This past December, me, Wes, his mom and brothers went on a holiday cruise on the Carnival Sensation. It left out of Port Canaveral in Orlando December 26th and sailed to Nassau and the Grand Bahamas. Now going in, I was afraid. We had just come off of the Oasis of the Seas (see here) which is a HUGE ship and was worried that we would be too jaded to enjoy yourselves. Not to mention, there were close to ZERO reviews about this ship on Cruise Critic. Having planned this trip, nervous was an understatement. BUT we ended up having a great time! I’m going to post this in parts, starting with the ship itself, then the ports. I didn’t take a lot of “ship” pictures, so I will be borrowing them from Maritime Matters, which is an older post about Carnival Inspiration but looks EXACTLY the same as Sensation. Check it out!
This was the SIMPLEST embarkation I’ve ever gone through. I’m not sure if it’s because we arrived around 12 or if the just run a smooth operation but from car to ship was about 30 minutes. This included dropping off luggage, going through security and a few bathroom stops. First good sign!
We were told our rooms were ready at check-in, so we went straight there. Walking onto the ship, holiday decor was still up which I was extremely excited about. We made our way through the atrium to our rooms. It was me and Wes, his mom and his three brothers. We had three ocean view rooms on the upper deck. (Carnival uses names instead of numbers, which is weird, but this would be the 6th deck). The rooms were a decent size. Windows were picture windows and not port holes which were nice. The rooms were a good enough size for two. (And these guys are not small). Second good sign!
(Picture borrowed from http://maritimematters.com/2012/01/carnival-inspiration-decked-part-two-promenade-to-main-deck-cabins/)
The food on Sensation was pretty good. For lunch, we usually ate on the top deck (Lido deck). They had some pretty good choices, with the BEST chicken fingers and fries. They also had a stir fry station, burger station and other hot prepared foods. There was also ice cream and lots of desserts. (Needless to say, I ate wayyyy too much on this trip)
For breakfast, we ate in the main dining room, which a lot of people don’t know about! If you want a more “formal” breakfast experience, more appetizing entrees, the main dining room is the way to go. Everything is a la carte, so it’s super fresh. they also have a buffet if you wanted a quicker option.We also ate dinner in the main dining room as well. This was very entertaining as the waiters performed every night we were in there! The best moment was when the waiters led a round of “gangnam style” with various props.
Overall, I was happy with the quality of food on the ship. There were even some very good healthy options to choose from, which was great for Wes and his brother are super healthy no matter where we are. The rest of us ate ridiculously and didn’t regret it one bit.
(For more info on food and the ship itself, check out this review on CruiseCritic. It’s fantastic: ProfCruise’s Sensation Review
I thought for the size of the ship, the entertainment was decent. The deck parties were fun because the entertainment crew was really energetic. We went to the comedy show, but it was nothing to write home about. The Love and Marriage show was good. On every cruise we’re on, we make sure to hit that show. We went to the nightclub just about every night, which was fun. Definitely made for some interesting people watching. If this was a seven day cruise, I would have been more disappointed with the entertainment offerings. But because it was such a short cruise, it served its purpose.
For those with kiddies, the kid’s club also known as Circle “C” was great. My little brother is 13 and he had a BLAST at the kids club. At some point, we started seeing him strictly at meal times because he was too busy having fun.
The ports on this ship were both in the Bahamas: Freeport and Nassau. I’ll get into more detail about them in another post, but they were both great places. Wes and I had been to both places before and it was still a good time. Debarkation at both places was simple and quick and it was the same getting off the ship.
Overall, this is a great cruise if you want a quick getaway or something more affordable. If I lived in Florida, I would book it again. Yes, the ship is older and smaller but if you keep that in perspective, you will enjoy yourself. If you go on Sensation expecting big ship thrills, you will most certainly be disappointed. I will be posting about the ports next. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out!