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Carnival Sensation Cruise Review
3.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
1,024 Reviews

Owner's Suite Upgrade is a Ripoff - Don't Fall for It!

Carnival Sensation Cruise Review by gogirl2017

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Feb 2017
  • Destination: the Eastern Caribbean

We paid an extra $1,200 for a last minute upgrade to the owner's suite (it was a quick birthday weekend away). What an outrageously expensive mistake. It was a big room but horrible layout, dark, no privacy (we knew it overlooked the pool but the window blinds had to stay shut all day - people were just a foot or so from the windows. Useless wet bar that had no glassware, beverages or any amenities. Our Grand Suite was a much better deal & would have saved a lot of $. We knew about the partially obstructed view (lifeboats are in front of the tiny balcony) but we got ZERO VIP perks for this outrageous price. We got a 10am check-in only to wait almost 3 hours with herds of other people to check in. Totally disorganized - sent to the wrong door, etc. No photo as we boarded. There was supposed to be someone to meet us on board but we had to find our room ourselves. The only time we saw our room porter was when he barged into our room (with the privacy sign on the door) immediately after the 1st announcement for the safety drill (which was also a fiasco). One of our prepaid excursion tickets was missing but when we went to customer service the night before, we were told to look for a guy named Stephen on the dock the next day (there was no "Stephen"). We had to wait in a line of about 15 people whose excursions were unexpectedly cancelled. We would have missed ours if I hadn't interrupted the carnival rep's socializing to get our missing ticket.

The 2nd day we got 2 cups with Carnival ads on them - no explanation. Then the 3rd day we got a nasty looking plate with a bright red puddle of melted & hardened (chocolate?) with 2 sticks stuck in it & a couple of stale cookies. Bathroom smelled terrible. The drinks were SO watered down it was ridiculous. I am only an occasional drinker but had 2 large "rum" punches ($10 each) & was totally sober. The Gray Goose & Tonics we ordered at dinner tasted like flat water (like a drink that sat on a bar for a couple hours while the ice melted). I was not looking to get drunk but I knew the alcohol was diluted in all the drinks we had.

Food was average - typical cruise fare. Boat was dirty & very old. We were one of the first on the boat & when we sat on deck we saw a ton of cigarette butts and garbage that were just hosed into the deck gutters, left to clog the drains. Disgusting. Many deck chairs should have been retired - full of paint splatters or just completely faded and worn thin. The boat was incredibly unstable - even in totally calm water - either the boat had no stabilizers or they refused to use them (to save gas $). It was so rough the bathroom door constantly swung open and shut the entire cruise. Fortunately, we don't get seasick but I felt sorry for anyone who did - the movement was relentless. The staff on land at the checkin were not friendly at all nor were they helpful.

One bright spot - waitstaff in the main restaurant were very nice. The pool water was an eery shade of green - not sure if it's how they painted the interior or if the water was dirty - was not planning to find out). The only time we got priority was getting off the boat - considering our experience that was a blessing. We enjoyed our snorkel/catamaran excursion but only because it was run by Chukka Tours, not Carnival.

The 2 free drinks were available only at breakfast & lunch in the formal dining room - gee thanks for making it as inconvenient as possible to drink your diluted liquor. Room service was chronically late & missing essentials like spoons and bowls for cereal. We cruised with Carnival once before - had a small balcony room & felt like we were treated better than we were on this one. We expected a lot more - especially after the intense sales job & cost. Because of this experience we will NEVER cruise with Carnival again. We spend more than $40K per year on travel and I can assure you they will never see a dime of it.

Just to compare - when we cruised with Royal Caribbean in a Grand Suite, we were welcomed with a nice fruit basket & bottle of wine. The room was MUCH bigger than the Owners Suite on Carnival & much nicer. Every night we had a complimentary Happy Hour in a special lounge with other suite guests. They had three personal bartenders (good quality drinks & appetizers), a personal concierge who personally escorted us off the boat for excursions & made sure we knew about all benefits and activities. RC reserves deck chairs for suite guests - a nice perk. We felt like they appreciated our business & we received good value for our money.

gogirl2017's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Cabin Owner's Suite S2

Big room but dark & useless. Tiny balcony with obstructed view, windows were too close to pool deck so had to be closed at all times. Bathroom smelled bad. We paid a $1,200 extra for this upgrade & felt completely ripped off. No VIP service of any kind. They even had charges for water bottles. We DO NOT recommend paying any amount for this room. I'll be surprised if this boat is even in service in a year. The deck had potholes everywhere where the wood was rotted & it was dirty.

Royal Caribbean provides many perks to suite passengers including friendly staff, welcome baskets & wine, free happy hours, concierge service - SO much better than Carnival.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Catamaran tour

Except for Carnival losing one of our tickets, we had an amazing time on the Chukka cruise & snorkel. The staff was excellent, that had delicious rum punch for all & made it so fun. We've gone on Chukka tours before in Jamaica - also very well organized & operated. Highly recommend. If you can book yourself, probably better & less expensive than through Carnival - especially at this port.

View All 36 Catamaran tour Reviews

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