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Natalie

Age: 29

Occupation:Middle School Teacher

Number of Cruises: 4

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Elation

Sailing Date: 04-20-2009

Itinerary: Baja Mexico

Background:
I took a 3-day Spring Break cruise with my friends and family from 4/2/09 to 4/5/09 out of San Diego, CA. Overall, this was a great cruise due to its affordability, their lobster dinner, and their fun cruise director. I got a little sea-sick in the beginning, so don't forget to bring some Bonine just in case. I was a little worried about the college Spring Breakers, but they were not a problem at all. In fact, they were cordial and respective to families w/ kids.

Parking:
If you arrive by car, I highly recommend parking at Park and Go. The rates are $7 per day with this coupon: http://www.longtermparking.com/COUPONS/cpparkandgosan.htm .
There is a free shuttle that takes you directly to the pier. Our driver was really friendly, so I gave him a tip.

Embarkation:
My friends and I arrived at 12:30 pm to check in. It was a breeze because we all had our Fun Pass (online check-in) completed. It took us about 15 minutes. Since we only brought carry-on luggage, we headed straight to the lunch buffet. The food menu was a mixture of Mexican, Italian, and American. It wasn't too bad, but nothing spectacular.

Food:
I was not too impressed with their breakfast service. There was an omelette station that moved really slow. Most of the time, it was only one guy handling the extremely long line. The breakfast food was the same all three days. The lunch menu was a little more diverse with the normal buffet, grill station, pizza station, and Mongolian stir fry. The burgers were delicious, the pizza can be made fresh if requested (24 hrs BTW), and the lunch buffet changed daily. The stir-fry was too salty. The sit-down dinner menu was my favorite. The lobster was superb (I ordered two!) and the waitstaff were highly attentive and entertaining. Do partake in the formal dinner (I didn't see any guys in tuxedos though) and take some professional photos. Some of the backgrounds were quite charming.

Stateroom:
Since I've been on Carnival before, I got a discounted rate on an oceanview room. I loved it! We saw dolphins swimming and jumping near our ship and the view was awesome. Our attendant was friendly and made some cute towel animals. The shampoo and conditioner were not that great, so I would recommend bringing your own. Carnival does provide soap and even a shaver. The rooms were mostly clean, I just found dust on one of the hardcover books.

On board activities:
Out of all the cruises I've been on, this cruise director was the most energetic and enjoyable. My favorite activity was the evening Lido Deck party. It is a must-do! The dance class and towel folding class were informative and fun. The best show was the Hypnosis Show. I thought their broadway shows were cheesy and monotonous. Their costumes were atrocious. I did like the singing, though. I'd say check out at least one show.

Excursions:
Since the only stop was Ensenada, we took the shuttle to La Bufadora. It is cheaper to get your own tour off the ship. I believe it was about $18 total. You get to see the blowhole (45 min ride), do some shopping, get a free margarita, and even cruise around downtown Ensenada. We went early so that we could be back in time for lunch on the ship. The only downside to the La Bufadora area was that the salespeople were way too pushy. If I ever go on this cruise again, I would probably stay on the ship since Ensenada was not too exciting.

Disembarkation:
We got up early, had a leisurely breakfast, and waited it out on the Lido Deck. Don't wait indoors, it gets too claustrophobic. It was much nicer to be outdoors and take some last minute pictures. Bring a book or a magazine if you don't like to wait. The exit process was pretty smooth. We got out at about 9:00 am.

Overall, this was a fantastic cruise!

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