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Cruisegirl6

REVIEW ELATION 2/2/19

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About us:
My other half and I are 56, my daughter 27 and boyfriend 37, father in law 80.  We always have booked balcony cabins and hardly use them and figured to try the oceanview staterooms and were mid ship.  My other half and I are 56, my daughter 27 and father in law 80.
 
I am platinum so we didn’t get FTTF but my father in law and daughter did.  Honestly, it is really a waste of money because the Jax port is easy peasy from the moment you get to the parking lot to the terminal door to right on the ship!  There is no longer long lines waiting for check in, when you enter the terminal they have workers there scanning your passport and boarding pass, you go through the security belt as you would do at the airport and then head right to sit down in your designated area!  There is no other line to go to check in.  The walk from the inside of the terminal to inside the ship is easy and short.  Parking lot to the terminal is right there close!
 
Platinum sent me to the sitting area of the suites, where you just find lemonade, yes, just lemonade no coffee, no tea, nothing else, amazingly disappointed as all other cruise lines would give you coffee, tea, pastries, cookies, fruit etc.  
 
We boarded around 11:25am and dropped off our carry ons to our cabins which were all done and waiting for us.  Your keys are now located outside your door in a secured sealed envelope outside your mailbox next to the door.  
 
I did receive my platinum 2019 pin alone with a blanket.  There were two huge complimentary waters for us also.
 
STATEROOM- 
Updated for sure.  Pillows were nice and definitely much better than past Carnival cruises, bedding and linens very good.  There was plenty of space to put your belongs in and the bathroom is small but adequate.  Not much shelf space in the bathroom but enough.  Literally you can shower your legs, brush your teeth in the sink and sit on the toilet the same time hahahaha honestly, not a problem it was fine.  Safe was an updated one, no cards just a code.  Lighting was improved and luggage fit under the beds.
The only problem we had we all heard what sounded like somebody holding a metal wrench hitting a metal furnace, every morning around 7am waking us up with 7 loud bangs then a second time and never heard it again.  We had cabins above and below us so not sure what that was but it was LOUD.  Cabin Steward Yohan the best!  The ac in my room was set at its coolest setting (new updated thermostats) and my thermometer read 71.8 most of the time but it did get to 73 in the middle of the night…my father in laws room was a bit warmer in the daytime and again at night and my daughters room was 76 at night but good in the daytime and they gave her a fan.  It appears Carnival tampers with the ac at night when people are sleeping thinking they saving electricity and we wouldn’t notice but trust me when your warm or hot you are up and notice these things.
 
BREAKFAST-  Usual typical items, not a huge assortment but enough.  Disappointing on the pasteries/bread but because I am comparing what you get on royal Caribbean.  Brunch in the MDR on seadays are always excellent and I had the steak and eggs and the steak was a decent piece of sirloin, why can’t they have this for dinner in the MDR is beyond me.  But everything at brunch was very good and service very attentive.
 
LUNCH BUFFET- Ok, lacking in selection/variety but ok….I don’t eat sandwiches but honestly, there wasn’t much to eat so I did get the pastrami and corned beef without the bread which was very lean, the turkey wrap was very good, basically this is the best food you can get for lunch at this deli.  Blue Iguana Cantina, never a line, food ok, basically the meat was low quality but it was ok.  I recall trying Guys Burgers three years ago I hated it figured let me try it again (everybody is eating this all day long!) and the fries were so greasy that I did not get them, but tried the burger without the bun….tasteless so bland!!  The meat texture I did not like, it reminded me of wet cat food pate in a can, ugh!  Desserts on the buffet were plenty of choices and were very good as well as the taste.
 
DINNER MDR-  I cruise on Royal Caribbean alot you can’t compare the food here to RC, the food here is ok, you won’t starve but RC definitely is much better!  There was nothing impressive here but the service was friendly and attentive, we had anytime dining and generally went for dinner between 7:15-8pm and never really had more of a wait of 5 minutes, not sure whether I was platinum had anything to do with it.  
We did try the steakhouse selection the additional charge $20 which you can choose 3-4 selections…I chose the Ny Strip which was very good and I would get that again, but it is NOT the same NY Strip as we got on the Magic, Valor and Dream (on these ships we would dine at the steakhouse every night), the steakhouse is much better!!!  My other half got the filet mignon and lobster tail….filet was ok and his lobster was mushy….my daughter got the twin lobster tails and it was under cooked.  Surely these selections/food is much better than what was given on the MDR menu.  I am not saying the food in the MDR was bad its just your typical banquet quality food.
 
LATE NIGHT FOOD-  I did have a ham and cheese sandwich which was decent.  There were other items such as hot dogs and such but did not try them.  Pizza was always a long wait and it was just ok, nothing special but edible.  They do offer caesar Salad which was very good.
 
CHEERS DRINK PACKAGE-  They say you can order any drink up to $20 but this is a lie!!!  I ordered an appeltini the first day and asked for absolute and was told they had to make it with their recipe which was with sky vodka…I explained I don’t like Titos and sky and was told they can’t give it to me any other way, its policy I was told.  I simply explained absolute is pretty much on the same category class as sky and explained it was under 20 and I should be getting it but no!  As a result, I ordered a patron straight up….my second drink forgot what I asked for but it came with Tito’s vodka and again asked for absolute to be told I cannot have it with the drink package (this is another bartender) so I ordered a Hennessy!!  Go figure, I can order patron and Hennessy but not a drink with absolute!! By the way, I do tip $1 extra per tip, which by day three the bartenders were friendly to me, they were not friendly the first two days and I was able to get what I wanted.
 
CHEFS TABLE-  We reserved the Chefs Table and had it during our last night.  The menu was suppose to be changed early this month but it was not, therefore, some people already had the same menu on previous cruises.  Overall, the experience was very nice, with three things to taste during our tour of the kitchen and all three were delicious.  It was not a full tour of the kitchen, in fact we stood around an area and weren’t showed anything in the galley at all!  Just a short talk, given the three items to taste, then they did bring us to an area where we watched them make and instructed us how to make the chocolate melting cake, this was very short then proceeded in the library for dinner.  The table was beautifully set and chairs positioned nicely.  They started out with a photo of everybody that they give you when you finish.  The Chef was from Sri Lanka, heavy accent so some people did find it difficult to understand what he was saying, but it also got very loud because outside they had the dance party where people were yelling, singing, it was loud and you heard it all while dining here at the Chefs Table, even the Chef found difficulty but didn’t show it talking over all that loud noise.  They offer you red or white wine, which they pour as you need more and it was not very good wine but a good inexpensive brand.  
 
Food Chefs Table-  I have experience going to many tastings out of country and in USA…this one gives you alot of food so watch what you eat in the afternoon.  The Chefs table starts and meets at 6:15 and it ended around 9:30.  They had the old menu on this ship and consisted of 8 courses.  Honestly, it was worth the $75 to me that is inexpensive for what you get…they do accommodate for food allergies, for instance I can’t have crab one of the dishes was a crab cake and they gave me a chicken type cake and honestly I wished I could get that recipe!  All five of us were not impressed with the vegetable in beet broth/soup, I ate it but wouldn’t mind never having again, but the rest of my party didn’t care for it.  The duck was excellent…the tomato soup well, some of us got stuck with strong garlic breath for two hours….there was a decent size clove of garlic which a few of us took a bit of and well…….turned us off to the soup….the salmon I thought had an oily taste but the rest of may party liked it….the wagyu beef was the most disappointing of this tasting!!!  We expected wagyu beef to be like a steak…well, it was totally covered and coated with this sauce/gravy, it was thick on the meat so I say it is more of a heavy sweet dark tasting sauce….it was not good, the five us us didn’t like it and noticed nearly everybody leaving half of it behind, but the other worse part to this dish was it was not a good quality steak (and remind you, a good steak never has a sauce or gravy covering it totally), it was although very tender, a VERY STRINGY type of beef….stew meat.  Ugh could definitely do without that.  The dessert plate was very nice although compare it to the other tastings that I went to where they have a “sample platter of desserts served to you” this one was lacking.  The chocolate cake thing was tasty and good but that raspberry thing was not good, in fact bland, can’t describe what it was but the texture was in between a pudding and jello.  Honestly, I would never do this tasting again with this menu, may try the new menu but first would want to do my research in finding out exactly what you get and how others thought of it.  Presentation on all these dishes were beautiful!!  
 
ENTERTAINMENT-  We do not do shows especially on Carnival, heard the comedy late night was very good.  There is a live band which was excellent and extremely entertaining on this ship that played outside the casino bar every night, we enjoyed listening to them.
 
CASINO-  The smallest, the least slots I ever seen even on this class of ship and I did not like the slots they had.  I have to honestly say out of all my 83 cruises this casino was disappointing….they did add more tables and took away alot of slots, but there still was enough as most people didn’t gamble on this ship.  I would never take a ultra or premier cruise on this ship due to the lack of slots and the size of this casino.  The good thing, is they always had two roulette tables running….my other half won 2k and I came home with all my money plus an extra $150 and to be honest this was a casino cruise to us, we were always in there.  The casino did treat my other half nice, he did get the drinks on us card right away plus 1k in cash and  every evening a treat was left for us at our cabin, including two steakhouse selections off the MDR menu.  
 
LIDO DECK-  We stood outside on the Lido deck every day and always found a chair/table.  We received wonderful service from the workers walking around taking drink orders and never were pushed, the only thing that was constantly pushed on us were those small souvenir glasses not he last day.  It did not feel crowded outside at all and the weather was beautiful.  
 
ELEVATORS-  We were right mid ship where the mid elevators are located, never noise due to being outside the stairs/elevators in fact out of all my 83 cruises, these elevators worked the fastest I ever encountered!  The only exception was the last night where the workers needed some to take our lugggage….I don’t think I waited more than 12 seconds for an elevator.
 
Honestly, we really enjoyed this cruise but would not go on this class of ship more than the 5 nights and we would not travel more than an hour for it either.  Jax Port is simply 40 minutes away, this is not our only cruise of the year and we do have other vacations booked so we are very happy with what we got.   I must stress, any cruise is better than no cruise so remember that but we find royal Caribbean even there smallest ship Majesty of the Seas that we took last august to Cuba offered us much better and more when it came to the food overall and the drink package.  Yes, we did make friends on this cruise with some of the bartenders and hope to see them again.   The lady I forgot her name in the Cafe was the nicest ever, she always had my latte ready for me.  
 
The ship is old and dated but it is renovated and updated.  I do very much miss the steakhouse and the alchemy bar but it did not ruin my cruise not having it on this cruise.   The ship was clean, and you can tell the carpets and staterooms were updated and renovated last year.  I did feel at times crowded, I Think what happens when the show lets out, alot of people cram around the casino bar which is the main bar people go to at night, then they all head down to the comedy place then when that lets out everybody is walking back again past the casino…there is only one public deck so it tends to feel crowded but it wasn’t bad.
 
ADVICE-  For the price of this cruise, its definitely worth it, but if your going for the food, the average person would be disappointed.  You don’t starve either.  This cruise is better than no cruise, but if you can go for a newer larger ship which has more quality/variety/selection of food, more things to see and do, I say go for the better one.

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Back to Royal for you I'd guess.  Thanks for the review.

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Always back to Royal but then always back to Carnival.  My next cruise may be on the Ectasy but that be a last minute decision around May.  I am currently booked on the Harmony of the Seas this October and on October 16, 2020 my entire family is booked on the first cruise out of Port Canaveral the Mardi Gras!  

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18 minutes ago, Cruisegirl6 said:

Always back to Royal but then always back to Carnival.  My next cruise may be on the Ectasy but that be a last minute decision around May.  I am currently booked on the Harmony of the Seas this October and on October 16, 2020 my entire family is booked on the first cruise out of Port Canaveral the Mardi Gras!  

If you are not a fan of this class, be warned that Ecstasy is the same class as the Elation and she will have not had the cabin upgrades in May.  Not scheduled for dry dock until October this year.

 

Thanks for the review!  I do love reading other's opinions because it always reminds me that we all have different ones!  That's a good thing! 

 

We loved the tomato our way soup (with garlic!) and not a person at our chef's table did not finish the Wagyu.  It is described as a beef and bone marrow souffle and was so tender, I would have loved to have that instead of the horrid beet soup - on that one we agree!:classic_cool:  

 

Glad that the casino was good to you all.  I'm hoping it is for us on our upcoming cruise!   Thanks again for taking the time to write up your thoughts!

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Thanks for the timely review.  We board Monday and I plan to spend a fair amount of time in the casino.  Can you comment on the blackjack tables? Wondering what the minimums were and if they paid 3:2. Also, was there any poker offered?

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Thanks for the review! We board in 2 weeks. We aren't Cheers or Casino people, and we have little kids, so our experience will be different for sure. Mostly looking forward to half moon Cay and our private island excursion in Nassau.

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2 minutes ago, Jlk88 said:

Thanks for the review! We board in 2 weeks. We aren't Cheers or Casino people, and we have little kids, so our experience will be different for sure. Mostly looking forward to half moon Cay and our private island excursion in Nassau.

For the littles, the kid's club can be fun and they have Dr. Seuss' parade, storytime and photo ops.  Also, the Cat in the Hat and Thing 1 and 2 have been known to dance at Sailaway!  Hope you guys have fun!!

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Thanks for the review!

 

The drinks issue about trying to get a different vodka is baloney - those bartenders don't know their own policies.  If the drink is pre-mixed then I understand not being able to change the ingredient, but otherwise it should be no issue to change up the brand of liquor.  In Dec on Sunshine we got offered to upgrade the various liquors at times, without prompting.

 

If I get refused an upgraded liquor when I cruise in May on Elation I won't make a big stink out of it with the bartender, but I will go see Customer Service.

 

Your food experiences sound very disappointing.  I hope we don't encounter the same quality issues.  Or maybe it is just your preferences to mine.  :shrug:

 

The AC getting warmer at night: that might be your neighbors leaving their balcony doors open: from what I understand, the ship will disable a portion of the AC system that feeds multiple rooms if one of those rooms has the balcony door open.  The rest of the AC will still function, but both are needed to maintain absolute coldness.

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Very nice review..

We are from Jacksonville and sail on the Elation several times a year not because we love the ship we just love the convenience of leaving from Jacksonville.. Monday will be my first Diamond cruise with Carnival and my 86th cruise on various lines.. I applaud you on your review.. You were spot on and I could not disagree on any point.. We are looking forward to a Holland American Panama canal cruise next month and taking the train back from San Diego to Jacksonville (sleeper cabins)..

Wishing you smooth sailing and many happy cruises..

Dennis

Jacksonville, Fl

727 days at sea

85 cruises

14 cruise lines

T/P, T/A, Hawaii, Central & South America, New Zealand & South Pacific, Rio/ Amazon, Alaska

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Hummm, have to rethink about the Ecstasy, if she were to have soggy bedding and flat pillows that be an issue, on the other hand wouldn't mind not having the cabin upgrades because we would have the alchemy bar and dine at the steakhouse each night.  I also wish and hope the casino be good for you too!!

 

As for poker and blackjack I don't play so I didn't take time to look, but there were many tables, I will ask my daughter and her boyfriend tomorrow when I see them, they may have your answers.

 

As far as the liquor issue, I asked a few different places and got the same answers, but after the second day and extra tipping there was no issues, but it. shouldn't happen in the first place,  perhaps with an older crew is less experienced workers who go more by the book than the old timers.  Seems to be the case.

 

My food preferences are a bit more strict than others, I do not eat fast food and dine only at restaurants, so maybe this is why I feel the MDR is lacking but the buffet is VERY LACKING.  I guess you get what you pay for, because on the newer larger ships you get more variety of foods to choose from.

 

We didn't have suites close by.

 

AFuncruiser- thank you....Panama Canal is a beautiful must do cruise I am wishing you a wonderful time, you will love it.  Happy Cruising to you too Dennis!

 

Thank you all for your kind comments.

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Thanks for doing the review . Our group in the past book those Fantasy class ships no longer than a five day getaway.

Love the comedy clubs and some of the karaoke  .  Not a fan of the food myself rating it close to K&W. 

But like yourself we can find something to eat , may not be what we want  !

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22 hours ago, obx_fintoo said:

For the littles, the kid's club can be fun and they have Dr. Seuss' parade, storytime and photo ops.  Also, the Cat in the Hat and Thing 1 and 2 have been known to dance at Sailaway!  Hope you guys have fun!!

 

Thanks! My oldest is old enough for the kids activities, but my youngest isn't. He will probably enjoy the characters though!

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