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Age: 35

Occupation:Self employed

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Elation

Sailing Date: 2012-02-6

Itinerary: Caribbean

While it was nice for my husband and me to get away, the Elation did not live up to my expectations. The ship's decor looks outdated, the food in the dining room was awful, and the housekeeping staff was always crammed into the hallway near our cabin. Our excursion to Chichen Itza was meant to be a one-hour guided tour with a one-hour self explore period. Instead, our group was manipulated for an hour and fifty minutes while our Mayan tour guide embellished stories about each building, often going into totally unrelated topics and holding us hostage in the scorching sun while he rambled on about god knows what. Cozumel was a nice day window shopping, but I don't need to go back ever again.

Food on the buffets was okay, but the constant closing of the buffets became a major problem. If we decided to wait until the lines thinned out, we were usually too late. We subsisted on ice cream for most of the week. The food in the dining room (evening dinner) was downright awful. I didn't finish a single entree all week. By the end of the week I was very frustrated with the food selections, lack of availability, and the constant rumbling of my stomach to be full of something other than ice cream.

Stateroom had one electrical outlet which meant it was a coin toss to see who got to use it. Plenty of storage for clothes, but nowhere to store empty suitcases. Bathroom was tiny, with what appeared to be black mildew on the shower floor tiles. It was covered with a small rubber mat to keep us from slipping while the ship rocked. Our medicine cabinet seemed to have dry-rotted hinges which made a horribly loud creaking sound anytime we opened it. Other than the totally outdated color scheme it was adequate, if not a little disappointing.

We didn't participate in many of the activities because of the large amounts of alcohol being consumed by the other passengers. We watched karaoke almost every night, which culminated with the last show of the week, Carnival Legends, in which some of our fellow passengers were selected to sing in character (Cher, Tina Turner, Neil Diamond, etc.). That was a lot of fun, especially since we'd seen them all in their vacation attire during regular karaoke.

Go to Chichen Itza. It's one of the seven wonders of the world, so it should be on your list. However, when you get there, do your own guided tour & enjoy yourself. If your tour guide is Julian, I'm sorry, but you're about to be suckered into some really tall tales. Bring a book on the site and do it yourself. In Cozumel, plan to do a little window shopping (trust me, there is nothing for sale there that you NEED), then spend the rest if the day relaxing under the palm trees near the gangway mall.

Overall, it was an okay vacation. However, for the money, I'd have preferred a different type of vacation, with a clean hotel room, better choices for food, and less consumerism...everything is an extra on a cruise, including the pamphlets they try to sell you at Chichen Itza! The casino is a smoking-permitted area, which you must walk through to get to the dining rooms, so that's sort of gross. It also has the very faint odor of sour carpet/urine. The dining room always seemed to smell like fish, and not in a good way. The housekeeping staff always seemed to be knocking on our cabin room door, which got very annoying. The ship needs a serious update in terms of decor; it looks straight out of the 80s. Food was less than mediocre, which was hugely disappointing since there are two full days at sea with no opportunity to eat anywhere else. I won't be recommending the Elation to anyone.

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