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THis has taken awhile to get out since we returned to Hurricane Charley which meant I went straight to work (I am a TV meteorologist). Finally got off on saturday when BOOM..lightning thunder and there went the AC. That finally got fixed on Monday!! I know..other than that Mrs Lincoln,how was the play!! Well the play (cruise) was GREAT!!
Embarkation: Smooth easy no hassle..got there at 10:30 on board by 12:15.
My friends and I had different tables on our sign and sail card so off to the Fantasy Dining room. No hassle..they fixed it by 4:30 (note in our cabin) and gave us a window table for the six of us!! The ship sailed 11/2 hour late (never found out why) but that was OK because we could eat dinner (5:45) and still see the ship sail under the skyway bridge..Do not miss this from the sports deck. You swear it clears by 5 feet!!
Food: Thought all the food was good! Never set anything back! Filet and lobster were great...steak when all else failed was always cooked perfect
which for me was rare. I missed the flaming deserts but since the Ecstacy fire they are very fire safe. One food note and the only negative on these boards that I agreed with...THE COFFEE IS AWFUL!!!! Capacino was slightly better and the Seaview grill was a bit better but all and all my morning coffee was tough to take. 24 hour pizza and ice cream were a plus and the great sandwhiches at the deli added pounds to the trip.
Sea Days: We don't get into the games and stuff much. Relaxing is the main focus. The spa in the gym is usually empty and a great hang out. Played a bit of black jack. Did OK but they need to open more $5 tables during the day.
Ashore: If you have a privately booked tour don't sweat geting off the ship because with the time difference you will still be early. We booked the Capt Marvin Sting Ray City and Coral Gardens snorkel. We caught the first tender ashore and ended up on the beach by 6:45 island time. The tour did not leave until 8:15 so we had tons of time. Capt Marvin does a great job and for folks that do not dive it is a great trip ($34 a piece..much cheaper than the ship). I did it so that we could all stay together. If you dive..book the dive..I have done it and it is much much better than the sandbar. Of course we had to buy the DVD!!
Cozumel: Went to Chankanaab Park so that everyone could so their own thing. My daughter (19) her friend and I did a beach dive..the rest went to the sea lion show..and then we all did the sea lion encounter. This was my wife's highlight. Even though it is only 30 minutes she loved kissing and hugging the female sea lion (Nena). The sea lion show and locker were nicluded in the $59 price of the encounter. Of course we bought the video!!.
The dive was an escorted shore dive which would have been standard stuff except for the swim throughs. They were loaded with millions of silversides which parted as you went by and then closed in behind you. It was like being part of the school!! A great green effect to the surface on the last swim through as fresh water flowed over the sea water. Also some large Tarpon at the entrance and exit. We all left the water very happy. Any dive where you can do something you never did is a great dive to me!!.
We then took a cab back to the ship..showered..changed..and headed into town for some brief shopping and much longer Carlos and Charlies. On the way back to the ship we could not resist a few more large drinks at Fat Tuesdays.
Debarkation was not a big deal. Our waiting area was in the Disco where the PA system did not work but since we are from Tampa..no rush no hassle.
Overall coments: I thought the Sensation was a great ship. Lots of bars and lounges. The piano bar was great (yeah the stools are uncomfortable)....Hi John and Vicki!!...the band from the Philippines doing oldies were also great. The coffee for sale by the piano next to the info desk was very good. I found to crew to be happy,freindly and helpful at all times. Maybe that is because i was happy and upbeat,even when I had a problem. I found no smell anywhere although I brought my air freshener. R161 was smell free. My room steward left alot to be desired ,but even when I got back to my room at 2Am
and called the desk the problem was fixed quickly and efficiently(Toilet paper is one of those things that just won't wait until morning). My wait staff of Lenford and Jirina were fantanstic!! They took care of everything and knew our tastes and preferences after just one meal. Since breakfast and lunch were open seating they only had dinner to learn our ways. If you sail the Inspiration out of Tampa look for Lenford. That is where he is headed after vacation.
Well I guess I have rambled long enuff (!!!)The ship was great..Carnival was great..the weather was great!! Now if only they could make a decent cup of coffee. Any question I will be happy to answer. Our plan is to book the Miracle next summer.
Thanks for a great and informative review...you pretty much answered any questions I had...about excursions, sewage smell, and attitude of the crew. Way to go and glad you had a great cruise!!!
Inspiration 3/9/03 (Honeymoon)
Sovereign of the Seas 8/17/03 (Just Mom and I)
Imagination 6/17/04 (w/ the Inlaws)
Sensation 8/30/04 (Mom's 50th b-day! and Hurricane Frances)REVIEW!
Sovereign of the Seas 9/19/05 (Mom and I)
Glory 3/31/07 (Hubby and I + pregnant with Daughter 1)
Carnival Liberty 3/28/09 (Daughter 1's first cruise and pregnant with Daughter 2)
Carnival Fantasy 3/5/13 (Celebrating our 10 Year Anniversary and Daughter 2's first cruise)
Carnival Dream 11/30/13
Carnival Liberty 6/28/14
We LOVED the Sensation! So glad you enjoyed her as well! We never saw anyone grumpy... our steward was fantastic and we had the very best pool waiter! Can't wait to cruise her again in October from NOLA!!!!!!!
Sensation 7/03, Sensation (Saints and Sinners I) 10/04, Miracle (Partae Pirates) 2/05, Valor Vampires 10/05, Sov of the Seas 2/06, Conquest (Saints and Sinners II) 10/06, Fantasy (S&S 2.5) 1/07, Liberty (Saints and Sinners III) 10/07, Destiny (Saints and Sinners IV) 10/20/08 and 11/3/08 B2B, Legend (Saints and Sinners V) 10/18/09 Fantasy (40th Bday Cruise) 1/10, Coming Up... Valor S&S 10 Year Reunion 10/26/14
I agree 100%! Except we had a great room steward lol.
Glad to meet you and Gail- we finally got power back on last night-no major damage to our house.
The Sensation was so much fun- I won a trivia game and also name that tune game - so 2 ships on a stick!
Food was very good except for the coffee- yuk!
2002- Pride. Sensation, Fantasy
2003- Legend, Sensation, Fantasy 2x, Pride, Glory 2x
2004- Miracle. Fantasy 2x, Inspiration, Sensation, Glory
2005- Miracle. Glory. Miracle
2006- Celebration, Liberty, Elation (12 days b2b)
2007 Fantasy, Legend, Holiday
2008 Freedom, Splendor
2011 Fascination, Fascination again 7 days, NCL Sun b2b, NCL Star, Miracle
2012 NCL Star, Epic, NCL Sun, Fascination, Epic (again), Dawn
2013 NCL Dawn, NCL Jewel, NCL Star, Breakaway
2014 NCL Getaway
And proud member of Dachshund Rescue of North America...rescue one, until there are none.
Glad to hear you are up and running....Florida in August with no air is just NO FUN!! I do not understand the coffee thing!! With all else so good,how can they let the coffee get so bad. Oh well next year the Miracle(and i will bring my own coffee just in case!!)
Loved your review...was interested to find out if you did the dive at Chankanaab. (We had posted back and forth a few times before you left.) Guess that means the dives shops are back in business again after reportedly being closed.
Sounds like your cruise was sort of the "calm before the storm"...meaning Charley. I can't imagine what it must be like to go through a hurricane and then have to deal with the aftermath. It was 40 degrees here in Minnesota this morning so doesn't even feel like summer here...wish I could send some of the "coolness" down your way for all of those folks without AC!!
Yes we did the Chankanaab dive. We had our own equipment so it cost $21 each..without equipment it was $40. Either way a bargin for a guided dive. Most of the dive was standard stuff at about 35' but then we went to a swim thru at the southern end of the park. Millions of silversides in the swim thru. They parted as you went in and closed back behind you. It felt like you were part of the school...a very cool experience I have never had in deeper dives.
A school of large Tarpon on the other side of the swim thru was a bonus.
Sounds like the cost of the dives has come up $5 since we were there in June. I'm pretty sure DH only paid $16 for the dive with his own equipment and our friend paid $35 for dive plus equipment. Guess that's how they are taking care of their tax problems!!
Thanks for your review. Sounds like you had a wonderful time. We will be sailing on first trip out of Nola. Can't wait.
Legend 10/18/2009 S&S 5
Fantasy Fugitives 5/12/08
Fantasy 1/08/07 S&S 2.5
Conquest 10/15/06 Saints & Sinners Part 2
Liberty Castaways 4/01/06
Valor Vampires 10/30/2005
Miracle 2/13/2005 Partae Pirates
Sensation 10/23/2004 Saints & Sinners Part 1
Conquest May 2003
Holiday Sept 2002
Crown Princess 1999
Oceanic (Big Red Boat) 1998
Be who you are & say what you mean........those that mind don't matter & those that matter don't mind.
Yup we had a great time...sory to see the Sensation go but we are geting the Miracle to take its place..we are planning for that one next summer. Of course now my 23yr old wants to go also so I will be looking at 4 adults instead of 3. Oh well maybe I can get him to pay his own fare (yeah sure!!!)