We won a Carnival cruise and decided to go on the Elation since we had never been to New Orleans. Our two days there were wonderful. We had cruised on the Elation once before through the Panama Canal. It was about 12 years ago, and unfortunately, the passage of time shows on the Elation. Our stateroom was so crowded with the king bed that my husband had to roll over the bed to get in.
Sometimes rust came out of the bathroom sink faucet.
Overall, the cruise was okay. The food was good and the service was outstanding except for the front desk. When we realized that making our flight connection would be tricky we asked at the front desk how best to handle it. During the cruse director's debarking talk we were told that group 2 would be debarking first and we should make sure to be in it since our flight left before noon. When we told the front desk they told us that we did not need to be in "group 2", that we should use "self assist" and wait in our stateroom for our deck to be called. We would be leaving the ship at about 8 am. This would have been fine but no one ever made an announcement for any deck or any group. People just started lining up and other people appeared to be getting off the ship. When I asked the crew member who was supposed to be helping keep people in the correct area he said we had to go to the back of the line which by then was around the corner and down the hall. Of course people from other decks were coming up and down stairs and out of the elevators and simple getting in the line. I went to the front desk and asked how to proceed and was told to go to the end of the line and that they couldn't keep people (like the ones coming from other decks) from getting off the ship, could they? At that point I decided to one of those people and my husband and I walked to a place in the line and told the people we had an early flight and most were happy to let us in. I was told by other passengers that the people who left the ship first had paid extra for the privilege. Other passenger said they were supposed to be first off because they had cruised more that ten times on Carnival but no one had assisted them with the process so they were in no man's land like us.
When we made it through customs, which went very smoothly, I asked the bus driver when he would be leaving and he said not for at least half an hour so we had to take a cab even though we had paid to use the ship's transfer service. By the way, it is less expensive to take a cab! I was told by two crew members and the bus driver to request a refund of the transfer fee when I arrived home. I did that and was told that the policy is NO REFUNDS under ANY circumstances. I asked for a supervisor and was told the same thing. Apparently my travel agent should have sent me a form and I should have been informed that the transfer service should not be used with a 10:30 am flight. I told the front desk as soon as we were on board that I was concerned about it and they said we would be assigned to a group that debarked first. I had to pay over $30 to use the internet to print our boarding passes, the transfer was $40 something, and the taxi was $33 plus tip. I will never cruise Carnival again.