What can I say about the Elation? Well, I have a few things to say! Mostly good, some not so good, so let's just get on with it.
My husband and I traveled to NOLA the Sunday before our Monday embarkation. We booked a room at the Holiday Inn Express across from the Superdome on Loyola. We then took a short 5 minute walk to canal street and visited the French quarter from there. This was our second time in NOLA but our first in the Quarter. We grabbed supper at the Hard Rock Cafe' on Bourbon, while a Saint's game was in full swing. It was noisy and crowded on the street, but what can you expect? It's Bourbon street!! Once we finished supper, I had enough of Bourbon. We then took a leisurely stroll over to the adjacent streets, and enjoyed ourselves from then on out. We walked through to Jackson's square, and then we grabbed some Beignet's and a coffee at Cafe' Du Monde. By that time it was getting late so we started heading back to the hotel. Just don't walk by yourself at night and you should be fine. The Holiday Inn offers a cruise and park option for $243 you can stay the night plus leave your car there up to 8 days in the covered and secure parking garage. We took a taxi the next morning at 10 am to the port.
Embarkation: Easy. No lines, but we did have about a 45 minute wait before we were able to board. We were up eating in the Lido by 11:30.
Cabins aren't ready until 12:30 so we lounged around on Deck 7 before heading to our stateroom. We booked an ocean view stateroom on the Empress deck. It was worth it being able to look out the window every day. The room is a little outdated. The TV's are the bulky old TV's, and the picture on ours was red. Not really sure why, but it was red! There is also a huge bulky life jacket trunk in the corner, and once the beds are put together, there is very little room to move. The showers are large, and not the "pod" showers. The room also had a musty smell to it...and there was dust several places. It was like the room needed a good "airing" out. Other than that, everything went well. Guadelin was a great room steward.
Food: Lido food is great. MDR food ... a little lackluster but all in all pretty good. I enjoyed the Mexican buffet Cozumel night. (4th night).
Sea Days for us were used for rest. We slept a lot of the day after eating. Not really sure why, but cruises just make my husband and I want to just nap all the time. There were plenty of things to do though if you wanted something to do. We did win trivia twice. That was fun!
The cruise director was Hennie. We never heard his voice until the variety show the first night. Charlotte is the assistant director. She was a good Bingo caller....I have a feeling if you are the assistant you get the lovely job of calling Bingo night after night! I feel that Hennie was a good CD ... not the best we have ever had ... but he did a pretty good job. We never saw him roaming the boat except once. He also did this strange thing on the intercom. He would say "Have a nice day and bye bye!" Pause.... "I said bye bye!" Not really sure what the point of that was...a little annoying at times actually!
Entertainment: LACKLUSTER. I'd like to go on a cruise where there is a plot to a show and not just variety dancing and singing. The WIN! Show was a little crazy to me. I enjoyed karaoke and the SuperStar Live! Karaoke. The singers were good ... just not my cup of tea. We only experienced the comedy show on the last night. It was good, probably the best entertainment of the cruise.
Progreso: You have to take the free shuttle into the city OR take an excursion to find something to do. We were the only ship docked that day. The people of Progreso are nice, just a little pushy about buying things, but I understand that's how they make their money. The water was beautiful.
Cozumel: Our favorite place. We rented a car and just roamed the island. The water was also beautiful. We were the third ship in port, alongside the Oasis of the Seas and the Carnival Paradise. This was our third time in Cozumel, so we knew to eat at Pancho's Backyard, and also to take advantage of their free wi fi there as well.
All in all, the cruise was good. The boat is a little outdated, and I did not understand some of the vibrations and clanging noises that we heard night after night. This was our fourth cruise, and I must say I have never been nervous on any of the ships, except for this one. I think the ship needs to go into dry dock and have a retrofit. And not just a cosmetic retrofit, a mechanical one as well.
Debarkation: DISORGANIZED. Usually on Carnival you are assigned a lounge to wait in until you are called. We are always self assist, so usually that means we go first. Well we did go early, but only after Verandah deck and Platinum members were called off. People were pushing us into different hallways and telling us "You can't stand here. Please go back to your cabin and wait" We just stood in the hallway outside of our cabin until they called for us. Very disorganized.
All in all, it was a great cruise for the money. It was fall break so several families were on the ship. It was a great cruise, but I think my husband and I will stick to the larger (newer) ships from now on!! :)