We are a family of 4 - My husband and I (early 40's) and two kids, ages 10 and 6. Our family cruises every year, and this was our second time on the Carnival Conquest. We decided to cruise the Conquest again because of it's location (It is in Galveston, and we are in the Houston area), and because of our previous experience on it. Of all the cruises we have done in recent years, Conquest had been our favorite, and still is in many ways.
Overall, we had a great cruise. Embarkation was quick and simple. I suggest using Lighthouse Parking, as they will shuttle you and all your bags to the terminal. We arrived at the terminal around 11:30, and we were on the ship by 12:30. We went straight to lunch, and were able to enter our cabin at 2pm.
Our cabin was on Deck 2, Aft. Deck 2 is the lowest deck we have ever been on, on any ship, and I was a little concerned that we would hear noise from the Galley which was directly above us. However, we never heard any noise from the galley, and it was a very quiet room, except for the occasional loudmouth in the hallways at 1 am. We felt almost no movement at all during the whole cruise.
This ship is very beautiful, with spacious public areas, and lots of places to just sit and people watch. We pulled our kids out of school for the week to avoid crowds of summer, and it was fine. The ship was full, but never seemed overcrowded. We never had problems finding deck chairs, etc.
We had early/main dining at 5:45, and it was great. Food was good, some nights better than others. We ate in the Cezanne for Breakfast and lunch most days, and every night in the Dining Room. Service was great, and no complaints. We never used The Point. Don't miss Sur Mer on Deck 10 above the Cezanne for great seafood. I did not find it until the last day, and loved it!
I had a spa treatment on the last day of the cruise, and it was wonderful. Beware that they do try to sell you on all the products that you "must have". The pitch was strong, but I said no, and it was over. If you want a spa treatment, wait until the end of the week for better deals. They don't book up as much as they lead you to believe. I was able to get in easily on the last day, booking it that morning.
It was 5 years ago when we were first on the Conquest, and the main shows are still the same! I was disappointed in this area. After 5 years, the two main stage shows were the exact same shows! Carnival people....if you are reading this, it is time for a change!! The variety acts that we saw were good, especially the juggler, and the ventriloquist (sp???). They are toward the end of the cruise, and worth seeing, and bring the kids! The magic show was a little lame, with same old tricks. Special effects are nice. I will say that shows are well done, with great costumes and lighting effects.
Our main disappointment on this cruise was the Camp Carnival staff. Our kids love to cruise, and really enjoy the kids programs onboard. However, this cruise was an exception. We all found the staff to be very cold and unwelcoming. Most of the time, there was not even a greeting or a smile. They were very "by the book", and did not make the kids feel great about being there. We always got the impression that we were inconveniencing the staff by bringing our kids to the program. This is a first for us. On every other ship (including this one in the past), and every other cruise line, we have always been impressed with how energetic, friendly and welcoming the youth staff was. Our kids usually want to be there every chance they get, and participate in most of the activities. However, it was the opposite on this cruise, and my 10 year old daughter did not even want to go most of the time. At her age, they are allowed to sign themselves in/out with parental permission. I was not comfortable with this, and therefore, sometimes she was the only kid in there. Instead of the staff making her feel special, and giving her their full attention, they just put her sitting down, with a book and ignored her. Needless to say, I was not impressed and she did not spend much more time in there. There is really improvement needed in the Camp Carnival staff on this ship.
Overall, we will will most likely cruise with Carnival again in the future, but not on this ship. If you are traveling without kids, and do not plan to use the Camp Carnival program, you should have a great time.