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In 2004, I bought a combination honeymoon-birthday cruise for my new husband and I. Since we live in Tampa, the only Carnival ship available at the time was the Sensation. This was my husband's first cruise and my second, so we were pretty excited to board a very nice cruise ship in July of 2004. Our destination was Cozumel and Playa del Carmen, Mexico (a 5-day cruise). Our first cruise on the Sensation was wonderful! We had an inside cabin and very reasonably priced. Everything seemed clean and new and the guestroom stewards as well as the waitstaff and Maitre D' were all friendly and helpful. So needless to say, our cruise was very enjoyable. This year we decided to go to the Bahamas (Freeport and Nassau). Our departure date was November 29th to return on December 3rd. Of course, the only way to get there was to drive to Port Canaveral which was fine and the ship we were to sail on was the Sensation, again! My Carnival travel agent told me that the ship had been upgraded since 2004 and now was sailing to the Bahamas regularly. The price for an inside cabin for two of us was very reasonable and this is one of the reasons we decided to take this cruise, even though we had to drive from Tampa. Well the first thing we noticed after getting on board was the smell in the hallways and the elevator areas. Not pleasant! The odor was kind of musty and almost a light mixture of urine and something else (?) Our room was okay but superficially clean. We noticed dusty spots everywhere and we immediately got out the anti-bacterial wipes and began wiping down everything we were going to be in contact with. Overall, our cabin was not the cleanest and the carpet had a light musty odor. Very different than the first time. I could not see any upgrading anywhere. Everytime we stepped into the hallway, the smell of sewage or garbage was very strong in some areas. Not so on our first cruise. We also noticed that the ship's crew seemed to be smaller, so we figured that is why walls, windows and glass were not being cleaned or polished on a regular basis. The elevators were dirty and the floors were stained with spills. My husband and I don't participate in activities and socialization. We just like to do our own thing, so this time we decided not to have dinner in the dining room and just eat at the Seaview Grill whenever we got hungry. The food is still as good as it ever was - we particularly enjoyed the breakfasts on the Lido deck. The coffee tasted much better and the eggs were fixed to perfection. Lunch and dinner did not need improving. We also notice that there were many children on board who were left on their own and unsupervised. It seems to us that there are many activities for children of all ages so we were perplexed that so many were wandering the ship alone without parents in tow. Teenagers were using the hot tubs late at night and we saw some subtle sexual play going on. Again, none of these things were seen on our first cruise on the Sensation. Overall, we saw many things that needed improving on the Sensation. For a ship that was supposed to have been "upgraded", it was evident in many areas that this was not true. The ship seemed old and well used. We will not be sailing on this ship again.

First cruise great, second not so great!

Carnival Sensation Cruise Review by natali2009

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2009
  • Destination: Bahamas
In 2004, I bought a combination honeymoon-birthday cruise for my new husband and I. Since we live in Tampa, the only Carnival ship available at the time was the Sensation. This was my husband's first cruise and my second, so we were pretty excited to board a very nice cruise ship in July of 2004. Our destination was Cozumel and Playa del Carmen, Mexico (a 5-day cruise). Our first cruise on the Sensation was wonderful! We had an inside cabin and very reasonably priced. Everything seemed clean and new and the guestroom stewards as well as the waitstaff and Maitre D' were all friendly and helpful. So needless to say, our cruise was very enjoyable.
This year we decided to go to the Bahamas (Freeport and Nassau). Our departure date was November 29th to return on December 3rd. Of course, the only way to get there was to drive to Port Canaveral which was fine and the ship we were to sail on was the Sensation, again! My Carnival travel agent told me that the ship had been upgraded since 2004 and now was sailing to the Bahamas regularly. The price for an inside cabin for two of us was very reasonable and this is one of the reasons we decided to take this cruise, even though we had to drive from Tampa.
Well the first thing we noticed after getting on board was the smell in the hallways and the elevator areas. Not pleasant! The odor was kind of musty and almost a light mixture of urine and something else (?) Our room was okay but superficially clean. We noticed dusty spots everywhere and we immediately got out the anti-bacterial wipes and began wiping down everything we were going to be in contact with. Overall, our cabin was not the cleanest and the carpet had a light musty odor. Very different than the first time. I could not see any upgrading anywhere. Everytime we stepped into the hallway, the smell of sewage or garbage was very strong in some areas. Not so on our first cruise. We also noticed that the ship's crew seemed to be smaller, so we figured that is why walls, windows and glass were not being cleaned or polished on a regular basis. The elevators were dirty and the floors were stained with spills.
My husband and I don't participate in activities and socialization. We just like to do our own thing, so this time we decided not to have dinner in the dining room and just eat at the Seaview Grill whenever we got hungry. The food is still as good as it ever was - we particularly enjoyed the breakfasts on the Lido deck. The coffee tasted much better and the eggs were fixed to perfection. Lunch and dinner did not need improving.
We also notice that there were many children on board who were left on their own and unsupervised. It seems to us that there are many activities for children of all ages so we were perplexed that so many were wandering the ship alone without parents in tow. Teenagers were using the hot tubs late at night and we saw some subtle sexual play going on. Again, none of these things were seen on our first cruise on the Sensation.
Overall, we saw many things that needed improving on the Sensation. For a ship that was supposed to have been "upgraded", it was evident in many areas that this was not true. The ship seemed old and well used. We will not be sailing on this ship again.
natali2009’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin L117
Inside cabin, not as clean as first time cruise, dusty, musty smelling carpet, stains on wall, parts of ceiling had masking tape, water spots on glasses. Hallways had various odors in some areas.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Freeport
    Upon arriving into Freeport, Grand Bahamas, the first thing we noticed was a very thick yellowish gray mist coming from the harbor and spreading out into the bay. We saw that it was coming from smoke stacks at an industrial area in the harbor. It seemed to dissipate as the wind blew in another direction. We pulled into the harbor and took pictures of a very picturesque scene. Colorful little buildings and stores lined the port and when we got on land, we noticed all the the shops with Bahamians selling their stuff - very touristy! We walked around a little village and stopped at the Le Med Restaurant. The food was excellent and delicious and the waitress was so nice. The total price for our food was kind of high but well worth it! We then took a taxi to one of the beach hotels just to sit out on the beach and enjoy the weather and the water. We were served drinks by a very friendly waitress at one of the beach bars. We stayed on the beach and enjoyed the scenery for about an hour and then grabbed a taxi to go back to the ship. Freeport was very quaint and the native people there are very friendly.
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  • Nassau
    Arriving in Nassau the next day, we expected much the same as when we were in Freeport. However, this port is very different and not as nice. As soon as we got off the ship, we were forced to go through a building with little shops inside and people coming at you from all different directions wanting to sell you everything. The tourist hustling in this port is very apparent and very annoying. And walking around the town was aggravating because some of the streets were not even on the map we had so it was easy to get lost or retrace your steps. We did not do an excursion because we like to do things and explore on our own. We were looking for a beach where we could swim and we asked a few people, even some that had been here before, where the good beaches were. We got many different answers and some misleading. We walked for a few miles towards Cable Beach and the hotels that allowed visitors to swim on their beach, but it was so uncomfortable walking that we decided to take a city bus to take us to a beach. We ended up at the Wyndham Hotel Resort and decided to try out their beach. We had been told that we could swim there without any problems or hassle from hotel management. Again, we were mislead because we found out too late that we could not use their beach unless we paid the hotel $40.00 per person per day. No one mentioned this little piece of information! By this time, we were tired, fed up and just wanted to leave. We caught a bus going back to the port and got back on board. Not a good experience! And by the way, our taxi driver as well as the hotel concierge were both unfriendly and not very polite.
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