My husband and I wanted a nice inexpensive getaway and we certainly found that on the Elation. For a total price of $500 for both of us we could not resist. We drove to New Orleans a city that we have always wanted to visit. New Orleans was fantastic! We enjoyed the fun of Bourbon street as it was Labor Day weekend also known as "Southern Decadence" a.k.a. gay pride weekend. It was interesting and fun people watching and enjoying music, food, drinking etc. You definitely needed to have an open mind lol. We grabbed a hotel room at the Marriott on Canal Street and it was perfect. The room was beautiful, clean and smelled really good. We were able to park our car at the hotel overnight for $35. The staff was awesome and the view from our room on the 23rd floor was perfect. They served a great breakfast as well.
We enjoyed our morning in preparation of our cruise by taking a nice stroll around the area. The cruise port was just a short drive away so we didn't have to check out before noon. The parking at the port was a breeze. You pay $80 up front and park in a covered secure garage. Your luggage is then transported to the ship for you and you are on your way.
Getting aboard the ship was efficient. I was surprised by not receiving a welcome drink as I had on the other 3 Carnival cruises I have taken. I had the drink and the sail away party on the brain as soon as I got on board. All hopes of that faded as we had to figure out how to get to our muster stations for the safety drill. Hey I'm all for safety but it was sort of a buzz kill the way it was done. So that was my first "hmmm". Beyond that I felt that the staff was not as attentive as I had known them to be on previous cruises. I tend to think it has to do with the new tipping procedure where they charge your tips to your credit card daily. Perhaps if the staff knew they were working for tips maybe they would be a little more attentive? The staff seemed tired to me. I did find
a coupon for a free drink in the Fun Times with stipulations of when and where I could get it. Well I never could work that in to my schedule unfortunately but good to know it existed.
I would say the food was ok but not as good as I remember. I took a cruise just last year on the Sensation and remember the food being much better. The MDR was just ok. I don't think service was exceptional and the food was actually sort of bland. I did like the Lido deck buffet but was a little surprised that it closed at 6 pm every night. I remember the days of midnight buffets and food always plentiful. Also what happened to the Sushi Bar? Many people were upset about that.
Our room was decent and kept clean each day. The tv was outdated. Can you say "flat screen" please? The picture was fuzzy. I thought the water in the bathroom was extremely hot but would prefer that over cold water. That was a plus in my opinion. We stayed on the Main deck and heard some weird clanking noises around 3 am the first night and thought "uh oh" still don't know what that was all about to this day. Hate to say it but my towel animals were not the greatest but it made for lots of good jokes.
Ships entertainment was lacking. I was more entertained by the guests who performed karaoke or participated in games. I did enjoy the one comedy show that I saw with Billy he was funny. We saw the Rock N Roll show which was not the greatest but hey we weren't on Broadway either. Steve the cruise director was lackluster. I found myself with a lot of down time which was well spend on the Serenity deck. Love the back of the ship with the whirlpools. Still don't know why they aren't hot but......okay.
It was nice to have 2 ports of call on such a short cruise but there really wasn't much time to do more than one activity or you would be rushed. Progreso has a good port where you can just hang out right at the pier and shop and enjoy the corona bar if you don't want to do an excursion. That was fine for us as we knew we wanted to really enjoy Cozumel the next day. In Cozumel we got a cab for $14 per person and went to Ocean Beach. We did an all inclusive with drinks, food, beach chairs, kayaks, water trampoline etc. and found it enjoyable. It was 10 minutes away from the ship and there were plenty of cabs available both when you arrived and when you were ready to head back to the ship. There was some peddling on the beach but nothing obnoxious.
Another thing I noticed on this cruise opposed to the last three was that the ship was FREEZING. I had to cover up all of my carefully planned outfits with a huge sweatshirt. One night I saw too young ladies in the lounge watching a show covered with a bed blanket! It looked odd but they looked warm and happy. I just hope that the cold had a germ killing effect or something. Surely there was a reason to keep the ship at sub zero temperatures.
I could go on and on (clearly) but all in all I would say it was a decent trip and for the money a nice getaway. If you want five star then you should pay five star $$$$$. This was my 4th Carnival cruise so as I said "you get what you pay for"