9 Things to Know About the Carnival Sensation Cruise Ship

Things you would like to know about the Carnival Sensation cruise ship, part of the Fantasy-class by Carnival Cruise Line with dry docks, features and more.

Carnival Sensation is a Fantasy-class cruise ship that was originally floated out in 1993, as the third Fantasy-class cruise ship from Carnival Cruise Line. However, just because this cruise ship is nearing its 30th birthday, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still offer an amazing cruising experience. The ship has received multiple rounds of renovations over its life, with the last dry dock and renovation taking place in 2017.

This 2017 dry dock brought Carnival Sensation up to the Fun Ship 2.0 Carnival standard, which means the ship now boasts some of Carnival’s latest and greatest entertainment venues and restaurants, including Guy’s Burger Joint by Food Network star Guy Fieri, BlueIguana Cantina and the Alchemy Bar.

Carnival Sensation has sailed to a variety of destinations over its life, including the Bahamas and other Caribbean destinations, as well as Cuba in 2019. The ship was chartered by the U.S. Government briefly following Hurricane Katrina, to provide housing for displaced residents and relief workers with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Carnival Sensation originally cost $250 million to build. It weighs in at 70,367 GT, with a length of 855 feet. It features 10 decks and a capacity for 2,056 passengers at normal capacity, though it can fit 2,634 passengers at top capacity. Passengers are served by a crew of 920 individuals.

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If you’re considering taking a Carnival Sensation cruise in the near future, you’ll want to keep these nine things to know about the Carnival Sensation cruise ship in mind, to ensure you have the best cruising experience possible, whether this is your very first cruise, or you’ve been cruising for decades.

1. There are a range of staterooms to choose from, with something for every budget and travel type

Are you a budget traveler? Single traveler? A traveling family? A luxury traveler?

Whatever the case may be, Carnival Sensation offers a stateroom option for you, from smaller, budget-friendly interior staterooms to large, grandiose suites with plenty of space, both inside and outside, for your entire crew to spread out.

Now, the staterooms’ designs are a little bit on the dull side. The staterooms have a color palette that’s primarily shades of beige and brown. However, they do a great job of maximizing space, so you don’t feel cramped or like you have to suffer just to spend a little quiet time in your stateroom.

Carnival Sensation Aft
Aft Balcony Staterooms on Carnival Sensation (Photo: Carnival Cruise Line)

Choose from an interior stateroom, interior upper/lower stateroom, porthole stateroom, ocean view stateroom, balcony stateroom, aft-view extended balcony stateroom, junior suite with obstructed views, junior suite, grand suite or extended grand suite.

The extended grand suite is obviously your largest option and can fit up to five travelers in terms of sleeping arrangements, with even more room if you’re a multigenerational family and just want to have your fellow guests over for socializing, not necessarily sleeping.

2. Upgrades provide special spaces for everyone in the family

Thanks to Carnival Sensation’s last two upgrades, you can expect special spaces throughout the ship for everyone in the family.

For the kids, there’s the WaterWorks water park, with the waterslide that circles around port side and provides plenty of amusement for kids of all ages. For adults who want to keep an eye on the fun to make sure nothing gets out of hand, there are loungers surrounding the WaterWorks water park.

However, Carnival certainly didn’t forget the traveling adults when it made its latest upgrades. It also added the Serenity Retreat, an adults-only space that’s become more and more common across Carnival’s fleet.

Serenity is the perfect space for singles or those traveling without children to get away from the screaming and splashing, as well as for parents who want a little bit of alone time while the kids are safely occupied. Serenity offers two hot tubs, lounge chairs and lots of spots to sun or sit in the shade with a drink. Just keep in mind that because the Serenity Retreat is so great, it can sometimes get a bit crowded.

3. The party is always on

A Carnival Sensation cruise is ideal for families, but it’s also a good choice for those who really need to let their hair down after a particularly stressful season. The party is always bumping on a Carnival Sensation cruise, thanks to the plenteous watering holes aboard the ship, as well as the near endless entertainment and live music. No matter the hour, you can find some way to entertain yourself or a frosty beverage.

Enjoy mixology contests, adult scavenger hunts, karaoke bars, raunchy comedy shows, sing-along piano bars and more. Plus, Carnival Sensation has an overall pretty relaxed dress code and vibe, so you don’t even have to get all dressed up in order to enjoy the party. There’s one cruise night when formal wear is suggested, but it’s not necessarily required.

4. The complimentary dining is pretty top-tier

If you’re not familiar with the cruising world, when you see that you have to pay extra on cruises to dine at certain restaurants aboard most ships, you might find yourself wondering about the quality of the complimentary dining options. Are they not as good? What’s wrong with them, that makes them free?

Aboard Carnival Sensation, this is never a worry. The complimentary dining options are pretty varied and a pretty good value.

There are two main dining rooms, one for early and late seat dining and one for sit-down breakfasts and flexible dining times. The menus rotate throughout the cruise, but you can expect classic breakfast items, American fare, seafood-heavy appetizers and lots of desserts. There are also always some more steakhouse-style items that are available for an extra fee.

Guys Burger Joint, Carnival Cruise Line
Photo By: Russell Otway

If you’re not in the mood for sit-down dining, then you can enjoy a trip to eh buffet, where you can fill up your plate at breakfast, lunch and dinner. The buffet also includes the ship’s 24/7 pizza counter and a deli.

Newer dining venues that Carnival fans love include Guy’s Burger Joint, where you can build your own custom burger with flavors designed by Food Network star Guy Fieri, and BlueIguana Cantina, a Mexican restaurant serving breakfast and lunch alongside Mexican-style cocktails. A free room service menu is also available.

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5. But premier dining is definitely worth the splurge, if you’re interested

If you are interested, the premier, for-a-fee dining is worth the splurge. There are several dining experiences that you can pay extra for, that you really might like. For example, foodies really enjoy the Chef’s Table experience, where you can enjoy a small, intimate dining experience hosted by the ship’s master executive chef. The dinner takes place in the library and is only open to 14 guests at a time and includes multiple courses and a tour of the ship’s kitchen.

You can also pay more for a family-friendly, Dr. Seuss-inspired green eggs and ham breakfast. There are additionally upgraded room service selections available for a fee, as well as coffee and pastries available for a fee at the ship’s cafe.

6. Fun is always on the menu

No matter how you prefer to be entertained, you can find something to hold your attention while aboard Carnival Sensation.

The ship’s two-level theater hosts classic cruise theater shows, such as tribute music concerts. During the day, the theater is home to different activities that are constantly changing, such as trivia, bingo or lectures. Kids activities are also held in the theater on occasion. 

Carnival Sensation Atrium
Photo By: Melissa Mayntz

Other fun takes place in other areas of the ship, from arts and crafts workshops to art seminars, to charades. Of course, you can always have fun with the family on the mini golf course or at one of the other sporting locales on the ship.

7. It’s never difficult to find a drink

Carnival Sensation is chockfull of watering holes. You’ll find lots and lots of bars and lounges open at varying times of the day, all open at night, each offering a different experience. So, whether you want a quiet spot to chat with your fellow cruise goers with a glass of wine in hand, or you want to dance the night away while taking tequila shots, you can take your pick.

Atrium Bar is a standard atrium-situated venue with a pretty standard menu of beer, wine and cocktails, with lots of live music, both night and day. A sing-along piano bar called Touch of Class is a popular spot for music-lovers. Mirage Bar sits outside the ship’s casino and is the only spot on the ship where smoking is allowed. Michelangelo Lounge is styled in a Roman motif and is never quite crowded. Kaleidoscope Nightclub offers, as you might expect, a nightclub-type experience, but also hosts teen-only parties.

The newest watering hole, though, is Alchemy Bar, a specialty cocktail bar that provides personalized cocktails. Also new is BlueIguana Tequila Bar and RedFrog Rum Bar, both serving up Caribbean-inspired cocktails such as coladas, daiquiris, mojitos, margaritas, hard lemonade and tequila shots. You can also pick up a beer bucket. Both of these watering hole are conveniently located near the pool, so you can hop right on out of the sun and into the shady bar area for a frosty beverage.

8. It’s not difficult to find a spot in the sun

If you’re all about catching some rays this vacation, then you’ll have no problem doing so on a Carnival Sensation cruise. There are plenty of sunny spots to kick back and relax.

Last Sea Day Carnival Cruise
Photo By: Melissa Mayntz

There’s a large pool on Deck 10, flanked by four hot tubs. There are an additional two hot tubs on the adults-only Serenity deck. If you have no interest in getting in the water, and you just want to slather on some sunscreen and start sun bathing, you can do so on one of the many loungers on Deck 10, or on Decks 12 and 14, which look over Deck 10. Loungers are also available on the Serenity deck.

9. Anything you need, you’ll find it

Just about anything you could need at sea, you’ll find it on Carnival Sensation — as well as plenty of items you don’t necessarily need, but might just happen to want. There’s an art gallery, where you can purchase select pieces of artwork. A library is well stocked with the latest reads.

A photo gallery allows you to browse and purchase photos that the helpful staff take of you during your cruise. Shops sell everything from jewelry to purses, toiletries to watches. A separate store sells nothing but candy. There’s even a staffed desk where you can reserve your spot on your next cruise.

Also Read: 10 Reasons to Cruise on the Carnival Fascination

Carnival Sensation FAQ:

How many pools are on the Carnival Sensation?

There is only one pool on the Carnival Sensation cruise ship. The pool is located on Deck 10 (Lido Deck). There are multiple hot tubs throughout the ship, though, both on Deck 10 and in the adults-only Serenity section of the ship.

What class is the Carnival Sensation?

Carnival Sensation is a Fantasy-class cruise ship, which means it shares many similarities with other Fantasy-class cruise ships, including Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Ecstasy, Carnival Fascination, Carnival Imagination, Carnival Inspiration, Carnival Elation and Carnival Paradise.

How large is the Carnival Sensation cruise ship?

Carnival Sensation weighs in at 70,367 GT, with a length of 855 feet. It features 10 decks and a capacity for 2,056 passengers at normal capacity, though it can fit 2,634 passengers at top capacity. Passengers are served by a crew of 920 individuals.

Does the Carnival Sensation have a water slide?

Yes, Carnival Sensation has one water slide at its WaterWorks water park.

How fast can the Carnival Sensation go?

Carnival Sensation reports a speed of 21 knots, which comes out to 24 miles per hour, or 39 kilometers per hour.

Holly Riddle
Holly Riddle
Holly Riddle is a travel and food freelance writer whose work can be found in print and digital publications all around the world. She is additionally an entrepreneur specializing in content and marketing services. Beyond frequent travel, Riddle enjoys cooking, reading, camping and spending time with her husband and two dogs. Her favorite travel destinations include Chicago, Amsterdam, Edinburgh and just about anywhere in the Caribbean. Find out more about us here.


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