This was our second cruise and our first with Carnival. My husband and myself were traveling with my parents and sister. We decided to try the Sensation out of New Orleans due to our close proximity to this port.
Embarkation: We arrived at the port around 11:30. We had a difficult time locating the parking/unloading area. We drove in circles for quite some time and finally found it by following another luggage loaded truck that was lost too! After going through all the procedures we arrived on the ship around 1:00.
Ship Experience: The ship was very clean. Someone was constantly cleaning some where on board. Our room was spacious and offered plenty of storage space. The only problem we had was with the ventilation in the bathroom. Our "vent" didn't seem to work and would often cause our cabin to be rather warm after taking showers. The Sensation has the new Carnival bedding. The duvet and pillows were very comfortable.
I found the ship layout to be a bit confusing. It took me several days to locate all of the "hidden" areas and determine which floor I needed to go to. I noticed I wasn't the only one with this problem, several people commented on the elevator about not knowing where to go.
I was worried about the movement that would be felt on the Sensation after reading several other reviews. We did feel a lot of movement during various parts of our cruise. It was especially noticeable on the Mississippi and when leaving Cozumel.
Dining: We had late dinner seating. When we arrived on board we were assigned early seating and had to stand in line for 30+ minutes to have it changed (even though we had requested late). The food in the dining room was well presented and tasty. Some nights were a little better than others, but overall the dining room experience was well worth it. There was always something yummy available on board through the buffet, pizza, deli, or room service. We didn't go hungry.
Ports: Our first stop was Calica which is not a very developed port. We went on the Tulum express excursion. It was extremely hot, and the mosquitoes were vicious! Our second stop was Cozumel which was wonderful. The weather was perfect, our beach break was relaxing, I just wish we could have stayed in port longer!
Debark: Our vacation was wonderful until we got off the boat. We weren't prepared to stand in the New Orleans humidity for over an hour waiting on the buses to take us back to our parked car. This was the only negative area of our cruise that will make us rethink sailing from New Orleans. Carnival needs to rethink their contract with the parking company.
Overall: Our family had a wonderful time on this cruise and made many happy memories. The Sensation is a good ship for her age and a great value for the price! It was a good ship for the first time cruisers in our group to get "addicted" to cruising with! I think our next cruise will be on a larger ship in a different port.