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Sail Date: May 2007
This cruise was ok for the money. Embarkation was slow at the terminal, not sure why, just took 2 hours to get onboard. We arrived at 11:30 am. The ship is clean, and is not as eclectic as our last cruise CCL cruise on the Glory. Here are ... Read More
This cruise was ok for the money. Embarkation was slow at the terminal, not sure why, just took 2 hours to get onboard. We arrived at 11:30 am. The ship is clean, and is not as eclectic as our last cruise CCL cruise on the Glory. Here are the positives, and the negatives. No bias intended. Positives: The staff at embarkation was friendly and efficient once we boarded the ship. We really enjoyed listening to the paddle wheelers as they played traditional river tunes on the way past our ship. The ocean view room as ready early afternoon. In general, the Lido food was average buffet food or maybe, a couple of times, a little better. Our shore excursion at cozumel was a ton of fun. We did the CCL jeep excursion and were provided with a very good lunch along the way. The tour guide was very cordial and helpful at every turn. Sea days were entertaining for the kids. My daughter's fiance participated in the obligatory " hairy chest contest" and we all laughed so hard it hurt. Dining: Main dining room food was horrendous. I am not a foodie, and neither is my spouse, but this is nonsense. Steaks like leather, fish that smelled like it was rotten and a waiter that was more worried about the time than the satisfaction of his customers. Carnival has slipped a little in the dining room. Maybe Princess, NCL and RCCL have passed them by? Time will tell. One night, my daughter asked for a different entree when her's arrived and it was not what she was expecting. Our head waiter said, "Miss, it is too late to order anything else, it will take too long." I was furious and called the Maitre'd. He had nothing to say that day. I went to guest relations the following day and explained the situation. We received a bottle of wine as compensation. I suppose for that kind of slip, it was ok. Only hope that that kind of thing is not common. Service: Room steward was on par with every other one we've had, except on the RCCL Mariner of the Seas. Kept our room made, clean and restocked. The bar service at the pools was insanely awful. As and average, it took 30 minutes or more for a waiter to return with a drink. Drink of the day no less. He said he was instructed to wait until he had enough orders before he was allowed to return. Again, CCL is slipping. Debarkation was the worst we've seen. 2 hours in the terminal. Not Carnival's fault. It was Homeland Security. Overall: The cruise was good for what we paid. Usually, my spouse and I travel alone and on longer voyages. We may be through with CCL, just don't know. We cruise 2-3 times each year and have been moving up the scale. We used to LOVE CCL, and really hate to see it look like NCL did a few years ago. But I see the same issues popping up. Saving a dime here and a nickel there. Please CCL, do something about that service. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2005
Carnival Conquest Review July 17- 24, 2005 I know that this review is long, but I really enjoyed reading all the information provided to me by reviews before I sailed. I just wanted to be able to help others make a well informed choice. ... Read More
Carnival Conquest Review July 17- 24, 2005 I know that this review is long, but I really enjoyed reading all the information provided to me by reviews before I sailed. I just wanted to be able to help others make a well informed choice. My husband and I decided on the Carnival Conquest because it sailed out of New Orleans, LA, it was Carnival's biggest ship and we thought we'd enjoy Carnival again (It had been 2 years) b/c we are in our 30's and they do have a young crowd. This was our 5th CCL cruise; we have been on the Tropicale, Celebration, Inspiration and Jubliee. We have also sailed with RCCL twice, the Splendour of the Seas and the Adventure of the Seas. We have enjoyed CCL in the past. I also wanted to experience this ship for the fact that I have recently became an independent travel agent and most of the people from my home town that call me about cruising inquire about the ship and this sailing in particular. And, I thought, what better way to gain valuable info for customers than to experience it first hand. That way, I will know whether or not they would be happy with the ship or CCL. New Orleans, LA We arrived in New Orleans a day prior to the cruise. We stayed at the Hotel Maison DeVille, a very small old hotel in the French Quarter a half block off of the famous Bourbon Street. The hotel was definitely very "New Orleans". The experience is not to be missed while in the city, but I will not stay here again. The staff was friendly, the valet parking was good for $25 per night, and they had free internet access in the lobby, and complimentary croissant and Danish for breakfast. The location was very convenient; it was within walking distance to all the attractions in the French Quarter. The reason we will not stay again is due to the fact that we were not able to get any sleep. The hotel is very close to the bars on Bourbon and the music is so loud that it is heard in your room all night long. The bars do not close. The air conditioning in the room was not sufficient. It was hot and humid, the AC is a window unit that does not produce very cold air, and does not blow hard enough. We will choose a newer hotel next time, but it was worth the money we paid, just too hot! We ate in New Orleans on Saturday night at The Court of Two Sister's; they have an entrance on Bourbon and one on Royal Ave. The restaurant is an outside lighted courtyard, very romantic. The food was very good and the menu offers a good selection of the famous New Orleans cuisine at reasonable prices. I would recommend the restaurant to anyone wanting to experience the city's famous dishes. Embarkation: On Sunday morning, we left the hotel around 10AM to go to the Carnival Conquest parking lot near the pier. We arrived at the lot at 10:30AM; we parked the car, & got our luggage ready for the porters. I had to get the correct luggage tags from the porter b/c CCL had sent incorrect tags with my documents. I had made labels with our info on them to stick on the tags, to save the time. The porters came and took our luggage; it was loaded into a big truck. BEWARE!! No careful handling! We tipped the porter $10 for our 4 bags. We had to pay cash for the week's parking, it was $84. After paying and getting the luggage on its way, we went to a tent that was set up for you to wait in out of the sun. It was so hot!!! Buses were still unloading the passengers debarking. We waited in a short line (it was still early) until we were told by the bus drivers that we could board the bus to go to the pier, we were on the first bus from the lot and it was exactly 11AM. There were no CCL reps at the lot, only porters and bus drivers. We were dropped off outside the pier entrance, there were several hundred people still debarking the ship. We were allowed to go through the crowd and into the ship terminal. At the door, we had to show our boarding pass to the security guard. Once inside the terminal, we were directed by CCL staff to the appropriate line, and handed a letter by CCL that informed us of a port change; the ship would not sail to Montego Bay, Jamaica due to Hurricane Emily. This was a safety hazard and the guest's safety must be ensured, so the port was canceled and we would be given a $25 credit per person on our sign and sail card. We went to the FUN PASS line; I had filled this out prior to arrival on the website for faster boarding. Once at the counter, we were asked for ID and our cruise Documents. I handed the lady our passports and docs. I asked if we were still going to Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Cozumel was being destroyed by the hurricane that day! She said the captain would make the decision later, once the damage was assessed at the ports. A few minutes went by, with her entering data and then she said she needed our certified birth certificates and our credit card we were using for the sign and sail cards. I told her she had our passports, what did she need our birth certs for? She said we had to have those also. I had brought them, just in case!!! I was so glad that I did, b/c we thought you could travel anywhere with a passport! Who would have thought we'd need anything else!! Who knows...I'm just glad that I always prepare for the worst and take everything that I might need! She gave us all our docs back and told us we'd have to go to the Purser's Desk onboard to get our Sign and Sail Cards b/c they had not been printed out b/c I had switch our cabin since our original reservation was made. I had made the change a month prior to sailing, so I assume this was not enough time to get the cards remade. We then proceeded to the room of yellow chairs that everyone talks about; it's now 11:30AM. People were saving seats for their family members who had gone to the restroom, there was a CCL lady screaming at them to move down and not save seats. Totally rude! Folks mostly ignored her; even other CCL employees were making fun of her, saying that she abused her power. We were on vacation, and she was terrible to CCL customers. We waited in this room until around noon, and then we were moved to another room of more chairs. We waited here about 10 minutes, and were told to get in the line for our embarkation picture. Then, you were off to the ship. You enter the ship at deck 3, the Lobby Deck. We went immediately to the Purser's Desk on the same deck to get our Sign & Sail Cards. The line was only about 10 guests long, so this only took a few minutes. Once we had the cards, we had to go back to the ship's entrance and have our security picture made. This was how we'd be accounted for when exiting the ship at ports. Everyone else had it taken once you reached the ship entrance, but we had no card then, so we had to come back to this, we were allowed to cut in line to have this done. The Cabin: We went up to check out our cabin first. We were an 8D, a balcony cabin on deck 9 Lido Deck, forward port side. The cabin was ready when we arrived at 12:30PM. The cabin was a lot bigger than we expected, it was as big as the suites we had in the past on CCL & RCCL, which were called mini-suites. The room itself was plenty large with lots of storage space, a mini-bar, big sofa, table, vanity mirror to set at to get ready. The hair dryer was in the top drawer on a cord that was not able to be moved from the area. Take your own, it has little power. The bathroom was small, but nice. The shower was very small, and you had a hard time keeping the shower curtain in the stall. If it was not tucked inside the shower just right, water would go all over the floor. This happened several times. The bathroom had plenty of storage for toiletries; shampoo and soap were in a dispenser in the shower. The soap was Lever 2000, the shampoo was not labeled. There was a basket of samples for your use that included toothpaste, razors, floss, lotion, etc... The balcony was big enough for two people, but no more. It had two chairs and a small table. The panel's b/t the balconies did open, so you could share with your neighbor, if you liked. The balconies were somewhat private; you could see into the balconies beside you, but not very good. We could not see in the ones above or below us. The noise on this deck was not bad. We were near the glass elevators. The self-service laundry ($2 wash & $2 to dry) was on this deck, buffet meals, the grill, deli, wok, ice cream, pizza, and the pools. It was a very good location; we made a good choice on this cabin. The room steward was very attentive to our needs. We were left towel animals almost every night, ice, extra hangers (There is only 6 in the closets), she returned our pool towels to the pool towel check out for us (You had to go to the towel stand and check out a towel for the pool with your card, and it had to be returned by 5PM), and she always left clean beach towels. They leave two beach towels in your room to take to the pool, but if you wanted more than one a piece to use, you had to go to the pool towel stand for another one. The Dining: The dining was just average for a cruise. On the Lido deck, there was the buffets with several lines with different choices available. They had a line called the "Taste of Nations", one day it was Italian, then Mexican, then Thai, then Caribbean, and so on. The last day it was the Chocolate Buffet. This was just one of the many buffet lines. They had other lines that consisted of traditional cruise fare. We did not eat at these buffets much. The food all tasted the same. They had a salad bar, fruit bar, dessert bar, coffee, tea, water, and juices too. I must admit that breakfast was the best meal. There were two omelet stations, you could get omelets or eggs cooked any way you liked and were good. They had lots of dry cereal, fruit, danishes, meats, eggs, pancakes, french toast, etc... and my favorite was the cinnamon rolls. The grill served hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, and french fries. Nothing spectacular. Pizza and ice cream were available 24 hours a day. The pizza was very good. If the pizza you preferred was not on the line, they'd prepare it. The ice cream was great, as always. We did not eat at the Wok, Deli, or Sur Mer. The dining room food was better than expected. We ate in the Renoir. Greg was our waiter. We went every night, except one night at The Point. We were encouraged to try more than one of all the courses. Of course, we did not take advantage of this, and only ordered what we knew we'd eat. Our table was for 8 and the first night we had 6 , then the next two nights we had 4, then the last 4 nights of the cruise, we had just the two of us. We assume since we were the only ones dining that our waiter figured why not encourage us to try more than one thing...No one else assigned to our table was eating! My husband had two lobsters and always had the steak on the menu and then another entrEe. All the food was good, and prepared to our liking. We requested a baked potato one night when it wasn't on the menu and got it with no problem. The bar service in the dining room was excellent. The only disappointment in the dining room was the dessert; I had remembered them being much better. Although, the ice cream was really good. We did not go to the dining room for lunch or breakfast. We preferred the casual areas at that time of day. I will say that the dress code for the dining rooms was not enforced. The Point was good. I had the Filet Mignon and my husband had the lobster. I could not tell the difference b/t this steak and the one from the dining room. The lobster was a 12oz and the ones in the dining were 6oz, the quality and the way it was prepared was the same. In the dining room, you could order two lobsters, so it was really nothing special. The dessert here was the highlight of the Point dining experience. But, the dessert was not worth the $30 pp we paid to dine. The service was also lacking. Overall, it was something we should have skipped. Just my opinion. Cafe Fans on the Promenade Deck 5, had specialty coffees, tea, lattes, cappuccino, cakes, cookies, ice creams, chocolate covered strawberries. Very good quality desserts. I wish this was the case i the dining room. Cake was $2 a slice. Choc. strawberries were $2 for 3, or $1 each. All the bars were adequate. The service on the pool deck was slow, but it was so many people. I also do not think the drinking age was enforced too well. It was suppose to be 21. The Entertainment: We attended both of the Las Vegas type shows with the CCL dancers and singers. Show times were at 7PM for late diners and 9PM for the early diners. This was the times everyday except for maybe one night when the late diners had a show after dinner at 10:30PM. The shows were good, lots of color and the dancing was some of the best that I have seen. The costumes were really creative. The dancers do wear thongs, so be prepared. The singers were average. This was very different from others shows we have seen at sea. Normally, the singers are professional quality. The comedy shows, both the family and R Rated ones were funny. The funniest one was Mark Rueben. Phat Cat was also good. The R rated shows were very R rated! The other nighttime shows were average. We had a Magician and a juggler. The poolside entertainment consisted of the same games we have seen in the past on CCL. They had a Hairy Chest Contest, Survivor games, pool games, deck parties. The Mardi Gras party on Tuesday night was way too crowded. Too many folks onboard. Other entertainment consisted of the Newly Wed Game show, a Murder Mystery Game, it was the first time it had been done, and it showed, it was a total disaster. There was a lady sleeping, her head kept bobbing back and forth. The game hosts and the participants could not quit laughing at her. Totally disrupted the show, but I have to admit, it was the funniest thing I have seen in awhile. She never knew anyone was watching! There was Bingo, raffles, art auctions (there were some good deals and nice art), disco parties, gym glasses, spa seminars, past guest parties, singles parties, and much more... The Captains Welcome Party was nice with free drinks, although it was difficult to get a non-alcoholic beverage. It was held in the Degas lounge which was way too small for the crowds. On the last night of the cruise at 11PM, the cruise staff, the Cruise Director, Todd along with Kevin, Sarah, Lucas, Greg and the comedian Mark Rueben performed an comedy show like "Who's Line is it anyway". This was very funny but very weird. I was shocked that the staff while on duty was allowed to act the way they did. They all seemed to be drunk & kept requesting more beers. I guess this enabled them to perform better than if they had been sober. It may have all been an act. They might have been pretending to be drunk! I do know that the show was funny, but very, very crude. The show was entertaining and a lot of folks attended, too many for the Degas lounge. We arrived early and still had trouble finding a seat. Too many folks on this cruise! The Pools: There are four pools. The Aft pool, that could be covered in bad weather, the mid-deck pool, and the forward pool. All of these were always crowded and getting a deck chair after 9AM was almost impossible. The rule No Chair Hogs was not enforced. We are early risers and were able to beat the crowds. The kid's pool was in the Camp Carnival area. We only seen it from a distance and it was very small. All pools were very small. One of the most disappointing things of the entire cruise was that the Jacuzzis were closed everyday due to technical upgrades. The Spa: I never went to the spa or used any of the services. My husband did have the Gentle Teeth Whitening treatment. It is guaranteed to whiten your teeth up to 10 times whiter. This did work and was painless. The spa did advertise many treatments and specials on port days. The Ship Overall: The biggest negative thing about the ship is that the public areas are too small for the number of passengers onboard. It was always a problem. CCL needs to reduce the number of passengers or add more shows to the line up to disperse the crowds. The ship staff was very vague about the ports, the weather forecast, the shore excursions, etc... There was never a factual statement until the last minute. Never any remorse about mistakes. Like going to Cozumel too soon after the hurricane. There were many "1st Timers" onboard and had it been my first time to sail on this particular sailing, I would never cruise again. Thank goodness, we have cruised several times and knew that this was a freak occurrence. We even told all the first timers we came across to not assume all cruises were this bad, b/c they were not, to give cruising another try and to avoid hurricane season if at all possible. I know weather can not be avoided and it was our choice to sail during hurricane season, but CCL should have handled the situation better. Never once, were we told that they were sorry for not having better info. Decisions were made too late. We had one port canceled all together, another one that was so damaged by Hurricane Emily that the island had no power and the buildings were damaged. Can you imagine what the risk of infection was on that island, who had been without power for 4 days. They were in no shape to accept visitors. Why did we go there? Other CCL ships were rerouted to other destinations, why wasn't the Conquest? 90% of all shore tours were canceled, all you could do was shop at stores in the dark! We were not offered anything by CCL! They chose to take us there, which could have been a safety issue. At least, we could have been given a discount on a future sailing. This might save their business with all the 1st timers, at least with a discount certificate they might sail with CCL again. I have a family trip planned on the Sensation for Thanksgiving, but after that,I don't think we'll go with CCL anymore. This ship is geared to the younger crowd or the crowd who drinks a lot and enjoys crowded areas with lots of other people. This is not for us anymore, but could be enjoyed by diehard party goers. The service wasn't great and the line just isn't very plush. It's not really my idea of a vacation anymore. I like to be pampered, not fighting for chairs at the pool or the show lounges, or having to find a bar server to get a drink that comes 30 minutes later and then it's hot! I want to go on a line that cares about their customers, not just about the numbers. Jamaica: We were unable to go to Jamaica due to Hurricane Emily, for our own safety. This could not be helped by CCL, but we did hear that other ships ported there. We received the letter from CCL upon entering the terminal at embarkation. The shore excursions that we had booked via the website was credited to our Sign & Sail account, as well as $25 pp for the missed port. I was not looking forward to the island anyway, so this wasn't true disappointment. Grand Cayman: We love the island, but the weather was terrible. No fault to CCL on this one either! The Captain reported the weather to be sunny that say before! I guess the storm developed overnight. We booked the ship's excursion to Stingray City at 7:30 AM. We had to meet at 6:45AM to board the tender to the island and we the first grp on the island. We met our tour guide on the pier, then we walked a few blocks to the buses to take us to meet our boat for Stingray City. We could swim for about 45 minutes, then we went back for the bus to town. As soon as we got off the bus it started raining. We walked to an indoor/outdoor restaurant to eat. While eating, a storm blew in, and I mean a STORM! Made me very nervous. We went shopping. It was miserable b/c it was raining. The rain slacked up about 1:30PM, so we decided we'd better try to catch the tender while the weather had improved. The ride back was uneventful...I was glad, b/c I have been on rockin' tenders in the past. I expected the worst, but we got lucky!! Many on our ship did not get that lucky. We heard later, that some even got caught in the tender during the STORM!! Cozumel: The Captain said the weather would be partly cloudy, so much for that again. Rain! Rain! This is one of my favorite ports, but we feel CCL should have made the decision to skip on the sailing. The island was in shambles. The only place on the island with power was the downtown shopping strip. We did not go there, but heard from others that it had a lot of damage. We shopped at the pier in the dark, they had no power. Some of the bigger shops had generators that allowed them to have some lights on, but mainly they had them to operate the computers systems for purchases. The island had a lot of damage! The windows were blown out from most shops! And most roofs were damaged in some way. The ship canceled most of the shore excursions too! The tour operators did not have the supplies or staff to function that soon after the hurricane. This was a huge disappointment for some. Ours was canceled and it was best, b/c it rained all day! We had booked the Passion Island excursion. The island w/o power worried us. We felt like this was a huge safety concern and CCL should not have took us there. No apologies were given!! I hope you can use my review. I do not intend to bash the cruise line, just give some honest information. I think that the evil culprit here was not the cruise line, but hurricane season. I have sailed twice before during the season and been very lucky and had great weather. I guess two out of three isn't too bad! A bad day on vacation is better than a good day at work!!! We still had a good time! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2005
I will never go on a Carnival Cruise again! We cruised on the Sensation as a repeat Carnival guest. We have been on several cruises and this was the worst experience I have ever had. The main problem was with the Cabin. Primarily the ... Read More
I will never go on a Carnival Cruise again! We cruised on the Sensation as a repeat Carnival guest. We have been on several cruises and this was the worst experience I have ever had. The main problem was with the Cabin. Primarily the fact that our air conditioning unit in all 4 cabins we had reserved was on the blink. After several complaints, they finally brought fans into the cabins which blew around hot air. Even though they told us that a technician had come by to check the room temp and it was only 74 degrees, we never saw the technician nor the thermometer and I know that there was no way that I would be sweating if the temp. was only 74 degrees. My sister slept with a cold wash rag on her head at night. Also, just about every night our circuits in the room went out to our plug ins, which made us late to dinner one night. The only thing they offered on board was a voucher for a few free photos.  After getting back home, we called Carnival who informed was that the only thing they could offer was a voucher for an onboard credit in the amount of 50.00 per person to be deposited to our sail and sign card the next time we cruised with Carnival. I then filed a formal written complaint with our travel agency, and they even fought on our behalf to no avail. Carnival's final response was that it was their" position that the gesture extended was fair and equitable and no further compensation will be granted in this instance." They said that they hoped our next cruise will exceed our expectations. Guess what? There won't be a next time. Our Travel agency offered us twice as much as Carnival did and it wasn't their problem. Go figure that. A company who does not care about our dissatisfaction and comfort on an expensive cruise that is suppose to be top notch will never get my money again. I will not recommend Carnival never again to no one. Besides this problem with the A/C, the food, especially dinner, was not really good. The choices were terrible especially for the children. We went on a cruise with Carnival about five years ago and the menu was virtually the same as that ship. We did have good service though in the dining room. Also, the shows were not really that good and definitely not geared toward children. Also, by the end of the cruise, it was like they had begun to run out of things, there were no more bananas or pineapple. I wasn't asking for a free cruise, just a little more compensation for our discomfort and a reason to sail with Carnival again. Also, cabin size is ok for 2 people but we had to put 4 people in our cabin that only had 1 bunk, so we had to get a roll-away bed. We had no room at all to move around. I'm sure this was an isolated incident, because we heard others commenting on how cold their cabin was. But, if Carnival is willing to satisfy me as an individual then farewell Carnival. This Cruise line has just got too big to care.   Read Less
Sail Date: June 2005
I am writing this review about four months after returning from my cruise as I just located this site as a place to let my feelings about Conquest and its staff be known. Since I am a part time travel agent I recognize how valuable this ... Read More
I am writing this review about four months after returning from my cruise as I just located this site as a place to let my feelings about Conquest and its staff be known. Since I am a part time travel agent I recognize how valuable this site will be for me in booking cruises for future trips and figured getting my experience listed here late was better than never. My wife, son (6 years old) and I were taking our third cruise together. Each of them has been on a different cruise line because we want to find out which one truly meets our needs and expectations. Pre-Cruise (non Carnival related)- We flew into New Orleans on Saturday morning, the day before the cruise (on a red eye flight). We were hoping that by getting in early we could enjoy some of New Orleans prior to the cruise. However, our luggage was lost for the first time in all of our travels and had to spend an extra 4 hours at the airport waiting for the luggage which was on the next flight. Little did we know at the time but that was just the beginning of our vacation troubles. We did enjoy New Orleans but discovered that it was not a place for a six year old at any time of the day. We stayed at the JW Marriott and were very impressed with the service, quality and location of the hotel. I strongly recommend that hotel to anyone traveling to New Orleans in the future. Enough about New Orleans as this information will not help anybody until the city recovers from Katrina. Embarkation- This was the worst embarkation that I have experienced out of the three cruises I have been on. We got there earlier than Carnival recommends because this has been a successful strategy for us in the past. The initial line moved pretty rapidly so I was encouraged in the beginning. However, when we got to the front of the line we learned that about 1/3 of the ships room keys did not print properly so we would have to get our keys from the purser's desk once we boarded the ship. I figured they would have them all printed up by the time we got on board so it should be an easy process. I would later learn that I was wrong. After our passports were checked and we were checked in (minus the key) we went to a small waiting area. It was not long before we were moved to another area so we were still encouraged by the speed at which we were moving. This was the last time on the entire trip that we were encouraged by anything Carnival did. We then proceeded to wait in line for over an hour to get our picture taken so they could sell it to us later. I know this is a normal process, but I have never waited that long and since I had no intention of purchasing it (it was indoors with a fake background), I would have liked the option of skipping this line. What made it more frustrating was the fact that after the picture we were on the ship within five minutes. I then had to wait in another line at the purser's desk to get our room key. There was only one staff member printing keys (as there was only one machine that printed them). I stood in line for another 1 1/2 hours making it a total of 3 hours from the time I arrived at the dock to the time I was free to roam the ship. Keep in mind that all three of us had one carry on bag in our possession the whole time (we learned from the previous days experience of lost luggage). Overall, I was already upset with this process as I do not go on vacation to stand in line. I will explain later that all I did on this vacation was wait in line and that is a first for any cruise I have been on. Ship's Amenities- 1) Room/general-Most of the ship was fairly nice but I didn't think the layout was as good as other ships I have been on. Our room (balcony)was standard but it didn't come with a refrigerator that we could use for our personal items that we either brought on board or purchased on board (beer, wine, champagne, sodas, food, etc.). Both of our previous cruises included a small refrigerator in our room. I have to be honest, Carnival provided a refrigerator but it was stocked full of items that they wanted to sell to you. There was no room for anything I already purchased so I just removed their items and placed mine in. Then, before the cruise was over and inventory was taken of the items we used, I put them back in. It really wouldn't have been a big deal, but on the first day we asked the room steward to ensure that we had plenty of ice throughout the trip and he did an okay job remembering to bring one bucket per day. We could have used two as it tended to melt rapidly. 2) Pools- Having a six year old (actually, even when he doesn't go with us) the pools can be one of the most important parts of the ship to us. All of us enjoy the water and soaking up the sun, so we usually end up spending most of our ship time by the pool. The biggest problems we had with these pools were: a) Size of pools were not big enough to accommodate all who wanted to use them. b) Saltwater- I have been on ships that have fresh water pools and ships that have salt water pools and I cannot stand the salt water pools. It is not a huge issue as I am sure there is very good reason that most ships use the salt water, but it is worth noting for other people that feel the same as me. c) Hours- the pools closed early each day (usually around 6:00pm). On other cruises we swim until 11:00pm or midnight so we were definitely upset about this. I guess they can't make money selling you pictures or drinks at the shows when you are in the pool so late. 3) Hot tubs- The hot tubs were closed all week for a technical upgrade. By reading other reviews I noticed that at least 3 cruises were affected by this. Maybe it could not have been avoided, but it definitely affected our enjoyment of the cruise and many other people who we talked to. 4) Water slide- The water slide hours were posted but it was never open when it was supposed to be. There was a stipulation about weather affecting the hours, but how could it be closed at 11:00am when it was supposed to open and then open at 11:45am with no change in the weather? I think it was just poor management. We would show up at the time is was supposed to be open so my son could go on it a few times before the line got too long and it was not open. We would then walk around for an hour or so and come back to see it open and the line at least 30 minutes long. 5) Camp Carnival (children's camp)- The hours of this camp were much more restrictive than other cruise lines. On top of that they (like the water slide) were never open when they were supposed to be. After dinner we would take our son to the camp so he could play a little more before bed and we could get some time alone together to go to the casino, bars or other places children were not allowed. The camp was only going to be open for two hours. By the time they opened up 20 minutes late (this happened on a regular basis) and we stood in line for another 20 minutes to check him in we only had an hour before we had to go back and pick him up as they were not going to extend the hours to make up for them being late. My son is easy going and can be entertained doing almost anything. However, he was completely bored with the activities they had him doing. His previous experiences on other ships were much better and it got to the point that he didn't want to go. So much for the adult time. Staff- 1) Room steward- He always greeted us by name and took good care of our needs. Our son enjoyed a new towel animal each night. The only thing we asked of him was fresh towels as we took many showers (and used them for swimming) and a lot of ice. He didn't do either one of them very well at first since we had to continually ask. However after about three days he got with the program and understood. We were very happy with him and left an extra tip on the last night. (Carnival charges the tips to your room and allocated them out automatically). 2) Dining room staff- Our two waiters at dinner each night were by far the best staff that we ran into on the ship. They not only met but exceeded our expectations. We have been fortunate enough to have great waiters on all of our cruises and this is the part of the cruise that I tend to enjoy the most. They always entertain our son and cater to him so that he enjoys his time in what is typically an "adult" place/time. 3) Misc. staff- It must be a part of the Carnival training program to attempt to constantly be selling to their guests. I can appreciate that this is a way for them to make money (for the company and for themselves with tips). I also appreciate someone doing there job and providing excellent service because it is not something you find very often anymore. However, the constant "harassing" of guests who are just trying to relax and enjoy themselves either by the pool, reading a book, taking a nap, or whatever you like to do and not be disturbed was a disgrace. If you were on deck without a drink in your hand (or one that was almost empty) you would be asked multiple times (sometimes by the same person over and over) if you wanted more. We ended up buying a bucket of beer so that we could enjoy 30 minutes of peace and quiet. It didn't work! The worst part is they would not leave until you answered them. An ideal way of them handling the customer service end without bothering guests is to just walk around and say out load that they are available to take your order. If you want something you will stop them, if not, keep walking. The same thing happened with the photographers and anyone else who could sell you anything. The port shopper was excellent (probably the best one I have seen)as he was easily accessible/willing to help you with any purchases. The cruise director and his staff kept everyone well entertained. 4) Entertainment- We went to the shows the first couple of nights but didn't enjoy them. Most of the shows conflicted with either our dinner time or Camp Carnival times. After the first couple of nights we attempted to go to at least three other shows and were only able to endure one complete show. I am not sure if it was just our displeasure with the trip in general or if the shows did not meet our tastes. Excursions- 1) We did the beach break in Montego Bay and had a great time. The only downfall of that excursion was the amount of time actually on the beach. I cannot remember exactly the time but I think we were only there for about three hours. That was not nearly enough time to enjoy the sun, water, drinks, food and activities while getting a nap in. We stopped at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville before going back to the ship and had a good time. They have a waterslide that drops you right into the ocean. Of course my son was too chicken to do that (so was I so I am glad he didn't want to do it) but it was fun watching everyone else do it. The margaritas are strong there so be careful! I won't go into anymore detail but make sure you stop there if you are in the area (there is also a good one in Ocho Rios at the end of the pier- a little too convenient). 2) Cayman Islands- we did not do a tour because we had been here twice before. However, from past experience the stingray city and turtle farm were great but Hell was overrated. Shopping is convenient here. 3) Cozumel- We had also been here twice before so we didn't do a tour. We have some favorite shops that we go to and I have a couple of bars I stop at while my wife shops. I understand this is a great spot for snorkeling but I just enjoy the atmosphere in this town. Hopefully the recent hurricane did not destroy it. General Notes- By the end of the second day all three of us were so disappointed that we were ready to take advantage of Carnival's money back guarantee. However, we knew the next three days were days in port and were looking forward to them. We just changed our attitudes by trying to ignore all of the things we felt did not meet our expectations in comparing them to previous cruise and our week got a lot better. As I have read in many reviews, I did say at the time that even a bad vacation week is better than the best work week. I talked to many people on the last sea day about their experience on the ship and found that most people who had never cruised before had a great time. People who have been on other Carnival cruise had mixed feelings about Conquest. And people who had been on other cruise lines felt they would never go on Carnival again. For what it is worth, I would not go on another Carnival cruise and will not recommend them to any of my clients who have cruised before. The best thing about this particular cruise (besides being away from work) was the food. The buffet was standard, nothing too good or bad about it. However, the pizza and poolside grills became our favorite lunchtime hang out. There was also multiple ice cream/yogurt machines throughout the boat that made it nice to have a free (not many things on this boat were free) treat at any time. We only went to the regular dining rooms and did not try the specialty dinner places. However, the food in our dining room (dinner and breakfast but especially dinner) was the best I have had on any of my cruises. That is really saying a lot for me as I have enjoyed all of the dining experiences I have had on every ship. The food is always prepared correctly, the service is excellent and the selection is broad enough to find at least one entree that satisfies all of us. I always enjoy meeting the people at our table and getting to know them by dining with them each day of the cruise. Disembarkation- Since we had only done one excursion during the cruise and our flight left late the day we got back into New Orleans, we figured we would do a swamp tour. This would also get us VIP status and off the boat first. We couldn't wait to get off, so this was a no brainer for us. We didn't know that to Carnival, VIP meant "Very Insignificant Person". We still had to wait in line with everyone else to get off the boat so VIP did not get us off anytime sooner. When we got the the luggage we noticed that half of the boat must have been VIP as the VIP luggage section was larger than any color (the other way your luggage was tagged if you were not a VIP). We had to snake every aisle to find our luggage and even though it was together outside our door, our three pieces were in three separate spots in the terminal. By this time, Carnival had become quite comical to us, so all we could do was laugh at our VIP status. The worst part is we were just getting back into a semi good vacation mood and were willing to forgive Carnival for ruining our vacation. This was just the final straw. An interesting thing about the Swamp tour was the guide told us about the biggest fear of New Orleans residents. Apparently they felt that if a big enough hurricane hit the town, there was fear that the levees would not hold up and could flood New Orleans with 20 feet of water (enough to flood the French Quarter and most of the town). I found that to be very interesting at the time. Coming from California and fearing "The Big one", I thought at least you can prepare for your disaster with the notice a hurricane brings and you have time to repair the levees. I found his comments even more interesting 8 weeks later when Hurricane Katrina proved him to be right. After seeing all of the coverage on TV, I'll take my chances with an earthquake. Our next cruise is going to be with Celebrity cruise lines on the Mercury. After finding this site and reading the mixed reviews, I can see that this will also not be the best cruise I have ever been on, but at least having vital information up front will help prepare us for any possible issues. I appreciate all of the input that people give and hope I can help somebody with my ramblings in this review. Just for a frame of reference, if you really want a good cruise, I recommend the Mariner of the Seas by Royal Caribbean. It is a beautiful new ship, great staff, top notch entertainment and it visits some great ports. Happy Cruising! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2005
This was mine and my husband's first cruise. We booked it 7 months in advance through Carnival directly. We sailed from New Orleans on Jan. 6, 2005. We did not like sailing down the Mississippi River; it smelled bad and was foggy all ... Read More
This was mine and my husband's first cruise. We booked it 7 months in advance through Carnival directly. We sailed from New Orleans on Jan. 6, 2005. We did not like sailing down the Mississippi River; it smelled bad and was foggy all that night and on the way back in to New Orleans. We got to the cruise ship terminal around 10:00 a.m. People were still getting off the Sensation from its last trip. They let us start boarding around 11:30; we were the second couple on the ship. The people at the terminal were very nice. We were thankful that we left our car back at the hotel and took a taxi to the terminal; traffic was bad there. We ate lunch on the ship and around 1:30 we went to our cabin. We liked our cabin. One of the best things about our cruise was our cabin; it was on Empress deck #125. We found it to be very charming. However, I wouldn't want to put more than two people in one; they aren't very big. The cabin steward was wonderful. Cabin was very clean everyday. The ship itself is beautiful. However, we found the ship rocked more than we thought it would. I got sick the night we sailed and was sick the whole next day. After we got back, we heard other passengers say that it was rocking and there was a lot of movement felt on the ship. The food was great. I do wish they had more than just hamburgers and hot dogs at the Lido deck grill. We got tired of them everyday for lunch. We could have ordered room service more. We found the water, coffee and tea tasted better when we added more water to them. The dinner meals were great. We ate at the Fantasy dining room every day for dinner. Our waiters, Dennis and Nick, were wonderful. As a matter of fact, all the crew on the ship went out of their way to please the passengers it seemed. The food, staff and Cozumel were the highlights of the entire cruise. A big disappointment on the cruise was the Vegas style shows. We went to all four of them; two we liked but two we didn't like and left early. The hairy man contest we found to be very distasteful. We weren't willing to lose much money in the casino, so we just spent $4.50 on the slots and lost it all. We got somewhat bored on sea days. We loved Paradise Beach at Cozumel. It was very nice there; we hated to leave. We did a little shopping. If we ever go back, we are not going to shop and will spend that extra time at the beaches. If we ever cruise again, I think we will look for another place to disembark other than New Orleans because of the river. Overall, I expected to relax more on the cruise, but with all the activities and happenings we found ourselves always doing something. Next time we will know more about it. The cruise was ok for a once in a great while thing, but I wouldn't want to do one very often. Give us the beach any day. We will not plan on cruising anytime soon. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2004
WHOA! Hold the phone to the booking agency. Something has gone terribly wrong with this ship. This was our third time on the Conquest and only this time last year I was on this and another thread singing praises. Man how a year can change ... Read More
WHOA! Hold the phone to the booking agency. Something has gone terribly wrong with this ship. This was our third time on the Conquest and only this time last year I was on this and another thread singing praises. Man how a year can change things. I have never seen so many people at the pursers desk screaming. No hot water, halls and rooms smelled of sewage, insufficient help and untrained help. When the rooms were made up, they looked like my 6 year old had made them. Had to beg for towels, no hot water in cabin. Mentioned it 3 times to steward, so what. I am not usually a complainer, however, the prices were up, the food quality was shot, everyone complained about the steaks. My tennis shoes would have been easier to cut and eat. Absolutely no taste to any of the food in the main dining room or the buffet. Part of a third world nation could have been fed with what people left on their plates. Just not good. Fountain cards were sky high, mixed drinks out of sight. Up at least 35 percent from last June. Boarding in New Orleans was better than Gulfport last year. Jamaica has cleaned up a little, however, you can still get a lot better deal on the pier than you can on the ship. Grand Cayman still the best of all. Clean and friendly. Cozumel has put on a new face and is trying to do better. Lower taxi fares and again, excursions on the pier about 40 per cent less than on the ship. Before you go, you might think it out. May not be in your best interest to go this year. Also, security did nothing about the constant problems with the graduation classes on board even though I know that everyone on the top 4 decks complained constantly. It is nonsense to pay in the $5000 range for 4 people for a balcony and then have the complaints that we heard and saw and experienced first hand. On the positive side, Paul's Deli and the Pizza Oven and the Hot Dog and Hamburgers are still some of the best. If they ever loose Steve Cassel as the Cruise Director, this vessel might as well sail into history. His juggling act was the only highlight of the entire trip. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2004
This is my third Carnival Cruise, first cruise with my children, 2 and 4 years old. We were five families, with two to four children each. WHAT A MISTAKE!!!!!!! NOT FOR CHILDREN!!!!!!!! The worst thing about our trip was the Camp ... Read More
This is my third Carnival Cruise, first cruise with my children, 2 and 4 years old. We were five families, with two to four children each. WHAT A MISTAKE!!!!!!! NOT FOR CHILDREN!!!!!!!! The worst thing about our trip was the Camp Carnival. I stopped asking my children if they wanted to go because I felt like they were being forced to go, instead of wanting to go. There was no planned activities for the 2 to 5 year old group. They had no pool or water activities at all, which, I ASSUMED there would be. It was basically a boring day care situation. The older groups seemed to like the camp, but, they could sign themselves in and out when they wanted, so they weren't trapped when it was boring for them. I wanted my children to have so much fun they would never forget it. When I looked into the cruise and read about Camp Carnival, I expected the program to intensify their vacation, instead, I found it was designed for parents to unload their children for "baby sitting". Their schedule was also annoying. It was made to suit them and not the passengers. One of the families with us had been on a Disney Cruise. They constantly spoke of how Disney entertains and welcomes children. Carnival "puts up" with children. My mistake, I know. Next time I will go Disney. The service on the Conquest was good but seemed understaffed. I felt sorry for the workers, they were overworked. There were lines for everything. They were all very nice and never complained. I saw two shows. One was with birds, which my children enjoyed, and the other was so bad we walked out. It was based on France, with singing and dancing. After that I couldn't bear to go to anymore. Our group had the most fun on the islands. On Montego Bay, we went to a all-inclusive hotel/beach, paid $20.00/adult and $10.00/child ($2.00/each way cab), and everything was included! Food, drinks, beach, chairs, pools, paddle boats, and kayaks. It was worth it. Grand Cayman was a little disappointing. OUR FAULT! We were trying to get an excursion for our group (not through Carnival), and they were only going to give us a couple of kids free. Take my advice, book individually. You'll end up getting more kids free that way. It was $35.00/person and about 2 1/2 hours to swim with the stingrays. Cozumel was surprising. It is much more commercialized since the last time I was there, which means more expensive than I remember. We also went to a beach on this island. It was $14.00 one way in a cab, and $10.00/adult to use the beach. Here you paid for everything. Jet ski was $50.00/half hour. It was still fun, the kids loved playing in the sand. My sister-in-law got food poisoning though. We probably should have went to a hotel beach, being that we were in Mexico! Ask some of the staff where they go, usually it's a pretty smart move. Embarkment and debarkment were good. Parking our car in their lot took forever, so if you can park at your hotel and get a shuttle, it would be well worth it! I could go on, but, I'm sick of complaining! I wouldn't go back on the Conquest if it was free! Carnival......not so much fun. Read Less
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