Carnival Conquest - Western Caribbean: Carnival Conquest Cruise Review by jp

Carnival Conquest 3
Member Since 2000

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Carnival Conquest - Western Caribbean

Sail Date: July 2006
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Galveston
Background  Our cruise was primarily to celebrate my mothers 70th birthday. We had a total of 12 in our group. My wife & I and our two teenage boys shared our cabin. My sis and her family were in an adjacent cabin. My mom and the others were in an interior room and how I wish now that we had gotten them a room with a balcony. This was my familys first cruise and Ill never go without a balcony if we cruise again. This was my sisters fourth cruise and first on Carnival. They had always gone with Royal Caribbean and we opted for Carnival to save a few bucks. How successful this strategy turned out is unknown.

Impressions of the ship  Well it is certainly large and I cant imagine getting on a bigger boat. The atrium was impressive and it was relatively easy to maneuver around. On sea days, we always just hung around the pool area in the front. Because I was usually up early, we were able to get 6 or 7 loungers together. Although I generally abhor folks who save chairs More we didnt have any problems to speak of. I did witness what could have turned into one heck of a catfight between two middle-aged females over some chairs. In hindsight, I would have liked to seen them go at it.

Activities  My sis sent her two kids (6 & 4) to Camp Carnival every day and they seemed to love it. My ten year old daughter went a couple of days and enjoyed it as well. My boys got a little tired of the arcade and internet after awhile, but my 16 year old never got back to the room before 1:00 am so I guess the teen area passed muster. My 14 year old never got into that and spent most evenings in our room. They played some basketball but mostly hung at the pool with us and ate constantly.

Food  I know this may sound self-serving but I was really surprised with the food. I thought the breakfast was good. We ate at the Cezanne several times and usually hit the omelet line. Note to Carnival: more omelet cooks & stations are needed as the wait times were too long. We also had the sit down breakfast too and it was good. I didnt hit the lunch buffets and focused on the seafood, asian, deli and pizza stations. I thought all were good and I can attest to the bouillabaisse (sp.?) comments Ive read. It was very tasty indeed.

My dining disconnect came at night. We started at the Renoir and ended up at the Monet (more on that later) at the later sittings. I found the food very average at best, especially the beef dishes. Roast tenderloin of beef was anything but. Pan fried fish was gooey and gross. The sides werent good. The lobster was ok. Free-range chicken with foie gras (sp.?) was ok but I couldnt reconcile happy fowl with force fed goose. I know you can send it back if you dont like it but the volume of food that is pitched has to be beyond belief.. Maybe its just me, but I was very disappointed with these meals.

We went to The Point on the last night. Let me say this: Ruths Chris it isnt. Not by a very long shot. Once again, quantity trumped quality. The service was attentive and the presentation was very nice. Please dont call that prime grade beef; I just dont buy it. This could be a nice dining alternative, but give me the seafood station and some pizza.

Service  Very uneven overall. We started in the Renoir. I know it was the late sitting with a table for 12. The headwaiter was very stoic, never went over the entrees, and constantly was at odds with his assistant. We were always the last party served and it resulted in those who wanted to go to the shows rushing dessert and getting a bad seat. It was very unsatisfactory especially when we saw the fun times other tables were having with their wait staff. After two nights something had to give.

I was at The Point making reservations for Saturday and, when asked about how things were going, unloaded our disappointment with the waiter. Then some service magic happened: she called the Maitre D' (sp.?) for the Renoir, explained the issue and asked me if I wanted to go see him. To my surprise, he said he would come to me right then and there. I went over the entire thing and indicated we wanted to change dining rooms. He got on the phone and made it happen. We were moved to eight and four person tables in the Monet room and got Carmelo as our head waiter. Quite frankly, this salvaged the entire trip for us. He was incredible and they went beyond our expectations. Too bad they couldnt be in the kitchen as well. I slipped him a Jackson nightly.

Shore excursions  All were booked over the internet using info culled from this board.

Sunset Beach  What a great day! Nice and laid back place with just enough edge to it. Had the best meal of the trip at the grill. Two orders of jerk chicken. Lots of Red Stripe to wash it down. Although it seems to be a mid-range resort, this is a place I could spend a week at. Highly recommended.

Grand Cayman  The boys and I did the half day thing with Captain Marvin. I hope those pictures with the stingrays turn out. Very worthwhile. Caught up with the rest of the group at Seagrape on 7 mile beach. Maybe the most gorgeous beach Ive seen ever. Expensive food and drink but the views and water more than compensated. I could spend some time here after the credit card balances are paid down. Highly recommended.

Cozumel  Took a bit of a chance here and went to Playa Uvas. Paid $7 to get in and got there early. The beach was a little rocky; you definitely needed water shoes. The grill was ok but a little pricey for the quality. The snorkeling was just ok. Ive spent some time in Mexico (most Zihuatanejo ?) and like the pace of life there, but this was too rough around the edges for me. Im neutral on this place.

Entertainment  You couldnt pay me to sit through one of the onboard shows. Sorry, but thats how it is. My mom, however, loved them. The casino was ok. Felt I got gypped on a blackjack hand, tried to get it straight, didnt get it done. Disco too loud, but enjoyed an evening at the piano bar. Seems it was the guys last night and a good number of staff showed up late. Todd was there late and crooned a few tunes; not bad at all. Should have stuck with beer like my wife. The Jack & cokes were consistently weak and overpriced.

Getting off the ship  We had a lot of luggage and did the self assist thing. Ive never seen more rude people when it came time to move out of the theatre. It was like a cattle call. I encountered the same rudeness when exiting all of the tenders. Try to be a gentleman and you get kicked in the face. Really unbelievable.

Overall  Would I be inclined to go with Carnival again? I dont think so. This particular cruise is good for a large group or family, but I would have to give Royal Caribbean a shot and then decide. Would I cruise Carnival with my spouse and another couple? No way. I realize this was my first cruise experience, but I can only equate Carnival as being the Wal-Mart of its industry. Quantity over quality at most every turn. That said, I wont soon forget Carmelo and the overall eagerness of most Carnival employees to please us. Less

Published 08/30/06
Helpful? Thank jp

Cabin review: 6243

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