My husband and I took our first cruise on the Elation this August 2012. It was supposed to be a 5 Night 6 day out of New Orleans but ended up being a 6 night 7 day due to Hurricane Isaac.
Value/Cost: Well, I now know why I was able to book the cruise for less than 600.00 for 2 people.. It was PEAK hurricane season. i HIGHLY recommend paying a few extra hundred dollars and chose a proper time to go. Peak season I believe is August/Sept- So don't book it during that time period bc you really don't know how the weather will be. Yes.. they can reroute you somewhere else..but if you don't want to have to hold on to hand rails every single place you go or see barf bags everywhere..see people nearly falling over or fear your ship is nearly tipping over..just book a different month and pay the extra ;)The waters were so so rough and i felt like we never CRUISED we were always going full speed to stay clear from the storm which made the motion 1000 x worse.
I felt the service was really good on the ship. Staff/waiters were friendly and constantly asking me if i would like a drink :) Ratman at the bar on the lido is just great! We loved him!! I felt very welcomed on the ship. Our steward ( is that what you call them?) for our room- I hardly ever seen..he was friendly but quiet. As soon as we were gone.. he was quick to clean our cabin! Everyday he made a new little towel animal! They were so cute! Our room was a decent size, but he kept it clean. I would drop my jewelry in the floor at night and he would always lay it on the counter for me after he cleaned the next morning- i thought that was polite.
Food: The food I would give an A ! We had open seating in the Imagination dining room. We never had to wait to get a seat..we got in immediately. I loved every meal I ordered except for the meatloaf and gravy! It was awful. IDK why i even ordered that lol. Fried shrimp and fish were very good. My husband loved the lobster. The meals are kind of small at dinner, but if you order an appetizer and a salad plus your meal & desert- That should be more than plenty!! Chocolate Molten cake is the Best !!! We also ate on the lido deck- the Mongolian grill was pretty good! I recommend it :) Pizza was pretty good as long as it was hot and fresh. We ordered room service a lot and it was always delivered within 20-30 mins and tasted pretty good! We tipped them when they brought it & they seemed greatful!
We had 2 in our party so the room size was perfect. We had 2 twins that were made into a queen. We had a porthole room on the 4th deck. I really don't recommend it. I didn't want a interior room bc i wanted natural light but being in a porthole you are toward the front of the ship, down LOW and it is really rocky & loud from the waves crashing against the ship. I am 100% sure our cruise was worse bc of the Hurricane no doubt..and the waves were way worse than they normally are but our friends had a interior room up on deck 6 and it was less rocky and quieter. The water was horribly rough during our cruise and motion sickness pills did nothing. I would not get a porthole room. I would get an window view or balcony. Pay the extra..its worth it! Your in that little room more than you think! Getting ready.. late at night.. for naps! An open balcony would have been nice!
We went to Progreso & Cozumel for our ports of call. Progreso -- there is not much to do so we booked through AutoProgreso and did the Reef Resort. Its an all inclusive beach resort with unlimited alcoholic drinks/food. If you book through carnival its like 70 plus per person. If you book through autoprogreso its 45 per person. You can book online or they are out and about where all the shops are in Progreso. They were very good at giving us exact times and where to be at what time- they told us we would be back to the ship an hour early and we were! I highly recommend them! The resort i would give a B-. It wasn't bad but the drinks were a bit watered down..but hey! they were free. The food was just okay. They had a few weird Mexican dishes..nachos..hamburgers...and hot dogs they grilled i believe? It was ok..but for that price it wasn't bad. Beach area the day we were there was GREAT. The water was a dark blue and it was really pretty. In Cozumel- we went to Paradise beach. It had stormed i guess a day or 2 before we got there and the water was DIRTY Brown! I was so bummed. Progreso waters were WAY prettier. So i guess you take that chance if it storms. We couldn't snorkel bc it was so murky. There was seaweed everywhere..and the water was a little rough. It smelled like sulphur too?? I did venture out onto the water slide they had but with the water being so dirty and dark- i felt uncomfortable being way out in the ocean on a blow up toy.. So i spent most of my time in their Pool. I think if the water would have been clear it would have been fantastic..but we just had bad timing :( pretty resort tho.
Entertainment: We went to a couple shows..one was an adults only and it wasn't that funny. I laughed like 2x maybe? Another show was a family friendly one and it was a little better. I believe it was the Cowboy Comedian & he was funny at times :) We went to a Marriage Show they had in the Mikado Lounge and it was hilarious!!! Highly recommend that show. I played bingo one day.. I didn't win the 2000 dollars :( but it was fun! They had some other things going on but we were usually doing something else when they were going on!
Other Comments: This cruise ship was very nice. Its a smaller ship and does not have the Big screen tv like the Conquest or some of the other ships Carnival has. I wish it would have had one :( but there is still plenty to do. The mini golf was fun !! During our cruise there was Hurricane Isaac, so it put a damper on a lot. The captain would come across and remind us to use handrails at all times and so on. The hurricane hit our port when we were coming back to ( New Orleans ) and the Mississippi river closed. With that being said..our captain said we would either port at Galveston or Mobile - well they decided to take us to Mobile,Al - and guess what? That port shut down as well from the storm. So we were basically stranded at sea another day and half til a port opened. We headed back to NOLA and the Mississippi finally opened. We were supposed to come back Thursday Aug 30th but returned to NOLA on Friday around 3 pm . Carnival tried to keep everyone posted on what was going on but it seemed unorganized at times? They should have taken us to Galveston and PAID the money to fly us back bc that port STAYED open..instead they thought Mobile would be better bc they could just charter people back on buses to NOLA bc its closer. So to me..it seemed like a money issue, but that's my opinion. We didn't fly so we were not one of the people having to switch their flights around 2-3 times!! I know a lot of people were very angry with Carnival bc they kept switching locations. I still felt like they did a good job keeping us safe and away from the storm which is most important!!!
I hope my info has helped some of you, the Elation is a beautiful ship inside and out. Would I ever cruise this ship again? YES. Would I ever cruise in Hurricane season? NO. :)