May 2015 - 5 Night Western Caribbean (New Orleans Roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Elation
This was our first cruise and it gave us the rest and relaxation we were needing. The food was excellent, especially in the main dining room. The food was very high quality. We will be dreaming about the chocolate melting cake and the bitter and blanc dessert. The dining room staff was awesome. We asked the 2nd to last night if they were going to serve the bitter and blanc dessert the last night. They said they weren't, but they had it special ordered for us that last night. They seemed more than happy to serve us, which was incredible, since they weren't working for tips. Jerry and Percival dancing was the best! They cracked us up! We also thought Catalina was lovely and did an excellent job serving. However, the very disappointing thing about the cruise was all the charges for gratuities and drinks. We were excited to have found an "all-inclusive" vacation, but we found out about the gratuity charges after we had already booked the cruise. If we had known how much drinks costs, the gratuity charges, and how much the off-the-boat entertainment was, we probably would not have chosen a cruise. Now we know, but unless we can find an incredible deal with lots of on-board credits, we probably won't do a cruise again.
Something that was unfortunate was the Lido buffet closing at 2:30. We were in the "late risers" category, so we ate breakfast late (around 10). We got hungry around 2:00, which didn't give us much time at all before they closed the buffet, so we were always rushed when eating lunch. No one wants to feel rushed on vacation.
The room was fine. We had a port hole room, which ended up being more spacious than I expected from other reviews. One morning we ordered room service for breakfast and sat in the little cubby hole and enjoyed our view of the ocean. We had plenty of storage space and hangers and the bathroom gave us plenty of space for our toiletries. The best advice we received was buying a shoe rack for the back of the door for toiletries, shoes, and straightener, and anything else we don't want sprawled out everywhere. And our room steward, Yadnya, remembered our names and brought us ice for the champagne we brought without us having to ask him.