This was our 11th cruise. We have sailed on Carnival, NCL, Holland, RCL and then Disney prior to this one. I briefly looked at the reviews before rushing to make our decision to sail on the Conquest. The price was right.
The port was quite a distance from the airport, so we rented a car, which was less than the shuttle. I heard of the embarkation confusion, but it seemed to be the same on all lines. If you get there really early, you wait TO get in line. If you get there when 2,000 others did, you wait in the line. If you get there after 1 or so you probably can breeze right through. Hey this is just the start of your vacation, so you should be in a good mood.
We were disappointed that they did not have a sail away party. For that really sets your vacation. Instead we just floated away.
The stateroom was your basic inside, fit all our needs. Never had a balcony, so can't complain. For us we'd rather go on 2 cruises instead of a more expensive room. But that is a personal choice. What really hit me hard was the room had a horrible smoke smell. I am very allergic to smoke, and it is hard enough to avoid all those lounges and decks with smokers. So at least in my room I thought I could breath easier. I asked the room steward to do something about this. The bathroom was the worse, all the linens smelled of smoke. I think he just sprayed it. During the middle of the night I ended up removing all of the towels, the shower mat and the curtain and put them out in the hall.
The next morning I went to the infirmary and was talking to them about it and they said they can use an ozonator in the room and it will remove the odor. I requested that the steward did this, not sure if he ever did. But I got through the next days taking medications. Why I'm telling you this is because I never knew you could even smoke in a stateroom!
I was a bit disappointed after reading all the negative comments on this ship that I had booked it. And I'm not sure if that lowered my expectations or what, but it was a great cruise. Great food, good service.
We did not care for the major shows, too many butts. I was thinking of the parents of children there. How uncomfortable.
Almost all cruises do the same activities. I think that NCL does more arts 'n' crafts etc. You are bombarded with the art auction, and the sales pitch for shopping. Does everyone go on a vacation to shop??? Disney definitely "partied" more. They celebrated everything! And it really helped you feel excited. I wish Carnival would be more FUN.
As I now have read at least 300 reviews on the different ships, I have come to the conclusion that you should think about your priorities. If you do not want a lot of children around, do not go when school is out. If you prefer high end things, sail on a high end ship. Treat people with respect and hopefully they will do the same. And in the end let the cruise line know what you think.