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Just back from Elation


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I helping my Mom arrange a surprise cruise for my Dad in February. They are flying into Houston the day before. What is the best way to get from Houston to Galveston? Also, could you recommend somewhere close to the pier to stay?


Thank you.

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Galveston was marginal before we left and a nightmare when we got back. We flew into Hobby (great) and rented a car at Enterprise (great). We stayed at Victorian Hotel and Suites (fine). I liked it because I was traveling with four kids and that way I could save $$$ by buying things to eat in the suite (we were there for two nights). It is right on Seawall, and they have free parking and a shuttle for when you are on the cruise (which I did not do). The problem is that the Seawall area REEKED. I mean- really bad. I think it was the seaweed, but apparently it had been like that for a long time. Plus it's just... if I were you I would stay at the Strand area. Forget Moody Gardens- waste of time and money and you are about to go on a cruise, anyway.


I then dropped off the kids at the cruise terminal and drove the car to the Enterprise lot (bad), which was farther away from the ship than the hotel was. Good 15 minutes away. It was a total and complete nightmare: computers were down and they had ONE guy on. It wasn't too bad for me and the 10 other people dropping off cars, but there were about 10 more waiting to pick up- that had just debarked- and they were standing there missing their flights. Finally the guy just grabbed our keys and handed them to the other people, who drove away, some crying, kids in tow. I then call my credit card company and find out that Enterprise took a $250 dollar deposit out- for a $128 car. To this day I have not been credited back the change. So I made sure to buy CCL transfers while at sea and took the shuttle back to Hobby after ($33 times five for me).


The problem with Galveston is that there is a two lane road leading up to and past the cruise terminal, with 5000 pax embarking and debarking during the same four hour period (just for CCL). It is a challenge. If you are waiting for some obscure hotel shuttle you will die in the heat and add an easy hour onto the mess- and it took me almost four hours to debark yesterday (9am Lido deck call, but of course everyone including me got there early, and I got on the shuttle at 12:50). Customs was the problem there, apparently.


CD was Dave, and he was not great. My teenagers and I all thought he was a dweeb. He wasn't funny at all and to tell you the truth he looks like he hates his job and is borderline hostile. His second in command, Josh, was much warmer and funnier.


Definitely book a shore excursion in Progreso. I'll just leave it there, unless you want to check out my "Progreso, what a joke" thread that is currently getting a lot of feedback... My kids and my mother went to Dzibilchaltun and they loved it. I took a tour to Merida with two kids and HATED IT! Not a good port, not a good port. Wait until you wake up and look at the "pier."


But don't worry! Cozumel and Belize more than make up for it!


In Cozumel we went to Chankanaab park- just got off and found a taxi (very easy to do, VERY well organized, nice, clean taxis). Price for the cab and admission to the park: $16.00 each. Nice park, great, easy snorkeling, snack bars and rest rooms, and everyone raved about the dolphin and sea lion encounters but my teenagers were creeped out about the effects on the animals (kids these days) and so we passed on that. Very easy excursion, requires zero planning, and the taxis wait in a pool to take you back to the pier whenever you want to go. The shopping and walking around the pier are very nice. Easy day, no probs.


In Belize we went cave tubing. Kids LOVED it. I liked it a lot but in retrospect I would have done the Goff's Caye excursion (through CCL). This excursion is reasonably priced, looks like a lot of fun, and the boat pulls right up to the Elation, so you don't have to tender. The tendering process was chaotic. Everyone needed to get off the ship asap to catch their excursions, and of course 2400 people can't get off on the first tender, can they? Or the second, or the third. No problem waiting, but people were starting to totally stress out.


We were in cabin M65 (Main deck). Great cabin, but I was there because I needed a quad (I actually had five in there). Great storage space, two full closets.


Favorite activity was... the water slide and eating, clearly. Everything was fun. Completely fun. Least favorite was Progreso.


I love the crew. What a great crew of hardworking people. The ship itself is showing some wear and tear, so you need to ignore it right off the bat or you will go crazy noticing things everywhere you look, none of which are really important, anyway. The 24 hour complimentary room service was great... the layout of the ship was very easy... you have to ask me more specific questions. I will have a review up on cruisereviews.com any day.


The worst thing was debarkation and of course, the "P" word. Literally every single other thing was either perfectly fine or absolutely great. I was worried about sailing CCL after all of the negative things I have read, but there were zero out of control kids, zero boorish drunks, zero appearances by FunShip Freddy. You could find a quiet, relatively upscale place to be at any time. You could be in the library, a quiet piano bar (having high tea), out on the bow watching the sea- most likely alone, or on the Lido deck watching people try to throw water balloons backwards. Up to you. It was a very nice time and I am sad as hell to be back. I will definitely cruise CCL again, although not the Elation (Progreso, plus I have already done it), and not from Galveston.


Hope this helps. If you tell me the ages and likes/dislikes of your party I can be of more help.



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Thanks for the details Carla. I am 46, DH is 53 and other couple is approx same age. We are on the main deck right now, but are hoping(not expecting) for upgrade. (:) Smiling at the upgrade fairy)

I was under the impression that Jorge was the CD and he has really good reputation in most reviews I've read, so I'm somewhat dissapointed in that, but I'm sure it'll be okay.:cool:

Thanks again for your report

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I thought it was Jorge, too. My kids and I jept referring to the cabin steward, Jose, as "Jorge" for that reason (not to his face). I read about Jorge somewhere, and I don't know if he was on the Elation at some point or not.


Main deck is fine. As you can see, there are very few verandah cabins available. So there aren't many upgrades to have... The nice thing about Main deck is that there are cabin floors above and below, which cuts down on the noise.

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I am sailing on 9-4-05 on the elation and was wondering if the elation had undergone the new "Carnival Comfort Bed Sleep system" and if the suites have a "pillow menu". Reason I ask is my new dw and I got upgraded to the verandah deck and skippers club also.

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I'm going to go out on a limb and say: no. The beds were great but the pillows smelled... of other people. It kind of bothered me the first night- our cabin smelled like smoke, too. I am just the kid of person who is not going to sweat the small stuff, so even though the kids would yell "AHHH smoooke!" when we went in we pretty much just laughed at it.

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I can't remember... I decided not to use them. The lemonade is available at Tiffany's and by the Lido pool, so the kids drank that (also iced tea) and I drank lemonade mixed with water. I brought vodka in mini water bottles, and as I was dressing for dinner the kids would bring me lemonade and I would mix it with the vodka...

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HI Carlalena1


Great reveiw I agree with everything you said about the whole cruise. I was on the same ship and the CD did look like he didn't want to be there. He didn't really mingle with people just the young single girls and spent a lot of time at the disco's.

Progresso was a waist of time unless you do an excursion. We didn't and it was crazy the city was dirty and very poor people were trying to sell you anything and everything.But like you said Cozumel and Belize made up for it.

We stayed in M222 and we thought it was a very nice room the bed was very comfortable.

We also had some ups and downs but overall it was a good trip. I don't think i would ever leave out of Gavelston again I think our next port is Florida.:)

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We are going on the Elation on 9/25, it will be our first cruise, and also our honeymoon! YOu said you had taken alcohol aboard the ship, was it difficult to get it past them? We don't have a lot of extra money, so we are sneeking in some of the bigger plastic bottles in our luggage once we get into Houston. Let meknow!

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  • 2 weeks later...

We were on the Elation 7-17 and had the new bedding (U112) It was fabulous. Jorge was the cruise director and he was great. He went on vacation immediately after our cruise. I guess we were lucky.



We had no problem at embarkation or debarkation. We stayed in Galveston the night before and took a limo bus (big van outfitted like a limo-very nice) to the ship. We got to port around 11 and essentially walked onto the ship. We were eating on the lido deck by noon after dropping our bags in our rooms.


Debarkation--we walked off the ship to our awaiting limo bus and were back at the hotel (free parking for the week) by 10:15.


Remember--attitude is everything. We expected to have a good time and we did!

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