Carnival Sensation: Winter deep freeze a great time for Caribbean cruise

Snow. Ice. Sleet. Brutal cold. Now is a good time to leave my Indiana home and head to warmer destinations. And I’m doing it on one of the best ways possible – aboard the Carnival Sensation.

My five-day cruise will go round-trip from Miami to Jamaica and Grand Cayman. We will have two shore stops and three days at sea. Suits me fine. I love days at sea. Should be good fun and good stories.

Launched in 1993 as one of Carnival Cruise Line’s Fantasy class ships, the Carnival Sensation is said to be an oldie but a goodie. I’ve never cruised on the Sensation but loyal fans have told me it is an inexpensive fun ship that appeals to families, honeymooners and first-time cruisers.

Over its quarter of a century on the ocean, the Sensation has been upgraded several times. A major upgrade in 2009 added a water park and Serenity adults-only area. In 2017, the ship was dry docked to receive several new food and beverage venues and nautical-themed kids play area.

Grand Cayman is known for its beautiful beaches, watersports and shopping.

New features include Guy’s Burger Joint, Alchemy, RedFrog Rum Bar, BlueIguana Cantina, Cherry on the Top candy and gift shop and more. I’ve enjoyed some of those venues on other Carnival ships and am looking forward to seeing them on the Sensation.

Carnival is in the midst of a multi-year, $500 million-plus upgrade program that is bringing these venues and others to many of its 25 vessels. As one of Carnival’s oldest ships, Sensation sails four- and five-night voyages to the Bahamas and Caribbean out of Miami.

I’ve already seen Carnival website photos of my cabin. It looks quite comfy with a large picture window. I’d rather have a balcony but Sensation has only 144 balcony cabins so, if you want one, book early. Sitting on my balcony and watching the ocean roll is one of my favorite parts of cruising.

Located on deck four Riviera, my R211 cabin has two twin beds which will be pushed together to make a full-size bed since I am traveling alone.

In addition to seeing my room on the Carnival website, I also have been able to do all my registration – including filling out a health questionnaire – online. In addition, I’ve been able to print out my ship boarding pass, print out luggage tags with my name and ship cabin number and book a shuttle from the Miami airport to the ship.

Ocho Rios in Jamaica has a popular raft trip among many other shore excursions.

So all I have to do when I arrive at the ship is show my boarding pass and walk aboard. My room key will be waiting in a sealed envelope outside my cabin door. A lunch buffet will be served until cabins are ready.

Being able to do all those registration details online is such a huge timesaver and a pleasant welcome to start a cruise. I remember long waits in ship terminals, lengthy lines of passengers having to fill out paperwork at terminal counters to get a cabin key. People would be tired and grumpy before they even got to board the ship.

Technology certainly has improved some important parts of booking a cruise and arriving for embarkation.

Hope you come along for the trip to see what else we discover about the Sensation and the cruise. Maybe it will encourage you to give the grand old ship a try. Her website photos look beautiful and I’m looking forward to experiencing the Sensation. She must have been given that name for a reason.

Courtesy photos

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