August 2016 - Carnival Elation to Caribbean - Bahamas
We had an overall good time on the Elation. This was me and my wife’s first cruise.
It started out rough because Carnival misplaced my extremely large suitcase in someone else’s on the first day. We arrived on the ship at noon on Monday and I did not receive my bag until Tuesday at 1pm. I was disgusted because I made about 10 trips to Guest Services and the basically just looked at me each time and said “Awww…..that sucks. Come back in a few hours” each time I went there. I also noticed that slightly brushed us aside whenever a Diamond member (or whatever they’re called) came up to that area of the desk and they jumped to help them. I know they are important but so were we. Then the last time I went to Guest Services on Monday night the lady that attended to us just pulled us aside with a lost luggage form and asked us to fill it out. She was just flat out annoying as she tried to giggle it off while my wife and I were frustrated because I did not have any clothes or shoes other than what I had on. I can’t remember her name but she had a Spanish/Latin accent. She even told us to walk around our floor and look for it ourselves, which we did anyway but that should be something she should be doing, not us. Anyway, not once did they even seem like they were going to look for the bag and they seemed like they were trying to be hush hush about it because they did not even do an intercom announcement. They said they would send an APB out to housekeeping to check each room. However, we asked a few housekeepers on Tuesday morning did they get the message. They said no message had been sent out (shaking my head). And to top it off, Carnival were not the ones to locate the bag – the guests whose room the suitcase had sit in for a day (which we’re still trying to figure out) decided to finally call Guest Services and said they had a suitcase in their room that was not theirs. If it wasn’t for that I don’t think my bag would have ever been located by Carnival. Isabel, the only Guest Services person who seemed to actually care about us, was nice when she delivered the bag and I give her kudos for making us feel better. The rest of those Guest Services people could use some personality classes. I also saw a few other people that didn't get their checked bags but luckily Guest Services had them in their office. They also sit bags that they are unsure of where they go out in the open near the lobby for people to come find themselves. Therefore, it would be very easy for someone to come along and swipe someone's bag, intentionally or unintentionally, and I really don't like that or the way they sit everyone's bag in front of their door because of the same reason. Maybe all cruise lines do this but it's very weird to me. Moral of story: carry your bag on with you if possible if you sail with Carnival and also don’t count on Guest Services to take care of any major problems that can’t be solved with a laundry voucher. They really need to either increase the staff so they can pay attention to people with issues such as mine or train them to actually care about customers in dire situations like that. Another issue we had is that we ordered a $25 decoration package for our room prior to the trip but when we arrived it wasn’t decorated. I called Guest Services a few times and at first they acted like they didn’t believe we ordered it. They finally decorated our room Wed night……the 3rd day of the cruise lol. The cake was good though.
After getting that out of the way, the rest of the cruise was enjoyable for the most part. Our steward Panya was great and kept our room clean and stocked with all that we needed. Whenever I ordered ice for our room, he made sure it was stocked for the rest of that day whenever we left the room. He paid attention to us and called us by name and we loved that. The room was clean and bigger than we thought it would be. The TVs could use updating as I was shocked to see a Zenith that had to be probably as old as the ship, which I think took its first voyage back in 1998 from my research. Not that you’ll spend most of the trip in the room but we did spend a good amount of time in there sleeping and due to the fact that there wasn’t really much going on during the day until we hit the first port on Wed. Most of the good stuff seems to happen at night. The pools were very small and I was shocked that Carnival thinks they are sufficient to serve a ship full of people but the water felt good.
The drinks were mediocre at best. The fruity drinks were very “syrup-y” and not really that strong. I suggest you get a shot or two before ordering mixed drinks so you get a buzz. We didn’t do the drink package but if you are going to rely on their drinks to have a good time then it might not be a bad idea to get the package even though it is overpriced. The shows were also good and we enjoyed the comedy shows. The nightclub on Floor 9 was also good. I wasn’t feeling the casinos because you can put cash into the slot machines but anything you win goes back on your Sail & Sign card. If I put cash in, I want to get cash out if I win. Another weird thing is that they have only 2 iron/laundry rooms that I guess they feel are adequate to serve an entire ship of people. Therefore, I’d suggest ironing all of your clothes on the first day because once people learn where the irons are there will be lines waiting for the iron and you’ll be in one of them. There are only 2 irons in each room.
The food was also good. The breakfast buffet was good and lunch items were also good. The best food was served at dinner in the dining rooms and it was great. We also had great service and met some cool people at our table. The photographers were also good. They take photos of you everywhere all day so you have plenty of chances to buy pictures.
Overall, it was a nice trip and we enjoyed being out on the ocean. Carnival has a great housekeeping and food staff but they really need to work on their Guest Services skills. Either train the people to act like they care or add a few more employees to assist everyone. I would also suggest they improve their luggage system so no one has to go through what I went through because you can’t run to Wal-Mart to get more clothes when you’re out in the middle of the ocean. You feel helpless, especially when the staff doesn’t do much to make you not feel that way.
Based on my experience, I’m leaning towards trying a different cruise line when I cruise again. Carnival didn’t really impress me with anything beyond the food and shows. But I may try them again in the future since they are cheaper.