Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line
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Atrium / Carnival Cruise Line / Andy Newman
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Live Music in the Atrium
Live Music in the Atrium / Carnival Cruise Line / Andy Newman
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Mikado Lounge
Mikado Lounge / Carnival Cruise Line / Andy Newman
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Lido Deck
Lido Deck / Carnival Cruise Line / Andy Newman
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Nine-Hole Mini Golf
Nine-Hole Mini Golf / Carnival Cruise Line / Andy Newman
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Carnival Elation
Carnival Elation / Carnival Cruise Line / Andy Newman
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Carnival Elation

Our Ship Review
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger

Carnival Elation, a 2,190-guest Fantasy-class vessel, debuted in 1998 featuring public spaces that offer an homage to the past: the Romeo & Juliet Lounge, Casablanca Casino, and Mark Twain Library. They’re all still onboard, although refurbishments in 2017 and 2020 added some of Carnival’s more popular dining and bar venues as well as additional staterooms, some with balconies.

This mid-sized ship, which sails to the Bahamas from Jacksonville, Florida, is among the senior members of Carnival’s fleet (only Carnival Sunshine and Carnival Paradise are older), but recent updates have given Elation some of the dining outlets and activities that fans of Carnival have come to appreciate.

What We Love

The Poolside Dining Options: Fans of casual dining will appreciate the two options located poolside on Carnival Elation: Guy’s Burger Joint, which in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri serves up some of the best burgers at sea, and BlueIguana Cantina, where guests can order freshly made tacos and burritos and top them with their favorite garnishes at the salsa bar. And did we mention that both dining spots are included in the cruise fare? A Caveat: These options might be mighty tasty, but cruisers have recently reported that the quality of the food in the main dining room and buffet venue isn’t anywhere as good. 

Fun for Kids: While hardly the most impressive ship in Carnival’s fleet, Elation does a good job entertaining younger cruisers with its thrill-inducing WaterWorks waterslides, Seuss at Sea activities (including the delightful Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast), and Camp Ocean clubs for kids (2-11) and Circle “C” for tweens and Club O2 for teens. There’s also a video arcade and a mini-golf course.

Best Known For

Bar & Lounge Options: Carnival ships are known as “Fun Ships” for a reason: the onboard vibe centers around the pools (and pool bars) by day and the indoor bars and casino by night. Some of our favorite spots to sip are the Alchemy Bar, designed in a retro style inspired by old-school pharmacies; RedFrog Rum Bar for rum-based drinks and its own private label beer; and  Duke’s Piano Bar for sing-along fun.

Low Cruise Fares: This ship’s age, size, and shorter 4-to-6-night itineraries mean inside cabins are often available for $300 per person or less.

Who It's Best For

First-Time Cruisers on a Budget: This mid-sized ship, with its short sailings, provides an affordable introduction to life at sea — just know that Carnival guests are on the loud and lively side.

Don't Say We Didn't Warn You

Not Everything is Shiny and New: With more than a quarter century of fun onboard, Carnival Elation has experienced some wear and tear. Refurbishments have kept some areas looking fresh, but others seem a bit neglected.

There is Just One Pool: For a ship this size, that means competition for loungers can be fierce and the overall vibe is rowdier (lots of kids running amok) than it is relaxing.