Carnival Elation Day 4 – Princess Cays

Another sunny day on our cruise, and another early awakening. Since we were anchored at sea instead of docking at a pier, the noise didn’t start quite as early, which was really nice.

Another early start

My goodness, an anchor dropping from a ship is the loudest noise ever. If you like to sleep late, I’d recommend not staying near the front of this ship. We’re in pretty much the very front of the ship on deck 6, so we get a lot of noise when we dock. At least on this day we didn’t get woken till 7:30 am, and we knew we were going to the beach so we got up and got dressed.

We decided to go back to the Imagination Dining Room for a good breakfast before we went to shore, but before we put our reservation into the HUB app, we went to deck 8 midship for our Tender ticket. You can choose which zone you want with the tickets that are still available. There is a chart that will tell you at what time each zone leaves. You can’t use them early, but you can use them late. Honestly, no one ever checked to see which ticket we had when we got on the tender.

Breakfast

We got a different table for our second breakfast in the dining room. This time our server was Benjamin, and he was very attentive. I had pretty much the same thing that I had the day before, but it was all freshly made, hot, and delicious. I highly recommend having breakfast at the dining room, it’s far less crowded and the food is better. And it really doesn’t take that long to get served.

Tendering to Princess Cays

If you don’t know what tendering is, it’s when you take a ferry boat from the ship to an island. The boat comes out to the ship and you get onto it over a short gangway. Then it will take you for a ride, in Princess Cays, it took about seven minutes to get to the island. Then at the island you get off the boat via the gangway.

If you want to see what it’s like to tender check this video out from our cruise to Belize a few years ago.

Princess Cays

Our feelings were mixed on how we liked Princess Cays (pronounced Keys). This was our first time to this Carnival owned private beach on the island of Eleuthera. I had done some research and the quietest part of the beach was supposed to be off to the right when you get off of the tender. We had to ask how to get there because it was a bit confusing, but we were told at the information desk to go behind the flags, then up the stairs to the small bridge, and the beach was on the other side.

My research was correct, the beach on this side was not very crowded at all. There is a walkway part way down the beach, but if you want to go further you’re in the sand. There are no pavilions on this side to shade you, but there are a lot of trees. But with the trees you get the pinestraw everywhere.

I thought that this would be a quiet area, but that wasn’t really so. The bar is blasting music, and so are some of the beach goers. There is also a basketball court in the area which was used quite a bit, plus a volleyball court. There are quite a few cigarette butts on the beach, and we had to change seats to get away from a smoker, but still, there were tons of chairs to choose from, and lots of shade, so it was good.

The beach

The beach on this end is littered with seaweed, but the water has got to be some of the clearest water that I’ve ever seen. I didn’t go out very deep at all, and there were fish swimming around my feet. We didn’t snorkel this time, but others were, and said that a ways out there were plenty of fish and even a turtle. The water is a bit rocky, so I’d recommend water shoes. The sand is very soft, and will cling to your feet, but there is a shower right near the restroom so you can wash it off.

Carnival Elation with a tender going to it

Lunch

There is a buffet on this side of the beach as well as the other side. I’d imagine that the one on the quiet side of the beach was less crowded. Lunch consisted of hamburgers, hotdogs, and chicken, as well as potato salad, a really good pickled broccoli salad, and cole slaw. They also had fruit and a few desserts. The banana bread was really good. Drinks were the same as on the ship.

Tables were limited and there were flies everywhere. And you could not get rid of them. We finally placed some half eaten chicken on a plate and let the flies have at it. They seemed to really love the chicken and left us alone a bit. Lunch closed pretty early, so I’d recommend eating by 1 pm.

The rest of the beach and the marketplace

After we ate we decided to check out the other side of the beach and the small market outside the gate. There are vendors inside the gate also. I bought a magnet from a very nice lady who explained a bit about the island to me. I found these vendors to be much less pushy than vendors on other islands. I would bring small bills.

There is a small marketplace outside the gated beach area that you can visit. You will have to have your ID and your sea card to get back into the gate when you’re done shopping. It’s a worthwhile area to check out, there are quite a few things for sale. Plus, if you walk just past it to the bridge you can see tropical fish in the crystal clear water. We saw Sargeant Majors and baby baricudas, among other fish.

Market outside the gate

After that we walked over to the other section of the beach and walked awhile. It was definitely more crowded but if you don’t mind crowds it looked like a good area. There was also a small play area and pool for kids. There’s an area where you can pay extra and swim with the stingrays. We could actually see the stingrays coming up to the shore. There also looked to be some fine snorkeling spots. We could also see that there were quite a few covered pavilions with chairs for those who like the shade.

Waiting for the tender to go back to the ship

Getting onto the tender from the ship took almost no time at all. It was a very easy experience. Getting the tender back to the ship…not so much. The line didn’t seem all that long to get back on the tender. We got to the front of the line, and were stopped. We could see that the tender sitting there still had room in it, but it left. Then we waited and waited and waited. There were some poor people in wheelchairs who said that they’d already been waiting an hour. Only certain tenders are wheelchair accessible.

I’m not sure what was going on. We saw a tender leave without anyone and heard it wasn’t working. We must have waited 45 minutes till we finally saw two tenders pulling in. We let the wheelchairs on first of course, then we got to board one of the tenders. We sat there for about ten more minutes waiting for it to fill up, but at least we were out of the hot sun. And the thing is, when we got back to the ship, we saw the same tender that had left empty leaving the ship. Not sure why it couldn’t have taken some passengers back with it.

Our thoughts on Princess Cays

My husband’s and my thoughts on Princess Cays differed. He thought it was his favorite cruise line beach because of the more private less crowded area on the right side beach. For me, it was a good beach, but not my favorite. My favorite has to be Coco Cay because of the really nice pool, and the excellent buffet and restaurant choices on the beach. Princess Cays food doesn’t compare, and it was tiresome having to shew away the flies from the food. Also, cigarette butts all over made the beach feel dirty to me. But, the water was so nice and clear at Princess Cays, so that was a good thing.

The rest of the afternoon

We finally got back onto the ship and went for some ice cream to cool down. The soft serve machines on the Elation are in the buffet next to the salad and dessert areas. Then I went back to the room to do my blog and relax a bit in the air conditioning. And to wash the sand out of my water shoes. I didn’t mean to bring so much of the beach back to the ship with me. Then it was time to shower and get ready for dinner and shows.

Dinner

We got to our dinner table, and were the only ones there for awhile. The dining room was kind of empty and only one other couple from our table joined us. I think that maybe the heat got to everyone from our beach day.

We did get a nice surprise at dinner. Our waiter, I Nyoman asked us if we’d sailed on the Sunshine before. We said yes, and he said that he’d waited on us on the Sunshine. It’s amazing that he remembered. Once he said it, I remembered him too. And I looked back in my blog for the Sunshine in 2018 and there is his picture. It’s a small world on a cruise line.

Dinner was good, BBQ ribs. Gator for an appetizer, along with french onion soup, and a banana split for dessert. And there was a show by the waiters. I always enjoy that.

The rest of the night

After dinner we went to see the Divas show in the Mikado theater. This is a small theater, but very elegant. We’ve never had trouble getting a seat, although there are poles blocking some of the views. I have been happy with the entertainment on the Elation. Since Covid it seemed like all the Carnival Ships were having the same entertainment and shows, and they weren’t all that good. But on Elation we’re seeing different shows and the singers and dancers are actually out there putting on a performance, not just sitting on a stool. It’s much more enjoyable to see a show like that. Needless to say, we did enjoy the show!

After that we went back to our room to relax and watch a bit of TV. There’s not a lot to watch, mostly shows about shopping and excursions. There is a channel dedicated to the Carnival shows Voyager with Josh Garcia, Ocean Mysteries with Jeff Corwin, and Vacation Creation. There are also a couple of movie channels. The Elation does not have a movie screen on deck. When we got back I found a dish of chocolate covered strawberries waiting for us, complements of Harish, the floor supervisor. He’s been very helpful and friendly to us.

Then, while we were relaxing, the room phone rang and I spoke to Aizhamal Abdylagady, the Guest Services Supervisor, who was inquiring on how we were enjoying the cruise. Then she offered us Priority Debarkation, which I accepted, it will be good to see how Priority Debarkation works. She also offered us a bottle of wine at dinner the next night. That was very nice of her and I appreciate it.

And that was the end of day four of our cruise. Hopefully we’ll be able to sleep later tomorrow.