My husband and I were on the Carnival Elation, Aug.13-20, 2006. We did the Eastern Caribbean itinerary, traveling to Half Moon Cay, St. Thomas, Puerto Rico, and Grand Turk. This was my third cruise, and my husband's second. We had high expectations for this cruise and, for the most part, were not disappointed.
Embarkation: We flew into Miami the day before and spent the night at the Intercontinental Miami, a hotel that I would highly recommend. We spent some time Saturday shopping at Bayside Marketplace and had dinner there as well. We checked out Sunday morning and arrived at the port about 11:00. The embarkation process was relatively painless (a big improvement on last year) and we were on board eating lunch by noon.
Ship Condition: My husband and I thought the Elation was a beautiful ship. Although I know some people have complained about the ship's dEcor, I thought that the ship with all its dark woods, brass, and stained glass, was elegantly decorated. I preferred it to the more garish dEcor of the Victory. I also preferred this size of ship. I found that I knew my way around very quickly. The ship definitely felt less crowded than the Victory. We never encountered any long lines anywhere, and there was never a problem getting a chair on deck, even mid-afternoon. I also felt that there were fewer kids on board, and I felt that the class of passenger was a bit higher than what we have encountered on previous Carnival cruises. For example, everyone took the dress code in the dining room seriously; no shorts or jeans were seen all week.