Conquest Sail date: 12/24/2011, Duration: 8 days -- Western Caribbean.
Here is a list of grievances for this trip:
1. Bean bag toss. Only one set for all 3000 passengers. 8 teams that signed up were told that they couldn't play the first day it was offered. And why have it in the lobby? Wouldn't it make more sense to have it out on the top deck where there's plenty of room?
2. Crappy prizes. Who would want a ship on a stick? How about a free drink? Or a $10 gift certificate to the shops?
3. The library. It doesn't have enough books or board games. On the second sea day I tried to borrow a paperback to read while sitting out on deck and there were only 3 partial shelves of books to choose from. And not a SINGLE science fiction work was among them. Would it be so hard to send a worker out to a second hand book store while docked in the U.S. and pick up a few boxes? It would cost less than $200 and all the shelves would be full. You made that off of my wife in the casino alone!
4. Not enough activities. How about some classes such as towel folding, mixing drinks, cooking, dance lessons, crafts, casino gaming, ice carving or scrapbooking? And how about educational lectures? You wouldn't even need to invite guest speakers, just have a few workers administer them. Topics could include smart investing strategies, saving for retirement, computer tips and tricks, or personal enrichment. Hell, do an online search for some ideas.
The gym could have workout classes including yoga, Pilates, stretching, kick-boxing, step classes, and organized walks.
5. Gratuities. Adding 20% to every drink we got SUCKED! During the first comedy adult show our drink server took 15 minutes to bring us back our drinks. And yet we were still FORCED into a ridiculous tip. In a normal bar setting he would have gotten one single dollar for the bad service.
6. Drinks WAY too expensive. We did everything we could to avoid buying drinks on the ship. I'm positive that if you had certain drink specials on different days you would have more people ordering them. How about Mexican night with $1 off Coronas and margaritas? Even a small incentive would be enough to change my mind and buy on board.
7. Gym equipment broken. There were 3 machines that were broken during our trip. And there weren't enough of the most popular ones such as the elipticals or the recumbent bikes. We tried to go early the first at sea morning and there were people waiting for almost every machine. We had to change plans and came back at noon just to get on the equipment.
8. Casino scams. The addition of digital Black Jack should have had a big sign above it that states that it is NOT the same house/player advantage as a real deck of cards. My wife played for a half hour and watched EVERY SINGLE PERSON at the table lose. It was a $60 learning lesson for her that I tried to explain. You can digitally change to odds to give the house any advantage you choose. I figure it must have been about 85% house advantage by the amount that people were losing. Be warned so at least some others can save their money. And everyone already knows that your slots are the tightest of any gaming center because you know you have the gamblers trapped on board with not much else to do.
9. Movies. I was pleased with the selection of new movies available but couldn't believe you didn't have any in the theater. The outdoor movies had the following problems: The sound wasn't loud enough the first 2 nights at sea. I had to struggle to hear any dialog. One night the movie came on too early when the sun was still out and the picture was completely washed out. And one night the fog was so bad you could barely see the screen.
10. Tendering. During our stop at Belize we had to wait over an hour and a half for a tender. The announcement said that we could get our tickets starting at 8a.m. We arrived at 8:15a.m. so we could meet our excursion at 9:15. We almost missed going but were lucky enough to squeeze into the 10:00 bus with the late group. Doing that made us miss out on the shopping in the port which really disappointed us.
11. Roatan. There was not much to do at this stop. You could have had people renting out jet-skis or have a booze cruise or any number of activities. We only found laying out on a beach and drinking. Yay.
12. Cozumel. When trying to board there was only one side of each line open. This caused a backup of hundreds of people. I find it hard to believe that there wasn't enough staff to cover the operation of the other 2 card scanning machines.
13. Progresso. Why is this even a stop? Even the comic joked that Progresso is a shithole. I can understand having busses that ran to the shoreline, but create SOMETHING to do there. We researched online for activities and couldn't find much information. Now we know why, because there aren't any. You should create some form of entertainment along the shoreline to give people a reason to get off the boat.
Besides these problems the rest of the trip was enjoyable with great food and happy, helpful crew everywhere. We also really liked 2 of the 4 comics that they offered. And the weather was beautiful the whole week.