Here’s my review without pictures because I didn’t take a lot and am not as tech savvy as others. I hate walking with my phone while on the cruise ship. I don’t want to keep track of it nor do I want to carry a purse and didn’t have many outfits with pockets so no pictures to share. For starters, this is an annual trip that my 16-year-old son and I take. We don’t always take a cruise, but we manage to do a trip with just the two of us each year without the hubby and other family members. By the way, this was my 15th cruise with 11 being on Carnival.
We had one mishap the day before the cruise which greatly hindered our fun, but we tried to manage to salvage the cruise to the best of our ability. In retrospect, I wish I had purchased the insurance and rescheduled the cruise. Without providing too many details, my son had an accident where he hurt his foot and was unable to walk long distances or get his foot wet. We did get wheelchair assistance at the port all the way to the cabin and then had wheelchair assistance to the muster drill. Other than that, first day my son did not want me to rent a wheelchair as he didn’t want the looks and sympathy stares from other passengers. DS opted to take his pain medication regularly and we strategically planned events around the ship that didn’t require walking all around the ship as we normally would to get from one event to another. We also had a cabin on the Lido deck which was helpful for me to run back and forth to get him snacks throughout each day. Now for the review.
Conquest 8day/7nt – Ports: San Juan, Grand Turk, St. Thomas & Amber Cove.
Loved the ship itself. I prefer this class as well as the size. Not too big and not too small. It was easy to navigate, and I didn’t feel stressed getting from one end to the other in making event times. The ship was very clean, and I noticed the crew cleaning constantly no matter where you went. Our cabin was perfect, we opt for interior because normally we are never in the cabin accept to sleep and prefer to use our funds elsewhere. However, this trip we spent a lot of time in the cabin due to son’s injury. Still Cabin 9256 was very nice. It was right near the exit to the glass elevators. This made it very easy to get places especially to the pool deck for activities and of course Guy’s Burgers and the ice cream machine. We had lots of storage which went unused. I believe there were 3 closets. We only had 1 bag each as I have learned to go minimal after 13 other cruises. Beds were comfortable and our Steward, Koteut (sp?) was so accommodating as I couldn’t guarantee a time that would be good to clean the room because my son was often resting. He worked with our schedule and made sure he cleaned it daily, left our towel animals and a bucket of ice each time as requested. He also regularly checked on my son to see if he needed anything. I left him an extra tip on final day.
I hated the new In Room TV Service Line Up. Other than the traditional Carnival Channels that are more advertisements and safety info and of course the Carnival Morning Show, we had a Music Video Channel, Food Network, HGTV, Nickelodeon which rotated the same few shows over and over, CBS News which rotated the same news shows each day, AMC and then two movie channels which had a loop of 3 or 4 movies on each channel each day. Normally, this would probably be fine, because I am not in the room, but this trip because my son was not as active, we tended to take lots of breaks and there was not much choice on the TV. But I won’t give Carnival a bad grade because normally this is not something that I worry about. However, I did miss the option where you could purchase movies on demand. Not sure what happened to that. I generally love the Dive In Movies and tend to go to at least 2 movies during a cruise. This cruise we missed all the movies because they started at times we were either in the dining room or attending another event such as Comedy or Theatre show. The few that we could catch started too late or did not suit our appetite.
Room Service was amazing. I didn’t find a menu in the room but based on my experience, on a few nights and even for lunch once, we ordered the Teriyaki Wings, or the Honey Barbeque Wings and we also ordered the Firecracker shrimp which was delicious. The food always arrived in quick time and hot. This is a nice Segway to discuss the food on the ship. The food on Conquest was delicious. I found everything except for the Chesapeake crab cakes to be perfect. We had early dining in the Monet dining room. I had requested a table for two on the upper level overlooking the balcony. I love this area because my favorite pastime on a cruise is to people watch, and this gave me the perfect seat. I could see people walking in and out of the dining room as well as I could see people interacting all well. Please don’t judge me, I just love observing people. I loved watching the outfits especially on elegant night. Its so much fun to watch folks not just in the dining room but on the Lido Deck as well. We attended dinner in the Monet dining room 5 of the 7 nights. 1 night we tried the Lido Buffet just to relax and then the final night we ate at Guy’s Burgers way too late and wasn’t hungry for dinner, so we skipped the dining room and opted for a Grilled Ham and Cheese and fries later that evening from the deli. As I stated, the food was great. You could always find something to eat throughout the day and there is always Room Service.
Every morning while my son slept until about 11 a.m., I opted to eat from the Lido Buffet. I had a veggie omelet with hash browns, Bacon and Sausage with a cup of coffee and cup of guava juice. It never disappointed. I would bring back a couple of muffins for my son to eat when he got up. Then eventually, we would hit up Guy’s Burgers or Blue Iguana. Both were so good. Only once I ate lunch at the Lido Buffet and then once I ate upstairs at the barbecue joint. Other than the barbecue being a little cold, I enjoyed the smoked beef.
We started each night at dinner with a delicious warm roll and then of course an appetizer. My son had shrimp cocktail each evening. Some of my choices were calamari, escargot, fried shrimp, tart with braised kale, blackened pork tenderloin, crab cakes and New England Clam Chowder. The only one I did not love was the crab cakes. I have had the crab cakes on other ships but did not like the consistency of the ones on Conquest. I felt they needed to be cooked longer so I didn’t finish them. All the other appetizers were good. Next were the main course. Night 1: DS had the sweet & sour shrimp and I had salmon with mac n cheese. We had eaten earlier at Guys Burger and didn’t want anything too heavy. DS had the chocolate melting cake which is usually a nightly order for him, but this cruise he got a different dessert each night. I had the wonderful Tiramisu which didn’t disappoint. Night 2: DS had Spaghetti carbonara and I had 2 lobster tails. For dessert, DS had the vanilla crème Brule and I had the carnival melting cake. Another huge hit on all our selections. Night 3: We skipped the main dining room and ate at the Lido buffet. Nothing memorable here. Nothing bad but nothing terrible outstanding. Night 4: DS had the Grilled Jumbo Shrimp and I had the Filet Mignon with a whipped mash potato, for dessert we each had butter pecan ice cream. Night 5: I had the salmon cake and DS had Salmon. For dessert, I had ice cream again and DS had the Bitter N Blanc (Pecan Crunchy, Cinnamon Dulce Sauce). Superb dessert. Night 6: DS had the beef Lasagna and I had the braised short ribs. The short ribs were so tender they just melted in my mouth. My son pretty much inhaled the lasagna and almost ordered a second one but then remember he had already placed an order for dessert, so he skipped a second serving. I forgot to mention on this ship for the first time, the waiters asked for our dessert order with the dinner order. It was not a big deal because if you thought you wanted something different, you could change it later or you could skip dessert altogether. But that was new to me that they took dessert order with dinner. For dessert I had the cheesecake and DS had the buttered popcorn pot de crème. Both were superb choices. Night 7: We skipped because we had Guys Burgers too late in the day too eat again. All in all, every night dinner was excellent, and our Servers Harry and Samuel were excellent as well. Only on two nights we went after the theatre show to get pizza which also was a hit with both of us. Each day we each had at least two ice cream cones from the soft serve machine. And I believe DS probably had at least 3 a day. We also tried the new cakes that they have on the Lido deck. All were ok, nothing was like fabulous, but they were certainly much better than the former desserts. I had a slice of cake each afternoon (German chocolate, carrot cake, peanut butter cake, red velvet, white cake, cheesecake, etc.) We also tried the new for purchase donuts on Promenade. My son purchased 3 times during the 7 days (twice he had the caramel donut with the bacon on top and then he had the Smores Cupcake. I only purchased once which was a Praline cupcake. These were good but for $3.50 a pop I didn’t feel they were worth purchasing again. I also purchase ice-cream which was good. But won’t purchase again as the free ice cream is adequate. This was the best food I have had on a cruise in quite some time. No complaints at all except for the crab cakes which should have been cooked or fried a little harder. We did not make it to the Sea Day brunches (just not our thing).
Beverages: I am not a drinker. I literally drink once a year on our annual cruise. I choose to order a Pina Colada each evening in either the Comedy Club or the Theatre and then I don’t drink again until my next cruise. Therefore, no cheers package for us. My son is a big bottle water person and I ordered a 12 pack of water and then since we are Gold we get the 2 free 2 Liter Bottled waters. And then I like to end each evening with a Diet Coke which is my fix in lieu of alcohol to wine down. I also had a 6-pack ordered to the room prior to the cruise. Almost each evening I ordered 2 PINA coladas one virgin for my son and one with alcohol. One night they mixed it up and it wasn’t until my son was 2 thirds thru that he said the drink tasted different. I had been drinking mine all along thinking they forgot the alcohol but since I’m not a drinker I was still enjoying it. Once he told me that, I tested his drink and realized he got mine and so I poured the balance into my drink and enjoyed the rest of it.
Entertainment: We love the comedy on the ships. We had 4 comedians during our 7 days. I was hoping that each day we could hit a show, but three out of the 4 comedians repeated their family acts and I do not prefer to go to R rated shows especially with a 16-year-old. This was a little disappointing. The only comedian who didn’t repeat his family act was Mike Winfield. We went twice to see him, and he was by far the funniest of the 4 and I literally laughed so hard one night that I honestly felt my brain shift out of place. I haven’t laughed as hard in years and it was all clean and fun (nothing sexual, no cursing, truly family). And on that note, I would like to make some comments on our Cruise Director Matt Seguin.
I had read great things about Matt Seguin and for the most part I guess they were true. Matt is full of energy and you could see him everywhere on the ship. He was funny and very pleasant. However, I felt that he crossed the line several times each day with his suggestive sexual jokes. This is unnecessary. I had never seen this on a Carnival Cruise or any cruise line. He was so brazen about his comments and would often laugh immediately following one of his suggestive comments and then apologize. The audience seemed to love this, but the children were present. Very inappropriate. I could understand if this was after hours or in a night club, but this was everywhere you went and just highly disappointing. Not only were his comments inappropriate but some of his actions and dance movements were borderline suggestive. I have never seen a cruise director have find so many opportunities to be inappropriate. He even had two gentlemen get on the floor in front of a green screen and had one act like a horse and one act like the rider and when they displayed it on the jumbo screen it appeared that they were humping each other, and he even nicknamed them broke back mountain. There were babies, toddlers and preteens in the audience. And even I at my age do not want to be constantly presented with inappropriate material at public events. And then he kept referencing how tight his pants were. I do not attend the hairy man contest because I realize this often gets out of hand or the Quest Event which is an 18+ event and is advertised as being something that sensitive or the Rated R shows because that is not the type of entertainment that I appreciate. If I go to a game show or a Trivia Game, I don’t expect to be blasted with suggestive material daily. The last night my 16-year-old and I had to leave the Mardi Gra Lobby party because he pulled 7 women up for a twerking contest. This was indeed nasty. This party started at 8:30 and there were a lot of children there. It seems like the world has truly changed in what people find acceptable as entertainment. Most of the passengers seemed to appreciate and enjoy his lude conduct and comments. However, I did not. He was loose and gave off such an overly casual and unprofessional vibe, that I saw a two separate women feel comfortable enough to slap his rear end. For these reasons, I must give Matt a thumbs down. After 15 cruises, I can honestly say this is the first time I have been truly offended by a CD or any crew member. There was definitely a lack of professionalism on his part.
Now back to the overall entertainment, every theatre show was amazing from the Welcome Aboard Show to the Lip Synch Battle. We saw Flick, 80s Pop to the Max, Heart of Soul, Epic Rock, the Hasbro Game Show, the Love and Marriage Show and of course the Lip Synch Battle which were two passengers battling against each other. I hadn’t heard a lot of good things about the Lip Synch Battle, but I truly enjoyed it. We had two good contenders and it was really a tossup. Either was worthy to win. Oh, we also went to the Clue Game, but couldn’t really participate because you had to go each day to a certain event to get the next clue and we just wasn’t up for that. We went to the introduction of the game and then on the last day to the Big Reveal to see who did it. I think this would be fun if you truly follow the clues and attend every event.
Next, I went to the free cooking demonstration at the Steak House which I had never done before. This was surprisingly very good. We had a 4-course meal technically. They were sample sizes but enough to serve as my lunch for that day. The menu included Mushroom Cappuccino (soup), a Baby Spinach salad with blue cheese crumbles and mushrooms, broiled free range chicken infused in rosemary and olive oil for 2 hours and served with potatoes and mac n cheese and then Tiramisu in a cup. It was excellent. It satisfied me to the point that I no longer felt the need to pay the additional $38 to try out the Steak House. LOL.
Ports of call – It is difficult for me to say this but we did not get off the ship in 3 of the 4 ports. Namely because my son couldn’t walk. I generally don’t always book excursions in advance any more because I just like to plan as I go. In certain ports I might book in advance, it just depends. This trip I had planned to just go to the beach at Grand Turk and St. Thomas. Then in San Juan, we were going to do the trolley ride and walk around Old San Juan and then do some shopping. Amber Cove was just going to be a day hanging out at the Carnival port at the huge pool and ziplining since we had toured Amber Cove previously. Well it rained in San Juan which was our first port and my son was not up to doing much that day and I didn’t want to brave it alone in the rain. We ended up chilling out on Conquest and did Trivia and watched movies in the cabin. My son couldn’t get his feet wet and I hadn’t planned anything else for Grand Turk so it was Conquest again on port day. By time we reached St. Thomas, my son was ship crazy and wanted to get off. He still opted to walk but it rained. We did get off the ship but after shopping at the port area for a little while he wanted to go back. He was obviously still in more pain than he would admit. Amber Cove, we stayed on the ship. This is so not typical of us because we cruise yearly, and we love excursions, everything from ATV riding, to the beach trips, to the boat excursions, forts, shopping, dolphin encounters. You name it, we are down for it. For us to have gone to 4 ports (3 of which we had never been) and was unable to enjoy them is so out of character. But I have promised my son that we will rebook this itinerary probably next spring and try it again. He is a great kid with excellent grades and deserves to have a do over.
I’m sure I have left out a lot but all in all I so enjoyed spending time with my son. We generally like the same things in terms of entertainment. We love the comedians, theatre shows and trivia games. Therefore, we made the best of the cruise as we could. We also watched several movies in the room that we enjoyed together such as Star Wars Rogue One, Infinity War Avengers, Captain America, Jason Bourne, Pitch Perfect 3, Legend of Tarzan, Book Club and then watched 3 new movies we had never seen locally (Collateral Beauty, Searching and So Be It). Check these out for certain if you never had. We stayed up a lot of late nights watching movies after returning from the theatre shows. Quite surprisingly entertaining.
In closing, I will say that I love cruising but particularly with Carnival. I’ve tried NCL, Disney and MSC. I will definitely cruise with them again, but I just prefer Carnival and have always had more fun on Carnival. We already have our next Carnival cruise booked for November 2020 on the Horizon with the entire family. I have never not enjoyed my cruises. However, I have to say that my son’s injury prevented him from doing his usual cruise activities and he had been looking forward to this cruise for almost a year. I feel bad that he didn’t get to have the fun he normally has but he did express to me that he really enjoyed our time together. So that speaks volumes to me. And I will try to work in a do over with just DS and me before our family cruise.