As a last minute gift to celebrate the end of summer, I surprised my wife with a 3 day cruise on the Sensation. Typically we do 7 day and longer cruises, and we were a bit nervous about this cruise because we have heard that the shorter cruises are very much "party cruises." This is not really our style of cruising--we enjoy sitting in the Serenity area, we sip cocktails at the nicer bars, and we go to the dining room for every meal they offer.
Our first impressions of the Sensation (our first Fantasy class ship) was that it was very much like every other Carnival ship we have been on, only smaller. My wife would look at something like the Grand Atrium and say, "Oh...that's so cute!" or the main dining room (only one floor, no dividers in the way) and say, "Oh...that's so cute, too!"
The ship was clean and well-maintained. Our Grand Suite (U104) was nicely furnished. Yes, there were some stains on the carpet, but that did not detract from our enjoyment of the cabin. The only complaint with the cabin was the bathroom, which was inordinately small. It is good that we are younger--my parents would never be able to climb up and into the tub to take a shower, much less get out when they were done. It's a strange layout, and I understand why it is the way it is, but if you book a Grand Suite best be prepared for this. And by the way--for those who say that Carnival is downgrading its bedding--this is simply not true. We saw them loading new mattresses on the ship, and it was obvious that the ones on our bed were fairly new. They are still some of the most comfortable beds on land or at sea!
The shows were both very good. It was nice to see a non-Playlist production show. There was a lot of energy and the band was really smoking hot. We also enjoyed the Asia Band that entertained nightly. They are an amazing cover band and play and sing very well.
We had a great wait staff (Livia, Jaya, and Wowor) and our cabin steward (Ketut) was adequate.
Port Canaveral with it's new facilities was a sheer joy for embarkation and debarkation. Everyone working had a smile on their face and was very helpful. They seemed genuinely happy that we were taking a cruise!
The best part of the cruise (besides being on the ship with the girl I love!) was Agnes, the bartender. She works at the Deck 9 bar in the aft of the ship (right outside the Comedy Club). This girl is an artist with a drink. She found out I like Chambourd and created several new drinks for me, including a Chambourd Margarita that were amazingly good! I would sail on the Sensation again just so she could make me a drink every evening!
Was the Sensation a party ship? Well, yes, there were party things going on, but it never interfered with my ability to enjoy the cruise. We found that sun loungers were always available, there was always space in a hot tub or pool, and that people were, for the most part, really well-behaved.
We've been to Nassau before, and so we chose to walk to Junkaroo Beach. It was a lovely experience--until it started to rain! But then we ran and danced all the way back to the ship, holding hands and celebrating how lucky we were to be together in such a beautiful place with a nice warm room waiting for us when we got on board.
Truly--our only disappointment was that the three days came and went so quickly.