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 at the Parking Mall directly across the street from the cruise terminal. Great shuttle service and very friendly. As a Platinum VIFP, embarkation was very fast and organized. The only problem is that so many guests have way too much carry on luggage that slows the line through security.
2. The food in every venue was top-notch. From the main dining room, to the Lido deck buffet, to Guy’s Burger Joint, the food was amazing! The service was second-to-none! The crew was friendly and Anthony the cruise director was always out and about and very approachable.
3. The Carnival Elation recently returned from a multi-million dollar FunShip 2.0 upgrade. The ship is clean and fresh, but the biggest plus is the larger flat screen tv’s in the cabins!
4. Half Moon Cay is always a win. I’ve been to Half Moon Cay many, many times, mostly via Holland America Line. The weather was perfect and the buffet was very good. Note: If you have a loved-one who will be using one of those large beach wheelchairs, don’t count on Half Moon Cay staff to help you. It’s very difficult to maneuver that wheelchair through the sand, especially if the person in the chair is, “big-boned.”
5. Kids on board. 552 guests under the age of 18 sailed on the Carnival Elation during our 5-day cruise. Many of those kids haven’t started back to school yet, and I must have seen 10 kids under the age of 2 in strollers! The teenagers did spend hours on end in the Lido hot tub, so I enjoyed the Serenity deck one (only one of the two were working).
6. The entertainment was perfect. Anthony the Cruise Director was approachable and very friendly. Rico the DJ became a good friend starting from the moment I met him! The cast of Playlist Productions was superb. The comedian was funny and the other musicians were upbeat and talented.
7. Disembarkation was seamless. The top benefit of earning Platinum VIFP status is priority boarding and disembarkation. I ate breakfast on the Lido deck and took advantage of Platinum disembarkation. It only took about 10 minutes from the ship to the pier.
8. Ventilation. Unfortunately, the smell of cigarette smoke is still very strong in the casino and it drifts down deck 8 hard. This is the primary reason why my wife Marty, who is a lung-cancer survivor, chose not to sail with me on this cruise.
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about the Carnival Elation and if you would like for me to book your next cruise vacation.
Scott Lara, The Cruise Genius