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Age: 45

Occupation:Financial Services

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Elation

Sailing Date: 2011-02-7

Itinerary: cozumel and calica

This review is strictly fo rthe Elation sailing out of the port of Mobile Alabama. The embarking process - luggage from cars to parking the car is excellently orchastrated. If you have ANY trouble standing for long periods of time a VIP pass is the way to go for embarkation. I would also suggest a wheelchair if there are ANY issues with walking uphill for any distance. Passengers are allowed on ship beginning at 10:30 sharp so be sure to arrive at terminal no later than 9:30 to have a relatively short wait. there are plenty of waiting chairs if you get there a little early. .

Once on board especially if your are part of the early crowd I would suggest going up to the Lido deck for lunch. As more people board the ship the lines get longer and longer. You are allowed in your room at 1:30 so be sure to check any luggage you don't want to haul around with you. However, we checked our rooms about 1:00 and were able to get in and leave our carry ons to go explore the ship. The elation was fairly clean. Our room was not so spotless on the first day but did improve throughout the cruise. .

There is essentially only one interior deck for the casinos and other small show rooms. The other decks will take you outside for periods of time which is great if the weather is warm and not so windy. This particular cruise was in February and the waters were a little rough. It was not unbearable and most passengers just took a travel sickness pill and were fine. This is my second winter cruise and both had rough seas (the first had 14' swells) (this one only had 5-7' swells). Overall the cruise was pleasant but nothing stood out as a you have to see this moment. The number of photographers for this small of a ship was rather annoying. The photographers were lined up along the entire distance of the only interior corridor with ocenview windows. It felt as if you were at a state fair midway with carnies asking to guess your weight or come play thier ring toss game. VERY IMPORTANT - if you are planning on doing the behind the scenes tour of the ship make sure to make your first stop after you board the ship the excursion desk. This tour is only open to 16 people per voyage and fills up quickly. Also, if you are with a party and you have been assigned different dining rooms make sure to see the Maitre'D prior to the dining time. He is usually available about 1pm but guest services will be able to give you the exact time and place. If you wait until dinner time to try and get your party seated together it may not happen and the distance between the dining rooms includes two elevator rides on different elevators.

Food on a cruise...hmmm. Well, first of all there is lots of it. some of it good and some of it not so good. between all of it you will definately eat enough to not go hungry. The Lido deck has the food. The exterior food area by the slide pool has a mongolian stir fry station on one side and a burger and chicken finger station on the other. Both are again ok but nothing special. The stirfry station does not add any seasoning during cooking so be prepared. Also there is no terriyaki sauce only soy, steak and bbq of some sort. The fries and hamburgers tasted better than I expected for the lunchroom cook style. Inside there are two food bars inside with the same selections. Try one of everything. It's part of the cruise experience. In the center you have your desserts. followed by the ALWAYS A TREAT ICE CREAM station!! Then appropriately followed by the salad and fruit station. Toward the back of the dining area there is a sandwich station and a pizza station..

The dining room food is one of the best treats on board a cruise. Here are some things to remember. You can order as much as you want. Feel free to have 2 or 3 starters and even 2 main courses if the menu has something that sounds interesting to you. Also, if you don't like what you have ordered send it back and order something different. I say this not to abuse the all you can eat food policy on cruises but because the chefs are from all parts of the world and it is a great way to experience different cooking styles. Also, contrary to popular belief and advertising food is not always available on the cruise. The exception is room service. There were several times when we went to go get something to eat and there was nothing to be had. The pizza station was open but we had to wait 10 minutes for a slice of mediocre pizza..

Dining room menu. The first, second and fifth night were very good. The third night I had to order three different main dishes just to get something that was edible. I later discovered there were several other passengers that did the same. Here are a few suggestions and comments. See if you can get a weekly menu from the dinning room to decide which night you would rather eat in one of the fine dining rooms. You can also eat your evening meal on the Lido deck. It is my understanding from some passenger comments that the Lido was serving some of the same food we were having in the main dining room. On the night that they serve lobster order two orders. The lobster tails are small and the shrimp was a little tough. The lobster bisque is in a red sauce not the white version we are used to on the Gulf.

OK - I had the opportunity to physically see most all of the stateroom configurations while onboard. One note, don't be afraid to get a room by the elevator on this ship. We had a group of about 300 and several commented that they were aprehensive when they saw their room was by the elevator but was pleasantly surprised that the never heard the elevator. The interior rooms were very basic but had plenty of room. remember if you are sharing an interior room with someone you may want to bring a small flashlight to get around if the lights are off. The porthole rooms were essentially the same as the interior except there were at least two of the porthole rooms that seemed to have additional lighting. The window suite - upper deck - We had one of these rooms and ws very dissapointed that you had to crawl over the bed to get to the window. other than that it was ok. just a standard room. the Balcony suite - verandah deck - I would definately make sure you had an unobstructed view. Although I don't think the lifeboats were against your balcony they would definately block your view from your room. You would have to be on the balcony to have a view. The balcony term used in reference to the elation is more like a ...well... stoop. there is NO ROOM to sit on the balcony. There are two chairs and a small table on each balcony. The balcony size is about 2.5' by 5'. I will try to described the smallness to the best of my ability. take two chairs - face them to each other - put a 12" square table between them leave enough room to open a 24" door and you have your balcony. It is so small that you have to climb onto the chair to close the door. You can turn the chair to face toward the sea but you have no room for your legs to hang down in front of your chair. There is definately not enough room for two people to stand on the deck at the same time without being smaller in size and hugging each other While the balcony suite is worth the extra money to have the ability to not feel like you are riding in an enclosed box don't plan on enjoying sitting out on the balcony sipping mohito's. The room itself was ok as far as square footage. It was nice to have a couch to sit on instead of always having to be on the bed to sit. There are two cabinets under the tv area. The lower is for the small fridge. At first I didn't think it would be cool enough to keep food fresh much less cool drinks but I was pleasantly surprise. The middle area is a waste of space. it houses about 24 assorted wine and drink glasses. This suite is not large enough to hold five people much less a hold a party. This space would have been better left empty for use as the cruiser saw fit. The Larger Suite - I was able to view one of these cabins but did not go out on the balcony so I can't give as detailed of a report. however, as compared to the smaller suite the additional room and the location of center ship (which means a little less of the rocking motion) would have been worth another one to two hundred for a long cruise. the layout was essentially the same as the smaller suite so the biggest difference is location and a little larger balcony

On board activites were ok. nothing to write home about but there was definately always something planned. The interesting part is that for most of the activities the crowds were fairly small. some of the activities only had 15 people. the largest crowd was for the bingo and dance classes. There were very few young children on this particular cruise but the seemed to have a good time. the teenage crowd were kind of bored. Remember this cruise was in February and there were only two good warm days for swimming. If the cruise was in the summer months I am sure the teenagers would have been less bored.

There was one excursion in calica that offered a trip to cozumel and another city. Reports said that the travel distance was too great and they should have chosen only one city to visit. Heard great reviews from the stingray swim. i also heard great reviews from those who just chose to get a taxi and see calica cozumel on their own. The only negative I heard was for the ruins trip. The comment from the cruisers was that they saw and learned more from watching tv than what they learned and saw on the excursion.

Overall the trip was satisfactory. The food was ok and the carnival entertainment ok. As I mentioned earlier we were part of a group which had about 1/3 of the ship. We brought our own entertainment which was about 15 gospel signing groups which included several grammy award winners. Our entertainment was fantastic. We had three solid days of commedians and signing groups. In fact at one point there was about 75 cruisers not in our group sitting just outside the theatre enjoying the show with us.

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