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

3,313 Carnival Galveston Cruise Reviews

My day began with an early drive to Galveston. I arrived at 12:30 pm, along with pretty much everyone else going on the cruise. Since so many of us arrived at the same time, the line was very long. It took about an hour and a half to get ... Read More
My day began with an early drive to Galveston. I arrived at 12:30 pm, along with pretty much everyone else going on the cruise. Since so many of us arrived at the same time, the line was very long. It took about an hour and a half to get through, but by a little after 2, I was enjoying a late lunch on the Lido deck. My stateroom was available immediately, and my luggage actually beat me there. I was impressed, although I did hear later that a family member didn't get luggage until after dinner. My stateroom was an oceanview on the Main deck. Engine noise never bothered me, since I was on the forward end. I spoke to a few people who had Main deck staterooms on the aft end who said that the noise was really bad. I would be happy with my room again. The layout was either twin beds or a queen, and there was a fold out couch that could have been used for a third person or a couple of kiddos. The bathroom was small, as expected, but perfectly adequate for 7 days. I had early dining, and the food was excellent every night. I enjoy seafood, and there was something interesting to choose from at each meal. Desserts were wonderful for the most part, although I would not do the Chocolate Melting Cake again. I know that this dessert is a big hit for a lot of people, including my tablemates, but I thought it just tasted like a chocolate cake that was not fully cooked. Not my favorite. My waiter, Rhoderick, was a lot of fun, and we really got a kick out of him when it came time for the waiters to do their entertainment. He was a really good dancer! For breakfast, I never tried the dining room because the fare on the Lido deck was so good. Omelettes prepared to order, tons of fresh fruits, pastries as far as the eye could see. I only had lunch in the dining room one day. It was just way too much! After a good breakfast and before a delicious dinner, I just can't eat that much lunch. The Lido deck had great things to offer: sandwiches at Paul's deli, Asian wok food, burgers, and a warm buffet. One level up was Sur Mer, with delish fish and chips, and on the Promenade deck you could get fantastic sushi. There was no going hungry on this cruise. We had so-so weather on a couple of our days, the second sea day and the last. I guess that's a factor of cruising from Galveston in January. But I have to keep in mind that back home, just a few hours to the north, it snowed while I was gone. I was happy to be on the Conquest instead of sludging through the snow. I spent most sea days relaxing, reading, hanging out in the casino, playing cards with my family, etc. Great easygoing times. You could be as busy or lazy as you wanted. I used the jogging deck every day, and you don't have to be a runner to enjoy that. It is as great for the walker as the jogger. There were lots of activities for people of various interests. If you could get bored on the Conquest, you weren't trying very hard to be entertained. Evening entertainment on the Conquest was not great, in my opinion. The Point and Click show was just awful. The storyline was absurd, and it seemed like the musical numbers had nothing to do with the story. Oh that I could have reversed time to see one of the movies under the stars on the Lido deck instead! The movies were fun. There is nothing like watching a big screen movie right on the open ocean. What a neat experience! If you're not into the hoaky, silly shows, just go watch a movie or head to one of the bars for karaoke or a piano sing-a-long. Our first port was Montego Bay Jamaica. I didn't book an excursion, because the ones that sounded interesting to me required about an hour and a half of driving each way. I just didn't want to spend so much of my day riding on a bus. So, my family and I took a taxi into town for some shopping. BIG MISTAKE! The shops were awful, stocked with only cheap souvenirs and operated by the pushiest, most desperate salespeople I have ever encountered. I felt unsafe and uncomfortable in that area. After a short period of time, we took another taxi to Margaritaville. There were more shops there, but the operators were not nearly as aggressive, and the food and drinks at Margaritaville were great. If you were so inclined, there was also lots of water activity there such as a water trampoline and inner tubes. If I am ever on another cruise that goes to Jamaica, I'll just head straight to Margaritaville, or stay on the ship. Port number 2 was Grand Cayman. What a difference. Much more upscale. My only issue with Grand Cayman is the fact that you have to tender in. It takes much longer, so you just have to be patient. We were unlucky enough to be a few of the first people on a tender ship that would hold about 200. In the amount of time it took to fill up our ship, a ship that only held 80 pulled up to another gangway, filled, and left. We still sat waiting. We thought we were being smart by waiting a little later to leave but that backfired because it took longer to fill the ship. Once in Grand Cayman, it was shop til we dropped. What a fun day! The third port, and my favorite by far was Cozumel Mexico. We went on the Deluxe Sail, Snorkel and Beach Party excursion. We booked through Carnival. The catamaran had quite a few people on it, but the crew was so smooth and experienced that it seemed like much less. They had us on the boat, and headed for our snorkel site before we knew it. We had about 45 minutes of great snorkeling before headed to their private beach for free beer and margaritas. Lunch was available for an additional cost, but we decided to wait until we got back to the pier. There is a cute little restaurant called Pablo's Backyard, I believe. The food was fantastic, and their water and ice is purified so we could feel comfortable eating and drinking there. Besides the cute restaurant, the area by the pier where we docked is filled with darling little shops. It is very Americanized, kind of the cartoon version of what Americans think Mexico is. Stucco buildings painted bright colors with mariachi music ringing out. Very cute, and new looking. We had a lot of fun looking at hand painted knick knacks, and brought several home with us. I really wasn't sure what to expect from my first cruise, but I'm happy to say that it was my first but won't be my last. I had a wonderful time, and I can't wait to book my next one! Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
We are a family of 4. Two adults in late 20's and early 30's and two kids 7 DD (Dear daughter) and 8 DS (Dear Son). DH has been on one cruise with carnival prior to this one. The rest of us were newbies. Jan 31 2010 ... Read More
We are a family of 4. Two adults in late 20's and early 30's and two kids 7 DD (Dear daughter) and 8 DS (Dear Son). DH has been on one cruise with carnival prior to this one. The rest of us were newbies. Jan 31 2010 Embarkation day! Wow what a day and it has only just begun!!! We actually started our trip on Saturday leaving the DFW area around 3. We deciced at the last minute that it would be nice to eat at a restraunt that DH and I went to on our honeymoon. The Aquarioum in Kemah Texas. The kids LOVED it and were starving when we got there but forgot all about their hunger after seeing the fish everywhere. After dinner we headed to the hotel. Holiday Inn at the beach. They have free parkng for the week and also free shuttle to and from the pier. It was a very nice hotel in my opinion. Didn't have a free breakfast but that is okay we were heading to the ship early and were going to eat lunch as soon as we boarded. We got our shuttle and got to the pier about 10ish I think. took our bags to the drop off place and didn't even deal with a porter....saved a bit on the tip I guess. Then we were off to check in. Flew through the check in process with no hassles. Then go to the holding area. Saw lambie seeral times just didn't say anything to her becuase I knew we were both in lines and were wanting to get on the boat. Plus we were meeting 2ish at Sur Mer. We finally got to board about 12ish....there were three weddings that had to board first before anyone else...then it was our turn to get on...that was quick and painless got our pictures snapped before getting on the boat and went down...guess this wasnt normal procedure but one of the other ships had hit the gangway and it was being repaired...I wouldn't have known had we not been told becuase this was our first time. We went straight to the Lido deck for food...with two kids that hadn't eaten since dinner the night before...and not much of it...we needed food! We found the pizza station...and also ate at off the grand buffet. all the food i had was really good. After lunch it was time that we could go to our rooms so we went to go check out our upgraded room...it was great! We had originally gotten an interior room but the week before our cruise we got an upgrade call and were able to upgrade for $100 to an Ocean View. It was great! The kids absolutely LOVED the window and getting to see the ships while still in port then seeing the waves the boat was making after we really started moving. They also fought over who was going to sleep in the bunk and who had the converted couch each night but they did take turns. We went back to the Lido to meet with our wonderful Cruise critic Friends Sorry I can't remember everyone who was there but it was fun meeting everyone! We decided to walk around the ship a bit beore we headed to musterd drill. Found our dining room and a few other place...DS kept setting off the alarms with his jacket....not sure why..but no one stopped us so I guess all is well! We went bak to our room to figure out where we were supposed to be for muster...and hoping our luggage would be there...it wasn't...wentto muster and didn't take a jacket....did I mention it was FREEZING in galveston...okay not freezing...but it was COLD and I didnt' realize that muster was going to be outside so didn't take a jacket...but after they put us up aginst the wall shoulder to shoulder and then but 3 more rows of people in front of us it sterted to warm up a bit! LOL! That was done and over with pretty quickly..not sure how to put the life jacket on as I couldn't see anything...thik a video would have been better or something...but I am sure it isn't that hard to figure out even in an emergency. Went somewhere to the top....not sure where....to watch us take off! At first we were just inching along and then all of a suddenn we realized we were getting faster. Headed to the lido to grab a drink and the kids watched the ships we were passing and started to play a little battle ship with all the ships and boats that were there........Decided to put our names in the spa drawing...didn't win anything though...oh well...after listing to their sales pitch we went to sighn the kids up for camp came back to our room and guess what!!! Our luggage was there....ALL OF IT!!! YAY! and nothing seemd to be messed with even though nothing was locked. before we knew it it was dinner time already...we had early seating in the Monet! It was lovely....I liked it anyway. wewere at a table all by our selves..which part of me liked that and part of me didn't. It was nice becuase since my children (DS) had decied to leave table manners at home didn't have to worry about really offending any other table mates....but it owuld have been nice to meet soem new people. But hubby and i decided kids can eat in kids club and we can have dinner by our selves all week! I had a salmon thing as my starter...didn't know it was goign to be raw...it TASTED okay...but I didn't like the texture. I say it needs to be a little more cooked! hubby played it safe with some fruit and DD got the tomato soup. For our diiner DD had nuggets and fries...just ate the fries DS had TWO bugrgers and one serving of fries and then DH had I think it was talipa and i had mahi mahi. Delicios.....but the BEST part of our first dinner was the DESSERT!!! I got the chocolate melting cake and it was to DIE for! hubby got the creme brulee and it was almost as good as my CMC. After dinner we went back to the room and had some family time. Had our evening worship...we may be on vacation but Jesus is with us ALWAYS then brought a favorite card game and played that then itw as time for the kids welcome party....DD said that was the most fun she had all day! YAY! Theya re starting to get hooked. Then we did the build a bear thing...got it out of the way in the beginning. After that we headed to the first show....it was realy good...but I have nthign to compare it to but even the kids enjoyed it. they did get bored with the comedian. He was funny and even though he was totally clean and family friendly the jokes still went over the kids head a bit. Came back to the room and they CRASHED! Gotta get rested up for anothe day of FUN!!! Feb 1 2010 Sea Day #1! We had a really great day! Kids FINALLY got to go to camp carnival...Had you heard them the day before you would think they were never going to ge tto go to camp! They had a really great time. Picking them up the next day seemed to take forever. We learned to go a bit earlyier or a bit later to pick them up and we wouldnt have to stand in a LONG line! It can take a while to get the kdis when everyone shows up right at 11:45. I think this was the day that we ate lunch in the dining room. It was nice but we prefered having lunch on the lido more. We did go to dinner in the MDR for elegant night though. It was really nice Our servers Randall and Nellie were great! They took really good care of us the entire cruise. Monday was also our offical CCM&G did get to meet a few more people we didn't see on sunda but we didn't stay long becuase we wanted to grab soem lunch and there was something else we wanted to go do...can't remember now what it was though....Think we missed it becuase lunch in the dining room took about an hour.....somehow I got the impression that lunch in dining room would help us get food quicker becuase we didn't fight crowds....but really did not save any time at all, That was just a misunderstanding on my part though. The kids stayed for the late night party in camp carnival so we had an extra 2 hours to explore and check out some of the things that the ship had to offer. The kids had a great time in camp and were already plannign to stay for the party the next night. Tuesday Feb 2. 2010 Sea day #2. The kids had told me they wanted to wake up early so they would get to CC for the first activities but they didn't wake up early enough...I tried waking them up but they just slept....they got up an hour late. We grabbed a quick breakfast on the lido and took them to cc then went back to the room to find DH awake and ready for breakfast. I accompanied him and just enjoyed the time with each other. Found that time went fast and before we knew it it was time to get the kids for lunch. This day in the CC was a family day. Didn't participatein all of it but did some. Had fun and did a few things just as a family. The kids decided that they wanted to have dinner with their friends so we let them go and we had a nice evening in the MDR without them....of course our waiters really missed them. We seemed to get a tad more attention when they were there. They really did everything they could to make the kids happy. DS like ranch on his burger and he reminded the waiter of that and the waiter broght him 3 things of ranch...just in case he ran out on Monday. They really did do whatever they could to make the kids happy and they interacted with them which they loved! The kids ahd another fun night in CC and they wanted to stay for the Frddy party so we let them and bought them the freddy t shirts. And of course we had another couple of hourswith just DH and I! Wednesday Feb 3 2010 JAMACIA this was the one port we really ddnn't know what we were doing. When we got there we deicded to do a little sightseeing then we went to the Aqua Sol beach and the kids LOVED it! It was a nice quiet beach not many there at all. And it had a water trampoline and I think we could have also rented other things like jet skis or soemthing..but i'm not sure since we didn't plan on doing any of that. There were only two people that came up to us trying to sell stuff while we were there. One was for hair braids..which my daughter had told me weeks ago that she DID NOT WANT. And the other was selling fruits. We Also did a little too much shopping..more than we had budgeted for there but hey we are on vacation! Got back on the ship....YAY didn't get left behind! Thursday Feb 4 2010 Grand Cayman...we had alraedy planned this one on line with Franks Water Sports. We did the sting ray city and snorkel tour. The kids LOVED the sting rays! Well we all did actually. DD had decided that she was afraid of the stingrays thanks to my mom mentioning steve Irwin to her but when she got in the water and started to pet them she fell in love with them. Then we went snorkeling. DS took to it like a fish to water but DD didn't want to get in because she couldn't touch the bottom. She stayed on the boat and watched us and was totally happy. It was fun but was over way too fast. Got back to the ship in time to go have lunch then had a dip in the pool/hot tub. It was a LOVELY day. This was also our second elegant night and although we had originally planned to not make the kids dress up again we made them because the pics from Monday had a glare on hubbys glasses and my mom wanted us to get a good pic for her of us together in our elegant attire. as soon as we took the pics though we let them change and took them to camp carnival for dinner with their friends. Friday Feb 5, 2010 Cozumel..we also already had our excursion planned for this port. We went to chankanaab national park and did the Dolphin Encounter. We really enjoyed spending time with the dolphins but felt like we were herded in and out and it was more about getting the picture rather than the experience..kiss kiss shake.....next person...kiss kiss shake....next...my suggestion for anyone doing this is to have one person in your group taking pics. because they have you positioned in such a way that the people you are with look away from you for their picture so you can't see them to take your own pictures...they do allow you to take cameras though and they also allowed us to bring our water camera in. I also noticed....even though we were warned other wise...that they didn't seem to care what kind of sun screen you were using. I saw many people putting on banana boat and other common brands that were not biodegradable and did not see them checking bags or anything else. Also for us the dolphin encounter seemed to take up quite a bit of our time there at the park and didn't get to do any snorkeling. We did some walking around so that we would know more of what the place had so that we could plan a trip there again though.....there was SOOOO much to do there is no way to get it all in one trip. As we were leaving the park a storm was rolling in...very fast...and by the time the taxi got us back to Puerta Maya it was raining. We took cover in the Del Sol store for a little while then when it let up a bit we headed for the ship. Of course the winds were high and we were walking into the wind so it made it a bit harder more of a workout. We were also docked a bit longer than we were supposed to be for the people that were still on the mainland tours....guessing that they rain slowed them down or something. Saturday the last sea day. we didn't do much this day just kind of took it easy slept till 9:30 let the kids go to camp for awhile while we listened to the debark talk. Got the kids then got most of our stuff packed and ready to go. Had lunch then spent some family time playing some games in the room with the kids till dinner time. Took the kids to camp for dinner for the last time and we enjoyed our last dinner in the Monet dining room. Went and purchased a few pictures and some scrapbook stuff then went and watched the last shows in the lounge! Sunday Feb 7, 2010 DEBARK day! We so were not ready for our trip to be over! We had put our bags out the night before and were number 31 so we knew we had some time before we had to be off...which was fine since we were in no hurry. We finished getting our last few things in our carry ons and made sure we left nothing in the room. Said goodbye to our room and headed to breakfast. For some reason I was expecting breakfast to not have many choices but it was just as well stocked as it was the first day. We ate our breakfast and enjoyed our last couple hours on the ship. before long it was time for EVERYONE to get off the ship so we headed to deck 0. We had to be the last people off because after we got our bags and were in line for customs there was no one behind us. We went through customs with no problems at all. Got on our shuttle back to the hotel and got our luggage in the car and were home a little after 5. Our over all impression of the ship.....WONDEFUL!! The crew that we dealt with were awesome! We enjoyed Chris the CD. talked to him a few times and he was always very friendly and willing to answer all the questions and help where he could. The kids said that they don't want to try any other ship for the next cruise...they always want to be on the conquest! So I think they really enjoyed everything! Overall everything was great. ran into a few fairly rude passengers....but nothing that would make me me want to say my trip was ruined because of it....just the same type of people you meet in day to day life! Didn't notice the chair hogs...of course I never really looked for a seat so it didn't bother me. Didn't notice kids playing in the elevators either....maybe I was just lucky! My kids were not perfect but I really do hope that they didn't ruin anyone's cruise. They were either with me or in camp the entire time. Not ready to let them have run of the ship just yet....30 sounds like a good age for that! HAHAHAHA Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
We had a wonderful time. Weather was awesome only 1 rainy eve. Firstly if you are going to park at EZ cruise or one of the others, go and have a porter take your luggage. Then go park. It worked out really well that way. Embarkation was ... Read More
We had a wonderful time. Weather was awesome only 1 rainy eve. Firstly if you are going to park at EZ cruise or one of the others, go and have a porter take your luggage. Then go park. It worked out really well that way. Embarkation was smooth we got there early as we were excited but didn't get on the boat until after 12pm. There were 2 weddings that went on board first. We went and ate then waited until 1:30 when our room was supposed to be ready. We had to wait a little longer but it was no problem. We met some ppl the first night a dining that gave us good tips. The food was good. But like other reviews the dining staff are too overworked for the area they must cover. Our room 6402 was right over the disco night club and you could hear the bass booming until 3am each night. I highly recommend a balcony room. It was wonderful to sit out there whenever you wanted to. Please be aware that the neighbors are not always polite or considerate and forget to keep their voices down.Ours were very noisy. Also I fail to understand why you would travel thousands of miles only to spend the day in a bar and be faced the whole time your on board or off. Our room steward was very polite and kept our room very tidy and changed. He knew our names right off the bat and called us by them whenever seeing us. Room service didn't seem to be able to get your order at the time we allotted that we wanted it. The dining room menu was usually very close to the buffet menu's. The shows were good that we saw. Definitely get to the comedy shows early. The dining staff on Lido didn't seem to be able to keep tables cleared off very well. There were always dirty dishes and glasses around. Breakfast was a hassle at times due to ppl sitting at your spot when you went to get a meal or refill. Mainly because of all the dirty dishes. No one knew what was available or not. I did like the different options for eating. 24 hr pizza was a plus. I especially liked the Bridge channel that gave updates on our location & ocean conditions ect. IF you don't want to deal with a lot of kids definitely go during school time. I don't however understand parents who feel the need to take small children on a cruise. At least have the decency to remove them from an area when they are screaming their head off & very obviously unhappy. Debarkation went pretty good also. We had zone 20. So we were later getting off. Not so much a hassle to deal. Again I recommend getting a porter to take luggage from terminal to the front. We had 6 bags. Going thru customs was a breeze. I didn't know what to expect at all. All in all we had a great time. I would go again in a heart beat. However Carnival really needs to spend a little more time in port and space the days out a bit if possible. 3 ports 3 days was very tiring. Royal Caribbean passed us several times and spent longer hours in the exact same ports. Just a final note. If the ship says be back on it at a certain time you better by damn be there by that time because they wait for no one. As some dawdling goofballs found out. Just smile & wave at them screaming on the dock from your balcony. We did the Appleton Rum Estate. Don't waste your time. It takes way too long to get there. I would not recommend it or the Dunn's Falls at all. The 2 1/2 hr bus ride over very treacherous, children filled, busy, narrow roads is ridiculous. The trip back was very scary & I wasn't sure we were going to make it alive. Our guide kept telling us going over to get drunk and the road back would be good. I don't think there was enough alcohol on the island for that. If I had known the roads were so narrow and the trip to harrowing I would have not booked it at all. I quite frankly am surprised that Carnival and all the other cruise lines have not demanded a better road be built. You cannot tell me that all the millions of tourist dollars being brought in that roads are still an issue. Also when you stop at the rest area and are offered jerk pork or chicken check the price. We got about a 3/4 cup of bone filled pork that cost $10. It wasn't edible. I am not a picky eater by no means but it was terrible. The rum estate was interesting. Even though we had 1 person who couldn't seem to tear herself away from the bar & smoking and made us late getting back. If we go this cruise again I will get off & shop the terminal only and get back on. Jamaica is not a safe place and is constantly having unrest. Our tour guide and bus driver did a tremendous job. But never again. You waste the day on the road. A little over 50 miles and 2 1/2hr trip. NOT GOOD. Grand Cayman is very beautiful. We tendered from the ship and it didn't take long at all coming or going. The shopping however is very expensive so save your dollars for Cozumel. The water is clean and you can see the fish swimming. We took the Best of Cayman City sights, turtle farm, Tortuga Rum cake shop, Hell & shopping excursion. If you take the late tour 11:45 make sure you eat first. The turtle farm, thanks to 2 ppl who didn't listen to the driver who stated twice how long before we left and where he would be parked our shopping got cut. We waited for them for over 30 minutes. The driver could not find them anywhere. He took us to the Tortuga place and went back to look. Still no show. 16 other people found their way to the bus just fine. We were on the later part of the tour when our driver was called & chewed out by his boss for leaving the 2 ppl. He was so upset we weren't sure he was going to be able to finish. He thought he was going to be fired. This was unprofessional on the part of the boss as far as I'm concerned. As he had already sent a car to pick up the 2 stragglers. The whole bus was in such an uproar as we all knew what happened that we signed a paper stating the facts but most of us forgot to tip him at the end. The end result I don't recommend that excursion. It was rather boring and our driver although very nice did not talk very loud and it was hard to hear him. & no I don't have a hearing problem at all. The food at the turtle farm was very expensive. $5 US for french fries. $9 for piece of pie. Cozumel was my favorite port of all. The prices were decent. The excursion we took was good with the exception of the resort we ate lunch at didn't have a beach entry to the water. You had to climb down a ladder and it was mainly rocks. The guide said this is common for this side of the island. The food was great. Our guide was excellent and very informative. He didn't hesitate to answer any questions. The shopping was good. We found out the evening before that Cozumel is the place to shop. Jamaica the vendors are way to aggressive and Grand Cayman is way to expensive. The people on Cozumel are all there for the tourists. So they are very nice to you. They also like to dicker on the price of things. Never pay what they are asking. We visited the tequila farm and had plenty of samples. Bought several bottles and I'm not a tequila fan. The chocolate is the best. There weren't very many on our tour so we had a good time without anyone taking their time and not listening and making us late. Overall it was nice and relaxing. The shopping area at the dock is better than the one down town in my opinion. They are working on the streets and it is a traffic nightmare. Dec-Feb is high season. Our guide even stated that he didn't know why they picked that time to do it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
This was our third cruise and the first time we had a balcony which we really enjoyed. We flew from Portland, OR to Houston and stayed overnight at the Marriott Townplace Suites in Galveston. We used Island Breeze Shuttle for airport ... Read More
This was our third cruise and the first time we had a balcony which we really enjoyed. We flew from Portland, OR to Houston and stayed overnight at the Marriott Townplace Suites in Galveston. We used Island Breeze Shuttle for airport transportation. I was REALLY impressed with them, great communication and service. Our drivers were semi-retired, extremely friendly, and very accommodating. Our driver stopped at the local grocery store so we could pick up a couple 12 packs of sodas and some snacks. We could have picked up wine, too, but we brought that with us. The hotel was recently modeled, extremely clean, quiet and comfortable. It was located next to the Courtyard Marriott where you could get a meal if you wanted. However, we used the Marriott courtesy shuttle and went to a locals-frequented Italian restaurant, Sapori. The didn't serve beer or wine, but you could bring your own - so we did. The food was fantastic and our server warned us that they served huge portions. So my wife and I split an entree. Dessert was fabulous, too! It is a small place, not near anywhere, really. During dessert, we called the Marriott courtesy shuttle and they picked us up. Others at the hotel were going to local bars and other restaurants, and they were willing to take you anywhere on Galveston Island. They do not have airport shuttle service. There is a fee to have them take you to the cruise terminal. We booked early and got a great rate. It is a category 6 hotel in the Marriott system for those who are interested in using Marriott Rewards to stay there. We purchased the Faster-to-the-Fun service. I'm on the fence as to its value, but I appreciated being near the head of the line when boarding, tendering and getting off the ship. The weather was fabulous the day we left, so I headed straight for the pool, and ordered some drinks. It was over an hour before other passengers made their way to the deck. It was sunny and in the 60's - maybe others thought I was crazy for laying out in the sun. Being from Portland, that is just what we do. :-) When we left the ship on the last day, we had a nice breakfast in the main dining room, then went back to our room until we were politely asked to leave and then we headed up to the pool deck and hung out. At the final call to disembark, we headed out of the ship and got through customs relatively quickly. We had a late flight, and our shuttle wasn't going to pick us up until noon (which was fine) and since we were at terminal 1 and the weather was great, we walked over to the boardwalk and had an early light lunch, a local beer (IPA) and had our shuttle meet us there. We splurged for an extended balcony cabin which overlooked the back of the boat. It had 2 chaise lounges and 2 chairs, very large. No negative there, and I would book this again. I loved sitting out there, but there are caveats. The smoking area was 2 decks above us and, occasionally, smoke drifted down to our deck. There isn't much of a breeze on the deck since you are sheltered so when you are in the tropical waters it may not be comfortable for you. You are also in the back of the boat, and you may feel more ship movement than you would in a middle cabin. You are also on the other end of the ship so it is a long walk to the Serenity deck and other activities on the front of the ship including the spa, gym and theater. I liked the walk, so I didn't mind it. The gym was well appointed, nice equipment. I didn't use it enough, but there were lots of machines, free weights, etc. The men's locker room was ok, and I had no problem getting a locker. The comedy clubs seemed to be the most popular. The early (family) shows were, by far, the funniest. Comedians changed mid-cruise, so there was a wide variety throughout the cruise. The production shows on board Freedom were very well done, I was surprised they were not attended by more passengers. They were music based, used a lot of multimedia rather than physical sets, and were well staged. They exceeded my expectations and were much better than on our Carnival Miracle cruise we took last year. The same performers also performed at the various clubs on ship, so it was pretty cool to get to see them up close. By far, our favorite bar was Alchemy. Great tasting cocktails, custom made. I ordered one and it was too sweet, so they adjusted the drink accordingly. Drinks were strong, too, and there was a wide variety of options and always seemed to be a special that worked for the drink I wanted. Cool. It isn't a full service bar, but I noticed the bartender did run to some other bars to accommodate requests when they weren't too busy. Red Frog Pub was our other favorite. Their 'fish-bowl' drinks were 56 ounces and (I think) contained 4 shots. They were on the sweeter side. The beer was pretty good, too. We had dinner at the steakhouse the first night and took advantage of a 50% off wine special they had. The steakhouse was not busy. There was a very fancy and quiet bar at the steakhouse, too, which is open to everyone. I was told the cocktails there were generous pours - but I never tested it. The service was above average, we weren't pressured to eat and run. Our table was by a window that overlooked a smoking area. I thought that was quite strange. The food was indeed better than the main dining room. I think I would do this again for a special occasion, but I don't think it was worth an extra $70 for 2. I noticed some entrées from the steakhouse are available in the main dining room for an extra $20. The next night, we ordered a wine package and our unused wine was corked and delivered the following night. We were also served a cheese plate when we arrived which, I think, was because of the wine package we bought. That was a nice, unexpected, touch. Our servers were attentive. The main dining room was not well attended in general. There were always empty tables each night. That gave us great service. The first cruise elegant night was the busiest and that did tax the service level noticeably, but it was still very good. We had dinner in the main dining room every other night. We sat with 2 other couples, one couple never showed up. We made friends with the other couple who were very, very nice and we looked forward to dining with them every night. They did the fancy chef dinner ($75 each) which was a long evening of a tour of the spotless galley and multi course meal with wine pairings. I think I'd do that on a future cruise. They were impressed with it and the whole experience was just over-the-top. We missed doing the afternoon tea on sea days on this cruise. We enjoyed this on our last Carnival cruise. Since we like the late seating time for dinner, we look for a light snack about this time of the day. We did have some light snacks from the Lido deck but did not really eat a full meal there. Room service options are very limited and some simple things like French fries had a fee associated with them. That was disappointing. On port days, we ordered room service breakfast which was quite adequate. I did have a Guy's burger one day, and I admit, it was very, very good. We didn't do an excursion in Cozumel. The boat arrived very early and left early. We walked off the boat and did some shopping, then went across the street to a local restaurant and had some tacos and beers. That was quite fun. We got back on the boat early. I went up to the serenity deck and had some drinks, read a book in one of the cocoons and ran back and forth to the hot tub. It was pretty quiet up there. I was just going to stay on our deck, but there wasn't a breeze and it was too warm to sit there very long. This is where I wished I had the $5 internet/chat package so I could let my wife know where I was. I told her I'd be on the Serenity deck, but she couldn't find me. We purchased it later in the cruise. I think it is overpriced, but it would have been convenient. In Cayman, we booked a swim with the stingrays tour with an independent operator "Dexter Tours" which we found on trip advisor. Dexter was ill, but his friend operated the catamaran. It was very personal service. He picked us up when we got off the tender port, and we picked up a few local couples on the way to the small pier. We motored out to the site on a catamaran. It did rain that day, and I was actually cold for about 10 minutes (no kidding.) We arrived before the ship's similar excursion offering arrived which was a huge boat. Our tour guide showed us how to hold and pet the stingrays, feed them, helped to take some photos, etc. We then motored away to a snorkeling site. The water was choppy this day, but I enjoyed the snorkeling. He answered a lot of questions - he had been doing this for over 15 years. Cost of our tour, including round trip transportation was $40 each. I would give this independent tour 5 stars! In Jamaica, we booked an excursion through Carnival to a beach club. It was not a pleasant port experience nor excursion. We got off the boat and waited an hour on the pier for our bus to arrive and tour to leave. The bus driver then got lost. Our 5 1/2 hour excursion turned out to be less than 3 hours at the resort. I agree with fellow reviewers that the best thing to do in this port is to stay on the ship. It took about 1 1/2 hours to get to the resort, and over an hour to get back due to traffic. Carnival ended up discounting the excursion for us by 50%. This is such a shame because the people of the Jamaica are so friendly and the water is so beautiful and warm. You should consider Ocho Rios, instead. I haven't been there but I understand there is a nice beach close to the ship and some really nice beach clubs a few miles from the port. I was surprised when we booked another cruise in 2018 when we were on board. The incentive was a $200 cruise credit. I loved Roatan so we decided to go back there. We were very interested in trying one of the panoramic ocean view state rooms on the front of the ship. There was only one left (2 years from now), so we decided to book it. One final tip: since Carnival does not allow people to bring bottled water on board any more, they offered a reasonably priced alternative to purchase bottled water in advance and have it delivered to your stateroom. I did this, I can't recall the price, but it was relatively inexpensive. These were great to have when going on shore, and having around the boat. 24 bottles seemed about right for us. And if you want something besides iced tea and lemonade to drink, bringing those little individual packets of powdered drink mix may be a good option for you. Have your cabin steward empty the refrigerator and you can use it to store your water and canned sodas. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
For my wife and I, this was our fourth cruise. It was our kids' third and my mom's third as well. It was the first cruise on a Carnival ship for all in our group. We chose the 5 day Ecstasy cruise because it was an easy 1 hour ... Read More
For my wife and I, this was our fourth cruise. It was our kids' third and my mom's third as well. It was the first cruise on a Carnival ship for all in our group. We chose the 5 day Ecstasy cruise because it was an easy 1 hour drive to Galveston from where we live. My wife and I wanted to be home for Christmas and New Years and the price was reasonable. My wife's birthday was during the trip so I preordered some cabin decorations and a cake on the Carnival website prior to the cruise. Embarkation: We drove the hours drive to Galveston and used Galveston Park N Cruise for our parking paying $40 online for an indoor parking space. They were great. A gentleman directed us to our parking space, we loaded our bags onto a large golf cart and he drove us to the corner of New Strand and 25th where we took a 5 minute walk to the terminal. We were a little early at about 11 AM and once we dropped off some of our bags we went into the terminal and quickly moved through security and received our Sail and Sign cards. This was quick and effortless as the online registration apparently worked as intended. (There were some glitches when we did the online check in for our RCL cruise last March and we had to repeat the process at the port.) We directed to wait in an area set up for embarkation for about 20 minutes until 12 noon when we were permitted to board. As we did not have access to the cabins until 1:30, we headed up to the Lido Deck where we had lunch. Galveston was cool with intermittent drizzle so we were glad to have a nice, warm spot to sit and relax. Cabins: When 1:30 came about we headed to the cabins. My Mom and daughter were in a Class 1A Cabin on Riviera. It was small, but an easy walk to the elevator. With the top bunk down, the beds were placed in a "T" relationship with the lower bed extending out from the wall under the top bunk. The problem with this was that there was no way for an adult to sit up from the bed without having to duck under the upper bunk. We partially solved this by sliding the bed forward, but grandma still managed to take a dizzying hit to the head while packing her bags the last night of the cruise. The rest of us had a 6B OV cabin just around the corner. The room was spacious compared to the standard cabins we had on our RCL cruises and we were impressed with the size of the bathrooms - particularly the shower. Closet space was well organized. My wife was surprised by the nice birthday decorations set in the room. There was much more to the decorations than is shown in the ordering pictures. Again, when navigating around the upper bunk, we had to be constantly careful about watching our heads. On the RCL ships, the upper bunks were lowered from the ceiling. On the Ecstasy, there was a wooden frame against the wall that the upper bunk lifted up and out from. The edges of the platform that the mattress sat on also had sharp corners to it. The safety rails to the upper bunks in both our room do not lock upright and easily fold down towards the mattress. This was a problem when the kids would use the rail to pivot onto or off of the mattress as they maneuvered to and from the ladder. Both experienced minor accidents due to this design. (My daughter fell off the bed as she was trying to get off the bed and onto the ladder and my son got bumped when I stepped up to the side of the bed and as I leaned into the rail it folded down onto his forearm and wrist. I instantly lifted the rail and thankfully, neither had any injuries. We also had a problem with the temperature being WAY TOO COLD in our cabin. When we bought that to the attention to our cabin steward, he said it would be better was we reached warmer weather. He showed us that we could regulate the vent that was over our bed to limit the cold air coming in, but it would not close completely so we weren't thrilled with our prospects until he brought us 2 extra blankets. After the first cold night huddled under the blankets it DID get warmer and the temperature was never a problem again. Dining Room: We had the Main 6PM seating in the Windsong Dining Room and the five of us were paired with another wonderful family of five from San Antonio. We had much in common and enjoyed their company. Our waiter and assistant waiter introduced themselves to us the first night but were not very engaging on the following nights. They were efficient and with only a few exceptions (having to ask for water refills) were very prompt with service. So no real problem, but this was a little bit of a let down compared to past experiences. In fairness to them, the table next to us were their biggest and loudest cheerleaders and were obviously very pleased. Oh well... Food was very good and my family felt that the dinner food was equal to what we had on RCL. My Mom thought it was equal if not better than what she had on Holland America and on another ship (Emerald Seas) many years ago. My favorite desserts were the Chocolate Melting Cake paired with Butter Pecan ice cream, Cappuccino Pie, and another dessert that reminded me of Flan. Additionally, we usually had breakfast in the Windstar Dining room and found our service during these meals to be much more engaging. Perhaps this was due to the more laid back and less frantic atmosphere and schedule. Breakfast was always excellent. Lido Alternatives: The selections at the Panorama Grill on Lido Deck were varied and usually quite good. The Mongolian Grill was tried once but the sauce selections were a little too spicy for me (though I usually like spicy foods). I did take note that many of the ships officers and cruise director staff chose this venue for their lunches. Just adjacent to the Mongolian Grill the Burgers, Hot Dogs and Chicken fingers were excellent with plenty of side selections such as various veggies and fixins, chips and salsa etc. The biggest hit with my son was the 24 Pizza stand at the aft end of the Lido deck. Pizzas and the calzone were excellent and the service was always fast. We also enjoyed having plenty of seating options on that deck to enjoy your food - inside the Panorama Grill, outside near the pool, along the aft decks behind the Grill, etc... Ship Layout: I was very pleasantly surprised how much I was able to appreciate the layout of the Ecstasy. I was absolutely WOWED by the RCL IOS last March and was prepared for less on this cruise. The Ecstasy was very easy to navigate and you could move throughout the ship with great ease. Several times, I had to make trips back to our cabin for items forgotten or run about while on a Scavenger Hunt (more on that later) and it was so much easier to get anywhere compared to the IOS. I now can appreciate why some don't care for the larger ships. I'd still like to try the Oasis someday. (ducking...) In spite of her age, she is still well cared for. Entertainment and Activities: We saw the main show each night and enjoyed all of them. Steve, the cruise director was amazing with his violin and fiddle playing then blew us away with his juggling skills. Karaoke with Jay was a hoot but should really be described in just two words - "Absolutely brilliant!" We enjoyed dancing to 70s and 80s tunes in the disco and I was generally impressed with the varied and abundant musical talent that was ever present throughout the ship. While my 14 YO son was not engaged in the youth program, he had a ball with the shoes, playing mini-golf, ping pong, trivia games and scavenger hunts. (The kids and I managed to win a regular and a digital scavenger hunt and my son won the mini-golf competition.) I managed to win my round during game show night and in the end, my family left the cruise with two medals and three solid gold plastic ship on a stick trophies! The Cruise director's staff were everywhere and working hard to see that everyone was having a great time. Camp Carnival: With over 800 kids on board, this group did a phenomenal job. My daughter participated heavily in RCL's Club Ocean and she says she enjoyed Camp Carnival more. She won a competition and brought home an impressive Camp Carnival Backpack. My son was more engaged on the IOS probably due to that ships, extensive teen facilities and it's greater diversity of activities for kids in his age group. He still had a great time, and I am grateful that he chose to spend his time with me (At age 14 I know my days of him wanting to hang with Dad are numbered...) Ports of Call: The first port was Cozumel and we had reserved the Isla Pssion by Twister Excursion through Carnival. The boat ride to Passion Island takes about 30 minutes. The seas were too rough for the kayaks and pedal boats to be used and the tour operators offerred everyone a chance to back out if this was a deal breaker for them. No takers... That said, the ride out to Pasion Island was bumpy. Our boat could hold 28 passengers and the 2 crew members. The further back you sit, the wetter you get get and the more lateral forces you are subjected to as the boat "twists" by rotating or skiding its rear out to the side. These twists are done in the more sheltered waters near Pasion Island rather than in the rougher, open ocean water. They do about 4-6 twists during each of the outgoing and return trips. The further foward you sit in the boat, the less wet you will get and the less violent the twists will feel but in rougher waters like on our day, you will feel the pounding over the waves more. Grandma sat in the 2nd row of the passenger seats and did fine. Once at Pasion Island, the beach was beautiful and the are very peaceful. THere were an abundance of chairs, lounges, umbrellas and hammocks. It was very private. THere are a few shops that the guid who greets you shows you as you walk to the beach, but nobody ever approached us to sell anything. The food was very good, though some of it was a little slow being prepared. Drinks were OK but it was disappointing that you could get regular pina coladas for free but had to pay extra for pina coladas without alcohol. While we were there, the water calmed down enough that the put the water trampoline back in the ocean and the kids enjoyed this. We were on the island from about 3.5 hours. When it was time to leave (about 2PM), we were walked back to the boat dock, boarded the boat(s) and did about 5 twists in the lagoon before heading back to the port. The ride was a lot smoother with the waves coming from behind us as opposed to head on as we were traveling to Pasion Island. Once back to the port we did a final twist (They are more of a 180-270 degree tight radius turn than a true 360.) between the our ship, the Carnival Ecstasy and the Celebrity Century. That was cool. In all, we felt that the trip was a good value and a nice time to spend the day in Cozumel. The boat ride and crew were a lot of fun and the Island was beautiful and peaceful and MOST DEFINITELY uncrowded. The second port was Progreso. We left the ship to take the $3PP double decker bus ride and enjoyed getting an overview of the city. We were pretty tired from the day and night before, so we spent the rest of the day aboard the ship enjoying the new Carnival Waterworks upgrade most of the afternoon. Debarkation: Alas, all good things must come to an end. We awoke that final morning surrounded by fog circling the gulf waters south of Galveston with about 2 dozen freighters and tankers for company. We had breakfast in the Windstar dining room and planning on doing Self Assist Debarkation, camped out in the Library. (An excellent area to do this BTW...) The Cruise director and eventually, the captain kept us updated on the weather conditions. When it became apparent, that the fog was not lifting anytime soon, the ship opened phone communications for use by passengers free of charge. Several bars were opened and the service on Lido Deck went into overdrive. Instead of reaching the port at 8AM, we eventually docked at about 3:30 PM. Kudos to the crew and passengers for making a potentially tough situation run smoothly. Many passengers missed their flights - some at great expense. I heard of one family of 12 that was going to have to pay an addition $600PP for flight changes!!! We offered to take a couple we met while waiting in the Library to IAH and when it was clear they were going to miss their flight we helped them reserve a hotel and took them from the port to it. In spite of the long wait, debarkation went without a hitch and I was relieved to find the staff at Galveston Park N Cruise still there! In short, we all enjoyed our first cruise with Carnival. The age of the Ecstasy is not an issue and she is a very easy ship to navigate. The Cruise director's Staff works hard to keep everyone entertained and Camp Carnival has loads of activities to keep the little ones entertained and out the adults' way. BTW, The Serenity deck did enforce the 21 and over policy. Food was comparable to our experiences with RCL but service seemed a tad below. In addition to the dining room service mentioned above, we had trouble reaching guest services and housekeeping via telephone more often than not. Cabins were spacious but the upper bunk design is poor and potentially dangerous. When traveling on the Ecstasy out of Galveston, be prepared to be surrounded by a lot of Texans. This is a good thing as this native New Yorker - now living in TX for over 16 years will attest. Below are my kids' reviews - in their own words. The first from my 11 year old daughter: I think the cruise was very fun. The Kid's program was great and I enjoyed all of the games they did on the ship. (scavenger hunts and trivia) The food in the dining room was delicious. I loved the chocolate melting cake the best. Their slides, miniature gold and shuffle board were nice. Steve, the cruise director, was awesome! He could play the fiddle, violin and juggle. He is so funny! The staff was very nice and helped me enjoy my cruise. The second from my 14 year old son: My cruise experience on the Carnival Ecstasy deserves two thumbs up! Even though I did not participate in any of the kids' activities, I participated in many of the activities not relating to the kids' program including trivia, scavenger hunts, gold, ping pong, etc. I went to almost all of the shoes. I was amazed at some of the tricks and moves that the Ecstasy dancers and Cruise Director, Steve performed. All of the staff made sure to make us happy. Even our stateroom steward addressed me by my name! Everything about the cruise was exciting and I recommend it to anyone and everyone! Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
I was traveling with a large group, 9 in all, including 2 teens. We had the best times of our lives. We sailed out of Galveston and the cruise recommends getting there before 2:30 so we were there by noon. We parked at Lighhouse and we ... Read More
I was traveling with a large group, 9 in all, including 2 teens. We had the best times of our lives. We sailed out of Galveston and the cruise recommends getting there before 2:30 so we were there by noon. We parked at Lighhouse and we had no problems catching a shuttlebus. The ship was late coming into port due to fog so we did have to wait a few hours before we could board. Once on, I was very impressed with the ship. I read reviews that said the decor was awful or there was a strong sewer smell, but I didn't encounter any of that. There was no smell and the decor was fine. My husband and I shared a queen bed in our stateroom and we didn't have windows but did have a porthole. The size wasn't a problem and it wasn't clausterphobic at all. If you keep the room neat, having 2 or 3 people share a room will be no big deal. There was plenty to do on board everyday, so boredom is not a factor. I strongly recommend bringing 2 way radios for communication. Using cell phones as a way to communicate is not recommended as most companies will charge you an outlandish fee. Our group brought 6 and we were able to keep in contact with everyone. I spoke to lots of families that ended up wasting so much time looking for each other every day. Save the time and spend the money on them. You won't be sorry. The service staff was exceptional. Everyone was so friendly and professional. The food is the best part. I go to alot of restaurants, but usually nothing fancy. So it was nice to have fancy dinners and 3 course meals every night. Since the food is already pre-paid, you can also try out stuff on the menu that you normally won't pay for, like escargo, veal or lobster (if you're not a big seafood fan like me). If you're more of a buffet person, just go up to the Lido deck for all your meals. They'll have just what you're looking for. Don't book your excursion thru the ship. My husband wanted to swim with the dolphins, but the ship was asking $250 for that excursion. We paid $10 for a cab ride and went directly to Chakanuab Park in Cozumel and saved over $100 and he got one on one time with the dolphins. I went snokeling at the park and only paid $30 for an all day pass. Half my group went to Paradise Beach in Cozumel and they had a lot of fun swimming, snorkeling and playing on the giant water playground. I recommend Paradise Beach for all around more beach fun, but Chakanuab Park if you want to swim with dolphins. We even squeezed in a quick trip to downtown Cozumel. Lots of vendors hawking their stuff, but if you just say no thanks, they leave you alone. Then is was just another $10 cab ride back to the pier at the end of the day. In Progresso, we decided to do a Mayan tour and didn't book thru the cruise. When we got off the pier, there was a company offering only $39 to see the Mayan ruins and we did that. I enjoyed learning about the different cultures and customs. We even got to swim in a natural spring pond and drove thru downtown Meridia. It was very interesting and educational, but definitely not for everybody. If you don't enjoy learning about different cultures and not into Discoery Channel or National Geographic, you'll probably be bored. Overall, I had a wonderful time on the cruise. It was so great to have everything planned out by the cruise director so I didn't have to worry about what to do daily. There's always so much going on and you can do everything or nothing at all and just relax on deck. The weather was gorgeous thruout the whole trip, even though we went in December. These are my final tips: 1) Bring 2 way radios. Try to buy the one with a chargable cradle. Much more convient than the ones that require AAA batteries. They will come in handy. 2) Don't book excursions thru the cruise unless you have the money and you're super anal and can't handle just winging it. 3) Bring an alarm clock because unless you have your phone on/a watch, you'll never know what time it is and I never trust wake up services. 4) Bring a 6 outlet surge protector. There is only 1 outlet per room, so you'll need somewhere to charge your 2 way radio, hair dryer, camera battery, etc. 5) Unless you're physically unable to climb, don't bother waiting for the elevators on the ship. You'll get there faster by taking the stairs. Plus you'll need all the exercise after eating so much. 6) Go to kareoke at least once on the ship, even if you won't sing. Jay, the host, is so funny that it will be worth your time. 7) Try to do as much as you can. You can always sleep when you get home but you can't always participate in the Newlywed Game or disco dance in front of an audience or even eat ice cream at 1:00 a.m. You're on vacation. It's ok to go off the diet just this time. 8) Don't stress about the things you can't control (weather, rocking of the ship, wait time for embarkation). If you have a great attitude, you'll have fun no matter what. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
We sailed on the December 7th Ecstasy cruise, and had a GREAT time!! This was our second Ecstasy cruise...actually did the same cruise...same week...last year. We drove down from Missouri on Friday and spent three nights in Galveston, ... Read More
We sailed on the December 7th Ecstasy cruise, and had a GREAT time!! This was our second Ecstasy cruise...actually did the same cruise...same week...last year. We drove down from Missouri on Friday and spent three nights in Galveston, seeing the sights and eating in a lot of nice places. We toured the ww2 submarine and navy ship at seawolf park, and its very interesting to see what the brave submariners in that war had to endure. That sub was very cramped, and my hat goes off to them. The weather in Galveston was way too cool for this time of year, and we were a little worried it might be cold on the cruise, but soon found otherwise. Monday , the much anticipated and very long awaited cruise date, finally arrived.We wanted to be at the terminal early ( anxious to get started with all the fun ), and arrived there shortly before 11 am expecting to the the old girl towering above the terminal building...but...well..you know what they say about the best laid plans..the Ecstasy was running late getting in. So, we got checked in and visited with a bunch of nice folks while we waited. After about 3 hours, we were finally dragging our carry-ons on board..and since Carnival gave us all $15 OBC for having to wait, the first drinks of the day were sort of 'On the House'. Soon we were in our cabin..Riveria deck 208..getting ready for our first night in the dinning room. The cabin was as remembered from last cruise...we found it very adequate and plenty large enough for the two of us. The cabin steward did a fine job on this cruise, with plenty of ice and the usual towl animals each night. Going to dinner the first night, we wondered what type of table mates we'd have and hoped they'd be nice. Well...nice would be a huge understatement. We were at a table seating ten, and we couldnt have asked for a better bunch!! We all got along so well, we would all hang out together on the boat a lot of times, and watch the shows and kareoke together. A really nice group of table mates...always a plus! Our waiter was John from Barbados and his assistant was Novie from Indonesea...both did a very fine job and were very friendly. The food was pretty good for the most part..some things ok and some very good. The first night, after I'd ordered my main course, I was considering getting the St louis style ribs also. Carl, one of my table mates from Texas, said he'd get the extra ribs if I would...and I let him twist my arm enough to do it. They were very good!! We left the table very stuffed and that first night set the tone for some very good meals with very nice people. As always, my dessert every night was warm chocalate melting cake with a glass of milk. We ate breakfast each morning at the Lido buffet..I enjoyed the made to order omelets each morning. We had our sea day lunches there too...their food was good, and the desserts very good. The shows each night were about what we'd come to expect..not great, but worth going to see.The cruise director, Steve, was as funny as we remembered, and he still plays a mean fiddle and does a very good juggling act. The comedy shows are always my favorite..and the late night R rated comedy was very funny. We really enjoyed the kareoke each night in the Starlight Lounge..and on the last night,after a few drinks, I let our bunch talk me into getting into the act...yes..that was me attempting Blue Christmas by Elvis..its amazing the affect alcohol has on some people!! Our first sea day was..in a word...FABOULOUS..the weather was almost perfect..by far the best sea day weather we have ever seen on any of our four cruises. We hung out on the deck overlooking the pool and worked on our tans for a couple of hours. They had the lifeboat drill on the first sea day on account of our leaving so late the day before. It was held indoors, and for a change, we werent required to bring our life jackets..this was nice, and the drill seemed to go faster than the one last year and was much more comfortable. As we are trivia nuts, we tried the trivia contest as often as we could at the Metro Bar. Last year on this cruise, we won three trivia games...yes...three of the coveted Ships on a Stick trophys we won..but this year, we didnt win once. But, it was fun. We also enjoyed the mens hairy chest contest the first sea day by the pool. Our first port was Progreso, and after we took the double decker bus tour of the town, we did a little shopping and sightseeing before heading to the beach. We ended up at Buddys on the beach, and saw a couple of our table mates getting a massage...and since they highley reccomended it, we both got a massage too. It was fabulous, and only cost $15 each for about 45 min. After that, we had a nice beach day and returned to the boat and actually napped for an hour before dinner. The next day was Cozumel...where we shopped and shopped and shopped, breaking only to eat a very good lunch at La Mission..very good fajitas. After more shopping, we ended up at Margaritaville...now let me tell you...this is my kind of bar...only wish we'd had more time to spend there, but didnt dare be late getting back to the boat.The weather both days ashore was perfect...a little warm, but since we'd left 14 degree temps back in Missouri there were no complaints from us. WE enjoyed the sail away on deck with all our table mates, and the sunset was really nice. That night, we went dancing to 70s and 80s music...my wife loves to dance, and we had a good time. Our last sea day weather was not as nice as before, but it was ok enough to hang out. The seas were a little rougher as we headed back, but we'd been on a cruise that was rougher..and it didnt bother us. We enjoyed the newlywed game...or whatever they call it...its always fun to see the way that game pans out. Our last night, we had big plans to stay up late and see the second of the r rated comedy shows, but we were both falling asleep just minutes into the show..I guess we were too wore out after a long, fun cruise. So, we said our goodbyes to our table mates and soon was in our cabin asleep. The beds and bedding we both found very comfortable, and we both had no trouble sleeping every night. Debarkation the next morning was held up about one hour, but we did the self assist and was off and thru customs by around 10:45. It seemed the debarkation was smoother than last year. I know we pack waay too many clothes...maybe we'll be smarted next time we cruise..yeah..probably not!! All in all, it was a great cruise...well worth the money...and we look forward to the next one!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Boat was late getting into port, because it was closed due to the very thick fog.. Dropped off bags around 11am then went to eat at the Spot on the seawall. The price was pretty hefty for a hot dog, hamburger, sides, & beer. $40. It ... Read More
Boat was late getting into port, because it was closed due to the very thick fog.. Dropped off bags around 11am then went to eat at the Spot on the seawall. The price was pretty hefty for a hot dog, hamburger, sides, & beer. $40. It started raining pretty good, & it rained most of the night before. We drove around the island to see if ship was there. It docked around noon. We had to wait until everyone started to get off the ship. They said to come back after 2pm. We went to park at the Galveston Park n cruise at 2:30p. Had reserved a spot for $30, but there wasn't any spots open yet, but for $5 more, we could upgrade to a covered or inside place, whichever came open. An inside place came open, so we took it. It was pouring rain & we had to walk about 1 1/2 blocks, then cross the street. Took 1 1/2hrs from start to finish before we got on the boat. They circulated a letter saying they would credit our account $15/each because of missing lunch. I thought that was really nice of Carnival. By the time we got on, all the rooms were ready, so we went right to the room. Ship didn't leave until 6:30pm in the rain. Ship is beautiful, loved the renovations. Second time I've been on it, so i remembered where most of the places were. Thought slots were tighter, & didn't play much bingo(did not win). At Progresso, took Uxmal excursion thru ship. Was really excellent. Impressive. Our 4th mayan ruin. Love them all. Got back to pier with only 45 minutes left to shop, so didn't buy anything there. It was 90 degrees, very hot out, but this place has alot of shade. Next day at Cozumel, just shopped for trinkets. Trip across Gulf was a little rocky, many people were missing from supper. Saw a kid throw-up around the pool. This is the first time we have gone when the ship was decorated for Christmas. It was beautiful. I really enjoyed it. Our room steward Jose was great, he gave us ice, & cleaned the room several times. Our dining room server Renauldo was great also-he knew what we liked to eat & drink. Had late dining, which i thought i wouldn't like, but we had ice cream around 3pm everyday to make it to the 8:15pm dining. Overall, it was a really nice cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Arrived at Galveston in the rain about 2:30. Parked at Lighthouse, and off to the terminal. We didn't realize that the ship had docked late until we hit the line in the terminal, but even so, it was an hour and a half from the parking ... Read More
Arrived at Galveston in the rain about 2:30. Parked at Lighthouse, and off to the terminal. We didn't realize that the ship had docked late until we hit the line in the terminal, but even so, it was an hour and a half from the parking lot until we were onto the ship. Once again, a word of thanks to whoever is responsible for the greatly improved atmosphere in the terminal. Even with the long lines, everyone was pleasant and courteous. What a change from March. This was our second time on the Ecstasy, so we had no problem finding our way around. I think this ship is easier to get around than the Conquest. We were late sailing, they made an announcement about the channel being closed, but if you looked over the side, you could see they were still taking stores. About 6:30 they announced the channel was still closed, about the same time the pilot boat showed up and dropped off the pilot. We were off about 10 minutes later. It was rather a rough night, seemed like a lot of people disappeared pretty quickly. By the next morning, everything was improving, the sea had calmed and the temperature was warming up. Checked out the jogging track and the gym and worked off some of the dinner from the night before. We were on any time dining, we would go between 6:30 and 7:30. Never had to wait for a table. In the five nights, we only had two different wait teams, and both of them were excellent. The food always arrived hot, and with the exception of the prime rib which was tough, it was always good. The buffet on the Lido Deck was good, you could always find something to hit the spot. Make sure you don't miss the deli at the back of the deck, the sandwiches are excellent. The Room Steward was Sunny, very seldom ever saw her, but the cabin was always taken care of. No complaints about the cabin itself, plenty of room and storage space. Except for some banging early one morning from the galley on the next deck up, it was always quiet. The entertainment on board was good, we passed on the big shows, but hit a lot of the smaller stuff. Had to pass on the Piano Bar, way to smokey, which was a disappointment. Tried the trivia which was a lot of fun. Still don't understand why they closed the bar on the no smoking side of the lido deck at 4 every afternoon. Last day the weather got bad, force 8 gale, cleared the decks again. Too cold to hit the jogging track, but the gym was warm. Disembarkation was the normal zoo. The ramp that hits the empress deck was out of action, so you had to go down to the crew deck to get off. Like normal, half the elevators were out of action, all the others were packed and you couldn't get on. Hint: if there is an elevator going up, get on it. When you get to the top it will take you back down. Once our deck was called it took an hour to get back to the truck. All in all, this was a really good cruise. The crew is good and go out of their way to be helpful. Would I cruise on this ship again - absolutely. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
My wife and I sailed on the December 13-20, 2009, Carnival Conquest. Destination: the Bahamas and Key West. End Result: Fun cruise, despite the fog that delayed our departure by one day. You can read any of our 28 live posts from the ship ... Read More
My wife and I sailed on the December 13-20, 2009, Carnival Conquest. Destination: the Bahamas and Key West. End Result: Fun cruise, despite the fog that delayed our departure by one day. You can read any of our 28 live posts from the ship on the CC thread under Carnival: Conquest and Voyager are Fogged-In in Galveston! Here's our cruise story: 1. Our Background: We have cruised 18 times before this trip: 7 on Carnival, 7 on Royal Caribbean, 3 Celebrity, and 1 Princess. All were in the Caribbean, and we have never had a bad cruise. We merely want to take some time off from work, and cruising from Galveston is the closest and easiest way to accomplish this. 2. Driving to Galveston: We drove 300 miles (5 hours) from DFW to Galveston. We left late on Saturday, and did not arrive Galveston until after midnight. One tip as you approach Houston (if you have online access): check Houston real-time traffic online at www.houstontranstar.org/. Sometimes we exit I-45, and take the Hardy Toll Road or Beltway 8 to avoid accidents in Houston, before returning to I-45 south of Houston. On this trip, we drove all the way down I-45, and started seeing the fog once we reached Houston. It only got worse the closer we drove to Galveston. 3. Hotel in Galveston: We tried for the first time the Galveston Hilton. Lucky for us, we were booked into the original hotel which has outside balconies, and not booked into the expansion wing, which does not. We woke up early to look for the two Galveston ships' return to Galveston, but had to return to bed. Why? The fog prevented any viewing farther than 1-2 blocks at 6-7 am. We did like the comforts of the Hilton, which has been kept in very good condition. 4. Bon Voyage Gift/Spirits: We learned from the CC boards that you can order spirits through Carnival's Bon Voyage Department, and we did so. We ordered for $40 plus tax a 1.0 liter of Appleton's rum, which was waiting on the desk when we entered our stateroom. 5. Luggage Drop-Off/Parking: We followed our usual routine for this cruise. We dropped the luggage off at Cruise Terminal One (Carnival) around 1 pm, and then drove to EZ Cruise Parking. Since we had paid the $50 parking fee online, we merely showed our receipt, and parked our car in their lot on Santa Fe Place. We then walked the 3 blocks to the cruise terminal. 6. Large Coolers Are Now Inspected for Size: The McRoberts Security Guard at the entrance to Cruise Terminal One measured our cooler, and said it was too large. We would have to take it back to the car (which we did), or they would confiscate it from us. So we went back the 3 blocks and moved the sodas and ice into a much smaller cooler that we had brought. The new guidelines are 12" x 12" x 12". Be aware that the guard rejected three other coolers while we were there waiting to talk with her supervisor (who rejected our appeal for an exception). TIP: After the cruise, we purchased at Academy Sports and Outdoors in Dallas an Igloo brand cooler that was exactly 12" x 12" x 12", for $18. One bottle of wine and some cans of soda will fit into this new cooler. 7. Embarkation: After we returned to Terminal One with the smaller cooler, we went through the lines (we are not platinum yet), and ultimately waited 15 minutes before we cleared security and was directed to a ticket counter. Our sign and sail cards were ready, and we signed the credit card slip, and we were off. One cruise photograph and 5 minutes later we boarded Conquest. Given that it was now 1:45 pm, we thought that embarkation was smooth. 8. Cabin: We booked Cabin 8458, an aft balcony, immediately next to the starboard wrap balcony. This is an extended balcony, which allowed a little wider view than just the typical aft balcony cabin. The view was perfect from the balcony as it allowed us to view Voyager OTS, about 600 feet to the west, as well as many sunrises and sunsets at sea. Today, however, the fog at times changed from light to so dense, we could not see Voyager. Tip: We always take a small but loud (white noise) floor fan with us on cruises. This time we needed it, because our cabin was immediately below the Lido Deck. We could periodically hear the deck chairs moving on the deck over our cabin. But the floor fan rendered the sound into white noise, assuring us of a good night's sleep. 9. The Fog Delay in Galveston: The fog delayed our scheduled Sunday departure until 2:15 pm on Monday, about 22 hours later. As a result, we had to drop one port (Freeport, Bahamas) and swapped the timing of our remaining 2 ports. We went to Nassau first, arriving at 8 pm Wednesday night, and spending the evening in port. Then we left Nassau around 2:30 pm Thursday, and arrived at Key West around 10:30 am on Friday morning (more later on the ports). We learned Sunday afternoon that we would spend Sunday night in Galveston. The Captain and CD also told us that we would try to leave Monday, weather permitting. Monday morning came and went, with more fog, less fog, then fog thunder. It was so dense, you could only hear the thunder claps, and not see the lightning. Finally, without advance warning, at 2:15 pm, Conquest started her engines, and we were moving away from the pier. We let out cheers, and I semaphored a barely visible Voyager "bravo yankee, bravo yankee" (by-by). We slowly made our way up the Galveston Ship Channel, sounding the Conquest's horn as we went. Even though the fog was building again as we left the pier, the pilot boat's moves all around our ship added to our confidence that we would safely make it into the Gulf (and we did!). We have cruised this week in December from Galveston for the 5 previous years, and only once (2006) were we delayed from departing due to fog. That did not deter our excitement for another good cruise. 10. Our Disappointment for our Cruisers on Voyager OTS: I learned on the CC boards later on Monday, the day we left, that Voyager would not be leaving until Tuesday morning at the earliest. How awful! We are one cruising family, regardless of which ship we are sailing on. We just felt so bad for our fellow cruisers, who could not depart like we did on Monday. We posted on their thread that we hoped they, too, would make the most from a shorter vacation, and try to also have a more memorable cruise. We understood 811 people of the 3400 left Voyager Monday night, in exchange for a credit for a future cruise, for the fares they had paid. Meanwhile, Carnival offered to refund us the $20 pp port fee for the lost port (which they credited to our Sign and Sail accounts), but that was the extent of the offer (BTW-we did have one extra party on Friday, with free beverages, thank you Carnival!). We personally resolved to make the most of our foggy start from Galveston by being thankful for how hard the Carnival Crew worked to give us a great vacation. CD Chris Jefferson said he would do so at the Welcome Aboard show, and he and his crew did just that! Thanks, Chris! 11. The Weather. Monday: Once we entered the Gulf, the fog let up some, so we could see the sun as a bright disk in the sky. Tuesday: Brought partly sunny weather, and people were outside and enjoying the pools, but it was maybe in the 70s. Wednesday: We enjoyed upper 70s as we cruised past Key West, and through the Straits of Florida NE toward Nassau. I attached to my CC thread a pretty sunset photo on Wednesday late afternoon, with Majesty OTS cruising west back to Florida. Friday: Was cloudy and foggy, as we made our way towards KW. The Captain told us late that for a normal cruise, with 30 knot winds Friday morning, that he would have had to cancel our call in KW. Given our delayed Galveston departure, he made special efforts for Conquest to proceed into port, with the Pilot Boat clearly guiding us into KW. Once we debarked the ship at 10:30 am, it rained, and then it poured all day. Finally, at our 4 pm time to board the last trolley to the Naval Pier to return to Conquest, it stopped raining. Yes, then we saw some blue skies. Saturday: Was our return to the 60s followed by the 50s, with a mostly overcast trip back to Galveston. Sunday: Conquest arrived late in Galveston (around 10:45 am, instead of 7:45 am as originally scheduled). The temperature was in the 40s, but clear and sunny. In retrospect, we would probably have taken Conquest south and east toward MX, GC, and Jamaica, if we cruise in mid-December again. But the cooler weather was still no problem for us. 12. Nassau (Wednesday night, and Thursday through afternoon): Instead of a full port day in Nassau, we arrived Nassau Wednesday night at 8 pm, and stayed through 2:30 pm the next afternoon. We had never overnighted before in a port (excluding Sunday night in Galveston!), so we taxied over to Atlantis. The $4 pp fare was just right, and the Atlantis was beautiful. The casino starting heating up closer to midnight. We shared the taxi with our new Conquest friends, Shari and Rud, who also enjoyed the several aquarium windows with us, as well as some beverages in the casino. Seeing these large, colorful fish through these floor-to-ceiling windows made the trip worth it. The next day was Thursday morning, where we planned to spend a full dat at the Breezes all-inclusive resort on Cable Beach, about 4 miles west of the port. Given all of the helpful advice from the CC boards, we decided to stick with our plans to go to the resort. We disembarked the ship at 9 am, and walked to the east and north, to Bay and George Streets (NWC) to catch the number 10 jitney bus ($1.25/person). It was a 15-20 minute ride to the Breezes Resort. Admission was $60 pp, for all the food and drinks and beach /pool access we wanted. At the beach we found a palapa to protect us from the sun. The temperature was in the mid 70s, and the wind almost calm, and just a few light sun showers near 1 pm. The resort is older and still under constant maintenance - but the beach was well maintained. The all inclusive aspect made it easy to enjoy as much or as little as we wanted. Then it was time to walk back down to Bay Street, to catch the eastbound #10 jitney back to the ship. We were back on the ship in 20 minutes, and still enjoying our first day (and night) in the Bahamas). As a fellow cruiser posted, we had to stop at the duty free shop to pick up some Old Nassau Gold rum. Yes, it mixes well with Coke/Diet Coke! Let me also mention that we felt sale in Nassau. We found uniformed policy (with those neat white helmet styled hats!), throughout the downtown of Nassau. Therefore, we were glad we ventured out into the downtown, as well as with public transportation in Nassau. 13. Key West (Friday): All cruise ships follow a particular approach through the reefs into KW, and Conquest did so, through yes, another dense fog! The winds were gusting enough to cause our Captain almost to cancel this port, but he and the pilot proceeded forward. We made port just after 10 am on Friday morning. By the time we disembarked at 10:30 am, it started raining. We pulled out our ponchos from Walgreens, and endured the rains, which increased through the morning. The open air Conch Train, which shuttled passengers from the naval pier to Mallory Square, also handed out plastic ponchos to Conquest passengers. Those ponchos made the trip bearable. We had purchased Conch Train tickets online for about $28 each, and presented the printouts at the Conch Train station near Mallory Square. We were told the next train left in 15 minutes so hand around. When the train pulled into the station, the Conch Train assistant, Ms. Evelyn, told us to take the second or third row of seats in the train car (to stay the driest!). And she was right. The front and back rows took more rain, but again, the complimentary ponchos preserved a visit for everyone to KW that day. Miss Peggy was our train driver and tour guide, and she was excellent. Just the right amount of detail and humor, and timing her remarks just as the train approached each landmark or (for KW) a bar! We would like to travel with Peggy again, because of the fun she creates with her tour. Following the Conch Train tour, we walked 1 block to the Mel Fisher Museum, something we had missed on 3 earlier cruises to KW on Rhapsody OTS (which arrived late in the afternoon, too close to closing time). Mel Fisher discovered a sunken ship off of Key West and landed $400 million for the 16 year effort. His most famous line: "Today's the Day!" We hung out for almost 2 hours in the museum, while we heard the thunder and downpours from inside. One haunting must see in the museum: Mel Fisher's finding in 1972 of the British flagged slave ship, the Henrietta Marie. The pictures and drawings you will see inside are not something you will soon forget... Before we returned to the Conch Train Station for our shuttle back to Conquest, we purchased enough KW coffee mugs, so we now have a KW coffee mug service for 12! Why the tourist souvenirs? Every Sunday morning during breakfast, we turn on the various ship webcams (Galveston, KW, and the live-action Conch Train web cam), pour our coffees, and look at the computer screen in the corner of the kitchen. Suddenly, we are members of the Conch Republic again, and enjoying a brief mental journey back to Margaritaville. 14. The Food: For most of the cruise, we had a late lunch in the Cezanne restaurant, usually an omelette or made-to-order eggs, complete with fruit, bacon, sausage, etc. We always went to the food station at the rear starboard side of the restaurant. Never once did we find cold food that should have been warm. We usually were there between 10 and 11 am. The servers were busy, and there was always a fairly fast moving line of cruisers coming through with trays. That was our experience, which was so good, we only once ordered room service (and that was for lunch on Fog Monday-which sandwiches were good and cool). For dinner, we were assigned originally to a first floor booth for four. As soon as we boarded, we asked to change this assignment to a table for 2. The reason: we could quickly enjoy dinner, not take dessert, and catch the 7 pm "late dinner" show in the Toulouse-Lautrec Lounge. Taking the early dinner, followed by the early show, opened up our later evening for dancing in any of the venues (3rd floor atrium, Henri's disco, and Alfred's Lounge). We found the dinner food and service so delicious and prompt, that we cancelled our Friday night reservations for dinner in The Point Steakhouse. We used the $100 savings instead to purchase a $100 Future Cruise Certificate (which will also earn us a $100 OBC for the next balcony cabin we book). If we never use the Certificate, in 5 years Carnival will refund the $100 purchase price to our credit card. What a deal that Certificate is. 15. Karaoke: I am the karaoke person in the family, and no cruise line offers the hours of karaoke like Carnival! Comparing Conquest with our Voyager OTS cruise last March, Conquest seemed to have almost twice as much karaoke time, and in bigger venues, than Voyager (though we enjoying competing in the Voyager Karaoke Contest last March!). Megan, who joined Carnival 4 weeks ago, made everyone feel welcome for karaoke. Most of the shows were in the Degas Lounge, or for the day time, in the Casino bar area. She seemed to fairly call people up as they presented their slips, and defended one younger singer who wanted to sing hard rock songs (much to the chagrin of some cruisers). A few people though she sang a little too often. I felt that for all of the hours she was working the music discs to allow everyone else a chance to sing, let Megan also periodically "flex the golden pipes!" And flex she did. Be sure to arrive early to review the song books, and take down the song numbers. There was a lot of competition to peruse these karaoke books. Megan also held karaoke tryouts for the "Legends of Carnival" show which presentation was held on the last night of the cruise. Each night of the cruise before then, 2 or 3 singer positions were open for audition, such as for Madonna, James Brown, Sir Elton John, Ricky Martin, Frank Sinatra, Garth Brooks, Brittany Spears, and Gloria Estefan. While the contestants generally were few, those that did win their audition (by a round of applause) really provided a us a fun musical occasion on Saturday night (more on that later). Megan hinted that the ship would sometime soon leave behind the karaoke CDs and receive a new MP3 karaoke machine. One can only hope! I'll come clean and say that I sang karaoke every day on the ship. The most fun I had was singing with Ms. Roberta from Houston, who provided a resounding rendition of Gladys Knight's Number 1 hit, Midnight Train to Georgia. I sold her and some of the gentlemen cruisers that I could sing the Pips part. And so we all did. Roberta and her Pips received a standing ovation, and it wasn't because I added some vanilla to the Pips! Thank you Ms. Roberta and fellow Pips. 16. Internet Access: We used my laptop's Sprint Aircard in Galveston and Key West (and briefly while transiting the Straits of Florida), to post updates on our cruise. However, most of my updates were while using the ship's internet connection. I see that we purchased 6 hours of time for about $155, which although seemed expensive, was necessary to also connect to email for any office updates. And, to post updates to the Galveston Fog thread for you, our wonderful cruisers! Be aware of the delay in downloading and uploading files, and of being knocked off at times. It takes a lot of patience to use the internet if rough seas are breaking your connection. I found we had good connections to the ship's hot spots right in our aft cabin and balcony. 17. Cabin Steward: Our cabin steward, Mr. Naomen, and his helper, provided fresh ice, prompt room refreshing, and service every day, usually without asking. I accidently grabbed and broke off the shower wall the plastic (I thought it was metal?) bar that holds the shower head. Mr. Naomen said don't worry about it, he'll put in a work order that day. And the next day, it was fixed, and no charge for the damage. He also had our shirts cleaned as we had requested, and made the towel menagerie that we find a lot of fun with. You will be lucky to have as good a steward as Mr. Naomen and his helper). 18. Wait Staff in Monet: Mr. "Woot" and his assistant waiter, Ms. Suporn, both from Thailand, offered us excellent service, warm (or cool as appropriate) food, and a good feeling every time they came to our table. I did not know that our table for 2 would be right next to the port side staircase going up to the next deck, but the staircase actually gave us the feeling of a smaller, private restaurant, with our table and the 3 other tables our wait staff was serving. So the private dining room feeling worked well. We stepped over to the main dining room to watch the wait staff dancing on the wait staff serving tables, and singing their end-of-dinner songs. We really enjoyed the food, the service and the warm feelings from some exceptional dinners in the Monet Dining Room. 19. GPS for Progress: This was the first time that I regularly used the GPS (that attaches to my laptop) to watch our Conquest's progress. As one CC person posted to my Fog Thread, it works well on the balcony especially with a UBS extension cord. This UBS computer device was certainly desirable given our late departure on Monday from Galveston, and due to the dropped port that was necessitated by bad weather. The GPS also allowed me to provide real-time progress reports to the CC boards, while we were cruising on a different itinerary due to the fog. The program I used was Microsoft Streets and Trips, which included a small GPS receiver. It allowed me to find our heading, speed and location quite easily. With our aft balcony I easily was able to grab the minimum 3 satellites, for the system to work. You will have a blast, too, knowing just where you are on the cruise itinerary. 20. Debarkation: We found debarkation to be easy and smooth, but because of the delay, later than we expected. We also missed the CD's usual updates and the calls for the various tag numbers to start down to the 3rd deck (for access to the bridge back to the cruise ship terminal). We wished the CD had given us the progress reports of which group can go next, but we didn't mind. We stayed in our cabin to almost 12 noon when we finally made our way downstairs, and off of the ship at 12:30 pm. So debarkation was later and longer than we expected, but we still enjoyed staying in our cabin (without an hassle) for such a long time after we returned to Galveston. Voyager, BTW, had long since debarked, and the next cruisers were eagerly working their way to cruise ship terminal number 2 for VOTS. 21. Entertainment: We made it to two of the major production shows, and found the dancers and singers to be a lot of fun, and well executing their parts. Ron Joseph, the NOLA singer and entertainer, made it fun for all of us when he invited couples, and then some men, up to the stage to dance and perform. It created that right amount of uncertainty when he passed the mike to each man to start singing from the Temptations! Wow! I'll also say that we enjoyed the voice of the comely Lucy Campbell, the female lead singer on Conquest. One thing we remember of her was Lucy alone singing with the band during the repeat cruisers party in the Toulouse-Lautrec Lounge. She stood to the right of the band and sang two romantic songs: Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me," followed by the Rev. Al Green's "Let's Stay Together." She only sang these two numbers, before the CD and Captain provided their welcome and announcements. Let me tell you all: if you can listen to this wonderful lady and her voice - do so! You will not be disappointed by Lucy. 22. Future Cruise Plans: The foggy start of our cruise in Galveston does not dissuade us from cruising in December from Galveston. That is the easiest time for us to cruise, and so we will probably continue this tradition. Secondly, we have now sailed Conquest 4X (all in December), and will continue to cruise on her. There is always something new to find each time we board this beautiful ship. And we will enjoy Carnival, RCCL, and others, as the years come and go. But there is a big benefit not having to fly to a FL cruise in December (so thank you, Galveston, despite the fog!). We certainly want to get some use out of that future cruise certificate we purchased on this cruise. CONCLUSION: The Carnival Conquest provided us a very relaxing, if not also exciting vacation - certainly one we will never forget! We hope you include this well run ship in your future vacation plans. You will not be disappointed. We find this ship and crew compare favorably with the Voyager OTS for service, food, entertainment, and value for money. Bob and Donna from Dallas / Ft. Worth (and missing Carnival Conquest!) Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
This was my third cruise, and as my other cruises were also on Carnival, the Conquest mostly met my expectations. The ship has a French Impressionist theme and perhaps that has a psychological effect because it seemed a bit more mellow ... Read More
This was my third cruise, and as my other cruises were also on Carnival, the Conquest mostly met my expectations. The ship has a French Impressionist theme and perhaps that has a psychological effect because it seemed a bit more mellow than the Elation or Victory. There was less drinking and less noise. The trip was noticeably smooth and quiet--not nearly as rocky as the other two ships. That changed late on Day 6, and I thought perhaps we'd hit much rougher water on reentering the Gulf of Mexico. That may have been part of it, but the captain mentioned on Day 7 that the right stabilizer "was out." So I think on a typical day when everything is working correctly, the Conquest is an excellent ship for those worried about the possibility of seasickness. Carnival cruises are inexpensive to begin with, and a couple days before sailing they called me an offered me a very reasonable price for an upgrade. That was fantastic! Be aware that they make their money off of alcohol, photographs, and the casino, but that's fine as you really have control over how cheap you cruise. I felt the food on the Elation (sailed 2/2005) was fantastic and the food on the Victory (2/2009) was almost as good. The Conquest had a very similar menu to the Victory, but the quality seemed slightly lacking in some dishes. It occurred to me that they want you to splurge on the "supper club" restaurant for fantastic steaks and lobster every night. Sorry, no. The food was good enough in the main dining room not to resort to the supper club, but I had to wonder if they made an effort at deliberate mediocrity in hopes that people will seriously consider spending the extra cash. Most of the food (the chilled soups, the fish, and the fruit) was quite good, and the service was near perfect. Apparently, Carnival cruisers gain an average of five to fourteen pounds during a voyage, but I don't think I'm typical because I stuck with the "Spa Menu" for the desserts. I'm a junk food addict, but their lower calorie (made with sugar substitute) desserts were very satisfying. However, I can see how one can gain weight as the servers are happy to let you sample more than one appetizer and order more than one dessert. The problem that marred a day or two of the trip was the Maitre' D's fault. We had great dining companions on the first night, but we received a note in our cabin the next morning saying that "per our request" we now had a private table in the other dining room. That made no sense, and we went to guest services to correct the error. Guest services called the Maitre 'D to allegedly correct the error and put us back at our original table. However, there was now a big family sitting there who knew a large group of people at the next table over. It was not a mistake at all. The new group had requested that they get our table, and the Maitre 'D complied (People we spoke with speculated he was bribed) and we got kicked out. I think it's bad policy to inconvenience seven people on behalf of eight people, but that in itself was not a big deal. The problem was their inability to communicate. They made it very confusing by claiming that WE requested a private table, and then guest services had been given no clue that it was not an error, but in fact a deliberate re-seating. Sure, it's fine to re-seat us, but they should have explained the situation instead of lying, and they should have asked us what our preference would be! It would have been very disappointing had we not reconnected with the people we met the first night, and Ante, the Maitre 'D, received the only complaint on my otherwise glowing comment card. That incident was frustrating, but the trip was still wonderful. The entertainment staff members were funny, creative and friendly. The bartender, Nicoleta, at the quiet wine bar could not have been sweeter. The casino dealers, the stewards, the salespeople in the shops, and the wait staff all seemed interested in making sure you have a good time. Other than that, the room was nice, well-lit, and clean. The halls (on Deck 2 anyway) weren't too noisy, the fellow passengers were friendly and seemed happy, and there was a fair amount to do (like trivia contests, art exhibits, karaoke and listening to live music) that didn't have to involve any drinking. Overall, it was a lot of fun, and while the desire to see somewhat exotic ports that Carnival doesn't often serve may steer me away from them in the future, I would be more than happy to sail this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Review of Carnival Conquest Dec. 20, 2009 The only cruise we have to compare to is a Princess cruise, also out of Galveston that we took a couple of years ago. I'm in my late 30s and this cruise was to celebrate my husband's ... Read More
Review of Carnival Conquest Dec. 20, 2009 The only cruise we have to compare to is a Princess cruise, also out of Galveston that we took a couple of years ago. I'm in my late 30s and this cruise was to celebrate my husband's 40th birthday. I'm presenting things here as I think of them - I'll try to put some headings so you can skip to what you want to read. We booked this cruise because it left out of Galveston and fit our work schedules. It happened to fall over Christmas, which made it more expensive so we decided to not do a balcony cabin and just do the inside. After looking at a similar Royal Caribbean cruise, Carnival was several hundred dollars cheaper. Before the cruise - We drove down from Oklahoma City. We stayed at the Baymont Inn again. It's not a fancy hotel, but they have free parking and breakfast, which is convenient. They are also close to the beach and restaurants. It was clean and felt secure. They called a cab for us when we were ready to go to the ship. Embarkation - This was a bit of a mess. If we were actually paying attention, we might have avoided some of it ? We intended to embark a little later to avoid crowds so we wandered around Galveston in the morning. It's a really lovely island, but looks so much different after Ivan. Many buildings downtown have marked lines on their buildings to show how high the water got. Anyway, while we were downtown we noticed that people were already being let on the ship and waving from the balconies at about 10am. Apparently, those were the folks from the previous cruise who hadn't been let off yet - weather had delayed the ship for four hours. We did use the internet at the hotel that morning, so that's something we'll check on in the future. When we did get to the port around 2pm we stood in line for about three hours. While this is an unusual situation, we ran into lots of lines and ineffective boarding and disembarking process throughout the cruise. There were only a handful of benches and three thousand people standing outside. I'm not sure if this is a Carnival Issue, or a port issue. There was also only one bathroom for all of those people until you made it all the way upstairs. We went straight to our room, just to see if it was open, and not only was it open, but all of our suitcases were already there and our room steward came to talk to us right away. There was a bit of confusion about the open seating thing for our dining time. We were given a letter when we checked in - the lady there said to show it in the dining room. But the steward didn't seem to have ever seen that letter before. We did take it with us later that night, but nobody asked for it. We left the suitcases for later and went right to the buffet. Yummy! I had been under the impression that Carnival's food wasn't that great, but we loved it every time - whether the buffet, or in the dining room. We didn't see a place to get a soda card (Princess had people doing that right as you got onto the ship) and by the time we figured out where to buy one and calculated the cost vs. number of sodas, we decided not to. The iced tea was much better than princess. It was instant, but it was better. The water was very good, and the buffet had other juices in the morning and lemonade available all the time. Before heading to unpack, we went to the spa/fitness center for a drawing and to see what fitness classes were available. The staff seemed weirdly the same as on Princes. Seriously, they looked like the same people. They told us about a weigh-in contest which we did, and a week-long seminar, which we didn't do, for $99. From the Princess cruise we knew this would be nice, but would also involve sales pitches for other products. We weighed in and signed up for a couple of pilates classes on sea days. Dinner was lovely. We ate very late - almost 9pm because of the late snack and such. There was a late opening show, though, so it worked out. Sea Days - The days were kind of cold and windy, so we didn't spend a lot of time outside. We did enjoy the pilates classes, and would have tried spinning, yoga, or something else, but most of the classes are only in the morning - 8am or earlier. DH probably wouldn't have minded, but I wouldn't have gone at all. The spa was nice, although robes and cups for water would have been nice. The sauna and steam room were very clean and had big windows. Speaking of clean - overall the ship felt very clean. Again, from talking to other folks I was expecting less cleanliness from Carnival. There were more than 1,000 children on board for this cruise, and kids can be messy, but I actually felt it was cleaner and overall in better repair than the Princess Grand a couple of years ago. When there was something on the floor, it was picked up, or wiped up immediately. The hot tub was cold one morning, but crews repaired it pretty quickly. The ship itself is nice, but I did like the setup of the stores on the Grand better. On the Conquest the stores were smaller. I did buy a Citizen watch for my hubby (that I had planned to buy) for his birthday. I asked the shopping person for some advice about that and she said I could probably negotiate in Jamaica for 5-10% less, but I didn't want to deal with all of that. I went and picked out a few watches, then my husband had to choose. I had done a lot of shopping around before the cruise and I feel like I got a VERY good deal. Not a steal, but cheaper than any place around here. The first formal night was very nice. Again, this is where I expected fewer people to dress up and participate, and maybe things were different because it was a Christmas cruise, but we saw more people dressed to the nines than on Princess. There were also lots of opportunities to take pictures and not a lot of long lines for them. Many people got some great family photos taken. Seeing all those kids dressed up for holiday photos was fun. We also found photog with the "soft focus" that we loved ?. Both comedians on board were great. I'll try to look up their names. Apparently one was on at the beginning and then they switched out in Grand Cayman. The second one was funnier, but I recall laughing myself to tears with the first one, too. We only did adult shows, and yes, they really are adult shows - raunchy, but very funny. The disco was not nearly as busy as we thought it would be. It is for kids until a certain time and then they kick the kids out. On princess the disco was packed, and the way the Carnival markets itself I thought it would be jam packed, but it was still fun. Current music, too. On that note... The Activities - Again, we though the parties and craziness would go on and on, which is not what we found. Again, the large number of families may have affected this. The shows were good - I heard great reviews about the magician. She was okay, but I think a lot of the comments came from guys who thought she was hot :-) It was a nice show, though. We didn't see much of the other big shows, but I did catch some glimpses and the costumes and music seemed great. Our schedule didn't quite match with the schedule of the shows or we would have seen more. They had two earlier shows - one designed for late-seating people to go to before dinner, and the second designed for the early-seating folks to go to after dinner. We went to the dining room about 7-8:30 every night and it just didn't sync for us. There was one great party that seemed very "Carnival" - it happened on the second sea day. The ship is divided into teams (Red, White, Blue) and all kinds of activities earned points for those teams. Our team (white) met up in the disco, learned some chants and dances, then went to different stations throughout the ship chanting, playing games, having fun. I was surprised how people really let go and got into it. It was so much fun! I did have to tear myself away because my voice was gone and we had to get ready for the next day. I also wish there had been more of these great parties. Again, it was a BLAST! The look on other cruisers faces as we chanted "Go White team go white team go" as we snaked through the ship was awesome, too. We didn't wind up doing a lot of the other activities - again, not sure why, just the times were ready to do stuff, there didn't seem to be much going on. I did enjoy the trivia, and probably should have done more of it. We went to one art auction and almost bought something. We're going to research the artist and maybe think about it the next cruise. Kids - Again, I mentioned there were more than 1,000 kids on board. We weren't traveling with children, and I worried a bit based on some of the comment on this board, but there was no problem. Really, none. Carnival was great about asking children, even teenagers, to leave adults only areas, and the kids seemed to be having a great time when we went by the main pool, or saw them in the arcade (hey, we went there too! I kicked DHs butt in air hockey). Yes they tried to make foot-tall ice-cream cones, but their excitement was contagious. Now the adults who held up the line trying to make foot-tall ice-cream cones which kept falling over did irritate me. We can go get ice-cream any time. The teen club was kind of empty the first couple of nights but got progressively more crowded throughout the cruise, so I think they were enjoying themselves, too. We ate in the dining room every night and saw lots of families with older folks, parents, couples, little kids, teens, all talking and sharing stories. It was really nice to see. Ports - Before I get to the individual ports, I must say that princess handled port days much better. With princess, excursion groups met somewhere where folks could sit and then left the ship together. Our excursions all started on the pier within an hour of the docking time and it was stressful. Lots of lines, lots of standing around, no way to get to a bathroom. I didn't like that part at all. Jamaica - We went on the zipline tour through the cruisline. After an iffy experience with a private tour the last time, and since I didn't have a lot of time to research ports for this cruise, we decided to go stress-free and book ship tours. We don't regret that decision. In Jamaica the port area is away from the downtown area. Our tour bus driver said he would take people to the shops, but then added that he would stay there so they would be okay. That raised some red flags for me. Our zipline tour was great. We had an entertaining young guide who called himself "Hollywood" He was a card, but I also enjoyed talking with him about some other things - the history of the island, he asked some questions about America. The history of the Island is fascinating and I plan to get a book this week about it. We also brought a little radio and he suggested some radio stations he likes. That was fun. I will be taking a radio to all ports from now on. Grand Cayman - We did the Reef and Rays tour aboard the Emerald Eyes. From board comments I expected a crowded boat and very little time in the water. I didn't find this to be the case at all - the boat had bathrooms and two decks with sunny and shady areas. The guide pointed out lots of interesting things about the island and about recent hurricane damage. I would recommend bringing your own snorkel, though, because it seemed the snorkels were very short - I don't know if folks had a problem, I didn't hear a lot of complaints, but we brought all of our own gear and had a great time. The first stop was at the reef and there weren't a ton of fish, but that just makes me wonder about the health of the reef more than the tour. Then we went to snorkel with stingrays. Oh, My, God. We didn't go to that stingray city place so we were the only people in the area. The stingrays swim right over because they know they'll get a bit of food from the guide. He was able to pick some up and we could touch them, but it seemed very humane because when the rays would start to fidget he would let them glide away. I also liked that the rays that didn't want to be around us weren't, but a lot came right up to you. I expected very small rays, but some of these were more than 8ft across! The guide said the tourists aren't supposed to feed them anymore because they were getting overfed. While both my husband and I expected to feel nervous, we weren't at all. And again, we had lots of time in the water. Grand Cayman was a beautiful town. It may be a bit artificial, but no more than many U.S. and European coastal towns. This island is now on our (long)list of places we would go to without a cruise to just hang out. After the organized excursion dropped us off at the pier, hubby and I took the advice of a fellow cruise critic member and took a short walk (much shorter than expected) to the Eden Rock Dive Center. It's just one small building on a rocky beach with a ladder down into the water. There were several divers, diving instructors a bathroom and lockers to rent. I think you could also rent all kinds of diving/snorkeling gear. The snorkeling was great. Lots of fish, no charge for the area (also no refreshments if you are looking for that thing). I need to get out my thesaurus to say something other than "wonderful" but that's what it was. A nice long day with lots of adventures in Grand Cayman on Christmas Eve. Cozumel - Because of weather all excursions involving water were cancelled. I wasn't that comfortable just taking any old tour, so we decided we'd walk and see if we could at least go sit by the water for the day - we took our snorkel gear just in case. The area where the pier is is a different area than we stopped by before, and there's nothing but a lot of trees. However, we saw a lady dressed nicely with a nice handbag tucked under her arm, carrying a couple of shopping bags walking down this sidewalk into the trees. So we followed her - for about an hour. I knew we were going into the direction of Chanakaab park and we figured we could turn around if we got to far. We passed a place that we think had miniature Mayan replicas that we could have gone to, but the lady kept going. She wound up going into the back entrance of a big fancy spa resort. Apparently they saw us coming on security cameras, but DH talked with them and the guard told us about a little beach bar just 15 minutes further. So we kept going and hit paradise. Just across the street from a huge hotel under construction was a little bar with a small deck with lounge chairs. It was was a free beach - sodas were about $2 and beer was about $3. You could also rent snorkel gear and If the water had been smoother it looked like they had some water sport stuff to rent. The water was rougher, but I tried it out first, and since my husband had a life jacket he did to. The snorkeling was unbelievable. The fish were right up with us. So many! We spent several hours there. At most, there were probably about 3 dozen people there at once. Most seemed to be staying on the island. In the afternoon cabs started showing up and it was only $8 to ride all the way back to the pier. We had walked a loooong way. What a great Christmas Day adventure! I actually am so happy our excursion was cancelled. All in all a very good cruise. We missed the great cruise critic group we had on our princess cruise, which I think was the biggest difference. I would have to do some research about the whole standing in line thing to see if Royal Caribbean would be better for this route, but if the price and timing were right, we would do it again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Our family's been on several cruises before - on Princess, Royal Caribbean, Disney, and Premier, so we've seen what several ships have to offer, but aren't professional cruisers, by any means. So, here are the plusses and ... Read More
Our family's been on several cruises before - on Princess, Royal Caribbean, Disney, and Premier, so we've seen what several ships have to offer, but aren't professional cruisers, by any means. So, here are the plusses and minuses of our New Year's Cruise on the Carnival Conquest: Pros: - Don't know if it was because we were going out of Texas or what, but the beef entrees in the main dining room were the best I've had on any cruise - tender, well-seasoned, and cooked to order (rare - which has been tough to get on other ships). Appetizers and desserts were also very good. - Our waiter, Martin (and his assistant Bobi) were great - helpful with dining selections, attentive without being obnoxious, and Martin was hilarious. This might have something to do with the first Pro above, but Martin's wife was at a higher level in the dining room staff hierarchy, so maybe we got special attention from the chefs :). - Nice artwork all over the ship. - Never met the cabin steward, but the room was always clean when we got back from anything - as the cruise director said, they were like ninjas. - Comedy acts and juggler were very good - Watching Bears/Vikings game on the big screen by the pool was a treat for a Minnesotan this time of year. Cons: - The rest of the entertainment was kinda blah - the Magic show was particularly non-spectacular - Side dishes that went with the entrees were hit and miss - mostly miss. - Buffet food was okay, but seemed to have less variety than most I've seen. Bouillabaisse in the Sur la Mer was very good, though. - "Sushi bar" was a disappointment - sushi was okay, but lines were long, and variety was limited - Long lines at the poolside dining spots - pizza/burgers/Mongolian wok, etc. I know - it was a Christmas break cruise - lines were long everywhere. - Not really the cruise line's fault, but several of the decks were closed for long periods of time due to "high winds" - made the Lido deck/pool area even more crowded. - Ports of call - Montego Bay, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel - aren't the most exciting, but maybe it's because I've seen them all before. - Rooms we got were on deck 2, very near the front. We got a lot of thudding wave noise in the moderate seas during parts of the trip. Also, got noise from the theater - we were directly under it - but we were never trying to sleep while a show was going on. - No big-screen movies, except for one or two on the pool screen. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Carnival Conquest 12/06/2009 Western Caribbean. We live fairly close (250 miles) to Galveston, so as in the past cruises, we have driven. The traffic is relative comfortable and on the heavy side in Houston. We drove down on Saturday and ... Read More
Carnival Conquest 12/06/2009 Western Caribbean. We live fairly close (250 miles) to Galveston, so as in the past cruises, we have driven. The traffic is relative comfortable and on the heavy side in Houston. We drove down on Saturday and stayed at the Hampton Inn and then parked at the EZ Cruise Parking. The parking lot has a shuttle bus that delivers you and picks you up at the terminal. The cost is $50 for a 7 day cruise in a secure parking area. I should know as I forgot to lock the car and all was well on our return. We arrived at the dock at approx 11AM and was checked in and on the ship by PM...we couldn't get our room but were able to drop off our carry-on thanks to the steward and was through lunch and sightseeing by a little after one. The lifeboat drill was a little better in my books as we didn't or were not required to wear the life jackets. The muster went smoothly and we were under way by 4PM. Sunday and Monday was a little cloudy and not as conducive to laying out but some did anyway...we are really not sun people, so all was OK as far as we were concerned. Tuesday the sun was in full effect albeit windy as it was Sunday and Monday. The temps were in the upper 70s to lower 80s and really nice as we left a cool, cloudy and damp Waco on Sat. Wednesday ... we arrived in Montego Bay, Jamaica W.I. ... the weather was warm and sunny ... we took a shopping and highlights tour and although the highlights had something to be desired...the shopping was OK and the driver and tour director was great ... we had a rowdy bunch on the bus and must have laughed for 3 hours... Thursday ... George Town Grand Cayman Is. ... With Kathy and I not beach and water people, we disembarked and did some independent shopping along the coast road at Margaritaville, Hard Rock Cafe, Harley Davidson and a few other shops and then returned to the ship in time for lunch in the buffet. Very nice weather again. The tender boats were good and we had the number one anchor position so we were directly in front of the pier. Friday ... Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico ... We have been to Cozumel 7 time in the past and have never been to the East side of the island so this trip we booked a Highlights and shopping tour that traveled from the ship port to the Southern tip, around the Eastern shore and then back across the island to San Miguel. This tour went to Discover Mexico ( a really neat of scale attractions like Mayan ruins), El Cedral, and a Tequila factory. Disembarkation was very easy...we did the self assist and was through customs and in the car by 8:45am and home by 1 PM. We have sailed Carnival now 5 times. We have heard of drastic cuts and trimming ... we saw nothing outstanding ... some things were missing like a past guest pin, the Capitan's meeting was in the lobby thus no free drinks, dinning was where we say a slight re-adjusting of the menu with the main course coming with sides and not a personal choice. There was really none of the cut backs that affected us all that great. The food was good as always like the Flat Iron Steak, Ribs, Salmon, Filet's, etc ... the deserts were very good and were up to Carnival's standings and fattening as always. Would I recommend Carnival and the Conquest?...YES Would I Do the cruise again?...YES Can I go now (sadly) no. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
ARRIVAL: My friend and I, both professionals in our 30s, consider ourselves experienced cruisers, having taken four cruises with Carnival and one with Royal Caribbean. We drove to Galveston Sunday morning from Dallas and arrived at 10am. ... Read More
ARRIVAL: My friend and I, both professionals in our 30s, consider ourselves experienced cruisers, having taken four cruises with Carnival and one with Royal Caribbean. We drove to Galveston Sunday morning from Dallas and arrived at 10am. We parked the car at the EZ Cruise parking lot, $50 for the entire week, and walked the three blocks to the cruise terminal. EMBARKATION: Easy and smooth. Carnival employees were friendly and courteous, directing people and processing passport and credit card information quickly and efficiently. We entered the terminal around 10.30, long before the 'plane crowd' arrived, and began boarding around 11.30. By noon, we were having lunch at the Lido Deck, enjoying the sunny Galveston Sunday morning. CABIN: For the first time, we had booked a balcony cabin in the back of the ship (aft) with an extended balcony, category 8M. It was worth every penny! The balcony was much bigger than the regular balconies on both sides of the ship and had plenty of room for two chairs plus a lounge chair. The balcony also offered a great view, especially at push-off, that allowed us to watch the ports slowly disappear from the privacy of our balcony. The cabin was slightly smaller than a regular balcony room but the extended balcony made up for it. However, one could feel the engines vibrate all the time and, while it didn't bother either of us, it should be taken into consideration, especially by first-time cruisers and people prone to motion sickness. SERVICE: Our cabin steward did a great job, and so did most of the other Carnival team members. However, I did hear fellow passengers complain about pushy photographers and rude customer service at the photo shop. FOOD: Exactly what we expected, abundant but bland and tasteless. Chicken and burger meat weren't seasoned; all four types of cheese offered tasted the same. Coffee was better than I expected but still not as good as the one offered at the coffee shops for a charge. Breakfast was average, scrambled eggs, bacon, and ham every day. The best beverage offered, a mix of passion fruit and guava juice, was only available in the morning.The Cezanne restaurant on the Lido deck (also known as the buffet) offered the same choices as the main dining room plus pizza, burgers, and ice cream. DINING EXPERIENCE: We had requested 'anytime dining' at the Renoir dining room. We got a small table for two but the tables so were so close together that it felt like we were sitting with six other people. Unfortunately, the wait was unjustifiably long, as it took ten minutes after we sat down for our drinks to be delivered and over an hour for the food to arrive. While 'anytime dining' was a convenient option to eat on our own time, the wait ruined our experience and we never returned to the main dining room. The only exception was the night we ate 'The Point' on Deck 10 for a nominal charge of $30. The menu offered a number of mouthwatering selections, including steaks and seafood, all cooked and seasoned to perfection, as well as delicious cheesecakes and chocolate samplers for dessert. ENTERTAINMENT: The Conquest dancers, and orchestra were fantastic, as always. The dancers and band members got the recognition they deserved by being introduced one by one by the cruise director respectively before and after each show.The new lead singers were better than the previous couple, with much more chemistry between them. The highlight of the cruise was 'Formidable,' a Paris-themed show that ran much more smoothly than it did last year. The opening show, 'Point and Click' was OK. Unfortunately, there were no classical musicians, and the singers in the lounge were simply pathetic, pitchy and even annoying at times. Carnival Cruise Lines need to seriously re-evaluate their standards in hiring singers and consider hiring classical musicians again. The cruise director, Chris, did a great job as well. PORTS OF CALL: See below. DEBARKATION: Smooth and easy, again. The ship docked at 6.30am and was cleared by customs by 7. The debarkation process was executed quite efficiently, with people called by deck numbers. We got off the ship around 8.30, walked to the EZ Cruise parking lot and got back on the road home by 9. Great job, Carnival! Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
What a large and beautiful ship. Cruised over the New Years holiday with 3 kids, ages 2,10 and 13. We had to get 2 rooms but had the adjoining and it was nice to have all the space. Embarkation was a breeze and much easier than we thought. ... Read More
What a large and beautiful ship. Cruised over the New Years holiday with 3 kids, ages 2,10 and 13. We had to get 2 rooms but had the adjoining and it was nice to have all the space. Embarkation was a breeze and much easier than we thought. Was on board within 45 minutes. We choose to drive down the day before the cruise and stayed at the Holiday Inn on the Beach. They provided shuttle service to and from the pier. This was nice not worry about parking at the pier, highly recommend it. The Conquest is a beautiful ship! Plenty of activities for all of us. The older kids did do some of the Camp Carnival activities but mainly in the evenings after dinner. Lido deck was a fun place to hang out and enjoy the weather but does get crowded and sometimes hard to get chairs. The kids very much enjoyed karaoke nights. Our dining room waiters were friendly and food was good. Buffets were okay, not bad, just not incredible. The Sandwich and Burger buffets at the back of Lido deck were the best. Shows were good but nothing really wowed us. Debarkation was the worst of the trip, took us 2 hours to get off the boat, mainly because we chose to check our bags the night before, too many bags with all the kids. Next time, we will pack less and take our own luggage off at debarkation. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Firstly I would like to tell you a little bit about us. I always find this is important as you read some reviews and wonder how old are these people? Are they married ? Do they have kids etc. ? I am a 37 year old male, my girlfriend is 42 ... Read More
Firstly I would like to tell you a little bit about us. I always find this is important as you read some reviews and wonder how old are these people? Are they married ? Do they have kids etc. ? I am a 37 year old male, my girlfriend is 42 and her son is 13. We live in Guernsey which is a very small Island to the south of the UK. I work in IT and my g/f is a teacher. We had to fly from Guernsey to Gatwick Airport and stay in a hotel overnight. We then got a plane from Heathrow to Houston. We stayed in the Marriott Hotel at George Bush International Airport. I have to admit that I did not like it. It was too run down and dated for me. My g/f and her son liked it though. This was our first cruise. For some reason (I think it was weather) the ship docked in Galveston late which meant we had to stand around for about 3 hours in a queue to get on. I have to admit this really did get to me. I hate queues! I guess in this case it was just one of those things. It seems after reading other reviews that this was an unusual situation and embarkation is usually swift. Once on board we were very impressed with how clean the ship is and how pleasant the staff were. There was a big queue to get from level 3 (where you get embark) to our stateroom on level 8 which i suppose was to be expected. Once at sea we did find the lifts were a bit slow as loads of people were trying to use them but as we were on level 8 and spent most of our time on level 9 we used the stairs. We had an interior stateroom which i would not do again. There was nothing wrong with the stateroom itself. The room was big enough for the 4 of us (just). It was always clean and I can't say a bad word about it. I don't like not seeing what the weather is like and if it is day or night etc. It certainly did not spoil the holiday its just one thing i would change next time. This was always going to be a learning curve. The stateroom was very clean and our steward was very friendly on the odd occasion we did see him. We had amazing towel animals in the room when we got back in the evenings. The heating/cooling was adjustable so it was easy to keep the right temperature in the room. Dining in the evening was in the Renoir restaurant. We had to share a table with another family of 3 who were very pleasant. The 2 waiters Charlie and Sudi were excellent, they could not do enough for us. By the end of the night they knew all our names. Josh (girlfriends son) had a soda card (bought from one of the bars on the Lido Deck) and a waitress came to see him every evening to see what he wanted to drink. Again this was a very nice touch. The food in the Renoir was excellent. There was always food on the menu that was kind of standard for want of a better word. Every day the menu changed but there were a pre set list of meals that were the same. I am a fussy eater and on one occasion there was something on the new part of the menu i did not like, it was OK though as i could fall back to the standard menu and eat something i did like. The desserts were to die for, especially the melting chocolate cake. After the main course the waiters and waitresses would do a dance or sing a song. For breakfast we went do to the Monet restaurant at the aft of the ship on level 3. I have to admit the staff in here did not seem so polite. Maybe it was just me but i feel they were not as polite as the ones in the Renoir. They were not rude just not as friendly. The breakfast in here was nice in that you could order what you wanted and it arrived hot. On a couple of occasions we went to the lido deck and ate had breakfast up there in a buffet style. Our problem with the buffet is that for some reason the bacon appears to be rationed, you can't help yourself you have to ask the waiter. Also you can get an omelet made but if you already have you bacon and hash browns etc. then by the time you have got your omelet the rest of your food is cold. This does not happen in the Monet restaurant but it depends on what you want really. On the lido deck you get fresh air and a more casual atmosphere. The pizza bar on the ship always seemed to be busy, that was due to the fact that the pizza's are excellent, worth the small wait. The burger bar was also well worth queueing for. The fun shops are OK. They are not one stop shops etc. they serve their function. From my point of view I don't care as I don't go on holiday to shop! There was always something to do on the ship. The Carnival Capers told you what was coming up for the day so for the days at sea you could plan the night before what you would do the following day. There were things like laser tag, bingo, art exhibitions, comedy shows, spa's and pools, gym, shore excursion talks, sun bathing of course and loads of other stuff. The shows in the evenings were organised so that the people eating in the first sitting would see the show later on in the evening and those of us eating later would see the show earlier. This is a good idea. The shows were in general good. Smoking in the ship is disgusting! Part of the lido deck is covered (while still being open to the elements) and that is where the chimneys hand out. Why can't they go where there are fully outside. Also a couple of the bars seem to allow people to smoke in them. BEFORE anyone says don't go in those areas well you can't really not go to the Lido deck. While we did not stay in the smelly bars when people were smoking we still had to walk through them and smell them. The casino was not an area where we spent too much time but as casinos go it was fine. The Sushi bar was open in the late afternoon and early evening only, the food was excellent BUT it was rather a limited choice. The photographers on board annoyed us. They are everywhere however if you say you don't want your photograph taken then they leave you alone. The same is true for the drinks waiters and waitresses on the lido deck, they wonder around trying to sell you more expensive drinks. If you say no they leave you alone. The secret here is to buy a drink form the bar and leave it visible on your table then they don't ask if you want a drink. The price of drinks on the ship are very reasonable. The ship has Ice Cream stations where you can get as much free ice cream as you like. Excellent ! There is also Ice Tea, lemonade and water stations along with Coffee, Hot Chocolate and Tea stations too. One thing that is really impressive on the ship is that as soon as a mess is made there is a member of staff to clean up. The crew work really hard. The SPA was somewhere my girlfriend wanted to go but it was very expensive so she ended up not going. The prices in the SPA do seem over the top compared to a land based massage etc. The Gym was somewhere we thought we would probably not spend too much time but we did try! On the first day at 8am the gym was packed. You need to find a time later on in the day when it is slightly quieter. At Grand Cayman we had to use tenders to get to shore. This all seemed really smooth too. Josh (g/f's son) went to Carnival's circle C which is the kid's club but he did not go very often. He found that while many things were listed on the program they quite often did not happen. Also a lot of the activities were things like playing on games consoles! Well that's what he does all day and he did not want to do that on holiday too. Disembarkation was slow. Actually getting off the ship was easy enough BUT it was the customs that slowed things up to a crawl. I know the US need to be careful etc. who they let into their country but they need to speed up the checks they do somehow. We have booked another cruise for this Christmas and I can't wait. The Carnival Conquest and its staff are a major asset to the Carnival empire. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Our cruise was set to sail on Monday, November 9th. My husband, son and I were cruising along w/ my parents for this trip. This was our 2nd cruise with Carnival. Our first on the Ecstasy. We arrived at the port at approximately 12pm and ... Read More
Our cruise was set to sail on Monday, November 9th. My husband, son and I were cruising along w/ my parents for this trip. This was our 2nd cruise with Carnival. Our first on the Ecstasy. We arrived at the port at approximately 12pm and quickly made it into the check-in line. We waited approximately 1.5 hours in the check in line because the prior cruise was late arriving due to Hurricane Ida and rough weather conditions on their way back. Once finally checking in, we were told that we'd have to wait for quite some time longer and due to the extensive wait, we'd be given $15 onboard credit per person. This sounded great at the time. Eventually we made it onboard and had a drink and enjoyed a late lunch on the Lido deck. Shortly thereafter we made it down to our rooms. I can say that I was very pleased with the upgrades. The Lido deck looked great, the new carpet and wall art was great. I'm not sure if the furniture in the rooms was upgraded or not but it was very nice compared to the Fantasy ship we were on last year. My only complaint was the location of our room. We were directly next to a crew area and we could hear them walking around at all times of the night. Once the ship sailed we immediately experienced a very rough, rocky ride. Many guests were getting sick, including my entire family. We had all taken medication prior to sailing but we were rocking and rolling and it was too much. We didn't sleep very well the first or second night due to the same rocking experience. I must say, we were very thankful to hit land on Wednesday when we made it to Progreso. This was our 2nd cruise to Progreso so we had already pretty much seen all that we wanted to see of the city. We did a little shopping off the pier then back on board to catch up on the ZZZ's we missed the past 2 nights. Sailing on Wednesday night was a bit more calm but still could feel an almost constant side to side rocking and occassional vibration. I would expect this if the weather conditions or water was unfavorable however the weather was calm and so was the water. Thursday we had a great day in Cozumel. We took a taxi for some downtown shopping. Paid $7 for the 5 of us to get there. We visited most of the recommended shops from Carnival and had lunch at Pancho's Backyard. Great restaurant, great food! Next we took a taxi to Paradise Beach. This taxi ride was $20. Paradise Beach was great. It's a free access beach, free beach side chairs/umbrellas. We ordered a bucket of beers and had a great time. Eventually we caught a taxi back to the pier. Another $20. Almost thinking it would've been cheaper to rent a car but people drive like they have no sense in Cozumel so we didnt want to risk it! Finished up with a little shopping at the pier then made our way back on the ship. Our final day at sea was an improvement from the prior days but still a constant rocking. I had previously read that this was a normal occurance with the Ecstasy but I still wasn't prepared. My experience on the Fantasy last year was much different; hardly experienced any rocking. I guess my expectations were too high. Lastly, the food. My, my my! Sooo not impressed! This is probably my biggest complaint. Dinner in the dining room was never served warm enough. It was very bland. The fish tasted very fishy. The only thing I enjoyed in the dining room was the chocolate melting cake. Also, the tea was horrible. I'm not sure if it was the brand of tea they used or the water but not tasty at all. We found ourselves eating pizza or sandwiches alot of the time due to the poor food quality in the dining room. Also, I had originally requested to be seated at the same table with my parents. This was confirmed over the phone with Carnival reps at least 3 times prior to the cruise. On the day of, I was informed that I had selected "Your Choice Dining" which means you choose what time you'd like to dine each day. When I complained, no changes were made. We went and spoke with the Mait r' d on the 2nd day of the cruise and was advised that my parents could join us for dinner with no problems. The following day when my parents tried to join us they were given a hard time by the head waiter. She wanted my mother to go all the way back to the front of the dining area and speak with the hostess again to "make sure it was okay" because their sign n sail card said they were to be in another dining area. Eventually it was cleared up but still a headache. On a brighter note, for those with children. Camp Carnival is great! My son loved every moment of it and always couldnt wait to get back. He's 11 and they always have a great assortment of things for them to do! Highly recommend it! A+++!!! So overall the cruise was okay. I would have to say it met my expectations in many ways, but in most it left much to be desired. I will cruise with Carnival again in the future but next time may choose another ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
We are a group of 25 who all have the common link of rescuing Boxers in the DFW area. We all have full time jobs on top of our volunteering, so we were all long overdue for a little R&R. We range in age from low 20s to upper 50s with ... Read More
We are a group of 25 who all have the common link of rescuing Boxers in the DFW area. We all have full time jobs on top of our volunteering, so we were all long overdue for a little R&R. We range in age from low 20s to upper 50s with both men and women in our group. Though I won't apologize, I'm pretty sure we were "that group" if you know what I mean. My husband (25) and I (24) left my dad's house in Houston at 10:30 Saturday morning and parked at EZ Cruise, booking online to save $5. We were on the Lido enjoying lunch by 12:30. We found our room (U57) and enjoyed looking out our window. Muster was nice in that we did NOT have to bring our lifejackets with us. Our group met in the Blue Sapphire lounge and watched the lifejacket demo (just like they do on planes) and then they made us all march up to where our lifeboats are. It was pretty painless for the most part. We did actually make it back up to the Lido in time for sail away, but I think it was a delay and not that they were waiting for us to get back up there. My guess is that we sailed closer to 5pm. For some reason neither of us felt that great so we left dinner and called it an early night. Day at Sea - We made our way to the Lido for a little food and ran into some of our group going to do the slots tournament. Several of them made it to the finals but no one in our group won. We hung around in the casino a little more and also spent some time enjoying the fresh air. We all went back to our rooms early to get ready for formal night. I tried lobster for the first time though I can't say I enjoyed it. It was very salty to me. Luckily I had also ordered the prime rib, which was marvelous. Hubby had no qualms finishing off my lobster. We had 3 tables for 10 in the Wind Song dining room, and ours was #325 with Antonio and Rita. They were friendly but unexciting. I don't think they were sad to see us go, though our three tables were kind of rowdy so maybe I don't blame them. Rita spoke to me on the very last night and I wish she would have opened up sooner because she seemed nice. We spent most of our evenings in the disco. I do have to say that DJ Collin wasn't all that great. Everyone would be up and dancing to a song and then the very next song would literally clear the floor. It was almost like a pattern. You would think the purpose for a dj would be to react to the crowd's reaction, but it seemed like the playlist was set. Some songs were even played twice in one night. Not sure why they needed a dj at all then. I will say that I'm about sick of the cupid shuffle though! Cozumel - Getting down to deck 3 and getting off the boat is pretty easy. The one thing I wish they'd change is the photo they take of you as you get off the ship - is it necessary to hold up everyone in line behind you to take it on the gangplank? I'm fine with them having people all dressed up and taking pictures, but it just held things up more to have it in a location that those not interested couldn't skip over. We walked through the marketplace to a guy holding a sign for a taxi. We told him we wanted to go to Mr. Sancho's and he wanted to show us a brochure of another place, "we have better beaches." Well we had already booked Mr. Sancho's and besides, isn't the sand all the same? He grunted at us and pointed to the taxi area and off we went. Half our group wound up at Mr. Sancho's. The others did the dolphins at Chankanaab, which I HIGHLY recommend (we did it on our honeymoon 2 years ago and suggested it to our friends who thanked us profusely.) Those of us at Mr. Sancho's reserved our spots online with a $5 deposit, and then we paid $45 when we got there for the all-inclusive package. We were told it was all we can eat and all we can drink, but not all we can waste, so we needed to finish our drink/food before they would bring us more. This was definitely a reasonable request. Carlos was our waiter for the day and I will say that I wasn't terribly impressed with the service. We heard it was a Mexican national holiday so we figured he was just not happy to be at work. Not only was the service slow, several times our orders were forgotten and we'd have to flag him down and ask him about our drinks. We did get our money's worth though, because they let us do shots, which we had plenty of. The fries were pretty good and the beef quesadillas and coconut shrimp were decent at best. But we did get lounge chairs and the weather was perfect, the sky was blue, and the water was clear enough to see all the little fish swimming around the rock formations. Several people got massages, $85 for an hour of deep-tissue massage. Progreso - Several of us had planned to take a tour to Dzibilchaltun using AutoProgreso, but when we gathered on the Lido for breakfast that morning, realized we were tired and a little crispy from the day before. So we decided to kind of wing it. Off the ship we went, into the Los Cinco Soles shopping center. You have to weave through a conglomeration of shops and then take a bus to get to the mainland. This is the longest pier in the world, probably a good 10 miles of concrete and dust. Not a very scenic trip, but the buses are comfortable and the trip is only 10 minutes or so. Think of it as a land-based tender :) The buses drop you off right outside an outdoor shopping area with lots of little booths set up. Here you can buy your normal assortment of shot glasses, vanilla, jewelry and clothes (all of which you'll be told are handmade.) Everyone wants you to come to their booth so you hear a lot of "Hi Lady" and see people pointing to their table. There is also a band set up and live music playing. We wandered through the market and then took the $2 bus tour around the town. Definitely a great way to see the whole city. They do a little advertising for some of the bars around and then they talk about some history and culture. After the bus tour we headed up the street towards the beach, the way the bus tour had first set out. We passed more shops and stopped into one of the little stores so the guys could have a cold beer. When we got to the beach, there were lots of women beckoning to us to come get massages. $10 for an hour. Well we were all burned so we turned them down, but honestly by this time we were realizing that this city is not all that great, and some of the ladies in our group said they wouldn't trust the cleanliness of the massage tables. It was an interesting sight because all the women were standing right where the street meets the beach, but none of them would step across the sand to the pavement. They even had security guards patrolling to make sure they didn't leave the sand. It made me feel like I was being solicited for something inappropriate. We walked down the beach and every property we came to, old women were approaching us to see if we wanted massages and pointing to the young women at the tables. At one point we were approached by some children, about 5 or 6 years old, selling trinkets and chocolate bars. It was very sad to think that in a few years, the little girls would be the ones giving the massages and the young women would become the "pimps." What a sad cycle with no way for any of them to ever make it out of that town. One last note about Progreso - it's kind of a perverted city. Everywhere you looked, there were trinkets in the shapes of various phallic symbols. True you see some of this "novelty" in other ports, but this was consistent from shop to shop. I would not have appreciated my young children being exposed to that much blatant sex. But at the same time, I did set off by myself to do some shopping, a young woman alone in a foreign country, and I felt completely safe. If I ever take another cruise with Progreso as a port of call, I'll do the ruins or stay on the ship. Oh, and don't trust any bar that tells you the shots are free - the rest of my group learned that the hard way... Day at Sea - Our last day at sea we spent hanging out with our group and visiting the shops and the casino. This time, 4 of our group made it into the slots tournament finals, and the president of our rescue group was the big winner! $500, a bottle of champagne, and the coveted ship on a stick. I also managed to win my own ship during trivia - I got 10 of the 15 questions right and they said they'd never seen someone get so many of them correct. What can I say, I love riddles. We also caught the newlywed show, which was the same as it always is, though still funny, and watched way too many people blow way too much money at bingo. We also attended the farewell party, and yes they did hand out the free drinks in those little glasses. It only lasted an hour and though some of the officers were present in the beginning, they were never introduced and didn't stick around. We went off to dinner and then as always headed back to the casino and the disco until we decided we needed to try to catch a little sleep. Debarkation - As to be expected, for the most part. We did self assist which I still think is the better option, because we didn't even have to worry about packing until we woke up that morning. The only bad thing was that the elevators were so full of people and luggage and had to make so many trips that we couldn't even get up to deck 7 from deck 6 before they called the next group to go. Major traffic jams but I'm not sure there's any civil way to get 2000 people off a ship in 2 hours. We made a quick pit stop at La King's Confectionary once we got back on land, then spent the day at Moody Gardens enjoying the aquarium (highly recommended!) Overall we enjoyed ourselves. I do think that a lot of our fun had to do with being on the ship with so many of our friends. It's definitely a lot more fun when you know lots of people, though we did also make quite a few new friends (and recruit some new volunteers!) My biggest recommendations are as follows: 1. Carry on your own soda. Each one on the ship costs $1.95 plus gratuity, which is silly to pay that much when you can get a whole 12-pack on sale for $3-4. We also smuggled on our own liquor, which has its pros and cons and doesn't need to be drug up here. We did still spend quite a bit at the bar, so bring money to pay off your sign and sail card! 2. Take advantage of the photographers on formal night. Pose as many times in front of as many backdrops as you can. You're not obligated to buy but you may wind up getting some great pictures. 3. Try the bitter and blanc. I have already looked up the recipe and will be making it very soon. Also, the NY strip sandwich from room service is amazing. Especially with a healthy dose of mayo. Actually, try everything if it sounds appealing - some of the best dishes are ones you'd never try if you had to pay for them individually. 4. BE NICE to the staff. They work way harder than any of us would ever be willing to do, at a pay much less than we'd be willing to take. Tip those that you feel went above and beyond, and make sure to fill our your comment cards, write letters and share your experiences so that others can benefit from your knowledge! Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
My review is a little mixed. We had a really good time, but there were a few issues that I hope are solved soon. We arrived in Galveston the day before our cruise. We always do. It's just so much better than having to rush things. ... Read More
My review is a little mixed. We had a really good time, but there were a few issues that I hope are solved soon. We arrived in Galveston the day before our cruise. We always do. It's just so much better than having to rush things. We checked into the Holiday Inn Resort on Seawall Blvd. The service has always been great. They let you leave your car in their lot and provide a shuttle service to and from the cruise terminal. We have never had a problem with their service. Embarkation- The fastest we've ever had. On board by 11:45 am and eating lunch soon after. Room: 9288 Balcony. The room was HOT the whole cruise. Carnival checked our air several times but evidently couldn't fix it. We slept with our balcony door open every night. I know that is a no-no but that was the only way our room ever got cool. Our shower water pressure was just plain weak. On the bright side our room steward was great. Main dining room: We changed tables the first night because the vibration in the back of the dining room was just too much. They graciously moved us to the front. The food was always good to excellent. Our waitress was new and it showed. Conversation was uncomfortable and strained. I hope she loosens up some. Point Supper Club: Worth every cent! The best Filet Mignon ever. All the food and the service was just perfect. A must do on this ship. Buffet: Food was varied and tasted good. They have the best chocolate chip cookies. The pizza is very tasty. The burgers are OK. Cruise Director: We've been on 25 cruises and we would have to rank Kyle as not that good. He lacks personality. Just wasn't very funny. Rather stand offish. The cruise director staff was not very organized and always seemed to be in a hurry and rushed thru activities. Stitch was the most enjoyable. Debarkation: The fastest and easiest exit we have ever experienced. We were in our shuttle back to the hotel by 8:45am. We were at home before noon! We will be taking this same cruise in January with my husbands sister. We are splitting the cost of a suite. We are looking forward to it. I will write another review then. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
We just got back from the Conquest with our children ages 3, 7, 12, and 16 plus my husband and myself. Getting on the ship took longer than usual due to a medical evacuation the day before. We were in line for about an hour and a half. ... Read More
We just got back from the Conquest with our children ages 3, 7, 12, and 16 plus my husband and myself. Getting on the ship took longer than usual due to a medical evacuation the day before. We were in line for about an hour and a half. Make sure your son doesn't bring any toy weapons as our 7 year old had his NERF sword confiscated at customs - ridiculous! Once we were on the boat and had something to eat on the lido deck everything was great though. Next time we will go straight to the room and order room service for that first lunch. The lines at the buffets are long that first day. We also never had another opportunity to order room service, being so busy as we were. Our dining room was the Monet at the back of the ship. We had a window that overlooked the water from the back which the kids loved. We could see the moon rise many of the nights from our table (had a full moon one night)! Ketut (Phillipines) was our waiter and Eric assisted. They were wonderful waiters and very friendly and loved the kids. There was a vibration being so close to the engine, but it didn't bother us. The food was fabulous! Out of all of the nightly shows, the Lady Helluvi Magic show was the best. It was a Cirque de Soleil style with great music and magic. The first night's show was entertaining, Point and Click was boring, and the rest of the shows were worth seeing, but the magic show was the best. We had 2 days at sea before going to a port. This was nice, because the 1st day we were running around so much doing activities, that we just rested on the deck by the pool most of the 2nd day. The weather was perfect. --Jamaica - Took a bus ($5 per person) to Dr. Cave Beach. This beach was beautiful with 3 water trampolines. There was a small entrance fee to get into the beach club. After the beach we walked along the shops and stopped in for a jamaican jerk chicken pizza at the Bobsled Cafe. The people of the shops and restaurant were very friendly. We moved on to Margaritaville and tried out the waterslide and water trampoline (HUGE) there. Then, we took a mini van taxi back to the ship. The taxi driver was friendly and told us a lot about the culture there. This was my favorite stop, I think. Jamaica seems to be wrongly stereotyped as a dangerous/unfriendly place to stop and sometimes visitation is discouraged. Sure there are areas in Jamaica that are dangerous or unfriendly but just sticking to the coast is probably a good idea. This is a very friendly and safe place to visit. --Grand Cayman - We met our tour guide (Stingray Sailing) in the port - very easy to find and boarded a bus after shopping a bit. He took us to a Catamaran where we sailed out to Stingray City and a reef for snorkeling. The weather was beautiful, but as we entered the water with the stingrays, the waves became pretty rough and it started to rain. It was neat to pet and feed the stingray, but we had to hold tight to the two smaller children and they were upset by the waves crashing in their faces. We had fruit and brownies on the way back. It was a pleasant tour, other than the weather not fully cooperating. Afterward we were dropped off at Royal Palms beach on 7 mile beach, then took a taxi back to the ship after a couple of hours. Grand Cayman had the best beach - wish we had longer at it. With good weather it would've probably been the favorite (can't blame them for the weather though). --Cozumel - The weather was cloudy and the water rough on this day. We got off the ship with intentions of going to Chankannab, but were stopped by a tour company that said they would take us to Club Caribe (on the northern end of the island almost to Passion Island). The price of $100 (for the 6 of us) included the tour of the island, drop off at Club Caribe (beach, pool, GREAT snorkeling, equipment), drop off at San Miguel to shop, and ride back to boat. We thought this was a great deal as taxis to different places and Chankanaab entrance and snorkel equipment would have been more. Club Caribe's hotel is closed due to damage and inability to get insurance, but the restaurant, beach, and pool are lovely - wonderful chairs to sit in, and it wasn't crowded at all. It did rain some, but we still enjoyed our time there and saw many different fish. Last Day at Sea was rainy and too rough to go up on deck (except for lido), so we spent most of the day indoors eating (chocolate buffet), watching Sukesh, a magician, which was amazing, and just relaxing. Debarkation was easy and painless and we were back in our car by 9:30. We enjoyed our Conquest vacation. The kids enjoyed Camp Carnival (3 year old wanted to be in there every chance she got) - We thought the counselors were transactional and didn't seem very happy, but it didn't seem to affect the kids. There were probably about 40 kids on board from baby to age 11. Our 12 year old chose to stay with us and did not participate in Circle C, but our 16 year old enjoyed Club 02 and there were about 10 kids that actively participated there. This ship seemed more active than our last cruise ship on Ecstacy with more than enough going on at once and people celebrating all the time. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
This is my third cruise, and the second on the Carnival Conquest. I was introduced to cruising on the Conquest in October of 2007, took a honeymoon cruise to Alaska in 2008, and returned to the Conquest this November (2009). Since I now ... Read More
This is my third cruise, and the second on the Carnival Conquest. I was introduced to cruising on the Conquest in October of 2007, took a honeymoon cruise to Alaska in 2008, and returned to the Conquest this November (2009). Since I now have a "baseline" to compare to, I'm writing this review of our cruise. We had a total of 16 in our group, including 3 children under the age of 6. This was the first cruise for six of our group, and all of them have been bitten by the "cruise bug." EMBARKATION: The Galveston cruise terminal has plenty of parking near by, with reasonable prices for the week. A brief search on the internet will reveal several parking lots with pricing for both the 3/4 day and 7 day cruise options. Having had recent knee surgery, my right knee was still in a brace for this cruise, and I used a cane as a balance aid. I am not "mobility limited" in any major way, but upon seeing me in this brace, the embarkation staff made sure I was fast-tracked through the process. My wife and I were escorted through the security screening in just a few minutes, and led to the check in desk. At the check in desk, we were once again escorted through a shorter line to receive our Sail and Sign cards. We were through the entire process in about 15 minutes, bypassing the long lines. Being past guests, each staff member, upon seeing our past guest cards, greeted us with a "Welcome Back." CRUISE: Once aboard, we helped the first timers in our group get settled and went to the Lido Deck for the lunch buffet. The lines were only moderately long, and we were able to find a table easily enough. One disappointment for me was the muster station (or "boat drill" in maritime parlance) drill. While I'm sure Carnival met the letter of the law, I felt this particular activity was a bit disorganized. On our first cruise on the Conquest in 2007, this drill was more organized. Our second cruise, on a sister line, was MUCH more organized and "formal." I would hope that should there be an actual emergency, first time cruisers would have a better idea of where to go and what to do. Sea day activities were fun to watch and participate in. A new activity that was not on our last Conquest cruise was the mixology contest in which contestants created a cocktail of their own recipe. The winning recipe would then be featured as a daily special during the cruise. While Carnival isn't known for their food, the dining was, overall, enjoyable. Their "Warm chocolate melting cake" is something that should be tried at least once. Several in our group, including me, had this for desert more than any other offered during the cruise. Our Maitre 'D, Ante, did a superb job preparing the dining team. Dining for lunch and breakfast could be a bit crowded at times, but the lines moved quickly enough that the wait wasn't enough to become annoying. A recent addition to the Lido Deck is the large "Seaside Theatre" screen. Movies or sports, typically football, were shown nightly. While popcorn was available for the movie, it was somewhat disappointing to see that there was a $1.50 charge for this. Cabin attendants were spot on, and our cabin was kept clean at all times. Our ice bucket was kept full, and this allowed us to keep a bottle of wine chilled throughout our cruise. Our Cruise Director, Chris, was informative, but kept the PA announcements short and to the point. Once nice feature of the Conquest is all the professional photographers. Each night on the Promenade Deck, there are multiple spots of varying backgrounds to have your pictures taken by a professional photographer. The best aspect of this service is that one can take as many photos as desired and not have to buy any that are not "just right." DEBARKATION: The debarkation process was very organized and proceeded as swiftly as possible, given that 3,000 plus passengers had to leave the ship. The slow part was more on the cruise terminal side of things, and not Carnival's issue. Overall, this was a fantastic cruise, and we have already placed a deposit for another Carnival cruise next year. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
Just a little background on us, it was my husband 46 and myself 50 from Miami, Oklahoma. I had a friend of mine that had her sister come with her. All of us had been on a cruise before except for the sister, first cruise. We drove down ... Read More
Just a little background on us, it was my husband 46 and myself 50 from Miami, Oklahoma. I had a friend of mine that had her sister come with her. All of us had been on a cruise before except for the sister, first cruise. We drove down Friday night and arrived in Galveston Saturday morning just in time to see the Ecstasy arrive, went to the pier and watched her dock. We then went to our hotel Galveston Hilton and they let us check in early, at 8am. The hotel was great, would stay there again, great price(got on hotels.com). The only thing I would change, park your car in the Lighthouse parking lot or across from the pier, we did the free shuttle from the hotel(free parking at the hotel)and waited 1 1/2 hours for the shuttle to pick us up after the cruise. Never again! Embarkation was easy, long line but went very quickly for the amount of people that were there. Got on the ship and first Drink of the day by 1:00. Was very chilly the first day out and the day coming back was very rough(went through a cold front)so you almost felt ripped off those two days, too cold to enjoy the lido deck. Jamaica- Went to Dr. Caves Beach, wow, this is a wonderful place to go, get a shuttle for $5pp and $5 to get into the beach, $5 for beach chairs, the water was so clear you could see your feet, they have 2 restaurant that waiters come out to serve you cocktails and order food while you lay on the beach. Grand Cayman- We just shopped there, was nice to walk around and see everything, stopped at Hard Rock Cafe for lunch and cocktails Cozumel- Always a great place to shop, take a taxi to downtown $7 for up to 4 people, and all we did was shop, and shop, and shop, very good bargain. This is my 3rd time in Cozumel, I would go there again and again. And like I said, the last day was cold and very rough. The food was great, we didn't eat alot in the Lido buffet, we went to the Monet restaurant for breakfast and dinner everyday, lunch most days we had the Mongolian Grill. Room Service needs some work, we ordered every morning, coffee and a bagel, out of 7 days we received it 3 times, not a good record. We had a ocean view room, very nice size, had a couch with a coffee table, king size bed, about 220 sq. ft. We did have to get our ice everyday, but our room was kept clean. All and all, we did enjoy our cruise, just don't know if I want to go out of Galveston again. Love the warm weather of Florida instead. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
Embarkation: Galveston, Texas, on board late at 12:45 pm due to a medical emergency requiring helicopter transport that prior evening. The ship was about an hour and a half behind schedule at arrival. Having booked a category 11 stateroom ... Read More
Embarkation: Galveston, Texas, on board late at 12:45 pm due to a medical emergency requiring helicopter transport that prior evening. The ship was about an hour and a half behind schedule at arrival. Having booked a category 11 stateroom it made the process of boarding quite easy. Staterooms were ready at 2:15 pm. Considering the setback for the crew all was fine, for us anyway.  Category 11 or now OS cabin 245 sq. ft. Balcony 85 sq. ft. with three comfortable chairs and one round table. Stateroom: Real hardwood entry. There were a total of four full length closets that could easily accommodate three to four weeks of clothing. Separate vanity area(granite top)with four full sized drawers and full row lighting leading into bathroom. The bathroom has granite counter tops with two sinks, full sized tub with jacuzzi. Ample mirrors throughout bathroom and stateroom. Two sitting areas in stateroom, one at desk another with large couch, side chair and adjustable table. Being forward/port was fine. Pretty quiet with the exception of neighbors that never learned how to shut a door with consideration to others. The stateroom had dimmers on all recessed lighting, very nice. Bed was comfortable and linens we of high quality.Pantry about eight staterooms away for easy access to ice. This being our first large ship we found it easy to navigate and really didn't notice the other three thousand guests too often. Crowds were consistent at the buffet when we did go through that area but appeared to be moving quickly. Tasted a couple items from the buffet and it was clear that the dining room was the winner when it came to flavor. Dining was above average...not great...but well executed and mostly toothsome. Room service delivered accurately and on time each morning. The coffee could use an upgrade but for the most part room service food is room service food, right? Entertainment... as another guest mentioned...it had to be seen to be believed. Ports of call...Montego Bay, Jamaica...we debarked; shopped in the terminal for coffee, got right back on board. We kept seeing large plumes of black smoke dotting the island from our balcony. At dinner that evening we learned what that was about. It seems that some residents were trying to make a statement of some sort to their government by igniting tires on major roadways blocking traffic, mostly tour busses. Many of the guests were unable to make their excursions due to the situation. George Town, Grand Cayman Islands...as beautiful as it was seventeen years ago. I will note that rising at about four stories high, just beyond the terminal was an awful sight. It was a landfill. I couldn't believe what I was seeing, pitiful. I think I remember one of the sting rays we encountered years ago...I learned on this visit that they can live as long as eighty-five to ninety years! A very special place Sting Ray City is. Cozumel, Mexico...the Puerta Maya terminal is impressive. We suspect Carnival had a lot to do with the construction/funding as the pier appeared to have only the names of Carnival ships painted on it. We also took note that RCCL Voyager of the Seas was docked at the older, rather unfortunate-looking pier. We had rain, due to the coming of Ida and seas went from slight to rough. Many of the guests made an appearance in the infirmary. It was a rocky cruise Friday night into Saturday. Then, by that evening things were calm again. Debarkation: ship arrived around 6:15 am...had breakfast and was ashore at 8:10 am. A good time was had Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
I traveled with my DH, my DD and 3 YO DGS. It was very quick from the time our son dropped us at the pier to the time we were on the boat. The debarkation was also very quick. The weather was a little bit cold the first day, but after that ... Read More
I traveled with my DH, my DD and 3 YO DGS. It was very quick from the time our son dropped us at the pier to the time we were on the boat. The debarkation was also very quick. The weather was a little bit cold the first day, but after that it was nice and warm. The food was good. The one thing that I was disappointed at is Camp Carnival. We took our three year old DGS and tried Camp Carnival the first day, but they called us within 15 minutes to pick him up. He was walking around the room crying, and the camp counselors seemed overwhelmed by the number of kids in the room and were not paying attention to him. On this cruise, Camp Carnival seemed chaotic due to the large number of children on the Thanksgiving cruise. We stood in line at least 30 minutes to check our GS in camp the first day. We did not go back. We will try Camp Carnival again on future cruises... My DGS used the small pool on the same deck and Camp Carnival and loved it. He was the only one there. I never saw any other kids there. It is great for the little ones. We had the late dinner and our waiters were good, not great. The food in the dining room was also good. The ribs were excellent and I loved the bitter and blank dessert and the soufflE dessert (last night). My DD and I enjoyed dancing and participated in all the dance classes and dance events. We had fun at the deck party. Since this was our second time in the conquest this year and had the late dinner, we did not go to the shows. They were the same. However we really enjoyed the magician show in May. Do not miss it. Jamaica: We went to the Irie Mon Beach Party excursion and the beach was wonderful. The weather was nice and the ocean temperature was perfect. We did not do the party stuff, but enjoyed the beach, sun, the food and drinks. My DH, DD and DGS loved this beach. We probably could have saved some money by going to Doctor's Cave beach. I've read that it's really nice if what you are looking is for a relaxing day at the beach. We will try it next time. Grand Cayman: We took a taxi to Reef Grill/Royal Palm beach. I recommend this place to everyone. It was sooo nice. You can rent an umbrella for $10 and chairs for $5. The water temperature was perfect. They have a really nice restaurant, but I just didn't want to get out of the ocean to eat. My husband had to almost pull me out of the water to go back to the ship and then it turns out that his watch had the wrong time and we could have spent at least two more hours at the beach.... He will never be in charge of the time.... Cozumel: We went to Nachi Cocom and this was our favorite. The best beach I've been to in Cozumel. We loved it. The beach is nice, clean, and not crowded. They have palapas with plenty of shade. They had hammocks, a pool and a Jacuzzi. The pool was very cold. The food was great and our waiter was fantastic. You can order by the beach or eat at the restaurant. The $49 price per person includes food, chairs, palapa, access to the beach, pool, etc. If you want a massage, or you wish to rent snorkel equipment or parasail, it is extra. At the end of the day, they have radios and call a taxi for you. We did not hear about anyone going over-board or any over-board Saturday. We love the Conquest and will probably go back next year. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click