My daughter, two grandchildren and I spent our first time cruise on the Carnival Sensation Thanksgiving week. We spent the night before the cruise at the Hampton Inn and chose their park and sail option. Great hotel and getting to the ship was flawless.
Embarkation was great. We had no problems getting on the ship. We went straight to lunch on the Lido deck. Our cabin was ready quickly and several hours later our luggage arrived. The pool was very crowded and we soon discovered the water slides which were the highlight of the trip for my grandchildren, ages 9 and 5.
Our room steward was fantastic. Every time we returned to the room it had been cleaned, straightened with fresh linens. We were pleasantly surprised to find our stateroom was much larger than we expected. We were near the stairs and elevators which was convenient.
We chose the buffet on the Lido Deck for several meals, but found that we preferred the Fantasy Dining Room. The waiters on the right side of the dining room were much better than on the left side. They went out of their way to be helpful and entertaining and always called each one of us by our names. The food was very good too.
We did not book any excursions because with young children we did not feel we would get our money's worth. We did go ashore at both Freeport and Nassau. We were all disappointed in what we saw. We finally had to return to the ship just to find a bathroom.
Our kids participated in Camp Carnival. My 5 year old was disappointed and only went twice. We asked that he be allowed to go to the 6 year old room because the toys and games in his room were geared toward 2 and 3 year olds and he is into video games. They were very rigid and would not allow this. The 9 year old enjoyed her group. There were other parents with this same conflict.
We did attend some of the early shows. They are definitely not geared toward children and families. We left one early show because some of the performances were too racy for children. I think Carnival is "missing the boat" when it comes to family entertainment, and there were more than 800 children on this cruise.
Debarking was flawless. Overall we had a wonderful time. The staff was very polite and we enjoyed the cruise very much. Travel Lynx was waiting to take us back to our car. It was a great adventure and my grandson is already planning his next cruise.