We are avid cruisers and believe they are the best way, price included, to vacation with the family. This cruise wasour 8th with Carnival and I am sad to day that it was met with disappointment and will most likely be the last with Carnival.
We started our journey with 2 nights in New Orleans prior to the cruise, our group consisted of 4 teenagers ages 16-18 and 2 pre-teens both age 12, a mix of boys and girls, and 4 adults. New Orleans was a great time and we had a great stay for a great price at Country Inn and Suites on Magazine Street. We were within walking distance to the French Quarter and many of the tourist attractions. We were also within 3 miles of the Port of New Orleans.
On Embarkation day Sunday March 31, 2013 we were met with the longest wait for priority boarding we have ever had. We always book a Grand Suite and are Carnival Gold members. Priority boarding was disorganized and chaotic and people who did not hae priority boarding were getting through their lines faster.
When we finally made it to the ship we were greeted to a ship that was very outdated, I understand the Conquest went in for updates not too long ago, but if they consider what they had done an upgrade then I am glad we had not sailed the Conquest before.
We made our way to the Lido deck to have lunch and I was surprised to see how small the Lido deck was and how few lounge chairs were available. The lounge chair situation was an issue the entire cruise. There were mornings I was on Lido deck by 7am and all the chairs had towels thrown over them and personell belongings on them reserving the chairs. Supposedly there is a 40 minute rule (if chairs are reserved and no one occupys thm for 40 minutes those belongings are removed and the chairs are made available for other passengers) clearly that rule is not enforced and when I asked an employee he stated "I am not sure what to do." I pointed to the sign stating and he told me to remove the items myself and put them "somewhere" if it had been 40 minutes or more. Anyway back to lunch, the food on the Conquest was poor quality, about the best thing to eat was Guy's burgers or the 24 hour pizza. There was not one meal that stood out or was of decent quality on the Lido deck or in the dining room.
When we entered our room it was nice,the typical suite and the room steward staff was amazing!! No complaints there. Actually all the staff members with the exception of a few were helpful and very fun to talk to.
Our port of calls were supposed to be Isla Roatan Honduras, Belize and Cozumel. We were uable to dock in Roatan due to high winds. Not much can be done about the weather and it happens so you make the best of it, so back to sea we went leaving us with a total of 3 sea days in a row. Carnival gave everyone on board a $12.50 credit for missing Roatan...yay. What was disappointing was the lack of entertainment and activities for that day. Instead of coming up with something fun or adding shows they opened the Casino and shops on board that were supposed to be closed until 8pm after much complaining from pasengers. But nothing special, what was also dispponting was we were stuck with the lousy food for another day.
We were able to get off the ship in Belize and we had scheduled an excursion outside of Carnival with cave-tubing.com (butt's up). The tendering process was a nightmare!! We waited in the comedy lounge for over an hour for a tender, we have never waited so long for a tender. When we finally got to the pier we were greeted by our guides and then proceeded tohave an AMAZING time! I would highly recommened them! we have done excursions with them in the past and they have never disappointed and the value is great too.
We also had a great time in Cozumel at Mr. Sanchos resort, again we booked outside of Carnival and we were not disappointed. Carnival was charging much more money for excursions and had cancelled many of the excursions due to rough water. Mr. Sanchos all inclusive remained open with a swim up bar, ocean kayaking and all you can eat and drink for the low price of $44.99 person and believe me we drank enough to make it worth our while. The kids had a great time swimming in the ocean and shopping.
Back on board for another day at sea after Cozumel. I was disappointed in the quality of the shows, the only show worth watching was the Diva show and the first night that they performed th how was cancelled less than 15 minutes in due to performer injury :( Hopefully she is healing swiftly!! She was the star of the show!
Another day on Lido with no chairs and disappointing food and entertainment. Of course Carnival had the famous hairy chest contest and the mixology contest but very little else to do.
It seems as if Carnival needs to step up their game in renovating their ships and shows. The highlight of the cruise was spending time with family and friends, and we made the best of our vacation. I am sad to say that Carnival disappointed this time and may have lost us as loyal passengers for good.