I must start by stating the positives far outweigh the negatives on Carnival's Conquest. We had a great time!! I haven't cruised before basically because it felt to me in an earlier part in my life that I was too untraditional to appreciate this mainstream type of vacation. I'm not the "cookie-cutter" type of person. This cruise was taken to celebrate my stepson's 16th birthday for a fishing excursion in Cozumel. He wanted Key West but due to school vacation, price and time constraints, this proved by far at the end of our week that a Western Caribbean cruise would work out fine. I don't
Embarkation was well coordinated for those in need of a wheelchair. I suggest arriving early because it becomes very crowded. Debarkation took a long time since our group number was 26. We were able to have a very leisurely breakfast and witness the crew in preparation for the next cruise. If you have difficulty navigating inclines with walking, I strongly suggest using a wheelchair which you notify Carnival of your disability and necessary accommodations. They were very helpful.
We were here for relaxation so activities nor nightlife were a priority. We enjoyed the live acoustic music, family comedy show, magic show at Alchemy bar, EA sports trivia challenge, hanging out on the aft Lido deck and the cooking demo in The Point Steakhouse. Activities on the ship were plentiful but not necessarily of good quality and full of cheesy marketing. We were excited to see the shows which were recommended recently by friends. We lasted 10 minutes for "The Brits!", saw a bit of "Divas" while waiting for the restroom - both horrible singing, didn't care for the animation incorporated into the show and honestly quite amateurish. I've seen very few off/Broadway shows but enough to know this isn't a selling point and much improvement is needed. Hasbro show, morning show and bingo were minimally ok. Another thing is GLBT gathering is quite late, past 11 pm, other cruise lines do have it earlier, maybe it would be better attended at an earlier time.
The service and cleanliness were excellent. I didn't witness anything out of the ordinary, very polite staff, very appropriate Purel dispensers and door handle tissues with trash receptacles never full and our room was made twice daily. I may not have anything to compare to at this point but reading other reviews I felt I'd probably be inhabiting a big box store on the seas and not to expect much. I was surprised and found this cruise to be a great value.
Our first port was Mahogany Bay, Roatan, Honduras. We opted to head to the Carnival manufactured beach which I thought would have been truly uninspired and bad. It wasn't. It was an easy and clean beach day with no extra expense!! We purchased a fresh coconut water and drank it in that pristine water, I don't think if you're seeking a beautiful snorkeling experience you'll find it there but jump off the ship, walk down the landscaped path and you'll have sand (manufactured I'm sure) in your toes. We rented kayaks and it was really nothing much to it but going through some clear water. Later we found out that someone went further distance than us, met a local in the water that was swimming with sea turtles and jumped in. Missed opportunity for us! We enjoyed it and stayed hours longer than planned.
Second port was Belize City, Belize. Excursion through Carnival for Air boating through Chukka was poorly planned and executed. The tour started over an hour late, made us change buses due to air conditioning issue and very disorganized. Now we had a blast with the staff at the air boating location and that tour was fun but not in transit portion. This is a very poor country, puts "needs" in perspective and not for the faint of heart. I wouldn't recommend venturing out alone unless you are a very seasoned world traveller. Don't expect to find Starbucks here.
Third port was Cozumel and we chartered a boat for reef fishing through Cozumel Charters. Great time and just beautiful!!
Our stateroom was an ocean view cabin on the second deck, mid ship, which suited us fine. It's dated in the cabin but it was extremely clean which made us happy. Plenty room for three with more than ample storage. Learned low deck, mid ship is excellent for new cruisers or those prone to motion sickness.
I could be very detailed about the food because we're definitely "foodies". I'll say I was surprised by expecting I'd be eating Applebee's food all week because most was much better. First, mdr desserts always hit a nicely presented and good! Guy's burgers had some grisle (once)but they were a tasty with great accompaniments. Brunch was great food, buffet was 80 percent good/great (Indian vegetarian delish!), Pizza Pirate 5 minutes for thin crust pizza and Blue Iguana good breakfast (get early or the eggs are cold) and yummy burritos for lunch. MDR dinner was much better than expected only missed the mark on the last evening - not bad at all!! Coffee is beyond horrible in the buffet, palatable from room service and acceptable in the MDR. Both coffee shops didn't hit the mark but the lobby bar was the only place that was strong. Iced tea was bad also. We'd get hot water and brew ourselves then pour over ice. Learned a hard lesson about desalinated water - don't drink the fluids unless you want to swell like a whale!! Watch out for all beverages, ice and soups. By day 3 we couldn't keep up with all the food but it was really much better than expected.
The teen was a little more mature than the same aged shipmates and had no desire to run around the ship. He just wanted to relax, listen to music and observe. So I can't comment on the involvement accurately.
Overall, the cruise was a great value and we'd do it in a heartbeat again! We learned for the next cruise - you need twice the face wash and sunscreen to reapply often, Starbucks VIA, lots of bottled water (don't drink sodas), a sweater because windy outside and chilly indoors and no need to really dress up in cocktail attire for formal night, dressy clothes will suffice.