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marshhawk

Elation Review-marshhawk and friends

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I have been back a month, and it seems I have been back a year...the snow, the cold, the flu and begging Catmando to upload my pictures( I really need to learn how to do this...) and finally I am ready.

My boss and I have always talked about going to see the Mayan Ruins, in fact several years ago, we were booked out of Mobile, and then Carnival pulled out of Mobile, and we changed our cruise to the Bahamas, and it was stormy, and the waves were 18-20 feet high, and well, I loved it, but the boss said she would never ever get on another ship again. BUT we saw this cruise, had never been to NOLA, still wanted to see the ruins, you get the picture.... So we planned another cruise.:)

We were a group of six, counting pennies to do this cruise. Me, and the DH (Catmando) the boss, Shari, a friend of ours from work, Barbara, and a couple the DH and I have known for years, Theresa and Harley. They said I could mention their names in my review, and show pictures, so ---this was "our gang".

We left Atlanta on a COLD night, and took the Megabus to NOLA. I thought this was a good inexpensive way to get somewhere. Two hours out of town, the bus pulled over and we waited for the police to arrest someone who was drunk and disorderly on the bus. I dont think the Alabama cops wanted him, they put him back on the bus, and off again, down the road in the dark. The bus stopped in Montgomery, Mobile and a very nice truck stop in Evergreen Alabama, and after Mobile, I kind of nodded off, and woke up to the rising sun, while we were crossing over Lake Poncetrain, I should be wide awake, I should be wide awake, but I couldn't wake up so I closed my eyes and woke up when the bus stopped.

I was informed when we got off the bus, that there was no way they would ever do that bus again during the night, they had missed all the scenery, and it was way too cramped, and well.....we did have tickets on the bus to get home;)

We arrived at 7:30 a.m., on time, even though we had that unexpected stop. and since our hotel was only 3 blocks away, and we hoped they would let us leave our luggage off, we headed over to the Staybridge Suites. This hotel is across Canal street and once you cross over from the French Quarter, you are in the business district. Great hotel, great location, and great service. We had asked for early check in, and we got into our rooms when we got there.

Theresa and Harley were staying at the Lafayette Hotel, a few blocks from us, so they called to see if they could check in, and they were told NO, so they put their luggage in Shari and Barb's room and we all headed over to Mother's for breakfast.

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After a great meal, we went back to the room to freshen up, and this was the view at Mothers, and it was like this for the next two days.

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We had two full days in NOLA, but six people do not often all want to do the same thing, and trying to make people do what they dont want to do is like herding cats, so on our first day, we all split up. Shari and Barb wanted a good sleep and then went to Bourbon street, Theresa and Harley wanted to go to the Garden District, and DH and I wanted to see the World War II Museum. This was like one of those bucket list items for my DH, so we headed out for the day.

Across from the Staybridge was an area referred to as the Italian Fountain, it was supposed to become a great "people gathering place" but it never came to fruition, the fountains operate but people are locked out of the area.

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We walked through Lafaette Square, but there isn't a statue of Lafayette there. Just a plaque. There are statues there, just not of him.

I am going to post a few pictures of the Museum-we really enjoyed our time there, but we both felt like if we sat for too long we would just fall asleep.

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On the way back to the hotel, I saw this ad on the side of a building, and if you live outside of NOLA, this is what we think of when we think New Orleans-

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Everyone had enjoyed their day, not pushing too hard, just fulfilling dreams. But the next day, was a group day, and it was busy!

First thing was to catch a street car, here is Shari, on the bench, Barbara and Harley. We are about to take the river street car, it starts at the end of Poydras street and heads up along the river to the French market.

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And here is Harley and Theresa, with Barba and Shari. I have no idea why the girls are looking scared?? Could be because the French Market has absolutely everything in it, and what we thought was going to take one hour, ended up taking up most of the day.

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Edited by marshhawk

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Just a few more shots of NOLA and then onto the cruise, I promise.

One of the most beautiful statues I have ever seen, Joan of Arc . I know this probably has something to do with the French Connection that Louisiana has but also a wonderful tribute to one of the best Mark Twain books ever!

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And here is the iconic picture of NOLA-

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Subscribed! Thank you so much for doing this review:D Going on the Elation end of this month, and there seem to be no reviews on her. It's especially hard with no search engine. Can't wait to read more!!

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We loved New Orleans, the food, the area, the life, but after two tiring days of eating and walking we went to bed. We were on our Elation cruise starting in the morning.

Since Theresa and Harley, Catmando and I had FTTF, we got a cab from the Staybridge at 10 and in 15 minutes we were at the ship. Everyone in the port was very friendly, telling us how our luggage was going to be at our cabins when we got on the ship, and how our cabin was going to be ready, because we had FTTF. But even though we were processed through at 10:30, and we were told to wait, we didn't get on the ship until 11:45, and our luggage was not at our cabin, nor were our cabins ready. We told our steward we would lock our stuff in the safe, and we headed up to the Lido. I have no idea what was happening, as it seemed everyone boarded at the same time and the FTTF really didn't pay off on this trip.

In fact Shari and Barb got on right behind us, and they didn't have FTTF. We all had lunch inside because it was cold, and after we ate, we all went our seperate ways until dinner.

We all had anytime dining, Shari and Barb wanted to meet new people on the cruise, and the rest of us didn't want to be tied to eating when told to, but when we were hungry. We did share meals on the first night, and the last night.

As far as waiting for a table for two, the girls were seated with other people immediately every night. The four of us never had to wait for a table. Party of six however required putting tables together, so the first night we waited about 20 minutes, and the last night we waited thirty. Service was good, not great, but the last night our waiter took off after taking our dessert order, and the dinner took forever. Since we all had plans that evening, Barb left before dessert arrived.

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DH and I had a porthole cabin on the Empress deck-closer to "everything". We had E9, this cabin is small. Well, smaller than the other portholes we have had on lower levels. And it seems that on the older ships there is a type of trunk built into the floor where your life jackets are, and it makes it impossible to really take the two twins and make it into a "king" .

 

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Look forward to reading more and seeing all your pics. We will be on the Elation April 5th:)

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Remember the reason we went on this cruise? Well we decided to go to Uxmal and the Hacienda Ochill from port Progreso. We booked this through Carnival, and we were not dissappointed. We were educated not only on the ruins, but on life style and modern business practices. It turns out that this is such a popular excursion, there were three busses, which we didn't know, so the roll call buddies we were going to meet on the bus, we didn't meet.:( But that was the only downside of the excursion, and we did meet them later on the cruise.

Harley, Theresa, me and Catmando-ready to go-

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You cannot climb this pyramid, but notice the door way near the top? If you stand in front of the pyramid with the door in front of you, and clap your hands, you can hear the call of a bird, that has become extinct in this area. (The bird can still be found further south but no longer in Mexico)

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When our excursion was over and we were allowed to wander the site on our own, I heard several tour guides explain about sound, and had their groups clap, but they heard no bird call, because you have to do it in a certain place. This is why it is important to get a good tour guide, and Carnival did not dissappoint.

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DH and I had a porthole cabin on the Empress deck-closer to "everything". We had E9, this cabin is small. Well, smaller than the other portholes we have had on lower levels. And it seems that on the older ships there is a type of trunk built into the floor where your life jackets are, and it makes it impossible to really take the two twins and make it into a "king" .

 

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We stayed in U12 in August...another porthole cabin. That box in the corner .. omg! I don't know how many times I kicked my toes on it! :o

 

Sent from my Commadore 64 using the Cruise Critic forum app

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It was a busy day for tours-

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I always thought that when I got to Uxmal and saw the snakes (design) that they would be like boas, or pythons, so you can imagine my shock to see that they were actually rattlesnakes. I started really looking for where I was walking after that bit of info

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One of the things my DH wanted to see was a ball court. No one in our group knew whather or not you were killed for winning or losing, but our bets were the winner, so that you went out on a high. Turns out that sacrificng was not a Mayan cultural thing, but the Toltec and Aztec cultures introduced this into the Mayan lives.

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The ball court- for small (non death) games, perhaps two or four players on a court this size

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For two years I had the following picture as my screen saver. But it was someone else's phIMG_2883_zps8c7cbd29.jpgoto. Now I can proudly show mine-

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We were at the site for about two and a half hours, then we loaded back onto the bus and went to Hacienda Ochill, this had been a working Hacienda which manufactured hemp rope and tequila. Now it is a serene garden, restuarant, and museum.

Stupid Bear showed up here too

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A serene moment-

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You can see the tiny rail road tracks that moved product from one location of the Hacienda to another-

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Another serene place on the Hacienda-

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Enjoying your review! I too want to thank you for taking the time to write it. As Becky said, there aren't many new reviews or information about the Elation on these forums.

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We got back to the ship with 15 minutes to spare. There is a small shopping area at the end of the pier in Progreso. The interesting thing about Progreso port is that is the longest pier in the world (4 miles). You cannot walk on the pier street, but there are busses that will take you into town for free. It really is quite impressive. I am one of those people that when I travel I will stop for the world's largest ball of twine, so this pier was on my wish list anyway.

The next day, Cozumel, and we are headed to El Cid for a day pass to snorkel.

When we got to Cozumel our friends wanted to wander around a bit to look at the gardens and the shops, and get REAL coffee. I just loved this little statue in the gardens-

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It was sunny in Cozumel but cool, to the point where we sat in the sun, but after one dunk in the water, I was done. This cold front in Mexico was a message from the weather gods regarding what to expect when we got back to the US.

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And now a few shots and info on the ship. We were on the Empress deck, in the front, and if you walk all the way to the end of the hallway, and cross over to the other side of the ship, you find the Laundry

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a view of the atrium and sky light

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the internet area

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On sea days, tea is served in the Piano Bar. On our cruise, the piano player was an actor who had played the Phantom in London, and during tea he played and sang. This brought in so many people that tea was a joke, lucky to get tea, and a scone or sandwich was impossible. I have heard that on the next cruise he was given his own show on the mainstage-enjoy tea!

the piano bar-

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the Mark Twain library-a great place to wait for dinner-

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glass art on every level of the atrium-

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the elevators looked like you were locked in the loony bin- just thought i would share that thought-

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The pool on the lido deck-it was cold! I mean cold! The only ones in the pools were kids, and they were using the water slide. I guess kids are immune to cold, or they were all from up north. Cold!

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the mongolian wok, people are bundled up-but happy

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The great glass walls in the Tiffany dining room

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On the last sea day, the buffet on the Lido serves a chocolate dessert buffet-

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the stage on the Lido deck

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outside dining on the Lido

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it was too cold to lie out-this picture is worth a thousand words-

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I dont drink anymore, but I love the happy looking glasses that you can order the DOD (drink of the day)

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upstairs in the main theatre

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and the down stairs of the main theatre

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Some of the neon lights, letting you know where you are, and what's ahead-

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the promenade had lots of room, a gathering place for the afternoon Trivia games-

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the drama bar- my drama was that I never even came close to winning in Trivia

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the most beautiful room on the ship, was the Romeo and Juliette lounge-

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the details in the paintings were great-

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The ship serves, breakfast, lunch, dinner, midnight snacks, tea, but if you need more, there is a coffee shop. You do have to pay for the pastries and coffee here, but I hear they are worth it, but I never seem to get that hungry;)

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I never heard anyone play this piano on the promenade, but you can have your picture taken on it, on formal night.

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Years ago when you could smoke on the ships, this was the smoking lounge. Now it stays pretty empty.

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my last ship photo is of the outside of the Jekyl and Hyde bar. Those robot things have eyes that move and flash, and if you dont know it, it is a bit scary. This is an 18 year old and older bar at night, and there is security at the door.

 

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I will write my overall review of food, service, cabin and staff tomorrow, hope the pics give you all enough to last until then.

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Marshhawk...you are taking a trip and cruise port city I want to do some day. So fun to have you share your trip!!! The Elation is a beautiful ship I think..thanks for photos and sharing your adventure..fun to see photos of you and your friends..so nice to be free and together with each other. I love the interesting history things,...was the ride/tour calm and all fairly comfortable at that ruin..sounds like a nice time of year not to melt seeing it and that you had a non-stressed enjoyable interesting tour, I would have loved the WWII museum there too< really looking forward to New Orleans...Sincerely, Sarah

Edited by sjn911

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I love the Elation! I also loved your pictures of Uxmal! Mom and I were planning on going there last summer, but it didn't work out. We are going in June and I can't wait!!

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I am now at work, and I don't have my regular font options...it's me though!

 

Remember when I said that the staff at the NOLA port said because we had FTTF our cabins would be ready and the luggage would be there? I went to guest services to let them know that our cabin wasn't ready and that our luggage wasn't there, as promised. I have an idea why Carnival puts the pretty Russian girls at the Guest Services desk. To a guy, perhaps you would back down because of the beauty, to a woman you may back down because you are facing the "Spanish Inquisition", so the woman heard my complaint, never said she was sorry, told me that THEY on the ship don't promise that our luggage will be there when we got on, and said something to the effect that they would check into it. Well they did check into it. Our steward told them that the cabin wasn't ready when we got on, and they put my 50 bucks back onto my sail and sign card. How nice. They sent me a note stating that they had been trying to reach me by phone ( I am never in my cabin, so who knows) but to come by the Guest Services desk, they wanted to talk to me. They told me that they had checked out my statement with the steward.

 

So, if you really feel you have a viable complaint, take it to guest services, and they will check it out. They apparently hear both sides before making a decision, and that is more than fair.

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Food on the ship-menh. I think that when I cruise I must keep ordering the same things, you know, the first day they have pot roast, so I keep ordering pot roast, and this cruise, because I do want to try new things everyday, I went off my normal eating pattern, and wasn't impressed. I tried the indian meal one night, and the rice they gave me was cold, and looked like it was about to be rice pudding. The lobster on formal night was cold when served, and I did order another one, which came hot, but tasted- not so great.

 

Theresa and Harley ordered what they wanted, but they enjoy wine at night, and the wine steward would show up before they had had a chance to figure out what they wanted for dinner, and they would send him away until they figured out the meal. Then the waiters would have to go chase him down to take the wine order. My friends like the wine to work with the meal, so perhaps the steward should show up after you place the dinner order. Just a thought.

 

One thing I really did enjoy was the Taste Bar on the Promenade deck at night. Little samplings of what the specialty restaurants serve on the larger ships. This replaced the sushi bar, sushi is now served as an appetizer some nights in the MDR.

 

The night we got back from Uxmal, we opted to dine on the Lido, fried shrimp, (Carnival has the best Tarter Sauce), but the shrimp were a little over breaded, no problem, knock off the breading and keep on munching.

 

We also chose to have breakfast up on the lido that day too, and that was a mistake. We all grabbed some scrambled eggs, and the three I was eating with all spit them out, saying they tasted rancid. I didn't need to try mine,:p just enjoyed my taters and sausage.

 

It is interesting to me, that while the menus on each ship are the same, different foods taste better on different ships, perhaps the chefs should all go back to school to get everyone on the same level. Fruit soups on the Fascination, fantastic, soups on the Elation, not so good. Prime rib on the Fascination not so good, heard it was great on the Elation. The WCMC on the Elation was great every night.:D

 

So not sure if it was me and my wanting to change up my meals on this cruise, or the chef, but I was not impressed with what I ordered, and plan on my next 5 day cruise, to go back to what I know.

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Service- this was interesting on this ship. I really felt like the crew was not getting along with each other at all. In the MDR the first night our head waiter had a crew of two working for him, they spent most of our dining time sabotaging the service. Laughing and pointing at the head waiter. Not being helpful at all. The next day the girl in this twosome was on the Lido, and she stayed there all week. The last night in the MDR, the waiter was hitting on Barbara, telling her he was unhappy on the ship and wanted to go home with her and keep her warm, she said she wasn't interested in a relationship with a guy, he said no relationship, he's gay. He asked if he could come home with me, and I said, no, I'm married to the guy next to me. He gave up and went to a table that was all women, which left us without dessert.

 

It was only when we all started getting up from the table that his assistant delivered our desserts.

 

Our cabin steward, who didn't have our bed made up when we got there, and hadn't finished cleaning (FTTF) wouldn't put the beds where I requested because he said he couldn't get to the other side of the bed to make it up, so he placed the bed his way....which by the way because of that life jacket box made it impossible to make the bed, or get in on that side without climbing on the bed. My DH got that side of the bed, and the bed sheets were never tucked in at all. One morning he even pulled them out and placed them on the bed, and when we got back they were not tucked in. It has been suggested to just leave the beds as twins, and enjoy the extra space. Because E9 had no space at all. If I was traveling by myself, it would be a cabin I would enjoy.

 

It's not that we didn't see smiles, but when your back was turned, were those sharp objects in their hands? I think that the staff was really ready for a break!

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Ports-

 

Progreso-the girls(Shari and Barb) took the free bus into town, walked about one block, didn't feel safe at all, turned around and got back on the bus, and went back to the ship. Progreso offers great excursions if you are interested in history, so don't shy away from this port. But book through a reputable company.

 

It is not a great beach place, and this is the reason-there is a great deal of limestone silt in the water. (did you know that north of Progreso is the area that scientists believe the great meteor which wiped out the dinosaurs hit) but the silt clouds the water, and churns up so much in the gulf that it makes the water shallow, as the port area fills with silt, which is why the pier is 4 miles long. The limestone is very erosive, and holds water, which is why there are so many cenotes in this area. Hence the Mayans could build cities and have fresh water, right underneath them. Uxmal is in the "hilly" section, and the earth there is not limestone. No cenotes, which may be why three different groups of natives moved in and out of the area. Uxmal means, thrice built, or sometimes known as Oxmal, means three good harvests. But with no water in the area, that might have been all they could get.

 

Any way, make it an adventure day, not a beach day and you wont be disappointed.

 

Cozumel- warm, clear waters (curse that cold front) a million things to do, see, or do nothing at all. We have gone the last two times to El Cid, a time share hotel within walking distance that offers a day pass for 18.00, or an all inclusive for around 70.00. When you spend the 18.00, they give you a 10 dollar food credit. Since it really was too cold to spend time in the water, we spent our time with a really nice lunch on the patio. Even sitting in the sun was not too hot. For some reason I cannot up load any pictures of this location, but check out some of my past reviews, or imagine perfection.:):)

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Overall, the air was chilly, the pool empty, the food so so, the staff somewhat surly, but the ports were fantastic. All of our cruises have been about the beach, but now that we have been to the ruins, my DH is changing his tune about where we cruise to, he is no longer saying he wont go back to Belize, and Chichen Itza might be a good reason to go back on the Elation. But, otherwise, until they improve in attitude, the best part of the Elation, is NOLA, and the ports.

 

Cruise happy! And yes, this is the time of year to go into the jungles, but it is also a very busy time in NOLA. Book your hotel early!

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I wanted to thank you who have read the review. I do have more pictures of Uxmal if you are interested, I just posted the more beautifulo pics And you are right, there are not too many reviews of the Elation, but people who cruise this ship, seem to be repeat customers.

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Thank you for the review! My mom, sister and I sail the Elation in a couple of weeks! Current reviews of this ship are hard to find.

 

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337 using Forums mobile app

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Interesting review! Uxmal was our favorite shore excursion ever, we booked the tour independently when we arrived. I know a lot of people do not like Progresso and it is a port where you either need to book an excursion or do some research and have a plan. My kids absolutely loved going through the market though and practicing their Spanish and all of the vendors were super nice and engaging with them. At one point my oldest daughter wandered off and we had a brief moment of panic before we spotted her kicked back in a hammock chair chatting with the older man that owned the booth, the two of them hit it off and were joking and haggling over the chair my daughter wanted - and eventually purchased :)

 

 

Next cruise: Carnival Breeze June 2014

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Great review Annie. Thanks for sharing and say hi to Chuck for us.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums mobile app

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Great review. We cruise on Elation in a few weeks. Excited when I find a new Elation review!

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You all are welcome. I will post some more pictures tonight, but cant do that from work for some reason.

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Now, about getting back to Atlanta, we knew the weather was not going to be that good, the closer we got to NOLA, the more we understood how not so good it was going to be. There had been sleet over NOLA , Texas, LA, and MS, and southern Alabama. Shari got on her phone and checked messages and went on the site for Megabus. She and Barb had opted not to do the ruins, but to put that money towards flying home. Turns out that the Megabus had been cancelled for the last two days due to icing on the roads. And we didn't have a ride home. NOLA was socked in with early morning fog, and we talked over our options, all of them included spending more money than we figured, but punkyh from roll call suggested we rent a car, what a God send to have someone think outside the box for us.! So we rented a car, left NOLA at 11 a.m., got the car to the airport in Atlanta, took the train to where I work, got my car, ate dinner at McDonalds, took Harley and Theresa home, and got home at 11:30 p.m..

 

As we were leaving McDonalds, Shari called Harley and let him know that Barb got home to broken water pipes, and a flooded town house. So that's how the adventure ended.

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