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Carnival Elation Cruise Review
The Elation is a ship built in 1998 for Carnival Cruise Lines. It was the first ship to have the azipod propulsion system. Everything you read about the Elation will include a little blurb about the azipod system. You might be wondering what the hell that is so I’ll tell you. It’s a lot like having all-wheel drive in your car. Instead of the energy source pushing the ship, it pulls it instead. This makes maneuvering the ship much easier so you can be sure that there will be no listing or overturning of the ship on your cruise. It also reduces the vibrations that cause motion sickness in people like me.
Enough about the mechanics though because the Carnival has the fun, right? Yes sir they do. The Carnival Elation has three pools. One with a 214 ft water slide! This is where the music and pool games are. Expect it to be busy the first few days. My favorite pool is the one at the back of the ship on the veranda deck, because it takes new passengers about 3 days to find it, so for the first few days of your cruise it is not crowded. The last pool is the children’s pool on the promenade deck at the stern of the ship (back). This pool is a bit like swimming in a toilet with all the children in their diapers, which are not allowed.
If gambling is your thing then head to the Casablanca Casino. There are over 200 slot machines to choose from including several mega cash machines that are linked with other Carnival ships fleetwide. The biggest jackpot I saw was over a million dollars won on the now defunct Carnival Jubilee. I’m sticking to the slots, I think it’s the quickest way to lose my allotted gambling money then I can get on with the rest of the cruise. If you are a more sophisticated player than me, there is also roulette, black jack and Caribbean poker to play.
Free drinks on a cruise – impossible you say? Not so. You can attend wine tastings or like we go to check out the art an hour before the famous art auction where they pass free wine and cheese. If you are on more than one cruise with the same line, you can attend the last guest party. Don’t dismiss this as a waste of time if you like to drink – the drinks are free and plentiful and all you have to do is watch a short spiel where the cruise is patting itself on the back for giving you a great holiday. There is usually an evening where liquor is free to sample in the shopping area.
If you’re into more healthy activity, you can head to the jogging track on Elation’s Sun deck or the gym on the Sports deck. Carnival Elation has a half court basketball court for your enjoyment and provides basketball to play. Elation has a full service spa on board. I confess that I have never been to the spa, but I know that they offer foot massages for about $20 and everything up to a couple’s massage for $220. It seems steep, but imagine how relaxing it would be to have a message and then not have need to massage someone else!
For children there is Camp Carnival. Our son has gone to Camp Carnival on several cruises and loves it every time. Children are divided into age groups and have activities planned for those ages. We recommend that your child goes to the first night where you can sign up for the camp. We are introduced to others and socialize a little. It doesn’t mean they have to go again and there is no extra cost, although you usually tip the staff because they can ruin your child’s cruise experience. Our son went to an activity called swimming under the stars where the pool was outside at night except for the children in the program and so they had the pool and slide to themselves. Just take your child out for any activity they like. For small children you will be provided with a pager so that the staff can contact you in case your child wants to leave. Their activities are in the children’s world which is a 2500 sq ft area full of computers and toys and games. Activities for older children take place in different areas of the ship, for example, pizza is made at Tiffany’s. On the last evening there will be a farewell party for the children. Get there on time or you can’t get in. All children receive a farewell gift at this party, i.e. a bag or CD case.
As for my favorite part, the art of gastronomy there are a myriad of choices. The two formal dining rooms on Carnival Elation are Inspiration and Imagination named after sister ships in the fleet. You will be allocated one of these with a specific lunch time. I always check the menu before the day so I can decide if I want to see it at my set time or eat elsewhere at my leisure. Other places to eat on board the Elation are Tiffany’s, which is the buffet restaurant that changes the menu every day and is different for lunch than dinner or snack bar on the Lido Deck where fries and hamburgers are available for the lunch Tiffany’s lunch menu is called the taste of the nations where one day it can be Mexican food with salsa and chips and another can be American BBQ where fried chicken and potato salad are offered. There was also Indian and Italian that I can remember. Down the right side of Tiffany’s you’ll find Carnival’s famous pizza that’s made fresh all the time. You can order a whole pizza and choose your toppings to get a slice fresh from the oven. Deli sandwiches are made in the same place. This is a wonderful place to eat before the trip, since your fellow passengers don’t know about it, so there won’t be a line for you.
Sushi is served on the promenade deck every evening. There was no raw fish (Sashimi) the week we sailed, but many varieties of fresh sushi made in front of your eyes to select from. Of course, Wasabi and pickled ginger and soy sauce were all available. There’s also never a sushi line I presume because no one seems to understand that this is even included in your cruise fare. Needless to say, we go there every night. Tortillas chips and salsa were served on the Promenade deck on Mexico Day in the evening while a mariachi band played for us.
Room service, room service how I love you, let me count the ways. Room service is free, but a tip is in order. Pretzels or chips can come with any sandwich – a tasty midnight snack. Room service was always quick and correct. You can also order cookies, “crudites”, fruit and salad. At your service 24 hours a day.
If you need to keep in touch, the Internet café offers the use of the internet at 75 cents per minute and various packages up to 250 minutes for 40 cents per minute. You can bring your own laptop and use it in the cafe, but not in your cabin on the Elation. You pay for usage, whether it’s theirs or yours. Not sure if it’s worth dragging it.
Speaking of cabins, we had an ocean view cabin category 6C. We had three people on the cabin and we sat comfortably. This ship has only 26 demi suites (category 11) and 28 suites (category 12). I don’t really care which deck as there are elevators that take you up and down.
Virtual World’s video game arcade is right next door to the Mikado Lounge – a perfect place to let your teen hang out while you catch one of the lounge’s Las Vegas-style shows. There are the usual driving games and shooting games. Video games take tokens that are bought right in the arcade. You can use your token and sailing card to buy tokens. At some point during your cruise, there will be a video game tournament for the kids in which case the games are free. It is part of the Carnival Camp program.
The Mikado hall is where all the shows take place. There was a comedy show, a magician, a hypnotist, dance show girls-rated G. There are also musical shows. The week I surfed there was a special guest announced at the end of a musical performance. After much preamble, Mr. Stevie Wonder was brought on stage. People rushed out of the theater to bring their friends and family to see Stevie Wonder. There was the scream that I think only the Beatles could elicit. Being a pale face from Canada, I’m not too clear on the likeness of Mr. Wonder, but I was wondering which booth Stevie Wonder would stay in On the Carnival Elation. Don’t get me wrong the Carnival Elation is a beautiful ship but someone of this caliber on my ship, how could that be? The lights dimmed, I couldn’t see. As I stepped forward to get a better look at our famous shipmate, I fell down the stairs. I fell head over heals several flights. No person turned or helped me to be so fascinated to see this celebrity. In the end “Stevie” took off her wig so it could be revealed that she was just a celebrity impersonator. Everyone fooled themselves that they knew all along and were never fooled. The next day it looked like I had a run in with UFC star Tito Ortiz.
The Mark Twain bookstore is a bit of a misnomer. There doesn’t seem to be a convenient way to get to any books, so bring your own. She is beautiful and usually quiet.
Romeo and Juliet lounge is an elegant style room that has been used for private parties on some nights and for karaoke on others. Salsa dancing was a popular evening activity here.
The Cole Porter Lounge has folk and country music playing and dancing. I just passed by on my way to the ocean front massage chairs. Duke’s is the piano bar named after the talented Duke Ellington. It’s a jazz club with an impressive entrance modeled on the Arc de Triomphe from Washington Square Park. This is an ideal location for photos around the white baby grand piano. We saw a wedding reception being held there. The Jekyll and Hyde nightclub is the place to party. The monitors show your fellow cruisers dancing to the sparkling beat. Jekyll and Hyde’s giant heads also move to the music – a bit creepy but cool after you’ve had a couple of drinks.
The Carnival Elation is a gorgeous ship. A bit dumb by Carnival standards. Its decoration is copper and inlaid wood. If you are hesitant to try Carnival Cruise Lines then this is the ship to try first. The service was second to none. The price of a Carnival cruise is always reasonable, but by booking in advance, about eight months we got an even better deal, some would call it a cheap cruise. Don’t be put off by Carnival’s old reputation for being a bunch of party ships. They are the Fun Ships after all. There is a party of course if you want but there are dozens of places to read or sit quietly on the Carnival Elation. Nothing is more peaceful than sitting on a chair atop the teak deck on the Carnival Elation watching the ocean slowly pass by. Whatever your concept of entertainment, they offer it. Believe them when they say Carnival is fun.
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