I just returned from the Sensation and I had a wonderful time. I was a little concerned due to not so positive reviews, but I went with a positive mind set and my cruise was great.
Embarkation - We drove down the morning of the cruise and arrived at the port much earlier than we anticipated. I usually go down the night before but the people I cruised with were not able to re-arrange their work schedules. We arrived at the port around 9:45. We didn't try to get over to the porters because we could clearly see passengers still leaving from the previous cruise. We instead headed to the parking lot, paid the fee and just found a place to sit and relax until we could go in. Right around 10:30 we decided to check to see if they were allowing arriving passengers to check in and they were. We took our luggage to the porters and went to check in. Of course that early there was no line so check in took just a few minutes. We had a seat in the waiting area until boarding started (which was around 11:45). Once on the ship, we headed to the Lido deck for lunch.
The Ship - I've been on a couple of the Fantasy class ships so I knew what to expect. My traveling companions (a friend and her dad) however were cruising for the first time and they thought the ship was nice as soon as we entered (lots of purple). We explored the ship after having lunch so they could become familiar with where everything is. I've read several posts about the ship being dirty. I did not experience this. The staff kept the ship extremely clean throughout our cruise. Also read a lot about sewer smells. I didn't experience this in my room however, occasionally as I was walking down the hall to get to my friend and her dad's room, there was a slight smell.
Although I wasn't cruising alone, I chose to have a room by myself. Category 1A rooms are perfect for 1 person. My room steward was excellent. He came and introduced himself within about 10 minutes of my arriving in the room. I never had to ask for anything. He kept the room spotless and also made sure I always had ice. He left towel animals each night as well. There were a couple of times we had to wait for a table to be cleaned in the casual dining area. Just a few minutes though&I feel the staff did a good job of keeping the tables clear.
Food - As with any vacation, there were things that were very good and things that were not so good. Everything I had in the dining room was great. On my last cruise the lobster was somewhat overcooked and not very good. On this cruise it was cooked perfectly. As well as the prime rib. I had tilapia one night and it also was quite delicious. The buffet food was hit or miss. Pizza was pretty good this time as well as the burgers. We didn't have breakfast or lunch in the dining room so I can't comment on that.
Nassau - I've been to Nassau several times so I didn't plan any excursions. My friend and I just walked around. Although this was her first visit to Nassau, she was fine with just walking around. Her dad didn't leave the ship with us. He chose to wander around on his own. We went back to the ship after a couple of hours. She was fine staying on the ship the rest of the day. We spent time on the Lido deck enjoying the band later that afternoon.
Nightlife - Karaoke was quite entertaining as usual. My friend's dad sang and she was going to but she got cold feet and changed her mind. We didn't go to any of the shows so I can't comment on those. We did however go to adult comedy show and neither of us was impressed. The Kaleidoscope club was a blast each night. The DJ kept the crowd on the dance floor and the place was packed. I don't know how late they stayed open because I left a little after 1am.
Debarkation - Our deck was called around 9:00 and we were off the ship within 20 minutes. Fortunately, the people onboard followed the procedures and did not crowd the stairwells and the lobby.
Only one negative - I applied shipboard credits to my account prior to sailing. I didn't bother to check the balance when I boarded because I just assumed since I had my receipts the amounts were on my S&S account. When I returned to my room on the 2nd night, there was a note under my door stating that my account was inactive to do lack of funds. I took my receipts to the Pursers desk to have them check to see what happened. I had to fill out a form to be sent to accounting for them to research. All turns out only $25 had been credited to my account (the first credit I purchased). The second purchase ($75) was not added to the account. I only planned to place $100 on there because for a 3 day cruise I knew I wouldn't spend much. Outside of gratuities I only spent an additional $16.
Anyway, when I went back to the Pursers desk to follow up, the accounting department stated they only had record of the $25 credit. They stated there was no record of the second order that was placed (I placed each order online). Since I knew I would spend very little on the ship, I went and placed a deposit to my S&S to make sure gratuities were covered and I made a note of each person I spoke with and got contact information to follow up with if I was in fact charged for a credit that was not placed on my account. The ladies' I spoke with about the problem were both cordial and professional when trying to handle this issue. I was okay with their efforts (not happy, just okay). This will not make me stop cruising with Carnival, but I will certainly check my balance ahead of time if I choose to apply credits prior to cruising.
Overall a great cruise. I'm looking forward to my next one on which I will finally receive the Platinum perks.