We just got back from a seven day Western Caribbean cruise on Carnival Conquest and we had a blast. My wife and I have cruised three times before, but this was the first cruise for our kids (8 year old daughter and 6 year old son). This was our first cruise on Carnival and honestly we were a little concerned it was going to be a little low brow, but we absolutely loved it! The ship was fantastic--by far our favorite ship. It was a lot of fun. The staff, for the most part, were great. Chris, the cruise director, was hilarious. The kids club was fantastic! The kids absolutely loved it. We were afraid they wouldn't want to go but they had a great time playing with the other kids and the Camp Carnival staff was very well organized and made sure the kids were always entertained and had lots of things to do.
We had adjoining ocean view rooms on deck one (1356 & 1358). That was great because the kids had their room and we had ours. It also gave us a lot of extra room for storage. It felt like we had a two bedroom suite. We had never been on the first deck and we weren't sure what to expect, but the we really liked being close to the water. The rooms were very quiet. We never heard any noise outside or coming from other floors. Being in the middle of the ship was nice too because there wasn't much movement.
Embarkation was pretty smooth. It actually went a little faster than we expected. It probably took about two hours from the time we parked until we were on the ship.
Day one was at sea. We had a fun time playing in the pools and the water slide. It was a lot of fun. On the first day we went to breakfast in one of the seated dining rooms thinking it would be less crowded and a better option than the breakfast buffet. It took forever though. We waited at our table for almost 45 minutes before our food came and when it did, it wasn't good at all. The other days we went to the buffet for breakfast and it was much better. There are plenty of choices and the staff at the buffet we found to be much friendlier and more helpful than the main dining room staff. A few times there were lines, but you never had to wait more than five minutes or so.
We were in the Monet dining room for dinner. We loved everything about the cruise but the one area where I would give them lower marks is in the main dining rooms. We only went to breakfast there once and didn't have a great experience. Our servers at dinner were nice enough, but we've had much friendlier servers on other cruises. Not rude or anything, but they didn't really seem to go out of there way. I'm sure others had great experiences with their servers, but ours were just okay. No problem though--we're on vacation. The food was pretty good. It seemed to get better as the week went on. We went to the steakhouse one night and loved it. It was excellent. I'd highly recommend it. It's well worth the $30 pp fee.
Day two was another sea day and pretty much like the first--lots of fun.
We didn't book any excursions through Carnival. I did a fair amount of research online before had and made arrangements at each port separately. I was a little nervous about not booking through the cruise line, but they all turned out great and I'll definitely be booking that way again for future cruises. Below is a summary of what we did in port:
All in all we loved the cruise. We had a great time. I would definitely cruise again with Carnival. Aside from the dining room staff not being overly bubbly, everything else was fantastic! We can't wait to go again!