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Old July 8th, 2010, 02:56 PM
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Default Carnival Elation Virtual Cruise: July 10-17, 2010

I am the editor of CruiseReviews which is a sister website to CruiseMates. Paul and I thought it would be fun if I did a virtual cruise for this board, and so here I am! I'll be posting live updates from my upcoming Elation cruise, right here!

I live 300 miles north of Mobile, so the drive is easy and when I want a getaway I look to the Gulf coast since I can avoid flying and it's associated costs and hassles.

Although I've been on many cruises this is actually the first time I've even been aboard a Fantasy-class ship. I don't know how that happened, but given I did 5 cruises on the Holiday I expect some familiarity.

I leave for Mobile and the Renaissance hotel tomorrow and board the Elation on Saturday for one of the special 7-night sailings they are doing this year. We'll be in what used to be called a category 12 suite, which is now a grand suite.

Anyway, be sure to tune in and join me on this virtual cruise!
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Old July 8th, 2010, 03:20 PM
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Hi Dave,
I look forward to it, have a wonderful time.
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Old July 9th, 2010, 11:17 AM
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WOO HOO...

we are sailing on her August 19th....so this is PERFECT timing.

Ok....you know that I have to know....who the karaoke host will be and if the key control on the CAVS is working....

and you might want to warn the karaoke host that August 19th is going to ROCK!!!!

Linda
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Old July 9th, 2010, 11:18 AM
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Btw, we stayed at the Renaissance in May.

Very nice hotel..but weird layout with the parking thing. You can only enter the hotel from level 2.....
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Old July 9th, 2010, 06:26 PM
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The ride from the northern end of Alabama to the southern end was it's usual easy glide down I65. 6 hours and change counting a lunch stop. We at at the Renaissance Riverview Plaza, and it is important to note there are two Renaissance hotels within a block of each other. The other being the Battle House. Make sure you go to the right one. They will ask as soon as you drive up.

As lhp notes the hotel staff is great but the layout is a tad confused.

We are using the hotel cruise and park package which is a great deal. It includes parking and shuttles to and from the ship, plus 15% off hotel dining. We were given two shuttle times and chose 10:45am. Since we have VIP boarding I hope to be aboard quickly.

Tonight will be low key. Drinks and music in the lobby. Probably a room service sandwich.

The next update will be from the Elation!

Lhp....what is CAVS?
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Old July 9th, 2010, 08:12 PM
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The ride from the northern end of Alabama to the southern end was it's usual easy glide down I65. 6 hours and change counting a lunch stop. We at at the Renaissance Riverview Plaza, and it is important to note there are two Renaissance hotels within a block of each other. The other being the Battle House. Make sure you go to the right one. They will ask as soon as you drive up.

As lhp notes the hotel staff is great but the layout is a tad confused.

We are using the hotel cruise and park package which is a great deal. It includes parking and shuttles to and from the ship, plus 15% off hotel dining. We were given two shuttle times and chose 10:45am. Since we have VIP boarding I hope to be aboard quickly.

Tonight will be low key. Drinks and music in the lobby. Probably a room service sandwich.

The next update will be from the Elation!

Lhp....what is CAVS?
CAVS is the karaoke system that they use to play the karaoke disks.
It has a key control (some people call it pitch control) so that those of us with a limited range *that must have the song in their key to sing it....
can change the original key...into the key they need.

There should a guy playing in the lobby. He was pretty good last time we were there. We sat there for awhile and listened to him...but there were TWO weddings going on at the hotel that weekend...and things were a bit nuts in the lobby...so we did not stay long.
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Old July 10th, 2010, 04:10 AM
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Hi Dave, Looking forward to your reports. Best wishes for great weather and a wonderful cruise.
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Old July 10th, 2010, 09:47 AM
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I just wanted to wish you a GOOD MORNING.

If you got a "river" side room....you are looking at the Elation as I type.

We were on floor 8 or 11 (I think) and I do believe the Captain could have seen us from the window if we had waved.....

I am interested to see if Mobile Terminal allows the hotel shuttles "in and out" without having to wait in that LINE!!
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Old July 10th, 2010, 03:34 PM
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Live from cabin U111, this is the first shipboard update.

Our hotel shuttle left promptly at 10:45am and we were sitting in VIP check-in at 10:55. After a brief wait we were called to board and were sitting in the buffet area at 11:15...and this includes my wife having to use a walker due to at broken ankle. The shuttle used a service entry which would bypass the line of usual cars at the pier. I say "would" because there were no cars in line. There was no line at all. Even as I type this I have not seen a line and I do not know why. Where is the traffic? Half the parking garage was empty at 1pm.

Lunch was good, with my traditional Carnival corned beef on rye. The silly Alabama liquor laws limit what the bars can sell in port, but you can get something wet and cold.

Two of three bags were waiting for us when they opened cabins at 1:30pm.

Anyway, I am quite happy with embarkation. The safety briefing is at 3:30pm. No life vests!

The Mobile port staff as usual was very courteous and charming. Great port once you get inside it.
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Old July 10th, 2010, 05:06 PM
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Great news about no lines!!!!!

Wish we were there.....

oh wait....with this virtual cruise... we are....(almost)
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Old July 10th, 2010, 06:12 PM
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Well of course, if we had driven to the pier it would have been a zoo of cars.

They are having a Carnival Legends audition on this cruise. Looking for people who sing like James Brown, Aretha, Elton, and Rickey Martin. Sounds like NCL got Carnivals attention with the Epic Legends At Sea. This will happen at karaoke tomorrow night. I can't wait.
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Old July 10th, 2010, 06:17 PM
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We just left the pier an hour late. Some guests were delayed and the ship waited for them. I am on 3G with my iPad and I love it! But it will end soon and I will have to use ship's Internet.

More tomorrow.
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Old July 10th, 2010, 07:20 PM
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Well of course, if we had driven to the pier it would have been a zoo of cars.

They are having a Carnival Legends audition on this cruise. Looking for people who sing like James Brown, Aretha, Elton, and Rickey Martin. Sounds like NCL got Carnivals attention with the Epic Legends At Sea. This will happen at karaoke tomorrow night. I can't wait.

Sadly, we will be on a 4 day cruise ... so no Legend or Talent Show.

But I will STILL ROCK KARAOKE!!!!

Who are YOU going to be????
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Old July 10th, 2010, 07:28 PM
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I love going on virtual cruises also as fun as being on the ship. I took the Elation out of San Diego before she headed back to Mobile. What are your ports on this cruise? Have a great time and thanks for sharing this experience with us.
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Old July 10th, 2010, 09:32 PM
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You can tell that I am not a karaoke person. I didn't know the legends thing was done routinely.

I was going to hold off until tomorrow but decided on one more note for today.

With the previous noted delays we just now passed by the famous light house at the entrance to Mobile Bay. There is NO smell of oil in the in the air and in the dusk I can't really see any oil in the water.

Had a filling and delicious dinner tonight. I had the Grecian chicken and rigatoni which was good, tropical fruit salad, and a wonder creme brulee. Carnival has really done a great job upgrading their food over the past few years and they have every right to crow about it.

Only one show tonight - at 10:30pm - and that will be the usual welcome aboard show and therefore I won't be going.

Our Grand Suite is in outstanding shape although the water runs a light brown at first (rusty pipes).

Okay, I am really done for the night! More tomorrow.
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Old July 11th, 2010, 06:54 AM
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That's a perfect location on the Fantasy - class ships for a Grand Suite. Easy elevator access. Yea, they have been having the Legends shows for many years. I think lhp was Aretha once, maybe more times than that. Is Michael the Piano Bar player? Glad you got off to a great start and with a good dinner. Say hey to Lisa for me. If Edward still is the bar manager on Lido, (which I doubt this long) make friends with him. He'll take care of you.
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Old July 11th, 2010, 09:14 AM
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That's a perfect location on the Fantasy - class ships for a Grand Suite. Easy elevator access. Yea, they have been having the Legends shows for many years. I think lhp was Aretha once, maybe more times than that. Is Michael the Piano Bar player? Glad you got off to a great start and with a good dinner. Say hey to Lisa for me. If Edward still is the bar manager on Lido, (which I doubt this long) make friends with him. He'll take care of you.

Michael's contract (piano bar) ended July 3rd. He and I were able to meet up in May when the Fantasy ( on her last run) and the Elation (on the way from California) were together in Grand Cayman.

We had lunch and got to spend 3 hours catching up.

Yes, I have been Aretha...but thankfully only once. I was TERRIBLE.
( we could not find anyone willing to do it .... so I took a bullet for the team)

I have been Gloria Estefan twice...and Brittney Spears once...and I did ok with both of those.

But my best performance was as Elton John.

Then I have also been Sonny and Cher......
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Hubby ... DIAMOND (every ship except the Carnivale)
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Old July 11th, 2010, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Beers View Post
You can tell that I am not a karaoke person. I didn't know the legends thing was done routinely.

I was going to hold off until tomorrow but decided on one more note for today.

With the previous noted delays we just now passed by the famous light house at the entrance to Mobile Bay. There is NO smell of oil in the in the air and in the dusk I can't really see any oil in the water.

Had a filling and delicious dinner tonight. I had the Grecian chicken and rigatoni which was good, tropical fruit salad, and a wonder creme brulee. Carnival has really done a great job upgrading their food over the past few years and they have every right to crow about it.

Only one show tonight - at 10:30pm - and that will be the usual welcome aboard show and therefore I won't be going.

Our Grand Suite is in outstanding shape although the water runs a light brown at first (rusty pipes).

Okay, I am really done for the night! More tomorrow.
The Legend Show is done on ALL the ships that routinely do 7 day cruises or longer.

It is on SOME of the ships that do 4 or 5 day runs. The Imagination had it...the Fantasy did not. Sounds like the Elation does....but it will be on 5 and 7 day cruises...not 4 day. So it sounds like the Fantasy class is hit and miss.

The Triumph does not have it. (I am not sure about the Destiny. I will find out in DECEMBER!!!) woo hoo
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Me ... DIAMOND (every ship starting with the Tropicale)
20 year old son ... DIAMOND (every ship starting with the Tropicale...he is the only DOUBLE Milestone under the age of 21)
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Old July 11th, 2010, 12:21 PM
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Sunday July 11, at sea.


This is one of those posts where I am typing it on OpenOffice and will then do a copy and paste to the board. It helps cut down on internet usage. Thus I tend to ramble....


I've often said the seas “were like glass”, only to have people tell me there is no such thing. Well, I'm afraid I'll have to insist because as I write this we are seas that look like we are skating on a mirror. Could the gloss and lack of motion in the water be from the oil leak? I can't say but there is no hint of oil in the water – at least not anything brownish. I still can't smell oil although at breakfast this morning a man who has built ocean oil rigs insisted he smelled oil as we departed Mobile Bay. I didn't but he is the expert so he may have been right. I think the important thing to come away with is he is the only person I heard talking about oil, which means by and large the passengers were not dwelling on it (no pun intended).


Breakfast was in the main dining room for us. I've come to dislike the buffets on older ships since the layout is conducive to long lines forming unless you get there at opening time. Every buffet station on the Lido deck was devoted to breakfast this morning and each had lines. Why people shy away from the dining rooms for breakfast and lunch is baffling sometimes. But it is your cruise, so have fun in the lines! Actually I do use the buffets but mostly for a snack or just coffee and rolls. I plan to have lunch at the Mongolian wok buffet today. It smelled wonderful yesterday.


It is sunny and not too warm yet. Already by 9am the pool deck chairs were full. If the day holds like this, it might be one of most pleasant we've ever had at sea. No winds, mid-80's temperatures, and those mirror seas.


As I said in my first post, this is my first time aboard a Fantasy-class ship. I have to say I like it overall. Owing to the ship design, not all elevators go to all decks. This is bothersome for someone with a handicap such as my wife, since we have to go all the way forward to get an elevator to the Lido Deck, even though we are mere steps away from the aft elevator bank. This is something to consider in cabin selection if you are unable to use stairs.


For lhp: Danni is the karaoke host. I got there after they had started so I didn't ask about the key control, but I will say everyone I heard was on-key so I think they fixed it. I'll ask before the cruise ends. Speaking of karaoke...some good talent on this cruise. An older gentleman took the mic last night and as soon as he spoke before the song I knew it would be good. Rich baritone. He blew the place away singing “Your Cheatin' Heart”.


Tonight is the first “cruise elegant” night. Although not required I will wear a suit. It was a convenience really since the suits were cleaned in bags ready to go into the suitcases. When Carnival changed their dress suggestions to finally allow “dress shorts (long)” on “cruise casual” nights some people (especially on my website) were offended by it. I don't understand the problem. If I show up on a casual night with a golf shirt and nice shorts on (and I plan to), how is that ruining someone else's evening? It isn't as though I am wearing gym shorts and a Bud Light t-shirt. Get over it. If you want to wear a tux every night then knock yourself out. Just don't insist I dress to your expectations when I am dressing to the cruise lines standards.


So with prime rib (medium rare) and horseradish in my near future, I'll be back with you later!
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Old July 11th, 2010, 01:57 PM
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Quote:
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Sunday July 11, at sea.

......


As I said in my first post, this is my first time aboard a Fantasy-class ship. I have to say I like it overall. Owing to the ship design, not all elevators go to all decks. This is bothersome for someone with a handicap such as my wife, since we have to go all the way forward to get an elevator to the Lido Deck, even though we are mere steps away from the aft elevator bank. This is something to consider in cabin selection if you are unable to use stairs.


For lhp: Danni is the karaoke host. I got there after they had started so I didn't ask about the key control, but I will say everyone I heard was on-key so I think they fixed it. I'll ask before the cruise ends. Speaking of karaoke...some good talent on this cruise. An older gentleman took the mic last night and as soon as he spoke before the song I knew it would be good. Rich baritone. He blew the place away singing “Your Cheatin' Heart”.

...
Dave:

The Forward and the Aft elevators go to Lido.....but the "middle" elevators do not on this particular class.

I am excited to see I will get to sail with a new karaoke host.

Yep, you can always tell when you hear them talk...it's going to be good.
I just hope they don't waste him on Garth Brooke. That rich baritone needs to be FRANK in the Legends Show....
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Old July 11th, 2010, 05:29 PM
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Ok...if I am on this Virtual Cruise....


does that mean that I get to do "virtual" KARAOKE!!!!
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20 year old son ... DIAMOND (every ship starting with the Tropicale...he is the only DOUBLE Milestone under the age of 21)
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Old July 11th, 2010, 05:33 PM
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I really wasn't envious until you mentioned the prime rib and horseradish sauce!

Enjoying your account, Dave.
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Old July 11th, 2010, 11:22 PM
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Michael's contract (piano bar) ended July 3rd. He and I were able to meet up in May when the Fantasy ( on her last run) and the Elation (on the way from California) were together in Grand Cayman.

We had lunch and got to spend 3 hours catching up.

Yes, I have been Aretha...but thankfully only once. I was TERRIBLE.
( we could not find anyone willing to do it .... so I took a bullet for the team)

I have been Gloria Estefan twice...and Brittney Spears once...and I did ok with both of those.

But my best performance was as Elton John.

Then I have also been Sonny and Cher......
Thanks lhp, That schedule John posted isn't the most accurate. Glad you got to have lunch with Michael. He is the nicest guy. We enjoyed a beer on the Legend and had a nice conversation at the Lido bar. He remembered you being Aretha.
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Old July 12th, 2010, 10:51 AM
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Hey Dave-

Sounds like you are having a great time. I like the Fantasy Class ships myself even though the first and only one we have ever sailed on was the Fantasy. Its strange that way but fro some reason we have not picked a cruise on another. We did try to sail on the Ecstasy (or the Elation.. its was one of the "E" names) before Katrina hit and they moved the Conquest into Galveston and replaced her fro cruising.

Now that the Holiday is no longer in the fleet, the Fantasy class ships are the smallest ships Carnival sails with. They are a good size fro cruising if you like the smaller ships.

Keep up the good work with the blog!
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Old July 12th, 2010, 12:01 PM
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Lhp, thanks for the correction. I meant middle elevators were closest and we have to go either forward or aft and that is a trek for someone using a walker.

The Internet was down this morning for scheduled maintenance?! It just now came back while I was playing a game on this iPad. I have an update on my net book and will upload it shortly.
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Old July 12th, 2010, 12:23 PM
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Monday July 12, at sea.


The seas this morning are not glass but they are still barely rippling. Sunny and warmer than yesterday. I got up before the family so I ran up to the buffet for breakfast and am sitting here poolside at 9am doing this update. Elation has very good wi-fi.


Yesterday afternoon and evening were fun. I watched the World Cup final which was broadcast throughout the ship at all bars. I really wanted Netherlands to win but wasn't surprised with the outcome. It was also the day for typical poolside Carnival stuff like the hairy chest contest and a mixologist contest which was won by a lady from Australia. What's cool about that is the winning drink recipe is available at all bars within 30 minutes of the contest ending.


I had a Mongolian stir-fry which was just the way I like it....hot hot hot! And with fresh mussels in it too! One thing to note: at peak lunch time if you sit in the forward port side of the Tiffany buffet restaurant (the corridor area leading from the pool deck doors to the main serving area) you had best like pepper-infused smoke. The smoke from the woks outside gets drawn inside by the ventilation and those in seats near this area get deluged with smoke. This is compounded with people constantly coming and going and so the sliding door stays open. This didn't bother me but many passengers were coughing. Not much they can do about it other than relocate the Mongolian wok station, and there aren't many choices for that. Not a big deal, just something to be aware of.


For the first “cruise elegant” night I was surprised at the number of guests in suits, jackets, ties, nice dresses and gowns, etc. Probably half the passengers were thus dressed. For those following along about the shorts...I didn't see anyone in the dining room wearing shorts.


The dining room food continues to impress me. I had prime rib medium rare and it was perfectly done. So tender I could cut it with my fork. Others at the table had the roast duck and said it was excellent. The lobster and shrimp plate was also available. We have had fine service from our wait staff. The bar waiter less so. The maitre'd came to see me and introduced himself and asked how things were going. I didn't see him go to other tables so I guess he heard about this virtual cruise. That also might explain the bottle of very decent champagne that arrived at our cabin yesterday. Ah, the perks of being a powerful member of the travel media! (yeah, right. Me?)


LHP has me going to karaoke for some reason and it was good last night. We didn't see all of it so I don't know if anyone auditioned for the Legends show.


On this type of cruise the main shows always seem to be variations on a theme I've seen countless times. So I prefer to wander around the clubs and listen to the singers and bands. I'll have to post their names later but the young lady singer by the Drama Bar is very talented. Same goes for the rock band that plays in the Romeo and Juliet club. They had the whole place rocking and rolling and it was great fun.


Tonight is cruise casual attire and I'm going in with calves showing.


One more thing about karaoke...what is it, some sort of sub-culture? Danni is on a first name basis with many of the passengers and she called them up to do one of her favorite songs to close the show last night. It's like "Dave, get up here. You too Linda. You are going to sing my song for me".
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Old July 12th, 2010, 02:28 PM
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Dave...

Yes, Carnival has a Karaoke contest every cruise where they find "winners" by the end of the cruise who sound like certain artists and they put them in a big production show. It is their version of American Idol, and it really is a lot of fun. The crowds love it.

I only know hat because I went on a cruise to see the Fantasy class upgrades.

You have to give Carnival a lot of credit for being able to squeeze every last dollar out of those old ships. Personally, I would much rather be on Dream or Splendor, but people still go on those old ships and love them. Just to be fair, I feel the same way about the older ships on almost all cruise lines. I like to stick to post-2000 whenever possible.

You can't knock the Mongolian Barbeque or Sushi bar, or the water slides, though. They are fun ships and a bargain to boot.
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Old July 12th, 2010, 05:12 PM
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Yes indeed, there is no mistaking the Elation for a post 2000 build. The décor betrays it as a 1990's ship. However it is spotlessly clean, everything appears to work properly, and I cannot find any evidence of wear and tear. Although it is a Fantasy class ship, I believe both the Elation and Paradise are newer than the Destiny.


The crew has been nothing less than wonderful. They seem very happy and in sync. This no doubt has it's foundation in officers and managers who value crew morale.


I can't resist the Mongolian wok. I had it for lunch again today and loved it as I savored each spicy bite with sweat pouring off of me. For those who like spicy hot food, you know what I mean. I guess it is a pain and pleasure thing.


A complimentary fruit basket was just delivered to our cabin. Thank you, Carnival Elation!


Tonight's dinner menu doesn't excite me that much, but then I can always get a flat-iron steak, mahi-mahi, or chicken breast from the always available entrees. But I may go with the braised beef short ribs. We'll see.


We are south of Cuba heading for Mo Bay in the morning. I am not a fan of Jamaica so I really just want to stay on the ship when it will be barely populated. However my wife and son have this need to get off the ship just because we are in a port. I guess that means we'll be doing some sort of shore thing.


If you use the internet on Carnival it is a good idea to keep up with the specials they offer. For instance, this afternoon if you log on between 4 and 6pm (one logon only) we will get 50% off the minutes used...or in other words double minutes for that login time.
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Old July 12th, 2010, 05:24 PM
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Dave - Sounds like your having a great cruise. Smooth seas, good food, and great service. Just my kind of vacation !
Thanks for doing your cruise updates. I have 39 more days to go, till we sail on the Truimph, out of New Orleans.

Happy Sailing to all;
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Old July 12th, 2010, 05:29 PM
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You know - you are SO right about the Internet specials. They run them all the time and they can really add up.

A lot of ships will give you 20 minutes free if you buy an hour on a certain day, for example.

That is a good point about the dates of ships. I believe Elation was the first ship with pods (or was that Ecstacy?).

I love Destiny, it is one of my favorite ships, and fells much more modern than any Fantasy class ships. It is all those balconies and the very cook decor, especially in the piano and jazz bars (on Destiny).

You can't beat the flat iron steaks on Carnival - excellent food and on the menu nightly.
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