March 14, 2004
We traveled on Carnival's Elation out of Galveston on Sunday March 14, 2004. We are 2 adults and two daughters, one 14.5 years, and one 11.
Due to a family conflict on Sunday morning, we arrived at the pier right around 1:00 PM. I was worried as that was the time stated to start boarding. Everything went very well and was very well organized. The only line, and it wasn't horrible was to take your welcome aboard photo and sign and sail photos.
Once aboard we found our room. Although I expected small, it was very small for 4 of us. The bottom beds were still singles on two different walls. I left a sticky note for our steward to push them in to a king. That gave us a lot more floor space! My husband and my girls explored the whole ship with the handy deck plans they hand you upon boarding. I went off on my own to take care of business. We requested the earlier late seating, which is what we got. 8'oclock in the inspiration dining room. I went to check out the table. It indeed was a table for 4 as requested, and we had a nice booth! I also bought my girls each a soda card, which was more than worth it for us. Then I went to the excursion office, which is closed but there are forms and a box, where you can purchase your Carnival excursions.
Then we met for lunch up in Tiffany's on the Lido deck. The hot buffets up there were not terrific, though they have a nice carving board each day. The 24-hour pizza and ice cream are awesome. The grill serving hamburgers, hot dogs and fries is fine, however, the hours weren't great.
The muster drill was pretty organized. That night we juggled the initial camp carnival meetings with our dinner.
Our waiters got off to a slow start for the first night, but there after, (after a little talk) they were awesome. We had Boris, assisted by Helena. You keep the same table and waitstaff every night.
Breakfast and Lunch is open seating so we set with a lot of new families, couples, etc., each day.
The cruise director Larry and his staff Cindy and Mike were just wonderful. I can't say enough good things about them. Larry always had a smile and a joke and even stopped to talk if he saw you on deck. I also liked Eddy the super shopper.
The shows were very entertaining. We enjoyed the Elation dancers very much. We usually did the 10 o'clock Bingo game before the 10:30 show and never had a problem getting a seat!
During the sea days I thought there would be more activities, though my family and I enjoyed the behind the scene tours, game shows, trivia shows and bingo. Expected language lessons, cooking lessons, etc.
I gambled a little bit. Bring cash to gamble as there is a 3% charge to use your sign and sail. For Bingo you can use your card or cash.
I brought and used always, a power strip (only 1 outlet in the room!), sticky notes, a highlighter to highlight the capers, zip lock bags, a cooler (our steward kept filled with ice to use as a mini fridge), over the door shoe holder for flip flops and toiletries, book for by the pool or on the promenade deck, clothes pins for turning the hangers into skirt and pant hangers, bug spray, hand sanitizer, sun screen, along with every toiletrie you can think of, two under water cameras, 2 cameras, video, etc. Brought way to many clothes for all of us!
My 11 year old really enjoyed camp carnival. Only complaint is there were not enough free play hours, most of them were during the 3 port days when we were on the ship. But, she made a lot of neat things to take home. She made several new friends. My 14.5 year old went to the ice breaker the first morning and played some games, the rest of the week she basically did stuff with us and hung out and explored on her own: the galley tour, backstage tour, bingo, game shows, etc., bought non-alcoholic fancy drinks, read her book in her bathing suit, etc.
We enjoyed having a drink and sushi on the promenade deck most nights.
On the Elation the dress on regular nights was surprisingly casual. You could hardly tell most people changed for dinner. However the formal nights were extremely formal. We saw a lot of tuxes and gowns, followed by fancy cocktail dresses and dark suits!
In Progresso we went off on our own. There is a free air-conditioned shuttle bus to take you in to town. It leaves you at an outdoor market, with nice shopping. Should have bought more there, but didn't know my prices yet. Two blocks away is a beach. It's a very small not very developed town. Without a tour or trip to Merieda, which many people enjoyed, it was kind of a wasted port.
In Cozumel we hired a private guide. He was awesome, we got a city tour, saw a small ruin, did shopping, ate lunch and then snorkeled. Could have used a few extra hours! A little long getting off the ship.
In Belize we took Carnival's Altun Ha/River Wallace excursion. If you are only doing one excursion do it here! You dock in the middle of the ocean and tender to shore. The shore excursions go first. But, with a full ship, it still took 1.5 hours to get off the ship. Then our tour was late back to the tender port, but we were fine as we were with carnival.
All in all we had a great time on the Elation. We loved the ship, food, staff, etc. We had a few little complaints, but the biggest one was how quickly Sunday morning came!
Feel free to ask any questions.