We have heard a lot of complaints about Carnivals new home ported ship, the Elation and the short cruises, and I must say I was a little worried as we booked this specifically to celebrate my mother-in-laws 75th birthday. Because she and my brother-in-law and his wife were first time cruisers, my wife and felt this was the perfect cruise for them. I must say, many of the complaints were present but only a problem if you let them be. For instance, these are called fun ships for a reason and there are lots of kids on board from infants to teens and they can get load at times and, they present all those problems that kids create. But, the Elation is big enough to find a place to get away when you need to. The Key words here are FUN SHIP, they say it all. If you are looking for quite, romantic, formal cruising, don't bother.
We Booked with an online cruise agency and picked the Elation specifically because she is home ported in San Diego. Though three in our party had to fly in, the wife and I live here and was able to provide transportation and housing for the rest. Our accommodations were 1 Penthouse suite and 1 Ocean view cabin. We used Cloud 9 shuttle to and from the ship and it went very smooth.
Embarkation was not to bad once it got going, but San Diego really needs to step up to the plate and do something about their poor Cruise Terminal facilities if they expect to attract other cruise ships to home port here. Though only three of us were VIP, the Carnival Rep. graciously checked us all in together so we could board as a family. After dropping off our carry-on bags in our cabins, we had lunch on the Lido Deck. The muster drill was somewhat disorganized and disappointing as we were hoping to watch the sail away over a bottle of bubbly from our private deck.