This review is for the Carnival Conquest Western Caribbean Itinerary that sailed from MIami January 12, and visited Gran Cayman, Cozumel, Belize, and Roatan. I will not focus on the ports. We had previously visited three of the four, and were disappointed only by bad weather, which is no-one's fault.
I also want to give an objective shout-out to the entire Conquest staff. This was our second Carnival Cruise and it will certainly not be our last. I had read a number of negative reviews before leaving, and am now, as I was then, wondering which ship, exactly, the nay-sayers said they sailed on? Certainly not on the Conquest.
For the record my wife and I have sailed all major lines and are in our mid 40's. We don't drink or smoke, are aware that some of the ship entertainment can and should be classified as "SHiP," but with a "T" where the "P"is, and are also aware that things can and do go wrong every week the boat sails away with paying passengers. We also know that unrealistic expectations from passengers can ruin an otherwise great time.
So....here are my goods and bads. Overall, I can think of nothing that would make me think twice about sailing on Carnival again:
Cabin steward Denys. They don't get better than him. Clean room, timely service, and very friendly and pleasant to be around.
Food. We ate in the buffet most of the time, and tried pizza, the deli, and the Blue Iguana Grill. Of these, the Blue Iguana was THE best. Food in the buffet was good. Salads were the best. We ate in the dining room once and enjoyed it immensely. Make certain that you try the chocolate melting cake. We did not try Guys Burger Joint, but not because of the quality. It was SRO most of the time, and we didn't want to wait.
We also had room service once. No complaints there. Our favorite was the fresh fruit.
Shops. Typical cruise stuff, but the selection of items was a little better than most, and we really had fun window shopping for watches.
Cabin. We had a suite with a tub. Booked during a crazy sale almost a year ago and were not disappointed in the least. Balcony was a smash.
Cleanliness and condition. Move on. These guys run a very tight ship. If you aren't impressed, you don't understand what it is to have that impressive of a vessel despite loading and unloading 3,000 people who make messes everywhere each week.
General crew: good or better than any other fleet.
Embarkation and debarkation...smoothest we've ever had. We did have preferred status on the way in. That was great. We chose the walk-off option when leaving. It was slick as well.
I can think of only one or two things, and they weren't that bad. The first is, the disembarkation at Belize was a little bit of a fiasco. All Carnival had to do was to tell everyone that those with tours met in the theater, and those without went down to deck zero and waited for the next tender. One thirty-second announcement to the whole ship. Instead, it was a pile-up for about 30 minutes while they fixed it. Once on the tender, life was good.
The second negative is the general entertainment. Some of the live performers were great. Some stank. We avoided the theaters since in a past cruise, we determined that Carnival lost its ability to blush some time ago, so we just didn't go. That is not to say that we didn't find other things to do that were enjoyable.
Lastly, the selection of movies in the outside theater was poor. They needed a good headliner each night, and sometimes, all they showed were sitcom reruns. I will also say something similar about the in-room TV selection. Please, Carnival, try a little harder.
The Ugly: drunks. The pool area reeks of folks who have temporarily forgotten good manners. Sorry to say, but it's true. Boisterous, boozing late teens and early 20's pounding as many as they can, while they can. I'm not sure what Carnival can or is willing to do about it, but we have noticed this problem on both cruises. It is easy to avoid,however, and we never once felt that it impacted our vacation enough that we were disappointed.
There you have It. I give four out of five stars.