I just returned from the Conquest on Monday, October 24, 2005. This was our second cruise on the same ship. We took the same ship the same week in 2004. Last year our cruise was wonderful, we did miss the Caymans because of Hurricane Ivan, but that didn't matter. The entire onboard experience made up for missing one port. We could have missed all three and still had a great time.
This last cruise was entirely a different story. We were to visit Jamaica, Caymans, and Cozumel. Well Wilma changed that, we went to Costa Maya, Cozumel, and Progresso. So what, we were still on a great ship right? I couldn't be any more wrong.
We did have a great room steward, Albert. And our waiters in the main dinning room did loosen up after a couple of days. But that was it for the great and wonderful Carnival Conquest. With an exception of these few individuals, every staff member on the ship was very rude, short spoken, almost as if "why are you bothering me".
I had two kids with me that spent time with Camp Carnival. The staff there was awful as well. On the first day, my 10 year old was not allowed to sign herself out, so the staff told her she could not go to the restroom until her parents came back to sign her out.
My 7 year old did not sign himself out, but he was allowed to go to the restroom.
While on the Lido deck, we were literally ran over by a staff member with a cart of dishes, this happened several times. They didn't offer an excuse me, I'm sorry, or even get out of the way. Most of the staff would hardly make eye contact. Last year everyone was friendly, staff members would say hello or something every time they passed me. (This did get better the last two days at sea, you know just before we adjusted out gratuity.) Anyone can have a bad day but when the over 1000 staff members have seven bad days in a row, all at the same time, what I hear is Carnival already has your money and we don't care about you any more.
By Wednesday, we were trying to out run Hurricane Wilma, the seas were very rough. One of the shows was canceled due to the rough water.
Our cabin was right above the disco lounge and the Degas lounge. Karaoke every night, except that one night when the "r" rated comedian was there. Good thing our kids were exhausted from swimming and already asleep. I hope the person singing "Proud Mary" won, she was very good. All of this was the good news!
The cruise was out of Galveston, TX. We had a flight out of George Bush Airport in Houston at 3:40pm Sunday. An hour and a half from Galveston.
Early disembarkation was only for flight before 2pm, NO EXCEPTIONS. Customs could only accept 50 people at a time. The ship was cleared for disembarkation about 8:15-8:30. We got off the boat at about 1pm. Believe me we tried and tried to get off early. We overheard on one of the staff radios, that all luggage was cleared at 10am. We left Hertz in Galveston about 2pm. We were in line at the airport by 3pm. At the ticket counter at 3:20. Our tickets were already given away to standby passengers. We missed our flight. We got a flight home on Monday at 1:05. $400 extra to change our flight, plus the $100 for a hotel room. We spoke to about a hundred or so people aboard the ship and at the airport in the same situation as we were.
This will be our last cruise with Carnival. I’ve heard that Carnival is one of the cheapest cruise lines, and now I know why, you get what you pay for. We will cruise again. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. We just got home last night, haven't had time to contact Carnival yet. But talking to others and reading reviews here, I don't think I'll get very far.