great attitudes, left just ok with the whole experience. I myself am a 29 yr old female, traveled with 31 yr old husband, and 7 & 10 yr old girls. We have heard alot of past ... Read More
First of all, this was our 1st cruise ever. Went with great attitudes, left just ok with the whole experience. I myself am a 29 yr old female, traveled with 31 yr old husband, and 7 & 10 yr old girls. We have heard alot of past crusiers talk, and in comparison, we both agree that we were either on the wrong ship, or maybe we're not "cruisers". The lines to get onto ship were LONG, took us about 2 hours from dropping luggage, until officially stepping onto boat. Our room service was nice, our girls loved the animals made nightly. Staff constantly comes by to offer you to buy drinks, but when you want a drink, it seemed as if noone acknowledged us. Same as while eatign buffet, it took them forever to clear our used plates off the table! I personally didnt realize how much more money you can spend on the ship! The shows they had that were free were not for us! We left a few of them before they were over. Beware of bar tabs, they add up QUICK!! On the other hand, our girls enjoyed the camp for kids! They had a blast and kept begging to go back. Pool area (Lido deck) stayed quite crowded. We only got ourselves 2 loungechairs twice while being on ship. (once was while ship was docked in our 1st destination, (Progresso, UGH)) Food was not all that! We tried dining room as well as buffet lines, it was just ok. Lido deck buffet was open for breakfast daily (typical bagels, muffins, scrambled eggs, bacon, ham, bread, milk, cereal, pancakes) Dining room breakfast we did not enjoy, they didn't get any of our orders correct, so it was buffet for breakfast after that! Dining room for dinner was just ok, we didnt think they had a lot of options to choose from, out MAitre'd was good to us. Food was just ok, nothing amazing at all! As for buffet area for lunch and dinner...OMG! The lines, and people were not fun! Sandwich line inside Tiffanys was terrible and only had 1 guy making the sandwiches. Our girls loved gettting pizza & ice cream any time, though! As for ship being cleaned, workers were cleaning all the time it seemed, so I can't complain there! Because we traveled with children, we did not experience much of the adult night life in bars/club areas. We heard fun/funny stories about those places though. We did gamble in casino area a bit. Lost, so unfortunatly we dont have any bragging stories there! MAybe it was the time of year, but it seemed like most of the other people were a bit older than us (seemed to have more fun than we did) LOL Weather was a bit windy throughout cruise. Very chilly the day we left Mobile, but of course got warmer as trip went) All in all, weather cooporated great for us! All said and done, the cruise ship itself was just ok. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
A group of 6 of us ladies left a cold snowy Kansas City at 7:15 AM on Sunday 01-09-11. Actually, we started out at 4:30 AM since we didn't know where we were going...but we found the house ok and soon we were driving to Mobile Alabama ... Read More
A group of 6 of us ladies left a cold snowy Kansas City at 7:15 AM on Sunday 01-09-11. Actually, we started out at 4:30 AM since we didn't know where we were going...but we found the house ok and soon we were driving to Mobile Alabama to get on the Elation. Our plan was to stop in Jackson Mississippi to sleep and then drive the rest of the way into Mobile in the morning. We had just entered Arkansas about 2:30 PM when we heard that the weather was bad in Jackson and on. The guy at the rest stop asked where we were going and he told us we would never make it! He told us that it was icy and snowy in Memphis and worse past there. We made it to Memphis (and crossed over the Tallahatchie bridge! I thought that was too cool!!) and there was no bad weather. But not to far outside of Memphis it started sleeting a little. Once it started snowing, it wasn't too bad but the other people around us were driving like idiots so we chose to stay in a motel in Grenada, Mississippi. It snowed quite a bit that evening and on the weather channel the next day, they had a reporter in Grenada, saying that the whole county had one snow plow! But after a nice free breakfast, we got going and it wasn't too bad. We arrived at the pier about 12:30 I think(and of course it took a while to unload everyone and everything). We had one lady in the group that was platinum, so all six of us got to go through with her on the priority boarding thing, but then had to get in the long line for the check in after that. It was maybe a half hour wait or so. We were on the ship at 1:30 so it wasn't too bad at the pier. We were able to go right to our rooms and set our stuff down and then explored a little and ate lunch on the lido deck. I guess I should tell you a little about our group we were 30-74 years old. 3 of us had cruised before and three had not. We had a blast! Anyway, back on the ship. We waited till it was time for our Muster Drill in the Cole Porter Lounge. We did not take our life jackets and did not go to our lifeboat stations. The muster drill was great, short and sweet, and I liked not having to lug our life jackets around with us! Then we went out through the back door to the Serenity area to watch the sail away. It was about 40 degrees or so that afternoon and we waited and waited and waited for sail away. About 4:30 they made an announcement that they were doing some routine maintenance and safety checks and we would be sailing soon, and the guys down on the dock waiting to undo the ropes all shook their heads at us. I assumed we were late because of the weather causing problems with people getting there on time, and I heard that is what Guest relations told some people. And I have heard that it was because they knew about the propulsion problem at that time. But I guess we will never know the real reason we didn't sail till about 5 PM. And it was COLD! But fun watching the sail away. Though I still have not seen any dolphins while on a ship yet. We had late seating dining in the Inspiration dining room and our waiters Ahmnot and his assistant Chai were the best ever! They completely made this trip so memorable! I have been on three cruises and always thought that we had great waiters, but these two went above and beyond to keep us entertained and happy. People at other tables around us wanted our waiters! We all even started going to the Imagination dining room for breakfast and lunch just to have them serve us. I was exhausted after getting up at 3:45 Sunday morning and not sleeping well in the motel Sunday night so I went back to the room and went to bed after dinner. We had a bunk bed in our room that didn't really work for my roommate to sleep on so the next morning I suggested she talk to the room steward or Guest relations about getting a roll away bed, which she did and by Tuesday evening she had a roll away bed. Tuesday was a fun day at sea, and elegant night. We watched a line dance class and played in the casino and sat on the deck and just enjoyed the day. The food was delicious that evening, and after dinner I did karaoke which was fun. During that time is when they made the announcement that there was a problem with the propulsion system and we would be late getting in to Cozumel the next day. Now, about all the panic and stuff, I was in the drama bar area which is open, very close to the casino and very very loud, I barely heard the announcement and no one quieted down so we could hear it, so people that panicked and acted all stupid about this probably did not hear the original announcement and you all know how rumors spread! That is all I am going to say on this matter other than it was a disappointment to not get to go to Calica, but I was fine to not go. We arrived in Cozumel about 1 the next day and were told we did not have to be back till 9:30 PM, but who wants to be in Mexico after dark? The walk to the end of the pier is pretty far and I was glad my mom did not go this time as she would not have been able to walk that far. We did a little shopping and then went back to the ship and sat in the hot tub. It rained while we were there and it was fairly warm. We heard while we were in the hot tub that Calica was out and we got our letter after dinner explaining it and telling us we would get our $72.50 back. Dinner was good that night too and the next two days were sea days and they were a little boring though on Friday I did win the scavenger hunt so I now own a coveted 24 kt gold plastic ship on a stick! I was thrilled! The shows I saw were Just Rock and Win and they were both FABULOUS! The main singer (I think his name was Jason) resembles Donny Osmond. The entertainment staff were great and poor Steve the cruise director tried his hardest to keep us going and informed. Debarkation scared me because it was the first time I was doing the carry your own suitcase off the ship thing. But after breakfast I was heading back to the room when they announced that the Empress deck could leave if they were doing the self service or whatever that was called. I got my suitcase and got in line. I would say that was about 7:40 and I was walking to our van at 8. The other 3 ladies in our group (the first two were already at the van when I got there) were just heading back to the rooms when I was going to get in line so we expected a long wait. We were on the road outside of the pier at 8:30 so other than hard because my suitcase was too heavy, it was a relatively painless process. Will I sail again? YES! With Carnival? Of Course!!!! On the Elation? Maybe! But it does need a face lift I think. Our room was always clean, the food was good and I enjoyed it. And all three of the ladies who never sailed before all said they would sail again! So it was a great cruise and even though there were a few problems, it still was 5 days at sea and not at work! Oh one more thing, the only shore excursion I signed up for was the behind the fun tour and they cancelled it because of the engine and weather problems. That was probably the biggest disappointment for me. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
We started our road trip from MN and headed for Fairhope, AL where we stayed at the Holiday Inn Express. We booked this hotel through Stay123.com. We paid $130 for a very large suite and this included a shuttle ride to the ship in Mobile ... Read More
We started our road trip from MN and headed for Fairhope, AL where we stayed at the Holiday Inn Express. We booked this hotel through Stay123.com. We paid $130 for a very large suite and this included a shuttle ride to the ship in Mobile and our van stayed at the hotel. It was a great deal. Getting On Board: Very organized and we didn't have any problems. From the time we got dropped off to when we boarded the ship was less than 1 hour. Dining: The first night we ate in the dining room and it was nice, but the kids preferred the buffet for the rest of our meals which was fine with me. I thought the food was very good and there was a good variety. A good salad bar and lots of fresh fruit. Each night there were different meats/fish. My son loved the 24 hour Pizzaria and it was very good pizza. There was a sushi bar, but we never went to it because each night they had sushi at the buffet. It was very good. They usually had two different kinds. The kids had lots of ice cream too as that was also 24 hours. I enjoyed the Mongolian Wok. The grill on the Lido Deck was good too. The kids enjoyed burgers and chicken strips. Breakfast was good too. I regret I didn't have an omelet, but there was always so many choices. The buffet was never crowded except for Sunday at lunch they had fried chicken and a chocolate buffet. I don't know where everyone came from! Swimming: It was a bit cool, but my kids are from MN so they enjoyed the pool and the waterslide. Cabin: Yes you can fit 5 people in one cabin and it is comfortable. One of our younger kids slept with us in the king bed and then there were two upper berths. When we first arrived they had a rollaway in our room too, but we asked them to take it because there wouldn't have been enough space for all of our luggage. we weren't in our room much so it was just fine. I did bring the shoe organizer for the bathroom door that someone suggested and that was a great idea. There was a lot of closet space. The bedding was very nice and the bed was comfortable. we also brought an electrical strip for charging ipods and the kids DS. I really liked having the ocean view so we could look out. the bathroom was plenty big enough too. Excursion: My oldest son and I did the Cozumel Amazing Race. We had a great time and were able to see the back roads of Cozumel and also the downtown area. Then we ended with a nice lunch and a couple of beers for me. It was a lot of fun! Entertainment: Absolutely great shows. Very professional. On the last night we saw their new production "Win" and it was very good. we also went to a couple comedy shows and they were good two. The kids enjoyed playing ping pong, basketball and miniature golf. My daughter went to Camp Carnival once and had a good time, but one boy kept staring at her and stuck his tongue out at her so that was the end of it for her. My sons had no interest in going to Camp Carnival or Club O2.We loved getting the Fun Times each night to see all the activities we could do the next day. The kids also like the towel creatures. Cleanliness: I thought the ship was very clean and the staff was constantly cleaning the entire ship. They even polished the metal strips of the steps! Debarkation:We originally planned to do self assist, but changed our minds the night before as we thought it might be too hard for the kids. We just took our time and had breakfast and enjoyed our last couple of hours on the ship. Keep in mind that even if you do self assist you can still take your time and enjoy breakfast. You can go off when you are ready as long as they have already called your deck. Some people were ahead of me in the breakfast buffet and the Riviera deck was called and they were all bummed and put their plates down and took off. Overall: This was a fantastic vacation! We loved the Elation and will go again. We never felt crowded except for fried chicken at Tiffany's. Food was great! They also were aware we were traveling with 2 special needs kids and called us to make sure everything was okay and to contact them if we needed anything. When we left Cozumel it was very windy so it got pretty rocky. It was kind of hard to walk around and they put barf bags by all of the elevators. My daughter got a bit of a headache at bedtime and it rocked us to sleep and was fine by morning. Don't miss the Farewell Party. We went and didn't realize they passed out free drinks and kept coming around with more. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
We went on the Carnival Elation 5 day cruise to Cozumel and Progreso. This was my first cruise in 15 years and my first with my twin daughters (2.5 years old) and husband. We spent the night in Mobile at the Hampton Inn ... Read More
We went on the Carnival Elation 5 day cruise to Cozumel and Progreso. This was my first cruise in 15 years and my first with my twin daughters (2.5 years old) and husband. We spent the night in Mobile at the Hampton Inn which was very nice. I thought we would have a view of the boat from the room, but we didn't. It was still a very nice hotel at a reasonable price. Breakfast was included, parking was an extra $10. They have a park and cruise package, however we didn't use it. We decided to park at the port. We got to the port right around 12 noon. Embarkation was fine. There were lines, but I didn't think the waiting was excessive. Everybody was nice and helpful. One of the carnival people saw my husband and I struggling with our carry-on's and the girls who were getting loud and let us get in the VIP line. So, if you are traveling with young children, get them a little riled up and they may have mercy on you as well. From parking to being on board was about 30 - 45 minutes. After getting on the boat, we went to the Lido deck to grab lunch. They let us into our rooms at exactly 1:30 p.m. We checked three bags and they were all there before 6:00 p.m. We went to check out Camp Carnival (we preregistered online before we got there) and got our cell phone and we played around with the girls a little. Later that night they had a "Welcome Aboard" party for the kids in one of the clubs (Jekyll and Hyde, I believe), which was fun. The girls got to dance and play with balloons. We left when they started doing games. As we had the kids, we mostly ate at the buffet on the Lido deck. Camp Carnival will take the kids to dinner on certain days. We always wanted to eat with our girls, so we never did use that option. After reading reviews before I left, there was a general consensus that the food was not hot on the ship. Well, I agree. It was weird because when you get it, it seemed to be hot on the line, but when you got back to your seat, the food was just slightly above room temperature. The plus side is that we never had to worry about the food being too hot for the girls. If you are one of those people who really like hot, right off the grill food, you'll be disappointed. The food was consistently warm every time we ate. And the room service food was really cold. I ordered the roasted NY strip sandwich and it appeared that it came right out of the refrigerator. My husband ordered the reuben sandwich and fajita and they were both cold. We did order chocolate cake one night and that was good. And you can always get chocolate chip cookies. My husband and I signed up for Anytime Dining. We only ate in the dining room once. We went around 7:30 pm and had to wait for about 20 minutes (they gave us a little beeper/buzzer). We went to the dining room to eat and were seated right next to the service station (where the bring the food) and EXTREMELY close to another couple. We might as well have been sitting all at one table. I was disappointed with the service. On my last cruise, I remember dinner being kind of fun with a lot of banter with the server. Well, our servers appeared to have been really busy and preoccupied. Dinner seemed to drag on FOREVER. It seemed we had to wait a long time for everything (for someone to ask what we wanted, drinks refilled, etc). At one point my waiter came by the table, gave us the dessert menu, and just stared at us. After a few seconds I realized that he wanted our order right then. Luckily, I already knew what I wanted to try (thanks to CC) so I was ready. The food was really good, I had the shrimp appetizer (please order more than one of these, there are only like 4 shrimp), the steak (it was huge! I split half with hubby and I was still stuffed), and the chocolate melting cake. The food was still kind of lukewarm, but I was fine. We went on the "dress up" night. A photographer came in the middle of dinner to take a photo, which was fine. I saw several people decline and it didn't seem like a problem. Surprisingly, this was the only time we were approached to take photographs other than when we got off on an excursion. I read that the photographs were kind of annoying, but we hardly noticed them. We were harassed more by people wanting us to purchase drinks. Camp Carnival was great. I couldn't have asked for better. One of my girls didn't want us to leave her, but one of the counselors assured us that she would be fine. She was crying when we left, but when we snuck back to look in on her a few minutes later, she was fine. The counselors change diapers and let you know if they had to change your child when you got back to pick them up. There appeared to be about 6 or 7 kids in our children's age group. We frequently went to check on them (they have monitors right at the entrance) and they always appeared to be supervised and doing an activity. A tip here is that if you plan to be back after 10:00 p.m., let them know ahead of time. They called us in the middle of the comedy show to see if we were planning on using the paid babysitting after 10:00 p.m. Our room steward was fine. I'm not sure if he was outstanding, but he was adequate. We had to ask for toilet paper one night because we ran out, we had to ask for extra breakfast room service tags, etc. So, no real complaints there. We went to one show called Win. If you plan on going, get there early. There are really no good seats on the second floor. Unless you are on one of the circle couches right in front, every other seat is a partial view. My DH and I got there thirty minutes early to the early seating and all of the bottom level was completely full and the top level was getting there. And there were people standing up in the back. I wasn't a big fan of the show at all. I thought the singing was extremely mediocre from both the male and female lead. I was kind of bored. But other people seemed to really enjoy it, so I supposed it's just your preference. We didn't go to any other shows. I thought the comedy show was really funny. The adult show is definitely adult. A lot of cursing. On the last sea day there was a magician in the library. I was so disappointed. He talked about India and politics for 15 minutes (I guess waiting for other guests to arrive) and then did literally four tricks that a 10 year old would probably do. That night was like a midnight Mexican buffet and party which was fun. We took the girls and they danced a little. Last sea day we just rested up and got packed. I was sooooooooooo tempted to get a massage at the spa, but I missed all the awesome spa deals from earlier, so I didn't bother. The girls went to Camp Carnival and met Funship Freddie and got their faces painted. We also did the build a bear workshop. Disembarkation was fine. No real lines getting off the boat and we found all of our luggage. It took a minute to find a porter to help us with our luggage, but once we did, we got to go through the "porter" line and it seemed shorter than the line with people who were carrying their own bags. From the time that we were called it took us about 40 minutes until we were in the car and on our way home. Unfortunately, we got stuck in the snow storm so it took us an extra couple of hours to get home. And I had the worse case of motion sickness when I got home! I was fine on the boat until the last day when we had rougher seas and I took some Dramamine. When I got home, I felt horrible. I was incredibly dizzy and nauseous, I could barely function. I couldn't take Dramamine anymore because it knocked me out, so I got Bonine which helped and didn't make me as sleepy. Luckily I was scheduled to go back to work for a couple of days, and I needed every last minute. I think I got over the motion sickness after about 5 or so days. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
I was 21 and my husband was 26 at the time of our cruise. We left out of Mobile, AL in January 2011 on the Carnival Elation. The port in Mobile was TERRIBLE. I will never sail out of Mobile again. The personell at the port were some of ... Read More
I was 21 and my husband was 26 at the time of our cruise. We left out of Mobile, AL in January 2011 on the Carnival Elation. The port in Mobile was TERRIBLE. I will never sail out of Mobile again. The personell at the port were some of the rudest people I have ever met in my life. Anyways moving on to the cruise ship itself. It was a rather large ship with lots and lots to do. We were in one of the staterooms with bunk beds. We loved having the bunk beds because if we felt sick sleeping one way, we could just switch beds and sleep facing another direction. If we wanted to sleep in the same bed it was very possible because we used to sleep on a twin bed when we first got married. I was very surprised that the staff treated us just as good as the people with balcony rooms. We were still able to order room service and had all the benefits of staying in a pricey room except for the ocean view. Hey that's what the Sky deck is for right? The Food: The formal dinning was amazing! We ordered as much as we could eat. On lobster night we got two plates a piece! We had exceptional service and the most friendly waiters! We ate there every night except for the last night when we were both too sea sick to attend. The Shows: Didn't get to do a lot in this department. Wasn't sure when/ where shows were. We did go to karaoke the first night and it was quite entertaining! Drunk people+rocking boat+Sir Mix A lot= best show ever! COZUMEL: We had a great experience in Cozumel! We hopped in a cab and went to Club Cozumel Caribe. It's the best kept secret in Cozumel! The water was so clear and the snorkeling was fantastic! It was $40 a piece for the cab far and the snorkeling together. The people were very friendly. A great deal, one you couldn't get by purchasing through Carnival. Over all it was a great experience and I would definitely do it again (but just sail out of a different port next time). We are cruising again with Carnival in May 2012 and can't wait! To whoever reads this: have fun and enjoy your cruise on this flashy fun ship! Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
My husband and I have been wanting to cruise for a long time, and so about a month and a half out - we booked our cruise. Our neighbors love to cruise and when they found out we were going through Carnival - they told us we were going to ... Read More
My husband and I have been wanting to cruise for a long time, and so about a month and a half out - we booked our cruise. Our neighbors love to cruise and when they found out we were going through Carnival - they told us we were going to be disappointed. Then, after reading some of the reviews, we were so apprehensive about our cruise. We never should have worried. The cruise exceeded our expectations and then some. We left Mobile on Monday, December 27. We live about two hours from Mobile so we went through the Admiral Semmes Hotel for their park and cruise package and arrived the night before. The Admiral Semmes used to be Radisson - but it is now owned by another company. The hotel is old and shows wear and tear. When we do it again, we will more than likely book at the Holiday Inn across the street since it seemed to be kept up better and more organized. For one night - it was just fine. The hotel had us leaving on the 11:00 shuttle to the port. We got there without incident. I had read horror stories regarding the embarkation process in Mobile. It went like a breeze. We stood in line sure - but the lines moved quick and efficiently. Everybody was extremely nice and helpful. We were on the ship before noon and having lunch on the Lido Deck. The food was typical buffet faire. It was fine - but nothing super duper exciting to write home about. Our room was ready at 1:30 - and we were on the 6th floor - upper deck U46. We had an outside oceanview room. We were pleasantly surprised at how big it was after reading how small and cramped the rooms actually are. Of course, it wasn't a hotel suite - but it was plenty big for my hubby and I. One bag was already outside our door - and the other two followed within ten minutes. Our room steward was waiting to greet us with a warm and friendly smile. I unpacked our bags and my hubby and I checked out the ship. The ship set sail at precisely 4:00. We had early seating dining. We made our way to the dining room and met our fellow table mates. Everyone was so nice and friendly. The cruise was at capacity - so our waiter and his assistant were way busy. They had four big tables of at least 10 (our table had 11) and two smaller tables. They were overworked and frazzled. He really could not give our table individual attention that most people appreciate when dining out -but it wasn't his fault. He was still very nice - and the maitre'd came over and performed magic tricks. They entire wait staff performed some sort of entertainment each night. It was a lot of fun. My only erghhs for the dining exxperience was that it was too crowded and we had absolutely no elbow room when eating. The service was a little slower than I would've liked - but considering the crowd - it was acceptable. Finally - the lobster they served was very very small - maybe 4 - 6 oz lobsters. One of the bigger guys at our table had 4 lobsters - and was still hungry. : ) The warm melting cake was very good! We spent our sea day doing spa treatments. Once again, I had heard horror stories about the spa staff spending the entire massage trying to sell you their products. I got one of the specials, (hot rock massage, facial, and eye treatment) for $169 for 75 minutes. This was more than I would've paid on land - but hey we were on a cruise. My massage girl was very good. She never once mentioned any product for me to buy. She asked the areas I needed her to concentrate on - and she did. At the end - she brought me water and 3 items she used on me. She told me about the items - what they did - and asked if I wanted to purchase anything. I've had this done at nearly all the day spas I've ever went to - so I was not taken aback. I told her I was fine - she handed my ticket - I signed it - tipped her - and all was well. It was a great experience. My hubby had the seaweed detox wrap done and had a 5.5 inch loss over the course of the treatment. It was his first ever spa treatment - and he was surprised as well. At the end - he was shown some products - but turned them down - no pressure at all. We dressed up for our formal night. Went hunting for the photogs - got pictures and had a great dinner. After dinner we went to the Rock Show they were featuring on the ship. It was a nice show. We did find it funny that rock who has the reputation of rebellion and aggression has been turned into a cruise ship special. Boy, you know your old when power ballads are being sung by ship's entertainment and the geriatric aged people are clapping and enjoying it. : ) Our first stop was Cozumel. Since it was our first cruise - and we didn't know what to expect - we went ahead and bought an excursion through the cruise ship. We did the dolphin swim. We loved it. We were able to swim with the dolphins and interact with them. The facility also fed us a relatively innocuous lunch. The bad part about it was the cost of the DVD and pictures. They have quite the racket - and they know it since you can't take your own pics and video. After our swim and lunch - we left the dolphinarium and walked the four - five blocks to the Cozumel shopping area. We shopped for a few hours - ate a more substantial lunch which was really good near the Center of Tourism. About two hours before we were to be back on the ship - we went back to the dolphinarium - and they arranged our transportation back to the market square by where the ship was in port. Before we went to Cozumel, Carnival offered up a presentation on a guide to shopping. It was informative - filled with VIP coupons - helpful hints by the presenter Jay - and just a butt load of CRAP!! We went into Diamonds International - where Jay promised us that since DI dealt directly with the DeBeer family - diamonds would be about 70% cheaper. HA!! I looked at 2 carat diamond that when looped was pretty flawed - so no telling how bad it was under the microscope - and the tag was $18,000.00 - and the so called VIP treatment since Jay was our cruise guy - meant no tax. Hello, no tax anyway. All of his pointers, specials, etc. were all American companies right off the dock that offered no real deals - and then I read the fine print on the map he handed out - Carnival is paid by the merchants he highlights - and one of the guys behind the counter at DI says they give him a kickback on the stuff they sale with his VIP coupon. From earlier trips to Mexico - if you want jewelry - there are deals to be had. Just take a lighter to determine real silver and gold - and purchase a small diamond tester to test the authenticity of a diamond. But I suggest staying away from Diamonds International unless you want to pay big prices. Their big claim to fame is that they have more facets so your diamond will sparkle all the more - here's what you need to know - they put the additional facets to try to defract the flaws - they're harder to spot if their are more cuts in the diamond. All in all we had a lot of fun and returned to the ship. We skipped dinner in the dining room - having the buffet on the Lido deck instead. We spent some time that evening in the casino, we played Bingo, and just hung out. It was nice and relaxing. The following day we arrived in Calica. We went out on our own and wound up in Playa del carmen for the beach and shopping. We had a wonderful time. Did lunch in one of the restaurants - and it was pricey - $40 for both of us. It was just okay. They offered massages for $20 for an hour. I tried to talk hubby into it - but he was leery. We found out later that the cruise staff uses this method for massages and that they are really good. So, save tons of money - and wait to Calica to get a massage. One caveat - the boat docks at what looks like a cement plant. If you go on your own - know what you want to do - and take the taxi. In Cozumel - you could've been fine just getting off the ship and walking to the little market right off the dock - not so in Calica - it looks pretty ugly and desolate - and you take about a 10 minute taxi to Playa del Carmen. We arrived back to the ship. Went to dinner - and the water was pretty rough. I got a little sea sick - and before dessert was through - went back to the room. The dramamine didn't cut it so I took phenergan - and was out for the night. I missed the WYN show - but heard it wasn't that great - and it was disjointed. Our final day at sea and NYE - my hubby and I took the Behind the Fun tour of the ship. It's $55 per person - and the three hour tour was worth it. You see all the behind the scenes stuff - the galley - the laundry- the bridge - the entertainment. You meet the captain - get your picture with the captain - and when you get to your room they have a tray of chocolate covered strawberries waiting for you. Our room steward was awesome! Twice a day straightening our room, filling our ice buckets, keeping our wine chilled, and turning down our beds at night. Everytime we left the room - he would go in and clean. I had to tell him we didn't expect it - he went over and above. So much so - I find it hard to believe anybody saying that their room was never serviced. We were overserviced. We left him more of a tip when we left the ship. My husband and I visited the spa again for a couples' massage. It was heaven. Again - no heavy selling- nothing. In fact - after our massage - they didn't even give us any sales pitch on anything. It was just fine. New Year's Eve was on our final night. We dressed - did pictures. The photogs can be annoying - but hey - you don't have to buy a picture. One thing -the staff that works with the pics and rings you up - are not the nicest. In fact, they can border on rude. I at first chalked it up to a cultural difference - but it wasn't. One lady - Neda - was very rude. We were on the glass elevator that we caught on level 12 to go down to 9 where the pics were. When we got on there were 3 teenage girls- they were "riding" the elevators. NOt doing anything wrong - not making the elevators stop at each floor - just enjoying the ride. It wasn't a busy time so people weren't crowding into the elevator. They were just three girls having fun. When we got on 9 - there was Neda - and she just yelled and yelled at the girls. So loud people were looking. It was terrible. She then told us to control our children. We didn't have any. : ) Oh well. : ) The ship planned a great NYE celebration. They handed out free champagne - and had a midnight buffet. It was all on the Lido deck - and it was awesome. My hubby and I went to bed around 1:30 since we docked in Mobile early early the next morning. We heard people up until all hours of the night. It was GREAT!! Debarktation was a little scattered - but not bad. They had 2600 people to get off the ship. We zipped (well - you know what I mean with that many people through customs and we happily and exhausted made our way home. A few words of advice: take a power strip. We are so glad we did - only one outlet in the room. Pack half of what you think you will need. I read that so many times before we left - but still packed more than I needed. They do have laundry services on board or you can do it yourself as well. Plan on spending twice what you think - especially on board. We didn't drink alcohol but we did other stuff. The spa treatments are fairly expensive - but they will have specials each day. And - my hubby always negotiated an even cheaper price than the specials (he has no shame). Finally - go with a fun attitude. Sure, the food isn't always to die for, the entertainment is not Vegas quality - the hot tubs are usually full of kids - there are crowded areas - but your attitude determines your destiny. If you go with a bad attitude - you are going to complain and whine about everything. But if you have a great attitude - it's going to be a blast. It's what you make it. We had a great time - and an awesome adventure. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
This was our very first cruise. We booked it in February so we had plenty of time to save for this trip and plan for what we wanted to do in our ports. I'll start off by saying I checked this site DAILY for new reviews- about a month ... Read More
This was our very first cruise. We booked it in February so we had plenty of time to save for this trip and plan for what we wanted to do in our ports. I'll start off by saying I checked this site DAILY for new reviews- about a month before we left I was so excited I could hardly stand it and reading new reviews as a highlight of my day so I knew once I was done I'd have to post my own! THE SHIP- Embarkation took a while- probably close to two hours. I heard many people say that was the longest they had ever waited. Before we even marked we waited in line for about 30 minutes. With the excitement running through our veins that wait was hilarious! We were just sooo excited! At this point I was on vacation and VERY excited and I didn't care so the two hour wait to embark upon the ship didn't bother me one bit! Got our "Carnival" picture just before boarding- bought it too as we looked very happy :) The ship was amazing!!!!! We had an ocean view cabin and it was plenty big! The window was huge and it was great to wake up the first morning and see that the water was sooo blue- just a really deep beautiful blue color! The bathroom was plenty big! We were hardly in the room anyways! Our room steward, John Paul, was AWESOME!!! Our room was always clean and at night sheets turned down with our cute little towel animal and two chocolates! Food food and more food! It was available to you at all times. If someone told me I HAD to tell them something negative about the cruise, the ONLY thing I would say is the food could have been warmer- it was generally not warm, however, you really need to understand that they are serving tons of people, literally, so I didn't care! We did anytime dining and I really enjoyed this- we didn't have to worry about doing or not doing something because of what time we needed to get into the dining room. It was so nice inside- well everything was really- all the lounges, the hall ways, the eateries- everything was beautiful- but the dining room was very fancy! We generally always had Wayan as our server he was amazing- as was all the servers- you could tell everyone really enjoyed getting to know their server, etc. I was normally so full from salads/app./entree that I only had desert like twice- I just can't pass up on tiramisu! Sushi was good, deli sandwiches were good, pizza was good, buffet was generally good. Activities- they were plentiful! It was great every night before bed you'd get the next day's itinerary with a detailed version and that a great little "strip" of paper you could tear off and take with you it always would say where in the ship it would be located! Every hour there was probably four to five things you could do! We enjoyed the comedians, the game shows (Marriage show was hilarious). We played some bingo one day and roulette in the casinos a couple days! The hairy man contest was hilarious and not what it sounds like- like the announcer said "it's not how hairy you are but what your attitude is like" it was pretty darn funny! We enjoyed the gentleman who did the ice sculpting he was amazing (he's been doing it for 20 years). We played miniature golf and enjoyed the hot tubs in the Serenity Deck (adults only). All the workers were SOOO NICE!! Generally speaking all the cruisers were nice too!! Some people just don't know how to be happy and those people, well they just need to calm down and enjoy the wonderful life God has given them! Although this was our first cruise I really could say nothing bad about it! I think five days was plenty long- we both agreed 7 days would be too long but 3 days would be too short so 5 was perfect! We will be cruising again and getting a bunch of people to go next time- just remember- don't stress about it and just relax and have fun!!! The fun will be there you just need to enjoy it! Interested in port reviews? I'll be posting about our extremely fun time in the ports under the "port review" area!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
I booked a cruise on Carnival Elation sailing from Mobile Alabama and stopping in Cozumel, Mexico and Calica, Mexico. I went with my sister and a group of her friends. Embarkation: Really horrific. It was one long line after another. ... Read More
I booked a cruise on Carnival Elation sailing from Mobile Alabama and stopping in Cozumel, Mexico and Calica, Mexico. I went with my sister and a group of her friends. Embarkation: Really horrific. It was one long line after another. We got to sit down a while. Then, they called us so we could go stand in line for a long time instead of sitting and relaxing. I just thought it was totally disorganized and needed more workers or something. Public rooms: really nice and always clean. They were very pretty rooms. I thought Tiffany's was really nice and the main dining room we ate in looked really nice. I constantly saw the crew cleaning rest rooms and bussing tables in Tiffany's. My sister,another lady, and I had an interior cabin. It was not real big but had enough room for our luggage and to fit our needs. I loved the bedding and found it comfy. The room was always cleaned good. Dining: loved the food. The warm melting chocolate cake was a chocolate lovers dream dessert. The waiter was really nice and we really liked him. Some of the stuff in Tiffany's was disappointing but most of it was good. I didn't go to many of the shows. I did go to see one comedy show and it was good. People I traveled with went to see the other comedy show and really liked him. I loved Cozumel. In Calica, I got to go on an shore excursion to shopping markets in Cancun. That was very interesting. Deembarkment was terrible. We were suppose to leave our room at 8:30 a.m. and we did not get done with the process till after 11:00. It involved long lines and one cranky Carnival woman getting hateful with us. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
We chose Carnival to cruise with. I researched the ship and also the ports we were to visit. I asked friends that had cruised before and most told me the ship would be so full of activities that we would never be in our room. We are not ... Read More
We chose Carnival to cruise with. I researched the ship and also the ports we were to visit. I asked friends that had cruised before and most told me the ship would be so full of activities that we would never be in our room. We are not drinkers or smokers but the booking agent still assured me that cruising would be enjoyable for us. When we boarded the ship, it was beautiful. The lobby was circular in shape and one could stand in the middle and see the glass elevators and all of the upper floors. Our room was beautiful also. We had gotten a grand suite just to accommodate two teenagers and two adults. Once we were settled, we read the activities for the day, gambling, bingo, R rated comedy in the evening and an early show at around 7:00. We walked around the ship to check out the pools. The main pool was about 50 feet long and 14 feet to 16 feet wide. On the back of the boat was another pool and two very small "hot tubs". The round pool again was very small (to accommodate over 2000 people) and the hot tub could seat 6 comfortably. There was also and "adult only" section on another section of the boat with two of the six seater hot tubs. We knew there would be no swimming on this trip! We did go on some really great excursions. The port of Calica however, we thought was a very strange stopping point. It is not picturesque at all. It is a gravel pit. Once off the boat there are no shops and no where to just walk. You must take transportation into Playa Del Carmen or Cancun. The food on the cruise was plentiful but we are not buffet people. I think the better way to enjoy the beautiful beaches of Cozumel and Carmen Del Playa is to stay in one of the all inclusive resorts. The pools are actually big enough to accomodate the guests and the food isn't the only thing that makes me want to be there. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Keep in mind that my husband and I are in our 30's and we have a 9 and an 11 year old. I will try to keep this short.... FOOD...honestly, nothing to write home about. I had steak two nights in the dining room, one night is was great ... Read More
Keep in mind that my husband and I are in our 30's and we have a 9 and an 11 year old. I will try to keep this short.... FOOD...honestly, nothing to write home about. I had steak two nights in the dining room, one night is was great and one night it was way overcooked. My husband has ribs one night that he said tasted "old". The Caesar salad and fried shrimp were great and so was the chocolate cake. Tiffany's on deck is just traditional "greasy" food including burgers, fries, and chicken tenders which tasted fine. The deli inside had great deli wraps. The 24 hour pizza bar was a little bland for our taste. Desserts were not that good, but the ice cream was good. CAMP CARNIVAL.....was very good. My kids picked what things they wanted to attend such as towel folding, magic show, and the All Night Party which they loved! The folks in charge were very nice, but a little slow. Be patient when checking your kids in and out. BOOZE.....You can carry on two bottles of wine, but I took on one 5 liter box of wine in my carry on luggage. No one even checked my luggage when boarding. Also, we carried vodka in a wine bladder which is like a Rum Runner in our checked luggage. It made it to our room just fine. Of course, this saved us quite a bit of money. We still bought drinks out and they tasted great. The service was pretty good, too. ENTERTAINMENT....We only attended one show which was "Las Vegas" type dancers which was okay. We did leave a little early. I heard that the comedy show was funny, but we didn't attend. The Marriage show was really funny and so was the Friendly Feud game. Bean Bag Toss was fun since all four of us played. My daughter participated in the Country Line Dance and Thriller Dance Classes and got to see herself on the room TV. You could even buy the video they last day on board. The Piano Bar had to be our favorite (other than all of the LOUD Alabama fans). PORT ~ COZYMEL.....We just took a cab to Mr. Sancho's Restaurant/Bar which is right on the beach. We paid for my husband and I $100 for all you can eat and all you can drink (alcohol included) for the day. We just paid for the kids as we went and think we spend $21 on them. If you don't drink alcohol then don't go with the $50 package. Note that the sand here is very BIG and is very annoying when cleaning up. I didn't know if we would ever get the kids cleaned up to go back to the ship. The seaweed was really bad the day that we went, but that could have been because of Hurricane Alex. The folks at Mr. Sancho's took really good care of us and we had a great time. Make sure you carry lots of sunscreen!!! If I had it to do over, I may have shopped in Cozumel and played at the beach at Playa de Carmen. PORT ~ CALICA......We were so sunburned from Cozumel that we decided to just do some shopping in Playa de Carmen. We took a cab to Playa de Carmen to do some shopping which cost $13 each way. We asked the cab driver about some Mayan Ruins and for an extra fee he took us to some private ruins in Playa de Carmen right along the beach for $20. Don't know that you would ever get this lucky, but I am sure glad that we did!! It was great and we got to see two iguanas up close while there and getting a full history lesson. While shopping there, be ready for people to get your attention and bargain with them! My kids had fun getting everyone down on their prices. I thought that it was a neat little row to shop down with lots of places to stop and get a drink. We were back on the boat for lunch. POOLS..........The pools are small. Don't go thinking you are going to hang out in the pool all day. On Fun Day at Sea days, it seems like everyone is on the Lido Deck wanting to swim. The first Sea Day, we couldn't get a chair and didn't even attempt it the second sea day. I do recommend packing a swimsuit in your carry on so the first day you can swim early. There is few people at the pool on the day you get on the ship. My kids swam and went down the slide on the day we boarded and on Port Calica day while there were few on ship. Also, note that the pool is sea salty water. STEWARDS....are super nice. They filled our cooler up every day without even asking. My kids told them thanks many times for the towel animals and we tipped him extra money early in the week. They were great! CABIN.....was bigger than I thought it would be. We had a king size bed and two bunk beds. Linens were comfortable and shower had great pressure! We had an ocean view window which I recommend if you have kids. It kept our entertained while waiting for different things throughout the cruise. Plenty of storage space and life jackets are in your room. COMPLAINT.....There was an Alabama (Roll Tide Roll) Booster Convention going on during our cruise. We are huge Tennessee Vols fans, so this really sucked for us! We were so tired of hearing Sweet Home Alabama and Roll Tide Roll that we could scream. I would have like to have know about this convention ahead of time; however, I wasn't. I will call next time to ask what type of convention is being held on our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Although our very first cruise did not start out well, we ended up having an amazing time! It took us three hours to board the ship. Apparently, due to another ship disembarking at the same time as the Elation, and a ceremony celebrating ... Read More
Although our very first cruise did not start out well, we ended up having an amazing time! It took us three hours to board the ship. Apparently, due to another ship disembarking at the same time as the Elation, and a ceremony celebrating the inaugural cruise for the Elation from Mobile, embarkation was a nightmare. Several hundred of us drew the short straw, I suppose, and were automatically routed to off site parking on arrival at the port. After parking we had to lug our luggage and stand in line waiting for a bus to take us to the dock. It was a very long process, from that line, to the numerous other lines to get on the ship. Fellow cruisers who had cruised several times before were extremely upset with the situation, although they said it was an exception and embarkation has not been a problem in the past. The port of Mobile and Carnival were both blamed. I do not know who was responsible but it was bad enough that for our first time we considered turning around and going home, had it not been for the amount of money we had spent! Thankfully, our experience got better. As first time cruisers, we were in awe of the ship. The atrium is beautiful. Our cabin had more room than I expected. We were able to unpack and put all the suitcases under the bed and have sufficient room, even though there is not much counter space. The bathroom cabinet has plenty of space for your necessities. It was great having nice fresh beach towels and robes in the room every day. The bed and pillows are very comfortable and will spoil you! With the exception of the shopping area being right outside the Mikado Lounge, which is the main entertainment area, which causes some crowding, all of the areas were in a good location and easy to get to. The Mikado Lounge is set up very nicely, with good views of the stage no matter where you sit. The crew on the ship was outstanding. We were very well taken care of. Dinner was a great experience every night with wonderful, entertaining dining staff. The food was incredible. I tried to keep a journal and write down everything I tried but never had the time. Everything on the menu was great and the fresh bread was very good. Tiffany's, the regular buffet, was usually pretty crowded but the lines would move pretty fast. The food there was also very good. Tiffany's was adjacent to the pool area, which stayed pretty busy on sea days. We enjoyed the Serenity deck and hot tubs and did not go to the pool so I could not comment on the "chair hog" status. The Serenity deck is very relaxing and a great place for adult only time. There were plenty of activities on the cruise and we had a great time on sea days exploring all of them. We really liked the entertainment and my 16 y/o son enjoyed the club for his age group and met several friends. We read the capers every day and there was always plenty to do. Although they are always trying to take your picture, there really wasn't any pressure to buy them. The photos are displayed in the atrium area and it tends to get crowded and difficult to find your photos. Don't fall for the free spa seminars; they try to sell you something and it is pretty much a waste of time, in my opinion. The fitness room is very nice, however, and has a great view. I expected better and more shopping choices. They have a $10 store, which is a good place to shop with a good selection. The gift shop is pretty typical. I think too much floor space was devoted to the jewelry, which did not seem to sell much, although I could be wrong. Do not worry if you forgot to pack something or didn't get what you wanted before leaving, you will be able to find anything either on the ship or in port. Our ports of call were Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. In Montego Bay we booked the highlights and shopping excursion with our friends, through Carnival. It was a big disappointment, as was the rest of Montego Bay. I understand, from fellow cruisers, if you take one of the excursions away from the port and downtown area that the area is very beautiful. I personally can't recommend even getting off the ship in Montego Bay. Since it was our first time and there were a couple of "traditional" things we wanted to do, we went back out after the ship excursion. The tour guide worked for JUTA and she lined up a taxi driver who took us to the Pork Pit and waited while we tried the jerk and then took us to a store to buy coffee and rum and waited for us. It was a whole lot cheaper and easier to get a taxi than it was to go on the excursion through Carnival. I have to say the tour guide and the taxi driver were very nice. After a lot of research on these CC boards, we decided to book the excursion in Grand Cayman ourselves. Wow, are we glad we did. It was a fantastic trip! We knew that we wanted to go to stingray city and snorkel. The excursion through Carnival cost more and since I did a lot of research I felt comfortable going with a private tour company. You have to take a tender from the ship to port in Grand Cayman, but it wasn't too bad. The whole thing went pretty quickly. We booked the Stingray City, Barrier Reef snorkeling and Coral Reef Garden snorkeling on the Buccaneer catamaran through grandcaymancruiseexcursions.com (Capt. Bryan). It was incredible! They were very organized and on time; it was just a short walk from the port to the bus that would take us to the catamaran. The boat captain and crew talked to us and explained every thing in detail. All of the snorkel gear and water/juice, bathroom were available on the boat. We went to stingray city and got in the water with the stingrays and the boat crew runs through the stingray pet, kiss and massage routine with everyone. They are very laid back and patient! You spend about 30 minutes playing with the stingrays then it's off to the barrier reef for snorkeling. The snorkeling is in water that is about 8 -10 feet deep. After the barrier reef, you make a stop to snorkel at the Coral Reef Garden. Although you have an inflatable vest when you snorkel, since I am not a very good swimmer, it was my first time, and the water was choppy, I failed my first snorkel attempt! I did manage to snorkel at the second stop and it was amazing - the time went by too fast. On the return trip, the captain unfurled the sails and turned on reggae and headed back. We wish we could do it all over again; it was the highlight of our trip. In Cozumel we had not decided what we wanted to do and did not book an excursion ahead of time. We had originally wanted to do the Tulum tour but the ship ended up not even being in port long enough to take the tour and didn't offer it by the time of the cruise. Once, again, my research, both on these boards and on my own, through the library etc. paid off. We had at least two things in mind to do in Cozumel. One was to eat at a restaurant I had read about and another was to visit a beach I read about. As we walked around the shopping area, a man approached us and asked if we wanted to rent scooters and we said no. He asked if we wanted to rent a jeep and we said yes! (Actually, I convinced my husband). It was very reasonable and we got a jeep for the entire time we were there, were able to go the places we wanted and took a drive around the entire island. I only wish we would have had more time! We went to this little restaurant in the main port area called Cafe Denis for some authentic Cozumel food, and a margarita. Both were delicious. Then we went to a beach, Playa Palancor, which was a short distance from the port. The beach had all the amenities you could want from chairs to drinks to snorkel gear. And, the access and snorkel gear were free to use. The Palancor reef is out off this beach and my husband and son went snorkeling, although they did not go out to the reef and said they did not see much, they still had a good time. It was quiet and relaxing on the beach, just beautiful. As we continued the drive around the island, we were amazed at the lush green and the blue water. On the windward side of the island, the coast is rocky and the water is choppy and shoots up when a wave hits a rock on shore. It is truly an amazing view. We made it back to turn in the jeep, did a little shopping and got back on the ship in plenty of time. Disembarkation means a lot of waiting. Because they assign and call your zones, the line off the ship is not bad. However, once you get down the gangway and to the line for customs, it is a luggage warehouse hunt and a long line through customs. It's not fun to wait for your zone, especially since they want you to vacate the cabin so they can clean it and it's not fun to wait in customs. It was sad when our fun ended and all in all the good far outweighed the bad (even if I did get seasick one night). We are already talking about when we can go again! Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
MAERINA Date of Stay: 04/17/2010 Ratings Mom and Dad: 4 Attraction Ratings Snorkeling and Diving : 5 Positive Happenings: My son and I recently traveled on the Carnival Fantasy to Cozumel,Mexico. The Fantasy Ship was an all inclusive ... Read More
MAERINA Date of Stay: 04/17/2010 Ratings Mom and Dad: 4 Attraction Ratings Snorkeling and Diving : 5 Positive Happenings: My son and I recently traveled on the Carnival Fantasy to Cozumel,Mexico. The Fantasy Ship was an all inclusive vacation all in itself,we enjoyed our time on the ship immensely.We met some wonderful people,ate delicious food and sunned on the deck. There were more activities for families of all ages especially the children.The 5 star evening meal was out of this world every night.The dining staff went out of their way to make us happy and also entertained us.My only complaint on the ship would be all the smoking,even though it was only in designated areas.My sons only complaint was there were so many unruly kids running around unattended,knocking people down tripping over your legs when sunning,no parents in sight. They were taking over the hot tubs which stated adults only.The swimming pool was quits small and mostly kids were in there also.The super slide activities were mostly occupied by kids also,but they had a blast. We would have liked to go into the nightclub about 9:30 in the evenings,but it was reserved for teens 12-15.Our only other complaint was there were no singles for us to talk to almost everyone was either married or otherwise attached. My son enjoyed the casino,the games and competitions that the Ship's Fun Patrol had arranged,we both loved the Beetles Tour concert,the singing,dancing and costumes were wonderful. We also enjoyed the karaoke,and I had fun in the art gallery activities. The gift shop gave away free samples,and there was plenty of family photo opportunities from professional photographers. I would go on this cruise again,the best past was on the Carnival planned excursion on Cozumel,my son enjoyed the rappelling tower and the zip lines and we both loved the snorkeling and all the beautiful fish we saw that would come right up to us.We also saw a stingray and a puffer fish. All the folks working at the excursion area were very kind and helpful. It was only after we got done with the excursion and wanted to sight see some in Cozumel that things went downhill. The very nice van driver from the excursion took as back to town as we requested and dropped us off at Senior Frog.We just pooped in there and then walked a bit to find the Best Choice Taxi near the Hotel Lagusta which was suggested by our excursion guide as being reasonably priced.There were so many taxi stands,rental car and moped rental stands that it got very confusing. Seldom were prices listed so you could shop around and no one from the ship to ask,we were on our own. We were on our way to find the Best Choice rental car stand when we were stopped by some men at a rental car stand on the sidewalk in front of the Park Royal Hotel.We had only stopped for directions but they were very persistent and intent on getting us to rent a car from them.When we said no,they changed their story and said it was not a good idea to rent a car anyway,we only had 2 hrs until we had to board the ship again and it would take 30 min. to just fill out all the paperwork. One of the men said he was selling timeshares for the Park Royal Hotel. We started to leave when the suggested a taxi would be the right solution since we just had 2 hrs and that he knew of an English speaking driver whom he would call for us right away and for $35.00 for me and another $35.00 for my son,this driver would drive us all around the island and show us the attractions. We said ok,and and he called a taxi and we got in.The teenager taxi driver did in fact speak English,but he demanded $50.00 more from each of us,saying he did not receive the full amount of his payment from the man who called him,only a cut,a portion. I told him I was not going to pay any more,just to take us back to the place we boarded the taxi and we would get a refund. He would not go back and insisted we pay him more money,it got ugly,heated and yelling started them. Finally, he took us back,but the 2 men were no longer there,this was just 10 min.later. The young man acted dumb and said he did not know where to find the man who arranged the trip.We wasted another 30 min trying to convince him to take us to the man so we could get a refund of $70.00 .I had to threaten to call the police and my son's shirt came off ready to fight he was so mad,the young taxi driver said get in the tax I will take you to this man he is manager at the Park Royal Hotel.This is when our negative experience started. Negative Happenings: The manager at the Park Royal Cozumel and staff all of a sudden didn't speak English and didn't "understand " when a problem arose. The manager "refused" to come downstairs and deal with our problem of wanting a "refund" after he tried to rip us off for a taxi tour of the Island of Cozumel which he arranged for us. So much for honest business dealings and trying to make a customer happy.The lobby clerks were kind enough to call him in his room and they explained the situation. Then they handed the phone to my son and my son talked to him on the phone from the hotel lobby. Instead of just coming down to talk things out, he shouted and argued with us from the phone in his safe room upstairs and refused to come down and talk to us . He also refused to refund our money. What a rip-off,we were hustled and treated with disrespect. I really got the impression the Mexican people of Cozumel did not like Americans and thought were were all rich and fair game to be scammed.It was very upsetting and my son and I had to threaten to call the police in order just to get our money back. Our entire vacation was ruined and I will never again step foot in Mexico. Finally the young taxi driver refunded our money after a big scene was made in the lobby entrance. We still had 2 hours til ship boarding so we rented a moped which was broken down and out of gas. We stopped to put $2.00 in,but the man at gas station did not speak English well and didn't have any change in dollars,so we ended up having to pay him $5.00.We wanted to drive the perimeter around the island. In the busy tourist part of the town,people drove taxis,rental cars and mopeds like a racetrack. We almost wrecked twice from people cutting out in front of us. Finally,in a couple more miles the streets were less occupied and the driving was safer,but then all of a sudden the paved street ended and there was only a dirt road left which was flooded from rain.We had to turn around but the jeep behind us could keep going. We turned the moped back in,thank God we got our collateral back,our 2 ship passes.They were all we had to get back thru customs on the pier,as we had left our passports on the ship.If we had wrecked the moped we would have not been able to leave,but rather would have been stuck on Cozumel until the moped damages were paid. We did get the additional insurance,but there was a deductible and we had no more money left. Walking back to the pier,the sales pressure was high to buy things from vendors. The city smelled from exhaust fumes from mopeds and sewer,there were many broken pipes and construction taking place,also you were not allowed to flush toilet paper,but had to place in trash cans. Attraction Information Snorkeling and zip line -details above Restaurant Information We did not eat or drink anything on the island.We brought canteens with water from the ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
My wife and I drove to mobile for our cruise. The trip took about five and a half hours. Not to bad a trip as it was interstates the whole way. After arriving at the port, we found it surprisingly easy to drop off our bags and get ... Read More
My wife and I drove to mobile for our cruise. The trip took about five and a half hours. Not to bad a trip as it was interstates the whole way. After arriving at the port, we found it surprisingly easy to drop off our bags and get parked. We then came upon the most time consuming and aggravating part of the trip. The checking in process was a lot of standing in line, and it took approximately two hours too finish the checking in process. After entering the ship, we went to our room and found it to be in good order and very clean. Our bags arrived at approximately 5pm. We spent the rest of our first night on the ship checking everything out. We were very pleased with everything that we found. During the cruise, we found the food to be outstanding. The entertainment was also first rate. We had mixed reviews on our port calls. We found Progreso to be dirty and we never felt safe. However, we loved Cozumel. Overall, we loved our experience and we are already planning our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
The ship was fairly nice. The room was quite livable. Our room Steward was pretty good. He was quite friendly & his towel-animal expertise was top notch. The drink prices were outrageous. I refuse to pay over $5 for a freaking Bud so ... Read More
The ship was fairly nice. The room was quite livable. Our room Steward was pretty good. He was quite friendly & his towel-animal expertise was top notch. The drink prices were outrageous. I refuse to pay over $5 for a freaking Bud so I was not going to touch a beer. Most drinks ran over $10 each with tip. The drink of the day was cheaper ($7-$8) but it was always some sickeningly sweet concoction that I could only stomach 2 of max. The margaritas were horrendous but I forced myself to drink the lone one that I ordered since it cost so much. The food was not good at all. The buffet hounds seemed happy that they could shovel in all they wanted 24/7 so I do not think the majority of cruisers cared what they were eating (I think they would have eaten a fried turd if you put it in front of them). We only ate one night in the sit down restaurant because the food was inedible. I ordered lobster tail with grilled shrimp & when I got my food it was so rubbery I could barely chew it. I would say we spent 90% of our time eating chicken fingers & french fries off the buffet as they are hard to ruin. They had a Mexican day with nachos... WOW!! I have never in my life had nachos that bad. They put out some sort of fried chip that had no flavor, a meat concoction that I can't even describe, & a cheese sauce that had the consistency & flavor of yellow water. Needless to say after Mexican day I opted out of Chinese food day. Burgers were edible but by no means outstanding in any way. The desserts in the buffet area were plentiful & gorgeous but they were awful & had either tasted like plain sugar or had no flavor at all. I was constantly amazed how something so pretty can taste like nothing??!! The soft serve ice cream was tasty. My friend & I are in our mid-40's & friendly people. We usually befriend strangers easily as we are from the South & that's just how we are but we found it odd that we never really met any people to socialize with on the ship. It was like most everyone was either 21 or over 70 & kept mostly to themselves. Needless to say the lack of social interaction made the days a bit long & boring. The best days were spent out by the pool. It was quite lovely up there. The only negative was having to say no! no! no already! & no thank you! every 2 minutes to some waiter trying to sell you a drink. Carnival should seriously consider giving everyone some sort of "yes" or "no" sign to put up where ever a cruiser is sitting so they will not be badgered constantly to buy buy buy a drink. I mean the drink sellers were as bad as the Mexican shop vendors at force-peddling their goods. All in all I am glad I went so I can say "been there, done that" but next time I would much rather fly to my destination & spend the time there spend days & days on a boat & only a few hours at my destination. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
Not being aware of this website, and only being able to draw on my Navy experience and the few sporadic times I watched the 'Love Boat' on TV, I knew this was going to be a real eye-opener. 'Boarded the Fantasy in Mobile, ... Read More
Not being aware of this website, and only being able to draw on my Navy experience and the few sporadic times I watched the 'Love Boat' on TV, I knew this was going to be a real eye-opener. 'Boarded the Fantasy in Mobile, after bravely enduring the 'cattle-call' atmosphere of the embarkation building. I guess that part could have been worse - funneling 2000+ people through the process would be an monumental job. Once on board, we waited in the 'Windows On The Sea' dining room aft on the Ledo deck approx 2 hours until our cabin was ready. Upon entering our cabin, the wife, who doesn't like cold rooms, immediately shut off the air conditioner, and it remained off the entire cruise. If the cabin had been equipped with a heater, she would have put it to use. I think lack of room heat would have been the wife's biggest complaint for the cruise. For me, it wasn't a big deal. I found the ship relatively easy to learn my way around on, after realizing that some decks are a lot easier to travel fore and aft on than others. Our evening dining assignment was the late dinner in the Celebrations Dining Room, and I soon became aware that diners were encouraged to enter this space from the forward end rather than the aft end (which were next to the elevators). Our evening meals were excellent, the service was first-rate, the menu was varied with both familiar and not-so-familiar items. Our waiter, who encouraged everyone to call him "G" was professional, friendly and entertaining. I can't imagine having a better waiter. I am somewhat of an early riser, and enjoyed getting up early, going aft on Ledo and getting my coffee, and having quiet time to myself either near the fantail or on one of the open decks for an hour or so until the breakfast buffet opens. Since breakfast is my favorite meal, I would go through the buffet early, taking only very modest portions, and then later before lunch, going through the buffet again (again taking only modest portions). My only complaint was that I found the coffee just a tad strong for my liking. Our first port was Calica. The weather was kind of rainy and gloomy, and it didn't cast this port in the most positive light. I stayed on board and just relaxed - and had a good time doing so. After a windy night at sea, the Fantasy docked at Cozumel the next morning. Bright mostly sunny day with low humidity, it was quite a contrast to the day before. The wife (along with her folks) went swimming with the dolphins, while I went ashore and mostly just poked around window shopping and people watching. My excursion, the underwater scooter thing, had been cancelled, but I still had a good time. When I came back aboard Fantasy, I noticed some members of the crew were welding on (what looked like) lifeboat mountings and supports on the starboard side, a testament to how windy it had been the night before. The last day out I was able to do the "Behind the Fun" tour. This tour included the forward galley, reefer lockers, engine control room, waste management area, crew mess areas, backstage at the "Universe Lounge", and finally the Bridge tour complete with posing with the Captain for a photo. It was with a tinge of sadness when we got back to Mobile, the vacation was over. In summary, I found the Fantasy to be a good, clean, well-run ship staffed by a friendly crew. And I thought Carnival (as a company) did everything they said they would do, and at a reasonable price as well. Best way to beat those Illinois in February blues. Can't wait to go again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010

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