The ship had no wow factor and some of the areas were a little confusing to find until you found where they were.
The crew of the Sensation were happy and everyone that we met was most helpful.
As the weather in Florida was cold we had expected that there would be heating on board the ship -- no such luck!! The first few days we went around with our heavy sweaters on as the air conditioning was so cold!
EMBARKATION: We walked into the embarkation hall at around 1:30PM to find quite a long line waiting for security and to check in. We missed seeing the Priority Boarding area and finally figured out where it was after we had entered the hall. We were able to transfer over to that area. There was no security line and we were on our way to check-in next. We had a few minutes wait for the agent and within no time we were on the ship. Our cabin was ready so we headed to it immediately.
The mandatory safety drill that the ship had left us with serious concerns about the evacuation process in the event of a real emergency. Our group had to wait while a large number of people wound their way up a narrow staircase to the actual lifeboats -- this could be real interesting in a real emergency situation!
DISEMBARKATION: The disembarkation process was easy for us because we had no time constrained commitments after disembarking. Most people went for the option of carrying off their own luggage and this delayed the people who had entrusted their luggage to Carnival to a much later than scheduled departure. The day before the information about debarkation was on the TV so we didn't have to go to a lecture on it (good thing!). Carnival has two types of disembarkation, one is self assist (carry your luggage off) and go at the appointed time or the other is relaxed where the cruise line take the luggage and leave a little later. Everyone had to be out of their cabins by 8:30 and had to wait in a designated area. Our appointed time to disembark was 8:45 so we headed to the dining room and had breakfast first before going to the lounge to wait. The announcements for each zone were over the PA system but if you were in the dining room or the lounge (where we were asked to wait) you did not hear anything! We made it off the ship by 9:30am. Picking up the transportation after you got off the ship was very easy as all the buses were waiting outside the terminal.
DINING: We ate at the buffet and in the dining room. We also had room service for breakfast every morning (except the day of departure). The buffet area was well laid out but the food was at best mediocre. The evening meal in the main dining room was good, with the exception of one meal, and it rates up with some of the more expensive cruise line food. The dining room service was exceptional. Room service for breakfast was always early and the items ordered were on the tray except for one time when they forgot to place tea bags on the tray!
PUBLIC AREAS: The public areas were okay. The only problem was that if we were near the casino area it really smelt of all the people smoking so we tried to avoid the area as much as possible. The shopping area is really small!
CABIN: The cabin (suite) was well designed with plenty of storage space and the cabin was very quiet during the cruise. There is no heating what so-ever in the cabin (not even a thermostat) so we turned off all the vents to prevent the cabin from getting any colder (and it was like being in a freezer for the first few days!). The balcony was very nice with chairs and a table provided.
PORTS OF CALL / SHORE EXCURSIONS: The first port of call was Freeport. There is not anything to do within walking distance of the ship so if you want to go anywhere you have to either take a taxi or a shore excursion. We opted to take a shore excursion. We went on the Garden Grove and City tour. It was not worth the money or time that it took to take it! The bus driver was very nice and friendly and pointed out all the places as we went along the road -- from the shut down places to gas stations! When we arrived at the Garden we had a tour guide and she didn't stop talking as she went around the garden -- we could have very easily done the garden tour on our own in a much shorter time than the 45 minutes that we took with the guide. We then had just over an hour to wander around the garden on our own. The next stop was a shopping place that we had over an hour to visit. Way too much time was spent ambling about doing nothing, especially when the weather is cold outside!
The second port of call was Nassau. For this port there are a few things that are easily accessible from the port. Fort Fincastle and The Queens Staircase were interesting to see -- there is an entry fee of $1 per person to Fort Fincastle and there is a "guide" that greets you at the base of the Queens Staircase and he will tell you all about it and then it is customary to tip him -- it was actually worth giving the money as the information was quite informative. There is also the usual shopping that is immediately outside the terminal.