First of all, we have not cruised in about seven years, and this ended up being a spur of the moment booking within two weeks before our cruise date. I have cruised twice before with Carnival, on the Glory and then the Legend. Both ships are much bigger than the Elation, and I knew that going in. However, my daughter was a little disappointed that there was not quite as much to do on this ship. Additionally, due to my late booking, we had a late dining time, which interfered with a lot of her Circle C activities.
We drove straight to the port and parked there. Yes, it is $16 a day, but it couldn't have been easier. On my previous cruises I had stayed in a hotel the night before and left my vehicle there. Checked our luggage on the way in, parked and processed quite quickly and efficiently, despite being part of the lunchtime rush. Very organized. After a quick lunch on the Lido deck, our room was ready. Loved the Ocean View cabin. Plenty of room and great view. The Elation is a bit older, and that was a little obvious, but everything was well maintained. My two complaints were that the room did not have a hair dryer and it only had one electrical outlet, which I thought was odd. The rooms were made up twice daily. This was the first cruise that I've been on where the steward did not introduce himself, so that was odd. We had Late Dining, and was surprised at how casual the dining room has become. Basically as long as you're not wearing tank tops and cutoff shorts, you're okay. My son dressed in khakis and a nice button up shirt and fit in perfectly. On our last cruise several years ago he wore a suit, and that was the norm. Food was pretty good, although temperatures could have been hotter, but what can you expect. Orders were perfect and staff was attentive. One lady at our table was on a gluten-free diet and they made special efforts to provide her with menus ahead of time and provided gluten-free bread.
The Circle C was our only experience with the kids' clubs. The actual room was very small, but I guess that's based on the size of the ship, and my daughter's participation was limited because of our dining time. We tried to catch a comedy show, but it was full and we just didn't get another opportunity to go. The musical performances are always good, but pretty standard.
Nice room, very little traffic. The only real noise was the hum of the engine, but that was nice for lulling me to sleep, so I can't complain about it. Rooms are a bit dated, with old tube TVs. Plenty of storage space. Great view! Bring a hair dryer, because this room does not have one, and it only has one electrical outlet near the vanity and none in the bathroom. All in all, a great room.