This is my tenth cruise and 5th with Carnival. My 3rd time on the Sensation. Last time however was 2004. I booked 10 days out inside guarantee and with gratuities paid less than $500. I was on the 4 night September 23-27. It was my birthday weekend and I checked beach hotels and for 4 nights was well over $600. So the cruise won, I look at it as room, board and 2 ports in the Bahamas vs St. Pete beach room only.
Now I must say the boat hasn't changed much in the last 8 years. And compared to the Freedom of the Seas and Disney Dream it was tiny and old looking. We got to the port at 10:45 dropped off the luggage, parked, checked in, photos taken and were seated in the holding area upstairs as our zone was already called all by 11:15. As soon as we were seated VIP were called to board. Within 10 minutes I was walking on. We went upstairs to the Lido and Mongolian Wok. It was ok better than most food but not something I would get at home. We then wandered over to the roast beef, burgers etc it was ok. Now the people watching begins. With the low rate you see everything imaginable. To my delight I saw less than 10 kids the entire trip... yeah school!
1:15 room was ready Our room was on the empress deck and 3 doors from main elevators and atrium lobby. Couldn't have asked for better location. Room steward greeted us, called us by name and kept room perfect. He was the best and immediately met every request. Room was super dark and perfect for my nap time. Hey it's my vacation and that includes a 2 hour nap daily. Typical inside room newer tv everything else was as pictured on website.
Due to last minute booking we had YTD. The Fantasy dining room was one floor up and we could see from outside the cabin by walking 10 steps (awesome room location). Even with a slight line we were always seated within 5-7 minutes. 3 nights same section last night different. Food was ok, always warm with a few things hot. Zydeco's menu with pictures was spot on so I knew exactly what to expect. Again nothing was great but all edible.
Entire trip weather was perfect! A few clouds, 10 minutes total rain and nice breeze.
Ports: Freeport took cab $8 round trip to Radisson Port Lucaya paid $10 to use pool(loved the pool with swim up bar), chairs on beach and most importantly restrooms! Less than 20 people at pool and beach combined which is nice however weird at same time.
Nassau stayed on boat until after dinner. Pool had a handful of people in it and plenty of open chairs everywhere. After dinner took $4 cab to Atlantis gambled a little walked around and came back.
Day at sea longer buffet lines and pool was packed and I mean packed. Music is the same as 2004. Any updated music would be appreciated. 1 pool is never enough.
Yes they are aggressive with alcohol, jewelry and picture sales. It's a cruise again it's expected.
Cruise director Wee Jimmy was funny and friendly. Shows were hokey. Funniest was love and marriage which was a hoot. I don't go on cheap cruises for the shows.
Be warned this boat rocks. 1st and last night you would think we were in high seas but the water was flat. It's like they turned off stabilizers those nights. The higher up you went the worse it was. Everyone noticed. Everyone was taking about it at breakfast. Very very rocky!
We took our bags off boat( otherwise we were group 19 which was slated to get off at 9:30) and at 7:30 we were off the boat. 7:45 thru customs and in our car pulling out of garage.
This boat is way out of its prime. However the staff was friendly and it met my last minute need. I wanted a fun girls trip. I went in with low expectations and was sometimes pleasantly surprised. Would I do this ship again? Probably not. Would I cruise Carnival again yes!