Carnival Elation Cruise Ship: Overview and Venues

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At more than 25 years old, Carnival Elation is admittedly one of the older cruise ships you could pick for an upcoming vacation. The Fantasy-class ship has lived a long life, delivering classic Carnival fun to families, and it’s still going to this day. 

In addition to being on the older side, the ship is also on the smaller side — at least in comparison to most modern cruise ships. 

All that said, don’t assume that older and smaller always equals less desirable. Carnival has kept this ship up, with regular refurbishments and dry docks, with the most recent occurring in 2023, and the next scheduled for 2026. 

Intrigued? Here’s everything you need to know before you take a Carnival Elation cruise.

Carnival Elation Stats

As mentioned, Carnival Elation is on the small side. Just because it’s small, though, it’s not cramped, and you’ll find you have plenty of room to spread out among your fellow passengers. The ship measures in at:

  • Gross Tonnage: 71,909 GT
  • Length: 855 feet
  • Passenger Decks: 11
  • Staterooms: 1,095
  • Passenger capacity at double occupancy: 2,190
  • Passenger capacity at full occupancy: 2,697
  • Crew: 900

As the newest, most modern cruise ship within the Fantasy class (other Fantasy-class ships, both retired and currently sailing, include Carnival Paradise, Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Ecstasy, Carnival Sensation, Carnival Fascination, Carnival Imagination and Carnival Inspiration), Carnival Elation is also one of the biggest, only outranked by Carnival Paradise, and only by a minimal amount.   

Construction

Carnival Elation was built at Kvaerner Masa-Yards in Helsinki, Finland, and first launched in January of 1998, with a maiden voyage following in March of that year, after being christened by Carnival Cruise Lines heiress Shari Arison. 

Similarly to how Carnival Elation’s Fantasy-class sister ships made headlines with some “firsts,” (most notably, Carnival Paradise was the first non-smoking cruise ship in the entire world when it debuted), Carnival Elation was the first cruise ship to be outfitted with an Azipod propulsion system.

Carnival Elation Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: SeregaSibTravel / Shutterstock

While that may not mean much to the average cruise-goer, it basically means that Carnival Elation had an overall better maneuverability when it came to steering, giving guests a smoother ride, when compared to other ships in Carnival’s Fantasy class.

Carnival Elation is the same age as Carnival Paradise, which was also launched in January of 1998. The two sister ships are the only Fantasy-class ships still in operation. The older Fantasy-class ships, the first of which entered service in 1990, with Carnival Fantasy in the lead, have all been retired, with most entering retirement in 2020 or 2022. All retired Fantasy-class ships have been sold for scrap.

Refurbishments and Dry Docks

Given Carnival Elation’s long, long life, it’s undergone quite the series of refurbishments and dry docks, starting in 1999, just a year after launch, with refurbishments taking place every few years since then.  

The most recent dry dock took place in early 2023, with cosmetic enhancements including a new hull design and paint scheme, plus some minor changes, like rebranding the ship’s spa as the Cloud 9 Spa.

Carnival Elation Cruise Ship
Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line

More comprehensive dry docks took place in 2017 and 2020, when Carnival updated Carnival Elation with a lot of the brand’s classic venues and restaurants, now considered staples on all of their ships.

Together, these two dry docks added Bonsai Sushi, Javablue Café, Cherry on Top, Alchemy Bar, Guy’s Burger Joint, BlueIguana Cantina, BlueIguana Tequila Bar, RedFrog Rum Bar, Camp Ocean and more to the ship. The 2017 dry dock even added a new deck to the ship, with suites and a few scenic staterooms. 

The next dry dock is scheduled to take place over late January and early February 2026.

Carnival Elation Itineraries

Over its lifetime, Carnival Elation has primarily stuck to cruises around North America. 

Its first few cruise seasons were spent traveling between Los Angeles and Mexico. In the 2000s, it served the Western Caribbean from Galveston, Texas, and then went back to California–Mexico routes.

In the 2010s, it offered Western Caribbean itineraries from both Alabama and New Orleans, before moving on to Florida and cruises to the Bahamas. Since, the ship has mostly stayed in the same area, sailing the Caribbean from various homeports in the Sunshine State.

Staterooms

For its small size, Carnival Elation offers a huge number of staterooms. Across the more than a thousand staterooms (including suites), you’ll find the following options: 

  • 109 staterooms with standard balcony
  • 2 scenic ocean view staterooms
  • 469 ocean view staterooms
  • 417 interior staterooms
  • 19 interior upper/lower staterooms
  • 34 accessible staterooms 

Starting with the interior staterooms, all offer a pretty decent amount of space for an interior room, and they don’t feel boxy or closed in. Porthole interior rooms, with their ample lighting, corner set televisions and desk space, seem particularly roomy. The interior upper and lower staterooms are a good pick for individual, solo travelers, as they offer a single bed, but plenty of floor space.  

A scenic ocean view stateroom will give you the best view of the sea possible, whether you’re watching the sunset or sunrise. The scenic ocean view rooms feature amazing, floor-to-ceiling windows and space for up to two guests.

Ocean View Stateroom
Carnival Cruise Ship Ocean View Stateroom (Photo Copyright: Cruise Hive)

If you don’t want to upgrade to the scenic ocean view, the standard ocean view still offers great views from the window, as well as a cheery atmosphere and decor.

Read Also: What Is a Pullman Bed On a Cruise Ship?

Standard balcony staterooms provide seating for two, to enjoy the sound of the waves and maximum sea breeze on your skin as you relax in the sunshine, with unobstructed views of the horizon. The aft-view extended balcony stateroom enriches the experience a bit with an even larger balcony.

All staterooms come standard with amenities such as:

  • A dedicated stateroom attendant
  • Soft linens 
  • Plenty of closet and drawer space
  • An in-room safe for your valuables
  • A television
  • Individual stateroom climate control

Do note, while the above cabins do offer a lot to love, such as a nice amount of floor space, and large balconies, for all their upkeep, the décor is a reminder of the ship’s age. Don’t expect 21st-century style. That said, if you want just a little more by way of luxury, you can find it, to a degree, with a suite.  

Suites

If you’re considering upgrading to a suite during your cruise aboard Carnival Elation, the splurge is well worth it, when you look at everything you’re getting. The ship offers:

  • 2 Grand Vista Suites with large balcony
  • 28 Grand Suites with large balcony
  • 49 Junior Suites with standard balcony

The greatest room on the ship, the Grand Vista Suite provides the most room of any accommodation option, with room for up to four guests, a huge balcony, the most stunning views at every angle, ample seating and workspace, a huge closet and convenient walk-in dressing area, vanity and even a bathtub — a cruise ship accommodation rarity.

Suite
Carnival Cruise Line Suite (Photo Copyright: Cruise Hive)

The Grand Suite Extended Balcony option is similar, but with more space outside than in, though the interior does still feature a cozy couch in a modern style. The Grand Suite is very similar in terms of interior.

Worth Reading: Incredible Cruise Ships With Family Suites

Junior suites come in both standard and obstructed view options, both with big balconies, big bathrooms and lots of seating area. Suites come with all the above amenities that are already included when you book a standard stateroom, but also extras such as:

  • VIP check-in and boarding
  • Priority Main Dining Room time assignment
  • Priority debarkation at homeport
  • In-room bottles of water 
  • An upgraded mattress
  • Bathrobes

All of these extra-special amenities add to your stay aboard Carnival Elation, with more convenience, comfort and overall more to enjoy.  

Free Dining

Carnival Elation offers a few different complimentary dining options. While you don’t get the range and breadth of options you might enjoy on Carnival’s newer ships, you certainly get enough to keep you occupied for the duration of a short cruise.

BlueIguana Cantina

Without spending an extra dime out of your travel budget, you’ll be able to enjoy meals at:

  • BlueIguana Cantina, offering Mexican-style eats to satisfy your taco cravings
  • Guy’s Burger Joint, for burgers with celeb chef Guy Fieri’s approval
  • The main dining room, for three courses of classic cruise ship dining
  • Lido Marketplace, the ship’s buffet, with something for every appetite
  • Pizza Pirate, for pizza, all day, every day
  • Swirls, for a sweet treat
  • Sweet Spot, for dessert

If this won’t keep you fed and satisfied, though, you do have other options.  

Specialty Dining

Unfortunately, the other options aren’t all that plentiful. This is a small, older ship, after all. Your paid options include Bonsai Sushi Express for fast sushi bites and JavaBlue Café for your caffeine fix. There’s also The Chef’s Table, a chef-led dining experience for a limited number of cruisers, and room service.

Carnival Cruise Line Chef's Table
Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line

Bars and Lounges

When it’s time to get a drink, you’ll find that your options are equally limited, but that you’ll get to enjoy several longstanding Carnival-favorite watering holes. Options include:

Carnival Cruise Line Alchemy Bar
Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line
  • Alchemy Bar, for mixed drinks
  • RedFrog Rum Bar, for Caribbean-inspired libations 
  • BlueIguana Tequila Bar, for tequila-based beverages
  • Piano Bar 88, for live music 

There’s also a bar in the casino, beer stations and drinks-related experiences, like martini and wine tastings.  

Activities and Entertainment

Whether you’re traveling as a family, a couple or a group of friends, you’ll find plenty of activities and entertainment on this ship. For the ship’s small size, it packs in a lot of fun. Your options will include the various ways to spend your sea days: 

Pools

There are three pools on the ship. The main pool on the Lido Deck provides near-endless loungers and spot to sit or swim. A resort-style pool further down the ship is a little calmer and less of an activity hub.

Carnival Elation Cruise
Photo Credit: Nazar Skladanyi / Shutterstock.com

Of course, anyone 18-and-up can’t miss out on the Serenity Deck, with its loungers and spots to enjoy the sun. There’s also a very small pool here.  

Carnival WaterWorks 

On the Lido Deck, you’ll find the Waterworks water park, the small-ish space that includes a few basic water slides (including the Twister waterslide) and then some water play areas for the smaller kids who want to have some fun, but who aren’t quite ready to take on anything adrenaline-pumping.

Carnival Elation Cruise Ship
Carnival Elation Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Melissa Mayntz)

Seuss at Sea 

Part dining experience, part entertainment, The Seuss at Sea program is a favorite for families with small children. Kids can dine on green eggs and ham alongside notable Seuss characters, participate in a Seuss parade and join in on other fun activities. 

Cloud 9 Spa

As mentioned, the Cloud 9 Spa on this ship recently received a big upgrade and rebrand. Now, it offers a similar experience to what you’ll get on any Carnival ship. 

The Cloud 9 Spa provides all your favorite, traditional spa treatments. Think facials, massages, and acupuncture. There’s also a salon and barber, if you just need a trim, and there are even spa treatments available for the skincare-curious teens in your crew. (Visit the spa on sea days to see if you can snag a sale!) 

Kids Venues

Carnival Elation is very kid-friendly. There are tons of things for children and families to enjoy, from toddlers, all the way up to teens. Activities range from things the entire family can enjoy (like mini golf), to kid-specific activities that they can enjoy on their own, at one of the three on-board kids’ clubs.

Kids who want to enjoy a little “me” time away from their parents can do so at the Club 02 lounge that’s outfitted for teenagers 15 and up, with movies, music, video games, karaoke and events catered just to them.

Carnival Cruise Line Camp Ocean
Carnival Cruise Line Camp Ocean

For those a little bit younger, 12 to 14 years old, the Circle C club provides much of the same programming, only for a younger crowd. 

Then, for those under that age group, all the way down to toddlers aged 2, there’s the Camp Ocean children’s club, with crafts, games, educational activities, and toys geared toward specific age groups.  

Final Thoughts

Yes, Carnival Elation is on the older side. Yes, Carnival Elation is on the smaller size. However, if you don’t need 20-plus restaurants to choose from during your cruise, or six pools, or seven different types of suites, you’ll hardly notice the size.

Read Also: Are Carnival Cruises All Inclusive?

As for the age, if your focus is on the fun you can have and the experiences you share, you won’t mind the slightly outdated décor. In short, so long as you’re not prioritizing experiencing only the biggest, best and flashiest in cruising, you’ll likely find something to enjoy about Carnival Elation.

Carnival Elation FAQ:

Is Carnival Elation kid-friendly?

Carnival Elation is very kid-friendly! There are tons of things for children and families to enjoy, from toddlers, all the way up to teens. Activities range from things the entire family can enjoy, to kid-specific activities that they can enjoy on their own at one of the three on-board kids’ clubs.

Does Carnival Elation have WaterWorks?

Yes, Carnival Elation does feature the WaterWorks aqua park, with several basic water slides and small splash areas for young children.

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