Just a little background - my husband and I have been cruising since 1982 and have been on more than 60 cruises all over the world on most major cruise lines.
This cruise was to get 4 generations together and have a 5 year old take his first cruise to tie in with a few days in Orlando at the parks. The 5 night Elation cruise was the one that best worked with our schedule as we were able to leave on a Friday evening and return home on Saturday so everyone only had to take a week off work. Additionally, the price was too good to pass up - $289 pp for my son and grandson and $129 for my great grandson + a $50 OBC for an inside and $339 for my husband and myself + a $50 OBC for an OV.
It had been 6 years since I last sailed on Carnival and I had recently read reviews and was aware of the problems on the 1/11/20 cruise, so I was slightly apprehensive as the departure date approached.
We flew in the night before and stayed at the Fairfield Inn Orlando Airport that had a hotel shuttle and then the next morning we were picked up at the hotel by Cortrans. We arrived at the ship around noon and were on the ship before 12:30. Because we are Platinum we were able to drop all of our bags off before going to the buffet for a bite to eat. The men grabbed Guy's burgers, my husband got a Ruben from the deli,(that was delish), and I had something from the buffet.
Food - So this is where I will discuss the food in all of the self service venues - Guy's - yummy burgers - the best burger I have ever had on any cruise line. Blue Iguana - excellent tacos and burritos for lunch. I never had breakfast there so I can't comment on that. The deli had great sandwiches for lunch and huge omelets and cooked to order eggs for breakfast. There was a nice salad bar for lunch and cold cereals for breakfast. The hot buffet line was standard fare for breakfast with terrible lumpy, thick oatmeal. Yuck. This had to be the smallest hot buffet station for lunch and dinner that I have ever seen on any ship. One carving station, three or four other hot dishes and then a bread station at the end. Some was good, some was fair, and some was yuck. But food is subjective so I will only comment that it was a VERY limited selection for lunch and dinner. For lunch and dinner there was a dessert bar with a nice selection of cakes that were actually better than most desserts I have recently had on other cruise lines and always self serve ice cream. The pizza place is always open - my grandson said it was good.
We had anytime dining and we ate dinner in the MDR 3 of the 5 nights. The new decor is very nice, especially knowing what this class ship used to look like. It's contemporary and fresh. The food was fine, but the service was SLOW - I mean really slow. We usually do traditional, so I don't know if this is the norm with anytime dining but I would probably never do it again. We never had lunch in the MDR, so I can't comment about that.
Cabins - The ship went through a dry dock a year or so ago and the cabins and hallways got a new look. The doors have a tropical feel and everything looks fresh - cabins have large flat screen TV's. Bathrooms are small and basic with cute tropical shower curtains. Carnival bedding is comfortable. The air seems to work properly and we were never too hot or cold.
Itinerary - we had a sea day , then two ports - Grand Turk and Amber Cove, then another sea day. It was very windy the day we left Port Canaveral and the morning of the first sea day -after that the weather was beautiful. I never experienced any movement from the ship that had been previously reported and we made it into both ports, so the propulsion problems must have been successfully repaired. Our 5 year old had a great time in the pool on the first sea day - it was almost empty but on the last day it was packed with adults, so we passed on that and did other things.
Entertainment - I've never cared much for Playlist Productions, but they did a great job on this cruise with three production numbers. One night was the Hasbro game show, which we did missed. My husband and I went to 2 adult comedy shows and I was surprised that they were much better than the ones we had gone to in the past. The two comedians were funny and while it was adult comedy the profanity was toned down from what we had previously experienced. We took our 5 year old to the Dr Suess Parade and storytime on the first day and the breakfast on the last day - he had a great time at both events.
Condition of the ship - I thought the inside of the ship was well maintained. My great grandson loved the atrium - especially at night with the lights. There was noticeable rust on the outside of the ship which I imagine is harder to keep under control with a 22 year old haul and it had absolutely no impact on my enjoyment of the cruise.
Passenger mix - some families, maybe 50 or 60 children. All ages, well behaved. I never saw or heard anything questionable, but we didn't hang around the bars or stay up really late. There was no running down halls or loud noises late in the evening.
My husband and I attended the Platinum/Diamond cocktail party and it turned out to be very nice and relaxed - there were only about 90 of us on this sailing.
Overall, this cruise was a very pleasant surprise. It was really better than I had expected.
If there is anything I've missed or if you have questions I will be happy to answer.