Cruising on the Carnival Sensation

So we spent two days at Disney World a few weeks back, (Epcot and Hollywood Studios) and when it was time to leave, we were all pretty much wiped out.

IMAG0787A

Well. Kevin and I were tired, but the boys were zombies.

IMAG0792A

I mean, walking around Disney World for two days was more exercise than either of them had had in the previous six months!

And that’s not being snarky, that’s being honest.

After our two days at Disney World were over, we got up Sunday morning, July 24th, packed up our stuff and went out to wait for the Disney Express shuttle bus so we could hitch a ride back to the Orlando airport.

IMAG0782A

To catch a non-existent flight.

Confused? Yeah, so were the good folks at Disney. In fact, we spent 30 minutes trying to explain to them that we didn’t have a departing flight number to give them because we weren’t catching a flight, we just wanted a ride back to the airport. No strings attached, nothing more complicated than that. But you would have thought we were asking them to calculate a direct route to the moon.

After we explained to them that we just wanted a ride to the airport, that we intended to catch a shuttle bus at the airport to take us to Port Canaveral so that we could get on our cruise boat (and when the guy found out it wasn’t a Disney cruise, his enthusiastic voice wasn’t quite so enthusiastic after that – it was pretty funny how much his attitude changed after that, though he was still nice), they set it up.

We could have just called a taxi, but the Express was free (well, not FREE, the price of that “free” ride was included in the exorbitant price tag that comes with going to Disney World) and if we could get out of paying $70 bucks for a taxi ride to the airport, we were going to do it.

(I’m telling you guys, if we ever win the lottery, I’m totally becoming a travel writer because I would ROCK on the “travel for dirt cheap” tips).

So, we get on the Disney Express and it takes us 45 minutes to get to the airport. The bus made two stops – Terminal A and B. We had no idea which terminal we needed to go to in order to catch the cruise shuttle bus but we took our chances and got off at Terminal A. Luckily, we saw a big Carnival Sensation sign and we checked in with very little fanfare.

IMAG0784A

(See a pattern here? Yep. We have a lot of pictures of Dude sleeping).

We waited around the airport about another 30 minutes before our bus driver arrived and we loaded up. It took us about another 45 minutes to drive from the airport to the pier. Even though the shuttle busses are expensive, they were totally worth the cost because it was a seamless, stress-free way to get to the pier. We didn’t have to worry about taxi drivers, or how much it would cost us, or if he/she would stiff us and ask for more than it really cost to drive us there, or putting up with a bad driver who would make us car sick and it was MUCH more comfortable riding in a spacious, air conditioned bus than having to cram all four of us into a hot, sticky, dirty taxi.

We will definitely pay the transportation cost next time, too.

We’ve never taken a cruise out of Port Canaveral before and there were two other boats waiting to depart, too.

IMG_0882A

I believe one of them was a Royal Carribean and the other was Disney.

*Side Note: We’ve never sailed on any other cruise line than Carnival – this will be our fourth cruise with them. Though we’ve been very happy with Carnival, I think next year Kevin and I are going to pick a different cruise line simply for variety, if for no other reason. We would also like to sail on a cruise line that is catered a bit more to adults as well. Not that we have a problem with sailing with children, we don’t, but since it’s going to just be me and Kevin next time, we’d like something a little more … sophisticated, if that’s the right word.

Port Canaveral is not the prettiest port we’ve ever sailed out of. It’s strictly functional, there’s not a lot to see. So we didn’t take as many Bon Voyage pictures like we usually do this go-around.

IMG_0881A

However, it WAS cool to be able to see Kennedy Space Center in the distance and it only reaffirmed our desire to visit it someday. (That had actually been our original plan – to visit Kennedy Space Center, spend the night and catch the boat the next day. But somewhere along the planning stage, I mentioned Disney World and it sort of took off from there).

We actually boarded the boat several hours before we sailed, so by the time we went back on deck to leave port, we had a pretty good idea where everything was.

IMG_0885A

The only problem was, remembering where everything was. The Sensation is smaller than the boat we sailed last year (Valor) but for some reason, we seemed to be more lost on this boat than we were last year. We kept getting turned around and it wasn’t until the LAST day of the cruise did we really start feeling comfortable getting around. HA!

The boys were relieved to be on the boat and away from Disney World.

IMG_0886A

It’s not that they didn’t have a good time, it was just SO HOT and they thought it was pretty kiddie-ish.

(“I TOLD you, mom.” Yeah. Jazz told me that about 5,000 times in those two days).

We were finally able to check out our room. (They block off the cabins while they finish cleaning them so you have to walk around the boat with any luggage that you carry on yourself. The bigger pieces of luggage are checked in when you first arrive and the stewards place them outside your cabin door several hours after departure).

We had portholes!

IMG_0874A

We’ve never had portholes before. We were pretty excited about that.


(Sorry about the video quality, or lack thereof – Blech. The settings on the camera screwed up).

Okay, KEVIN AND I were pretty excited about that.

IMG_0872A

We always book a separate cabin for the boys. It’s more expensive but SO WORTH THE MONEY. They can do their own thing, go to bed when they want, sleep in as late as they want and we can do our own thing. If you ever cruise with teenagers, seriously, book them their own cabin. You’ll thank me later.

One thing about cruise ships that always amuses me, is the tacky decor. Seriously. Look at the carpet compared to the furniture.

IMAG0799A

WTH? But tacky … somehow works on a cruise ship, I think.

One of THE best things about cruising? Is the non-stop food.

IMAG0812A

The main dining area is where everyone is instructed to wait when you first board a cruise ship – the Lido deck – where the FOOD is. Because by the time you board a ship, it’s lunch time and you’re hungry. Which works out great, because you can’t really DO anything else until your room is done and before the ship leaves dock. (The casino and shops don’t open until you leave port because if they open up before leaving port, they have to pay taxes on their profits).

One of the things I dislike about first boarding a boat is the sheer number of people in one place at one time.

IMAG0794A

Again, you sort of have to endure it because there’s really no where else to go while you wait for your room to be ready. But the crowds thin out considerably after the boat sets sail and getting around the ship is much more manageable.

This cruise was a little different. Usually, the first day we’re at sea while we travel to our first port. But since this was a four-day cruise, we didn’t have that luxury. We set sail Sunday and were at Freeport, Bahamas on Monday. Then we were in Nassau, Bahamas on Tuesday and we had a day at sea on Wednesday.

One of the traditions we’ve started, is playing cards.

IMG_0888A

We went onto the entertainment deck (that’s the deck that has all of the clubs, the casino, the shops and the hangouts for the kids) and we listened to a live band while playing cards. We heard a few people, as they passed us, say, “Now that’s a good idea.” So there’s no telling how many families will start up their own card-playing tradition.

What can I say? We’re trend setters! Ha!

Kevin and I LOVE the days at sea because it gives us a chance to find a deck chair in the shade and relax. We usually read or nap and it’s HEAVENLY because it’s just so relaxing breathing in all that fresh air and peaceful to look out at nothing but ocean.

IMAG0932A

What can I say? We’re DIE HARD cruisers. If Kevin and I can swing it, we’re going to try and take a cruise every year because it really is the BEST way to travel and see the world – in our humble opinion.

IMAG0876A

Next: Freeport, Grand Bahamas

About these ads