Doug Eads, Contributing Editor
Age: NOT FOUND
Occupation:Editor - Journalist
Number of Cruises: 40
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Elation
Sailing Date: January 8th, 2005
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
We were having Mid-West Chill a while back, and searched the Internet for Value and ports of call a tad new to us!
What we found of course was Carnival, a leader in the Cruise Industry for value, but the only port new to us was Progresso, Mexico. The one week cruise was from Galveston, Tx.
Good or Bad place to leave from?
Galveston, to be honest, is a port I can say...Been there and done it, and time to move on for a port city to embark from.
Galveston was fine, and had a nice old town section, and the cruise ships are right in front of the old town area, but as the port grows it is a bit crowded and chaotic embarking when a lot is going on. Time may have some expansion.
Oops the closest airport is Houston. We were told that Houston Bush was about 40 miles to the port. It was 83. We opted to save some $$$ and we rented an Enterprise Rental at the Bush International. I mention this name of rental for advice ... they have no DROP charge. The rental was ab out $38 with all taxes and the optional insurance for 24 hours, compared to the $70 for the Carnival Transfer for two persons.
Humm, good choice or bad?
After a hour of being lane harassed by Texans ... who drive like broncos on steroids ... I wished I had opted for the Carnival Transfer ... and Texas must not want you to find Galveston, as you will be in a lane ... it ends suddenly with the option to off ramp on an incorrect ramp, or feed into the Bucking Broncos in the faster lane ... which I had to do, and pray! I'd say 80 mph seemed to be Texas slow lane!
But once in Galveston the car proved a worthy exploration tool, so on whole a good decision. On way back the one way was $10 higher ... so I opted out of self-drive to avoid another road rage contest with me unwilling to drive Texas or Houston style of lane switching constantly at 20-39 mph above speed limits!
Elation at about 70K tons is a 90's lovely ship! She is the sister ship of former Smoke Free Paradise, and a lovely counterpart! The decor and amenities are excellent, from the steam and sauna, workout area, dining, deck space and pool and a lovely 6 or so story atrium!
Our cabin was standard outside with window, and was well sized and the a/c worked fine. We had an issue that our return vent did not work, but we were greeted with 3 fixit men and all was vented well in a couple hours, plus a letter of apology. This is class service!
The cuisine on Carnival is always a solid B to B+ and the service personnel are well educated in client pleasing. We had no problems throughout our trip with any room, or dining or other personnel. A plus service!
Yes, we had a couple great Production shows, and some featured acts that varied from good to better than average.
Overall we were pleased! What better way to vacation than to UNPACK and your hotel moves with you to enjoyable ports of call!
We had 3 lovely SEA days. For us this was super as we wanted days of sun and relaxing. Our ports of Progresso allowed us to see Chichen Itza the famed pyramid of the Mayan world, and then Cozumel, and Belize City. The Chichen Itza trips was long, but a long overdue trip and one we should all see to appreciate our fore-thinkers of the Mayan world! There is nothing going on in Progresso unless you do a shore trip.
Cozumel, we opted for a beach trip using local taxi cabs, and in Belize we did our own trip to an out-island for some snorkeling ... forget that idea ...
I made a mistake.
The island was very pretty, but beaches are non-existing in most of Belize and the snorkeling from shore is tough at best! Best to take Ship Planned trips as they know the when, where and why, and if our self-tour 30 miles away had not gone as planned...well off goes Carnival Elation without us. A sad day indeed that would have been, but having cruised a lot we sought more adventure, but it did not turn out that great!
We loved Elation Grade A
We loved the food Grade B+
We loved the Entertainment Grade B
Ship overall Grade A
We recommend the ship and Carnival. I had in mind the ship would be full of rowdy Texans out for a week of “Yee Haa“, after seeing the driving patterns in Houston! It was fine and our floor was quiet by 10PM every night. In fact our cruise as far as guest behavior was one of our best! Our room was cozy and comfortable with plenty of storage space.
Our room steward made us Towel Creatures each night to be funny and clever...and by the end of the week it was quite a sight! Monkeys here, Elephants there...fun.
We had a great
week and felt the Carnival Elation a great value and ship.