We went on the Carnival Elation in early January 2013. We had a junior suite and was given priority boarding. I would say the embarkation was the best of any cruise we have been on to date. We were escorted to a special check-in areas and we missed all the normal lines during check-in. It was very nice to hear from all the Carnival Employees thanking us for returning to cruise with them again. We arrived at the parking garage at 11:30 and boarded the ship by 12:15. Our room was ready and we dropped off our carry on luggage and went to eat at the buffet and examine the ship.
The ship shows some age but is in great shape. We have been on 9 other Carnival cruises to date and this one was one of our best. I found the food was above average in the dining room. The prime rib was excellent. The waiter was quick and efficient. He learned the whole tables names the first night. The buffet was hit or miss depending on your likes and dislikes. I really enjoyed the chocolate melting cake. We visited the coffee area many times from milkshakes or coffee drinks. The service was also great along with the taste of the drinks.
We did go to some of the night time entertainment. The Liar Show, and Love and Marriage show were hilarious. The comedians were funny but we have seen better on other ships in the past. Willie Lee was the cruise director and he was great. He was very interactive with the people and we would always see him around the ship. We spent several nights enjoying piano music by Michael at the piano bar. It is nice to have a lounge to go to without smoking. It seems as though Carnival has gotten the hint that more of the cruisers are non smokers.
Debarkation was as easy as embarkation. We met in a lounge at 8:30 and were escorted off the ship by one of the cruise staff. We had our luggage and left the parking garage by 9:15. Wow, what a trip. Don't let bad reviews influence your attitudes. All cruises have good and bad. It is up to you to make the most of your vacation. With that in mind, we had a wonderful vacation. I would not hesitate going on the Carnival Elation again.
Great port experience. The porter we had was great.