My husband and I decided to book this cruise because of the duration and port of call. It was the 2nd cruise he had taken (he did a Disney cruise as a teenager) and my first.
We flew in to Orlando and rented a car from there so we could stop off and get wine/soda. Boarding was quick and easy, except for the luggage folks who were almost all taking lunch at the same time, sitting in the parking lot looking at the line of shuttles waiting on them. After 20 minutes we were able to get off our shuttle and turn in our checked bags. The woman had the nerve is imply she deserved a tip (yeah, right!).
After boarding we went to check out our room. We were in M21, which is a porthole room. The room was made up and very clean, including the bathroom. Didn't see any mold like I've seen mentioned in other reviews. Our luggage didn't get there until much later in the evening. We had towel animals on our bed every night. The only complaint about the room was that even when turned off one of the lights around the vanity area would continuously flicker faintly.
Hubby wanted to walk around and check out the pool, so we did. One of the first things I told him was how well maintained everything looked. I don't know if it's bc of all their recent trouble, but we saw workers doing routine maintenance work during the cruise which was good.
The pool was pretty chilly, so we didn't use it much at all during the cruise, but it looked nice and was clean. The hot tubs would have been nice if there weren't so many kids in them, even into the evening. I was glad they had the Serenity Deck, even though it's too small for its purpose. People were waiting around for chair space pretty often. The hot tubs were nice and the chairs were comfortable.
The lounges on board were clean, but definitely dated, just like the lobby areas. The giant hands in the piano bar have been repainted silver instead of black and white. They look better now, IMO.
The food on the buffet was decent. Not super flavorful, but not gross either. Lots of options. The pizza station had a goat cheese pizza that was very good and the sandwich station had an option for a mozzarella/prosciutto/arugula which was tasty. Desserts were ok, but I don't remember anything being stand out awesome.
Food in the dining room was better. First night I got the flat iron steak which was prepared perfectly, but I got it another night and it a little tough. The veal parmigiana was too heavily breaded for my taste. Elegant night I ordered the lobster and shrimp and ended up getting seconds. Salads were good. I got the chocolate lava cake, I also tried the poached pear and the creme caramel. The creme caramel was ok. The bottom had a bit of a tough layer I didn't care for. Service in the dining room was great the first night and decent the rest of the time. Occasionally we found ourselves waiting 15 minutes for the next course to arrive. The "showtime" in the dining room was fun. The crew does a great job of looking like they're enjoying themselves even though they're probably exhausted!
We saw one of the game shows that was like Jeopardy and it was amusing. We caught the tail end of Curves. Skimpy outfits and dancing. Their dancers aren't bad, but need to work on coordination.
The last night we saw their 80's show and it was good, but TOO LOUD. I can't say that enough. Other people around me were also holding their ears. It kind of ruined it for me!
Overall, this was a good first cruise. With the price point being low it definitely attracts a mixed crowd. We just ignored the people who thought jeans and tshirts on elegant night in the dining room was okay as well as those who were loud and boisterous at the buffet with piles of half eaten food in front of them (so much waste!!). Next time I will definitely pick a newer ship, especially if we'll have a full day at sea as we did this time, but the Sensation wasn't a bad choice for what we wanted.