Number of Cruises: 15
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Elation
Sailing Date: June 15th, 2003
Itinerary: Mexican Riviera
This was our tenth [or so] cruise with Carnival, and our sixth to the Mexican Riviera. We are unashamedly big fans of Carnival and of the West coast of Mexico. We are SoCal residents, and drove to the ship. This was our first time to use the new terminal at Long Beach, near the Queen Mary. Unfortunately, we received no prior instructions on how to get into the terminal so it was trial and error the first time. There was some sort of event going on in the nearby park and traffic was backed up for quite a ways. We finally got in and found the parking structure to be more convenient that the old huge parking lot at the San Pedro terminal. [$70 a week, and mostly covered. Pay when you leave.] The embarkation process was quite efficient, and the personnel friendly and courteous, with the possible exception of the security personnel, who were not Carnival employees who were sour and cranky, and apparently not too bright.]
We had requested an inside cabin, as usual, but were upgraded to a "porthole" cabin, way up forward, so it was like looking thru a torpedo tube to see out the window. The stateroom was on the "Main" deck and very comfortable- identical to every other Carnival room we've had. The cabin steward was the usual efficient elf who cleaned the place at all the necessary times. Puerto Vallarta was nice as usual, though very hot and humid at this time of the year. We didn't get off the ship except to shop in the little Mercado on the pier. I noticed much more pier security that in previous trips.
Food this cruise was quite good, probably better than any other Carnival trip so far. The true test was the lobster and it was tender and juicy, and hot, not the sometimes tough overdone tail you sometimes get. Dining room service was excellent and the organized waiter antics were kept to a minimum. We had an excellent set of table partners, well-matched to us. Carnival is great at selecting compatible table mates. We always ask for a table for ten as a good way to meet others.
Mazatlan was fine, better weather that PV. This time we took the Stone Island tour, upon the recommendation of previous fellow travelers and we were very glad we did. It was a pleasant catamaran raft ride out thru the mouth of the bay, around El Faro Point and around to the beach located on the south side of the island that forms the south side of the harbor channel. The ship was visible for some time, just over the low hills. The island is primitive with low palapa-type restaurants and beaches like those in the picture books, white sand, palms and gracier blue water in protected covers. You can take horseback rides or horse cart rides through the coconut plantations, all included in the tour. Lunch and an open bar both on the boat and on the island rounded out the perfect day of relaxing and cavorting in the surf. The vendors are there but well controlled. We may go back and stay there a week.
Cabo San Lucas was as fine as I've ever seen it, beautiful sun a fresh breeze and temps in the low 80's. Just perfect, even for one of the most perfect places on earth.
Carnival can always be counted upon for the perfect cruise. Do as much or as little as you please, lay back and enjoy or dance the night away. Tips this time were added to our Sail-and- Sign account, so that saved us a good bit of time and trouble getting the right combination of bills all into the right envelopes.
One lesson we learned. Don't go cruising just after school lets out...too many kids, too much noise, but I suppose if you have kids of school age, all the other kids will keep them busy. The Camp Carnival staffers were working hard on this cruise! Otherwise, perfection- Thanks Carnival.