Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Ship: 309 out of 500
Accommodation: 138 out of 200
Food: 212 out of 400
Service: 262 out of 400
Entertainment: 73 out of 100
Cruise: 243 out of 400
Overall Score: 1237 out of 2000
Carnival Elation Statistics
Size: Large Resort Ship
Cruise Line: Carnival Cruise Line
Former Names: Elation
IMO Number: 9118721
Builder: Kvaerner Masa-Yards (Finland)
Original Cost: $225 million
Entered Service: Mar 1998
Length (ft/m): 855.8/263.6
Beam (ft/m): 103.0/31.4
Draft (ft/m): 25.9/7.9
Propulsion/Propellers: diesel-electric (42,842kW)/2 azimuthing pods
Passenger Decks: 10
Total Crew: 920
Passengers (lower beds): 2,056
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 34.4
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.2
Cabins (total): 1,026 or 1,028
Size Range (sq ft/m): 173.2-409.7/16.0-38.0
Cabins (for one person): 0
Cabins (with private balcony): 152
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 22
Wheelchair accessibility: Fair
Cabin Current: 110 volts
Casino (gaming tables): Yes
Slot Machines: Yes
Swimming Pools: 3
Hot Tubs (on deck): 6
Self-Service Launderette: Yes
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No
Onboard currency: US$
This floating fun palace is for ultra-casual family cruising
Overview. Carnival Elation is the seventh in a series of eight almost identical ships in Carnival’s Fantasy-class (sister ships: Carnival Ecstasy, Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Fascination, Carnival Imagination, Carnival Inspiration, Carnival Paradise, and Carnival Sensation - all of which have extremely short bows. The ship has an angular exterior profile and is not very handsome. Carnival Elation is nonetheless a popular ship - aimed at anyone taking their first cruise.
The Ship. Carnival Elation is one of only two ships in the series of eight (the other is Carnival Paradise) with a ‘pod’ propulsion system, which gives a vibration-free ride, rather than the traditional propeller shaft and rudder system. The open deck space, however, gets really crowded when the ship is full and everyone wants to be out on deck. The aft decks tend to be less noisy, whereas all the activities are focused around the main swimming pool and hot tubs (one with a thatched shade). For those who prefer European-style sunning there’s also a topless sunbathing area, as well as Serenity - an adult-only ‘quiet’ lounging space on Deck 9 aft. There is no walk-around open promenade deck, although there is a short jogging track atop ship. The lifeboats, six of which double as shore tenders, are positioned high in the ship.
The interior spaces are well utilized. The general passenger flow is good, and the interior design - the work of Miami-based creative genius Joe Farcus - is clever, functional, and extremely colorful. The interior decor theme is mythical muses, and composers and their compositions.
The interior focal point is an ‘open’ atrium lobby, whose balconied shape recalls some of the world’s great opera houses; dressed to impress, it spans six decks, and is topped by a large glass dome. The lowest level of the atrium lobby is where you’ll find the purser’s desk and shore excursion desk, together with a popular Atrium Bar (with live music), as well as a small sushi bar off to one side; it’s a good central meeting place.
There are public entertainment lounges, bars, and clubs galore, with something for everyone (except quiet space). The public rooms, connected by a double-width Elation’s Way and Promenade, combine a colorful mix of classic and contemporary design elements. Most public rooms and attractions lead off from this boulevard - a sort of shipboard Main Street which runs between the showlounge (forward) and the Cole Porter lounge/nightclub aft. Gamers and slot players alike will enjoy the almost non-stop action in the Casablanca Casino. There is also a fine looking library and reading room, but few books, and a 1,200-sq-ft (111-sq-m) conference room.
While the cuisine is just so-so, the real fun begins at sundown when Carnival really excels in sound, lights, razzle-dazzle shows, and late-night high volume sounds. From venues such as the Jekyll & Hyde Dance Club/Disco to Gatsby’s Great Cigar Bar, the ship’s interior decor will certainly entertain you.
Carnival Elation is a floating playground for the young and young-at-heart. It really is cruising Splash Vegas style - an all-American experience. Because it’s a large resort ship, expect lines for shore excursions, security control when re-boarding, and disembarkation, as well as sign-up sheets for fitness equipment.
A Carnival cruise is all about having fun. Carnival Elation is not for those who want a quiet, relaxing cruise experience. There are simply too many annoying announcements, and a great deal of hustling for drinks. Shore excursions are booked via the in-cabin ‘Fun Vision’ television system, so obtaining advice and suggestions is not easy.
Families. Youngsters have their own play areas, with children’s programs divided into five age-specific groups under Camp Ocean (ages 2−11 - with children ages 2−5 called ‘Penguins’; 6−8-year-olds called ‘Sting Rays’; 9−11-year-olds called ‘Sharks’). Tweens have ‘Circle C’, while teenagers have their own ‘Club O2’ - a chill-out (no adults allowed) room/disco. Also, soft-drinks packages can be purchased for children (and adults).
By the end of 2015, the words and world of Dr. Seuss will have been rolled out as part of Carnival’s children’s program (check before you sail) − from ‘green eggs and ham’ for breakfast, served by waiters in Dr. Seuss-inspired uniforms, and characters such as the Cat in the Hat, Thing One and Thing Two, and Sam attending, to special showings of movies such as The Cat in the Hat and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (these will be shown outdoors on the poolside Seaside Theater screen on Lido Deck).
Accommodation. There are 13 grades of accommodation, ranked by facilities, size, and location. The standard outside-view and interior cabins have decor that is rather plain and unmemorable. They are marginally comfortable, yet spacious enough and practical (most are of the same size and appointments), with good storage space and practical, well-designed no-nonsense bathrooms. However, if you have a queen-bed configuration instead of the standard twin-bed layout, note that one person has to clamber over the bed - an ungainly exercise.
Anyone booking an outside suite will find more space, whirlpool bathtubs, and some rather eclectic decor and furniture. These are mildly attractive, but they are much smaller than those aboard ships of a similar size of competing companies. Room service items are available 24 hours a day, although in standard-grade cabins, only cold food is available, while occupants of suite-grade accommodation have a greater range of items (both hot and cold) to choose from.
Dining. There are two large main dining rooms, Imagination and Inspiration, located amidships and aft. They have ocean-view windows and are noisy, but the decor is attractive, bright and colorful. Choose either fixed-time dining (6pm or 8.15pm) or flexible dining (any time between 5.45 and 9.30pm).
The food is so-so. Presentation is simple, and few garnishes are used. Many meat and fowl dishes are disguised with gravies and sauces. There’s a decent wine list, but no wine waiters. The waiters sing and dance, and there are constant waiter parades - so it’s really more about ‘foodertainment’ than food quality. If you want something really simple, there’s an ‘always available’ (when the dinng rooms are open) list of ‘Carnival Classics’ that includes mahi mahi (fish), baby back ribs (beef), and grilled chicken. Note that the two main dining rooms are not open for lunch on port days.
Other dining options. A Lido café, called Tiffany’s Lido Restaurant, features the usual casual self-serve buffet eats, most of which are non-memorable. The venue includes a deli counter and pizzeria. At night, the venue morphs into the Seaview Bistro, and provides a casual alternative to the main dining rooms, for pasta, steaks, salads, and desserts. Outside on deck is a Mongolian Rotisserie Grill.
There is no specialty (extra-charge) restaurant, as aboard some of the larger ships in the Carnival fleet.
Entertainment. The Mikado Showlounge is the venue for large-scale production shows and major cabaret acts - although 20 pillars obstruct some views. During a typical cruise, there will be one or two high-energy production shows, with a cast of two lead singers and a clutch of dancers, backed by a large live band.
Spa/Fitness. SpaCarnival is a large, glass-wrapped health, fitness, and spa complex located on the uppermost interior deck, forward of the ship’s mast, and is typically open from 6am to 8pm daily. It consists of a gymnasium with ocean-view windows that look out over the bow and the latest in muscle-pumping electronic machines, an aerobics exercise room, men’s and women’s changing rooms, sauna and steam rooms, beauty salon, and body treatment rooms. Some fitness classes incur an extra charge. A common complaint is that there aren’t enough staff to keep the area clean and tidy.
Sporting types can play basketball or volleyball, or table tennis. There is also a banked jogging track on the deck above the spa, and a mini-golf course.