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I really like this size ship, and have been on the Fantasy and Ecstacy before and enjoyed them. However I think I had higher expectations for the recent refurbishment. They obviously only did a few public areas of the ship. I would have liked to seen new carpet in all rooms, hallways and stairways. More electrical outlets in cabins as there are only 2 now. Adding a small refrig in cabins would be nice. Many places on the ship show its age, and need cleaning and painting...which coming out of a refurbish dry dock I would have expected all that done. The putt putt golf area is plain and lacking any outdoor benches or decorative planters typical at a putt putt coarse. The Serenity Deck was plain and boring. Just an adult only deck with lounge chairs and 2 small hot tubs. It needs to "something" to bring it to life. The after dinner shows sorely lacked in quality! I expected well done musical productions w/ dancing etc each night, or at least most nights. We had that one night only. Other nights were Dating Games w/ newlyweds, or The Hasbro Game Show, etc. While these were ok, I would expect them as an alternative or addition to the main evening show.... NOT the main entertainment for the evening. Very disappointing. The dining room food overall was good, but the desert menu lacked in selection and quality (other than Carnival's Melting Choc cake, which is to die for!!!) BUT, despite these complaints there were some good points also: Guys Burger Joint was great.....fast, walk up and get a hot tasty burger w/ fries. The staff on board were GREAT!!! We fell in love with our waiter Peter. Lots of fun times. Trivia contests, roaming magicians, always seemed to be something going on. Everyone in our group of 10 had a great time. We made use of The Oak Room for gatherings to play games on our own. Making cases of bottled drinking water available in your cabin was nice! (and for $4 a case....that's cheap!) The onboard Carnival APP for your phone was pretty cool, but the ship's WiFi tends to be slow and weak in some areas. Often times cuts out completely. We flew the weekend before the cruise into Ft Lauderdale and stayed in Miami. Here's my reviews on some of that: Spirit Airlines: 3 out of 5 stars The King of "nickel & dime you to death" airlines. Despite all the complaints out there, I have flown them 3 times now and never had one problem or complaint other than the seats are way too close together. YES, you do need to get in the right frame of mind to deal with their never ending attempts to squeeze every last penny out of you, but in the end it's an airplane ride plain and simple. Habitat Residence Condo Hotel: 4 out of 5 stars Very nice place. The only reason for not giving 5 stars is location not being near tourist attractions, entertainment, or the beach. Short walk via M-Path (a multi use metro trail for joggers, cyclists, etc ) to the Metro people mover, and trains makes getting anywhere in Miami cheap & easy. It is in a nice neighborhood, and 2 blocks walk to 24hr Walgreens and Publix grocery stores is convenient. The condos are nice, modern, and clean. Housekeeping daily. Front desk personnel friendly and helpful. Rooftop pool and sundeck is nice & private. Small fitness center in tower 1 available to all. Their Cafe is small and limited, but convenient. Check in /out and all deposits, reservations all handled smoothly. No problems. Florida Sunshine Shuttle: 5 out of 5 stars Low rates, great service. Driver would call ahead of time, and again on arrival. Always showed up 15 minutes early. Clean new vans. Driver was very polite. Used for getting from Habitat Condos to ship, and then from ship to FLL airport. Millionaire's Row Cruise via Island Queen Cruises in Miami: 5 out of 5 stars Great way to see Miami. Interesting, fun and informative 2 hour boat cruise well worth the money. They offered us a group rate of $20 per person if we paid it all on one charge. Miami's Cruise Ship Terminal: 1 out of 5 stars Every employee in this place, be it the Immigration Dept, City of Miami, Dade County, or the cruise ship companies should be given a mandatory class on etiquette, politeness, and general people handling training skills!!!! This place is a chaotic, over crowded, embarrassment to the cruise industry and in my opinion needs a complete overhaul. Our cruise itinerary stops: HalfMoon Cay: 4 out of 5 stars BEAUTIFUL island! Very nice beach. Lunch option was nice, but the quality of the food was not like on the ship. Tasteless burnt burger, etc. The only reason for not giving it 5 stars was the quality of the lunch food. The beach was great tho! Nice walking trails around the island. Overall an enjoyable afternoon! Grand Turk Island Tram Shore Excursion: 5 out of 5 stars Not offered thru Carnival, we booked this on our own. Nice hop on/hop off open air tram tour of the island. Group rate of $21 per person. Well worth it. Nassau Parasailing w/ MyOwnWaterSports.com Not offered thru Carnival, we booked this on our own because the parasailing Carnival offered was sold out. HAD A GREAT TIME. Highly recommend. The owner Gerran is great, a lot of fun type guy who makes it an enjoyable experience. Prices were comparable with Carnival's offerings. Carnival Cruise Lines: 3 out of 5 stars I rate Norwegian and Royal Caribbean better than Carnival. Carnival has lower standards and it shows in the overall experience.

Expected a nicer ship for just being refurbished

Carnival Sensation Cruise Review by KennyM

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
I really like this size ship, and have been on the Fantasy and Ecstacy before and enjoyed them.

However I think I had higher expectations for the recent refurbishment. They obviously only did a few public areas of the ship.

I would have liked to seen new carpet in all rooms, hallways and stairways. More electrical outlets in cabins as there are only 2 now. Adding a small refrig in cabins would be nice.

Many places on the ship show its age, and need cleaning and painting...which coming out of a refurbish dry dock I would have expected all that done.

The putt putt golf area is plain and lacking any outdoor benches or decorative planters typical at a putt putt coarse.

The Serenity Deck was plain and boring. Just an adult only deck with lounge chairs and 2 small hot tubs. It needs to "something" to bring it to life.

The after dinner shows sorely lacked in quality! I expected well done musical productions w/ dancing etc each night, or at least most nights.

We had that one night only. Other nights were Dating Games w/ newlyweds, or The Hasbro Game Show, etc.

While these were ok, I would expect them as an alternative or addition to the main evening show.... NOT the main entertainment for the evening. Very disappointing.

The dining room food overall was good, but the desert menu lacked in selection and quality (other than Carnival's Melting Choc cake, which is to die for!!!)

BUT, despite these complaints there were some good points also:

Guys Burger Joint was great.....fast, walk up and get a hot tasty burger w/ fries.

The staff on board were GREAT!!!

We fell in love with our waiter Peter. Lots of fun times. Trivia contests, roaming magicians, always seemed to be something going on.

Everyone in our group of 10 had a great time. We made use of The Oak Room for gatherings to play games on our own.

Making cases of bottled drinking water available in your cabin was nice! (and for $4 a case....that's cheap!)

The onboard Carnival APP for your phone was pretty cool, but the ship's WiFi tends to be slow and weak in some areas. Often times cuts out completely.

We flew the weekend before the cruise into Ft Lauderdale and stayed in Miami. Here's my reviews on some of that:

Spirit Airlines: 3 out of 5 stars

The King of "nickel & dime you to death" airlines.

Despite all the complaints out there, I have flown them 3 times now and never had one problem or complaint

other than the seats are way too close together.

YES, you do need to get in the right frame of mind to deal with their

never ending attempts to squeeze every last penny out of you,

but in the end it's an airplane ride plain and simple.

Habitat Residence Condo Hotel: 4 out of 5 stars

Very nice place. The only reason for not giving 5 stars is location not being near tourist attractions, entertainment, or the beach.

Short walk via M-Path (a multi use metro trail for joggers, cyclists, etc ) to the Metro people mover, and trains makes getting anywhere in Miami cheap & easy.

It is in a nice neighborhood, and 2 blocks walk to 24hr Walgreens and Publix grocery stores is convenient.

The condos are nice, modern, and clean. Housekeeping daily. Front desk personnel friendly and helpful. Rooftop pool and sundeck is nice & private. Small fitness center in tower 1 available to all.

Their Cafe is small and limited, but convenient.

Check in /out and all deposits, reservations all handled smoothly. No problems.

Florida Sunshine Shuttle: 5 out of 5 stars

Low rates, great service. Driver would call ahead of time, and again on arrival. Always showed up 15 minutes early.

Clean new vans. Driver was very polite. Used for getting from Habitat Condos to ship, and then from ship to FLL airport.

Millionaire's Row Cruise via Island Queen Cruises in Miami: 5 out of 5 stars

Great way to see Miami. Interesting, fun and informative 2 hour boat cruise well worth the money.

They offered us a group rate of $20 per person if we paid it all on one charge.

Miami's Cruise Ship Terminal: 1 out of 5 stars

Every employee in this place, be it the Immigration Dept, City of Miami, Dade County, or the cruise ship companies

should be given a mandatory class on etiquette, politeness, and general people handling training skills!!!!

This place is a chaotic, over crowded, embarrassment to the cruise industry and in my opinion needs a complete overhaul.

Our cruise itinerary stops:



HalfMoon Cay: 4 out of 5 stars

BEAUTIFUL island! Very nice beach. Lunch option was nice, but the quality of the food was not like on the ship. Tasteless burnt burger, etc.

The only reason for not giving it 5 stars was the quality of the lunch food.

The beach was great tho! Nice walking trails around the island. Overall an enjoyable afternoon!

Grand Turk Island Tram Shore Excursion: 5 out of 5 stars

Not offered thru Carnival, we booked this on our own. Nice hop on/hop off open air tram tour of the island. Group rate of $21 per person. Well worth it.

Nassau Parasailing w/ MyOwnWaterSports.com

Not offered thru Carnival, we booked this on our own because the parasailing Carnival offered was sold out. HAD A GREAT TIME. Highly recommend.

The owner Gerran is great, a lot of fun type guy who makes it an enjoyable experience. Prices were comparable with Carnival's offerings.

Carnival Cruise Lines: 3 out of 5 stars

I rate Norwegian and Royal Caribbean better than Carnival. Carnival has lower standards and it shows in the overall experience.
KennyM’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin 8C E221
Nice size. Overall happy with the cabin. Lower rating because of the limited electrical outlets and no small refrig in the cabin......but then, they are not in most on this ship, so no fault of this particular cabin.

Only 2 electrical outlets, 1 above bathroom mirror and one at desk. Balcony door is a man door, not a sliding glass door like on RCL ships. I like leaving the balcony door open at nice to fall asleep listening to the waves, but the strong door closer on this type of door requires some strategic thinking on your part.

The cabin is in a nice location. Tends to be quiet, although I do sleep with ear plugs in as a habit so maybe I missed some noises? Took a few days to figure out there is a "short cut" from a out of the way stairway in the back hallway connecting the two sides of the ship that goes up to the Serenity Deck, and access from there to the Plaza Lounge, Lido Deck, etc. It's much faster than walking forward to the Atrium to get to any places on the rear of the ship.
Empress Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins