Pros: Newly renovated public areas with very colorful(or garish) decorations. Very nice pool, 4 hot tubs (2 adult only. Very clean everywhere! Typical Carnival service in dining areas, always exceptional. Good ports, Montego Bay, Grand Caymans, and Cozumel. We ate mostly in Tiffany Buffet, had been assigned late seating in Dinning area and that was too late for us. Only went to one entertainment presentation which was fairly good. In general we have found that we did not care too much for the Carnival Entertainment which is typically too loud and rather obnoxious, but others said they enjoyed it. So its a personal preference. We do not cruise for the entertainment but for the relaxation.
Cons: Food serving were up and down. Some items were very good, several others were consistently poor. We found that the bread served (usually french bread slices were hard and dry almost always and resorted to have a bun toasted for us at the sandwich station. With the exception of ice cream, desserts were pretty to look at, and poor to eat. By picking and choosing and using the Pizza station we generally food something we liked. Since we only ate once in the assigned seating I cannot comment on that. I found customer service to be exceptionally bad. We made 2 requests, one about cabin noise, and one about our TV, and got absolutely no help except for a brush off (ex. well its the satellite signal making the fuzzy picture, when TVs all over the ship were showing clear pictures!). Cabin clean up was not as good as on the Carnival Fantasy which was completely unobtrusive. Cabin steward tried to freshen our cabin 4 or 5 times while we were present. Avoid cabins around U42 since noticeable ship noise occurs all night long.
Embarkation and Debarkation were chaotic though this may be due to the fact that it was a first cruise from Mobile. In conclusion, in comparison to a 5 day cruise on the Fantasy, the Elation needs work. It was rumoured that Elation was being moved to the West coast, if so I would avoid a first time cruise because or boarding/exiting problems. Despite the glitches we enjoyed our carnival cruise and will cruise again if possible.