Embarkation: Excellent, having been in Ft Lauderdale for 3 days prior we had a rental car to return at the port by 10am so we were one of the first groups to arrive at the terminal, we were on board and tipping cocktails around noon. We had a balcony cabin, port side on deck 10, love that area on the conquest class ships, just a few doors from the lido deck and elevators. Plus being up high and in front we get some added motion to rock us to sleep at night. Never really saw the cabin steward, although he did a fantastic job.
Overall we really liked the ship, I read complaints about the decor and deck layout and I don't get it. Was it gaudy? Yep, did I like, sure did! Its a cruise ship, they're all gaudy in one way or another, I cant imagine it having a negative effect on your vacation. We had the early seating dinner in the lower posh dining room, our family was a group of 9 seated at table 158. Service was good, the food was ok. Having cruised princess and HAL in the past to compare quality, selection and taste Id say theres room for improvement. We did eat one night in the Sun King, it was outstanding, Id say its a must do for those who like a great meal and superb service, best Ive had at sea. I really wasn't a fan of the Lido buffet, way too crowded and the food was so so, after 8 days we were all tired of the same thing day after day for breakfast. It seems 3000 people on a cruise ship brings out the worst in people when put in a buffet line, the rudeness and lack of common courtesy gets old by day 3.
We enjoyed the entertainment for the most part, didn't care for the dancers but the comedians were great. Vince in the piano bar is a hoot, the band Music Connection is very good but Terry Jo in the casino is painful for me to watch, Ive never seen such an animated keyboard/flute player. There was a guitar player/singer named Chuck who played the atrium bar nightly at dinner time, he had quite the catalog of songs to play and it was the perfect venue for him. While I'm on the topic of music I must note the music played on the lido deck daily deck was the most irritating noise Ive ever heard at sea, the volume gets turned up higher than the sound system can handle and the result is blaring, distorted noise, ear plugs would have been a nice item to have packed, the big screen on deck is a definite asset. We spent a number of nights at the Lido bar with Sergio Sciolla, the Chief Engineer and his staff Angelo, Augusto,Giovanni and a couple others who's names I cannot recall. What a hilarious wonderful staff! They treated us like family and I truly thank them for their hospitality, I'd sail a Carnival ship again for no other reason than to see those guys. Debarking was smooth, we had an 11:40 flight and were in the airport before 9am. Its a shame a week goes by so fast, it was hard to say goodbye and the reality of being back at home stinks.