Very First Cruise; 25th Anniversary/Family Vacation: Carnival Sensation Cruise Review by gah1987pdh
Overall Member Rating
Very First Cruise; 25th Anniversary/Family Vacation
Embarkation: Port Canaveral (Orlando)
We arrived and the very friendly luggage porters took charge of our luggage assuring us that it would be delivered to our rooms within 2 hours and it was.
We are both in the emergency services field and we appreciated the muster station briefing, though we might have preferred a little less time on the hot deck viewing what we clearly knew to be a life boat - time perhaps better spent viewing a film presentation about the features of the life boat and how an actual evacuation looks.
We were greeted at our More cabin by our wonderful cabin steward Leonardo who asked for our names and never ever forgot them the whole time we were with him. Incidentally, I was so impressed by everyone working on the ship. They all seem to have total name recall- it made us feel very special(I know this is an exaggeration, but it is still a nice touch).
We had two aft cabins with balconies our three kids stayed together in one and my husband and I stayed in the other. They were both roomy and well appointed and ours was kept spotless by Leonardo and the housekeeping staff. Did I mention the adorable towel animal I found wearing my sunglasses when we came back from lunch? Our bed was turned down each night and we had clean towels and Leonardo even rounded up a hair dryer for me. The only time we ever heard our neighbors was when we were on the balcony and even then it wasn't overly loud.
We heard that the food on cruise boats was great and plentiful and Carnival Sensation didn't disappoint. From the buffet style dining in the Seaview dining room to the formal dinners in open seating of the Fantasy Dining room we found the food to be attractive, flavorful and available in whatever quantity we wanted(we weren't able to try the Mongolian Grill, but it must have been good because the line was always long). For dinners, I had beef brisket, lobster tail, jerked pork and chicken and they were all well prepared. We had continental breakfast delivered to our cabin each morning and it was always on time or early according to our request. One thing we didn't count on was the very expensive soda pop. We took advantage of the unlimited soda deal for our kids the first day out and at $1.95 a can, I am sure we got our money's worth. Adult beverages were quite expensive as well, but one expects to pay for that privilege. We purchased a 3 bottle wine package at a reasonable price and had our selection of a nice wine list for our dinner wine each evening. And the 24 hour ice cream was a big hit with the kids - no surprise there. The waitstaff in the dining room were amazing. They even entertained us nightly. It made for a very festive time.
We took an organized excursion at our first port and our driver regaled us with the history and geography of the Grand Bahama Island and Freeport. The excursion and market visit were really nothing to shout about and it was kind of pricey, but it was an enjoyable and comfortable way to spend the day. In Nassau we hired a cab to take the whole family to the beach which was as we expected quite crowded both with tourists like us (4 ships in port that day)and natives capitalizing on the opportunity we presented. We splurged on para sailing for me and the kids - my husband declined as heights are not his thing. It is an experience I would not trade for anything. We went in pairs and I will always remember the smiles on my kids faces and sharing that ride with my oldest son. But I digress - this was not a part of the cruise, but simply an additional opportunity available because we took the cruise - still we enjoyed it. Incidentally our cab to the beach was totally stuffed with people, but cost only $4 each. The return ride was just the 5 of us and cost the same $4 each - no haggling and a very pleasant driver each way. How ever you choose to do so, I highly recommend you go ashore and explore.
There were plenty of activities and entertainment on board and we could participate or opt out as much as we wanted - which is what we wanted after 5 days of enjoyable but hectic activity in Orlando. There were plenty of activities for the younger members of our family even though our sons seemed less than enthused about joining in. Our 20 year old was disappointed that there were not more organized activities for his age group and the 15 year old was not interested in most of the activities his group was doing - so they got some brother bonding time. Our youngest took full advantage of the activities provided for her age group and made several new friends in the process - and if you have read the reviews of others on this cruise, she is one of those night owls who prowl the ship and eat ice cream after hours. Her father and I were certainly not among those drunken and disconnected folks supposedly gambling in the casino and neglecting their parental duties. We were confident that our smart, respectful child was enjoying herself appropriately without hurting or disturbing anyone while she and her new friends procured late night snacks with our approval.
Disembarking was relatively uneventful and we were met at the curb by our shuttle driver with a sign - no waiting! We already want to go back. It was such an enjoyable experience. Less
Our 2 aft balcony cabins were both wonderful. Clean, cool and restful - just what we needed!