This was our first time on a Fantasy Class ship and it had a very cozy feel.
Embarkation: Very smooth. We spent the night before in New Orleans after securing the Marriott on Canal St. for 55 bucks on priceline and watched the suoerbowl with friends. Drove over to the port about 10:15 the next morning and had the car parked (80 bucks), through security and checked-in by 10:45. At 11:00 they said they would be boarding the ship at 11:15 (45 minutes early). We had boarding number 3 and we were on the lido deck having lunch at 11:40! Embarkation was a true brees...
Cabin: We booked early saver and got a porthole on the riviera deck for $249, cabin R12. This cabin is HUGE!!! there was at least four feet on either side of the bed and a bay window where the two portholes were that was at least three feet deep and four feet long. great place to sit and look out the portholes and store extra bags. The TV was not a flat screen but we had no complaints. Great selection of channels as we always had CNN and the ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX affiliates from Miami, along with three movie channels. This cabin was great and I recommend it to everyone. You do hear the waves hitting the ship during rough seas but I actually enjoyed that.
Dining: The food at Tiffany's (the buffet was always good, the made fresh sandwiches at the deli was my favorite, the 24 hour pizza was very good, as were the grill and mongolian wok. My only complaint would be the quality of the dining room food. The same food was offered on the buffet in the evening, except for lobster night. While I found it ok you just expect a LITTLE more to get dressed up for dinner. I didn't think too much because for the price we paid the food was more than acceptable, but it's the same food the folks who bought suites and junior suites ate, and I would have been extremely disappointed if I was one of them.
We did the CHEF'sTABLE and it is a must for anyone that enjoys good food and fine dining! Well worth the 75.00 pp charge...This was our second time, the first being on the Triumph, only complaint was this chef was very hard to understand through a thick Indian accent, but he was very nice.
The service on the ship was impeccable. We have never found a more friendly and accommodating crew on any of our previous cruises, including Disney.
SHIP: Very well maintained for it's age. Very clean for the most part. The cushions on the loungers on the serenity deck could be replaced and the decking is in desperate need of replacement or a new stain.
Progreso: I know they use this port because of it's proximity for people to go see the ruins but it is gross. If you are not doing a planned excursion there is not need to take the long bus ride into town from the ship.
Cozumel: we went to Playa MIA beach break...here's a tip though do not book through carnival, it's 74.00 for the all inclusive portion, but only 50.00 if you pay at the cashier entrance to the resort. We did a snorkeling reef tour which was AMAZING. highly recommend it. did some shopping before getting back on the ship.
DEBARKATION: the lido deck was crazy for breakfast that morning so we went to dining room and got great quick service. definitely do this. We did self debarkation and got off the ship at 8:00 and we were through customs, into the parking garage and on the highway by 8:30.
Final Thought: As my wife said if someone who has never taken a cruise before wants to go on elation, they will have a great time. The ship is very small overall for our taste after being on the conquest and triumph in the past. I would take the crew on any ship though, they were awesome! If you're looking for a great deal take this ship in the offseason for very low prices...it was well worth the money but I can't wait to get back on the Conquest out of NOLA.