Carnival Sensation Review

Editor Rating:  3.5
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Editor Rating
3.5
Cruiser Rating
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

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. Note: On sailings departing September 1, 2016, or later, gratuities will increase to $12.95 per person, per day ($13.95 for those in suites).

Next:  Carnival Sensation Cabins

By Marcia Levin, Cruise Critic Contributor

766 Carnival Sensation Reviews from our Cruise Critic Community

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KingKai
Member Since 2016
1 review
0 forum posts
1 helpful vote
Ship- they allowed ppl to board ship at 12:30 pm...rooms not available until 1:30 pm, all machines were down and not operating, food was just getting ready and no organization what so ever. They, staff, appeared to be very unprepared for ... Read more
Terryterry54
Member Since 2016
1 review
0 forum posts
1 helpful vote
Sailed August 2016
I had the best time on the cruise ship. The cruise was really good. The shows were nice, the people were nice, the staff was great. Also I really liked the dj. My first cruise and I will remember this for a lifetime. My daughter went and ... Read more
Shawkes16
Member Since 2016
1 review
0 forum posts
9 helpful votes
Our first family cruise was roughly 10 years ago on the Fantasy. We had a great time on that trip. The kids were younger as was the ship. Fast forward 10 years with young adults, the ship is older, no upgrades, clean, but nothing new. The ... Read more

Carnival Sensation Editor Ratings

  • Category
    Member
    Editor
  • Dining
    3.8
    4.0
  • Public Rooms
    3.9
    3.0
  • Cabins
    3.8
    3.0
  • Entertainment
    3.8
    3.0
  • Spa & Fitness
    3.7
    3.0
  • Family & Children
    3.3
    3.0
  • Shore Excursions
    3.7
    3.0
  • Enrichment
    3.3
    3.0
  • Service
    4.2
    3.0
  • Value-for-Money
    3.9
    4.0
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1,573 Professional Carnival Sensation Photos

We spent almost a full week on board the Carnival Sensation with multiple photographers and took 1,573 pictures of the ship.  When you visit our new photo galleries you can be assured that what you see is what you get!

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