Just got back from my 6th cruise, which was on Carnival Sensation. Had to pick that one primarily because of the dates on which it left and came back. There were definitely some highlights and lowlights in general and as compared to other cruises I've been on.
The ship itself I didn't like very much. It is relatively small by today's standards, with unimpressive decor. Most annoying was the fact that there was no mini-fridge in the room, no hair dryer, no iron/board, the shower didn't have a door only a curtain so the bathroom floor kept on getting wet (big props to Norwegian on that point, they had a much nicer shower). Even though we specified 2 twin beds, when we got there it was a queen, so I had to tell them to change it, which was pretty quick so no big deal. The pool is tiny, and there is only one, didn't even bother going in. They didn't have a chocolate buffet, and the overall desserts were not very good.
The production shows were fantastic. I still have the best memories of the watching the shows on my first Carnival cruise. When I walked into the theater during the day it looked very unimpressive. But it was very comfortable; 100 times more so than my last Norwegian ship. There were plenty of tables in front of you to put drinks on and to for people and weight staff to walk by. And the actual shows, especially Curves, ware great. The comedians were not amazing, but they were funny, and about as good as you can expect on a ship.
The food far exceeded my expectations. People keep saying Carnival doesn't have good food, I disagree. At least two of my meals were just excellent. Their award winning fish dish amazed me, and I had another one for lunch that was even better. The steak we had the first day was great, but when I ordered it again it was just good. Overall, very happy with the dining room food. Buffet, well that was just average, but plenty of good breakfast choices. There really aren't any fancy restaurants on this ship, but you can get some free sushi. And it was nice to get robes in the room, had to ask for those on Norwegian.
You used to have an option for getting a photo on CD if you bought a portrait, but they took that option away, big disappointment. I'm also very sad about cruise lines in general wasting a ton of beautiful portraits cause they are overpriced. I'd much rather pay a flat fee and get all of my portraits on CD, or even if they sold each one for something like $2.99, I'd pay for each of them. But at $23.00 per, I only bought one and wasted like an hour picking it and through away like a dozen of others I liked. So come on managers, give us an alternate option please. I think you'll make a ton more money and make a lot more people happy and waste a lot less.
In Freeport we went on the Jeep tour. It was amazing. Tony was a fantastic tour guide, and since I've been with their company before he hooked me up with my own Jeep to drive the whole time YEAH! (so even if it's your first time, maybe say you've been with them before and they'll treat you like royalty). The beach was nice, stops were good and informative, Jeeps had radios so he was talking to us along the way too, did a little off-roading and got as close to driving on the beach as possible. And at the end they were flexible enough to drop us off at the shopping site instead of the pickup location, which saved a cab fare. There is a nice beach there too, and it has Hobie Cat sail boats you can rent, but they close early like 4 or 5PM, so I was too late, wish I knew in advance and would have totally done that cause we had time.
In Nassau we did the water park at the Atlantis, it was a lot of fun, the slides, the lazy river, and Atlantis itself was great, but I would say it is a little over priced, you can get better or similar water parks in Florida for less, but we weren't in Florida, so I think that was a great choice. Can't rent a sail boat or hobie cat there though, but other boats like kayaks or pedal boats or Jet Skis they do have.
In conclusion, Carnival is still my favorite company out of the 4 I've been on, can't wait to try Celebrity though. But I'd avoid the smaller ships though if you can. Go for the 110,000 class or higher, they are much nicer.