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Our Elation Review With Pics: Mostly Positive


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I have been a member of cruisecritic.com for quite a while and have posted a few times but not many. I have been blessed by all the pictorial reviews and posts that have helped me plan my cruises. I have decided to give back to this community and post my own review to help those who might be interested. It might take me a while to complete this review and it may be a little disjointed as I am not the best writer, so your patience is appreciated. I plan on adding some pictures if I can figure out how to do it. If you have any questions feel free to ask and I will answer anything I can.

Our traveling group consisted of myself (44), my wife (41), our daughter Hilary (17) and son Zach (12) in an ocean-view room and my father-in-law and mother-in-law in a second ocean view room. This is me and my wife’s fourth cruise (three on Carnival, one on NCL), my children’s third cruise and my in-laws second cruise. Even though this is our third cruise on Carnival, we have only been on the Fascination and now the Elation, which are sister ships so our perspective is still limited.

Last summer we were looking at this particular cruise because the timing worked pretty well with the kids school, and our work schedule. We also needed a cruise that we could drive to from Ohio and went far enough south so we could get to 80 degree weather or so. At least that was the hope. The Elation fit the requirements very nicely. The trip was a Christmas present to our children and an anniversary gift to my in-laws.

We decided to rent a mini-van and drive to New Orleans due to the number of people traveling to save some money. A few weeks before we left, I received call from the upgrade fairy. She offered to move us to the Grand Suite from our deck 5 oceanview room for $500. With 4 people in our room, we thought about it for quite a while but decided not to upgrade. I also kept looking at FTTF and it was sold out. Luckily, less than a week before the cruise, more spots opened up and we decided to purchase it. More on that later. One last point, since the cruise took off on a Monday we decided to travel on Saturday and spend a full day in New Orleans enjoying the sights.

More to come:

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Love the Elation. She's got a great crew right now. We were on her for a B2B over Halloween and we'll be on her again this Saturday.

 

I just got back from B2B last thursday and the crew make up for the older ship. Two great cruise's

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Thank you all. I have been extremely busy at work cleaning up year-end activity. I hope to post more of my review later this evening. The Elation is a great ship and the crew was fantastic. The ship looked really nice but is showing her age with some areas where the paint is chipping.

 

I'll talk more tonight.

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I have been a member of cruisecritic.com for quite a while and have posted a few times but not many. I have been blessed by all the pictorial reviews and posts that have helped me plan my cruises. I have decided to give back to this community and post my own review to help those who might be interested. It might take me a while to complete this review and it may be a little disjointed as I am not the best writer, so your patience is appreciated. I plan on adding some pictures if I can figure out how to do it. If you have any questions feel free to ask and I will answer anything I can.

Our traveling group consisted of myself (44), my wife (41), our daughter Hilary (17) and son Zach (12) in an ocean-view room and my father-in-law and mother-in-law in a second ocean view room. This is me and my wife’s fourth cruise (three on Carnival, one on NCL), my children’s third cruise and my in-laws second cruise. Even though this is our third cruise on Carnival, we have only been on the Fascination and now the Elation, which are sister ships so our perspective is still limited.

Last summer we were looking at this particular cruise because the timing worked pretty well with the kids school, and our work schedule. We also needed a cruise that we could drive to from Ohio and went far enough south so we could get to 80 degree weather or so. At least that was the hope. The Elation fit the requirements very nicely. The trip was a Christmas present to our children and an anniversary gift to my in-laws.

We decided to rent a mini-van and drive to New Orleans due to the number of people traveling to save some money. A few weeks before we left, I received call from the upgrade fairy. She offered to move us to the Grand Suite from our deck 5 oceanview room for $500. With 4 people in our room, we thought about it for quite a while but decided not to upgrade. I also kept looking at FTTF and it was sold out. Luckily, less than a week before the cruise, more spots opened up and we decided to purchase it. More on that later. One last point, since the cruise took off on a Monday we decided to travel on Saturday and spend a full day in New Orleans enjoying the sights.

More to come:

 

Were you by any chance on the 1/20 sailing? If so, I was on your cruise. Looking forward to your review.

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I was on the 1/20 sailing as well... looking forward to the review as well!

 

Yes, we were on the 1/20 sailing. It feels like it was a long time ago at this point! Since I returned, we have been through -15 degree temps and now 8 inches of snow tonight.

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Now back to the review:

 

Traveling

As I mentioned before, we drove from Columbus which is about 13 hours not including stops. We left at 4 am with the intention of arriving at our hotel around dinner-time to allow us to eat slowly and not feel rushed. The drive was pretty uneventful but was slow. We arrived at our hotel around 7:30pm and decided to get dinner before checking in. We found a really good pizza place named Rotolo’s Pizza a couple of miles down the road. The pizza was fantastic and it claimed to be the official pizza of the Saints. That’s a plus for me since I am a huge Saints fan. After dinner we checked into our hotel and the evening manager was fantastic. We stayed at the Microtel Inn in Pearl River, LA on the northside on Lake Ponchartrain. We had originally booked a room at La Quinta in Slidell but we have not had any luck with them so we decided to switch. The rooms were on the small side but the beds were very comfortable. The only issue we had was the family in the room next door had music blasting that could be heard both in our room and in our in-laws room across the hallway. We had to call the front desk twice to get it resolved but the music was eventually turned off. We enjoyed a very nice sleep.

 

The hotel offered a continental breakfast with a made to order omlet station, which was decent. The fruit offered was rotten but everything else was just fine. Once we ate breakfast on Sunday we decided to hit the road and travel into New Orleans. We have been to New Orleans but it’s the first trip for our kids so we decided to go out of our way to traverse the Causeway, which is the longest bridge in the world. Once across, we found a parking spot near the French quarter and began our day. We are not heavy drinkers and don’t really enjoy that scene so we stayed away from Bourbon Street for the most part. We spent most of our day right on the riverfront. We visited Jackson Square, the French Market, the Riverwalk Mall (which was closed for renovations) and Café Du Monde.

 

Jackson Square:

This is probably the most recognizable place in New Orleans and it’s beautiful. The area is lined with vendors selling art and performing artists looking for tips. We had a nice time there and everyone was very friendly with the exception of one person who showed very little class. He had a dead dog (I’m sure it was fake) in a suitcase with a note saying he needs money to give a proper burial to his friend. I just found it kind of disturbing.

 

French Market:

The French Market is a very old open air marketplace with sections for fresh food / produce and a flea market. There were some nice things there but it just wasn’t my cup of tea. My in-laws found some jewelry for gifts, though.

 

Riverwalk:

We left the French Market and walked down to the Riverwalk area. We didn’t realize the mall was actually closed for renovations. We walked around three sides of the mall to find an entrance. Needless to say we never found it L. So we looked at the fountain and the two cruise ships that were in port. One was a Norwegian and the other was the Carnival Sunshine. I was a little surprised at how close to the dock we could actually get.

 

Café Du Monde:

The only thing on our agenda for the day was to get some authentic beignets. After walking around for a little while we arrived at the Café. I believe there are actually two, one across from Jackson Square and one next to the French Market. As we got to the café, the line was absolutely crazy. I don’t know how long the wait would have been but it would have been well over 30 minutes just for a to go order. We decided to come back later. We went back to Jackson Square to the other location and the line was just as long. At this point, we were running out of things to see so we decided to wait. This is when things took a turn for the better. As we were in line debating whether to leave, a worker came up to us and asked if we wanted beignets. We told him of course that’s why we are in line. He told us he would go and get us some but to keep it quiet. He went and got us four orders of beignets which cost about $11. We gave him a $20 and told him to keep the change. I guess it pays to have a good looking wife around. By the way, they were amazing!

 

At this point we were getting tired and hungry so we decided to start towards Slidell to go to partake in our ritualistic pre-cruise dinner at the Olive Garden and do a little last minute shopping for the trip.

 

Here are a few pics of our day in New Orleans:

 

Pizza at Rotolo's - Great food, great service

 

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Entering the Ponchartrain Causeway

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Cute Steamboat with music playing obnoxiously loud

DSC01822_zps18d2453f.jpg

 

St Louis Cathedral at Jackson Square

DSC01846_zps4ee3b252.jpg

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We just came back from a weekend trip on the Elation on Jan 20. We've been on her before. We enjoyed more "live" music on this trip than we have on many ships before. Martin in the Piano Bar is one of the best kept secrects of the Elation. For you future Elation cruisers, look him up for tea time on sea days or any night!

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Day 1: Embarkation

We decided to purchase the FTTF when more spots opened up a week before sailing. I will tell you it was the best $50 we ever spent. We were able to bring water and pop on board, which we never would have done if we had to carry it around until our room was ready. We drove into the city and parked at the terminal. We arrived right around 10:15 and pulled into the parking garage. FYI, the porter said they allow people to start parking around 8am at the terminal. They took our $80 and we proceeded to level 3. The porters checked our boarding passes and IDs while everyone piled out of the mini-van and unloaded the luggage. I then parked the car on the next level up while the rest of my group went through security and waited for me. The porters told me my party would wait for me there but were ushered into the elevator. My wife had our boarding documents and they forced them through the first wave of security. After parking the car, I had trouble locating them and had to go through that security without my documentation. Luckily my wife told them I was parking the car and showed my ID. It was a little bit of a hassle. Just make sure the driver has his own documentation before your car is parked to avoid any issues.

 

 

Security checked our drinks we brought very carefully. They shook my in-laws water and they actually opened up our 12 packs to check for illicit items. Luckily they taped it back up when they were done searching.

 

I should say at this point that we only purchased one FTTF for our room. We told my in-laws they could put their carry-ons in our room. We also put our luggage tags on their bags so they would have them earlier.

 

We then proceeded to the FTTF check-in and my in-laws went to the normal check-in. There was no wait in either line and we were done around the same time. Once we received our sale and sign card, we had a seat and waited.

 

 

 

The terminal is set up a little bit different than other ones I have been to. Once you go through security, you have to go past the seating to the back of the building to check-in. There were people who thought they were done once they got through security and did not check in.

 

The staff at the terminal was fantastic and made announcements routinely. They began boarding around 11:30 and we were on very quickly. Once we made it on board, we went straight to our room and to our amazement, our bags were already there and the room was done. We dropped our stuff and went back up to the atrium to wait on my in-laws. Literally as soon as we got back up to deck 7, the in-laws boarded. We took another trip to our room to drop off their stuff. Even though the rooms were supposed to be ready around 12:30, I still think the FTTF was well worth it. We would have had a lot of stuff to carry around for over an hour.

 

We then went up to the Lido deck, had lunch and then went to look around the ship. My son Zach decided to play basketball and was there almost the entire week. The safety briefing was performed around 3:30 and seemed to go a little faster than some of our previous experiences. My in-laws were in a different location and they said there were several people not paying attention which caused a delay. After the safety drill, we went up on deck to await sail-away. I did not check the time but we set sail late, sometime after 4:30. For those who have not sailed from New Orleans you sail down the Mississippi for 7-8 hours to get into the gulf. We hung out on deck looking at the sights and taking a few pictures for about an hour. We went to our 6pm set dining time and met our waiter, Jason. He was fantastic!

 

After dinner, we just walked around and hung out. We did not go to the Welcome Aboard show as we were still really tired from the long drive.

 

Here are some random general thoughts of the ship:

 

1 The décor was glitzy and gaudy, but it was a lot nicer than I anticipated and much more pleasing to the eye than the Fascination.

2 Our room steward was Nino and while he wasn’t the best cleaner, he always friendly and addressed us by name as he saw us in the hallway. He was always there and available when needed.

3 The ship is showing its age in certain spots. I noticed paint that was chipping in several areas. They were making an attempt to fix this as I saw several people painting during the cruise.

4 The Taste Bar has replaced the Sushi Bar and I think it was open on three nights. All of the items offered were fantastic. I would consider booking a night at one of the premium restaurants on our next cruise if they are available.

5 The pictures we took and others that I have seen do not do the ship justice. It is much better looking than what comes across in print.

6 For those interested in the basketball court, the rim is much higher than regulation. It’s more like 12 feet high rather than 10. It takes a little time to get used to it.

7 The volleyball court was not used much and was probably due to both balls being flat.

8 There were several elevators that were out the entire week including one in the atrium and one whole set at the rear of the ship. The rear elevators being out helped cause an issue that made me livid. More on that later.

 

Pictures of the ship to come later tonight

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