Carnival Sensation Review

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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 $12.95 per person, per day, for gratuities ($13.95 per person, per day, for those in suites). The guidelines allocate a portion to dining room services, cabin services and alternative services, which include kitchen, entertainment, guest services and other hotel services. 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 and spa treatments. Tipping a couple dollars for room service at delivery is appreciated by the service staff.

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Carnival Sensation Member Reviews

This was an affordable Thanksgiving cruise for my family of 5 and group of 85. This was probably our 8th cruise. Carnival has always been my least favorite cruise line, but it has its pros, most importantly it's affordable and it is fun. We ... Read more
11/16
This is our first Carnival cruise and we enjoyed it very much. I am very impressed with the entertainment team and vibe they generate for the whole trip. We had dinner at the main dining room every night and the food was as expected. It ... Read more
Not a bad trip underwolf1
11/16
If you have been on a Royal Caribbean cruise before, then this may not be the cruise for you. I found myself comparing everything, and the Carnival Sensation lost at everything. The ship was clean, but not modern. There is only one small pool and 4 ... Read more
1 - 3 of 791 Reviews
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Carnival Sensation Ratings

Editor Rating 3.5 Member Rating
Category
Editor
Member
Dining
4.0
3.7
Public Rooms
3.0
3.9
Cabins
3.0
3.8
Entertainment
3.0
3.7
Spa & Fitness
3.0
3.7
Family & Children
3.0
3.3
Shore Excursions
3.0
3.7
Enrichment
3.0
3.3
Service
3.0
4.1
Value-for-Money
4.0
3.9

Explore This Ship

Carnival Sensation Photos 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:
94
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