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Elation cruise review part 1 April 25-May2 2004


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CRUISE REVIEW Elation April 25 - May 2 2004

The wait:

We booked our cruise 9 months in advance of our sailing date. We were first time cruisers and those months gave me a lot of time to pick everyone’s brain about our ship the Elation and our ports of call and about cruising in general. After cruising our first time…those that have said” Pack your stuff and then take half on your clothes back out of the suitcases and take twice as much money as you think you will need!” are very wise especially about packing less clothes!

The Road Trip:

We were driving to Galveston from Southern Iowa and my plans were to leave home around midnight on Thursday. As Thursday approached I thought that maybe we should eat out that night instead of cooking at home. Well I won’t say that my wife was anxious to leave or anything, but we ended up leaving home at 6 pm. and eating dinner down the road in Missouri. Even after stopping for dinner and catching some sleep at two different rest areas, we were at our first night’s destination just South of Dallas by 9 a.m. the next morning. We thought it didn’t make a lot of sense to spend a whole day there when we only 4our hours from Galveston. S O O oooooooo, I called the Commodore on the Beach in Galveston where we had reservations for Saturday night and asked if they had a room for us that night, Friday also. They said they could accommodate us so I went inside and canceled our reservations for our original first night lodging and headed to Galveston.
We arrived in Galveston at the Commodore on the Beach on the Sea Wall about 2 p.m. After checking in we walked the Sea Wall for about 2 ½ miles one way and then back again to the Commodore on the Beach. It rained off and on that night, but we went and had a wonderful dinner at Joe’s Crab Shack on the Sea Wall and then had a great night’s sleep. The next day was Saturday and it was still raining off and on, so we drove around Galveston that day to take in the sights.
On Sunday the Commodore provided us with free parking for the week of our cruise and also a free shuttle to the pier and from the pier upon our return. The accommodations were clean, the bed quite comfortable and the staff very friendly and helpful. We will stay there again.
We arrived at the pier about 11:45 a.m.

The Embarkation:

Anything you take with you that will not be checked with the porters and later delivered to your room…MUST have wheels under it!
It is a LONG walk from where you drop your luggage off with the porters and then to the security check in area. It is still a LONGER walk to the waiting area and then UP the gangway onto the ship and to your cabin.
We were in the Skippers club because we had booked a Category 11 suite, so once we cleared the security area, we asked for the Skipper’s club and were escorted to the Skipper’s club check in area where we were checked in and then escorted to a seating area to wait to be the first ones boarded. Never seen a line except for the security area and it was very short when we arrived.
We boarded about 12:15 I think…because by 1 p.m. and we had already checked out our cabin and dropped off our carry-on’s and was on the Lido deck eating our first lunch.
After the “Muster” and returning the life vests to our cabin, it was off to the aft bar on the Verandah deck for a scheduled meet of four CC members. It was nice to see that everyone had remembered the green ribbon so we could recognize each other. LOL We did all manage to get together and it was very nice to be able to put a face to a person’s CC name. I found out that we were all eating at different times and in different dining rooms. We did schedule a breakfast get-together for the morning we arrived in Cozumel. After breakfast tjwcs (Tim and Tina) and my wife Bonnie and I went to Chankanaab National park to snorkel for the day. We had a great time.

Our cabin:

We had booked cabin V3 on the Verandah deck 11 in the very forward bow, starboard side. It had a king size bed and a sofa that would also make into a bed and windows along the whole wall. The veranda was large enough for two chairs and a small table between them to hold your drinks. Our room steward and his assistant did a superb job keeping our cabin clean and straightened several times each day. The ice bucket was always full and he presented us each night with a towel animal that the wife just loved.

The first night dinner:

We had the later time (6:15) of the early seating for dinner and the table was situated next to the window so we were able to see the sun go down at night. We were at a table for eight and two other couples and my wife and I ate every dinner in the dining room. One couple only ate two meals with us, the first night and in the middle of the week. The six of us bonded the first night and we had a ball! In fact some of the other guests probably thought we had known each other for years with all the laughing and having a good time. HUM?? Maybe that is why the one couple only showed up two nights? By the end of the week some of the other tables were having as much fun as ours, but not all.

The nightly dinners:

My wife only had one night that nothing on the menu caught her eye so she opted for ordering grilled chicken and a baked potato as her mail course. Myself…I threw our waiter a curve ball because he asked our table the first night if anyone had cruised before and the wife and I had said “no”. Then when he asked what I would like for dinner I ordered two starters, no salad, and two entrees and also asked that he not bring me any potatoes or pasta or rice with them during the week. I think he wanted to tell everyone while the meal was being eaten that they could have more to eat if they wanted and I spoiled it for him. He asked later how I knew about ordering more than one dish and I explained that I had been on the Cruise Critic board for 9 months asking questions and reading others posts about cruising and although this was my wife’s and my first cruise, I had experienced hundreds of other’s cruises by reading about them on-line.
The meals were excellent with many different choices. I could always find two to order each night, but then again remember I was only eating the meat and the vegetable. We are not cuisine eaters although we have eaten at many fine restaurants. Our tablemates and ourselves found humor in the fact at times a sauce or a vegetable was listed on the menu and when it came there would be this dime size portion of the sauce or maybe a very small piece of the vegetable. One night a starter listed avocado and I think it was a spicy sauce as part of the dish. When it arrived there was a piece of an avocado that had been cut up and served to least 200 guests, and again a dime size portion of the sauce.
Our favorite deserts turned out to be the chocolate soufflé served hot with a chocolate sauce spooned on the top and in individual cups #!, Baked Alaska #2 and the vanilla soufflé served hot also #3.
Our waiter and his assistant were not as attentive as I had envisioned they would be. Because I had to ask for ice tea and additional drinks…like coffee on several nights and also ask for refills from time to time. Our waiter and his assistant were leaving the ship when we arrived back in Galveston. The waiter was going home to spend the rest of his life with his wife and soon to be born baby. His assistant was leaving the cruise industry for about three years and then had plans to return so that may have had some bearing on the service? We did get a third person helping out the tables about the middle of the cruise and he was GREAT in seeing to everyone’s wants BEFORE you wanted anything. No I did not complain because it doesn’t do any good to whip a dead horse.

Other Eats:

We used room service a couple of times and did try the brownies and cookies. You only receive two brownies and two cookies per order so if you are really hungry keep that in mind.
The pizza is the best I have ever eaten and I have had eaten pizza since 1960 and from NY to Maine to Ohio to Chicago to San Francisco to Denver to Des Moines to Philadelphia and this was the BEST! The crust had a texture that was very light…unlike other pizza crusts, but it did not fall apart. My personal favorite was the goat cheese and mushrooms. I won’t say it is to die for…but I sure would accept a cold for some more right now.
The ice cream was OK but nothing that I found special about it.
The buffet in Tiffany’s had a different country theme each day for lunch. We preferred the breakfast in tiffanies to the dining hall and we only ate lunch in the dining room twice. Each day’s menu for breakfast, lunch and that night’s dinner with deserts is posted outside the dinning room each morning.. So it is very easy to know where you want to eat for that day. We never ate there for dinner as I said earlier.
There were a very nice selection of fresh fruit each day, both whole and cut up, but by day 5 the bananas were getting too ripe for our tastes,
We took two insulated cups with us to use during the day up on deck, and with coffee for my wife which she diluted with hot water each time and ice tea for me our thirst were quenched.

Elation - April 2004

[This message was edited by airdale on 05-11-04 at 12:39 AM.]
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