Just returned from 7 days sailing the Western Caribbean onboard the Carnival Conquest - what a great time! We sail at least once a year (almost 30 cruises now), but this was only our second cruise with Carnival because we had always heard negative comments.
I am pleased to report the Carnival Conquest exceeded all our expectations! The food was plentiful and I would rate very good to excellent. We chose late seating in the Monet dining room - it was perfect. The service was exceptional, and all the waiters sang and/or danced every night - lots of fun.
Food was available 24/7 somewhere on the ship. The pizza was excellent (several toppings to chose from) and available round the clock (deck 9 poolside). The buffet (deck 11) seemed to be open most hours and offered a wide selection including made to order omlets, sandwiches and a chinese food wok!
Most of the action onboard the Conquest took place on deck 5 that included a piano bar, wine bar, disco, casino (biggest I have experienced on a cruise ship), shopping, show lounge, sushi bar, teens only club. The layout was great - very open feeling in most areas. In fact, the casino area included two bars and a live band stage area - almost felt like being at the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas - listening to great live music while gambling.
Our first two and half days were at sea (perfect to get acquainted with the ship), then we visited Jamaica, Cayman and Cozumel, spending the last day and a half at sea. Getting on and off the ship in port was not a problem (even Cayman where we tendered in). It's hard to imagine there were almost 3,000 passengers onboard.
In Jamaica we hired a taxi/van to take our group to Negril Beach (highly recommended). It was about a one hour trip but well worth it. We spent to day at a little hotel/bar on the beach - The Treehouse Hotel. They had a bar and restaurant on the sand, and all the water sports equipment available right there - waverunners, parasailing, snorkling etc. Food was good and not expensive. The water was perfect! Our driver stayed with us (9 of us) the entire time - our cost was $180.00 for the day.
In Cayman we did a little shopping downtown, then took a taxi to nearby 7 mile beach for more of the same. We found a small restaurant/bar on the beach and spent most of the day there.
In Cozumel we stopped in at a great little bar/restaurant on the beach (The No Name Bar) that is owned by former Carnival staff. It's a great spot with a swim-up/pool bar and tables and umbrellas on the sand - small but very cool. We then headed to a resort on the water about 10 minutes north of town - Club Cozumel Caribe - great location and the fish tacos were fabulous. There was no charge - just for food and drinks which were very reasonable!
More about the ship - we had an outside balcony cabin (7400) - it was great. Large bathroom, lots of storage space and very comfy beds! CeCe, our cabin steward, did a great job! We were near the rear stairway and elevators - perfect location - up two floors to the rear adult pool area and two floors down to deck 5 where all the action was. Overall a great location!
Last but not least - we arrived in Galveston on Saturday and stayed downtown at the Tremont Hotel - great hotel and perfect location - two blocks to the cruise ship! We hired a cab for our luggage (9 people) and walked to the cruise terminal. Getting onboard was a breeze - maybe 15-20 minutes. The same was true when we got off - no more than 20 minutes.
In closing, Carnival seems to be doing everything right - the Conquest certainly rates with any cruise I have taken on Princess, Royal Caribbean and Holland America. The crowd seems much younger and there were lots of kids and families - something for everyone. I would recommend this ship and itinerary to anyone!