June 2015 - Carnival Elation to Caribbean - Western
This was my 1st cruise and was not disappointed. I cruised with a party of 10 ladies. most of whom had cruised in the past. I was extremely impressed with the entire staff. Our steward Yadnya was wonderful. We chose the 6pm dining time and our wait staff was excellent (and very entertaining). If you enjoy a drink (or two), you MUST visit Grenaddy in the bar right near guest services and request his Expresso Martini..you will not be disappointed! He was our favorite bartender on the whole ship and we made a point to stop by quite often (even passing closer bars and making the trek for his wonderful cocktails and great conversation). I HIGHLY recommend the Cheers card if you like to drink. It may seem expensive, but $57 per day is well worth it. Especially, if you enjoy trying different things. 15 drinks may not seem like alot, but none of the 10 ladies in our group came close to the limit and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. Do not forget your 12 bottles of water. There are filtered taps scattered throughout so that you can refill bottles or your cups. Otherwise, you will pay for bottled water. Also, recommend the coke card (unlimited sodas).
We frequented the Lido Deck, spending hours enjoying the wonderful weather and relaxing on the deck lounge chairs. Just a hint: get there early to get a table or lounge chair.
In regards to the $48 gratuity charge: if you wish to tip on your own, you can go to guest services and request the $48 removed. They will take it off right away. Most of us removed it as we did not feel $48 was enough to spilt between all of the people who took care of us. We tipped everyone along the way and felt they deserved to be compensated well for their wonderful hospitality.
The only drawback of Elation was that the boat was a little rough. I believe this is due to the boat being the smallest in the fleet. I had to take meds a couple of times due to dizziness and upset stomach due to the rocking. I never did "get used to it". Other than that, i have no complaints. For a first cruise, we had a fantastic time. The Drama Bar was alot of fun and so were the comedy shows (especially Muntzie).