Carnival Elation Cruise Review to Mexico

Contributor Level: Deck Hand

1 cruise (first)


Helpful Votes

4 out of 5

A great way to start cruising

Sail Date: November 01, 2009

Reviewed: 7 years ago

Traveled As: Singles/Friends

Room Type: Oceanview

A group of 11 friends cruised together this November on Carnival Elation. It was a quick 3 day trip with a stop in Ensenada, Mexico. We have all traveled before, but not all of us had cruised, so we tried this cheap entre into this kind of vacation.

The boat is older and because the cruise is cheaper, it brought a different crowd. I will always remind myself "you get what you pay for" and that was true to some degree here.

All the things people had told me in the past about cruises were also true: The food was delicious, we had lots of folks serving us from various elements of the cruise and the rooms were insanely tiny. It was also, true, though, that I was in the room only to shower and sleep and it didn't matter. In fact, the bathrooms were perfectly accommodating, so there was plenty of room to comfortably shower and get ready (from other reviews, I was terrified the bathroom would be the size of an airplane bathroom!)

The food was excellent and our dinners were great. The buffets were well stocked. All service staff were pleasant and not annoying (nothing over the top, but they served our needs very well). It was a very international staff, which was also fun.

Sailing was also easy, the boat was quite rocky the night we left, to the point of us stumbling a bit as we walked. Pro-cruisers in our group swore it was quite unusual and we all took Dramamine and were well by evening's end.

Ensenada was beautiful and cruise and city staff there were very accommodating.

We DID NOT book excursions through the boat. Rather, we got off the boat, shuttled to town and booked the same excursion for half the price. Sightseeing, shopping and the Blow Hole event for $15 a piece and a tour guide that took us to his favorite lunch place (and ate with us, by the way!) It wasn't a full day, either, yet filling. We left the boat about 10 a.m. and returned by 4 p.m.

I do wish the cruise was a bit fancier, but you can't control other guests. Our group wanted to dress quite formally for the elegant evening and even on casual nights, we were cocktail dressed. Sadly, other cruisers still wore jeans or inappropriate clothing (overly revealing) but again, you can't control what they do and perhaps a more expensive or longer cruise would bring different people willing to be fancy.

The staff work hard to entertain you, but it's often a bit like summer camp. The comedian was awful, grungy, slimy and inappropriate (And we are FAR FROM a prudish crowd. There's a difference between adult humor and "redneck").
The hypnotist wasn't very good. We chalked it up to "C'mon, if these guys were great entertainers, would they be on a lesser ship of a cruise line doing the same schtick for different tourists four times a week? Probably not..." and that was more of the "you get what you pay for." We were in a large group and made our own fun and found the trip to be pleasant overall.

I would recommend this as a starter cruise--for those unfamiliar with how they work, or nervous to cruise. It was easy and inexpensive, we ate well and found ways to be entertained for three days.

I probably won't do a Carnival cruise or one this short again, however, because the glamour and old-fashionedness of cruising was missing. Now that I've experienced it and my questions and concerns have been covered, I will spend more next time for a grander experience.

Pros: Excellent food

Cons: caliber of the ship

Recommends Carnival Elation? No.

Service and Staff
Ship Quality
An old, dated ship.
Food and Dining
We ate very well and all food staff service from top to bottom was excellent.
Cabin / Stateroom
It's small, but functional. You're not there much and the bathrooms (a key part) are accommodating.

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