Comparison of Three Carnival Cruise Ships: Carnival Sensation, Dream And Ecstasy

Over the course of the last year, my family and I have had the opportunity to cruise with Carnival Cruise Lines on three different occasions. On the first cruise over Spring Break, we were part of an extended family cruise and we cruised on the Carnival Sensation. We cruised out of Port Canaveral on a 4 Night/5 Day cruise to the Bahamas. This was our first time cruising and we had a blast! We were quickly hooked on cruising. Our first port of call was Freeport, Bahamas.

Carnival Sensation Freeport, Bahamas


The Carnival Sensation is one of Carnival’s Fantasy Class ships. It’s not one of Carnival’s largest or newest ships, but it’s a really nice ship to cruise on. The one thing we enjoyed about the Carnival Sensation was the fact that it was not huge and the food lines were always manageable. After Day #1 it was fairly simple to know where we were on board at all times. Our second port of call was Nassua, Bahamas. We took a cab over to Cabbage Beach and spent a few hours there. We were all taken away with this beauty!

Cabbage Beach


Our second cruise in October took us on a 7 Night/8 Day cruise on the Carnival Dream to the Western Caribbean.

Carnival Dream: Mahogany Bay

We cruised out of Port Canaveral and quickly fell in love with all of the on board entertainment. The Carnival Dream is one of Carnival’s largest and newer ships. Due to the size of the Carnival Dream, the food selection and entertainment choices were more numerous when compared to the smaller ships. Chef’s Art Steakhouse was an experience in itself! The steak was amazing, as was the service. If you are on board the Carnival Dream, do make reservations to dine at Chef’s Art Steakhouse, it’s worth the extra money!


Chef's Art Steakhouse


The Serenity (adults only area) was huge on the CarnivalDream. There were lots and lots of wicker chairs, loungers, and places to lounge. A seat was always available. Seats were not always available on the smaller ships in the adults only Serenity areas. The Serenity area on the Carnival Dream was so big that it wrapped around the side of the ship.

Serenity on Dream


In February 2014, we found ourselves on board another Fantasy Class Ship: The Carnival Ecstasy. We were on a 4 Night/5 Day cruise that departed from Miami and cruised to Key West and Cozumel. The Serenity (adults only area) was small, but inviting. Not bad, huh?


Serenity Ecstasy


The Carnival Ecstasy was older and smaller, but yet a nice ship to cruise on. Here’s a glimpse of the Lido Deck of the Carnival Ecstasy at night.

Ecstasy Lido.jpg


The Carnival Ecstasy was clean and our suite was simply top notch!

Suite On Carnival Ecstasy

Again, we found the food lines to be shorter and more manageable than the larger ship. Entertainment was adequate, just not a full slate of activities that you may find on a larger ship, such as the Carnival Dream.

We like to cruise to experience the ports of call and we do enjoy the music that is offered throughout the ships. There’s something to be said about cruising to your destination, we simply love it! Roatan, Honduras is one of my personal favorite ports of call. From the monkeys and parrots to the gorgeous scenery, this port was amazing!

Sara and parrot


And another favorite port was Cozumel. Cozumel was part of our itinerary while cruising on the Carnival Dream and the Carnival Ecstasy. The water and beach here is just absolutely gorgeous, wouldn’t you agree?

Todd and Sara Passion Island


Each ship offered a miniature golf course, Carnival Kids Club, nice variety of food, swimming pool, and an adults area only known as Serenity. I would have to say that the Carnival Dream was our favorite ship when it comes to choosing between these three ships. The Carnival Sensation and Carnival Ecstasy were ideal for shorter cruises. The Carnival Dream was perfect for our longer cruise and we always had something to do or somewhere to go.

All three ships provided memories that were priceless and quite honestly, I’m looking forward to checking out another Carnival Cruise ship in 2014; which one should we look into? I’m thinking the Carnival Sunshine! Have you cruised on the Carnival Sunshine? If so, I’d love to hear about your experience.

*Note: We paid for our three cruises, we were not compensated for our cruise fares.


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A traveler at heart with a passion for travel in the Midwest. SaraB

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8 thoughts on “Comparison of Three Carnival Cruise Ships: Carnival Sensation, Dream And Ecstasy

  1. Oh, how fun! We are also cruising in January on the Carnival Vista. The Ecstasy is a smaller ship and in my opinion, first time cruisers will enjoy it, as there are fewer people. I loved the outdoor eating areas on this ship, they seemed unique and kind of tucked away. No reason to be scared… enjoy your cruise! Beings it’s your first time, I would be prepared for motion sickness, as you never know when you will hit some “wild” water. This happened to us on our first cruise and I was not prepared. It took a good 12 hours for the Dramamine to take effect. I now take Dramamine a day before we start cruising and have not had issues. You will be on a smaller ship and if you do hit rough water, you will feel it.

  2. My husband and I r taking a Cruise in January to the Bahamas this is our first time taking a cruise I’m kind of scared can you give me any advice were going on the Carnival cruise ship ecstasy..

  3. My family has taken two cruises, both with Carnival. I think I need to take one more to determine if I truly like to cruise or if it just isn’t for me. We’ve been to Progresso & Cozumel and also on a cruise to Alaska. While I loved the ports on our Caribbean cruise, I especially enjoyed the scenic views of Alaska.

    I’m hoping to take another cruise this fall as a family but we’ve not determined when or where. I’d really like to experience one of the newer, larger ships because we’ve found entertainment a bit lacking on the past two.

  4. I want to plan a cruise now! We have been on Carnival Imagination and Carnival Spirit. Imagination was a pretty large ship which took us a couple days to figure out how to get back to our room. Spirit was a smaller ship that was easy to get around and actually I thought had pretty good entertainment for it’s size. Honduras sounds like a spot we’ll have to try in the future!

  5. All I can say is we love cruising! Each ship has something different to bring to the table and I love that. And each port, that’s a whole other story, has so much to offer. I’m anxious to read what you have to say about the Carnival Sunshine, as that ship is on our radar.

  6. Good comparison! I, too, have been on three Carnival ships: the Dream, the Fantasy and the Conquest. Like you said about the Sensation and the Ectasy, the Fantasy and the Conquest are older, smaller ships perfect for short cruises. The Dream is ideal for longer cruises or if you prefer a wider range of dining and entertaining options. Next month I’ll check out the Sunshine on an abbreviated excursion to the Bahamas, and I can’t wait to see it!

  7. We love the adventure- each port is unique and it’s a floating hotel! Yes, the food was fabulous!

  8. Absolutely lovely pictures and great idea to compare them all in the same post. We have never opted for the cruise but you certainly made it look very appealing. The food looked fabulous!!!

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