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Elation 9/21/19 - 9/26/19 Review Part 2 Details


Haveuseen1
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Some people really focus in on specific details about a cruise.  I thought I would share some details about our cruise.

 

I will start with booking etc...

We booked our cruise via the Carnival Website and got the Early Saver price.  We opted for the Carnival insurance, and we did prepaid gratuities. We did this about 10 months before the cruise and were well aware of the fact that we were cruising in the height of Hurricane season and that any minute our cruise could be anything other than what we anticipated.

We found this process very easy, intuitive and the information was easily accessible.  We did use some AARP discounted gift cards to pay for the cruise and used them during the cruise.  We are not AARP members, but are members of their Rewards program, which I need to check out the new one.

 

We purchased Faster To The Fun 

We prebooked a Cabana by the pool for Amber Cove through Carnival.

We prebooked a couples massage on embarkation day.

We prebooked a snorkel Excursion for Grand Turk with Exclusive Escapes.

We prebooked flights via Delta to MCO.

We prebooked Hampton Inn Cocoa Beach for the night before.

We prebooked a one way rental from National.

We prebooked a return to MCO via Cortrans.

 

 

Delta, National, and Hampton Inn all performed as expected.  I mentioned before that I thought the 240.00 for a single night at the Hampton Inn was a little high.  I am sure we could have found a hotel in the are that was a little less, but the others had already booked there, so we just got a room to keep it easy.

 

Ill move to Embarkation.

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EMBARKATION:

 

Was so smooth and easy. We all had FTTF and we arrived at the port at 1130am.  There were no long lines and we sailed right through. We were on the Elation in 15-20 minutes max.  Our rooms were ready, and our luggage would arrive later.  Absolutely no complaints.

 

Faster To The Fun:

For me it is worth the price.  I went to guest services 4 times and just walked right up to counter 3 of the 4 times, waited behind one other person one time.  Many times the regular line would be 15-20 deep which didnt look like fun to me.  As a heads up, one of my visits to Guest Services was for a deck of cards. They have them most of the time and they are FREE.

Faster to the Fun was just as easy for debarkation and again, well worth it in my opinion.

 

CHEERS Drink Package:

We didnt buy it.  I added up our on board drinks and we did not smuggle any on board.  Our total was just under 275.00 for the two of us.  We drank what we wanted, when we wanted.  

 

Room E144:

Our room was E144 on the Empress Deck, with an ocean view.  It is in the middle of the ship and under the galley.  As far as we were concerned the location was perfect.  The view was wonderful, and the galley was not an issue.  The fridge is a joke, the temperature in the room was always comfortable.  Not hot or cold.  The bed was very comfortable. There were plenty of USB ports for charging.  TV was a nice sized flat screen and the remote worked perfectly.  Our room was very clean upon embarkation, the bathroom was very clean, and it was all maintained that way the entire trip.  Shower was nice, good pressure, and plenty of hot water.  

 

Elation the ship:

The ship was well maintained, very clean, and honestly in great shape.  The public restrooms were all clean, the public areas were all clean the dining areas were all well maintained. I never got a dirty dish or cup from the buffet areas or in the dining room.  There was plenty o staff always cleaning and very attentive.  

 

The pools/hot tubs.  We got in the pool one time, it was refreshing.  It was a little crowded, but not awful.  I mean strangers were not touching me or anything like that.  I dont do hot tubs, but they seem to get a lot of use. I did hear that on the serenity deck on is hot and one is cooler.

 

Elevators:  We always take the stairs, it is so much faster and really so much better for you.  That being said, it did seem that there was always at least one elevator not working at all times.  Plus we noticed that people would press the call button, and then get tired of waiting and leave for the stairs. This by the way only increases the wait time for others because the elevator still visits that floor if you leave.

 

Laundry room:

I iron my own clothes. So I visited the laundry on deck 6 two times.  Both times I was the only person in there and the ironing station was nice and easy to use.

 

Smoking:  

I dont smoke, but I can tell you the people in the casino do.  I also noticed that you could smell smoke in the Mikado room. Smoke was not an issue for us, and it was not overwhelming, but we didnt dwell around the casino area

 

Returning shortly.......

 

 

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Lets get to the Food.

 

Room Service:

Oh boy do I like room service.  It really destroys my mornings at home.  I mean I have to get out of bed stroll to the kitchen and push that button on the coffee maker. Then I have to decide between cereal, instand grits, a smoothie or who knows. Plus I either have to make it or convince my wife to make it.  But on the ship, all I have to do is fill out this little card and hang it on the outside door handle before I go to sleep. Then like magic there is a gentle but loving knock on the door in the morning and a kind person handing me a tray of hopes and dreams.  I tipped 5.00 each time.  We never did any of the for purchase items through room service, we just used it more for a wake up call, and a luxurious way to start the day.  We set our tray outside our door when we were finished and usually within 15-20 minutes, it was gone.

 

Sushi:

They offered a handful of sushi options for 5.00 or 7.50.  I got the ever so popular California roll and it was tasty and really about what we pay for a roll here at home. So I felt the quality vs price was good, and the taste was spot on.  One of our group kept getting the spicy tuna and for some reason it always took about 10 minutes to get it.  It became a joke that we would all order anything but the spicy tuna and get ours and he was just standing around with a pager.  Who knows why it took more time to make it, but in the end he felt it was worth the wait.

 

Guys Burgers:

Always a line, and it moved very quickly. Never waited more than a few minutes. The burgers are good, the toppings are good and it shows that it is a popular option.  Just go for it, and enjoy.

 

Blue Iguana;  First let me inform you that there are two lines.  If you want tacos get out of the burrito line and go to the super fast taco line.  Service is fast, food is good, and the lines move fast, faster if you are in the correct line.

 

Tiffany Buffet Room:

I cant see how anyone could complain.  They changed the theme every day, American, Italian, Caribbean, etc...  The variety was amazing and the food was hot and quite tasty.  WARNING: for the grammar police I am about to do a nice run on sentence. The foods I can remember on the buffet were, fried chicken, sausages & onions, carved beef, carved lamb, multiple pastas, fried shrimp, fried fish, baked fish, fried popcorn shrimp, pork chops, roasted potatoes, baked potatoes, scrambled eggs, pankcakes, waffels, french toast, oatmeal, grits, variety of breads, veggie medleys, and a number of other items.  

 

Possible Opinion Alert:  I felt like the buffet food was really no better or worse than the sit down dining room food.  The biggest difference was that in the buffet you served yourself whatever portion you wanted as many times as you wanted.  I felt the quality was good, the flavor was good, and the seasoning was fine.  I can say I got the fried fish, and thought it was awful.  But the lady in line that told me it was good said it was her third trip back to get more. So you see, that one item was something that I didnt like, but clearly she did.  I wont judge the buffet due to the fried fish. Maybe the buffet should be judging me.

 

Tiffany desserts: Oh boy a whole section of cakes, pies, cookies and such. They had Gluten Free Options, Sugar Free Options and lots of stuff for the rest of us.  I dont eat dessert ( well except that molten lava cake ) so I am not much help in this section. We did have a sugar free person in our group and she was thrilled at the sugar free cakes, and even took slices back to their cabin for midnight snacks.  They do have softserve in chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, even a chocolate/vanilla swirl option.  That was a hit.

 

Tiffany healthier options:

Plenty of fruit, veggie and salad options, with plenty of dressing options. I was quite pleased to see this and it wont come as a shock to most that it seemed that few people really took advantage of this option.  The salads I made were all good, with fresh clean greens, and the topping options were all good.

 

Deli in the Tiffany: 

Really nice touch.  Turkey sandwich and the Tuna sandwich are really tasty.  They also do wraps and they seemed very popular.  A hint is that they have a little stand with ketchup/mustard and hot sauces right next to the deli.  So if you need those for any of your buffet items just grab a bottle from this stand.

 

Pizza in the Tiffany:

Never tried it. Sometimes there was a line and sometimes there was not a line.  It seemed popular.  I will add more when i get to the Gluten Free foods.

 

 

 

 

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SEA DAY BRUNCH:

What a great option.  First you can sleep late.  Second it seems that very few people use this option.  You stroll up to the Inspiration Dining Room, tell them how many and they seat you.  It was that easy.  They bring you a menu and you can just go wild.  They have these little potato cakes and they are yummy.   Just in case you didnt notice the carpet in the Inspiration is the same design as the imagination, just a different color.

 

Imagination Dining Room:

We had 815pm dinner time.

Menu had slight changes every night.  Food quality was good, service was excellent.  From our group we had grilled chicken, grilled porkchops, prime rib, ribs, salmon, mahi mahi, frog legs, crab cakes, shrimp cocktail, soups, salads, flan, chocolate melting cake, butter pecan ice cream, spring rolls, and maybe a few other things.  Nobody ever sent anything back, even though the steak was a little over once, the chicken was a little tough, but that worked out just fine.

 

Gluten Free Princess on board coming up next....

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My wife is one of those Gluten Free People and due to this she gets treated like a princess on vacation.  We informed Carnival via phone after booking and they noted it and were 100% ready for her.  She also is clever enough to navigate a "standard" menu for options that she can eat.  Imagine that some personal responsibility.

 

Guys Burger:  

They have a GF bun option you just have to ask.  It stops the entire line while they locate the bun and then clean the grill so they can toast the bun and then change their gloves and bring it over to make your burger.  Very impressive and greatly appreciated.  Unfortunately the bun should just be thrown directly in the garbage and just do a burger with no bun.  Sometimes you win, sometimes you dont.  This by the way did not stop my wife from multiple visits to Guys, she only got the bun that first time.  She still scores Guys a 10.

 

Blue Iguana:

She just got her stuff in one of those taco bowls, and then didnt eat the bowl.  She scored them a 10.

 

Pizza: Yes they have a GF crust and my wife loves a good pizza.  She put her princess crown on and ordered a GF pizza. She said if they would have cooked the crust a little longer it would have been good.  It was a little underdone. That could be dependant upon who is cooking at the time. She only tried it once.  She gave the pizza a 5 for effort.

 

Buffet:  Plenty of safe tasty options, no trouble. She gave the buffet a 10.

 

Imagination Dining Room;  Oh the princess has arrived. I think they even had her march to the table to her own royal song.  Every night they would bring the next days menus ( breakfast and dinner ) to her. She could make her choices for the next day and they would prepare them for her.  At breakfast you just give them your room number and they were ready for her everytime. Plus her chocolate melting cake was twice the size.  Everything was perfect for her and the variety and options were second to none.  Scores a 10

 

Now to be fair, my wife is not CELIAC. She just has a gluten intolerance. If you are GF then I suggest you take the steps to ensure you are comfortable that they are meeting your needs.  I can tell you my princess was impressed with how well it was handled and did not have a single issue.  

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Drinks:

Honestly I thought the drink prices and options were comparable to any bar or restaurant. I am not talking about comparing them to penny beer night in college, or 1/2 price happy hour at the local drink until you are drunk joint.  No doubt the prices are less than we pay at the local  concert venue, or hockey games, or a baseball game.  They do add the 18% gratuity and that I think is nice of them.  A 16oz parched pig was 6.50 before they added the 18%.  7.67 after tip.  That I believe is fair.  Mixed drink prices were also very similar in fair pricing. Can you make them for less on your own at home. Why yes you can.  Not an apples to apples comparison though.

 

I got this spiked coffee ( Chocolate lovers I think ) .  I wish I had discovered it sooner.  It was really nice.  I think it was 6.50 and worth it.

 

Never got a bucket, or one of those giant tubes that becomes a tube of hot beer.  I do love to watch people get those tubes though.

 

Never got a milkshake.  

 

We did order the 12pk of water from the funshops before we boarded it was in our room upon embarkation.

 

They have all the tea, water, and lemonade you can drink.  I also saw a Pour your own beer station that I wanted to try just due to the novelty, but never did.  

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The conclusion:

I travel for work every month. Travel is nothing new for us, and the more you travel, the more you learn you have to just roll with the punches.  Dont get so worked up. Just relax, be flexible, and make the most of it.  I travel light ( just a carry on bag ) everywhere I go.  You might be shocked to learn that people live in the locations you are going. They also have shampoo, toothpaste, deoderant, shaving cream etc...  My point is that getting out there can be part of the adventure.

 

I said all of that because this cruise started off as one thing and became something completely different.  Our entire group of experienced travelers had a wonderful time.

 

The ship is great, with plenty of things going on to keep you busy. The activities were fun and entertaining.  Nassau is just that, Nassau.  Not a place I would pick to go normally, but we had a great time.  

 

Carnival delivered the best they could for what they had to work with. Will everyone be happy? I guess not.  What matters is if we were happy and yes we were. We have new memories and experiences that we would not have had, met new people, and strengthened our friendships.  

 

So thanks Carnival, we look forward to the next opportunity to sail with you, which looks like Oct 2020. See you then.

 

If anyone has any questions I will be happy to answer them the best I can.  

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Thanks so much for doing this Review. Myself and my Hubby also went on the Elation the last week in May. We went to Nassau and Freeport and we both Loved the Ship and the Ports. I was nervous about the cruise because most people feel like an older ship and short itinerary would spell Disaster along with Drunk, Rude, and Rowdy Passengers. We did not find that to be true at all. If I had the opportunity to do it all over again, I would in a Heartbeat!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thank's for this info, I am thinking of going on the Elation in May of 2020.I was concern about the older ship field, since I last went on a fantasie ship back in the 90's, Might just try it for the 5 days and get my platinum points officially.

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