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Sail Date: February 2012
If you don't care about food, thread count, coffee, or decor you probably won't be too interested in what I have to say... However, if you do -listen up: I learned a few "tips" on this cruise that may be helpful.... ... Read More
If you don't care about food, thread count, coffee, or decor you probably won't be too interested in what I have to say... However, if you do -listen up: I learned a few "tips" on this cruise that may be helpful.... #1 Don't pick assigned eating times! Wow, I learned this lesson the hard way... I hate to sound like a snob BUT: A) you will most likely have to share a table B) which sounds "cute" until you realize that C) you have been seated with the most ill-mannered family onboard and... D) you're stuck eating with them for 7 nights! Instead choose open-time seating, this way if you want a private table you can have one (you may have to wait). If you're feeling social and want to share, you can- but you're not committed. #2 Be prepared for the "singing and dancing waiter routine." To me, it's beyond silly but Carnival is the "Fun Ship" so you might want to have a few stiff drinks to prepare yourself. The first night I about fell out of my chair... No worries though, you'll get used to it by the end of the cruise. #3 Do NOT, and I really mean this, do NOT eat in the dining room on night #1. Why? Because the choices are always limited because the chef is trying to get a feel for what the guests like to eat... So, they give you a few lousy bland choices (sirloin, broiled salmon fillet, baked chicken) so they know what to serve the rest of the trip. This is the night to eat in the steakhouse. How do I know this? See tip #4 #4 If you can bankroll it, eat at the Chef's table. It's pretty steep at $75/head but well worth the cost. The dinner includes a kitchen tour with champagne and hors d'oeurves with the head chef, then your small group (this is limited to 12 guests) is led to an elegant private dining room where an additional 6 courses are served which are paired with wine (no extra cost). You get to chat with the head chef himself (where I learned about eating in the dining room on day 1) and they cook your food while you watch. Then, we were presented with a group photo and the secret recipe (not anymore) for the melting chocolate cake. Sign up at Guest Services the moment you arrive onboard- it sells out quickly. #5 The drip coffee in the restaurants and the buffet is awful (acrid). You can order a cappuccino in the dining room with your desert at no extra charge in the the evenings. The rest of the time, go to the espresso stand, it's at least palatable. #6 The sheets feel like they are a polyester blend, the shower curtain will undoubtably stick to your leg while you're washing your hair. The bathrooms are NO FRILLS unless you have a suite. This aside, our ocean view room was VERY big with lots of closet space (three closets to hang stuff up). The decor was akin to what you'd find at a roadside Quality Inn and Suites in anyplace America. #7 The newlywed show was R-rated (sometimes even naughtier) and very funny! The comedians were also pretty good but you need to arrive about 15 minutes early because the shows fill up pretty quickly. #8 At the rear of the buffet, there is an upstairs. In this upstairs is a little lunch gem. SEAFOOD!!! The ceviche and cioppino were surprisingly tasty. Also, there is usually plenty of seating. Do NOT miss out! All in all, this was a fun cruise, not as elegant or lovely as the Celebrity Eclipse but also not as expensive. The gym had plenty of equipment, I only had to wait once for a treadmill. The decor is garish but again, you get used to it after a few days. Have fun! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
I enjoyed our cruise but I doubt if I'd sail the Conquest again unless they had a different CD and different entertainment. The shows in the theatre were canceled twice due to sound issues, the cd (Paul) was BORING and so was his ... Read More
I enjoyed our cruise but I doubt if I'd sail the Conquest again unless they had a different CD and different entertainment. The shows in the theatre were canceled twice due to sound issues, the cd (Paul) was BORING and so was his assistant Squishy. Paul hosted the newlywed game and it was so boring that I actually quit watching it. Paul lost his place several times, would forget who he was talking too, he'd repeat himself and he does the 'ahhhh, errrrr & ummm' thing too many times while he's talking and his accent is hard to understand. The ship is beautiful, the ceilings are even painted. We really enjoyed the food in the MDR Renoir (anytime dining)I mean it was REALLY good, the staff were friendly and the dining room was super clean, we enjoyed the dancing & singing waiters as well. On elegant night my husband wore brown dressy slacks, long sleeved button down shirt and I wore a black skirt & dressy top, several men wore polo style shirts with either dressy slacks or docker type pants, lots of ladies and girls in sun dresses or dressy skirt/top or pants & tops. I didn't see shorts or jeans. On 'lobster' night our waiter brought my husband 2 because he(the waiter) said he thought the lobsters were small. After he finished the 2nd lobster our waiter asked if he wanted a third. He ended up bring everyone who ordered lobster 2 (even the kids) we had 14 of us for anytime dining and at 6:15 we were able to be seated at 2 tables next to each other. No one complained about the food except for the anchovies in the Caesar salad. We had chilled strawberry soup, minestrone soup, salads, prime rib, tiger shrimp with chili sauce which was DELICIOUS, the stuffed poblano pepper (huge), grilled chicken & veggies, pasta, flatiron steak...quite a few different meals and everything was delicious. My one complaint was that my grilled veggies were cold, not room temp; but refrig. cold. We had chicken nuggets, burgers & hot dogs by the pool on the lido deck and they were good, the buffet was good, I ate salad every day after we'd come back from our excursions. I had a grilled cheese sandwich from room service and it was really good. I honestly don't know how anyone can complain about the food. I'm not a gourmet 'foodie' but I know when something tastes good and when it doesn't. 2 of the comedy shows were really funny the others not so much. We were all crammed into the HOT Degas Lounge while the Toulouse Lautrec was used for Bingo games and it was almost always empty. The band in the casino sang the same 20 or so songs every night. Nothing different, same set, same time, same songs. The singers in the lobby were great; but once again they sang the same songs every night. How many times can you hear the song "Hello'? My husband & MIL had fun doing trivia, we lounged by the water slide on the upper lido deck which was packed and yes there were a few chair hogs but not that many. We watched the mixology contest and the hairy chest contest which IMO should be based on actual hair on the chest not how entertaining the guy was. The ship was full of LOUD kids & teens roaming the halls every night. It got so bad with the boys following the daughters of 2 of our friends that security had to be called. The boy kept touching the girls, he would give 'playful punches' but he actually put bruises on her. When the boy showed up at their room after following the girls to the 7th deck her dad told him to "get stepping" then he actually went back and waited for the girls to come out again. That's when the other dad got involved and then they called security who came right away and took the boy to his parents. These girls were both 13 and the boy was 14 or 15. He was out and about the next day; but did stay away from the girls. The kids would bang on the doors and walls, steal the breakfast orders off the doors, take the 'snoozin' signs, they pressed every button in ALL of the elevators at the same time off and on all day and night. When we complained we were told "there's nothing we can do about it" Our first port was Jamaica; my husband and son did the Bobsled & Dunn's River Falls and they LOVED it! One group of friends did the Rum Tour and she said the bus ride was so fast and rough on non paved roads that it was like a roller coaster. She said they actually had people who got sick on the ride there. We didn't have a planned excursion so we waited a little while to get off the ship, we get off and went into a building where there were lines of people waiting to get on the shuttles. There was a free shuttle and the pay $15 for all day on the Carnival shuttle. The entire place was chaos; the workers were 'pushy' in reference to taking the free shuttle to the terminal building and then the taxi drives would bring you where you needed to go. The main problem was that it was a major holiday in Jamaica (Ash Wednesday) and most people tok the day off. The workers told us they didn't have enough drivers for the shuttles so they had 2 making the 45 minute round trip for Carnival. So after waiting over 2 1/2 hours for the shuttle we realizing that we had to be back by 3pm and it was already 12:30 we just went back on the ship. I know that wasn't the fault of Carnival; but they should let passengers know when a country is celebrating a major holiday and will be short staffed in port. In the Grand Caymans we had to tender and due to several autoimmune diseases I have very limited walking abilities so I use a scooter when we go on vacations. I asked guest services if I could take the scooter onto the tender. They said yes as long as it could be put on and off the tender easily; so I then go to the excursion desk and ask if i could bring my scooter on the Turtle farm, Hell, Stingray excursion and I was told yes that I would have access to a bus with handicap capabilities. So when we go down to the tender there was a man in a white uniform who said "no no no no wheelchairs or scooters" so another man in a white uniform said "yes scooters can go" they argue back and forth and finally another man waves me forward and says "can you get on the tender by yourself?" so I say yes and he asks if my scooter can come apart so I say yes and he says "get on" & my husband had to take it apart by himself and place it on the tender by himself. When we get to the pier the tender drivers helped him to unload it and when we go to catch the bus, the tour lady says that Carnival didn't tell her that I was in a scooter. She said they are 'required' to tell all tour operators when they have a wheelchair or scooter. So naturally they didn't have a bus that could accommodate us; but they put us on an 18 passenger bus/van and my husband just kept taking the scooter apart every time. I thoroughly enjoyed the Caymans, the island is beautiful, clean and pretty. Our tour guide was Howard and was very knowledgeable. Our trip to 'Hell' was ok, the store is small but they "Devil" is very friendly and so were the store workers. The Stingrays were great. I didn't get in the water but I enjoyed watching my husband and son kiss the stingrays. The water was clean, clear and just beautiful. We've been to Cozumel several times and didn't do any excursions there; we shopped a bit, went to Pancho's Patio or something like that (??) I don't remember the name; but the margaritas were good and so was our meal. We ended up at The 3 Amigos and then bought a few bottles of tequila on the way back to the ship. They didn't even take it from us; we were just waved on through and we brought it back to our room. I told my husband I'll never sail during Mardi Gras break when it falls during Presidents week. Way toooooo many kids. I'll try Carnival again; but like I said probably not on the Conquest unless they make some changes. I have pictures and will eventually put some on the CC boards. I hope my review helped. Oh and we had a balcony room on the 6th floor. Room 6414 and our room steward Samuel (pronounced Sam U L) was AWESOME. Our room was clean, he did towel animals,(a pig, stingray, rabbit & frog) he kept our ice bucket filled and I had a small 6"X6" insulated bag that he kept full of ice too. We had brought a 12 pack of coke on board and Samuel opened the mini bar and told us to put our cans in there. There were pros & cons to this cruise; but overall we enjoyed being with our friends and family and had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
Booking: Be patient when booking if you have missed the early saver deals but beware that the benefits of that patience (we got $150 onboard credit) is sometimes counteracted with a downside (early seating for dinner was already all ... Read More
Booking: Be patient when booking if you have missed the early saver deals but beware that the benefits of that patience (we got $150 onboard credit) is sometimes counteracted with a downside (early seating for dinner was already all booked so we had late seating at 8:15 PM). Embarkation: We had no problems - arrived at New Orleans Port around 11:30 (lots of traffic!) and were greeted with super happy staff checking our luggage curbside and telling us right where to go to speed up the process. The entire time from drop off, to security, to check in, and through the line to the ship took approximately 30 minutes. They are very organized to say the least! Balcony Room: We loved our room. It was equivalent in size to any normal hotel room. We had a full size couch, coffee table, bed, TV, counter, 3 large closets (take extra hangers if you need one that has slots for fancy dresses), and a fairly large bathroom complete with shelves, counter, potty and a big shower. The balcony was also sizable and we enjoyed going out there to watch the fish jumping as the ship was sailing. Sunsets were beautiful there and it was a nice quiet get away for us. Drinks: We saw lots of people packing on cases of water and pop - glad we didn't do that as they had to keep it with them the entire time wandering the ship until their cabin was ready that afternoon. Price of bottled water is $4.00 but the size is huge (like 2 normal size bottles of water) so we didn't feel that was out of line for the price. Alcoholic drinks were usually $7 - $9 but the drinks were large and very glamorous complete with the umbrella and fruit garnish. Most daiqiri style cups you can keep if you want to at that price. So, drink prices we felt were fairly "normal" compared to mainland. If you drank like a fish on the mainland, your bar bill would be high too. The trick is moderation. Food: We were "stuck" with late dining that seated at 8:15 PM every night. Our waiters were excellent (we had Anil as our head waiter) and always made us feel comfortable and welcome. You want it, you get it kind of attitude. They did a short performance every night that was always entertaining. Food quality, I give a score of 8 out of 10 possible points. Some things were superb while others were average. (tip: check out the buffet on your way to the dining room to see what the food on the menu actually looks like - the same cultural food is usually on the buffet so you can preview it) I was disappointed in the chocolate melting cake everyone raved about in their reviews - it is basically hot chocolate pudding with vanilla ice cream. I was looking for it to be 'cake' and it's not. Dress Attire: Almost anything goes on this ship. Casual to elegant was acceptable - even on formal nights. My husband is not a dresser upper and he wore black jeans, a nice shirt, a suit jacket and cowboy boots and did not feel like he was underdressed. Believe me, we saw some "formal" attire but not much! Photo Sessions: Just do it! It's way easier to stop for a second, smile, get your photo taken, than to argue with the guy that doesn't speak English anyway - you will normally lose. There is NO obligation to buy and it does give you something to do on "slow days at sea" to go find yourself in the maze of pictures on the 4th floor. Kind of like a Where's Waldo game but you are waldo. We bought pictures from elegant night and were surprised at the price (3 pictures for $55) so ASK before you buy. Shows: DO take in all the shows you can possibly see. They are numerous and you get the day's schedule the night before so you have plenty of time to attack your mission. The Love and Marriage game on our ship was the funniest thing, a couple had been married 61 years and they were priceless in their answers. Paul, the cruise director, and his British-style accent, was great with the delivery of his jokes and kept the crowd very entertained. We also very much enjoyed the magic show. Casino: Remember folks, it's entertainment - you're probably not going to win a million dollars but they do have lots of fun slots and table games - all with low bets available if you choose. The free drinks in the casino are only if you reach 1,500 points... WOW! That seems to me a lot as I only had 600 points on the last day but then again, I am an entertainment gambler, and only spend what I plan to "lose". :) They also have bingo at $20 per game and slot tournaments you can join for $20. Packing tips: #1 extension cord (a must as there are no outlets in the bathroom to curl your hair, use hairdryer, etc.) #2 an over the door shoe hanger for the bathroom door. This was the BEST tip I read on cruisecritic and was so glad I took one of these. It kept everything organized and off the vanity in the bathroom plus if the ship was rocking, nothing fell over or off the countertop, etc. #3 large ziploc bags (if you plan on a water excursion, you will want to put dry clothes in this ziploc to take with you if you plan to do shopping or dining after the excursion while in port). Ports of Call: Jamaica...SCARY PLACE! We heard on the ship the night we left Jamaica that one of the tour buses was boarded and robbed by locals. We were offered marijuana and had lots of "in your face" locals yelling at you, grabbing you to come to their shop or their taxi, and we were not impressed at all in that side of Jamaica. We did do the Dolphin Touch tour offered by Carnival and you do get waist deep with the dolphins. Again, was glad to have read another member review that said to save your $40 of doing the dolphin swim. Those people are all the way in the water with the dolphins "watching" the show. They got to "swim" with the dolphin for about 45 seconds. Otherwise, I felt we had an equivalent interaction with them. After the dolphin excursion, we went to Doc's Cave Beach and had lunch and drinks at a cool little outside bar like what you would see in the movie "cocktail". That was the highlight of that excursion I must say. Grand Cayman: LOVED LOVED LOVED this place. It was beautiful and such a breath of fresh air after our Jamaica experience. We took Captain Marvin's sting ray excursion and 2 snorkel stops for $51 (booked on internet site before we left on the cruise). They were awesome, on time, and very friendly. Note however that the time you are to meet them in port is LOCAL time - NOT ship time. We almost missed the excursion as we wandered down the street thinking we still had an hour until we left - WRONG - it was boarding. WHEW - very close. When back to the port area, we ate food and had drinks at Hammerheads - fun place on the beach with a beautiful view! Super atmosphere, good food, and strong drinks. But beware, their prices seem reasonable but they are in Cayman dollars, which are worth way more than US dollars. Our bill for lunch and drinks was $90 U.S. Cozumel: Again, a fun port and felt safe there. This is a place to bargain for what you want to buy. The long walk to the shore takes you through a half mile of duty free liquor stores that give you free samples. YUM! We booked an excursion in Cozumel before leaving on our cruise. We did the Cozumel Bar Hop tour that leaves from Cozumel's only Starbucks downtown and takes you to the undeveloped side of the island to "local" bars. Those bars had the best drinks, great food, good atmosphere (all open air on the beach), local animals like parrots, etc. and the tour took us to 5 of them. Colleen was our guide and we loved every minute of this tour. Free shots were provided to us at each stop - check it out, you WILL love it if you are adventurous and like to drink. The views from the bars of the crashing waves and beaches were spectacular. Debarkation: Again, very smoothe. We actually left the boat earlier than our assigned time. We chose the "set your bags outside your door by 10 PM the night before" option. Bags were waiting for us in terminal outside of the ship, and it took approximately 10 minutes total for our debarkation from time called to "on the street". We saw lots of people dragging their luggage around with them and thinking that would be their better option but I think if you are not in a rush, sit back and let them do the work on your "last day" of vacation. I would definitely recommend Carnival Conquest to any cruisers. We did check out the Camp Carnival for the kids and they seemed like they had plenty of fun for the kids to do. We may end up taking our granddaughter some day so wanted to check into it. Final thoughts: Relax. There will be lines. Relax. There will be pushy drink waiters. Relax. There will be lots of entertainment, nice people to meet, good food, delicious drinks, fun times, and most of all, excellent views! I needed this cruise to "de-tech" myself and "reconnect" with my husband of 22 years. Bon Voyage! This is only the beginning of our cruising days. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
Hey Everyone I normally do not do a review but I figured I could answer questions about the cruise if someone is interested about the Conquest!I will give some of my thoughts as unbiased as I can, as I have seen so many negatives lately ... Read More
Hey Everyone I normally do not do a review but I figured I could answer questions about the cruise if someone is interested about the Conquest!I will give some of my thoughts as unbiased as I can, as I have seen so many negatives lately that I feel it is only fair to share my experience with everyone!! Please understand nothing is ever perfect but I would rate this one in my top 4 so far!! Embarkation: We have cruised out of NOLA several times and knew what to expect for the most part, I did not really see many changes from last year on the Triumph as far as this is concerned, One thing I do have to give Kudo's to the staff about is one of our group has ALS and is confined basically to a WC or his scooter, Every time we passed port or Carnival personal We were asked how they could help and they also took us through the process as fast as possible to make it easier on him! ( Side note please people be aware of people around you, as we were trying to board and going on the gangway people would not pay attention and were spread across the entire width, which is ok but if someone is in a WC or a scooter it is almost impossible to stop on the incline and start back with out unintentionally bumping someone! if there is room on the flat space you are standing on please let them stop beside you, they are not trying to cut I promise!) well I hope they are not anyway! Check in took about an hour we were parked at about 11:30 and on board by 12:35 est. I do believe next year I will wait till approx 12:30 or 1pm before I board as getting on before the rooms are ready it is a mad house in most of the public areas that drastically goes down after the rooms are available!! My only other problem with courtesy on this day was with the elevators and a Carnival employee, when we got on the ship the only elevators available were the ones in the Lobby, because of him not being able to go up any stairs at all, we waited our turn as most everyone else did as well, but it was finally our turn to catch an elevator after waiting about 15 min or so and as the door opens he is trying to get to the right elevator and one of the Carnival bag guys has bags on one of the roll carts and stops him from getting on the elevator and has a family (I assume in a suite) just cut him off and hop right on, it really pissed me off and I was starting to say something to the guy but my wife hit me before I said something stupid, it just really upset me that the guy had no more courtesy then that. Oh well we went on after about another 10 min and made it to the lido deck! Had the first DOD and all was well again ! We had a couple of things planned from our CC roll call, first was an informal M&G at the aft pool bar we all wore Mardi Gras beads to find each other and it went decently well, had roughly 35-40 people make it to this one and met a GREAT group of people that we will keep in touch with! The rooms were ready at 1:30 so we dropped off our carry ons in our room# 6481 rear "L" shaped room that we really enjoyed! we met for the M&G at 2pm-3pm and all was well! The Muster drill went off without a hitch ( I did not notice much change maybe a little more paying attention) they did let one side dismiss about 10-15 mins before the other side to clear up the congestion a little, it sucked that we were on the side that had to wait though, but the premise is nice! we did Sail away from our Balcony as it was raining a little! We met our Room steward a little after sail away and for the first time in a long time I did not tip him extra after the week was over, Don't get me wrong he did his job ok but I don't know really how to explain it, for the first time ever I was told " if you need something I work from 8am - 1pm then from 6pm-9pm" or something like that may not be the exact hours he said but close, maybe I have had special ones in the past and I tipped them well above the requested tips but I was always told " if you need something and I am not up here just dial XXXX and I will get it taken care of, now we very rarely ask for anything besides Ice in our bucket and to unlock the fridge but it was nice to know if I needed something it would be done. Like I said he was nice and spoke in the hall but I guess it was just OK. The First sea day went pretty well spent some time doing different things, and we also had an Open bar party set up from 3-4pm for our CC roll call, it was great and went off pretty well I don't think anyone did not get their $$ worth!! It was the first formal night and we Opted to do the Steak house this night as we would be dressed up anyway! I really enjoyed the new selections in the Steakhouse and I had the Lobster Bisque (didn't really care for it) but it was just me I am sure and I also had the seasoned Steak with vegetables as a side and it was GREAT, I always think it is funny that they have the Versace (sp?) China down when you sit but take them away before you eat, I guess in Arkansas we eat off of the plates but they were nice none the less lol. also went to the Adult Comedy show and it was good, we had seen this comedian before but he is pretty funny, Carl funkenberry I think that was his name but I cant remember for sure, The other comedian we saw on day 3 our 2nd sea day was good as well Chase was his name. Disco got going OK about midnight but it was pretty rough the first night so people trying to dance were tripping all over LOL made for good entertainment.This cruise has 2 sea day not including the day of embarkation and I think it was to much for my taste in a perfect world (for me) I would do one sea day hit a port or two then a break before the 3rd port and on more after the last port but I don't make the schedules lol. I spent some time in the Casino this day and caught some of the games and trivia pretty much the same as always. Played Baggo and such.We went to dinner for the 2nd time in the MDR we had your time dining and it went well The only time it was too long was thins night as we went to eat around 630 or so and we were seated almost instantly but the service took forever, we left before dessert at about 830, it did not ruin our day or anything but it felt like forever, all of the other nights took about 1 hour to maybe an hour and a half start to finish. On Saturday night we went to eat at 6pm and we were done after dessert about 645. the server on that night was Marlon. I will sum up what we did in the ports just in case someone is interested, The first was wed at Montego Bay and we went with a group from our roll call to Sunset beach resort and I have to admit it was worth the trip as everyone from the adults to the kids seemed to have a great day! we left and caught a Taxi to the Hip Strip and checked out Margaritaville and did a little shopping then headed back to the ship about 430 that day. We have been to Jamaica a couple of other times and I have to say Montego Bay (for Us) was no where near as bad as Ocho Rios as far as how pushy and dirty etc. we liked both because it is a beautiful and such but to me it was noticeably calmer. Thursday we were in Grand Cayman, we did the regular stuff shopped a little and then hit 7 mile beach played beach volleyball rented jet ski's that type of stuff, it was a great day! Friday Cozumel, I got My wife an excursion for the swim push pull dolphin thing and she went with her friend and they said it was great, My buddy and I just went downtown bought some things for people back home and went to Carlos and Charlies for about an hour or so, then back to the port for a drink at Fat Tuesdays, all in all it was a great relaxing day. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
My husband and I went on this cruise as a combined birthday/anniversary present to ourselves. We have previously sailed on Norwegian three years ago. We were initially reluctant to try Carnival because we had read some not so great ... Read More
My husband and I went on this cruise as a combined birthday/anniversary present to ourselves. We have previously sailed on Norwegian three years ago. We were initially reluctant to try Carnival because we had read some not so great reviews, but the price was too good to pass up and we decided to have a good time no matter what. Well we didn't have to try very hard- this cruise was amazing and we loved every minute of it. Embarkation We went from the terminal on to the ship in about 20 minutes total. The lines were broken up according to stateroom category and it did not take us long to check in. Security check in was similarly easy. Once on board we had our picture taken and were directed to the Lido deck for lunch. We arrived on board at about 12:30pm and our rooms were ready within one hour. Lunch was pretty crowded and it took us a little while to find a table and get food, but I think that is to be expected considering that everyone getting on the ship was be directed to lunch. Our Room Thanks to some other reviews on this website we found out that we could get a porthole room for about the same price as an interior room. We booked a room on the Riviera deck close to the front of the ship. We were very happy with the price we paid for this room. The portholes let in a good bit of natural light and we were able to see out of them. What we didn't realize is how much bigger this room was going to be than the more expensive ocean-view rooms. There was probably a good 5 feet of space on each side of our bed, which allowed us plenty of room to walk around. Actually the room was large enough that they could have provided a small sofa or chair. The bathroom was a good size. The only complaint I had about our room was that our bed was not super comfortable and the mattress was a little thin. We were worried about being so close to the front of the ship and how much movement we would feel. You could definitely feel the movement, but it was pretty easy to adjust to and no different than anywhere else on the boat. We brought Dramamine just in case, but never used it. Now, I will say that we did hear and feel a good bit of noise and movement when we docked, but we were awake by that time so it didn't bother us too much. The Food The food on this cruise was amazing, far better than what we had on our previous Norwegian cruise. We chose the our time dining for the dining room. We only went to eat in the dining room twice and both times we went right at 6pm. The first night we were seated at a table for two and the second night they seated us with another couple. The food in the dining room was pretty good and the chocolate melting cake was delicious. We didn't really care for eating with other people and once we found out that they served most of the same food on the buffet we mostly stuck to eating there. The food available at the buffet in Tiffany's for breakfast, lunch and dinner was delicious. There were a couple of not so good dishes, but there was always plenty to choose from and also a salad bar. The grill on the lido deck had three stations for lunch: the grill, the rotisserie, and the Mongolian wok station. The chicken tenders and burgers were delicious and the wok station was also very good. The pizza was delicious and available 24 hours a day. There was also a deli, but we never had a chance to try it. There was also sushi available most days around dinner time. I didn't try it but husband loved it and they also had the sushi available at the buffet most days. On the second day of our cruise we realized that they also have late night buffets and the Mexican one was very good. Entertainment and Drinks We only went to one show, which was one of the adults only comedy shows. It was pretty funny. This was also the only time we had any drinks on board. They were fairly pricy, $7.25 for my daiquiri and $8.75 for my husband's mixed drink plus gratuity; however they were very good. We also spent some time in the casino, of course we never won, but it was a fun way to pass the time. Serenity Deck This was one of our favorite parts of the cruise. We spent a lot of time outside on this adults only deck just relaxing a reading. It was generally pretty easy to find a space and the crew did a great job of keeping the deck clean. Our only real complaint was that this is a non-smoking deck and several times people were smoking on the deck. The crew did a good job of asking them to stop, but some people just have an issue with following the rules. Shore Excursion Our only port on this trip was Cozumel. We had previously been here with Norwegian and did the swimming with the stingrays shore excursion, which we highly recommend. This time we opted for the beginners scuba diving. After filling out a short medical questionnaire we went by taxi to Sand Dollar Sports. We had a short, maybe 20 minute basic scuba class. After that we rented a locker for $2 to put our stuff in. We were taken down to the beach in groups of 4 with a guide. We were surprised at how heavy the tanks and weights were and it was somewhat difficult to get into the water. Once we were in the water we both had some trouble with the change in pressure and it hurt our ears, so we weren't able to go down as far as others were. After about 30 minutes of scuba diving we hung around on the beach and had some food and a drink. After that we purchased our pictures (2 of them for $20) and then took a paid taxi back to the dock. We were docked at the international terminal. After getting back we did a little shopping. Disembarkation We chose self disembarkation because we were zone 25, and would have been on the ship forever waiting for them to call that. We were on the Riveria deck, so our deck was called last. We had plenty of time to have breakfast and gather all of our things from our room. Once our deck was called we were able to get off the ship pretty quickly and going through customs was very easy. It probably took about 30 minutes to get off the ship out to our car. Overall this was a great experience and we definitely hope to do it again in the near future. We were pleasantly surprised at the food, service and overall experience we received on Carnival and found it better than our previous Norwegian cruise. We will definitely return to Carnival in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
This was my 1st cruise but my 3 friends have cruised before. We chose this cruise due to the fun saver price and cheap flight we found to NOLA. The only 'glitch' on this trip (and unrelated to Carnival)was finding our way to ... Read More
This was my 1st cruise but my 3 friends have cruised before. We chose this cruise due to the fun saver price and cheap flight we found to NOLA. The only 'glitch' on this trip (and unrelated to Carnival)was finding our way to the debarkation area from our hotel. The embarkation, port day, and disembarkation process was all orderly and without long wait times. We truly enjoyed our time onboard and in port. We didn't encounter any rude passengers or crew members. Everyone seemed to 'do their own thing' and minded their manners. We found there was plenty of places to find a spot in the sun, or anywhere on the ship we wanted to go. The rooms were plenty big and bathroom was a good size too. Had lots of room to unpack and relax. Comfy beds, pillows and robes - our Room Steward Denik was pleasant and helpful, keeping our coolers filled with ice. We shopped in the Galleria - prices were pretty good and one of the ladies bought some booze to take home to her husband. We visited the casino to play penny slots, and one of the ladies won $250. We danced at Jekyl & Hyde which was very fun. Romeo & Juliett seemed to have some pretty sleepy karoke going on. Food was very good onboard - We ate mostly at Tiffany's for breakfast and never had to wait in line for more than a few minutes for anything. We enjoyed the buffet and the made-to-order omelets. The Lido deck for lunch was pretty good for burgers etc. The mongolian wok was AWESOME - loved that! We had anytime dining and it worked perfectly with our laid-back attitude. The first night and elegant night we had Conrad, Paul & Erwan - These guys are FANTASTIC! They were fun, professional and had top-notch service. We didn't do the dining room on Sat night, but on our last night, we tried to get to Conrad's area but would have an hour + wait. We decided not to wait, and were pretty disappointed with the other team - Ask for Conrad's team!! - Tell him Cindy Lauper and Christina Aguilera sent you - he remembered all of our (first)names! Most of us had been to Cozumel in the past - We grabbed a taxi ($10) to Chankanaab Park. We had reserved massages and were not disappointed. All 4 of us were in heaven. The park was uncrowded,beautiful and well groomed. Great ammenties for bathroom/shower etc. We found a group of hammocks there and chilled out. Lunch was served by Victor under our palapa - great food and drink. We snorkled for about an hour on our own - they provided life vests and we had the rest of our own equipment. We caught the end of the Sea Lion show as we were walking out (included in the entrance fee) and made our way to the pier to shop before getting on board. We didn't feel pressured to take or buy any of the pictures, and we enjoyed looking at them. We did end up buying a few. Two of my friends had massages in the spa and were very happy. I had the ionithermie and purchased the detox program. Perhaps in retrospect, I should not have, so please heed my warning - don't drink and shop :-). The spa / gym are there to plus-sell their products, so if you only want the service you reserved, just let them know you are not interested in additional products and they will stop. We had a great experience and great people and stayed to ourselves when we wanted to. We would definitely cruise Carnival and the Elation again. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
The Elation is an older ship, but well maintained. It is a smaller cruise ship. We were a bit miffed at the ban on alcoholic drinks when we boarded. You are allowed only one 750 ml bottle of wine per person. We did have a several ... Read More
The Elation is an older ship, but well maintained. It is a smaller cruise ship. We were a bit miffed at the ban on alcoholic drinks when we boarded. You are allowed only one 750 ml bottle of wine per person. We did have a several mini-bottles of alcohol and some small, 375 ml bottles of wine in our suitcases. We did not declare them, and they successfully got through. Drinks are very expensive on the ship -- about $6.50 for a beer and similar for a small mixed drink. Generally, dinners were very good, but with an unexplicable absence of seasoning in some dishes. Entertainment was a bit spotty. The four evenings we spent on the ship only provided a couple of Broadway type shows. Other evenings were taken up with an "amateur hour" format. The procedure to play in the casino was unnecessarily complicated, with a requirement of establishing pin numbers, passwords, and the like. We are not very enthusiastic gamblers. The rigamarole for passwords and the like put us off, and we stayed clear of the casino. Entertainment was good. The ship had about five or six bars or lounges. After 9:00 p.m., every bar seemed to have a musical group playing. We especially liked the Jamaican Reggae. The general purpose buffet restaurant, called Tiffany's, was very satisfactory but became overcrowed to an extreme, with people carrying trays wandering around trying to find a table. After a couple of bad experiences, we went to this restaurant either a little early or a little late. All in all, we were reasonably satisfied with the cruise. We would consider going on another Carnival cruise in the future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2012
This was my husband and I's tenth cruise. We have cruised on Princess, Royal Caribbean, Disney, and multiple Carnival cruises. Reading the reviews, I knew to wait and judge the cruise ship for myself. We traveled from Ohio to ... Read More
This was my husband and I's tenth cruise. We have cruised on Princess, Royal Caribbean, Disney, and multiple Carnival cruises. Reading the reviews, I knew to wait and judge the cruise ship for myself. We traveled from Ohio to Nashville for a day, then headed farther south to New Orleans! Stayed a night in New Orleans and saw all the sites that they had to offer. We got to the ship at 12:15 PM and were on board the ship by 12:45 PM. The room we had on the ship was very large for two people. The bathroom was surprisingly nice. Our room steward was very good about keeping our room clean. I must say for an older ship I was surprised at how clean the entire ship was. Our food was above average, but I have had better from Carnival. The problem was, the food was never really hot. We were early seating. Our waiter was not very friendly; never asking our names, not making the dining experience personable at all. We sat with two different families that made the experience better; were we probably would not have gone back to the dining room to eat otherwise, we would have probably just gone back up to the lido deck. Our first stop was Progresso. And out of all of the ports I have ever been to on ten different cruises all around North America, this has got to be the worst/poorest destination I have ever been to.....Bar none. I really wonder why Carnival would pick this as a port to go to. But with all of that being said, I did get a wonderful hour long massage for only 20 dollars!!! The second stop was Cozemel, this is our sixth time being there, so no big surprises coming at us here. We were just happy to be in the warm weather. In summation for the price that we paid for this cruise, you absolutely cannot beat it. We had a wonderful time, and got extremely lucky the weather was awesome. We also met some of the nicest people ever on this cruise. Thanks, hope you find this review helpful! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
This is my 7th Carnival cruise and sadly probably my last. I was very disappointed in the Conquest and I'm not a complainer however I'm going to do my best to outline some of the points we experienced in the hopes that other ... Read More
This is my 7th Carnival cruise and sadly probably my last. I was very disappointed in the Conquest and I'm not a complainer however I'm going to do my best to outline some of the points we experienced in the hopes that other people can benefit from them. Positive points *The Monet dining room staff was very friendly. Food was good. *Camp Carnival for our 4 year old was great when it was open - however there were big gaps of time that they were closed. *The ship was very clean. I was very impressed by the cleanliness of the public spaces as well as how tidy our room steward kept our room. Negative points *In typical "Carnival" fashion you were hounded at every opportunity to buy something. I'm beginning to think that the Carnival sales strategy is to keep the cruise prices low and then make as much money as possible on various fees during the cruise itself. *Port cancelled (Key West) due to wind. I suppose this was beyond anyone's control however personally the wind didn't seem that bad. No attempt was made to shuffle ports and since we only had 3 ports on a 7 day cruise it was pretty disappointing. *Security very unfriendly. The decks on the front of the ship were locked pretty much the entire 7 days (except for a few hours on 2 separate days). When we inquired security basically blew it off and said it was for safety. There was no safety concern that I could see. They also will not allow you to walk outside on Deck 4 where the muster stations are and Deck 11 & 12 were roped off several days. I couldn't figure out why they had so much outdoor space restricted. The result was people were all crowded on Deck 9 around the pool. *Tap water (sink & shower) in our room was scalding hot. You could get no warm or cool water. The shower had a safety device on it that would lock the temp on 38C but the temperature was nowhere near 38C. It was so hot you could not take a shower and you couldn't rinse your mouth after brushing your teeth. Definitely a safety hazard. *We had a balcony room and the use of the balcony was restricted on 2 separate days for several hours each day because of cleaning. Very disappointing not to be able to sit and read on your private balcony on a day at sea. *On previous cruises smoking rooms were on one side of the ship only. This particular cruise we were 1 cabin downwind from a couple who chain smoked 24 hours a day on the balcony. There was very little time that you could sit on the balcony without being overwhelmed by cigarette smoke. *Lido deck grille & restaurant was mediocre at best. There were always long lines and very little available seating. *Embarkation lines seem to get longer and longer and it is very disorganized. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
Where do we start. I know that this is going to be a one sided review, however this was the first cruise that my wife and our two friends have ever taken. I have read some of the reviews that other people wrote that were on this cruise ... Read More
Where do we start. I know that this is going to be a one sided review, however this was the first cruise that my wife and our two friends have ever taken. I have read some of the reviews that other people wrote that were on this cruise Jan 29th through Feb 5th and they had a lot different experiences than we did. However thank God we all still have the freedom of our opinions.LOL We booked this cruise right off the Carnival website. We also booked the excursions on there as well. We had three ports of call. Jamaica, Grand Cayman's, and Cozumel. Jamaica was awesome. The only bad experience we had was, when we got on a bus that was supposed to be taking us to the "Hip Strip" it took us instead to a shopping center out side of town. The bus driver then wanted to charge us all $25 to wait for us all day until we were ready to return. Needless to say we didn't pay him. Then he wanted to charge us up from for the the next $5 to take us back to the ship. We told him there were more of us than there were of him we gave him the $5 for bringing us there and got off the bus. I complained to the people working at the desk and after 30 minutes they sent a taxi to take us to the place we were supposed to be going too. Yes you get asked if you want to buy some WEED ALOT LOL. However you don't have to buy it. You have to remember they live in a different culture than we do. Jamaica Was great. Grand Cayman. Was OK. The Stingray bar excursion was cool. It was neat to swim next to gods creations, however it was a little freaky. ha-ha. Cozumel was GREAT. We booked the 5 hour beach deluxe trip. Great food great beer and the folks working at the beach made it fun with contest on the beach. The water was beautiful. OK here is my review of the food. I weigh 300 pounds and am 6 foot tall, so I know a little about food. Friends of mine who have cruised before told us to go to the dining room every night. We did and boy was it great. unlimited and taste great. The staff was awesome, as a matter of fact we tipped them a little extra on the last night. Elvis the boss was great. We usually awoke each morning about 7:30 and went to the Lido deck to eat breakfast. From there it was 7 more times a day. I don't think I ever passed the ice cream machine and didn't get some. Room service was great. Always quick and polite. Our room was always clean and the bed was made up with the covers turned down at night. We only had one unruly person on a deck below us that had a little/ a lot to drink one night and she was howling for about an hour. Security took care of that pretty quickly after being called. We usually go to the beach for vacations, however we are already planning a cruise for next year and plan to take the kids this time. Getting on the boat was easy, however we got there plenty early. Getting off the boat was even better. From the time they called our deck and we were the third deck called by the way were were through customs and in our car in 30 minutes. As I said this was our first cruise so we really cant compare it to other cruise lines. I will tell you this. For the money we spent it was more than worth it. The only thing that I would complain about was the price of beer. However with the amount of food I ate I think I won. LOL. We can't wait to go again. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
I realize there were 2,974 passengers aboard, each with a different experience. Some good, some bad. Of the 20+ cruises we've been on, this has been the absolute worse dining experience. I'll attempt to address each aspect ... Read More
I realize there were 2,974 passengers aboard, each with a different experience. Some good, some bad. Of the 20+ cruises we've been on, this has been the absolute worse dining experience. I'll attempt to address each aspect of the cruse separately. Embarkation: We arrived at the terminal about 10:30, park in the deck. Luggage drop off a breeze. Parked and took the elevator to the check-in desk. Short wait, less than 15 minutes we were checked-in and ready to go. We boarded by zone, the little card they give you after check-in. We were Zone 4. As Zones were called folks got up very orderly and proceeded to the ship. Basically embarkation went very smooth. Once aboard we proceeded to deck 9 for lunch, we sat, ate, and visited with the others in our group. About 1:30 it was announced cabins were ready. We proceeded to our cabin where surprisingly our first piece of luggage had arrived. My DW unpacked as that was her suitcase! We then headed off to explore. Found our assigned dining room. Was a bit surprised that none of the tables had been set. We asked where our table for eight would be located, we were told in the back corner, perfect! We explored a bit more and headed back to the cabin. The second bag had arrived, I unpacked and we waited for the evacuation drill. The ship sailed on time. Dining: We linked up with the rest of our party, shared the news about dining and set a time to meet. Upon arriving to the dining room, the Renoir, we were surprised to find our table at the very front, and it was only set for six. Elvis the Maitre D', said there was nothing he could do, however, we would be moved to the Monet the following night and would be seated at a table of eight away from the front entrance and desk. We settled to be seated at a table for two. Here is where the worse got worse. My wife and I were seated and greeted. Our table set for two, had one wine glass, which sat there the entire meal. No one asked if we wanted drinks. Our water glasses were filled and we were offered breads. That was last time water was filled and bread was offered. No other drinks were offered. The other six were lucky enough to order a bottle of wine, three times, yet the wine never arrived! Needless to say the first night of dining was well less than expected. Next night we arrive at the Monet, expecting full well that things were corrected. Our table for eight was set by the main entrance and Maitre D' desk. Obviously there was a disconnect about no seating by an entrance, bathroom, or kitchen. Just our rule regardless of where we eat. This time the Maitre D' Shane tells us he has no other tables and if we didn't like that table we could voice a complaint at the Services Desk. At this point, our first formal night, I take things into my own hands. Shane and I have a discussion, mostly one way. Being a retired Infantry First Sergeant, I know how to take command of a situation. After probably twenty minutes a table is prepared for us. Not the best location, but satisfactory. Service was okay. At least we got water and refills. Wine was ordered and received. Table settings were missing, but that was quickly rectified. Again we gave the wait staff the benefit of the doubt. But things never got much better. The following day I went to the Services Desk and requested to speak with the Dining Room Manager. To my surprise Shane shows up and announces "he is" the dining room managers for the entire ship. I still have my doubts. At any rate, he gave his promise that from the third night on we would have a memorable dining experience and that he would assign his assistant Maitre D' to oversee our table. Well we never saw the guy. I could write volumes about dining, but I'll spare you. Again, just because you had a great dining experience doesn't mean we did. Breakfast was probably their best foot forward. However, we had to ask for spoons for our coffee. Our coffee cups were set on bread plates rather than saucers (I'm being picky here), had to ask for coffee refills, but overall breakfast was good. No comment on lunch. Food more times than not was at best warm. Ordered salmon one night, arrived to table very undercooked and cold. Baked potato did not melt butter, I call that cold. Had to ask for iced tea and bread every night. Dining staff had no clue. The wait staff were rude overall. While entering or exiting the dining room, wait staff stepped out in front of you, would stand there and not move, and most evenings we were not even greeted. Again, for those of you that had a terrific experience, fantastic, that's how it's supposed to be. For the most part, I seldom complain, honest, read the reviews I've written, I am very fair. But this cruise was so bad. On a bright dining note. Spend the $30 per person and treat yourself to a wonderful dining experience in the Point Steakhouse. I can honestly say, the Point is on the same level as any of the other cruise line specialty restaurants and one of our best specialty restaurant experiences. The service, the food, and OMG the desserts were absolutely impeccable. I have concluded that terrible service for traditional diners is a ploy for us to accept anytime dining. Cabin: Cabin stewards were great. Beds were comfortable and the cabin was quite spacious. The bathroom was probably one of the largest we've had. No complaints about cabin at all. General Comments: Casino bar and service, great. Activities aboard, numerous enough for all to enjoy something. Cleanliness of ship, acceptable. Not sure how to address the masking tape holding the veneer on the wall at the Monet Dining room or the leak in the ceiling outside the Monet. Friendliness of overall crew and officers, fair teetering on poor. Sushi Bar, great. Pizza corner, great. Buffet, okay. Phil's Deli, probably the best food aboard, aside from the Point. One thing I did find appalling, in the Cezanne, Lido buffet, people walking through and up to buffet lines without shirts. Ships staff standing there and never asked them to leave. Absolutely no excuse for that. Disembarkation: A joke. We chose Self Assist. We reported to the theater as instructed. Were told to sit until given clearance. We were told we would exit in the order we arrived. LOL, when the announcement was made that we could proceed to the gangway, it was total chaos. The entire theater stood and a traffic jam ensued! All in all, we were off the ship and on the road by 7:45. Bottom Line: Did our dining experience ruin our cruise, no. However, think about it, the dining experience is one of the most memorable. Overall the ship was acceptably clean. I try always to consider how clean our house would be if we had 2,974 people walking through each week of the year. Will we sail Carnival again, astoundingly no. Too many other lines to choose from. Carnival may have a ship named Magic, but that's where their cruising magic ends for me. Sorry that I've rambled and I apologize for a less than shining review. I have to call it the way I see it. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
This was my first cruise, and I did have a wonderful time, but there were several things on the ship which I was disappointed with. I must say that the previous review by 'tawcat' mirrors my own experience on the Conquest. ... Read More
This was my first cruise, and I did have a wonderful time, but there were several things on the ship which I was disappointed with. I must say that the previous review by 'tawcat' mirrors my own experience on the Conquest. First of all, I thought embarkation was fairly easy. With nothing to compare it to, I was pleasantly surprised that it was orderly and organized. It took a little over and hour to get on the boat. Once on the boat it took about an hour for our rooms to be ready. There was no announcement, we just noticed everyone leaving so we followed suit. Once we found our stateroom we were very pleasantly surprised at the size. We were in a oceanview room and it felt quite spacious. Lots of closet space, and even a sofa. There's a great lighted mirror in the room, and of course one the bathroom. We were happy that we brought a power strip because there was only one outlet in the room and one the bathroom. The beds were very comfortable and we didn't hear and noise from other rooms or the hallway. That night we made our way to the Monet dining room. We were seated in a back corner so we missed all activities going on the main part of the room. Our waiter was polite, but not overly friendly. The first night he asked what we wanted to drink, but that was the last time. Each night after that we were not offered or asked what we wanted to drink, but our water glasses were filled. The food in the dining room was the best food I had on the ship and it was just fair. The presentation was nice, but the food lacked flavor. The one exception to this was the chocolate melting cake. It was delicious and everyone at the table ordered it each night. One night I made the mistake of ordering the strawberry cheesecake, and it was bland and tasteless. How do you mess up cheesecake? The nice part was you could order as much as you wanted and I quickly corrected my cheesecake error with the melting cake! There were things going on the the dining room like singing and dancing waiters, but we didn't see any of them. I had heard stories of wonderful funny waiters on cruises, but that was not even close to my experience on the Conquest. On the upside, we had wonderful, charming dining companions that we enjoyed getting to know. Breakfast was just okay. We tried all the different places and found exactly the same fare at each one. I thought there might be wonderful pastries or baked goods, but the rolls that we saw looked like what you might see in the day old grocery aisle. And they were the same pastries throughout the trip - so by day seven you could break a toe if you dropped one! Eggs, cereal, grits, fruit, and pancakes were available every day, but none were great quality. Lunch was pretty much like breakfast. Just fair. On the last day, lunch consisted of leftovers from the previous days. I couldn't believe it! I didn't even like it the first time around, so we opted for the burger stand. The one bright spot on the ship is the pizza stand which is actually pretty good. There were constant announcements by the cruise director that were not informative, but merely advertisements for something you could spend money on. The constant selling and pushing of guests to spend money was very annoying. Drinks were expensive, 8 or 9 dollars for a cocktail, so your bill can add up very quickly. Ports were Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. All were fun, and we opted to do shopping and go to a beach at each one. Our days at sea were spent sun bathing and people watching. Very entertaining. Most nights we went to the comedy club, and enjoyed it very much. There is also a disco, but most nights it was empty with no one dancing. I think they may need a better dj. There is a very comfortable bar/lounge across from the Monet dining room, and there is a martini bar that makes excellent drinks. The casino was just like every other casino, except the drinks cost money. The shows in the main theater were tough to watch, and that's all I'll say about that. Almost everywhere I went on the boat was very clean and tasteful. Our steward was nothing like I had expected. I had heard stories of people having wonderful stewards that took care of them on their trip, but ours was just not that great. He would speak when we saw him, but really did just a fair job and never went out of his way to help us. Sometimes when he would clean the room, he would bring clean towels and not even take the dirty ones. Ice was always an issue. Mid day if we wanted ice, we could not find anyone to get it for us, and there isn't machine so you can get your own. Debarkation was easy for us. We opted for the self assist, which is where you carry your own luggage, and we were off the boat very quickly. I would definitely do that again. Even with the disappointments, we had a great time on the cruise because we made our own fun. I do think I will try a different cruise company next time and try to lower my expectations. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
We just got back from sailing on the Conquest (1/29 -- 2/5). We discovered cruising in 2008 and absolutely loved our other 2 cruises on Princess. We're in our 50's and fairly active people. We only live about 3 hours away from ... Read More
We just got back from sailing on the Conquest (1/29 -- 2/5). We discovered cruising in 2008 and absolutely loved our other 2 cruises on Princess. We're in our 50's and fairly active people. We only live about 3 hours away from New Orleans, so when the Conquest was repositioned to NOLA, my DH and I decided to give Carnival a try and gave this cruise to each other for Christmas. I read a lot about the similarities/differences between the 2 lines, but it seemed a lot of reviews on Carnival in general and the Conquest in particular were kind of hit or miss, so was sure hoping that Carnival would meet my expectations...and I'm glad to say that for the most part it did! We drove in Sunday morning, parked at the Fulton Street Garage and shuttled to the terminal. Good deal for $12 a night. The cruise terminal is nice, but all in all embarkation was SLOW. I think we arrived there around 12:30, which is probably prime time, and while the lines didn't appear to be extremely long, they moved very slowly. Carnival really needs to open up more lines and have more staff devoted to the actual check-in process. Upon entering the lobby of the ship, I couldn't help but compare and my first impression was that this area seemed rather small, much more crowded and just not as awe inspiring as what we were used to. On Princess, the staff greets you wearing dark jackets and white gloves and it just has an elegant feel to it. On Carnival, the staff wears knit polo shirts. Just a different vibe. I guess we were in our stateroom about 2:00. We had a great room steward, Sri, who was always out and about and very attentive. The room was pretty much what we expected, and was comparable to Princess, but I definitely liked these beds/bedding much better. The first night we went to the Point Steakhouse and had an excellent meal. My DH had the herb rubbed ribeye and I had the filet....both were YUM!! It was great to be able to sit back and relax after a fairly hectic day. It wasn't very crowded and yes, they do give you a free bottle of house wine. We left fat and happy. By Wednesday, I started to shed some of my initial feelings that this cruise was going to be inferior to our Princess cruises and I'm going to try to list some of the positives that we found. Dining: We had ATD and on the whole were pleased with our food and our service. I've read other reviews about the poor service in the Monet dining room and hate that these folks had bad experiences. For us, dining is a pretty big part of our overall cruise experience, and we thought the food for the most part was good, especially the jumbo prawns, beef wellington, short ribs, grilled mahi, panko crusted shrimp, tiramisu and of course the warm chocolate melting cake. Fortunately, we also found our service to be mostly efficient and pleasant. It was kind of cool to have singing waiters, even for us "anytime" diners and one particularly well built waiter would hop up on a serving platform every night and put on a show. He had some moves, so what's not to like about that??? The other dining options I liked were the sushi bar (it was extra on Princess). I loved getting my sushi and going to the very back of deck 10(where I spent a lot of time)in the evenings to hear the wake of the ship and watch the sunset. That became my "Happy Place". The fresh pizza was very good, the Ruebens were tasty, but have to say, I was really disappointed in the fried oysters at the Fish and Chips place. They were scrawny, greasy and all cornmeal...Yuck...hey but their ceviche was pretty good. Entertainment: We loved the comedians, especially Cowboy Bill Martin and Ronnie Bullard. They had me in tears at their Adult shows. I liked how Carnival rotated 2 comedians out mid week and brought on 2 more. To us the comedy shows were a real highlight of the cruise. The Illusionist's show was lame in our opinion and we had no interest in the production shows. The house Showband played pretty good R&B and performed at the casino bar, the Past Guest Party and Farewell Party. Both of these parties had free flowing drinks, much to my surprise (loved the blue margaritas). I liked the layout of the Conquest where most of the clubs are in one area of the ship so you could easily go from one to another. The other bands we heard were soso. Loved the MUTS on Princess, but never got a chance to do this on Carnival since we stayed pretty busy with other stuff. All in all, Carnival really seemed to be a more "Fun" ship. Fellow Passengers: We met some very nice people from all over. I have to say, however, that we saw lots more tattoos and backwards baseball caps on Carnival. Just sayin'.... Debarkation was bad. We were in one of the later groups and apparently they had gotten behind early on, so about 10:15 they called everybody left in one really big group, just to get us off the ship. Well, that resulted in a huge bottleneck in the terminal. We didn't get on the road until 12:30. Not at all happy with that part of things. Anyway, I'm glad we tried Carnival and for the price and convenience will cruise with them again. Yep, even bought a Future Cruise Credit. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
This was my first time on the Conquest after having sailed on the Glory a couple years ago. The ships were so much alike that I had no trouble navigating around the decks because I remembered a lot of the layout from the Glory. The big ... Read More
This was my first time on the Conquest after having sailed on the Glory a couple years ago. The ships were so much alike that I had no trouble navigating around the decks because I remembered a lot of the layout from the Glory. The big difference between them was the decor. Of which I thought the Conquest was just lovely. All the artwork everywhere was very nice. Not over-the-top like the Glory had a tendency to feel like at times. We got the feeling that we arrived at the port about the same time 3/4 of the other passengers on the ship did. Lines wound around and around and ... We would finish with one to find ourselves getting in another winding one. The lines went pretty smoothly thou, and, we tried to make the most of it. We felt sorry for the teenage boy who was carrying what looked like a 36-count pack of bottled water. He got his workout that day lifting it, setting it down, shifting shoulders, etc. Once on the ship (about 1 1/2 hours later) we found the room ready and my luggage at the door. My mom and sister had to wait about another hour or more before theirs came. One of my sister's luggage tags had gotten stuck on my luggage, ripped off and therefore was missing in action without a tag. She had to wait until evening to go down to the room near customer services where they keep lost pieces of luggage. After putting things away we headed to the Lido deck for lunch. A nice buffet style meal with a nice selection of food. We set sail on time and enjoyed watching the ship turn around and head down the Mississippi River. From our port-side balcony we were able to see downtown New Orleans, St. Louis Cathedral and the rest of the city pass by on a chilly but sunshiny day. We didn't realize how long it takes to make it to the Gulf from New Orleans. It was nearly 10:00pm before we finally saw the oil rigs on the gulf waters and knew we had left the river. Dinner that night was wonderful. We met 3 of our table mates (the fourth tablemate joined us the next night) and thoroughly enjoyed their company the rest of the cruise. I figured we would have to share a table since there were only 3 of us. And I will admit I was a bit apprehensive about having to "make conversation" every night. But our table mates were a total delight from the word go. We would even meet up with them off and on throughout the week and share other meals with them as well. I looked forward to our dining time each night. Monday and Tuesday were sea days. The water was choppy and the top decks were closed both days due to high winds. But at least it was sunny. And the temperatures were getting into the 80's. On Sunday, especially in the evening, we wore jackets on the balcony and were still chilled. I thought the ship provided an adequate number of activities. We enjoyed the musical trivia games (never came close but once to winning the ship-on-a-stick)However, my sister finally won a ship with the 60-second challenge game doing the hola hoop. Thought the first nights song and dance show in the lovely Toulouse Theater was a great show. Talented people for sure. Our cruise director was Paul and I thought he did a great job. Loved his accent and enjoyed his personality. Food was above average both nights in the beautiful Monet Dining Room. Our waiters were spot-on and super friendly. A couple times they would bring a second entre to one of us and told us that we just had to give this a try. We never left dinner hungry. In fact, I had to "suffer through" dessert a couple times. Our cabin "girl" was a wonderful young lady named Tanja (sp?). She would always greet us whenever she saw us with a smile and say each of our names. And ask us how our day was going. Our last towel "animal" was actually a heart with our always welcomed after dinner mints setting inside it. We placed a nice tip for her inside the heart the morning we left our room to disembark and hoped she would be the one to find it. We left a note for her as well. She made our stay a pleasant one indeed. Wednesday was Jamaica. Another sunny, mid-80's and humid day. We toke the ship sponsored Croydon Plantation excursion. We had to wait in the large port building where most of the tours were meeting. Fans were all they had to circulate the air in there (no AC) and the fan above us was off. I was ready to move out of there. Welcome to the tropics. This was no fault of Croydon, and the lady from there said how embarrished she was, but the buses they hire to drive us up there only sent 3 of the 8 buses. So we were part of the group that had an almost hour long wait to get going. At least we did get on a bus sooner then some of the others did. So the AC felt pretty good. The drive up there was spent with our delightful guide telling us about the island, MoBay and the people. The island had a lot of what we would classify as poverty, but, it had a lot of character to it. I know many people say they would rather skip the port altogether, however, I enjoy seeing a new country and learning about it through the eyes of its people. Yes, the road up there was narrow and bumpy as others have reported. But, we survived and in one piece. Our driver, James, knew how to drive the roads. The plantation was beautiful. Our guide Winston was fun and told us more about fruits, coffee, bees, politics, etc then I could ever begin to put down in this review. The pace was a bit slow for me as I usually enjoy more 'adventurous' side trips. But, most of the people, including my mom, where older and we needed to not overdo it for them. I thought it was great that the plantation had a nurse right there on site. Unfortuniately, she was needed when an older gentleman didn't see a raised curb of cement and fell hard on the concrete and hit his head hard enough to start bleeding. It looked like they sent him back down to MoBay in an SUV. We were told that he was going to be okay. They gave us many samples of pineapple and other fruits. Ginger Beer, and pineapple juice made from boiling and squeezing the outer peel of the pineapple. Amazingly good! Even though the pace was slower as I mentioned earlier then I would have liked. It gave me a lot of time to take pictures as I enjoy photography very much. We had time back at the port shops to get a little shopping done and back on the ship to watch the band perform on the dock and watch the ship leave port to a beautiful sunset. Thursday was another sunny and warm day. We tendered early to meet up with Shirley from Cayman Safari tours. It is a private tour that my sister found from reading Cruise Critic. We loved this tour. We traveled with 2 other couples that were staying on a resort on the island. Mom rode shotgun with Shirley upfront, and the 6 of us rode in back of the open-sided canvas topped jeep. She toke us to the north side of the island away from 7-mile beach. There were 6 ships in port that day, but, where we went you would never know it. Shirley is a multi-generation Caymanian and was full of information and stories. Hurricane Ivan stories - oh my gosh. I can't imagine living through that. Pedro St. James was are first stop. Good place to start since the history of the island is thick there. Next was the botanical gardens. Amazing plant life there and we even were lucky enough to see 5-6 blue iguanas. Then she drove us over to Rum Point for a short stop. Long enough to grab a drink at the bar and get pictures or just relax at the beautiful beach. Then it was on up to the furthest tip of the island where Shirley drove us to a usually never viewed ocean front piece of vista. (Your secret is safe with us Shirley). It was time for lunch at Vivinne's. If you get the chance, you have to go there. This 70 year old woman who just plan loves to cook and does so out of her kitchen and we eat in her "backyard" on tables and overlooking the ocean and a shipwreck out on the reef. Delicious food. Shirley had us back to the port in plenty of time to shop and tender back out to the ship. A great day finished off with a great meal in the Monet. Friday was Nachi Cocum in Cozumel. It was easy enough to get a taxi and we were there in about 15 minutes. It was very relaxing and the food was good. The weather was sunny and warm again. The other time we were in Cozumel we went to Playa Palancar. It is not an all-inclusive like Nachi, but, they do have a good restaurant there. I don't think I drank and ate enough to make Nachi worth it for me. And I personally liked the secluded feel to the beach over in Playa better. But, don't get me wrong, Nachi was wonderful too. Just comparing. We were suppose to all be aboard the ship by 4:30 as the ship was to leave at 5:00. At 4:30, the both lines to the ship were still very long and we knew there was no way we were leaving on time. Then, we still were waiting with the gangways down at 5:10 when a large group of people casually made their way down the dock. They were in no hurry, so we assumed they were on a cruise-sponsored excursion. But, there was one lady that kept pacing the dock and looking back towards the shop area. She never boarded the ship and finally at 5:25 or so they pulled the gangways in and we backed away leaving her to walk back to the shop area. We heard a woman's name being paged over and over, so we assumed that someone might have been left behind. Saturday was a sea day and uneventful. More trivia and shows and relaxing. Saturday after our early dining time we came back to a view of thick fog out our balcony door. I mean thick. We couldn't begin to see the front of the ship from our room. You could hear fog horns from our ship as well as others somewhere out there in the fog all night long. As we had been continuously seeing updates on the capsized cruise ship over in Italy throughout the past week, this foggy event had us all feeling a bit uneasy. We knew we had several hours to wind our way up the Mississippi River with other boats to meet up with. But, we woke up to finding ourselves docked and fog thinned out a lot now. Disembarkment was long. We were number 14, and thank heavens we had our 2 free deck of cards from the ship to play about an hour and half worth of games at the casino bar (you cannot wait in your room) before we finally heard our number called. We decided that the thing that was the worst about the wait was that the ship played their "theme song" over the speakers over and over and over. The entire time we were on board the past seven days, they played a wide range of songs and that was really nice. But, the one time we had to set and had nothing else to do but listen to the speakers to wait for our numbers to be called, this is when they stopped that music and repeated the same song for hours. Augh. Oh well. If that is the worst thing I can think of that happened on this trip - well, then I guess we had a great time. I look forward to traveling with the Conquest and out of New Orleans again. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
This was our 7th cruise with Carnival, our first time on the Conquest. We were Cruising with two other couples, and my wife and I were celebrating our 20th anniversary. Well, before I start let me say I like Carnival Cruise Line (I ... Read More
This was our 7th cruise with Carnival, our first time on the Conquest. We were Cruising with two other couples, and my wife and I were celebrating our 20th anniversary. Well, before I start let me say I like Carnival Cruise Line (I used to love them) but they need to start looking at some of the cruise reviews people are posting before they lose long time customers. A lot of the criticisms in the reviews are pretty close to the mark (but you do have your whiners, so you try and weed those reviews out). Embarkation: They have to change the embarkation process in New Orleans, period. They separate you by floors and cabin number, whatever happen to first come first serve. We stood in line for 45 min because they only had 3 people working are floor. This was by far the worst Embarkation process that I have ever been through. We originally booked an interior room on deck 7, but a week before we embarked they called my wife and she upgraded the cabin to a balcony on deck 7. We loved the upgraded cabin but, when we changed rooms all of request made for our old cabin didn't transfer to our new room. Therefore our dining room seating got changed so we where no longer seated with our traveling companions. So, the first night we all were seated at separate tables. Then on the second night we all dined in the Steakhouse, well worth the money, I will only say one thing about it...FANTASTIC. We ate in the Monet dining room all of the other nights, our dining room wait stuff where efficient but slow and we have had better service on other cruises. The quality of the food has slowly been declining since my first cruise. Don't get me wrong, they still have plenty of things on the menu that are fantastic, but now it's hit or miss with what you get. We had three ports to visit, Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Montego Bay: We did the "Hop on Hop off" bus tour in Jamaica. I thought it was great bargain for the $15.00pp we paid. We did get to see some of the area from the bus before we stopped at Margaritaville. The place was great, the staff was friendly, and the food and beverages were priced well. The water was warm and the slide and trampoline made for a great time. Then before we returned to the ship we went off on foot to shop around Margaritaville. We traveled up passed Dr. Caves Beach and hit all the shops up and down the streets and believe it or not, we were never confronted by anyone to buy weed. (Unlike most of the reviews you will read) Grand Cayman: Shopping stop: the women drug us through the town looking at jewelry of all kinds. We then proceeded to stop at every t-shirt and souvenir stand they could find, after all that we finally got to hit the Harley shop so we could get OUR souvenirs. Then the even let us have a drink at one of the bars. Our last port was Cozumel: We took the "Go Jeep Go" tour through the ship and I have to tell you this is one of the best excursions that I have ever been on. We loaded up 4 to a Jeep Wrangler and headed out around the Island our first stop was a beach club. You are there for an hour and a half and can use all of the facilities, then you head out to a tequila distillery for a tour and tasting session. Then the designated drivers take you to the Pee Pee Station (name of a real place) for a tour, history of the Island, and a potty break plus they have a nice gift shop with black coral jewelry. After all that it was time to head back to the ship. The guilds were great and made the trip a lot of fun; I highly recommend you try it. Cabins and common areas of the ship were clean, the staff was friendly enough but, when the ship hits dry dock this year they have a lot of things to do to bring this ship up to standards. Like I said before we loved our cabin, but the A/C system in our room never worked well. We set it to the lowest setting possible and the room was still warm. If we didn't bring our own fan on the trip we would have been miserable. Also, the shower in our room was scalding hot. You turned the valve but the temp never changed. The valve had a safety device that should have lock the temp on 38C but the temperature was nowhere near 38C. It was so hot you could not take a shower. We had to call maintenance and they ended up replacing the whole water control valve. The very next day the toilet would not flush, so we called maintenance again and they had to replace a valve outside our cabin to get the toilet working again. Debarkation was very quick and went smoothly, I was very impressed. It was a relaxing cruise, but my wife and I can tell the quality of the services have been falling off every cruise. The entertainment is still not that great and for the most part every time we have cruised they have the same things over and over, they need a different show line-up and/or some new concepts. We have already booked a back to back on the Breeze starting on 11/24/2012, but if the quality does not improve on those cruises we will have to try Princess, Royal Caribbean, or one of the other cruise lines. That way we will have something to compare too. We love cruising and it may be time for us to see what is on the other side of the fence. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2012
This was our fourth cruise with Carnival, our first time on the Conquest. We traveled with two other couples that were first time cruisers, each of us celebrating anniversaries. We booked an interior room with an obstructed view, the ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise with Carnival, our first time on the Conquest. We traveled with two other couples that were first time cruisers, each of us celebrating anniversaries. We booked an interior room with an obstructed view, the room was on deck 7 at the front of the ship, just under the captain. We were told we would be able to spend time on the deck outside of our window and have a great view. Not really. We had some windy days at sea so the door to the deck was kept locked the first 3 days, when they did unlock them, there are no deck chairs at all so you have to stand on the deck when you go out on it. There is also no view, especially if you are short, as I am, and you have to stretch to see over the solid wall railing. Our room was supposed to be larger than most interior rooms but it was the smallest room we have EVER been in on a cruise. We had to turn our suitcases sideways to get them into the hallway between the bathroom and closets. Our last interior room on Triumph was MUCH larger, with a double drawer dressing area and a small sofa to sit on. When we spent time in this room, we had to lie in bed as there was no room for anything but that. Very disappointing. There was also some random clanging, it was loud and happened night and day. Our room steward said it is noise from pipes running under the room. Our room steward, Ida, was a charming gal. I had some seasickness the first full day at sea and she was so sweet to ask me every day how I was feeling and if she could do anything for me. She kept the room totally spotless, which was not easy considering how much stuff we had piled here and there because of the tiny room size. We ate each night in the Monet dining room, Our dining room wait stuff was good & efficient but we have had better service. Our waiter seemed stressed each night, he said his normal assistant was out with an infection and he was just being sent whomever could help him. It seemed that one of his assistants did not really understand English very well. Some nights we were being served our main course and the tables around us were finishing dessert and leaving. Made me feel rushed to get finished so they could set up for late dining. The food for the most part was served hot and most of it tasted good. My husband says he does not think the food is as good as on previous cruises. Elvis, the maitre de, was wonderful, greeting us each night and even stopping to talk when we saw him around the ship. We had three ports to visit, Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. The weather in each port was beautiful. We did the Hop On Hop Off bus tour in Jamaica. Disappointed with it. We took the bus to the beach as we did not want to shop, that was the second bus stop. We did get to see some of the area from the bus. Lots of poverty in Jamaica. We got to the beach, paid for our chairs and umbrella and got a place by the water, the beach was nice but it is Jamaica, all that you hear about the locals is very true. We were confronted MANY times to buy weed (for the party they assumed we would be having later)and bracelets and conch shells. Irritating to say the least. The water was beautiful and since we love to be at the ocean, that made the day great. Then when it was time to leave, we waiting about 20 minutes out front for the bus to take us to Margaritaville. Each bus that came was packed with people. Finally gave up on that and went off on foot to find it ourselves. About a three block walk and we were there. Much faster than waiting for us a bus. We shopped at the shops closest to Margaritaville since we knew we would not have time to catch a bus and go all the way out to the shopping area they take you to shop and have time to make it back to the port on time. Grand Cayman was wonderful. We did Stingray City tour with Captain Bryan's Sail and Snorkle Tours. We had pre booked online with Dexter's Fantasea Tours, but he did not wait for us to get tendered into the port. We had confirmed with him twice before we left for the cruise. He did not inform us that he was on a different time zone than the Conquest. He expected us to somehow be at the port waiting for him before our ship had even begun tendering people off the ship. We met a young woman at the port that heard us talking after we found that we had been left behind and she told us about Captain Bryan, that saved the day for us. We only waited about 35 minutes for the next tour and we were off on the bus to his boat. It was truly one of the best days we have ever had. There were less than 20 people on the boat and they were all great folks. The water in Cayman is truly beautiful and the stingrays and snorkeling are awesome. We HIGHLY recommend it when you go to Cayman Island. Our final port was Cozumel and we spent another relaxing day at the beach (Club Cozumel Caribe), we go there each time we are in Cozumel. Nice beach, good food and not a million people. We finally took the time to find Wet Wendy's while in Cozumel and that was a fun way to end the day. If you have time stop in for a margarita, mine was the Elvis (banana and peanut butter), So good! The ship was clean, the staff was friendly enough. Embarkation was quick since we arrived at the port about 10:45. Getting off the boat was pretty painless too. Caught one of the buses back to the airport and our driver was very entertaining. All in all, it was a nice cruise, but my husband and I both feel as though it was not as good as our past 3 on Carnival. Cruise director Paul was good enough, not impressed by any of the other entertainment staff. I heard someone say that Paul is leaving and another cruise director is coming to Conquest. The entertainment in the nightly shows was not great by any standard. They have had the same opening night show every time we have cruised, after 3 years you would think they would have something new?? We are thinking that our next cruise may be on Celebrity or Royal Caribbean so we have something to compare too. We love cruising as a vacation, maybe it is just time for us to see what else is out there. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
Had a great time on the Conquest. Our group of 8 flew into New Orleans the day before. New Orleans is crazy! I can't even imagine what it's like during Mardi Gras! Got to terminal about 11:30 on Sunday. Took about 1/2 hour ... Read More
Had a great time on the Conquest. Our group of 8 flew into New Orleans the day before. New Orleans is crazy! I can't even imagine what it's like during Mardi Gras! Got to terminal about 11:30 on Sunday. Took about 1/2 hour to go through security and check in and walked on board a little after noon. Had some wonderful fish & chips for lunch. Room was ready, with luggage outside, at 1:30. Sailaway party was fun, but could have lasted longer! Had late dinner - food was great every night! Tried the "didja eva" foods of alligator, frog legs (swear they were chicken), etc. Last night had the macaroni & cheese for a starter and it was delicious! Ate in the dining room every night. For breakfast, alternated between dining room & buffet. Food was okay. While on the ship, ate lunch in the buffet or had pizza or burger/hot dog. Pizza was just ok, but calzone was great! Did not like the burgers at all. Our stops were Wednesday-Jamaica; Thursday-Grand Cayman and Friday-Cozumel. On Tuesday, we had to make an emergency stop in Grand Cayman to unload a passenger for medical attention. Hope everything turned out ok for that person. Jamaica - my favorite stop of the cruise!!!!! We did swimming with the dolphins, which was absolutely breathtaking! Then we went to Doctor's Cave beach and had lunch/drinks. Beautiful (but crowded) beach. Had yummy jerk chicken. We were shocked at the low, low price of our lunch and gave the server a big tip, which he greatly appreciated. Walked around the shops and the people there were very pushy about wanting you to come into their shop, but we just said no and moved on. Not once was I asked to buy weed, but others in our group were. Loved the scenery there and the people were wonderful. Would like to go back. Grand Cayman - walked around for a while then took a shuttle to 7 mile beach. Beach was very crowded. After a while, took shuttle back to port area. Had lunch (very expensive). Shopped some more. Was not impressed with Grand Cayman. Cozumel - did the catamaran to Pasion Island. Was not what I was expecting - was a motorized boat and not a catamaran. But the view riding to the island was very nice. Beach at Pasion Island was nice. Loungers took some getting used to - hard to explain it. Buffet lunch and drinks were good. Shops were somewhat expensive. Only had time back at the port to have one drink at Fat Tuesdays. Wish we could have explored more. Back to the Conquest - food was great. OUr servers were wonderful and all workers greeted us with a smile. Our room steward was also wonderful. For some reason, did not spend much time on the balcony this time. Lots of time spent lounging around the pool areas. Very pleased to note there were very little chair hogs on this cruise. Larry the piano player was great! Comedians were all great (adult shows). Shows were great - we had a member of our group in the Legends Show, so that was a lot of fun. Earned the points for free drinks in the casino, but trying to get a drink at all there was very difficult. When you finally were able to get a server to take your order, it took at least 30 minutes to get your drink. You sure can lose a lot more money in that 30 minutes! Leaving the ship was not as smooth as getting on. We were zone 12, so it took awhile before we were even called. When we did finally get called, there were long lines everywhere. Unfortunately, we got in the wrong customs line. The woman there questioned everything, didn't believe the answers, and questioned again and again, which caused backups. Hubby was told he didn't look like his passport - he showed his license and she said he didn't look like that either. Now, the passport was very recent - his hair was a little longer in the picture than presently, but other than that, it looked like him. She was being ridiculous. Had to call someone else over who convinced her it was him! Overall, great cruise. We will sail with Carnival again, though am disappointed they will not be going to Bermuda past this summer. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
I've done several cruises on other lines, and even worked on cruise ships in the past. This was my first time on Carnival. The overwhelming feeling I got from the experience, the thing that overshadows most everything else I ... Read More
I've done several cruises on other lines, and even worked on cruise ships in the past. This was my first time on Carnival. The overwhelming feeling I got from the experience, the thing that overshadows most everything else I experienced, is the impression that from dusk to dawn, I was being constantly solicited to spend more money. Whatever fun I was having at any given time was often interrupted by sales pitches and frenzied people trying to pawn everything from drinks to over-priced pictures to crappy artwork. After the cruise was over, I was mentally exhausted from having to run this gauntlet of never-ending salesmen. It really put a damper on the experience. High points: The crew.. the ones that weren't trying to sell me stuff, were friendly and extremely accommodating and helpful. I felt that everyone from my steward to the waiter at dinner would do whatever they could to help me. The food in the dining room was generally good - though a few things were hit-and-miss, like one night we were served "fish jerky" that was supposed to be "broiled Mahi-Mahi". The ship was clean and well-maintained and despite my cabin being deep in the bowels of the ship and without a window, it was comfortable. The comedian, Chris Wiles was really good. The "Behind the Fun" tour was cool, although the captain of the boat was about as jolly as Mel from the TV show "Alice." The tour of the galley, entertainment, crew and even laundry areas of the ship produced much more animated presentations from the section leaders. Low points: Ok, here we go.. * I booked a shore excursion - the main reason for going was to scuba dive in Cozumel, which was cancelled the night before the dive because there were not enough people who signed up on the trip, totally screwing my shore excursion plans. * To add further insult to injury, not a single person on the boat, at guest services, or shore excursions was willing to recommend a reputable local dive operator that I could deal directly with in lieu of the Carnival trip being cancelled. I felt they outright lied to me in claiming they had no knowledge of any alternative way to dive. As a result, I had to spend a ton of time (and money using their ridiculously expensive satellite internet) trying to research local dive operators. * My friend had her trip cancelled too, but was not told until she actually showed up for the excursion and was then told to wait to see if it was going to happen (we later found out Carnival had knowledge the night before there would be problems but didn't notify anybody). We both ended up having to desperately re-schedule other activities and felt pressure from more salespeople to pay more and go elsewhere. * WiFi was horrible or non-existent, even though I could see a WiFi router 20 feet from my room, I could not reliably connect unless I took my laptop up two decks to the internet cafe. $0.75/minute for access is robbery IMO. * Regarding the shows... oh my god were they lame... where do I begin? Let me preface this by saying I think the entertainment cast was really talented and capable - I don't fault the players as much as I fault whoever created those shows and the horrible lip-synching format that made it look like a bad Milli-Vanilli video. There were some live musicians actually playing along with pre-recorded tracks of someone else playing the same instrument - one way or the other please! Some shows were better than others, but the "WIN!" show seemed like a collection of disparate scenes that had been scientifically-calculated to appeal to some standard demographic of ship guests (i.e. 27% like country music so 27% of the show will involve country tunes, 22% are sports fans, so let's do a sports-themed series of bits, then throw in vegas, car racing, and then some middle eastern theme so we can use cool-looking paper streamers and ninjas? WHAT?) And in between all this really bad game show skits? None of it made any sense. The cast was good, but whoever designed the show should be forced to watch it over and over until their head explodes, which should take approximately 3 viewings. * Mutsy, the other comedy guy told actual jokes only about half the time and the other half just pandered to the audience with various uncreative platitudes kissing the asses of every socially-acceptable meme he could come up with from teachers to cops to Saints fans and Christians. Excuse me, how about making us laugh instead of droning on about how teachers, cops, soldiers, firemen and everyone else you can think of are the greatest people ever to walk the planet? And I don't give a rat's ass that you're proud you say "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays". Save that crap for your show at the Branson Travelodge, which should be happening some time next month. * As far as music, what has happened to live music on cruise ships? Granted, I used to play in a band on a cruise ship and we actually played music.. it wasn't horrid half-bands playing to sequenced clips or MIDI scripts. After the first four hours of these two Jamaican guys murdering every Bob Marley song they could think of by making it sound like disco in double time I was ready to hang myself with a guitar string -- a 2-person band that's steel drums and a guy on keyboards? How much money do you need to save? * The guy on acoustic guitar who played around the ship in various places just seemed to be perpetually pissed off and annoyed that people weren't throwing their bras up at him every time he regurgitated the world's worst version of, "The Wind Cries Mary" which he seemed to play every 45 minutes. At one point when he was playing in the atrium bar, he got up, started playing some random bit on piano, then slammed the cover over the keyboard in some kind of childish rage, then he jumped back on his guitar and started playing "Blackbird" where in the middle of the song, he started playing 3x louder and glaring over at the Guest Services people. I later learned that they had complained he was too loud and his response was to become even more obnoxious, much to the horror of those of us watching. I requested Bob Dylan's, "Like A Rolling Stone" in a desperate attempt to find something he might know after he gave me a look of disapproval for requesting anything by "Radiohead", whereupon he proceeded to forget half the song and repeat the second verse ad nauseum. I understand these cruises can completely suck the soul out of any self-respecting artist that comes on board and survives more than a few trips, but this shell of a man wasn't doing himself or the guests any favors with his performances. * The same can be said for the piano bar guy, who, while friendly and capable on his instrument, shared the same horrible disease his acoustic guitar counterpart had of singing in what felt like a different key than what he was playing instrumentally - or shoehorning his pseudo-monotone voice into every song he knew. The piano bar guy took it step further by improvising rhythmically and lyrically with the songs thus ensuring that nobody could actually "sing along" with the "sing along" shows because he had a tendency to re-interpret all the choruses to suit his ego. It was bad. Sorry dude. I wanted to like you but, I have to be honest. * The pictures.. oh my god, the never-ending army of photographers and their continual hawking of overpriced inkjet printings.. I'm sorry that just grated on me. I guess after a few cruises you can block it out or even embrace it but I found it invasive. * The gallery.. if I have to listen to some "curator" wax poetically about some corporate artist as if he's a person of integrity I'm going to scream. I had one guy lie to me about how some Israeli guy invented lenticular art in the 60s... that's interesting considering I'd seen lenticulars from the 30s. I understand the demographic of the typical cruise guest may think Thomas Kinkaid is some kind of awesome artist, but even some of the people on staff admitted they had no respect for that trash they were selling -- that's only after they wondered why I would show up at the events after I said I can't stand the "painter of light" overt exploitation of christians for his own financial gain, they admitted they weren't hot on the dude either but a job is a jobe. I felt sorry as they went through the motions of this "fine art auction" pretending those pieces of "art" were actually going to sell anywhere near where they wanted. They should just rename the art auction as some kind of performance show where people strut around with bad paintings, moving them from one end of the ship to another. I really don't mean to completely bash everything on the ship. I had some fun nights too. But I was much more entertaining by the "anti-entertainment" of how Carnival has corportized everything from photography to music and art and sucked out any real organic meaning to it all. That being said, I might do it again, just for the experience... Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
The good: Boarding the Elation: We got lucky. We arrived about 1:30pm for boarding. The "premium" boarding line was empty so we and others were told by Carnival personnel to use it rather than the regular line. I thought ... Read More
The good: Boarding the Elation: We got lucky. We arrived about 1:30pm for boarding. The "premium" boarding line was empty so we and others were told by Carnival personnel to use it rather than the regular line. I thought check-in and boarding were fairly quick (maybe 20 minutes tops). Kudos there. Our room:Very generously sized, with a King bed for me and my spouse and a "pull down" bed for our 15 y.o. daughter. Beds were comfortable. Bathroom was also quite large and the shower had amazing water pressure. Toiletries in the shower included shampoo and body wash and a basket on the sink had other samples. Plenty to storage space (we over-packed a bit as we didn't know how much dressing up we'd want to do). The t.v. was older and its picture was sometimes fuzzy but that wasn't an issue as we rarely had it on. Steward: Our cabin steward was very good. Our room was tidied twice a day. I don't think he knew our names but he was always very pleasant and left the room in impeccable order. Waiter: Just wonderful. Oswaldo took care of us the few times we used the MDR. He knew our names right away and was so much fun. LOVED his dancing routine (you have to see the waitstaff "perform"!). Adult only pool area: Great. Very comfortable chairs and a much quieter area. We had excellent weather, with a fair amount of sun (a few clouds) and a fairly well behaved crowd of adults around us. Staff kept chairs dry (it rained briefly one day) and the area clean. Pizza: Surprisingly good pizza in the casual dining room (Tiffany's). Had it twice. Romeo and Juliet Lounge: Good band (Erin and the Elation band?). Fun "superstar live" kareoke, in which guests can sing with the band. Daughter (who sings well) really enjoyed this, and we enjoyed the band in general. Erin sang very well! Public areas: Very pretty although a bit smaller than what I had envisioned. Bad: Almost everything else was boring, yucky, or sub-standard, particularly the food. The Main Pool: it is quite small and ice-cold. We barely got in one day. The music on the main pool deck was almost completely "canned," almost no LIVE music at all. The area around it, with the grill restaurant right there, was usually pretty crowded, too. Smoking is permitted in this area so this was sometimes an issue although not too much. MDR: Aside from the wonderful service, we found the food mediocre. Presentation was "nice" but food quality was just not very good. My shrimp cocktail contained "medium" sized shrimp (not large and certainly not jumbo) and only four or five of them. These were "limp" and very lackluster. The tomato and mozzarella salad was fairly gross with pink tomatoes and the most flavorless fresh mozzarella I've ever eaten. The soups were pretty good, however. The chicken breast was was overcooked and rather dry. My spouse said his steak was "okay" and daughter said the pasta was pretty good. The desserts were only okay, too. The cherries jubilee not only was not flamed table-side but tasted like they used canned cherry pie filling. Yuck. The molten chocolate cake tasted like Betty Crocker--no worse, no better. Tiffany's: The high school cafeteria competed pretty well with this place. We tried a couple of meals at the buffet and found the food very bland, fatty, and tasteless. The desserts were similar--cafeteria style and no better. The salad bar was okay, but nothing special. Worse still, there were often lines for pizza and sandwiches (I waited 20 minutes for pizza one day). The dining room was fairly crowded at meal times but not too bad at "off" times. Activities: Not much to do. What they did have wasn't very interesting and a lot of it (as others have noted) was geared toward selling stuff: Art shows, spa products, bingo, casino, etc. A few games and sports areas are on board but are nearly always taken up with kids or teens. The library was only really "open" a few hours a day so its difficult to get extra books or games there. Perhaps worst for us, the O2 teen club was closed a lot of the time and had only a few activities during our time there, despite there being many teens on board who could have used things to do. This really annoyed us as one of the reasons we took the cruise was the much touted O2 club for older teens with "all" it had to offer. Port: Cozumel was okay but highly touristy. Difficult to walk five feet without someone trying to sell you something. Many excursions were available but most seemed to cost more than we wanted to spend for 2-4 hours of fun. Many other tourists, however, had a great time on these shore excursions so don't take my word as gospel. On an up note, we did go to Margaritaville and ate better food than we did the entire cruise (the guacamole was freshly prepared and good). The "ugly": Other guests. Not all of them, of course, and not our tablemates, who were very, very nice. But another reviewer put it well: Carnival is certainly the "Wal-mart" ship and attracts a NOTHING fancy, no-frills crowd. Folks dressed in very sloppy clothes, shuffled along around the ships, talked too loud, and seemed to eat piles of fatty food non-stop. Few looked anything like the crowds I generally pictured as "cruisers." It was an eye-opening experience and not one I want to repeat. Do we regret our cruise? No. The good weather and relaxation on the aft deck was alone probably worth the cost. Will we pick a different line/ship next time? Yes, indeed. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
*EMBARKATION: Easy Parking in new orleans at the port was pricey. I think we paid around $80 but it was convenient when we got off the ship to have our vehicle right there. We boarded the ship around 2pm and it was surprisingly quick and ... Read More
*EMBARKATION: Easy Parking in new orleans at the port was pricey. I think we paid around $80 but it was convenient when we got off the ship to have our vehicle right there. We boarded the ship around 2pm and it was surprisingly quick and easy. There was only one small line at the security check point. *CABIN: To be expected - pay for what you get Main deck, window cabin, king size bed for me and my spouse. Being our sixth cruise, we opted cheap this time because it was a last minute vacation. The TVs are so outdated. We tried to watch multiple movies at night and the picture was so dark. Got excited about seeing the final Harry Potter movie but couldn't make most of it out. :( Would be nice if they put the weather on deck on the TV so you know how to dress. It was a bit more tough since we were traveling in December (we expected cooler weather) but didn't always know what it would be like on deck. *FOOD: Not the greatest BUFFET/GRILL: I've never complained about food on Carnival in the past as they had a variety. This time? I would get irked because we would come for breakfast/lunch around 11am and there would be nothing! We would have to wait around for an hour unless we wanted to eat pizza. Pizza is usually a huge hit with us. Not this time. We would wait in line and each round pizza was 6 minute wait. If you were the fifth person in line... you were going to wait awhile. The staff in the pizza area were so unfriendly! If you wanted pepperoni but they only had cheese, they'd push you to take the cheese. DINING ROOM: The worst dining room experience we have ever had. Our waiter was very pushy and rude. He didn't like to deviate from the menu much. He didn't like to dance (when they actually had entertainment in there). The funniest part is after he'd drop your meal off he would come back and ask how you like it. He asked the people at the next table to us and they were very blunt (hated it). He got so mad!!! It was a bit shocking but so funny. Those people didn't eat in the dining room much after. The waiter had an assistant that was awesome! He was funny, loved to dance, genuinely wanted to get to know everyone, etc... The food and desserts weren't amazing. We left a few times to get pizza after. Late dining sitting so felt we missed out on certain shows. recommend an early seating. MIDNIGHT BUFFET: This was the first cruise we have been on where there were not many midnight buffets. :( In the past we have seen some extravagant chocolate buffets but this time it was during lunch and not impressive. *SAILING: Not smooth The ship rocked from Progresso to Cozumel a lot! It kept us up one night and that's saying something as we could sleep through almost anything. From Cozumel back to Louisiana was also terrible rocking. Our assistant waiter even said there would be no lido deck party due to high winds this time of year. He was right - we didn't go outside at night because they blocked the top decks off. *ENTERTAINMENT/ACTIVITIES: Poor The Casino Vault game had 3 iPads and $500 in cash up for grabs. We kept an eye on the ipads and only one was won. Tough game to win but it drew in the crowds. There were not any shows that grabbed us. I don't know if there is less to do on this ship because of the weather being windy or because it's only 5 days. It was the worst. What they did have wasn't very interesting and a lot of it was geared toward selling stuff: Art shows, spa products, bingo, casino, excursions, photos, etc. A few games and sports areas are on board but are nearly always taken up with kids or teens. The library was only really "open" a few hours a day so its difficult to get extra books or games there. *SAFETY: ? Safety drill was worthless. I couldn't tell you what lifeboat I would go to if I needed to. I can see how Concordia had it's mishap (owned by Carnival). *PORTS: Good and bad We have been to Progreso previously. It is one of the worst ports of call I have been to so we didn't leave the ship this time. We actually laid out in the Serenity adult area and just observed the water. Want to know why we hated Progreso? You take a stanky bus for a bit to get to the town. Once in town they drop you off where people haggle you to buy crappy stuff. If you go to Progreso, maybe take an excursion. Cozumel is always a good experience. We get off of the boat and rent a Jeep in town for about $120. We have done this twice and we just go see the island. If we see something we think is cool, we pull off. On the other side of the island there are places to swim that are beautiful. Granted, the water was a bit more rough in December but the weather was beautiful! Most of the excursions that are offered onboard the ship can be done once you are in town. *DISEMBARKATION: Quickest I've ever experienced but they barely looked at my passport in customs. We opted to carry our own luggage off and were off the ship and driving home by 9am. If we would have left our bags outside our door the night before we would have been part of group #21 to get off after those who want to carry their own. *WORD TO THE WISE: Brought two 12-packs of plain and diet Cola onboard. Wise decision as it saved us money. Water in our cabin was icky so we would only get water in the buffet area. Carry your own bags off. Don't check them the night before. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
I have been on 2 cruises. The first was out of Galveston and it was in May. I traveled with 11 people, 6 children, 5 adults. We drove down from Nebraska. I remember the crew members, maitre di's, the bartenders, everyone being super, ... Read More
I have been on 2 cruises. The first was out of Galveston and it was in May. I traveled with 11 people, 6 children, 5 adults. We drove down from Nebraska. I remember the crew members, maitre di's, the bartenders, everyone being super, super friendly and helpful. They had smiles for everyone and would go out of their way to help or to say hi. I remember the food being excellent, the steak thick and juicy, and there was always food available. I remember the guests being happy and smiling and just a great groove on the entire ship. That was in 2010 on the ecstasy. The ship I just debarked was the elation and it sadly did not compare to the ecstasy. The food was bland, tough and dry. The steaks were always cut at 1/4 inch thick. That's right, a quarter of an inch. Maybe I am just a spoiled Nebraskan in the heart of cattle country and maybe new Orleans simply has their steaks made lke that. In comparison to a ship leaving out of glaveston, Texas another cattle state that would have known to keep the steak thick and juicy. The baked potatoes were always dry and hard. I was hungry on a cruise ship. Even the hamburgers were dry and bland. I lived on the mashed potatoes and cheese. The waiters on the ecstasy were knowledgeable whenever we asked questions about the food on the menu, but when we had questions about the food on the elation we got blank stares and no opinions or answers. We got nothing. Our tablemates asked how fresh the lobster was and the waiter just stared at her. If anything, he could have just said he is not sure but it is delicious or say something, anything. Our tablemate finally said, 'I guess that means its not good so I won't get the lobster. The crew in general seemed disheartened and sad. (Like I said, maybe its the time of year and Xmas being so close and far from their families) whenever we engaged the crew in conversation, they were always personable and suddenly became very chatty and friendly. Its like they were waiting for permission to talk. We overheard one of the security guards tell the buffet crew to shut down the buffet. The kitchen crew responded that it wasn't 6 yet. The guard barked with 'I don't care. Shut it down anyway.' The ecstasy the guards smiled and would sit down wit h y daughter and were quite friendly. The guards on the elation walked the ship with frowns and paced back and forth. They made us feel nervous. Was the a reason they were pacing the ship? Was there alot of crime onboard? Should I be worried about my safety? The guards wouldn't help with any information. The stewards would always say hi and were super duper friendly. The camp carnival was nice and remembered Josie. The stewards also knew and remembered each of our names. The spa people were amazing. We did a couples massage and the girls were so wonderful. The fun force team was hilarious. Loved them! If I had known the food was going to be so difficult to eat, I would brought more of my own food to eat. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
Carnival Elation out of New Orleans, LA, December 22-26, 2011 I am a 43 yr old male traveling with wife and three grown children, 16-23 yrs of age, as well as in-laws and 88 year old grandmother. Party of 8. THE CRUISE and SHIP - ... Read More
Carnival Elation out of New Orleans, LA, December 22-26, 2011 I am a 43 yr old male traveling with wife and three grown children, 16-23 yrs of age, as well as in-laws and 88 year old grandmother. Party of 8. THE CRUISE and SHIP - The worst part of the trip was the typically cool to warm food served in the evening dining room. I like my food temperature HOT. The food was good. The food was cooked. The food was NOT hot. This issue was logistical. That being said, if the only real complaint I have on a full capacity holiday cruise is "cold food" then I think I'm doing pretty well. It certainly appeared EVERYONE went to the sit down dinners on this cruise. The wait staff was attentive and friendly. They were also BUSY. Robert and Iryna were both a pleasure to see in the evenings. After interacting with them for two nights, I came away wishing they did not have to serve us, but could sit down with us instead. That pretty much sums it up. Hope to see them again as I plan to keep cruising. I dressed up each night and enjoyed it. I have a business job, so coat and tie are pretty standard for me. People who did not want to dress up did not, but they still wore tasteful attire. Blue jeans and a clean Tee-shirt can be tasteful, and many displayed this type of dress every evening. There were two passengers who wore attire into the dining room which I considered, well... GROSS. Otherwise, I was not bothered. This cruise had 800 +/- children on it. It never was an issue or nuisance to me. I believe on two occasions I observed what I would consider behavior where a parent would have intervened if present, and these were not major issues by any means. Kids just having fun really... We had an interior cabin on the Empress Deck just down from the lobby. I felt the ship move the entire time we were sailing. I never experienced any motion sickness, but I was not in one place for very long other than sleeping. I did not take any medication but had Bonine on standby. The cabin and bed was comfortable, but strangely enough we had an ADA room. My wife and I do not happen to be physically challenged so it must have been because we wanted rooms next to our children and family members. No difference really except for slightly wider doors, a missing drawer in the vanity and a fold down seat in the shower. The Elation is considered a relatively older ship in the Carnival fleet. The crew's words, not mine. It looked awesome! They cleaned non-stop. I'm very aware of the affects water has on anything man-made and this ship did not look "old". My background is in mechanical engineering and practices and I was impressed in the fit and finish of the vessel. For a thrill I recommend taking a night stroll over the bridge on the walkway accessible from the Lido deck. From the main lobby forward the Lido deck is not lit, including the walkway over the bridge. I'm assuming this is so the crew can have decent night vision. As we cruised through constant 4-6 foot waves into the pitch blackness of the Gulf of Mexico, I would perform this walk every night. I'm not particularly squeamish but that nightly thrill took my breath away. It was downright scary and fun! If you are the continental breakfast type, I recommend ordering on the pre-printed room service forms in the cabin and have it delivered. You can then either stay in your cabin and eat, or take your prepared tray of food to anywhere on the ship you like, all while skipping the Lido deck. Two things I read in virtually all reviews was that Carnival pizza and hamburgers are really good. The pizza was a six minute wait AT ALL TIMES. It was OK, but HOT. The burger I had was very dry. More "fixins" would be nice. Gambling in the casino was nice. My mother-in-law won $500, but no telling how much she wagered. I'm not a big gambler, but I thought the machines were "tight". I did enjoy playing Caribbean Stud poker and will do it again. Minimum bet at the tables was $5 which may seem steep for someone who does not gamble. I thought it was. The big hit was the brand new "Casino Vault" game which featured 3 i-Pad2's plus $500 in cash up for grabs as well as cash prizes. I put $60 in this machine, then watched the guy behind me win the only i-Pad of the cruise two turns later. Like I said... I don't like to gamble. Flat screen TV's would be nice in the cabins. I always had the "ship's position" channel on, but it was blurry. Hopefully this update to the ship is in the not too distant future. Fitness center and the associated locker rooms were really nice for the ships age. It surprised me how many people work out on a cruise. My son used the facilities frequently. Saw the end of one "Liar's Club" show. It was pretty funny, but I felt I could get tired of the "characters" quickly. Trivia was a joke. It could be so much more, but the person who did it on our cruise made it lame. She went off on a lot of tangents and even took a phone call during the game. We showed up for TV trivia and were going to stay through '80's music trivia, which I aimed to win. There was a "problem" with the CD so the music trivia was replaced with Christmas trivia. We left. I walked by 30 minutes later and 80's trivia was being presented to 4-5 people. I'm guessing the CD "problem" was operator malfunction of the PA system. The safe in the cabin was FREE, however I used to sail and sign card to open it only to find the instructions INSIDE the safe telling me to use another card. I had to have the safe reset by Gusti, our room steward. He was very attentive. Bring non-iron, wrinkle free or pressed clothing with you. Although not necessary, I asked about an iron and was informed I would have to go the ironing station. They are not allowed in the rooms. Bathrobes! Thought they were great. I found it entertaining when people wore them to the Lido deck and other places. Some were tasteful and others were not, but I would have done it to if given the opportunity. The BLT from room service at 1:30 in the morning was pretty good. Temperature in the rooms was not controlled by guests. There was a slight adjustment on the overhead vent, but after a shower it was flat humid in the room. Pulling to Cozumel and back into New Orleans, it felt like the "HVAC" system was completely off and it got pretty stuffy. I resorted to cooling off with cold water in the shower before finishing. This helped avoid sweating while dressing for dinner somewhat. Ice water came in handy as well. Beware if you do not like to sweat in nice clothes. PHOTOS - We had many taken and I would have bought every one of them for a reasonable price. $5 per seemed fair. They wanted $19 an up for the majority of them so we didn't buy a single one. I heard rumors' of "half off" at the end of the trip but did not check since I had thrown all of ours away anyway. This portion of the cruise could be greatly improved. I hope the transition to digital photography viewing and purchasing happens soon. Carnival touts it's environmental record. The massive waste of photo paper is definitely an area to look at. NEW ORLEANS -- First time to NOLA. Loved it. Our party of 8 took mass transit everywhere except for our return coach ride to the airport after the cruise. $3 each got us a bus ride and transfer to our hotel two blocks from the cruise port. The hotel was reasonable accommodations for $90 a night. We rode the three major trolley cars lines as much as we wanted for an additional $3 per person. Everyone was friendly. The prices were very reasonable throughout the city. NOLA definitely wants to attract visitors. If you have not been, I highly recommend. Took a short stroll down Bourbon Street, saw the French market, did the River Walk. Missed the WWII museum but wanted to go. Maybe when I hit a Mardi Gras in the future... COZUMEL -- We did not do an excursion but I would feel comfortable booking one through an independent vendor. My wife and I are booked on the Magic in April 2012 and have a private excursion booked. Christmas Eve in Cozumel was wonderful. The ships lined up at the ports were cool. Horn battle when leaving was great. Shopping is all we did for a couple of hours off the boat. My daughters maximized their time off the boat and came back later than the rest of us. I did not feel insecure letting them do this. THE WRAP UP -- Heck yes! I would do it again, and I will in a couple of months. My wife and I will be on the Magic for a 7 day cruise. FYI. Leaving from New Orleans added a whole layer to the trip. There were plenty of planes, trains and automobiles and it kept me hopping. I actually lost a little over four pounds. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
My review is late but I am planning an Alaskan cruise for 2013 and I am relying on this website even more now than I did back when we did our first cruise on Elation Dec 26th to Dec 31st. We were a group of 10 doing a family reunion with ... Read More
My review is late but I am planning an Alaskan cruise for 2013 and I am relying on this website even more now than I did back when we did our first cruise on Elation Dec 26th to Dec 31st. We were a group of 10 doing a family reunion with ages from 21 to 67. I didn't find anything in disrepair and the ship was lovely and decorated nicely. I saw nothing unclean at all. It's definitely more of a "young" crowd in everything on Elation from decor to nightlife. We had a wonderful cruise. We were mostly first-time cruisers except for a few veterans in the bunch. We were limited on dates and the Elation out of New Orleans was our only logistical choice. Pre-cruise: we all stayed at Drury Inn just off Bourbon street. GREAT hotel - free dinner, easy walk to Bourbon street, but parking was not free. We all drove personal cars from ATL and Texas so we just drove the 9 blocks down to cruise terminal. Parking was easy since we got there early and porters for luggage worked great. Embark-Disembark: We had booked a suite and paid for all rooms on one credit card so we had some special perks as a whole group. We got there at 10:30 am and we were on board by 11:30 - we the first ones on board. It was foggy and drizzly so we didn't stay out too much at sail away. It was sold out ship and if we didn't have priority boarding, there probably would have been some lengthy waits. Tip on disembark: if you choose to self disembark, you can get up VERY early and leave the ship as early as 6:30 am (I think) even though the instructions probably say 7:30 am or so. We were through customs faster than you can blink at that time. We were the first on the ship and the first off the ship. No one ever questioned our baggage or opened anything at all during embark or disembark. Cabin-Grand Suite was BIG. We were able to easily entertain and seat all 10 of us in the suite before dinner for cocktails. Weather was not very warm so we didn't use the nice balcony as much as I hoped. Balcony is a bit smallish. Bed was comfy and the bathroom was nice. I peaked at the ocean view and interior rooms of the others in our party. No one had any complaints about their rooms. Food-Overall it was very good. We ordered multiples of many things and our wonderful dinner wait staff didn't even blink. It was a crowded ship so services wasn't perfect but they were very good. The chocolate melting cake is really spectacularly good! Trust me. But..very filling. None of the main dining room dinners disappointed us, but some of the Lido items were just so so. Many desserts looked nice but were bland. But hey - it's a buffet for 2,000 people. No matter what - there was plenty of food 24/7, just be prepared for long lines. We got the soda cards and they are worth it if you don't want to drink cocktails all the time. Drinks were EXPENSIVE but probably no more so than any other cruise lines. We also plenty of our own booze on board and snuck out in cups and such while we walked around the ship. Casino-we all enjoyed it more than I thought we would and a few in our party did pretty good at black jack tables and roulette. Ports-Cozumel was GREAT, but a bit cool. We all split up - some shopped and loved it. Some hung out at bars and loved it. I did Nachi Cocum with DH and we LOVED it. One did the ATV adventure and loved it. Two did the snorkeling and part was cancelled due to weather and the snorkeling portion was pretty chilly. Progresso - ICK. We were bombarded with peddlers immediately - Cozumel was respectfully tame compared to Progresso - very aggressive and ANNOYING. Carnival - you should put a STOP to that. It really deters from enjoying what little we did while walking around. The public bathrooms were AWFUL. if you did not tip, NO toilet paper, and in some cases, NO ENTRY even without making a fuss. I'm not kidding. I heartily recommend either purchasing a Carnival sponsored excursion or just staying on the ship - do not venture out otherwise in Progresso. However, some in our party didn't have the same experience and found some out of the way shops they liked. Two of our party did the ruins tour and really liked it. I think if we did the Carnival sponsored beach party, we would have liked it because it looked like peddlers were banned from that private beach by wire, chain link fence. Entertainment- OK - not bad, but not great. I didn't care for the one show we saw (it was NOT the "Rock" show - I wish we could have seen that one.) We really did enjoy the karaoke and piano bar the most and the karaoke winners performed in the show on the last night. That was fun. I hear there was plenty of night life for the younger 20-something crowd after us old farts went to bed at about midnight. Miscellaneous-Professional pictures were insanely expensive and we plopped down a truckload of money on them. We should have WAITED until the last day - there were specials them for package deals. I found the ship layout kind of wacky in that you were rarely able to walk from end to end on the same level without having to go down stairs one level and back up. Odd, but we really didn't mind it. We just got a little lost sometimes. I don't think I would do this cruise again simply because I would choose a warmer itinerary in late December at a Florida departure instead. However, based solely on the ship, I would cruise the Elation again. It was fine for us, but we are easy to please. We are not using Carnival for Alaska in 2013 simply because they don't offer the itinerary I want. Plus, Carnival is great if you want to please all ages because there is a lot of night life and "zany" happenings. However, in Alaska, it will just be DH and myself and we are 'mature' cruisers - dare I say it...seniors - oh no! We care more about quiet and port excursion choices and much less about entertainment. 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Sail Date: December 2011
I had read lots of reviews to try to get acquainted with what we needed, what to do and how to do it. It all was helpful. We arrived to New Orleans a day ahead as I didn't want to risk not getting there in time to board due to ... Read More
I had read lots of reviews to try to get acquainted with what we needed, what to do and how to do it. It all was helpful. We arrived to New Orleans a day ahead as I didn't want to risk not getting there in time to board due to unforeseen circumstances. We stayed at the La Quinta in GRETNA!! Clean not fancy at all but staff very nice and helpful. It literally is about 5-10 minutes to the French Quarter and to the Port. I would definitely recommend it if you are looking for a one or 2 night stay before or after your cruise and don't want to spend a lot of money. It also has free parking. You can park your vehicle here while you cruise also and take a taxi to the port. (about $17 for taxi one way for 4) we did choose to just park at the port since we are a family of 5 and would have had to have a van taxi which is more like $25 plus tip, etc. and then a taxi back. It would have saved us a little bit of money but knowing that when we got off the ship we were getting in our vehicle and headed home was more appealing. Upon arrival at the port, everyone is very helpful and friendly and you move thru the stages quite quickly. Security was similar to the airport and easy to get thru. Check in, getting sail and sign card and welcome aboard pic all easy and smooth......We arrived about 11:45 am to the port. We boarded, went to the Lido deck for lunch and walked around. They said our rooms would be ready by 1:30 and they were. Our luggage was there by 5 all of it which was nice. We departed late and everything seemed to be running a bit late because of that. Not a big deal really though. Because it was New Year's Eve they did not have a meet and greet. I think this may have changed the way people interacted a bit. We really didn't meet a lot of people on this cruise. Our kids that attended the camp carnivals (Circle C and O2) did though. We also had anytime dining so we didn't have dining mates either...which was good and bad. Our room...everyone warned us it would be small and it was!! However not a big deal for us as we usually vacation in our pop up camper. Plus, we didn't book this trip to spend time in our cabin. Our room was always clean and our beds turned down each night while we were at dinner. A family of 5 can fit in an interior state room. 2 beds fold down from the walls a trundle bed under one and the other 2 twins make into a king under the other. USE the space under the bed to store suitcases. The vanity in the bathroom was plenty big for all of our bathroom items. I did buy a mesh shower bag thing that hangs over the shower head to hold those items. It worked well. I had seen a post about bringing suction cups to help hang items to dry...didn't work due to little tiles so no suction. There is not a shower rod so hanging wet items is a bit tricky and as stated in previous posts it takes forever for stuff to dry in the bathroom. Speaking of the bathroom, I found it to be bigger than I expected. There is only one outlet so the advice about a plug in strip would have been nice if you have multiple items that you need to charge. We did not have the strip and it worked out but would have been nice. The irons are in the laundrette (on the Elation that is floor 6 near room 152). There was not a hairdryer in the room but I think you can ask for one?? We made due without it which is fine. The beds we found to be quite comfortable. Because you do not have any sunlight into the room, it is easy to sleep the day away. We set an alarm after the first morning just to stir us so we didn't sleep away the day. The ship itself. It was beautiful. This was our first cruise and we were impressed with the ship and the decorations. The staff is friendly and outgoing. We saw a few things that weren't "new" but for the age of the ship it was in good condition. The tile in the baths is really dates it. Again, everything was clean at all times. The food. We were always able to find food we liked. When you see people say there is nothing good to eat...I have to wonder just how picky are they?? There is chicken fingers/strips--my kids were happy!! Hamburgers, buffets most of the time, pizza and 24 hour ice cream--my kids were very happy with that. We were able to try different dishes and always found something we liked. Not everything was absolutely delicious but you will not ever go hungry!! We had anytime dining which we liked. We didn't stand in line and only waited once to be seated. We really liked our first waiter and assistant waiter and requested them each night. Conrad and Paul were fantastic. Conrad asked our names on the first night and called us by them every time after that. Even the bar waiter knew us and our names. It really adds to the service you receive!! Drinks were good but pricey! Remember that the price may be $7.25 but you then add the 15% gratuity to that. The soda card was a good buy! We did bring our 2 bottles of wine on the ship! The entertainment. It was good. The ship is lacking in specific entertainment for those 18-20 year olds in our opinion. There is the camp carnival for the younger kids, the Circle C and O2 for the others. Our kids really enjoyed the clubs but our 18 year old was a bit lost. I am wondering if there had been the meet and greet would he have had a chance to meet some more kids his age? He spent the first 2 nights hanging out with us and then the last 3 with his sister who drug him into the 15-17 club and they would hang out all over the ship. Our kids really enjoyed the freedom to do what they wanted when they wanted. The games they do play were good and funny. Wish there would have been more outdoor games. All the trivia games were in the Great Gasby lounge area. You should not be bored at night...there are many options between karaoke, disco, shows, the piano bar and the casino. The shows were good...our favorite, WIN and the Legends show. Those were really good. We hit rough seas 2 nights in a row so WIN was actually cancelled. They made the shows up though on the last night which was great!! They put on one heck of a New year's party. They had a countdown at 10:45 in the atrium with a balloon drop at 11 for people who wanted to get to bed early and then another countdown on the Lido at 11:45 and a party after. Our excursions--we did not use Carnival to do these. In Progresso, get off the boat, take the free shuttle bus to the drop off market, get off the bus and talk to Raul who is holding up a $15 sign. If you want to see a small ruin,the salt flats, pink flamingos in the wild and a private beach for a few hours, this is the man to see. We had a tour guide and then for an extra $10 between the 2 families in the van, we stayed at the beach for an extra hour. We stopped in Cozumel...again we had booked on our own but because of the rough seas and high winds all water activities were cancelled. We ended up renting these little buggies and did a jungle tour and then to a private beach. It was a lot of fun. We also introduced our kids to taxi drivers in Mexico--they are crazy!! Debarkation--if you can maneuver your luggage--definitely recommend keeping it and self assist off on the last day. They dismissed those self assists first and we were off the boat by 8:15. The luggage for those who had put it out the night before wasn't even ready yet. Customs was simple! Whenever you get off the boat--you must have your sail and sign card and a photo id. You will need your sail and sign card when you get off at debarkation!! All in all we had a good time and would go again. Remember to take your BONINE...it works great! We saw lots of people on the last night since it was calm who said they wish they had known about that. Those 2 rough nights were rough and the crew said that is definitely not the norm. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
My travel agent's advice for Carnival of "set your expectations low so you won't be disappointed" didn't work for the Conquest because I simply couldn't have set me expectations low enough! Our kids ... Read More
My travel agent's advice for Carnival of "set your expectations low so you won't be disappointed" didn't work for the Conquest because I simply couldn't have set me expectations low enough! Our kids really wanted to cruise during Christmas break, and our options were very limited by the school schedule. The Conquest had what seemed to be the best itinerary for our dates, so we took our chances. We previously cruised on the Carnival Freedom, a sister ship, in the Mediterranean, and that turned out to be a pleasant surprise. No such luck on the Conquest. The cabins will make you think of a run-down Holiday Inn. The food quality resembles Denny's. Add to that management that couldn't operate a Dairy Queen, and you have the Conquest. In fairness, there were some good points...our cabin steward was outstanding, the public areas of the ship were satisfactory, and the shows were actually pretty good. What really ruined this cruise was the crew, as a whole. Poor attitudes prevailed, and you sensed that the crew (even the ship's officers) had no interest in being on the boat or serving customers. The formal dining room staff serving our table was abysmal...incredibly slow, hard to find if you needed something, and they messed up orders repeatedly. The food was sometimes cold when it finally got to our table, and even when it was hot, it was usually sub-par. Carnival's signature chocolate melting cake arrived un-melted on two occasions. We finally abandoned the dining room after a few days and ate in the buffet, but it wasn't really better except for not having to wait for food. Food quality was of course the same, but most tables were routinely covered with dirty dishes. When the wait staff did clean a table, whatever was on the table top ended up on the chairs. They didn't even bother trying getting it on the floor, much less pick it up. Restaurant management was rarely seen. An even bigger disappointment was Carnival's failure to handle the logistics of getting passengers in/out of ports at Belize and Progreso (see my reviews for these ports). Overall, the kids had an OK time, which is good since the trip was really for them. However, even they recognized that Carnival is sub-par. We have cruised on Celebrity, Princess and RCCL from many ports around the world, and our previous Carnival experience in Europe was actually pretty good. Maybe other Carnival ships are better, but people we met in ports who were traveling on the Dream and the Magic with a similar cruising history to ours had similarly negative comments about both ships. The fact that there was no guest satisfaction survey for departing passengers said it all...Carnival doesn't care about your cruising experience. You won't find us on Carnival again. Read Less
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