I thought I would write this review as these message boards really helped me answer a lot of questions etc. We sailed on the Carnival Conquest out of New Orleans on April 3 to April 10, 2005.
Embarkation: Arrived in New Orleans at about 10:30 am and parked the vehicle in the open fenced in parking area and rode the shuttle to the terminal. Then grabbed a taxi and headed to Bourbon Street to check out the sights. We then boarded the ship at about 3:00 pm or so. The port did seem to be a little more crowded at this time of the day verses when we were there at about 11:00 am. We did have to wait in the dreaded yellow chairs, but the time went pretty fast. We probably waited a total of about 30 minutes. Our first impression of the ship was wonderful. Very beautiful and clean.
Cabin: We booked on the upper deck room #6358 with a balcony. This was a very good location and close to the elevators/steps, which was handy! (especially to the casino 1 deck down!) Did not hear any noise from the elevators at night. Our room was very spacious and enough storage for all of our things. Our room steward Jose was very nice and kept the room clean. We enjoyed the use of our balcony and would cruise with one again!
Entertainment: There are so many things to do on the ship to keep a person busy! They have a lot of activities during the day around the main pool like survivor, harry chest contest etc. We did not get involved with any of these, but people were having fun with it. Instead we just did a lot of relaxing by the pool and watched. There are also a few good informative programs during the day about where the best place to shop is, shore excursions, what to expect on each island etc. We did not go to any of these as they do eventually play this on your cabin TV if you missed this particular program. The only shows that we went to were the late night comedians. They were pretty good. Phat Kat was pretty funny, but did not really enjoy the ventriloquist comedian. We did not make it to the other shows, but heard that they were good. We also made it to the piano bar on the last night of the cruise, and that was fun. We did a lot of gambling in the casino at night, but had no luck there. There was a band by the casino that played every night, but the singing kind of sucked. There is so much to do (or so little if you want to) that I can't remember everything!
Dining. We had late seating in the Monet dinning room. (8:00pm) We ate in the dinning room mostly at night. Formal nights were especially good! Our waiter Andrew was very pleasant. We did eat there one morning for breakfast, but it was basically the same as the buffet only it took longer. We also ate all of our lunches at the Cezanne buffet dining, pizza place, deli or the grill. Very good food and have no complaints about any! We did not do the "point", but I guess it is worth every cent. Also, on Thursday night, they have the midnight buffet where they sculpt all of the food into things. This was very neat and you have the opportunity to take pictures of the food before you eat it.
Jamaica: We decided to go to Sunset Beach as we have read many good things about this place on the boards. We took a "JUTA" taxicab to Sunset Beach and got there about 9:30 am. Our driver Dennis was very kind. He was our taxi driver for the day. Sunset Beach was very nice for paying only $20.00 per person for all you can eat and drink. We just hung out by the beach and relaxed. There are water activities that you can do and I think you can snorkel there too. When you check in, don't forget to ask for towel vouchers to get a towel at the hotel instead of bringing your own. Just make sure that you return them when you are done. The pools and hot tubs were nice and the swim up bar was fun. The food was very good. They had jerk chicken, hot dogs, burgers, fries etc. Drinks were also good, but bring a big mug as they only put drinks in small plastic cups and that way you don't have to go for refills every two minutes! We left there about 2:00 pm and headed over to Margaritaville. This was a fun place. My husband went down the water slide. He said it was a blast! Very fast, I guess. We only ordered drinks here as we had eaten at Sunset Beach. So I don't know how the food was there, but it looked pricey! When we stepped outside from Margaritaville, people were all over us wanting us to buy drugs, get hair braided etc. A no thank you usually shut them up then. We found our taxi driver and we headed back to the ship at about 3:15 pm as we wanted to do some shopping at the pier. I would recommend only doing shopping in the building that you have to walk through to get to the taxis. The other ones through the fence, the people there were really pushy! Overall, we had a great relaxing day in Jamaica and it is a beautiful island. But I don't know if I will ever go back there.
Grand Cayman: Woke up early and had room service bring us breakfast as this was an early port day. Then we headed down to the main lounge to get a tender "sticker". We had no problem getting off the ship as we did not have a "carnival" sponsored tour, so we had to get a tender sticker instead. Not a problem. We had the Stingray Sandbar/snorkel tour booked with Captain Bryan on the Hannibal. Excellent tour! We found the place with no problems as they had given us directions. We waited for a while and then boarded a bus and they took us to the catamaran. Very nice and relaxing ride out to Stingray Sandbar. I was real leery about doing this tour, but it is a "must do" tour. I am not a very good swimmer but did fine. It is amazing to see all of the stingrays come to your boat when you dock. They made sure that all who wanted to hold and touch a stingray got a chance. I was scared at first but glad I did it. Once in a lifetime thing! They also videotaped the stingray adventure and the snorkeling and our friends ordered the DVD and are going to burn us a copy. Even the photographer said that was ok to do. So we just split the cost with our friends! I did not snorkel and my husband tried, but the water was kind of rough and water was going down his tube etc. Our friends had snorkeled before and did it, but they said that they never snorkeled in that rough of water before. I wished I would have practiced with the breathing etc. before hand, then I would have been more comfortable to try it. Oh well, next time. Then we had a little time before boarding the ship to shop. This is a very beautiful island, but you can still see hurricane damage, which is so sad.
Cozumel: Here we decided to grab a taxi to Paradise Beach, which was about 10 minutes from the pier. Make sure you ask the taxi driver how much BEFORE you get into the taxi. It cost about $14.00 a cab ride to the beach, which isn't bad. We just hung out at the beach and had the famous pineapple drinks and chip n salsa. Very good! My husband decided he wanted to parasail and the beach next door was offering that. $55.00 to do it. I just hung out at the beach and ended up getting my hair braided for $20.00. The beach next door (San Francisco) was cheaper on the braiding, so I got it done there (but the workers there were more pushy). Then we just relaxed some more and then split a chicken strip dinner. This was also very good. The beach is very nice and clean and I would recommend it to anyone. People were friendly and the restrooms were clean! You can also buy a $5.00 wristband to use all of the water toys, iceberg, trampoline etc. but we did not do this. An awesome relaxing day at a beautiful beach. We then headed back to the pier to do some shopping before we got back on the ship. Taxis were plentiful at Paradise beach for your return ride.
Disembarkation: The Conquest was trying a new way to disembark. They do not call off any tags by color. You just disembark when you are ready (after the ship clears customs). I thought it went pretty smoothly. The lines move very quickly. We were out with our luggage within 20 minutes at the most. Our vehicle was parked about 1 mile away in the open gated parking lot. Instead of waiting for a shuttle bus (which would have taken probably 2 hours by the time we got to our vehicle) we walked to the parking lot. This saved us a lot of time as we had a long drive ahead of us and wanted to get on the road as quickly as possible.
Overall: The ship is in great condition and is very pretty. I would sail on this ship in a heartbeat. We had a wonderful time on this vacation and are eager to get back onto another "fun" ship!