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28 Carnival Houston Cruise Reviews

The Carnival Magic had very poor entertainment. One person was the MC and he was boring. Jokes were bad and you couldn't understand what he was saying half the time! The food was fair and the portions were so small that you would ... Read More
The Carnival Magic had very poor entertainment. One person was the MC and he was boring. Jokes were bad and you couldn't understand what he was saying half the time! The food was fair and the portions were so small that you would have to order multiple dishes just to get a few spoons full! The Ahi Tuna appetizer was a joke! It was1 inch x 1/2 inch in the middle of a plate! They only offer you coffee or lemonade for meals at the buffet. I got acid reflux and it went into my lungs and caused a very bad infection and bronchitus. We didn't do any trips because I was sick all the time. All we did was go ashore and come back. All I saw were the ports! I had to go to the doctor and have breathing treatments every day. When I got home I was sick for 6 weeks. The insurance they sell is a joke. You have to get your other insurances at home to write a letter saying that you aren't covered for the drugs and medical care. Only problem medicare doesn't write notes and neither does Silverscript a medicare insurance. So how do you get the money back? The lines getting to the ship were not organized. Many of the staff would not put up the flag for the next in line until they felt like it. I have been on other cruises more organized. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We cruised out of houston port spring break. For those of you that dont know worst time to cruise is in march, because if their is fog they can cancel your cruise. Houston of port, first thing you need to know is you drive up drop your ... Read More
We cruised out of houston port spring break. For those of you that dont know worst time to cruise is in march, because if their is fog they can cancel your cruise. Houston of port, first thing you need to know is you drive up drop your bags off, then drive to your designated parking lot and take a shuttle back. If you are a visabled pet, they will let you park for free. This will save you about 80.oo dollars, you get this pass from a small trailer in the parking area. The port itself was very busy which was expected due to spring break,however it went pretty smoothly. Now carnival magic, the room we stayed in was a balcony stateroom #8436, its a very descent size for upto 4 adults so dont waste your Money on a suite. The roo.M was clean and smoke free. Houskeeping employee were great, they knew everyone of my families names. Here's our experience, all the stores are oten closed on the day you visit other ports, if you need extra sunscree or tyn tylenol your screwed. If you get it the night before its an extorsion price wise. I was going to purchase 1 small 24 ct of tylenol and a bottle of nyquil, they wanted 29.99. The biggest irritation is the first day we boarded the ship none of the shops were opene until 5 or 6 pm. If you arent a big pool hugger, then expect to be board until around 6 pm. The shows they did have were entertaining But very limited. we like two of them and one comedian taking about his experience with his kids. The next is the food. If you dont want to dress up or wait for your dining time, expect to live off of hamburgers, pizza and hotdogs, theses are the only two areas that are consistently open. Yet they rave about the limited amount of food they have on the ship. The omlettes were also great, the rest nothing to brag about. Expect the lemonaide and orange juice to be watered down and to live off the icecream there because the desserts are horrible, even the cruise director agreed with me on that. The cooks use to many substitutions to cut costs. An example, i was excited ro see they had cheese cake, i ended up getting some cheese cake pudding mixture. The cookies were never fresh and the other desserts always have weird crap in them. They need cakes like costco has. The fruit is great and plentiful,yet again not available after 4 or 5 pm. The casino sucks, dont expect to get any free drinks until you earn 1500 points which is somewhere beween 500 and 700 dollars. Then when you get excited because you earned the free drinks they will only give you one every 15 minutes, and it has to be for you not your spouse. Since i am not a big alcohol drinker i found it to be annoying. The slots consist of more 7 games, the smoking is horrible, they do a lousy job at dividing smokers from non smokerd, dont expect to even get a free coke. The cheapest black jack table you will find is 6 dollars a hand and roulette is 10 dollars a hand. I addresses this with the manager but he felt they did have a great selection of slots. Not you can expect like 7-10 of the same slots, that are worth playing. Very limited bonus games, and seriously it took us until the 7th night to earn even 20 percent of our funds back. Every couple we talked to said the entertainment was limited. We were first time cruisers but many gets felt the carnival trimumph was ten times better. I was recommended by others to use norwegian or royal carribean if i ever cruised again. The islands we ported at were: jamacia which is like a little a poor mexico, you have people pulling on you trying to get your business, very annoying, my family could not get back on the ship fast enough. Expect to get ripped off if you want transported somewhere. We payed a guy 40 bucks to take us snorkeling, where seriously the place was a dump and we did not see one fish. He also toom us to some store that marketed marijunna products, his reason was because they had a great look out from on top of their building, yet after we purchase a couple of t shirts we noticed the store manager logging down credit for the driver. My belief was for marijunna, because the driver had a huge pot leaf sticker on his window. Very nice driver but we definitly got ripped off. Grand cayman island wasnt bad, except we stood out line for over an hour in the humidity and heat waiting to be transported back to our ship. Cozumel was by far the best. We had a great tour guide he took us around the entire island. I would definitly return to cozumel. Lasly, if you book any shore excursions on the cruise ship read the fine print. We booked an atv excursion and found out you needed a drivers liscense which my soon didnt have, another lady wanted to have her daughter swim with thd dolphins and sting rays but she couldnt because she had to be 12. Since my family spent 2200 for the cruise and 1600 for our tickets and another 1000 on board just to be entertained with alcohol and slots very very disappointing. Save your hard earned money for soemething better. Oh and buby the way graututities are not mandatory that 82 dollars they charge you per guest you can refuse to pay. I got a full refund after i seen a break down of where that money goes. We ended up tipping our housekeepers 60 dollars and keeping the rest. They are the only ones that truly worked their buns off on the ship. My advise cruise another cruise line if you cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
It has been years since we went on a Carnival cruise, but we liked the itinerary and have friends we wanted to visit in Texas. We've always had a good time on Carnival in the past but as we got older we weren't sure about the ... Read More
It has been years since we went on a Carnival cruise, but we liked the itinerary and have friends we wanted to visit in Texas. We've always had a good time on Carnival in the past but as we got older we weren't sure about the party reputation. We we're happily surprised with the result. The ship was spotless, the crew very friendly and helpful, the food was above average with the exception of one night. The rooms were very nice and well cared for. We spent a lot of evening time in the piano bar as they had a very good entertainer in addition to the pub entertainment. The main entertainment on the ship was a bit stale, we enjoyed other cruise lines entertainment better. They have upgraded their shore excursions, prices were reasonable on many, and even though we normally don't use ship excursions we did take one to Xunatunich and was glad we did, since it was far away and we made the very last shuttle. I was surprised at the amount of school age children on board even though school was in session in most places, but they have the kids areas away from the adult areas which was appreciated. The main pool had many kids but there is an adult deck with hot tubs and low level music which was very enjoyable. We did like the layout of the public areas of the ship, it is much improved over their older ships. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
This was a family vacation with 8 of us so I realize we are not all going to be happy all the time. I have cruised NCL and RCL the others have never cruised. Embarkation was easy, quick and accommodating, I recommend a passport, do not ... Read More
This was a family vacation with 8 of us so I realize we are not all going to be happy all the time. I have cruised NCL and RCL the others have never cruised. Embarkation was easy, quick and accommodating, I recommend a passport, do not bring your birth certificate if you do not have to in the end on debarkation it just caused problems. To anyone who is considering the "Liquor Program" each person in the cabin over 21 MUST pay for the program even if they do not drink. I understand why they do this but it is a bad set up if one of you is not a drinker. I had cruised some time ago and was very disappointed there are no more midnight buffets. Dining room was highly disappointing, meals were better at the buffet and the wait staff even told us on 2 nights to be prepared for bad service because they were short handed. Food was mediocre at best. Thanksgiving was horrible. I know it is an American holiday but when 90% of your cruisers are American, a slice of turkey on a plate is NOT acceptable. The "entertainment" by the wait staff used to be all sorts of action but now they stand and sing to you, ok still pleasant. There is little to do in the evenings for tweens/teens that do not want to participate in the kids clubs. This cruise line needs to try and get staff to know about other areas of the ship. If you asked staff about locations of events or food and drink if it was not there area they were of little to no help. The spa people kept telling us were had to pay to use the Serenity area, finally day 5 we realized they were wrong and we could use this area. Bartenders were in short supply and fairly rude. Seemed the line was just not prepared, understaffed, public restrooms were not clean and some in disrepair. We signed up for snorkeling in Key West, the weather was so bad, people were ill and the people running the excursion cancelled the other ones for that day and the next, we should have gotten a refund. Key West if you have never been is BEAUTIFUL and I would have been good just staying there. The cruise line never docked in Freeport due to weather, that was disappointing, Nassau is almost not worth getting off the boat for unless you go to Atlantis or just want to spend money at the shops. Over all we were together as a family and enjoyed ourselves, would we go on this line again no, this ship, no cruise again, yes, with teens, no. Our cabin was interior and it was plenty of room of the little time we were really in the cabin. The room steward was terrific he was on top of everything and super nice. The movies at night were nice. Track and gym very nice, laundry expensive, my teens insisted on washing their favorite items; irons are at a premium on dress night so use them early.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
As an experienced cruiser with probably 40 plus different cruise experiences I was disappointed in the Magic. I had not been back on a Carnival ship for almost Five years because I was very disappointed in that cruise compared to what was ... Read More
As an experienced cruiser with probably 40 plus different cruise experiences I was disappointed in the Magic. I had not been back on a Carnival ship for almost Five years because I was very disappointed in that cruise compared to what was being offered on RCL / NCL / Princess. I was lured back because of a basically free cruise offer. I totally got my money worth out of the cruise. I felt everything about the cruise had its good and bad parts. With a little effort this cruise could of rated with my best ever. Problem was it always fell short because of what I consider poor management. On the plus side there was: 1) Ship - One of the most beautiful ships I have ever been on. Problem was they did not utilize their facilities properly. Main show room was rarely utilized but smaller venues (particularly comedy clubs) were too small. Tried to go to several of these and found that unless you showed up a hour in advance it was impossible to get in. Suggested to staff that they could of held these in main showroom as it wasn't occupied and was told they could not due this due to drink waiters not being available. 2) Entertainment staff on most part was excellent. Never saw the staff work so hard. Problem was other than the Green Frog People and comedy people the hired featured acts were terrible. Never saw anyone at the piano bar center court or even main court as the country group was so poor. Both the Magic show and juggler specialty shows were among the worst I have ever seen. It was so bad and the crowd so small at the Juggler show that he turned to insulting people as they left. This was the best part of his show. 3) Food - thought the Breakfast and lunch were great really. Liked the Brunch, BBQ, Indian food, sandwich / fifth deck food. Main lunch line was terrible as it was over crowded and of poor quality. Dinner buffet was even worse. Lines were always closed just when large crowds formed. Dinners were of considerably lower quality than any other cruise line I have ever sailed (they made even NCL food look good). Ate at both the Italian specialty restaurant and Red Frog felt they were well worth the additional expense. Felt like the dining room schedule was set up for the servers to get their rest and not for us the customer. Probably will not take another carnival cruise again unless they want to give me another free one. Will stay with RCL / princess as their food is far superior and entertainment is almost as good.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
The Oct. 18th sailing was my 2nd time on the Ecstasy and 10th Carnival sailing. As usual, Carnival gave me a good vacation and a very good value for my money. I did not arrive at the Bayport Terminal until 11:30 and it was quite congested ... Read More
The Oct. 18th sailing was my 2nd time on the Ecstasy and 10th Carnival sailing. As usual, Carnival gave me a good vacation and a very good value for my money. I did not arrive at the Bayport Terminal until 11:30 and it was quite congested as the ship was three hours late in arriving. There was a line to get into the terminal and even a longer line to get through security. I was disappointed with embarkation as I should have been in the 1st group to board after the Bridal Party but this didn't happen. When I finally stepped onto the ship, I proceeded to my cabin and found it clean, cool and comfortable. I was surprised and a little disappointed that the muster drill took so long. What should have taken 15-20 minutes took 45 minutes. I had late seating in the Windstar Dining Room and my dining room team were very friendly and efficient throughout the cruise. I found the food to be very good, for the most part, with the prime rib on the 2nd night excellent. Good entertainment throughout the ship on this sailing as well. I did not do any shore excursions as I've been to Cozumel many times and this was my 3rd time to Progreso. I found the quality of the food on the Lido Deck to be good to very good and tried something different every day. The cheeseburgers and deli sandwiches were two of my favorites. Very good service from my cabin steward and his assistant who brought me extra ice every day. I was disappointed with debarkation. I should have been the 1st group off the ship but at least two other groups were debarking at the same time. The lines at customs were disorganized. There were no lines separating U.S. Citizens from Non-U.S. Citizens so it took much longer to clear customs than it should have. Fortunately, Carnival will be moving both of their ships back to Galveston this coming weekend; and I look forward to sailing on the Conquest Nov. 30th. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
Our trip started out well. We arranged a flyin/cruise package with the Springhill Suites. We arrived at Hobby, got picked up, spent the night, had a good breakfast, a quick rest and than Coach USA sent a private driver to pick us up at the ... Read More
Our trip started out well. We arranged a flyin/cruise package with the Springhill Suites. We arrived at Hobby, got picked up, spent the night, had a good breakfast, a quick rest and than Coach USA sent a private driver to pick us up at the hotel. Bayport Cruise Terminal is a 81 million dollar joke. It is in the middle of nowhere, has very little parking and thank goodness we had a driver or we would have never found it. It is too small for even a small ship like the Ecstacy. Embarkation: the worst we have had in the 10+ cruises we have been on. It started with the line of passengers snaking more than 300 long to get into the building. The people outside directing traffic had the line snaking around the shade and into the sun. Only AFTER we had gone through did they move the line into the shade. Fortunately it was a nice, not to humid day. When we get inside the building they have three security lines set up, but only two in use. This caused the delay in getting into the embarkation building. After going through security this is where the real fun began. The sign for boarding the ship and the sign to check-in where pointing the same direction. We followed the check-in sign and were escorted to sit in groups of about 30 passengers. We saw some groups, that were there less time being escorted into line. We saw people go around the security and right into line. We sat there until someone finally asked us why we were not in line. He than got us up and we started walking into the check-in line. At that time a "senior" member ask us what we were doing and that we had to wait for our turn and where was our embarkation number. This is were I lost my cool and started to complain about the mess that they had. Even the guy who escorted us up did not know what they were doing and he told the "senior" guy that he was doing what he was told to do. I finally got through to the "senior" guy that we belonged in line and he sarcastically said to me "have a good day, sir." After another long line to get our cruise cards I went and apologized to him for losing my cool. Ok, now on to the ship and hopefully better things. The Ecstasy is showing her age. The carpet needs to be replaced everywhere. I did not like that the elevators deck buttons did not have deck numbers, only deck names. Many cruisers rode up and down the elevators not knowing what deck they were on. Our cabin steward missed our cabin the first night, but did a great job after that. He had some really interesting and new towel creations that we had not seen before. Food: Much improved in the main dining room since our sailing on the Sensation 12 years ago. Our waiter and assistant waiter were great and service was as good as any other ship we have been on. Our waiter's recommendations were right on. I can't say as good things about the buffet. There were some good items, the cheeseburgers and onion rings were great. The pizza was not bad and the morning omelets were good, but there were only two chefs for a ship this size and it made it slow going. Entertainment: Our cruise director Steve, was a multi-talented hoot. He was a real geeky looking guy, but was funny and played a mean fiddle. He should stick to the fiddle, because he really can't sing. We watched one of the stage shows with a really funny comedian and the singers and dancers. The comedian was so funny that we decided to see his "R" rated show the next night and he really was not that funny at "R" rated stuff as he was at regular comedy. My wife fell asleep at the second stage show, which was ok, so we never went to see any of the other stage shows. The casino was the smallest of any of the cruises we have been on and the tightest of any. I don't expect to win, but I would like to get value for my entertainment dollar and that casino was not fun. They must be supplementing cruise fares with the casino. Ports of Call: Cozumel is Cozumel. We have been there so many times that all we do now is shop. I don't mind, I grab a few $1.00 cervezas and I am a happy camper. Progresso, on the other hand, is not dock accessible. You have to drive off the pier for about two miles to get into town. We went on an excursion to Chitzen Itza, which is a 2 1/2 drive each was for only about 2 hours time there. My wife still raves about seeing the pyramid, so I call that a success. Debarkation was a lot smoother than embarkation. We were off the ship within a couple of hour of arrival. I was glad we did not spend too much on this trip. It just was not up to snuff. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
Embarkation: This was the final cruise from Houston before this ship was to return to Ike-battered Galveston, and misgivings started early. Two days ahead of the departure date, we received a "robot call," telling us that the ... Read More
Embarkation: This was the final cruise from Houston before this ship was to return to Ike-battered Galveston, and misgivings started early. Two days ahead of the departure date, we received a "robot call," telling us that the departure time would be delayed and not to arrive at the port until after 1:30 p.m. Then, the day before departure, we received another call that informed us of further delay and not to arrive at the port until after 5:30 p.m. Meanwhile, our travel agent was informed that the ship would depart at 4:00 p.m. as originally planned. Needless to say, chaos was the name of the game, since hundreds of people who had not received notice of any delay arrived at noon or earlier, and when we showed up at 4:15 p.m.,it looked like early voting in Florida. Ultimately, at about 6:05 p.m., we staggered onto the ship, found our cabin and assuming that it was too late for our 6:00 p.m. dinner schedule, went to the buffet for sustenance. (It turned out that we could have gone to the dining room after all, but no one told us this.) Dining Room: The food here was very good and plentiful. The service was questionable very slowly, forgetting to bring ordered courses (soups, salads, etc.); no attempt at friendliness by the staff ... more of the sense of "let's just get this over with" and smile every once in a while. Breakfasts were well served ... but again, there was such a sense of hurry .. hurry ... hurry ... for instance, egg dishes brought to the table while we were still eating cereal. Buffet: As veterans of 39 cruises, we have many sources for comparison; and this buffet ranked 39/39. The food unappetizing, with little variety .. and since some items were served at a food bar on the deck, trying to "mix and match" just meant that some food was colder than the rest. The one bright spot was the deli counter which could be used as an alternative. Cabin: Very nice and spacious with a friendly steward who didn't speak much English, so we didn't communicate much, either. Overall: It was OK .. we relaxed for five days .. and we kept our sense of humor ... Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
This was our second cruise. First one was on Rhapsody of the Seas in Nov 2006, so we had something with which to compare. We drove from our home near Austin Tx to Houston the day before staying at the LaQuinta in LaPorte Texas. It was ... Read More
This was our second cruise. First one was on Rhapsody of the Seas in Nov 2006, so we had something with which to compare. We drove from our home near Austin Tx to Houston the day before staying at the LaQuinta in LaPorte Texas. It was recently damaged by Hurricane Ike, but had been repaired and is a nice property. We arranged lodging through AARP and got a decent rate. For the money it was a comfortable room and the staff was friendly and welcoming. We were disappointed when CLL called advising us not to arrive at the Bayport Terminal until 530 pm as the ship was delayed returning from its previous run. We checked out at noon, and decided to run down to Bayport to check things out. The people there were very accommodating, allowing us to check our luggage at that time. so when we did arrive to board, it would all be taken care of. We killed time doing some sightseeing, then arrived at the terminal about 3. We were able to park and were able to go through security check and wait for our zone to be called to board CCL provided box lunches and water. We were glad we arrived earlier than CCL told us as by 5:30 it was a real madhouse. Embarkation went very smoothly and we were in our stateroom about 10 mins after our zone was called. Luggage was there. so we decided to tour the ship a bit before dinner. Dining room service was excellent as were the dishes served and the choices available. Lido Buffet was so so at times, although there were some bright spots. Lots of ice cream and desserts and the fruit and salad bars were always fresh and tasty. Our stateroom was very nice, a category 6C on the Upper deck. Smaller than the one we had on Rhapsody, but very comfortable. The new bedding is fantastic, so much so that We're thinking of purchasing a mattress and box spring set. Nice robes in the room ( yes I bought one) but the big plus about the room we the cabin steward. "Paul", his nickname, a young man from Indonesia was fantastic. Anticipated our needs before we asked. Made great towel animals and was very accommodating. Entertainment was spectacular The shows were truly professional quality. It's worth the price of the cruise just for the entertainment. The Ecstasy dancers were phenomenal and the two lead singers were very good, very versatile. To us, the star of the cruise was the cruise director, Steve Cassel. This guy, apart from being very personable, is an amazing talent. He juggles, has an amazing sense of humor, but what really amazed us was his musical talent. A violinist, he is equally adept at Vivaldi as he is Charlie Daniels. We had never been to Progreso before, and had read good and bad reviews on CC. Interesting little town. Take the double decker bus for a couple of bucks to get the layout. We didn't do much. just walked down the beach and took pictures. Had a very nice lunch at Buddy's. We highly recommend the food and atmosphere, and of course 2 for $5 'rita's didn't hurt either. We were welcomed warmly. The negative part was we were bothered by locals coming to our table pushing trinkets, but a quick word to the waiter ended that. We had been to Cozumel before, but only partook in an excursion. This trip we took a cab to town ($6 for both of us) looked around then walked the 5 miles back to the ship. A nice walk though as there is much to see and the road follows the beach. All in all it was a great cruise experience, and our first on Carnival. To us there is no such thing as a bad cruise. We got what we paid for and for the most part it exceeded all our expectations. Now we're in a quandary as to what to do next. We plan on taking our adult children next time and for the money this may be the best option. Now that Galveston is open again and Bayport, still in its infancy, will be expanding, there will hopefully be lots of cruise options going out of Texas. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
First a little about ourselves this was the 2nd cruise for me Sharon 45 and my husband David 48 and the 1st for our sons Matt 24 and Skott 16. David's sister Jonna and her husband John also went on the cruise. Our first cruise was ... Read More
First a little about ourselves this was the 2nd cruise for me Sharon 45 and my husband David 48 and the 1st for our sons Matt 24 and Skott 16. David's sister Jonna and her husband John also went on the cruise. Our first cruise was on the Conquest Oct 06 on that one me, David, Jonna and John went. We all had such a good time we still talk about how much fun we had on our first cruise that we wanted our kids to see what we were talking about. I booked our cruise about 1 ½ years in advance, the price was good and I got in before the fuel surcharge so that was good. The price of this cruise was about ½ of what we paid for the Conquest, and as I said this cruise was for Matt & Skott to experience a cruise. I booked 2 inside guarantee rooms, and we were assigned M16 & M20. I checked the deck plan on the Carnival website and noticed M16 lays differently than the other rooms, so I thought it would be the better room. When I booked they put me & Skott together and David & Matt together, I believe to get the past guest rate on both rooms so I knew I would need to go to the information desk and get our rooms changed. And since I paid for the cruise I thought M16 would be a sweet room since it has a different layout so I made sure David and I were in M16, turns out M16 has a pole in the room about 8-10 inches in front of the dresser. When we first went into the room there was only about 6 inches to walk between the pole, bed & dresser. David and I moved the nightstands around and pushed the bed up against the wall so we had more room to walk around the pole. Lesson learned look at your rooms before going to the information desk to make changes and don't try to screw your kids over! Lol We left Springfield, MO at 5:30 am and met John & Jonna at a truck stop on I-44 so we could meet up and travel together. We ate breakfast and was back on the road around 6:30. We made several stops along the way and reached our hotel in La Porte TX at the La Quinta Inn at around 5:30 pm. It was a comfortable hotel, there were still lots of families living there due to hurricane Ike. Sunday morning we went to the Sylvan Beach, the pier was badly damaged but John, Matt & Skott were able to fish from the shore. John really wanted to try to catch a crab, which he did so he was happy. Then David, Matt Skott and I went to the Houston Space Center, that was really interesting, I didn't think I would enjoy it but it was good. Then we went to the Aquarium downtown that was really cool. Then we went to bed knowing tomorrow we would be starting the cruise, but the whole weekend had felt like vacation already! Before we left on Friday evening I had received a call from Carnival informing us the ship would be late arriving and not to go to the cruise terminal until 3pm. And I had planned on being there at 10:30 so I could have lunch on the Lido deck. We had to check out of our room at noon, so we drove to the cruise terminal and the Ecstasy wasn't there. We called John & Jonna to see where they were and they were in Kemah, so we met up with them in Kemah and went to The Burger House for lunch, they have great burgers. By this time it was around 2:00 so we went back to the cruise terminal the ship was there this time but they told us to come back at 4:00 so we went back to Kemah and looked around the super Target and went to the Dollar Tree. Then it was 4:00 so we went back to the cruise terminal and yeah they were letting us park. Previously on our 2nd trip to the cruise terminal they let us drop our luggage off. So now we were in line to go through security. I remember looking at my watch at one point and it was about 5:30pm I have no idea what time we actually got on board and what time the ship left, I think we started sailing around 7 or 7:15. We didn't have to do the muster drill until the next day Tuesday at 10:00. When we first got onboard I went to the information desk to put cash on our accounts and to get our rooms switched. It was getting dark when I made it out on deck to see us sailing away from the cruise terminal, which I totally missed on our first cruise and wanted to be on deck for sail away on this cruise. Which I kind of was. The weather was a little cooler than I would have liked so I didn't stay outside very long. I watched the cruise terminal get a little further away then went inside knowing we had finally began our cruise!! We walked around for a little while showing Matt & Skott where the food was, they were amazed you could get pizza and sandwich whenever you wanted. I think Skott tried about every sandwich, even the Rueben, which he didn't care for because he hates sauerkraut. We didn't eat in the dining room except for elegant night, we ate at the buffets and pizzeria and sandwich shop. Skott had originally planned on spending a lot of time in the pool but because it was so chilly he never made it in the pool. He went in the hot tub once or twice. One night David, me, Matt, John & Jonna all got in the hot tub, this was another thing I wanted to make sure to do on this cruise that I didn't do on our first. I thought the Ecstasy was very easy to find your way around. We didn't make it to any of the shows. We caught the late night comedian show and he was really funny. We went to the casino a few times and donated a little money. We watched a little karaoke that was fun there were some very good singers, and some not so much, but they had the guts to get up there so more power to them. Wednesday we went to Progreso, we got off the ship around 9:30 and we shopped, rode the double decker bus, went to the beach then walked around a little and shopped a little more then it was about time to head back to the ship. I wish the weather had been a little nicer we really couldn't enjoy the beach it was cloudy and windy. Thursday we went to Cozumel finally the sun was shining!! We got off the ship around 9 and took a taxi to the Tequila factory tour then went to Play Uvas Skott and I did the snorkeling that was awesome, it was like being in an aquarium there were so many fish, Skott didn't enjoy it as much he kept getting the saltwater in his mouth! Then we went to Margaritaville so we could have a cheeseburger in paradise for lunch and get some Margaritaville shirts, then we went shopping first we went to the Hard Rock Cafe so David could get a t-shirt and key ring, Skott and I wanted to shop so David & Matt drank a beer at the Hard Rock and Skott and I shopped we found what we were looking for in the first 3 shops we went to and was heading back to Hard Rock and David & Matt had just came out so we caught a taxi back to the port. Friday was a fun day at sea and it was sunny and the ship wasn't rocking as much as it had Monday night and Tuesday so we really enjoyed our time on the deck. This was Halloween and some people woke up and put their costumes on, we waited until around 7:30pm. Matt was a bottle of beer, Skott had bought a Mexican wrestling mask so he wore that and a black cape he brought from home, not really sure what he was but he was having fun, David & I was Fred & Wilma Flintstone. David & I were selected to compete in the costume contest so we got to go up on stage, we didn't win but we were excited about being selected. There were a lot of really good costumes. Sadly this was our last day of the cruise I think it was around midnight David & I went out and set on the Lido deck until about 12:30 then I was tired and wanted to go to bed. And I forgot we went on the Lido deck for the smoking cigars with the captain, we got our pictures taken with the captain, then there was the deck party and Mexican buffet, David and I were the only ones in our group who stayed awake for this. It was a fun time, I didn't make it too long, just long enough to get some food and took it to our room and I ate and went to bed! Disembarkation was pretty painless we put our luggage out the night before and waited for our number to be called we were #21, I think it was around 11 when we were told we could leave, I think it was around 11:45 when we were getting in our car for the lovely 12 hour drive home! All in all we had a wonderful vacation Skott and Matt really enjoyed themselves, when we got back home Skott was looking at the different ships on Carnivals website and he's already talking about our next cruise. When we first got home he thought it stunk you just couldn't walk to the back of the house and get pizza!! I'm still looking for my room steward my house needs straightened up and there is no buffet lines here at home, I have to cook everything myself Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
First time to cruise,wife and I went for her 40th birthday. Let me say this, I read alot of reviews about this ship and cruise before I left, even if I had not I would have known what to expect. Look at the price of this cruise ... Read More
First time to cruise,wife and I went for her 40th birthday. Let me say this, I read alot of reviews about this ship and cruise before I left, even if I had not I would have known what to expect. Look at the price of this cruise compared to others. Where else can you go to a different country,get away for 5 days, have lodging, food,shows and for $27.50 get unlimited drinks on a boat that floats for around $527.50 :) Could the ship be done over to look like it was just built? Yes Would you be able to go on a cruise for 5 days for around $500, if it looked like that? No. Bayport Terminal Embarkation: We got there early and breezed right through the security lines,then came the wait,because the ship got there late. I`m a very impatient person or I thought I was. :) The wait was not bad because I chose to watch people that were more impatient than me, it was great, my wife always says I'm so impatient this was my time to point out how lucky she is to have me. :) I`m glad we got there early because the lines after a while were very long for security check point. Had the ship been on time we would`ve been on in no time. Entertainment:The shows were good. Shore Excursions: We did beginners dive in Cozumel.It was inexpensive and awesome. Activities: The gym was cool with a great view of ocean while working out.Cool lil track to run around. Putt-putt golf, basketball, and volleyball courts. Courts are small, we were able to play one-on-one volleyball, probably enough to play 2 on 2 comfortably. Casino: I play poker,not into slots or playing games were odds are so low. The automated poker table is very cool,you play against real humans not the computer, but the game is ran by a computer therefore it can be programmed by humans. The ship makes it money by taking a rake(money from pot after each hand.)The more money in pot,the more money the boat makes. 65% or a little more of the flops seemed to show flush or straight draws and two pair or 2 of a kind will show up.It doesn`t program the winner just the way the type of cards come out on the flop. (Straight draws, Flush draws, 2 pair,or a straight and flush draw with 2 of a kind on flop.) It`s not real poker, but if you hit on flop you almost have to go on all-in to keep from getting rivered. DO NOT SLOW PLAY UNLESS YOU HAVE 5 of a kind. Progresso: All I can say is cheap massages. $15 for 45 minutes,they are not licensed and it`s not the kind you get in Spa but less painful and more relaxing to me. Dining: We ate in main dining twice it was really good food and the waiter was great. Rooms: very big considering there`s like 50 billion lil interior rooms. :) cool animal towels. Disembarkation: To get off faster only bring on,what you can take off by yourself. We just laid in bed watching TV and waited until they call our zone number, don`t wait by disembarkation area thinking you are going to get off first,they go by zones,so just relax and wait for your zone to be called. We went on 10-18-08 Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
Conquest Cruise-October 26, 2008-Halloween. I am 47 and went on this cruise with my DW 42. This was our fourth cruise and the third cruise on the Conquest. We stayed in balcony room 7344 on the Empress Deck. We drove down from Dallas ... Read More
Conquest Cruise-October 26, 2008-Halloween. I am 47 and went on this cruise with my DW 42. This was our fourth cruise and the third cruise on the Conquest. We stayed in balcony room 7344 on the Empress Deck. We drove down from Dallas to Houston the day before our cruise. Hotel: We stayed at the Hampton Inn Houston NASA- Johnson Space Center. It was located on NASA Road One about 6 miles from the Bayport Cruise Terminal. The hotel had suffered some damage from Hurricane Ike the month before. As a result the hotel was doing repairs and renovations. The issue was the hotel did not have any carpet in the rooms or any in any of the common areas. The manager at the front desk said the renovations should be complete by the end of the year. Other than that the hotel was good. It had a nice breakfast in the morning. We drove to a strip mall that had a grocery store and Mexican restaurant. The food was very good. This area on NASA Road One has recovered from Hurricane Ike. Embarking: We were anxious to get to the Conquest and headed out to the terminal at 10:15am. We arrived at the terminal around 10:25am. We headed to the luggage drop off point. A porter took our luggage immediately. My DW stayed while I went to park the car. I paid the $70 parking fee and was directed to a parking spot up front. It was a very short walk to the terminal. We immediately checked in. We had a short wait before we boarded. We were in zone 4 for boarding. There were plenty of chairs to sit in. We boarded the ship at 11:45am. Since our room was not ready yet we headed to the Lido deck for lunch. I wanted to go to Sur Mer, but I did not want to carry all of our carry on luggage up the stairs to get to it. A Lido staff waiter overheard our predicament and went to the Sur Mer to get us some fish & chips and gumbo. After lunch we headed to the Sports bar to watch football until our room was ready at 1:30pm. Room Steward: Our room steward was excellent in cleaning our room. I am sorry I did not get his name. He was magic. The room was cleaned by the time we got back from breakfast and the turn down service was complete by the time we got back from dinner every day. He kept our ice bucket full. We had an issue with the water temperature in the shower the first night. We could not figure it out. We left him a note Monday morning. He fixed it for us and the shower water was perfect the rest of the cruise. Dining Room Staff: We had a table for two #426 in the upper Renoir Dining Room. Our dining room waiter, Sandro, and assistant waiter, Saurdika, were excellent. After the first night when we ordered iced tea, they had the sweeteners and lemon already on our table when we arrived. They were very helpful in explaining some of the items on the menu, asking on how our day went, and memorizing our names. What is amazing about this after dinner the first night I was passing through Alfred's Bar during Tea time the next day and Sandro saw me. He called me by my name and asked how my day was. The next day I was eating lunch in the Lido buffet. He saw me and called me out by my name and asked how I was doing. The Assistant Maitre D, Slavica Dimitrieva, was wonderful. She passed our table and other tables at least twice every night. She remembered our names. She asked how our day was. She asked how our dinner was. Thursday we were eating lunch in the Lido deck. She stopped by to ask how our day went. She will be an excellent Maitre D. Cruise Director Staff: Cruise Director, Ralph Valente, was excellent. He was very funny in the events he hosted. He had our Cruise Critic Meet & Greet posted in the Monday Capers. He also mentioned our Meet & Greet in his Monday morning announcement. When I met him at the events he was very nice in person. The only drawback about Ralph, if you can call it that, is that we did not see him out on deck when he was not hosting events like our past cruise directors. Now it is possible he could have been busy or at other places on the ship. Ralph's assistants were wonderful. I went to many events and trivia contests. (I won five Ship on a Stick playing trivia) All of them were very nice. Sunday: The Muster Drill was at 3:45pm. We headed down to deck 4. As soon as the drill was over we went back to our room for sail away. Our dining time was 6:00pm in the Renoir Dining Room. The food was very good. We went to the Welcome Aboard Show. The comic, Kim Harrison was excellent. Monday: I got up at 7am to meet some of our Cruise Critic Roll Callers for morning coffee. About nine I went back to our room to get my DW for breakfast. After breakfast we headed to the Alfred's Bar for our Cruise Critic Meet & Greet It was nice to finally meet our fellow CC roll callers. We became friends with some of our roll callers and went with them to events through out the cruise. One of the cruise director's assistants and the comedian, Kim Harrison, was there. They answered all off our questions. After the Meet & Greet I at lunch at P.C. Wok. After lunch I went out on our balcony to read a newspaper I brought with me. I laid down on the bed to watch some TV. Due to the gentle rocking of the ship I fell asleep and missed most of it. Today was the Captain's Reception and the first elegant night. We went to Blues Piano Bar. Paul was excellent on the piano. We then went to the r rated comedy show in the Degas Lounge. Kim Harrison was very good again. Tuesday: Was a lazy day for us. We did not get up to early. After breakfast DW visited the gift shops while I did the beanbag toss on the Lido deck. We had a very good lunch in the Monet Dining Room. After lunch we went to see the Marriage show. It was very funny. The seas were rough today. During dinner the ship's rocking stopped. I found out later the ship had to stop to tender a medical emergency off the ship. We were near the Cayman Islands at the time. I pray that they were all right. After dinner we relaxed on our balcony. At 11pm I went to the Degas Lounge to watch some Karaoke. At Midnight there was a showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I was amazed on how many middle age people like myself were there to watch this movie. The CD entertainment staff did a good job with the interactive parts. Wednesday-Jamaica: I got up at 7am to meet some of our roll callers for coffee. At 8am I went back to my room for our room service breakfast. This is a good option for port days if you are going ashore early. The Lido deck buffet was very crowded for breakfast at this time. At 10am went met our friends in the lobby and went ashore. We took a Juta cab to Sunset Beach. It was a short cab ride to Sunset Beach. It cost $3 dollars per person for cab fare. We arrived at Sunset Beach. It was a gated resort. The Day pass price had gone up to $60 for adults from $40. The price included all food and drinks. The resort was very nice. The drinks were plentiful and potent. We found lounge chairs by the Lazy River. The Lazy River was very relaxing. The jerk chicken was good and on the spicy side. Around 2:30 we got dressed and headed to the restaurant for lunch. I am not sure if this was the end of lunchtime. There was not a big selection for lunch. What they had there was good. At 3pm we met our cab driver and headed back to the terminal. We did some shopping before we boarded the Conquest. After dinner all of fun and activities we had done so far caught up to us. We were planning to go to the adult game show at 11pm. We never made it. I lied down in bed to watch some TV. I fell asleep and did not wake up until 8:30 the next morning. Thursday-Grand Cayman: This was our third cruise to Grand Cayman. We did not have anything planned here. My DW stayed on the ship. She did the self service laundry and walked around the ship to take pictures. At 10am I boarded the tender to go onshore. I soon as I got onshore I bought some rum cakes at the Tortuga store. I turned right at the street and walk about 2 blocks and located a liquor store. I was able to buy a 1.75 liter bottle of Appleton rum for $16. At the store they allowed you 15 minutes of free Internet access and phone calls. I called home to let our daughter know on how we were doing. I also posted the Cruise Critic Crazies Conquest thread to let them know on how our cruise was going. On they way back to the ship I continued the Committed Crazies Conquest tradition and bought some spicy BBQ chicken wings at the local KFC for Cruise Director, Ralph. A little after 12 I rode the tender back to the Conquest. I went to the Purser's desk to deliver to Ralph his chicken wings. Assistant CD, Kyle, came to get the wings. I headed back to my cabin. A few minutes later Ralph called to thank us for the chicken wings. He offered to get us a round of drinks at the Marriage show that night. We took it easy the rest of the afternoon. Around 9:30pm we went to the Blue's Piano Bar for some more good entertainment by Paul. At 10:30 we went to the Degas Lounge to see the end of Karaoke and the R rated Marriage show. We met Ralph. He again thanked us for the chicken wings and made arrangements for our drinks. Friday-Cozumel: We went to the Monet Dining room for breakfast. We were able to see the Conquest dock in Cozumel. Today was a shopping day for us. Around 10:30am we went onshore. We did most of our shopping. We went across the street to an Internet cafe. It was $2 for 30 minutes of Internet time. We went back to the shopping plaza. We ate lunch at Poncho's Backyard. The food was very good. The margaritas were very good and potent. We finished our shopping and went back to the ship. The Carnival Valor was docked next us. We went out on our balcony to watch the stragglers. The Valor blew its horn three different times. It was loud. The Valor left at 5:20pm. We then watched the Conquest stragglers. The Conquest left on time at 6pm. After dinner we came back to our cabin to get ready for the Halloween festivities. Our friends met up with us. We headed to the Disco for the Halloween activities. The costumes were outrages and nice. Saturday: We took it easy. Most of other passengers did also. The Lido deck had few passengers in the morning. Most people were recovering from the Halloween activities from last night. I met some of our roll callers for morning coffee. We discussed all of the outstanding costumes we saw last night. We did most of the packing in the afternoon. After dinner we relaxed before going to the Legends Show. After the show we made our contribution at the casino. Debarking: We woke up around 6:15am just in time to watch us dock in Bayport. Our room service breakfast arrived at 7am. While sitting out on the balcony drinking coffee for the last time, I glanced out to the Terminal parking lot. Since this was the last cruise out of Bayport, the parking lot was half empty. I was able to spot our car in the parking lot. About 8:30am we left our cabin for the last time. We headed to the Casino to wait for our Zone 14 to be called. At 9:45 our zone was called. We proceeded to the elevators. When we got to deck 3 to our amazement there was no line at all. This was the best debarking of all of our cruises. As we walked out of the lobby Assistant CD, Kyle, and a few other of the Cruise Director staff said goodbye to us. We easily located our luggage. We got a porter. He led us through the customs line. We made it to our car. We left the parking lot at 10:30am. It was sad seeing the Conquest fade away in the rear view mirror. My DW loved our balcony. She loved sitting out there watching the waves go by. She said we can never cruise without a balcony. She noticed a lot more staff on this cruise. They were very friendly and helpful. My only complaint about this cruise is that the Lido deck no longer has the red fruit punch to drink. It limited the drinks to iced tea and lemonade. Overall we had a great time and cannot wait to sail on the Conquest again next year. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
My brother (34) and I (31) took my parents (retirement aged) on this cruise for their anniversary. While my parents like to sleep late and my brother is happy laying at the pool all day, I like to do all sorts of things on the ship. I ... Read More
My brother (34) and I (31) took my parents (retirement aged) on this cruise for their anniversary. While my parents like to sleep late and my brother is happy laying at the pool all day, I like to do all sorts of things on the ship. I will write this review from the perspective of a younger, professional male while occasionally adding thoughts of my travelmates. Since I live in Houston, my parents and brother flew into town and stayed with me leading up to the cruise. We were the last group to leave out of Houston, which is a nice facility. The only negative about Houston vs. Galveston that I can tell is that there are no alternative parking venues in Houston, so you are forced to pay $70 for a weeklong cruise as opposed to $50 in Galveston at Lighthouse or EZ Cruise. Not a huge deal, just a thought. I had read that the ship was starting to show her age, but I did not agree with this. I thought she was in pretty good shape, and she will be going into drydock in January, I believe, so there won't be any issues after that for sure. I cruised the Costa Fortuna last year, and the layout is virtually the same, so I was able to get around fairly easily. Again, don't worry about those who complain about the layout. You can cross the ship entirely on several decks. You'll learn that you have to think ahead of time before going to Deck 3 or 4, but if you are flexible, you'll be fine. Anyone that complains about it is either drunk or not using their bean. The activities on the Conquest run the gamut of anything and everything you can imagine. I'm not a big fan of the check out your sports equipment as opposed to leaving it out by the games (do people really steal cheap putters or ping pong balls?), but Carnival handled this much better than Costa. Carnival has a booth right by the main pool area which checks out all sports equipment and towels, whereas Costa made you go to the purser's desk on deck 3. I like the way Princess does it best (leaving everything out), but this isn't a bad option if theft is an issue. Anyway, the organized events were a lot of fun. I think there are activities for everyone - make sure to read the Caper that comes to your cabin the night before. Ask your room steward for copies for all cabinmates, as it seems they will otherwise just bring one. The main shows involving singers/dancers seem a little dated, but were well done. I liked all of the other shows (comedians, ventriloquist, singers). Service on this ship was excellent. I'll cover dining and room steward service separately. I thought that a higher percentage of crew greeted you with a hello than on other lines (I've been on Princess, Royal, and Costa). It seemed like at the worst the employees did what they were supposed to do and at best went out of their ways to ensure you were satisfied. Ralph, the cruise director, is great. I hear he is leaving the ship in January. The rest of the social staff was great as well. I especially appreciated talking to the art auction staff. Even though I didn't buy anything, I was happy to learn and view the art. Our stateroom steward did his job, but was less friendly than others I've had in the past. We had an issue with water not draining from the shower creating a swamp in the bathroom. We told our steward several times, and nothing was done. Finally, my parents went down to the purser's desk and we had a plumber in 15 minutes who solved the problem. Either the steward didn't tell anyone or it wasn't in his job description, but if he had told us to go to the purser's desk right away, we would have. He led us to believe that it would be handled, and it was not. This was really my only disappointment on the ship. He otherwise did a great job with 4 of us in the room, and provided us with towel animals most nights. Our dining room team was outstanding. These guys worked very hard for us and did it with a smile. My brother (who somehow stays slim) eats more than most couples, and he received everything he wanted. I thought the food was very good. I don't understand those that complain about the food. I like things fairly simple, and there were always things on the menu that I wanted. I often had 2-3 appetizers, 2 desserts, and sometimes 2 entrees. Is it 5 star restaurant quality? No. But, it is everything you'd want from a nice restaurant, and really people, if you stay in an interior room you are paying less that $100 a day all inclusive. You can't expect the world. I expect a good, satisfying meal that is on par with a nice restaurant, and that is exactly what you will get. The service will certainly outperform any comparable land restaurant. As for the buffet, it was ok, but not great. Better meals are served in the dining room for dinner for sure, and arguably for lunch as well. Breakfast is probably equal at either spot. The main complaint I have about the buffet is that there are no less than 5 distinct areas with different food in them. If you want to eat all 5 (perhaps more), you have to get into 5 lines. I think it would be better to have 2-3 identical areas to avoid lines and confusion. I've already touched on the room a bit, but I will add that an interior room was more than adequate for 4 adults. I'd much rather save the money and go on two-three cruises than get a balcony (or two separate rooms). I don't understand the fascination with windows or balconies, but to each his/her own. If I want to look outside or go outside, I'll go up a couple decks and get out of the tiny room. I had booked an excursion to swim with the stingrays in Grand Cayman, but alas all stingray excursions were cancelled by the locals. Not Carnival's fault, but just be aware that that can happen. Got a taxi to a shopping area in Montego Bay. It is true what they say about Mo Bay - it is a horrific place to go. We went to a small (and not very good) shopping area. My brother went to the beach which he said was fine (but it was a so-so day at best). If I ever go back there again I'd either do an excursion, go to the beach (Doctor's Cave is the best one) or stay on the ship. You can't walk near the port and you can't walk outside the shopping area or you will be threatened. I'm not talking about the way it is in Mexico where they are trying to sell you stuff, I'm talking about people trying to disorient you and do God knows what with you. I experienced this myself on a short walk and according to the taxi driver, you don't want to walk around too far on your own. There may very well be very nice people there, but don't go out on your own to find them. Stay with organized tours or approved areas. Cozumel was my favorite stop. My brother and I took a taxi ($12 up to 4 people) to Paradise Beach. You can lay in the sand for free or spend $10 for a bracelet that allows you to use kayaks, snorkel gear, a bungee trampoline, climbing iceberg, and water trampolines. Well worth it when you consider renting a kayak often costs $20 for an hour. I'd go back again for sure. Disembarkation went fairly smoothly until we got to our bags. It was apparent almost immediately that someone else took my dad's bag. We spotted another bag which was exactly the same. Sure enough, some dope took the wrong bag. Now this is not Carnival's fault, but, Carnival is not equipped to handle this well. Firstly, there was no PA and Carnival did not carry a portable one to make an announcement. Likely this guy was in the customs line, but we couldn't find him. The number he left on his bag was his home number. I asked the Carnival rep if she could call Carnival and find out if this guy had a cell number on file. She said she could not. I called Carnival and was able to get this information myself (no cell on file). How is it that I could do it but the rep there could not? It was apparent that their only duty was to take a report. It was funny that when we told Carnival what happened they told us to call the number on the bag, however, Customs came over and said not to use cell phones. Perhaps Customs should at least ask passengers to verify that they have the right bags. At least put up a sign, as it is obvious that some people are too stupid to look at a tag and see if it is the right bag. As Gaylord Focker once said "Don't you think the people at Samsonite had this clever idea that in order to make a profit they made more than one black bag?" Something is amiss here. So my dad went without his bag which was on it's way to LA. It was later shipped to him by the guy while Carnival took custody of his bag theoretically until after we told them that we got our bag. Carnival handled this part of it well. All in all a great trip with a slight miscue at the end and with the shower. I'd sail Carnival again in a heartbeat and even go on the Conquest again if the situation was right. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
Where to begin......after taking 3 or 4 days to find out if the ship was sailing, since Galveston was not an option, everything else went just fine before leaving port. Food - most of the dining room experience I would classify as not ... Read More
Where to begin......after taking 3 or 4 days to find out if the ship was sailing, since Galveston was not an option, everything else went just fine before leaving port. Food - most of the dining room experience I would classify as not the best. The food was only adequate, but the waiters in Windsong were pretty good. The dining room was too cold, so we had to change our dining attire and then were fine. Room - was very comfortable. The staff was very friendly and we had GREAT towel animals on the bed every night. Entertainment - We had more fun up on the pool deck than I thought possible. Nearly every day was fun with the swimming and dancing going on around the pool. The slide was great and the hot tub was HOT. Got stuck in the piano bar every night because of Bob and his wait staff. Lots of singing and dancing, could even sing along with a mike if you wanted too. The 4 waitresses were outstanding. Very fast with ordering and serving. They were always smiling and friendly. We wanted to do some of the other shows but could not tell ourselves we would have more fun somewhere else. At sea - was our first cruise, so I'm not sure if we had good sailing weather or not. Most days were rocky on the boat. Not too bad most of the time, you just had to deal with it. Debarkation - did the self assist and were very surprised at how easy the procedure was. The line to get off the boat was long but moved fast. Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
My husband and I book this cruise on the Sunday prior to the departure, so it was a very last minute thing. The price was too good to pass up. We did the 5 day on the Ecstasy last year and it was awesome. We were a little let down with ... Read More
My husband and I book this cruise on the Sunday prior to the departure, so it was a very last minute thing. The price was too good to pass up. We did the 5 day on the Ecstasy last year and it was awesome. We were a little let down with this cruise, but still had a great time. We made it to Houston around 10:30 and were on the ship by 12:30. We had lunch then went to take a nap. We were late leaving Houston, I am not sure why. Someone told us engine problems, but we never heard anything for sure. They announced Friday morning that we would be going to Progresso instead of Cozumel due to the late departure from Houston. They said they wanted to make sure that we had a full day in port. That was fine with us. We have been to both places last year and enjoyed both. That evening we got a letter under our door that stated that there was a large group on board that were having a wedding in Cozumel, so we would go to Cozumel arriving at 12:30. Well, we traveled through some heavy rain and were finally off the ship at 2:30 and had to be back on board at 6:30. This would also cause us to be late back to Houston on Monday. That did not leave a lot of time to do much but that was OK. I was really surprised that they opted to go to Cozumel for the benefit of one particular party, but we really didn't care. We just walked around in the shops near the port and returned to the ship early. The thing that disappointed us was the room service. Last year it was great. This time every time we ordered it took 1 hour to 1 hour and 45 minutes to get our order. My husband ordered cheese cake and the whipped cream was literally melted. His shrimp sandwich tasted spoiled as well. On the last day of the cruise, we waited so long for our breakfast that we finally gave up and just went to the lido deck for breakfast. We really enjoyed the breakfast up there even more than in the dining room. I was also a little disappointed in the menu changes, but I am sure they are trying to keep it interesting for those who cruise often. Last year we had a suite and I wondered if that is why we had better service. I am not sure. I would still recommend this cruise. I just hope they get back to Galveston soon. It is an easier drive in my opinion. Another thing that I forgot is that the entertainers were much better this cruise. We really enjoyed the shows. Steve Cassell was incredible on the fiddle! We also met some really nice ladies working in the jewelry store. They were very helpful and shared a lot of interesting information about the countries they are from. We made it back to Houston about 12:30 PM. We were on our way home by about 3:00. Over all it was a nice, relaxing trip. However, if I had paid what I paid for last year's cruise, I would be disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
This is my first hurricane season cruise, and I'm still trying to decide if it was a leap of faith or an act of foolishness to book for September. But, it all managed to come together, and this turned out to be my best cruise on ... Read More
This is my first hurricane season cruise, and I'm still trying to decide if it was a leap of faith or an act of foolishness to book for September. But, it all managed to come together, and this turned out to be my best cruise on Carnival. Great crew, a nice group of passengers, and a beautiful ship that does a hell of a job of disguising its age. GETTING THERE - EMBARKATION - THE FIRST DAY For the first few days after Ike slammed into Galveston, we were left guessing what port the Ecstasy would use or if it would sail at all, although that was pretty small stuff, compared to what a lot of coastal residents were dealing with (easier to re-book a cruise than to rebuild a home). Then, when we found out we were to sail from Bayport, there was the matter of finding 4700 Cruise Road on Mapquest. Fortunately Carnival and the Port of Houston corrected that situation, with maps and directions. Getting there was pretty easy, and the Port of Houston had helped, with some strategically posted directional signs. The Bayport Terminal is a truly nice facility, and I hope that another ship or two will call it home after Carnival moves back to Galveston. Port personnel were all friendly and helpful, and embarkation went as smoothly as any I've experienced. Keep in mind that this was exactly a week after Ike, and that the Port of Houston and Carnival had only a few days to get Bayport ready for this sailing. And who knows how many employees had to spend their off time recovering possessions from damaged homes. Hats off to you all. You guys rose to the occasion. Big time. I usually would not write about a lifeboat drill, but our group was lucky; we were led by Byron, the entertainment director, who's quite the entertainer in his own right. He did what I thought was impossible; he made the often dreaded drill a fun experience. CABINS AND PUBLIC ROOMS The Ecstasy got a makeover after it's post-Katrina assignment with FEMA. Cabins got new carpet and furnishings, including new mattresses and flat-screen TVs. Public spaces appeared fresh, up-to-date, and in good repair. DINING The food, unfortunately, was a mixed bag. On three occasions (two on the first day) I got meat so tough I had to discard it in favor of something more tender. At dinner the first evening, my strip steak was lacking in tenderness and flavor, and missing the advertised three-peppercorn sauce. On a more positive note, the food was always presented attractively and the desserts exquisite. Our waitstaff team was one of the best I've encountered on any cruise. The buffet was generally good, although I wish Carnival would add another casual dining venue. Maybe that would help eliminate the mob-like atmosphere at the buffet lines and salad bars. One positive change from my previous cruise: Carnival has finally eliminated, from the breakfast buffet, those little Tater Tot wannabes, that always had the texture and taste of cardboard. Real hash browns were nice, for a change. Now, if we could get a waffle station. ENTERTAINMENT Both stage shows were quite good, although I thought the female lead vocalist a stronger performer than the male lead (sorry, I thew away my Carnival Capers, and I don't recall their names). Lounge entertainment was generally good, and karaoke night always a hoot. Brad, the cruise director, was always entertaining, even during the debarkation briefing. SINGLES This won't apply to many of you, as most cruisers are couples, but I believe cruise lines need to do a much better job of getting single cruisers aboard, and then sponsoring more activities than just one singles get-together. On the first day, a mature singles meetup was scheduled for 11:30 p. m., at the piano bar. Unless I missed something, I was the only one there. Suggestion: schedule it for another day. People have been driving or flying all day, and some may opt for an earlier bedtime. SHOPPING Shopping on Carnival has not changed much since my last cruise, although I was disappointed to see that there were no ceramic coffee mugs (I try to get on one every cruise). Shopping's a personal thing, but I do have one recommendation: buy a bottle of Sheridan's Coffee Layered Liqueur. It's like nothing you've ever tasted, and it's not yet available in the United States. (And if you don't drink, pick up a bottle for me.) CASINO I do believe I discovered the tightest slots on land or sea. Oh well; maybe it'll help keep cruise fares low. PORTS OF CALL This was my third time to dock at Cozumel, and I decided not to do a shore excursion. Instead, my brother and I took a cab downtown, and worked our back as far as Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Cafe, before taking a cab back to the boat. At Margaritaville, we were introduced to the ritual of a cocktail waitress tossing a shot of liquor down your throat, blowing a whistle, shaking your head from side to side, and then giving you a back massage. Never did find out what kind of liquor was in the shot glass. I'd planned on taking the Uxmal tour out of Progresso, but that trip didn't draw enough takers, so Carnival cancelled it. Instead, I made a quick trip to Progresso that afternoon. In case you're not familiar, Progresso sits at the end of a six-mile pier. A collection of shops and cantinas line the area where the ship is docked, and one can take a shuttle bus into town. I did, and stayed little more than an hour. To me, Progresso had all the charm of Nuevo Laredo, but with more water and fewer shootings. I'd strongly suggest Carnival drop this place as a port of call. DEBARKATION Sorry, but I can't pull out the old "all's well that ends well" cliche here. Debarkation seemed to have gone on forever, and we didn't leave the parking lot at Bayport until after noon. Part of that was my fault, for carrying a clunky piece of luggage with bad wheels. But most of the delay was due to a problem with the gangway, which delayed the whole process for several minutes. And, a few more porters would've been nice. ALL IN ALL Despite some glitches here and some disappointments there, this was one of the best cruises of the five I've taken. Get a new meat supplier, loosen the slots a little, dump Progresso, and the next one will be even better. Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
Overall, our cruise on the Carnival Conquest was disappointing, at best. My husband and I were on the first cruise after Hurricane Ike - sailing away for our honeymoon. I had cruised before (7 years ago on the Disney Magic) although this ... Read More
Overall, our cruise on the Carnival Conquest was disappointing, at best. My husband and I were on the first cruise after Hurricane Ike - sailing away for our honeymoon. I had cruised before (7 years ago on the Disney Magic) although this was the first cruise for my husband. I was not expecting Carnival to live up to the glory of Disney, however almost every aspect of this cruise fell way below both our expectations. The embarkation process went smoothly, which was surprising since this was the first time going out of the Bayport terminal. We received our luggage relatively early, too. Things were looking up, until we began exploring the ship. I was shocked to learn the Conquest is less than 7 years old. It appears much older and is in major need of refurbishing. The carpets are worn, the dEcor is tacky and dated, the whole ship stinks of cigarette smoke, exterior decks are rusty and in need of some TLC, and everything is dirty. You could hardly find a pool lounge chair without bird droppings or cigarette ash covering it. Forget about sitting down outside without first inspecting the surface you will be touching! This included our stateroom balcony...dirty, dirty, dirty! The layout of this ship is completely inconvenient. If you are in the Monet dining room for dinner, you are forced to traverse the entire length of deck 5 (which takes you past the sub-par shopping stores and the casino). This ship has at least 9 rooms dedicated to a different themed bar/lounge. Many seemed empty at all times and were wasted space that could have been dedicated to actual entertainment options. Entertainment on the ship was lame and the few "good" shows were overcrowded. You had to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to get a seat or you were left standing. The Welcome Aboard show was terrible - I don't know how Carnival can compare their shows to a Las Vegas style revue (this is what it says on their website). Maybe the crew rehearsal schedule had been disrupted by the hurricane, but their effort seemed more like a high school pep rally skit. The food options were fairly miserable also. Stay away from the buffet on the Lido deck! My husband and I nicknamed this the "Golden Corral". It was truly awful. You can get a decent sandwich if you are willing to wait out the lines at Paul's Deli however we preferred to either skip lunch or take the extra time to be seated in the dining room. Meals in the dining room were not bad - usually the food options were decent and the meals were good (except for a few tough steaks). We tried one night at The Point Supper Club and found it was a nice change of pace although dinner lasted almost 3 hours and cost an additional $30 per person. Also, we thought the restaurant might have some amazing views but found the window curtains were kept drawn due to the fact that the restaurant overlooks one of the pool decks. Food at the Point was much better than in the dining room; however we agreed the experience on whole was not worth all the extra time and money. Our nightly waiter in the Monet dining room was pretty good although he never called us by name and we are certain he only knew a few words in English. We never ever saw the dining room maître d' until the last night when he was waiting out front for his tip envelopes. The wait staff made a laughable attempt at entertainment each night at dinner by dancing to cheesy music for a couple of minutes. Really, it was embarrassing seeing grown men gyrate to Ricky Martin songs. We treated ourselves to two couples massage treatments and took a massage class in the spa onboard. The first massage experience was good but during the second we were disappointed the therapists spent so much time pushing their overpriced spa products. It was really hit or miss. Two of the massage therapists were excellent and professional and the other two we encountered seemed untrained and substandard. Take some time to enjoy one or two spa treatments, but do not waste a ton of money there. We found only a few staff members aboard the ship to be helpful or even friendly. We enjoyed our stateroom steward and two of the massage therapists in the spa. Other staff members were either indifferent or self absorbed. On days in port, many crew members were given a few hours off in the afternoons. They roamed around the passenger guest areas like teenagers taking over a mall. I'm sorry, but I don't appreciate spending 15 minutes in line for a sandwich only to find out the three people in line in front of me are crew members who are enjoying the guest food instead of the crew mess hall. Additionally, none of the crew members who were aware my husband and I were on our honeymoon made any attempt to acknowledge this fact. Nothing extra was ever offered to us, and while I did not expect special treatment (I'm sure hundreds of guests claim to be honeymooning) we were rarely even offered simple congratulations. We also had to make two annoying trips to the purser's desk to clear up a problem with our "sail and sign account" that was attributed to sailing out of Bayport instead of Galveston and the staff was unapologetic. One night a woman was "lost" and paged MANY times over the loudspeakers of the entire ship. I do not know what time the pages started, but it was the middle of the night and the unanswered pages went on until 5:30am until it was announced the crew would be making a room-by-room search for the missing guest. Less than an hour later it was announced the missing passenger was found. We later learned from our stateroom steward that she was inebriated and had gone to the stateroom of another male passenger. Certainly this could not have been the first time something like this has happened on a cruise and I doubt it was entirely necessary to keep almost 3,000 people awake all night long because of one drunken passenger. Shore excursions - we took advantage of the excursion opportunities at every stop. On Jamaica we did the jungle zip-line adventure and I highly recommend this, but bring good bug spray!! Grand Cayman was our favorite stop by far. We did the kayak safari and snorkel and it was fabulous. We would love to return to Cayman some day. At the stop in Cozumel, we did the Tulum Mayan ruin tour, and it was interesting but far too touristy. You'll need the bug spray again if you choose this tour. It took ALL DAY and was not really worth the time or price we paid. The debarkation process was absolutely horrible. It took hours to get off the ship (even though we carried our own luggage off) and the customs officers were very rude. It was probably a struggle for them to return to an unfamiliar port; however I have never before found it so frustrating to return to my own country! I knew prior to our trip that Carnival was the budget version of cruise lines, however I expected more. We chose this vacation based on the itinerary offered, and I wish I had conducted more research. I will never again choose a Carnival vacation. If you love to smoke heavily, drink heavily, and enjoy gambling and bingo, perhaps you will enjoy your vacation on the Conquest. If you are looking for something more romantic or more family oriented, I would advise spending some extra bucks with a different cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
Carnival Conquest departing Houston on September 28, 2008. The whole cruising experience on the Conquest was very disappointing. Lets start with the embarkation process. I know that leaving out of Houston is not your regular port, ... Read More
Carnival Conquest departing Houston on September 28, 2008. The whole cruising experience on the Conquest was very disappointing. Lets start with the embarkation process. I know that leaving out of Houston is not your regular port, but the whole process was extremely slow, with no information available to the passengers. My wife and I drove to the terminal. We got near the terminal at 12:30 pm as the earliest boarding was at that time. There was a huge traffic jam to get to the terminal. We had to wait in the car line up for almost 2 hours before getting to the terminal to give our bags to the porters. During the wait, we called 1888carnival to find out what was going on. The phone reps were no help and said all is normal. My wife spoke to a customer service manager and she insulted my wife and said "tough". Once we got to the terminal, there were about 20 porters standing there doing nothing. After parking our vehicle, we had to wait in another line up, for over an hour, outside in the heat, for customs. My wife went to find a Carnival representative at the terminal for information. The rep was also rude and said "too bad". After getting through customs, we waited in a third line up, for over an hour once again, to get the sail cards. We did not get onto the ship until 4:30 pm. A miserable embarking experience and no one offered any apologies to the passengers from the pursers to the cruise director to the captain. Once we got to our stateroom, we found it warm and uncomfortable. The pursers sent maintenance twice to check the vent. He said he opened the vent more but not much more cool air was flowing. We did get a fan in the room, but the air conditioning still did not cool the room down enough. The food on most cruise ships is usually very good, tasty and well presented. Not on the Conquest. The buffet was disgusting, the food had no or a bad taste, poor texture, lukewarm (at best) for the hot dishes and the presentation was not on par with other cruise ships. This is the worst food we have ever tasted and we are not picky eaters. The complimentary drinks were just a sugar, high fructose corn syrup mixture and not apple juice, orange juice or lemonade as the dispensers said they were. Call them what they are: an apple drink, an orange drink, and a lemon drink. The iced tea was from a concentrate that did not taste like iced tea. The main dining room dinners were a little better but not by much. The wait staff were excellent, but the food they serve needs lots of improvement. We all ordered the New York Strip on the first night dinner. We do not know how it was cooked, I thought it was partially boiled, another thought it was baked, but we all agreed that it was the worst steak we had ever had. The accompaniments were equaled as bad, a tiny ramekin of macaroni and cheese that was more like macaroni and powdered milk, a large undercooked whole carrot and a green pea mixture that resembled vomit. The meals did get somewhat better during the cruise but nothing that we would say was really good. There was no midnight buffet on the Conquest which we found very disappointing, but then again, the food was so bad maybe no buffet is better. Room service only offers a small selection of sandwiches and the 24 hour pizza was tasteless. The cruise director is not good at his job. He told crude, offensive and adult rated jokes during an excursion briefing my wife and I attended in which children and seniors were present. We walked out after one very disgustingly vulgar attempt at humor. The captain of the ship spoke to the passengers only once during the voyage. We never got a weather forecast during the cruise and were caught in rainstorms twice during ports of call. The television in the stateroom gets Denver stations? The lido deck cleaning staff did not clean tables well, did not smile or be courteous to the passengers. In summation, this was the worst vacation experience we have ever had. Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
I will try to give an honest and objective review based on my recent experience. This was our first cruise, 2 adults in our mid thirties and two children 6 and 4. We sailed from Houston and was amazed at how easy embarkation was, of course ... Read More
I will try to give an honest and objective review based on my recent experience. This was our first cruise, 2 adults in our mid thirties and two children 6 and 4. We sailed from Houston and was amazed at how easy embarkation was, of course the conquest had been docked there for a few days so the ship was ready and we got to our cabins within 20 minutes of walking into the terminal. The ship decor is a bit cheesy in my opinion, a bit vegas style and we're not talking bellagio or wynn here. Not too bad though. Our cabin was a good size and the balcony was nice. The hallways are worn and most of the ship has a significant smell of smoke which was just awful to us. The ship was easy to get around in my opinion and the top decks were nice. The food was well, pretty bad. I didn't have high expectations to be honest and thought it would be your average buffet food but honestly the food was pretty bad, very bland and not of good quality. The dining room food was better than the buffet but still wasn't good, I thought some of the dishes were odd and didn't really go with the sides, Sur Mer is a disaster in my opinion, I mean I am shocked at the reviews of this place, not better than long john silvers to put it bluntly. Supper Club was the best meal on the ship and the service was spectacular however my steak was rare inspite of me ordering well done and waiting about 25 minutes from our salad to receive our entree. I thought the service on board in the dining rooms, housekeeping, room service and camp carnival was excellent, I was really impressed to see the staff ALWAYS smiling and offering to help. The service is by far the best part of this cruise. That being said, the manager in the spa is rude, loud and unprofessional. I overheard her yelling at a customer for a very weird reason. She was upset the therapist had made the customer wait but yelled at the customer? Also I had to visit the infirmary to get some medicine for stomach cramping after eating at the point (under cooked food) and the front desk person, who at this time was a heavy set woman was also very loud and rude, she seemed to be bothered by all the work she had. It seemed to me that the people that get paid the least are the nicest on these ships which is very bizarre. Camp carnival was good, the staff was attentive and always friendly however the schedule was very inconvenient, they close for lunch and early in the afternoon, this made it impossible for my husband and I to take advantage of the few things we actually wanted to do like the married show and afternoon tea. The casino was fun, we won 250.00 dollars. The smell of smoke is just so STRONG in this area that we could not be there for long. I also thought a bit odd that afternoon tea was only offered in Alfreds Bar which reeks of smoke and cigars! The ports were nice and we had fun there. Debarkation was a total NIGHTMARE, though this was probably not carnivals fault it did make for a very long and exhausting day. Seems like customs was slow in houston. We didn't get off the ship 'till almost 2pm! Overall, I have to say that we will probably not cruise again. There were a few good things but too many bad to try it again. After 5 days just the thought of the buffet food made me starve for the last two, needless to say I couldn't wait to get off the ship and have a decent meal and a normal size bathroom. One thing I want to point out is that I was informed after asking that the staff on board like housekeeping and dining rooms do NOT have a salary other than the gratuities they add on and anything extra the customers tip, this was pretty amazing to me, so I hope people take this into consideration when they try to remove the 70pp gratuities, we tipped our housekeepers an dining room staff an extra 25 each. After all they didn't to the cooking themselves :) Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
We sailed from the new Bayport Houston port on the 2nd Conquest trip from this port (9/28). As reported on other threads, the prior trip had customs problems and debarkation lasted until about 2pm delaying our embarkation. This in ... Read More
We sailed from the new Bayport Houston port on the 2nd Conquest trip from this port (9/28). As reported on other threads, the prior trip had customs problems and debarkation lasted until about 2pm delaying our embarkation. This in turn delay the muster drill and leaving port until about 5 or 5:30. Our debarkation 1 week later ran smoothly and we were out in 20 minutes from when our floor was called for self-assist luggage exiting, so the customs problems appear solved. Transportation is still an issue with this new and isolated location. Trips to the airports ($25 to Hobby, $40 to Bush) via bus are the easiest. Finding cabs and limos from hotels are spotty and vary in price. Having only 1 other cruise to compare (Carnival Pride - Mexican Riviera - 07/07), we were disappointed with several features and services on this ship. The food, both in the dining room and the buffet were below average. Service was average in the dining room - hard to get followup service such as more water, butter, etc. The specialty food was good, the deli, pizza, grille, chinese and sushi locations all sparkled. Cabin service was OK, the service in the buffet area was better. Deck staff did not speak much English so specific requests were tough. Casino was smaller than Pride, but enough space for the number of gamblers. Shows by Carnival dancers were not very good, but some of the individual entertainers faired better. The art auctions were a good time as were the Past Guest events. Port excursions were good with us taking the Dreamers catamaran (with reef snorkeling) in Jamaica (free booze the entire 3 hours with a stop at Margaritaville), the Reef and Rays catamaran in Grand Cayman (with reef and stingray snorkeling - not sandbar stingray feeding) and the Mayan ruins tour in Tulum (via Ultramar - but no time left to shop in Cozumel). Warning, you must take a tour to leave Cozumel, no independent way to reach La Playa, etc. Grand Cayman provides the best variety of shopping. Ship layout has many deadends and makes reaching locations a challenge even once you have been around a bit. This ship drydocks in January for upgrades (even though it only launched in 2002) which will add an outdoor theater and refurbish the rooms a bit include new mattresses. All in all a good relaxing trip, but better food and service would overcome the poor ship design problems. We reallocated tip to the buffet staff more than the dining or cabin staff. Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
We sailed out of Houston because Ike destroyed Galveston. Carnival did pretty well considering the last minute changes. Embarkation was the usual hectic experience, (they probably all are). The Port is a little hard to find and is way off ... Read More
We sailed out of Houston because Ike destroyed Galveston. Carnival did pretty well considering the last minute changes. Embarkation was the usual hectic experience, (they probably all are). The Port is a little hard to find and is way off the beaten path in a very unattractive area. On board the ship is showing its age. Carpet is in bad shape the hallways reek of smoke, but the cabins are nice and clean. This is our second sailing on the Conquest, and it really needs refurbishing. The outside of the ship looks like a rust bucket. The buffet breakfast is okay, but we mainly ate in the main dinning rooms. The lunch buffet is horrible, the food either cold or too tuff to eat. The Monet dining food is very good and wait staff are outstanding. Shore excursions went well but I will never visit Jamaica again. Just a personal opinion, but have been there twice and except for the water it is one of the most awful countries I have ever visited. It is just a very poor nation, and if you enjoy seeing slums and depressed people you are in for a treat. Grand Cayman was great and our favorite stop. Cozumel was okay just did some shopping. All in all not a bad cruise experience considering we were on the first Carnival cruise out of Houston after Ike. Our next cruise destination will either be Alaska or Hawaii, but will probably look at another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
Ok, here it is. My 2nd review of a cruise I have taken. I never understood why people cruise and why so much, until last year when I took my first cruise with my wife(maria). The reason I took a cruise was because when I would visit my ... Read More
Ok, here it is. My 2nd review of a cruise I have taken. I never understood why people cruise and why so much, until last year when I took my first cruise with my wife(maria). The reason I took a cruise was because when I would visit my mother in NY whose health was deteriorating last 3 years, she always told my wife and I to stop using our vacation days to visit her in a hospital but instead take a real vacation like a cruise. I always thought that cruising was for the retired and people with money. I WAS SOOO WRONG. We loved it so much that on January 2008 we booked a cruise for 9/21/08, which coincides with the anniversary of my mother passing away (9/22/06). It is my way of telling her thanks and her way of seeing me & wife have so much fun. Since our cruise in 2007 all my wife and I did was talk, talk, talk about this cruise. We talked so much that my 24 yr old son (Michael) and his girlfriend came with us. My wife and I paid 50% of Stephanie's cruise because we like her and she gave me my 2 pomeranians. About 1 week before our departure hurricane Ike hit Texas and our worries turned to our safety and our house. We suffered slight damage but were left with no power and not knowing whether our cruise would be cancelled. Instead the Conquest would leave from Bayport terminal which is 20 minutes away. We arrived at the terminal at 9:30 and were on the ship by 10am . I still remember the look on my son and his girlfriend's face when they boarded the ship, it was the look my wife and I had last year. We headed to the lido deck to purchase a soda card which was the smartest purchase we made those 7 days. We must've drank about $100+ in sodas for the $40 or less we paid for the card. We walked around the lido deck and came across Mark & Becca (CRAZIES) who were on their honeymoon and we finally met LAMBIE. We exchanged hugs and promised to meet again. My wife and I gave Michael and Stephanie the tour of the ship and showed them the beautiful balcony that would be their living quarters for 7 days. I think the excitement was too much because on the 1st night we had to escort Stephanie to the infirmary. Stephanie was vomiting, sore all over and had a fever. The pursers desk told us to take her from our cabins on deck 8 to deck 0 where the nurse will be paged and will be there in 15 minutes. We arrived in 20 minutes and waited 55 minutes, even the off-duty crew on deck 0 were calling the pursers desk every 10 minutes to ask why the delay. The nurse finally arrived and berated us for not being there on time. When we tried to explain why we were late (elevators), she did not care. The nurse was a Helga House of Pain nurse who I would've taken care of, but at more than 6feet (I'm 5'4"), I did not want to risk being injured. Finally the doctor arrived and gave Stephanie a penicillin shot, which saved the remaining 6 days. The cruise director was Ralph Valente and he and the crew did a very good job in making those 7 days the most relaxing and fun days we've ever had. Ralph was energetic and had a very good sense of humor. My wife still likes Butch from the conquest last year but for me, Ralph did it. The crew always had a smile on their faces and whatever you needed, they were there. From the room steward to the dining room staff to the crew around the ship, they all performed beyond our expectations. OK, except the nurse. My wife and Stephanie both played the slot machines and won more than they spent, which is good news for Michael and I. We thought Michael and Stephanie would buy a lot of the pictures that were taken after formal night or the other nights, but it was my wife and I who purchased more pictures. The pictures came out so good that we had no choice but to purchase them. We'll use some of the pictures to order Xmas greeting cards this year. The food? We mostly ate in the Monet dining hall and it was good. All 4 of us enjoyed the NY Iron steak, grilled chicken and I enjoyed the tiger shrimp. Many nights I had the chicken, shrimp AND steak in one seating. Why not? My wife and I are still not fans of the melting cake, as others are. My wife loves the burgers/fries on the lido deck and so did Michael and Stephanie. We attended the game show trivia, famous faces trivia and wife and son caught the comedian who performed in the late evening. My wife and I loved to get up early and have breakfast in the Monet dining hall. We would both have ham/cheese omelet, bacon, pancakes, French toast, juice, coffee and sometimes we would have seconds. Yes, it was that good. The dining room staff would perform their song/dance routine which we loved and you can tell they took it serious and wanted it took come out right. I read a review last week that criticized the entire cruise and the waiters for their dancing. How can you? If you don't want "fun" stay off the carnival ship. Really, stay off the conquest because that is all you will have......FUN ! Each night we made an effort to tip the bar help and head waiter's ass't a couple of dollars and we still tipped all 3 extra on the final night because we appreciated how they treated us and made those 7 days enjoyable. Heck, we tip barbers and hairstylist more and the personal attention is a lot better on the ship. On Tuesday morning the day before we arrived to Jamaica , the cruise director made an announcement at around 4am that they were paging a female passenger and her husband was looking for her. The announcement grew louder and more often until 6am when it was announced that a cabin to cabin search would be conducted. Many feared she had fell over or was injured. I was on the lido deck taking video of the sunrise when I decided to go back to my cabin on deck 8 and wake my wife, son and his girlfriend and prepare them for the search. As my wife and I were knocking on the cabin of our son, we noticed 5-6 security guards running by us to a cabin that was 3 doors away from ours. We knew 2 males were occupied there, but did not know that on this particular morning a woman was going to be escorted out by security. Yes, the "missing" passenger was found and I overheard her say "oh, my GOD". Probably the same 3 words she repeated the night before. Following her, security was also escorting one of the males. She was in her late 40's and he looked also in his 40's.He was released 15 minutes later, so I guess she "explained" everything. The funny thing is that afternoon we overheard people saying that the she was "found" asleep on the lido deck. Perhaps to save her marriage she begged security/crew to use that story. Now, that's what I call the "Funship". The night before we would arrive to Jamaica is Mardi Gras night and as members of the red team, my wife and I knew this night was going to be one exciting night. My wife has NEVER danced until mardi gras night in our 2007 cruise. On that night she danced, did a conga line and did not retire till 2am . This night she got my son to dance and he never dances. It was her, my son and his girlfriend dancing away to the lido deck. I started dancing but got tired by the time all 3 teams reached the lido deck for the battle to see which team was the loudest. RED TEAM WON ! The next morning we arrived at Jamaica and took a cab to Sunset Beach Resort where we paid $40 per person to enjoy the resort facilities. What do you get for $40? You get the beach, swimming pools, free towels, free water rides, free drinks (strong pina coladas) and free lunch. The resort also has a water park with very tall slide, giant hot tub, and massages (extra). We enjoyed it very much, were not bothered at all and very close to terminal. The cab ride was $12 each way for all 4 of us and we enjoyed the cab ride to the resort where the cab driver returned to pick us up 5 hrs later. We returned to the Montego Bay terminal where we purchased souvenirs and also walked through a flea market that was outside of the terminal. Stephanie purchased Jamaican coffee, rum cakes and my wife and I purchased little trinkets. We boarded the ship and waited for the marching band of students that bid the Conquest good-bye, while passengers throw money at them from the balconies and decks. Jamaica is so beautiful and the pictures that we took from the ship are remarkable. At the Grand Caymans my wife and I booked the Allura Catamaran sail to Stingray sandbar. Last year we booked the excursion that took us to the turtle farm, HELL and the stingrays and this year we wanted to just relax on a catamaran and only swim with the fishes. It was worth it. We got in the water, swam, touched and kissed the stingrays. The nice crew took pictures of us and sold us a cd with the the pictures and additional pictures of stingrays and beautiful water. We got 6-7 additional photos, well worth it. My son and his GF decided to do some shopping and buy rum cakes for family back home. Son purchased a very nice bracelet for a very good price. Our final stop was Cozumel Mexico, where my wife decided to do our shopping. I was looking for a 3 stone diamond ring for my wife but could not find the right one at the right price. We purchased shirts and other souvenirs and hit Senor Frogs, where we got blasted. My wife and I do not drink, I've never tasted beer and only drink mixed drinks or Pina Coladas. We got the big 2 feet cups they serve and it really hit us. I had to make sure wife ended back on ship and not off the pier. Our son and GF took the XCARET excursion where they visit the natural theme parks and for an extra fee swim with the dolphins. They loved it and you can tell they really do not want this cruise to end. Overall this 2nd cruise was better than the 1st one, which I cannot believe it is. I guess having my son and his GF with us made it more enjoyable and interesting. The Carnival staff was great and Ralph the cruise director made each day unique. When I read other recent reviews and see how much some cruisers have not enjoyed the conquest, I wonder if it's a different conquest with a different cruise line. You need to board the ship with an open mind and a desire to enjoy the cruise no matter what. How can anyone complain when you are paying $125 or less per day for all the food you can eat, free room service, entertainment, a very, very comfortable bed and a carnival crew that is always smiling and will assist you with any request you have. For those that do not like carnival or the conquest and had more complaints than enjoyment, please do not book a cruise on 9/20/09. This will be the CRAZIES cruise and we will overdose with fun. My wife and I are already booked on the crazies cruise and want to take a cruise in March/April of 2009. How do we pay it ? Think of all the stupid, ridiculous,frivolous things we have all spent our tax refund or bonuses on? Don't worry.....I'm waiting......? My dear mother is smiling from heaven and telling me.....ENJOY IT ! Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
I drove down to Houston on Saturday after finding an open hotel. This was the first Carnival Conquest cruise after Hurricane Ike. Expecting the worst and hoping for the best the embarkation was a cinch. No hiccups. It probably took from ... Read More
I drove down to Houston on Saturday after finding an open hotel. This was the first Carnival Conquest cruise after Hurricane Ike. Expecting the worst and hoping for the best the embarkation was a cinch. No hiccups. It probably took from the moment I dropped off our luggage, parked, went through customs and checked in and then boarded and then in our room.....30 minutes. It was wonderful. After getting to our room and dropping off my carry on and showing my 3 year old the bathroom so she can potty we were off to show her the ship. Than eat some fruit on the lido and then back to the room where our luggage was waiting. Muster went pretty well considering I had a 3 year old with me. At first she did not want her arm band that she had to wear all week. But she got to choose her own (they were all the same) and she was happy. But after a few minutes she wanted her life preserver off. But I prevailed and soon muster was over and we went to get pizza. At Camp Carnival Orientation my 3 year old was scared of Freddy. She did go into the room after he was gone. My little one has had a full 2 days traveling to Houston and embarkation and was out by 8 and so we did not attend the Family Welcome Aboard or Family Ice Cream Making. I ordered room service since my little one was out for the night. The food was average but delivered to my room in a timely manner. After I ate I called it a night. Day 1 Sea Day I got breakfast in the room the first morning at sea. It was a typical continental breakfast that you find at any hotel. Then I dropped my daughter off at Camp Carnival. I went out by the pool and read until time to go get the her for lunch. After lunch I dropped her back off at Camp Carnival and went to the Meet and Mingle that was setup for the Crazies that were on board. We were finally able to put some faces with handles on Cruise Critic. We met the Cruise Director Ralph Valente and the Asst Cruise Director and comedian Mark Rubben. After the Meet and Mingle we were shown the 'secret doors' leading outside to public areas of the ship that only few know about. I then picked up my daughter for dinner and then dropped it her off again. I then met up with some friends before they headed off for Elegant night. I then went down to the Internet Cafe and got my account setup and checked email. I think they charge a bit much but it keeps me in contact with family. Later I picked my daughter up at Camp Carnival. She had a full day and was soon fast asleep. Day 2 Sea Day We got up and went off for breakfast. During breakfast I mentioned that after she was finished she could go to Camp Carnival. I thought she was going to come over me or the table to get out and go. My daughter is hooked on Camp Carnival. I had always heard great things about Camp Carnival but I now was able to 'live it'. I went off to the Lido deck to sit in the sun and read. After picking my daughter up we went to lunch. It was Taste of India day. She was not impressed with the food but I was. I always like to try other cultures food. After lunch I let her have an ice cream cone. We came back to the room where she took a nap. After her nap I took her for another ice cream cone and then off the Camp Carnival where she once again had a good time. This was the first night that I went to dinner in the dining room. As usual like my previous cruise the food was average. I was and still not completely impressed with their dinner. But that Warm Chocolate Melting Cake.......there is nothing like it. After dinner I went to get my daughter from Camp Carnival and went got our first photo together. I think it will turn out well. After getting back to the room she fell asleep. Tomorrow she will visit her first foreign country. Day 3 Montego Bay Jamaica We took a non shopping tour of Montego Bay. We stopped by an old 18th century church. We also stopped by Margaritaville for some fruit juice. It was a short 2 hour tour. I only took short excursions since I figured the attention span of my daughter would be short. After returning to the ship my daughter crashed for a nap. After her nap she was off to Camp Carnival. Also picked up the photo and it was excellent. Best picture I have ever been able to get my daughter to take. And then I saw the photo that Camp Carnival took. OMG, she out did herself. Day 4 Georgetown Grand Cayman Here we took a tour of the Turtle Farm and Butterfly Farm. My daughter enjoyed this tour very much. I was fascinated with the reason for the turtle farm and she was just fascinated with the big turtles. She chased the butterflies around and I learned a few things about butterflies I did not know or was taught in school. Day 5 Cozumel Here in Cozumel we took the sub view trip. This is a boat that has seats and glass windows below the boat so that you are looking at the sea bottom. My daughter enjoyed this excursion very much. I would recommend this excursion to anyone with small children. It was a rainy day here in Cozumel, also. But that did not stop us from enjoying the day. Debarkation was not down well by the customs agents. I did not get off the ship until 1 pm, 1 hour after the next cruise passengers were to begin embarkation. Overall, my daughter and I enjoyed the cruise. The crew was their usual great selves. Food was average. But the staff in the dining room were their usual great selves. I got a ocean view room because of my daughter but prefer a balcony which I will do when I am the cruise without the daughter. My daughter enjoyed Camp Carnival immensely. Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
We were on the 9/21 cruise, the first cruise out of the new bayport terminal. We are from fort worth and drove down saturday morning, we had a friend who stayed with us, who flew in from NY, after picking her up fro the airport we decided, ... Read More
We were on the 9/21 cruise, the first cruise out of the new bayport terminal. We are from fort worth and drove down saturday morning, we had a friend who stayed with us, who flew in from NY, after picking her up fro the airport we decided, since the terminal is only 30 mins away (from Houston Hobby) to see if we could find it, so we wouldn't have to worry about it the next day, after a long drive to what seemed like the middle of no where we spotted the ships...they had posted small signs off of 146 once you got close, so not to hard to find. We then return to our hotel that was an hour away from the port (was the only hotel we could find a room in because of the Hurricane, at one point we thought we would have to sleep in our car since everything was full) ill go day by day, and them hit up the categories last like food and staff last Sunday morning: We woke up around 8 and had breakfast at a waffle house on the way, figuring we would be stuck in line most of the days as we were one of the first groups to use this terminal. we arrived at the terminal about 10/1030 found a porter to help with bags, went around and parked and came back. glad we got there early so i had an actual parking spot. They did room out of paved ones, before we set sail. (when we came back they had cars all over the place) so we start are trip through the check in process around 1030ish, and we finish the process as we are on the ship at 1050, our bags arrived about 15-20 mins later (ALL the BAGs!!!! always a plus) we had a room on deck one with a nice window (most of the trip when in the room one of us was sitting in the window looking out) Our room was nice as there was plenty of room for all three of us, and we never felt crowded. Room was very clean and well maintained, the location was nice as we were only a few steps to an elevator. we were in the back of the boat so it was the perfect elevator as we could easily access the dining, lido deck, and casino, and degas lounge without having to go far. we headed out to go explore the ship, everything was really nice and clean to me, yea everyonce in awhile you would find a worn sport but that is expected as i believe the ship is 7 years old. But 95 percent of the ship is still in great shape. Restaurants were nice and elegant, casino/lounge area were beautifully done, The main lobby/photo area/shop area, were amazing, and the stage was nicely done. Only navigation problems were on deck 4/5 sometimes the Restaurants are closed off and you have to take 3 or 6 across to get to shops. The atrium elevators will not get you to Riviera deck (deck 1) either, i did find the stairs a good alternative if you were going up or down 2 or 3 decks, as sometimes elevator lines would get long. we went back to the cabin to get ready for dinner, that is where we meet our room steward (forgot his name, he was from jamaica) we didn't really meet his assistants. they did a great job the whole time we were on the ship as everytime we left for dinner, or out in the morning we came back to a clean room. It seemed like somehow we always made a mess of it, going through trying to find clothes. my wife and friend were disappointed as we only got the towel animals 4 times, twice being a swan, to me it didn't matter. We went to dinner were we meet our waiter Marcel at table 509. Marcel was from sloveka and was a very hard worker, any time one of us didn't like a course he would go bring a different course for us to try. He worked so hard trying to please us and take care of us, he remembered us by name and table number everynight. on the last night of eating there we decided to give him a little extra. and he looked like he was about to cry, he was so shocked, kind of touchy moment for wife and her friend they didn't want to say goodbye to him. Monday and tuesday were sea days, were we went and tried everything, art auction, we decided this wasn't for us, to lengthy and i never saw anything starting for 50 dollars like the claimed in the brochure, but the champagne was free. we met up with a group from the cruise critic boards, in the piano bar, where Cruise director Ralph, and Asst Kyle came to talk to us, More to come on them later, we did a q and a with them, we did some games show, tried the buffets, i went to the gym to work out, only complaint there was not kind of small considering it was always full of people trying to work off the chocolate melting cake. you couldn't always get a machine. did alot of lounging and enjoying the sun on these days, did the bingo thing, and the casino thing, needless to say we didn't come home with extra money from there. Wednesday: Jamaica Let me start out saying one of the most beautiful ports to pull into, as the fog/clouds, were rolling off the mountains into the see, very nice and scenic, then we pull aboard and head into terminal and out to excursion, then we see the real jamaica, the poverty, very sad, and the people drive really crazy, they will play chicken trying to pass cars both ways....not a good feeling had mixed reactions on the drive over as you would just see this beautiful area and then the poverty and it alternated like that the whole way to dolphin cove/dunns river falls. we were a little upset because i remember hearing it was a 45 min drive, it was an hour and a half to two, i wasn't the only one who thought this as when the the driver announced that, everyone looked around and said i thought it was only 45 mins. AS for the dolphin swim a once in a life type of thing that went back way to quickly as we spent more time getting ready to go into the tanks then actually swimming with them. It seemed very quick and there was 8 people to one dolphin. then they pushed there 50 dollar videos and 30 dollars for 4 digital pics of the trip, The jamaican jerk lunch was good, just be careful as they do no debone the meat so your small pieces of chicken still has the small bones. the fresh fruit punch was great. next off was to dunns river falls....the best thing about the trip we had so much fun. the water was so cold though. After finishing it, it gave you a feeling of accomplishment, it took about an hour to scale atop, with a camera guy recording your moves. again you can buy the video for 40 bucks, we did because of the great experience, well our friend took it home to watch, and its condensed into 10 mins with no music, and a buzzin sound all the way through. the dunns river falls though was still amazing and is by far the funniest thing we did, be prepared for a work out though thursday:grand cayman this day we split up on excursion, i did the coral reef and stingray safari and my wife and friend did the seven mile beach break. They had a great time not alot of people there so had a beach to there self, and the water is so amazingly clear, its hard to even explain, its seems clearer then pool water. well i headed over to the stingray city, where they would swim right up to you. I had a great time, but our tour people weren't very talkative, they did pick up some of the sting rays and let people pet them, next was off to the coral gardens, which was nice, not as many different types of fishes here, when i snorkeled in the bahamas, i saw so many different colors and many different fishes. this place seemed to have about 10 types, we did get to see a green eel that the tour guides was able to get to come out. got some nice underwater pics here though. we then walked through town for about three hours seeing some sights hitting up some freebie stores and buying little trinkets for everyone back home, Friday: cozumel we decided not to book an excursion here and just see what happened...which may of been for the best, as we hit some nasty rain twice, the first was just a warning i guess, the first was just like a storm in florida, hard quick and fast and over. the at one point was hard to see 20 feet infront of you, lucky for us we headed back to the ship before that one hit, made it back by 10 mins. So here we just went shop to show looking around, everyone will stop you and try to sell you something. we made our way over to panchos backyard for lunch which is a cruise ship recommended restaurant, i was very disappointed with this, out of the three only my meal was any good, everything else seemed really to dry or cooked to long, and the service was really slow we spent around hour and a half here, which sucked because we wanted to see more of the city (idea was to shop for 4 hours take a taxi to a beach for 2 and then back to the ship again the rain changed that) we did go about 4 blocks deep into town just to look around, alot of little shops and tequila tasting sites, one of which started me out on 150 or 160 proof needles to say that burned as im not a big drinker, then my wife pulled me into the jewelry store next door...yea they didn't give me enough tequila to pull that one off. Saturday:sea day same as before lounged on deck for most of the day,popped in for some bingo, and just little things, went back to room about 5 to get ready as we went to the point which is the supper club: my wife enjoyed it, for me i think i just ordered the wrong things, it was good for a one time thing, but don't think we would do it again, the lighting and music was nice, but even though we had 3 people waiting on us, it seemed liked marcel our other waiter had worked harder to please us. sunday: disembarking: im going to cut a little slack because of it being one of the first at the port and some of the idiots not following directions (people leaving there suitcases in the room and having to go back to get them, they didn't get the message that you had to carry off if you didn't leave them out the night before even though that was announced 12 times and people trying to leave before they were suppose to and being sent back to wait)we didn't get called til after 12, at 10 ralph came on and apologized saying most of the time the ship is cleared by 10 1030, once we got to customs that was a breeze, a few questions and boom on your way, they only asked our friend if she had been to a farm while on the cruise and sent her through.so we leave the cruise terminal about 1245-1 Food:main dinning room was great we had a great waiter who always tried to make sure we had good food, Food at times was warm but not hot, it was all tasty though, deserts were great.. and try the chocolate melting cake with ice cream, it was excellent. Supper club was not bad, but it seemed equivalent to what you could of got in the main dinning room just put together nicer. Breakfast buffet was good, really liked the omelette bar, and it was cooked fresh for you, lunch buffet were filling but sometimes lacked enough options, the grill (hotdogs/hamburgers) were good but always busy, sandwich shop was good, never got to try pc woks as it was always busy and closed by 3 one night we asked our maitre'd to take a picture of us infront of the restaurant, we only met him once and he just came by to check on our food never asked our names, but when we asked for the pics, he named each one of us and knew our table number... Staff: Ralph was great, he was always smiling and laughing just having a great time, he was a great cruise director and always made even the disembark talk funny.he was very friendly and always good for a laugh, his ast Kyle was also great one of only 12 Americans on the staff, Chicken was also a great host during some of the game shows. all three did a great job doing the events. again our waiter Marcel was amazing and is highly recommended i you can get him, he did say this is his last year to work in the cruise industry. Entertainers: the ventriloquist (yes i know i cant spell) was funnier on the first preview night. his 2nd how was "r-rated" which didn't bother us, just didn't think it was that funny, yes parts of it were, but its jokes I've heard several times. Puck the magician, i was very happy with his performance, first off he was funny, and 2nd the show felt very intimate, as the lighting and classical music through some of it just made it. we really enjoyed this show the most and definitely suggest seeing it. The juggler was very good and considering the ship was rocking hard that night ( capt apologized but said we were hitting 8 foot swells i think), he did drop 3 times but he wouldn't quit a trick until he hit it, he also had a good sense of humor about all of it, the last comedian was ok, cathy mannigan i think, big redneck lady, but i think I've heard the act before on cmt comedy club, so some of the punch lines i saw coming., again room staff and house keeping did a great job keeping the boat clean, since the passengers didn't, cause we would find some plates in the weirdest places on the ship, making me think some people were doing it, to test how often the place got check up on Room it self: nice size room enough for all three of us to sleep. the only complaint was on the first night our friend said she had trouble sleeping do the the vibration of the ship. next night i offered her my spot and i would sleep on the smaller bed, she said she would try it and passed right out, it never bothered her again, great window to sit and enjoy the sea., shower was small but u know that going in, casino seemed very tight and the staff keeps pushing you to put your money on your card instead of cashing out the machine Drink service: if they see you without anything in your hands they will come buy and try to sell you a drink, my wife and her friend got tired of being bothered so they went to there rooms, got out the first drink cup they bought and kept filling it with fruit punch never got bothered again complaints: yes there is a few, but nothing major, maybe more suggestions then complaints, yes the disembarking sucked but im trying to cut them slack since its a new port. the only other complaint was the leaving the ship to go to port. its kind of sad im suggesting this, since we are all adults but they needed to put some staff in place to keep people from cutting and slowing the process down (they did this for disembarking) for instance in grand cayman were you have to tender, we waited in lines and we watched people get on the elevator go up one level and then back down the stairs to get ahead. and then watched peopled get off the elevator and instead of going to the back of the line, stayed and pushed there way to the front, so if you got up early you were punished by waiting in line, while the last people cheated there way up, i know we are all adults but some people still are impatient and act like three year olds if they don't get there way. Food could of been a lil warmer coming out. Overall a great vacation that was easy on the pocket book, witheverything including cruise, drinks, tips, excursion, knick knacks, etc, we spent about 900 a person....great value for a week away from the world.....hope you all have fun Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
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