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Wolf Wickham

Age: 41

Occupation:Real Estate Developer

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Elation

Sailing Date: May , 2002

Itinerary: Mexican Riviera

An exceptional cruise experience! I am a well traveled person who took the Mexxican Riviera cruise with a six month pregnant new wife. The pacific is a little choppy and Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta were intensely humid and disappointing [lots of poor people, a few rich, and us tourists], although Cabo San Lucas made it all worthwhile.

Did you know that the "cheap' interior rooms on the near center line of the lower decks are just as big and beautiful -with much less motion? We had a starboard ocean view room that was really wonderful and constantly cleaned. You will be spending most of your time elsewhere anyway.

Tipping on Carnival is not mandatory like other cruise lines, and you will find that the staff really works for it's tips. I sent a request to the captain, who has better things to do, to read a brief renewal ceremony for us if he had time I did not expect that he reserved a lounge and provided us with a cake, champagne, a photographer and a couple of large portfolio photographs with his best wishes! I and my wife will not forget this fine Italian Captain or his old world charm. The first officers and two of our dinner guest companions also attended. I certainly expected to pay something for all of this, but the entire affair was compliments of the captain. I believe there is normally a charge of a few hundred dollars for a wedding ceremony, and would have been well worth the cost, as my experience was FAR more memorable than a $10,000 affair at home!

I no longer drink but have always enjoyed fine dining, so I will say without hesitation that the food was very good and occasionally exceptional, and room size well above the average industry standard, a beautiful modern ship with very attentive staff with somewhat crowded pools. These are the reasons Carnival is number one. It is very possible to have a bad cruise experience, but I can't believe the weird crap reported in some these reviews.

If you don't gamble and run up the bar tab you will have a great time! Two of our sunburned dinner companions spent a lot more on booze, canned tours and gambling than they did on the cruise fares. It's against the "rules" but you can pack a quart of booze or two [it's illegal but some folks I know put in a shampoo or rubbing alcohol bottle] in your baggage if you like to drink. Gambling is for suckers but that's your deal.

The Elation has moved over to Galveston from L.A., which is good because the Caribbean is less choppy than the Pacific, and although I would like to try a different ship, I believe I will book her again for my Mom and in-laws in the near future to go with us on a 7 night Western Caribbean cruise. Something always goes wrong with every vacation trip -even with savvy travelers, [I bought a $10 calling card when we were in Puerto Vallarta at a reputable Pharmacy chain -only to have it not work and no way to return it], so travel light and comfortable, stay away from the crowds and the canned tours, keep an open mind, and relax.

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