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Carnival Elation Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western

Contributor Level: Third Mate
Experience: 1 cruise (first)
Reviews: 2
Helpful Votes: 17

Overall Rating:

2 out of 5
Verified Review
5 Night Western Caribbean (New Orleans Roundtrip)
Sail Date: August 24, 2013
Ship: Carnival Elation
Cabin Type: Inside
Cabin Number: E124
Traveled As: Family (older children)
Reviewed: 4 years ago
My family and I were on the carnival Elation Aug 24-Aug29. It was our first and last Carnival experience, (my mom and step dad had had a previous poor experience, but decided to give it another go). Let me just say I have been working in hospitality or customer service for the last 6 yrs, and at an aging Milwaukee hotel until its closing in late 2012 for most of them. I completely understand that older structures come with their own set of issues. Though these issues can effect a trip, ultimately it's the people you work with and the customer service provided that can make or break an experience. Let me also say that I was 23 weeks pregnant at the start of this trip.

On our first day, we had a pleasant boarding with very courteous bellman and friendly check-in clerks. (Should you have multiple adults in the room, or if you want your kids to have spending abilities, make sure you ask that all key cards have spending abilities. Otherwise you will have to have it done at the customer service desk on ship, which will most likely be a negative experience, as the wait time in line alone is generally at least a 20 or more min event -Unless you paid the extra "faster to the fun" fee or are VIP. Make sure to make that investment). We went to our room which was smaller than I had expected, but clean and nice enough. The toilets weren't working for a while though, I called the desk and they said they were working on it, nobody's was at that time, (they stopped working at least once a day. Very unpleasant in the small poorly ventilated bathrooms).My boyfriend and I had a couples massage that was extremely relaxing, Dominika and Astrid from the ships spa were very friendly and interesting. In the end it cost about $310 for 75 min, thanks to a first day special. We loved it. We headed back to the room. We ended up meeting a nice enough housekeeper. She noticed I was pregnant and asked how far I was. I told her about 5 1/2 months. She asked if I knew the sex. I happily told her we were having a girl. She made a face and said she was pregnant with a girl once. But she died when she was 6 months along. Apparently babies are only the size of your hand born at 6 months gestation. I don't want to sound heartless, but this was a very awkward conversation.. Much to personal to have with a complete stranger, though very sad. Also I just told her I was pregnant with my first baby and that I was 5 1/2 months, talking about the death at 6 months, then the delivery was very frightening and unnerving, not to mention probably the worst conversation choice to share with a guest as they were on the way to dinner on a ship heading to the ocean, the nearest hospital impossible to get to in case of an emergency, (my sister and I had explored and found the infirmary earlier, we waited about 7 minutes to ask for a band-aid, but gave up when told both workers were busy with someone else). Moving on dinner was good. Our tables waiter was very friendly, always remembered our names and orders. Only when someone else was helping him were mistakes made. I went to bed at about 10:30 because I wasn't feeling well. An hour later the power went out. No A/C, no light, no tv. Thankfully I was sound asleep. An hour after a very loud announcement was made alerting the passengers there was a problem. They were working on it. If you were sleeping, now you were up. Our room was pitch black, and miserably warm. It took forever to fall back asleep. When I woke up the next morning, it was fixed.

Day 2 was all at sea. My boyfriend was ready for a drink package, the alcohol one was 30? a day, but when he asked an employee about it he was told we would both have to get it, and I wasn't about to spend 120$ on something I wouldn't use. So he bought drink by drink (seriously like 10+/drink). We sat on the decks, got some sun and swam a bit. My sister and I decided some more spa time would be nice. We both got cuts and blowouts and she had a recent color mishap fixed. The ladies were wonderful and really fun to talk to. We spent about 200$ and were again completely satisfied with our experience. That night was formal night so we left to get ready. On the way to dinner we had plenty of picture opportunities. Lots of fun. Some good pictures. Dinner was pretty good. Once we got close to port though our ship was more rocky and I had to get to bed.

Day 3 was Progresso. We chose the Mayan ruins tour. It was a beautiful day and I very much enjoyed the tour. We also made a quick stop on the way back to check out a cenote. Very cool. Something you'll only see in that part of the world. And stunningly pretty. We made it back to the ship about half an hour early and headed straight to the pool. Unfortunately someone had thrown up. In the pool. Yellow chunks were floating all over. You could see the side of the pool impact point. We told an employee on the deck. He said tell housekeeping, they handle that. So we told someone with the towels. We were told it was just dust. Without them even looking. The pool was never cleaned. We didn't go back in it again. My boyfriend and I went back to the room, showered (which was always a feat due to the ever changing water temperature, which constantly turned scalding or luke warm... No matter what time of the day you took the shower) and took a nap. Not much later, we were in bed and undressed, when someone knocked on the door. A blink of an eye later, 2 men walked in. They saw us, apologized and left, but the damage was done. I was mortified. I never forgot to deadbolt the door again, that's for sure.

Day 4 was Cozumel. We waited to book the excursion until we were off the boat. Much better deal. We went snorkeling for 3 hrs, 3 of us for 100$. Absolutely beautiful. Very fun. Between that and the shopping we had a great time. We ate at Senior Frogs, which is very pricey and the least Mexican Mexican food in Mexico. I think you're supposed to be drunk for your Senior Frogs experience. But it was alright. We got back on the ship and laid around the room for a while, deadbolt securely in place. That night we had dinner, but there were a couple other waiters helping and they kept getting things wrong. Some forgotten appetizers, meat cooked wrong, potatoes but no sour cream, frustrating after lunches mishap. We tried to see a comedy show after dinner but it was packed. We went to the casino for a bit then I headed to bed.

Day 5 was the worst. Our final day at sea. We decided to play bingo, a total of 7 of us. We went to the 11:30 sitting. 200$ for all our tickets, but hey it's bingo. That should last a while right? WRONG!! Only skinny H counted. Okay, whatever. If theres a tie, there would be a tie-breaker. Though at no point was it mentioned, this game was 1, only 1 round, and it only lasted about 5 minutes. Then some lady shouted bingo they closed the curtain and that was it. Umm ok... Now I was a little upset. That's alot of money for bingo, period. But money I flat out would NOT have spent for one round, had it been mentioned at any point. I stopped at the desk. After waiting in the faster to the fun lane for about 15 mins (thank God it wasn't the other line, that one was halfway down the hall), we talked to a girl who said she's pretty sure that card was valid at the next bingo session, which was a 5 rounder. Okay, cool. She double checked. Nope, sorry. I expressed my unhappiness about the situation. She grabbed JD, the assistant cruise director. A very patronizing, arrogant and insincere man, when I told him I felt scammed he told me I was only upset because I lost. I told him I was upset because I never would've paid 30$ for one round of bingo regardless. There would have never been a win/lose situation because one round with a possible 600$ payout would not have been worth the money it cost to buy in. He repeated I was just mad I lost. He compared it to blackjack. Said I lost in gambling, it is what it is. I told him if I had been stupid enough to bet 200 on a single round of black jack and lost I wouldn't be complaining, I knew blackjack rules. I again stated I felt scammed at the one round. Had it been mentioned there was one round at ANY point, we wouldn't have played. He again said he was sorry I was upset, but he wasn't going to do anything more than chalk it up to a gambling loss. He was obviously thru with our conversation and was getting less and less polite as we spoke. I went back to the room, and called and complained. Eventually after 3 calls and multiple people, Steve, the cruise director called me back. I started to explain, he cut me off and said he knew the situation. Then proceeded to say the exact same thing JD said. I asked if he was willing to try to appease the situation, he offered to 3:30 bingo cards. The other 5 in our party were not staying in our specific room and his offer did not and would not apply to any of them. I told at this point how unsatisfied I was with the cruise and the customer service. He said call the customer service line to see if they'd do anything for us, his final and only offer was the 2 cards. I gave them to my mom. She one $110 one round. They told her the card was in my name and the prize would have to be put on my room. 5 hrs later after many trips to see why the prize hadn't posted, the discovered it could and had been posted to her room. But at that point nobody was really surprised at the crews unawareness of the policies. Especially after waiting to speak to a supervisor about any possible package deals on the pictures. We would've purchased just about all of them, (about 40 that post cruise are simply thrown away) if they could've worked with us. He refused to do anything other than the posted $20/picture. I had to leave the conversation. The man was flat out denying everything the girl from the previous night had told us. In the end they gave my stepdad a $50 discount on a purchased that still cost him close to $325. Again, the customer service... Ugh. Later that night the maitre'd approached me to see why I was unhappy with the service, I explained the same thing to him as I had the earlier "customer service" rep, that our waiter was good, but that the night before our orders had been wrong at first. At around 10:30pm, housekeeping called to apologize for the earlier intrusion and said our housekeeper would be reprimanded. After I said it was 2 men, not our normal housekeeper, nothing more was said or done.

On the final morning we were asked to leave our room at about 10. We were made to sit in a waiting area until our group was finally allowed to leave an hour later.

After it was all said and done, ESPECIALLY after my interaction with JD and Steve, I would not recommend Carnival, nor would I choose it again. The daily toilet problems, the awful showers, the iffy satellite connections, the awful customer service, the obvious only goal being profit and in no way customer satisfaction... No wonder Carnival has all this bad publicity.

Food and Dining

5 out of 5
Our waiter was great

Onboard Activities

3 out of 5


3 out of 5
except for the bingo. ANYONE thinking that spending $200 for one round is nuts. AND My mom wouldn't allow my 14 and 17 year old siblings play BLACKJACK.

Children's Programs

5 out of 5

Service and Staff

1 out of 5
except for the people I mentioned in my comments

Ship Quality

3 out of 5
Lots of malfunctions and plumbing was awful

Cabin / Stateroom

3 out of 5
very small

Ship Tip

Beware of the showers. you can get scalded even if you have the shower set to cool.

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