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Just back from "Elation" cruise!


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My wife and I just returned from our cruise aboard the "Elation", and we just wanted to let all of you know that we had a great time! The ship was suppose to sail the Western Caribbean, but Hurricane Emily decided that we should go to the Bahamas and Key West instead. What a pleasant surprise it was for us, as we have sailed to Mexico many times before.


Our trip got off to a bad start, as our luggage was lost enroute to Houston. We left Lexington, KY late Saturday afternoon with a change of flight (and airline) in Atlanta. What was suppose to be a 40-minute layover actually turned into a 10-minute one! We had to go from Terminal A to Terminal D in order to make it to our connecting flight, via Continental, in less than 10-minutes! We were able to make it to the gate, but our luggage didn't. It wasn't until 8:45am Sunday that our luggage arrived in Houston. We were beginning to wonder if we were going to have to go to WalMart and stock up on clothes for the cruise!


The Carnival staff at Bush Intercontinental Airport are very friendly. They did a great job getting all of us together and loaded onto the shuttle buses. These buses are great and comfortable. Much better than the roach-infested ones that RCL took us to Galveston on! No kidding....roaches everywhere on the bus!!


We arrived at the port about an hour-and-a-half after leaving the airport. The bus driver told us to check to make sure everyone's luggage was unloaded, and then proceed into the lobby for registration. The embarkation process only took about 15-minutes, then it was off to have your first (of many) pictures taken then board the ship.


The ONLY complaint that we had about the cruise was the rude treatment we recieved from our cabin steward Angel upon arriving at our cabin. The cabin door was open and it looked as though it was ready for us. The steward came rushing into the cabin screaming "this cabin ain't ready yet! You're suppose to go eat lunch!" I asked if I could leave the carryons in the cabin and he said "yes, but you must leave at once!" This was the only conversation we had with this guy the entire week! He would not even speak to us as we passed in the hallways. He is a jerk!


I will just pass on the highlights of the cruise from here on:


Ship: The Elation is a 7-year old ship and does show its age a little. You will notice some stains in the carpets every once-in-a-while, but nothing major. We witnessed some kids knocking over a half-full Miami Vice outside someone's cabin door one day as they walked past it. You will also notice some rust around the swimming pools. All-in-all, the ship is in great shape. Oh yeah...there's only one deck that allows passengers to traverse the entire length of the ship (Deck 9, Promenade).


Crew: Cruise Director Jorge Solano is fantastic! Next to John Heald, he's the best we've seen so far. The rest of his staff are OK. The waiters that we had at dinner were fabulous! Arnel and Eugene (table 123 in the Imagination diningroom) took care of all our needs. Most of the crew we had dealings with were friendly and helpful. Except for Angel!


Food: What more can be said about the food? It was delicious, as usual. We enjoyed the daily themes back at the Tiffany buffet, and always love the burgers and fries on the Lido deck. We never had anything that we didn't like. We were very thrilled to have great tablemates as well. Glenda & Milton, as well as Fernando & Maria and William & Mary, are wonderful people and we thank them for their hospitality!


Ports of Call: Our itenerary took us to Nassau, Freeport and Key West. It was HOT at all 3 ports! In Nassau, we took the $45pp "Historic Harbor and Atlantis Tour". The tour was OK, but we could have taken a water taxi to Atlantis for $6pp r/t and seen the same sights! The hotel is fabulous and the outdoor aquarium is a must. The casino inside the hotel is huge, with thousands of slots.


After the tour, we ate lunch at Senor Frogs, which cost us $27 for nachos and 3 cokes! Keep in mind, refills cost the full amount of the drink each time!


We heard that a newlywed husband had a heart attack and passed away during the "Blue Lagoon" excursion. We were told that the crew aboard the catamaran had a diffibulator (sp), but didn't know how to use it. That's really sad, and we wish to send along our condolences to his widow.


In Freeport, we just got off the ship and shopped in the stores at the pier. It looks as though the city is at least 10 miles from the pier, so we just headed back to the ship. Again, it was almost 100-degrees outside, so we headed for the pool and some shade on the Lido deck.


In Key West, we spent some time visiting with a friend of ours that lives there, and performs at "Irish Kevin's Pub" on Duval Street. We stopped by Jimmy Buffet's "Margarittaville" for some t-shirts, bought some hot sauce for a friend, then tried to find some shade to cool down a little before heading back to the ship.


Entertainment: The shows were on the most part pretty good. Didn't care for the singer that they had the last night. The show "Spin" was the best show put on by the cast. The comedians they had were also good, but didn't care for the language used at the late night shows. We loved the trivia games, winning the "Ultra Mind Game" trivia. Karaoke was great, as was the host Sally. Many talented singers took part every night, including 5-year old Luke who sang "Skater Boy". Our favorite entertainers was the band called "Blood Power". They're from the Phillipines and play 50's-60's-70's music. They are good and hilarious! They will be onboard through May, so check them out! Tell the drummer that "Bruno" said "HI".


Debarkation: Carnival utilizes the "Self Assist" program when it comes time to leave the ship. This means that if you can carry ALL of your luggage, then you can leave the ship first. But you have to be able to carry ALL of it! We chose to wait, as usual, and was able to leave the ship by 9:30am Sunday morning.


We spent all day Sunday in Houston visiting with an uncle and doing some sightseeing before heading home Monday afternoon.


The cruise, our 9th with Carnival and 11th overall, was just as exciting as all previous cruises. We really enjoyed everything we did, saw and ate! We especially enjoyed meeting fellow Cruise Critics that we met on these boards, including "Momof4boys", "Volleyball Family" and "MLRT". It was wonderful meeting all of you and seeing you throughout the cruise!


We highly recommend this cruise to all of you. The change, due to Mother Nature, did cause a few people to rumble about it, but it sure was better than sailing through the hurricane or having the cruise cancelled altogether!


If you have any questions regarding this ship, its crew or anything else, just let me know.


Now it's time to start counting the days (247) until our April 1st cruise aboard the "Glory"!


:cool: Bill

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I was on this cruise also. We spent most nights at karaoke. Wasn't Luke adorable? We had breakfast with him one morning and he was a hoot. I didn't like the food as much as you did. It was fine, but nothing really wowed me. The best dish I had was the penne a la siciliano. We missed the first formal night due to seasickness, so the lobster may have been good.


It was a nice cruise, though no more summer cruises for me. I was really looking forward to Mexico and Belize. Next time I cruise it will be Late Fall or Early Spring, not as hot and no hurricanes.



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Thanks for your review. We can't wait to sail Elation in December. Hope we don't get Angel because I don't think I would be as nice as you were. Have a hard time holding my tongue when dealing with rude people that are supposed to be serving me. :eek: Did you have any experience with Camp Carnival???:)

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I was also on the 7/17 Elation cruise to the Bahamas and Key West. I had posted a review here on Monday, but can't locate it now. Too bad about the rude steward.. ours was great.. his name was Paul, I think he was from Haiti. I had a birthday while on the cruise and my family taped a large sign on my door that said "Happy Birthday" with a message from everyone.. our steward even signed his name to wish me a happy birthday - I thought this was very thoughtful of him!

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I was actually on the RCI Sovereign of the Seas, but when my wife and I decided to skip formal night and go to Atlantis instead, we shared a taxi with two couples that were on the Elation.


The one couple in particular were on their honeymoon, and they didn't seem as though the change in itinerary bothered them in the least. They had such a relaxed attitude about that, and about having one of their excursions on the "new" route changed - I know thay must have been fun to cruise with.


It did seem a little strange strolling back to the pier and not boarding the Carnival ship!


Glad that everyone posting was able to have a good time despite the changes!

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Thanks for the review from another member from KY!


We just sailed on the Victory last month and we're in the process of planning our cruise for next year. I really like the port and cruise schedule of the Elation, but was wondering how you like the ship compared to the Victory?


I guess you stayed in a hotel near the airport to catch the shuttle? What time did it leave and how much did Carnival charge for that? Did you consider staying in Galveston for the night to get to the port any earlier? Also, what time could we expect to safely catch a flight back on Sunday? Sorry about all the questions, but all of our cruises have been out of FL so I have no idea about what to expect travel time/distance wise in TX.


While we liked the balcony on the Victory, we're pretty happy just to be on a cruise, and the cost of an OV on the Elation is a cheaper than a balcony (or even an OV) on the other ships we're looking at. The other ships we're considering are the Valor, Triumph, Conquest, and Glory.





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OkieMom....No, we didn't use Camp Carnival, as our kids are now parents of their own. Besides, it was just the wife and I. We have, however, had great experiences in the past with Camp Carnival. They give the kids great attention and plenty of things to occupy them. The parents are given pagers in case they need to be contacted. Our granddaughters abosolutely loved Camp Carnival.


SeattleJeff....we bought our transfers when we booked our cruise. Just ask your travel agent to add them to your booking. I believe they were $64 per person for the roundtrip from the airport to the ship, then from the ship to the airport. Considering it's an hour from Hobby Airport and 1.5-hrs from Bush Airport, it's worth it. Carnival uses Coach USA buses and they are clean and comfortable.


Eliot Ness....the Elation is a smaller ship than the Victory. However, in this case, size doesn't matter. We enjoyed both ships. The lines aren't near as long on the smaller ships. Personally, we prefer the bigger ships. Why? I don't really know. But you will enjoy the Elation!


We flew into Bush Intercontinental airport the night before our cruise, and stayed at the Marriott Hotel right there at the airport. I booked it on Priceline for $45 per night! What a deal! The hotel was VERY nice. And it's the only on-site hotel, accessable by the underground tram that services all terminals. We stayed here because (1) it was close in case of any luggage problems, which we ended up having, and (2) convenience to the Carnival shuttle pickup. I would not hesitate to stay here again, if I fly into this airport. We were able to catch the first shuttle that left for the ship at 9:45am. The Carnival check-in desk is right near the baggage claim area (in Terminal C). Again, we paid $64 pp for the roundtrip shuttle service through Carnival.


Our return flight from HOBBY Airport was at 1:13pm, and we were able to get off the ship by 9:30am and arrive at the airport by 11:30. We had plenty of time to get checked in. I wouldn't try to get an earlier flight than that, though.


The Elation cruise is one that we would do again! We had a blast and enjoyed it just as much as our other 8 Carnival cruises!


:cool: Bill

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Could you expand on the self debarkation thing? We've done that on NCL and loved it but when we were on Elation last year they didn't say anything about it. I contacted Carnival about it for our upcoming cruise and they said it wasn't offered on this ship. Obviously, bad information.


Also, thanks for the review.

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Decali....self debarkation, according to what Carnival told us on the Elation, is:


"If you can carry ALL of your luggage with you, then you will be able to leave the ship first. That is, after Customs clears the ship for debarkation."


If you choose this method of debarkation, you CAN NOT leave your luggage outside you cabin on the last night of your cruise. You keep ALL of it inside your cabin, then carry ALL of it with you when you leave. From what we've seen, it looks very difficult to do for some people, as they have tons of luggage to tote through the hallways, down the stairs (no elevators available) and down the walkways through the terminal to the parking lots or shuttle areas.


Most self assisted were able to start leaving the ship around 8am or so. It looked as though the line was backed up as people entered the terminal. I guess it was because of the Customs agents and search dogs checking everyone's luggage as they left the ship. We chose NOT to do the self assist and was off the ship by 9:30am.


As for individual ships doing this process, I wouldn't know. I do know that they did it on the Victory in April and the Elation last week.


Good luck!


:cool: Bill

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