Here are the particulars: my wife, myself, our 19 year old daughter, her friend, our 16 year old son and his friend took the Carnival Elation out of Mobile on August 13th for the five night jaunt to Progresso and Cozumel. My wife and I had a double inside cabin (U203) and the kids had a quad inside (M174). We drove from Indiana (about 12 hours) stopping at a Homewood Suites in Montgomery on the way down (GREAT hotel). We arrived in Mobile a little early so we stopped at Battleship Park to check out the U.S.S. Alabama, which was pretty cool.
The terminal in Mobile was easy to get to and parking ($85) was no problem. Once inside, well, that was another story. We waited in four massive lines: security, check in, the obligatory photos and then to get on the ship. It took over an hour. The time waiting did give us a chance to check out our fellow passengers. It was a mixture of colorful pimp outfits, wife-beater undershirts, sideways ball caps, rows and rows of gold teeth and cases upon cases of Coke, Dr. Pepper, etc. While there was an array of visual carnage, a few folks stick out in my mind: the guy who wore a massive sombrero and beer mug-shaped sun glasses; and a guy who wore a hoodie with the sleeves pushed up, cut off studded biker gloves, a frizzy Afro and over-sized shorts with a large fox tail attached to the back (saw this guy several times during the cruise, always alone, wearing the same type outfit with a multitude of different colored fox tails). Whew.
Once on board, we were able to get into our cabins right away. I've always liked the design of Carnival cabins: well laid out, a large bathroom, plenty of storage space and VERY comfortable beds with high quality linen. The only signs of age were two chips in the sink and a few on the edges of the drawers. The only other issues I had with the cabin: the phone was a piece of crap with exposed wires, there was no hair dryer, and I could never get the temp down to sub-zero like I like it. One very cool thing is that the large light in the corner had a nice drawing of Leviathan on it. In fact, all the corridors leading to the cabins are lined with panels with drawings of famous (and not so famous) liners: Normandie, Titanic, Ile de France, Paris, Imperator, Rex, Leviathan, Belgenland and Alcantara. A nice touch for liner fans.