Thursday February 14 2008
: Being Platinum members, we had the option of getting off the ship early before the crowds. But since were not exactly early risers on this cruise, we decided to just leave when we were ready, which was around 9.30am
Our Platinum luggage tags were Group 1 but when we exited the ship, they were calling Group 14, I think it was! But it was all very organized and were were out of our cabin and off the Elation in about 10 minutes altogether! Before we left, we gave our cabin steward an extra trip, he too deserved that for keeping our cabin spotless clean and for keeping up with our irregular hours.
If I may, I would like to comment on certain aspects of this cruise:
1) Captain Salvatore Messina and his senior officers are really a great team. What a fantastic feeling to be visiting the bridge surrounded by these younger gentlemen with a fantastic attitude and humor to boot!
2) Our cabin steward was one of the best we ever had. My first impression when we first boarded (and found all the drawers had yucky, sticky handles) was not so great. But he quickly changed our impression
for the better. Every little (and one not so little) issue we had with the cabin, he took care of it, straight away and got it resolved without the need to bring it to his attention the second time. In addition to the auto tip, we did show him our appreciation at the end of the cruise by a small extra tip.
3) Likewise for our waiter. The guy was genuinely friendly and on top of his game. He remembered after Day 1 how cold I like my water, how the Mrs likes her water at room temperature due to a sensitive tooth. He kept the wine going when my glass emptied and he served the Mrs her decaf fix throughout dinner. He got me seconds when I requested so. And he had a charming way with kids, a table across from us had this lady and her 3 young kids and he kept them entertained throughout dinner. And charming and well-behaved kids they were. So likewise, we tipped him a bit extra on the last night.
4) The Maitre d' on this cruise really made things HAPPEN for us in more ways than one and we felt that he really deserved a tip and as such, we did tip him on the last day. I do not know if it was the fact that we had cruised with him before but whenever and wherever we met him on the ship, he always made it a point to stop and chat, even for a brief while.
I usually have mixed feelings about Maitre d's, some interact with passengers whilst others do not. But as usual, Ante was just a great host.
5)The Cruise Director: well I see plenty of opportunity for improvement in her department
. She needs to tone down her annoying high-pitched voice that drove me nuts every time she blared over the Public Address system her sales pitch that this sale was going on and that sale was going on, etc..
She had a couple of events canceled, one of them without any reason being given whatsoever and no apologies offered with either event being canceled. Then she has her port shopping consultant give a speech about shopping in Ensenada and having the arrival/departure times all screwed up. The Carnival Capers had the incorrect sunrise and sunset times, and not by a few minutes but try a couple of hours. I brought this to her attention on the 3rd day of the cruise but still no corrections were made to the following editions of the Carnival Capers. In La Paz, the Carnival Capers made absolutely no reference/mention to the fact that there was a free shuttle service operating between the ship and the beach and also to downtown La Paz.
6) The Ship: All the public areas of the ship are in excellent condition and hide very well the fact that the Elation is 10 years old. If our stateroom represents the general condition of the other staterooms, then it is high time for a major refurbishment as the furntiture, while functional, is showing its age. I was told that the Elation is going in for a $60 million refurbishment next year. I noticed that on the Elation, in the public restrooms there is no paper towels, just air dryers. I am assuming this is a measure to cut back on costs on Carnival's side. I do not know if this measure is fleetwide or not?!?! It sure is annoying though to find most of the blowers operate at a low speed and with the exception of 1, all the air blowers I used blew out cold air which is NOT conducive to drying your hands. It sure is annoying to have to shake your hands dry!
7) The Dining Rooms: I found this rather odd and it is the very first time I have seen it on any cruise I have been on that the Main Dining Rooms were both closed for lunch during port days! Again, I do not know if this is just on the Elation or fleetwide making it another way for Canival to cut back on costs!
8.) The Food: In the Buffet at breakfast, you no longer have a choice of milk or half and half with your coffee or tea. They only had half and half, if you wanted milk, you had to open one of the small milk carton/packets
and just let the rest go to waste! That to me defeats the whole purpose in trying to economize. Also, on the Elation they no longer had those small individual servings of jams and jellies. The jams and jellies came in these jars and they had an oversize spoon stuck into them, each serving from that oversize spoon must have been at least twice the size of the small individual packets. Again, it does NOT make financial sense to me, apart from the fact that the area where the jams/jellies were located was always in a constant state of a mess with the oversize spoons toppling the jars over and splling the contents! As for selection/variety both my wife and myself have noticed a declining, sliding trend slightly for the worse. Having cruised scores of times on Carnival, we remember the days not too long ago when the Buffet food at dinner had a much bigger selection/variety. In the Dining Room, I regret to have to say we have noticed a similar trend. The lobster is nowadays miniscule (the size of a large prawn/shrimp) although second, third and fourth helpings are forthcoming, I can attest to that by watching one of the gentleman at the next table devour lobster tail after lobster tail, he did say he ate 4 of them and had plenty of room for more but he said he was a bit embarrased to ask for more!
Rack of Lamb I have not seen in at least the last 2 Carnival cruises we took, again, I do not know if that is a fleetwide, cost-cutting measure.
I hope someone will find this review useful and maybe entertaining too
, I have tried to be fair and honest in my comments towards Carnival, they are our favorite cruiseline after all. But in my book, Good is Good and Bad is Bad and there is nothing better than telling it like it is.
And you all know the Captain don't like to mince his words