We arrived in Galveston VERY early, thanks to the men with us. They were too excited to sleep, so we drove down in the middle of the night. On this trip, it was me, my s.o., dd, and her bf. (hope I have those abbreviations correct!) We met my sis and her family for breakfast-they were vacationing there-rode the ferry, went to Wal-Mart ( of course, can't go on vacation without going to wally-world!), and finally it was TIME! Found the E-Z cruise parking lot without problems. The only problem we had then, was they were busy or didn't have enough shuttles, or something, because we had to wait about 45min in the heat and humidity. We finally made it to the ship. Going through security was quick, check-in was another matter. We were not asked about fun pass(they were done!), just pointed to a line to wait in. Of course, this was the slow one.
Anyway, we finally checked in and made our way to our room-R230. In the dungeon at the back! We were very impressed with the size, all 4 of us in an inside room, and it wasn't too bad! The decor could sure use some upgrading though, kinda Motel-6 shabby. The bathroom size was more than adequate, the storage was great. I am glad we brought the over door shoe rack thingy and the power strip. One hint-bring your own pillows! The ones we had were flat and hard.
The ship-very pretty. This was our second cruise, the first being on the Rhapsody 2yrs ago. I liked the decor of the Rhapsody better, and getting around was much easier. On the Elation, there didn't seem to be any thoroughfares, you always had to go up, down, or around to get anywhere.
The Food-Tiffany's was great, never long lines, but we usually weren't there at peak times. The pizza is the best! Inspiration dining room, second seating-service was outstanding, they have the Rhapsody beat! The food was delicious and well presented. The only thing we weren't thrilled with was the lobster, since when do you need a steak knife to cut lobster? My s.o. and dd's bf ate breakfast once in there, said the food was cold, so they opted to go to Tiffany's for all their other breakfasts. I, on the other hand, opted for room service every morning. Very quick, fair selection, and great coffee!
Activities-now here is where there could be room for improvement. The few deck-side games I saw were limited in participation, like 3 couples for the balloon toss, etc. And they were pretty sparse. Survivor at Sea-out of 3000 people on the ship, they chose only 12. Need more activities that more can participate in. However, never had a problem getting a deck chair, didn't see any "saving" of seats, and not too terribly crowded. Were TONS of kids, more on that later. AND-the pool band is not as bad as everyone has been saying! It was so nice to just lay around, have a foo-foo drink and relax.
We only booked one shore tour through the ship, Barrier Reef Snorkle in Belize. Had to wait about 30 min in line on Monday afternoon, was only one person working the excursion desk.
Shopping on board-typical cruise ship stuff, but they did have one section of the store that everything was $10, pretty neat.
Did the free facial demonstration, hair demonstration, and galley tour. The galley tour was great, when we got in the Mikado lounge to wait for it, I thought, "how in the world are all these people gonna go through that kitchen?" But it was fine, and very interesting. After that, they had a napkin folding demonstration, and had all the towel critters on display.
Ports-Progresso was so much more fun than I anticipated after reading things on these boards. We went on the $2 tram ride through town. Then went exploring. Found the local market, complete with chickens hanging from the rafters, fish being cut up, the smells, the flies, and the occasional dog wandering through! Then...we found the "2 coronas and beer lanyard for a $1"! YEAH! And walked along the beach, it was VERY pretty and clean. Didn't get in the water, kinda like Galveston's. Went shopping, have the best bargains here.The suprise of the day was when we made it back to the pier, there was a party going on! Had the drum band from the beach there, and beer and tequila shots. It was a hoot!
Cozumel-Taxied to Chankanaab park for SNUBA and snorkle. SNUBA was $50p/p, I don't know what snorkle was, I had my own mask and snorkle, rented a vest and fins for $8. It would have been perfect, but a storm blew in and the water got choppy and dark. The park is gorgeous. Had Guacomole and chips and beer at the snack bar. Then went to Senor Frogs-kids' idea, not mine-but had a ball. Wish we had time to go to Paradise Beach .
Belize-the highlight of the trip. Did the Barrier Reef snorkle tour in the afternoon. Thought it was gonna be jammed packed, but it wasn't. The ride out to the reef is supposed to take 45min, but it didn't seem like it. The water was crystal clear, beautiful coral and fish. I never even made it to the island! They had kayaks you could use if you wanted to. The ride back was even better, rum punch with real rum in it, not watered down. That morning, we took a tender to Belize city, beautiful people there. They met us with flowers!
Did some shopping, got handmade baskets and a hand carved shark. I would have liked more time to explore here. TIP-you set your clock BACK 1hr the night before.
Shows-didn't go, but dd and bf did. Loved the Vegas show, and the "R" rated comedian afterwards!
Casino-2nd highlight of my trip, because I won enough on the last night to pay for my s/s card! Also, placed 3rd in the blackjack tournement!
Kids-This ship needs a curfew!!! Rhapsody had one 2yrs ago, my daughter will attest to that! There were kids running wild at all hours. Saw a group literally jumping on and over the furniture in the Cole Porter lounge at 1AM! And another group playing soccer in the lobby where the elevators are on our deck. Also, need someone to ENFORCE the "adults only" hot tub, pool, and shows!
Disembarkation-Painless, except it meant we had to leave. All in all, we had a great time, but don't know if we would sail this ship again, especially when school is out! I have all the Capers, and a complete price list of shore excursions, will scan soon, and will be able to email them to any interested.
thanks so much for your review - we are sailing elation 8/8/04. if you have time to scan everything, i would love to look over them. my e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. i have an excursion list dated april 2004, so i have prices if they haven't changed or added new excursions.
on the barrier reef snorkel, could you get to the beach without getting in the water, or did you have to swim? i ask b/c one of my daughters doesn't want to snorkel, yet i don't want to leave her on the ship. i'm wondering if the beach & snorkel area are close enough together where we would feel comfortable snorkeling while she is on the beach. she typically only wants to get in knee-waist deep. would it be safe for a 16 year old? i'm really hoping she will change her mind about snorkeling. our other thought was the biking in belize.
I was glad to read your review, we cruised Elation 6/27 - 7/4. I found your experience to be much like ours. Except the food was not any good anywhere. This was our first cruise and we were not impressed at all. I was expecting a more sophisticated experience but felt like I got a floating Howard Johnsons. Our cabin stewards were average, couldn't tell ;you the name of our waiter, the CD had the most annoying smokers voice I couldn't stand too much of her. We travel alot, we make it a point to go on a nice family vacation every summer, someone suggested we try the cruise scene. Well, I haven't totally ruled it out but next time I will take a different cruise line. I was even offered a very reduced rate on my next Elation cruise because I happened to be the highest player on my slot card for the whole week. I would not take the cruise again even if it were free. I do need to say that the ports were awesome. I agree that Progresso was much more than I expected. We also took the Barrier Reef snorkel and loved it. We swam with Dolphins in Cozumel and loved it as well. Unless there is a much more classy ship from Carnival I think we will try something different. Some of the people onboard I think spent every last penny to go on their vacation of a lifetime. One day security even had to seperate two ladies who got into a fist fight at the Karaoke bar!!! I would prefer not to lounge by the pool with those people. I should stop now or I could go on forever. Thanks for your post and I'm glad you all had a good time.
The Barrier Reef snorkle boat anchored in water close to the island and I could stand up in it when I exited the boat at the rear. My s.o. said they would come get you in a kayak too and take you to the island, but I saw quite a few people wading to it. I hope you have as good a time as we did! Happy Cruising!