This was my 7th cruise in 4 years...(six on Carnival and one on Celebrity). I was the group leader for 34 adults from a retirement community in Wildwood, Florida. We're only 80 miles from Port of Tampa and I felt the Sensation would be our best choice since the cruise terminal was so close to us. All my previous Carnival cruises were simply great, and for the most part so was this one.We decided to charter a bus to drive us to and from the port. This was to be our best decision. The cost for parking in Tampa is $50.00 and we each paid $26.00 for the bus. It seems I'm always bushed by the time I debark, go get my car, find my luggage and load my car in the midst of heavy traffic. Getting on the bus was a snap and just over an hour later we were all home resting up from our cruise activities.The Sensation is a fine ship. As always the food and service was good. (Even the slots were a bit friendly). However, there were a few hitches that bothered us. In Grand Cayman some of our people booked an Island tour through Carnival which includes the turtle farm and Hell. The tranmission on the tour bus broke and our people had to walk 6 blocks in the tropical sun and heat in order to catch the tender to take them to the ship...which was pulling anchor to get under way. They were simply stressed out and bushed from this experience of almost being left because they were late on a tour booked through Carnival. This particularly bothered me because one of those who had to walk the six blocks had six by-pass open heart surgery in August. The tour stayed at the turtle farm only 10 minutes and then their visit to Hell was also short...and the passengers wer not permitted to to get off the bus to go inside. We complained to Carnival and they siad they would 'look into it' but not to expect any positive results. They said we got the tour in and the rest was beyond their control. THEY ARE WRONG! VERY WRONG! When we arrived in Cozumel we were informed that another ship had our berth at the dock and we would again anchor out and use a tender to go ashore. This became a joke. Sensation announced that the tender had arrived on the port side and passengers could now leave the ship. Everyone gathered in the stairway and then had to wait over 1 hour. They announced the tender was unable to tie up to the Sensation on the port side. Everyone was told to move to the Starboard side...which they did and they waited for another hour. The waiting area was extremely hot and people were beginning to pass out. As an x navy vet, I was amazed that the tender crew ties up to ships all day long every day of the week...all year. Why did they have such a problem?? These are able seamen who knows their job. I blame Carnival for this mishap. At least they should have provided a better place for the passengers to wait rather than in a hot stairwell. Sensation kept announcing, "we thank you for your patience." Truth is, we were not patient. We simply had not other option.The shows were good...as always. There's one problem with entertainment I cannot understand. Can't they find piano players? This ship had no less than 6 beautiful baby grand pianos...and only one (late at night) was ever heard. On other Carnival ships I have enjoyed listening to moments of good piano music.The rooms were kept clean. However, before Carnival added the gratuity to the sail and sign card, I saw the room steward all the time. This time I never saw him'her. I really believe this has something to do with them knowing the tip is going to be paid...regardless of the service.Nothing like this has ever happened on my other cruises...and I hope it doesn't again. I feel sure this will happen again on Sensation...but it did happen this time. I'm booking another cruise for this group...but this time we might go on Royal Caribbean. I just want to try a different ship.Chuck Yarborough, Clyardbird@aol.com
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