First timer Sensation cruise review
My husband and I just got back from a trip to the Bahama's. We cruised on the Carnival Sensation. I was a little concerned before we went because I couldn't find any good reviews for the Sensation. So I promised to write one when I got back so here goes!
My husband needed a wheelchair to embark on the ship so really can't give much advice on that part since we breezed right through and were on the ship in under 10 minutes (probably closer to five). But I am getting ahead of myself. We stayed at the Country Inn and Suites in Port Canaveral which is minutes from the terminal. We got the cruise package which allowed us to park at the hotel for the week. We took a shuttle from the hotel to the terminal on Sunday morning. The hotel was very nice and provided a hot breakfast. Once the shuttle got to the terminal they parked right at baggage drop-off. We tipped the shuttle driver, then tipped the porter who took our luggage. We told them immediately that we needed a wheelchair. They hollered up front for a wheelchair. By the time we made it up to the terminal (a short walk) we had to wait for a few minutes for the wheelchair and someone to wheel us through the terminal, but it was well worth the wait since we breezed right through. We had to go through an x-ray scanner and then the lady that was wheeling us took us right to the counter to check-in then walked around and checked us in herself. Then she took us to go get our pictures taken for our sail and sign card. Then she wheeled us on the ship and left us at the elevators. Before we even got on the elevator we had a drink in our hands.
From there we went to the lido deck to get some lunch, then to the polo lounge for a cigarette. Around 1:30 we went to our room, our luggage didn't arrive until later that evening. One of the top tips I would recommend would be to bring a watch for everyone. We had a fabulous time, but missed a lot of events because we didn't know what time it was. Although it was nice not knowing the time, just doing what we wanted when we wanted. Besides that we had too many drinks in us to care. Also pack your swimsuit in your carry-on or wear it on, if you want to do any water activities before you get your luggage in the evening. You will probably not get your luggage before dinner, but dining is casual on the first night.
Our room was great, the room steward was wonderful. The room stayed clean the entire time. The food was fabulous. Lots of variety and you could eat as much or as little as you wanted. However, if you don't eat a lot the staff will ask you if you want something else :)
You will have to do the muster drill right before you sail, but it's not that bad. You all congregrate at your muster station. They show you how to put on your life jacket, then everybody lines up in front the the life boat. And that's it! It's over.
On to the rest of the cruise. They have activities galore. After muster they have a deck party to celebrate sail away. The casino opens up around 5:30pm. They even have activities in the casino, tournaments and such.
Our first stop was Freeport and we decided to stay on the ship. Our dinner table mates had a good time at Freeport, but we don't have any advice for this port. The ship was wonderfully quiet while in port. There were still quite a few activities aboard the ship even when docked. We spent our time sunbathing and hanging out in the Polo Lounge.
My husband enjoyed a beautiful sunset on Serenity Deck while I took a nap from too many drinks. :)
Nassau. We wanted to go to Atlantis at Nassau and opted to go on our own. We took a taxi to Atlantis, which cost $11 for both of us, one way. Beware of gypsy taxi's, make sure your driver has their own real taxi car (look at the tag, it will say taxi on it). They drive on the left side of the road and the roads are narrow. It was a harebrained trip. Once at Atlantis we found the shops immediatedly but most of them were very high dollar shops, way our of our price range. We found the casino pretty quickly and immediately lost some money at the machines. :( Then we went in search of the beach, after about 2 miles of walking there was no beach, so we went back and caught a taxi back to the ship. Overall we were disappointed in Atlantis, but we are going to try again with a shore excursion booked through Carnival. We think we will have much better luck by going on a shore excursion. Going out on our own we couldn't get to the beach or to the Aquarium without paying an exhorbiant amount of money for an all day pass. Besides after all that walking my husband (being disabled) was ready to get back on ship and so was I.
Formal night was fun. Shirt and tie is fine for the guys, jacket is definitely optional. Don't forget to walk down Sensation Boulevard in your dress up clothes for some pictures. They do a really good job on the pictures.
Also don't forget to go to the photo gallery on your last sea day to find your pictures and pay for the ones you want. They are about $20 per picture, but you only have to keep the ones you want.
There is so much to do that it is hard to review everything. But the staff are great. We didn't have one person that wasn't very nice and helped us on the ship. Anything you wanted was pratically handed to you.
I didn't bring my hairdryer because I thought there would be one in our cabin. We called the room steward and he brought one by immediately.
On the last day we gave a little extra to the room steward, the waiter that waited on us in the Polo Lounge and the Matre'd in the dining room.
Disembarkation. Organized kaos. We got up early and went and had breakfast. We had packed our luggage the night before and put it outside our cabin door. From breakfast we hung out in the Polo Lounge until our disembarkation Zone number was called. Once our number was called we headed to the exit. You need to have your sail and sign card and your passport handy. Once off the ship we got a porter to help with the luggage. He went with us to get our luggage and took us right through customs, which was very easy and outside to catch our shuttle back to the hotel where our car was. The porter left us with our bags at the curb where we would catch our shuttle. We called for the shuttle and he was there within 10 minutes. Back to the hotel and back in our car and our vacation was over.
Overall, everything was just wonderful and I don't have a bad word to say about anything. The only thing is I wish it was longer. We will definitely cruise again, we are planning one for next year. I'm sure there were little disappointments along the way, but your cruise is what you make of it and their were so many positives that I can't remember any negatives.
Welcome Back hugs516!
Thank you for this wonderful review of your experience on the Sensation!
Sorry to hear you couldn't find the beach beside Atlantis. I know it is a maze of miles in Atlantis though. Next time just ask one of the staff how to get to Cabbage Beach. They'll point you in the right direction. That's the only way I could find it the first time.:)
loved your review. the beach is really easy to find from the atlantis, but it is a few mins walk. I am sorry you missed it because it really is a very beautiful beach.
Thank you all for your input. We still had a great time.
Welcome back, hugs516! Sounds like you had a great time:) You're so right, 4 days just isn't long enough, neither is 7, 10, 14, 21 LOL! It is amazing how fast it goes. I, too, am sorry you didn't find the beach. It really is quite beautiful. I'm sorry you didn't get off in Freeport, too. It is such a pretty island. The port, not so much, but the island is so much cleaner than Nassau. I'm glad to hear you're thinking of another cruise. Maybe next year you could do a 7 day. I hope you tried the chocolate melting cake, it is so yummy! If not, there's your reason for going again:)
How does Dream compare to Sensation?
We do plan to take another one next year. This time at least a 7 day. Right now we are looking at one in May on the Dream. Can't wait - wish we could afford one sooner but as soon as we got back home, the stove went out and the hard drive on my computer crashed - so there goes the December cruise we were hoping for. :)
So how does the Dream compare to the Sensation? Is it as smoker friendly as the Sensation?
We are also looking at one on the Legend - also in May 2012.
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