I can't say enough wonderful things about our experience on the Carnival Sensation! Boarding the ship was seamless. We drove to the port, parked, was directed where to take our luggage and sent to the check in area and finally shown to the waiting area. We arrived at the port around 11:30 am and was on the ship by 12:00!
The rest of the trip was smooth as well. We took time upon boarding to explore the ship, take some pictures and then went with the kids straight to the pool. I would suggest bringing swimsuits/towels in a carry on if you want to swim or relax at the pool until you can get in your stateroom. Once we did go to our stateroom, I was pleased with the arrangement. We had an ocean view on the Empress deck which included a king bed,two beds that folded down from the wall, and a child-size bed as well. The beds were comfortable, the bathroom had enough space and there was plenty of storage. I'm sure some people might find that a bit tight, but we truly only spent time in there sleeping and getting ready in the morning. I was also impressed that the crew cleans the rooms in the morning and folds the beds up and returns in the evening while we you're away to clean again and unfold the beds.
Speaking of cleaning, although I'm not a big germaphobe, I appreciated the idea of the hand sanitizer throughout the ship as well as the constant cleaning that went on all over the ship.
Everything was great...water slides, food, and entertainment for all ages and as Carnival claims to be the funship, we would have to agree. Even our ports of Freeport and Nassau were enjoyable. We went on the dolphin encounter at Unexso which we would highly recommend and in Nassau stopped by the straw market followed by time at Junkanoo beach, relaxing and not crowded. Also, camp carnival was a huge hit with the kids. We gave them the option to go or not each night and they all chose to go, and they were also all in different age groups. The counselors were great and definitely kept the kids entertained as well as told them some things about life in their native countries...now my kids want to be camp carnival counselors when they grow up. This particular cruise had a lot of families probably because it was spring break time. That was great for us because my kids met a lot of other kids and there was no unruly college type behavior at all, so family-friendly. Overall, there were no complaints from any of the five members of my family...we will definitely do this again!
Our family took the excursion to Unexso for the dolphin encounter. (2 adults, 3 children ages 5,8,10) We were greeted by a friendly tour bus driver who provided us with some facts and history about the Bahamas. The ride was comfortable and gave us a glimpse of the island. We were taken to the Unexso resort where we entered through a gift shop and were given a cute t-shirt and the passes to get on the boat that would take us to the dolphin retreat. Once again we were welcomed by the boat captains who were quite entertaining. The boat ride to the retreat was smooth, relaxing and absolutely beautiful. The boat captain also kept us entertained with stories and facts about the island. Once we arrived at the retreat, we were taken directly to the dolphin area to receive information and instructions regarding our experience. The trainers were so patient and knowledgeable which was great considering most visitors were families with young children. I will be honest, I was skeptical about this experience partly because of the price and also because I'm not a huge fan of sea life, however, it was spectacular. Everyone had the opportunity to get in the waist deep water and truly have a close encounter with the dolphins by petting and hugging them. Despite my hesitation, I felt very safe and had no problem with my kids being in the water with the dolphins. There is also a photographer who captured each of us getting "kissed" by the dolphins. The pictures were fabulous and cost less than $10 each but well worth it for a once in a lifetime opportunity. In addition to the dolphins, the retreat has exotic birds that freely fly around. We were also able to have the birds put on our arms to hold, which I took pictures of myself. The return trip back to the ship was just as enjoyable. My husband and kids agreed that this was the highlight of our entire trip!
Nice public beaches and good deals at the straw market...tasty drinks too!