Carnival Sensation Cruise Review to Caribbean - Bahamas

Contributor Level: Third Mate

2-3 cruises


Helpful Votes

4 out of 5

Carnival Sensation 4 Night Bahamas

Sail Date: October 19, 2014

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Traveled As: Family (older children)

Room Type: Suite

I have not been on a cruise in 25 years, and this was the first with my family (wife and three children aged 17, 13, 11). Things I loved about the cruise were the ports (Freeport and Nassau Bahamas), the friendliness of the staff, never being bored, and once the cruise started I actually felt like I was on vacation. The ports were beautiful, fun, the beaches we went to and the ocean was beyond belief. The time I spent with my family experiencing all of this was beyond worth.

The neutral: the food seemed a bit more bland then I remembered it being and it seemed to me that carnival food quality has been sacrificed for quantity. You will have the opportunity to eat a "LOT" from the dinning room to the breakfast and lunch buffets but nothing I ate really seemed to stand out.

There were a lot of very drunk younger men who were very obnoxious and rude to the staff. I found myself getting up and leaving an area of the ship more then once to get away from such groups. I have nothing against people having a good time or getting their "drink" on, but I was on this trip with my family and wanted a family orientated experience.

I smoke (I know, boo hiss) and carnival has instituted a no smoking policy in not only rooms but also balconies. The reason stated made sense to me, to lower the risk of fires by a misplaced cigarette being tossed off the balcony and falling back into the ship and landing on another balcony or place where flammable material may be. I had no problem following the ship rules and only smoked in the designated areas (a part of the casino and at one poolside bar. I wish they had chosen a more open area away from the pool and non-smokers, also at any given time during daylight hours there seemed to be about 30-50 smokers on deck with no where near enough tables/seats and only 8-12 ashtrays for all to share. I do not enjoy smoking around children/teens and wish they had a more distant area from the pool for me to smoke in comfortably.

I mentioned how beautiful the ports were and they were but the local cab drivers, tourist shop employees, and street peddlers can be very pushy and I thought I was going to get into an altercation with one in Freeport that refused to take no for an answer and he almost grabbed my arm from behind. I have mild ptsd and constantly feel like I have to keep it in check and a surprise grabbing of my arms, shoulders etc never ends well. 

 My final observation was that The prices Carnival charges for excursions would have priced my family out of a vacation but we were able to go out on our own and saved huge. Example one we went snorkeling at Paradise cove and it cost us $80 for a family of 5 for the cab/shuttle to the beach and back, and since we brought our own snorkeling gear the only other thing we had to pay was $3 each for beach access. With a $20 tip thrown into for the driver it cost me and my family $115 total for 4 hours of snorkeling minus drinks and food I bought, Carnival wanted $75 each to take you to the same beach (they did cover cost of beach access and snorkeling gear) but still that would have been $375. Example #2 In Nassau Carnival wanted $55 each to take you on a small tour of downtown, then a visit to the pirate museum and they leave you to find your own way back to the ship. So for my family $275. We walked from the ship the grand total of approximately 3 or 4 blocks, paid $42 for the whole family to enter museum and used the extra money we saved for souvenirs . Example #3 at the same port they offer many packages to various private/semi private beaches for a premium cost. We walked from the ship to Junkanoo beach in about 15 minutes and swam for free in a beautiful setting with clear water and could still see our ship. I paid $10 so my wife could have a beach chair. Carnival does offer a 110% offer if you find a cheaper price for excursions they offer but seemed like a lot of work so we just went off and had fun on our terms and saved a lot of money.

And finally the bad: I actually could not find anything "Bad" about this cruise, some things I was neutral with as stated above but nothing that left me saying "we will never take this cruise again" as a matter of fact we are in the process of booking the exact same cruise for next year.

Cruise Photos

Ship Quality
Ship is older and smaller then some carnival ships but it was still a great experience
Food and Dining
Food was so so, mass produced cafeteria food
Cabin / Stateroom
Wife is now hooked on getting suites only
Service and Staff
The ship staff impressed me to no end with their courtesy to meeting basic request.
Didn't really partake of any during cruise
Children's Programs
My Kids did not want to do camp Carnival but the kids I saw who did seemed to be enjoying themselves
Onboard Activities
We ate, gambled, strolled the deck at night nothing outstanding but all in all, very good.
Destinations and Excursions
Ports were a wonder to experience, most of the people we ran into were very friendly and helpful. Ship excursions as I mentioned very very expensive, doing research before going and going it on our own really paid off.
Port Canaveral, Florida
Visit Cocoa Beach great beach
Freeport, Grand Bahama Island
Paradise cove was a great place to snorkel. Just google paradise cove and deadman's reef
Nassau, Bahamas
Junkanoo beach and just walking around the straw market will save you money vs paying carnival to shuttle you around.


Avoid bingo, also expensive, and very short. I spent $80 for my wife, son, and I to play. It took 20 minutes to complete. I could have thrown the $80 away in the casino and had more fun for a longer time with a better chance winning some money.

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