We sailed on the Elation out of Mobile, Al on Jan 10-15, 2011 in hopes of going to Cozumel and Calica. Our ship was set to sail at 4:00 p.m., however, we did not depart until after 5:00 p.m. They made an announcement, saying the delay was due to a maintenance issue. The first night everything was as usual on a cruise, however, the second night we all heard a very loud crashing sound. The ship began to be VERY rough sailing. The vomit bags were placed in the halls and we were informed that a propeller in one of the engines had gone out. That night was a nightmare. We were located near the rear of the ship and it was so loud, no one was able to sleep. After speaking with guest services, we were given another room toward the front of the ship, where virtually nothing could be heard.
We were supposed to arrive in Cozumel at 8 a.m., however, due to the fact that we could not keep up a good speed, we did not arrive until 2 p.m. They informed us that we could stay out until 9:30 p.m. When we returned, many passengers were outraged to discover that we would not be going to Calica, but rather straight back to Mobile. When we asked several employees if this was true, we were told that we were going to Calica. After dinner, the letter arrived under our door informing us of the truth of the rumor we heard earlier. We waited until 11:30 before we sailed, as Carnival was waiting for a specialist that was being flown in. I suspect this is the reason we were allowed to stay out late. We were told that they fixed the problem on the ship the next day, which was evident as it sailed smoother.
The bottom line is that everyone felt that they knew of the problem before we sailed. When we, and several others informed them that we believed they knew of the problem, they told us that the delay in our departure was due to waiting on passengers who missed a flight. Really!!!! Since when do cruise ships wait on anyone! This you know when you have cruised enough! They will leave you in Mexico, no way are they going to wait in the US! They did give a $72 per person credit for missing the port. We sailed at about 9-10 knots and arrived back at approximately 1 am on the 15th. Obviously we could have stopped at least for a portion of the day in Calica.
As for the ship, I have sailed on it before. It is showing signs of age. The staff is great! Although, I think they were ready to get all of us of the ship! My kids, ages 14, 12 and 8 had a great time. It was chilly, so we were not able to spend much time outside. Carnival, as always, has great kids programs. They really had a wonderful time and were busy the entire time. The food was pretty good, though not as good as other ships I have been on. Cruise director was fun and entertaining. The lido band wasn't too bad. The entertainment shows were fair...not my favorite.
For the future, I am going to view the ship as the destination, just in case I don't get off the ship.. the elation is not the destination I had in mind! So, this was most likely my last Carnival Cruise, and likely to be my last ever. Too bad, as my family really enjoys it. If you are a 1st time cruiser, trust me, don't cruise this ship!