To be honest, I was extremely skeptical about going on Carnival based on the fact that I had been on three other cruise lines and also comments from other people (even some of the reviews on this site). Had heard bad things about service, drunk college students (and/or Canadians), and especially the food.
I must say, upon arriving at the port, I was pleasantly surprised how quick and easy it was to get on the ship. I had ensured that my funpass was completed so I think that made things quicker. Anyhow, we were on the ship by about 12:00 pm enjoying the buffet on deck 9.
After eating lunch we journeyed to our interior cabin stateroom and was surprised at how spacious it was. Having been on the Majesty of the Seas and Princess Sapphire, I was expecting the typical very small room, however it was bigger than expected with plenty of room to move around.
This is one big ship, the biggest I have been on to date and was impressive from the get go. The foyer was tastefully decorated following the ships artist motif.
The dining room food was much better than I was expecting. Heard many times that the Carnival food was mediocre I was kind of disheartened....until I sat down to eat. The menu included a variety of items for every taste and was prepared extremely well. My picky wife even said she felt like she didn't have to "settle" for a steak because the other food didn't interest her.
The buffets did get a bit old for breakfast as it seemed to be the same, but to shake things up, we went to the dining room a few times. The lunch buffets were nice as each day it was a different theme.
My wife really liked the 24-hour pizzeria, and the Chinese food kitchen as well as the deli sandwiches.
Entertainment was decent, could have been better. The Carnival Conquest dancers were excellent and the majority of their performances were superb. The costumes were a bit revealing for me to take kids to them. The ventriloquist was good, the magician, Deja, was pretty mediocre at best (needs a lot of polish).
There were a few maintenance issues on the ship. A sprinkler pipe or something broke right above the main atrium and water was pouring from deck 9 /10 right to the main level on deck 3 and got everything wet. There was another problem with water in the photo shop and apparently one with a bathroom on debarkation day (which I didn't see).
The water system on the ship malfunctioned and while my wife was taking a shower, the water started coming out brown....brown enough that it turned the white towels brown when she dried off. All these issues were fixed in a timely and professional manner and didn't affect the overall experience at all.
All in all, I was very impressed and would cruise with Carnival again...though probably without kids (again).....take the kids on a Disney cruise!!!.