This was my 6th cruise. We went with my son and his new wife on their honeymoon. It was my husband's and my daughter-in-law's first cruise.
All in all it was wonderful. The weather could have been better.
The ship was great, the new additions are fantastic. The fantasy class is my favorite class of ship, and I prefer it over the bigger and smaller ones. It seems just right to me.
The food was great and the service was fantastic. It was only a four night cruise, so not as much variety at dinner as I like to have.
My husband is hooked now so I'm sure we will be sailing again in the not too distant future.
My wife and I have sailed with Carnival six times over the past five years, including the three-day to Nassau the past two years. We have also taken a 4, 5, and a 7 day cruise, all with Carnival. Here is my review for the Sensation cruise to Nassau on 14 May 09.
Embarkation was a breeze. Showed up around 1130 and was onboard by 1200. Drove ourselves as we live within 90 minutes of the Canaveral Cruise Port. Baggage porters were helpful and friendly. It probably gets a little crazier closer to the 1600 sail time.
We had lunch at the Seaview Bistro and toured the ship as we waited for our cabin to be ready by 1330. Spent a little time at the Serenity Deck which is new. 1315 went to our room to unpack carryons. Luggage arrived soon after. Lifeboat Drill at 1530. On with the Cruise!
Sailing Seas in the Atlantic tend to be a little rougher, so there was a little movement of the ship as we sailed on to the Carribbean.
The Ship The Sensation looks nearly new with a lot of neat features since the refurbishment.Carpet and hallways sparkled. The Waterworks area for the kids looked great. Meant to go down water slide but never made it. Spray from the Waterworks carries over occasionally to the Serenity Deck as mist and is welcomed when sunning.
The Serenity Deck We sunned here on a few occasions and enjoyed the "Adults Only" area. "Adult" is a relative term as is "Serenity." A few younger "adults" in the hot tub would occasionally disrupt the "Serenity" of the area as they liked to make sure everyone knew they were having a great time. The sunning area on the Lido Deck by comparison was much more relaxing, so we spent more time there.
Cabin We had an Ocean View cabin on the Main Deck. I always try to book a cabin near the physical center of the ship as this part of the ship moves the least in rougher seas. The cabin was nice, the stewards were great, and the towel animals are always a blast. We got a Walrus, an Elephant, and a StingRay and kept them together on display until the last morning. Our room was always kept just so by our stewards. I make a practice of keeping the privacy please placard on the door whenever we are in our cabin.
Clubs The clubs were a little disappointing on this trip. Live band was okay but not nearly as good as our last cruise on the Sensation. Spent some time in the Disco Lounge but the dance area was way small. It was still a good time, though.
Shows Only saw the "Magician/Comedian." I thought he was funny and actually did some pretty slick "Prop Magic." Wife thought he was a bit too vulgar. We saw the dancers on our cruise last year and they were really good. We just were not able to fit that show in this time.
Casino The casino is nice with a lot of games that I have no idea how they work. We watched several of the games and learned a little. We take "X" amount of casino money for the slots and see who can outlast the other. We picked a couple of Dollar Slots and we were both done in about 15 minutes. I did win $800.00 on a quarter slot machine a few years back. Not so lucky this time.
Mini Golf Had a few rounds of Putt Putt golf. I play golf as much as I can and this was the most affordable (free) golf on the ship. We had a good time. We ran into the same type of "I'm having a great time" folks on the "golf" course. I have never understood why people in a group will all talk at once and try to over-talk each other. I assume that it is more about being noticed than communication. We were able to overlook the group as this was an outdoor event and that can be expected sometimes.
Onboard Activities I always say that we are going to do more onboard activities, but we never seem to do it. A lot of the activities look like great fun, but we seem to always make our own fun. This cruise was no exception.
Seaview Bistro We had our lunch and breakfasts here. Food is always dependable and good. Sometimes the "display" trays do not look real appetizing, but the food is usually pretty good. One change we noticed was that only juices were available from the beverage machines at breakfast, while only tea and lemonade were available the remainder of the time. I am an iced tea drinker and the tea onboard is not very good. In the past I have gotten the punch which is quite good, but it is no longer offered. I discovered that by blending the tea and lemonade, I was able to find a passable substitute.
Fantasy Dining Room This is where things get a little ugly. We ALWAYS have our evening meals in the dining room as the food and service are always a highlight of our cruise experience. I don't know if it is economics or what, but most of the entrees were bland at best and at times quite bad. Lobster that was flavorless and tough. Prime rib that was too fatty and if not for the sauce would have had no flavor. Skillet steak that was tough and also flavorless. Veal Parm that had just a hint of sauce and cheese. My wife's Veal Parm had so much grissle she could not eat it. This is milk fed veal we are talking about. I understand that we have an international crew and that is part of the joy of cruising, howvever, we did not have a single server that we felt like we could communicate with other than yes or no. On the bright side, dessert was delicious as always.
Control of the Dining Room This should be a non-issue. As I have said, we always eat our evening meals in the dining room because it is so formal and elegant. I have noticed on the three-day cruise to Nassau, fewer and fewer people actually dress for dinner. You see men wearing shorts, tee shirts and ball caps. Women seem to enjoy dressing nice more than men, so you would see a lovely young lady in evening attire being escorted by "Joe Trailer Park." I don't know if this is a result of the Nassau cruise being the most affordable or what, but you see this theme throughout the cruise. People cruising that have no social graces whatsoever.
And this wasn't even the worst part. During the meal on the second night, a few people were celebrating birthdays and the crew would sing Happy Birthday. This is a nice touch. However, we had a Rueben Studdard wannabe that decided he would serenade a couple sitting near his table. He can only be described as Tent Revival Meeting singer. Unfortunately, a few drunk diners applauded his effort and the show was on. He sang Happy Birthday to several other patrons in the exact scatological style as before. Please don't misunderstand me, I think Motown may be the best music ever. Most of the time I listen to Smooth Jazz. I enjoy hearing a great vocal style. This was not it.
On the last night he began again. I had decided that I was not going to sit through another impromptu show and would leave after speaking with the Maitre'd. Fortunately, he decided enough was enough.
I fault the Maitre'd entirely for not having his dining room under his control. We were barely able to have a dinner conversation over the singing and the loud "look at us" conversation from the same group. I have never experienced this type of behavior in the dining room before and do not plan to experience it again on the Sensation.
Disembarkation Carnival has it going on when it comes to debarkation. We cleared out of our room by 0745, had breakfast and were off the boat and in our car by 0900. The luggage porters at the terminal were, again, terrific.
Overview We have sailed with Carnival on all of our six cruises. Most have been excellent. It seems the shorter the cruise, the more issues you encounter from rude, obnoxious guests to mediocre entertainment and dining. I know Carnival uses a rating system to promote staff, so maybe they all start out on the Nassau run and then move up. At any rate, we intend to never miss a year without a cruise. I also never intend to cruise on the three-day to Nassau or the four-day to Freeport and Nassau. Our oldest son will be cruising on the Glory for a 7 night Western Carribbean. His first cruise. His experience will probably dictate whether we will continue to use Carnival or move on to Royal Carribben. We will be taking a seven-day next May on either the Dream or Royal Carribbean. I tell folks all the time to get the best cabin they can easily afford. Outside the cabin everyone has the same cruise. We may move to an interior on the Royal Carribbean as opposed to a balcony on the Carnival.
Enjoy and Keep Cruisin'.
My name is Michael from South Carolina. My family and I went on the Carnival Sensation for our first cruise. My father-in-law encouraged us to take this cruise after many great times he and his wife had on this ship. I love to entertain and be on the go with my family during vacations so that we can have lots of laughs and memories made each time.
Embarkation This was a very quick process. My wife had our fun pass info filled out already on the internet prior to cruising, important to a speedy process. We were scheduled to leave for the Bahamas at 4pm. We arrived at the port around 10:30 and by 11:15 we were done with the embarkation process and awaiting the ship to be cleared for boarding. We were on the ship in Port Canaveral, eating lunch, by 12pm. Lido deck lunch was great. Grilled hotdogs and hamburgers along with all the condiments imaginable to go on them, with fries and homemade tortilla chips. Delicious!
The safety drill was a bit annoying, but necessary and thorough and it didn't take too much time. After that we familiarized ourselveswith the ship and were relaxing.
Cabins Our cabin was ready by 1pm. I was very pleased at how comfortable the cabin was as a whole, especially the beds. Between my wife and two daughters, we had plenty of room. Not a day went by we didn't have our cabin cleaned and tidied up at least twice a day. Our cabin stewards were great and accommodated every need. We had a 6A cabin on the Riviera deck in the front of the ship. I highly recommend this area of the ship that we were in for anyone sensitive to motion, as we did not feel anything there.
Camp Carnival My girls are 9 and 10 years old so they were together the whole time at camp. Age groups are separated. Our girls went to the 9-11 year old age group and were surrounded by new friends. This was an impressive feature for the kids. It gave them a chance to be kids without the watchful eye of their own parents. Ha ha. The counselors were so nice and like big kids themselves. I will tell you that the late night party and any activities after 10pm each night will cost an extra fee, but it's well worth it to mom and dad!
Food We did not find any food that we were disappointed with. Great selection and quality every time. Either in the dining rooms or the buffet, it was all more than I expected. Order all you want in the dining room, doesn't matter what it is, they keep your plate full. If I had to guess how many times I ate on this cruise, I could not tell you! Ha. The dining room experience was even nicer than I imagined and the staff was extremely entertaining.
Destinations Freeport has not a lot to offer -- some beaches but we were back on the ship within 3 hours. Don't waste the cab fare to and from! Nassau was wonderful. Take a small tour so you can take great pics and see the main attractions, then you're on your own. Lots to do, great food, beaches, and shopping. Hint: If you can get through the lobby of the Hilton beside Senior Frogs, there's a wonderful little beach with a sectioned off swimming area and free beach chairs to use!
Entertainment The few shows my wife and I went to were great. We laughed and really had a good time.
Service The staff was great in every aspect. The ship was orderly and extremely clean. They will accommodate you in any way possible.
Disembarkation Everyone is assigned a number -- 1 to 25. Lucky us, we were 9! Debarkation was set to start at 8:15am, and by 8:45 our number was called. Make sure to have your sign and sail card and ID out, and you are on your way. Once your number is called, get ready to go and not stop till you reach your car. We were off the ship and pulling out of the parking lot within 20 minutes. Let the porters find and tote your luggage to result in a speedy process.
Overall I will defiantly use Carnival again and can't wait to book our next cruise with them. For all the negative reviews about the Sensation, some are legit but some people are looking for perfection. Remember that a perfectionist is always disappointed! Go cruise and have a wonderful time!
This was our first cruise, but we are seasoned travelers. It took us a long time to sign on for a cruise because we have had several friends with bad experiences.
Our Carnival Sensation cruise was wonderful. My husband and I are loners & we were afraid we would be pressured into participating in group games. Nope.
We were not looking forward to making small talk at our group table. We found the maitri 'd made a point of assigning like couples together at the table. We had a lot in common with our table mates.
We found the staff very friendly and the ship was clean.
Yes, Nassau is a giant junk shop, but fun.
The food was excellent.
My husband and I spent hours high up in the bow of the ship with the wind in our hair examining the stars. During the day we laid in our deck chairs at the very back on an upper deck.
We would take this cruise again as a pampering break from our busy lives.
As an experienced cruiser who prefers somewhat more upscale cruises I know what to expect -- or not -- when I book a short 3-4 day cruise, particularly with Carnival. First the good notes: Cabins were generally roomy but dated, kidcare was quite good and kept kids busy and out of parents' way very well, according to our dinnermates. Pool band and show band were both very talented, and ship was reasonably clean and had the typical Carnival atmosphere. Smooth seas until the last night and a good sunny day at sea were appreciated by a generally upbeat and unpretentious crowd.
Even so, I was disappointed repeatedly by the mediocre service and poor food quality on the Sensation. It never rose above mediocre. This was particularly the case in the dining room which was worse than the buffets (later seating may have contributed to this, but I would have been better off just eating sandwiches from the aft sandwich bar which were actually pretty good). The so-called sushi bar was a joke and a waste of time in line (many others commented on this).
Cabin steward didn't even understand the request "Extra pillows?"Bahamas is a one-stop wonder, and aside from Atlantis being a pretty neat but expensive place worth going to by cab and paying a day fee, I'd recommend skepticism about any other listed shore excursions. Breezes all inclusive resort was a $100 disappointment to day-passers and overnight guests alike (from their comments on its mediocrity I doubt there are many return customers). Nassau is full of delusionally high-priced scammers and the typical junk isn't even worth bargaining over.
Back onboard, the shows were so bad as to be unintentionally comedic despite a good female lead. The only excuse for the male lead's presence must be either some unknown relationship to the show's director or participation in the federal witness protection program. He certainly could not sing, dance, or even seem appropriate in the leading role for a single scene. We thought he must be the stand-in or understudy for a lead that ate in the dining room once too often. The 80's-themed shows appeared to be promoting an agenda -- some sort of forced acceptance for the gender-ambiguous or sexually confused. Definitely not quality, and certainly not family entertainment.
This buyer says beware if booking a 3-4 day Sensation cruise and recommends keeping very, very low expectations, bringing a good book, maybe some headphones, skipping the shows, and packing a lunch if you absolutely must subject yourself to this "fun ship" getaway.
This was our second Carnival Cruise, the first being on the Glory to the Western Caribbean.
Port Canaveral parking and embarkation is so easy and convenient. We were on board inside 15 minutes at around 12:30 p.m.
To make a long story short, our original room on the Empress Deck was unavailable and we were amazingly upgraded to one of the 28 Verandah level suites on Level 11 with a balcony. This was almost better than winning the lottery. Dagmar, the Chief Purser, and the Ground Staff went 'overboard' (sorry) in compensating us for the brief delay in getting to our revised room. Two free drinks at the Atrium Bar and four more free drink coupons were generously offered. Talk about exceptional customer service.
We enjoyed every single aspect of the cruise. The dining room food (Ectasy at 8:00 p.m.) was served by Emmanuel and Fernando who were both of tremendous good humor and offered great advice, conversation and good service. I frequently had two main courses, especially the Chateaubriand. The Lobster Tails were delicious as well.
On this cruise we opted for a Dining Room breakfast instead of the Lido Deck and we enjoyedthis every morning. Overall, the food was a 10, even the pizza and deli sandwiches. At our table, there was only one complaint, and it was only over a piece of pumpkin pie.
Freeport wasn't much and we didn't bother going ashore. Nassau was great for shopping and you could be on the Main Street in 15 minutes, even with 5 cruise ships docked.
We saw Paul Allen's yacht "Octopus' at Freeport and the fabulous 240' 'Princess Mariana' off our bow in Nassau.
We didn't take any shore excursions but probably should have. The couple next to us tried the Dolphin Encounter and were very pleased and we watched them on the Carnival video and it indeed looked very well done.
We really enjoyed the entertainment. Dean Gaines and another comedian were very entertaining and the two Vegas shows were outstanding as well, including the two break dancers who closed the 'Curves' show.
I was very lucky this trip, winning four different prizes; rose boutinniere, beach bag, Apple ipod Nano and a painting at the Art Auction.
Our room Steward, Kensa, and his assistant, Mohammed, were exceptionally good.
When Carnival says their motto is "Exceeding Your Expectations", we can attest that everyone on board met this goal in spades. We were very pleased with everything on this cruise.
For the low fares, it is hard to believe the quality of accomodation, service, food and entertainment that they provide.
There is a great Cyber Cafe on the 2nd floor in the St. Georges Arcade which is within a 100 yards of the Nassau docks. It is air conditioned and you can use their PC or wi-fi. Only $5 for 60 minutes. Many of the crew members go there. They also have cheap long distance phone service as well.
Getting off was really easy because of our premium room. Customs cleared the ship at 8:15 a.m. and the porter had our luggage at our car at 8:28 a.m. How good is that? -- Plus we had breakfast in the dining room and waited in our room until we were called to disembark.
We only hope our next Carnival cruise is this good. We will be returning for sure.
My husband and I just came back from our first cruise to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary.
We loved every moment of the cruise.
The food was WONDERFUL! The service was EXCELLENT!
We strongly reccomend this ship for anyone! FYI - don't worry about the wardrobe, anything goes!
We had a great 3 night cruise on the Sensation! Three of us flew in the day before, and met our Floridian friend and stayed at the Radisson at the port. Great rate included breakfast for 2, parking and shuttle to the port both ways. We would definately recommend this hotel and it made it much easier than flying in the day of the cruise.
We scheduled the first shuttle to the ship at 10am, and were probably within the first 30 people there. They did not allow registration to begin prior to 10:30am, and once we registered, we had to wait to get on the ship until 11:30am. We had one bottle of wine in our carry on that they allowed. They took the 4 bottles of beer that we had in our carryons (however, the bottles of liquor that we packed in the checked luggage made it it our room!)
We got on the Sensation and headed to the Lido Deck for lunch. We packed our swimsuits in our carryons, so after we ate, we hung out by the pool. We poured our bottle of wine into cupsthat we had brought, and relaxed and enjoyed the beautiful weather.
We attended the spa presentation, where only about 40 people attended, and they gave away many services. Sadly, we didn't win any, but I would highly recommend attending.
We went to our room about 2pm. All 4 of us were in the same room, so it was quite cozy. Luckily, we are all very organized, so we unpacked, split up the drawers, and made it work. One saving factor was a powerstrip, which made getting ready much easier! Also, remember, this ship does not have hairdryers, so bring one if you need it! We also put a little door hanger (bought at the dollar store) on the door so we could find the room coming home late at night.
We had the 8:30 seating, which really worked for us, based on being able to enjoy the sun, shop, etc., and then get ready. Had a nice dinner, but terrible tablemates, which made it a bit awkward. However, the next night, we asked the matri d' to move us, and he did -- to a table with a much nicer group of people.
We went late to the show that night, but really enjoyed it. It was a variety of 80's music and dancing called Far From Over. We also attended the adults only midnight comedy show. It was OK. We really enjoyed the band in Michelangelos by "Music Asia" -- lots of 80's tunes.
Friday, we woke up in Nassau. Had breakfast on the Lido and headed into town. Went to the straw market, which used to be a lot of miscellaneous souveniers, but should now be called the "Fake Purse Market." Every imaginable fake purse -- Coach, Kate Spade, Chanel, you name it -- my friends and I felt like we had died and gone to heaven! We had a blast, and spent more time than we expected here. Headed back to the ship for lunch, then back to the island and took a water taxi to Atlantis ($3/person, versus $4/person for a crazy, hot taxi ride). Spent a few hours checking out the casino and Atlantis, then headed back to the ship for Formal Night.
Had a nice dinner, then hit the bars, casino, etc. Had a really fun night. There was a late night Lido deck party with great music.
Saturday, our day at sea, we woke up to a beautiful day. Staked out our chairs near the main pool, and hung out the entire day. Lots of activities, music, cocktails to go around. We did wander back to the pool at the back of the ship for awhile, which was deserted. It was a beautiful view from back there!
After dinner, attended the show, which was more showy than the first night. The show was alright, but we enjoyed Thursday night more.
That night, by 11pm, the bars and casino were practically deserted. I don't know if it was because it was a rocky ship, or everyone drank too much during the day, but it was very disappointing. We made our own fun though.
Debarkation went much easier than on past cruises. We were able to go to a sit-down breakfast and relax on the Lido before they called our zone number. We were off the ship by 10am on Sunday.
Overall, we had a wonderful time. I thought the ship was in great shape, and the rooms were small, but clean. The staff is a little over-zealous in pushing their cocktails, but that is their job.
I can't wait to go on another cruise!
This was my wife's and my second cruise (previously on the Star Princess) and my family's first.
Overall the experience was very positive. Understand that the Sensation is an older ship and in need of updating (I heard rumors that all the Fantasy class vessels are currently undergoing total remodels). When they say there's a lot of purple, they mean a LOT of purple. The ship was very clean overall.
The layout of the ship was fairly easy to navigate and we figured it out pretty quickly. Get the deck plan cards early, they go fast. The 2 main dining rooms were basically the same in configuration and location. The buffet was fine. The only complaint I have about the buffet was that the only place to find silverware was on the tables themselves. It would have been better to have the silverware with the plates and trays. The juice dispensers can cause a little bottleneck. Bring a travel mug; you'll be happier not making frequent trips to the juice bar.
The first port day it rained all day and most of the excursions were cancelled. The buffet was PACKED, with linesat the sandwich and pizza servers all afternoon. Carnival should have opened a dinning room and treated it like an at sea day. The rest of the ship was relatively clear of people, with plenty of places to sit and relax and watch the rain.
We saw the 80's production in the Fantasia lounge, the show was great. A word of warning, sit on the lower levels or the very front of the top level. Sitting in any of the upper level seats behind the first row makes you feel as if you were sitting in a hole, so I'd stay away from them.
The cabin was spacious. Ours was an inside quad (2 Pullman beds). Sleeping arrangements in the quad room were quite good. The room was a little tight when getting dressed and moving around, but overall not bad. AC in our room worked average at best; my mother's room was ice cold though. There's only one outlet in the cabin, so bring a power strip and extension cord. We brought a small fan which was a lifesaver. You'll also need a hairdryer, as they are not provided in the cabin. Curling irons are a no-no. The best part of the cabin was the bathroom. The shower was a full sized shower with a hand-held shower head, shampoo and body wash dispenser in the shower, and PLENTY of towels. The water pressure was pretty good with minor fluctuations in temperature.
This ship felt much more intimate compared to our last cruise and we would recommend it to first time or experienced cruisers. We'll definitely cruise the Sensation again.
We just returned from our 1st cruise to the Bahamas on the Carnival Sensation!!
I highly recommend paying extra for an upgraded room with vip check in/out. It is well worth the small extra cost. When you check in you move right past the long lines into a seperate line (where there is no line at all!!!) and are brought into a seperate room where you present your id and paperwork to a individual behind a desk that already has your room keys, etc ready for you; than they escort you straight through to the ship.... NO WAITING, NO CONFUSION... A MUST HAVE IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN OR AN IMPATIENT HUSBAND!!!
Once on board, one piece of advice is to go right to the front desk of the ship and get a map of the ship, it is very confusing if you do not have one. The food is just alright, but the entertainment is good.
The upgraded cabins are worth it!!! The only bad thing I can say is they do not give you enough time in port during daylight hours, you can go out at night when at port butit is dark and noone is out.
We also did the dolphin encounter through Carnival, very fun!!!
Did I forget to tell you that with v.i.p. we were able to get off the ship 1st when we arrived back home, and were 1st through customs and into the parking lots!!!!
We are already planning our next trip!!!