Review of the Carnival Sensation


Like the company’s seven other Fantasy-class ships, the Sensation became part of the “Evolutions of Fun” ship refurbishment program with a completed refit in February 2009. All Fantasy-class ships will undergo numerous upgrades, including: expansions to the children’s waterparks; new designs and features to pool areas; the creation of Serenity adults-only deck areas; fully remodeled staterooms and suites, complete with new baths and flat-screen televisions; and the addition of atrium lobby bars, coffee bars, miniature golf courses and multipurpose conference facilities.

Sensation, built in Finland in 1993, is Bahamian-registered with a gross tonnage of 70,367, a length of 855 ft, a 103-ft. beam and a cruising speed of 21 knots. She sails with Italian officers and an international crew of more than 900, and can accommodate 2,052 passengers.

Sensation leaves Port Canaveral, Florida, every three or four days for the Bahamas. Ports of call include Nassau and Freeport, and both departures include a sea day.

In decor, Sensation, like Ecstasy, is somewhat less glitzy than the rest of her brassy fleetmates. Fiber optics, sound and colors galore create what flamboyant Joe Farcus calls a “sensual environment.” Ostensibly, this runs the gamut from elegant (the Oak Room) to kitschy (the decor in the Touch of Class lounge). The Polo Lounge suits those seeking a quiet refuge from the constant sensory overload everywhere else. Truth to tell, Sensation can satisfy a variety of tastes. The seven-story Exterioratrium and the enclosed promenade overwhelm with wavy lines and dot perforations pouring out streams of multicolor neon, and fiber-optic trees seem to grow out of the double-sided sofas flanking the promenade. The two-deck show room presents Vegas-style entertainment, and the casino features Vegas-style games. Lounges abound. Activities can number 100 a day, ranging from bingo to belly-flop contests. With her huge spa, three pools (one with a water slide and water spray), umpteen whirlpools, fleetwide golf program, and one of the best children’s programs afloat, Sensation keeps her captives busy.

The two dining rooms offer all three meals with hustling waiters more likely to offer comic relief than punctilious service. A new flexible dining program called “Your Choice Dining” provides the choice of Early assigned seating at 6 pm, Late assigned seating at 8:15 pm or open seating between 5:45 and 9 pm. Requests are made at the time of booking. Casual dining options have expanded as well, with a bistro to bolster the 24-hour pizzeria and lido restaurant. An Internet cafe is up and running.

The standard cabin on this 1,026-stateroom ship ranges from 183 to 190 sq ft, among the largest in this price category. All cabins include phones, TVs, stereos and ample stowage. Suites add whirlpool tubs. Sensation also offers 54 private balcony staterooms, and 98 additional balconies were added in February 2009, many grafted to the ship’s side, creating an unattractive profile when seen from ashore.

Courtesy of STARS Service online

Agent Note: After inspecting this ship last month, I was truly impressed with the recent refurbishment Carnival completed. This is a very nice ship for the 3 and 4 day itinerary, and I recommend it to families and people like for a nice quick getaway. The food is excellent, the cleanliness is great and the staff are amazing!

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