I hope you find this review helpful. This was our 18th cruise on Carnival and our forth on the Sensation, so we've had a fair amount of time on Carnival and this particular ship. Sensation is one of 8 fantasy class ships, their smallest class and the "work horses" of the Carnival fleet. Since we are Platinum VIP, we have priority check-in and from the time we parked, we were eating lunch on Lido within 15 minutes, couldn't have been easier. A very well managed embarkation.
Activities - Your standard fair of Vegas Style shows, Punchliner comedy, both family friendly (early) and two adult only (late) We did not see the show but the comedy was hilarious! The fun day at sea, the Lido was a buzz of normal activities; Ice carving, Music/Dance, Corn Hole, hair chest contest etc. We had our 14 month old with us so he is too young to participate in Camp Carnival. Carnival does NOT cater to families with children under 2 years of age on any ship! If you bring a bay under two be prepared to be their sole source of entertainment.
Service - The Sensation crew provided probably this BEST service we've had to date on any ship on any cruise line. Cabin Stewards, wait staff, Customer Service/Shore Excursion desk... they ALL had a smile on their face and we're happy to help!
Port/Shore Excursions - I am torn here, since we make about 2-4 cruises a year almost ALL leaving eastern FL will stop in Nassau. Carnival has a new "island" about a 30 minute boat ride from the the ship. It's Balmoral Island. The excursion is in it's infant stages and NOT ready for Prime Time! There are two excursions you can take and the only difference is cost, the "Deluxe" is $10.00 more PP and you get Lunch, WHICH IS LAUGHABLE. You have your pick of minimal items and they all are horrible! They also do not accept cash and all transactions are on your sign and sail card and ALL transactions are on hand written receipts which takes FOREVER to process! The cost provides you a ride to the island, a beach chair with umbrella and the use of a small but "descent" pool! DO NOT use the private cabana's in the pool area as it will cost you $150.00 to use for 3 hours!. Outside of that NOTHING else it provided! Snorkeling gear, $$$. Pool Noodles to float on $$$. The beer "Special" was 7 beers in a bucket for the "special" of price of $56.00! Are you kidding me! I DO NOT recommend this excursion!
Food - Standard buffet fair, Always okay - Never mind blowing delicious never bad. Good eats when you want it. Dining room; our wait staff was AMAZING! I can get into a thousand small details but I'll leave it at amazing! Food - of the three nights, I felt ONE night was up to my expectations, (Formal night) Lobster and Prime Rib were spot on. The other two nights, the food was okay/certainly edible but my steak was WAY over cooked on night and my Mahi Mahi was over cooked the last night.
Spa/Fitness - Spa, as in every cruise line is wonderful but way over priced! We toured the area but didn't use it. Fitness center was adequate, nothing note worthy. Equipment was clean and worked. Only 1 treadmill was out of order.
We did not use the children's clubs, our sin was took young.
Disembarkation - Well organized and a piece of cake! Couldn't have been easier! A well oiled machine!
Rates: This is my BIGGEST heartburn! We pay FULL THIRD PERSON fair for a 14 month old that cannot use ANY of the amenities. NCL, all kids are free under the age of three. AND Carnival will tell you this!
Summary: The Sensation is certainly an older ship but the crew does a hell of a job keeping it clean and fresh looking. YES it does show it's age if you really look at the details. A few elevators were out which makes a huge difference to a family with a stroller or a wheel chair, outside of that if stairs are an options, it wouldn't have been so bad. Sensation is a very comfortable ship for my family, would I go on her again! in a heartbeat! I know what I am getting for my money, I know what to expect.
I hope this review helps if anyone actually takes the time to read it!