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Elation (Long) Review - 12/05/04 cruise


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My husband and I enjoyed the Elation so much in Jan 04 that we did it again along with our eldest son and his wife on 12/05. Sadly, the cruise was over too quickly but we have another cruise 05/08/05 on the Conquest. Below is a report of our latest experience sailing from Galveston.


Sat. 12/04 - Stayed at Best Western Beachfront. Hotel room fair but bed was broken/uncomfortable. For $97/night I would not stay there again.


Saturday night - Ate dinner at Gaido's restaurant. Food is very good but a little expensive. Excellent service.


Sunday 12/05 - Ate breakfast @9:30am at the IHOP not far from our hotel. Prepared for the 15-30 minute wait, having experienced the large crowd of cruisers/locals at the restaurant on previous cruise.


11:00am took our vehicle to the Dolphin parking lot and taken by free shuttle to the ship. Paid $60 or $70 for the week in covered parking. At the cruise terminal our bags taken and we proceeded to check in. First went through security then to "Fun Pass" line where we spent about 15 minutes standing in line. The check-in is fast and then we waited to board the ship for about 30-40 minutes. There are restrooms in the waiting area. Boarding was okay and pictures were taken as we entered the walkway; again as we proceeded into the walkway (for Sail and Sign cards.) After that it was smooth sailing - pardon the pun. We entered the ship on the Empress deck where the Piano bar, Purser's desk, Excursion desk and Internet cafe is located. Our cabins, E104 and E108 also on this deck.


Since we were not supposed to go to our cabins until @1:30pm, we went to Lido deck for lunch. Tiffany's provided a good buffet featuring roast beef, other meats, vegetables, fruits, salads and desserts. Tea, coffee, fruit drinks and the "drink of the day" were available. Hamburgers and hot dogs were located near the pool area. NOTE: Some people had their carry-on luggage with them while they ate. We went to our cabin and dropped our bags before eating. Our room steward was there and said it was okay. We gave our steward $20 up front as well as the usual tip. He was absolutely wonderful! He was very attentive, always available and spoke to us by name each time we saw him. Our room was kept clean, always had ice, and anything we needed appeared quickly with a non-stop pleasant attitude.


We ate breakfast in the dining room most days. The menu is standard fare, eggs (omelets, eggs benedict, scrambled), bacon, sausage, white fish, pancakes, fruit, toast, sweet rolls, juice, coffee, tea. A couple of time swe ate breakfast in Tiffany's where eggs were prepared to order. All other breakfast foods were available. This is a much slower process since you stand in line while eggs are prepared.


We did not eat lunch in the dining room but opted instead to eat at Tiffany's on sea days. A variety of foods were served each day such as leg of lamb, leg of pork, roasted chicken, fish along with vegetables, fruits and desserts. We also had hamburgers a few times.


Sea days: We played some of the games such as bingo ($20 dollars for 3 cards, $10 for one). This was for ONE game. Also played Name the Celebrity for a Carnival medal. Did okay but ultimately lost to smarter people -didn't know some of the younger celebrities. There was also the hairy chest contest, survivor, and other games for different tastes. The art auction is enlighting to novices in this area. We also went to the wine tasting, ($2.95 for 3 glasses wine/cheese and grapes are served), martini experience (this cost but don't remember how much we paid for different flavored martini's poured through ice carving into glass).


In general we spent our sea days eating, drinking (soft/alcoholic drinks) on the Lido deck, checking out the sales in ship shops, sitting and watching the ocean, talking with people at piano bar and did I mention eating? There was sushi at 6pm, pizza, sandwiches, and more.


Dinners were good, some better than others. Our wait staff was superb, very efficient and friendly. Our pre-ordered wines were correctly presented each night and our preferences were remembered.


Progresso: We went to Corono Beach next to the long road to ship. We arrived @9:15am on free shuttle from ship to town and walked a couple blocks to beach. There was a "private" party from another cruise ship (I think) and we were told we could not go onto beach until noon. However, a gentleman from the on-site restaurant said we could sit at one of his (shaded) tables all day if we wished. Although he said we were not required to buy anything, I'm sure he knew we would and we did. He served us free guacamole and chips. The only beer was Corona. We stayed occupied the table for 3-4 hours, walking the beach, drinking and finally eating lunch. We spent $20 each for 4 people for lots of beers and lunch. Restrooms were very clean.


Belize: We did the X-Stream cave tubing. This was great, cost less than the ship cave tour and we had only 12 people. We went through 1 dry cave, 2 other caves. The guide, Richard, was very entertaining and informative. Our meal after the caves cost $5 and was worth every penny.


Cozumel: We went shopping along the waterfront stores. I think the prices are a little high but we had fun and found a few "bargains" on some of the back streets. Had lunch at Las Palmeras. The food was good and free margaritas with lunch were very strong. Not having faith, we figured that when we paid for margaritas, they would be weak. WRONG - we ordered large margaritas that were almost too strong on the tequila. Restrooms here were clean.


All in all our experience was very good. First night we were missing 1 bag - the one with all our shoes. Luckily, it turned up next morning.


My only complaints are:

(1) Carnival needs to find a quieter place for the wine tasting. We could barely hear the beautiful music for the loud people walking by/through the Drama bar area. Seems a shame that the talented ladies providing the music can't be heard.


(2) Educate the people working in the liquor store!! As residents of Texas we can only bring back 1 bottle of alcohol each. Of course, we should have known better ourselves. My husband purchased our 2 bottles and was given a free bottle of Vodka. He was told by the salesperson that it would be okay since we did not PAY for the bottle. WRONG - against our better judgment, thinking maybe she was right, we kept the free bottle and were pulled aside by the customs agent who advised us that regardless of how we obtained the booze, only 1 bottle per person every 30 days for Texas residents. Didn't care about the liquor but who wants to be pulled out of line and questioned?


3) Although the drink waiters on the Lido deck are very friendly, one lady was much to pushy on the alcohol. She was at our table constantly, even before we finished a drink, trying to persuade us to get another. When we declined she would say "Why not, you're on vacation" and other similar phrases which seemed to be an attempt to ridicule us for not drinking more. She would come back again and again. Not a major problem, just a little annoying.


In summary, ship was pretty clean, all but one or two of staff were courteous and friendly. However, we did not see our Maitre d', Luis, until the last night when tips were handed out to him. Shows are so-so and could be much better. Disembarkation is, in a word, crazy. We started waiting at 8:30am and finally off the ship by 11am. Absoulutely love the bartenders at the Piano bar and Ivan (not sure of his title now) who was there the last time we sailed. He is one of the reasons we sailed the Elation again.

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Thanks for the review. We're leaving Sunday and your comments on Progresso are appreciated. B/T/W, knowing the names of younger celebs (poolside trivia) is NOT fodder for IQ tests!


Your Pokes sure played a tough game against the Eagles today.



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Too right Philly Steve - we don't waste time learning about so-called celebrities and I was just trying to be polite. Hope you enjoy you're cruise as much as we did. Last time out we took the city/shopping tour at Progresso, actually in Merida. The tour was okay and the city square is interesting but not worth doing again. Many say the ruins tours are good also.

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