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Carnival Conquest docked in Bimini, Bahamas on April 14, 2024 (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Carnival Conquest docked in Bimini, Bahamas on April 14, 2024 (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

Photos from Carnival Conquest on a Cruise to the Bahamas

Carnival Conquest docked in Bimini, Bahamas on April 14, 2024 (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Carnival Conquest docked in Bimini, Bahamas on April 14, 2024 (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Senior Editor, News and Features
Aaron Saunders

Last updated
Apr 14, 2024

Read time
6 min read

While all the buzz these days is about new cruise ships that are bigger, bolder, and more feature-laden than ever before, the fact of the matter is most of the cruise industry’s fleet dates from the mid-to-late 1990’s. Most of us will probably find ourselves cruising on an “older” ship rather than splashy – and expensive – newbuilds.

One such “older” but reliable stalwart is Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Conquest, currently deployed from PortMiami on alternating three-and-four-night cruises to the Bahamas.

Carnival Conquest departs Miami (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Carnival Conquest departs Miami (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

Built in 2002, Carnival Conquest was the first in a line of Conquest-class ships that includes sisters Carnival Glory, Carnival Valor, Carnival Liberty, and Carnival Freedom. Built upon the same general platform introduced in 1996 with Carnival Destiny (now Carnival Sunshine), it is – from the outside, at least – one of Carnival’s most recognizable ship designs.

Carnival Conquest sailing down Miami's Government Cut (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Carnival Conquest sailing down Miami's Government Cut (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

Carnival Conquest’s real charm, however, is found on the inside. Cruise Critic jumped onboard in April 2024 for a quick 3-night jaunt from Miami to Bimini, Bahamas and found a lot to like about this ship that truly embodies the era of Classic Carnival.

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Carnival Conquest’s Interiors Revolve Around French Impressionist Artists

Carnival Conquest was designed around impressionist art and artists (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Carnival Conquest was designed around impressionist art and artists (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

When he was designing the look and feel of Carnival Conquest’s interiors, longtime design guru Joe Farcus decided the ship would revolve around a French Impressionist theme. The result is a ship that is rich in detail and color, from the blown glass “flower” light fixtures of the Impressionist Boulevard on Deck 5 to the use of imagery from Renoir and Monet in their namesake main dining rooms.

The Impressionist Boulevard on Deck 5 serves as the largest public room onboard Carnival Conquest (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
The Impressionist Boulevard on Deck 5 serves as the largest public room onboard Carnival Conquest (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

Elaborate lighting, made of moulded glass, adorns the Impressionist Boulevard aboard Carnival Conquest (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Elaborate lighting, made of moulded glass, adorns the Impressionist Boulevard aboard Carnival Conquest (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

Spanning Decks 3 and 4, the Monet Dining Room offers traditional early and late dining times (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Spanning Decks 3 and 4, the Monet Dining Room offers traditional early and late dining times (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

The Renoir Dining Room on Decks 3 and 4 midship is open for Anytime Dining each evening (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
The Renoir Dining Room on Decks 3 and 4 midship is open for Anytime Dining each evening (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

Inspired by Pierre-August Renoir, this namesake dining room channels all things French (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Inspired by Pierre-August Renoir, this namesake dining room channels all things French (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

Tables are nicely spaced out, and Renoir-inspired paintings adorn window shades (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Tables are nicely spaced out, and Renoir-inspired paintings adorn window shades (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

The Renoir Main Dining Room aboard Carnival Conquest (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
The Renoir Main Dining Room aboard Carnival Conquest (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

As is typical with Carnival from this era, some of these designs work better than others – and some work better at different times of day. The eye-popping Blues Piano Bar, with its bold colors, looks arresting by day but rich by night, when the bar is hopping and the ivories are in full swing.

Classic Joe Farcus design, the retina-shattering colors work better at night (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Classic Joe Farcus design, the retina-shattering colors work better at night (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

Blues Piano Bar aboard Carnival Conquest continues Carnival's classic tradition of nightly entertainment (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Blues Piano Bar aboard Carnival Conquest continues Carnival's classic tradition of nightly entertainment (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

The Blues Piano Bar is a happening place by night (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
The Blues Piano Bar is a happening place by night (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

One of our favorite public rooms was Alfred’s Bar on Deck 4 midship. Named for impressionist artist Alfred Sisley (1839-1899), its rich wood panelling, inset murals and powder-blue ceiling accents create an atmosphere that is among the most elegant onboard. It was only used for karaoke on our sailing, but that may change on longer voyages.

Alfred's Bar is one of the classiest spaces aboard Carnival Conquest (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Alfred's Bar is one of the classiest spaces aboard Carnival Conquest (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

One of the most attractive lounges on Carnival Conquest, Alfred's Bar regularly hosts music and karaoke (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
One of the most attractive lounges on Carnival Conquest, Alfred's Bar regularly hosts music and karaoke (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

Alfred's Bar on Carnival Conquest was inspired by painter Alfred Sisley (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Alfred's Bar on Carnival Conquest was inspired by painter Alfred Sisley (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

Alfred's Bar is tucked away on Deck 4 midship, and can be accessed from this "hidden" staircase to Deck 5 (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Alfred's Bar is tucked away on Deck 4 midship, and can be accessed from this "hidden" staircase to Deck 5 (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

Joe Farcus was the master of “entertainment design”, and that is reflected aboard Carnival Conquest. Love it or hate it, every public room is a feast for the eyes, with little design elements that only appear upon closer inspection. These range from the decorative statuette balustrades on the passenger staircases to the use of paintings from Paul Gauguin on the ceiling of the Tahiti Casino. It’s only once you look closer that you realize the columns of the casino are done up like a jungle lodge, complete with faux ropes at the top of the columns.

The Tahiti Casino aboard Carnival Conquest takes up a decent portion of Promenade Deck 5 (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
The Tahiti Casino aboard Carnival Conquest takes up a decent portion of Promenade Deck 5 (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

The Casino Bar aboard Carnival Conquest also serves the nearby Impressionist Boulevard (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
The Casino Bar aboard Carnival Conquest also serves the nearby Impressionist Boulevard (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

Cabins on Carnival Conquest Are Refreshed with New Features

Cabin corridors aboard Carnival Conquest are classic Carnival, but are in good shape (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Cabin corridors aboard Carnival Conquest are classic Carnival, but are in good shape (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

At first glance, not much has changed with Carnival Conquest’s 1,490 staterooms and suites. They are standard Carnival, from the closets to the couches, lighting fixtures and powder-pink ceiling accents that hide the room’s recessed florescent lighting.

Balcony cabin aboard Carnival Conquest (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Balcony cabin aboard Carnival Conquest (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

But look closer and you’ll see carpeting is brand-new, as are curtains for oceanview windows and balconies. Shower curtains are new and have a light tropical pattern on them. Best of all, bedside lamps have been replaced with a new design that offers two USB charging portals per lamp; a huge improvement over the previous electrical outlet count that was limited to one US and one European-style outlet.

Balcony cabins aboard Carnival Conquest have new USB ports and under-closet lighting (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Balcony cabins aboard Carnival Conquest have new USB ports and under-closet lighting (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

Carnival punches above its weight with beds and bedding that are far more comfortable than even some upscale lines, and a new feature has been added to the rooms that will no doubt be appreciated: a subtle, motion-activated “night light” mounted underneath the room’s closets that illuminates the step up to the bathroom without the need for anyone to put on the room’s overhead lighting.

Open Decks on Carnival Surprise with Hidden Gems

The pool deck aboard Carnival Conquest, facing forward (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
The pool deck aboard Carnival Conquest, facing forward (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

It’s no surprise Carnival Conquest has a large pool deck that gets incredibly busy as the day wears on. It’s the place to be for music and entertainment, and being book-ended by popular venues like the RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar ensure it stays hopping from dawn until dusk.

Looking out over the waterslide aboard Carnival Conquest (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Looking out over the waterslide aboard Carnival Conquest (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

But first-timers aboard Carnival Conquest may be surprised to discover Carnival Conquest offers some hidden open-deck hideaways from which to escape the noise and the crowds, if you so choose.

Carnival Conquest's quiet - and hidden - Promenade Deck (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Carnival Conquest's quiet - and hidden - Promenade Deck (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

Carnival Conquest boasts two teak-lined promenade decks on Deck 3, port and starboard sides (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Carnival Conquest boasts two teak-lined promenade decks on Deck 3, port and starboard sides (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

Deck 3 near the Reception area aboard Carnival Conquest is often an oasis of calm (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Deck 3 near the Reception area aboard Carnival Conquest is often an oasis of calm. Exit through these doors to reach the Promenade Deck(Photo: Aaron Saunders)

Take the dual open promenades on Deck 3. These run along the port and starboard side of the ship and can be accessed from the Deck 3 (lowest) level of the ship’s Artists’ Atrium. These promenades don’t connect forward or aft, but deck chairs have been placed along some of the promenade’s length for passengers to enjoy. Looking for a quiet spot to read on a sea day? This is it. And the nearby Lobby Bar makes it easy to grab a libation.

These forward-facing "hidden" decks are a great place to watch sailaway. (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
These forward-facing "hidden" decks are a great place to watch sailaway. (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

For those who want a truly unique view, head to Decks 6, 7, and 10 all the way forward. At the very end of the passenger corridor is a doorway – go through it, and you’ll be treated to a small observation area overlooking the ship’s bow. As long as conditions allow, these decks are open for passengers looking for a little quiet, or a scenic view for sailaway and sunset.

Live Music is one of Carnival’s Greatest Strengths

Carnival Conquest's atrium is the social hub of the ship (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Carnival Conquest's atrium is the social hub of the ship (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

One of Carnival’s greatest strengths is its emphasis on live musical performances, from the classical trio from Argentina that performed each evening in the ship’s atrium, to the DJ spinning tunes in the ship’s nightlclub – which, incidentally, takes its cues from the paintings of Henri Rousseau (1844-1910).

Henri's Dance Club aboard Carnival Conquest was inspired by the paintings of Henri Rousseau (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Henri's Dance Club aboard Carnival Conquest was inspired by the paintings of Henri Rousseau (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

Plenty of seating is available at Henri's Dance Club for those who'd rather watch (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Plenty of seating is available at Henri's Dance Club for those who'd rather watch (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

Even onboard a short three-night, booze-cruise weekend getaway, Carnival Conquest offered up countless musical acts each evening. Guitar sounds in the Impressionist Bar on Deck 5 midship; piano tunes with Rawle in the Blues Piano Bar each evening from 9pm until one in the morning. Live Caribbean music on the Pool Deck. Latin tunes in the Atrium, along with the aforementioned classical trio.

Live music at the Impressionist Bar, Deck 5 midship (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Live music at the Impressionist Bar, Deck 5 midship (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

And while it's not music, Carnival passengers are treated to live comedy performances each night as part of its Punchliner Comedy Club.

The Degas Lounge on Deck 5 aft also hosts Carnival's Punchliner Comedy Club (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
The Degas Lounge on Deck 5 aft also hosts Carnival's Punchliner Comedy Club (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

The Degas Lounge is one of Carnival's classic secondary showlounges (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
The Degas Lounge is one of Carnival's classic secondary showlounges (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

The Degas Lounge pays tribute to French impressionist artist, Edgar Degas (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
The Degas Lounge pays tribute to French impressionist artist, Edgar Degas (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

Live music and performances are everywhere aboard Carnival’s ships – and passengers are sure to find a live musical act that speaks to them.

Carnival Conquest’s Crewmembers Set the Bar High

Officers onboard Carnival Conquest pose for a photo (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Officers onboard Carnival Conquest pose for a photo (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

Three-and-four-night cruises are tough. Both ship and crew are “run hard” with fast-paced itineraries that offer little time to relax in between the busy “turnaround” days where 2,980 guests disembark and another 2,980 guests embark for the next voyage.

That’s why it was so refreshing to find Carnival Conquest staffed with a hardworking, energetic crew that clearly take pride in their jobs and their ship. It was a complete 180-degree shift from our experience on the newer Carnival Celebration earlier this year, which was notable for feeling short-staffed with overworked and harried crewmembers eager to get rid of their passengers.

The Alchemy Bar is a popular hotspot at night for the cocktail set (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
The Alchemy Bar is a popular hotspot at night for the cocktail set (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

Carnival Conquest has existed for 22 years. The benefit of an older ship is that it is “run-in”. Crew known their roles and responsibilities. Though staff change over, 22 years’ worth of crews that came before them have found what works, and what doesn’t.

Carnival Conquest gives the impression of being a well-oiled machine. And while short staffing still seems present in some situations (an overall hangover from COVID-19 that still affects nearly every cruise line), we’ve been impressed with the hardworking, friendly crew aboard Carnival Conquest – even in the face of sometimes demanding passenger situations.

Old(er) Ships Have Plenty to Offer

Carnival Conquest's aft stairwell (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Carnival Conquest's aft stairwell (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

They say what’s old is new again, and that is certainly true of Carnival Conquest. Older ships can offer better value-for-money, fewer passengers, and more comfortable and sometimes even spacious public rooms and accommodations.

The Deck 5 level of Carnival Conquest's atrium includes shopping, the Sky Box Sports Bar, and several seating options (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
The Deck 5 level of Carnival Conquest's atrium includes shopping, the Sky Box Sports Bar, and several seating options (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

Little impressionist details are hidden everywhere aboard Carnival Conquest (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Little impressionist details are hidden everywhere aboard Carnival Conquest (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

Designer Joe Farcus has placed hidden details everywhere aboard Carnival Conquest (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Designer Joe Farcus has placed hidden details everywhere aboard Carnival Conquest (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

Carnival Conquest does just that. Sure, if you look hard enough, you’ll find the patches of rust, the knicks on the décor. But you’ll also find crew hard at work on keeping the vessel looking bright and new: on our sailing, crew were busy laying new teak decking on the pool and re-finishing the bar top at the BlueIguana Tequila Bar.

This attractive mini-atrium is located aft between Blues Piano Bar and the Degas Lounge on Deck 5 (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
This attractive mini-atrium is located aft between Blues Piano Bar and the Degas Lounge on Deck 5 (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

For those looking for a cheap-and-cheery weekend jaunt to the Bahamas, it’s tough to beat Carnival Conquest.

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