Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Elation
Sailing Date: n/a
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
My Husband and I took this cruise 2 days after we got married, and what a wonderful honeymoon we had! This site helped us so much - so I'm going to give it my all with the details!
We booked our cruise back in February of this year, through the Southwest Airlines website, and ticked off that it was our honeymoon ... this is very important - when you book your ticket, check off if it is a special occasion (see embarkation for reason).
Also - it really did speed things up having completed the FUNPASS online before we left. I reccommend doing this to everyone.
We arrived in Galveston Sunday August 14 at around 2:15PM (I'm lucky enough to have a friend that lives in Houston, so we flew to Houston on Saturday, and stayed with her Saturday night).
Getting to the cruise terminals is very easy, as everything is very well marked with road signs. My friend hadn't been there before, and we didn't look up directions before heading out, and we had NO problems finding exactly where we needed to be.
When you pull up to the curb at the pier, one of the valets that works at the pier comes right up to you, and helps you with your bags. We tipped one dollar per bag. We had read about this before our trip, and thought that we could manage our own luggage ... but that isn't really an option. Plan on having the valet take care of it for you. He/She checks it in, and then it gets delivered to your room on the ship.
We looked at our booklet of information the we received in the mail, and it said to ask for the Skipper's Club. We figured that this was because of our "honeymooner" status ... so into the terminal we went, and found the Skipper's Club.
We got to skip the line-up of people waiting to check in (like at an airport), sit down in a private office, check in, get our Sail'n'Sign cards, and then once we were done, we were taken over to the line of people that had already checked in and were now waiting to get onto the ship. The Carnival employee cut us into the front of the line so that we wouldn't have to wait. This is one thing that was a little awkward, as once the Carnival employee left, the people in line behind us that we had just been placed infront of weren't thrilled.
Getting onto the ship, they make you stop and take an embarkation picture, then you walk up the ramp to enter the ship on deck 7, the Empress Deck, at the bottom of the Atrium, by the Information/Pursers desk.
>From there they had staff to help you find your room, etc.
My Husband and I immediately found our room, which was V-15 ... this was on the Verandah Deck. Once we got up there, we realized that this was certainly not the room that we had picked when we had booked our cruise ... WE HAD BEEN UPGRADED TO A JUNIOR SUITE!!! How thrilled were we? This is why we had the VIP Skipper's Club treatment. We had a big bed, a vanity desk with stool, bathroom, closet/etc., a couch, coffee table, and our own private balcony with two chairs and a table. So ... it pays to mark off your special occasion, and to BOOK EARLY!
We received both pieces of my luggage before our 5:45 dinner seating, and my Husband's after dinner by about 7:00.
Because Jason didn't have his bags until after dinner, he was stuck wearing his travel clothes to dinner. Anything you want to have to change into - put it on your carry-on.
Also - I put our anti-nausea patches in his suitcase, and I would have liked to have had those in our carry-on.
When you first enter your room, you'll find your first copy of "Carnival Capers" on your bed. This is the newsletter that you receive everyday that tells you about all the ship activities.
Sunday, August 14:
Upon emarking, my Husband and I did a once over of the ship. We toured around to see the general layout, and check out the sundeck/pools.
We went through the Life Boat Drill at 3:30. We had to retrieve the lifejackets in our room, put them on properly, and find our muster station. It took awhile for everyone to get organized and herded into their respective areas, but for our muster station (F), they had put out chairs for all of us, which was greatly appreciated.
After the Muster call, we put our lifejackets back, and went to the Drama Bar on Deck 9 - Promenade Deck - and purchased two Adult Fountain Fun Cards ... this came to $88.00 for both of us, and yielded us unlimited pop/juice for the rest of the cruise. I know it was worth it for us ... you can purchase them at any of the bars on the ship.
By this time, many people had hit the sundeck, so have your bathing suit in your carry-on luggage if you want to do this.
We went to the Inspiration Dining Room on the Atlantic Deck (Deck 8), where we had the early seating of 5:45.
We were shown to our assigned table, and had a seat with three other couples all in our age range. Two others were also honeymooners, and one was a wedding anniversary.
We had a waiter, an assistant waiter, and a beverage guy assigned to us for the entire cruise.
You're presented with a menu with about 4-5 different choices for a starter, 2 salad choices, and about 4-5 choices for an entree. Then, you receive a separate menu with dessert options, once the dinner dishes are cleared. We rated our meals on a 1 (yuck) - 10 (yum) scale.
Jason had smoked salmon to start (8/10), a garden salad with blue cheese dressing (6/10), steak with peppercorn (8/10), and chocolate ice-cream for dessert (10/10 - he got two scoops).
I had chicken satay skewers to start (7/10), skipped the salad, fish of the day (8/10), and the napoleon for dessert (9/10).
Service was excellent, and we were both overall very happy with our food.
We left the dining room as soon as we were finished eating - which I would NOT recommend, as the Maitre'D and his staff impart some important information to you after dinner. We missed this and had to catch up later.
After dinner, we went to the Welcome Aboard Show in the Mikado Lounge on Promenade Deck (9). This show had singing, dancing, comedy, and some informative material about the cruise. I would recommend going to it.
After the show, we went to the Cole Porter Club on the same deck, to watch karaokee. What a riot!
On our way back to our room, we hit the Tiffany's Bar & Grill to get some of the 24-hour pizza. It wasn't gross, but it wasn't fabulous. We gave it a 6/10. BUT - it WAS available 24-hours a day.
We considered changing our seating time for dinner to the late seating time (you arrange this with the Maitre'D, and if you want to do this, you should do it ASAP), but decided that we liked watching the shows after dinner as opposed to before (as you do with a later dinner seating), so we stayed with the early seating.
The line-up at the Purser's desk was pretty long, so if you need anything, I'd reccommend going to the Purser's desk immediately after the Life Boat Drill. They close for the drill, and if you hurry you can get a good spot, since most people go put their life-jackets away first.
I think if you go there the first day, and it isn't a full ship, you can request a room upgrade. Our ship was full, so they had a sign up stating that there would be no room upgrades.
We completed our Shore Excursion request form (you get this in your room, and there are extras at the shore excursion desk) and submitted it into the box that was on the desk of the closed Shore Excursion Desk (hadn't opened after the lifeboat drill yet) ... this was super easy.
When Jason and I were ready to retire, we went back to our room, and were delighted to find the efforts of the turn-down service. We received two chocolates, and some beautifully folded towels, as well as the Carnival Caper for the next day. This was repeated every night.
When we tried to turn out our lights, nothing happened. We called the Purser, and they walked us through a few things, and when still nothing happened, they sent up a maintenance worker. He could not fix the problem, so he said that he'd send the electrician. The electrician arrived Monday morning, so we slept all night in the brightness of day. Wasn't too big of a deal, but kind of inconvenient. It was fixed promptly Monday morning, and we had no further problems.
Monday, August 15:
Helpful hint - if you think you're going to sleep in, put out your "Privacy Please" sign. We were awoken by housekeeping at 10:00 AM.
We got up, donned our suits, and hit the "Late Risers Breakfast" at the Lido Poolside Grill. They had eggs, bacon, ham, toast, omelet's, hash browns, sausage, cold cereal, yogurt, fruit, juice, coffee - pretty much anything you could possibly want.
We hit the sundeck as well, by the pool. It was not hard to obtain a lounger, and we raced down the waterslide a few times into the pool - which IS filled with seawater ... so it's salty.
We lounged the rest of the day and hit the gym. The gym had a few cardio machines, some free weights and weight machines, but no mats to stretch or anything. It was HOT in that gym too, since there was lots of sweating going on, and there were many windows which seemed to produce a greenhouse effect. I'd stick to walking/running on the outdoor track on the Sun Deck.
Another couple that we befriended participated in the "Survivor at Sea" activity. She won the whole challenge, and as a prize received a Shore Excursion for two in Belize worth $99/person!
We got dressed for the FORMAL Captain's cocktail party in the Mikado Lounge. This is worth going to, as there are really good hors d'oeurves, and free drinks. It's also pretty neat to shake the Captain's hand.
After the cocktail party, we went to the Captains dinner. We learned here that you MAY ask for seconds on any meal that you have ordered ... also it's good to note that if you aren't happy with anything that you order, they'll gladly replace it with anything else as long as you haven't finished the first meal.
Jason - Prawns to start (9/10), Caesar salad (8/10), Lobster (9/10) and SECONDS OF LOBSTER, chocolate ice-cream (8/10 - only got one scoop).
Lisa - Pumpkin Soup to start (9.5/10), no salad, Quail (8.5/10), Passionfruit Indulgence (10/10 - best dessert I had the whole time).
We went to "Rhythm" in the Mikado lounge which had music, dancing, singing. It was Vegas style, and we rated it 7/10.
If you want good seats for any of the shows, you SHOULD get there EARLY ... it fills up quick and there are some bad seats due to random poles in the theater.
We watched karaoke in the Cole Porter lounge afterwards, and stayed for the midnight show of comedian Lamar Wilkins. He was great - 10/10. Really funny, and not super offensive. Again - it was standing room only, so get there early to get a seat for the comedy shows.
While we were out, our tickets for the chosen shore excursion were delivered to our room.
Tuesday, August 16:
We did breakfast early in the Imagination dining room. Breakfast and lunch are open seating in the formal dining rooms, so you go, and you'll get placed at a table. Jason had french toast (6/10), I had Eggs Benedict (7/10).
Progresso Port - this was a neat port in that it has one of the longest piers in the world. You can't walk it, but there's a free shuttle that takes you to the beach.
Jason and I took a cab to Meridia - a city about 30 KM away from Progresso. We paid $60 for our cab driver to take us and stay with us until we re-boarded the ship. Meridia is a BIG city with Home Depot, Walmarts, etc. We went to the city centre, saw city hall, some gorgeous cathedrals etc. It was fun, but we were looking to do some shopping and didn't really find what we wanted.
The quality silver is pretty expensive (from what we expected), and so we didn't buy much of it. The cheaper trinkets available back at Progresso looked SOOO much cheaper, and we didn't buy any of it.
We also did the boardwalk up the beach in Progresso. In the 7-11 on the beach you can buy a 1L bottle of SOL beer for $2 US ... we bought two for our stroll up and down the beach.
The beach in Progresso was mostly populated by local Mexican people ... not many cruise folk ventured into the water here.
My suggestion for Progresso - do an excursion to visit some of the pyramids/Mayan Ruins. That's what we wished we had done. Also - it is much cheaper to get an excursion on the pier from one of the locals than to book it through Carnival.
Back on the ship, we ordered some sandwiches from room service for lunch (which is so great that it's included - but it is a limited menu). We watched a movie in our cabin.
For dinner - Jason had lobster bisque to start (8/10), garden salad with ranch dressing (7/10), beef sirloin (8/10), and kaluha cheesecake for dessert (6/10).