This was our seventh cruise and only my second Carnival cruise ( my first was in 1982) I did not expect much from Carnival because I always have been told that the food isn't as good as the other lines and there are too many kids and its the "party boat". But our friends live near Galveston and it was a chance to visit them and to catch a cruise as well. Well, surprise of surprises; the food was good in all the dining areas and in the buffet as well. My only complaint was that all the steaks that we were served on the cruise (Porter House, fillet mignon and sirloin)were tough, even in the $30 extra speciality restaurant and the hard ice creams served in the dining room were bland tasting like cheap ice cream (not like the delicious ship-made ice creams we were served on the Princess Line). Another surprise, the 3000 passenger ship was so large that we were not bothered by screaming kids who stayed at the forward pools while we were at the rear pool.(and this was Spring recess).
Well lets start off.We arrived in Galveston and stayed at the Hilton Houston Hobby Airport Hotel because it had a pool. It was a nice hotel but the weather was overcast and too cool to enjoy the pool.We arrived at the ship terminal at about 3pm on 3/25/07 and there was still a huge line. It took us about an hour to get on board. The ship was beautiful and I enjoyed the abundance of art work scattered about the ship (the art work was much more impressive than on the brand new Crown Princess that we sailed on last year)
The ship was clean except for the stained carpets in the hallways. We had a balcony room and no complaints about our room, bed or room attendant. I am 65 and unlike other Cruises we go on, it appeared that I was the oldest person on this ship. Most of the passengers were young families, in their 30's and 40's with pre-teen and teenage children and this was their spring recess. (I didn't know that spring recess extended three weeks before Easter. When I booked the cruise,I had thought recess was just one week before). As soon as we got on the ship I stepped in a spilled ice cream cone in the elevator and at "muster" a child threw-up on the deck. I thought this was going to be our worst cruise yet. But I was wrong, from there on every thing was almost perfect for us.
The Conquest was so large that it easily absorbed the 3000 passengers without too much crowding, except for when it came time to get on and off the ship'. All the staff we encountered were friendly and polite, except for one incident when a female staff member was very rude and impatient with my request for directions to the Monet dining room. In the Monet, our two waiters were perfect and they automatically brought our ice tea and water without our asking. At the end of each meal, it was "party time!" in the dining room and all the waiters would get up on the tables and dance and sing. Great fun. I guess that's why Carnival is called the party boat. I didn't see this on my Princess or NCL or HAL or Celebrity cruises.
The food as I said earlier was quite good. The desserts seemed to be the strong suite on this ship. There wasn't as much variety of food on the buffet as I remember having on the other cruise lines. The 24 hour hamburger snack bar and the pizza snack bar and the deli and the fish snack bar all served good tasting foods. Entertainment on the Conquest was as good as I would expect. The Casino area was large and Carol won quite a bit.
All in all,I went on Carnival at the worst time possible and we had a wonderful pampered time. I would not hesitate to schedule another cruise on the Carnival Conquest. If the hairy chest contests and midnight rock fests on top deck are not your thing, you will not even be aware of these activities because the ship is so big.
Excursions: We did the climb up Dunn River Falls with BBQ at Royal beach in Jamaica. It was easy to slip and fall when climbing the falls and I'm surprised I did not see any one get injured. Carol lost one of shoes about mid way up in the climb and couldn't finish the climb. When we got to the beach BBQ it poured rain and wasn't very much fun. (Most of our weather on this cruise was in the 70's and overcast or rainy, except for Cozumel) I understand some of the people on our excursion complained to the ship and were refunded $100 off the $150 excursion). On Grand Cayman we did the Fishermans rock snorkel excursion and in Cozumel we did the Fiesta party boat and beach and snorkel excursion. All overpriced, but I'm glad we did them.