April 11, 2004
Who we are: I am Becky, a 36 yr old single mom of Dottie an 18 yr old daughter. We had cruised the Elation exactly 2 yrs ago to the Mexican Riviera. We both had lots of fun, so decided to try this new itinerary.
Flight/Embarcation: We had a 6:05am Continental flight out of Seattle, WA. Our flight left about 20 minutes late, but we arrived on time at Intercontinental airport. We headed to baggage and found the Carnival Rep. right away. We had booked the Riviera deck with bunk beds and were happy to find our cabin to be on the Empress deck #127. It was almost exactly mid-ship, so was very handy for getting around the ship. After an hour long bus ride, we arrived at the pier. There was almost no line, so we were on board by 2:30.
Our Cabin: As stated we were in E127. It was just up the hall from the Atrium. It had one odd feature, which I will describe at the end. We briefly met our cabin steward, then headed to the purser's desk to put our cash on our accounts. While waiting in line we met Jim, Dan and their families. I met one other couple, but I'm sorry I don't remember their names.
Sailaway: Just before sailaway I bought my daughter and myself a couple of foo-foo drinks. I bought both drinks on my S&S card with no trouble for my daughter. I gave it to her right at the bar. More on drinks in a moment.
Dining Room: We wanted 6:15 dinner, but were assigned 5:45. I didn't bother to change it, so we had the Inspiration Dining Room. We were at table 244. Our waiter's name was Uan and he was great. He was very friendly with us, though he had trouble with my daughter's name at first. LOL
Casino: Dottie and I went to the casino after dinner. While at the casino, Dottie bought her own drink on her S&S card with no problem. (She tried later at the pool bar and the bartender wouldn't sell it to her). I think that the casino goes by International Waters Laws and that is why my daughter could buy drinks in the casino, but not the Lido pool bar. Ship policy may state drinking age as 21, but it depends on where the person tries to buy alcohol, I guess. I didn't have a problem with Dottie having a drink or 2. She was more responsible drinking than I was. LOL That was about it for me the first night. I had been up all night the night before leaving, so I was in bed by about 10:30.
Monday/Day at Sea: I spent most of this first day on the Lido deck. I had my coffee and my book and a nice table to myself. It was very relaxing to just kick back, people watch, eat when I wanted, etc. At 11:30am they were having Craps lessons, so I went to that. It was interesting to learn, though I never actually played. I tend to stick to the slots. We both gambled a little bit that day. Monday was the 1st formal night/Captain's cocktail party. We went to the party and I had several drinks. Before the crew introductions they had the video guy running around interviewing people. They came up to Dottie and did a Cinderella type skit (you know, see if the shoe fits) and he chatted with her for a couple of minutes. Though we didn't buy the Travelog video, we got to see Dottie on T.V. several times the rest of the cruise. That was kind of cool. After the party we went to dinner and enjoyed that. I (of course) had the lobster and it was better than 2 yrs ago. After dinner we went to the "big" show. It was Rhythm and I liked it well enough (same as 2 yrs ago). After the show I changed to comfy clothes and headed to the Jekyll&Hyde disco. Unfortunately, they don't play dance music until after 11, so I had to go to the Romeo and Juliet lounge and listen to a country duo named Souveniers. They were alright, but I'm not really into country music. I was up until the wee hours dancing and drinking the night away in the disco. I headed back to my cabin after a late night (or should I say early morning) coffee at Tiffany's. We were due in Progreso the next morning, but we didn't have any plans there.
Tuesday/Progreso: We both slept very late on this day (I think it was noon when we finally got up).
Wednesday/Cozumel: I had booked a Wild and Crazy Beach Day at Plays Sol Park through shoretrips.com. It was supposed to include parasailing for Dottie. When we got to Cozumel it was so windy that parasailing was not possible (the ship had to cancel a lot of excursions that day). Since we had already paid for the parasailing, they let Dottie use a wave runner instead. She rode for about 30-40 minutes and had lots of fun. This package was food and drinks inclusive, so of course I had my share of margaritas. When we were done at the beach, we took a cab to Carlos and Charlies. We had lots of fun and ended up sitting with a family from the Elation. We took a cab back to the ship and were back on board in plenty of time for sailaway.
Thursday/Belize: We had to tender in at this port. We had booked a jungle horseback ride through BelizeCruiseExcusions.com. There were 6 of us on this tour. A family of 4 and us. Our guide was very good and he took us on a city tour of the Northern part of Belize on the way to the spa. It was about 1-1/2 hr drive to the spa. We met our horse guide and got our horses and we were off. They had several baby horses that were so cute. While we were on the ride we saw some spider monkies that came to show off for us. Later we saw some vultures circling around and our guide told us a jaguar had killed one of the babies (the carcass was still on the ground). This same jaguar had killed 2 of their other horses recently as well. The ride lasted about an hour and I even got my horse to gallup a couple of times. After the ride our guide drove us back to town and took us on a Southern city tour. We got back in time to get our hair braided. Dottie got her crown done and I got my full head done. The last tender was scheduled for 4:15 and we got on the 4:00 tender.
Friday/Day at Sea: Another relaxing day at sea. 2nd formal night this night. The past guest party was on this night in between dinners. They had snacks and free drinks and showed a video on Carnival that was interesting. I went to the Cole Porter lounge and saw the Dirt Poets. They were a pretty good rock band that played lots of different rock music. I stayed there until the disco opened. Another late night dancing the night away.
Saturday/Last Day at Sea (boo hoo): Our last day at sea. It was very relaxing. I participated in the slot tournament, but didn't do good enough to be in the running. Oh well, it was fun anyway. We went to the horse races, just to have seats in time for the Newlywed/Not So Newlywed Game. That was pretty funny and the newlywed couple won. After our last dinner I went back to the cabin to get my packing done. We had our bags packed and out by about 10:30.
Sunday/Disembarcation: I had to go to customs at 7:00am to declare my 1 extra bottle of alcohol. They didn't bother to charge me ant duty on it. We were scheduled for a 12:05 flight, so had the orange tags. They called for orange at about 8:30 to go to immigration. That probably took 15-20 minutes. We stopped by our cabin and picked up our carry ons, then went to the Mikado Lounge to wait to be called. They called for orange about 9:15 (I think). We went and found our luggage with no problem. We found our bus and were the last 2 on it. Good thing, too we got to our gate about 5 minutes before they started boarding. A little too close for my liking, so I'll remember that, next time. Our flight home was fine and they showed the movie Big Fish. I let Dottie us the headphones to watch it.
Overall/Impressions: It was really great to be on the Elation again. When we first saw her again it was like finding an old friend. They had changed some things around (the seating arrangement in Romeo and Juliet, for example). Most of it was the same as I remembered. I did like not having to waste any time trying to find my way around. Yes, there are some minor carpet stains, but that is the least of my concerns on a cruise. This cruise is especially good for cruising families and younger people (or the young at heart). There's always something going on, even if you just want to relax quietly on board.
Funny Story: If you've taken the time to read this far you're probably wondering, where's the funny story? Well, here it is. For whatever reason our cabin had a pole in it. I guess a support pole. On Monday night after apparently drinking and having way too much fun, I was back in my cabin. I didn't have the lights on, since I didn't want to wake Dottie up. I was coming back from the bathroom a walked face first into the pole. I remember thinking, at the time, "That will probably hurt in the morning". Well, I was right! When I woke up at noon, I got up and looked in the mirror, I had given myself a black eye (thanks to my glasses) and a cut in my left eyebrow. When I went to put my glasses on I had to bend them back into shape and wipe off all of the make-up from on the inside of the lens. LOL In my own defense, the pole was right in line to my bed from the bathroom and I almost did the exact same thing on Tuesday night (and I hadn't had anything to drink on Tuesday).
Thank you for taking the time to read my review. If you have any questions or comments, post on the boards or email me at email@example.com. Becky