One of the oldest "Fantasy-class" Carnival ships (1991), fine for short inexpensive getaways but the age shows in decor
Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer
Sophisticated "seen but not heard" service people; cabins with private verandas; mega-ship action; understated elegance in a low-key environment; no children; dozens of varieties of food.
Identical in all but décor, Carnival Elation is the seventh of the eight Fantasy-class sister ships (Ecstasy, Fantasy, Fascination, Imagination, Inspiration, Paradise, Sensation). These ships always seem to have something of interest going on, and thus are ideal for the up-and-at-'em style cruiser. Carrying 2,052 passengers, the ships are big enough to provide diverse entertainment, ample deck space for those whose idea of being entertained is basking in a warm sunshine glow, and separate facilities for children of all ages.
The unifying theme of Carnival Elation's interior decor are famous literary authors and their works. You'll find the the Romeo and Juliet Lounge, the Cole Porter Club, Gatsby's Great Bar, the Mark Twain Library, and the Jekyll & Hyde Disco. They are all more or less connected by the generous Elation Way on Promenade Deck. As the evening crowds bustle from the Mikado Theater, through the Casablanca Casino (with a theme based on the movie of the same name) to the Cole Porter Club the ship soars with activity as nearly every chair and barstool becomes occupied.
Ideal as it is for the sort of person who likes to have loads of activities planned, Elation also offers lots of out-of-the-way places to read or just contemplate the sea. During summer cruises, however, when there are hundreds of kiddies aboard, quiet contemplation might become a luxury reserved for another ship.
An upgrade scheduled for 2008 involves upgrades to the pool area, staterooms and some public rooms. Some of the following are complete: a snazzy new pool area with teak decking, new umbrellas, a tile "beach" for the pool water to lap against and a new thatched roof for the hot tub. The kids will rave about "Carnival waterworks," the new water park featuring a 4-story tall and 300 foot long "Twister Water Slide." Another slide is three side-by-side tubes 82 feet long. This is all part of a waterpark with all kinds of sprays and other devices to keep the kiddies cool and fresh. There's also a new nine-hole miniature golf course. As of January 2008, this is almost complete.
As if that isn't enough for the kids, "Camp Carnival" received a makeover, and the ship has new interconnecting staterooms for families.
The adults haven't been left out; there will be a new "adults-only" area called "Serenity" with a deck of solid teak panels for soft cushioned loungers in sun or shady areas and two hot tubs.
New enhancements indoors include a coffee cafe with specialty coffees (for a price) but free pastries. A new art & photo gallery and the atrium bar will be in place. New sound and lighting systems have been installed in every public room, and the ship now has flat screen televisions in several places to keep up with sports and other vital information.
It bears noting that Carnival Elation was the first cruise ship equipped with Azipods, a now industry-standard propulsion system that makes for very smooth sailing.
Every Carnival ship, designed by fanciful designer Joe Farcus, has a unifying theme for the decor. From the first ship of these seven ships known as the Fantasy-class christened in 1990, to the last (Paradise) launched in 1998, these ships got progressively less flamboyant. Though each was state of the art in its day, today these ships are considered small and modest. In her day, (1990) Fantasy tried to be bigger in life by adding lots of glitz in the form of neon, chrome & mirrors. But Elation's theme (1998) is much more subdued.
Carnival automatically adds $10.00 per person per day in gratuities to your Sail & Sign card unless you're under two years old, and if you're reading this, you're probably not. This includes $3.60 for the stateroom steward; $5.50 for the Dining Room team, and $.90 for service in the alternative dining rooms. Visit the purser's desk during the cruise to raise or lower this amount.
You may also prepay gratuities for all service personnel at a rate of $10.00 per person per day. On Cruises-to-Nowhere, gratuities of $10 per person per day must be prepaid.
A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to all beverage tabs. Tip the maitre d', room service, spa, casino and other staff as you deem fitting.
Carnival's celebrated Camp Carnival program offers a full schedule of supervised activities, from finger painting and singalongs for younger children to photography workshops, late-night movies, and pool parties for their older siblings. The ships' 2,400-square foot "Children's World" play areas are stocked with a computer lab, a climbing maze, an activity wall, and an assortment of toys, games and puzzles.
The 2008 scheduled upgrade includes a nine-hole miniature golf course as well as a waterpark that is better than the larger Carnival ships. The kids will love these supervised diversions giving you plenty of time to relax by the pool. The exact date for finishing these items has not been determined, but as soon as we know we will update this page.
Best For People Who Want
Non-stop entertainment, lively casinos, extensive deck space for sunning, large, if very pink, facilities for fitness/spa and children's activities, large cabins, good food, and very informal service. Especially recommended for families, singles in groups and first time cruisers.
The ship consist of 10 decks with most of the public rooms concentrated on Atlantic, Promenade and Lido decks (decks 5,6 and 7). The cabins are mostly concentrated on decks one through four; Riviera, Main, Upper (which is actually a lower deck 3) and Empress decks.
You can stroll down Elation Way, or plop down into a soft banquette to ogle passing strollers. The two-level, 1300-set show lounge The Mikado at the front of the promenade presents live production shows, comedians, magicians, and passenger talent shows, with exemplary sight lines and good seating throughout.
The ships' most fanciful decor is in such entertainment venues as the popular piano bars. In one of Elation's, an enormous circular piano doubles as a bar for those who like to sing along. You'll also find a vibrant disco and cabaret lounge along the boulevard.
Other public areas include the Galleria shopping mall, the Virtual World arcade, and the ship's photo gallery. The Internet cafe offers access for 75 cents per minute; for those who plan to spend more time on the computer, there are 100 minute packages available for $50 (50 cents per minute) and 250 minute packages for $100 (40 cents per minute).
All of the public rooms recently received new sound and light systems to add a touch of excitement. Flat-screen televisions have been added to many lounges to keep up with sports and other events. The ship now has a specialty coffee bar, new art and photo galleries and purpose-built conference facilities.
From the best pizza afloat (available 24 hours per day) to haute cuisine in the main dining room, Carnival really delivers on the food front.
Total Choice Dining provides for four dinner seatings in the main dining rooms, alternative Bistro dining every evening, and an increased number of service staff. Passengers are assigned a table for dinner in one of the two main dining rooms -- The Imagination on Atlantic Deck, mid-ship, or the Inspiration on Atlantic Deck, aft -- at one of four seatings; 5:45 p.m. or 6:15 p.m. and 8 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. There are very few tables for two in either of the two main dining rooms; expect to dine with four, six, or eight fellow voyagers.
You typically have a choice of six starters, a couple of salads, and six or seven main courses (pan-fried fillet of red snapper, sweet and sour shrimp, rack of New Zealand lamb and Beef Wellington). The menu also includes Spa Carnival selections for those trying to reduce their intake of calories, sodium, cholesterol, fat, or meat.
Additionally, the poolside Lido eateries are converted into Seaview Bistros between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. each evening, offering buffet dinner with no reservations or advance notice required. The informal Tiffany (T-shirts and shorts are OK) Restaurant on the Lido Deck offers both inside and poolside seating. All meals here are served buffet style, with open seating for all three meals.
Other alternative eating options include a 24-hour pizzeria, a complimentary sushi bar and 24 hour room service. The "Evolutions of Fun" upgrades started in 2007 will eventually add a coffee bar in the atrium and New York-style deli in the Lido restaurants, if they are not there already.
Don't expect formality. Indeed, expect wacky dances after dessert - and then to come back to your cabin to find that your cabin steward, cutup that he or she is, has left a towel folded to resemble a dog on your bed. The hi-jinx never stop!
The prime entertainment venue is the 1,300 seat Mikado, a Japanese-inspired theater, but karaoke draws big crowds to the Romeo and Juliet Lounge, while the Cole Porter Lounge, incongruously, seems to be the favorite venue of folk and country musicians. A variety of live bands and individual performers entertain nightly along with its elaborate stage shows. Regardless of what sort of music you like most, you're pretty much assured of hearing it.
In Duke's piano bar on Elation you'll finds replicas of New York's Empire State Building and other metropolitan scenes. Such "entertainment architecture" significantly enhances Carnival's nightlife. There are quiet bars for those seeking to muse melancholy about the one who got away, as well as vibrant discos. The casinos are some of the biggest and most clamorous on the high seas.
By day, there are bingo and Trivial Pursuit contests, not to mention such highbrow events poolside as the men's hairy chest contest.
Because they were built just before the shift toward lots of verandahs, just the 26 demi-suites (250 square feet) and 28 full suites (400 square feet) have balconies.
However, during 2008 all of the staterooms in the class of smaller Carnival ships will receive a facelift including new flatscreen televisions, for example, a subtle change but one that lends a significantly different feel to the room while also adding a little extra space - which never hurts.
The cabins on these older ships always appeared spartan compared to the newer Carnival ships due to their lack of wooden desks and cabinetry. The colors, fabrics and linens will be upgraded, but they are still light on amenities (a color TV with CNN, telephone, radio, no hair dryer, and a basket of "free-sample" toiletries). They are roomy, however, among the largest in the cruise industry: inside measure 185 sq. ft, outside 190 sq. feet. Even in the minimum category inside or outside stateroom you'll still enjoy ample space. for four and five are understandably popular with families, and go fast.
Oceanview staterooms and suites offer a mini bar, bathrobes, and fairly large bathrooms with a shower (with wand) and medicine cabinet. There are also 26 mini-suites (226sq.q. feet plus 36 square foot private veranda) and 28 suites measuring 350 sq. feet with 71 sq. foot balconies.
With no fewer than 12,000 sq. ft. devoted to fitness and spa facilities, these ships are a dream come true for those who like to keep in shape during their cruise. The "Evolutions of Fun" upgrades scheduled for 2008 will pay particular attention to the spa area by adding more elegance and amenities.
The gyms have a private trainer and 35 state-of-the-art exercise machines. There's a day-long schedule of aerobics, and stretching yoga, and Pilates classes (usually around $10 each), as well as body composition analysis and personal training sessions, $75 for 60 minutes. There's a fully jogging track and a volleyball court. Women who want to sunbathe topless will find secluded areas in which to do so.
Those who prefer to skip shore excursions and snorkel on their own can rent equipment for $26 for three days. The inescapable Steiner's of London operates the ship's spa, which offers lots of different kinds of massage - and pushes its beauty products rather more zealously than most passengers would prefer.
On the two "formal" nights per week, most men wear a dark suit instead of tux. By day, nearly everyone wears shorts, T-shirt, sneakers/sandals, bathing suit, and a hat.