New Orleans, Louisiana
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Carnival Elation New Orleans Reviews
Not So Elated Dec 27, 2011
This was my third Carnival cruise, and I think it may be my last. A trip on the "Elation" out of New Orleans was a bit of a mess. I spent a reasonable amount (not too much) for passage for my mom and I for her 55th birthday. It was to be her first cruise. A few other family members decided to tag along, and we decided to make it a Christmas trip. Everyone had their documents ready and we arrived to board the ship. We arrived in plenty of time, but the Embarkation staff rushed us through every step. Way to start a vacation. The worst part was that the staff alerted us that we would each need a passport or birth certificate and state issued ID to board. We brought just that. However, they refused to allow my mother to board because her birth certificate was from another country. She could, and did, prove that she was a US citizen, but they still refused. The agent even went so far as to say that he couldn't accept her birth certificate because it didn't have a seal like the US certificates had. Um...duh. That's because its not FROM the US. After an hour of grumbling orders, they refused for the final time and my mom had to return home. What...a waste. We verified what was needed THREE times, but were still turned away at the port.
We all grudgingly got on board anyway, and it went down hill from there. Our steward woke us up at 7:30 am each of the four days so he could clean the room. Breakfast in the dining room wasn't even available until after 8am. What was the big damn hurry. I'm pre-paying $55 in gratuity per person so you can prevent us from sleeping in? Fail. On the last night, when liquor purchased while on the trip was being delivered to the staterooms, we received four bottles of tequila purchased at a special factory in Cozumel. It didn't belong to us, and we told our steward this three times. He forced us to take it into the room, and said it must be ours because it had our room number on it. We had to give it to another staff member at guest services. She then called our room 10 minutes later to say we had liquor to pick up at guest services, should she send a steward? LMAO. What? I JUST gave this to you! Geez.
There was really no need to be woken up so early to hurry in to breakfast anyway. The food was a disappointing 3-4 out of 10. If it should have been moist, it was dry. If it should have been hot, it was cold. Not one of the desserts there had any taste, and the best you could get was a pre-made, pre-dressed hamburger and day old fries. A good dinner in the dining rooms was a grey steak with some odd pink sauce on the side.
Once you'd had your fill of pink tasteless sauces and crunchy meats....you were free to attend any one of the 15 activities designed to sell you something that carnival had a monetary interest in (jewelry, watches, tanzanite, etc). Every time we went to a show after dinner, the first 20 minutes were taken up with someone trying to sell you a bingo ticket or pull tab ticket for a raffle. Amazing. Their shopping excursion talks are ALL about buying jewelry or "the rarest diamonds". It always made me think...if I had the dough to spend thousands on diamonds while on vacation, I sure would have spent more on a better cruise, wouldn't I? Just sayin'.
On the up side, my stateroom was well kept, the beds were just fine for being away from home, and the casino was fun. The downers were the bad food, being subjected to sales talks about too many things no one wanted, and paying for drinks while in the casino (most of the ones on land give you free drinks while you play). The casino dealers were great...but the rest of the staff left something to be desired. I have had similar experiences on the Carnival Destiny out of Miami. I know, I know. I should have expected the same. Would I cruise again? Sure. With Carnival? Um...let's just say lesson learned. NCL, Princess, or Royal Caribbean....here I come.
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