Carnival Conquest

110,000 tons
952 feet in length
116 feet wide
Passengers: 2,974
Crew: 1,150
Entered service: December, 2002
Registry: Panama

Quality Rating:4starsValue Rating:5

Best For People Who Want:

Exciting and ritzy nightlife; numerous singles; alternative dining venues; one of the largest ships in the Carnival fleet; spacious cabins for three and four passengers; cabins with balconies; excellent fitness and spa facilities; high-energy atmosphere with varied daytime activities, including abundant children's programs.
Should Be Avoided By People Who Want:
An elegant, quiet and relaxing cruise; private areas away from the public, especially children.
Onboard Experience:
Carnival Conquest, Carnival Glory, Carnival Valor, and Carnival Liberty are the big sisters of Carnival's Destiny class. Conquest, the eldest, weighs over 110,000 tons. Expanded children's facilities, comprising a separate children's pool, a mini-movie theatre, and an indoor playground, account for some of the extra footage on the ship, as does the trendy supper club The Point, serving gourmet cuisine, and the best U.S.D.A. prime beef.
There are 22 bars and lounges throughout the 13 passenger decks. Other amenities include an Internet café, four swimming pools, and a 15,000-square-foot health club. The ship has no lack of entertainment of all varieties, featuring the Blues sing-along piano bar and Henri's sizzling disco, along with gorgeous production shows and side-splitting comics.
Conquest is currently sailing out of the port of Galveston, so most passengers hail from East Texas, Louisiana, and elsewhere in the mid-South.
Joe Farcus, Carnival's zany designer, utilized Conquest's original home port of New Orleans (pre-hurricane Katrina) as the inspiration for most of the décor -- French or French-American (Delta culture) best describes the ship's style. The names of the public rooms reflect this influence, such as the Toulouse-Lautrec show lounge (named after the favorite artist of the Moulin Rouge Theater), the Latour Wine Bar, and the previously mentioned Henri's Disco. Reproductions of paintings by renowned French masters decorate the ship's walls, and include those of the Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh and his contemporary Paul Gauguin, particularly his Tahitian inspired paintings. Amazing murals are found throughout the ship and combine the works of the Impressionists and offbeat Post-Impressionists. The architecture is reminiscent of the French Quarter, recreating the distinctive charm of New Orleans. Blues or Dixieland music plays softly throughout the hallways for a bit of southern ambience.
Public Rooms: Conquest's public rooms are breathtaking, with its imposing atrium covering ten decks and glass elevators to the Pool deck. The Promenade on Deck 5 includes benches along its boulevard for those wishing to rest between stops at the nearby wine bar, casino, video-arcade, or the two discos including the kid's disco, Montmartre, and Henri's adult disco. The ship's nightclubs, primarily at the stern, include Vincent's, which showcases two musicians playing classics of the 70's, 80's on the stage near its small dance floor, and the showroom Degas, where entertainment varies between a live 4-piece band playing Beatles tunes and late-night blue comedy. The bars in this area include Blues, a sing-along piano bar, and Gaugin's Bar next to the casino.
On the opposite end of Conquest is the three-deck high Toulouse-Lautrec Theater; aim for the lower balcony seats, a little off-center, for the best view. Hidden on Deck 4 is Alfred's, a cigar bar which features jazz music and dancing before dinner. For sports fanatics, there is a Sports Bar with satellite ESPN on seven large-screen televisions, in addition to video poker machines built into the bar.
Other diversions include a small library open for several hours each day and various boutiques selling a wide range of duty-free jewelry, perfume, and alcohol along with the usual cruise items.
The Conquest offers attractive breakfast and lunch buffets, including an excellent salad bar and made-to-order dishes. For those with a sophisticated palate, the new menus feature chateaubriand, rack of lamb, and lobster, along with chocolate desserts. Delightful specialties can be found on the second tier of the Cezanne Restaurant and include the Sur Mer seafood station and an Asian food station that regularly rotates its dishes. There's a complimentary sushi bar on the Promenade Deck in the evenings, and vegetarian and low-salt items on every menu and at all stations.
The sunny and spacious Cezanne Lido restaurant, which features amazing views of the sea, offers breakfast and lunch buffets. Alternatively, you can enjoy a meal served alfresco poolside. Breakfast is also available in the Monet dining room. For those looking for a quick snack, the hamburger and hot dog stand, located near the aft pool, serves food throughout the afternoon. There are self-serve frozen yogurt and ice cream machines, and multiple lemonade, coffee, and iced tea stations. The Conquest's pizzeria has a great variety of pizza types on offer in addition to Caesar salad, both served 24 hours a day. There is also a deli for lighter lunch choices. The room service menu features sandwiches, desserts and breakfast fare.
The Café Patisserie on the Promenade Deck serves delectable sweets and a range of coffees. For more standard restaurant eating, the two-level Monet and Renoir dining rooms' best tables are on the balcony, the middle lower section being a bit noisy. The friendly atmosphere is encouraged by the tables seating between two and six people, although there are a few tables for only two diners. For a cover charge of $25, guests can dine on the excellent menu choices at The Point and sample fine wines.
Carnival's Total Choice Dining provides for four seating times for a table in the main dining rooms at 5:45 or 6:15 p.m. and 8 or 8:30 p.m.. For those who prefer to dine when the mood strikes them, the poolside Lido restaurants are transformed into Seaview Bistros and offer buffet dinner between 6:00 and 9:00 p.m., no reservations required.
The staff on the Conquest is prompt, well-organized, and prone to showing off, as when balancing trays on their heads while serving dessert. The maitre'd makes a point of learning the names of all couples celebrating an anniversary.
All Carnival cruises have a $10.00 per person per day (excluding children under two years of age) gratuity comprising $5.50 for the Dining Room service, $3.60 for the stateroom steward, and $.90 for the alternative dining rooms. This charge can be either automatically added to the Sail & Sign card or it can be prepaid (prepayment is mandatory on the Cruises-to-Nowhere). The purser's desk can decrease or increase this amount throughout the cruise. Tip room service, the maitre d', casino, spa, or other staff as you deem fit. The bar and beverage tabs all include a 15 percent gratuity to the bill.
The main theater presents outstanding production shows featuring beautiful costumes and Vegas-quality light shows, but even the smaller venues have great acts and music, particularly the sing-along piano bar. There is a Caribbean band on the pool deck. More interactive activities include numerous bingo games, art auctions, ballroom dancing, karaoke, and game show mania.
While the décor in the cabins is somewhat reserved, they are some of the largest available on any cruise ship, and many are fitted with lovely private balconies. The suites and ocean view staterooms come with complimentary bathrobes and a mini bar. The cabins located on the outside are 220 sq. feet and include a coffee table and plush leather sofa. The inside cabins are 195 sq. feet in area and are great for families or large groups of singles due to their pull-down berths that provide extra sleeping space. Families might prefer the 230 sq. feet cabins located next to the children's center. All the large bathrooms include a shower (the suites are the only cabins with tubs), basket of toiletries, and hair dryer. The cabins come standard with a color TV that includes ESPN, CNN, and movies. There is plentiful storage space, with three closets and a several drawers. Cabins for those of special needs are available.
The gym's 15,000 sq.. feet is full of treadmills, stationary bikes, stairmasters, rowing and hydraulic weight machines, and of course free weights. The strategically placed equipment allows you to enjoy the lovely panoramic views offered by the floor-to-ceiling windows. For runners, a lap on the jogging deck, which surrounds the smokestack, is equivalent to 1/11 of a mile.
Casual wear is standard during the day. For the two formal nights, men can rent a tuxedo, though most men opt for dark suits. The ship has men's and women's accessories available to rent for these formal nights. No jeans in the dining room ever, no shorts after dark.