Elated on the Elation

Carnival Elation heads to the Bahamas. Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

At Sea, Tuesday, January 23, 2018

I was up late last night aboard Carnival Cruise Line’s newly-refitted Carnival Elation, where I wandered in to the adult performance of Carnival’s nightly Punchliner Comedy Club held in the Cole Porter Club on Deck 9 aft at 11:15pm. I wanted to see Richie Holliday’s “Just Plain Silly” performance, and always enjoy Carnival’s comedy performances whenever I’m onboard. When they say 18+, they mean it – and that’s a good thing. I’ve waited around until the wee hours on other cruise lines only to find the same old tired jokes about the shipboard shower curtains and their tendency to cling.

The Cole Porter Club, Deck 9 aft, is the ship’s secondary show lounge. Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

Special events, occasional movies and other shows are held here…Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

…including all of Carnival’s Punchliner Comedy Club performances. Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

Cozy seating…Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

…and Joe Farcus’ trademark decor. Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

Our host from the Cruise Director’s staff, BK – or, as he calls himself, “Anything but Burger King” – was almost as entertaining as the comedian himself. “Where’s my folks from South Cackalacky?”, he asked, using a nickname for South Carolina. One entire side of the room roared. “How ‘bout North Cackalacky?” A smaller portion of the room broke out into cheers and applause. He went through most of the other US States, including California, causing a group of three to cheer into stark silence. “You know Carnival got cruises over there, right?”, he joked.

On the face of it, I’m not the typical Carnival passenger. I prefer reading a book on deck, cocktail in-hand, to downing shooters at the RedFrog Rum Bar. I eschew the big, brash gatherings the line is known for. I’ll watch the Hairy Chest Competition by the pool, or wander through karaoke power-hour, but would never participate. If I take a seat in a lounge, it’s always at the back of the room. As if I’m going to be found out. “Look! It’s one of them introvert Canadians!”, is what the imaginary crowd says to me. I’m continually worried people will discover I’m a FunShip Fraud.

You can still find quiet moments on a Fun Ship. Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

So why, then, do I like Carnival so much? Because, as Carnival aficionado Doug Parker of CruiseRadio once put it to me, “There’s no judgement here.” If you want to pound shooters by the pool and compare tattoos that are dangerously below the equator, do it. Want to read a book? Do it. Carnival is all about fun, however you define it.

In saying that, I have to disclose that Carnival’s Fantasy Class ships are some of my favorites at sea. Even un-renovated, with their Miami Vice-tinted staterooms, these ships are as comfortable as can be: big enough to offer plenty of fun features, but small enough that you’re not sailing with five thousand of your best friends.

Carnival took the time to fully refit Carnival Elation’s Imagination (above) and Inspiration Restaurants. Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

Everything here is new, from the decor to the lighting to the chairs, tables, and wall treatments. Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

Freshly renovated, Carnival Elation can run with the newest members of the fleet. She’s one of my favorite FunShips yet – one that reflects the classic, Joe Farcus-inspired designs of Carnival’s past, while marrying it with the fresh-and-cool Caribbean vibe of the line’s more contemporary ships.

There’s also more FunShip 2.0 features to be found onboard post-refit, including Guy’s Burger Joint; the BlueIguana Cantina and Tequila Bar; the RedFrog Rum Bar, with its rum-inspired cocktails and pints of beers from throughout the Caribbean, plus Carnival’s own ThirstyFrog Red ale.

The RedFrog Rum Bar, during an unusual quiet moment before dusk. Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

One of the best things about Carnival is the sheer amount of live music offered onboard. On this “Cruise Elegant” night, you can take in afternoon rhythms poolside; enjoy the smooth sounds in Duke’s Piano Bar after 10pm; or enjoy near-continuous acts in the Drama Bar on Deck 9 midship (actually the thoroughfare between the Casino and the aft part of the ship), or in the Atrium Lobby from 5:45pm until Midnight. If you want to go clubbing, the Jekyll & Hyde Nightclub is open from 10pm until “late.”

Kicking off the evening aboard Carnival Elation, with live music in the Atrium Lobby. Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

The Romeo & Juliet Bar, on Deck 9 amidships, is the home of nightly karaoke shows. Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

Perhaps the wildest room onboard – and the one most reminiscent of Carnival’s early Fantasy Class ships…Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

…is Duke’s Piano Bar, on Deck 8 forward. Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

Quiet during the day, the place comes alive at night, when it is frequently packed to standing-room only. Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

Most people dressed up to some degree for dinner tonight, which always impresses me on Carnival. Of course, if you don’t want to dress for formal night, you can always dine casually up in Tiffany’s Lido Buffet on Deck 10 aft.

Tiffany’s, on Deck 10 aft, is Carnival Elation’s causal lido buffet. Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

Tiffany’s has just about every kind of food you could possibly want – or need! Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

But Carnival turns formal night into something fun, breaking into dinner in the dining room with an impromptu dance-off from the wait staff. It’s genuinely fun, and even though the crew do this dance ever Tuesday night, it looks like they truly enjoy the chance to cut loose.

Here in the Caribbean, who doesn’t like a little fun?

What to do? The choice is yours! Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

Our Voyage Report onboard Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Elation continues tomorrow as we arrive in Half Moon Cay, Bahamas. Follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog.

Carnival Elation to the Bahamas

DAYPORTARRIVEDEPART
January 22, 2018Jacksonville, FLEmbark4:00pm
January 23At Sea
January 24Half Moon Cay, Bahamas9:00am5:00pm
January 25Nassau, Bahamas8:00am5:00pm
January 26At Sea
January 27Jacksonville, FL8:00amDisembark

 

 

 

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