I should start by saying the only other cruise line I have sailed in is Disney. I prepared myself before hand not to expect the Disney level of anything and I was still very disappointed. My biggest complaint was that smoking is allowed inside the ship. Smoking was allowed at a bar on deck 9 as well as the casino next to the bar. Deck 9 is a main passageway on this ship and the smoke permeates this entire floor. It doesn't matter which stairwell you enter this floor from, you will be overwhelmed with smoke when you arrive. We had an 11 year old in our party who has asthma and required a trip to the doctor when we got back for steroids due to chest congestion that developed during our cruise.
The rooms are smaller than small, if you have more than 2 people in a stateroom, good luck maneuvering around the bed.
The gym had adequate equipment and what I used was in working order. The water fountain in the gym barely had a dribble and when you have just put in a vigorous workout you really should have a better water source available.
I was amazed at how the officer level staff did not take time to interact with guests, while the stateroom stewards always addressed us in the hallway. The officers seemed more interested in talking with each other than with the passengers.
The food was just ok, nothing special, I actually lost a pound while on board. The coffee from the coffee bar was excellent, it may have been one of my favorite things on the cruise. Our dining room server was excellent and we enjoyed getting to know him.
We went to 2 shows, "rock n roll through the ages" was fabulous and "Win" was just ok, didn't care for the game show theme.
The gift shops are cheesy and having an announcer outside the shops announcing deals every hour was just too much to bear, I did not purchase anything in the gift shops.
Overall, I probably will never cruise on the Elation again and may never cruise Carnival again.