Carnival Sensation Review- Day 1

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Carnival Sensation Review- Day 1 Port Canaveral and Sail Away

My husband, Chris, and I decided to go on a cruise for our birthdays.  They are only a couple of days apart, so we always like to try to do a quick getaway for them.  We ended up picking the Carnival Sensation for this cruise since it leaves out of Port Canaveral (Orlando), it wasn't that far for us to drive and it had a shorter cruise length which we needed.  We went on the 4 day stopping in Nassau and Freeport.

We had been to Nassau before on a different cruise, but Freeport would be new to us.

If you've ever read a cruise review before, and you like the real quick "this was good, this was bad" sort of reviews, you might as well x out of the page now.  Mine will be pretty detailed and picture heavy.  I'll go over what we did in each of the ports and go over the food and entertainment etc from the ship.  When I was planning our trip, I found these ones to be the most helpful and entertaining for me.  It made me feel like I was there on the cruise with them!   And it also made the time go by quicker til it was my turn to go!!

Our cruise was leaving out of Port Canaveral and we're from Hilton Head, SC.  It's supposed to be about a 5 and a a half to 6 hour drive.  The morning we left, we got up early and wanted to be on the road about 6:30am.  We packed our last minute wine  in our carry on- everyone 21 and up can each take 1 bottle on board in your carry on.  I had been saving a particular bottle wine for a couple of weeks now in my fridge.  It was my favorite bottle and we wanted to bring that and one other bottle with us for the cruise.  (This bit of info will become important later!) Every time I opened up my fridge it would stare at me and want me to drink it, but I made it hold off and told it that would be better on the ship.

We wanted to get on the ship early to explore and have lunch. My mother in law was staying over at our house since she would be watching our son for us.  We kissed and hugged our little boy goodbye for our trip and we were off a little before 7!

We walked out of our door and saw THIS:


Boooo.  Oh well, we weren't going to let a little rain ruin our fun!  We had looked at the weather and knew there was a chance it could be rainy today.

 Half way through we stopped at a gas station and met a guy who was traveling around on a trike- that had 30 gears- from Ohio to the Florida Keys, I believe. He said it was 1600 miles total to raise awareness for diabetes.  He said that since he had the trike, he had put enough miles on it to circle the world twice!  Now, I don't know how accurate that is, but he seemed pretty thrilled about it.

Right around when he hit Jacksonville we found a fun radio station that played old school hip hop music.  You know how hard it is to find a decent music station on a road trip??  Wait.  Am I the only the who still does this and doesn't have some form of sattelite radio or better option than searching through the fuzzy radio channels?  Anyway, I was very happy when we found 101.5.  We jammed out to a lot of songs from the early 2000's that brought us back to our college days!

 It rained on and off for most of the drive down, and one of our windshield wipers stopped working during the drive..... but we did make good time!  We got there in only 4 and half hours!

So excited to see that sign!  Finally, we're almost there!  I've only been planning this trip and thinking about it for months.  We decided to use Park N Cruise which is only 2 miles from port to park our car and use their shuttle service.  It would have been about $75 if we parked in Port Canaveral and it was only about $42 to use the Park N Cruise.  Saved about $30 and it went very smooth.  We didn't have to wait at all.  Loaded our luggage and got right on the shuttle.  We dropped off some people who were taking a different cruise from Port Canaveral first, and then they unloaded us and some other passengers for the Sensation.

By the time we got to port, everything went very quickly.  There were people waiting outside to take our luggage for us.  We each had a suitcase and a carry on.  Chris used a small rolling suit case as his carry on and the porter had suggested he might want to leave that with the other checked suitcases so he wouldn't have to lug it around until our room was ready.  We thought about it for a second and figured there wasn't anything we needed in there right away.  We aren't the kind of people that change and put on our bathing suits on the moment we get on the ship, so we thought it was a good idea and left it with the porter.  Dun Dun Dunnnnnn.   More on that later.

We made it through customs super quick.  There was a line, but it all moved fast.  We did get to move to a much shorter line because we each had our passports with us rather than birth certificates.  (That line seemed much longer- so if you have them, use your passports!). 

Within just a couple of minutes, we were heading onto the ship!

Here's a few more pictures of the ship:

Lido deck

Piano Lounge

Piano Lounge


Racing waterslides

First thing we did was set off to find out room.  We had originally booked an inside room, but I kept checking prices and found an amazing deal on an ocean view.  It was only $10 more to upgrade.  Not $10 per day, or even $10 per person....but $10 total!  Ummmm, Yes!!!  Sign me up!  

Our $10 window!

You can see how big the bed is

The bathroom:

shelf to put toiletries by sink

Yes, I took a picture of the toilet

We went off to explore the ship and have a little lunch from the buffet on the lido deck.  (I do have food pics for everyone interested in seeing what the food is like on the ship, but I missed some of them.  Apparently, this lunch was one of them!).  We went back to our room to drop off our carry ons....and then realized.....Nooooo.  We left Chris' carry on with that porter guy.....I bet they're going to take our wine!!!  We even double checked before we left, wine is supposed to go in your carry on- not checked bag.  That's why we did that.  We didn't even think about that when Chris left his bag with the porter!  We thought maybe we would get lucky and they wouldn't take it, but there was nothing we could do except wait and see when our luggage was dropped off.  

We went up to our muster drill which seemed to take forever to get started.  We didn't end up having to go upstairs for the life jacket/boat portion because it had started to rain.  Once we were excused from the muster, we went back to our room to watch sail away from our window.

We got to watch the pilot boat go right past our window.

After that we took a nap for a bit until it was time to get ready for dinner.  During our nap we heard the sound of our luggage being set by our door.  I hurried to go get it, zipped open the carry on wine :(   

We felt so stupid for leaving it with the porter.  W were so excited to get on the ship that it made sense at the time and totally forgot about the wine!  Instead, inside we find a letter saying they took our wine and "disposed" of it.  We were pretty sure "disposed" meant "took to the crew floor and are having a party with it without you"...but oh well.  We tried calling guest services to plead our case of stupidity on the off chance they would feel bad for us, but no such luck.  It's our own fault.  So learn from us and TAKE YOUR CARRY ON WITH YOU.  Even though it may be tempting to leave it there and not drag it around.  And don't try to pack your favorite bottle of wine in a checked bag.  Through out the rest of the cruise at random shows, they would give contestants bottles of champagne for being participants.  We joked that one of those was our bottle of wine in the "prize bin".  Oh well, again, not going to let it ruin our cruise.  We can only blame ourselves.  

We always ate dinner in the MDR.  I know a lot of you are interested to know how dressed up people were, and this was the most casual cruise we have seen on Carnival.  Our last cruise was a few years ago.  The whole time, even on formal night, khakis and polos would do.  I had even seen some teenagers in basketball shorts and sneakers on formal night in the MDR.  I know a lot of people get upset with that, but as for me, it doesn't bother me.  It doesn't affect our cruise how other people are dressed.  

Tonight was not the best night for dinner.  I gave them some slack though since I remember the first night never being terrific with the rush of getting everyone on the ship and all.

Chris had the escargot (snails) for an appetizer and it was surprisingly really really good.  Snails were a first for both of us and we both enjoyed it.  Sorry, I didn't grab a picture of it!  He also had a Cesar salad which he said was good.  The croutons were really garlicky which he liked.

I had the lasagna which was on the entree portion of the menu but you could also get it as a starter, which I did.  It was pretty good, and also very filling.  I think the portion size was the same as the entree but on a smaller plate!

I had the beef brisket for my entree....which was not very good, although I did enjoy the vegetables that came with it (hidden underneath). 

Chris had the grilled marinated pork steak.  I believe he liked his pork, but the mac and cheese was really bad (however stick around for sea day brunch when they totally turn it around!) and that pea mush that you see there?  Is a pea and  sundried tomato ragout which seems to be mixed with some sort of bechemel.  Also disappointing and we didn't notice any sundried tomatoes? 

Warm Chocolate Melting cake to the rescue!  Never disappoints.  We both had this for dessert.  With TWO ice creams.  Oink Oink.  

This is what I wore the first night to dinner (Shout out to my fellow Stitch Fix lovers!):

After dinner we walked around the ship a bit.  At 10:00 we hit up the Welcome Aboard show.  It had some funny parts, but we were probably the only ones that had the TV on in our room tuned it the Carnival channel while we were getting ready for dinner, and they were actually playing an older version of the Welcome Aboard show, which was exactly the same as we were about to see.  So we knew what was about to happen and some of the jokes.  After that we listened to some live music and then at 11:45 we went to see Louis Johnson do his comedy show.   If you are on the Sensation and have the opportunity to see this guy:  DO IT!  He was so funny!  He had the whole audience laughing the entire time.  (Can't say that about the earlier guy Chris Wiles. Unfortunately, a lot of his jokes didn't go over too well).

After that, I think we checked out the casino a bit and then called it a night. On our bed we found this little guy waiting for us:


 In the morning, we would wake up in FREEPORT...and it would be my birthday!!!  

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  1. Looks fun!! I've never been on a cruise, IDK if I would like them but I heard the European cruises are really fun!! Great post, thanks!!

    1. Hi Brittany! It was fun! I would love to go on a European cruise....or just back to Europe in general!

  2. I love cruises! That's unfortunate about the wine though, I would be a little bummed too. But I'm glad you didn't let it ruin anything and were able to joke around about it!

    1. Hi Becky! I love them too! Have you gone on the Disney cruises before?

  3. I have only been on one cruise and it was a lot of fun. I typically just fly to my destination these days, but might consider another Royal Caribbean cruise in the future. Looks like you had fun.

    1. I haven't tried Royal Caribbean before, but I've heard good things about them! I'm glad you enjoyed yours! Flying definitely make some of the trips shorter, but I used to work for the airlines and so now I hate having to actually pay for the tickets! haha!

  4. What a bummer about the wine! That seems a little bogus to me that they do that. But it sounds (and looks) like you had a great time regardless. We've never done a cruise, but I'd definitely be up for it someday! And that melting cake looks like it could redeem any meal!

    1. Yeah, it did stink about the wine, but I get it. In your carry on, they can regulate how much people bring on. In your checked bag, they think people are trying to sneak on extra so they don't have to pay for it on the ship. Oh well... and the melting cake is amazing! You should look into going one day! So much fun!



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