As the parade of new ships continues and major cruise lines construct increasingly grandiose vessels each year, there is the tendency to neglect attractive ships that are not among the most recent to enter the market. A case in point is Carnival's Elation with years of cruising under her belt, yet still plenty of years of smooth sailing ahead.
Debuting in March 1998, Elation is the seventh of Carnival's eight Fantasy-class vessels (which began with the debut of Fantasy in 1991 and concluded with the launch of Paradise in 1998).
But Carnival has not neglected Elation -- or the ship's Fantasy-class sisters for that matter. All eight of Carnival's Fantasy-class ships are receiving extensive upgrades as part of Carnival's $350 million "Evolutions of Fun" program. Carnival Elation received part one of the upgrades in 2009 when Serenity, the adults-only deck, Circle "C," a club geared to 12- to 14-year-olds, and expanded buffet options, including a new Mongolian Wok stir-fry station, were added. Part two of the refurb, which will focus on the addition of a resort-style pool and a Carnival WaterWorks water park, has yet to be scheduled.
Elation also has the distinction of being the first cruise ship equipped with Azipod Propulsion, the state-of-the art system that greatly enhances the ship's maneuverability in addition to saving space inside the vessel hull and has since been installed on many of the newest mega-liners. Elation was also the first Carnival ship to feature a dedicated conference center, geared toward accommodating small meetings and incentive groups.
Carnival Elation Dress Code
There is one formal night (called "cruise elegant") on each of the four- and five-night cruises and two formal nights on the seven-night sailings. Otherwise, dress is casual during the day and a trifle dressier at night. Carnival's material asks for "resort casual" for dinner in the dining rooms, and most people comply. If you look presentable, jeans are not an issue. No tank tops or shorts allowed in the main restaurants for any meal.
Carnival Elation Gratuity
Carnival recommends $12.95 per person, per day, for gratuities ($13.95 per person, per day, for those in suites). The guidelines allocate a portion to dining room services, cabin services and alternative services, which include kitchen, entertainment, guest services and other hotel services. The amount is automatically added to your shipboard account, but it can be adjusted in either direction at the guest services desk. A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to bar bills and spa treatments. Tipping a couple dollars for room service at delivery is appreciated by the service staff.