The Caribbean and Bahamas cruises departing on this ship from Ft Lauderdale contain crowds looking for a fun, island-hopping adventure. Cruises are as short as 4 nights, and don’t go past 8.
Still one of the biggest cruise ships at sea, Carnival Conquest is bright and lighthearted, with a design theme that borrows from iconic classic European art masterpieces. The theme is an homage to French Impressionist art.
Conquest got Fun Ship 2.0 updates in 2012 in the dining and entertainment categories. Certain outdoor attractions could not be fully implemented due to a limitation of usable deck space. However, Conquest makes up for this by having a very high percentage of oceanview and balcony staterooms; 60% of staterooms facing out to the ocean.
Carnival Conquest guests can enjoy a range of no-fee dining options. Most of them aren't formal or table service and guests can eat whenever they like. Guy’s Burger Joint, BlueIguana Cantina and 24-hour Pizza Pirate offer all the fast-casual staples.
The main formal restaurants are Monet and Renoir. “Your Time Dining” is offered at dinner on only one deck at Renoir. The rest of the space is dedicated to pre-assigned classic formal dinner service, with two nightly seatings. Breakfast with open seating is also served in one of the main dining rooms daily. Seaday Brunch is a great late-morning indulgence, with a more extravagant menu that includes Bloody Marys (for a fee).
The main buffet on Lido is named Cezanne, and the best offerings come from the specialty counters or mini-restaurants in the larger space. There’s a deli that serves cold and hot sandwiches until late night. Up the stairs is Fish N’ Chips, which remains a best-kept secret due to its elusive location. The aforementioned 24-hour pizza is made in the thin-crust Italian style—regular cruisers also regard it as an improvement upon older ships.
The only for-fee restaurants are the steakhouse and Chef’s Table. The specialty coffee bar (and many people’s first daily expense) is called Café Fans.
Bars & Lounges
RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar are both on deck 9. Set across from each other facing the mid-ship pool, they pour their respective specialty spirits by the glass or pitcher. Alchemy Bar on deck 5 is Carnival’s cocktail "pharmacy" concept, where mixologists in white coats whip up drinks to suit your condition.
Look for live music and dancing in the evenings at Alfred’s. Impressions Bar right outside the casino is also a great place to have a drink and possibly catch a live music act.
The three-level Toulouse-Lautrec Lounge is the production showroom, presenting high-energy revues by Carnival partner Playlist Productions. Cruisers with an attention to detail might notice the visual projections onto big screens behind the stage, that make it look as though there’s a 50-person chorus line when in fact there might be only five. Some like the special effects and smaller casts—some don’t. In addition to these productions, there might be solo performers or crowd-participation live game shows based on classic Hasbro games.
This ship puts karaoke and piano sing-alongs into two different spaces: in the ballerina-bedazzled Degas showroom (which is where Punchliner Comedy Club also appears), and Blues the piano bar.
Night owls can hit Henri’s Nightclub (11p.m. to 12 midnight is the best time to go) and dance to DJ-spun Top 40, mainstream house/electronic music, and old-school disco.
There are three pools on this ship. The vast main pool area on Lido is the raucous center of Conquest day life. People can claim their seats in the sun early in the morning and get the day going—playing games, dancing to DJ music, participating in contests, riding the Twister waterslide. People who prefer a slower pace can retreat to the adults-only Sky Pool on the aft of the ship, or maybe head inside to play bingo or trivia away from the sun.
Kids of all ages have plenty to do. The sports park, with jogging track, basketball, ping-pong, and miniature golf up the steps, is on deck 11. The youth program is bolstered by Seuss at Sea, Carnival’s fleet-wide costume character programming. There are also free and fee-based activities that come up during the sailing--like the “Beary Cuddly” workshop, where kids can make their own stuffed animal (for a fee).
As a visual spectacle and a social hangout, the Artists’ Lobby and Bar is an unexpected winner. This is where Carnival runs its endless trivia games program. The house band that takes the stage in the evening is, by some accounts, the best entertainment on the ship. The Tahiti Casino has some kind of action going whenever the ship is at sea.
- Due to less deck space than other Carnival ship classes, Conquest does not have a Serenity adult’s retreat.
- Spending all day out in the sun is not for everyone. People who have maxed out on Conquest fun in the sun often wish there was more shade at the main pool, or better indoor-outdoor spaces.
- Service can be slow at the main pool bars, especially as the decks are usually packed with people.
- On this and every ship, repeat cruisers miss the complimentary turndown chocolates. A lot.