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Elation 7-17 REview- Yahoo!


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and excution of this trip very enjoyable. I hope to see you all again.


We hope to book the Elation next July (probably earlier like around the 4th) . Every person in our group of 9 said this was the best vacation every!WE really loved this vacation and are hooked!!

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Yes get that review up as soon as the kids get done!

If it was anything like our cruise in June, I'm sure you had a blast. There is not a vacation quite like a cruise is there? :cool:

Also, I see your from Lee's Summit, I was born and lived a few of my "early years" in Excelsior Springs, just ouside of KC.

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Ok I will try to post my review again. The Elation: 7-17-05 out of Galveston


We chose the Elation because our family of DH, and 4 sons (12, 16, 19, & 22), and I love history and science and we wanted to visit the Mayan Ruins and visit a rainforest. (Paradise Beach sounded awesome, too!) We arrived at Galveston Island the Saturday morning before our Sunday trip. By this time, we knew we would probably not be visiting those ports due to Hurricane Emily, but would be visiting the Bahamas. The boys were a little disappointed and asked if this would be an ok thing. Although we were slightly disappointed, we told the boys how cool it would be. That was all it took and they were pumped again!


We stayed at La Quinta Inn, 14th and Seawall. We chose this because we could leave our 2 cars there for free, it had a three diamond rating from AAA, and they did not require a 2 night minimum stay. Since we were already getting two rooms, we did not want to pay for an extra night. The hotel is a little older and had no inside halls. Therefore, it was loud at night! Lots of yelling and horn honking in the parking lot. The rooms were clean and the continental beakfast was fine. It is really more of a 2 diamond (AAA) motel but for the price, we would be willing to stay there again, but would ask for a room in the back away from the pool and front parking lot.


This motel was near two piers, one with a setting area. We ate a wonderful lunch at Joe's Crab Shop on the Harbor side (marina setting), watched the Ecstacy in port, walked around the two piers on Seawall, sat on the one pier watching the waves roll in, then we had a nice dinner at a local steakhouse. That evening we walked to the beautiful Hotel Galvez to meet CC friends, Volleyballfamily. It was a wonderful time. Their family was so friendly and we found that we had a lot in common. We all looked forward to meeting again on the ship on Monday at 2 pm.


We had a limo-party bus pick up our family at 10:30 Sunday morning. We had heard so many horror stories about long waits and lines so I really prepared our boys. We arrived at the port around 11:10 and checked our luggage. The CCL people showed us where to get in line. They boarded a wedding party and before we knew it, we were showing our documents, getting our S&S cards, and getting on board. My 19 yo could not believe how easy it was and asked in amazement, "Are we getting on the ship now?"


We went to the boys' room (Boys were upgraded from an inside on Empress to OV on Upper deck), then took our carryons to our room (We were upgraded from Empress Ocean View to a Penthouse suite-U112). WOW! It was terrific. We met our wonderful steward Jonthai and assistant, Marcin. We found the Buffet at Tiffany's and were eating lunch by 12:15. We wandered around the ship, endured the muster drill with no problems, then went on the Lido deck, blew bubbles, and watched us sail away! VERY smooth embarkation IMHO! I will submit this then add next part, so I don't goof up!

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Review: Food We ate all of our dinners in the Imagination dining room-6:15 seating. Our head waiter (I Putu) and assistant (Ida Bagus) were wonderful. They were fast, friendly, had good senses of humor, learned our wants and needs quickly, and most entertaining. Not only did these gentlemen have to serve us, but nightly sang, danced, and performed tricks. We felt like our food was wonderful! Steaks, lobster, salmon, and all specialty food was outstanding! Desserts were good (especially since I never eat desserts!) but not outstanding. We were extremely happy with the service and quality of this dining room!:) We ate one breakfast and one lunch in Inspiration Dining room. These meals were also great. We were greeted by smiling faces and servers ready to help! We ate most breakfasts and lunches at Tiffany's. We must have really lucked out because there was never a long long--even at the omelette station! :) At lunch, I ate mostly at the salad bar and was very pleased! Lettuce, cheese, broccoli, cauliflower, and all toppings were very fresh! The fruit was fabulous! The others ate a variety of food and thought it all great! DH especially like to different food themes (Italian, Indian, Greek, etc) and loved that he could get a fish entre every day that was so good! Oldest son works at a resturaunt owned by a member of our family (while going to college) and is pretty discerning when it comes to service and quality! He thought things were terrific too! Room Service--DH and I ordered coffee and tea each am via door hanger the night before. 4 sons often ordered late night snacks (roast beef and brie was a huge hit-- as were cookies and chocolate cake!) Room service was very prompt. Pizza station and 24 hr ice cream also very popular with my guys. All in all-food rating --Excellent!

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Ship: We had rooms on the Upper deck- our cabin--U112 (Suite) and U198 (Quad for boys). Our rooms were immaculate! The suite was unbelievable! The suite with the balcony really spoiled us! I know many people say they are never in their cabin and would not pay extra for it. For DH and myself, we adored the balcony and suite. It was so peaceful to sit out there and watch the beautiful blue sea roll by, watch the oil rigs in the gulf, see the reflection of the moon on the water, find the big dipper, see the amazing sunsets and sunrises, and watch the pilot boats come in and the pilot jump aboard our ship. We have lovely pictures of coming into the different ports, being greeted by marching bands in Freepor,t or watching fishing boats going out to see (with dolphins following the boat!) So to each their own. For us...it will have to be a balcony! Our room stewards were great! Every time we used a wash cloth or towel, a new one would appear! The young men who took care of the boys' room were just as good! We had superior service the entire time. This was a real Mom's Vacation! An entire week of someone else picking up after me!!! Talk about relaxing. Another thing I will say...every person I encountered on this ship seemed genuinely happy to assist me! Each morning I would get a genuine "Good morning" and "Have a great day" or "Have fun in port". This crew sincerely acted happy to make us happy. My boys commented several times how great the crew made them feel!


Did I see stains on the carpet? Big question!!! Honestly....I guess I forgot to look or else they were not obvious enough for me to notice. Beds?? Yes we had new, comfortable bedding. Best sleep I have had in a long time. We also slept with the balcony door open so we could hear the sound of the ocean all night!


Other Crew: CD: Jorge was Hilarious! We enjoyed all the shows--balancing act was Incredible! We elso enjoyed Newlywed Game, Hairy Man contest (GO Chris!!), Elation Idol, Olympics, and others. Purser's desk: several were very helpful. If you talked to them about whether they get to go to port, etc. they were very friendly and usually perked up. Very high rating for the crew! Found the photographers were probably least friendly of the staff. One photographer on formal night portrait area in Lobby was really nice, but others were in a big hurry. I do realize they are busy and I was not offended, just felt like I was another group--which I was! However, let me state we spent $$$$$$$$$ on portraits! Boy...if they got commission on what I purchased.....those photogs would be offering my family free drinks! LOL!

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Camp Carnival Review: We had a 12, 15, and 16 year old in our group. I took my 12 year old to sighn up and they hurried the parents out. After about 30 minutes my 12yo came back and said he did not think he would be doing too much. He was in the 12-14 yo age grouping. He is pretty quiet and this group seemed to focus on boy/girl type activities like dances and song type stuff -karaoke. He is much more into sports stuff (ping pong tournaments, basketball, etc.) and computer games like Halo (older group did a Halo tournament) Apparently only one boy participated in activities, the rest were girls. To me, they need to either have a different age grouping (10 to 12: or 11 and 12s) or have a better variety of activities for this age group. There is a huge variation in develpement between many 12 year olds and 14 year olds! Add some things for kids not into the "boy/girl scene!


15-17 age group was Outstanding! We had to force the two boys (15 & 16) in our group to break away and eat! The counselor, Ari, was marvelous! They had all kinds of activities and places to hang! DS (16) made several nice friends and really enjoyed this trip.


Not quite as good for my 19 year old. He is too old for camp carnival and they have little directed for the 19 to 21 year olds. (Old enough for casino .. but too young to drink) The first night DS went to the 18+ single dance and get together. He went with his 22 year old brother and stayed for 45 minutes. After about 30 minutes 2 small groups (group of 2 and group of 3) came in. They were already together and stayed in their small groups to talk and dance. No one else came. Several times he wandered around the pool, went to the casino, played bingo, and watched fun games on the Lido deck and Macodo Lounge. The last day of the cruise he met another 19 year old young man in the same situation. This young man spent his week "helping" his 14 year old sister and doing things with her. CCL could put a little more emphasis on this age group by offereing some specific things for them.

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Ports Review: Since this was a change of itenerary we did not have time to research these ports ahead of time. Nassau:We booked the Pearl Island Snorkel Treasure Hunt through CCL. Thie excursion was supposed to start at 9 and last for 2 !/2 hours. We left the ship in penty of time but it was 9:40 before we actually got started. We boarded a boat to ferry to Pearl Island. We were given a bit of history on the way plus the man pointed out the fabulous homes owned by the stars and other famous people. When we arrived, we were enthusiasticaly greeted and then taken to a "drink stand for a complimentary Bahama Mama. The we were led to the snorkel area by a wonderful guide. He explained how to snorkel and then passed out equipement (We brought our own mouth pieces and I am glad!) He showed us what to look for (conch shells and oysters) We snorkeled and our group all found shells and one oyster-1 treasure to a person. Guide then opened a conch shell, showed how to prepare the meat, then shared it with us. He opened the oysters, found any pearls, then led us to food area. People serving food were not very friendly but very busy. We hardly had time to eat before we were led to the bus. Many tok fod to the bus. Even though trip started late, they made sure we were back by 11:30. No extra time allowed. Boys loved this trip! Thought it was a blast. Cost $99 USA.


When we got back we took another ferry to Paradise Island near Atlantis. Again we were treated to history of area. Ferry Boat did not apear all that safe. (Plastic chairs strapped to top of boat for extra seating-questionable but hilarious!) Walked (a Looong way) to beach in hot weather. Should have taken a taxi! OH boy! Was it worth it though! The beach was gorgeous and the waves were unbelievable! Way over my 6'4 boys' heads. Our friends from Florida even thought the waves a bit threatening. Quite an undertow plus they were breaking really late at the shore. Kids and adults had a great time. Some hawking on the beach. Left alone until next person trying to get us to buy turtle, flute, or jewelry. Back around 4:30. Quick shower on ship, then off to eat at Hard Rock Cafe. Then went to Senor Frogs! None of us had ever seen anything like it. (I mean....we're midwesterners, for Pete's sake!) LOL

Back on ship around 10:15. Watched action from balcony and waved a sad goodbye at 11pm!

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Freeport Review: We arrived around 7 am. Port area very nice but right past that area, the town looked very industrial. When our ship docked, a small band began playing! Next thing we knew, a marching band greeted us and entertained the ship for over an hour. We watched the "Limbo King" while waiting for our excursion-"Tranquility Shores Beach Brake" This excursion cost $49 USA and included lunch. They took us by a/c bus to a lovely beach. Chairs available, but no umbrellas. Lunch was already being served (from 11:00 ish to 2:30!) in a covered, outdoor bar/resturaunt. We found a large table at a large open window, and settled down to enjoy our complimentary Bhama Mamas! They had a band going and several games were planned like egg toss and limbo, as well as learning island dances! The water was very blue/green and calm! Bad part was the water was sooo calm and there were no toys available. We didn't even have a frisbee. You could rent a paddle boat, wave runner, or a ride a tube. We had the boys ride the tube for 15 minutes which gave them a thrill! $15.00 per person for 15 minutes. At 3 headed back to ship! Enjoyed sail away from Balcony!

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Key West Review- This was the port we were least excited about. Our friends from Florida could not believe they flew all the way to Texas to come back to Florida. That said, this port ended up being a favorite to several folks in our group. We booked the Catermaran Sail and Snorkle for $49 USA and it was fabulous. This group is really profesisonal! They really taught you how to snorkel safely and get the most out of the trip! The catermaran was beautiful! A dolphin followed our boat a long way out. The guides taught us about coral reefs and some of the fish we might see. We sailed a full hour before starting our swim. We saw tuna, a shark, and gorgeous fish! We snorkled an entire hour before our hour trip back! On the way back they served us free pop, water, wine, and beer. (All we wanted!) Well worth the cost!When we got back we walked around Key West, ate lunch at Billie's, and shopped. Had a fabulous time!


Disembarkation: Very easy! Put our orange tags on our bags and put outside our door by Saturday, 11pm. Next morning took carry ons up to lounge. Went to Tiffany's for breakfast at 8:20. After eating, we returned to lounge area. They called our color tag after self disembrkation folks. Handed in Customs form, found luggage, and got into Limo bus by 9:30. We were returned to our hotel and on our way by 10:15!

Very Easy!


Only great things to say about this trip. As you can tell-we loved this cruise. Only bad thing is that it is over. Can't wait to book next year. I think we will book the Elation again, and try to get to Mexico and Belize!

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