Length: 855 ft
One of the oldest "Fantasy-class" Carnival ships (1991), fine for short inexpensive getaways but the age shows in decorBest 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.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.Onboard Experience
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.Decor
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.Public Rooms
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.Cuisine
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.Restaurants
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.Service
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!Tipping
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.Entertainment
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.Cabins
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.Fitness/Spa
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.Children's Facilities
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.Attire
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.
-----PLEASE CAREFULLY READ THE ENTIRE CRUISE CONTRACT BEFORE TAKING THIS CRUISE----
Sail Date: April 29, 2013
Cruise Region: Caribbean - Western
Cruise Length: Five days
Horrible, Awful, Cheats, Scams, and Liars.
Once you have read this contract you realize you have signed your life, first born, and bank account over to Carnival Cruise lines.
Once you board this "ship" or floating bathroom as i would like to refer to it they will offer you drinks. Complimentary? OH NO, they will make sure to get your (sails and signs account card) and then let you know they have a daily drink special of $10 if they are feeling generous that day.
After you get a look around the ship they will let you know where your cabin is located and where your baggage will be. (Please ignore all baggage location as you will have to fight your way to it at the end of the hallway where you can grab all you want.)
Now we get to the fun parts, want your room cleaned??? Oh, they will surely help you out by removing your valuables from your room in my case an iPhone 5 and somecash. So, now that they have robbed you, you will try to make a report when you make your report please be ready to be searched by security and treated as a criminal, because not only will they search your entire room bag by bag, article or clothing by article of clothing, but they will also go through your safe.
Now that you have proven that the items are NOT in your possession they will ask you how much cash you have on your person, (why i haven't quite figured out yet) and tell you they will return within an hour or so. That being said after 5 hours of sitting in my cabin i decide that i am going to go up to customer service where i ask for the manager it seems that all staff are "the manager" after asking how everyone is the manager i got pulled aside by two security guards behind a curtain to meet a lovely (sarcasm) lady named Barbara.
Barbara proceeded to call me a liar, i then asked to see a video or recording of who had entered my room, this was not possible because "they don't have any". So, now i am told to "PROVE" that my items were there in the first place. I attempted to explain that i cannot prove the location of something that is no longer there the reply i received was that the investigation was complete. I go on to realize that now i have to cancel my cell phone and bank info because of data stored on my iPhone, they were very nice at offering free calls to do so, BUT then you get a bill of 100$ for international calling.
Now they will try to show you a log of when people come in and out of your room pay attention to the times they burst in on you with "towel service" or "activity sheets", because they tell you that only the "steward" has access to your room.
So we have covered the basics of this cruises personnel lets get to the ports. One of the two stops was delayed by poor planning due to another ships arrival leaving non priority guests stuck on the boat for part of the day. All in all i felt more safe and comfortable having a random bar keep in mexico look after my items then i did in my room.
I would never get back on this boat, even if it was free.
The Elation is a Fantasy class ship that we had just sailed a few months ago, so we knew what to expect. We have sailed her many times.
We love cruising out of New Orleans. We are Diamond members, so we get VIP Check In and New Orleans does that very well. IF you are sailing when NCL and RCCL are in town, the traffic can be a bit of a pain on Saturdays and Sundays, but they were goneâ€¦so we had no issues. I believe RCCL and NCL are only in New Orleans from Nov - April.
To me the Elation is the prettiest of the Fantasy class ships and one of my favorites, even though it does not have the new Evolutions of Fun water park or the balconies that have been added to some Fantasy class ships.
The food was good. We ate in the Main Dining Room every night. Yes the menu has changed over the years, but we were always able to find something that we liked.
The Deli was good as was the Mongolian Wok. And of course the 24 hour free ice cream. YUM
Service wasexcellent all over the ship.
Gary Brierley was the Cruise Director and he is just delightful. (one of our favorites)
Ryan is a Social Host of Australia whose performance in the Legends Show is not to be missed. He also hosted karaoke and was a huge hit!
Bruce in the Piano Bar is from Scotland and a delightful (and talented) gentleman.
The Cover Band was Simply Friends and they are very good.
We had 4 in an interior on Empress. This was our last "family" cruise for awhile, since our oldest son is now grown and is sailing on his own and with friends.
We had plenty of room even with 2 boys that are 6+ foot tall.
We found the ship to be in good shape. Our cabin was clean and the cabin steward friendly and attentive.
They have the NEW Legends Show and it was good to see some new acts.
We have been to Progreso and Cozumel more times than I can count but always have a good time when we are there. Both are safe. I know with all the violence in other parts of Mexico this can be a concern.
We did our own thing in both ports. We always just walk about in Progreso and this time I actually forgot to pack my white socksâ€¦and was able to find some in the local market (orange building).
In Cozumel, we went to Paradise Beach for a day of fun in the sunâ€¦.but we are also very fond of Cozumel Bar Hop. Both are independent tours you can find on Facebook and we have a blast.
They did VIP Self Assist very well...except that it is difficult to get your luggage up to Promenade and then back down to Empress. Since this is "self assist", then they should know all these guests are going to have all their luggage and should have a meeting place that allows for that fact.
Over all, what we thought would be just a 5 day getaway turned into one of our best cruises.
We were very excited about the cruise and our destination, Mexico. We were looking forward to lively clubs, all you can eat quality food, quality seafood, quiet adult time, culture, tacos in mexico and courteous staff.
We boarded early, had a buffet lunch with all of our luggage in tow because the rooms do not open until 1:30... Tiffany's looked very nice, though the stained glass is fake and falling apart. I skipped to salad, and found that the salad area had hardly any variety. I saw my husband got a burger and went to find them... I got a burger and was in the bathroom within 20 minutes from the fat in the burger. There was no fresh seafood on the buffets like we thought there would be, usually strange concoctions that I tried and never liked. My husband and I are foodies but we are not exactly picky either. If we are going to eat, we want it to be decent quality... the buffet food to me was horrible. Even the desserts. They have free soft serve but it was the icy kind of stuff, not creamy. The onlytime we were pleased with the food is if we went to the dining room we were assigned. The attitude of the wait staff during the day was very curt and off-putting. But in the evenings we were assigned to a table, waiter and server that were top class and the food was wonderful. Go out of your comfort zone in the dining room. But don't even bother with the buffet food... horrible.
The novelty of the boat wore off quickly. Its nice in the mornings or late late evenings when most are in bed or at dinner, but otherwise parents let their kids run around screaming and bumping in to people, so they got a vacation from them but they terrorized other people... apparently there is a fall break now that attributed to there being so many children on board... we find children unpleasant because their parents do not make them behave... on a cruise ship, this is multiplied 100 times. So we did not get away from screaming kids like we had hoped. And unless you like LAME shows, tacky American culture, gambling and drinking, there is nothing to do on the ship. We thought there would be more of a night life on board and more to do than just sun bath (burn and get cancer) and swim in a pool that is fool of screaming children. The only safe place we found was the Serenity deck which was adult only; no bar or live music, just two hot tubs and a bunch of lounge chairs. This was on the back of the boat, so it was very small. We enjoyed the hot tubs at night while everyone else was at dinner. But then that made us sleepy and after seeing the lineup for "entertainment" we just went back to our room and watched on of the daily movies.
We thought there would be more culture on the ship, but instead we got American cover bands as music, burgers and fries... the closest you will get to culture is talking to the crew; I think only four or five were American, the rest were from all over the world, but they are working 70 hour weeks and waiting on you hand and foot with a master servant kind of relationship... we felt very distant from them which we are not used to and it made us feel like total heels. My husband and I are very humble down to earth people, so being made to feel like we were not on the same level as the crew was very demoralizing for us. Especially since they were the only variety in culture on the ship, which is what we were looking forward to.
There were very few people in our age group (25-30) on the ship, so the night life was not existent. We would walk by the clubs after dinner and they were dead. The only things going were the cover band, the lame shows in the Mikado and Cole Porter lounge, and the casino... we had already spent enough money on the cruise itself, we did not have money to gamble.
The highlight was Mexico. Skip Cozumel, overrated. The beaches are not as nice and too expensive. Carnival charged us $40 per ticket to go to Playa del Mia and when we got there, they did have the "free" open bar (we just paid $40!) but nothing else was available that was detailed with the excursion, no water sports, nothing. Apparently a storm came close by and murkied things up and made it so they had to put all the water sports equipment up. So we paid $40 to fight with people on the beach over lounge chairs in the shade (no umbrellas it was too windy)... very disappointed. My husband literally tried to drink $40 worth from the bar to compensate for our loss. So skip Cozumel... even if the water sports are available... save your money for Calica instead. Prettier beaches and water and they do not heckle you as much in the shops and streets but you still get good deals. We went to Playa del Carmen and paid $20 for two lounge chairs with a huge corona umbrella and that was for as long as we wanted to be there. Beautiful sand and water, and we were treated to a Mexican man and his music. He was not walking arounf with an entire mariachi band; just himself, dressed in a long sleeve flannel shirt, dark blue jeans and black tennis shoes and his guitar. No tacky Mexican production or costume. Very genuine and the music was beautiful. He sang Coo Coo Roo Koo Coo for us and had we have been rich I would have given him a $100 tip. It was special and beautiful. Then we walked to the man a few feet behind us and ordered tacos from a restaurant a few feet from the beach. They were wonderful! Real tacos, not gringo tacos. And fresh guacamole that tasted like mine. And black refried beans. We were tickled with our trip to Calica. If we can ever go back I will find that man and give him a bigger tip, no song required. But we will not go via cruise ship.
We got back on the boat and left the culture. We got a view jems that we would not have gotten if we had not have gone, like the man singning for us on video and we got to see the sun set over the water from the dining room on the boat. But if we ever go back to Mexico, we will stay there, not on a boat. You can still do it and be safe; just don't go to Tijuana.
For the money we spent to have a room and food on the boat, we could have stayed home and done things we enjoyed and taken in still more culture. And we could have made real tacos at home. We could have had a shopping spree and still had a lot of money left over. We could have played pool, gone to wine tastings, bought our own liquor and drank more (we couldn't afford to drink on the boat; imagine 5 full days of ordering drinks at a bar...). We could have gone to a concert, a 5 star restaurant for the first time... We really regret going, there are so many better things we could have spent the money on and we would have enjoyed oursleves more. Instead we were trapped on an out dated boat with lots of children and lots of 70-80+ people, with nothing that entertained us... bored to tears.
Let me put it this way. If you like variety, spice, culture, freedom, good food, good music, dancing, and intellectual stimulation, a carnival cruise may not be for you.