Our 7 cruises have all been on Carnival Cruise line. We find that Carnival offers the best value for the money and for what we are looking for when it comes to a cruise line. We are in our mid 40's and sail with carnival 2-3 times per year. We feel we are experience cruisers and have always enjoyed are cruises with carnival. The carnival sensation is similar to the fantasy and inspiration, so we knew the layout of the ship. No surprises on where things were on the ship...photo, shopping, serenity area, 24-hour pizzeria, etc. Easy to get around!
Embarkation: As we did in April, we fly in a day prior to the cruise and rented a car with budget. We returned the car on the morning of sailing at 9:45. Although the lady at budget said we were way to earlier, we knew what we were doing. After taking the shuttle bus over to the terminal, went though security, got our sail and sign cards, and given zone 3....all this was done by 10:15. At 11:00, carnival starting the process of boarding VIP folks first and by 11:15 we were in line getting our picture taken and on the ship by 11:30. Very simple and easy process.
We decided being that it was only a 4-day cruise and we don't spend a lot of time in our cabin, we book an inside cabin on the Riviera deck, R171. The cabin was a typical inside cabin and for the 3 of us, offered enough room and space. Our grandson was on the top bed, while my wife and I we right below. The cabin offers soda's for purchase which came in handy for my grandson. Our cabin steward was Sean and he was great. Very personable/friendly and ALSO had our cabin in tip top shape.
The food though out the cruise was okay during the lunch buffet, but much better for dinner service. We mostly did burgers, dogs, pizza and mongolian and some items during lunch, but dinner offer more of a selection and was pretty much the same as other carnival dinner menus. My wife and I never had a bad meal. Our servers were quiet, but work very hard to make sure our table was taken care of.
Our grandson (this being his third cruise) was not a big fan of camp carnival. The ladies were nice and caring, but didn't seem as open and outgoing as the staff on the Destiny or Dream were. The area for the kids 2-5 was very small for the amount of kids that were on the ship. We felt they did a good job, but we decided only to put our grandson in camp carnival during times that my wife and I were at dinner or one of the adult comedy show.
We spent majority of our time at the pool and water park area. Our grandson enjoyed the slide and the water activities while my wife and I were able to relax and get some sun. We attended one of the adult comedy show and the comedian was hilarious. The piano and bar area was one of our favorites before dinner and we did very little shopping on board.
Debarkation was easy as Embarkation. Folks who are departing the ship using self-assistance were talked first, followed by each deck by zone. We have always done self-assistance and we left our cabin at 8:00 and was off the ship waiting for our ride at 8:20.
If you have any question about the sensation, you may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Next cruise on the Carnival Spirit for a 9-day Mexican Riviera.