A Sensation-al Cruise!
Sail Date: November 01, 2006
Reviewed: 7 years ago
Traveled As: Couple
Room Type: Inside
For the first time, we took Carnivals shuttle. We stayed in the Holiday Inn Orlando Airport the night before and took their free shuttle back to the airport in the morning. Carnivals shuttle was easy, with little wait. We left the airport at 11:25 a.m. and were at Port Canaveral by 12:10 p.m. Even though your voucher says the tip is included and there are signs all over the Port saying Porters are salaried, there was a Porter standing at the bus door with his hand out as we got off the bus.
Check-in moved steadily, and we were on the ship having lunch by 1:00 p.m.
We have traveled two times previously on the Sensation (1996 and 2000). We thought the ship still looked great and found the atrium much more attractive without the large sculpture that was once there. The ship was decorated for Christmas in a simple and pretty style. We found it to be easy to navigate, with everything laid out in a user-friendly manner. Back in 1996, it seemed like such a huge ship, but after being on some of the newer giant ships (Caribbean Princess, Carnival Glory and Victory), it seemed so much more cozy and intimate, relatively speaking.
Food was good and the dining room staff very efficient, steering us in the right direction for the tastiest items of the evening and refilling tea and water glasses promptly. The menu featured Beef Wellington, Lobster, Salmon and Chateaubriand. We had wonderful people at our table and enjoyed their company throughout the cruise.
There was a very funny comedian the first night, but when we went to see him at the R rated show, he seemed to be trying too hard. The two production shows (Curves and Far From Over) were both very good, but I think Carnivals productions tend to be about 2 numbers too long. The Fantasia Lounge does have some sight-line issues, so get there early to avoid having a pole in your way.
The disco seemed to be the place to go after the shows, plus the Mirage Bar (Casino) was always busy. The Mirage Bar is the only place on board you can get a Mojito, and boy, are they good! There is a great band in Michelangelos (Rise Up), but very few people seemed to go in there. We did the last night and had a blast. The piano bar was like a morgue (piano player was Colin). I think because of the location, as its one floor down from all the other entertainment.
We were in cabin U8, an inside cabin at the very front of the ship, in a hall that ran from port to starboard, as opposed to fore to aft. A very comfortable room and quiet since no one was walking up and down the hall. However, it was VERY noisy when we arrived in Freeport, because of the bow thrusters. That woke us up!
Formal night was the night we left Freeport and people generally were dressed up. The band in the Fantasia Lounge (Justin Down and The Sensation Orchestra), played dance music at the Captains Cocktail Party. They were fantastic and it was so great to hear real live musicians playing real live instruments!
We did self assist, as did most of the passengers. Port Canaveral requires that you have one hand free if you self assist, so you can hold on as you go down the escalator. Otherwise, you must take the elevator, which is tiny and can be very slow. Our deck was called third and we were off the ship and in a rental car by 9:00 a.m.
Another wonderful, fantastic cruise! As DH and I said more than once, so what if it was cool and cloudy, we were on a cruise! And we look forward to our next.
Pros: Fun friendly people we met
Cons: Weather (but that's not Carnival's fault!)