My best friend and I went on this cruise together, it was the first cruise for both of us. She is living in North Carolina, I am in Orlando, so she flew in the day before the cruise and we stayed at my house. We had planned to leave my house at about 10 am as the port is about a 45 minute drive from my house. We got on the road right on time, and got to the off-site parking facility about 10:45. It was very easy, there were lots of people parking there for all of the cruises that were leaving that day. We waited in line for the shuttle bus to take us to the ship, about 1/2 hr in total. got to the ship about 15 minutes after kgetting on the shuttle.
As they were getting people off the shuttle, the porters were loading luggage onto the luggage carriers, we watched as ours was loaded and made our way to the terminal. It was bitterly cold that morning, and we had to stand outside waiting to get in for about 45 minutes. By the time we got in the door I could barely feel my fingers. Once we got inside the building, it was so quick to get checked in and get onto the boat. The lady took our names, issued our sail and sign cards and sent us to embark! We made our way to the area where they take your photo for both the sail and sign card and to the photos for purchase as you embark. We did buy that photo because it was humorous to see ourselves in winter gear to get on a cruise!.
Once on board the Sensation, we were pleasantly surprised at the decor. We had heard that it was tacky, but it wasn't... kinda reminded me of a Vegas Hotel, just a bit flashy!. We made our way up to the Lido deck to gather ourselves a cocktail, we got the welcome aboard d-o-d! What a great way to start our cruise! About 1:30, they announced that rooms were ready and we made our way to Upper deck room U10. It was perfect for us, the value was great. We paid same price as if we had an interior room, but we had this great little alcove with the 2 portholes and a little seat to sit in to look out the portholes. Yes, it was right in the front of the ship, and we could hear the thrusters and anchor, but hey, we needed to get up in the morning anyway. It didn't bother us at all.
Being on the upper deck, we found it very convenient to everything, never had an issue getting anywhere, ship is clearly marked and there is a map near every set of elevators. We took the stairs often, as food was plentiful and we didn't want to leave the ship any bigger than when we walked on.
Anyway, the muster drill was interesting, apparently since the costa concordia, not only do you have the muster meeting, but now they send you up to where the lifeboats are to get that practice. Again it was frigid, and most people arrived for muster without even a jacket. brrrrrr. After Muster drill, the bon voyage party started up on the Lido deck and it was great! Us first timers had a blast. Once we got out into the ocean, you could really feel the boat rocking from side to side... winds were pretty bad, but we had taken some motion sickness medicine and other that feeling a little unsteady on our feet, we were fine.
We had chosen early dinner so, it was about time to head on down to the dining room, got in easily and were seated at our table.... then the maitre d comes over and asks us if we would mind moving to another table, he had a large party that wanted to sit together, no problem, we had literally just sat down, and it didn't matter to us. We were led to another table , and eventually 4 other ladies joined us. Next time we will pick anytime dining, because we were stuck with those 4 other ladies for the entire cruise and they were not our type of people at all. So rather than get stuck with people we really don't care for, we'll do the anytime dining and meet a variety of people.
The rest of the evening we saw the welcome aboard show, had a few drinks, and made our way to our room to retire for the night. When we arrived, our steward had turned down our beds and left some chocolates and our first towel animal. We grew to love these little extra touches and our steward really did a great job with them.
Our first port of call was Freeport, we took a carnival excursion to lucaya market place with a tour of the island. It was well worth the $33 or so that we each paid. Our tour guide was wonderful and comical.
Back on the ship, we enjoyed just exploring the ship and again , had dinner and off to a comedy show. Comedian was very funny, his show was just a bit too short for us. Seemed like once you sat down and got your cocktail, it was ending.
Second day, port of call was Nassau, made our way on our own via taxi to Atlantis and found our way on to the public beach (free) Once on the public beach, just walked down the beach to the Atlantis beach and nobody asked us for any proof of hotel stay, great beach, very peaceful. Decided to go back to the ship and have dinner, then go out to Senor Frogs after, it was a blast, and hit the sack.
Ahhhh, final day, a day at sea..... so relaxing just sitting by the pool. They really do need another pool on the ship, just so crowded and people spending all day searching for a chair to sit in... We were lucky, got chairs early, so we were set. Best day in my opinion. when we went back to our room, we had all of the debarkation information and luggage tags... got all of our stuff packed and left outside the room. We didn't know how all of that worked and if we had, would have brought a small bag to use for the stuff that stayed with us after the luggage was put outside.
On day of debarkation, it was kinda sad. I really didn't want to go home just yet, could have easily taken a longer cruise, but we both decided when booking that since neither of us had ever been on a cruise, we had better try a shorter one.
Made our way off the boat, it was a breeze, waited quite a while though for the shuttle bus back to our car, and made it back to orlando within 45 minutes of getting our car.
It was a great vacation, and I wish we had been on a ship that offered purchase of travel voucher for next cruise as I would have bought one in a heartbeat.