This was our third cruise on the Elation, THIS YEAR. We have cruised on this ship many times, its not our favorite, but its convenient and less than 7 days, so we chose it. We booked this cruise less than 24 hours before the sail date. We didn't know that that would put us in the suspect category until we made our way to the desk to get out Sail and Sign Cards, but when the guy working the desk said there is a hold on our account I had no idea what was in store of us. Before we went to the desk we had to go through security putting on carry ons through the scanner and taking our water to another desk for inspection. Now back to the desk: we were told that since we booked less than 24 hours before the sail date we had to go back through security, so we were marched back (like the Bataan Death March) to security, our carry ons back on the scanner, dogs were sent for to sniff us and the bags, but they couldn't get the dogs up for a couple hours, so they took us behind a screen and did a thorough search of our person, they even used the wand. What really infuriated me was the couple next to us booked a few hours after us and did not go through the same thing we did even though they also had a duffle bag and backpack as we did, but they said they sent their luggage through checked baggage. My wife said they, the other passengers, must have known what to say, but I'm not sure I buy that. Anyway, it seemed very harsh treatment to someone that is a Gold Club Member and has more that 40 days of cruising on Carnival.
We have been on the Elation somewhere between 6-8 times, so no surprises. This is a small ship by cruise ship standards, service not bad, varies from cruise to cruise, but not terrible, just not really great, but for a short 4 or 5 day cruise it works well.
1. Smaller ship means less passengers to compete with at food services, shows, and lido deck.
Most times staff is very friendly, helpful, and good service, but there has been an occasional incidence here and there that wasn't the best, but that is life.
2. Most times it is easy to board.
3. The comedians: Mutzie was one of the best comedians I've ever seen. He is from New Orleans and all his shows are family friendly. He is a Christian man and a must see.
4. The Band Erin Michelle from Nashville was terrific, just hate they had to suffer through hours of performing in the SMOKE!
1. Food is very substandard. If you are a person that loves McDonalds and for special occasions you go to Denny's you'll love the food, but if you like fine dinning and are health conscience you will probably want to bring your own food like we do, because the food onboard is very oily and processed.
2. The Serenity deck for adults is very small and hard to find and get to. Also, people place their towels on chairs to save them and are gone for hours, kind of selfish in my book. You also have to watch for the occasional kid that shows up and decides to hang out.
3. SMOKING SMOKING SMOKING!!!! OMG SMOKING!!!!
4. The Promenade Deck SMOKING! The casino is on this deck and so is an open bar and an area where a band plays. It is so smokey it impermeates most of the deck and is so overwhelming I found myself gasping for breath and feeling somewhat short of breath days latter, even though I don't suffer from pulmonary problems. This really needs to be fixed by Carnival!!
5. The Jekyll and Hyde nightclub is rarely open, so if you like to dance, lots of luck and there is SMOKING in the club, so maybe that is why nobody goes there. I think a nightclub on a cruise should be open 24/7, but I'm from New Orleans where the party never ends.
6. Most bars or clubs aboard are closed most of the time.
7. Very limited brands of liquor at the bars for making drinks.
8. TV, not that I am a couch potato, but if hanging poolside 12 hours a day, or sitting in a smokey casino is not your cup of tea, there is very little happening around the ship especially during the daytime, so I found myself in my cabin for many hours with not hardly anything on TV. Most channels are for kids with only one channel that plays movies, but it only plays 1 movie a day, WHAT?? Yes the same movie plays for a day every 3 hours, so for example: Frozen at 9, 12, and 3. I've cruised a lot and Carnival has the worst TV selections of the various lines I've been on.
9. Not enough time in Cozumel!! This is my favorite port and the ship only spends 6 hours there. I absolutely love Cozumel, but always feel cheated by the short stay.
10. Carnival no longer puts ice buckets in the room, you have to request one.
11. Since we didn't book early we were stuck with an inside cabin, our first time, but it really wasn't bad at all except for a smell, my wife said it smelled like old cigarette smoke, but I thought it was either bug spray or paint.
12. Dis-embarkment: this is a game (power struggle) and money grab for Carnival. Other lines I have cruised if you are self assist when you make port you simple walk off the ship, this makes it so easy and fast, but not on Carnival. If you pay and extra $50 dollars you can go with the Platinum and Diamond members, (what a joke). They won't let you stand in the area where passengers exit they force you back in the hallways. They don't call decks, they say they do, but that doesn't happen and nobody really checks what status you are or pay extra to get off early. Other lines have a stand set up on the outside deck, passengers make their way out there stand in line, not long till clearance from port authority then leave, no extra money, no special privileges, just as quick as you are you can leave. Its was actually a little better this time, but still they pushed us back to the narrow hallways to stand, but back in December and April it got very ugly with angry passengers wanting to leave, but being subject to the game.
Suggestions to Carnival:
1. STOP SMOKING IN PUBLIC AREAS!!
2. More music and dancing hours
3. More selections at the bars
4. OMG can we please get some quality food?
5. If I am forced to spend hours in my cabin because of a lack of things to do and SMOKERS, can there be some things to watch on the TV.
6. Buffett should be open more hours.
Every time I've been on this ship it is like a different cruise just because of the passengers and time of year. This past cruise had a lot of people that wanted to have fun, which was nice, but seemed to be more smoking, which wasn't nice. This was a typical Carnival Elation Cruise,not the worst, but not the best either.
Cozumel is the second most fun port after New Orleans.