I went on the Carnival Conquest on Oct. 16, 2005. This is my first cruise, but I have done a lot of traveling throughout the world even to third world countries like Angola. I was extremely unimpressed with my cruise experience that Carnival provided. I went when Hurricane Wilma was just forming. Carnival changed my port to Progresso, Cozumel, and Costa Maya which I can understand since no one can predict Mother Nature.
Embarkation: We went around 11:30 AM thinking we will be ahead of all the people. Wrong. The terminal was filled with people because they did not start letting people on the cruise ship until 1:00PM.
Food: The food is pretty bad. I thought the quality of food on the Lido desk was worst than any food you can find in a mall's food court. However, the food served at the main dining room was okay.
Staff: The staff on Carnival was very rude and unhelpful. I got bumped by the staff many times and without any apologies. This is quite shocking as staffs in any hotel or even motel are much nicer than the Carnival staffs. One day at 11:30AM, we wanted some pizzas. We were the only one there. The pizza guy saw us waiting and just ignored us for 10 mins talking with another staff. I do not think this kind of service is acceptable at all. There were about three staffs that were extremely nice to us throughout the cruise and we definitely will call Carnival to praise on those individuals that made our cruise more bearable.
Excursion: Please do not book any of your excursions with Carnival. You are told that Carnival does not want you to book outside the cruise ship due to any issue that might come up. However, they do not resolve issues when you run into problems with the excursion you book with them. I booked a Clear Kayak and Beach Break Tour excursion provided by Pelicanos Tours through Carnival. We were on shore getting ready to get on the Kayak when the tour operator told us to give them all non-waterproof cameras. My boyfriend took his camera from our zip-lock bag and gave it to the tour operator. We then all got in the clear kayak. We did not see any fish or reefs. All we saw was sand and grass. We also went against current and the wind which caused the kayaking to feel like an endurance test. Finally, we reached the beach. After hanging out on the beach for two- three hours, my boyfriend had to go to the restroom. This is when he noticed a lot of people were gathered around the restroom with their camera. He went over there and found out that the tour operators took all of our digital cameras in a non-waterproof bag on a jet ski and drop it in the sea. We went back on the ship and complained to Carnival. Their response is it is privately operated tour and they cannot do anything to help us at all. The excursion staff was rude and just argued with us. All we want is a disposable camera ($10) so we can take some picture on the rest of our tour and they refused to even provide it. How do we work with a tour operators from Costa Maya when we are on the cruise ship?
Activities: All of the main shows were very disappointing. I thought they hired some Vegas rejects to perform the so called Vegas Style shows. The juggler was dropping rings and batons throughout the show. The magician was a joke. She messed up the first act and had to restart it. She was suppose to pop up on a stand but when it come time she was no where to be found. I was able to see all the secret pockets she had her stuff hidden in. The dancers were performing out of sync. The performances done by nonprofessionals were way better. Todd the cruise director was very funny and the newly wed game was a lot of fun. The last night they did an improv show (Who's line is it anyway) and it was hilarious. The talent show was also very entertaining.
Debarkation: We were told to sit around in the lounges until our color tag were called. After two hours of waiting, we were still on the first color tag. This is very uncoordinated and frustrating. The whole time Carnival blamed the Galveston custom people and process. Finally, they called our color and we went through custom within 20 mins. It is quite interesting as the custom process was much faster than they make it sound.
Overall: I had a horrible time on the Carnival Conquest, majority due to the rude staff on the ship. I will not recommend anyone to go on this ship due to the nightmare that we experienced. I would not want anyone to have to argue with staff members during their vacation since we all know how hard it is to setup a vacation. I also talked with numerous people on the ship and about 2/3 of the people had a bad to terrible cruise.