MIAMI -- With their flashing neon lights, vibrant palette and
special effects, Carnival's Fantasy-class ships -- a series
introduced beginning with the Fantasy in 1990 -- usually cause
passengers to drop their jaws and say "Wow!"
The Elation may elicit this response, but at the same time it
takes the tone of its siblings down a bit.
The change is evident upon entering the atrium of the latest
Here passengers will find a richly decorated setting with lots
of copper panels and inlaid wood. There are plenty of lights, but,
unlike earlier vessels, the Elation's lights are designed more to
ping than to pong. And there is no giant sculpture dominating the
atrium space here, but rather a lobby bar with a white piano.
This newest Carnival ship, the line's interior design architect
Joe Farcus said, is meant to be "quite dramatic but not
Farcus said the toned-down nature reflects a change in how he
personally looks at designing rather than any sort of dictation by
He was 32, he explained, when he started designing for Carnival.
He's now 53. "Experience gives one a certain kind of basis to move
from," he said.
The Elation becomes the largest ship to be home-ported in Los
Those who fear crowds will be pleased to find the megaship
offers its 2,000-plus passengers a variety of spaces, including
quiet nooks and crannies. Still, the ship is geared toward the mass
market and will not be everyone's cup of tea.
Farcus uses "expensive materials." But he uses so many of them
and in such a big way it's sometimes hard to tell.
His basic theme for the decor of the Elation is the muses of
Greek and Roman myth-ology, with rooms and accouterments paying
tribute to creators and their creations.
The ship introduces several design changes from the earlier
Fantasy-class ships -- the Fantasy, Inspiration, Imagination,
Fascination, Sensation and Ecstacy. Some, like the lobby bar, are
inspired by offerings on the larger (100,000 tons) and
well-received Carnival Destiny, introduced in 1996.
The Elation adds to the earlier design of the Fantasy-class
ships a longer bar area near the casino, featuring a "street
performer" on an elevated stage; an expanded Promenade cafe, called
the Musical Cafe, which serves speciality coffees, pastries and ice
cream, and a Virtual Reality World game area.
And in a nod to the West Coast crowd, Farcus also added a small
food-service area next to the atrium that serves as a sushi
Children's World on the Elation also was inspired by the
popularity of that expanded offering on the Destiny.
As on the larger ship, it is located here in a prominent space
on the Sports Deck, where the kids get a great view of the main
swimming pool and a whole wall of computers to play with.
The area that houses the children's playroom on the earlier
ships, located off the dining room, is used on the Elation to
introduce Carnival's first dedicated conference space.
As on its sibling ships, the standard cabins on the Elation are
a good size but are very simple in their design, appearing to be
more of a place to sleep than to hang out. Suites are spacious, and
54 suites and demi-suites include balconies.
On the engineering front, the Elation boasts a new propulsion
system, Azipod, that among other things cuts down on noise and
The Elation is not without some of Carnival's trademark "Wow!"
rooms, the most obvious being the Jekyll & Hyde Dance Club.
Farcus said the design of the disco reflects "dark and light, good
The room is decorated with eight-foot-tall red and white
robot-like sculptures with glowing eyes and swiveling heads that
move in unison to the music's tempo. They blow puffs of smoke from
their mouths and have monitors in their bellies that display music
The room's tables are shaped like faces, and the chairs look
like giant, red tongues.It's a space clearly designed for serious
A room of a different sort is the delightful Duke's, a piano bar
designed to tickle the funny bone with its bar made to look like
piano keys and New York icons, including the Statue of Liberty,
Empire State Building and Brooklyn Bridge.
The main lounge on the Elation is Japanese-inspired, simply
because Farcus said he has never done a room like that.
The Mikado lounge takes its name from the Gilbert and Sullivan
play. The room features screens of handmade rice paper, Japanese
fabric and black marble with gold inlay, all adding to an
environment that's very elegant and understated.
Featured in the Mikado are two original shows: "Spin!," a tour
of musical genres across the U.S., and "Rhythm!," a tribute to
diverse musical styles, including George Gershwin, Cole Porter and
Like its sister ships, the Elation features plenty of wooden
deck space and a large outdoor entertainment area that includes
three pools, a spiral water slide and six whirlpools. And the large
Nautica Spa offers here, like on the other ships, state-of-the-art
exercise equipment and Steiner beauty services.