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Elation Reivew 12/5/04


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Cruise Review - Carnival Elation 12/5/04


Pre-Cruise: We (husband and myself, our 7th cruise, and my mother-in-law, her 2nd cruise) arrived in Galveston the evening before the cruise and stayed at the Best Western Beachfront. Hotel was easy to find. Rooms were clean, but not fancy. They offered a continental breakfast and we were able to leave our car parked there right in front of the building. They called a cab for us at the front desk and it arrived very promptly. When I saw the jam of traffic and people at the cruise terminal, I was very glad we had opted for the hotel parking/taxi option.


Embarkation: We arrived shortly after 11:00 am. We breezed through the check-in process in about ½ hour with very friendly people at the counters. We found out as we were checking in that they had changed the itinerary: Progreso - Tuesday, Belize - Thursday, Cozumel - Friday due to an extreme congestion of ships in Cozumel on Wednesday, the day we were supposed to be there. No problem, always glad to avoid an 11-ship day in Cozumel! We were on the ship and in the Tiffany’s (the Lido restaurant) about 12:30 pm. Our rooms were not ready yet, but our steward (who we met very briefly then for the only time) let us leave our carry-on bags there. One pet peeve with embarkation…..having to pose for the silly embarkation picture. But, I suppose that delay paces the people trying to get on board so they don’t get all backed up.


Impressions of the ship: This class ship is fairly easy to find one’s way around. Christmas decorations were lovely, but some décor is a bit garish for my taste. Atrium was beautiful at night. Ship is showing her age in spots, especially the elevators and public bathrooms. Many of the plastic covers over the indicator lights in elevator were gone and some buttons were taped over. I noticed them doing maintenance work on elevators several times throughout the week. Hot-air hand-dryers in the bathrooms didn’t work very well and some didn’t work at all. That meant people used the boxes of kleenex on the counters to dry their hands and this made for a messy litter at times. I would expect a ship of this age to show a little wear so no problem.

I thought the photographers were pushier than usual, and they were everywhere. They seemed almost insulted when one declined to have a picture taken….there again, a pet peeve of mine.


Dining Room & Food: We had the 8:30 late dinner….there were MANY empty tables. Our waiter (Luna) and assistant waiter (Izabella) had only two tables so we got very personalized and excellent service. They were the best wait team we have had in all of our cruises! Most of the food was good, some was great, some was so-so. I was least impressed with the desserts.

Tiffany’s (the Lido) was fine, nothing bad, nothing great. We did have pizza nearly every afternoon as a snack to tide us over to 8:30 supper and that was very nice. They have made-to-order deli sandwiches during lunch too.

We never did make it to the late-night snacks as we were full from late supper. We did take pictures of the gala buffet and it was lovely.

I LOVE the sushi bar….it was open almost every evening from 5:30-8:00 and we went every time. Made a nice pre-dinner snack.


First day at sea was very nice. We were able to get prime seats by the Lido Pool at 9:30 am. There were always open seats. Security guard was diligent about keeping children out of the adult-only hot tub. Kids were well-behaved. Mother-in-law used the hair salon in the spa and was impressed. Husband used the steam room and liked it. First formal night was good. The captain’s welcome party was as generous with the free drinks as any cruise I’ve seen. The waiters stopped by several times and one of them left me a third drink without me even asking. They were also generous with the free drinks at the Past Guests party later in the week.


Entertainment: It was OK. Mother-in-law loved the “Rhythm” production show. One comedian was good, the other two OK, balancing act was interesting. My husband really likes to watch movies on a big screen in evenings. Carnival is the only line we’ve been on that only shows one movie the whole week in the lounge and that was “Garfield.” The first few nights the night acts seemed non-existent, but it seemed to pick up a little by the end of the week. Even the piano bar had no piano player a few nights…that’s usually a very popular spot on ships. Casino was plenty large, but smoky at night.

The TV had skimpy offerings, I thought (we don’t watch it much at sea but like to turn it on when we are getting ready) Every other cruise line I’ve been on has a bridge cam and/or weather and navigational information on temp, seas, etc. which is really nice for those of us in inside staterooms to know what to expect when we go outdoors. I missed that.


Ports of Call: Progreso was a new port for us. The pier is indeed very long and there is a nice little shopping area on the pier. My mother-in-law really wanted to see Mayan ruins and we didn’t want to invest a whole day so we went on the ship’s ½ day tour to Dzibulchaltun. Guides met us right at the end of the gangway of the ship and led us to buses. It was about a 20 minute drive. The entrance area to the ruins has gift shop and clean bathrooms. It was HOT the day we were there. I’ve done a more detailed review on the excursion in the Ports of Call section of the message boards. We shopped at the pier shops when we got back as we didn’t have time for the free shuttle bus into town. Prices were decent.

Belize is also a new stop for us. We anchored there about 8 am. We booked the Goff’s Caye Snorkel and Beach Trip through the ship. We met in the Jekyll and Hyde Disco (scary décor) and were led to the gangway to board our tour boat (Belize is a tender port). Their system of gathering/announcing tours in Belize needs some MAJOR work. The poor fellow announcing the tours didn’t have a microphone or megaphone and was very hard to hear with everyone gathered there….and all the water tours were gathered in the same spot so everyone was edgy. Some people from our tour got left behind, presumably because they couldn’t hear the announcement? Anyhow, we boarded the small boat for the 20-25 minute ride to the caye and they handed out snorkel equipment on the way. Crew was very nice. People could either stay on the caye and snorkel from the beach or stay on the boat and be taken out to the reef. It was hot and sunny, but seas were rough so my mother-in-law stayed on the beach and we took the boat. It was a little intimidating to jump in the sea from the rocking boat, but once we were in we were fine. They did take several people back to the caye who were apprehensive about the waves when they saw them! Good snorkeling and then back to the caye….Mother-in-law had fun snorkeling off the beach and the guide was very patient and good as he led and taught a group of novice snorkelers. I’ve written more about this excursion on the Belize Port of Call section on message boards. We returned to ship, showered and had lunch and then took the tender to the tourist village and shopped a bit. Tendering process was smoothly done.

Cozumel is always nice. We docked downtown at the Punta Langosta pier and took a taxi to Paradise Beach (about $15). Beautiful spot and deserving of all the glowing comments in the Port of Call section. We left there about 12:30 and went back downtown to shop. Shopkeepers are much more aggressive at getting you in their stores than I remember from my last visit to Cozumel.

Last Day at Sea was much cooler with rougher seas and windy. For some reason, they had drained the pool. I’ve seen pools open on a lot rougher seas than these though! We sat out for a little while, but the wind was cool so we went in. Because it was a cool day, the shops and photo gallery seemed awfully croweded!


Debarkation: We had to be out of rooms by 8:45 and then were waiting for immigration. We were in the last group called which was no problem…we weren’t in a hurry. We were off the ship about 10:45 am and caught a taxi back to Best Western Beachfront. Plenty of taxis.


It was a good trip, great weather and we really enjoyed it! I'll be happy to answer any questions I can!

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Thank you for the review! These last few days of waiting make a review like this much more worth it! Where is the sushi bar located? My dd will love that before our late dinner. Did you hear any reviews of Coral Breeze in Belize? Is there rentals of jetskis available near Paradise Beach? Again, thank you!:D

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We'll be staying at the Beachfront in February--I'm glad to read that you were pleased with the place! Did you notify them ahead of time that you would be leaving your car, or when you arrived? And I'd also like to know the approximate taxi fare to the terminal from there, if you recall. Thanks for this review! We're looking forward to our own cruise on Elation over Valentine's Day!

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Hello! Always glad to answer questions if I can....I know I always find the reviews helpful!

tpear3: The sushi bar was located on the Promenade Deck

kitty-korner from the casino. The hours it was open were posted each day in the Capers. We didn't see jet skis by Paradise Beach, but we weren't looking for them, so may not have noticed. We didn't hear anything about Coral Breeze, but I have noticed somewhat negative reviews lately on the Port of Call Belize page

candlegirl: The taxi from the Best Western Beachfront to the cruise terminal was about $12. Galveston had some streets blocked off for their Dickens on the Strand, so may have been a little less if those streets were open.

workbeeroom: We booked the hotel room on Travelocity, so we just notified them when we got there about planning to park in their lot. They were fine with that. They had us leave our car right out front.

Have fun cruising!

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Snowcat, we too were on that sailing. Sorry we did not meet up, although we did meet up with two other Cruise Critic Posters on board. This was our second sailing on this ship as we enjoyed the first one so much. Living in North Texas also makes it rather convenient for us. We also went to Paradise beach as well as stayed at the Beachfront Inn. We opted for the EZCRUISE parking @ $35 for the week and were very please with it. I concur with your review.

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Sorry we missed meeting you, BigDaddyOne. You may have noticed us at Paradise Beach.....we had the glaring fishbelly white Minnesota "tan." Got back here to -15 temps. the first night and it was -25 at our house last night. So much for warm weather. Makes me long to be back at Paradise Beach.

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Snowcat, I am sure if you were on desk for the Hairy Chest contest and you were at Paradise Beach, you know who I am!!!!

By the way LisaLand and AshleyJones1978 were at PB also.

we all set on the back row when we were not in the beautiful waters of Cozumel. ( I am having withdrawals)

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