Let me start by saying. I'm a big Carnival fan and a travel agent that highly recommends Carnival but this cruise was the worst I have been on in a long time. First we left New Orleans very late Sunday night Nov 13 2011. This was the first problem. The Conquest was repositioning from Galveston. The ship did not arrive till around 3 pm. Carnival did email all of us and told us it would be late but if this happens at all repositioning I will not do this again. I love getting on early and spending time on my balcony and just enjoying the ship. We could not do this by the time we got on it was almost dark. Another problem was once they started to board the computers went down and that delayed boarding even more. When we did checked in VIP many of us found out we had no boarding pass and that took forever to work this out. Before we could get on board a fight broke out and the police had to be called. I heard several Carnival workers say this was their last day they were quiting.
Once on board of course everything was confused. We had early dinning that went over into late dinning because they did not have enough staff. Our waiter said they had a large number of new employees that just got on board they were still checking in. Then as I have seen others say on Cruise Critic about this cruise the safety meeting was at 10:30pm. Many of us were tired from the travel and the long lines and waiting to get on board that we were already in bed. The late dining was still going on and many told me they had to leave their food and go to the drill. WOW what a Start.
Dinning..What has happen with the menu. I was only able to get shrimp cocktails one night. The food seem in smaller portions and not as good as past cruises. My favorite chocolate melting cake was one night runny and then the next night hard. Our waiter was nice but seem to be very slow and needing help. He kept saying the next night he would do better. It never happen. I have not been on Carnival in a year but whats up with the no trays at the buffet? The plates are bigger but I had no where to put my silverware my salad bowl or drink. The food at the buffet was OK and it seem to not have changed.
They also CLOSED DOWN the oriental cafe that was in the the buffet dinning room in the side wall of passage way into the buffet area. They put in a Mongolian wok out by the Lido pool but it can't be compared with what they had. We had to through away the food. It took forever for them to cook it and that back up the line. It for ever to get your food.
ROOM. The balcony room was nice our and room steward was nice but never had that Carnival Spirit. We are us to Hello Mr______ how are you today he rarely spoke but his work was fine. Many complain about the air conditioning. The front of the ship was very hot and they just never seem to fix it. We had to call maintenance about our shower not working correctly and the toilet would not flush after a couple of flushes. You had to wait and after awhile after it rested it would flush again.
Entertainment..It was fine. We have seen all the shows with over 20 cruises so we don't go to them a lot but what we saw and heard about from our group was all good.
Cruise Critic.. We met with other cruise critic members on board one day and we all had the same thought. What has happen to Carnival Cruise Lines.
DEPARTING. What a mess. Something has to be done about how we get off the ship. It was so bad it makes me not want to take another cruise. I can't believe I'm saying that but it just spoils the whole trip when you end your vacation with such turmoil.
In closing let me say other than our room steward the staff was very friendly and did a good job. We usually take a group with us and this time we had 54 people with us. A young girl they called groupie. I guess because she helps those of us who have groups on board did a great job. I kept telling my people this is not what its usually like on a Carnival Cruise. I hope some of it is just the repositioning of the ship but come on Carnival has been repositioning ships for years. Please Carnival don't start changing things just to save a few dollars and please do something about debarkation. From one who cares about you. Change is not always good. I hope this was just a bad week for Carnival not a vision of things to come.