This is our 2nd cruise and first on Carnival. I was a little worried because this cruise was significantly cheaper than our last one and I had read some negative reviews. However, we had an excellent time and cannot wait until our next cruise with Carnival next month. I think things are what you make of it and there will probably be some good things and bad things about ANY cruise. So, here's my review of the Carnival Sensation for a 4 night Bahamas cruise visiting Nassau and Freeport. I will break it down by pros and cons but overall we had a great time and would definitely do it again! I am somewhat hesitant to even call them cons but maybe instead call them things that I noticed that could use improving but wouldn't deter me from going again. I traveled with my husband and 4 year old son.
Fast embark and disembark process; very good food and variety of food (shrimp cocktail every night, fried shrimp and lobster were great! chocolate melting cake was very good- get it the first night because they might freeze it after that); good entertainment (we went to the 80's show and love and marriage show plus the deck parties); clean ship (older, needs some updating but clean); great kid's club;friendly staff and great service; fun waterpark.
Things that could use improvement:
Ship Internet is awful and expensive. I would try and do your stuff in port or before you go. It's good if you have to do something, like print your boarding passes but it literally took me 40 minutes to log onto my email, send an email and check my Internet class page. Very, very, very slow. Carnival needs to put some money into their Internet service. If you need to contact someone, just call them. At $1.99 a minute, it's easier and cheaper! Also, all 3 hot tubs were closed on our cruise for a "technical upgrade." Kind of a bummer but we got over it quickly. This is an older ship and could use some updating in the rooms. The decor is outdated but they did put flat screen TV's in the rooms.
We originally booked this cruise at the last minute in an inside guarantee stateroom then Carnival called us for an upgrade a few days later, so we upgraded to a verandah deck "suite". My only real gripe is that they need to drop the "suite" term for this room. I am not sure what the definition of a "suite" is but in my mind a suite is larger than a regular balcony and has a sitting area, normal sized balcony, refrigerator that works, etc. Anyways, to me we got a regular balcony room. This was fine because we didn't pay the listed "suite" price. But had I, I would have been pissed. The only added bonus for having a "suite" is you get priority embark and disembark. But because this is a small ship, it didn't really seem to matter that much anyways. The balcony in this room is small and the chairs they have out there barely fit sitting straight. I think they need to put smaller chairs out there so you can sit facing forward.
An added bonus for the V rooms with lower numbers (the ones toward the front of the ship) is that there is a front balcony that you can enter from the far front end of the ship through the exit door. And because of it's location, not many people go out there. It's like having your own private, large balcony! So, do yourself a favor and book an inside Verandah room and save some money!! Also, the balconies in these rooms sit back from the deck below. Therefore, people can look up at you when you go out there. Not a huge deal to us but if you book a suite, I would expect a private balcony.
Anyways, our 4 year old loved the kids club and it's free until 10pm. From 10pm-3am, it's $6/hr plus gratuity. Still a good deal I think. They give you a phone to carry on the ship so they can call you or you can check in too. Our son loved it and didn't want to leave. He had a blast playing with other children his age and playing with new toys.