etwright Posted August 25, 2006 #1 Share Posted August 25, 2006 Here is our review of our 13-20 August 2006 cruise onboard the Elation. I was with my wife and this was our first cruise. I will start by saying we had the greatest time of our lives and we have been on many vacations. This cruise was my “retirement from the Navy” gift and also celebrating our 22nd wedding anniversary.Departure Day One thing we learned from cc after we had already booked our flight was to arrive at least a day early. We departed from Seattle at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday for our overnight flight to Miami. We flew to LAX and were suppose to only have a four hour layover. This was by far the worst airport we had been to. We arrived at 8:00 and our flight was supposed to leave at 11:55. After several delays and gate changes, we finally left about 1:30. We arrived at Miami around 8:00 a.m. We went to get our luggage and discovered that one of our four bags was lost. We were told it may be on the next flight which wasn’t until after 3:00 p.m. and our chances of getting it to the ship before departure were about nil! They said they would fly it to our first port of call. We weren’t going to let this minor detail spoil our trip and we grabbed a cab to the ship. The cab fare was $20 and cheaper and faster than the shuttle. We were pleasantly surprised to find our "lost" luugage in our room after dinner!Day 1 Embarkation We arrived at the terminal around 10:55 and tipped the porter $8 for our “three” remaining bags and proceeded with check-in. With a short wait in the air conditioned waiting area, we were onboard by 11:50. The ship was very beautiful and extremely clean compared to some of the reviews I had read on these boards. Every time you turned around, there was someone cleaning something. The ship was in an immaculate condition. We were told our room would not be available until something like 1:30, but being new to cruising, we wanted to see where our room was located. So, we went to our room where we found our room steward, Roy (who was absolutely the greatest!), getting the rooms ready. He told us that we could leave our carry-on bags in the room. We then proceeded to the lido deck where we had pizza and cheesecake for lunch, then toured around the ship. They had scheduled us for early dinner seating even though we requested late seating. No problem, we went to the Maitre D’ and he changed it for us no problem. Life boat drill went quick (maybe 20 minutes total) and we were pleasantly surprised that our muster station was in the Jekyll and Hyde lounge (ahh...the air conditioning).Day 2 Half Moon Cay What can I say about HMC other than absolutely gorgeous! Our favorite port of call. We opted for the “Swimming with the Sting Rays” excursion here. It was so much fun. They have around 30 or so rays in a pin and you could swim, pet and feed them. Sitting on the steps, they would swim over your legs and it was an incredible experience. Afterwards we had lunch which was provided by the ship. They had the usual stuff: burgers, hot dogs, chicken and the fixings. Although not the greatest food I had ever had at a BBQ, it was still good. After lunch, we hung out on the beach until time for us to head back to the ship. The water was just so beautiful and clear. You could see the fish swimming around you. The sand was like walking in baby powder. My wife and I just absolutely loved it! This was the only tendered port and getting off and back onto the ship was no problem at all. This was also our first formal night. More on dining later.Day 3 Day at Sea #1 We had scheduled a “couple’s massage” for this morning. A little information on this. Within a couple of hours of getting onboard, we went to the spa to schedule this. We originally expected to schedule this for our last day at sea on Saturday, but they had already booked up for this day so we decided to book for our first at sea day. Don’t know how to get there quick enough to schedule for the day you want other than to advise to head there first when you board. Our appointment was at 8:00 and this was absolutely awesome. They do try to sell you their products at the end of your massage. Quite pricey! We were so relaxed after our massage that we went back to bed. We played lazy (hey we are on vacation) and slept until noon. We had missed breakfast so we went up to Tiffany’s on the lido deck and had burger and fries, then lounged around the pool all day. Wife got selected for the Survivor at sea and this was a lot of fun. She made to the final six before getting voted off. After Survivor at Sea, we went to the newlywed-not-so-newlywed game. This was also fun and hilarious! It was hosted by our CD Jorge. Jorge was quite the comedian and really an awesome CD. Day 4 St. Thomas Next port was St. Thomas. No excursions here, we planned our own itinerary here. We left the pier and headed straight to the sky ride to Paradise Point. This was a bit pricey ($18 pp), but worth the view at the top. A few shops and home to the famous Bushwhacker drink. We had printed coupons for this drink off the internet. We then took a cab ($10 pp) to the Red Hook ferry so we could catch a ferry ($5 pp) to St. John. We took a cab ($5 pp) to Trunk Bay and this was an absolutely beautiful beach. We spent a little time here before catching a ferry back to St. Thomas to do a little shopping. DW and I weren’t all too impressed with the shopping here. Wished we would have spent more time at the beach. A little side note here, our table mates took a snorkel excursion here and swam with sea turtles and said it was a great time. Might be worth trying.Day 5 San Juan, PR We did no excursions here. We planned to spend the day shopping. DW felt this port offered some of the best shopping. They had great prices on many name brand items. It was really a neat town with a lot of old history. We located Senior Frogs and had lunch here. The food was good and the entertainment was great. Afterwards, we headed back to the ship and hung out at the pool for the hairy chest contest. This was really a joke and the person that won had no hair on his chest. IMHO he only won because he was part of a huge group of 87 people that “cheered” him on to victory. This was our second formal night and also the midnight gala buffet.Day 6 Grand Turk Next was Grand Turk which was another absolutely beautiful island. We scheduled the Horse Back ride and swim excursion. It was very hot here! I believe the temperature was around 108 degrees. We were suppose to arrive at noon, but arrived by 11:00. That gave a little time to shop around before our excursion. The bus took us to the other side of the island (it’s only a 7 mile long island) for our excursion. The people in charge of the excursion were from Jamaica and very friendly guys. The first part of the trip was a nice leisurely trail ride along the beach. Then they swapped the saddles for the “swim” and this part was really a blast! Once the horses were in the water, all you could do was hang on for dear life and enjoy the ride! We absolutely loved this excursion and I would recommend it. After the excursion, we went back to Margarittaville and had some nachos. These we expensive ($13), but were very good. We swam in the pool before heading back to the ship. Back the ship we went to the Deal or No Deal Bingo. That night after dinner was a Lido deck party with a Mexican buffet.Day 7 Day at Sea #2 Today was our last day at sea. We attended the Debarkation brief given by our cruise director Jorge. It was a very informative brief especially since it was our first cruise. It gave a good run down on how things would go at debarkation. After that we attended the Match Game show and the “Battle of the Sexes Revenge”. Battle of the Sexes was pretty lame because the questions meant for the women were flawed. How asking the ladies a Barry Manilow question could possibly be a “guy” question is beyond me? Any how, it was fun. Then we just hung out at the pool all day to just relax.Debarkation Debarkation went well until we hit customs! We scheduled an Everglades excursion since we had a late flight out of Miami (4 p.m.). Since we had an excursion, we met in one of the lounges at 8:45 and they walked us right off the ship. Then we hit the larger open warehouse where we had to locate our luggage. They had them broken by decks and they were easy to find. But then we had to stand in a huge line (with bags!) to clear through customs. Carnival really needs to improve on this process. Since the bags had already cleared customs, it would make since to have people clear customs and then pick up your bags. We headed out to our bus and left for our Everglades tour. I highly recommend this tour and it was worth every penny spent. They take you out on an air boat ride, give you an alligator show, then you have time to roam the facilities (eat some alligator nuggets). Then they take you to the airport. It was a great way to spend the day and not have to worry about carrying your bags around all day. Dining & Food I can say that we ate dinner in the dining room every night. The food was good and the service extraordinary! Our head waiter was Alam (better known as “Big Al”) and his assistant Vivian. You could order as much of whatever you wanted. If it wasn’t on the menu, Ask! They would go out of their way to accommodate whatever you wanted. We were at a table of four. Our table mates were celebrating their honeymoon. They were great people and actually had an anniversary cake delivered to our table for me and the wife. We ate in the dining room for breakfast every morning (except the one we missed) and this is the way to go. No long lines and they are there to serve you whatever you want. We ate a lot of pizza and fries and tried the burgers and sandwich bar also. All the food was great!Entertainment We attended several shows and events up on the Lido deck. I enjoyed them all except maybe the Hairy Chest contest. There was never a shortage of entertainment. There was always something to do. There is no possible way to attend everything that is going on around the ship. You can do as much or as little as you want (we did both!). Conclusion Overall I can say this was one of the best, if not the best, vacations my wife and I have ever had. Everything was far above any expectations I had ever had. We were so spoiled and didn’t want to leave the ship. Our room steward told us to hide in the closet and he wouldn’t tell anyone. Service was great. We took care of our steward in tips and he absolutely took care of us. We did the same with our server on the Lido deck. We stuck with the same guy all week and as we took care of him, he took care of us. (His name was Richard). I would cruise on this ship again in the future and highly recommend it to anyone else. This is truly the way to vacation and I am looking forward to many more in the future. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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