I should first say that I've never been on a cruise I didn't like. Each one has good points and bad points. I tend to look on the good side and forget about the bad. Having said that, let's talk about the Conquest and the cruise. Parking & embarkation: We parked offsite with Machu Picchu Tours, covered parking, shuttle to and from the ship, $79 total. Would recommend them. Got to the terminal earlier than we usually do, approx. 12:00 so got to sit in the dreaded yellow chairs waiting to get on the ship. Check in was smooth without too long a wait. This was before moving to the chairs. Things started moving around 12:30 and we did the chair shuttle a couple of times before getting the mandatory embarkation picture. All in all, not a real problem.
The ship: Launched in 2002, the ship is still new and has yet to show any aging. It is also very large! Spent the first few hours just looking around and trying to get our bearings. Pretty much had it down around day three LOL. Keep your ship maps handy. The ship itself is beautiful. Decorated with the art work of the masters. The lobby is very impressive as are the glass elevators. Hint: deck 5 is the only deck that you can get from one end of the ship to the other so it's the only way to get to the aft dining room where we were.
Food & entertainment: Food in the dining room was a bit of a disappointment beef dishes were good, lobster was terrible, other dishes were so-so. Hint: we ate at the Point on Sat. and it was great. Well worth the $25pp extra. Come hungry. Shows we ok, a little too much music from French musicals. They had technical problems in a couple of their shows that shortened them when they couldn't be corrected. They are also putting some of their shows on at earlier times so that you don't have to stay late to see them. ie; one show starts at 7:00 for the late diners and 8:00 for the earlier diners. Food on the Lido deck was good with three small areas with separate menus. One is a deli, one is fish&chips etc..,and one is Chinese. All were good.
Staff and service: All were excellent Deep, a server on the Lido deck had my DW's drink and card number memorized by day two. John Paul, our steward, was never seen after we met him but kept the room spotless and I'm sure would have been right there if we needed him. Everyone was friendly and kept the ship clean and picked up.
Ports of call: Mo Bay; went to Sunset Beach for the day. Well worth the $20pp fee to get in. Includes food, drinks, and use of water sport equipment. You turn in your sail & sign card at the desk and pick it up at the security gate on the way out. Don't forget to ask for a towel card when you check in so you can get a beach towel to use. Sunset Beach is close to the ship $2pp taxi ride one way. As you come into port, you'll see two hotel towers, yellow or orange,I think. That is where Sunset Beach is. Grand Cayman; Didn't do much here other than walk around some. Rather expensive. Still some storm damage to be seen but they are recovering nicely. Water activities are still some of the best. Cozumel; One of our favorite ports. Good shopping, beautiful water and good food. Lots of fun. General info.: If you're going to book an outside room, try to get one on the Port side of the ship. You will get the best view as you go down the Mississippi and morning sun on the first two days of the cruise when it is generally the coolest. Watch out for the casino, it will bite you. Trust me on this. If you can afford a balcony, get one, you won't be sorry. Most of all, relax, enjoy the cruise and go with the flow.