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155 Carnival Galveston Cruise Reviews

I just returned from the Conquest on Monday, October 24, 2005. This was our second cruise on the same ship. We took the same ship the same week in 2004. Last year our cruise was wonderful, we did miss the Caymans because of Hurricane Ivan, ... Read More
I just returned from the Conquest on Monday, October 24, 2005. This was our second cruise on the same ship. We took the same ship the same week in 2004. Last year our cruise was wonderful, we did miss the Caymans because of Hurricane Ivan, but that didn't matter. The entire onboard experience made up for missing one port. We could have missed all three and still had a great time. This last cruise was entirely a different story. We were to visit Jamaica, Caymans, and Cozumel. Well Wilma changed that, we went to Costa Maya, Cozumel, and Progresso. So what, we were still on a great ship right? I couldn't be any more wrong. We did have a great room steward, Albert. And our waiters in the main dinning room did loosen up after a couple of days. But that was it for the great and wonderful Carnival Conquest. With an exception of these few individuals, every staff member on the ship was very rude, short spoken, almost as if "why are you bothering me". I had two kids with me that spent time with Camp Carnival. The staff there was awful as well. On the first day, my 10 year old was not allowed to sign herself out, so the staff told her she could not go to the restroom until her parents came back to sign her out. My 7 year old did not sign himself out, but he was allowed to go to the restroom. While on the Lido deck, we were literally ran over by a staff member with a cart of dishes, this happened several times. They didn't offer an excuse me, I'm sorry, or even get out of the way. Most of the staff would hardly make eye contact. Last year everyone was friendly, staff members would say hello or something every time they passed me. (This did get better the last two days at sea, you know just before we adjusted out gratuity.) Anyone can have a bad day but when the over 1000 staff members have seven bad days in a row, all at the same time, what I hear is Carnival already has your money and we don't care about you any more. By Wednesday, we were trying to out run Hurricane Wilma, the seas were very rough. One of the shows was canceled due to the rough water. Our cabin was right above the disco lounge and the Degas lounge. Karaoke every night, except that one night when the "r" rated comedian was there. Good thing our kids were exhausted from swimming and already asleep. I hope the person singing "Proud Mary" won, she was very good. All of this was the good news! The cruise was out of Galveston, TX. We had a flight out of George Bush Airport in Houston at 3:40pm Sunday. An hour and a half from Galveston. Early disembarkation was only for flight before 2pm, NO EXCEPTIONS. Customs could only accept 50 people at a time. The ship was cleared for disembarkation about 8:15-8:30. We got off the boat at about 1pm. Believe me we tried and tried to get off early. We overheard on one of the staff radios, that all luggage was cleared at 10am. We left Hertz in Galveston about 2pm. We were in line at the airport by 3pm. At the ticket counter at 3:20. Our tickets were already given away to standby passengers. We missed our flight. We got a flight home on Monday at 1:05. $400 extra to change our flight, plus the $100 for a hotel room. We spoke to about a hundred or so people aboard the ship and at the airport in the same situation as we were. This will be our last cruise with Carnival. I’ve heard that Carnival is one of the cheapest cruise lines, and now I know why, you get what you pay for. We will cruise again. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. We just got home last night, haven't had time to contact Carnival yet. But talking to others and reading reviews here, I don't think I'll get very far. Read Less
Sail Date October 2005
I bid and won this cruise from an online agency because we have used this agency 2 times before and are very pleased with the service and email response. This particular cruise, the agency had a plate full of designer chocolate ... Read More
I bid and won this cruise from an online agency because we have used this agency 2 times before and are very pleased with the service and email response. This particular cruise, the agency had a plate full of designer chocolate delivered to our cabin and the next day, a bottle of champaign (sp). The embarkation was not handled too badly and we arrived in our stateroom quickly after testing the buffet. So far so good. Then came the meals-Swill. A fellow passenger was ill one full day with vomiting/diarrhea, another passenger said he'd never put so much into his mouth and taken out so much from his mouth in so short a time and that if this was a restaurant, he'd never return. We found the food to be particularly bad as compared to other cruises that we have been on. Many leftovers were used and understandable since this is one area that one can save a lot of money with. But, even the filets that were prepared were tough. Most other ships had the herbal tea set out for consumption but on the Elation one had to ask for a bag of tea. (Regular Lipton teas were by the coffee maker for passenger pickup) When my wife asked for a herbal tea from one of the busgirls, she promptly got it for her and handed it to her with the plastic gloves still on after scraping plates. I noted that the inside handle and surrounding door area in the pizza prep area was filthy from being opened and closed. It had what looked like grease and soil from staff entering and exiting the pizza prep area. Never met our cabin steward until the last full sea day. Children were stomping up and down the halls, slamming doors and waking us several times during the night. We were GLAD to disembark, now the wife never wants to cruise again. The food is one MAJOR reason to cruise but on this cruise it was like being at a 2nd class truck sop on some highway in Wyoming. Jorge the cruise director was especially funny during the customs briefing and found to be better tna some of the comedy shows. The Caper for Cozumel was never delivered to our cabin and I found one the next day at the Purser's desk after returning from that island. Regardless of where we ate whether in the Tiffany Buffet or main dining room, the food was extremely poor. Perhaps those who eat out and don't like to cook found it palatable but we can and do cook and know quality food and this simply wasn't. I wish it had been better but it isn't. We arrived at the port of debarkation tired, sleepy and wanting a good meal. A day later at home we haven't recovered. The wife is still complaining of abdominal discomfort. Maybe someday she'll agree to cruise again but that day probably far off. In consideration for other passengers, some felt the food was good and others said it was so-so. Maybe we had so much difficulty because it was such a small ship? Also, I noticed the table servers were taking the plates beneath the salad bowl and setting them aside for later use with 2nd seating (And I know I put my fork and knife on the plate). Read Less
Sail Date March 2005
First let me say that, please do not judge all cruises by this one. I am a veteran of 9 cruises and this one on 11-15-2004 is by far the worst I have ever been on. The AC in room R-179 and probably the whole floor wasn't working ... Read More
First let me say that, please do not judge all cruises by this one. I am a veteran of 9 cruises and this one on 11-15-2004 is by far the worst I have ever been on. The AC in room R-179 and probably the whole floor wasn't working properly, so bad that a ship's engineer came to the cabin to check it out.. His solution!! Turn off the lights and don't take hot showers with the bathroom door open. We weren't the only ones. I spoke to an elderly gentleman who was on one of those breathing things used for people with breathing problems in their sleep and the poor guy was beet red from the lack of AC..I could go on and on about the AC but that would take too long. I spoke to at least 15 people on my floor with the same problem. Cabin steward even ripped the vent cover off and still very little air from this manhole in the ceiling. I was told some people even slept on the top deck cause it was so hot in their rooms. Second..and I still have a hard time believing this..our pillows stunk like they had been in Grandma's attic for 63 years. Not only that, but the sheets had some rust colored stains on them and it took everything in my power to get the cabin steward to change them. As for the food, it was ok, and I mean just ok. Our waiter Borislav always had a look on his face like he was sick of being on the ship and was pretending to be friendly because he had to. On the subject of bumpy and roughness..this is an old ship "1991" and was not properly fitted with stabilizers (spelling) and if those of you that were on the ship noticed that on those 2 rough days, the waves weren't that high, it was mostly wind doing the rocking and shaking. So if it had really come into rough seas, there'd have probably been some DEAD people on board..not really!! Service was not the best I've ever experienced. Whenever I bought something, I was never looked in the face or given a really heartfelt "thank you." I work for FedEx and I know if I were to treat customers the way me and some other people were treated on this ship I would definitely be out of a job. This cruise is designed for the hollering, whooping, PLAY SOME SKYNARD kind of college kid who's never been on a cruise before. The colors on this ship were so tacky and bright you'd have thought Elvis and Liberace had puked the color scheme together. I even needed sunglasses to go eat in the top grill.." bright blue walls and lights" and on at all times of the day and night..All the walls were lit up with either some bad tastefully decorated skyline scene or wall hangings that reminded me of the bright orange shag carpet I used to have in my apt when i got married back in '72. The walls in the eatery were that '57 Chevy Blue color. But I will say, the food was ok, not great like on other ships, but i guarantee you will not go hungry. Word to Carnival..Hot Dog chili don't have no beans in it !! Burgers, Pizza, fries. ice cream and omelets were great! I guess for the "first timer" it would be a great cruise, but for me and the other people that have traveled on other cruises and have something to compare it to, I will never, ever, ever again take a Carnival cruise. I'm not bitter, just truly disappointed that a company that owns some of the biggest and most beautiful ships in the world would not take better care of the ones that have their name on them... P.S..should you get sea sick, don't go to your room and lie down, go to the top deck for some fresh air..it works. And probably the question you're probably asking yourself is, Why did I go on this ship in the first place......$521 for 2 people, airline rate, that's why.. 1 outta 9 ain't bad!!!! Good Luck Everyone.... Norwegian Star 1998,99 Norwegian Sea 1999,00,01 Royal Olympia 01,02 Rhapsody of the Seas 03,04 Ecstasy 04 Read Less
Sail Date November 2004
This is a cruise we will never forget but unfortunately for the wrong reasons. We booked our cruise through RCI (booking was easy and paperwork arrived as promised). We are in our late 30's traveling with three children ranging in age ... Read More
This is a cruise we will never forget but unfortunately for the wrong reasons. We booked our cruise through RCI (booking was easy and paperwork arrived as promised). We are in our late 30's traveling with three children ranging in age from 4 to 11. This was our first cruise. We sailed on the Elation during Thanksgiving week. We are seasoned travelers who have ventured as far as Southern Africa with our kids. Our home is in Houston. This review will be blunt and to the point. If you are accustomed to staying at properties such as the Hill Country Hyatt, Ritz Carlton or any 4 star hotels then this is not a cruise for you. 1. Food - Not memorable. Dining room service is mediocre and often slow. The European head chef was very proficient at creating elaborate menus but could not deliver when a ship was fully booked. Sauces often lacked consistency and the meats (beef) where tough. Even the desserts where ordinary and tasteless. The wine list was ok but by the fifth night the top flight wines where sold out. Eating in the Tiffany's restaurant was not as a good as Denny's, although my kids thought it was as nice as a kid's summer camp dining room. Pizza 24 hours a day may sound inviting but after 4 days even the kids wanted a change. Note: We had requested a 6:15 p.m. dining room seating (we have a 4 year old) and ended up being assigned the 8:00 p.m. seating. My 40th birthday was the second evening. My wife had ordered a cake in advance but we never did get to celebrate as a family since the kids would not sit through an 8:00 p.m. dinner. After 2 days of pleading we where finally moved to the 6:15 p.m. seating. 2. Ports of Call - Don't bother getting off the ship unless you enjoy scuba diving or snorkeling. Progresso and Belize are as inviting a Juarez, Mexico. 3. Kid's Camp - Our 4 year old was entertained at times. The staff for his age group was very professional and eager to please. Our daughters never had much fun. A direct quote from our eleven year old was "cheesy." 4. Services - Our cabin was a large suite with a really big balcony. The cabin staff did a fantastic job of cleaning and converting the cabin to sleeping 5 at night. When we called for the room steward from the room phone we never once got a response. This was very annoying. I found the ice cooler myself which was hidden in a corridor cabinet. Bar staff throughout the ship where excellent. Drinks are inexpensive. My wife ordered a birthday room decoration set up in advance via the Internet and it was really nicely done. The birthday cake was also very good. 5. Spa - Huge and professionally run. Not a complaint here. 6. Entertainment - Average way off Vegas strip quality. We may cruise again but not on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2004
As extensive travelers and past cruisers, we looked forward to introducing our adult children and grandchildren to the world of cruising. We are not picky or demanding people. Bending with the wind and going with the flow in any given ... Read More
As extensive travelers and past cruisers, we looked forward to introducing our adult children and grandchildren to the world of cruising. We are not picky or demanding people. Bending with the wind and going with the flow in any given situation is more our modus operanid. We went onboard with the 'you make a cruise what you want of it" attitude. However, there is a limit to anyone's patience and tolerance. We're sorry to say, ours was stretched to the extreme on this trip. Please bare in mind, we wish not to dissuade anyone from taking a cruise. This is only our experience we report on. PARKING: We discovered EZ Cruise Parking online, made advanced reservations, and were extremely pleased with the location (one block from the ship) and service we received. The attendants loaded our luggage into the shuttle, delivered us promptly to the terminal, and assisted us in finding a porter to handle our luggage. Upon our return, we found EZ waiting for us with an air-conditioned bus. Without delay, they loaded us up and whisked us back to our vehicle. We highly recommend this parking facility for the Galveston cruiser. EMBARKATION: We encountered mass chaos at the terminal, with departing passengers pushing and shoving to get out of the terminal. Buses, shuttles, taxis, and private cars challenged each other for space to drop off and pick up passengers. One wrong step placed you in grave danger of being hit by a charging vehicle. The situation was basically a "survival of the fittest". The police and/or port authority attempting to direct the grossly congested traffic were less than effective. After processing through the scanning station, we were directed to the Skipper's Club while the others in our group were routed through normal check in. The clerks were cordial and efficient, but that was the extent of the VIP processing. We finished in the same amount of time the normal check in lines did. At this point, the herding of passengers began and continued throughout the cruise. Our VIP status did not afford early boarding as promised. We moved with the rest of the cruise cattle. Abbreviated instructions were given and we were put into line to get on the ship. Passenger comfort was not of priority. From beginning to end of the cruise, the rule of the day was 'hurry, move faster, get out of the way, don't ask questions, don't ask for anything'. SHIP CONDITION: The Elation's dEcor was based on the Greek Muses, but the color scheme made the interior appear to be dark and small. There was a musty order to the carpets in the hallways and rooms. During the cruise, one elevator or another was being repaired. The Lido deck proved to be hazardous when the salt-water pool was open. Two four foot rubber mats were placed end to end at the ladder leading up to the slide, but the remaining exposed deck around the pool was very slippery. We witnessed a few bad falls by young and old passengers. The other malady was the ongoing severe rolling of the ship, which kept most passengers reeling and unsteady. Very few were unaffected by the intense rocking, dispelling the belief that you do not feel the motion on the larger ships. The general comments were suspicion that the stabilizers were not being activated. Throughout the cruise, sections of the ship were being blocked to the passengers due to repairs of one sort of another, making getting around the ship difficult. CABIN: Our balcony cabin on the Veranda deck was a major disappointment. We'd expected it to be small, but the old, worn carpet, bedspreads and drapery left much to be desired. The musty odor took some getting used to. The balcony was just large enough to accommodate two plastic lawn chairs. Sitting down was like threading a needle. You had to hold the rail and skinny between it and the chair to sit down. The enormous price was worth paying to quietly watch coming in and leaving each port. The room safe was nice to have and proved to have no problems with security. The refrigerator was a Godsend for keeping our special meds cool and safe. The cabin was constantly hot due to ineffective air conditioning. We never got this issue resolved with ship's maintenance. Our many requests were ignored. FOOD: Main dining: dismal with little or no variation. Atmosphere music...crashing dishes and staff falling on wet floors. Getting wine and mixed drinks was quick and easy (naturally, since this was extra expense on the passenger). However, getting a simple glass of tea (one of very few freebies) took an act of Congress. It normally arrived after the meal was over. Tiffany's: better than the main dining room with a better, wider variety. Room Service: limited menu, but very prompt arrival. Specialty cafes: only open certain hours, except the pizza bar where your choice was limited. Coffee: The coffee islands offered a very strong, bitter serving of coffee. STAFF: Cabin Stewards - High marks for V15 attendants. They went above and beyond their duties to take care of us. Waiter - table 199, Imagination dining room. This man should find another line of work. He was rude, pushy, arrogant, and completely unable to understand what you wanted. On the formal night, my husband had pulled my chair out to seat me. The waiter jerked the chair out of his hand, shoved it into the back of my knees, causing me to fall into the chair, and then he shoved me into the table. He avoided taking orders for tea. You had to step out in front of him to get him to bring it to the table, normally after the meal was over. We never went back to the dining room again, ate the rest of our meals at Tiffany's. Busboy - not much better than the waiter. Maitre d' - not a clue who this was, never saw him. Security - the most arrogant and ill mannered of all the ships crews. Sea-going Gestapo. Bar Attendants - Tiffany's bar - good; Lido deck bar- very bad manners, disrespectful. Photo Gallery - very cute lady with nice sense of humor when she wasn't inundated with unruly crowds. Purser Staff - Curt, short, and seeming lost as to what they were supposed to do. Cruise Director - Risa -very nice lady. Ass't Cruise Director: Janie-best person onboard the ship, funny, entertaining, helpful. Room Service - extremely nice staff, quick and efficient. Photographers - obnoxious, rude, disrespectful...total paparazzi...would not take no for an answer, forced their photo taking on you, and became hateful if you refused. SAIL AND SIGN: The onboard credit card took some getting used to, but proved to be better than having to carry large amounts of cash around. The one problem we saw was there was no distinguishing between an adult card and a minor's card. We witnessed underage alcoholic drink purchases being made all over the ship. All the teens had to do was wander around and find out which bartenders would ignore the rules and sell liquor to them. The kids had an information network for their pleasure-needs up and running in short time after boarding. Billing statements didn't arrive until the last night with the warning that you'd be publicly embarrassed over the PA system if you were overcharged and didn't settle up with the purser. If you queried prior to the statements were issued, you were greeted with disdain. There was no way to check on your balance on the television as advertised and questions about that was not welcomed or answered. FUN DRINK CARD: This card proved to be more hassle than helpful. You could only buy very small (six ounces) fountain drinks, which were extremely diluted. To get a bottled drink or canned drink, you had to use the Sail and Sign card and pay twice the price. Also, you had to present one card per drink when you tried to purchase more than one drink at a time, i.e. husband and wife had to present their individual cards to get a less-than-satisfying cold drink. PORTS OF CALL: Progresso: great shopping in a primitive little street market. Cozumel: very tourist oriented town. Paradise Beach had many water toys and excursions offered. San Francisco beach was wonderful. Disembarking was not a pleasant experience. We were pushed, shoved, shouted at, whistles blown in our ears by the ship's staff and local law enforcement, with no explanation for the heavy-handed treatment. Belize: Cannot make comment on this port since we were very distressed by this time and opted to stay onboard. ONBOARD ACTIVITIES: Shows - mediocre. Games - only slightly better than the shows. Casino - crowded and loud. Karaoke - dominated by the unruly, unsupervised teenagers. Swimming pool - too small for the number of passengers. Closed too early each night. Ping Pong Tables - unusable due to unruly teens. Basketball court - no comment. Spas - overpriced and over-advertised, Galleria Mall - a few good sales, but over all overpriced. Photo Gallery - one of the worst issues onboard...ill organized, ill located, and ill staffed. Many people were unable to find the day's pictures. The gallery was only open in the evening hours and in the worst location. DEBARKATION: This only went moderately better than embarkation. The staff began shutting down the pool, game rooms, refreshment areas, and even decks the night before, leaving the passengers use of very limited areas of the ship. Our group had the orange colored tags, which put us off the ship by nine am. Make sure you put something very noticeable on your luggage handles so it stands out in the mounds of 'tossed' luggage inside the terminal. TERMINAL PORTERS: This man was wonderful. He wadded in and found our luggage for us. We followed behind him as he created an opening in the crowd for us to walk through. We handsomely tipped him for his courageous effort. GENERAL COMMENTS: CCL advertises their cruises as being the best bargain in vacations packages, XX% all-inclusive...this is far from the case. CCL neglects to mention all the subtle charges, fees, and extras you encounter at every step on board. The passenger is bombarded with non-stop hawking of this sale, that special, and other money-grabbing announcements over the PA system. Once on board, the passenger becomes the hooked fish waiting to be reeled in. If you are an older cruiser, we suggest you pick trips during the school year. Also, from June first to November is the hurricane season. We were hesitant to believe some of the stories told on various online message boards about how the children were running amuck, uncontrolled, unruly, and totally disrespectful of other passengers. We now, without hesitation, verify this to be true. They take over the ship like an infestation. There is no such thing as a quiet night stroll around the deck. You will be approached by pot smoking, cigarette -bumming, booze-mooching teens. The open decks are littered with drunken teens until early morning. Stairways are hazardous to navigate due to children running helter-skelter and hazardous litter from the night before. Elevators are a nightmare with unsupervised, screaming children using them as play toys. Between the rude, ill-mannered staff and unruly, unsupervised teenagers, this cruise brought us to realize that the loud, rowdy, unfriendly, alcohol-driven 'Fun Ships' are not what we wish to sail the seas on any more. We will move on to more sophisticated ships. Read Less
Sail Date August 2004
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