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

Carnival Elation
by THELMA LOO
Western Caribbean
May 30, 2004

Pleasing six old broads off on an annual spring fling isn't an easy task. But we came off the Elation, totally elated.

Our trip started with an overnight at the Galveston, Holiday Inn on the Beach. I cannot say enough about this hotel. I have stayed at hotels and motels across the country and have never encounterd a staff like this one. They simply cannot do enough to please their clientele. We took advantage of their free parking for cruise customers and used their shuttle service to and from the dock. Our driver was Rodney, who was more than cheerful about loading and unloading our many bags. He told us exactly where to meet him upon debarkation, we had no sooner gotten our bags together than he appeared.

Carnival seems to have boarding down to a fine science....it was fast and worry free.
We had three cabins in a row on Rivera deck and were very pleased with the amount of room we had. We had read a review from an earlier cruiser advising packing an over the door shoe bag...a great tip, as it came in very handy for makeup, and various sundries that would normaly clutter up a bathroom counter. Floyd, our room steward had his work cut out for him, but he kept us well supplied with ice and anything else we needed and ran his area cheerfully and efficiently.

We had the late seating in the Imagination dining room and were well served nightly by Steven and Rommel. They were fun and very good at what they do.
At the end of the cruise there seemed to be alot of pressure to tip the maitre d'...this didn't sit well with our group, as we rarely saw him and were only greeted by him on the last night. If we had any dining room criticism it would be: if the maitre d' wants a tip, he should make a point at some time during the week, to briefly visit at each table. We had prepaid our tips but were more than happy to tip over and above to those who gave over and above.

We seemed to gravitate to the Empress deck each evening for cocktails and a few minutes with the wonderful trio that plays there nightly. This bar is just outside of the Photo studio, which also deserves some mention. What a cute and friendy bunch they are...Leah, was always on hand to greet us and seemed to know immediatly in which direction to point us to find our current pictures. The entire photo staff made looking at our sometimes ghastly photos a fun part of our cruise experience.

We all took advantage of the spa, in one capacity or another. I highly reccommend Edwin in the hair salon for a cut and style....truly one of the best cuts I've had in years.

Part of our group did the Chichen Itza tour in Progresso and were very pleased with the experience.
Two of us did the Hacienda Tour, which was interesting and we had darling young guides,(Mario and Vicco). The tour included one church and one hacienda, I would have liked a few more stops for comparisons. They did however, serve us a delightful snack on the veranda and were most anxious to share any information they could. We passed a public market in Progresso that I think would be worth exploring...maybe next time.

In Cozumel three of our group did the kayak trip and loved it. Three of us went to Chankanaab and did the Royal Swim with Dolphins which we had booked online prior to departure. Reccommend this highly, it was very exhilarating and showing your pictures when you get home will make you a hero to your kids. The Gardens at Chankanaab are well worth the trip.
In the afternoon we took a cab out to El Sol Cabanas del Caribe for margaritas with Trinidad. If you are tired of touristy things by this time, I suggest this quiet get away. A small hotel, off the beaten path, with a lovely restaurant right on the water, and Trini's palapa bar on the beach. Quiet and restful...wish we'd had more time to enjoy the peace and quiet....next time!

Belize was a nice surprise. We all did the Altun Ha and City Tour,with very knowlegeable young guides who gave us a great overview of Belize. It reminded me alot of my early trips to the Yucatan, before cruise ships and huge hotel complexes. We had an enjoyable lunch in the courtyard of the Smoky Mermaid, an American owned Guesthouse and Restaurant within walking distance of the tender dock. Bought Belizian Cashew Wine at Altun Ha on a whim, and was pleasently surprised to find a poor mans version of Chateau d'Quiem...wish I had bought more bottles...next time!

The last two days onboard were leisurly and delightful, each of us doing our own thing and meeting up occasionally for latte or lunch on the Lido deck. The casino onboard is small but they made loosing painless. However we did see several big winners.....There's always next time!!!

We bought 100 internet minutes at the internet cafe......being slightly computer challenged, we wasted several precious minutes getting started. As it is only staffed between 5 and 7:pm there was no one available to ask for help.
We all decided the shopping onboard was a nice surprise....good selections and good prices. The girls in the makeup and perfume area were very helpful. We tried the art auction, but lost interest early on. Several of us are veteran auction goers and thought this could have been more exciting...starting the bidding lower and working up would have allowed more people to get involved, a good auctioneer can always get his price. The piano bar was fun, particularly for Elton John and Billy Joel fans. We never made it into the karaoke bar, but were told it can be the best entertainment onboard. The shows we attended in the Mikado were well done and very entertaining...our only complaint being that there are far too many onboard options for a seven day cruise....There will definately be a next time!!!!

A quick PS: The unsung heroes of the Carnival fleet are all those people you pass everywhere, constantly cleaning and polishing with smiling faces...a very impressive crew.