We are a group of 6 (Grandparents, Daughter & Son-in-Law, grandsons). Galveston is a lovely port, enjoyed that.
Carnival has embarkation and disembarkation figured out it is nice. Elation is a nice ship, easy to get around, clean. Our cruise price was close to many 7 day cruises from other lines in this category. Steward service was good, average. Personnel aboard was generally friendly and helpful.
We have cruised 15 times and the formal dining experience was awful. We tried it twice and gave up. They put us in the middle of a cluster of tables of 8, we were 6, and it was so crowded, I could have grabbed a napkin from the lap of someone at the other table! My general impression was help is cut in numbers and personnel on the ship are overworked. Tiffany's food was average. Hamburgers were average. Pizza was average.
Our stateroom was nice, great storage, great bathroom, nice feature was beds could be apart or joined together. The pools were nice and enjoyed by all. We would have liked an area a bit away from the busy area in the shade, but that was hard to find. they had many no smoking areas, that was nice. The heads of kids was a problem, they were very loud in stairways and down hallways at all times of the night.
Our grandchildren loved Camp Carnival. They were constantly entertained.
We enjoyed a nice beach at Progresso. But be prepared for many visits from locals trying to sell their wares. In Cozumel we visited Paradise beach, it was fun and comfortable. Keep in mind you can taxi to any beach in Cozumel, many are available at the port. We took a ship tour to Rendezvous Caye in Belize, the advantage was you could go directly from the ship. We snorkeled and loved it. My favorite days at sea were so nice, calm seas, cool breezes. Overall, don't expect 5 star service or food, but our grandkids had a 5 star experience for a reasonable price, guess we got what we paid for....but I have had better food and dining for the same price per day on other lines.