Elated on my first cruise

It’s probably weird that I’ve never been on a cruise before, because it seems like everyone I know and their mom has.

But I finally embarked on my first water-bound trip this past weekend, on the Carnival Elation to Baja, Ensenada, Mexico.


The 4-day cruise, which departed from San Diego, was only a meager $150. My Southwest Airlines flight barely cost $100, making for one of the cheapest vacations I’ve ever taken.

I heard Carnival is geared towards young people, but there was a diverse mix of ages and nationalities on the cruise.

There were plenty of 20-somethings, though, and the experience reminded me of a spring break–lots of drinking all day, laying by the pool and going in the spa, dancing at the nightclub and in the bar and just an energetic vibe all around.

I was amazed at what the price of the cruise got its passengers. It was like Vegas on a boat–free food from room service or the 24-hour buffets, lots of live entertainment-from comedy to hypnotism-and free access to all the bars and clubs.

There was also a casino, with live tables, and a full-service salon on-board. It was the most decadent thing I’ve ever been on, but I guess that’s OK once in awhile.

The third day of the cruise, we docked in Ensenada for the day. My friends and I paid $79 each to ride ATV’s. This is something I’ve never done before.

I consider myself pretty athletic, but I guess I’m really a wimp because I lost control of my ATV and actually flipped over. It landed on my leg and caused a huge amount of pain, to where I required a wheelchair that night because it was too difficult to move.

Be warned: before you ride the ATV’s, you sign a waiver that you won’t hold the ATV company responsible for your injuries.

Maybe I’m a klutz, because while several people stalled throughout the trip, I was the only one to flip over.

There was no medic on the ATV team–a doctor who happened to be in our group actually helped me.

And it cost $80 to see a doctor on-board the cruise, so I opted to ice the bruises and take Motrin. Luckily, I didn’t break anything.

I thought the ATV course was really challenging, and I’d warn beginners to drive as slowly as they feel comfortable to avoid doing what I did.

Overall, the cruise was a blast. Each night, you eat dinner at the same talbe with the same strangers, who later become friends. We were paired with fellow young people, who were a lot of fun.

You also tend to see the same people throughout the trip–sort of like an adult summer camp. I would highly recommend the cruise as a fun, cheap weekend getaway.