I chose this particular cruise for the stops in Grand Turk and Amber Cove, and was not disappointed! Embarkation was smooth, fast, and well organized. Because our transportation got us to the port earlier that the time I signed up to board, I was afraid I would have to wait until my designated time but we got right on the boat with no issues or delays. We had Faster to the Fun, which is definitely worth the money! I admit I was a bit skeptical about the Elation due to previous not-so-great reviews, but my experience was nothing like those reviews. It's a beautiful ship, despite a little rust and being older. I plan a cruise based on activities offered, not on what the ship looks like. Several of the previous reviews also mentioned mechanical issues and/or rocking of the ship. There has always been a bit of a sway on any ship I have been on, which I find relaxing. There was one day where the rocking was a good bit more noticeable, but come on...the winds were hitting 40 and 50 mph that day. A little rocking is to be expected with winds that high.
Our stateroom was a junior suite on the Grand Deck. To me, the only really noticeable difference between this stateroom and a regular balcony room was the larger TV. It had the same amenities and maybe a slightly bigger bit of floor space but not a vast difference. Next time I will save a few bucks and stick to the regular balcony. Our steward, Soma, was the absolute best I have ever had on any cruise. Food was so-so, just basic cruise ship food. 99% of the staff was friendly, but there is always that handful that just doesn't seem to want to be there. The cruise director and the rest of the entertainment and leadership crew were spectacular as well. On the last night there was a couple playing violins at the atrium bar that played the most incredible version of "Free Bird" I have ever heard, all on violin. They held an audience of several floors of cruisers in awe from start to finish.
We didn't do any shore excursions, but just chose to explore the cruise ports. Grand Turk was almost too crowded, with one other ship in port that day. Amber Cove seemed a bit more spread out and was more enjoyable to me. I only wish we could have stayed in Amber Cove a bit longer. It's a shorter day in port than Grand Turk, but it seems like there is more to do there. I would definitely do this cruise again.
Comfortable bed, everything in working order. Room steward, Soma, was super! The temperature in the room was a bit warm for me and I couldn't seem to get it to cool down.