Carnival Conquest departing Houston on September 28, 2008. The whole cruising experience on the Conquest was very disappointing. Lets start with the embarkation process. I know that leaving out of Houston is not your regular port, but the whole process was extremely slow, with no information available to the passengers. My wife and I drove to the terminal. We got near the terminal at 12:30 pm as the earliest boarding was at that time. There was a huge traffic jam to get to the terminal. We had to wait in the car line up for almost 2 hours before getting to the terminal to give our bags to the porters. During the wait, we called 1888carnival to find out what was going on. The phone reps were no help and said all is normal. My wife spoke to a customer service manager and she insulted my wife and said "tough". Once we got to the terminal, there were about 20 porters standing there doing nothing. After parking our vehicle, we had to wait in another line up, for over an hour, outside in the heat, for customs. My wife went to find a Carnival representative at the terminal for information. The rep was also rude and said "too bad". After getting through customs, we waited in a third line up, for over an hour once again, to get the sail cards. We did not get onto the ship until 4:30 pm. A miserable embarking experience and no one offered any apologies to the passengers from the pursers to the cruise director to the captain.
Once we got to our stateroom, we found it warm and uncomfortable. The pursers sent maintenance twice to check the vent. He said he opened the vent more but not much more cool air was flowing. We did get a fan in the room, but the air conditioning still did not cool the room down enough.
The food on most cruise ships is usually very good, tasty and well presented. Not on the Conquest. The buffet was disgusting, the food had no or a bad taste, poor texture, lukewarm (at best) for the hot dishes and the presentation was not on par with other cruise ships. This is the worst food we have ever tasted and we are not picky eaters. The complimentary drinks were just a sugar, high fructose corn syrup mixture and not apple juice, orange juice or lemonade as the dispensers said they were. Call them what they are: an apple drink, an orange drink, and a lemon drink. The iced tea was from a concentrate that did not taste like iced tea. The main dining room dinners were a little better but not by much. The wait staff were excellent, but the food they serve needs lots of improvement. We all ordered the New York Strip on the first night dinner. We do not know how it was cooked, I thought it was partially boiled, another thought it was baked, but we all agreed that it was the worst steak we had ever had. The accompaniments were equaled as bad, a tiny ramekin of macaroni and cheese that was more like macaroni and powdered milk, a large undercooked whole carrot and a green pea mixture that resembled vomit. The meals did get somewhat better during the cruise but nothing that we would say was really good. There was no midnight buffet on the Conquest which we found very disappointing, but then again, the food was so bad maybe no buffet is better. Room service only offers a small selection of sandwiches and the 24 hour pizza was tasteless.
The cruise director is not good at his job. He told crude, offensive and adult rated jokes during an excursion briefing my wife and I attended in which children and seniors were present. We walked out after one very disgustingly vulgar attempt at humor. The captain of the ship spoke to the passengers only once during the voyage. We never got a weather forecast during the cruise and were caught in rainstorms twice during ports of call. The television in the stateroom gets Denver stations? The lido deck cleaning staff did not clean tables well, did not smile or be courteous to the passengers.
In summation, this was the worst vacation experience we have ever had.