Review of Carnival Sensation

Following is our review of the 3/17/96 sailing of Carnival's Sensation. This was our 19th cruise overall, 4th on Carnival, although it had been 3 or 4 years since we had been on Carnival together. Other cruise lines we have sailed include NCL, Celebrity, Regency, Costa, Princess, Dolphin, Star Clipper; Crown, and Cunard Crown. This review has been one of the more difficult we have written recently, as many things were unsatisfactory about the week and we will attempt to be fair without being too critical. A caveat, also. I should warn you that Celebrity is my favorite cruise line, and I will be-- unfortunately for Carnival--comparing this sailing to Celebrity.

We booked this cruise about 90 days prior to sailing, with the primary reason for picking this cruise at the time being that the ship was sailing to the Eastern Caribbean (although unfortunately to St. Croix, not our favorite St. Martin) and that we were able to get a category 12 cabin (the best cabin category on Carnival), at 2 for 1 prices. I do not call this cabin a suite because I believe that a suite should come with some amenities, and this one did not.

TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS--We had booked this cruise cruise only and flew in and out of Ft. Lauderdale, instead of Miami, because at the time we booked air, it cost $80 pp less for air from Washington D.C. to FLL vs. Miami. We rented a car from Avis, stopped in Ft. Lauderdale to pick up liquor and sodas, and dropped off the car at the pier in Miami. We booked from Avis rather than Hertz, because Hertz does NOT have a drop-off at the Miami pier. The drop-off point for Avis is between the Royal Caribbean pier and Pier 9, which is the Costa pier on Sundays. The route from FLL to the Miami pier is very well marked on the Interstate. Just follow 95 south, following the sign for Downtown Miami, then for the Port. The exit for the Port basically drops you off with a straight shot directly into the Port. We landed at FLL at approximately 11:30 and, including picking up the car, stopping for supplies, dropping off the bags at the pier, then dropping off the car at the pier, we arrived at the ship at 1:30. Unfortunately, the embarkation process was very slow. We waited for a short time out in the street in front of the (new) Carnival terminal, which is not quite finished yet, then waited for quite a long time inside, even though there were quite a number of people checking in passengers. Then there was another long line to pick up cabin keys and get pictures taken prior to getting onboard. Overall, we waited in lines for around 45 minutes, which we considered too long.

Upon boarding the ship, there was no one to escort us to our cabin. Actually, no one even directed us to the proper deck. Nevertheless, we arrived without any problem at our cabin. Our Sail and Sign cards were on the bureau, which provided the first unpleasant surprise of the week. For the first time in all our cruises, we had been assigned an incorrect seating assignment for dinner, receiving first seating dinner, even though we had requested, as always, second seating. About the time that we discovered this mini-disaster, the fellow showed up with our suitcases, by far the earliest that I remember receiving our suitcases. Eric started unpacking and I set off to do battle with the maître d'.

As I said, we had never before been assigned a first seating dinner (except for one time when we travelled with my parents and requested it) and have never bothered to attempt to change an unsatisfactory table assignment. The only prior experience we have had with changing a table at all was when we upgraded our cabin on the Zenith and went to ask the maître d' whether we should go to the table assigned to our original cabin or the upgraded cabin that we switched to. On the Zenith, there was a line of perhaps 2 people and there was no problem with making switches of tables of the 2 people in line in front of us and we were handled with no delay. Attempting to switch to second seating was a major disaster on the Sensation. I waited in a line of about 10 people, all of which were told that the only thing that they could do was to take down a waiting list of those who wished to change their dinner seating, go to their assigned seating for the first night and basically hope that they would be notified the next day of a change in table assignment. I did not consider this answer satisfactory. The man suggested that we see the maître d' that evening at dinner. That evening, we waited for close to a half hour in a kind of free-for-all line in which people crowded in line to see the maître d'. After that time period, the maître d' stated that the only people he was changing seatings for at that time were people who had, on their own, been able to find someone else to switch with them. When we arrived home and I talked to my travel agent about this snafu, she told me that Carnival is the only cruise line that does not, in any way, indicate to the travel agent or the passenger, what seating they are assigned to, prior to sailing.

We ended up going to dinner on first seating that night with a very nice couple whose cabin was just down the hall from us. Actually, we got along very well with this couple and the waiter seemed to be an excellent waiter. However, the cuisine for the week started off badly, with Carnival's version of "the swan thingy". Unfortunately, Carnival's version of my favorite Celebrity dessert was an extremely TOUGH (I mean we're talking, I couldn't cut it with a FORK!) creme puff, filled with pistachio ice cream, instead of whipped cream (in celebration of St. Patrick's Day, of course!).

We did receive in our cabin that night a note stating that our dinner seating had been changed to second seating. I don't know whether switching table assignments is normally such a hassle, but I was certainly unimpressed. We ended up at a table for ten, including one couple a little older than us, a family of four with two teenagers, and a single father with his 6 year old child. We had a good time at meals, although not as much fun as we have often had. We probably were much more well suited to our previous tablemates, but it is just impossible for me to eat at 6 P.M. on a ship.

DINING ROOM SERVICE AND FOOD--We didn't eat in the dining room for breakfast, except the last morning, and not at all for lunch, so we don't really have that much of a comment on what was available there for breakfast or lunch. Evening meals on the Sensation involved foods that were not particularly memorable. Nothing was particularly bad (except the kind of strange pureed peas that they served on Caribbean night) but there was nothing that stuck out in the mind as being particularly good either. There was no lobster available at dinner, although supposedly they did have it at one midnight buffet. We didn't attend any of the midnight buffets, so we don't know about that. Carnival has started the "always available" selections, which I think included a grilled chicken, a steak and one other entre, which escapes me at the moment.

We had an absolutely excellent busboy, one of the highlights of the week. Our waiter was amiable enough, but he angered most of us around the table by, on at least three nights, insisting on asking us what we wanted for dessert while we were still eating our entre. When we told him that we didn't want to order dessert when we hadn't finished our entre', his explanation was that he wanted to finish serving dessert before the waiters had to come out and sing "Hot, Hot, Hot!". Well, frankly, to me, the purpose of a waiter is to serve your dinner, not sing. He also had an annoying habit of pretending to dump your plate in your lap, which he generally did about 3 or 4 times per meal.

Speaking of dessert, at least on the Sensation, Carnival has done a very annoying thing, to dessert-lovers like me. The desserts are not on the menu--not any menu. You have no idea what the desserts are for the night until your waiter tells you. Being a person who likes to plan ahead, I didn't like that at all. On the night when Baked Alaska was served (normally, not one of my favorite desserts) if there was another dessert available, our waiter didn't tell us about it. Normally, our waiter did not show us the desserts either, he just told us what they were. As anyone who loves desserts knows, somehow it helps tremendously to see the desserts before ordering.

BUFFETS--The buffet restaurant on the Sensation is quite an improvement over my last cruise on the Celebration. Carnival is trying to improve the level of service for their buffet restaurants and have succeeded. On the first day, I was somewhat shocked to have a gentleman come and carry my tray for me at the buffet. Unfortunately, this experience was not repeated! In any event, the Sensation has ketchup, mustard, salt and pepper already on the tables, as well as a fresh flower, real cloth napkins and silverware on the tables. Waiters brought around coffee, orange juice and water in the mornings, as well as tea, lemonade and water at lunch. Service clearing tables was excellent. Guess it was too much to hope for that they wouldn't have PURPLE tables with GREEN napkins though! (G!!)

There were four buffet serving lines, two outside and two inside, all serving the same items. Lines were long the first two days, but settled down to very manageable levels after that. Breakfast buffets included the same items every day, but they were basically just about all one could expect, including pancakes, french toast, scrambled eggs, hash browns, bacon, sausage and ham, even an omelette station on sea days (ONLY!). I would have liked more fruit, as there were no oranges available at breakfast and no watermelon, or pineapple, although I believe there was cantaloupe and bananas. I love watermelon and pineapple and these were available ONLY as a mixed fruit cup available at lunch. Lunches also involved almost the same items every day, hamburgers and hotdogs and grilled chicken sandwiches, plus one hot entre and one pasta which changed every day. The prepared salads were the same every day, potato salad and slaw and a fruit cup. There is also a salad bar, with a good selection of items and there is either a hot potato bar or a nacho station every day. Strangely, the nacho station had only refried beans, no hamburger, so one could not make a taco salad. There was also soft ice cream, plus non-fat yogurt and assorted toppings, as well as a few assorted desserts for lunch.

ROOM SERVICE--Room service was a disaster, pure and simple. On the first morning out, we called room service to order coffee (only) at 8 A.M. When the coffee had not come by 9 A.M., we left to go to the buffet restaurant for it. On the evening we sailed into San Juan, I called at 4:00 P.M. for 2 vegetable trays with dip. They arrived at 4:50 P.M. Upon boarding, there were no hang-tags in our cabin to order breakfast in the cabin. I really don't think that there are any in any cabins on embarkation, as everyone we talked to had to call room service to get them. We got one from one of our tablemates and placed it on our door for Friday morning breakfast. It arrived a full half hour early.

WINE AND BAR SERVICE--For the first time in a few cruises, we did not order any wine with dinner. The reasons for this included the fact that Carnival has no wine stewards, plus the fact that there appeared to be nowhere onboard to order wine prior to dinner, other than the buffet restaurant. However, in the buffet restaurant, there did not appear to be any menus available, so that one would know what they were going to order for dinner, so they would have an idea what kind of wine to order. There was one interesting note regarding wine. On the second to the last night, there was a bottle of wine sitting on the table when we arrived. This was some type of commemorative Carnival wine. Our waiter told us that we could order a bottle of this wine to take home with us for $20 a bottle, complete with a signature by the waiter and busboy. No one took him up on his offer!

Bar service was good, not excellent, mainly because the bars were all so hugely busy, with the spring break crowd onboard. We didn't see anybody that was really obnoxiously drunk onboard, although I did question whether they were enforcing the 21 year old rule regarding drinking. Must be my age catching up with me, that I should think that there's no way most of those people could be 21! (G!!) Ondeck bar service, on the couple of times that we ordered it, was swift and accurate. You could order what was in effect a double, which was a drink generally over twice as large as the normal drink, which included the free Carnival glass, for less than twice the price of the normal drink. The only problem with this system was that we felt compelled to bring home those glasses, since we paid for them!! (G!!)

SPRING BREAKERS--I really don't know what the percentage of spring breakers was on this cruise, although I would estimate it was maybe 25%. They really did not interfere with our enjoyment of the cruise except the first night (which Eric slept through, of course!!) yelling in our hallway about 4:30 A.M. and being kind of obnoxious in the casino. We never really saw any trouble, although we heard that there had been some trouble up on deck about halfway through the cruise.

CABIN--I did not consider this cabin a suite, because there were no suite amenities. Carnival does not give suites anything--no flowers, champagne, party, bathrobes, canapes, even no shampoo or lotion, which are standard on most other lines. You also are not guaranteed of getting a particularly good cabin steward. Our cabin steward was a little light in the English department and kept the cabin clean, but the extras seemed beyond him. I generally am too cold at night on a ship, and request an extra blanket the first day. We did not see him for the first two days (although, of course, he did clean the cabin). On the first night, I was freezing, as always, and hunted around the cabin at 2 A.M. to find out what he had done with the comforter from the bed, and finally found it stuffed behind the couch. Of course, even though I left the comforter on the bed that morning, he again stuffed it behind the couch the next night, from where I again drug it out to use on my bed the second night. Figuring he did not take a subtle hint, the next day I finally saw him and asked for another blanket. Late in the week, we asked him for help with regard to our party, and that's a whole 'nother thing, which I will cover in a note regarding that subject.

As I said, we booked a category 12 cabin. Category 12 cabins on the Fantasy class ships are virtually identical in layout to the one pictured in the brochure, even though the picture is of the Celebration. Category 12 cabins on the Fantasy class ships are on the Upper Deck, which is basically in the middle of the ship. Our favorite thing on ships is balconies, so I'll talk about that first. The category 12 balcony on the Fantasy class ships is entirely private, except for your immediate neighbors on either side, who could place their heads around the divider and see into your balcony. Otherwise, they are totally private. Furniture was 1 chaise lounge and 2 chairs, plus a table which has a space for an ice chest in it. We did use it one night to keep some wine cold, but it took a whole lot of ice, more than we had! The balcony was 4 1/2 feet by 15 feet, with a swinging door, which could be held open by means of a metal hook, which we used often. The door was a wooden door with a window in the top half. There was also a window above the couch, which was around 4 feet by 2 feet.

The cabin was approximately 14 1/2 feet wide, with the main cabin area being divided approximately in half with the sitting area and the bedroom area. The sitting area included a large L-shaped couch with large coffee table, plus 2 chairs and a small table on the balcony side of the cabin. The couch was a queen sized sleeper sofa, if necessary. Technically, the cabin could sleep 5, as there was a roll-a-way type bed in the cabin when we embarked, which disappeared after the first day. There was also a bar area, with maybe 15-20 glasses of various types, including champagne, wine and highball glasses, a small refrigerator (NOT stocked), TV, and VCR. There was a vanity bench with around 8 drawers, with a long vanity table with mirrors. There was a walk-in closet with 6 shelves, 3 feet of full length hanging space and 2 one foot long half length hanging lines. The closet featured a full-length mirror and a safe, which worked with your own credit card. As I have said before, I prefer a combination safe, so you don't have to keep track of one of your credit cards, particularly on sea days, when one otherwise has no reason to carry anything other than your cabin key. The bed was a twin-king adjustable combination with one small bedside table with one drawer.

The bathroom (like the rest of the cabin) featured a kind of strange color combination, with a brown marble sink and green walls. There were two hooks on the back of the door and 2 by the tub, but no swimsuit line in the tub itself. The tub was a whirlpool tub, plus shower, with a sliding glass door into the tub. There were several shelves to the right of the door to the bathroom, but no hair dryer and no toiletries. Towels were standard white cruise ship issue, two smaller bath towels and two or three hand towels.

Category 11 cabins on the Fantasy class ships are only around $100 PP cheaper than the category 12 and the difference is enormous. The balcony on the category 11 cabins is not private at all. There are several decks, both above and below, who have a perfect view onto your balcony. The balcony itself is maybe about 4 x 8, with only two small chairs and a small table. Also, the bed is next to the window and there is just a couch against the wall, not the huge couch in the category 12. The bathroom is much bigger in the category 12 also.

THE ITINERARY--The current Eastern Caribbean itinerary for the Sensation is Sunday to Sunday, with Monday at sea, Tuesday, an evening San Juan stop, Wednesday, St. Croix, Thursday, St. Thomas, and Friday and Saturday at sea. When the Destiny comes online, the Sensation will switch to the Celebration's current itinerary, which substitutes St. Marten for St. Croix. We love St. Martin and strangely, this was our first trip to St. Croix, in all of our cruises. St. Croix was interesting, but we definitely prefer St. Marten.

Monday was a sea day and the weather was extremely windy, with 20 knot winds, which added to our 19 knot journey, made the day a very windy day indeed. I tried some reading up on deck, but soon decided that reading should not be this strenuous an exercise. For the first time in many, many cruises, the weather for the week was not particularly cooperative. We had very high winds and cool temps the first day out, fairly high winds and somewhat reasonable temps the next day, decent weather in St. Croix and St. Thomas, cloudy and somewhat rainy the next day, and finally, beautiful weather on Saturday.

Since the weather was not particularly conducive to sunning on Monday (and since I was dying to do so anyway!) I checked out the casino for $.25 roulette. As with the rest of the week, I was not particularly successful. Other than Saturday night at roulette, "Lady Luck" did not smile on us for the week.

Monday evening was the Captain's welcome aboard cocktail party. I had been kind of wanting to watch "Babe" and so we watched this cute movie while we were dressing for the cocktail party. Fortunately for us, for the captain's cocktail party, you could enter on the second level of the show lounge without having to stand in line to meet the captain--and have the obligatory picture taken, which, of course, gums up the works and takes a very long time. If you didn't want to have your picture taken with El Capitan', you could therefore collect your free drinks (lots of free champagne!) and lots of good free hot o'dourves, including mini-quiches, scallops, and chicken tenders. Good job, Carnival! On most cruise lines, you can barely snag a devilled egg at the Captain's party!

Tuesday was another day at sea, still windy but the winds having died down to 10 knots, one could at least sit on deck without totally being blown away. We arrived in the general San Juan area around 4:30 and we went down to the cabin to see the entrance into San Juan harbor from our balcony.

This brings up a good point. I would like to say that I planned this, but it was just dumb luck For the current Sensation eastern Caribbean itinerary, if you are booking a balcony cabin, try to book the left (port) side. That is what we did, by accident, but it worked out great! If you are in your cabin at that time, you will be able to see El Morro and the rest of the great sights in San Juan as you enter the harbor. Also, you will be on the water side in Miami, and in St. Thomas. You will also get to view the sunset the last couple of nights at sea, which is when it's the most important, right?

We sat on our balcony, popping down a few cold ones and enjoying our light snack of vegetables and dip (when it FINALLY came!--see the Room Service notes) and enjoying the early evening. For the night in San Juan only, dinner times had been adjusted, with early seating at 5 P.M. and late seating at 7 P.M. We docked at around 5:30 P.M. and noted the Sovereign of the Seas as the only other ship in port. After dinner, we checked out the vendors down on the pier, and strangely for us, watched a movie in our cabin that night. An American President--a cute movie, and we enjoyed it, but we could have watched it at home. More importantly, why do so many ships have evening port calls in San Juan??? San Juan is a great place during the day. At night, forget it!

There was a deck party up on deck that evening, but we did not make it there, having crashed from the imbibings of the day, I guess. I did wake up just as we were leaving port, following the Sovereign out to sea around 2 A.M. It was neat, sitting on our balcony and heading out to sea, seemingly noiseless and heading out into the void.

Wednesday was St. Croix, a first for us. Somehow, we had managed not to travel to this island before, in all our cruises. Ships dock in Frederickstead, which has a deep water port. Frederickstead is a sleepy little town which needs a bar and restaurant in the pier area to liven it up. Eric and I saw several likely (unoccupied) buildings in the waterfront area. Anyone care to invest some funds???????

After walking around the area of Frederickstead, we decided to take a taxi tour around the island. Taxi tours seemed a little expensive, at $24 per hour--for 1 to 4 persons, but we wanted to see around. We agreed with a fellow on a 2 hour tour which would drop us off in Christianstead for some shopping and lunch and set off. We had a very enjoyable couple of hours, seeing the countryside of St. Croix, but passing on such delicacies as the beer drinking pig and the rum factory. (Actually, Eric passed on the rum factory on my behalf--I would have voted to stop there for some free samples!! G!!) We did some shopping and had lunch at a bar called Stixx (Good food, but the service was SLO-O-O-O-W!!). We caught a cab back to Frederickstead, at $20 for the cab (1-4 persons).

Strangely, for the day in St. Croix, the slots in the casino were open all day. Even though we did not sail until around 6, the full casino opened at 4:30. There was complimentary chips and salsa available by the casino as we left St. Croix, plus all drinks were $2.50. Many people, including us, took advantage of the chips and salsa. We grabbed some chips and salsa and a couple of drinks and headed down to the cabin to sit on our balcony and see the ship leaving port, to the accompaniment of a wonderful sunset.

Thursday was St. Thomas. We were on the harbor side here and enjoyed waking up to the view of the boats and the hillsides. Other ships in port for the day were The Legend of the Seas, Crown Princess, Pacific Princess and the Windward. The latter two were docked at sub bay, there being no room at the Havensite dock. We did some shopping for a watch for me and some booze in the morning, a quick trip back to the ship for lunch and to drop off packages and pick up our cameras for a trip up Paradise Point in the afternoon. Paradise Point is the cable car which goes up the side of the mountain in St. Thomas and affords a wonderful view of the ships in port. There is a bar there, with limited food service, and some great t-shirts for sale. Even though we sailed in March 96, the lady at the t-shirt shop stated that she had been open for business only a month since the devastation by the hurricane in September 95. Even though downtown St. Thomas, with a few exceptions, looked normal, from the air, the presence of so many FEMA blue roofs over St. Thomas was disheartening.

We headed back down the mountain and checked out the Legend of the Seas from the docks, and it was time to climb back aboard. In the distance, we heard the Kontiki come back alongside the ship. The Kontiki and a ship full of spring breakers--what a lethal combination!! Overheard later that evening, with no confirmation from official sources--at least a couple of people missed the ship in St. Thomas, for whatever reason. Bad place to miss the ship, considering the next port is Miami!

Friday and Saturday were days at sea, with Friday being a dreary, somewhat rainy and windy day, with no good possibilities for sunning. Friday was to be, however, THE PARTY!! The two previous times we had booked a suite on a ship, we had thrown a party and had a wonderful time on each occasion. Therefore, we had decided early on that we would have a party on this trip. We purchased booze and mixers in St. Thomas and had ordered a tray of hot o'dourvres and a cheese tray on Thursday, a full 24 hours in advance. We had gone to the purser's desk, who seemed to be totally confused by the concept that we wanted to have a party in the room, but they took our order from the pre-printed list of offerings for private parties. We had decided to have the party at 5 P.M. on Friday, so that both first and second seating diners could attend. We had invited all our tablemates, plus our tablemates from our first evening first seating dinner and Jane Scaringelli and her husband (from here on $P$). Everyone showed up and appeared to be having a good time, despite the somewhat inclement weather and the fact that the food did not appear!! After three phone calls from me, the food finally arrived, (NOT what we had ordered!) right around 6 o'clock, a full hour late and after those on first seating had already had to leave for dinner. We had a decent time and the alcohol certainly went away, but we were livid over the lack of on-time delivery. Incidentally, at the exact same time that we were supposed to be having hot hor d'ourvres delivered to our cabin, the captain's farewell cocktail party (at which they served hot hor dourvres!) was taking place in the main show lounge.

Unlike our butler on the Zenith, who had basically arranged the whole party, our cabin steward on the Sensation seemed totally befuddled with the concept of a party in the room. He did bring us extra glasses and OCEANS of extra ice, but when we asked him for ice tongs, he had no concept of what we were talking about!!

Eric, being slightly inebriated anyway, decided to head down to the purser's desk to complain about the screw-up with the food. When he hadn't returned about 40 minutes later, I was sure that they had thrown him overboard for being obnoxious. He finally showed up a few minutes later, still breathing fire. I didn't find out until after we got home that they had taken him all the way inside the purser's office, as the noise from his complaints was apparently carrying too far for them. In any event, the canapes ended up being free, plus we received a fruit basket in our cabin and wine at dinner at our table and at the table of the people who had had to leave for first seating dinner. I am not sure what they could have done, in addition to the above, but we much would have preferred from them to have done it correctly and delivered the food on time to begin with.

Saturday started off dreary, so we packed up most of our things, checked out the shops and took pictures and did the obligatory things. Around 11 A.M. we happened to be in the cabin still packing up some things, when they announced on the loudspeakers that the Inspiration was going to be passing us on the port side, on her Inaugural voyage as she left Miami. Fortunately for us, we were again on the correct side of the ship, and, standing on our balcony, we saw the Inspiration sail past, to the accompaniment of horns from the Sensation to Inspiration and Inspiration back to Sensation. It was neat! By around 11:30, the weather had cleared off beautifully and we laid in the sun and baked for several hours. We had intended to head down to the dining room for lunch. However, since this was the last day and by far the best day for sunning, we blew off lunch, both dining room and buffet, altogether, in favor of a sunburn to take home. We tried to grab a bite in the buffet around 4 P.M., and found only ice cream and desserts and decided not to bother. Saturday night involved saying goodbye to tablemates and the exchange of tips and all the usual last night rituals. Incidentally, we got no speech at all from our waiter about giving excellent service marks on the comment card. Good job!

In the scheme of things, we retired fairly early (for us!) Saturday night/Sunday morning, around 2 A.M. and placed our bags outside the door. We had promised our tablemates that we would eat breakfast in the dining room Sunday morning--even though the buffet was available Sunday morning and we normally opt for that, given the chance. Therefore we woke up somewhat early and we stunned when we left the cabin to see our luggage still sitting outside our cabin door. I wandered down the hallway and found our cabin steward to tell him of this calamity. He said that he had already called to report the suitcases and they disappeared while we were at breakfast. We then waited on Sensation Boulevard for the ship to be cleared and left the ship by about 10:00. We checked our bags to US Air FLL and purchased bus transfers to FLL airport, right on the dock, for $15 pp, and arrived in FLL about 10:45, in plenty of time for our 12:00 flight.

MISC ITEMS--This review mentions nothing of shore excursions, as we don't do ship shore excursions. However, if anyone wants a copy of the list of shore excursions, drop me an e-mail, with a fax number and we'll send it to you. This review also mentions nothing of the shows onboard, as we managed a perfect record this trip of not going to any of the shows. There are a couple of late night comedian shows, which we had kind of intended on going to, but just somehow never made it to. We did listen to the male/female duo (Caribbean Breeze) which plays in Michaelangelo's Lounge. They played a mixture of pop, country, Jimmy Buffet, etc., and were quite a bit of fun. The casino was extraordinarily unkind to us this trip. We didn't play the slots at all, but otherwise did our bit to try to purchase one or more of the gaming tables. The Sensation has three roulette tables, 2 craps tables, a wheel of fortune, several blackjack tables, a couple of face-up blackjack tables, several Caribbean stud tables, and a game I hadn't seen before, called Let it Ride. For roulette addicts like me, they have $.25 roulette before 7 P.M. on sea days. The casino was very busy, even the craps tables, which often are not particularly busy on ships, but I never really saw anyone winning very much.

Guess that's about it. As I said at the beginning of this epistle, not one of our best cruises, but certainly much better than a week at home. Let us know if you have any questions.

Carol & Eric In Virginia

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