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* Travel To Port: Came from a day at Disney, dropped off car at budget and quick van ride to port. Embarkation went smooth and were on ship at 1pm, had lunch, checked out room, and attended painless muster drill.

* Ship Info: Didn't mind the purple but my spouse hated it. We were on the bottom deck, but the elevators were fine and didn't mind going up the stairs. It was a little difficult to find the ecstasy dining room, but everything else was easy to get to. Sports deck was nice, as was the huge state of the art exercise room.

* Stateroom: window in ocean view room was nice to see the heavy seas first night. With 5 of us they put down 2 bunks from the wall and brought in a cot. There was still plenty of room, but we kept banging our heads on the bunks. Would get 2 adjoining rooms next time for the privacy, 2nd bathroom, and bruise prevention.

* Dining: breakfast was plentiful and good on the lido deck, the small area outside in the aft of the ship was nice to eat at. Breakfast was even nicer in the dining room, wish we had done this more often. The kids were happy with burgers and chicken fingers at lunch, we enjoyed the Thai noodle bowls with shrimp, salmon, etc. Food at dinner was usually good. Everyone enjoyed desert, especially mixing the hot melting cake with the fruit platter to have chocolate dipped fruit. Hot chocolate and ice cream bar were also favorites. The sandwiches (Reuben, turkey) in the seaview lounge were good, pizza was not tasty.

* Activities: pool was too small but felt good for a quick cool off, hot tubs were overcrowded especially on serenity area, waterslides were great, mini golf was fun but too windy when underway.

* Children's Clubs: There were about 500 kids on the ship, which is likely less than usual since we went while school was still in session. Carnival didn't let anyone know they had a 5pm meet and greet the first night. We didn't find out until we found the clubs and requested itineraries. My youngest had a great time in the 2-5 club, my middle one got bored in the 9-11 club, and no one, including the director, showed up for the Club O2.

* Service: everyone was very pleasant and the steward learned the kids names quickly. It seemed to be a fairly new crew, but they were pretty efficient.

* Entertainment: We didn't see many shows or use the bar/disco areas. They did the hairy chest competition during lunch and the kids were embarrassed by it. The comedy show the last night was good.

* Port & Shore Excursions: Caught a cab at Freeport and did the Sand dollar snorkeling tour from 1 to 4. We all enjoyed snorkeling for a couple of hours at treasure reef and saw tons of colorful fish. They didn't have fins smaller than a size 6 so they didn't charge for my younger kids. Caught a cab in Nassau to Paradise beach which was nice. Wandered around the straw market then found a "cruise ship recommended" store that had prices lower than the stalls, though the kids enjoyed the haggling experience. Had set up the people-to-people encounter but didn't hear from our host when we arrived.

* Disembarkation: Briefing the night before was entertaining. Left our bags out that night and they gave out numbers from 1 to 25 for disembarking. We were 10 so we had a leisurely breakfast at 8 and were off the ship at 9.

* Summary: Carnival did a great job, and it was nice not having to think about what to do about meals for the trip, but we enjoyed Disney and the beaches more than the ship. Next time we'll likely stay at Disney or stay a week at a beach.

1st time family of 5, good but should have stayed at Disney

Carnival Sensation Cruise Review by blynch9

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2009
  • Destination: Bahamas
  • Cabin Type: Ocean View
* Travel To Port: Came from a day at Disney, dropped off car at budget and quick van ride to port. Embarkation went smooth and were on ship at 1pm, had lunch, checked out room, and attended painless muster drill.

* Ship Info: Didn't mind the purple but my spouse hated it. We were on the bottom deck, but the elevators were fine and didn't mind going up the stairs. It was a little difficult to find the ecstasy dining room, but everything else was easy to get to. Sports deck was nice, as was the huge state of the art exercise room.

* Stateroom: window in ocean view room was nice to see the heavy seas first night. With 5 of us they put down 2 bunks from the wall and brought in a cot. There was still plenty of room, but we kept banging our heads on the bunks. Would get 2 adjoining rooms next time for the privacy, 2nd bathroom, and bruise prevention.

* Dining: breakfast was plentiful and good on the lido deck, the small area outside in the aft of the ship was nice to eat at. Breakfast was even nicer in the dining room, wish we had done this more often. The kids were happy with burgers and chicken fingers at lunch, we enjoyed the Thai noodle bowls with shrimp, salmon, etc. Food at dinner was usually good. Everyone enjoyed desert, especially mixing the hot melting cake with the fruit platter to have chocolate dipped fruit. Hot chocolate and ice cream bar were also favorites. The sandwiches (Reuben, turkey) in the seaview lounge were good, pizza was not tasty.

* Activities: pool was too small but felt good for a quick cool off, hot tubs were overcrowded especially on serenity area, waterslides were great, mini golf was fun but too windy when underway.

* Children's Clubs: There were about 500 kids on the ship, which is likely less than usual since we went while school was still in session. Carnival didn't let anyone know they had a 5pm meet and greet the first night. We didn't find out until we found the clubs and requested itineraries. My youngest had a great time in the 2-5 club, my middle one got bored in the 9-11 club, and no one, including the director, showed up for the Club O2.

* Service: everyone was very pleasant and the steward learned the kids names quickly. It seemed to be a fairly new crew, but they were pretty efficient.

* Entertainment: We didn't see many shows or use the bar/disco areas. They did the hairy chest competition during lunch and the kids were embarrassed by it. The comedy show the last night was good.

* Port & Shore Excursions: Caught a cab at Freeport and did the Sand dollar snorkeling tour from 1 to 4. We all enjoyed snorkeling for a couple of hours at treasure reef and saw tons of colorful fish. They didn't have fins smaller than a size 6 so they didn't charge for my younger kids. Caught a cab in Nassau to Paradise beach which was nice. Wandered around the straw market then found a "cruise ship recommended" store that had prices lower than the stalls, though the kids enjoyed the haggling experience. Had set up the people-to-people encounter but didn't hear from our host when we arrived.

* Disembarkation: Briefing the night before was entertaining. Left our bags out that night and they gave out numbers from 1 to 25 for disembarking. We were 10 so we had a leisurely breakfast at 8 and were off the ship at 9.

* Summary: Carnival did a great job, and it was nice not having to think about what to do about meals for the trip, but we enjoyed Disney and the beaches more than the ship. Next time we'll likely stay at Disney or stay a week at a beach.

blynch9’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Rates
Ages 3 to 6
Ages 10 to 12
Ages 13 to 15
Service

Cabin Review

Ocean View
Cabin 6A r44
Hallway too noisy, across from crew space. Enough storage for family of 5. Not enough head clearance with bunks down.
Riviera Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Freeport
    Arrived at 9am, got off ship at 11am, caught cab to Old Lucaya, did some shopping at the straw market (same stuff as Nassau but more expensive), and searched all around for the Sand Dollar tour. Finally looked near the piers and Capt Tony found us. Not sure how he stays in business. 2 other couples also came on the cruise. We all enjoyed snorkeling for a couple of hours at treasure reef and saw tons of colorful fish. They didn't have fins smaller than a size 6 so they didn't charge for my younger kids. Water was warm even in mid Dec, and took plenty of underwater pictures with the disposable fuji cameras. Bahama mamas were good on the cruise on the way back. Never did get to look for sand dollars though. Got back to shore at 4, back at cruise terminal at 4:20, and left port around 5. Wish we had left the ship earlier to have time to wander the Old Lucaya beaches.

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  • Nassau
    Ship arrive at 7am, and we got out at 10. Felt safe there the whole time, except when the sidewalks ended and had to walk on the streets with the aggressive drivers. Met some very nice people wandering around, finally found a map showing a walking tour of the historic area. Wandered around the straw market, then found a "cruise ship recommended" store that had prices lower than the stalls, though the kids enjoyed the haggling experience. Went back to the ship for lunch and planned on walking to the Hilton beach. Gave in to a taxi driver that promised a much better beach at Paradise Island that had lifeguards (it didn't) and security (also didn't) to keep paddlers away. However the beach was a little rough but very scenic and fun. It seemed to be a popular jetski spot as well. One aggressive man selling leather goods was there, but the rest didn't bother us. The kids selling things were all very polite. Planned on going to the aquarium after dinner but we were too tired after swimming in the ocean.

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