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Our family of 5 left Port Canaveral for a 4 night cruise on July 6, 2014, going to Freeport and Nassau Bahamas. We previously sailed on the Sensation's sister ship, the Carnival Elation so we kind of knew what to expect. We live 9 hours from the port so we drove down the day before and stayed at the 4 Points Sheraton in Cocoa Beach. This place was amazing! We were able to leave our car parked at the hotel during the cruise. For $40, the hotel took our family of 5 to the cruise terminal, allowed us to park our car in their covered deck and picked us up from the terminal at the end of the cruise and brought us back to our car. I would definitely recommend this. We boarded the ship around 12:30 pm. The boarding was easy and we were on the ship within 20 minutes. Our cabin was ready upon boarding. The day we arrived was also my birthday so my husband had made prior arrangements for our cabin to be decorated and a cake was in our cabin waiting on me. This was really nice. We were able to put our carry on luggage in our cabin and hit the buffet up. Let me say that this was the first 4 day cruise we have taken. Our previous cruises have been 7 days. There is definitely a difference in the way Carnival treats their guests on a 4 day cruise versus a 7 day cruise. I found this very disheartening. It shouldn't matter if you take a 3 day cruise or a 10 day cruise, you deserve the same exceptional treatment. On our previous cruises, we were treated like Royalty and it was nice. This one, not so much. I will say that our room steward was absolutely amazing!!!! Our children are ages 20, 17 and 10. Our 17 year old had an amazing time at Club O2. Our 10 year old tried several times to go to Camp Carnival but every time we took him, we were told they were closed. We took him at times ranging from 10am, 2pm and 9pm. We were very discouraged at this. We ate dinner in the main dining room the first two nights but skipped the last two. We chose the 8:15 late dining. We arrived at the dining room by 8 each night. For some reason our wait staff was extremely slow. Carnival sets their show times up each evening to accommodate early and late dining, with the late dining show to start at 10pm. This should give the 8:15 diners time to eat and get to the show lounge in time. Both nights it was 10:20 or later before we were finished with dinner. Even on the 2nd night we asked them to try to get us out before 10 so we could go to the show. It was almost 10:30. We literally were some of the last people left in the dining room. We were seated with another family of 5. They too skipped the last 2 nights because we wanted to go to the late shows. If you have ever cruised before, you know that pictures is a major thing. There are photographers taking pictures of you when you first get on the ship, every evening, every time you leave the ship for your ports and at other times throughout the cruise. We spent over $200 purchasing pictures that were taken on the cruise. I had gone to my cabin to get my purchased pictures to bring back to show them to the family we had been eating formal dinner with. I had to go through the picture area to get to the part of the ship where our friends were waiting. As I went through, the sensors went off. If you haven't cruised before, they have sensors at every exit to make sure no one walks out with pictures and not pay for them. As I said, the sensor went off. I was stopped and treated like a criminal. When I showed the Carnival employee my pictures and my receipt, I was walked to the sensor to see if it went off again, which it did. I was then taken to the side and my bag was searched. I was humiliated. I assured them I had paid for every picture I had. I had to give them my sail and sign card to which they proceeded to look at each picture and match the bar codes up to the pictures purchased on my account. Again, this was extremely embarrassing and unnecessary. When you cruise with Carnival, there are 2 Carnival beach towels in your cabin. You are encouraged to use these towels but also warned if you remove them from your room, make sure you keep up with them or you will be charged I believe it was $22 a towel. My husband and I had our two towels at the pool and were enjoying the water. We had our towels on our lounge chair along with our other belongings. While we weren't looking, someone picked up one of towels. When we got out of the water and noticed it, we went to guest services to explain what happened. We were told that we could open a claim and it would be reviewed but it was unlikely that anything would be done about it, we would be responsible for the towel. I asked our room steward how if there was anything else we could do. They are nice towels and I don't doubt they were worth the money but if I had to pay for one, I would at least like to be able to take it home with me. That night when we came back to our cabin, there lay 2 clean dry beach towels on our bed. Like I said, we had an amazing room steward. Let me suggest that if you are able to, please consider leaving an additional gratuity for your room stewards. Every time we left our room, we came back to it neat and clean. We were greeted every morning by our first names. He was just incredible. We had two ports of call on this particular cruise. The first was Freeport Bahamas. Let me just say that this should not even be a port of call for a cruise. Freeport is nothing but a shipping yard with a Senior Frogs and a few shops that were terribly expensive. There was an option to take a taxi to a nearby beach. The rate for this was $7 per person each way. For a family of 5, it was $70 to go to the beach. I just feel like Carnival could provide transportation to a nearby beach if they don't dock you within walking distance to one. The beach was nice but it was extremely crowded and there were vendors everywhere trying to get you to purchase junk from them. We ended up leaving and going back to the ship because we were being bothered so much. The second port of call was Nassau. This was a nicer port but still not up to my expectations. We took a taxi to Atlantis. Once there, we wanted to walk around the resort and see if it was something we would want to come back to in the future. Unless you paid the $200 per person, they would not even let you see the water slides, pools or any of the water activities. That was really disappointing. We walked to a beach next door to Atlantis which was a public beach. It was nasty. There was broken glass, straws and trash everywhere. There were vendors renting lounge chairs for $15 a chair. This beach was also full of vendors selling rides on the banana boat, jet skis, water, soft drinks, alcohol, starfish, turtle shells, conch shells, hair braids and beach towels. Each one of these items was a separate vendor. I kid you not, it was a constant the entire 3 hours we were there. It was very disappointing. On our final day of the cruise, it rained all day. Of course, Carnival has no control over that. However, it would have been nice if the cruise director had a back up plan with extra activities on rainy days. On previous cruises, our cruise ship director was all over the place doing fun stuff with the passengers. The only place Wee Willy was to be found was on his stool in the main show lounge. Our final morning on the ship, I waited in line for about 40 minutes (my fault for waiting so late) at guest services to collect the remaining cash deposit we had left on our sail and sign card. Even though I booked the cruise for our family and my name was on the credit card that the cruise was booked with, Carlos would not give me the refund. I was told I could collect 50% of it but to get the full amount, my husband would have to sign for it since his name was first on the account. We are in our mid 40's and have been married almost 25 years. Our credit card used to book this cruise was a joint account. I know that each of these incidents in of themselves is really not a big deal, but when you combine them, it made for an unpleasant experience. We love Carnival and have already booked our 25th anniversary cruise for December, but we won't ever sail on the Carnival Sensation again. They are doing a terrible injustice to Carnivals reputation of excellence.

Carnival Sensation was not sensational

Carnival Sensation Cruise Review by richeyfamilycruise

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2014
  • Destination: Bahamas
Our family of 5 left Port Canaveral for a 4 night cruise on July 6, 2014, going to Freeport and Nassau Bahamas. We previously sailed on the Sensation's sister ship, the Carnival Elation so we kind of knew what to expect. We live 9 hours from the port so we drove down the day before and stayed at the 4 Points Sheraton in Cocoa Beach. This place was amazing! We were able to leave our car parked at the hotel during the cruise. For $40, the hotel took our family of 5 to the cruise terminal, allowed us to park our car in their covered deck and picked us up from the terminal at the end of the cruise and brought us back to our car. I would definitely recommend this.
We boarded the ship around 12:30 pm. The boarding was easy and we were on the ship within 20 minutes. Our cabin was ready upon boarding. The day we arrived was also my birthday so my husband had made prior arrangements for our cabin to be decorated and a cake was in our cabin waiting on me. This was really nice. We were able to put our carry on luggage in our cabin and hit the buffet up. Let me say that this was the first 4 day cruise we have taken. Our previous cruises have been 7 days. There is definitely a difference in the way Carnival treats their guests on a 4 day cruise versus a 7 day cruise. I found this very disheartening. It shouldn't matter if you take a 3 day cruise or a 10 day cruise, you deserve the same exceptional treatment. On our previous cruises, we were treated like Royalty and it was nice. This one, not so much. I will say that our room steward was absolutely amazing!!!!
Our children are ages 20, 17 and 10. Our 17 year old had an amazing time at Club O2. Our 10 year old tried several times to go to Camp Carnival but every time we took him, we were told they were closed. We took him at times ranging from 10am, 2pm and 9pm. We were very discouraged at this.
We ate dinner in the main dining room the first two nights but skipped the last two. We chose the 8:15 late dining. We arrived at the dining room by 8 each night. For some reason our wait staff was extremely slow. Carnival sets their show times up each evening to accommodate early and late dining, with the late dining show to start at 10pm. This should give the 8:15 diners time to eat and get to the show lounge in time. Both nights it was 10:20 or later before we were finished with dinner. Even on the 2nd night we asked them to try to get us out before 10 so we could go to the show. It was almost 10:30. We literally were some of the last people left in the dining room. We were seated with another family of 5. They too skipped the last 2 nights because we wanted to go to the late shows.
If you have ever cruised before, you know that pictures is a major thing. There are photographers taking pictures of you when you first get on the ship, every evening, every time you leave the ship for your ports and at other times throughout the cruise. We spent over $200 purchasing pictures that were taken on the cruise. I had gone to my cabin to get my purchased pictures to bring back to show them to the family we had been eating formal dinner with. I had to go through the picture area to get to the part of the ship where our friends were waiting. As I went through, the sensors went off. If you haven't cruised before, they have sensors at every exit to make sure no one walks out with pictures and not pay for them. As I said, the sensor went off. I was stopped and treated like a criminal. When I showed the Carnival employee my pictures and my receipt, I was walked to the sensor to see if it went off again, which it did. I was then taken to the side and my bag was searched. I was humiliated. I assured them I had paid for every picture I had. I had to give them my sail and sign card to which they proceeded to look at each picture and match the bar codes up to the pictures purchased on my account. Again, this was extremely embarrassing and unnecessary.
When you cruise with Carnival, there are 2 Carnival beach towels in your cabin. You are encouraged to use these towels but also warned if you remove them from your room, make sure you keep up with them or you will be charged I believe it was $22 a towel. My husband and I had our two towels at the pool and were enjoying the water. We had our towels on our lounge chair along with our other belongings. While we weren't looking, someone picked up one of towels. When we got out of the water and noticed it, we went to guest services to explain what happened. We were told that we could open a claim and it would be reviewed but it was unlikely that anything would be done about it, we would be responsible for the towel. I asked our room steward how if there was anything else we could do. They are nice towels and I don't doubt they were worth the money but if I had to pay for one, I would at least like to be able to take it home with me. That night when we came back to our cabin, there lay 2 clean dry beach towels on our bed. Like I said, we had an amazing room steward. Let me suggest that if you are able to, please consider leaving an additional gratuity for your room stewards. Every time we left our room, we came back to it neat and clean. We were greeted every morning by our first names. He was just incredible.
We had two ports of call on this particular cruise. The first was Freeport Bahamas. Let me just say that this should not even be a port of call for a cruise. Freeport is nothing but a shipping yard with a Senior Frogs and a few shops that were terribly expensive. There was an option to take a taxi to a nearby beach. The rate for this was $7 per person each way. For a family of 5, it was $70 to go to the beach. I just feel like Carnival could provide transportation to a nearby beach if they don't dock you within walking distance to one. The beach was nice but it was extremely crowded and there were vendors everywhere trying to get you to purchase junk from them. We ended up leaving and going back to the ship because we were being bothered so much. The second port of call was Nassau. This was a nicer port but still not up to my expectations. We took a taxi to Atlantis. Once there, we wanted to walk around the resort and see if it was something we would want to come back to in the future. Unless you paid the $200 per person, they would not even let you see the water slides, pools or any of the water activities. That was really disappointing. We walked to a beach next door to Atlantis which was a public beach. It was nasty. There was broken glass, straws and trash everywhere. There were vendors renting lounge chairs for $15 a chair. This beach was also full of vendors selling rides on the banana boat, jet skis, water, soft drinks, alcohol, starfish, turtle shells, conch shells, hair braids and beach towels. Each one of these items was a separate vendor. I kid you not, it was a constant the entire 3 hours we were there. It was very disappointing.
On our final day of the cruise, it rained all day. Of course, Carnival has no control over that. However, it would have been nice if the cruise director had a back up plan with extra activities on rainy days. On previous cruises, our cruise ship director was all over the place doing fun stuff with the passengers. The only place Wee Willy was to be found was on his stool in the main show lounge. Our final morning on the ship, I waited in line for about 40 minutes (my fault for waiting so late) at guest services to collect the remaining cash deposit we had left on our sail and sign card. Even though I booked the cruise for our family and my name was on the credit card that the cruise was booked with, Carlos would not give me the refund. I was told I could collect 50% of it but to get the full amount, my husband would have to sign for it since his name was first on the account. We are in our mid 40's and have been married almost 25 years. Our credit card used to book this cruise was a joint account. I know that each of these incidents in of themselves is really not a big deal, but when you combine them, it made for an unpleasant experience. We love Carnival and have already booked our 25th anniversary cruise for December, but we won't ever sail on the Carnival Sensation again. They are doing a terrible injustice to Carnivals reputation of excellence.
richeyfamilycruise’s Full Rating Summary
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Freeport
    This is a shipping port. There is nothing there but a Senior Frogs and a few overpriced shops. To get access to a beach, you are required to take a taxi that is ridiculously overpriced. This should not be a port of call on any cruise. We were highly disappointed.
    View All 1,352 Freeport Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Freeport Cruise Port Review
  • Nassau
    To get out of this port, you must walk through a market place. If you enjoy shopping, which I do, it is a really neat place to find local culture items. There are taxi cabs readily available to take you to Atlantis or anywhere else you want to go. We took a taxi to the Atlantis and went to the public beach. We won't do that again but that is our own fault, not Carnivals. The public beach was very crowded and full of vendors pushing everything from turtle shells to hair braids. Next time we will pay extra and do an approved excursion. The water is beautiful but if you are going for the beach, don't go to the public beach by Atlantis. We really wanted to see the water slides and amenities that Atlantis had to offer so we could determine if it was worth coming back to the resort for a week. The way Atlantis is set up, you are not allowed to even look at the slides or any of the water park portions of the resort. Again, we would have loved to seen it to determine if we wanted to take a future vacation to Atlantis. Several people we met on the ship actually paid for the Atlantis excursion and all said that it was not worth the money. Each person said that it is almost $200 per person and you do not get enough time there to justify that amount of money. There were 3 ships at port on the day we were there and that made Atlantis extremely busy which made the lines really long. We will definitely come back to Nassau, we will just do things a bit differently. Such as pay extra to do an approved beach excursion.
    View All 5,971 Nassau Cruise Port Reviews
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