It’s hard to put a price on a nice vacation and nobody wants to spend more than they have to on their Caribbean vacation. First off, I was not compensated for this review. I paid for the cruise and all expenses out of my own pocket. Now if anyone would like to pay for a cruise for my family and I! I am glad to do it! I can’t wait to GO AGAIN. We sailed the Carnival Sensation out of Port Canaveral (Orlando), FL. OK so I waited a few months to post it, as I took the cruise back in December 2013. Carnival Sensation is a hit with families. It’s size, itinerary and activities make it a natural for a family cruises. We saw a lot of kids on the ship. The ship features the line’s wildly popular Camp Carnival with programs for youngsters between the ages of 2 and 17.
The ship set sail on a Thursday and returned to port Sunday morning. This was not my first time to the Bahamas but my first time on a cruise ship and my first short cruise. When you are on the ship you can take a spinning class, running the track on the sun deck, laying by the pool or you can party hard. At 1 a.m., you will still find folks throughout the ship. My best friend and I didn’t go to bed until way late, I actually had to leave because around 2 am I got sleepy, so she stayed and got me a couple of cute shot glasses and made friends. However I am an early riser, so while she was sleeping the next morning I was up tanning!
WHAT WAS THE SHIP LIKE?
They have a piano bar called a Touch of Class which was considered the hot spot, and the Club Vegas Casino with its slots, blackjack tables, roulette, craps and poker offerings is another big draw. I didn’t go into the casino. I didn’t want to waste money on gambling when I could be ordering Fun Ships. The Fantasia Lounge offers always-popular Vegas-style shows. We went to a show every night and it was pretty awesome, and I did feel like I was in Vegas. The show had great lighting, sound and special effects. These performers know their way around a stage. In addition to the song-and-dance revues in the Fantasia, a late night comic often entertains adults in the Plaza Lounge, while a pianist entertains around the ship. They do have live music you just have to check your carnival newspaper. Passengers can dance the night away at Kaleidoscope Disco or rock out in Michelangelo’s. Fantasy-class ships feature a long promenade (Deck 9), running from the atrium to the aft lounge. While at the back of the boat, you can tell we were really sailing super fast Friday night, because the engine was vibrating, it felt like 100 kids kicking their feet in the water, lol… I thought about it once, OMG what if we sink, lol. But I just had more shots and got over it. I can definitely tell you that if you like to drink then you will love the service b/c the waiters are all over the ship, walking around with the cutest drink cups, and well I had to take the same amount home for my kids to each have one!
When you get to the pool area, the surrounding deck area features metal palm trees, the “fronds” dotted with LED’s; a pair of hot tubs abutting the pool; and a stage. During sea days, this space hosts pool deck Olympics, ice carving demonstrations and plenty of live music (from calypso to classic rock covers). The ship’s other area for water-based fun is the aft-situated Carnival WaterWorks, is a four-story tall, 300-foot-long corkscrew waterslide; an 82-foot-long triple-lane waterslide (great for racing); and a spray park, complete with various sculptures spewing water. The nine-hole mini course is a popular too. The adults-only Serenity Deck, is a teak deck space located on the stern. The Serenity Deck has two hot tubs and loungers with thick, blue padding. There are both sunny and shady spots, with yellow umbrellas and a thatched-roof overhang providing cover from the blaze. So that’s pretty much the ship. Oh, one more thing, one formal night is scheduled per cruise, and a nice shirt with a sport jacket works most often for male passengers, while women tend to dress a bit glitzier. Casual night dress might be a sports shirt and slacks for men, and pants or skirt and blouse for women. Swimsuits are not allowed in the dining room.
WHAT DID WE DO?
Thursday, the day we left, we boarded the ship, and well let’s just say the day started right, before we left the dock! My best friend and I enjoyed ourselves. we started out with the “Hey look at us we are on VACATION” drinks. The day started out with the safety briefing around 3pm. We wrapped the night up with the George Lopez Punchliner Comedy Club. I really enjoyed both performances and loved how they worked with the audience and got them involved. So I have to say at the first dinner, my best friend and I met the most awesome couple, Pete and Jessica. He was doing magic tricks the entire time, and I thought they were awesome. The next time we go to FL, I am going to visit them. They totally cruise all the time.
Friday afternoon we landed in Nassau, Bahamas. We only had a day here as the ship would be leaving Friday evening. A word of caution while you’re visiting Nassau – the crime rate here has skyrocketed and there are warnings all over the internet about Nassau and being fully aware of your surroundings. Please check out the State Department’s information about it before you visit. Just get in the habit of doing that before you visit anywhere. While in Nassau we were supposed to do the jeep tour, BUT it was canceled so, we had to take what was left, and it was the Flamingo/Zoo tour….it was OK…. on the way back we saw the Junkanoo beach (about a 10-15 minute walk) from the port. We were going to do the walking tour, but the information made it sound like a lot of walking so we didn’t do that. However, if you’re into pirates I would recommend visiting the Pirate Museum in Nassau. They have many life size displays of pirate life. OH one more thing, the people drive on the opposite side of the road, and the steering wheel is on the other side of the car AND, the people drive really fast…I don’t think I would have been able to drive and not wreck!
When we walked off the ship, it was a gorgeous sunny day in the Bahamas, the people were ready for tourists. As soon as we got cleared at the port by the port officials. The people were ready to braid your hair, rent you an air-conditioned 2 seater moped, a ferry ride to see the Atlantis for $6 pp and sell you straw hats and wooden sculptures. If you walk past the building closest to the port you will see jewelry stores, restaurants and many knick knack stores.
Let me tell you don’t waste your money on getting braids! IT TAKES A LONG TIME! DON’T DO IT, one lady’s hair fell out after getting them, so if you want braids go in the US.Let me tell you, the further you walk down towards Junkanoo Beach, the better the prices are for everything, especially RUM. Also at the Straw Market for some of the same items – especially t-shirts, and knick knacks.
The rum cakes were the BEST! You can taste all sorts of flavors (keylime, pineapple, coconut, chocolate, golden cake, and banana). I am not much of a banana person. These were the best rum cakes I have ever tasted. I bought a small one to bring home. Now when you get to the Straw Market, this is where you want to buy your gifts. The vendors here are ready to negotiate any item to make a sale. From watches to luggage to beach towels to gifts to bring home to your family and friends.
We had made friends on the cruise, so some of them spent the day at the beach, some went on the snorkel adventure, and others just went around the island. The beach is free to use and they have free wifi. You can rent umbrellas and chairs, if you’d like. One place I wanted to visit was Senor Frogs, I am definitely going to go visit. You can see it from my picture when we pulled up to port. We were there before the junkanoo festival, in which the city was all decorated for the event. You can see the bleachers where people sit for the parade. So let me just tell you about going through the customs, prepare for a line! If your ship is leaving at 8 you better be in line by 6:30 pm b/c the boats do leave without you, AND you will be stuck there.
On this 3 day cruise, I felt rushed because we had to be back on the ship by 8 pm, that means we had to get through the line at customs, and then we had to go get dressed up for the Captain’s dinner. Which they were serving lobster and prime rib. Did you know you can order as much food as you want, and it doesn’t cost a thing? I order lobster, and prime rib b/c I wanted to taste both. I will say that the food was good, and the drinks are awesome! You do see a few of the servers all the time, and well they tend to know what you like, and they have this thing where you don’t pay until you leave, so you can a lot if you aren’t on top of what you are spending. Like I did purchase the unlimited bubbles, and all I had to pay for was my adult beverages! Let me just say I make those fun ships at home and pretend I am on the cruise!
So anyway after we left Nassau, we were having a day at sea, and well we weren’t moving that fast but I could certainly tell the water was choppy! A hang over and choppy water doesn’t make for a good day! So overall it was a great experience. We were met by an entire crew of smiling faces, I loved it.
I am definitely going back, I have the cruise fever and I want to take my kids. I think they will love it. I want to check out Disney Cruise, a longer Carnival Cruise to the Bahamas, and more, who knows. I have the cruise bug!!