This was our first cruise. Me and my mother went on the Elation out of Mobile, AL on Feb. 26, 2011. We arrived at the Mobile port at about 10:45. There was already a line of cars waiting to get into the parking garage at the port. We were directed to a spot to drop off our checked luggage, then proceeded up the garage, and paid for our parking. We unloaded our carry on bags, and walked down the steps into the entrance to the terminal. We were directed to the VIP line. We booked a suite, so we had VIP embarkation. We went through the metal detectors, and were given a number. We were immediately called into the office, and received our Sail and Sign cards. We then waited about 15 min for boarding to start at approx. 11:00 am. There were 2 wedding parties that went on board before us plus any handicapped people. Then they announced VIP boarding. We walked up the gangway, and got right on the ship. There were many Carnival employees directing us to the Lido deck. There were hot dogs and hamburgers with all of the "fixings" to eat outside by the pool on the Lido deck plus there was an Italian style buffet inside of Tiffany's. We sipped a couple of fun ship specials, which was the drink of the day, then headed to our suite at around 1:30 pm. We settled in our cabin, and Bon Voyage brought us our fruit and wine basket, cookies and cake. They were all wonderful! The fruit and wine basket was my favorite. It was well worth the price. We then got ready for the muster drill, which started at around 3:15 pm. We went to our designated muster station, and listened to the safety lecture, and were showed our lifeboats. Then the captain announced that we were sailing. Let the party start! There was music and dancing, drinks and food. It looked like everyone was having a blast! We went back to the cabin and got ready for our dinner in the MDR. We had your time dining, and were meeting some friends for dinner. We had 4 in our dinner party, and were sat at a nice table for 4. We had an excellent wait staff, and they were our servers the rest of the cruise. Maitre D Vincent went above and beyond his duties to please everyone in the MDR. Our food was wonderful! There was always a nice selection on the menu. I ended up having the flat iron steak which is a Carnival Classic and always on the menu a couple of nights due to an allergy that I have. It was always cooked to my preference. We also ate breakfast and lunch in the MDR a couple of times, and enjoyed the food also. I think the breakfast on the Lido deck buffet line was my favorite. I loved the cook at the omelet station there plus the view was amazing! The breakfast at Tiffany's buffet was also great! Lots of food everywhere. There is 24 hr pizza and soft serve ice cream in Tiffany's as well. Plus a New York style deli counter with great sandwiches and wraps. There is large salad bar for lunch and dinner inside Tiffany's. Oh also a sushi bar that opens at 5:00 pm. There is a specialty coffee shop that you have to pay for on your S&S card. They have nice pastries, coffee drinks and wonderful milk shakes. I don't see how anyone could not find something they liked. There was a nice water slide and pool plus hot tubs on the Lido deck. If you go up the ladder on the Lido deck there is also another pool, hot tubs and a kiddy pool at the back of the ship on the verandah deck. I did not find them until our last sea day. LOL The view at the Serenity area is amazing. It is an adult only area with hot tubs and lounge chairs on deck 9 at the very back of the ship. There is a jogging tract, mini golf, basketball hoop, ping pong, a huge chess set on deck 11 also. The spa and gym are very modern. I loved the sunrise stretch on the stage on the lido deck. What a wonderful way to start your day! There is a video arcade, and also a casino for the adults. There are all different types of lounges and bars, even a teen dance club. We did the Chef's table, and it was absolutely incredible! It was well worth the extra money. The Elation was very clean. Our suite was perfect! The favorite part of the ship for me was our balcony. I had read some bad reviews before we cruised. Now I have come to the conclusion that some people just cannot be satisfied! If you don't have a good time on your Elation cruise, then it is your own fault. There are many different activities going on daily. They will be listed in your funtimes news letter that is delivered to your room daily. Everything from trivia style games, afternoon teas, dance classes,karaoke,exercise classes even the men's hairy chest competition. Plus you can pick up an extra copy at guest services. There are laundry facilities with coin operated washers and dryers and a free iron. The Las Vegas style shows on the Elation were both wonderful. I went to see "Rock". I still can't believe those dancers can perform like that on a moving ship. The Mikado is gorgeous too! My mom went to see "Win", and she like it even better than "Rock". I heard the comedians are very good! They have a family friendly plus an adult performance. There are all types of live music. Piano players to rock bands. The internet cafe is right across from guest services, and there is always someone there to assist you. There is some very nice duty free shops on the ship. Great prices on jewelry, alcohol and cigarettes.We took the Dzibilchaltun ruins, horse show and Mexican buffet excursion through Carnival in Progreso. I would highly recommend this excursion. In Cozumel we did the City, Shopping, beach and lunch excursion through Carnival also. We had a great time. I would recommend doing your silver and gemstone shopping in Progreso instead of Cozumel. The prices were much better in Progreso than Cozumel. There are many different lectures on the ship about shopping at the ports. If you go to some of these you will find out some great information plus get some good coupons.The worst thing about our cruise is that we had to go home. LOL We put our bags outside on our last night. We were zone 1. We just went to our designated meeting area for our zone, and got right off of the ship after the self assist group left. We were off the ship, and through customs in about 15 minutes. I would disregard some of these bad reviews about the Elation that are out there. If you go with an open mind and realize nothing is perfect, then you will have a blast. I just booked a cruise on the Elation's October 15, 2011 last sailing out of Mobile.
We were in GS U102. We were almost directly mid ship. We had a nice size bathroom with whirlpool bath plus a shower. We had plenty of closet and drawer space. 2 twin beds that convert to a king size. The beds and linens were very comfortable. The Carnival robes were so nice! Our balcony was my favorite part of the whole ship. We had a nice large couch that folded out into a bed. We did not use the couch as a bed, because we only had 2 in the room. There were at least 2 different outlets in the room, and the temperature was controlled by a lever in the vent in the ceiling. We never heard a peep from our hallway or neighbors. I would love to book this cabin again.