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Carnival Elation Review

Carnival Elation
Carnival Elation

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Carnival Elation
4.0 / 5.0 Cruise Critic Editor Rating
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Families will love the water park and Dr. Seuss activities; new dining spots draw crowds


Just one pool, no movies by the pool and little onboard shopping

Bottom Line

Enough onboard to keep passengers as busy as they want to be


Passengers 2,130
Crew 920
Passenger to Crew 2.32:1
Launched 1998
Shore Excursions 84
Karon Warren
Cruise Critic Contributor

Carnival Elation Overview

Given that Elation was built 20 years ago, it is noticeably smaller than the larger-than-life ships being built today. But that is not necessarily a bad thing. This ship is large enough that it doesn't feel crowded, yet small enough that passengers won't get lost trying to find the dining room or theater.

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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.

During a short stint in dry dock in 2017, 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.

A cruise on Carnival Elation 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.

Fellow Passengers

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.

Carnival Elation Dress Code

Daytime: Daytime dress 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 elegant 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.

Carnival Elation Gratuity

The recommended guideline for gratuities is $13.99 per person, per day ($15.99 per person, per day for those in suites). These gratuities are divided between the housekeeping and dining teams, and other crew members including kitchen, guest services and entertainment staff. These gratuities are added to passengers' accounts each day, and can be adjusted at any time before the cruise ends (though Cruise Critic only advocates doing this if there has been a problem that can't be solved). A mandatory 15 percent gratuity is added to all bar purchases and is billed at the time of purchase. Gratuities are always recommended for room service staff. A 15 percent gratuity also is added for all spa services, although these can be adjusted or removed by the passenger. Passengers are welcome to provide additional cash gratuities to any staff member as they see fit throughout the cruise.

Carnival Elation Awards

Cruisers’ Choice Awards

2013 Best for Embarkation
2013 Best for Value

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Riviera Deck
Main Deck
Upper Deck
Empress Deck
Atlantic Deck
Promenade Deck
Lido Deck
Verandah Deck
Sports Deck
Grand Deck
Sun Deck

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Carnival Elation Member Reviews

Carnival Elation
Sail Date: Mar 2019
him in a wheelchair. This was a huge family ordeal with 14 of us needing some serious R&R & Carnival Elation did not disappoint. We've cruised together years before, but now some of us had children &...Read More
Carnival Elation
Sail Date: Aug 2018
My friend Josh and I just returned from an amazing 5-day cruise on the Jacksonville-based Carnival Elation. Here are a couple highlights and comments: 1. Embarkation was a breeze. Josh and I parked...Read More
Carnival Elation
Sail Date: Jan 2019
Carnival Elation Sailing out of Jacksonville. We were 3 couples with suites V 2,4,6 all together. We all had junior suites and are members of their VIFP club (frequent cruisers) which allows priority...Read More
Carnival Elation
Sail Date: Dec 2018
disembark compared to other cruisers that did not have the service. It’s worth it...buy it! Carnival Elation was recently renovated and I was pleased with the ship. For a 20 year old ship, they did a great...Read More

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