Decorated in the over-the-top style that Carnival was known for before the Dream-class era, Elation could be described as a party for the eyes. Her “arts and culture” theme encompasses everything from the Greek muses and Shakespeare to Cole Porter. It’s a flamboyant mélange of styles having little to do with classic art, but much to offer in terms of fun. Think not Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, but instead, karaoke in the Romeo and Juliet Lounge.
This ship accommodates a maximum of 2,054 passengers. Most staterooms are simple and functional, with good storage, a flat-screen TV, a small desk and a spartan bathroom with a fairly roomy shower. Since Carnival Elation was built before private balconies became de rigueur, you’ll find them only in the 400-square-foot Grand Suites and the 250-square-foot Junior Suites.
In the two main dining rooms, Inspiration (Atlantic Deck, aft) and Imagination (Atlantic Deck, midship), guests can have a traditional early or late seating assigned pre-sailing, or go without reservations using Carnival's “Your Time Dining.” On the Lido deck there’s even more flexibility — not to mention a totally casual dress code — at Tiffany’s, which is actually the buffet. Tiffany’s is usually a relaxed dining option by night, but the place is packed during the breakfast rush.
The Chef’s Table degustation and galley tour ($75 pp) is the only alternative formal dining choice.
Fast-casual stations include a sandwich deli, 24-hour pizza counter and the recently added stir-fry venue, Mongolian Wok.
While the food on board is rated only average overall, cruisers consistently rave about Seaday Brunch, especially the steak and eggs.
This may pose a conundrum for parents on very short cruises with only one sea day, though: Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast, the popular Seuss at Sea costumed-character breakfast, is also on sea day, and if there’s only one day at sea, the two might occur the same morning. The only solution? SECOND BREAKFAST.
Bars and Lounges
There are plenty of bars around Carnival Elation — from the highly central and visible Plaza Bar in the atrium to the popular Drama Bar to Gatsby’s (where there are sometimes martini tastings).
Guests take over the stage at Romeo and Juliet Lounge, singing karaoke with varying degrees of talent but lots of enthusiasm. There’s a dance floor in Romeo and Juliet, and when the professional band takes the stage, it sees some action. Meanwhile, the sing-along cranks up in jazz-themed Duke’s Piano Bar.
Production shows are smaller than on the newer and bigger ships, but the rest of the entertainment and nightlife is in line with Carnival expectations. The 1,300-seat Mikado is Japanese in motif, with a nod to composers Gilbert & Sullivan. It presents a lot of revue-style shows, and on select nights, the audience participation Hasbro-themed staged game shows. By day, it’s the bingo lounge.
Cruisers pack into the Cole Porter Club to check out the comedy routines. Comedy shows, even the midnight ones, typically draw big crowds. Outside, TVs show sports and other events. Duke’s Piano Bar packs in the crowds with sing-along songs.
The Jekyll and Hyde Dance Club is a good-time cruise disco, with the DJ spinning a wide range of genres to a mixed crowd in the full gamut of attire.
The Casablanca casino sees action from the moment the ship gets far enough to sea to allow people in, and it sometimes even has a few people at the tables after every other venue (including the dance club) closes for the night.
The Lido pool and surrounding deck is the hub of loud and rowdy daytime action; all the famous Carnival contests and outdoor games take place here. This pool also has the corkscrew slide that’s a favorite of Carnival passengers young and … not so young.
The classic round stern-view pool at the back of deck 11 is quieter and within proximity of the children’s pool, so it is probably better for family groups where one adult is swimming with the kids and the other is trying to get sunbathing time.
For child-free snoozing and hot-tubbing, seek out the Serenity adults-only area on deck 9. Or book a treatment at the spa.
Carnival Elation has always been popular with families, so it makes sense that in its first round of Fun Ship 2.0 updates it received Circle “C” — Carnival’s supervised venue for the 12 to 14 age group, offering dances, movies and other parent-free socializing. Parents and kids co-exist at City Sports Park outdoor recreation area.
Food choices are limited, even with the addition of Mongolian Wok.
State rooms, while typically kept very clean, are stylistically dated.