My husband and I sailed on the Carnival Holiday in 2007 out of Mobile. Had a wonderful time. I remember the sailing to be a little choppy at times, and noisy when pulling into ports. I expected a better experience this time around since the Elation was a larger and newer ship than the Holiday. Don't get me wrong, we all enjoyed our experience, and for the price, it was a great vacation for all. However, the entertainment on the Elation was not up to par this time around. Perhaps it is because we had the kids and MIL with us this time....or our tastes have changed a bit over the last couple of years....or the entertainment has gotten worse.
We thought we were going to see the family comedy show one night..but I had gotten the locations mixed up and we wound up seeing the "Just Rock" show instead. We stayed just long enough to see the first song. It was horrible. Bad music, horrendous costumes and the dancing wasn't even as good as a high school dance squad. After that, I had no desire to go see the other show "Win", which I had read bad reviews about anyway.
The Cruise Director annoyed me coming over the loudspeaker. He wasn't annoying himself, I just hated having to listen to all the info several times throughout the days. My MIL was a little disgusted by the Lido deck..but eventually figured out how to get to Tiffany's without going through the Lido. The food was good, but I avoided the long lines at the hot buffets and went to the salad, sandwich or cereal/danish bars. We all enjoyed our evening dinners. We did the anytime dining and it was fine. We had to wait about 20 minutes for a table on 2 separate nights, but we went into the library and played some games, which was fun.
Our 13 yo had fun in the Circle C kids club when she could find someone she knew...many times she went there and didn't know anyone or was not interested in what they were doing...but overall, she had a great time. Our 11 yo went to the kids club on Day 2, had some fun but never saw anyone she wanted to hang out with on subsequent trips to the activities. It was fine though, she enjoyed reading, watching TV and playing ping pong and mini-golf. Our 8 yo spent a lot of time in the kids camp. She is more social and makes friends easily. It was very nice to have the service available..as she is not old enough to roam the ship by herself.
In Progreso, we took a tour to some Mayan Ruins and Merida...we booked it through a tour guide who took us on the free shuttle from the port into town. It was a lot cheaper than going through Carnival...$39 per adult, $22 per child and we just paid $10 for our youngest daughter to get her into the Mayan Ruins park. It was an interesting tour..us adults and the 13 yo were interested, but the younger kids were bored and just wanted to get in the freshwater cenote, which was sort of rocky and slimy..so they didn't stay long.
In Cozumel, we got a taxi and went to Paradise Beach--had an enjoyable time and again saved a bundle of money doing it ourselves than booking something like it through Carnival. Spent the afternoon in town shopping. I wish we could have stayed longer!
We would like to cruise again but I think we will pay more to get a newer, better reviewed ship. We are not big party animals, but we enjoyed a lot of time reading and relaxing, which were our goals. It would have been hard to have 5 fun filled days with hotel, plenty of food and activities elsewhere for what we paid for this cruise, so I really can't complain.