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Sue

Age: 56

Occupation:Art Teacher/Painter

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Elation

Sailing Date: March 23rd, 2003

Itinerary: Mexican Riviera

We went to Mexico on possibly one of the busiest weeks of the year, Spring Break. The ship was filled with young people, which pleased us, because we brought our two teenaged boys. Our boys, being shy, did not connect with ANYONE the entire week, so spent a lot of time in their cabin. The opportunities for connection DO exist; our kids just were too shy to participate. This was the case for other kids too, I noticed. In the meantime, my husband and I sort of flitted from one activity to another-- listened to classical music in one location, had a couple of rock-and-roll dances in another, threw some change in the slots, etc. (there is always eating). We enjoyed the ship and many of these conveniences. Our cabin steward was extremely accessible and very nice, esp. about waiting until our kids were finally out of the room to clean it! All the staff was very friendly and upbeat-- .

It's easy to spend money on a cruise ship. They are constantly trying to get you to part with your money, either gambling, horse races, bingo, or continual sales on board. Of course you can ignore all this, which we did. If it overwhelms you, go find that quiet place to escape.

Embarkation-- takes awhile, but very smooth. We had our luggage by about 7:00. We actually didn't sail until 6.

Debarkation--- confusing, but here's the deal. Go down to the Cole Porter lounge with all your papers and family at anytime, early. (they made it seem like you would be called for this, but it isn't necessary) Then get some breakfast and go to the stations they tell you for debarkation, at the time when they tell you. It is quite simple and when you leave your luggage sits right in front of you.

The ports: Sign up for offshore excursions IMMEDIATELY on boarding the ship, or you will likely not get them. We hardly had any and people really loved them. I heard you could get excursions onshore, but you have to be sure you will get back to the ship before departure. We stayed mostly at the ports, did a lot of walking and let our kids have a few excursions. If I were to do it again, I would rent a car and go see REAL Mexico, not just the ports where you are constantly asked to buy things and get in a taxi. By the way, it is IMPOSSIBLE to not find a taxi back to the ship. They are EVERYWHERE. Mazatlan was our favorite port, because we went into old town and got away from that for a bit. Even rode in an actual bus. We are not shoppers, so all the toursity stuff is a waste for us. We did go to lots of galleries and enjoyed the art of the region.

Food-- the food was good, not fantastic, but good and lots of variety. Our wait staff was WONDERFUL!!! You can eat all day long. We never made any buffets, and I had pizza only once, and it was very good. I have been on Weight Watchers, and was worried about the amount of food, but there are tons of choices and always healthy alternatives. My only "bad time" was the discovery of the "Sweets Treats" time, and they have these wonderful peanut butter cookies,, mmmmmm.

The last day was very rocky-- high waves, and those of us unprepared were quite sick. It took me over a week to get over it, too, so if you were interested in a patch, I'd suggest discussing this option with your doctor. Once I got seasick, the motion tablets did no good.

Have a good time!

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