Back Home - Carnival Elation Cruise

Okay, so I eluded to the problems at the Port of San Diego in my first post. But, while leaving day was bad, arriving back was ABYSMAL!!!

Seriously, it is kind of sad that the Port of San Diego looks trashy, ill-designed and dysfunctional even compared to Ensenada, but the authorities there probably should take a field trip to Mexico, and see how easy it is to design a functional Cruise Terminal.

And I just know that a parking garage with either a pedestrian or vehicle over- or under-pass to seperate cars and people has to be cheaper than paying 150 Jr. High School dropouts to keep them apart.

Not to mention having to pay $15 dollars a day to park in a lot with no striping, so people just leave their cars laying around anywhere, and only one functioning gate. Come on, San Diego...Where are all the Port Charges going? Certainly not being used to maintain or improve the passenger facilities.

Oh, and P.S. for all my drug dealer friends: there is no Customs at the Port! They don't even make you lie about how much cocaine you are bringing in. Why risk driving or flying in your dope, when no one at the port even asks you whether you are bringing in contraband?

Port Day - Ensenada - Carnival Elation

Okay, so after a great day at sea, we pulled into Ensenada. After breakfast we got off the ship, got on a bus and went downtown. Walked around the main drag from McDonalds to Papa's and Beer. Stopped in to use the restroom at Papa's Sports Bar, because it is no doubt, hands down, straight up, the coolest restroom in the Western Hemisphere. If you want to know why, you'll just have to go.

Bought some trinkets for the neice and nephews and a really cool stained glass nativity set for my sister, then stopped at Restaurant Garibaldi (the owner is an old friend of mine, from before he got deported) for some fish tacos, and a little people watching.

Re-boarded in the afternoon, sat by the pool for a while til dinner time. I had the Veal Parmigiana, which was a mistake (even worse, a mistake I have made before), but ended up eating most of my mothers Short Ribs, which were awesomely excellent, and a much bigger portion than she could eat.

After dinner we listened to Clifton again, and drifted in and out of the Casino. No big winners tonite, however, I did qualify for the Final in the Blackjack Tournament, and got wiped out in 4 hands. So, one more T-shirt for the collection.

It was a long day, and the piano players night off, so after the Tournament I called it a night.


Day at Sea, Carnival Elation

Wow, what a Day-at-Sea. Started with my usual omelette on the fantail, wandered about for a while, and ended up at a "Name That Song" Contest. We hooked up with a veteranarian from Sherman Oaks, and his wife, and they recognized every song we didn't. So, we won the contest and I got my first Piece of Ship on a Stick for the day.

A little later, while trying unsuccessfully to lose back the money I won at Roulette, I got in the Slot Tournament, and won that too!!! Another Piece of Ship on a Stick (oh, yeah, and $500).

It finally got sunny and warm in the late afternoon, so we sat by the pool and soaked up some rays til dinner time. It was the Captains Party, so I actually put on long pants and shoes (formal by Carnival standards), and wandered around the Promenade listening to various musical types. One guy, Clifton I think, blows a mean saxophone, and a couple guys at the atrium bar were doing the obligatory calypso/reggae thing. I like the new format Carnival has come up with to replace the Captain's Cocktail Party. During our wandering we met the Captain and most of the Senior Officers...it is a casual atmosphere, that makes it easier to actually meet and talk for a minute with the various officers and staff.

At dinner I violated a rule and ordered the lobster, which was better than I remember. I also had a Greek Salad that was to die for.

Dinner ended too soon for the Piano Bar, so one more quick trip to the Casino, and another $400 win on one of those crazy slot machines that I still don't know what I did (and didn't even realize how much I had won, cuz I can never do the nickel math in my head). Deciding to quit while I was ahead, I left and found the Karaoke, which was every bit as bad as any land-based Karaoke I have witnessed, and lot's of fun. Finally, finished off the night at the Piano Bar.

All in all a very fun and profitable day. And now, it's time to get ready for Ensenada!!!


Boarding Day, Carnival Elation, 3 day cruise

After a few delays, we got on the road at 11, and made it to San Diego right at 1pm...bad timing. I am not sure what's going on with a new Cruise Terminal in San Diego (last I heard the usual suspects were resisting it), but it is badly needed. With only two ships (the Carnival Spirit and the Carnival Elation) it is badly impacted. After dropping Steve and Mom and the luggage, I had to drive around, lost, for twenty minutes to get to the parking lot directly across the street.
Depsite the chaotic feel, we actually got checked in and boarded in a reasonable time. Found our room on Main Deck. The usual.

Bags got to the room in about a half hour, which was excellent, so we unpacked and then went up to the Lido Buffet for a bit of lunch.

Up until a year agok, I would have said the Fantasy Class ships were my favorite, but after three consecutive cruises on the Carnival Splendor, I have to say, the Elations buffet was pretty weak, and she is definitely showing her age. Nothing terrible, and she is well maintained, but lunch for 2 thousand of your closest friends, with only two short buffet lines, a burger grill by the pool, and pizza way in the back, just doesnt flow the way the multiple stations on newer ships do. Anyway, we managed to get a bite and talk a little walk around before Muster Drill. Thank God we got Muster Station "F", which doesn't require walking around.

Muster Drill took us right to Sail Away. We sat by the pool as the ship headed out to sea, and decided to head to dinner.
We are doing the Your Time Dining, the first time I have tried Carnival's open seating plan...seemed to work out pretty well. There were two groups ahead of us, and we were seated within 5 minutes, with a nice window table to watch the sun set over Pt. Loma. I had my favorite smoked duck breast appetizer and the Tilpia. As good as ever.

After dinner we stopped in to the casino. I lost $50 in about a minute, but my brother won $40, so, not too bad. Long day, so after the casino stop Steve and Mom headed to the room.

I went back up to the Casino, hit the roullette table and, with a little help, turned $100 into $300. WooHoo. Trip paid for.

After cashing out, it was time for the Piano Bar to open. Headed over and listened to Lonnie for a bit. Pretty good. He is now to the piano bar business. Good Musician, poor crowd control. I am sure he will learn how to work the crowd, until then, it was still a pretty good time - until a group of drunken faux-TA's from World Ventures (an MLM that pretends to be travel agents) invaded. It was midnite by then, and, as I said earlier, it was a long day, so I finally threw in the towel and went home. All in all, a pretty decent start to the cruise.