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4/9/06


JohnG
"It was an excellent value, but I guess I'm spoiled by all the bells and whistles of the newer, larger Carnival ships"

TRIP INFO

Sail Date:04/09/2006
Destination:
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RATINGS

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COMPLETE REVIEW

This was a last minute decision to take this cruise, and it was about the time they decided to swap the Fantasy and Sensation for each other's itineraries. We already had air tickets to Orlando but 6 days was too short to prebook Carnival transfers to Port Canaveral. We were to pick up our tickets as the pier. At the airport in Orlando, after a long wait for baggage at AirTran, we found where the Carnival shuttle departed from, paid the fare by credit card, and caught a 2:15 shuttle. We arrived after 3pm, picked up our documents at the customer service desk, and were aboard shortly after. Boat drill was to be at 4, but was about 4:30pm for a 5pm sailing.

Our cabin, R116, was a double that they put a "rollaway" in, as there were only 6 oceanview cabins left when we booked. The rollaway for our teenaged daughter really jammed up the space, and was about 8 inches high, too short for her, and wouldn't fit under the regular bed during the day if the cot was made up. You had to climb over the bed to get to the window side, as there was no way around the bed. No hairdryer in the cabin. Cabin was clean and kept that way by the steward, who ensured we had extra ice for champagne, etc all cruise.

We had sailed on this ship to the Western Carib in 1999, and didn't notice much difference. There are no tables for two in the dining rooms. The shows, Vegas style reviews...one of which was advertised as PG because of costumes...were excellent. However, sight lines are obstructed in places by poles and glass railings. They did have one formal night, almost no tuxes, except my white dinner jacket. The dining room had all the standards even on this 4 day cruise: beef wellington, chateaubriand, lobster, lamb, a nice selection of fish each night, cherries jubilee, singing and dancing wait staff, but no creme brulee!! Wait staff were excellent. They did have one Mexican late night buffet under the stars on deck, with dancing.

We visited Freeport and Nassau. In Freeport we took a shared taxi to the Lucayan Marketplace where we shopped, enjoyed eating again at Zorba's for some of the most authentic Greek food since I lived in Greece years ago, and then walked across to the Sheraton and the Weston. We selected some loungers over looking the beach and enjoyed several hours in the sun. Only the pool facilities are limited to those staying at the hotels. The rest is open to all. We were back to the ship by 4pm.

In Nassau the visit was an overnight, the first ship to arrive and staying until 7am the next day. It allows ample time to do whatever you wish. We took a taxi to the public beach beyond Atlantis where we spent a few hours, then walked to Atlantis, tooks photos and looked at the aquarium, put a little in the slots, and cleaned up from the beach in the restrooms. Then taxi back to town for more shopping and winding up at Sr Frogs for some food and libations. We headed back about 6pm, as we had 8:30 dining, and didn't go out again that night, as that was the Mexican buffut/deck party.

The last day was a sea day, with plenty of time to enjoy all of the ship's facilities. They didn't pass out baggage tags for debarkation, as they debark by deck location, unless you have an early flight...then you can get an early tag. Bags in the halls by midnight. In the morning in Port Canaveral they let those who can carry all their luggage with them debark first, starting about 8am. Breakfast is until 9am, so we took our time and by the time we were finished, they called our location to debark withing 30 minutes. We were off by about 9:30, claiming our luggage. We had arranged a rental from Thrift in Coco Beach, and the shuttle picked us up after about 15 minutes, and after getting the car, we drove back to Orlando for a day and a half visit to Universal and SeaWorld before flying back Friday night.

It was an excellent value, but I guess I'm spoiled by all the bells and whistles of the newer, larger Carnival ships, as I've been on Triumph, Victory, Legend and Conquest since I was last on Sensation.

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