1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Carnival Cruise Line
  4. Carnival Cruise Line Cruise Reviews

3,347 Carnival Galveston Cruise Reviews

This was the fifth cruise for my wife and me. It was our second onboard the Ecstasy and our fourth with Carnival. We are both in our 30's and have always enjoyed sailing with Carnival due to the lines laid back nature. Traveling with ... Read More
This was the fifth cruise for my wife and me. It was our second onboard the Ecstasy and our fourth with Carnival. We are both in our 30's and have always enjoyed sailing with Carnival due to the lines laid back nature. Traveling with us was my sister, who was a first time cruiser. She was a little apprehensive at first, but quickly fell in love with the cruising lifestyle. Prior to this sailing I found the Roll Call message board on this site. This was my first time reading and posting on a roll call. I met several awesome people on the board and we kept each other amped up about the cruise. The board is also a great way to get information and have questions answered prior to sailing. Although we never met in person as originally planned, I still think this is a great way to meet your fellow cruisers. So definitely check it out. Travel to Galveston: We traveled in from central Texas on May 9th, which was Mother's Day. Surprisingly there was little traffic on the roads and we made it to Galveston in only a few hours. We stayed at the Hilton Galveston Island Resort. We have stayed there before and the hotel is very nice and close to several restaurants. We dined at the Rainforest Cafe that night and at IHOP in the morning. Both were within walking distance from the hotel. The hotel offers complimentary parking and shuttle service for cruise passengers. We signed up the day we arrived at the hotel and we were able to make the 11:15 shuttle. Including the time it took us to load our luggage, parked our vehicle, and traveled to the cruise terminal, we still made it there by 12 o'clock. Embarkation: This was by far the fasted embarkation process I have ever seen. As I mentioned we arrived at the terminal at 12 o'clock. We handed our luggage off to the porter and we were on the Lido deck by 12:30. Unbelievable! This process has taken several hours in the past. A big round of applause for the Carnival staff, they did an awesome job. We enjoyed lunch on the Lido deck and by 1:30 we were in our stateroom. Our first piece of luggage arrived around 3 o'clock. By 4 o'clock we had everything. I still don't understand how this works. Every time I had my luggage over to the porter, I think this will surely be the last time I see it, but I have yet to be disappointed. The Ship: I was anxious to see Ecstasy, since she just got out of dry dock a few months earlier. The Carnival dEcor can be a bit overwhelming at first. I liken it to a Las Vegas Casino with lots of neon, gold, and loud carpet. But, these are the "Fun Ships" they're suppose to be over the top. I always laugh when I read reviews of Carnival Ships and the reviewer complains about the decorating. The stuff they complain about is the stuff I really like. I don't want to be on a stuffy cruise ship. Where's the fun in that? I like the party crowd and the cheesy games like the hairy chest and belly flop contests. If you're looking for something sophisticated you're going to have to look elsewhere. Although there are a few visible rust spots and Ecstasy is starting to show her age, she is still a very clean ship. All three of us stayed in the same room. We were on the Upper deck in an inside stateroom room #134. Side note: I left several pair of underwear in one of the drawers. If you book this room and they are still there please send them to me. I'll get you my address. No man should be without his favorite underwear. Okay back on point. They provided a roll away bed which easily folded up and out of the way when not in use. The room was plenty big for the 3 of us, and our room steward did an awesome job of keeping the place clean. In fact, at one point he made the bed with me still in it. I woke up woke up with a piece of chocolate and a towel animal on my head. Another side note: I have yet to figure out why people pay extra for a window. You can't open the darn thing. A balcony okay maybe, but a window I just don't get it. The inside rooms are like caves and provide the perfect venues for a 3 o'clock nap. I would however recommend a room mid-ship. Our room was just down from the elevators which led to the Lido deck buffet. Pizza and French fries were only a few steps and an elevator ride away. Brilliant! Let's get back on Track. There is a small flat screen TV in the staterooms and they played 3 movies per day. The movies played back to back so it was hard to watch one form the beginning without watching the ending first. They also had some news stations and a few other channels to watch, not much of a selection I admit, but you're in the middle of the ocean. If you're the type of person who wants to stay in your room and watch TV all day, cruising is probably not for you. All in all I felt the room was perfect. There were several changes to the pool deck since my last time on Ecstasy. They moved the water slide from the main pool area to the back of the ship (Aft- for you veteran sailors) to an area called "Water Works". This was great because it kept most kiddos away form the main pool area. Water Works has 3 slides and a few sprinklers for the little ones to run through. I rode the big slide and for a moment felt like a big shot until I watch a 4 year old go down head first. Kids! Carnival also added an area call "Serenity" which is an adult's only area. Although we never spent much time there it sure seemed peaceful. My only complaint is that they allow smoking on the ship. The entire Promenade deck smells of smoke. All the clubs allow smoking and as a result we never really went to them. I'm not trying to bash smokers. As far as I'm concerned it's your body do what you want, but Carnival should offer a smoke free bar. We went to the piano bar a few nights, and would try to get there early before all the smokers arrived. The piano player was great but once folks started to light up we were gone. Life on Board: Being that this was my sister's first cruise we wanted to make the most of it. We decided to eat every night in the dining room and attend all the shows. The Carnival production shows probably wouldn't win any awards but they're not bad. The talent show was good and one passenger got up and sang "Killing Me Softly" by Lauryn Hill. She blew everyone away. The newlywed not so newlywed game was hilarious. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. The comedians were also hysterical. All in all the entertainment was great. The Cruise Director Steve Cassel was also very entertaining. The man has many talents including playing the fiddle and juggling. Not at the same time of course. He was incredibly funny and a true pleasure to watch. He has a great staff working for him and there was always something going on. They put on a deck party the third night. If you enjoy people watching, this is the place to do it. We had a really good time. Bravo! Our waiters Samson and Putra were also great. By the second night of our cruise they had us figured out. They performed every night for us and truly made our meals enjoyable. The food was great. I am a very finicky eater, but I was always able to find something on the menu to enjoy. The chefs deserve a big round of applause and a gold star. Being a past guest earned us admission into the past guest party. I learned that if you sit near the isle the wait staff will pass your location frequently, providing the opportunity for more free drinks. The party lasted about an hour. Aside from the drinks, there is not much to talk about. If you managed to read this entire review, I hope you found it useful. I love cruising and hope I have the opportunity to enjoy many more in the future. As far as I'm concerned there is no better way to travel. Dollar for dollar this is the best vacation money can buy. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Fourth cruise with Carnival and perhaps the best! First much of a cruise is weather dependent and it could not have been better, from the time we left Galveston to our return, sunny perfect days and almost a flat sea, we never felt any ... Read More
Fourth cruise with Carnival and perhaps the best! First much of a cruise is weather dependent and it could not have been better, from the time we left Galveston to our return, sunny perfect days and almost a flat sea, we never felt any ship movement of significance (I am pretty sure I could have water skied the Gulf). Left Austin at 8a and arrived at 12:30 with one pit stop. The other couple going with us (first timers) wanted to see Galveston so we toured a bit arriving at the dock at 1:30. **Tip One** We used Galveston Park and Cruise, $30 for uncovered/$40 for totally secured covered (your vehicle is locked in a warehouse), it is literally across the street, lots of flaggers. I dropped off my party then was back to join them in 10 min! Carnival charges $50 for open parking. **Tip Two** The porters are worth it, we checked 4 large rolling suitcases and a garment bag and tipped $20, the luggage was at our rooms when we boarded....it was a long line and $$ well spent. From getting in line to stepping on ship took 1 hour and 15 minutes but we seemed to come when everyone else did and I was still impressed with their processing efficiency. **Tip Three** We did bring a small ice chest on board, they did measure it and are looking for 12"x12" so be aware! Ours slightly bigger but it was judged by the content (1 six pack of soft drink, 1 of water) They did look inside. We did bring a small (750ml bottle) for in room consumption which was backed in our luggage and it made it thru. My feeling on "smuggling" is don't be cute/creative, you are more likely to be allowed to keep it if it is small and not hidden then being busted with the "old vodka in water bottle" trick. If if had been found I was only going to be out $8. Suffice to say keep it in your room. As we had not had lunch we headed up to the Lido deck for the usually hamburgers/hot dogs and pizza but I have to say it was good. Perhaps now is a good time to mention the food. As Cookie said in City Slickers, "the food is hot, brown, and plenty of it...". Actually it was better than that, the food for the most part is good but not great, but is plentiful and almost around the clock. You can not go wrong with the pizza oven located aft by the Serenity Deck, nor the adjacent deli next to it. Dinner was always good with a wide variety but again not great. I say that though with defense to the crew...they are serving 1500 people for Pete's sake...you can not have a perfect steak doing them en mass! Keep that in mind before you mentally underscore the food. Breakfast was again good and consistent although by the 5th day I would have killed for a breakfast taco or migas (sorry from Texas). As advertised water, tea, punch, lemonade and coffee are complimentary, alcohol and soft drinks are not (one thing I noticed was the water was much better and not as many chemicals which naturally made all the above taste better). **Tip Four*** You will be bombarded by drink service throughout your cruise, want to have fun...make sure you have plenty of WATER also (no I am not a doctor but I do play one on TV). The daily drink specials usually are quite tasty though "fruity" and several were quite strong (remember I'm from Texas). They cost $7.75 (with the mandatory 15% tip) in the Carnival glass but on repeats order a refill they are cheaper. Overall the ship was quite nice having undergone a major refit late 2009, I personally like the decor and everything seemed clean. We had selected inside cabins directly amidships on "U" deck, we found that personally inside affords more stability if it is bumpy and we prefer total darkness if we are sleeping late. We also do not spend a lot of time in the cabin so why spend the extra $$? The room was spacious for 2 people and the beds quite comfortable, no problem with a/c at all and quiet except for kids being allowed to run up and down the hall (thanks parents...you know who you are). **Tip Five** When booking make sure you look at what is above AND below your deck, you do not want to be under the main dining room or too close to the engines if you are expecting any quiet time. While the room had 2 outlets the one in the bathroom seemed to have been disabled for safety (which I think is wise given the booze consumption on board) so if you plan on plugging in multiple things a small (6') extension cord is handy. The ship departed on time and even though this was our 4th cruise there is still something about leaving dock and hearing that horn go off, make sure you have a drink in hand and a good spot on deck. There are many activities and you can do as little or as much as you want, we took in a couple shows which were fun (but not "Vegas" quality), hit the casino (one of our newbies won the slot tournament for $500). There did not seem to a shortage of deck space which I have read others complain about, if anything finding shade! Actually went to the gym, nicely appointed and has a great view, strangely it was the most crowded I had ever seen a ship's gym? **Tip Six** Small bag/tote is always good for books, cameras, suntan lotion etc. Speaking of which we left the expensive digital cameras at home and went back to 80's style disposables, they took great pictures, were easier to keep handy and you did not have to worry about water, salt, damage. Also Carnival has become very proactive in preventing the cruising scruge, make use of the hand cleaner everywhere! The service throughout the cruise was exceptional, especially George our cabin steward and and Emil at dinner. Remember that Carnival adds $50 per person for gratuities. We ate in the formal dining room 3 out of 5 nights, mainly because after hitting ports we were too tired and hungry to wait. There is one formal night and again, there were quite a few dressed up, you are fine with a nice shirt for men, sun dress for the ladies...you can wear shorts if you want to look like a goober. Be sure and try the water slide (especially if your an adult) play putt putt for $3 a hole, take one "fun" thing off the schedule and just do it (like the towel folding demo), relax and have fun. Do not wear a hat on deck unless you want it to blow off (we saw 6 in the water at Progresso). Take advantage of all the photo offerings, we got several really good pics, most are $12, the more formal are $20. The ship docked about 30 minutes late and that seemed to be a poor first attempt at making a U-turn but still everyone has to learn sometime I suppose. Skip the disembarkation lecture, it plays in your room constantly, the "plan" (and remember, the Titanic had a plan too) is you will be called by deck. It NEVER works that way. Carry your own baggage and head for the main stairway, everyone moves when the first deck is called. This was actually one of my better ones and we were off the boat in 30-40 minutes after first call. **Tip Seven** Again use the porters who will be waiting at the bottom of the gangway after your off the ship, they will get you to the fast lines (obviously there is a deal working here), we tipped them $20 again. Including port reviews here because the drop down list did not include Progresso. This is my second trip to Progresso and each time I find a little bit more. As I tell everyone, you can save $$ by booking your shore excrusions either on arrival or online. Trust me there are at least a dozen people waiting to sell you the very same trip on the dock for much less than Carnival. Now in all fairness Carnival will claim to guarantee the tour or company but what does that mean if you have a bad time? Most likely nothing. Instead of going to Chichen Itza for $70/pp with Carnival we found a cab stand towards the end of the dock mercado and got an air conditioned taxi and driver for $60/pp to take us to Uxmal, then back to the mercado at Progresso and eventually back to the ship(we also tipped him $20, I do not speak fluent Spanish and he did not speak English but it all worked and he was a great guy). Our time, our schedule, we could stop and stay as long was we wanted. Each time Fernando our driver was always waiting. Uxmal is a great site, very impressive (I feel it is better than Chichen both the qualities of the buildings, the grounds and your not hassled by vendors, it is also 30 minutes less driving time each way). There are two small shops, a very nice snack bar and great bathrooms. The market in Progresso which I had not previously visited is actually in two parts: the first is an enclosed square 2 blocks South of where the long pier road hits the mainland. The next area is the street heading towards the beach and the beach area itself which you can't miss. There were no real "art" items, it was all tourist stuff but still a lot of fun, you will find that prices for hammocks and the ever popular Guayabera shirts are best here, also lots of silver and leather. You will be approached for Cuban cigars and maybe something "stronger" (I doubt they are real Cubans and as for the rest...take your chances). The beach area is very lively, lots of bars, nice resturants and especially $10 hour long massages which the wives took advantage of and said were absolutely great. **Tip Eight** Be nice, these people make try to make their money on cruise day, don't fault them for being pushy. A little Spanish will go a long way even if your pronounciation is off: No Gracias is better than ignoring them, No Mas Ando (an-doh) Vendo (Ben-doh) means "I'm just looking". Cozumel: I have been going to Cozumel since 1984 and it has changed a lot, more "touristy", more condos, even a mall. It is still one of my favorite places. You will walk off the ship into a mercado zone, save it for when your coming back. Again, lots of tour operators with every tour available. I had pre-booked a dolphin swim through Dolphin Discovery so we caught a cab ($7) (which are plentiful) to Chankanaab Park, the admission fee is kind of steep, $19/adult but was included with our dolphin swim. The park itself is great with a botanical garden, snorkeling/diving (you can rent onsite) and a couple of open palapa resturants. This part of the ocean is some of the saltiest in the world so be prepared. The dolphin swim itself is truly a wonderful experience with lots of direct interaction time, check out the site. We then shared a cab back to the town center with a group from Oklahoma ($12 split 4 ways) and found a great lunch site. It is only a few blocks from Carlos and Charlies (which was WAY too loud for a nice lunch), I did not get the name however except "Toro" Something, sorry, it is located on the main avenue and has a great open deck on the second floor with a fantastic ocean view. Staff was friendly and the food very good. Palmerra's right on the square is also good. Four entrees plus 4 large drinks was $60. Then we walked the remaining few blocks to where the main plaza. Again a lot of tourist stuff but very good buys in jewelery if you look. **Tip Nine** The art of haggling, I have been to just about every border town in Texas, it is an expectation and can be fun...but remember rule #8!!! First is it something you really want? Don't waste their time and yours if it is not, if it is act interested, comment on how nice/colorful/large etc., it is, mention that your mom, wife, uncle might like it. Try to wait for them to mention a price first. Then let the games begin: If the opening is $50 (and yes ask if that is dollars or pesos) look concerned and thoughtful, look at whoever is with you and ask what they think but do not offer a price just yet, again if you show interest they will most likely come down without you asking. So now if they say $40, smile and say "I really like it but am looking for something a little less expensive, will you take $30?". Remember though if you throw out $30 expect to pay it if they come down! Never Never jump to a low ball offer of say $25...it's insulting. The more expensive the item, the more room to dicker and visa versa. I got my wife a fire opal necklace set that started out at $1200 for $650 (plus the t-shirt I was wearing)and got served some great sipping tequila in the process but it took 30 minutes. In the past I have also rented a car and driven around the island on my own, you can not get lost as there is only one road that goes around and there are some great bars and beaches on the windward side. Just be careful where you park downtown. There are also many very nice beach areas such as San Fransciso headed away from town which are easy to find. If it has a big sign on the main road it is usually pretty good and most have different water activities and a resturant, all have a bar. Remember, if you head straight for the Plaza and nothing else you have missed 99% of Cozumel. Well thats about it, hope you found this helpful...via con Dios. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
My wife and I, along with my brother and wife, all took our first cruise this past week (05/24). We cruised out of Galveston, TX on the Carnival Ecstasy and it was wonderful. We did a lot of research leading up to our departure date, and I ... Read More
My wife and I, along with my brother and wife, all took our first cruise this past week (05/24). We cruised out of Galveston, TX on the Carnival Ecstasy and it was wonderful. We did a lot of research leading up to our departure date, and I have to say, being well prepared made this trip much more enjoyable than some of the other reviews I've read. Follows is a break down of our cruise: We arrived in Galveston the afternoon before and stayed at a wonderful Quality Inn just across the street from the Gulf. Galveston is a nice place to visit. We had dinner, walked around, went to the beach, etc. The next day we drove over to our selected parking lot that we had booked ahead of time. We used Lighthouse Parking and they shuttled us to and from the Terminal. We arrived at about 11:30 and had no trouble at all. There was not much of a line, and getting through the security checks was a breeze. We waited in there for about an hour before they let us board. Once on board, we had lunch on the Lido Deck and it was quite good! There we met this amazing little man who called himself "Rudi". He was a bar waiter and was always ready with a frozen concoction. Our room was quite nice. We had an outside room on the Riviera Deck. There was plenty of room for my wife and I and a large window. Here are a few things to keep in mind when packing: 1) there is only one 110 volt outlet, so take a power strip. Make sure it's in your carry on, it will get removed from your checked luggage before it hits your room. 2) Take extra hangers. There are a few in the closet, but not enough. The entertainment on the ship was very good, for what it was. The show band was amazing! The singers and dancers were decent, but good for what they were doing. I don't expect to see any of them on Broadway, or Vegas for that matter. There was plenty to keep yourself busy; karaoke, put-put, casino, piano bar, night clubs, pools, hot tubs, deck games, etc. You'll never have a dull moment. The food on this boat was amazing! We at in the dinning room for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast and lunch were open seating and always had great choices. The four of us had a reserved seat for dinner. Our waiter was a charming gentleman named Timothy. He was prompt and never turned down a request. Serving our drinks again was Rudi. My wife's not much of a drinker so we purchased her a "soda card". This was worth every penny! Every night when we got to our table there was a glass of ice and a can of coke waiting for her! Here are a few tips for dinner: 1) Be personable and engaging with your waiter, it will pay off. 2) Don't be afraid to order what you want. If you want both the Lobster AND the Prim Rib for dinner, just ask. 3) Try something you've never had. If you don't like it, let the waiter know and he'll bring you something else. Our waiter would make a suggestion for dinner and if we ordered something different, he would bring our order AND what he suggested. He was usually right! Progresso was our first stop and it was charming. We took a bus tour for $3/pp and it was very informative. After the tour we walked to the beach and and had wonderful beach side massage for only $10. Afterwards, we had lunch at a great little restaurant. I forget the name, but it had a lizard on the roof. Afterwards, we browsed the local market before catching a our bus back to the ship. We came away with some great stuff, and haggling was part of the fun! Cozumel was a night and day difference from Progresso. The ship lets you off at a shopping center, but that's only a fraction of what Cozumel has to offer. We took a cab $7/pp to the other side of town for some sight seeing and shopping. We had lunch at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville and then took another taxi to Paradise Beach. There we found white sands and the most amazing blue water. After a few hours on the beach, we caught another taxi back to the ship. After all the taxi exchanges, it would have been cheaper to rent a Jeep. I don't recommend this if it's your first time. We would have never found the beach! If I had to pick a low point of the trip it would be the debarking. This was almost enough to make me not want to do it again. We stood in long lines for hours. The entire process, from the time they called our deck to the time we got through customs was about two hours. Customs, however, was a breeze. I didn't sneak anything through, but I know several who did. I'm not recommending this, but just FYI, they didn't check or X-Ray anything. I loved this trip and I loved the Ecstasy. We will definitely be cruising again, and definitely will be sailing the Ecstasy. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
This was our 4 cruise on the Conquest. We decided to give the eastern route a try. I am 61 and my bw is 60. We drove to Galveston the night before our cruise.We had made online reservations for the Comfort Inn. It is the one between ... Read More
This was our 4 cruise on the Conquest. We decided to give the eastern route a try. I am 61 and my bw is 60. We drove to Galveston the night before our cruise.We had made online reservations for the Comfort Inn. It is the one between Wal-Mart and Golden Corral. Nice clean rooms and is very quiet. We went to Wal-Mart for the usual pre cruise we forgot stuff. We ate at Shrimp and Stuff @ Ave 0 and 36th street.Good fresh seafood at reasonable prices Sunday morning: got up and ate the free breakfast and then out to see if the ship was in.We got back to the motel and finished packing. Then on to Easy Cruise. Dropped the car off and then on to the( what I call a three ring circus to get on the ship) terminal. We got there right at 10:30. Get this we go through screening, wait in line for 15 min or so to get our sail and sign cards and then proceed directly on to the ship!Blew my mind! By 11:15 we were sitting on the lido deck eating lunch! We did the usual wait for the rooms to be ready. Sailed out on time, really liked the new safety briefing, lot easier. Monday and Tuesday: mostly just goofed off. We did go to some of the shows, however that topic brings up a gripe. After having been on the ship 4 times, looks like they would change the shows! Other then that gripe, who cares we are on vacation. Wednesday: Nassau: first port - See and Sea tour. Got off and went to look around. Took a short horse and carriage ride around the down town area. We met our guides and go on a bus ride around the down town areas. Interesting tour. Then on to the bay to catch the ship to take us out to the semi submersible ship. Took us to three coral reefs, very neat tour.Only gripe I had was the ship was small and was not for claustrophobic people, my wife and I had no problems but others did. Thursaday: Freeport: dolphin encounter. By far the neatest thing I have ever got to. Met the tour guide at the dock. Boarded a bus for the 30 min ride to the UNNESCO dock. Boarded a tender to rake 2o min boat ride to the dolphin area. Got off, was met by great trainers. They were very good at answering questions. We went to the holding area and met the dolphins. There were 20 of us in our group. I never felt hurried by the staff. Really enjoyed this encounter. Friday: Key West: Hemmingway house walk/jog! Key West is really neat. This is where my biggest gripe is. We were met at the port by Greg, the tour guide. There were 30 in the our group and 30 in the second group. We take off walking and Greg speeds up, wanting to get in front of the second group. I had no problem with that, what I did have a problem with was the the continual speed he maintained. We had some people almost left behind. Up on arriving at the house,I told Greg that we were not going on with the tour, He got defensive with me and said I would have to talk to Carnivall about a refund. I told him I was going to talk to the excursion desk once we were back on board. We did the house and then got on the trolley. Had a blast with the driver.Just messed arounfd till time to get back on. Saturday: where did the time go day! Did the usual stuff. We usually do laundry towards the end of the cruise, did that. Sunday: We were called to get off at 9:20 or so. We were through customs and back at Easy cruise by 9:50! How would I rate this cruise: excellent, good food and we had a great time! We plan on going on this cruise again next year. We will be going on this cruise again next year. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
We flew down to stay with our daughter in Sugar Land. We had two daughters with their spouses and one six year old granddaughter that went with us. We booked two balconies together and one inside guarantee which ended up being placed right ... Read More
We flew down to stay with our daughter in Sugar Land. We had two daughters with their spouses and one six year old granddaughter that went with us. We booked two balconies together and one inside guarantee which ended up being placed right across from us! We are both 59 and this was our 4th cruise. Embarkation went well except for the fact that our one daughter has a Canadian birth certificate and they had to clear her through immigration. Everyone was very nice going through this process. This was our first time being booked "aft" which had it's advantages and also dis-advantages. Advantages: We just walked up the stairs and was right in the buffet area. We also walked along the promenade (mostly from the casino!) and seen more of the events going on in the different areas and lounges which I had never paid attention to on past cruises. Disadvantage: We missed being placed in the other dining room where they have the dance floor in atrium, which we enjoyed before our late dining time. More movement of the ship. I didn't take the time to look at the photo's as much either. No, noise from the elevators never bothered us one bit! We attended the Camp Carnival orientation for our granddaughter and also took time to explore the Camp Carnival area. This was the first time that we have had a grandchild use these facilities and she absolutely loved going! There was never a moments hesitation for her to attend their events. The late night babysitting service was also handy so mom could go to karaoke or to the casino for a couple of hours. We were seated in the Monet and had the very best of service. The Maitre'd and his assistant were fantastic and gave us a lot of personal attention. Our servers, Sergev and "Snow White" were so accommodating to our "picky" eaters. The food was excellent and we enjoyed every night at dinner. We did notice that on formal nights that people who were not properly dressed were turned away. Other food experiences were all very good. Having a variety of choices throughout the day is wonderful when you have a group that has different tastes. We enjoyed the sushi bar a couple of times. The Mongolian grill was delicious as were the pizza, deli sandwiches and burgers! We often went upstairs above the lido area to eat as a family in the Sur Mer area where there weren't any crowds. Room service was always timely and good. We attended a couple of shows which were good but nothing really exciting. I felt there were a couple of numbers in the main song/dance show that were questionable for family viewing. Others must have thought so as well as there wasn't much applause for these. My husband loved the casino and staff. We all came home with more money that we left with! No complaints there! They do have a non-smoking section for the black jack tables which made it nice for our family to play together without being bothered with smoke. We have been to these ports before so chose different excursions which we booked ourselves. We loved the lazy float down the river on bamboo rafts in Jamaica. Stingray City was cancelled and so we went to the turtle farm and a few other stops and then went to 7 mile beach. I booked the Nachi Cochum beach break on Cozumel and everyone loved the day we spent there. We will do this again. Our cabin steward was very efficient and our cabins were kept very clean and nice. He always had a smile and made sure he called us by name. The towel animals were amazing this time! We didn't spend a lot of time at many of the activities as we were having so much fun as a family. I wish they would come up with other questions and comments for the newlywed game! But the first timers thought it was hilarious. Debarkation was much quicker this time. We went up on the Lido and had a nice breakfast and by then it was time to head down without hardly any lines! It was a wonderful experience for all of us. We will continue to book with Carnival as we can always get a balcony at a very reasonable price. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
We left from Southeast TX and traveled on interstate 10 to hwy 124, then 87. The ferry wait was almost 2 hours!!! Next time I will take 1-10, then beltway 8 and get on hwy 45. I booked parking online here: http://www.lighthouseparking.org ... Read More
We left from Southeast TX and traveled on interstate 10 to hwy 124, then 87. The ferry wait was almost 2 hours!!! Next time I will take 1-10, then beltway 8 and get on hwy 45. I booked parking online here: http://www.lighthouseparking.org It was $50 and only a few blocks away from the cruise ship & they were very nice and efficient. Made it to the terminal at 2:15 and we were in our room by 3pm. The balcony room was great and our location very convenient on the Lido deck (9th floor). FOOD: We ate in the Renoir dining room for dinner and the food was very good. The chocolate melting cake was good... but it is VERY rich. Lobster, pumpkin soup, crab cakes, salmon, filet mignon, & pork chops were delicious. Divan (our waiter from South Africa) was great and worked so hard! Leave your waiter a tip on the last night... they deserve it. Breakfast in the Monet restaurant was great... delicious Eggs Benedict, omelets & pancakes. I didn't care for the buffet food and stayed away from there... one night there was a late "famous Mexican buffet" and it was horrible.. trust me on this one. Never got to try the sushi as it was only served late afternoon until 8pm. Lunch - Deli and fish and chips were good. THINGS TO BRING: • Bring an OVER THE DOOR SHOE HOLDER which you can purchase cheap at Target or Walmart (clear is better). We put all of our bathroom stuff in the pockets... lotion, curling iron, deodorant, medicine, etc. It was a lifesaver since there are no drawers in the bathroom. • I like coffee first thing in the morning so I brought my own INSULATED COFFEE THERMOS... head to the dining room, fill it up and bring it back to your room as you get ready or sit on the balcony and enjoy the view. •FAN - I brought a battery operated fan - you might get a plug-in fan confiscated. We didn't need any power strip cords even though there is only one plug-in... also read to bring a bungee cord... not needed. There is a cord in the shower where you can hang your bathing suit to dry... • DOLLAR BILLS - to tip the baggage guys, also left a few dollars for the cleaning lady. • LANYARDS - brought my own..but in the Casino they were giving out free ones and they will punch your sail and sign card. For gals - a tiny long strapped purse was needed as I like to carry a few other items. ON THE SHIP: Shows - well, first one was cheesy and I could have done without it . The marriage show in the afternoon was funny as well as the Legend's talent show on the last night. I missed the comedians, maybe next time. Played Bingo a few times ($20 for 3 cards). Sun, sun, sun.... tanning on the Lido deck... get your chairs early or there will be none... Found a few on the front of the ship away from everyone... very quiet if you want it more peaceful. Hairy Chest contest was a hoot! Ice Carving was great, deck party was fun... lots of dancing and loud music. On the last night we left our large suitcase outside the cabin door for pick up. We had ticket #6 which is where our suitcase would be in the warehouse the next morning. Only do self assist if you can deal with a large suitcase down the stairs... elevators are shut down when you are to disembark the ship. We were called to leave our deck at 9:30am , went the the warehouse and easily found our suitcase, went through customs, bus for Lighthouse parking was there in a few minutes and we were in the car by 10:15am on our way home. DISLIKES: I smelled smoke in the cabin next door and sometimes on the balcony.... I wish Carnival would do something about this. Smoking should be only in the areas allowed on the ship. Overall - the Conquest met my expectations and more! I would do it again. My body is still rocking from the motion of the boat... I guess that's normal... : ) Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
In order to get my mother-in-law and father-in-law to go, we booked five people on Amtrak from Los angeles to Houston, and they had to leave 3 days before the rest of us. My husband my daughter, and our 7 year old granddaughter went with ... Read More
In order to get my mother-in-law and father-in-law to go, we booked five people on Amtrak from Los angeles to Houston, and they had to leave 3 days before the rest of us. My husband my daughter, and our 7 year old granddaughter went with Majo and Poppa on the train. I booked three sleeper cars for this. It was exciting for all of them. They had all their meals free, and my grand daughter had a wonderful adventure from start to finish. I used Ambassador Limo service out of Houston for all of our ground transportation, and highly recommend this company. They were in Houston waiting at 4:00am for the train. it was a big relief knowing my family was well taken care of for the hour and a half drive to Galveston. The Holiday Inn Sunspree resort in Galveston was wonderful also, putting them in their rooms at 5:30am instead of making them wait until 4:00. The rest of us flew out Friday night from San Francisco on the red-eye, arriving in Houston at about the same time, 4:30am. Our driver was waiting in baggage claim and took us straight away. Our rooms were given to us as soon as they could get it ready at about 10:00am, and much appreciated! We had a wonderful time in Galveston at the beach, Eating three times at Millers Seafood Grill for breakfast and Dinner. The portions were Texas size, and the chicken fried steak and fried fish was so delicious. The hotel's restaurant remained open late for us on the last night, and fed our large group, because we ate a late lunch, then were starved at 9:00pm for dinner! it is amazing how just 2 hours time difference can mess you up. They were very gracious. i liked the Texas hospitality from everyone we met there! May 2, Our two Van cabs were called for by the front desk, and arrived in less that 10 minutes! We had 13 people and 20 pieces of luggage, so you can imagine...smile:) We arrived at the pier by 9:00am and were first in line. Only a wedding party got to board before us! The porters at galveston Pier are great, and check-in was pleasant and uneventful. we were on board by 11:00 and eating our first lunch by 11:15! now that is just about as good as it gets. This was our first cruise with Carnival, and it was a perfect fit for the family trip we had planned. Our grandaughter 7, and our grandson who will be two in June had a wonderful time. I liked the size of our balcony cabin, and our bed was very comfortable. Our room attendant Sosou, was outstanding. I think that was really the cleanest any of my staterooms have ever been kept! The pillows were great, the sheets were soft. We always had clean beach towels ready and waiting for us in our cabin. We had early dining in the upper Monet restaurant, and our waiters Bobby and Agus were so nice and friendly, and took very good care of us. We were lucky to have a beautiful table by the window and once Bobby knew my Father-in-law like the blind open, he made sure to open it every evening. I found the food to be really good on Conquest, with very generous portions as well. the beef was always tender and cooked perfectly, and the lobster was actually perfect, not tough or over done at all. Let me just say Warm Chocolate melting cake!! I had it 4 times. That was just delicious and i have so missed it since we got back! The other thing that Conquest does really well, is the pasta dishes. They were all fabulous. If I had to complain about anything,( and I am not one who nit picks, i haven't ever been on a bad cruise, because i am a really glass full person) it would be the blasting radio from 6:30am on Lido deck till the wee hours, and no variety whatsoever. I love country music, and believe me, i know who fills that ship up every week are people from Texas. but the same 20 songs all week never a change, 7:30am here come Brooks and Dunn... 10:00pm Garth Brooks again same song. I mean its 2010, use an ipod and give us some variety of country even! The water slide was a huge disappointment. You could never use it unless you were in port, and it had so little water going down on it, if you were larger than a 10year old child, you literally had to push yourself down. I did like the Seaside theater. And the food on Lido was great, the pizza, ice cream , and Mongolian BBq were excellent. The entertainment was not really good though. Over all it was great. They were all very wonderful to the kids though, and I loved how relaxed the staff was. the kids just had a blast. The ports Montego Bay Jamaica: We ended up having an absolute wonderful day. We had no idea what to expect here, last time I did Western Caribbean we stopped in Belize instead. Our intention was to get on the advertised $5.00 per person shuttle into town to shop, and catch it back to the ship. Well we soon learned thats just not how things work in Jamaica! We had a guide named Rose, who was very engaging and funny, and they made sure to take us straight to the scariest part of town, first, while talking everyone into remaining on the bus and taking a tour of various places for a flat charge per person, then back to the ship. She started out trying to charge us $25.00 per person, and nobody went for it. Then $20.00 (I was ready then, because I could see that a tourist had no business walking around that town without assistance)! We settled on $15.00 per person and all stayed but a couple of people who got dropped off in Margaritaville. Our first stop was a Sugar plantation that was about 300 years old at the top of a mountain. it is a museum now, and you donate 1 dollar per person. It was breathtakingly beautiful, and you could see the whole city, and across the bay, our ship parked. Lovely pictures, and very interesting history as well. Then we were taken through the newer resort area, where large homes sit atop the mountain on the "upper road " which looks down on the abject poverty of the "lower road". We drove down into the ghetto, and were shown and told about the history of the city. We pulled over and Rose got out and bought us all fresh sugar cane and fresh pineapple, and it was delicious. Then we drove to the Pork pit for an authentic lunch of Jerk Pork and chicken, rice and peas, and roasted yams. it was outstanding, and a wonderful experience for all of us. We ate our fill for about $12.00 for two people. Next we were taken to a store, where we had about 30 minutes to shop. Then we went to a beach resort, and swam in the warm beautiful ocean. We stayed about an hour. Of course there were several vendors selling various things. One guy tried to get my son-in-law to pay because he was showing our granddaughter his 2 donkeys that were there! We found out along the way that all these things are owned by the Indians, not the Jamaicans, they just work at the places, but what can you do when you are a tourist and don't know? I would have really rather payed jamaicans since they are poor and it it is their country, but they are not the ones who own the tour busses. We were deposited safely back at the pier about an hour before sail away. Once on board looking out the balcony, a boys school band came to the ship and entertained us until they pulled up the gangway. They caught money we were dropping, and candy, cigarettes, snacks, everything you can think of and put it in bags they had. A great experience for all of us! Georgetown grand Cayman: All 13 of us did the Stingray city tour. It was a beautiful day how can you not have fun in that crystal clear water? We all had a blast, and Manuel our guide was the best! Picture perfect, and sunburns all around! Cozumel Mexico: my husband and I took his parents on the Tulum mayan ruins tour which lasts all day. We took a ferry to the mainland, Playa Del Carmen it took about 40 minutes. then we boarded our bus for the hour and a half ride to the ruins. we stopped about midway at a bathroom and store for some quick shopping and buying of snacks, then on to the ruins. it was so hot, but the tour was excellent, and the ruins a marvel. But the best of all was the beautiful ocean that beckoned us, and we all flocked down the four flights of stairs leading down to the most beautiful beach and warmest turquoise water I have ever seen. We had the best time, body surfing in the huge waves for about an hour and a half, you could see the temple above on the cliffs. it was simply gorgeous. Watching my husbands parents having such a grand time, was one of the best times in my life! A lifetime memory that was. back on board, my husband and I took the fastest shower on record 15 minutes, sand still in my hair, we made it to dinner to share with the kids! it was a great cruise, and one I will never forget. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
My wife and I are in our late-30's. This is the first cruise for both of us. Sunday: Left Sunday morning around 7:30 and arrived at EZ Cruise parking in Galveston a little before noon. I had made a reservation online and found the ... Read More
My wife and I are in our late-30's. This is the first cruise for both of us. Sunday: Left Sunday morning around 7:30 and arrived at EZ Cruise parking in Galveston a little before noon. I had made a reservation online and found the cheapest parking. I had read many reviews over the past few months and EZ Cruise had many positive comments and nothing negative. EZ Cruise dropped us and our luggage at the terminal with no problems. We tipped a terminal guy to turn our luggage in for us. Once we arrived at the terminal, we were on the ship in less than an hour. Everything was smooth and we had no problems. They did see a bottle of wine in our luggage with the x-ray machine and wanted to look at it. No problem. They let us take it on board. Our rooms were not quite ready, so we went to Deck 9 for a lunch buffet. After we ate, we went to our room at around 1:30. We had an outside room with a window. It was a neat view for us. The room was clean and spacious for two people. Our luggage arrived around 4:00 with no problem. The suitcase with a 12 pack of Pepsi had been opened and checked (they leave a note in the suitcase). They must have thought it was beer. We went to the pool and familiarized ourselves with the ship. Teh ship left promptly at 4:00. We met our room steward and went to the late dinner. We chose to have our own table the whole week. Our wait staff was awesome and took great care of us. Monday: This was a day at sea. We relaxed by the pool and ate way too much! It was so good! Monday night was formal night. My wife wore a long sun dress and I wore Dockers and a collared shirt. We saw formal dresses and tuxedos too. Most people were dressed like us. Lobster and jumbo shrimp were on the main course. Very good! Our wait staff had no problem bringing us a second plate. Tuesday: Another relaxing day at sea. More eating and relaxing by the pool. We also played mini golf on the top deck. That was cool. Wednesday: We arrived in Jamaica on time. They have some vendors set up right when you get off the ship. They are pretty aggressive in selling their goods. Some were rude if you didn't look at their stuff. I have been all around the world and understand the different cultures, so it didn't bother me too much. I just told them no thanks. We had booked the zipline tour through Carnival because of the violence in Kingston. We just wanted to make sure we were safe and wanted to use Carnival's transportation. The zipline was very cool! We were in the Jamaican jungle and had 6 zips. They were very safe. We were hooked to two different lines and were strapped in tight. We had no reservations about doing it. They guides were funny and loved their job. The longest zip was about 1200 feet long, about 250 feet high and we went 40 mph. A great rush! They gave us Rum punch afterwards. Very good. We also bought jerk chicken and Jamaican beer. That was good too. We bought a photo CD. It was $25 for 7 pictures. Kind of expensive, but great pics! We went back to the terminal and shopped inside (not wiht the pushy vendors outside). We left on time and headed to Grand Cayman. Thursday: We arrived in Grand Cayman at 7:00. We had to tender into the port. Those that had a Carnival excursion left the boat first. I did a lot of checking online and decided to go snorkeling and see stingray city with Capt Marvins. They are located across the street from the terminal. You can book online for $5 less or just do it there in person. They gave us the online rate there in person. It was $40 per person for a 3 hour tour. Excellent price for the oldest outfitter on the island (since 1951). We took a short van ride to Capt Marvin's house to launch. He was sitting in a chair and was looking out the window. He is 94 and just retired 2 years ago. He is a legend on Grand Cayman. We took a 44 foot boat to stingray city. There were about 20 people on our boat. We stayed at stingray city for about 30 mins. It was really neat. We held, kiss and hugged wild stingrays. Very cool! We then went snorkeling at the barrier reef and coral gardens for about 30 mins each. They gave us the gear and helped those that needed it. We saw lots of neat fish and coral. It was in about 10 foot water. We went then went back to the dock for the sort van rise back to the terminal area. The only downfall was the price of photos. They take a professional photographer on board. She takes a lot of neat pics, but they were two for $17. A little steep for me. We bought a $15 underwater camera on the ship and it did just fine. Not as good of quality as her photos, but a lot cheaper in price. I recommend taking your own camera and sticking with Capt Marvins. It was half the price of the Carnival excursion with another company. We were also served water and punch. Friday: We arrived in Cozumel on time and went shopping. They have lots of neat stuff there. We went to the taxi stand and took a 10 min ride to Mr. Sancho's resort. We paid $50 for an all inclusive beach area. We had unlimited Sol beer and drinks, as well as all the food we could eat. Their coconut shrimp and fish tacos are the best. We had to pay $10 more for a beach umbrella, but it was worth it. We swam, snorkeled and used the ocean kayak. It was a lot of fun. We went back and did more shopping and got back on the boat. Saturday: Another day at sea. We did a lot of activities on the ship and ate more! Sunday: Arrived back in Galveston before 8:00. We did the Self debarkation. That went smooth. Customs went smooth too. EZ Cruise took us back to our car with no problems. It was easy to get off the island and we headed back to SA. Thoughts: Alcohol is expensive on board. Each person can bring one bottle of wine. We did buy a few drinks though. We are not heavy drinkers and wanted to remember our trip. All the food was good. Especially the fish and chips on deck 10. We had a chocolate buffet on Saturday. That was awesome. There were lots of activities throughout the day. The Marriage game was very funny. We went to a few of the night show. They were pretty good. The country and Latin bands were very good. Chris Jefferson was our Cruise Director. He was funny and did a great job. We will cruise with Carnival again. We are hooked. My wife and I never went on a honeymoon, so we chose to go alone. There were not many kids on in May, so that was nice. We can't wait to take our kids. They have a lot of great activities on board for them. There was a huge waterslide and an outdoor movie screen by the pool. The seas were calm, so we had no problem with getting sick. Overall: an excellent choice! Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Decided on Galveston since it was close to our home state. Have previously always left out of Florida. Drove from Oklahoma to Galveston the day before. Traffic from Houston to Galveston was backed up, and at times at a standstill probably ... Read More
Decided on Galveston since it was close to our home state. Have previously always left out of Florida. Drove from Oklahoma to Galveston the day before. Traffic from Houston to Galveston was backed up, and at times at a standstill probably since it was Memorial Day weekend. Stayed at Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort. Parking at the hotel was gated and secure. Liked the balcony looking out at the beach. Pool was pretty and had restful night before our cruise. Sunday morning had a light breakfast and headed to the Lighthouse Parking we had reserved over the Internet. Parking shuttle took us to the cruise terminal without waiting. The process at the terminal was very quick and smooth. Comfortable and cool while waiting, and the lines were short. Took about an hour for the whole process including picture, then we were on the Lido deck to have lunch and explore the ship. Room was scheduled to be ready at 1:30pm. We had 3 rooms that were located Aft. Would not have picked this particular location except we had changed our reservation from June to Memorial Day weekend, and these were the inside rooms available on Riviera Deck. Room had plenty of space for clothes and the beds were comfortable. Bathroom was what you would expect for a cruise bathroom. Being at the back of the ship on the lower level made for frequent engine vibrations and noise, but it never kept us awake. Easy to sleep when you have an inside cabin because they are so dark. Assigned to the Monet Dining Room and had a table by the window with just the 6 of us. Was nice to be able to see out, only disadvantage was that a wall was on the other side, and you couldn't see the rest of the dining room. Waiters were good and danced 3 nights and sang a couple of nights. Menu had selections so that everyone could find something they liked. Compared to past cruises, found it odd that we were always given water to drink, but not asked if we wanted anything else such as tea. I always requested coffee with dessert and they did bring it, and a cappuccino for one of the others. Food on the lido deck was good, some better than others. Liked the way this ship had numerous buffet lines and plenty of seating. We tried breakfast on the Lido and the MDR. Both were good. Lay out of the ship is a little confusing when you want to go to the other end. A few of the floors do not go through, so you have to study the deck plan sometimes to figure it out. Liked the small pocket sized deck plan they give you when you board, and of course there are some posted on the walls by the elevators to help also. Some of us watched the ice carving, watched hairy chest contest, went to the cooking class, played miniature golf, laid on the deck, watched the marriage show, played bingo, tried the casino, went to dance classes etc. Found plenty of things to do, and at times, just did nothing but rest. Never had a problem with not finding a lounge chair on the deck somewhere. But hubby and I were not out on deck in the middle of the afternoon either. Went to all the shows in the evenings. Some were better than others. Not a fan of the magic show, but it was okay. Watched one movie on the outside theatre. There are some general observations we made about sailing on the Conquest. The majority of the passengers are from Texas, Oklahoma, and surrounding states. It was a comfortable atmosphere. Lots of families and middle class population. Most people were friendly and courteous. Did not notice a lot of wild unsupervised kids running around. Comparing it to ships leaving out of Florida, it didn't seem as "wild" of a crowd to us. This was our first 7 day cruise with 3 ports. We had active excursions at each port and became very tired. It would have been better to have one of the sea days between the port days to be able to recover from the day before. Will review ports under "Port Reviews". Disembarkation has always been a slow process. We decided to self assist. They still called us by floors and they mixed up the floor numbers as to which they called first. We were the 4Th floor they called. The wait in line to get to customs was long. But after you get to the customs officer it only takes a few minutes. Didn't have to have anything inspected, and we didn't buy large amounts of goods. We had a great vacation. Not many things that were negative. A few things we would do different next time. And yes, we are already planning a next time! Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
From start to finish my time on carnival conquest was effortless! I was initially unsure the cruise would suit my 31 age needs but was pleasantly surprised and loved how all ages were catered for. The entire journey was full of choice ... Read More
From start to finish my time on carnival conquest was effortless! I was initially unsure the cruise would suit my 31 age needs but was pleasantly surprised and loved how all ages were catered for. The entire journey was full of choice whether it be food, excursions, entertainment etc. Being English; afternoon tea was a lovely touch when in need of a little break from the sun and a memory of home. The ship itself was pure luxury and exciting to explore as was huge with so much to offer. All the staff/crew were superb especially the guys who worked the 24 hour pizza which was a favourite destination of an evening after dancing away a few calories in the disco which was even more entertaining due to the vibrant dancers. Dining was a joy, there was always so much choice, and food 24 hours is why I lost weight prior to this cruise to enjoy the delights! The restaurant provided us with the same table and waiters, who were on the ball and made us feel special, they even saved our bottle of wine for the following evening.I have to also mention the delectable steak house...a little extra to pay for this but not much and is worth every dollar...keep this little gem as a treat whilst on-board; I recommend the surf and turf (lobster/fillet steak combo) amazing! Ports of call offered the most fabulous choices of trips; I chose water falls in Jamaica + speed boat (James Bond stylie!), Swimming with turtles in Grand Caymen (simply sensational: favourite trip of the holiday!), then rounding off with a lazy all inclusive beach/drink day in Cozumel including water-sports for my little moment of energy (thanks to Mario our drinks waiter...strawberry daquiri ahoy!) The days at sea were jam packed with choice; listed on a daily leaflet outlining everything to do. Whether lazing on the deck catching some rays was your thing, playing mini golf, entering competitions, dipping in the pools or visiting the selection of food areas (of which sushi was far my favourite...yum!) The twice daily room cleaning was second to none and I loved the towel animals on my bed so much that I attended the towel lesson on board and bought the book...very impressive to friends upon return!!! A new party trick! My room was a real treat (very spacious) with amazing sea views, which was fantastic when pulling into a port. Room service was a lovely touch and fully inclusive (fajita wraps were delicious). The shows were so entertaining especially the magician who I couldn't take my eyes off, she was amazing!I wanted to know how she created such wonder. There are so many other points about the ship, I could go on for ever. I would love to holiday with Carnival conquest again as there is so much to do, my next holiday would be equally exciting and can understand why the majority or the cruisers had been cruising with carnival for years. Changed my opinion completely of cruise holidays for the better!!! Young, old, couples, families, gay/straight...will suit all!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
This was our second cruise having taken RC first on a cruise of Alaska. This prompted a number of comparisons most of which were not favorable to Carnival. To be fair, we thought the cruise was good - just not great. It could also be that ... Read More
This was our second cruise having taken RC first on a cruise of Alaska. This prompted a number of comparisons most of which were not favorable to Carnival. To be fair, we thought the cruise was good - just not great. It could also be that we're just not Carnival-type people. Parking at EZ Cruise and the shuttle to the ship were excellent. You can save a few dollars by paying online for the parking. Even though they tell you to show up at 12:30, we got there at 11:30 and there was already quite a line. Given that, the line moved consistently and we were on board by 12:30. We brought a bottle of wine in our carry on and were not hassled about it. Others who tried to bring on more than one bottle per person were not so lucky and had their excess bottles stored until their return. We tried most of the dining venues available. After waiting in the buffet line for breakfast for a few mornings, we went for the seating in the Monet dining room. This proved to be a much better choice as the food was prepared to order and it was a less chaotic atmosphere. The buffet lines moved slowly and we thought the action stations on RC were much more functional. All the folks we were seated with were pleasant conversationalists. For lunch, we mostly did the buffet line on the Lido deck and found the food to be okay. We tried the fish and chips and found them to be wanting. They use tilapia but it is too soft to hold up to the fryer and picks up the taste of the oil. Cod would be a much better choice. The grill offered burgers, hot dogs and chicken tenders all of which were okay. The Mongolian wok seemed to offer the best lunch or mid-afternoon meal as it was made to order. The dinner highlight was the Point Steakhouse. Everything was made to perfection. The corkage fee for our wine was $14 which seemed a bargain as their markup appears to be 3.75X retail. Again the main ding room was clearly a better choice than the buffet even though they mostly had the same food choices. Our assigned dining companions never showed up so we ate along each evening. The afternoon tea was most pleasant and had a number of good choices for tea, finger sandwiches, and desserts. For the most part, we found their desserts to be uninspired. The best dessert on the ship was a piece of carrot cake we bought at the coffee bar for $2.25. It was as good as any carrot cake we've even had and was clearly large enough to feed at least two people. The ship layout takes some getting used to. The Renior dining room is in the middle of the ship which means that you often have to go up and around to get from one part of the ship to another. You also need to know where you are in the ship as you need to take certain elevators to make it up to some decks. We had a balcony room that was slight bigger than we had on RC. One problem we had was that a partition on our balcony came loose 3 different times. Because of the high winds, we kept hearing the partition banging during the night and into the morning. Our shower drain clogged up once and caused a mess but this was taken care of. The magnetic stripe reader on the safe is very sensitive and you need to make sure that there are no fingerprints imparted to your credit card to ensure that the safe will read your card. Carnival offers most of the usual cruise activities. I won the sports trivia contest and we greatly enjoyed the art auction and associated showings. While they had a putting green and offered golf lessons on deck, the golf simulator on RC was much more enjoyable. Contest premiums were some dumb Carnival medals while we got nice tee shirts on RC. Carnival did provide a number of live music choices and we especially liked Claude in the piano bar and Groovey Tunes with Keith. The production shows were mostly good but the magician needs some improvement. One of the best things Carnival has going for them is their mostly excellent staff. We found them to be friendly, courteous, enthusiastic and helpful at all times. Our room steward, Marianne was excellent and we couldn't have asked for better service. Our only minor quibble was that the people at customer service seemed clueless about some questions we asked and indeed gave us some incorrect information. In Jamaica, we did the highlights and shopping tour that was uninspired. Some people who went to a beach said that they were guarded by soldiers with automatic weapons which may be a reflection of the current state of affairs in Jamaica. At Grand Cayman, we did the island tour the highlight of which is the visit to the turtle farm and where you get to hold a turtle if you want. There's plenty of upscale shopping in the downtown area. The people here are friendly, well educated and courteous. They take pride in themselves and their country and the police don't even carry guns - a Carribean Mayberry! Cozumel is probably a great stop for scuba, snorkeling or seeing Mayan ruins. Other than that, it just seemed like a giant tourist trap. The one good thing is that the taxis to and from town are well organized and relatively inexpensive. We did self assist disembarkation and thought that this went relatively smoothly. We'll probably be looking at a different cruise line for next time but Carnival is probably not a bad choice for younger people or those who want to spend a little bit less. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
We arrived in Galveston on Friday the 9th of April and stayed at the Casa Del Mar. We really enjoyed the hotel and even made the 30 minute trip to T Bone Toms in Kemah, as featured on the Food Network, for dinner on Friday evening. We had ... Read More
We arrived in Galveston on Friday the 9th of April and stayed at the Casa Del Mar. We really enjoyed the hotel and even made the 30 minute trip to T Bone Toms in Kemah, as featured on the Food Network, for dinner on Friday evening. We had pedicures done at Regal Nails in the Walmart in Galveston, which was a treat for my daughter and mother in law who we took on the cruise. We just bummed around Galveston on Saturday, but really enjoyed ourselves. Make sure to ride the free ferry both directions if you get the chance, you will usually see dolphins jumping near the ferry. We left our vehicles parked at the Casa Del Mar and took a taxi over to the cruise terminal. Embarkation went very smoothly and really didn't take very long at all. Our stateroom was ready for us when we boarded and were able to drop our carry on bags immediately. We went up to the Lido deck to get some lunch and made the mistake of accepting the DOD from a waiter. They were $7.75 a piece and tasted like they had Hawaiian Punch and Bacardi Rum in them. We spent the next couple of hours exploring the ship and figuring out how to get around. That afternoon after the muster drill we attended the meeting for the children services. It was geared towards the younger children and their parents. The person in charge of the Circle "C" club spoke for all of 10 seconds to introduce herself. It was a total waste of my time because I didn't learn anything about the Circle "C" club except to be handed a schedule. I was immediately concerned that the major Circle "C" activities were scheduled during the late seating hour for dinner. We eat late in the evening at home and have always chosen to eat at the later dinner time on cruise ships. My daughter loves the dining room experience and wanted to make sure she could eat every evening with us in the dining room. I asked a Camp Carnival employee about the schedule because Lola, the Circle "C" club director had already slipped out of the meeting. I was told to ask the Guest Services desk about possible changes. I went directly from the meeting to Guest Services and they sent me to speak with the Matre' D. I went and spoke with the Matre' D and couldn't make him understand my issue. He kept telling me that I requested the late seating and that was what I was given. I kept telling him that I knew I requested late seating, but I didn't know when I requested late seating that every party in Circle "C" club would be held during the late seating. To add insult to injury, there were 2 other cabins there with me trying to get changed to the early seating so their kids could attend Circle "C" and the Matre' D couldn't grasp the concept that we didn't all want to sit together. He basically told us right there that he wouldn't be switching us to the earlier seating or to the dine at your convenience seating either, but did say he would send us a note the next day letting us know for sure. I went to dinner that night and meet our servers Roberto and Karn. They were a lot of fun and we really enjoyed them throughout the week. The problem is my daughter went to our 8:15 seating with us but the very first Circle "C" activity was at 8:30. It was a ice breaker meeting. So we sat at table 502 in the Monet Dining Room. To get my daughter to her activity I had to leave the dining room, run up a flight of stairs, walk almost the entire length of the ship, run down and flight of stairs and then do the entire process in reverse to get back. So I ordered my appetizer and made the dash to drop the daughter off and get back before they served it. This became almost a nightly occurance. It did however help me to make sure I didn't put on to much weight on the cruise. We went to the Welcome Aboard Show that night and really enjoyed John Heald. He is a very funny man and an excellent Cruise Director. We really enjoyed all of the shows he did, but would warn anyone sitting near the front of the theatre not to take a bathroom break during his performance. That evening Circle "C" closed unexpectedly about 40 minutes before the schedule stated it would. My daughter didn't know the ship well enough to get her back to our stateroom and ended up wondering around looking for help to get her back to our room. I went to pick her up about 10 minutes early just to find the room dark and locked. By the time I found her she was upset about the incident. The next afternoon we received a note in our stateroom letting us know officially that the Matre' D would not be changing our dining time. I went back to Guest Services to see if anything could be done because once again I was going to be doing a appetizer dash to get her to the elegant dance the Circle "C" was having to correspond with formal night. Guest Services sent an email to the Matre' D to no avail. So the evening dash from the dining room to the Circle "C" club would be a permanent gig. It seemed that every afternoon and every evening the Circle "C" Director would find a new excuse to close early and she was constantly changing the plans and not following the schedule that she put out. But the cruise changing event would happen on Tuesday evening. Once again I did the the run to take her to Circle "C" club during dinner. When I went to pick her up about 30 minutes before the schedule said it would close my daughter literally hopped out of the club door and immediately started bawling. When I asked her what was wrong she said that she had accidentally kicked a metal door stop and her pinkie toe really hurt. I looked down at her foot and her pinkie toe was facing the wrong way. Lola popped out about this time and tried to tell me that Sarah had said her toe was fine, but they hadn't bothered to even call my stateroom and ask if I wanted to come and get her. HER TOE WAS FACING THE WRONG WAY! It was 11:30pm and the medical center was closed. I took my daughter back to our stateroom where my husband, an x-ray tech that has worked in the emergency room for years, reduced the toe and taped it to the toe next to it. There was screaming involved and I'm sure our neighbors didn't appreciate it. I then went to Guest Services because my daughter had lost her Sign and Sail card in the middle of this mess. I was at this point all kinds of livid, as any mother could probably imagine. They were shocked that medical hadn't been called when the incident happened. I got a new card for my daughter and headed back to the room. Wednesday morning we went to the medical center and saw the doctor. They x-rayed her foot and sure enough she broke her toe really bad. Before this is really over there is a very good chance they will have to re-break it and put a pin in it to make sure that her toe is straight and doesn't cause her problems in the future. So we left the ship and went into Montego Bay. I reviewed this port below. For the next three evenings my daughter put up with Lola, the Circle "C" Director telling her that she really shouldn't be coming to the activities since she was on crutches. This was the height of being insulted since this happened in Circle "C". I can't even count the number of times that she closed early or changed what they were doing and weren't were the schedule said they would be. We loved Grand Cayman and didn't really mind that it sprinkled on us. Cozumel is just down right poured and we had to carry the 12 y/o daughter because we were afraid of her slipping with all the water on the ground. We had one incident with our room steward when my friend tried to get me two bracelets and left them with the room steward. It took him over 48 hours to give them to me even though he had been in our room at least twice a day. Overall I have to say that Carnival needs to look at the situation in Circle "C" and evaluate if Lola should be working in an area where she is unsupervised. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
We sailed on the Carnival Conquest out of Galveston on April 25, 2010 to the Western Caribbean. We were in room 7445. The room was fine. The pink in the room was a bit much. When we arrived the bed was set up for two single beds despite ... Read More
We sailed on the Carnival Conquest out of Galveston on April 25, 2010 to the Western Caribbean. We were in room 7445. The room was fine. The pink in the room was a bit much. When we arrived the bed was set up for two single beds despite the fact we needed them to be together. They fixed that problem the first night. Our room had the over sized balcony on the back of the ship. When we first got on the ship the balcony was dirty. The railing glass was dirty and the deck wood was dirty. When we first got on the ship at noon they told us that we could not go to our rooms until 1:30 PM. They directed us to the buffet dining room. The food was simple, but we thought since it was sail away day it would get better. The buffet never got better. It was all simple food. The buffet would close completely at about 10:00 PM. The only food you could find was the pizzeria or room service. If you called room service any time in the evening for dinner or a snack it would be an hour plus wait. The limited room service menu was mostly a cold sandwich. They served good food in the dining room. Now the ship. The ship is simply a hotel. The only access you have to the outside is on your own balcony if you were lucky enough to get one or the top deck. There is no other access. This is quite different from the Princess Cruise ships we have been on. On those ships you can walk around each deck and see the ocean, smell the ocean. Not on this ship. You can get through the ship on deck five, but you must go past the cigarette smoke filled casino. On other ships there were two smoke free evenings, but not on this ship. The smoke is so bad; we had to stay away from the casino. We were disappointed in the Carnival Conquest. We were docked in one of the ports next to another cruise ship of another company and found out they had an ice skating rink, a rock climbing wall and other things. The Carnival Conquest only had an outdated water slide. Check out the competition before book with Carnival. Have fun. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
This was our fourth cruise, having sailed twice with Carnival before and once with Princess. I would say that the food and service on the Conquest were the best of any of the cruises we have been on. Our waiter, Imade, was absolutely the ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise, having sailed twice with Carnival before and once with Princess. I would say that the food and service on the Conquest were the best of any of the cruises we have been on. Our waiter, Imade, was absolutely the best and made our dining experience particularly enjoyable. He was always friendly, and if we wanted something special, he made every attempt to meet our needs. Our room steward, Tammy, was friendly and responded very quickly to all our requests. The dEcor of the Conquest was pleasant, with the Impressionist painters theme. Our last Carnival cruise was on the Splendor, which is quite gaudy. Although older and showing its age slightly, we really liked the Conquest better than the Splendor. We booked an inside room. We have booked balconies before and find we are hardly ever in our room, so we hardly spent any time on the balcony. The inside room was slightly smaller than the balcony and didn't have a couch, but otherwise was pretty much the same. There was plenty of room and closet space for my husband and me. We lucked out and had John Heald as our cruise director. He was fabulous and very funny and really included the passengers in his presentations. However, the big production shows on the Conquest were very corny and old fashioned. They really need to get a new show with some more modern music. Embarkation was easy, but disembarking took forever. We had a late flight so left the ship at about 10:30. We stood in line for almost 2 hours to get through customs. Ports: Jamaica: I had read horrible reviews about Jamaica, so we decided to play it safe and did the ship's Sandals excursion. Well, it started out on a bad note but ended pretty well. We were booked for 10:00 to go to Sandals Montego Bay. Our excursion was delayed until 11:00, and when we were on the bus to Sandals, we were told that we were going to Sandals Royal Caribbean instead. We were pretty disappointed until we discovered their private island. They have a boat that goes back and forth to this little island with great food, pool with swim up bar, and friendly staff. We had a great time there. Grand Cayman: We just shopped and took a taxi to Seven Mile Beach. Taxis cost $4.00 per person. Cozumel: We did the ship's Isla Pasion by Twister excursion. This was the most awesome excursion, and I highly recommend it. You travel to this beautiful tropical island on a Jet boat that does 360 degree spins. You get soaked, scream a lot, and have an absolutely great time. When you get to the island, all the food and drinks you want are included. The food was very good, with awesome hot salsa. The people were all extremely friendly. It was just an overall great time. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
We sailed very last minute on the Carnival Conquest because our scheduled trip to Europe had been canceled due to the Iceland Volcano! Long story, but we needed to make alternative plans for my daughter's 16th birthday. So, we made ... Read More
We sailed very last minute on the Carnival Conquest because our scheduled trip to Europe had been canceled due to the Iceland Volcano! Long story, but we needed to make alternative plans for my daughter's 16th birthday. So, we made last minute reservations to sail with Conquest. We had an interior room on the Verandah deck. There were 3 of us which made for interesting sleeping arrangements. Our room had 2 twin beds and an upper fold down bed. This actually worked out better then I thought it might. The two girls I had with me are small in stature and loved having the upper bunk to sleep on. We arrived in Galveston at 12:30 pm and parked at EZ Cruise. There was no hassel. I had bought our parking ticket on line ahead of time and saved 5 dollars. The shuttle to the terminal was very fast and the employees were very accommodating. They dropped us off at the terminal - 5 minutes away. Once there we gave our luggage to an attendant to put on the ship. All our paperwork was finished so we just went on in and waited in lines. We waited and waited and waited. Actually the total process was only about 1 1/2 hours - I have experienced longer lines on other cruises...this wasn't so bad. Once on the ship we checked into our room and found we needed the upper bed brought down and the fridge unlocked. No problem, our cabin steward was great. Very helpful and kind. We ate in the Lido and let the kids explore before we took off at 4. Everything was on time - great weather, smooth sailing. All of the staff I encountered were extremely friendly - with exception to those in the customer care department. Not that they were "unfriendly" but anything I needed seemed an inconvenience to them. Almost as if they were guarded from the minute I walked up to ask a question. But other then that, our personal stewards were fantastic. They made my girls - 15 and 16 - feel extra special with each conversation. They called them by name, made special little favors for them, inquired about their days and learned their favorite drinks and deserts. On my daughter's birthday the waiter's sang the best rendition of "Happy Birthday" she has ever had. A very memorable experience! Our ports of call: 1st stop was Montego Bay - I choose to not take the ships excursions but to travel on my own. I was comfortable with this since I had sailed before and been to these ports. We took a taxi to Doctor's Cave - a private beach. I would recommend you be prepared for the taxi ride. We were told that the larger taxi - holding 20 people would take us there for 5 dollars each. I boarded but we had to wait for the entire taxi to be filled before it would leave. This took about 25 minutes. Then when we were on our way, they wanted to give us an 1 hour tour of Montego Bay for only 20 dollars each! We had to stand our ground and demand them to take us to the beach. That was a bit unpleasant, but I guess to be expected. Once at the beach, the security guard was a little to friendly and the overall feeling was unpleasant. I was happy to get back to the safety of the ship. 2nd stop was Grand Cayman - we tendered to the port, which went very well. We were one of the last tenders so we didn't have to hurry up and wait to get off the boat. It was a relaxed morning. The port is full of shops, bars and restaurants. Everything was very clean. As far as shopping - you will pay more at this stop - if you are looking for the deals, wait until you get to Cozumel for your souvenirs. 3rd stop was Cozumel - without question, save your excursion money and take the day to spend it at Channkanub Park. 5 dollars a piece will get you there. The taxi's are VERY easy to get and very organized. The park is about 7 miles away - no problem to get there. Everything you would want can be done at Channkanub - beautiful snorkeling (they have rentals) awesome sandy beaches with grass huts for shade, very attentive beach waiters, clean bathrooms and lockers, swimming with the dolphins, a beautiful lagoon and garden, swimming pools...just an awesome day with lots of options in one park. Very reasonable entrance fee...you can also get a 2 dollar discount ticket on line. Their food and beverage service was outstanding. Entertainment was great - although I attribute that to the cruise director John Heald, who left the ship after our cruise. He was fantastic and kept the audience laughing non stop - whenever he spoke, whether on stage or over the intercom...he was the best! The rest of the acts were mediocre. The band seemed less then interested in being on stage and the other acts could have used some updating. The only down falls with this cruise: compared to the other lines, Carnvial is for sure the party scene. Hard to find a place to "rest" from the music and crowds. Smoke was really bad in the casino area and you must pass through it if you are going to go from front to back on the ship on deck 5. Non-alcoholic drinks are 2.35 a piece - you can get a card for 7 dollars a day per person, but factor that into your price. I don't like their gratuity system - I prefer to pay my stewards directly, so I know they are getting the tip. I had my automatic gratuity removed - not a problem, but I am not convinced that your specific waiters or stewards get your gratuity unless you pay them directly. Food was fair - nothing to get excited about. Nothing over the top and the menu's were very predictable. That was a little disappointing. Breakfast was always the same and the room service was very limited - not much more then a continental breakfast and deli sandwiches. Our disembarkation went very smoothly - took about an hour to get through customs...really no problem. EZ Cruise was there to pick us up - we did not have to wait at all for them to bring us back to our car. They did not require a full van before they brought us back to the parking lot. Great service. Overall - great cruise for the kids to experience. They had nothing else to compare it to. For me, Carnival is not the way to go. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
As we are only 30 minutes from the cruise terminal, Robin worked (at the local hospital) until noon on Sunday. We picked up our friends Alex and Roger and headed for Galveston. Robin dropped us off at the terminal with our bags, parked, ... Read More
As we are only 30 minutes from the cruise terminal, Robin worked (at the local hospital) until noon on Sunday. We picked up our friends Alex and Roger and headed for Galveston. Robin dropped us off at the terminal with our bags, parked, and caught the shuttle back to the terminal. All went smoothly and we were aboard before 2 pm. Our cabin was ready with the exception of the beds still being in the "twin" format. Also, the safe was locked and we were unable to access it. Our inside cabin was large enough for the two of us. We had ample drawer and closet space. We always take one of the over-the-door mesh storage "thingies" to put large bathroom items in so we had plenty of counter space. There was a small table which we used almost every morning for room service breakfast, a chair and a stool. Another helpful thing we take along is a power strip since there is only one electrical receptacle. With the strip we can charge camera, computer, etc. at the same time. A call to housekeeping brought someone to unlock the safe and by bedtime, the beds had been changed to the "king" format. We thought the food in the Monet dining room was some of the best we have enjoyed on any of our cruises. I am always reluctant to order the beef as on other ship it has been tough and dry. Was not the case on the Conquest. Was tasty and tender. Only The Point exceeded the Monet in quality. Impeccable service and perfect steak in The Point. Instead of commenting on every aspect of the trip, suffice it to say that the over all experience was very good. Of course there were a few glitches, but minor and attended to in a timely fashion. Robin enjoyed the Spa and commented that they didn't try to "hard sell" as had been the case on past cruises. John Heald is the absolute king of Cruise Directors. His sense of humor and his ability to ad lib in any situation is amazing. The music and entertainment around the ship was good. We enjoyed a tour of a plantation in Jamaica. Biggest thrill of the trip was the ride up and down the mountain. Rained in Caymans and Cozumel. We wandered around, did a bit of shopping in Cozumel and back to the ship. A bit disappointing we weren't able to have a beach day in Cozumel, but Oh well, next time. Debarkation was relatively painless. We know from experience to find a porter as soon as possible rather than go through the long lines. Carnival now has a porter line and the porters are called in in an orderly fashion. This eliminates the old method of whoever is lucky enough to find one. After getting through customs, Robin caught the shuttle to retrieve our vehicle in the parking lot. Since we are local, she knew not to get in the line on Harborside Dr. but cut through to 21st and was back at the terminal in less than 30 minutes, home in another 30. We have sailed on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and the Mississippi paddle wheelers in addition to Carnival and have not been disappointed on any of them. We do think we have gotten more bang for our buck on Carnival. One does have to take into consideration that the Galveston cruises are prime for spring breakers and families. Spring break we try to avoid but Carnival does such a good job with their Camp Carnival and we rarely saw any of the almost 400 children aboard the Conquest on this cruise Very enjoyable and we are ready to go again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
My Husband and I had always had reservations about going on a cruise. We went with my Sister and her Husband, all four of us, first cruise. We loved it and can't wait to do it again sometime. The ship, the Conquest was beautiful and ... Read More
My Husband and I had always had reservations about going on a cruise. We went with my Sister and her Husband, all four of us, first cruise. We loved it and can't wait to do it again sometime. The ship, the Conquest was beautiful and full of life and art! Our first afternoon aboard was so exciting, so much to see. Enjoyed listening to Groovy Tunes Keith in the lobby and meeting people that first day. Our Balcony cabin was very clean and comfortable. I wish we spent more time in it but we did not want to miss lots of great activities. The food was so fresh and prepared well. I tried foods I have never had and enjoyed every bite, especially with the most gracious waiters I have ever met, Putu Marhardiko and Inyoman made each night so happy. We loved talking to them and sharing our lives. They work very hard and were truly kind and gracious. We will always remember them. We loved the dancing in the dinning room with the waiters! Each day we watched the live show in the morning of the Cruise Director John Heald who is so naturally funny I was roaring on bed with laughter. He kept us informed of upcoming events each day and by the end of the cruise I felt as if I knew him. My husband and I found the week so relaxing and romantic. We got so silly together and walked on the upper decks each night under the stars! We both used the fitness center and walked on the walking track. We enjoyed the Karaoke at night and tried it for the first time which was a blast. We visited Groovy Tunes Keith in the Piano Bar one night which was great. He has a way of bringing people together in conversation. He is a good singer and nice to talk with. At one point I met the Captain who was so charming and handsome I almost fell over even though the ship was not swaying, I was! We had a nice man named Kervin who cleaned our room twice a day and made us towel animals! We kept the room as clean as possible so he would not have to work too hard there. We enjoyed breakfast in our room with the comfy robes each day with room service. The fruit was so fresh and the coffee was great. My sister and her husband had a different style and they had their own experiences. We took it easy and romantic and took a lot of naps in the afternoon. There was so much to do you could easily get overwhelmed. We only went off the ship once in Jamaica to do a little shopping and loved being in the luxury of the ship on the other port days. Our room was in the aft section and was very quiet. We slept with the balcony door open and listened to the waves all night. We danced in the lobby at night and enjoyed the shows in the theater at night. Having a week with no cell phones was so nice. We met all sorts of nice people having a good time. Met a young couple on their honeymoon, the man did a perfect impression of actor Christopher Walken! We met a nice lady named Gloria who was on her first cruise with her friends. Her husband had passed away a year ago and she was trying to find joy in life again and I saw her throughout the cruise and she was having fun. The food at the buffet was so good, the salads were incredible with every know ingredient available. All in all, we had a time we will never forget. We are nothing but thankful for all the pampering and recognize that many good people worked very hard to provide us with that unforgettable experience. We tipped as generously as we could, but could never thank them all enough and wish them much happiness in life. Next cruise we would like to go to the Mediterranean. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Took a 5 day cruise on the Carnival Ecstasy out of Galveston on March 29, 2010 with my son. It was his 16th birthday this week and he was out of school this week. Getting There: We live in Houston and drove and parked at Galveston Park N ... Read More
Took a 5 day cruise on the Carnival Ecstasy out of Galveston on March 29, 2010 with my son. It was his 16th birthday this week and he was out of school this week. Getting There: We live in Houston and drove and parked at Galveston Park N Cruise. Only $30 for 5 day cruise and it's right across the street from the ship. We pre-paid and had no problems. We parked and carried our luggage across the street to the ship without a problem. It might be best to go to the ship first and drop your luggage and family off if you have lots of luggage and then park the car and walk back. No shuttle involved. I was very happy with the people and where we parked. The boarding of the ship was different. Long line that zig zags around. We got there at 12:30 and it took just over an hour to get on board. On board it was fine. Went to lunch. Cabin was ready around 2:30. Luggage came around 3:00. No problems at all. Cabin was fine at first. We stayed in E137. Cabin was nice. Good storage space. Shower nice size compared to others that I has seen. The bathroom had soap, shampoo, cream rinse, tooth paste and deposable razors. I thought this was a nice touch. NO Hair dryer. Found out on last day when I saw a person returning one to front desk, that if YOU ASK your cabin person he or she will get you one. Our first three nights were perfect in the room. The last TWO nights were awful. Do not stay in E137. There was this incredible popping, clanking noise that started up before dinner, but we were in a hurry and really did not pay attention. Got back about 11:30 P.M. and could not sleep. My fault, I keep thinking it would stop or someone else would complain. Finally at 2:30 a.m., I went to the front desk and they sent 2 Carnival people to the room. This room is on the end and has no one on its back side or on one of its other sides. The only room next to us was complaining too. The Carnival staff heard the noise and acted like they had never heard it before. Easy to hear outside in the hall with cabin door open. Carnival staff said it must be the kitchen that is above the room. They would take care of it. Noise stopped at 4:30 a.m. Checked with front desk the next morning to make sure the problem was fixed and I would get some sleep this night since I had been up all night. Unfortunately same thing happen again. The noise did not stop until 5:00 a.m. this time. Complaining at front desk did not produce any help with stopping the noise. Without me asking, Carnival gave me $12.50 credit per night per person ($50.00 total) for the 2 nights. I admit I did not push the issue at the time. I just let it go and since this was the morning of the end of the cruise, I just wanted to get off the ship and go home. But don't stay in cabin E137. We stopped at Progresso and Cozumel. Please don't expect clear water and nice sand in Progresso. Here is where you can bargain to find deals. The only problem is there's not much you really would want to buy there, but its fun to bargain. Cozumel is nice. More expensive, but has water sports and activities that you can enjoy. Nice beaches that you can catch a cab to. Cab rides to beaches are $16 per cab each way not per person. Getting off the ship was a disaster. Not Carnivals fault in my opinion. We could not dock until 1 p.m. due to heavy fog. Finally got through customs at 5 p.m. Many people missed their flights out of Houston. In my opinion it was customs fault. The lines took forever. 6 lines total, 4 for regular people and two special lines for people that would pay the Porters to carry their luggage and them around the lines of people to these special lines. This Porter thing has to be a Union thing. Going through Customs was so slow. The next day (Sunday) the 7 day Carnival cruise ship docked and they had the same fog and customs problem. It was in the news and in the local newspaper. Our ships fog problem never made the news. The 7 day cruise according to the paper, docked at 4:00 p.m. because of the fog and it took even longer to get off and through customs. You would think that if it happened the day before, you would have a better plan the next day. The newspaper said not enough customs people. In my opinion, you always have to wait for customs, but ports in Florida have 3 to 4 ships a day come in at the same time and nobody there goes through what happened at Galveston. We are only talking one ship here. By the way, Carnival did extend breakfast and did provide lunch for us until we got off the ship. There have been fog problems before, so please don't always count on the ship getting in at 7 or 8 in the morning. Ship wise Carnival was fine. There were areas that you could smell cigarette smoke from people smoking, but otherwise ship was very clean. Food was good. Kind of weak, breakfast wise in the main dining room. Lines were always long for outside eating places. Mongolian Beef Station was very good. Pizza and sandwich Deli also had long waits at times, but good. Entertainment was good. Had family shows and then R rated shows late at night and Carnival staff made sure no one under 18 was admitted to these late shows. I have been on 11 other cruises: Holland America, NCL, Royal Caribbean and Princess. This was the first cruise that I have questioned any ships life boat drill. Every cruise I have ever been on required you to put your life vest on and muster at your life boat. Carnival told everyone that their life vest was not necessary and for everyone to muster at their muster station. Ours was on the Lido deck. We got there along with a few hundred others. No one had a life vest. Two Carnival people got up and demonstrated how to put a life vest on. They did a good job. Then they walked off the stage and everyone stood there. No other Carnival people around. After a few minutes, people started to walk away, which was good because now we had more room to stand around in. After about 10 minutes of everyone standing around mingling, the drill was over. I never saw my life boat and I never got checked off. Every other cruise I have been on, they made you stand by your life boat with your life vest on and they checked you off by calling out you cabin number and you had better be there to respond. How Carnival expects older or even younger people with kids to put on a life vest in a panic situation if they have never had one on before, along with finding their life boat if they don't know where their life boat is, is beyond me. In my opinion, there are nicer ships, that go nicer places for a nicer price than the Carnival Ecstasy, but if you have never been on a ship and have nothing to compare it too, this ship is fine and you should have a good time. Take away my loss of sleep for two nights and the cruise ship was enjoyable. Just be aware of the customs problems and don't have an early flight back home scheduled. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
This was a mother/daughter cruise. As each of our children has graduated high school, we went on a family vacation. This time it was just myself and my daughter as my husband had obligations with the older children, which are grown now, ... Read More
This was a mother/daughter cruise. As each of our children has graduated high school, we went on a family vacation. This time it was just myself and my daughter as my husband had obligations with the older children, which are grown now, and my son had school sports activities during spring break.       Based on our prior experience, we were really surprised with the menu in the dining room. The quality of the food was really lacking. There was never any steak on the menu other than a flatiron steak or shoulder tenders - both of which are just different cuts of chuck. No filet mignon at all. On our prior cruises we were presented with a menu that had a full 5 courses. The portions were sized so you could order all of them and finish them without feeling too stuffed. The menu on this ship just had a section called "starters" which put together soups, salads, and appetizers. There was only one new salad every night - all the other items were labeled "Carnival favorites" and were on the menu every night. They even rotated the "new" entrees - so there were repeats during the 5 night cruise. This was also true of the buffet on deck - there were 2 "American" days - with the same food.       Also the service in the dining room was terrible. We chose the "your time" dining which worked out great in that we could go eat whenever we wanted - and we never waited for a table. But once we sat down the service was really slow. They didn't even have a full place setting on the table - only one fork! I had to flag the waiter down to get anything from the bar. I like to have a glass of wine with my entree and after receiving the wine after I'd already eaten my entree twice, I gave up and quit ordering anything other than water or tea. There were no wine stewards. And on more than one occasion the busboy gave us water without asking if we wanted water or tea. We were never offered coffee with dessert, either. We had to ask, and again, I finished dessert before the coffee was brought.       I was also shocked to see the age in the casino was 18. When we went with my then 19 year old step-son 5 years ago, the age was 21, and they checked. They were not checking this time. My 18 year old daughter, who looks like she's 15 or 16, sat at a slot machine for over half an hour and no one checked her ID. I saw lots of young men playing tables that didn't look 18.       I can't even comment on Progreso - we never made it. I don't know whose idea it was to build a 6 mile long pier. We got off the boat - and were in a huge mob of people waiting for the shuttle bus and non-existent taxis. We walked around the shops for awhile and kept checking back, but the line never got any shorter. So we finally decided just to get back on the ship and hang out by the pool - that was the best decision. No-one was there, and all we wanted to do is lay out anyway.       Cozumel was nice. We were docked right in downtown! We just walked off the ship and right across through the mall - and saw a Starbucks! Yay! I got a 4 shot americano, and they took my daughter's Starbucks card! They had internet access, too. If I'd known that, I would have brought my laptop from the ship. But I didn't want to go back and get it - too long of a walk to do that!       We took a cab to Paradise beach - I highly recommend that. It is $15 each way for a taxi, it costs $2 for a beach chair, and you have to buy $10 worth of food/beverage - which is about 2 margaritas. For another $12 you can get a wristband to use their water toys and snorkel gear. It was a nice, clean, updated place. The bathrooms are nice, and they have private changing stalls, and showers that are out in the open to rinse off the salt and sand. Much cheaper than a shore excursion, and you can do it at your own leisure.       The other thing that was lacking on the ship was the entertainment. They had 2 comedians, but they only did shows on the sea nights. One night the entertainment was a bingo game, then "game show night". These things seem like they should be afternoon entertainment, not nighttime. They did the bingo more than once at night, too.       My daughter and I both had the same impression - if we'd never been on a cruise before, this one would make us never want to take another cruise again. I actually talked to more than one person on the cruise that were first time cruisers and felt the same way. This was my 3rd Carnival cruise, and it will unfortunately be my last. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
My family has cruised a number of times on many different ships and cruise lines. In this review I will try to grade each major area of the cruise to give you a feeling of our experience. We chose the Carnival Esctasy because of the time ... Read More
My family has cruised a number of times on many different ships and cruise lines. In this review I will try to grade each major area of the cruise to give you a feeling of our experience. We chose the Carnival Esctasy because of the time (Spring Break) port of departure near our home (Galveston) and price of the cruise. Ratings are 1 through 10 from low to high. EMBARKATION - Rated 6 : For us, the drive to Galveston, Texas was quite easy. There are a number of parking lots to choose from and we went with EZ Cruise Parking. Nothing special about the parking, but it worked okay. The parking lot was okay and the shuttle service was above average. Once we reached the ship, we paid a porter to take our luggage which worked very well for us. Once in the terminal, WOW was this process a mess. There was a huge line that looked like it zigged zagged everywhere. After waiting an hour we found that the line ended at the metal detectors and carryon x-ray. Once through that section, there was another HUGE line to the front counters. In all I think we waited about 1.5 to 2 hours in line. This is by far the longest we have ever waited. It seemed the Carnival representative were all nice, but elderly folks that took much longer to check folks in. Once on board, our room was ready and we headed to lunch. CABIN - Rated 8.5 : Our cabin was inside on the main deck (M124). It was about the same size as other cruise cabins. It seemed very clean and comfortable with quite a bit of storage. The bathroom was very nice with a larger than normal shower. Our only complaint in the bathroom was no real counter space to keep our stuff. The room has a flat screen TV, phone, 4 door closet, safe, drinks for sale and a bucket of ice that was filled every day. It only has one AC power outlet and NO hair dryer. The bathroom was equipted with soap, shampoo, cream rinse, tooth paste and even deposible shavers. Better than we expected. SHIP IN GENERAL - Rated 8 : The Carnival Ecstasy recently underwent a major reburbishment. You can certainly tell in the halls and your room. The carpet looks new, the cabin's have been updated and the many of the other areas like dinning rooms and show lounge look very nice. You can still tell the ship is old. There was still major work being done on her and she had windows missing on the top outside deck and some rust spots around. All-in-all we felt the ship was an 8 mainly due to the age. Don't go on this ship expecting a brand new look. We didn't but then again we didn't pay a huge price for this ship. The lido deck contains much of the outside dinning options and it was setup quite nice. We also like the newly added putt putt golf, swimming slides and adult layout zone. The casino was small, but nicely managed... however very smokey. As a matter of fact, much of the ship smelled like smoke at times. Not sure why, but maybe this ship allowed smoking everywhere at one time. It didn't bother us that much, but you could smell it around the ship. DINNING AND FOOD - Rated 7.5 : In all, we were impressed with the dinning. The 7.5 rating is compared to other cruise lines like RCCL and Celebrity which I think have much better food. The dinning room service was excellent with the food being good to very good but not excellent. Lots of options, but some things just didn't taste great. We found some of the meats a little dry and soups needing additional spices or something. The salads were excellent and the desserts were also very good. The food on the lido deck for outside dinning was good. They have burgers, hotdogs and even a mongolian bbq station. The main complaint here were the lines. During the afternoons the stations had huge lines making it difficult to eat when you wanted. My wife age teh mongolian once, but much of teh time the lines were too long. The inside dinning on the lido deck had more options that followed a theme. One day was Indian and we couldn't find much to eat that we liked. They do have soft serve ice cream all day (loved this one) along with pizza and sandwiches. Both of these are open all day but can also be crowded. The pizza tasted better than most ships and the sandwiches were made to order and tasted very good. PORTS OF CALL - 8.5 : Our first stop was Progresso, Mexico. The ship docks at the end of what must be the longest pier I have ever seen. The pier is at least 4 miles long but your tours do pick you up at the end near the ships. We chose to take the trip to Chichen Itza Miyan Ruin. The bus ride for this trip is 2+ hours with little to look at on the road. We slept most of the way. The bus does stop once for a restroom break and shopping trip. DON'T BE FOOLED!! There is lots of shopping within Chichen Itza. I suggest you consider waiting until you reach the Miyan Ruin. Once at Chichen Itza the ruins were very interesting. On the day we were there the weather was 70's with low humidity, however we heard this place can be very, very hot and humid so plan accordingly. We loved the ruins and my son got a bit kick out of the history. On the return bus ride they do provide a sack lunch. It looked like something pulled together at someone's house. My son ate his, but my wife and I decided to wait for the ship. The sandwich in the bag just didn't look that great. Our second stop was Cozumel, Mexico. We've been here before, but WOW this place has changed. There are lots of other ships docked there and the water is beautiful. We opted to take the Delux Sail, Snorkel and Beach Cruise. The boat was filled to its max, but still okay. We snorkeled in an areas not far from the second set of cruise ships. I was expecting a nicer spot, but this worked okay. We say lots of fish, but the water was cold and quite choppy. Once back on board, they started giving out the free beer, margaritas and soda. It was all you can drink... but then again it was still only 9:00am. They then stopped at a beach where you stay for an hour. The beach was okay, but not quite what I expected. They did offer other pay activities like horse back riding, jetskis and parasailing. Once back on the boat we were again served drinks for the ride home. By the way, the crew really does push the tipping speech alot. We tipped, but not as much as they probably wanted. I would give this trip a 7 out of 10 rating. DAYS AT SEA ON ECSTASY - Rated 7 : I only rated the days at seas as a 7 mainly due to the lack of activities. There just didn't seem to be enough to keep us busy. They had the pool and slides along with the standard casino and bingo but not much else it seemed. We tried to play games in the library but they were locked up. With over 750 kids on board they were pretty much dominating the pools and ping pong tables. The first day at sea for us was very, very choppy (12ft seas). The last day at sea was much better with sun and very calm seas. Keep this in mind as the Ecstasy does move alot when the ocean it rough. DISEMBARKATION - Rated 2!!! WORST EVER!! Wow, was this a mess. Its not the cruise lines fault but Customs was taking forever. We waited forever for our deck to be called only to find a line that must have been 2+ hours. Seriously!! I had read that the Porters had there own exit and could move faster. We decided to leave the line and take a Porter. It probably saved us over an hour but we still waited almost an hour. We saw folks on our EZ Parking bus that said they waited over 2 hours in line for the Customs folks to clear them. I suspect folks were still in line around noon or 1pm trying to get out of the ship area. Total nuts here. I've never seen a process this poorly planned. Our porter said that weekdays are worse than weekends but it usually takes quite a long time to get through Customs. VALUE FOR THE MONEY - Rated 9.5 : I would give this cruise a very high rating for value. For what we paid, the cruise was great. If I had paid the same as on RCCL or Celebrity then I would have been upset. In my opinion, Carnival is a budget cruise line. They are much better than they were 10 years ago, but still a budget cruise line. Lots of young folks on board and we saw lots and lots of drunk folks. You have to expect that the cruise patrons on a Carnival are going to be more the "party" folks. If you don't want a drinking, smoking party environment then don't go on Carnival. Since we expected it we were not shocked. Again, we only paid about $1100 total for 3 people. We even heard some folks got the cruise for $200 per person. When you pay that little, you have to expect this type environment. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
We went on this particular cruise due to the date. We were able to take two of our adult children, and one teenager. This was our fourth cruise and yes bigger is better when it comes to cruise boats. This was by far the rockiest boat we ... Read More
We went on this particular cruise due to the date. We were able to take two of our adult children, and one teenager. This was our fourth cruise and yes bigger is better when it comes to cruise boats. This was by far the rockiest boat we have been on. No complaints on service though, great cabin steward, and dining staff. Major issue is the growing number of unruly kids teens to young as 8 or 9. We knew going that they were would be alot of kids on board due to spring break, but being knocked into numerous times in the halls was unsettling. Not sure how Carnival can address this, but heard from several people and have read several reviews how this is becoming a determining factor on whether or not they book with Carnival in the future. Entertainment-went to two shows,did not care for either Great karaoke d-jay, very entertaining Ports: Cozumel is great and did not disappoint. Progreso-once you visit the ruins not much else. Beaches cannot compare to the crystal clear ones in Cozumel. Overall great trip as we made sure to enjoy ourselves while we were together. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
All in all, we and our guests had a wonderful time. I was a little apprehensive about what our experience would be like due to all the problems we had with the booking agents and the wedding department. However, after all that, we had a ... Read More
All in all, we and our guests had a wonderful time. I was a little apprehensive about what our experience would be like due to all the problems we had with the booking agents and the wedding department. However, after all that, we had a great trip. I booked this cruise because I wanted a destination wedding. I felt that the price was more reasonable for my guests, than flying and staying weekly somewhere else, and they agreed. I canceled my reservation with their wedding department. I wanted my own photographer and the list of hotels that they had to choose from were not up to par. Also, they use a third party vendor to plan for you. I was not happy with that, so I did some research and booked with a resort directly. I saved tons of money and got exactly what I wanted. The actual cruise was amazing, with the exception of the port of Progreso(old and run down). We had a party of 12 first time cruisers ranging from ages 20-50. Everyone seemed to have a great time. We did not do any excursions in Cozumel due to the wedding, but we did here some passengers complaining about the pricing. The rooms were nicer than I expected. I had read some reviews that were a bit scary, so I didn't expect much. I believe they have recently renovated. We had an Extended Balcony Suite. It was exquisite. Definitely worth the price. We had all of our 12 guests over one night to play "Taboo", and it accommodated all of us very well. There was always something for any age group to do. We were never bored. My husband and Aunt(beginner) won a great deal of money at the Blackjack table and the slots. Karaoke and the Comedy club was great. The dining experience was very good and entertaining. When they found out one of our guests was celebrating a birthday, and we were celebrating our wedding, they sang and danced for us and brought us wonderful desserts. The room crew was amazing. I asked one of the gentlemen if he could make a towel animal of an elephant for my husband, and he happily obliged. Even though we had prepaid our gratuity, we were happy to give them more. Seriously, they absolutely deserved it. For a first time cruise it was a great way to spend 6 days. I do recommend bringing a case of soda or water if you are particular about that, soda is about $2.75 per can, and we had quite a few. They do offer an unlimited soda card, but we found out about it too late. Also, bring a power strip because there are very few plugs. Our suite had 3- one on the vanity, one in the bathroom, and one by the lamp. I also recommend getting the vacation protection. We were not able to dock on the 5th day due to fog. We had to cruise around the port all night. Of course we didn't mind, they were very accommodating. They allowed all passengers to have free access to the internet and make unlimited calls. My sister was the only one who flew in, but thankfully she had the vacation protection and they refunded her for her return flight and found her another. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
1. General Comments. A pleasant cruise, despite cool temperatures and windy conditions. Some decks had to be closed at times due to the winds. We were over 3,000 passengers on this cruise. Passengers were of all ages; there were only a few ... Read More
1. General Comments. A pleasant cruise, despite cool temperatures and windy conditions. Some decks had to be closed at times due to the winds. We were over 3,000 passengers on this cruise. Passengers were of all ages; there were only a few college Spring Breakers. While my wife and I are "frequent floaters," this was only our second cruise with Carnival. 2. Embarking: We arrived at the cruise terminal around 11:30 on Sunday. You drop off your family and baggage at the terminal and drive to the designated parking lot. If you use one of the Port of Galveston lots, it is $70 (cash, VISA , or MasterCard) up front for an uncovered slot. The cost is $65 if you pay on-line at the Port of Galveston website. A shuttle takes you right back to the entrance of the cruise terminal. (Remember that RCCL has the other terminal.) Check-in was a breeze, especially after having completed the Fun Pass registration on-line at the Carnival site. Also, having a suite qualified us for "VIP check-in" which avoided most of the lines. We were in our cabin by around 1:30PM after lunch on the Lido deck, and our luggage arrived at 2PM. 3. The Carnival Conquest: A large ship, and it takes some time to figure it out. You especially have to learn how to navigate to your correct dining room; there are two (two decks each), and they are divided by the kitchen. We booked a suite on the seventh deck, and it was very nice and spacious. It would have been more than adequate for a longer cruise. Plenty of shelf and closet space, two sinks in the bathroom, a separate vanity, plus a small safe, TV with the usual news and movie offerings, and even a locked mini-bar. If you want to use it and pay those prices, then ask the cabin steward to unlock it. If you don't want to use it, let it remain locked, and you avoid any potential hassles. The verandah is rather small. You get a daily planner in your cabin the night prior. You need to read it carefully as there are few announcements on the PA system. There are childrens/teens areas and programs for them. I defer to others with children to comment on this part of the ship. The ship's library is very small, and there is no newspaper on board. The theme of the ship is French art. You are nearly overwhelmed with all the art around, especially on the walls of the 3rd deck Artist's Lobby. There are plenty of music venues, but there is no such thing as a quiet spot. We tended to have our drinks at the Artist's Lobby as the sound level seemed to be lower than elsewhere. Temperatures on board are an item. If you enjoy cooler temps, then you will enjoy the ship. If not, make sure you have some long sleeve shirts, and maybe a sweater or two, along. Temps in the public areas appeared to be especially cool/cold in the evenings. 4. Meals: Food on the Lido deck - which almost everyone uses for breakfast and lunch - is good. There are plenty of choices at both meals, and you can eat as much or as little as you want. It is rather hurried, though, and not a place for a slow meal. On sea days the lines get quite long. Besides the main buffet, there are separate stations for noodles, pizzas, sandwiches, and burgers. All equally popular. We never got to the seafood station on the Lido's "upstairs," but heard that it, too, was popular. The dining room's food was good and well-prepared. We only used it for dinner, although it is available with open seating at breakfast and lunch. Food portions are of respectable size, and if you don't try to eat all the courses every day, you should not do bad weight-wise. The wine list is respectable, and wine is available by the bottle or glass. We used the "Your Time Dining" program, and it worked. Our area was the second deck of the Renoir Dining Room. We would walk in around 7PM and were always seated immediately. We never got the same table twice, but some of the staff was the same over the week. Kudos to Carnival for being one of the few lines that has a simple and workable dining program. We had a reservation at The Point specialty restaurant. Service and wines were great; food was better than good but not great. Was the evening worth the $30 per person surcharge? I'm not sure. 5. Dressing for meals: Dress was casual for five nights and "elegant" for two. Most men defined "elegant" as a jacket and tie, although some were less dressed up, and a few did wear tuxes. Ladies, of course, were dressed up on all nights. 6. Shore Excursions: We did not use any of the ship's shore excursions. At Key West we wandered around on our own. Freeport, Bahamas is a nothing place and is hardly worth taking the taxi to see it (ship docks in an industrial port). For Nassau we had downloaded from the Internet a do-it-yourself walking tour which was interesting. When you go ashore on your own, and not through Carnival, you do run the risk of being left behind. This was the first cruise we have been on where some passengers were left behind - in Nassau. The ship waited 30 minutes after the last boarding call, then blew its horn several times. Fifteen minutes later we sailed off; some passengers said they saw people running on the pier toward the ship as we sailed away. 7. Shipboard entertainment: Carnival "fun" means constant activity, preferably loud and noisy, and also preferably alcohol-lubricated. Carnival "fun" also included the dining room wait staff having to interrupt their duties and dance around the dining room on two nights. What was that about? The ship has a daily schedule full of activities for everyone. Do not expect to find a good seat in the theater shortly before the night show. The ship runs its bingo games before the show, and those folks keep their seats. The casino was of good size and included a bandstand and dance floor. Duty-free liquor on board was reasonable; you order your liquor and it is delivered to your cabin the day before disembarking. Not only do the ship's photographers go around snapping you, they also set up "stations" around the ship where you can go to them. 8. Tipping: Not a problem if you sign up for the recommended amounts (for cabin and wait staff). The amounts are charged to your shipboard account. If you are on the "Your Time Dining" program, your account is charged the full amount right after your first dinner. You only need to tip separately (cash) the person who brings your room service. Your bar bill automatically adds 15 percent. An interesting wrinkle is that on the last full day you are informed that the maitre d' is not part of the tip pool. You are to be given an envelope that is specifically for him. For some reason our cabin steward did not supply us such an envelope. 9. Settling of Accounts: During your cruise, anything you purchase on board (drinks, souvenirs, tours, duty free items, photos, etc) is punched into a computer; you sign one copy of the ticket and you receive a copy. You can track your account on your cabin's TV. On departure morning you receive a statement of your account; if you have a problem (which we did not), you do not have much time to settle the matter at the guest services office. 10. Debarking: The only really painful part of the cruise. Your bags have to be out by midnight, and breakfast is early. You do not have to leave your cabin to wait to debark, but the hints are heavy to get out. We did not. Bags are placed in numbered "zones." The "self-assisted" passengers started getting off at 7:45. These are the people who can carry all their bags and did not place anything out the night before. Those who had baggage on the pier started debarking at 9:10, when we got off. We were through immigration and customs, I retrieved our car, and we were on our way by 9:40 11. Conclusion: While not an outstanding cruise, it was OK. We chose this cruise because it had different stops than the usual itineraries out of Galveston. I would take Carnival again if the itinerary was something I wanted to do. I would not take the line if I wanted a relaxing time. If anyone has questions, e-mail me at LTC519@satx.rr.com. Fred Groth San Antonio, TX Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
This is our fifth Carnival cruise in the past 2 years. We have sailed the Spirit class ships the last three cruises. This was very different and a little confusing to get around on the ship. We sailed with our daughter and her family and ... Read More
This is our fifth Carnival cruise in the past 2 years. We have sailed the Spirit class ships the last three cruises. This was very different and a little confusing to get around on the ship. We sailed with our daughter and her family and my Mom. I try very carefully when I book to get a cabin that is on a hall with no rooms across. On this ship, however, it was very deceiving and we ended up with the pantry right across the hall from our cabin. Whatever you do, don't book this cabin. There was clanging and banging all night long from across the hall. I would have to get up, put on my robe and go ask crew to be quiet. It was honestly ridiculous. Carnival gave us 20% off of 2 nights which is all they said we were bothered but that was not the case. It started the first night. My husband is very easy going but he was very frustrated by this situation as well. Our cabin steward was OK, nothing to brag about. My mom did not meet him one single time. To the dining room - Our servers, Nellie and Kim were great. Our grandson had his birthday on the boat and fell in love with Nellie and Kim. We were at table 323 and it was a great view. The food was very good to us. Same as on our previous cruises. The lido deck was very, very crowded in the morning and we tried to avoid this and go to dining room for breakfast. It was spring break and just lots and lots of people on board. We did a zipline tour in Jamaica that I had booked online before we left based on reviews of it on Trip Advisor. Had an awesome time. Even my 77 year old Mom ziplined. Went on little tour in Cayman Islands and let kids Kiss the Dolphins. In Cozumel we got a taxi and went to Paradise Beach which is about 5 minutes from Pier. Awesome place for kids. Tons of things for them to play on in water, had hair braiding and wrapping and massages on the beach. Very fun place. We had visited these ports before so tried to do something a little different at each. The public areas on ship were very crowded due to abundance of people and lots of kids on board, but that was expected since it was spring break. About 1/2 the boat seemed to be from Arkansas. It was a very fun trip and I love Carnival but am a little discouraged that they did not feel the inconvenience we experienced with no sleep on board was worth anymore than 20% of two nights. Believe it came to 127.00 credit and we had payed a lot for this cruise since it was spring break. Just be very, very careful when booking cabins on this boat if you want to be able to sleep. Most of the crew was friendly although I could tell a lot of them were burned out. Quite a few got off when we got back to Galveston. Embarkation was not bad but debarkation was a nightmare. We had to wait in line for about 2 1/2 hours pulling our luggage behind us to clear Customs. They said this happens every 90 days and we were just the lucky ones but it was very tiring. My daughter and her husband have 3 children and they had 7 bags we had to pull, as well as my husband and mine 3 bags and my mother had 3. Never have had to do this before on any cruise. Almost spoiled the good time we had by the time got in our vehicle. It was around 12:30 p.m. We parked at EZ Cruise parking and had prepaid online and it was only $50 for the week which I thought was good. Our children flew from Tulsa and we picked them up at Houston Hobby for the short drive to Galveston. Good thing their return flight was not until 4:00 p.m. As I said, I usually lean toward Carnival but will have to reconsider in the future due to the indifference I feel they had toward our situation. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
This is our fifth Carnival cruise in the past 2 years. We have sailed the Spirit class ships the last three cruises. This was very different and a little confusing to get around on the ship. We sailed with our daughter and her family and ... Read More
This is our fifth Carnival cruise in the past 2 years. We have sailed the Spirit class ships the last three cruises. This was very different and a little confusing to get around on the ship. We sailed with our daughter and her family and my Mom. I try very carefully when I book to get a cabin that is on a hall with no rooms across. On this ship, however, it was very deceiving and we ended up with the pantry right across the hall from our cabin. Whatever you do, don't book this cabin. There was clanging and banging all night long from across the hall. I would have to get up, put on my robe and go ask crew to be quiet. It was honestly ridiculous. Carnival gave us 20% off of 2 nights which is all they said we were bothered but that was not the case. It started the first night. My husband is very easy going but he was very frustrated by this situation as well. Our cabin steward was OK, nothing to brag about. My mom did not meet him one single time. To the dining room - Our servers, Nellie and Kim were great. Our grandson had his birthday on the boat and fell in love with Nellie and Kim. We were at table 323 and it was a great view. The food was very good to us. Same as on our previous cruises. The lido deck was very, very crowded in the morning and we tried to avoid this and go to dining room for breakfast. It was spring break and just lots and lots of people on board. We did a zipline tour in Jamaica that I had booked online before we left based on reviews of it on Trip Advisor. Had an awesome time. Even my 77 year old Mom ziplined. Went on little tour in Cayman Islands and let kids Kiss the Dolphins. In Cozumel we got a taxi and went to Paradise Beach which is about 5 minutes from Pier. Awesome place for kids. Tons of things for them to play on in water, had hair braiding and wrapping and massages on the beach. Very fun place. We had visited these ports before so tried to do something a little different at each. The public areas on ship were very crowded due to abundance of people and lots of kids on board, but that was expected since it was spring break. About 1/2 the boat seemed to be from Arkansas. It was a very fun trip and I love Carnival but am a little discouraged that they did not feel the inconvenience we experienced with no sleep on board was not worth anymore than 20% of two nights. Believe it came to 127.00 credit and we had payed a lot for this cruise since it was spring break. Just be very, very careful when booking cabins on this boat if you want to be able to sleep. Most of the crew was friendly although I could tell a lot of them were burned out. Quite a few got off when we got back to Galveston. Every the cruise director got off and I think was ready. Embarkation was not bad but debarkation was a nightmare. We had to wait in line for about 2 1/2 hours pulling our luggage behind us to clear Customs. They said this happens every 90 days and we were just the lucky ones but it was very tiring. My daughter and her husband have 3 children and they had 7 bags we had to pull, as well as my husband and myself with 3 bags and my mother had 3. Never have had to do this before on any cruise. Almost spoiled the good time we had by the time got in our vehicle. It was around 12:30 p.m. We parked at EZ Cruise parking and had prepaid online and it was only $50 for the week which I thought was good. Our children flew from Tulsa and we picked them up at Houston Hobby for the short drive to Galveston. Good thing their return flight was not until 4:00 p.m. As I said, I usually lean toward Carnival but will have to reconsider in the future due to the indifference I feel they had toward our situation. Wanted to mention the entertainment. Only went to 3 shows and they were OK but not the best we have seen. Our granddaughter enjoyed getting to kareoke. We did this a couple of nights. The show on 2nd night was probably the best. I had seen the juggler and comedian on board another ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click