ABOARD THE CARNIVAL SENSATION – Entering the ship cabin that will be my cruise home is always exciting. When I opened the cabin door aboard Carnival Sensation, I knew I would be quite comfortable here.
My cabin key card was waiting in a sealed envelope outside my cabin door on Deck 4 Riviera. That was a nice time-saving measure. No long line to wait in to get my cruise card before boarding the ship.
I automatically reached for a slot on the wall inside the cabin when I opened the door. But there isn’t one. Many ships have a wall slot where passengers must put a cruise card to turn on electricity in the cabin. It’s also a handy way to remember where you left your cruise card when you enter and exit the cabin. Instead, I have made it a habit on the Sensation to put my cruise card in my camera bag because I don’t leave my cabin without that bag.
The 25-year-old Carnival Sensation has a passenger capacity of 2,634. On my cruise, there are 2,580 passengers with an additional 875 crew members, according to guest services representative Ngoni.
“Most of the passengers are Americans, about 91 percent, and many, about 20 percent, are from Florida,” Ngoni said. “Many of our passengers on this cruise have driven to the cruise terminal instead of flying.”
As someone who always has to fly to cruise departure ports, I can certainly understand why it would be preferable to easily drive a few hours rather than spend a day in airports and on airplanes. Plus, I always try to arrive a day early to make sure I am onboard the ship when the cruising starts.
At the buffet lunch waiting for my cabin to be ready, I had already met and talked with quite a few families. One group had 10 family members celebrating a birthday. I’ll talk more about passengers later but here’s what my cabin is like.
Book balcony cabins early
My cabin has a large picture window which is permanently sealed and can’t be opened. The Sensation has only 144 balcony cabins so if you want one, book early. Newer ships are adding more balcony rooms because those cabins are so popular with cruisers. The five-year-old Regal Princess, for example, has a whopping 1,438 cabins with balconies. That is 81 percent of the ship’s total 1,780 cabins which should make many passengers happy.
I have a full-size bed since I am a solo traveler. It is actually two twin beds that have been pushed together. Bedcovers are white European-style duvets and linens topped with posh fluffy pillows. The Sensation underwent a major makeover in 2017. I never saw it before the changes but the color scheme in my cabin is now a pleasant gold and rust.
The room has a bedside stand, desk with mirror and chair, plus small flat screen TV mounted on the wall. Each side of the bed has a reading lamp above it. There’s also a master switch near the bed to turn off all the lights so you don’t have to get up and do it near the front door after you’ve already gotten into bed.
Opposite my bed is a big locked bunk bed which can be unlocked and lowered by a cabin attendant. A bunk bed ladder is in the closet. I imagine that’s a fun bed for many of the children I have seen on my cruise. I had an upper bunk bed as a youngster and it was quite an adventure.
Plenty of storage space
A closed closet has three doors with plenty of hanging space, hangers and storage shelves. A small safe is inside one of the closets.
The bathroom has a fair amount of storage space and a large shower with great water pressure and plenty of hot water. Often, ship showers have barely room to turn around and a water flow that is so low it is difficult to rinse shampoo from my hair. Also many cruise ship showers have hot/cold water that swings so rapidly that it is hard to find and maintain a good water temperature. I really like the Sensation shower.
Containers on the shower wall contain shampoo and bath gel. Two bars of soap are on the sink. Bring your own lotion and conditioner because there is none. Also bring a hair dryer if you want one.
The cabin has one 110-volt and one 220-volt outlet at the desk. Since I travel with my laptop computer, iPhone and camera with a battery that needs charged, a multiple plug outlet is a necessity. The room has no clock so tuck a travel clock in your suitcase if you would like one beside the bed. The cabin also lacks one of my favorite amenities – a small fridge.
Unusual cabin ‘thermostat’
I couldn’t find the cabin thermostat. When cabin attendant Andrea stopped by to welcome me, I asked how I could turn down the cold air conditioning that was blasting in my cabin. After coming from the snow, ice and brutal cold in Indiana, I was looking forward to warm weather and my cabin was frigid.
It was easy, Andrea said. All I had to do to adjust the strength of the air conditioning was to close the opening in the ceiling over my bed. Since I’m 5’5’’, I couldn’t reach the air conditioning fan except by standing on my bed. So I did. And it worked. I was easily able to control how hot and cold it was in my room.
Andrea also asked whether I preferred to have room my freshened between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. or between 6 and 9 p.m. Or if I would like both morning and evening. I’ve never been given a choice like that. Plus, each cabin does have a “Snooze” sign to put on our cabin door so we won’t be disturbed if we don’t want to be.
When Andrea makes my bed, empties the trash cans and leaves clean towels, she also puts a towel critter on my bed and a copy of the FunTimes detailing all the entertainment offerings for the next day. The Sensation seems to have something going on every hour from 7 a.m. to past midnight.
That’s it. I’m quite comfortable here. So now I am off to explore the ship. Will let you know what I find.