We love the relaxation of taking a warm, Caribbean cruise in the winter months. Given our kids are now in college and not cruising with us, we pick a date that kids are in school.
This was our 7th cruise, and fifth with Carnival. We love all cruises, and our trips on Celebrity and Princess were quite nice. We simply don't believe the extra price those brands commands are best for us...we would rather take 2 cruises on Carnival than 1 on Celebrity for the same amount of money!
We had sailed on the Carnival Freedom out of Fort Lauderdale last February, and since that was a (younger) sister ship, we knew what we were getting from the Conquest. We generally like the layout of the ship, and feel the size (about 3,000 passengers) is about the biggest we would like to do...although we'll probably try one of the bigger ships in the future just to see. We did prefer the more serene color scheme of the Conquest; less flashy, more classy than Freedom, but in the end they are both beautiful ships.
We love sailing out of both Ft. Lauderdale and New Orleans; both ports really have their act together when it comes to getting on and off the ship quickly. Last year Fort Lauderdale was a lot warmer than New Orleans was this year, but that isn't surprising.
As I said, we love to cruise, relax, and enjoy, and are not the type of cruisers that look for things to complain about. We loved the addition of Guy's Burgers (delicious, and we were proud of only eating two each during the cruise!), and the Blue Iguana Burritos were also a nice addition. Anytime dining was "sold out" so we went with the Late Seating, and thoroughly enjoyed our table mates... we laughed so hard other tables no doubt wondered what we were drinking. We also love to eat out at any type of restaurant, so cruise ship food is fine with us. We don't expect gourmet, and we got what we hoped for...good tasting, beautifully served food anytime we wanted it. We always hear good things about the Steakhouse, but again, we'd rather spend the $70 on a nice dinner when we aren't on a cruise (with free dinner served to us!).
Because we like to eat, we also use the fitness facilities. The equipment was in great shape, and we spent about an hour and a half each morning there.
We love to see Broadway style shows, and thought the presentation of Motor City was exceptionally good and fun. We also really liked the Divas, and thought the background digital staging for The Brits was interesting and entertaining. The quality of the singers/dancers was about the best we've had on any cruise.
We also thoroughly enjoyed the George Lopez Punchliner comedy shows. Again, these will be as good as the comedians who play there, but we were fortunate to have 4 really good ones during the week.
Since we've been to all the ports numerous times before, we were content to stay on board during Jamaica and Cozumel (would have rented mopeds but it was cloudy and windy that day), and as always enjoyed our day at the beach in Grand Cayman.
We dropped in to view the artwork (nice, but didn't stick around to bid), played the last night in the casino (won $65 at video blackjack), almost participated in the bean bag toss (but too lazy to get out of the hot tub to get in line), and enjoyed some of the small duos/trios playing live music around the ship.
All in all, another relaxing and satisfying cruise. And we missed the two largest snow storms of Chicago's (mostly snowless) winter!