by Dave the Wave
October 7, 2004
Let me preface this review with a few words. This was my 10th cruise but the first aboard Carnival. I have cruised Royal Caribbean 8 times with a couple of odd cruises aboard the Regal Empress and Premiers' Majestic. I went on this as a part of a group but traveled alone in my own cabin. You should see my galleries I posted to get a good understanding of this review. They were posted today, October 20th 2004 and are named, "Dave the Wave's Sensation Cruise". I have to say that overall I prefer Royal Caribbean but did manage to have a great time.
Embarkation- I arrived at the Port of Tampa about 11 AM. I had a friend from work drop me off since it is only 20 minutes from my home in St. Petersburg. I waited in line for a few minutes and then in the waiting area about 15 minutes. I was onboard by noon and having my first beer.
Cabin- I opted for an inside cabin category 1A. This is the lowest category of cabin but I was on the Empress deck near the elevators and stairs and it was very convenient. I had a single bed on the floor and a bunk overhead that was folded against the wall. The cabin was a fair size and had a nice size bathroom. There was a little basket of sample size toiletries. I did not find my cabin steward until I tracked him down the second day. I need ice for my cooler (see photo gallery) and had to get someone else to get it for me.
The Décor- I found this ship to be a bit tacky. The elevators and almost everything else were purple. The chrome and neon was a bit overdone. I prefer more subtle tones and brass and wood to this. While some may find it attractive, I found it a bit garish and annoying.
The dining room- Our group of about 30 was seated together at three long tables by the windows. I would not have liked to be in one of the booths. The service was good and the food edible. I had the filet the first night, rare and it was excellent. For the formal night I had the lobster and also a prime rib. Both were good. I ate at the Sea View Grille for breakfast and lunch most days. I am not there to get my moneys worth out of the food. I eat to live not live to eat. It was quite obvious though that some were there to eat their cruise fare. I could not believe the lineup for the midnight buffet.
The pool area- this was my biggest disappointment as the pool area is where I am in all my glory. Compared to the large expanse of open deck I am used to, I found this pool to be small, ugly colors and there was no splash area to lay around in. The sides were high, covered in ugly tiles and this nasty yellow and black striped area. There were benches around the pool that reminded me of the locker room at the YMCA. The pool bar was tucked in a corner and the restrooms were out in the open so that when someone opened the door others could see someone at the urinal. The slide was fun for the kids but took up a lot of space and made it feel more confining. There were no potted palms or planters and the chairs by the Sea View were of the variety you buy at Walmart for $5. I have never boarded a ship and found the pool empty until the next day.
The bars and lounges- I had the most fun in the piano bar. Although the hands were kind of creepy, the entertainer was very good and funny and the crowd that tended to hang out in there was quite fun. The late night comedian was very funny.
Cozumel- I was there in May with my kids on the Enchantment of the Seas. This time I took the Fury Catamaran trip and had a blast. They took us to an area not far off the beach in about 20-25' feet of water. We snorkeled and then got back on the boat for unlimited beer and Margaritas. Everyone had a great time. (see photo gallery)
Fellow cruisers- There was a party crowd on this ship for sure. I met a lot of great people and had a lot of fun. If you did not already have a bunch of tattoos like most people ( I am still a tattoo virgin) you could get one by the pool. There seemed to be a lot of groups. There were many from Florida and then some groups from Chicago, NY and Ohio among others.
Overall, I had a good time but went away thinking it was somewhat lacking. I have booked my next cruise for the spring when the kids are out of school and will find myself aboard Royal Caribbean again next time.