It was an interesting trip...the port at New Orleans was not so bad as I expected after reading reviews...but then we arrived at 11am to ensure that we were not in the crazy 12-1pm crowd. We also left our car at the hotel for the trip, so took a taxi to the port vs trying to find parking there.
The ship itself is ok...not my favorite by far, but there IS no such thing as a bad cruise, right???
The LOVELY spot for those that want to read and listen to the waves as you sail all day is on Deck 3, no LOUD music, not much there except like minded snooze in your deck chair/read the day away types. We camped out there 85% of the time as this trip was a TOTAL RELAXATION trip.
I have a few complaints, things that annoyed me but might just be something you enjoy fully......LOUD MUSIC....AND IT WAS MAINLY ROCK AND ROLL TYPE!
OK...I prefer the insturmential type of music that is dinner/relaxing/can read or converse over without having to yell. The loud, in your face type of music ws played over the entire Lido deck area...both the pools and the dining areas. The two guys at the pool that played live island music were GREAT, and we totally enjoyed them....but the hard rock type of music blarring all day got on your nerves quickly. (Having said that, the 1,500 college kids and recent High School grads all seemed to enjoy this feature).
The food was MUCH BETTER in the dining room than at the Lido Deck. I was very pleased with the beef dishes after reading such horrid reviews by others. I do NOT like my beef well done, so I ordered RARE and got the Med-Rare that I would have normally ordered.(So, now you know how to get Med-Rare meat, order RARE! ) We had our warm dishes served warm, despite having read many reviews that all the food is cold from previous posters. I thought the dining room food was more than decent, and the wait staff assigned to us were wonderful. The dining staff in the morning for open seating breakfast were a little pushy about you getting up and leaving to clear the way for the next group. I have NEVER experienced that in 13 cruises, so was a little taken back by it as we enjoy visiting with the new folks you get placed with each morning, but by no means lingered more than 5 minutes past completing our breakfast. The Filet Mignon was THE BEST I HAVE EVER HAD IN MY LIFE!!!!! Again, I ordered RARE and got a nice Med-Rare, but you could cut it with your fork and it melted in your mouth...so DON'T pass that one up on Friday nights menu in the dining room!!! We were assigned Renior for dinner, but had our breakfast and lunch in Monet and both were very nice...I think either would be most enjoyable.
We did not go to the Pointe, but heard mixed reviews of those that did. I suppose that one would be critical of the food when paying an extra $30 fee, but EVERYONE raved over the service there.
The one thing that was neat to experience, is that as an early riser, I was up on deck when we stopped and actually made a rescue at sea at about 6am on Friday morning as we were approching Cozumel!!!! There were 4 Cuban refugees on a small boat that were VERY HAPPY to see us! They were waiving their teeshirts over their head and screaming at us. I AM MOST PROUD THAT THE CONQUEST TOOK THE TIME TO RESCUE THESE POOR PEOPLE, AS ANOTHER SHIP (AND I WON'T MENTION THE NAME, BUT IT WAS NOT A CARNIVAL SHIP) THAT HAD BEEN ABOUT 20 MINUTES AHEAD OF US AT PORT ARRIVED ON TIME TO COZUMEL BY IGNORNING THEM....so to say that we were impressed with the fact that they did the right thing, was an UNDERSTATEMENT!!! WAY TO GO CONQUEST AND CARNIVAL!!!!! These 4 said that they had been to sea for 8 days, were out of water and food and I don't know how much longer they would have lasted should they have been passed up by us as well. I understand that they were turned over to the Mexican officials for processing....but are at least alive and not shark bait!
The ONE thing that is just STUPID is that they have PLASTIC CUPS in the Lido area for drinks......come on....WHO DRINKS COFFEE OUT OF A PLASTIC CUP?????? I went to the gift shop and purchased a coffee mug just to have the coffee in a coffee cup the entire trip.
We attended no shows, no games, none of the "fun" activities at all, but that was by choice. We wanted to just relax and even the 9 hour drive back home from NO yesterday seemed enjoyable because we were so very relaxed...so in that sense the cruise was a total success. Our 16 yr old son had a BLAST!!!!! We DID sign up for the Carnival Vacation Club, as it is a GREAT deal...so be sure to check up on that while aboard. We were MOST impressed that they made the presentation, and with NO PRESSURE AT ALL!!!!! We saw Kerri at 9am on Monday, considered for a day, came back with more questions for her on Tuesday afternoon and then decided to sign up on Wednesday. WE WERE NEVER ONCE PRESSURED, NO HEAVY SALES PITCH...THE PROGRAM SELLS ITSELF AND THEY KNOW IT!
Guess I shared this last bit about the VIP Vacation club to let you know that even tho we would probably not decide to sail the Conquest again, we WILL be sailing Carnival again, as it is a good value for your money and managed to offer both our wild and crazy 16 yr old a good time while we had the quiet and relaxation we desired of this trip.