Jump to content
  • Deals
  • Find a Cruise
  • Reviews
  • News
  • Cruise Tips

Elation cruise review part 2 April 25-May 2


Recommended Posts

The entertainment:


We went and seen the earlier shows but did not go to the midnight adult entertainment shows. Not that we would have been offended by them, but because we had scheduled tours the next day and leaving the ship at 8:15 in the morning for an active tour and staying up till about 2 in the morning does not fit this person’s requirement for reserved energy. A couple of comedians that we seen who performed at the earlier shows were quite funny, but according to some that had seen them at midnight said they were raunchier but not funnier.

The shows we went to were quite good. Taking into consideration that we had not seen them before and for the limited amount of crew that performed in them. The balancing act is one to catch if you have a chance. He performs feats that are truly remarkable if they were done on land and being aboard a moving or rocking vessel adds even more respect for his talent.


The excursions or tours:


We booked with Carnival for an excursion in Progreso and Belize. In Progreso we booked the Dzibilchaltun Mayan ruins and Mexico Rodeo Show, a 5-½ hour tour costing $79.00 per person for adults and $66.00 for children 4-12 years old. It is about a 30-minute air-conditioned bus ride to the ruins. There was a lot of walking at the ruins and our guide was very knowledgeable and informative! You start out in the museum that I found quite educational, but I did notice that some people seemed bored. Now the museum is air-conditioned and once we left the museum we walked several miles over mostly level ground in about 85 degree heat and then we were able to climb one of the structures and we also visited a Cenote. A few chose not to climb, but the wife and I did climb and we both found it impressive. The way it was constructed to catch the sun and moon a couple of times a year at the equinox and but also the wind. Not much breeze that day, but the inner room of this ruin that was open to the elements and was about 20 degrees cooler than outside because of the way the structure’s openings captured the wind. We then got back on the bus for about 15 minutes to the rodeo and a wonderful Mexican buffet. After eating there was time to shop the small stands there to purchase different crafts. My wife got some great deals. The rodeo is unlike American rodeos where it is mostly individual competition. The Mexican rodeo is mostly the art of using the lariat in a team effort. There were several different folk dances performed and a great lady singer. She had a fantastic voice.

In Cozumel we went to Chankanaab National park and snorkeled for a couple of hours, then laid in the shade on beach chairs and had a beach foo foo drink with some nachos. It was a $10.00 U.S. cab ride to the park for 4 persons and $12.00 U.S.each to get into the park. They had showers and lockers for your gear available. There were diving tour stands along the beach for people to rent scuba or snorkeling gear. Getting into the water to snorkel could be a challenge to some because the waves and rock steps slowed everyone’s entrance and exit from the water. There is a handrail but the day we were there the waves beat hard enough against the shore to require extra time getting in and out. We made it without any scrapes or bruises. We left the park around 2 pm and returned to the ship for lunch and after lunch went back to the pier to purchase some duty free stuff.

In Belize we went on the Altun Ha Mayan ruin and the River Wallace tour, which is about 5 ½ hours long and costs $65.00 per adult and $47.25 per child. This tour starts out either by a fast 1 ½ hour boat ride up the river and a bus ride to the ruins and then back to town, or in reverse, a bus ride to the ruins and the river boat ride back to the dock. The riverboat is open topped so be sure to take a hat and sunscreen.

We lucked out and had the river ride first. The reason I say that is because after being out in the heat for the river ride and then the walk at the ruins…a 45-minute air-conditioned bus ride back to the pier was well earned. We stopped several times before entering the river and they explained about some of the city of Belize’s history that could be seen from the bay. Once we entered the river we stopped several times to view crocodiles, manatees, monkeys, bats, lizards and birds along the way. Once again our guides were very knowledgeable and informative! You ride up the river to a small stop over point with some trading huts and a place to buy lunch for $5.00 American. Lunch consisted of rice and beans cooked in coconut milk (very tasty), a piece of chicken with a flavorful but not a hot spice and a tomato, carrot salad. My wife did not eat but I did and enjoyed it. After about 45 minutes the buses arrived with the other half of our tour group and then we boarded the buses to go to the ruins. Altun Ha was said to be a minor complex for Mayan ruins. The information about the ruins was interesting and the structure you were able to climb was impressive. Once at the top you could see for miles over the surrounding trees. It was well worth the climb. Now the front of my thighs did not agree with that thought for a couple of days. You are climbing the ceremonial structure and there were no steps as such when built and the height of each “step†varies from about 10 inches to 2 feet. I feel it was worth the couple days of pain for the experience of the climb.

Now the bus ride to and from the ruins was on a road that our guide called the road of massages. It was anything but straight and only one vehicle wide. In fact at one point we were following another bus and its rear wheels were within a foot of each side of the blacktop. This road had about a 3-4 foot dirt shoulder on each side of it and the blacktop with its edges were broken off and very rough. We traveled about 45-50 miles an hour down this road and we were told from the start that the “LARGER†vehicle had the right-of-way. Now we slowed sometimes and the smaller cars and trucks went off the road to let us pass, but one time two cars were coming our way and we never slowed and neither did they and one pass us on the right and the other at the same time passed us on the left side of our bus. Now that’s excitement! When we arrived back to the pier we had about 1-½ hours to shop before we had to catch the last tender.

AH the tenders. In Belize the harbor is too shallow for the cruise lines to tie up at a pier so they anchor out about 7-10 miles and you have to take a tender into the pier. Now these tenders hold 50 to 100 people each and have three (count them 3, 200 or maybe 250 hp outboards on the back which make then fly so the trip from the ship to the pier is only about 15 minutes long. The day we were there the gulf was a little rough and when we weren’t hitting another boat’s wake we were hitting the waves. It was a blast! At least for my wife and myself because we have owned boats for the most of our marriage and have been out in some really rough water and have beat ourselves silly at times. Now others on board on both the coming and going trip were not so certain that it was all that much fun. Or at least by the looks on their faces. When an outboard can put up a 9-12 foot roster tail in rough water…you are moving right along.


The ship:


This ship was very clean…in fact they changed out the carpet on the Verandah deck while out to sea the second night. the children on board were never obnoxious that I seen. I totally forgot to check out the funnel deck so I will have to wait for our next cruise. Hey I would have taken off MY shirt! The officers and crew always said HI when you seen them.


The disembarkation:


We had a wake up call for 5; 15 am, room service scheduled for 5; 30-5:45 AM a light bite to get us started, with coffee for my wife and tomato juice for me, a pair of skim milks and we split a bagel and cream cheese. We had packed and set the suitcases out in the passageway the night before so that morning because we did not have anything extra to declare for customs we showered, got dressed, and went to have breakfast. We then went to immigrations and checked out, then back to our rooms to gather the carry-ons and off to the Mikado lounge to wait for our color luggage tags to be called. Having a suite we were the first group to be called and were on the pier by 9:30am. I called Commodore on the Beach and told them we were on the pier and about ½ hour later they arrived and picked us up and took us and two other couples back to the hotel. After packing the suitcases into our car we were on the road.


Road trip home:


It took a few hours longer getting home than it did to get down to Galveston. We hit a road construction area on the interstate that went from 75 MPH down to STOP and a 3-hour delay getting through that mess. But the cruise was over and neither the wife nor I were all that anxious to get home that fast. So we took our time, ate meals and slept a couple of times that night at rest areas. But we got home safe and sound.




1. Everything you are taking aboard that weighs more than 3 pounds MUST HAVE wheels under it! By the time you sling 5 items over your shoulders to carry…you have an additional 80 pounds of body weight to walk that pier and up the gang way into the ship.


We had an overnight bag, which is the size of a LARGE doctor’s bag that was stuffed to the brim. Sure we have taken it on many vacations before, but only had to carry it short distances and never on a cruise.

A bag with our first night’s dinner clothing…just in case our luggage did not show up on time. Ours did.

A backpack to take on our excursions for holding the necessaries…filled of course, because it did not make sense to carry it empty.

A cooler with filled with ice and holding my wife’s RA medication.

A bag of popcorn and other goodies left over from our road trip down to Galveston.

My camera. The lightest thing of all.

Our jackets…it was very windy and was also raining from time to time.

My hat to keep the head burns to a minimum…yes even on cloudy days.


2. We booked a verandah suite and although it was very nice to be able to sit out there…there was so much stuff going on about the ship all day and night when at sea, we hardly used it. Days in port were spent ashore. So for us it was true that we really only used our cabin for sleeping, showering, and changing clothes. Now a cruise to Alaska could very easily rate a verandah suite again, because there would be things to sit out there and see.

3. I will post a list of things we took along that I had learned about here on Cruise Critic and if we found them useful or just extra weight.



Any questions???


Elation - April 2004

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I will be on the Elation June 20th and we are also doing the 6:15 dining. Did you find that you were rushed or was that a good dinner time for you? Thanks so much for your review!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually you can only ask for the early or late dining, but nothing is guaranteed. You will find out your dining room and seating time when you receive your Sail and Sign card when boarding.


As for the 5:45 early time or the 6:15 early time dining...that will depend on if you are assigned to the aft Inspiration Dining room for the 5:45 seating or the forward Imagination dining room for the 6:15 seating.


Some have said that where you dine depends on your cabin location (forward vs. aft), if this is true I don't know for sure. But everyone's cabin at our table was located close to the Atrium and we had the forward dining room. Now I have heard that upon boarding if the dining room and dining time on your sail and sign card is not to your liking, that you can go to the dining room and request a dining roon, time or table change.


As I reported we lucked out and had the late seating of the early dining and our table was next to the window so we could see the sea and the sunset each night.


We never felt rushed because you had to be back on board at least an hour before our 6:15 dinner time. So you had time to shower if needed (we always did because of the excursions we took and the heat of the day) and then change into your casual clothes for that night. Formal nights always fall on a sea day, Monday night and Friday night, so you are aboard for the full day and I can't think of a reason you wouldn't have time to get dressed?


We had such a great time with our tablemates that we were the last table to leave the dining room several times and still made the shows that night. They make it known several times in the Mikado lounge that saving seats was NOT ALLOWED! We never had a problem finding a seat, but twice we were far enough to the back of the lounge that we were behind a pole which took away a very small area of vision. Nothing to complain about. If it really upset you...you could always stay over for the NEXT showing of the same show and pick any seat that your heart desired. But like I said, the poles weren't that big a a deal to us.


I hope this helped. Enjoy your cruise!!!!


Elation - April 2004

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for the Elation review! We are taking my mother-in-law later this year and I was especially interested in reading your descriptions of the shore excursions. Were there any excursions you wish you had done after talking to other people about their experiences? I'm trying to get ideas!


HAL Maasdam November 2000

HAL Westerdam December 2001

RCCL Legend August 2002

Dawn Princess September 2002

Carnival Inspiration March 2003

Sun Princess December 2003

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another question: were you able to swim in the cenote at Dzib. by Progresso? If so, was there a changing area? Thanks!


HAL Maasdam November 2000

HAL Westerdam December 2001

RCCL Legend August 2002

Dawn Princess September 2002

Carnival Inspiration March 2003

Sun Princess December 2003

Link to comment
Share on other sites

snowcat, there weren't any excursions that we heard about that we had wished we had done instead of ours. Now that being said...there were a couple that we heard about that we will look into the next time we hit that part of the world. Possibly in Progreso the 7 hour Chiehen-Itza Mayan ruins tour costing $77.00 per person...adults and children. It is a 2 1/2 hour bus ride in both directions which only leaves you 2 hours at the site. But we were told that the site was really breathtaking and worth the drive.


In Belize the Shark/Ray Alley tour which we heard was a blast and cost $79.00 for adults and $64.00 for children, or the cave tubing, but using Coral Breese which has smaller groups than the Carnival tour.


You are allowed to swim in the cenote. A lady and a couple of girls were doing that the day we were there. But there are no changing areas. We were at the cenote for about 20-30 minutes before we headed back to the bus. Enough time to take off your clothes if you had your suit underneath or maybe even if you didn't? icon_wink.gif Jump in for a few minutes. Gather some friends in a tight circle and have them turn their backs to you and change into some dry clothes and off to the bus. Unless you have just swam in the buff icon_eek.gif then it wouldn't matter I guess about the tight circle? icon_biggrin.gif You could at least say you swam in a Mayan cenote in Mexico.


Elation - April 2004

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Thanks so much for the great review. Only 13 days until we leave so I was thrilled to read about the Elation.

Couple of questions. First, for my bottomless pit 19 yr old son. When you want a second entree or dessert do you have to order two up front, or can you request 'seconds' or a different dish later on during the meal.

Secondly, about tipping. I know that the tips are automatically added on and you can change up or down as you wish. However is there anytime whilst on board ie room service, extra requests for things in the cabin etc that you are expected to tip with cash?

Lastly. Do you need to bring your own towels from home for shore excursions and the pool?

Thanks for any advise you can offer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pompey, you may just find that while on the cruise your 19 year old bottomless pit has been satisfied and backfilled. You might even test the water about half way through the cruise by offering your son MORE food? You will have to post your finding in your review if you write one.


I eat a limited amount of carbs so at the very first night's dinner I told our head waiter that I did not want any potatoes, pasta, or rice with my entrees and would not be eating any rolls.


Myself I ordered two appetizers/starters if it suited my fancy and two entrees when the head waiter first took our orders because I already knew the appetizer/starter portions were small and I never ate a salad. Protein give me protein! I am sure your son can order a second helping after he finished the first but remember the waiters are always doing something...even entertaining the dining room after the entree are served and before the desert. So if he wants to wait, I would suggest that he tell the head waiter that there was a good possibility he will want more to eat so that they will check on his progress from time to time. You are never rushed and the meal lasts for two hours. Our wait staff would watch me and as I got to the end of the first entree they would go and retrieve the second. I say that because it was always kitchen hot and there are not any heating lights like in some restraints.


On a couple of occasions A person at our table did not like their first choice of meal and the waiter would get them something different that they wanted. Hey you can have what ever you want...and it is a great way to TRY new and different things so get a couple of different items and split them. Then if something catches your fancy order another plate of it.


I always tipped $1.00 per person for room service each time I had something delivered. So for the wife and I tipped #2.00 each time. Now we always ordered light and if I was ordering a LOT I would have given more. But there again you should tip room service, but how MUCH is entirely up to you. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE NEXT TIME YOU ORDER SOMETHING??? HE HE HE! just kidding! My dad brought me up where I believe that service personnel deserve a nice tip for good service. The more they do or the better they are the higher the tip.


If you have the cabin steward do something special for you then at the end of the cruise you can give him something extra.


Now the last day of the cruise during that mornings dismemberment talk the Cruise Director, he will tell everyone that a tip envelope for the Maitre D' will be in your cabin and it is suggested that you give him a tip. We didn't because we never asked him to do anything for us and we never seen him except to have him standing at the door saying hello to everyone that enters and goodbye as you leave.


Now we have been to some better restaurants that I have tipped the Maitre D' because he introduced himself to us as we entered and then later came over to the table to see if everything was up to HIS standards. Any Maitre D' that is not interested enough in how the customer is enjoying their service and meal and only waits for complaints to come to him will also be waiting for me to tip him. Just my personal feelings on the subject.


There are beach towels in each cabin to be used up on deck and on the beach. Keep in mind that they will cost you $22.00 each if one is lost or stolen, so watch your towels. The spa area has towels available for your use within the spa area.


I hope this helps. Any other questions?


Elation - April 2004

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Airdale, because of the way the kitchen is set up you should order your extra entrees at your main order. You see they have to stand on different lines in different areas to retrieve extra courses. If you want an extra entree and most of the other tables have finished and are getting desert your waiter will be on the desert line , will have to deliver those and then go back to the entree line to get an extra entree. We were told about this on one of our cruises so now we order our doubles or extras immediately. It allows you to eat the same course as your table and not hold them up from their other courses.


As for towels. On some excursions there are no beach chairs and you use your towel. I always pack an inexpensive towel to use in those cases. Also you can leave the inexpensive one on your chair and check in the Carnival towel at the towel desk and then get a new one when you return from your cabin, lunch, restroom etc.They are thin easy to pack and available everyone. There is a towel desk where you can exchange, leave or get an extra towel. You just sign for it. THen you get your receipt back when you turn it in. Just hold on to them. As soon as we return from excursions we check in our wet, sandy towels at the desk as we go to eat on Lido. You can wait for your cabin steward to do it later but sometimes you have a port everyday. WE had no problems on the Elation with our towels.

Elation 4/04

Celebration 5/03

Legend 4/03

Victory 4/02

Sensation 7/96

Holiday 7/94

Celebration 6/93

Link to comment
Share on other sites

blyle, as I said, I always ordered all of my food at the beginning, but one time at our table and several times at some of the other tables around us people were ordering additional food during the main course and before the desert and never received an admonishment or had any correction given to them about when to order. I would think that a lot of people wouldn't know ahead of time the quantity of a meal or if they will truly will enjoy it. Only after trying it would the thought of getting an extra helping or something different come to mind.


Now I would scope out the menu on the board outside the dinning room each day and had already selected what I was going to order for that night. I also was eating primarily protein and vegetables at each meal so my choices were simple. Give me the seafood and/or the meat dishes.


During the April cruise I never did see any table receiving their deserts prior to the nightly entertainment, but we could not see the whole dining room. There was so much time for each course to be eaten that any hungry teenager will be able to wolf down at least three main courses and still have time to dance with the waiters prior to the dessert. We always had plenty time between each course to talk and joke with each other. I think that any good waiter having been informed by a teenager that he will probably require more food to satisfy him, that teenager will be taken care of without any problems.


As I also said, my extra food always came from the back and was as hot as my first entree, even though I always ordered both at the same time. I never seen any dishes stockpiled and waiting to be served to someone when they finished with their first entree.


Now different ships could do things differently and I can only speak for the Elation cruise from which we just returned and what I observed.


We never swam onboard so we never needed a towel on deck and cannot speak about towel exchanges.


When we went to Chankanaab National park I spaced taking our Carnival towels along with us, but Tim and Tina had brought theirs and loaned us one. Thanks again Tim and Tina! But there were towels you could rent there for $3.00 and that was what I planned to do until they offered the use of one to us. They also had lockers for rent that you can put your things into while in the water if there isn't anyone to watch your stuff. The ladies watched things while Tim and I frolicked with the fish. There are beach lounge chairs at the park but they are VERY low to the ground, In fact the distance between your backside and the ground while on these chairs is about 1/2 inch...or the thickness of the lounge chair. Kind of a roll out and get up type of lounge chair. But hey they are free and serve their purpose!


Elation - April 2004

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Glad this came back up front because I wanted to thank y'all (thats an English girl turned Texan talk icon_smile.gif! ) for your replies. Only three more days but whose counting! Better get packing tonight!


Thanks again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Pompey....Come check us out on the Roll call board....we have a small group of us CCers going to meet on Elation this Sunday.


CLICK HERE for "Valor Vampires" Cruise Info on Valor 10/30/05

CLICK HERE for "Partae Pirates" Cruise Info on Miracle 2/13/05


Randy ~ Build17@aol.com

Dallas, TX


Destiny-5/00, Victory-3/01, Pride-6/02,Celebration-11/02,


RCI Mariner-1/04,Triumph -3/04,Elation-5/04,Sensation -10/04, Miracle - 2/05, Valor - 10/05


Days til Elation Cruise


Days til Sensation Cruise from the Bayou



Days til Miracle Partae Pirates Cruise from Tampa



Days til Valor Vampires Cruise



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

AirDale: I really enjoyed reading your review. Don't know if you still look at this but could you give me an idea of HOW or directions you used to drive down and the time. I am going with my wife on Elation in Jan 05 and we will be driving from the Quad Cities area. If you read this let me know of any suggestions you might give for when to take off and drive down. I was looking at leaving on Friday Morning at about 5am. Thanks


From Jomarkpro

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Welcome to Cruise Critic
      • ANNOUNCEMENT: Explore 5 Unique Destinations With All-inclusive Pricing
      • Holiday Exchange - Jingle and Mingle 2023
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Cruise Critic News & Features
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • Canadian Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
  • Create New...