My husband and I along with an entourage from Natchez, McComb, Caseyville, and Brookhaven, Miss. as well as Vidalia, La. recently cruised to Belize.
The staff was wonderful!! Their patience was phenomenal no matter what our requests were. The cruise was full of excitement, enthusiasm and zest from beginning to end.
We look forward to this annual cruise which has become another blessed opportunity to fellowship with family/friends.
As we share memories and pray for continued blessings from our Creator we eagerly await next year's cruise to the Bahamas.
Great job Carnival Conquest Staff.
Happy Cruising from the Franklin Family in Natchez, MS.
Carnival Conquest-Disappointing. Departed Oct 16th, 2011. Embarkation was great. Onboard by 1130am. Cabin was good-outside cabin on deck 2. Our room seward was wonderful. Everyone of the crew was very friendly. The ship is worn in places- the seats in the lounges worn and dirty with stains. The food was laughable-although I wasn't laughing while on board. The food in the buffet on the Lido was unrecognizable. The hamburgers and pizza was good. Never received my order hot or correct in the Renoir dining room. Debarkation was horrible. Was in group 2 after self assist and did not get off the ship till 10am. Will never sail Carnival again.
Awesome! Our cruise out of Galveston, Tx. on the Carnival Conquest was great. We ate at the deli, which has the best rueben sandwich I have ever eaten, the fish & chips was great, the Point steak house has the best tenderloin steak I have ever had even though there is a $30 sur charge. I didn't try the sushi but everyone said it was good. I never ate at the buffet except after the Midnight mexican buffet that was awesome! The magic show was the best professional show I have ever seen! All the shows were very good. The comedian Cowboy Bill was fantastic! I saw his family show and his adult show both were great! Embarkation was very organized. Tendering at Grand Cayman was very quick and organized. Debarkation was very relaxed but took awhile. Over all it was the best vacation I have ever had.
First Cruise in 2002 with Carnival on the Elation was Awesome.
This Cruise on the Conquest was not so good. Food was bad, Some Staff rude and Beer WARM.. I hate to complain, but at $6 per beer I do expect it to at least be cold. Buffet food was Horrible and when we complained they did not seem to care at all.
We only had a group of four, but next cruise not looking to be Carnival.
I just completed my first cruise on the Conquest, and I was very impressed with all aspects of the ship and its employees.I visited Jamacia,Cayman Islands,and Cozumel.The ships restrooms were extreamly clean as was the entire ship.The food was wonderful and I feel that it was the best value for the money that I could have spent anywhere.
Sailed out of Galveston, TX.
They embarkation was flawless. As expected, it was busy but the line went pretty quick and if you have your fun pass ready it makes it easier. It seems that Carnival allows you to take sodas and water on the boat. I wish I would have know. I bought the kids drink card as soon as we got there and then I learned that once you are on international waters, you don’t have to pay taxes on it. Also, if you buy it a couple of days into the cruise, you can save some money. The price goes down every day but you do have a deadline to buy it.
Montego Bay we went to Sunset Beach. We paid $60 dlls per person, included is open bar, access to the restaurant and snorkel equipment. We had a great, relaxing time. The facilities are clean and the services were great. I have read a lot of reviews on Montego Bay so we decided for Sunset Beach; it is only about a ten minute drive from the pier. The driver that dropped us off agreed to pick usup at 3:00 p.m. and he was there on time. If you want rum cakes, buy them here. I bought 3 for $13 here and in Cozumel they were 1 for $9 dlls.
Cayman Island, we went to 7 mile beach and it is a beautiful beach but there is a very small area open for tourists. That section was very crowded and there were no place to sit. We walked to a less crowded area only to find out the beach has only private condos, so if we wanted a drink or use the restrooms, we had to walk about half a mile.
Cozumel we went to Playa Mia. It was crowded but we had a good time. Access to clean restrooms, good food, open bar and snorkeling equipment.
The boat itself was good and I had a great time. The food was okay and so are the shows. I had a better time at the karaoke bar and the casino. If you are on a budget, I recommend the Carnival Conquest.
Overall the Cruise was great. However, here's a few things to ad to that statement. We were scheduled to cruise Feb 21-28 Sun 4:00p embark, there was a light fog when we arrived in Galveston that Sun morning at 10:30a. We were told we would be able to check at 12:30p. Our ship had not made it into port yet because of the fog. We were told by Carnival staff on the port check in that we should check in and that we would be back to to board around 2:00p, so we checked in , and came back at 2:00p, only to wait in the terminal in a line for over two and half hours in a line that did not move at all, FINALLY at 5:00p we were able to go through security check point and then we boarded about thirty min after that. Once we got on board we were able to eat and encouraged to eat in the buffet, we opted to go to the main dining room which was awesome.
We were then told however that because of the fog that our ship wenot be sailing , and were never told when exactly we would be sailing??? All staff we asked said they didn't know but that it could potentially be anytime, and that the captain would let us them know??? This was strange, apparently the captain decided to sail at about 2:00p early Mon morning, we realized this of course when we woke up and the boat was moving, major lack of communication on the part of the Captain we thought, this might not have been so bad except that is seemed like the boat had to travel at warp speed to make up the time, because each day at sea the boar rocked a lot. It was obvious that the Captain did this to make up this lost time. when we did get into ports the times were adjusted to accommodate these time changes.
Tour Excursions- We took a ATV adventure in Jamaica , big mistake!! This was a 30min ride in a Taxi/Van at about 70miles per hour.
The Staff was nice, but the ATV ride was a joke, we rode up a hill for about 30min to what was supposed to be a panoramic ocean view of the island, it was not !! It was a view but just of the jungle around us, and we rode through a small village which had sad little shack homes, it was not good. 95$ as a joke for this excursion!!!
Then in Grand Cayman , the waves were so high that they canceled our Dolphin/Stingray encounter, the cruise line didn't charge us, but we were very disappointed because we really wanted to this, but who can control the waves ???
Here are the positives The food throughout the ship was awesome!!! The formal dining was the best of all, our service in the Renoir Dining room was the best, we started in the Monet dining room, but it sits directly about the engines or something because there is a lot of vibration and this and the boar rocking was pretty bad, so we asked to switch to the Renoir and we loved it our service was the best, our Server "Christian" treated us like royalty, he was very cute and funny. If nothing else we would cruise ship again for him.
We also loved the Blues Bar piano player named Jason Martin, he was awesome and made up for the other issues we encountered.
I sailed on the Conquest for 7 days and had a wonderful time.
Everything about the ship, staff, entertainment, food, etc. was awesome.
I would sail on this ship again and recommend it to anyone wanting to take a cruise.
Overall I genuinely enjoyed the cruise much more than I thought I would. I felt the cruise director, Chris, did a great job with keeping guests informed while also entertaining. The entertainment staff did a great job as well, and kept the activities constantly going. Everyone is extremely friendly, and not only just staff. I guess it's because everyone's on vacation, but anyone you see will smile at you. It's a very feel-good atmosphere.
Food The food was consistently pretty good. We ate in the Monet dining room, and our waiters were very kind though a bit slow on drink service. I enjoyed all the food on the Lido, and thought the staff there were very accommodating. I lost my dental retainer, and they searched for it for a very long time and were very patient. Albeit, we never found my retainer, they didn't show any annoyance with my persistence to find it as some staff elsewhere might have.
Entertainment Some of it is a tiny bit cheesy, but some of it is actually pretty good. I saw John Wesley Austin's general comedy show and also his R-rated show and enjoyed themboth very much. Most of the younger teenagers seemed to be kept busy with Club O2, but I do think Carnival is severely lacking when it comes to activities for 18 year olds. There weren't any social activities for us, and places like Henri's were full of people old enough to drink, and thus, were drunk. That being said, I didn't go on a cruise to meet people so I was fine with that. However, my brother who is also 18 did, and seemed a little disappointed with the lack of social activities for 18-20 year olds. I also met a few other 18 year olds on the deck who felt the same way. The dancing shows are average. If you don't know much about dance, you might enjoy it. I've seen performance art in Vegas though, so I will say I'm a bit snobby when it comes to that. The costumes were very creative, though.
Cabins We stayed on the 8th deck in an inside stateroom. I was pretty pleased with it. I'm sure it'd be nice to have a window or balcony, but I'm just saying that you probably do not need one to enjoy your vacation. If you think it's worth the extra money, go for it. Our stewardess and her help were AMAZING. Her name was Salisha. Our room & bathroom was so tidy all of the time. She helped me with any questions I had, and was a real "get the job done" type of girl. You'll feel pampered if you're lucky enough to get her as your stewardess. The towel animals are too cute.
Ports of Call Montego Bay, Jamaica: Getting off the boat is sort of a nightmare. There's no need to rush down unless you have an excursion to get to. The process of leaving the ship at Montego Bay seemed really unorganized, but it was my first cruise so maybe that's how it always goes. At Montego Bay, we did a Dolphin Encounter and Dunn's River Falls. I got some very cute "kissing the dolphin" pictures, but honestly you will not spend much time with them. The entire thing lasts probably 7 minutes. Dunn's River Falls are amazing! My brother and I climbed it and our parents climbed the trail on the side and took pictures. It's 960 feet of beautiful waterfall. It looks more intimidating than it actually is. I'm in good physical condition and was a little nervous upon first seeing it. However, there were women who were probably at least 50-60 with us who climbed it. It's a really exhilarating experience, and it's a group of about 20 people who all work together. By the end, you feel like you've made really good friends and it's just generally a really nice experience. Our guide was Tamisha, and she was a very strong woman. You don't have to worry about not making it a few of the rocks. She'll just lift you if she needs to.
Warning about Jamaica: You'll meet some friendly types, and you'll meet some shady types. I would not go into Jamaica alone. Tourism is basically Jamaica's revenue, so the vendors are extremely pushy and some will even do sleazy things to try to get you to buy. The vendors weren't bad at Dolphin Cove, but the ones outside of Dunn's River Falls are another story. Also the drivers there are not kidding around, haha. It's pretty intense, so just be aware. And it's true that they WILL try to sell you ganja. Me and my father were both offered some on two separate occasions. It isn't that they're bad people, so there's no need to feel disrespect. The wealth is not evenly dispersed, so it's really just their way of life. Don't let it ruin your day.
Grand Cayman: Cayman is GORGEOUS. You'd be safe here going off on your own, with common sense of course. We did the Ray Runner Boat & Stingray City Snorkel tour and also went parasailing. Definitely my favorite excursion by far. You drive the boat yourself and there isn't a guide with you in the boat, you just follow them. My brother had a lot of fun with this -- maybe a little too much fun, haha. The stingrays are beautiful and fascinating. The guides are extremely knowledgeable and take tons of pictures which are affordable. The snorkel tour is great as well. The tour guides are very lax; if you are a strong swimmer, you don't have to wear a life jacket. This enabled me and a few other swimmers to lose the snorkel and go completely underwater, literally swimming right over coral reefs. The marine life is beautiful -- so many fish with neon colors, and the plant life is breathtaking; not to mention the entire time, you go WAY out into the ocean and it's chest-deep, turquoise water. The most beautiful water I've ever seen in my life, by leaps and bounds. Now to parasailing -- a lot of fun, pictures come on a memory card (about 150 pictures are taken, and you get to keep the memory card, for $25. Not bad since a 2G memory card costs about $22 or so), but take TONS of sunscreen. So many people got fried here. The winds make it impossible to tell you're being burnt, plus when you parasail, you also wait on about 8 other couples to parasail in your boat, plus 8 couples from another boat. Beautiful view, feels like you're floating in air. Definitely do not regret doing it, but probably would not do it over and over again personally as you parasail for about 7 minutes and then watch other people parasail for 2 hours. Eat at Senor Frogs if you're the fun-loving type. Amazing food, huge portions (the nachos are ridiculous), and a generally good time. Tons of opportunities for free shots.
Embarkation/Debarkation I guess it was okay as far as embarkation/debarkation goes. Obviously it's never fun. In the very long embarkation line while you're holding your carry-ons most likely, every single person in your group will be given a "health" form that centers around the swine flu. You won't be given a pen and there is no surface to write on, but you will be expected to fill it out by the time you get to the desks. Have fun with that. Debarkation was slightly better. We got off the ship at least an hour earlier than we were even supposed to dock, and Customs sent us right through. They said there would be dogs, 1 in every 3 people would be checked, etc. I didn't see any of that. Not advocating any bringing of illegal things back to the US because 9 times out of 10, it might be there. That's just my experience.
A few tips I wish I'd known -- simply put, there's "something" about the food. Several guests mentioned it. Plan on more potty trips than usual. They have little amenities like toothpaste, razors, tylenol pm, benefiber (we understood it after our first few meals), pepcid ac, etc, so you don't really need to bring them unless you just want to. Bring enough clothes because laundry is quite the ordeal that you just don't wanna put up with on your vacation. Room service IS free, but you should tip the person who brings it. I would bring more than one bathing suit so you don't have to constantly hang them up. I didn't think I'd ever wear mine, but honestly there are people of ALL shapes and sizes -- nothing at all to be ashamed of (no one even thinks anything about it, it's vacation), so just bring it, wear it, have a great time.
We had an excellent time on the Carnival Conquest on its voyage from Galveston, Texas, to Montego Bay, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel, Mexico. It was relaxing and there were plenty of fun things to do.
The first section of this review describes each day. The next section gives tips on what to bring, do, or avoid. The final section contains general impressions about cruise vacations.
We are a family of four with a 14 year-old daughter and an 11 year-old son. My wife and I were on one previous cruise.
The Cruise Week We flew in to Houston on Saturday night and stayed at the Doubletree Hotel Houston IAH. I highly recommend this hotel.
We had a town car pick us up at 11:00 am.
We entered the terminal at about 12:20 pm and went through security. This was the only point where they would have screened for alcohol or soft drinks.
The next line was for tickets and ID. We did not need any of the fun pass documents we created on line. The "Fun pass" didn't allow us to by-pass any stage of the check-in.
The next line was to receivethe ship ID/room keys.
The next stop was the boarding photo. The delay for the photo was annoying, but it wasn't the real bottleneck.
We got to our deck at 1:22 pm. The boarding process seemed slow and inefficient.
We dropped our bags in our rooms and went to the Cezanne (buffet) restaurant for lunch. My expectations for the food were fairly low. However, it exceeded my expectations. We had lunch there three of the four sea days.
After lunch we went back to our cabin. I was very impressed with the staterooms. We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and walking around the ship.
We had dinner Sunday night at 6:00 in the Monet dining room. It took a while to find our numbered table. The dinner food was above excellent.
Monday and Tuesday were days at sea. On Monday, we had breakfast in the dining room, but this was a mistake (see below). Other days, we ate breakfast in the Cezanne. The breakfast food there was the best!
Both days we stayed at the mid-ship pool. I played some mini golf, etc. with my kids. On Tuesday, I ran 10k on the "jogging track." But I was constantly dodging people.
Monday night, we saw the song-and-dance show, which was mildly entertaining.
Wednesday we arrived in Jamaica. Except for the last day, the ship docked and departed on schedule. We had pre-booked an excursion through Carnival.
I read about a previous reviewer who arrived at Jamaica and booked a room for the day at the Ritz-Carlton. This sounded snobby. If you're going to Jamaica, why get a hotel room for the day at the Ritz? Don't you want to see some of Jamaica? This excursion cost $456 for the four of us so we probably paid more than that reviewer did.
Our tour was excellent. The guide provided commentary and answered our questions during our drive. We had a chance to chat with the tour guide alone later. It was interesting to learn about her country and her way of life there.
The resort was excellent, the food and Red Stripe beer were good.
Re-boarding the ship was always easy. You don't need to clear customs in ports.
They do a security check when you return, but you could probably bring a six-pack of beer, as another reviewer mentioned.
Thursday, we arrived at Grand Cayman. The ship "anchors," but the "tendering" process to get to shore is quick and easy. The dock area of Grand Cayman is open, bustling with tourists and inviting.
We had no plans for Grand Cayman. We took a taxi to seven-mile beach near an open-air restaurant called "The Reef Grill." There were public washrooms and the beach was great. The weather was perfect, the water was turquoise and we had an excellent time. We had lunch at The Reef ($60, including a Cay Brew beer). We got back to the dock and bought some t-shirts, clothes and souvenirs for a total of $86.
That night, we saw the song-and-dance show called "Formidable." My impressions were similar to those of "Point and Click."
Friday, we arrived in Cozumel. We had booked the trip to the Mayan ruins at Tulum. The cost of this tour was $308. The day was long on travel (2+ hours each way by ferry and bus).
The guide was excellent. He gave an interesting talk.
Unfortunately, we only had about 1.5 hours at the site after the presentation (exactly as advertised). We ate the breakfast food we brought in zip-lock baggies from the ship.
The water off Cozumel is rough. On the way back, a window on the boat was smashed wide open (and passengers were injured by flying glass) because the boat's side inflatable bumper flew up in the rough waves.
Saturday was a sea day, which we spent by the pool. I attended the disembarkation presentation, but this was not time well spent.
Sunday morning, we arrived in Galveston around 6:00 am. They wanted us out of our rooms by 8:00. I was not happy about that.
We took our own bags and began to disembark at 8:40 (the other option was to put your luggage out for collection Saturday night). The customs line seemed slow and it took us an hour to get through.
We took a taxi to our rental car, visited the Houston Space Center, had dinner in Kemah and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express near Houston Hobby Airport.
Tips Here's a list of things to consider taking:
Two bottles of champagne -- Carnival wants to gouge you. But they'll allow you two 750ml bottles of liquor per couple. We brought two bottles of champagne. We could have made it four by dividing our party up or checking one of our bags.
Two 12-can cartons of soda
Water bottle -- for the champagne on deck.
Duct tape -- You never know.
Zip lock baggies -- We packed breakfast food with us on our trip to Tulum
Walkie-talkies -- Never used them.
Wall map and GPS tracker -- It was more fun than tracking our position on TV
Power bar/extension cord -- There is only one, single outlet in the cabin and no clock
Bungee cords -- Never needed them
Hole punch & lanyard -- Good for kids to wear their card keys
Bottle opener -- didn't use it.
Flashlight -- didn't use it
Other Tips Speak to a Carnival agent when booking -- They know things like which rooms have attached balconies and which are directly below the floor of the disco.
Balcony, window or inside cabin -- We travelled a long distance, so the difference between balcony and inside cabins was a small portion of the overall trip cost. The cost of the cruise alone was $4,055. The cost of the entire trip was about $7,400.
Balcony -- A Carnival booking agent will tell you if you'll get any sun.
Multiple rooms -- We called Carnival before booking to see if we could put our kids in one room. They said it would be no problem. On paper, they put an adult in each cabin. We did get extra duplicate door keys.
Booking flights -- Don't fly on the day of ship's departure or return.
Transfers from Houston -- Carnival's bus costs $40, A town car was $109, excluding tip. With four people, do the math.
Checking bags -- You don't have to check your bags to board, although 95%+ do. We kept ours. It seemed like a hassle. But bags were still being delivered to cabins in the evening and I was happy we'd already unpacked. If you do check yours, remember to take key items in a carry-on.
Accessing your room -- Carnival says you can't access your cabin until 1:30 pm. Their staff won't stop you.
Getting around the ship -- The stairs are usually faster than elevators.
Fountain/soda cards -- cost about $5, but aren't valid from all servers. Beware.
Kids' club -- Both my kids loved it. Kids 11 and older can check themselves in and out. There is no charge for the regular activities before 10:00 pm.
Reserving deck chairs -- Ignore the signs. Do it.
Pools -- The swimmable pool space is minimal. The "jumbotron" plays the video portion of music videos without the audio portion. Instead they played taped music.
Ship layout and amenity information -- Research the ship and print out relevant information in advance. There is little information in the cabins.
Dance shows -- Costumes on female performers are somewhat risqué.
Sports Bar -- Just the same channels as the TV in my cabin.
Information on ports of call -- Research at home. I think you should always know basic things about a country you visit. You won't find it in your cabin.
Foreign currency -- US dollars quoted and accepted everywhere.
Booking shore excursions -- Book through Carnival unless you know what you're doing. You can save hundreds of dollars doing it yourself.
What time is it in port? -- The ship stays on central time. Port time can be different. Don't miss your ship.
Laundry -- Total including detergent was $5.
Internet café -- First minute on board costs $4.70. Each minute after costs $0.75. It adds up fast. We spent $32 for four sessions.
Meals -- For breakfast, my wife ordered waffles in the dining room and got two quarter-pieces.
Buffet desserts -- Very limited. Some nights the left-over dining room desserts arrived around 10:00.
On-board expenses -- Check regularly on your cabin's TV. We charged $94 ($32 -- internet, $22 -- photograph, $14 -- sunscreen, $26 -- kids' program extra).
Don't take so much food. Eat what you take.
Thoughts on Cruise Ship Vacations The overall experience was significantly positive. I would take a cruise again, but probably not in the next year or two.
You pay for a level of service that you don't necessarily want. There are no price options.
You pay for four star dining room service every night, whether you use it or not. I just don't get the whole dining room thing with cruise ships. If you're on a regular vacation, how often do you go to a restaurant that has a dress code, let alone wear a tie? Probably never.
Another thing I don't get is the cruise director. He's the guy who makes announcements. I don't get why some reviewers make a big deal about this person.
The ship has too many entertainment options, which you pay for whether you attend or not.
All passengers and crew were friendly and courteous.
I hate the constant pressure to buy things (drinks, photos, constantly announcing sales at the on-board shops, trying to get you to book a future cruise, etc.).
It was strange that there was no mention of the fact when we passed into the tropics. No mention of the fact that we came within viewing distance of Cuba at 7:15 am Tuesday morning. The cruise line treats that information like unnecessary detail.
The cabin staff were excellent and friendly, but I couldn't get them to show me where the ice machine was. I just wanted to get it myself.
Cabin staff always acted as if they thought passengers believed they were better than the employees. They would apologize for being in the corridors passing you. They should treat passengers like regular people.
I would far rather the cruise line advertise a fair price and pay their staff a fair wage than expect tipping. If you want the standard gratuity removed from your bill, just ask at the service desk.
Conclusion A magnificent trip. And Carnival rebated us $1,000 after booking.
The cruise was fun, but an expensive vacation (30% higher than a comparable vacation in Hawaii).
If we were considering another cruise, we'd start by looking at Carnival. As a result, I do recommend the Conquest and its Western Caribbean itinerary.
This is a highly summarized version of a 12,000+ word review of the Conquest.