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Unfortunately for my husband and me travel on Carnival’s Sensation was not a positive experience. We choose to take this trip as a short get-away from New England weather and to visit Jamaica and Grand Cayman Island. We had taken one Caribbean cruise in the past, but have traveled to Alaska on Holland America and a Viking river cruise. Some of the negative experiences were beyond anyone’s control. Our flight to Fort Lauderdale on Friday January 6th had to be rescheduled due to the shooting situation at Fort Lauderdale Airport. We were fortunate that the airport reopened on Saturday Jan 7th so we were able to fly out of Bradley at 7:00 a.m. Check-in lines at the dock in Miami were long, but everyone was grateful to have arrived despite the horrific circumstances. We had a room with a balcony at the back of U level. The room was small but doable for five days. The room steward, Mada, was very friendly and kind. Every night he created a different “towel creation”. I was disappointed because instead of nice toiletries, there were two dispensers for soap and shampoo. Carnival is too cheap to purchase small bottles of toiletries for their guests. Nice fluffy towels were not provided; instead the quality was something one would find at a Hotel 6. The ship is dated with its purple décor. Our room was cold and luckily I was able to find a warm comforter in the closet. When the ship was hitting the waves, the closet doors would constantly bang open and shut. We had to find a way to try to keep them closed so we would not be wakened during the night. The housekeeping staff was very friendly. The Customer Relations staff was not very friendly and one staff person, Kata, was rude. I had been using the ladies room on the floor above and it began to flood. I couldn’t find anyone to inform about the situation so I ran down to Customer Relations and told her; she basically ignored me. I also found that the Excursions staff was only interested in selling tours. They did not want to help you if you weren’t buying an excursion. The food was average. We dined in the main dining room for four out of five evenings. The nicest part of the meal was getting to know other passengers. There was nothing creative or inventive about the food presentation. Other than the chocolate lava cake, the desserts were equal to what could be purchased in a grocery store. Service was terrible. The waitperson learned our names, however, that was the extent of the personal service. There was no personal connection or conversation with our waitperson. The amount of time to receive appetizers and the main entrée was very long; he never came to the table to ask how the meal was or if we needed anything. At the end of the meal, we had to ask for coffee or tea. The Lido Restaurant offered casual dining options such as Mongolian Wok, Chef's Choice, Salad Bar, and the Carnival Deli. Again, the dining was average – options one would find in the food court at the mall. Seaday Brunch was good and the wait staff was excellent. Elena was one of the nicest waitperson we met on the ship and we truly enjoyed talking to her. Within one hour of sailing on Saturday, the Captain announced that Sensation would not be traveling to Jamaica, but Cozumel, Mexico, because of high seas. I was so disappointed because I had been to Cozumel another time and truly did not like it. That evening the ship began rocking and rolling and on Sunday, at least half of the ship’s passengers were sick and vomiting in the walkways. I have never been seasick on any boat, but was hit with seasickness that day. I spent much of the afternoon in bed and later in the day was able to sit in the sun on the Lido deck. The Lido deck was generally pretty crowded and the pool was a major disappointment because it was so small. I believe I saw three or four people in the pool during the entire trip. The three hot tubs were usually full. It was so windy and cloudy that it wasn’t possible to sit outside. Often the Sun deck was closed due to the wind. On Monday it was announced that the Sensation would not be traveling to the Grand Cayman Island, but to Freeport, Bahamas. Again, another change and decision made due to weather condition. The excursive in Cozumel made the visit interesting. We decided on a Beach Buggy & Snorkel, which included driving a buggy (4 people per car) to the eastern side of the island at Explora Beach for a Mexican buffet and some beach time. Of course, there were merchants selling their Mexican items. Then we traveled to Cozumel’s underwater national park to snorkel. Initially the ship was going to depart at 10:00 pm, but instead it departed at 5:00. One positive thing about the cruise was the Spa. I had signed up for a spa special, but when I arrived so my treatment on Sunday I became violently ill. The therapist, Thida, was kind and helpful to me. I rescheduled for another day with her. On Wednesday we arrived at Freeport. We had been advised by Jackson, one of the ship's "travel consultants," the best thing to do on the island since time was limited was to take a taxi to LaCaya. The area where the ship docked is in a commercial area with freight and container ships. It was not pretty. Once off the boat, there was staging area for the pick-up/drop-off of passengers, a retail complex and a craft market featuring local straw work and other crafts. We took a taxi to Port Lucaya area, $10 round trip. Hurricane Matthew had ravaged the island. There was a small shopping/restaurant area, but many of the shops were closed. We walked to a public beach where the Memories Grand Bahama Resort was located (which is closed). We sat on the beach, but were harassed by a hotel security guard who said we could not sit on the “hotel’s sand”. We walked along the beach, which was beautiful and viewed the hurricane damage. After a few hours, we took the taxi back to the ship. Why the decision was made to visit a place where there was nothing to do and where there was major hurricane damage is beyond me. At that point, I couldn’t wait to get back to Miami and get off the Sensation. We scheduled an excursion for 9:00 a.m. on the morning of departure since our flight had been rescheduled to 9:00 p.m. It was closer to 10:00 a.m. before we disembarked and the tour director’s directors were confusing. We weren’t even sure where we were supposed to go after leaving the ship. The trip to the Everglades helped save the bad experience of the previous day. We traveled to the Everglades by bus to take an airboat ride. The boat glided across the water through the wetlands where we viewed alligators and tropical birds. After the airboat ride, there was a short Alligator Wildlife Show. Overall, my rating of this cruise is a "2". I would not suggest traveling on Carnival and personally, I will not cruise to the Caribbean again.

Your dreams, from sea to shore... but not on Carnival's Sensation.

Carnival Sensation Cruise Review by Cindycc

8 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Unfortunately for my husband and me travel on Carnival’s Sensation was not a positive experience. We choose to take this trip as a short get-away from New England weather and to visit Jamaica and Grand Cayman Island. We had taken one Caribbean cruise in the past, but have traveled to Alaska on Holland America and a Viking river cruise.

Some of the negative experiences were beyond anyone’s control. Our flight to Fort Lauderdale on Friday January 6th had to be rescheduled due to the shooting situation at Fort Lauderdale Airport. We were fortunate that the airport reopened on Saturday Jan 7th so we were able to fly out of Bradley at 7:00 a.m.

Check-in lines at the dock in Miami were long, but everyone was grateful to have arrived despite the horrific circumstances.

We had a room with a balcony at the back of U level. The room was small but doable for five days. The room steward, Mada, was very friendly and kind. Every night he created a different “towel creation”. I was disappointed because instead of nice toiletries, there were two dispensers for soap and shampoo. Carnival is too cheap to purchase small bottles of toiletries for their guests. Nice fluffy towels were not provided; instead the quality was something one would find at a Hotel 6.

The ship is dated with its purple décor. Our room was cold and luckily I was able to find a warm comforter in the closet. When the ship was hitting the waves, the closet doors would constantly bang open and shut. We had to find a way to try to keep them closed so we would not be wakened during the night.

The housekeeping staff was very friendly. The Customer Relations staff was not very friendly and one staff person, Kata, was rude. I had been using the ladies room on the floor above and it began to flood. I couldn’t find anyone to inform about the situation so I ran down to Customer Relations and told her; she basically ignored me. I also found that the Excursions staff was only interested in selling tours. They did not want to help you if you weren’t buying an excursion.

The food was average. We dined in the main dining room for four out of five evenings. The nicest part of the meal was getting to know other passengers. There was nothing creative or inventive about the food presentation. Other than the chocolate lava cake, the desserts were equal to what could be purchased in a grocery store. Service was terrible. The waitperson learned our names, however, that was the extent of the personal service. There was no personal connection or conversation with our waitperson. The amount of time to receive appetizers and the main entrée was very long; he never came to the table to ask how the meal was or if we needed anything. At the end of the meal, we had to ask for coffee or tea.

The Lido Restaurant offered casual dining options such as Mongolian Wok, Chef's Choice, Salad Bar, and the Carnival Deli. Again, the dining was average – options one would find in the food court at the mall. Seaday Brunch was good and the wait staff was excellent. Elena was one of the nicest waitperson we met on the ship and we truly enjoyed talking to her.

Within one hour of sailing on Saturday, the Captain announced that Sensation would not be traveling to Jamaica, but Cozumel, Mexico, because of high seas. I was so disappointed because I had been to Cozumel another time and truly did not like it. That evening the ship began rocking and rolling and on Sunday, at least half of the ship’s passengers were sick and vomiting in the walkways. I have never been seasick on any boat, but was hit with seasickness that day. I spent much of the afternoon in bed and later in the day was able to sit in the sun on the Lido deck.

The Lido deck was generally pretty crowded and the pool was a major disappointment because it was so small. I believe I saw three or four people in the pool during the entire trip. The three hot tubs were usually full. It was so windy and cloudy that it wasn’t possible to sit outside. Often the Sun deck was closed due to the wind.

On Monday it was announced that the Sensation would not be traveling to the Grand Cayman Island, but to Freeport, Bahamas. Again, another change and decision made due to weather condition.

The excursive in Cozumel made the visit interesting. We decided on a Beach Buggy & Snorkel, which included driving a buggy (4 people per car) to the eastern side of the island at Explora Beach for a Mexican buffet and some beach time. Of course, there were merchants selling their Mexican items. Then we traveled to Cozumel’s underwater national park to snorkel. Initially the ship was going to depart at 10:00 pm, but instead it departed at 5:00.

One positive thing about the cruise was the Spa. I had signed up for a spa special, but when I arrived so my treatment on Sunday I became violently ill. The therapist, Thida, was kind and helpful to me. I rescheduled for another day with her.

On Wednesday we arrived at Freeport. We had been advised by Jackson, one of the ship's "travel consultants," the best thing to do on the island since time was limited was to take a taxi to LaCaya. The area where the ship docked is in a commercial area with freight and container ships. It was not pretty. Once off the boat, there was staging area for the pick-up/drop-off of passengers, a retail complex and a craft market featuring local straw work and other crafts.

We took a taxi to Port Lucaya area, $10 round trip. Hurricane Matthew had ravaged the island. There was a small shopping/restaurant area, but many of the shops were closed. We walked to a public beach where the Memories Grand Bahama Resort was located (which is closed). We sat on the beach, but were harassed by a hotel security guard who said we could not sit on the “hotel’s sand”. We walked along the beach, which was beautiful and viewed the hurricane damage. After a few hours, we took the taxi back to the ship. Why the decision was made to visit a place where there was nothing to do and where there was major hurricane damage is beyond me. At that point, I couldn’t wait to get back to Miami and get off the Sensation.

We scheduled an excursion for 9:00 a.m. on the morning of departure since our flight had been rescheduled to 9:00 p.m. It was closer to 10:00 a.m. before we disembarked and the tour director’s directors were confusing. We weren’t even sure where we were supposed to go after leaving the ship. The trip to the Everglades helped save the bad experience of the previous day. We traveled to the Everglades by bus to take an airboat ride. The boat glided across the water through the wetlands where we viewed alligators and tropical birds. After the airboat ride, there was a short Alligator Wildlife Show.

Overall, my rating of this cruise is a "2". I would not suggest traveling on Carnival and personally, I will not cruise to the Caribbean again.
Cindycc’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin U228
We had a room with a balcony at the back of U level. The room was small but doable for five days. The room steward, Mada, was very friendly and kind. I was disappointed because instead of nice toiletries, there were two dispensers for soap and shampoo. Carnival is too cheap to purchase small bottles of toiletries for their guests.
  Carnival Sensation Deck Plans

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Dune Buggy
    Beach Buggy & Snorkel included driving a buggy on the road (4 people per car) to the eastern side of the island at Explora Beach for a Mexican Buffet and some beach time. Of course, there were merchants selling their Mexican items. Then we traveled to Cozumel’s underwater national park to snorkel. I
    View All 97 Dune Buggy Reviews
  • Freeport
    The area where the ship docked is in a commercial area with freight ships, and container ships. It was not pretty. Once off the boat, there was staging area for the pick-up/drop-off of passengers, a retail complex and a craft market featuring local straw work and other crafts.
    We took a taxi to Port Lucaya area, $10 round trip. Hurricane Matthew had ravaged the island. There was a small shopping/restaurant area, but many of the shops were closed. We walked to a public beach where the Memories Grand Bahama Resort was located (which is closed). We sat on the beach, but were harassed by a hotel security guard who said we could not sit on the “hotel’s sand”. We walked along the beach, which was beautiful and viewed the hurricane damage. After a few hours, we took the taxi back to the ship
    View All 1,356 Freeport Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Freeport Cruise Port Review