Carnival Sensation Cruise Review by skipper711: Sensational time, except for the food!
Overall Member Rating
Sensational time, except for the food!
Embarkation: Port Canaveral (Orlando)
Carnival Sensation out of Port Canaveral – girls cruise
Arrived via Southwest Airlines and rented a car through Hertz. Be careful if you rent an economy vehicle, as they may try to put you into a Fiat. We had to upgrade for an additional cost. Obviously, a Fiat wouldn’t hold luggage for three girls.
Once we had our vehicle, we drove approximately 40 minutes to the Country Inn & Suites. It is a very easy, straight road, and you will hit two tolls along the way. Once you turn off, the Inn is on your right, and you have arrived. The rooms were adequate, clean, and the staff is extremely friendly. It is perfect for a stay prior to a cruise. My friends thought the beds were a bit hard, but I slept very well. You can pay $40 to park your car, and they will allow you to leave the car and provide transportation to/from the port. It’s really quite simple.
Breakfast included waffles, More sausage, eggs, breads, cereal and many other options. It was very good.
Dwayne is the driver of the shuttle, and he was extremely friendly, and provided specific directions on how to find him once the cruise arrived back. We found him at the end with no problem.
We went to eat that evening, and found there are not many restaurants to choose from. You can go over to the harbor if you do prefer seafood. We decided to stay closer to the hotel and ended up at IHOP!! (sad, I know, but it was good). There is a Burger King right next door to Country Inn if you do not have a vehicle. We also stopped at a nearby Publix to pick up our soft drinks and wine and other miscellaneous essentials needed.
We decided to have pedicures prior to departing for the cruise. I found a location online and made an appointment at a salon within 5 miles of the port. They made us feel at home and did a great job.
Country Inn & Suites took our luggage, dropped us off, and then we went to board the ship. Embarkation was an absolute breeze!! We did have a grand suite, so we were allowed priority boarding. We walked up, never had to stand in line, and basically just went through the security on up to have our photos taken for the sign/sail cards. Once we had everything ready, we boarded the ship, and went to check out our first suite!!
All I can say is that I am very pleased I upgraded us to the suite. We had 3 adult females, and it worked out perfectly. The extra room (330 sq ft with a bigger balcony) was PERFECT!!! We had plenty of room to get ready, the closet was so large that one person could get dressed in there. The bathroom was larger, and we had plenty of storage and space to move around.
We then went to the Lido deck and grabbed a bite to eat. We later returned to our cabin and our luggage had arrived. We changed into our suits and went out to the aft area near the slides and laid out in the beautiful, Florida sunshine.
The shows on the ship were very good, please don’t miss Far and Away dance show from the 80’s. It was my favorite show to date!! I may have drank a bit too much the first evening, so I missed the opening show and the adult comedy show, but my friends said it was the best they had seen.
The ship is starting to show some wear, only because of the colors, bright purple that looks a bit dated, but we still loved it. The size of this ship was also great. We did not feel any movement until we encountered some rough seas the last evening. When my husband and I were on the Liberty in April, it was a constant vibration and movement, so this was very nice in comparison.
The only disappointment about this cruise was the food. The breakfast was good, although bacon was greasy. The dinners were overcooked or had been sitting for too long. We felt food was subpar in comparison to other Carnival cruises. I still found the ice cream to work out well in a pinch! And, you cannot go wrong with chocolate melting cake either. ïŠ
We had early dining and didn’t make it back in time for formal night, so we missed the lobster. We went to the lido deck, and we didn’t find much food to choose from. I had fruit and cheese, and my friends had salad and pizza. We thought there would be food available, however, they were preparing for a Mexican buffet that evening, so most of the facilities were not open.
We went to Balmoral Island, which ended up being the highlight of the trip. We were concerned about venturing on our own, and decided to go through Carnival. I had not heard much about this excursion, but Sandals owns the property and they have a special area which they transport their guests to, in order to provide more privacy. The area where the Carnival ships are allowed is very large, and encompasses a vast area. We were told that they are in the process of building a resort on-site, and that Carnival will begin docking overnight, and you will be allowed to rent a room on the island.
My friends and I thought it was perfect. They had a very large beach area, a pool, seating areas, restrooms, lounge chairs, all sorts of areas where you could sit in the sun or be out of the sun. There were dining options available, along with a number of drinks to choose from. It was primarily pub food, wraps, sandwiches and burgers with fries. The wraps were very delicious. I would splurge for the deluxe package, as it includes a non-alcoholic drink and lunch. The prices were so high that you would spend more if you ate on the island and didn’t have that package. $6 sprite, $7 water, $12 pina colada for example. Please also know that this is about a 20 minute ride over to the island via boat, and it only returns at the specified time. As such, you can’t just return when you want. So, get the deluxe package, and plan to eat there.
They had music playing, and they did some of the line dances as well. If you are not interested, you do not have to participate, but you certainly can if you choose. It wasn’t blaring loud, but we were over by the pool area. They also had a dolphin encounter, but we didn’t do that.
BEHIND THE SCENES TOUR
I am SOOOO happy I did this tour. I wanted to do it on the Liberty, but the price was twice as high, and I couldn’t justify it. On the Sensation it was only $55. I HIGHLY recommend, and intend to do again on another ship. How they operate the ship and are able to keep everything running smoothly is just amazing to me, so I had to see how it was done. The tour was about 3 hrs and consisted of seeing the following areas: kitchen prep; laundry; food; engineering; meeting captain on bridge; entertainment and then some general information on where the staff live, eat, study, work, play, etc… I found it very interesting. I was surprised that out of a ship full of people, only 6 people were in our group. If you are interested in how these ships operate, I recommend attending.
All in all, we had a fantastic time on the Sensation. I was very pleased with everything except the food. As long as I have a great breakfast, I am good, but if you are expecting phenomenal food, you may be a bit disappointed. If you want to hang out at the pools, enjoy the entertainment and have a great time, this is the ship to do it on!
I will say that when we saw people walking around during formal night, they were dressed to the nines. I honestly didn’t expect people to be dressed up as much as they were for a short cruise. I was completely impressed, and thought they were better dressed than those on my recent Liberty cruise!
I really felt that this ship was a great size to get around, and didn’t feel crowded. Perhaps the 2.0 upgrades do take up a lot of the space on the Liberty, but to get Guy’s Burger, it’s worth it in my opinion. You could tell there were more people on our sea day, but it wasn’t overwhelming, and you could easily find a place to lounge.
So, you’re asking, would I go again? ABSOLUTELY!!!!!
I hope this information helps and that I didn’t leave anything out. If you do have questions, feel free to msg me and I will try to respond. You might note it on the board in case I forget to check my other folder.
Happy sailing!!!! Less
Read more Carnival Sensation cruise reviews >>
Read Cruise Critic's Carnival Sensation Review >>
Port and Shore Excursions
Balmoral Island & Sting Ray Experience
LOVED Balmoral Island. Lovely place to visit, great beach, good food options, and a nice pool. I would return here again!
Your dreams, from sea to shore...
Older, smaller, but still quit...
Good but can improve.
Great, affordable, fun trip! H...