About myself- This is my 4th cruise (all have been with Carnival and have departed from New Orleans). I traveled alone and booked a 1A guarantee and was in R58 (Riviera deck forward, 4th level of ship) for the cruise.
Embarkation- I live in Baton Rouge, so the Julia Street terminal is only about 90 minutes away, when you take into account New Orleans traffic. I left Baton Rouge at 9:15 a.m. and arrived at the Annunciation Street parking lot about 10:45 a.m. $60 to park for the cruise, which includes a shuttle to the pier. When I arrived at the pier shortly after 11:00 a.m. there were just a few people outside and about 40 people in line to check in. Within 10 minutes I presented the passport and docs to the friendly agents and was instructed to go the infamous second set of yellow chairs. There I sat for about 25 minutes. About 11:45, I am instructed to get in the line to approach the metal detectors (with the first of several photo ops in between). I bypassed the first photo op with the Carnival camera man and made it through the metal detectors, up the escalators and walked onto the ship entering the Empress deck (6th level). Getting aboard the ship was quite fast and hassle free.
Ship- The Sensation is one of the Carnival "Fantasy" class ships, and this one was built in 1993. The Empress level has a beautiful atrium with neon lit elevators. Floors are designated by the first letter of the name of the deck (S for Sports, L for Lido) and the elevators do not have that voice notification you hear in more modern elevators. Not a complaint, just an observation that for me made me relies on my map of the ship for the first day. Upon getting on the ship, I went to my room and unloaded my carryon luggage and went to the Lido deck. The Seaview Bar and Grill had a great selection of food. There is a hamburger grill outside near the pool. The burgers are terrific! As with all Carnival cruises, pizza is available 24 hours a day and there is a deli. The pizzeria and deli are on the aft side and you can walk out to the balcony and enjoy a meal from the aft of the ship. The calzones were OK, but the burgers are better! After all that eating, get up to the gym and enjoy a nice walk on the treadmill and spend some time in hot tubs.