My 17 year-old niece and I (30-ish) just returned from a 3-day Bahamas cruise on the Sensation and I was very pleasantly surprised at our experience. Although this was my 5th cruise overall (2 prior with Carnival, and 2 prior with Royal Caribbean), this was my first time on a smaller class ship, my first cruise of less than 5 days, and my first time in an interior stateroom, so I was unsure what to expect. I was very happy to find we were very comfortable in the interior stateroom and there was plenty of room for the two of us. Plus, we slept VERY well! No outside light makes for good sleep. I was afraid the 3 day would feel like just a tease, but really, it was perfect for our needs. Of course I never like it when the cruise ends, but it was good. With the exception of the first day, where we must have had some rough seas, we did not feel the ship moving.
Recreation: We greatly enjoyed the slides, though the two racer slides were much better than the big curly slide, which had long lines and hurt your back when laying down and caused you to actually stop and have to scoot yourself for the last 15 or so feet of the slide. I don't know if this was lack of water or what the situation was. It was disappointing that the slides were only open from noon till 6pm. There was also ping pong, shuffleboard, a track, mini golf and of course the pool and hot tubs. The hot tubs were constantly packed with people--I'm talking no room at all to move--from the time they opened to the time they closed, so we didn't go in those. We did not see the spa or fitness center, though they do have those on board.
Entertainment: The first production show we saw, a tribute to the 80s, was excellent. (and I'm not just saying that because I'm an 80's baby, my niece enjoyed it as much or more than me) Choreography was stunning, music was great; very enjoyable. The second, Curves, which was rated PG 13 for costume design and show content, was hard to follow and basically not good at all. I'm sure men would give it rave reviews as it featured underwear/lingerie/stripper costuming and very suggestive material. I appreciated Carnival disclosing the PG 13 rating though so people would not bring their children not knowing. The comedians were good, and I appreciated that the family-friendly comedy on this ship actually WAS family friendly. (not our experience on the Dream last year) As far as other entertainment, they had the usual gamut of Bingo, trivia, gender showdown, family feud, karaoke, etc. The deck party was a lot of fun, and all the musicians performing throughout the ship were excellent.
Food: The food was very good, though we only ate in the dining room once. Service was slow there, especially between the main course and dessert--a good 25 minutes. Plus, we are not into gourmet food, so the offerings at the lido buffet suited us fine. For those who are into adventurous eating, they have a "taste bar" on board where you can taste various delicacies. There was a mexican midnight buffet on the night of the deck party, and that was good.
Children's Activities: Unfortunately, I can't comment on Camp Carnival because they would not let me into the kids club to even see it. I really wanted to since I had two small children at home, but even when there were no kids, on the first day, they declined and also said I could not see in once the kids WERE there. Bummer. While I did not notice any changing tables in the bathrooms I visited, there is a spacious bathroom on Deck 8 forward (I think) that has a nice long counter that would work. And while I did not see a designated "splash zone" sign for the non potty trained children, several toddlers were having a blast in the areas around the foot of the slides where there were water spurts.
One thing about this particular ship that I noticed compared to all my other recent cruises is the lack of hand sanitizers. They were around, but few and far between.
Nassau: We saw a lot of Nassau this trip. We took a taxi over to Paradise Island to see Atlantis and just walk around. Then we walked to a nearby public beach so we could put our toes in the gloriously soft sand and the beautiful water and take a picture. It's important to note that this was not Atlantis beach; you have to pay $70 to get on that beach apparently. There were taxis waiting right by the public beach that took us back to town when we were done. We also did the glass bottom boat shore excursion through Carnival. We walked in some of the shops, though avoided the straw market, since that's just not my thing. (more on the excursion under port reviews section)
All in all, we really enjoyed this cruise as a perfect 3-day weekend getaway.
1. Always park elsewhere when going out of Port Canaveral. Our favorite is the Radisson, and it is 1/3-1/2 the price of parking at the port. The shuttle bus is very nice, and we haven't ever had to wait on it for more than 5 minutes.
2. Onboard, there is outside seating outside the Lido restaurant at the very back of the ship. Excellent view, very nice; unfortunately we discovered it on the last day!
3. Bring a white noise machine or fan. Without this, we would have been kept awake by the noise outside our room in the hall.