This was my second cruise with Carnival. I tried Norwegian after Carnival, and decided to go back to Carnival. I took a 4 night trip to the Bahamas with my mom and had a wonderful time. It's a little long.
EMBARKATION - We left from Port Canaveral and it was simple. We got to the port at 12 pm. You pull up to the porters and they take your bags. There is a sign when you leave the cruise that says they are salaried and tips are not necessary. They really don't take the bags far, it was two steps away.
Once we were in line they checked our passports and then we had to wait to get our Sign and Sail Card. Everything was filled out online so it was quick process. We received a card that said Zone 4. When we went to sit down they had already called Zones 1-25 so others that were before us were still sitting. We got up and got on the ship.
At 12:30 we were done and on the ship and were ready to hit the Lido Deck for a buffet.
WEATHER - Our cruise was Sunday - Thursday. Sunday the winds were high at 25 mph. It was raining so we didn't get a welcome party. It was too wet. Royal Caribbean and Disney were the other lines out with us. We were supposed to be the 3rd ones to leave at 5 pm. I was waiting and waiting and finally around 5:45 we heard that we were not going to leave because the winds were too high. Instead we'd leave Monday morning, head to nassau first, and then Freeport.
Deciding to not leave Sunday night was a good decision. Monday morning the ship left at 7 am and there was some rough waters. I normally do not get sea sick. I tried getting up at 9 am, and a couple times after that. I finally made it out of bed and up to the Sports Deck by 2 pm. A lot of people were sea sick, but after that it was smooth sailing.
DECOR - Some people have complained about the decor. It is very Vegas style. There are lots of lights and mostly all in purple in the atrium. It's a little tacky, but I liked it. Really, how often are you looking at the atrium?
ROOM - This was the first time I had a room with a porthole. I've had an ocean view and an inside room before. It's nice because the price is comparable to an inside room. The only downfall is if you want to sleep in you can't because you can hear the anchor when they dock at 7 am or leave. We did have a flat screen tv, so that was nice. There is no mini fridge which Norwegian had, but there is enough space for your stuff. The beds and pillows are comfy. I'm a picky pillow person, so for me to not bring my pillow is a good thing.
The sink was updated, and the room was always clean. Our stewardess was amazing and friendly. She is a hard worker and it was nice being able to speak to her.
SHOWS - The shows could use some updating. There were two shows, one about the 80's and the other called Curves. I love 80's music, but either I was tired, or it wasn't as entertaining as it could be. There were times I nodded off. Curves is a Vegas style show of different things you'd see with some of the showgirls, but PG-13.
They do have comedians that do a family oriented show and an adults only show. that was a nice new addition. I'm no prude, but a lot of the content for the adults show was very sexual and after a while it's not that funny anymore. Nonetheless it was still good.
LAYOUT- I like the layout of the Carnival ships. You can eat outside next to the ocean, or inside. We were only at sea one day so I didn't spend much time by the pool since that was the day I was sea sick. There are chairs around the pool, and also chairs on the Serenity Deck which is for adults only.
I do wish the pool was bigger. You can't fit many people in there, and usually there are a lot of kids in the pool or in the hot tubs. There are a total of four hot tubs, one pool, and two water slides. A bigger pool or an addition of one would be great.
GYM - I like to use the gym so they had enough equipment that's pretty updated. If you want a good view you can always go to the gym, workout and look out at the ocean. The only thing is they open until 10 pm. On Norwegian they stayed open 24/7 which I like because sometimes you don't have free time until after 10.
FOOD - Carnival is an economy line. The buffet is a buffet. Don't expect magic from it, but it's good food. The buffet outside by the pool is always crowded because they are cooking up burgers. There is also a Mongolian side that I never tried. I liked the taste of the burgers and the chicken fingers. They were nice and crispy, not soggy.
I found the service inside the dining room to be slower than my first time on the Elation. However, they are still friendly and make you feel special. I liked the food in the dining room. They had lobster tail and shrimp one of the nights which is always a crowd pleaser. There is a didja ever so there were escargots on there, alligator fritters, sushi, and something else. I've always enjoyed the food on Carnival in the dining room. You can always ask for more or something different if you don't like it.
The pizza is open 24/7. I don't find the pizza to be that great. I do recommend the deli with the turkey sandwich on ciabatta bread. That was a tasty sandwich, they also have grilled cheese, turkey wraps and a few other things. It stayed open until 11 pm.
CRUISE DIRECTOR - Our cruise director was Jaime Deitsch, and she was great. She is full of energy and her second job should be a comedian. She's quick and witty and made it a good time even though we didn't leave on the day as planned.
I do wish the other staff had a little bit more energy. On the Elation the two people who led the activities made it interactive and were always full of energy. The people were friendly, but sometimes the games fell a little flat because there was nothing being said, such as the bean bag toss.
SMELL - I have read that some people complained of the smoke. In the casino you can smell it and as you walk through to the other areas it lingers. We may have been near some balconies, but I could smell smoke in my room at times.
DEBARKATION - We had to get out of our staterooms by 8:30. My mom and I grabbed breakfast first, then went back down to grab our carry on items. We hung out on the Lido Deck and the deck above that and took some photos until our zone was called. Once we were called we just had to show our passports and our customs form. Our bags were already out and ready for us so that was quick and painless. I was sad to leave the ship.
Overall I had a fantastic time on the Sensation. I love cruising, it's cost efficient and you don't worry about a thing.