Carnival Sensation

Carnival Sensation Cruise Ship Review

Carnival Sensation underwent a refit to add numerous balcony staterooms. Photo courtesy of Carnival.

Classic Carnival, the 70,367-ton, 2,052-passenger Carnival Sensation debuted nearly 20 years ago. The third of an eight-ship series with risqué names, Sensation continues to provide a party at sea in a Vegas-style setting with lots of neon, chrome and bright colors providing the glitzy backdrop.

The ship has been refurbished and enhanced over the years, from the addition of flatscreen TVs in cabins to improved kids’ facilities and a new atrium bar, though you can’t hide some wear and tear around the edges. You might not even notice, though, since the zany décor and buzzy vibe will probably get all your attention.

Following a two-week-long dry dock in early 2017,  Carnival Sensation resumed its year-round schedule of four- and five-day cruises from Miami. Carnival Sensation is the third Carnival ship to undergo a refurbishment this year with Carnival Dream and Carnival Ecstasy receiving new spaces, as well.

Here’s a look at the new spaces now available on Carnival Sensation:

  • Guy’s Burger Joint: afree-of-charge poolside venue developed in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri serving hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries enjoyed amidst a décor that celebrates the chef’s California roots and love of car culture.
  • RedFrog Rum Bar:a poolside watering hole offering the quintessential Caribbean vacation vibe with refreshing Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival’s own private label draught brew, ThirstyFrog Red.
  • BlueIguana Cantina:a complimentary poolside Mexican eatery where guests can enjoy authentic, freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas, as well as an elaborate toppings and salsa bar.
  • Alchemy Bar: a “cocktail pharmacy”-themed lounge with mixologists who “prescribe” concoctions from different elixirs and ingredients with creative monikers like Forty is the New Twenty and The Restorative Basil Drop.
  • Cherry On Top: the “sweetest spot on board” which celebrates the joys of simple indulgences with bins of bulk candy, fun fanciful gifts and novelties, custom apparel and more.
  • BlueIguana Tequila Bar: a fun and festive outdoor bar offering a laid-back Mexican-themed atmosphere and tequila-based frozen drinks and beers, perfect for chillin’ by the pool.
  • Camp Ocean:  a colorful marine-inspired play area designed for kids ages 2-11 that showcases the wonders of the sea through fun and engaging interiors and more than 200 ocean-themed activities, including arts and crafts, science-oriented  programming, and more.

Activities on Carnival Sensation

The newly refurbished pool deck area aboard Carnival Sensation. Photo courtesy of Carnival.

There’s a six-story atrium flanked by glass-sided elevators, and a playful design motif with ultraviolet lighting and wild colors worked into the art and architecture of the ship.

You can stroll between more than 10 bars and lounges, plus a glitzy casino.

Family Friendly Carnival Sensation

A 300-footlong waterslide adorns the new WaterWorks outdoor aqua park aboard Carnival Sensation. Photo courtesy of Carnival.

Kids of all ages will enjoy the new 9-hole miniature golf course and three-deck-high spiral water slide, dual racing slides, and water spray toys. There’s also a children’s play room and a separate tween space, plus a teen center sporting a dance floor and soft-drinks bar.

Dining on Carnival Sensation

Diners can choose between a pair of big one-story dining rooms and the more casual indoor-outdoor buffet restaurant, which serves a bit of everything. You’ll also find a sushi bar, 24-hour pizza and a café for fancy coffees.

Though its décor is plain vanilla, there’s a functional gym and a spa with a full range of treatments. The ship’s hot tubs and pools are always full of fun-loving cruisers, keeping the outdoor decks hopping all day long. If it’s some peace and quiet you seek, the ship has a new Serenity adults-only deck area with padded chaise lounges and umbrellas.

Staterooms on Carnival Sensation

Like the rest of the Carnival fleet, the Fantasy-class ships offer large cabins, with standards measuring a roomy 185 square feet. The amenities include robes for use during the cruise and super-comfy mattresses and bedding. Only suites have minifridges and hair dryers, and just 54 cabins have balconies.

Carnival Sensation’s year-round schedule from Miami includes four-day cruises to Cozumel departing Thursdays that visit Nassau and the private Bahamian destinations of Half Moon Cay or Princess Cays or Cozumel and Key West, or five-day voyages departing Mondays and Saturdays calling at Grand Turk, Nassau and Half Moon Cay or Grand Turk and Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic.

Carnival Cruise Reviews

To read a review of a particular ship, click the link under "Read the Review." If applicable, our Live Voyage Reports offer a day-by-day overview of an actual cruise onboard. In some cases, there may be more than one report, to be sure to see if your favorite destination is represented.
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