Carnival Sensation Reviews
4 Night Bahaman Cruise Apr 13, 2008
I just got back from celebrating my 40th birthday with my husband and 4 other couples on a 4 night Bahama cruise aboard the Carnival Sensation. I have cruised twice before, (both aboard a Disney ship) and had become instantly addicted. We chose Carnival for it's date, itinerary, and value.
The ship sailed from Port Canveral, Florida and stopped at Freeport, Grand Bahama, overnighted in Nassau, Bahamas, and finished with a full day at sea. We were all thrilled.
After we had embarked, we began to explore the ship and it's amenities. Although our oceanview room was quite spacious and had an absolutely heavenly bed; it was extremely dated. Cheap paneled facades with bright orange trim, no dresser, only a desk, no bedstands; only this ridiculous orange box in the corner, at the foot of the bed, that held the life jackets; you had to climb over it to get into bed. The tv got very few channels, the bathroom had no vanity drawers, only a medicine cabinet, and the amenities were disposable razors and deoderant! Where's my body lotion??? We're in the Bahamas for heaven's sake!
As we made our way to the Lido Deck for a view and a drink I noticed that the layout of the ship was nothing but obstacles. It made no sense. They brag of their 7 floor atriums but you don't realize that it means there are 7 floors with a giant hole in the middle and instead of keeping the deck space unobstructed, they compartmentalize every space so it seems like a catacomb of small spaces. It was very easy to get lost. You could not see from one end of the ship to another, even on the Lido Deck.
I also noticed that no matter how dated I thought my room was; the rest of the ship was flat out tacky and garrish. I felt like I was in 1980. We tried to spend as much time outside as possible.
Once we got outside we found the deck crew to be pleasant and attentive; the drinks were reasonably priced and well made. The buffet on deck had poor food service and was also poorly set up. The Burger line had the fries first and then a bunch of cold sides before you got your burger. Then you had to wait for your burger while they cooked it. By the time you got the burger, your fries were cold! There weren't enough tables and chairs to sit at but there were a zillion lounge chairs, everywhere...Ever try to eat lunch with a group on lounge chairs?
The upper deck was very narrow and would perfectly fit tables and chairs. This deck was also packed with lounge chairs AND people scooting them into squares and triangles so they could visit with each other, sitting 2 to a lounger. This caused all kinds of traffic and more obstacles. All the while there was a GIANT EMPTY deck area in front of the POOL!!!!! Why they did not keep the loungers by the pool and line the deck with tables and chairs is beyond me, but I'll tell you, by the 3rd day we were all annoyed.
I never found one garbage can, not even by the buffet. There were tons of recycling deposits but I could never find a garbage can. By the end of the cruise we just left our garbage wherever. Occasionally, we would see someone cleaning up people's food but mostly it stayed right where it was left.
The main dining room also left much to be desired. The menu was dated, the food was over cooked and bland, and the service was novice at best. On the second night we actually timed our server, who had brought our appetizers, set them down on his wait station, and serve us 1 plate at a time as he was trying to juggle serving the table next to us. By the time the last person in our party recieved their appetizer it had been 18 minutes.
I attempted to see a show in their Fantasia Lounge, the main stage on the ship. It is 2 floors; a main and a balcony. Unless you sat in the front row of either floor, you couldn't see a thing. Either someone's head was in the way or there was a giant floor to ceiling column in front of you. I heard they were good shows but I get pretty annoyed if I can't see and have to play bob and weave with the melon in front of me.
I did participate in several of the activities and did have fun: Name That Tune, Game Show Mania, The Newlywed Game, Bingo, etc. The Social hosts were very good and made each activity hilarious. All of these activities were inside, in one of those tiny, compartmentalized rooms. The few that were on the Lido Deck were just as fun but since the layout of that deck was so ridiculous too, you couldn't see anything on the stage unless you were actually standing on the stage! So everyone stood around the stage in a circle and watched while noone else could see. It made NO SENSE. Especially when they had all of that empty space by the pool, which is right next to the stage.
The last night on the ship we came upon 3 storms and the boat was rocking so bad that the cheesy 80's facade was creaking like The Poseidon Adventure. Everyone was sick and still had to pack their luggage. Carnival screwed with many of our bank accounts and put us in a position where we had to make many ship to shore calls that cost us $10 a minute while the ship was rockin', we were vomiting, and packing our luggage.
BUT......The worst part of the ship was the fact that the whole ship reaked of septic tank.
I know this was a very negative review but I don't want it to discourage anyone from cruising. It is still the best way to travel. We had a fantastic time at the ports. Freeport was wonderful and relaxing. And the Atlantis Resort in Nassau was phenominal. I won't cruise Carnival again and I was leary of it's reputation in the first place. But I will swear by Disney and I'm already anxious for Royal Caribbean to release it's 2009 itinerary. I don't look at my experience as a disaster but a learning experience where I got to go to the Bahamas!
Part of the But have you ever thought about cruising? travel blog
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