Carnival Reviews - Cruise Ship reviews by Cruisemates Readers
Carnival Cruise Lines

Carnival Elation
by Georgia West
Western Caribbean
November 16, 2003

This was our 17th cruise, 4th on Carnival, 3rd from Galveston.

Parking: Good system, similar to most ports. Drop off your bags then go park the car. There are 3 "official" parking places. Contrary to the competitions signs the official lots DO take credit cards for payment. Shuttle bus service back to the lot is prompt. Please note that you are NOT allowed to bring luggage on the shuttle. Please drop it off at the pier. The driver tells us that the new lot (which has an interesting advertising campaign) is cheaper and will transport your luggage to the pier but there is not round the clock security and there have been problems with vandalism.

Embarcation: Moved quickly. From entering the building to walking up the gang way took 25 minutes.

Ship: The ugliest ship I've ever been on. Even though the designer has cut back on his use of neon, the colors are awful. I actually had trouble relaxing the first few days because the colors and design elements were sooo garish. Eventually, though it did all just blend in to the subconscious but gads, it's ugly.

The ship is in good repair and the only big thing we noticed was that none of the clocks on board worked. It was perpetually 11:25 everywhere on board.

Ports: This itinerary was Progresso, Cozumel and Belize.
Progresso is the spot for Chichenitza which is a fabulous trip. The bus ride is 2 1/2 hour drive but not bad. Luxury busses with good narration on the way there. The guides spoke very good english and were enjoyable. The trip home we had a short informational segment to answer some questions then everyone napped.
Cozumel: What a great place. Been here dozens of times and still love taking a cab to Chankanaab and relaxing on that beautiful beach. The local restaurant there is quite good, especially the ceviche and Mexican octupus. Hey and don't forget the Sol Cerveza!
Belize: The cave tubing excursion was cancelled due to heavy rains the previous week so we did a city tour and had an enjoyable time strolling about. Nothing particularly grand abut the town other than the Anglican church and the shopping area is done up quite nice but hey, it's a shopping area so what can you say. There are two pharmacies there that do an out-the-door-and-down-the-way business. No perscriptions are needed and the pharmacist at one shop is an American expat who can answer all your questions. i.e. Viagara is advertised at $8 per tab and RetinA is $15/tube.

On previous trips we had snorkeled here and the experience was one of the best we'd ever had.

Food: Typical Carnival fare. Beef was generally very good but chicken and fish were very dry and disappointing. The buffet seemed to have fewer choices than I recall from previoys Carnival trips and there was a good deal of grumbling among the passengers about that, but I never went hungry - cause, hey it's Carnival and there's 24/7 ice cream!

Beverages: Drinks were a bit more this trip but quality was good. No complaints.

Service: Service was just fine. Friendly staff. The ship wa only on it's sixth run out of Galveston, having previously sailed from California. The staff tells us that the Texas crowd is much friendly and less demanding and they seemed to be happy in their new port. There is no wine steward and wine service is handled by the waiter so some evenings we were well into our meal before receiving our wine and that was a bit bothersome but otherwise things were okay.

I do find the nightly routines by the waiters tedious and wish they would reduce it to once per trip. It seemed every night just as we were preparing for desert or coffee our wait staff disappeared. I think Carnival would do better to consider leaving entertainment to entertainers and food service to waiters. However, the skits were not as lengthly as they had been on prior trips so there was that to be thankful for.

Entertainment: Quite good. Although the best entertainment of all was provided by a group of guests.
We had a gathering of about 30 cross dressers on board and they provided quite a show daily.

Casino: Quite a few jackpots were hit so some of the slots were pretty loose. The tables were very crowded and they need to reduce the seats per table and simple add tables. 10 per blackjack table is just unmanageable. Also using a 10 deck shoe significantly increases the house's chances. We came out ahead but it was less enjoyable and we spent less time in the casino than usualy because of overcrowded tables.

Disembarcation. Went as smoothly as it can with 2,000 plus people, most of whom are incapable of following directions. We were in our car headed home by 9:20.

Overall: Nice cruise, nice staff, mediocre food, okay entertainment - ugly boat.