Your Ultimate Cruise Guide

Carnival Sensation Review

70% of cruisers loved it
709 reviews | Write a Review

Why Choose Carnival Sensation?

  • Offers year-round Bahamas cruise from Port Canaveral
  • Awesome aqua park boasts 300-foot-long water slide
  • Great for first-timers and families

Carnival Sensation Overview

By Marcia Levin, Cruise Critic Contributor
Editor Rating
3.5
Launched in 1993, Carnival Sensation is the third in the line's series of eight 70,367-ton, 2,052-passenger Fantasy-class ships. Sensation's sisters include Ecstasy, Fantasy, Fascination, Imagination, Inspiration, Elation and Paradise. While Sensation and company are getting up there in age, Carnival has pumped big bucks into keeping these now-classic ships relevant.

In January 2009, Sensation spent more than a month, an eternity in dry dock time, under the knife. Big-ticket additions included a 300-foot-long corkscrew waterslide, a children's aqua park, a tropical-themed mid-ship pool area, 98 balconies to cabins and an adults-only retreat space. The line also refreshed cabins, which gained flat-screen TV's, and updated numerous public spaces from the main dining room to the piano bar.

But even with the major refurbishment, the ship can feel dated. Case in points: While the addition of 98 balconies roughly tripled the number of cabins featuring verandahs (from 54 to 152), the ship still offers only a very small proportion of balcony accommodations (some 15 percent). Sensation also lacks a dedicated alternative dining room/supper club. Both are major factors on newer vessels.

Negatives aside, Sensation is still a fantastic value for first-time cruisers and families. The ship features the line's wildly popular Camp Carnival with programs for youngsters between the ages of 2 and 17; a nightly sushi cart that's a major draw; an exceedingly congenial and up-for-anything crew; and the aforementioned sun deck additions (waterslide and adults-only space). Couple those amenities with Sensation's three- and four-night Bahamas cruises from Port Canaveral, and you have a short-and-sweet cruise option perfect for those looking to make a quick getaway.

Carnival Sensation Fellow Passengers

Sensation is a hit with families. It's size, itinerary and activities make it a natural for a family cruises. It is quite common to see three -- or even four -- generations traveling together to celebrate great aunt Jane's 75th birthday or Jeffrey's 21st!

Carnival Sensation Dress Code

Sensation is as casual as it gets, but shorts and muscle shirts are still not acceptable dinner wear. One formal night is scheduled per cruise, and a nice shirt with a sport jacket works most often for male passengers, while women tend to dress a bit glitzier. Casual night dress might be a sports shirt and slacks for men, and pants or skirt and blouse for women. Swimsuits are not allowed in the dining room, but are perfectly acceptable -- with a cover-up -- for the Seaview Bar & Grill.

Carnival Sensation Gratuity

Carnival recommends $12.00 per person, per day. The guidelines allocate $6.10 to dining room services, $3.90 to cabin services and $2 per day for alternative services, which include kitchen, entertainment, guest services and other hotel staff members. The amount is automatically added to your shipboard account, but it can be adjusted in either direction at the guest services desk. A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to bar bills. Tipping a couple dollars for room service at delivery is expected (and appreciated) by the service staff.
Next: Carnival Sensation Cabins
Print this section

Carnival Sensation Member Reviews

My sister suggested I try Carnival because I prefer RCI so why not, we cruise every year just for a break. Very disappointing, service, food quality and lack of enthusiasm . The crew spent little if anytime ensuring you had the best time possible, ... Read more
Best parts: quick embarkation/debarkation. 5* 88 Keys show was very nice. 4* (one night out of four - I think the music was pre-recorded as there was no sign of the traditional Carnival band). Staff was nice. 4* Food: very limited ... Read more
I just returned home from my recent 3 night cruise on the Sensation to Nassau Bahamas. Keep in mind this was my first cruise, so I have nothing to compare to. With that said I couldn't have asked for a better first experience. I traveled with my mom ... Read more
1 - 3 of 709 Reviews
Show The Lowest Price

Carnival Sensation Ratings

Editor Rating 3.5 Member Rating
Category
Editor
Member
Dining
4.0
3.8
Public Rooms
3.0
4.0
Cabins
3.0
3.8
Entertainment
3.0
3.8
Spa & Fitness
3.0
3.8
Family & Children
3.0
3.3
Shore Excursions
3.0
3.7
Enrichment
3.0
3.3
Service
3.0
4.2
Value-for-Money
4.0
4.0

Sailing From

Miami Orlando (Port Canaveral)

Cruises To

Bahamas Eastern Caribbean Western Caribbean

Explore This Ship

Carnival Sensation Deck Plans Carnival Sensation Cabin Reviews
Ship Stats
Crew:
920
Launched:
1993
Decks:
10
Tonnage:
70,367
Passengers:
2,052
Registry:
Bahamas
CDC Score:
96
 
Have you taken a cruise before?
Thank you!
Close X
See Deals on Carnival Sensation up to 82% off

Thank You For Signing Up!

Please Note: To ensure delivery of your free e-letters, please add news@cruisecritic.com to your address book.
We're committed to protecting your privacy and will not rent or sell your e-mail address. By proceeding, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.