Carnival Sensation delivers a great Bahamas getaway twice a week. The extensive refurbishment in 2009 brought the ship into the 21st century, from the enhanced pool deck to the Serenity Adults-Only Retreat. Staterooms are large and feature the new Carnival Comfort Collections linens. While balcony cabins aren’t as plentiful as on other ships, the 2009 refit transformed 98 ocean views into balcony cabins.
Only the classic restaurant formats are offered on this ship. However the variety and quality compare with newer ships in the fleet—and there’s always the famous free room service ‘round the clock and a midnight buffet.
If you want a nice formal dinner on board, you’ll have to go to the main dining room (dress code here is a bit different than dining at the more casual venues). There are two main dining rooms: Fantasy and Ecstasy. Both offer Carnival’s flexible seating option, but both also do two formal seatings for passengers who have pre-selected a dining time. Breakfast is always open seating with table service. Seaday Brunch is a popular boozy mid-morning meal tradition, and Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast gives little ones an opportunity to dine with the Seuss costume characters.
The buffet venue on Lido is styled as the Seaview Bar & Grill. It serves classic all-American breakfast and a rotating lunch selection, plus a New York-style sandwich counter and a pizza counter (open 24 hours). A section of this restaurant converts to a casual sit-down restaurant in the evenings (ideal for people who prefer not to change out of their beach clothes).
The one for-fee dining venue is Café on the Way, the specialty coffee café, where people can get their espresso fix for a la carte prices. While there’s no formal alternative restaurant, Carnival added the $75 per person Chef’s Table dinner, with only 12 guests per event.
Bars & Lounges
As always on any Carnival vessel, there are plenty of places to drink and relax onboard this ship. Guests can order their first drink in the atrium lobby bar, then hop around to Michelangelo’s, the posh Polo Lounge, the three outdoor bars on Lido Deck, and the Mirage Bar (this last one is right next to the casino).
On Carnival Cruise Line ships there’s always plenty of lively entertainment, and that’s true of Carnival Sensation. Karaoke packs the flashy mood-lit house at Touch of Class, and all sorts of rousing daytime pool games and contests encourage crowd participation in broad daylight. In the evening, the big show may be a Playlist Productions revue in the Fantasia Lounge, or it might be Punchliner Comedy Club in the smaller Plaza Lounge. However, live music springs up at various places around the ship—from the Lido Deck to the atrium to the Promenade.
The casino and the Kaleidoscope Disco are popular late-night hangouts.
The WaterWorks water park and kiddie splash zone were added during the ship's 2009 refurbishment and are the top family-friendly daytime attractions when it’s sunny. This ship has three water slides, including a 300-foot, four-deck high Twister slide (that’s a lot of aqua action for a ship of any size).
There is only one pool on the ship and it’s the hub of daytime silly fun—from contests to dance-offs to themed escapades. For those who don’t want to play, the Serenity adult-only sun decks offer a quieter vibe and two whirlpools off-limits to those under age 21.
Carnival’s greatest perk: supervised and organized activities that are age group-appropriate. These activities are complimentary by day, while late-night activities are available for a modest fee.
Other amenities include Wi-Fi throughout the ship, a full-service spa and fitness room, a sizable casino, a jogging track on deck 14 and a mini-golf course.
- It’s hard to readjust to a single-pool setup in a world where most ships have multiple.
- Outside cabins are limited, especially balconies, so if you book late—especially on a fare sale—you’ll probably wind up with an inside window-less stateroom.
- It’s exciting to find an enhanced room service menu—but disappointing to discover that most of this menu carries a surcharge.