We are from MO and had a 11 hour drive to get to Mobile, AL for our cruise. This was our second cruise with Carnival. The Elation was a smaller boat than the Conquest we took in Jan 2010. The only problem when we were trying to embark on the ship and trying to get into the parking garage. That was a huge headache. Once we got inside it was a breeze getting onto the boat. The lines moved fast. It was a Christmas cruise and it had lots of Christmas decorations all over the place. One thing we didn't like was all the Christmas music they played over and over again at the adult pool area. My husband and I work in guest services (hotel) and they have had Christmas music and decorations up since the end of October. It is okay to have it playing but would of been nice if they mixed the music up from time to time.
Our cabin was nice. We did get our luggage fast.
The food was okay. Buffet was crowded most of the time and the food was not really hot. The buffet was not organized well. Had to run all over the place to get what we wanted on our plates. We tired to eat in the dining room for breakfast but it seems they always sit you next to other guest that has already ordered or started to eat. I did not like that at all. Felt like I was intruding on their meal time. We had late dining and they had us sitting at a table for 11. We asked to be moved to a table of two and they sat us near the kitchen doors and wasn't private at all. Had people bumping into the chair or our arm during dinner. Wish Carnival would change their menus more often. It was the same kind of food we had 11 months ago. Not that many vegetarian options either.
It seems every time we wanted to use the adult jacuzzi (they had two) ... one of the jacuzzis was always out of order. So everyone was sitting around waiting to get into the only one that was working.
Don't even think about getting onto the elevator ... it took a long time to get onto one. Most of the time we just used the stairs.
The comedy shows were okay. We did hit the slots one night. Nothing to exciting ... just a lot of smoke in the air.
We didn't get off the boat in Calica. Didn't have many options to do much in this port. It was nice to have the boat empty. No waiting for food or use of jacuzzi.
We did get off the boat in Cozumel. Getting off the boat was a breeze. We did a beach excursion we booked with Carnival. Had a lot of fun.
All in all we had a nice time. Cruising on a smaller boat was like living in a small town. You would see the same people all over the place. Maybe Carnival in the future will change their menus more in the dining room and add new things to it. More options for Vegetarian dishes, too.