Carnival Conquest - Western Caribbean: Carnival Conquest Cruise Review by luvtocruise52
Overall Member Rating
Carnival Conquest - Western Caribbean
Destination: Western Caribbean
Parking, Embarkation: We live in Houston and drove to Galveston the morning of the cruise. I had made an online reservation to park at EZCruise parking, $50/week, and only 2 blocks from the terminal. There was about a 20 minute wait in line to get into the lot, but staff there helped unload our bags. We waited under a tent for a few minutes before they put our bags onto a shuttle and took all four of us to the terminal. A porter took our bags (except carry ons), which werent delivered to our cabin until 6 pm. The check-in lines in the terminal were very long (there were some unusual problems that More day and people were still getting off the ship between 12-1 pm). We arrived at the terminal about 12:45 pm and didnt get onto the ship until 2 pm. After dropping off our carry ons and checking out our cabin, we headed to the Cezanne restaurant (buffet) on the Lido deck (deck 9). The food was disappointing, but from then on we were very pleased with almost everything we were served. Because of the embarkation delays, we didnt have the lifeboat drill until 5:00, and left Galveston about 5:30.
Stateroom: This was our first inside cabin, and we actually ended up liking it as it was quiet and dark for daytime resting. The location was great between two sets of elevators and not too long a walk to get anywhere on the ship. If you book an inside, DO bring a night light and/or flashlight! We had two adults in the lower twin beds, with a 16 y/o and 20 y/o in the pull down bunks. The twin beds were comfortable and the pillows and comforters were great, though the kids complained that they only got a sheet and thin blanket on the bunks (didnt think to ask if they could get comforters, too). We only got in each others way when dressing in the morning and for dinner. There was plenty of closet and drawer space. The restroom was comfortable, and the shower large enough for someone like me who is queen size. I appreciated the containers of Dove shampoo and shower gel in the shower stall. Razors, powder, and a few other toiletries were provided in a basket. Our room was cleaned and made up twice a day, and in the evening, the room steward always left a cute towel animal, chocolates, and the Capers listing the next days activities.
Ship Info: While not as elegant as the Rhapsody, the Conquest was a very attractive ship, with Impressionist murals on the walls and ceiling of the atrium and paintings displayed around the ship. Overall, I found the dEcor interesting and pleasing. The ship was very clean and in good condition. There were lots of elevators, and while we sometimes had to wait a few minutes for one to arrive, they were crowded only at the busiest times (before and after dinner and shows). You can only walk the length of the ship on decks 5 and 9, and I found the ship a bit hard to find my way around (although my husband and kids did fine!) There was good signage directing you to the public areas, so that was helpful. There were some small rooms that were kind of tucked away, and we didnt discover them for several days. I wish there were some way to get around the ship without having to walk through areas where smoking is allowed, but this wasnt a big problem. Despite the large number of passengers (around 3000 since the ship was full), I rarely had the feeling of he ship being crowded, which was a pleasant surprise.
Pool Areas: The pool and hot tubs at the center of deck 9 were usually noisy and full of kids, while the adults only pool at the rear of deck 9 was more peaceful. To get from one to the other, you either had to walk through the Cezanne (buffet) restaurant, or walk up to deck 10 and then back down again at the other pool. The kids seemed to have a grand time on the water slide, which is entered on deck 10. There were lots of deck chairs as well as some fun rocking chairs on the upper levels overlooking the main pool and stage, where a couple of so-so guys played music at various times of the day and night.
Dining: We had main seating (5:45 pm) in the Monet, which was nicely decorated with an Eiffel Tower and Monet water lilies theme. We were assigned to a table for four even though we had asked for a bigger table so we could meet others, but when we requested a reassignment, we were seated at a table with a family of 5. We were on the upper level and could see the water, which added to our dining experience. It seemed that the waiters were assigned too many tables, but Peter and Fredo were great and accommodated our requests for extra appetizers and desserts!
We were very pleased with the food overall. I had a good lamb dish the first evening. Anything seafood was quite good, while beef entrees (except a petite filet mignon my husband ordered) were disappointing. The chocolate desserts were yummy, and there was a wonderful tiramisu, crème Brule, and black and white pudding. The bread with sun dried tomatoes was delicious. Coffee was quite good, and cappuccino and espresso were included, not priced extra.
I ate breakfast and lunch in the Monet most days and found the food to be quite good, especially the two egg specials I ordered (one with prosciutto and one with salmon in phyllo, both with poached eggs). We ordered room service breakfast one morning and it was promptly delivered. Only a limited menu of items was available for room service.
My husband and the kids ate some breakfasts and lunches in the Cezanne (buffet) restaurant and thought the food was OK. While many people rave about the burgers, the one I got was very disappointing. Both kids thought the pizza was greasy and not very good, though others rave about it. My son got a good turkey sandwich at the deli. The chocolate and vanilla frozen yogurt machines were popular and wonderful treats! The late night buffets were less frequent and less impressive than on other ships weve sailed. The chocolate buffet was served at lunch on Saturday, and I wouldnt have known about it if I hadnt stumbled on it by accident.
Activities: I was determined not to be busy every minute of the day and night this cruise, but I could have been. There were frequent bingo games and art auctions, the usual games (horse racing, hairy chest contest, newlywed game, etc.), and classes and tours (towel folding, ship tour). Classes were available in the spa and gym, some free and some for a charge. The gym and spa looked nice but I didnt use them. The casino seemed to be full at all hours of the day and night. There didnt seem to be as many dance classes or opportunities for dancing on the deck as I remember from previous cruises, but there were some. Carnival has licensed its name to a time share company that tries to sell memberships in the Carnival Vacation Club, which didnt appear to be a very good deal once you crunched the numbers.
Entertainment: My impression of the dance and song production on the first night was that it seemed more like a high school musical, although other shows were better, especially Formidable (great costumes!). Point and Click was very bad. We enjoyed the hypnotist, and the magician was OK. We skipped the juggler and Phat Kat (the comedian) as we were too tired, but heard they were good. We spent several hours listening to Karaoke, and the highlight of our cruise was watching our daughter perform as Britney Spears in the Carnival Legends Show on Saturday night. We wandered into the piano bar and quickly left, disappointed. There were other singers and bands playing at various times and places around the ship.
Childrens Clubs: Our son participated in some of the Club 02 activities for 15-17 y/os, but they didnt seem particularly well organized or supervised. There were over 1000 kids in Camp Carnival. Overall, the kids and teens seemed to be better behaved and less obnoxious than on our Rhapsody cruise. I DO wish ships security would enforce the midnight curfew. Shore Excursions: Montego Bay Wanting to avoid the hassles of the pushy vendors and drug dealers wed heard so much about, we took a shuttle ($2 pp each way) to Sunset Beach, about 5 minutes from the port. The $40 day pass (with sign and sail card) includes use of lounge chairs, beach umbrellas, kayaks, paddle boats, and snorkeling gear; use of the pools and water park; and all you can eat and drink. I was surprised at how narrow the beach was, and having been to the Destin, Florida area, would be hard pressed to call the beaches white sand. The water was nice, but not as clear and beautiful as in the next two ports. The kids enjoyed the water slides in the water park, and my daughter and I got inner tubes and floated around the lazy river. We ate at the buffet in the Banana Café, which was mediocre at best. We each got two or three virgin strawberry daiquiris and pina coladas, and there were all kinds of alcoholic drinks included. Since we dont drink, I felt the day was not worth the price, especially when compared to the value of the excursion in Grand Cayman and the use of a much nicer beach in Cozumel for a much smaller price.
Grand Cayman On our last cruise, we had done the Stingray City/snorkeling excursion with Nativeway Watersports, and they were so great, we decided to use them again for the Rays, Reef, and Rum Point Tour ($60 pp for adults, $45 for age 10 and under; snorkeling gear provided). These guys are amazing! We only had 18 people on the tour and got LOTS of personal attention and time with the rays at Stingray City. At the snorkeling stop, Sheldon lured a nurse shark out of its cave for us to pet while it swam around, and also got a moray eel to come out for a swim. Rum Point is a really beautiful beach, and the food included in the tour price was excellent. (You order from a grill menu while on the boat and they have it ready for you when you arrive at the beach.) We bought the DVD of our tour from the videographer ($65). It was well done and brought back wonderful memories.
Cozumel This was our 4th visit to Cozumel, and I was very impressed with how beautifully its been rebuilt since last years Hurricane Wilma. We took a taxi to Paradise Beach ($13 each way from downtown). We got an early tender and arrived early enough to get 4 beach front lounge chairs with shade umbrellas, and mats to float on. There is a floating "iceberg" for kids to climb, other kinds of floats, kayaks, and snorkeling gear (though we didn't see anything). All included for $8 pp - no charge if you don't use any of the equipment, but I think you're expected to buy food or drinks. I got the double stack chicken quesadillas (about $10) and they were great and enough for two. The Fury Catamaran leaves from the pier here for snorkeling tours.
Tendering: My husband had been told that he could get a tender ticket for an early tender in Grand Cayman even though we hadnt booked an excursion through Carnival, so he was at the appointed place bright and early while the rest of us got ready and ate the breakfast wed ordered from room service. It turned out that we all had to be present, and ended up having to wait awhile before getting our tickets, but were off the ship by about 7:45 am. Tendering in was easy and pleasant. Tendering in at Cozumel was OK, but the return was an ordeal. We were on a large tender, and it couldnt hook up with the ship and kept bumping into it.
Disembarkation: This went smoothly for us, although we didnt get off the ship until 10:45 since those who carry off their own luggage, who have flights leaving before 2:30 pm, and who are in the upper decks get to leave first. We had to be out of our room by 8:30, but could eat in the dining room or buffet while we waited. The kids curled up in the Toulouse Lautrec lounge and slept until our deck was called. The luggage was placed in the terminal according to deck, and it took several minutes to locate all of it. In Galveston, everyone must go through immigration, and we had to get in a long line, but things went smoothly. Porters were few and far between so we had to carry all of our luggage. (Pack light!) When we exited the terminal, there was an EZCruise parking lot shuttle waiting, and they loaded up our luggage and took us back to the lot, where we retrieved our car, and reluctantly, headed for home.
General Impressions: We were pleasantly surprised at how nice the ship, rooms, staff, and food were, and we would definitely cruise Carnival again if the other ships are as nice as the Conquest. Less
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