Carnival Elation

Carnival Cruise Line

Ship information

Carnival Elation

About Carnival Elation

Carnival Elation was built in 1998 and is therefore noticeably smaller than the larger-than-life ships being built today. But that is not necessarily a bad thing. Despite its capacity of 2,190 passengers, this ship is large enough that it doesn't feel crowded, yet small enough that cruisers won't get lost trying to find the dining room or theater.

Elation shows its age in other ways too, with decor that is a blend of 1970s color and geometrics overload with garish Vegas touches, depending on which spot you're in. Even so, this doesn't distract passengers from having a good time.

The Carnival Elation Deck Plan Includes Eight Cabin Categories and 10 Dining Options

Carnival Elation deck plans are another sign that this is not one of the newer ships on the fleet: the layout is almost a carbon copy of other Fantasy-class vessels, with most cabins on the lower decks (except for a few on decks 9, 11 and 14), and both main dining rooms side-by-side on Deck 8 instead of taking the same spot on two separate levels to create a more decadent two-story space. Most of the action on the Carnival Elation cruise ship takes place on Decks 8 (Atlantic), 9 (Promenade) and 10 (Lido). Here, passengers can find most dining, drinking and entertainment venues, as well as the main atrium, the pools and the shops.

The design of most cabin decks mirrors the Carnival Elation Main Deck layout: the very front of the forward section is home to the Porthole staterooms, followed by Ocean View cabins; Balcony accommodations (which were added when the ship was refurbished in 2017) take the midship section, while the aft houses more Ocean View and Balcony units. Carnival Elation Inside cabins can be found on all stateroom decks, which are decks 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 11 and 14.

If you’re worried about nighttime noise on Carnival Elation, the rooms to avoid are those located on Empress and Promenade decks (7 and 9, respectively), as they’re directly above and/or below busy public spaces.

Carnival Elation Activities Are Geared Toward Families, Young and Old

Although Carnival Elation features are not quite on par with those found on newer, bigger vessels, the ship offers a pretty decent array of amenities for the price. Plus, during the 2017 renovation, Carnival Elation received several Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades that give it a slightly newer feel, including new restaurant, bar and entertainment options, and even refreshed stateroom corridors. Families also will find improvements to Camp Ocean (the kids' camp), the onboard water park and the mini-golf course, leading to more enjoyment for kids and their parents.

There are plenty of things to do on Carnival Elation, but your sailing can be as busy or as relaxing as you'd like it to be. For those who want to be active, you can play in the water park, compete in a ping-pong tournament or join in many of the entertainment crew-led fun. If you're looking to relax, you can spend time on the Serenity Deck, hit up the library or just work on your tan around the pool. At night, take in a show in the main theater or enjoy the live music located around the ship.

One of the best attributes of Carnival Elation is its crew. They are friendly and never hesitate to answer a question, point you in the right direction and always do their best to get you what you need.

Carnival Cruise Line COVID-19 Rules

For the most up-to-date testing, masking, and vaccination requirements aboard Carnival Elation, please refer to 

Carnival’s Health and Safety protocols

. You can also use

 Cruise Critic's guide to health requirements

 on the world’s major cruise lines as we know them.

Cabins

Carnival Elation has 30 cabin types available

Inside Cabins

8 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

8 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

8 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

8 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

8 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

8 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

8 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

8 Inside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

8 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

8 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

8 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

8 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

8 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

8 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

8 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

8 Outside types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

7 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

7 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

7 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

7 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

7 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

7 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

7 Balcony types to choose from

Suite Cabins

7 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

7 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

7 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

7 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

7 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

7 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

7 Suite types to choose from

Deck Plans

11 deck images available

Activities and Entertainment

Carnival Elation Theater and Shows

Encompassing two decks (8 and 9) at the front of the ship, The Mikado Lounge is home to one of Carnival's most popular entertainment options: Playlist Productions song and dance performances. It's also home to the Welcome Aboard Show, Seuss-a-Palooza: Story Time, and the fun Love and Marriage show. As such, it fills up fast as soon as the doors open. On the main floor, the majority of seating provides a good view of the stage, though seats in the far corners or back are partially blocked by columns between them and the stage. On the second floor, the seating is theater-style, with tiered rows but there are columns that can block sight lines, as well as sound and lighting booths on both sides of the aisle, which are both distracting and can block the view.

During our five-night cruise, three Playlist Productions shows were staged: "Heart of Soul," "Divas" and "Epic Rock." Although each show was featured just one night during the cruise, there were two show times for each so cruisers could catch a performance regardless of their dining time. Some featured more elaborate choreography, sets and costume changes than others, but as a whole they were entertaining. Passengers always seemed to be loving the performances, singing along when they recognized favorite tunes.

Carnival Elation Daily Activities

A variety of games, seminars, karaoke and other entertainment take place around the ship throughout the day. One look at the Fun Times schedule of events, and you'll find there is too much to do on just one cruise. These include health seminars, art classes, Yahtzee sessions led by the entertainment staff, trivia, master mixologist competitions and more.

Many of the activities occur on the Carnival Elation Lido Deck near the swimming pool. These include the beanbag toss, ice carving and the Miss Carnival Elation contest.

Nightlife on Carnival Elation

Even after a full day of action, passengers can keep going for hours after the sun sets. Live music is available around the ship, including in the atrium, at the Drama Bar, in the Romeo & Juliet Lounge, and in Duke's Piano Bar. The Carnival Elation atrium also plays hosts to trivia several nights during the cruise.

While somewhat busy during the day, the Carnival Elation casino really kicks into high gear in the evening. Passengers enjoy games of chance at the card tables and slot machines. The casino also hosts a number of tournaments and competitions, such as the Three Card Prime Showdown, Scratch & Win, Spin & Win and a blackjack tournament.

Carnival Elation Bars and Lounges

Atrium Bar (Deck 7): This small bar in the center of the Carnival Elation atrium is a favorite spot to grab a drink. There's not much seating at the bar, but there are seating areas nearby. Drinks range from beer and wine to frozen cocktails. Lines at the bar tend to pick up before dinner as passengers mill about.

Duke's Piano Bar (Deck 8): As the name implies, a piano is the focal point of this bar, with seating all around. The decor is New York City-inspired, complete with a giant Statue of Liberty head, skyscraper cutouts on the walls and what appears to be the George Washington Bridge. Passengers can enjoy their favorite drink as they listen to live music late into the night.

Limelight Lounge (Deck 9): Reminiscent of a 1970s lounge, the Limelight Lounge is another busy gathering place in the evening. On most nights of our cruise, the club hosted family- and adult-oriented comedy shows as part of the Punchliner Comedy Club. When comedy is not center stage, the club hosts movies, karaoke and an adult game night known as Carnival Quest.

Drama Bar (Deck 9): Located along the promenade, this is a good spot to grab a drink in the evening and enjoy some people-watching. You'll find all the standards on the bar's menu.

Romeo & Juliet Lounge (Deck 9): The Carnival Elation nightclub offers an interesting mix of tables with chairs and booth seating situated under arched "porticos." The dance floor, located in the middle of the lounge and lined on one side by a bar with stools, is smallish.

Alchemy Bar (Deck 9): A more low-key area, this bar features lots of tables and chairs where passengers can enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail (the Inspiration main dining room is right downstairs) or pre-Comedy show drink.

BlueIguana Tequila Bar (Deck 10): Added during a 2017 refurb, this Mexican-themed bar is a festive place to enjoy a tequila-based beverage. The wood counters are accented with colorful Mexican tile and include a row of barstools. Drink selections include margaritas, Mexican beer and tequila. Thanks to its poolside location, 

BlueIguana Tequila Bar

 is popular all day long.

RedFrog Rum Bar (Deck 10): Boasting a "quintessential Caribbean vacation vibe," this poolside bar includes the main bar as well as two "satellite" bars, all with barstools. The rum-inspired menu includes Red's Rum Treasure, mojitos, daiquiris and beer, including Carnival's own private brew, ThirstyFrog Red. Like its counterpart across the deck, 

RedFrog Rum Bar

 stays busy all day and night.

Lido Aft Bar (Deck 10): Located at the back of Tiffany's Restaurant, this small bar serves up beer, wine, frozen cocktails and soft drinks to those dining at the buffet. It also is popular with adults lounging on the Carnival Elation Serenity Deck one deck down.

Those planning on enjoying a few drinks during their sailing should consider purchasing “Cheers!”, the only Carnival Elation drink package that covers alcoholic drinks. It includes all spirits (including cocktails), beer and wine by the glass, plus non-alcoholic beverages such as sodas, specialty coffee, energy drinks, bottled water, and hot tea. There is only one other drink package available: Bottomless Bubbles, which includes juices and sodas only.

Dining

Carnival Elation restaurants range from the all-encompassing buffet on the Lido Deck to free specialty options. These include Guy's Burger Joint and BlueIguana Cantina, plus Pizza Pirate and Carnival Deli. Breakfast and dinner are available in the main dining rooms and buffet, with various lunch options at the different specialty eateries. A limited room service menu is available 24 hours a day except on debarkation day.

There are not many for-fee restaurants on Carnival Elation, simply because there is no room for them. Eateries requiring an additional fee are limited to four and include a sushi bar and the exclusive Chef’s Table experience. In total, Elation offers 10 dining options.

For those with dietary restrictions, the Carnival kitchen crew can address concerns as needed. It's best to notify the cruise line before embarkation, but, if not, speak with the maitre d' or your waiter before any meal so accommodations can be made.

We found Carnival Elation food to be overall fresh, tasty and well presented.

Carnival Elation Free Dining

Inspiration Restaurant (Deck 8, aft) and Imagination Restaurant (Deck 8, midship): Other than decor, Carnival Elation’s main dining rooms are the same. Seating varies from small tables for a party of two to larger round tables or long rectangle tables for groups of six or more.

Inspiration Restaurant serves dinner for those with assigned time dining. It also is the host of the Dr. Seuss Green Eggs & Ham Breakfast, an upgraded breakfast option (extra charge) featuring Dr. Seuss-themed menu items and character appearances. This breakfast option was offered once during our five-night cruise, and reservations are recommended, although walk-ins are welcome until the event is sold out.

Imagination Restaurant serves dinner for those with the flexible Your Time Dining, as well as breakfast.

Breakfast items range from cereal and pastries to pancakes, omelets and a selection of breakfast meats. We enjoyed having breakfast each morning here for two simple reasons: We didn't have to wait on the buffet line and we found the food fresher, given it was cooked to order.

The Sea Day brunch menu includes bagels, fruit, eggs, huevos rancheros, French toast, pancakes, steak and eggs, and grilled salmon.

For those with Your Time Dining, unless you come right at 5:45 p.m., expect to wait in two lines before being seated. We usually tried to arrive between 6 and 6:30 p.m. The first line, which we often waited in as long as 30 minutes, wound its way from the restaurant entrance all the way around the atrium. This was the line just to check in, we then received a pager and waited another 30 minutes to be seated. Duke's Piano Bar and the Mark Twain Library flank the restaurant entrance, so passengers had some places to sit and wait.

Carnival Elation dinner menus, which follow Carnival's "American Feast" and "American Table" dining program, feature appetizers, entrees and desserts, with some variety to menu items. Appetizers usually include a shrimp cocktail, stuffed mushrooms and a Caesar salad; while a soup is always offered, it changes each night. In addition, there are featured appetizers that change nightly, like a pasta e fagioli.

Entrees also rotate each evening, but there's always a vegetarian dish (our menu always had an Indian vegetarian dish) as well as "From the Grill" selections like flat iron steak and grilled chicken that remained the same night after night, as well as a fish dish that varied each night. On some nights, as part of the "American Table" menu, there was a "rare find" appetizer like braised rabbit or escargot offered as well. Also usually featured were "port of call" items based on the current port. For instance, in Nassau, the "port of call" menu items included a Pirate Punch cocktail, a crab soup appetizer and junkanoo pot entree.

There is no proper steakhouse restaurant on Carnival Elation. Instead, the main dining room dinner menu features "Steakhouse Selections," such as lobster, filet mignon, New York strip loin steak, and surf and turf. These items incur a surcharge per entree.

The dessert menu includes some mainstays (Carnival Melting Chocolate Cake, ice cream) combined with featured items each night such as vanilla creme brulee, malted chocolate hazelnut cake and coffee cream cake.

Dinnertime entertainment is provided by the waiters who sing and dance and encourage passengers to participate. During our cruise, we also were visited by a roaming magician, who showed off his skills and invited passengers to attend his show later in the week.

Tiffany's Restaurant (Deck 10): Often referred to as the Lido buffet, Tiffany's offers a variety of foods at several food stations throughout the space. For instance, at the Chef's Choice station, menu items for lunch and dinner rotate based on country-specific cuisine -- think American, French, Caribbean and so on. At the Comfort Kitchen, you'll find comfort foods like mac 'n' cheese and fried chicken, and there is an extensive salad bar nearby that also features soups. Passengers can satisfy their sweet tooth at either Swirls, the soft serve ice cream dispensers with chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, or The Sweet Spot, which offers a variety of cakes, pies and cookies. It's also home to the Chocolate Extravaganza, a midday buffet of all things chocolate held once during the cruise. During our cruise, it was on the last sea day.

Breakfast choices at the Carnival Elation buffet range from continental mainstays like croissants, muffins, bagels and Danishes to eggs, bacon, oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, fresh fruit and breakfast potatoes. An omelet station is available, but the line for this popular spot can be long, with wait times of 15 minutes or more.

At the back of Tiffany's, the Carnival Deli serves up fresh-made cold and hot sandwiches. A new spot for us, we enjoyed the Deli a lot. Options include a turkey wrap, smoked salmon on a bagel, corned beef or pastrami on rye, a grilled Reuben, grilled ham and cheese, and an all-beef hot dog.

Passengers will find premade lemonade, ice tea, coffee and hot tea at the beverage stations located near the front of the dining room. For breakfast, the cold drinks are switched out for orange and apple juices, as well as an orange, passion fruit and guava cocktail.

To the side of the buffet stations, passengers can serve themselves at the Beer Station. Swipe your Sign & Sail card, and pour your desired amount of Heineken beer into a cup. For additional beverage selections, the Lido Aft Bar in the rear of Tiffany's offers full bar service and soft drinks.

Pizza Pirate (Deck 10): Everyone loves pizza, making the Pizza Pirate popular all day and night long. Open 24 hours, this eatery serves six different pizza choices: margherita, pepperoni, Napolitana (olives, peppers and mushrooms), Capriciosa (anchovies, capers and tomatoes), De Chevre (garlic, mushrooms and goat cheese) and a pan style with sausage, peppers and onions. Passengers also can choose a calzone with sausage, salami and cheese or a Caesar salad, with or without chicken. The De Chevre and calzone are made upon request and can take between eight and 10 minutes to receive. Depending on the line, wait times can range from a few minutes to 15 minutes or more.

Guy's Burger Joint (Deck 10): Developed in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri, Carnival Elation’s popular Guy’s Burger Joint is extremely popular for its fresh-cooked burgers and hand-cut French fries served poolside. You can go simple with a Plain Jane, with or without cheese, or step it up a notch with one of the specialty burgers like the Pig Patty, which comes with a burger patty made of bacon. Burger aficionados may want to try the Chilius Maximus, with an onion ring, cheese, donkey sauce (a secret sauce) and chili. Also popular is The Ringer, which features cheese, Guy's bourbon and brown sugar barbecue sauce and an onion ring. For more toppings, visit the toppings bar, which includes caramelized onions and sauteed mushrooms, plus a selection of condiments.

Guy's Burger Joint

 is extremely busy at lunchtime.

BlueIguana Cantina (Deck 10): Opposite Guy's Burger Joint, this Mexican-inspired eatery serves up made-to-order tacos and burritos on homemade tortillas. Choose from chicken, beef or shrimp, and then load it up with fresh ingredients such as black beans, rice, pico de gallo, sour cream and guacamole. A toppings bar has salsa, jalapeno peppers and even fresh-cut watermelon slices.

BlueIguana Cantina

 opens for breakfast and lunch. Breakfast ingredients are much the same but also include eggs. From open to close, this restaurant stays busy, but the line moves fast, so wait times aren't too long. The passengers we spoke to were impressed at how large the servings were as well as the variety of ingredients available to create their chosen menu items.

Room Service: Operating 24 hours a day, room service offers a continental breakfast (think cereal, breads, juices and coffee) and a limited lunch and dinner menu with a selection of salads, sandwiches and desserts. Juices, tea (hot and cold), coffee, milk and hot chocolate are complimentary, with soft drinks and beer available at regular bar prices. Room service is not available on debarkation day.

Carnival Elation Specialty Restaurants and Other For-Fee Dining Options

The Chef's Table (Deck 8); prix fixe: Foodies who enjoy a behind-the-scenes experience will love this unique dining opportunity. For groups of 14, the experience starts with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres before taking a tour of the ship's galley operations. Afterward, passengers enjoy a three-course meal featuring dishes not found on regular Carnival menus. Because of the time and menu selections involved, Carnival recommends that passengers be 12 years or older to participate. The Chef's Table availability is limited, so reservations are highly recommended.

Bonsai Sushi Express (Deck 9); a la carte prices: At this smaller version of Carnival's popular Bonsai Sushi, cruisers can sample sushi or sashimi for a reasonable price. Selections include shrimp, salmon, yellow fin tuna and amberjack. Or they can choose from four rolls: California, spicy tuna, tempura and bang bang bonsai.

JavaBlue Café (Deck 9); la carte prices: Passengers in search of their favorite latte will find it at the JavaBlue Café, Elation's specialty coffee shop. Open for the breakfast and evening crowd, this cafe features a menu of specialty coffee drinks plus a selection of baked sweets like cakes, pastries and cookies. These sweet treats are not the same as those offered in the buffet, and you can taste the difference.

Room Service: Hot items like chicken tenders, chicken quesadilla, Philly cheesesteak, chicken wings and fries are available throughout the day for an extra fee.