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A BIg City Vacation
Publication Date: July 20, 2014

We just had to sail on one of biggest ships in history and have an experience that would be very different, and it was. We went to the Bahama's, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten. We have been to these ports many time but wanted to experience the ship so I won't talk about the ports. First, embarkation was amazingly easy. They have a terminal with the capacity to check-in a massive amount of people. RCL didn't just try to use the old system but instead effectively planned for the 6000 passengers that would descend in a short period of a few hours.

In each port they also had 30 by 30 foot portable classrooms on each dock with multiple security stations rather than try to run people through metal detectors on the ship entrance. This worked great and avoided the crunch at the gangway entrances. Again, somebody was thinking. Debarkation was also smooth and very quick. It's the fastest and earliest we have ever gotten off a ship. There was a long line at customs but it moved quickly and took, maybe, fifteen minutes. Don't hesitate on scheduling a flight out

of Ft. Lauderdale a noon to 1:00pm, you'll make it with plenty of time. We played it "safe" and ended up sitting around the airport all day.

Now about the ship. Our balcony cabin was on the 11th deck in the back overlooking the Boardwalk. Normally I don't like rear cabins because there is so much engine/propeller vibration. That was not a problem at all as it was very smooth and we rarely even felt this huge ship move. The inside cabins on the Boardwalk were great as they are sheltered from the wind. The inside balconies on Central Park often had a lot of wind as do the outside balconies. We used our balcony more than we ever have before. This ship itself is overwhelming.

The jogging track is one of the best at sea and is only 2.4 laps to a mile. Beware of a few people who think this is a nice place for a leisurely stroll and will walk side by side blocking the runners. On one occasion we saw one runner take a spill twice because of people who blocked the track. Some people are just oblivious to what is going on.

Entertainment was amazing, the best shows at sea. We saw a shortened version of Hairspray which was of touring company quality. The ice show was excellent. They had Clint Holmes, a Las Vegas regular, fly in and give a fantastic performance. The Aqua/Diving Show was very entertaining and very unusual. Be sure and book your reservations well in advance for these shows as there isn't enough seating for all the passengers.

The food in the dining room was good, not fabulous, but equal to all other cruise ship standard. This isn't a negative comment because it was good and we gained 5 pounds during the week. We "discovered" the Solarium for breakfast. It has the healthy food and was never crowded. It is for adults only and made for a very relaxing breakfast. It became our hide-away area. During "sea days" the dining room has a nice buffet with a great salad bar. They have the best chopped salad bar you will ever find. Every sea day we ate here. There is also a little Cafe in Central Park that has the best French dip sandwiches on a fresh roll. Now for the negatives. The Windjammer buffet was a nightmare. It seemed smaller than the buffets on some of RCL's smaller (but still large) ships. We ate there only 3-4 times. It was super crowded and congested. To RCL's credit they stopped people at the door and wouldn't let them in until there was a table available and then they seated the people otherwise it would have been a disaster. One time we saw the line go out both doors and wind down the stairway. A ship this size needed a huge buffet or two separate buffets. This lack of preparation and planning made this a huge negative. If you eat most meals at the buffet, avoid this ship.

The second thing that bothered me was during the karaoke night when the passengers could sing with the band. I think they called it "live karaoke." It only lasted one hour and should have been done every night. With 6000 passengers the talent was unbelievable, however, there were crew members who did four of the songs during this brief hour. One crew member did two songs. Given the short time frame that meant there were passengers who didn't get to perform. The crew should not be taking away from passenger participation. I wanted to tell the cruise director about this but he was impossible for me to find.

So, how would I rate this cruise overall? Half way through I decided I didn't like the huge ship. We took a wonderful cruise on the small Ryndam earlier in the summer and I loved that ship. But, I have to admit the ship did begin to grow on me. It was congested at times but you have to think of it as a big city vacation and not a relaxing country vacation. I would sail on the ship again, but only if it was a special itinerary and the ship just happened to be going there. Overall, it was a unique experience and I'm glad I did it this once, but I prefer a smaller ship.

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had a great time in 2011 - going again in 2014
Publication Date: July 19, 2014

I found Elation to be a great ship - not as crowded as the huge ships so I had more fun

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very exellent great price too
Publication Date: July 16, 2014

Our 5th cruise, This was 3 weeks mediterranian may 2014 from Barcelona to Venice. Everything was Perfect, We were on the 5th level which has slightly bigger balconys (the lowest balcony level). The boat was full but never had any waits except a few times for dinner (we had open seating). The buffett was not bad but we loved the normal restaurant. Most always all was perfect- When you order a steak medium rare it is always so. There was always room at all shows and pool areas and whirlpool. We like Celebrity a tiny bit more. I can not say enough that this was way excellent in all aspects.

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