We enjoyed our time on the Elation. She is a lovely ship, very well maintained and the staff was excellent. Cruising with kids is a little different than cruising without, but it is a very hassle free vacation for a single parent like me. I will break the review down into sections.
Embarkation: We loved New Orleans, driving in New Orleans was interesting with all the one way streets. At the port, no one helped with our bags and this was bit problem as my 11 year old had a cast on his arm and we had a stroller to push and luggage. As soon as we got in line, we were sent 4 steps over to the porters who then took our bags. We purchased the faster to the fun pass, which I highly recommend. Let them know you have the pass or you will get directed to the wrong line. We got on the ship quickly. Our room was ready and our luggage arrived shortly after we took our carry on's to the room.
Room: Yes, it is pinkish orange but not nearly as unpealing as it looks in photos. The room was dated but clean. Our room steward was amazing. Friendly, knew our names, kept our room super clean and of course I tipped extra for that. We were in R266. Our layout was two lower twins, and two upper bunks. We requested a crib, which we placed under the one upper bunk that we used. It was perfect. We used extra sheets to give our little girl some privacy. (okay, it was really so that the boys could stay up later without disturbing her.)
Sail Away Party: singing, dancing... rather blah.
The pools: We did not use the pool as planned. My 11 year old had the cast, the two year is not potty trained, and the pools were to deep for my 7 year old. However, he and I did spend time in the hot tubs. The children's pool... was full of drunk adults.....
Entertainment: We enjoyed the Let's Rock show, and the family friendly comedy clubs. The welcome aboard show was a waste of time. There was a lot going on the ship in the evenings.
Food: Hamburgers were great, the buffet was blah, pizza was fair, and we loved the sushi bar. We are breakfast, lunch and dinner in the dinning rooms most of the time. The food seemed better, and you did not have to navigate the buffet. Our waiters were amazing. We were seated right behind the wait station. An odd location, but we got our food, drinks and service fast and we got friendly with the staff. All of our food in the dinning room was great. Loved the lobster, steak, crab cakes, shrimp cocktail and fresh fruit for my 2 year old. Our drink waiter was great. We bought the bottomless bubbles on the 2nd day (it is cheaper on the second day!) I had planned on this expenince for the kids, but I thought I would drink tea. NOT! That was the most disgusting tea I have ever drank. The desserts are pretty, but other than the chocolate melting cake and chocolate chip cookies they are not that great. The chocolate extravaganza buffet was pretty but tasteless. All in all, I was pleased with the food. minus the deserts, tea, and most of the buffet.
Camp Carnival: The kids went the first morning. My 7 year old went back for about an hour on the last day. I had pre registered, gone to the parent meeting, but there was an extremely long line on the first morning of people registering their kids for the first time. We had to wait 45 minutes. Then another 15 minutes to check in the 2 year old in yet another line. The 11 year old was not impressed but when I peeked in he did seems to be having fun. My 2 year old only lasted about 45 minutes before I had to pick her up and she did not want to go again. I will say, my kids are stuck like glue to me. Lot of other kids seems to enjoy it. I did take the younger two back for the cuddly bear, which they loved.
Shore Excursion: We did the Dolphin Encounter with Dolphin Discovery. We loved it. However, I will say that my youngest and I were not able to stay in the water long because it is very hard to hold a toddler wearing a life jacket and reach out to touch the dolphins. There is fence to hold onto behind you but with one arm full of child, it is all about balance and my lack of balance made my daughter unhappy. It was still fun. The park itself was great. Nice pool, beach, and sea lion show.
Disembarking: With the faster to the fun we were first to get off the ship other than those self assisting. we had a stroller, so we were able to use the elevator instead of the stairs. It was breeze except at customs were I was griped at and given a non compliance slip for not having passports.
Overall: We were very pleased with our vacation. The kids met people from all over the world, ate new foods, tried new things, and we bonded as a family. I would go again, but if for any longer than 4 days I would book a larger ship with more to do. The staff was great. Everyone was friendly, happy, and great service.