The reason for the change? A propulsion problem on Sensation is limiting its maximum cruising speed, and the ship cannot sail fast enough to operate its regularly scheduled four- and five-day Bahamas/Grand Turk itineraries. Sensation can, however, handle Fantasy's three- and four-day Bahamas cruises, and the line says in a statement that all onboard services are up and running as normal.
A Carnival spokeswoman tells us that Sensation's technical issue will get fixed, but not until the ship's next scheduled dry-dock -- and since the ship just came out of a dry-dock, the next one will be down the road quite a ways. Therefore, a permanent change makes the most sense logistically for the cruise line.
Passengers will hardly notice the change -- Fantasy and Sensation are sister ships, with nearly identical amenities, accommodations and layout. Booked guests' reservations will be switched automatically from one ship to the other; stateroom assignments will remain the same. Guests who have already received cruise documents will be able to board with them, as new ones will not be issued.
Sensation's new year-round program consists of three-day voyages departing Thursdays to Nassau and four-day voyages departing Sundays to Nassau and Freeport. Fantasy will sail four-day cruises to Nassau and either Freeport or Half Moon Cay, and five-day voyages that call at Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay and Nassau. In October, it will reposition to New Orleans to resume the four- and five-day Western Caribbean program operated prior to Hurricane Katrina.