Advice from a FOODIE: Carnival Conquest Cruise Review by savvypueblochick
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Advice from a FOODIE
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: New Orleans
#1 Don't pick assigned eating times! Wow, I learned this lesson the hard way... I hate to sound like a snob BUT: A) you will most likely have to share a table B) which sounds "cute" until you realize that C) you have been seated with the most ill-mannered family onboard and... D) you're stuck eating with them for 7 nights! Instead choose open-time seating, this way if you want a private table you can have one (you may have to wait). If you're feeling social and want to share, you can- but you're not committed.
#2 Be prepared for the "singing and dancing waiter routine." To me, it's beyond silly but Carnival is the "Fun Ship" so you might want to have a few stiff drinks to prepare yourself. The first night I about fell out of my chair... No worries More though, you'll get used to it by the end of the cruise.
#3 Do NOT, and I really mean this, do NOT eat in the dining room on night #1. Why? Because the choices are always limited because the chef is trying to get a feel for what the guests like to eat... So, they give you a few lousy bland choices (sirloin, broiled salmon fillet, baked chicken) so they know what to serve the rest of the trip. This is the night to eat in the steakhouse. How do I know this? See tip #4
#4 If you can bankroll it, eat at the Chef's table. It's pretty steep at $75/head but well worth the cost. The dinner includes a kitchen tour with champagne and hors d'oeurves with the head chef, then your small group (this is limited to 12 guests) is led to an elegant private dining room where an additional 6 courses are served which are paired with wine (no extra cost). You get to chat with the head chef himself (where I learned about eating in the dining room on day 1) and they cook your food while you watch. Then, we were presented with a group photo and the secret recipe (not anymore) for the melting chocolate cake. Sign up at Guest Services the moment you arrive onboard- it sells out quickly.
#5 The drip coffee in the restaurants and the buffet is awful (acrid). You can order a cappuccino in the dining room with your desert at no extra charge in the the evenings. The rest of the time, go to the espresso stand, it's at least palatable.
#6 The sheets feel like they are a polyester blend, the shower curtain will undoubtably stick to your leg while you're washing your hair. The bathrooms are NO FRILLS unless you have a suite. This aside, our ocean view room was VERY big with lots of closet space (three closets to hang stuff up). The decor was akin to what you'd find at a roadside Quality Inn and Suites in anyplace America.
#7 The newlywed show was R-rated (sometimes even naughtier) and very funny! The comedians were also pretty good but you need to arrive about 15 minutes early because the shows fill up pretty quickly.
#8 At the rear of the buffet, there is an upstairs. In this upstairs is a little lunch gem. SEAFOOD!!! The ceviche and cioppino were surprisingly tasty. Also, there is usually plenty of seating. Do NOT miss out!
All in all, this was a fun cruise, not as elegant or lovely as the Celebrity Eclipse but also not as expensive. The gym had plenty of equipment, I only had to wait once for a treadmill. The decor is garish but again, you get used to it after a few days.
Have fun! Less
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