Carnival Conquest Cruise Review by lauramrachek: Great introduction to cruising
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Great introduction to cruising
My husband (50) and I (49) traveled with our 17-year-old daughter and her best friend as well as our 21-year-old son and his girlfriend. For us, cruising on the Conquest was a great way to enjoy one another but not be in each other's "faces." Each pair could do their own thing and then come together for dinner, entertainment, or something else. Our oceanview cabins (1374 and 1370) each accommodated 3 people and even though the rooms initially seemed small, we did not feel cramped during the week. There is oodles of storage in the rooms -- 3 closets, drawers by the makeup vanity as well as below the sofa-bed, room under the bed to store suitcases, etc. Also, there were lots of shelves in the bathroom for storage.
We did not need the recommended over-the-door shoe holder, but here are are some things that came in very handy -- an extension cord as there was only ONE outlet in the entire cabin (none in the bathroom), a dry erase board that we hung on the mailbox outside our room More so we could let each other know where we'd be, various medicines (we ended up using Pepto Bismol, patches for minor seasickness, and Tylenol), a large trash bag for wet and dirty laundry, tote bag for shore excursions and carrying things to the pool, and water bottles. We filled the water bottles with either ice water or lemonade from the restaurants on the Lido deck and saved a bundle on purchased drinks both on the ship and on shore excursions. Another tip - pack sandwich bags and make sandwiches the morning before you leave for a shore excursion. At the breakfast buffet on the Lido deck, you can assemble sandwiches from toast, sliced meats, and cheeses, plus you can take fruit with you.
Regarding food, we were fairly impressed with the quality and variety, both in the restaurants and on the Lido deck. I'd give the meals an 8 out of 10, although many of the desserts were mediocre. The notable exception was on the last day at sea when there was a chocolate buffet on the Lido deck during lunch. There were several yummy offerings, including chocolate-dipped fruit and a chocolate "loaf" that was like dense fudge with pistachios. Yum! I had heard that the coffee on the Conquest was weak and brought Starbucks singles to beef things up, but the coffee was actually pretty good. Service was very good; everyone from our steward Maksym to our waitress Marina (both were from the Ukraine) to general staff members were very friendly and eager to please. We dined one night at the Point restaurant and while it was fairly good, we left feeling miserable from all the food. Sadly, once again, the desserts were fairly mediocre. How about a flourless chocolate cake with fresh berries or an apple dessert made with crisp, tart Granny Smith apples or something more gourmet than cheesecake and chocolate mousse-type desserts? I don't know that I would spend $180 for dinner for 6 plus 15% "optional" tip again. Recommended free food offerings include the Sushi bar, afternoon tea, and the Mongolian stir fry on the Lido Deck. Also, I attended a nice martini tasting (4-5 small martinis for $17) and an informative wine tasting (about $15) at the Point restaurant.
Paul, the cruise director, did a nice job and was pretty funny. Some of the entertainment was fairly good -- liked the Calypso bands, Marriage Show, French show, magic show, and the hairy chest contest -- although the "action comedy" performance was mediocre, as was the "Legends" show on the last night. Earlier in the week, a bulletin had informed us that there would be complimentary alcoholic beverages on the final evening and we eagerly anticipated that at the Legends show, but a waitress informed us that the free alcohol was served only between 5 and 6 p.m. in one of the lounges. No one publicized that at all. Very disappointing.
A couple more tips - for a free neck lanyard to hold your ship card, go to the casino cashier and they will give you one. Also, the self-checkout is highly recommended if you want to leave quickly on the last day. Rather than put our bags out the night before, we simply took them ourselves on the last morning to the rear left area of the theater. We staged everything around 7:45 a.m. and were in our car on the road by 8:30 a.m.
All in all, the cruise was wonderful in many ways. We enjoyed each of the ports (ziplining in Jamaica, interacting with stingrays thanks to the excellent work of Moby Dick Tours in the Cayman Islands, and fishing for bonefish and shopping in Cozumel). We had a great time on the Conquest and highly recommend it for first-time and family cruisers. Less
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