My wife and I went on our first cruise ever on January 25 thru 30th on the Carnival Cruise Ship Elation. We went through customs and security with out any problems at the Port of New Orleans. Just make sure you pack only authorized items provided prior to departure. We had our birth certificates, suit cases properly tagged and we boarded the fantasy ship Elation about noon. I filmed a short video and posted on my "YouTube" channel (see Roger L) for posted video.
My wife and I really didn't have any prior experience to compare so we didn't know what to expect other that reading reviews prior to departure. The first thing everyone should do is get a pocket map provided in your welcome packet and keep it with you. Learn the forward (front) from the back of the ship by studying the lay-out map given to you. Learn what floor has what restaurant or venue you want to go to. The elevators are usually slow and sometimes crowded. The stairways are wide and used often much quicker than waiting on the elevators. The service was great everywhere we went. Staff was available to refill your soda pops (we don't drink alcohol- however; that is a big money maker for the cruise line..be careful of that.) Staff, security, waiters, all were busy, cleaning, picking up dishes promptly and was prompt to assist you.
The cabin we were assigned was on the 4th level..a good level as the movement of the ship was minimum. The lower and more centrally located the better for those susceptable to sea sickness. I do recommend everyone get dromimine sea sick medication and take prior to boarding ship and take it as directed. The cabin was clean, the hot water was very good! The t.v. had limited channels..good to view various cameras for viewing in cabin to see weather conditions or how crowded area was. The cabins was stocked well with your issued blue towels and other items. Good experience with our cabin..very quiet!
The excursions was fun; however; my only complaint was that they listed them as 5 hours when actually some excursions to Cozumel or Progresso was shorter in time that specified in advertised publications. Overall in a scale from one - being least and ten being most...I give our wonderful Cruise on the Carnival Elation ship an ..8. Enjoy the cruise and be careful not to run up your tab or issued universal identification/purchase card issued to you in the very beginning of boarding the ship. Bon Voyage!!