I had promised several folks I would write a brief review as soon as I got back...so I have been home for 2 1/2 hours and here it goes...
The trip was lots of fun, we REALLY enjoyed the cruise. Several things made it very special, and first and foremost was the service. EVERYONE on this ship is wonderful...the crew should be very proud...I think it was the BEST overall service we have had on a cruise (this was #9) to date.
The cruise down to Mexico/Belize from Galveston was a little rough...much choppier than I have experienced that time of year on that route in the past, but not bad for those of us who DON'T suffer from seasickness. Saw plenty of patches, and folks seems to be doing well on the Bonine tablets provided onboard as well.
LOVED Cozumel (as always)...never enough time there. Progresso was fun, we went to Chichentiza and that was REALLY worth the 2 hour drive down there, so please don't be frightened by the long drive. The view from the pyramid was FANTASTIC and I feel that it was along the same level of excitement that I would have enjoyed seeing Stonehedge or the Great Pyramids in Gaza. VERY nice busses that take you in total comfort for the drive.
We did the Shark/Sting Ray snorkel tour with the Coral Breeze. We booked independently of the ship, and we had a GREAT time....only 18 of us on this tour, and I would HIGHLY recommend it. The water was rough, but they did a wonderful job of keeping an eye on everyone and EVERYONE felt it was well worth the trouble of booking independently. Guides were MOST informative, patient and very friendly. We learned things on the way out and the way back. Had a fine little lunch that is included with the price of the trip, and the Burritos were HUGE!!!!! Our son Robert had one and loved it.
The ship was clean, very busy and PACKED! This cruise was sold out, but things moved very well after the embarktion delays. For some reason (and I am sure it makes sense to them) the moved the sign and sail card picture machine into a long, narrow hallway leading to the gangplank. THAT PART SUCKED! It was very narrow, and with wheelchairs trying to get down the middle between the two lines they had formed, it was a mess. I sure hope that this is not the norm, as last year it was in the main building where there is more room (and air flow) that you waited. Once past this part, things were great.
The ONLY thing that was a little off as far as I am concerned was the quality of the food...just kinda average for the most part. The service, staff and EVERYTHING else was most enjoyable, but the food just lacked much excitement for me this time out. Not bad, just not the GREAT quality we have come to love and expect.
Well, hope that covers it for you guys...any questions that I did not cover, please feel free to email direct and I will try to help you out. Sure know I was reading and re-reading everything I could find before we left, so sure that there are those that have a question I would be happy to help with.
When on the Elation, be sure to hit the Martini specials at the Sushi bar in the afternoons. They have a GREAT selection up there for only 1/2 price until 3pm...and they are YUMMMMMMMMMMMMY!!!!!! I think they were better than those at the regular bars for full price! Be sure to have a Cosmopoliton.......MOST SPECIAL!!!!
Thank you so much for the update - I've been dying to hear from anyone that went on the Elation - I leave in 4 weeks (four weeks from today I'll be sitting out deck . . . . well, you know how the daydreaming goes!
One question about Progresso, can you just get off the ship and have stuff to do or do we need to grab a cab someplace? We are trying to do Progresso as least expensive as possible because the whole family is doing the swim with the dolpin in Cozumel (booked off the ship and we're doing the full encounter thing). Anyway, just want to see Progresso without a lot of expense. Can you get off the ship and hit shopping with little expense or do we need to grab a cab someplace. How about for a beach location, same thing, need a cab and if so which beach do you recommend.
Did you have to stay in Galveston the night before, we are and are going to be in the Holiday Inn on The Beach - what time did you get to the ship to get on, we want to get on as early as possible.
Thanks again for the news, you've got me real excited now.
www.dolphindiscovery.com -- same place the cruise ship uses only less expensive and you can do different tours. The ship only allows the encounter - whereas by booking off the ship you can do a full out swim program where the dolpins tote you around, etc. As I stated above, it's the same place the boat goes to and I've been before - very reputable!
As far as Progresso, we got off and right onto the bus, so I am not sure about the area beaches. The area we dock is not a beachy type of area, more like an industrial pier type of place (if you have ever been to Playa Del Carmen on your way to Cancun, very similar as I remember). The city is very small, very poor. I am sure you could get a cab if you desire, and there is not much to do in the little town from what I heard, but it sounds like a place you could "see" in 1/2 a day, then most that did not book something were back on the ship by lunch.
We boarded the ship at 12:30 because that is the time we got there...they had started before. We left San Antonio at about 8am and drove down that day, so no over night stay and I did not hear anything about any of the hotels at all.
As for booking the Coral Breeze online, go to coralbreezelimited.com for their website. The website listed on the other response is for the Dolphin things in Cozumel. There WAS a change I forgot to mention...Chanakaab park now charges $12 per adult to get in, not the $10 mentioned (and even posted the day we were there) at the park. There were 8 ships in Cozumel the day we were, so if you plan on a Wednesday arrival, ensure you book anything you want early on because I can see that it will be easy for things to have been sold out. We just relaxed, took a cab to the park and snorkelled and worked on our sunburn! Still a real bargin, that place is soooo nice. We really recommend it highly to anyone that is looking for a nice, relaxing day in Cozumel.
In Progresso, you'll need to ride the free bus off the 4.8 mile pier. At the end of the pier is a beautiful beach with restaurants and shops. This is a seasonal vacation spot for Mexican nationals. Population is currently 25,000 but reaches 300,000 during height of season. You could easily do the day on the beach here and spend nothing. I did the Meridia City tour which was great but wished I had more time to wander around Progresso. You'll be pleasantly surprised. See photo posted under Glory 2,28,04