Carnival Elation was built in 1998 and is therefore noticeably smaller than the larger-than-life ships being built today. But that is not necessarily a bad thing. Despite its capacity of 2,190 passengers, this ship is large enough that it doesn't feel crowded, yet small enough that cruisers won't get lost trying to find the dining room or theater.
Elation shows its age in other ways too, with decor that is a blend of 1970s color and geometrics overload with garish Vegas touches, depending on which spot you're in. Even so, this doesn't distract passengers from having a good time.
Carnival Elation deck plans are another sign that this is not one of the newer ships on the fleet: the layout is almost a carbon copy of other Fantasy-class vessels, with most cabins on the lower decks (except for a few on decks 9, 11 and 14), and both main dining rooms side-by-side on Deck 8 instead of taking the same spot on two separate levels to create a more decadent two-story space. Most of the action on the Carnival Elation cruise ship takes place on Decks 8 (Atlantic), 9 (Promenade) and 10 (Lido). Here, passengers can find most dining, drinking and entertainment venues, as well as the main atrium, the pools and the shops.
The design of most cabin decks mirrors the Carnival Elation Main Deck layout: the very front of the forward section is home to the Porthole staterooms, followed by Ocean View cabins; Balcony accommodations (which were added when the ship was refurbished in 2017) take the midship section, while the aft houses more Ocean View and Balcony units. Carnival Elation Inside cabins can be found on all stateroom decks, which are decks 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 11 and 14.
If you’re worried about nighttime noise on Carnival Elation, the rooms to avoid are those located on Empress and Promenade decks (7 and 9, respectively), as they’re directly above and/or below busy public spaces.
Although Carnival Elation features are not quite on par with those found on newer, bigger vessels, the ship offers a pretty decent array of amenities for the price. Plus, during the 2017 renovation, Carnival Elation received several Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades that give it a slightly newer feel, including new restaurant, bar and entertainment options, and even refreshed stateroom corridors. Families also will find improvements to Camp Ocean (the kids' camp), the onboard water park and the mini-golf course, leading to more enjoyment for kids and their parents.
There are plenty of things to do on Carnival Elation, but your sailing can be as busy or as relaxing as you'd like it to be. For those who want to be active, you can play in the water park, compete in a ping-pong tournament or join in many of the entertainment crew-led fun. If you're looking to relax, you can spend time on the Serenity Deck, hit up the library or just work on your tan around the pool. At night, take in a show in the main theater or enjoy the live music located around the ship.
One of the best attributes of Carnival Elation is its crew. They are friendly and never hesitate to answer a question, point you in the right direction and always do their best to get you what you need.
For the most up-to-date testing, masking, and vaccination requirements aboard Carnival Elation, please refer to Carnival’s Health and Safety protocols. You can also use Cruise Critic's guide to health requirements on the world’s major cruise lines as we know them.
· Meals at the two main dining rooms, the buffet, BlueIguana Cantina, Guy’s Burger Joint and 24-hour pizza at Pirate Pizzeria
· All theater and comedy shows
· Use of the water park, pool, mini-golf and other outdoor activities
· Most daily activities unless noted below
· Use of the gym, but not most classes
· Gratuities (amounts vary depending on cabin type)
· Most room service deliveries, plus tip
· All drinks -- beyond water, tea (including ice tea), coffee and select juices in the buffet -- plus an automatic 18 percent gratuity
· Spa treatments, plus automatic 15 percent tip
· Shore excursions
· Activities including, but not limited to arcade games, bingo and Build-A-Bear
The vast majority of passengers on Carnival Elation come from the United States and Canada, with ages typically falling between 25 and 60. Because we sailed before school was out for the summer, we saw many young couples, honeymooners, parents with preschool-age kids (and younger) as well as a lot of older adults. Expect that to change when kids are not in school. There also were many multigenerational families aboard, both for vacation and family reunions.
Daytime: The daytime dress code onboard Carnival Elation is quite casual, with shorts, T-shirts, swimsuits and flip-flops being the most popular.
Evening: This casual approach carries over into night on non-elegant nights, with swimsuits and flip-flops traded in for sundresses, khakis, jeans and sandals. On Carnival Elation’s formal nights (one during our five-night cruise, two for longer cruises), most passengers opt for "Sunday dress" attire: dress slacks with buttoned-up shirt for the guys and dressier dresses for women. On our sailing, there were a few women who opted to take it up a notch, wearing floor-length, almost black-tie dresses, some covered in sequins, but most men didn't opt for a tuxedo, instead wearing a nice suit.
Not permitted: Cutoff jeans, men's tank tops and swimwear are not permitted in the main dining room.
For more information, visit Cruise Line Dress Codes: Carnival.
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