This was our first Carnival cruise and our sons' first cruise. We cruised with RC before. Our sons are 15 & 18.
We booked parking online with EZ cruise parking. If you book online its $50 for the week or $55 if you drive up. Either way, it's cheaper than Carnival's lot. They give you a numbered ticket when you arrive and that's the number you use to board your bus over to the terminal so there's no use trying to hurry in front of the slow pokes to get on board the bus first. We arrived at 1:00 and there were already a lot of people waiting to board. Don't try to walk to the terminal, it's several blocks away. It took about 90 min. to get thru the line to get to the check-in desk.
We went straight to our cabin. My cheapo hubby said we'd do fine without a balcony room and he was exactly right! We had an outside cabin with a large, but dirty, window. Our cabin had a king bed, a twin bed and a drop from the ceiling twin bed. Our son loved it up there, said it was his own space. There are three large closets, lots of drawers and storage space. Take an extension cord or power strip because there's only one outlet. The cabin was comfortable and clean.
Our dinner was in the Renoir dining room, 8:30 seating. We always ordered a salad and another starter. Some of the starters are very small. We regret not eating in the Sur-Mer dining room. It is upstairs in the Cezanne dining room and kind of hard to find. It's all seafood and when I finally found it, it was too late. We ordered room service for breakfast the three excursion days and loved it!
The excursion departings are confusing. You are told to meet in the lounge and wait for your excursion to be called. We didn't book a Carnival excursion so we had to get a number sticker. Don't panic if you get a high number, like 12. They got all the people loaded onto the huge tenders very quickly. I'd advise having one person from your party go to the lounge early and get numbers for everyone if you want to depart quicker. We booked our Grand Cayman Sting Ray City excursion thru Captain Bryan's. It had a 9:30 departure time and we got there in plenty of time. We went to Sunset Beach Resort in Jamaica for $40 per person. It was relaxing and we enjoyed the drinks, non-alcohol for the kids, and the lunch buffet. They also had snorkeling and kayaks but the snorkel equipment was hard to come by. The resort is very pretty.
In Cozumel, we regret not taking an excursion. We wish we would've snorkeled. We ate lunch at Poncho's backyard. It was good but I think many of our Mexican restaurants in Houston are just as good. But we figured since we were in Cozumel we needed to eat lunch there. We spent the rest of the very hot day just shopping and looking around. The day before the Cozumel port, Todd, the cruise director will tell you all about what to avoid in Cozumel.
It's very cold on the ship so take a sweater or coverup, especially in the dining rooms. Don't worry about formal nights being too formal. Our sons wore collared shirts and slacks. The three days at sea are plenty of time to relax and roam around the ship. There's plenty to do whatever your age and interests. We went to the upper decks for lounging. The view is unrestricted by the railing unlike some of the lower decks. The nightly entertainment was great IF you like Las Vegas style. The dancers are skimpily dressed and sitting in the front will give you an eyeful. Phat Kat was very funny and my older son and hubby went to the midnight "R" show. They said it wasn't any worse than MTV.
Disembarkation was simple! We did self assist and were off the ship, thru customs and on the bus heading back to the car lot within an hour.
In summary, the Conquest is a giant ship. It's a little worn and smells really weird. I sneezed a lot. The staff was all wonderful. The most important thing I can tell you if you are Dr. Pepper addict, and you know who you are, there's only Mr. Pibb on board. We carried on two six packs but I saw one lady carrying two 24 packs! We had our refrigerator unlocked and kept our stash in the room. Our next cruise will depend on the itinerary, not the cruise line. I can't wait!