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David & Laura Vader

Age: 40

Occupation:VP, Bank Management

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Elation

Sailing Date: March 16th, 2003

Itinerary: Mexican Riviera

Our 3rd cruise…we had been on Carnival Jubilee, Royal Caribbean Rhapsody & finally Carnival Elation. I was so impressed with Carnival our first time around; if they paid for referrals, I’d be rich now!

You have to wonder how there can be so many different reviews, which is why you want to know a little bit about the person writing it first. Find someone similar to you and your traveling experiences and skip the others. a few facts about us …

Love a good time and if one can’t be found, usually create it
Would never stay at anything less than a Marriott Hotel
Don’t mind paying for great service BUT appreciate great values
Married 16 years, 2 teenage children, 100k+ tax bracket

Embarkation/Debarkation – If patience is not a virtue of yours; consider taking up drinking or drugs to calm you down. Even if you have gone through this process before, expect to be confused and cranky.

Cabin – We were in cabin U150. Convenient to everything. We could have been upgraded to the Empress Deck but concerned about being directly below public areas. Next time we’ll try Veranda Deck. Our Cabin Steward, Yusef was very attentive. Consider taking a scented candle, disinfectant wipes, illuminated clock. No matter how clean the room, thousands of people have stayed here and used the bedding, etc.

Dining – We had the late (8:00 p.m.) seating in the Inspiration dining room. We were seated at a table for 6. Unfortunately, with 3 couples sitting at the table, we had to take turns sitting separately from your spouse. No real hardship except when kicking your husband to get his attention discreetly, don’t miss! Our waiter Noel was very efficient and enjoyable. His assistant, Noberto, was great too. Order 2 of whatever you think you might like – our favorite was the “Starters”. We ate all but 1 dinner in the dining room. Tiffany’s is perfect for breakfast and lunch.

We tried pizza and considered it o.k. Although a 24 hour Pizzeria, it should be called “Wait 8 minutes”. We ate at the sushi bar every evening. I’koman was the Sushi Chef and another asset to the Carnival Staff.

The “Rest of the staff” – Anyone outside of food service & housekeeping area would not be worth mentioning. As a Corporate Trainer, I have a few basic suggestions but they would be interjected with bad words.

Entertainment – Our most pleasurable entertainment experience was in our room. For a good time…make friends with everyone. This really is the best part of a cruise. We enjoyed “2 Slick”, interesting to watch, sit and listen. Plug your ears in the Drama Bar “James”’ he wouldn’t last 20 seconds on the Gong Show. “Music Motion” is an all Philippine Band that we danced to out of desperation. We went to a few of the shows in the Mikado. If you have super powers and can see through solid objects, then you will appreciate the Mikado Lounge. There are floor to ceiling poles strategically placed to block as much of the stage as possible. Took a nap during “Rhythm”, walked out on “Fiddler”, cracked a smile with “Meryl Hobbs”, “Steve Carte”, comedian/juggler was the only worthwhile entertainment (other than friends and husband). I love to dance but steer clear of “Ryan” in Jekyll & Hyde. In past cruise, this was a VERY fun place to be but this cruise, Elation catered to the age group of 18-23.

Ship Activities: Auction, Putting Contest, Gemstone Showcase were cancelled at the last minute and never rescheduled. All Games started 10 minutes late and were extremely unprofessional, unorganized and “hokey”. Simon Prendergast, Cruise Director should be fired.

Shore Excursions/Ports – I did an immense amount of research on each port and as we had been there before had a good idea what to expect. Las Caletas Tour in Puerto Vallarta was very good. The ocean was too choppy so we couldn’t snorkel or kayak but nice sunbathing area and wonderful massage. Carnival gave us a $40.00 credit since there were no activities and quite a few people were seasick. It is a beautiful island, good food, great service. Mazatlan, we hung out at El Cid Marina. Absolutely beautiful facility and will return for a week long stay soon. Cabo was fun too! We actually like the vendors!

Shopping – My favorite past time. Wal-Mart & Sam’s Club just a few blocks from the port in Puerto Vallarta, just in case you forgot something. Best bargains were in Mazatlan Arts & Craft Center just outside the enclosed vendors as you walk towards transportation vans. In Cabo, walk just a few blocks to Cabo Wabo. You’ll find unusual items of fairly good quality on your way there. Can’t beat the prices for watches, liquor or perfume while shopping on the Elation.

Overall Impression – I’m not sure what will induce me to try Carnival again. I’ll usually give a place “the benefit of the doubt” so if they have a non-smoking ship, lots of wind free sundecks, better organized and sophisticated ship board activities and cater to the average age cruiser, I just might “forgive and forget”.

Carnival Elation is for you! If you;
Yearn for lots of smoking areas: on every floor, by every elevator, down every hall, your next door neighbor. There are smoke free areas but you’ll inhale toxic amounts of smoke on your way there.
adore bingo
love to dance to rap
ardent admirer of a well rehearsed, “canned” Cruise Director
passionate about mediocre entertainment
love to wait
get emotionally attached to “staff in training”
do cartwheels when “your fun” is cancelled

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