Carnival Conquest Cruise Review by 4AustinTX
- Sail Date: December 2011
- Destination: Western Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Ocean View
Our kids really wanted to cruise during Christmas break, and our options were very limited by the school schedule. The Conquest had what seemed to be the best itinerary for our dates, so we took our chances. We previously cruised on the Carnival Freedom, a sister ship, in the Mediterranean, and that turned out to be a pleasant surprise. No such luck on the Conquest.
The cabins will make you think of a run-down Holiday Inn. The food quality resembles Denny's. Add to that management that couldn't operate a Dairy Queen, and you have the Conquest.
In fairness, there were some good points...our cabin steward was outstanding, the public areas of the ship were satisfactory, and the shows were actually pretty good.
What really ruined this cruise was the crew, as a whole. Poor attitudes prevailed, and you sensed that the crew (even the ship's officers) had no interest in being on the boat or serving customers. The formal dining room staff serving our table was abysmal...incredibly slow, hard to find if you needed something, and they messed up orders repeatedly. The food was sometimes cold when it finally got to our table, and even when it was hot, it was usually sub-par. Carnival's signature chocolate melting cake arrived un-melted on two occasions. We finally abandoned the dining room after a few days and ate in the buffet, but it wasn't really better except for not having to wait for food. Food quality was of course the same, but most tables were routinely covered with dirty dishes. When the wait staff did clean a table, whatever was on the table top ended up on the chairs. They didn't even bother trying getting it on the floor, much less pick it up. Restaurant management was rarely seen.
An even bigger disappointment was Carnival's failure to handle the logistics of getting passengers in/out of ports at Belize and Progreso (see my reviews for these ports).
Overall, the kids had an OK time, which is good since the trip was really for them. However, even they recognized that Carnival is sub-par. We have cruised on Celebrity, Princess and RCCL from many ports around the world, and our previous Carnival experience in Europe was actually pretty good. Maybe other Carnival ships are better, but people we met in ports who were traveling on the Dream and the Magic with a similar cruising history to ours had similarly negative comments about both ships. The fact that there was no guest satisfaction survey for departing passengers said it all...Carnival doesn't care about your cruising experience. You won't find us on Carnival again.
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
Belize CityWe never book shore excursions through a cruise line, but because the complexity of the Belize tender situation, we made an exception. The tender ride to shore is 15+ minutes and we knew that there would be a long wait to get space on a tender. We had planned to scuba dive independently but abandoned that idea once I saw the logistics required to get to the better dive sites (tender to shore, taxi to airport, fly to barrier quay, get to dive shop, dive, and repeat in reverse, hoping to catch the last tender back to the ship). We ended up booking the 8:00 a.m. Land Rover tour online at the suggestion of a friend who had done it. After we got on board, the tour desk notified us that they moved us to the 10:00 tour, which ran late to boot. After the excursion, which was OK sans the 45+ minute bus ride, we arrived back at port from our tour at 4 p.m., which was the scheduled time for the last tender. There were literally 1,000 people still in line waiting to get back to the Conquest, and we had to wait 1.25 hours to get on a tender. Bottom line, Belize was VERY dirty (trash everywhere), run down and Carnival totally botched the logistics of using tenders. Not worth getting off the ship in my opinion.View All 2,217 Belize City Cruise Port Reviews
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CozumelScuba diving with Careyitos Advanced Divers. We've used them many times in the past 15+ years. Also stopped at Paradise Beach, less than 10 minutes and a $7 cab ride from the Carnival port. Private pool, private beach and a restaurant (all very clean) for $2/person. Very nice facility run by nice people. Would not have wanted to go into town when we were there...6 ships in port that day, including the Oasis and the Crown Princess. I figured 25,000 passengers and crew descended on Cozumel that day.View All 5,715 Cozumel Cruise Port Reviews
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ProgresoOn a par with Belize...dirty and run down and another Carnival logistical failure. The ship docks on a pier that's several miles from shore. Carnival provides free bus service, but we were in port that day with the Magic. That's about 6,500 passengers, many of whom wanted to go into town. Do the math: a few 30-40 passenger buses doing 15+ minute round trips and several thousand passengers to ferry. The result, another long, slow line. After waiting 1/2 hour with a way to go before getting on a bus, we booked a 3-hour taxi tour for $100 cash for 4 to the Dzibilchaltun ruins (taxis at the docking area would only book tours, not just take you into town). That gave us 2 hours at the site after the 1/2 hour ride each way (entirely skipping the Carnival bus in both directions). We booked a private guide for an hour for $30, and the guide did a nice job of explaining the site and the Mayan history to our kids. Dzibilchaltun is a good site for kids because they allow climbing on/in the ruins. We also enjoyed swimming in the Cenote. Wear your suit under your clothes because there's nowhere to change next to the Cenote, and take a towel.View All 417 Progreso Cruise Port Reviews
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RoatanWe did an independent scuba diving and beach day at Bananarama. Even though the beach was small and crowded, the dive master, Mal, was excellent, as was the diving.View All 2,527 Roatan Cruise Port Reviews
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