By Jodi Thompson
Cruise Critic Contributor
5.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating: Entertainment

Carnival Elation Entertainment & Activities

Passengers have come to expect an array of entertainment options on Carnival cruises. A variety of live bands and individual performers entertain nightly on Elation, and there are elaborate stage shows. Virtually every musical style can be heard including cocktail piano music, '40s swing, raucous rock, disco, gentle country, folk, funky reggae and calypso.

Among the "happening" places to go at night is Duke's, a piano bar with decor that pays tribute to jazz legend Duke Ellington. Karaoke draws big crowds to the Romeo and Juliet Lounge while the Cole Porter Lounge is the scene of performances by various musicians. The prime entertainment venue is the 1,300-seat Mikado, a Japanese-inspired theater showcasing elaborate Las Vegas-style revues as well as performances by individual musicians and comedians. Speaking of Vegas, gaming is typically among the favorite activities on a Carnival cruise and while at sea Elation's Casablanca casino buzzes right from the opening bell every morning and continues well into the wee hours.

There are also many of the traditional cruise ship fun and games available daily that attract substantial passenger participation such as bingo and trivial pursuit contests plus those ever-popular poolside events such as the men's hairy chest contest. Art auctions are also a big draw.

While you can be as active or sedentary as you choose to be on Elation, this is a ship where "participation" really does make the experience. Around-the-clock activity means it's not a cruise aimed at couch potatoes or peace-seeking travelers!

Carnival Elation Public Rooms

In terms of layout and function, Elation is virtually identical to her sister Fantasy-class ships. The ship consists of 10 decks with most of the public rooms concentrated on Atlantic, Promenade and Lido decks (8 - 10), while the cabins are situated on Riviera, Main, Upper and Empress decks (4 - 7). Like other Carnival ships, the public areas are designed and decorated in a fanciful, flamboyant style by Carnival's award-winning architect Joe Farcus, who has a penchant for augmenting the interiors with more than a dash of neon and glitz. While passenger opinions of the decor ranged from glamorous and elegant to gaudy and gauche, there is no denying that Farcus' whimsical design style enhances the Elation's "Fun Ship" aura.

The ship's centerpiece is its six-story Grand Atrium. The semicircular Plaza Bar on the floor of the Atrium is a favorite gathering place for pre-dinner drinks and light entertainment.

Elation's public spaces encompass a diversity of styles and design elements celebrating the arts of music, literature and cinema with references to the Muses and other Greek mythological figures added to the mix. Among the venues with an arts theme include the Romeo and Juliet Lounge, Gatsby's Great Cigar Bar, the Cole Porter Club, the Jekyll & Hyde Dance Club and the Mark Twain Library. One of the most expansive public areas is the area known as Elation Way on Promenade Deck, which is decorated with striking columns featuring crafted classical reliefs of the Muses. Promenade Deck gets especially busy at night as it connects the main "evening" lounges, such as the Romeo and Juliet Lounge, Musical Cafe, which is next to the Casablanca Casino (it sports a Moroccan design after the movie of the same name).

Other public areas include The Fun Shops, Atrium Plaza and the ship's photo gallery. There is also an Internet cafe with access priced at 75 cents per minute; for those who plan to spend more time on the computer, there are 100-minute packages available for $50 (50 cents per minute) and 250-minute packages for $100 (40 cents per minute). Wi-Fi is available in most public rooms.

There is also a self-service laundry onboard ($3 for a wash, $3 for a dry).

Carnival Elation Spa & Fitness

The ship's 12,000-square-foot Spa Carnival has a full complement of state-of-the art exercise machines including treadmills, Stairmasters, elliptical machines and stationary bicycles. There are also classes offered (plan to pay an additional $10 per class), such as Pathways to Yoga and Pathways to Pilates, as well as body composition analysis and personal training sessions ($75 for 60 minutes).

Spa Carnival's menu features a variety of massages as well as beauty treatments including deep-cleansing facials, manicures and pedicures. Treatments range from a 20-minute foot and ankle or scalp massage costing $20 to a 50-minute Swedish massage for $99, while a deep-tissue massage is $105 and a couple's massage is $220. Soothing facial treatments include a 25-minute facial for $25, 50-minute hydralift for $99 and 50-minute aroma-pure facial for $99. Men's and women's saunas and steam rooms are also located within the spa.

The ship has two swimming pools, a children's pool and four whirlpools. The Lido pool has one of Carnival's signature twisty slides and is the more active and loud of the two. It is anchored by a hot tub. The smaller aft pool on Deck 11 is flanked by a hot tub and a children's pool.

Tucked away aft on Deck 9 is the adults-only Serenity sun deck. It's accessed through Cole Porter Club Aft Lounge or stairs from Tiffany's outdoor seating areas. Here, adults can relax in either of two hot tubs or sunbathe on padded loungers that are a big step up from the Lido's deck chairs.

Elation has a nine-hole mini-golf course (part of the 2009 "Evolution of Fun" transformation). The City Sports Park area on Sun Deck also serves as a venue for ping pong, shooting hoops and volleyball. In addition, there's a jogging track (11 laps equal a mile).

Carnival Elation For Kids

Carnival's Fun Ships are made for families, with activities that encompass all age groups. There are games and contests for everyone to enjoy together, and there is Camp Carnival, with separate programs for kids, 'tweens and teens. The short weekend cruises attract many families; the midweek cruises less so.

The Camp Carnival facilities for children ages 2 to 11 are located at the top of the atrium, opposite the spa. Programs are offered free of charge from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. The multiple-room facility has arts and crafts, computer stations, walls with several monitors for movies and cartoons, a separate section for toddlers and babies, and well-trained staff supervising the children. A highlight is Camp Carnival's dining option, which allows kids to dine with other members of their playgroup.

One area where Carnival is rather unique among family-oriented cruise lines is that it accepts toddlers as young as age 2 into the program -- even if they aren't toilet trained (and staffers will change diapers). Carnival also offers babysitting at an additional charge (plan to pay about $6 per hour). At certain times, babies ages 6 months to 2 years can spend time in Camp Carnival, either with their parents (for free) or on their own (for a fee). However, toddlers and babies that aren't toilet trained are not allowed in any pools onboard, not even the children's pool, and kids must be at least 48 inches to ride the waterslide -- leaving some disappointed five- and six-year-olds on the sidelines.

Circle C is geared toward 'tweens (ages 12 - 14) and this group has its own hangout on Deck 8 with computer terminals and board games. Free activities run from 9 a.m. to about 1 a.m., including scavenger hunts, dance parties, karaoke and mini-golf.

Teens ages 15 - 17 gather in Club O2, one deck up. The space is similar with computer stations, flat-screen TV's and a mocktail bar. Activities also run from morning until after midnight with photo hunts, T-shirt decorating, ice cream and make-your-own-pizza parties, and sports games. Teens also can opt to attend a supervised, teen-only tour in port.

Additional Carnival Elation Information

Carnival Elation Details
  • Crew: 920
  • Launched: 1998
  • Decks: 10
  • Passengers: 2,052
  • Registry: Panama
  • CDC Score: 95

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