Carnival Conquest provides an affordable yet good quality cruise.
Itinerary - - This was a six-day cruise from Fort Lauderdale Florida. The stops included Key West, Grand Cayman and Cozumel - - three popular tourist destinations. There were also two days at sea as well as the embarkation day. Thus, there was a chance to recuperate from the busy port days with more relaxed sea days.
Seakeeping - - At the outset, Carnival Conquest was not built as an ocean liner but rather as a cruise ship so she is not designed for bad weather. The weather throughout this cruise was good except for the last evening when the ship passed through a series of rain storms. Conquest handled these without problem. These storms continued into the next day and so greeted us when we began a cruise on another ship the next day. We noticed that there had been much less motion on Conquest than on the second smaller ship.
The itinerary allowed Conquest to travel at a relatively slow pace. However, during one leg of the journey, the ship did pick up speed. This caused some comment about increased motion at the back of the ship. However, our cabin was low on the ship on Deck 1 near the stern and we did not have a problem.
Service - - Conquest appeared to have a happy crew and a hapy crew usually provides good service. Carnival does not seek to provide white glove service. However, the service in the main dining room and in the cabin was friendly yet respectful, attentive and professional. We had no problems with the service at all. In addition, we did not hear of any service problems.
Food - - The food on Conquest is both good and plentiful. For casual dining, Conquest features the excellent (but caloric) Guy's Burger Joint and the design your own burrito/taco Blue Igunana cafe. However, the main dining room also held its own on more sophisticated dishes such as grilled salmon fillet and lobster tail.
In the evening on the Deck 5 indoor promenade, the Taste Bar offers small appetizer-size samples of various dishes served in the main dining rooms or in the specialty restaurants around the Carnival fleet. We had enjoyed this food on other Conquest class ships. However, on Conquest the Taste Bar experience was enhanced by the three chefs who manned the bar each night. They would chant in unison a description of the dishes they were offering each night ended with a cowboy-style “Yee-ha.” This high-spirited routine caused numerous smiles and it was fun just to watch people who so clearly enjoyed what they were doing.
Passengers - - This cruise had a young demographic including some young families and a number of Spring Breakers. While there was drinking, the behavior did not get out of hand.
Entertainment - - As part of the Fun Ship 2.0 refurbishment, Conquest's traditional production shows were replaced with Playlist Productions. These new shows differ from the old prodiction shows in several ways.
First, instead of having traditional stage scenery, these shows use large LED panels as the backdrop. The panels can be separated and moved around the stage so that performers can be in front of, behind or in among the panels even during the course of one scene. This allows for much more variety and visual effect.
Second, there is no live orchestra accompanying the performers. Instead, the music is pre-recorded tracks. Over the years, cruise ships have been employing more and more pre-recorded tracks to supplement the sound of their live orchestras. This could be seen as a logical extension of that practice. But then so would be doing away with live entertainers altogether and just showing a video. It is really a matter of where to draw the line. Personally, we feel that live musicians bring something to the show even though the performance may not be as perfect as a pre-recorded performance.
Third, instead of having distict sets of singers and dancers, all of the performers both sing and dance. Indeed, the performers even do some acrobatics. While some of the performers were quite good at either singing or dancing, we believe it works better when the performers specailize in one or the other rather than a jack-of-all-trades approach.
We enjoyed the Playlist Production shows. Our favorite was The Brits, a salute to 1960s British rock, which made clever use of both the live performers and animated characters. A tribute to more recent rock, Epic, was also visually impressive.
In addition to the shows in the main theater, the other highlight of Conquest's entertainment line up is the Punchliner Comedy Club. The Club is not a physical location but rather a set of shows that are presented in the large aft entertainment lounge on Deck 5. The same location is used for other activities such as a karoke on nights when the comedy shows are not being presented.
For this cruise, Conquest was carrying two stand-up comedians. Each comedian would present several family-friendly and adult shows during the course of the cruise. So that everyone aboard had an opportunity to see the shows, some were repeated. However, each comedian did have more than one show in his repetoire.
Done in junction with George Lopez, the shows were quite professional. In addition, the intimacy of the aft lounge gave the shows a comedy club atmosphere.
In addition to the aforementioned highlights, Conquest offered movies by the main pool, Hasbro game shows, bingo, its own version of the love and marriage game, a deck party and live music in several of the bars.
Cruise review - - Carnival Cruise Line - - Carnival Conquest