One Last Elated Day at Sea

Heading back to Jacksonville. Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

At Sea, Friday, January 26, 2018
It’s a quiet, relaxing day at sea aboard Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Elation as we make our way back to Jacksonville, Florida, where our voyage began on Monday.
Carnival Elation’s refit is easily the most sweeping and dramatic afforded to a Fantasy Class ship to-date. By the time you read this, her sister, Carnival Paradise, will be going under the knife for a similar sprucing up before she resumes her Caribbean and Cuba cruises from the port of Tampa.

Click here to read our Carnival Paradise Voyage Report in Cuba!

After five days onboard, I can confidently say that this is a comfortable, well-run older ship that still has plenty to offer cruisers. Everything about Carnival Elation is more manageable than today’s newbuilds: she’s easier to get around, has less queues overall, and shorter wait times for elevators and the like. Even the dual panoramic glass elevators that whoosh up and down the ship’s striking central atrium are easy to hop aboard.

Evening tunes in the Piano Bar aboard Carnival Elation. Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

By refitting Carnival Elation, Carnival has instantly wiped out a swath of criticisms that are typically leveled at older ships. Her décor is new and modern, yet still retains its distinctive styling introduced by longtime Carnival designer Joe Farcus. Staterooms have been thoroughly updated and modernized, and now sport an abundance of power and USB charging outlets. The ship’s two dining rooms now look stylish and modern, and new furniture (or newly-upholstered furniture) is present throughout the vessel.
Are there dings and dents? Of course; the ship is, after all, celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year. Thanks to her refit, however, this is a ship that could easily operate weeklong cruises once again, without any discomfort. In some ways, these short four-and-five-day runs do the ship a disservice. I’d like to take Carnival Elation somewhere more interesting than the Bahamas – if the line offered it.

Joe Farcus’s whismical designs are still present throughout much of the ship.

That day may be closer at hand than you think. Already, Carnival has deployed Carnival Paradise on groundbreaking cruises to Cuba; an itinerary that would be ill-suited for a larger Carnival vessel for a number of reasons. With these refurbishments to Carnival Elation making her more desirable than ever before, perhaps the time is right for Carnival to deploy some of its Fantasy Class ships on more exotic runs as part of the line’s Carnival Journeys program of voyages.

Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

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