Went on the Elation in June of this year. LOVED HER! I definitely want to sail her again. Can't say the cruise director was to hot, but I don't let that be the deciding factor. As far as ports -- depends on what you want. I don't care where I go as long as it is a cruise. But, are you sure you want to make a surprise for son and girlfriend? We bought my daughters boyfriend on one (when they were engaged) but they were of course in different rooms. Reguardless -- wish someone would surprise me with a cruise! You will love the elation!