I just came off of the Conquest (July 22-July 29).
I admit, that I was worried before going on the cruise. I have never spent any time in the forums (either here, on Cruise Critic, etc.) until after my May cruise, when I decided I needed more cruise-related activities! LOL. However, after spending so much time in random forums, I allowed my own experiences/perceptions to be influenced in a negative way (my own fault, of course), so I was a tad bit anxious going onto this ship.
I am pleased to say that I did not have the same experiences as did Davidpe, and David, I am sorry that you had those experiences - though it sounds as though you still had a pleasant cruise. I cannot speak regarding the washers and dryers, as I did not use them - I always tend to take enough clothes so I do not have to worry with washing on a trip if possible. I also did not experience any difficulties with the elevators - though that may have been due to primarily using the lobby set of elevators.
Yes, there were broken tiles in the Lido restaurant. HOWEVER, on 'at least' two seperate days, while in port (ie. while there was less foot traffic) crew had little areas set aside and were replacing tiles in multiple areas. I took note of this and was personally pleased to see them making the effort, knowing the ship is going into dry-dock in a few months. I did not notice any pieces of plywood outside and also cannot speak about foul spelling carpet - I never sniffed it.
As far as service, food-wise - same as always. No better, no worse. I know there have been a lot of concerns with food quality of late regarding Carnival. However, I have not noticed any changes in the food quality. As well, the staff that I encountered went above and beyond. I ordered a drink in the main show lounge one night, and the bar atttendant came by again for the next 2 days/nights and asked if I wanted the same drink - what a memory! The bar attendants in the Casino area were also much more attentive - someone came around every 10-15 minutes - much better than on the Spirit in May when I felt a bit abandoned (maybe it was my free drink card they were avoiding, and not really me??). Our room steward was exceptional! It did not matter if we were gone only an hour, or WHEN we were gone (within the morning/night cleaning period, that is), when we hung that 'Cruising' sign out, we knew we would come back to a fresh room. And even when we hung up towels/washcloths, he always put out fresh ones. We also did YTD and we got the same table (or area) every night because we LOVED our wait team (for anyone going soon and you have YTD, ask for Joel!) - they even came up to us on the Lido deck during the morning/afternoon service to talk and offer assistance. Other than this, I had no concerns with any of the crew...well, other than the over efficiency of some of the Lido staff sometimes... ! LOL
Shows - meh, so so. I am not a big show girl. Don't really care for them. The music usually does not appeal to me. Entertainment - they have really increased the amount of trivia they do! Other than that, about the same, a few new things thrown in from time to time. On an interesting note, the "Marriage" show had to be stopped halfway through - one of the participants had to go to the restroom - said he drank too much beer. Paul, the CD (one of the best I have seen in awhile), said this was the first time in 16 years he has had this happen. That was a good chuckle.
As I said, I recognized going on this trip that for the first time, my perceptions had been colored by what I had been reading, I went into this trip wondering if I would find problems. There were few. Yes, the ship is starting to show her age a bit...that's the reason she's going into dry-dock. I had read about the poor quality of staff, services, food, annoying guests, and enough to make one believe the ship was going to sink before she left port! However, while sometimes the crew would chat with one another, we noticed that the 'men in white' would scold them if they ever caught any of the Lido staff even slow down, and yes, I suppose sometimes the services might be slow or not 'up to par' for some (though I never had this problem), and true, you are not going to like every single morsel you sample, and indeed, there was that one child I wanted to grab by the wrist and lead to his mommy when I saw him dump an ice cream cone upside down on the table and giggle as it melted and started to drip onto the seat/floor; however, 5 minutes of annoyance was not enough to substantiate those misgivings I had :) (And...yes, I recognize I should win an award for the longest run-on sentence of the day). I have had a cruise in the past that made me consider not cruising again, however, that was over a year ago and I have 'recovered,' LOL. Overall, I was greatly pleased with the Conquest, and I now consider this class of ship my favorite, especially if I can get the same room location, as it was the MOST convenient room I have ever been in (Lido deck, anywhere around Atrium elevators - best rooms ever!).
So, why post this here? It is not to dispute Davidpe - his experience is every bit as valid as mine. After this cruise, however, I wanted to point out that a lot of peoples experiences are all about their unique experience and perceptions. David and I had very different experiences, it seems, even though we were on the same ship at the same time - whether it is based on the actual experience or the perception, same result. And, since David shared his experiences, it seemed like as good a place as any to share a different set of experiences.
7/04, 6/05, 6/06, 6/07, 7/08- Holiday-Mexico (5 days)
11/09-Carnival Fantasy-Mexico (5 days)
8/10-Carnival Legend-Caymans, Cozumel, Honduras, & Belize (7 days)
11/10-Carnival Triumph-Mexico (5 days)
5/11-Carnival Triumph-Key West, Freeport, & Nassau, Bahamas (7 days)
7/11-Carnival Elation-Jamaica, Caymans, & Cozumel (7 days)
5/12-Carnival Spirit-Alaska (7 days)
7/12-Carnival Conquest-Jamaica, Caymans, & Cozumel (7 days)
1/13-Carnival Elation-Mexico (5 days)