I found the reviews to be so helpful, prior to my trip. So I decided to pass along my experience on the Carnival Elation. We left out of New Orleans, January 2,2014. The staff at the terminal get a big A++. They are very helpful. I will break down my experience into the following: the ship, the staff, dining, the port, the cabin and the activities on board.
THE SHIP: The ship is beautiful. There finishes and details are amazing. Everything is beautiful.. There is a winding staircase that is regal. The Mykado lounge is where the nightly shows take place. It can be accessed on the 8th and 9th floor, the seating to the very back is made up of bar stools and a counter, There's table spaces everywhere to hold drinks, purses, papers, etc. Seating is very comfortable. It is structured so that it is great for groups an is also cozy for couples. There are bench seats that line the main corridor of the ship. They are great for looking out the window and enjoying the amazing view of the ocean. Across from these seats are shops, the casino, bars, the coffee shop, etc. The ship has spa services. I had my hair done while on board and was very happy with the experience.
THE STAFF: The staff was just ok. This was my 5th cruise. 50% of the staff was very helpful and courteous. The other 50% was lax in their effort to accommodate the passengers. Those that were helpful were REALLY great. The others staff members were BLAH.
DINING: There are many places to eat on board. I loved the nightly tastings. I loved lunch served in the Imagination Dining room. I enjoyed the section of the menu that suggested things you never had before. I tried alligator fritter and their take on sushi. They were very good. The food varied from good to okay. The formal night lobster was served and it was prepared perfectly. The desserts were just okay. The dining on the Lido was not good. That's all I can say. I avoided it. One experience was enough.
THE PORT: We only stopped at one port--Cozumel, Mexico. It was pouring down raining when we arrived. We ate at Pancho's Backyard on the pier. YUM. I wish I was there now. We made the best of a rainy day and browsed the shops along the pier.
THE CABIN: Outdated. Always clean and comfortable. The Shower had plenty of hot water. It was great!
ACTIVITIES: The nightly shows were good. There were games, like Battle of the Sexes, Trivia type games. This is a great ship for being leisurely. Bring a book.
Well that's it. I hope this is helpful.