Number of Cruises: 3
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Elation
Sailing Date: July 10th, 2005
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
7 Day Western Caribbean
My Husband and 14 year old son and 8 year old daughter and I went on the Carnival Elation. Overall we had a great time. We had previously sailed the Norwegian Sea and Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas. (All out of Galveston).
We drove down and parked at EZ cruise. The shuttle was not going to leave for another 30-45 minutes as we got there about 10:30. So we dropped off the bags at the terminal and my husband and son parked and walked back. We were on board by 11:00 or so. (Very Quickly) Getting off was another story. When we got off we were one of the last groups off and by this time the line for our shuttle was very long and we were informed that two of EZ cruises shuttles were out of commission. My husband asked if he could load our stuff if he went and picked up our truck himself. The security would not let most of the traffic stop and our cart guy had already dropped our stuff at the end of the terminal where the shuttle was. They could not guarantee us that the security would let us stop and load so we just waited in the line. 1 hour and a half later we were getting in our truck.
hint: You must get in a line to get the cart helpers for your luggage when you are getting off the boat. You can't just flag one down.
Due to the fact that we have always brought our kids with us we have never treated ourselves to an upgrade in the rooms. We were located on the bottom floor near the center of the ship on the interior. It was larger than any room we had had in the past and we were pleasantly surprised. Our room steward was very efficient and we have absolutely no complaints.
As we were leaving Hurricane Dennis was pounding the coast of Florida so we were pretty rocky in the water for the first 24 hours. I took my motion sickness pills and although I felt queasy It was not so bad that I could not enjoy myself. But other people were sicker than I was. After the first night things settled down and all was calm.
My 8 year old loved the kids camp but she is the kind of kid that would have fun as long as other kids were around. I found Carnivals kids camp to be very rigid and not as laid back as RC's. They would only let the person that signed your child in to be the one to pick them up. So if I dropped my daughter off my husband could not pick her up and they would only let persons that signed a release at the beginning of the cruise pick them up. Having my 14 year old son take her or pick her up was not allowed. They also carefully looked at the signature when picking her up. Even though they recognized me and would call her over to the door, they still insisted on inspecting my sign and sail card and carefully checked to see if my signature had changed. I wanted to change my signature by the last day to see if they would detain her! The room was also very small and their activities were more quieter craft like things versus the more energetic things RC had them do. They did have a a party on the last night and they took the kids to one of the bars for some dancing. My husband and I and some other parents tried to join them only to be kicked out. (For security reasons). It just seemed funny to me that they were fine with letting the 9-11 year olds wander the boat, but the parents could not join their children at a party. The other thing is if your child wants to perform in the talent show they do not allow gymnastics. They also do not allow Kareoke. Well, this was my daughters plan so after hearing she could not do either I asked if she could dance. They informed me they had to see the dance and it had to be the same one that she showed them. Since she is only 8 she feared she would forget the steps so she was intimidated out of performing. If your child wants to sing be sure and bring your own music. On RC they encouraged and helped your child put together an act and encouraged all children to participate.
I found Tiffanies buffet food to be really good. Better than RC and Norwegian. The had wonderful wood fired pizza around the clock. They also had hamburgers with warm buns and sautéed mushrooms and onions everyday. I never had their hotdogs but my daughter lived on them for the week. Their french fries tasted like McDonalds. (YUM) The breakfast was good. Crispy Bacon (Which we love) and they had moist and fresh pancakes and French toast. RC could learn from them on this one.
The dining room was a disappointment to my husband. He rarely had a meal he truly enjoyed. His steak was always too rare for him and I heard others complain about that too. The desserts mainly forgettable except for a few. The chocolate cakes were usually pretty good.
The temperature on the boat was too cold for me but I am easily chilled. Luckily I brought a sweater and wore it everywhere indoors. It was a pain to put it on and take it off all day as I went from indoors to outdoors. It was the same temperature as a grocery store so if that temperature suits you you will be happy.
In progreeso there is not much to do. If your child wants her hair braided do it here. We were quoted $25 for the whole head. We decided to pay that as we thought that was a fair price for an hours work. Our tablemates waited until they got to Cozumel and their starting price was $60! I think they ended up paying $45.
Hint: Use sunscreen on the top of your head after braiding to prevent sunburned scalp.
We went to Paradise Beach in Cozumel. My son got a henna tattoo for $12 which is the same I paid for a spray on for a little one for my daughters arm that only lasted 3 days. My sons is still there after more than a week. I just hope it comes off by the time school starts.
We did the Coral Breezes Caye Caulker and snorkeling trip. This excursion and probably all of them in Belize require a lot of riding on boats getting to and from Belize city. It took about an hour each way to Caye Caulker. The snorkeling is fine but their is a lot of swimming. Everyone jumps off the boat at the first stop and follows in a line way out away from the boat and then back again. I was so tired when we got out there I was hoping they would drive the boat to us to pick us up. No such luck, we had to swim back. I did not have on fins because they are hard on my bad knee and it was a struggle to get back. My husband was with my daughter and she had trouble with water getting in her mask. They were like the last ones to make it back. We were all exhausted. One poor guy was told to take his 4 year old with him since no one was left on the boat. Well, his son did not want his face wet. Needless to say he did not get much snorkeling done at this stop. We then went to Shark and Stingray alley and this was more our style. Everyone stayed by the boat snorkeling and checking out all the nurse sharks and stingrays. It was cool. My daughter did not even need her lifejacket here as she is a good swimmer. Then we went to Caye Caulker island and it was a very laid back place. We had the Belize stewed chicken and it was good. My kids ordered the grilled cheese and were surprised to find out that a grilled cheese in Belize is a sandwich with Unmelted cheese with a tomato, lettuce and cucumber. Well, my son ate it because he was starving but my picky daughter would not eat it because the tomato had touched her cheese. I did not taste it but it might have been really good. But their fries were cold. My son said he had wished he had ordered what we got. We arrived 45 minutes before the last tender back to the ship. My husband was worried that we would not make it back to the ship in time so if you are a worrier you might want to use Carnival Excursions in this port. But we did have a nice time.
The cruise director on this ship is the funniest guy I have ever heard. His name was George and I loved listening to him. The first show was better than the second in my opinion. We enjoyed watching them.
The midnight buffet was beautiful but the foods were weird so not really our style. You did not really know what you were eating. The bacon wrapped green beans were good as was the desserts on this night. Get the chocolate cake even if you don't get any food. It is worth standing in line for.
I had heard that Carnival was full of drunks and rowdy teens but I did not find that to be the case. In fact, I rarely saw my 14 year old and I was keeping my eye out for him all the time. Sure, we saw groups of kids but nothing disturbing. The worst thing I saw was someone had dropped their plate of food in one of the elevators and it had not been cleaned up. It may have just happened and with that many people on board accidents happen.
Anyways, would I cruise Carnival again? In a heart beat. Would my husband? Only if the price was too good to pass up. Feel free to email me any questions that I did not answer.