November 2013 - Carnival Conquest to Caribbean - Southern
There was not a single, solitary thing on this ship that bespoke of "quality". Upon boarding in the Atrium Lobby, you are greeted by a "DJ" playing LOUD music. The ship is old, worn & tired, but let's start with some positives: a) the crew was absolutely FANTASTIC which is usually the case;
b) the ship was clean throughout; c) the food was actually better than we anticipated; & d) the balcony cabin was pleasant, though VERY worn. The crew is certainly not at fault for Carnival so slashing every facet of all operational budgets, that it negatively permeates the entire cruise experience. Carnival has apparently become the world's largest employer of DJ's, since that seems to be their answer to 90% of the entertainment offered --- even listing it as "live music", when it is nothing more than another tired DJ spinning records as loud as the equipment can go. DJ's, morning, noon & night, & Karaoke. ALWAYS Karaoke. Every single show in the Main Theater was an embarrassment. Has ANYONE in Carnival Senior Management even slightly reviewed the crap that is being presented as entertainment on this ship? Is it "currently" this bad on ALL Carnival vessels? The Front Desk "Guest Services" operation was a complete, total & embarrassing disaster. At any given time, even at 2-3:00AM there were 20-30 people waiting in line for service for 1+ hour. On the day before disembarkation, which is ALWAYS the busiest day at Guest Services, there had to be 50+ people lined up ALL DAY LONG -- 7A-9P -- with usually only 2 persons behind the desk, & at most 3 for any short period of time! WORST service in this department of any ship we have ever sailed. If you like Omelets for breakfast, be prepared to wait, Wait, WAIT! The 3-4 omelet stations they operate, with only 1 person each, regularly lines up 8-12 people deep. This is an area that needs MASSIVE improvement. Open up the Deli, the Fish/Chips, Taco & Hamburger locations for breakfast omelets. The Fish/Chips option is a total joke & only open 2+ hours daily anyway. In fact, the entire mezzanine area where this outlet is located is a totally wasted space that could be far better utilized & set up for guest enjoyment. On 2 days of the cruise there was a single person in Fish/Chips, that was so totally & completely overwhelmed that he simply could not provide service. Guests were actually going downstairs to bring him plates. He was rushing so much that he was sending out tremendously under-cooked fish, & he simply gave up on trying to serve any ceviche or cold dishes, so the ice-serving area was totally empty of offerings. Guests were simply leaving plates filled with under-cooked food everywhere. There is virtually no truly quiet & relaxing location on the ship, except for your cabin &/or balcony. The Library is good, but so small that it's jammed if 4 people show up. Alfredo's "used" to be a piano bar, but the piano is merely covered up & stored there now. No one played it in the 8 days we were cruising. Same with 2 other pianos on various entertainment decks. Covered up & stored. No pianist. Stopped in The Alchemy Bar twice, which would be a nice quiet place for a drink, but they never had any Club Soda to mix a drink. Only Martini's. The "whatever" entertainment in the Jazz Piano Bar & Vincents Cigar Bar doesn't even start until 9:00PM or later, so early diners have absolutely ZERO entertainment option when they leave the dining room at 7:00PM. The Casino Bar is so choked with smoke that it is a complete & total turn-off. Does Carnival Management REALLY think smoking ANYWHERE INSIDE the ship is a selling feature for 75+++++% of their customers? Lovely outside space on the Lido Deck is basically wasted, except for "drum roll!!!" DJ's. A couple of VERY DATED movies shown, but that about summed it up for Lido Deck. Oh I forgot, they did have the daily "bag toss" competition. Can it get any more thrilling? The entire "entertainment" package was the absolutely weakest we have EVER encountered on ANY cruise ship. Horrible. Embarrassing. Unprofessional. Sloppy. Not only is Carnival Conquest OFF -- OFF -- the list for any future cruises, but Carnival will be placed at the very bottom of our option list for 2-3 cruises in 2014. We are afraid their slash & burn budget cutting has had a similar negative impact across their cruise fleet. We have never been so glad to get off a ship.