Cruise Lines: Carnival Cruise Lines
Ship: Carnival Sensation
We arrived at about 9:30 in the morning on Monday 26, 2014. We parked and ended up bringing our luggage aboard the ship (our cabin was ready by 12:30). We boarded about 11:45. We went to the Lido deck to eat lunch and then dropped our luggage off and changed into our bathing suits to go to the Serenity Spa area. Here is what we encountered on our cruise (beware…it is LONG)…
Dining room server PREVAL (Pacific Dining Room table 422) early seating was the BOMB (better than AWESOME). He was the server that got everyone going on my last cruise (3-26-14) when he danced. When I told him I “caught his vest” on the last night he said it wasn’t him…but I said I had pictures and I can remember a great dancer…he blushed! This cruise he was just as good a dancer as I remembered…and he had our table in stitches with laughter at his antics. Joseph (assistant) was a great helper.
Our room steward was I Nengah, he took wonderful care of us (cabin 1332). My friend asked for a towel animal on her bed also…and he delivered each and every night!
The entertainment staff…Robert, Javon, Hannah, and Kevin. I met Robert and Hannah on my last cruise and fell in love with them…they are so wonderful with the guests and have a great personality! Javon was new since I was there and he is also a great host. Those 3 interact so well together! Kevin was on his last cruise before vacation…When I was on the ship before he was the cruise director…I didn’t know he was only an assistant…he was that good. I hope he gets his ship soon! Hugs and kisses to the entertainment staff and don’t worry I did give them all a hug when I left! The assistant CD Stephanie and the CD Marcello were good too!
I usually have NO BAD on a cruise…but this time…there was only one instance.
On our last day (Friday) we were in Nassau and we went to the dining room to have breakfast (9 am) and redeem our drink coupon, we ordered our breakfast and our drink. Breakfast came in a timely fashion. Our drinks however didn’t come until WELL AFTER we finished our breakfast. The server came and even asked us if we got our drinks…we told him no not yet. All the tables around us had and were seated around us had gotten their drinks…we were still waiting. By now it was after 10 am and still waiting…finally our table received their drinks except for me. The server came over and said the bartenders were very busy since this was the last day they can redeem the drink coupons. He did take down our cabin numbers. I have worked in the food industry and understand that there are busy times and you make sure you have the staff to cover for the occasion…this was an oversight and should have never have happened. Finally I got my drink, I ordered a hurricane…it was a FROZEN drink …I questioned him when he brought it to me and said I don’t think this is what I ordered…it comes over ice. He insisted that it was…I tasted it and it was not… it tasted like BANANA with NO alcohol in it. I brought it over to the Maître D stand and told the server that this is NOT what I ordered and to please bring me what I did order…a hurricane. He told us to have a seat and he would send someone to get my order. He came and I asked for a hurricane again…he tried to tell us that the bar staff was very busy and he would be back. I told him I have waited over an hour for a drink that I was now running late for my outing in Nassau…we waited for about 5 minutes for the drink, which was delivered over ice and tasting correct with alcohol in it! At dinner the bar staff came over and told my friend and I that we would receive a free drink…that was a nice touch and very welcome. It did take the sting out of being forgotten at breakfast.
We booked The Grand Turk Experience through Carnival. It was a nice tour of the island with several stops one was the Salt House (I think) the other was the lighthouse at the other end of the island. We saw lots of donkeys and horses that were loose. The guide was great and very informative. He gave a great talk about his island. The last stop was the beach that a shuttle would come every 30 minutes. We didn’t stay there only because we wanted to go to Margaritaville at the port and experience the beach and pool there with no issues of missing the shuttle by a few minutes and being late to port. That was a personal decision; others that were on our tour did stop and had a great time.
Half Moon Cay:
This is Carnival’s private island. This is a tendered entrance where you take a smaller boat in. We were on the first tender in (thanks to be a Priority member). We walked to the pirate ship which is situated a short walk away from the “first” beach that you come to. They had a BBQ lunch that was served that was really a surprise…when I was there a few months ago I didn’t even know about it. There were ample amount of sun chairs and bathrooms were a short walk to the pirate ship. It was a wonderful day in the sun with a great beach.
We weren’t in a hurry to get off in Nassau. We went to Senor Frogs where we took pictures and had a drink. We walked around to a few shops and the Straw Market. Then we went back to the ship to enjoy the “empty” ship syndrome that is always nice. There were 3 (Sensation, Disney and Norwegian) other ships in port that day so as we were coming in from shopping 2 others ships were unloading passengers.
We ate on the Lido deck nearly every morning for breakfast. We had eggs, omelets, bacon, sausage, potatoes, grits…just a little of everything in the morning…whatever struck our fancy. Lunch was on the Lido as well, we had something from the deli, pizza station, chopsticks (their Chinese takeout window) and the inside of the Mediterranean buffet.
Every night we had dinner in the Pacific dining room. We had a window table with other ladies which were nice. The company was great. The food was good. The dessert was great. The only thing I could say about the dining experience was we couldn’t see the entertainment…and that was SAD…we really would have like to see the servers sing and dance. We had to get up and move to the main area and try to see without blocking others from the view. The only thing that saved us was we had PREVAL who was one of the performers…and he performed for us!
The shows and games:
They were awesome as usual. We saw the Welcome Aboard Show, Vroom, and Living in America. All the shows were done well.
We didn’t get to see the Talent show or the Love and Marriage show…we did see them on the TV when they replayed them.
Mixology Contest was fun. I was a judge and my friend was a contestant. We had great fun that afternoon.
The Gender Showdown was hilarious! I was the team captain and OMG was it fun…especially the last part of the game where they read a story and each person a character they had to play, when they called your character you had to run around everyone and get back to your place…it was too funny. In the end the ladies won!
The Hairy Chest contest was a hoot. We watched and for the FIRST time ever a man that had NO chest hair WON. He had used his lady friends weave! WOW is all I can say about that!
Ice carving was something to watch…a huge block of ice being transformed into something else in the space of 15 minutes was great!
What you can’t help:
Rude people in the Priority Lounge…when we were brought to sign in for the first time at boarding…there was a lady who gave my friend a hard time for having a RED card. I had already had my card read by the card reader…and moved ahead so others could do the same. My friend Dana pulled her card out and a lady behind her said in a rude voice…What are YOU doing here? Why are you in line with the Priority Line? I should be in front of you! My friend said nicely, I am here with a Priority member and I belong here also!
We had a great time and will go again…we are just aren’t sure where yet!
Still not a fan of the ship itself but I did have a good time.
This was a ladies only cruise. We leave the hubbies at home and have fun for 5 days on a cruise. We stayed the night at the Hampton Inn in Doral, Florida. We drove to the port the next morning and parked there.
Coming up to the cruise port parking was a little confusing…and we weren’t the only ones to take a wrong turn, construction is everywhere so make sure you read the signs carefully. After we parked we made our way to check in.
I am platinum (12th cruise), so we headed for the priority boarding area. It was a small lounge area with water, charging station for your electronics, and bathroom. We got there about 10:30. About 11:15 Carnival greeters led us to the gangway of the ship.
Entrance to the ship is on Lobby deck 3. We made our way to our cabin Lido deck 9203, since it was ready. We dropped off our carryon and went to lunch. We people watched and had our welcome drink with our lunch. We wandered around for a little bit and then had our muster drill they are on the outside of deck 3. After that we went back up to the Lido deck and enjoyed the sail away dance party.
We then went to the cabin to see if the luggage was there…it wasn’t but I saw our bags on the cart near the elevator. I asked the porter/steward if I could get it…he said yes, so he got them for me and I was on my way. Could I have waited an hour for them…sure…but it was close to dinner time and I wanted to change my shirt.
Dinner was in the Pacific Dining room on deck 3 aft. To get there from our cabin the easiest way was to walk all the way to the back of the ship and then take the elevator down to deck 3, which delivered us right to the door. If you did not take an aft elevator you would have to get off the elevator a floor above or below (there is no direct access on deck 3 from forward to aft because of the galley is there) and walk to a different elevator or stairs. Confusing…but you learn. We had a table for 8. We had a single gentleman cruiser, sisters and us. It was a good mix and we all got along well. We went to dinner each night and talked about what we all did during the day and who won in the casino the night before (it was never us…we didn’t play). Our waiter remembered our names, but he wasn’t very animated towards us…and I missed that. The waiters in the dining room did dance for us and there were some that had great moves!
Shows: There was a welcome show, which is always nice to watch. The only thing that “bothered me” was the theater was never crowded with people wanting to see the show. That worked for me…I like to sit in the front and never had to wait for someone to move or anything. There was another show “Vroom” on the last night, it was also good. There were 2 comedians. We saw the introduction to the shows and went to only one…just too tired to see them all and we would have liked to!
Entertainment staff: We really like the entertainment staff, Hannah, Jennifer, Lee, Robert, and cruise director Kevin. Robert was new to the ship on our sailing. Lee was leaving in a few weeks later as was Jennifer for a vacation.
Food: Breakfast was on the Lido deck each day. Lunch was also. Food was plentiful and tasty. I am not so high brow that I don’t appreciate hot dogs, pizza and hamburgers. That worked for me!
Nassau: I have been many times…so we just walked around and looked and took our pictures at Senor Frogs. They weren’t open so we kept walking. We were off the ship for about 90 minutes. While everyone was off enjoying Nassau, we went down the slide!
Half Moon Cay: Never been…so we were glad to see something new. We took the tender and went on in. We went to the first beach not knowing there was MORE to see and do. We found a lounge chairs and I immediately hit the water…it was MARCH…so it was CHILLY! I stayed in for a while. Visited with my cruise buddy who is NOT a beach person, and then went back in for a swim, I swam out to the divider rope, came back in and dried off. We walked around the area a little bit and then went to wait in line for a tender back to the ship. We were on the island for about 2 ½ hours. We had lunch and took a nap (yes, we took lots of naps; we were recovering from long weeks at work!)
Grand Turk: This was the place we were waiting for! We got off and found it a little disappointing in some ways. The shops were more expensive that we thought. Taxi to town was not horribly expensive but the person directing us to the taxi was not as polite as I would have liked. I wanted to ask some questions about what was in each section, but he kept on referring us to the chart. Yes, the chart was self explanatory but I wanted to know what was in each section. So we went to town. It was a bit disappointing for the shopping wasn’t any better there then it was at the port. There were only a few shops and they seemed to carry the same stuff…nothing unusual. We wandered around and then took a taxi back (there are plentiful that is for sure…they unload and load right back up) to the port area. We went to Margaritaville…now that was where everything was happening! We had our drink and danced some…by this time we were off the ship for about 3 ½ hours…and we tired…so back to the ship we went…it was then I heard that the beach was free…I was so tempted to go and change and go for a swim…but I didn’t!
Our sea day: I spent a part of it on the Serenity deck…it has 2 large hot tubs. Getting some seating is a bit hard since it fills up fast. I was up there for several hours before I needed some late breakfast. We had our drink coupons to redeem so we went to the brunch in the dining room…was very disappointed with the service there. We waited nearly an hour for our drinks, we didn’t order brunch (didn’t see anything that appealed…a first for us). So when our drinks came, we took them and left…went to the Lido deck to get some lunch!
Went to the Gold, Platinum and Diamond party that afternoon and talked to the entertainment staff. They made the cruise for us! At the party there were free drinks and nibbles…we had several free drinks!! Love the rum punch!
Overall: The ship is nice. It is decorated well and there are places it needs some refurbishment… but it is used by people day in and day out to the tune of about 3000 cruisers a week. The public areas seem to be chopped up to me, too many small areas when it could be opened up. The lobby area is small and cramped for the size of the ship. The atrium seems small also (tall, but small in size).
I am giving this ship another chance. I will be returning with a different friend at the end of May for the same itinerary but in reverse. So I will see if my 2nd visit will change my opinion of the ship. I might get out and explore the ship more. I didn’t even find the gift shops or library. I will be giving the May cruise a review as well!
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