May 2016 - Carnival Elation to Caribbean - Bahamas
I just returned from a 5-day cruise with Carnival that left from Jacksonville, Florida and traveled to Half Moon Cay (Carnival's private island) and Nassau, Bahamas. I was aboard the Carnival Elation. Overall, I enjoyed the cruise.
The good: The service was OUTSTANDING- I can not stress this enough. The staff was super friendly and helpful 24/7. Some of my favorites were Sagorn who never stopped entertaining and made the best mojitos, Adi who took great care of our room and belongings, Marnadi who always greeted us by name, Vukasin (aka Mr. V), Patcha made getting our delicious coffees a great experience, Eko, and Marie Jane. Max, Matt, and Alex were constant entertainment and had awesome energy and personality.
The rooms were very clean and a good size.
The dinner that was scheduled each night was wonderful and gave a great fine dining experience each and every night.
We chose to do the Snorkel and Sail excursion in Nassau and it was a blast!!! Our instructors were very knowledgeable and friendly. I highly recommend this excursion- just make sure you do the earlier time so that'll you actually have some time to explore Nassau afterwards.
The bad: The alcohol package was VERY deceptive. The prices are listed BY DAY so we waited to buy our package while on the ship thinking that we could purchase it by day (obviously we wouldn't be drinking 15 drinks on the ship while in the Bahamas) but once we boarded, we were told that we had to buy it for the entire week and now that we waited, it would be $50+ more (per person) than if we had purchased in advance!! Also, I was under the impression that you could use your alcohol package on their private island (after all, isn't that one of the pluses to a private island- the cruise line that you've already paid a ton of money for owns it so you can use your reward programs there??) Not the case at all!! In fact, all the drink prices there were increased. I will never buy a drink package from them again and I don't recommend anyone else purchasing it- especially when in comparison to their competition (with Royal Caribbean, there is no limit to the number of drinks, every person in your room isn't required to purchase a package, and you can use your alcohol package on their private island.)
The amount of time spent at our two destinations was extremely limited- especially considering the fact that it was a 5-day cruise. We got to spend 8am- 4:30pm one day on Half Moon Cay and 8am - 4:30pm another day in Nassau. By the time we were done with our excursion, we only had two hours to explore Nassau.
Minor things I would have changed:
The ship was obviously older and a bit outdated. The tvs in the rooms are probably from the 90s and the carpet looks pretty tacky.
You are given a paper itinerary for the following day each night. Other than that, there aren't any itineraries listed on screens or anything other than one spot on the boat. Very inconvenient.
Also, very few clocks are found throughout the boat.
The layout of our boat (Carnival Elation) was very confusing. For some rooms/locations you have to go up or down a floor just to go left or right to return to the previous floor. After a couple of days you get familiar with it, but it is a super confusing layout.
Like I said before, overall I really enjoyed the cruise but there are definitely some things I would have changed.