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   Cruise Travel - Cruise Ships


Carnival Cruise Line

MS Carnival Conquest

Rating:Four Stars
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Operator: Carnival Cruise Lines
Year Built / Last Refurbished: 2002 / 2002
Length / Tonnage: 953 / 110,000
Number of Cabins / Passengers: 1,487 / 2,974
Officers / Crew: Italian / International
Operating Area: Year-round East and West Caribbean out of New Orleans

The 2,974-passenger vessel – the first in a new series of "Fun Ships" – entered service in December of 2002. As the largest Carnival "Fun Ship" ever constructed, the 110,000-ton CARNIVAL CONQUEST offers an unprecedented array of formal and casual dining options, everything from a reservations-only supper club to a pair of two-level main dining rooms, a patisserie and an expansive two-deck-high pool side restaurant with a 24-hour pizzeria, a New York-style deli and Asian and American specialty venues.

Stretching more than three football fields in length (U.S.), the 952-foot- long vessels houses an unprecedented 22 lounges, nightspots and bars, everything from pulsating dance clubs and three-deck-high, 1,500-seat theaters showcasing lavish Las Vegas-style revues to piano bars, jazz clubs, sports bars, wine and caviar bars, cigar bars and a host of live music venues.

Public Areas
Carnival Architect Joe Farcus describes the ship's main atrium and lobby as a "testimonial to all of the Impressionist and post-Impressionist painters." The Artists' Lobby design is dominated by a large hand-painted mural collage of details from famous Impressionist paintings on the central ceiling dome and vertical wall of the Atelier Atrium. The collage effect is picked up again in the promenade and in other public areas throughout the ship. Internally illuminated Murano-glass sculptures of flowers on antiqued bronze stalks provide muted lighting effects and the walls are of wood paneling with inlaid wood marquetry and hand-laid mosaics. The bar fronts are wood inlaid panels interspersed with Murano glass flowers.

The Toulouse-Lautrec Show Lounge takes as its inspiration the diminutive French painter's sketches and portraits drawn from the subjects he found in the cabarets, theater, circus and brothels of Paris' Montmartre district. The lounge's walls display hand-painted reproductions of the artist's poster works, while gold and red dominate chromatically and the overall style is art nouveau. To the sides of the stage are the famous windmill signs of the Moulin Rouge cabaret, its vanes turning in an imaginary breeze, and the windmill motif is repeated in the carpet design.

The ship features two two-level dining rooms. "For the restaurants, I wanted to do something quiet and beautiful," explained Farcus, "so I chose Monet and Renoir."

Both rooms are architecturally identical, and both feature panels of stylized wood-veneered images of the Eiffel Tower in the walls and ceiling. The fabrics and colors are based on different works by the two namesake painters. The forward Renoir Restaurant takes its inspiration from "Lunch at the Restaurant Fournaise," a tranquil scene of boaters relaxing at a cafe overlooking the Seine, which is featured in the wall-covering fabric. The flower-covered trellis in the painting is repeated in the carpet's colors and pattern. In the aft Monet Restaurant, one of the artist's famous "Water Lilies" series of nature scenes sets the atmosphere. Here, the carpet pattern repeats the green water lilies floating in a reflective blue pond, which is featured on the wall fabric.

The two-level Restaurant Cezanne on Lido Deck takes elements from the post-Impressionist painters works to create the atmosphere of a 19th-century French cafe. The period hand-painted ceramic-tile wainscoting is complemented by details and reproductions of wall covering patterns seen in classic Cezanne works, including "Chateau Noir," "Self-Portrait on a Rose Background" and "House of Pere Lacroix in Auvers."

The Point is the Conquest's reservations-only supper club, located high up on Panorama Deck. The restaurant takes its name from the style of Georges- Pierre Seurat, known as pointillism, which is the rendering of images through thousands of individual dots, or points, of color. The walls have murals in the style of Seurat's famous "Le Cirque (The Circus)," featuring circus tents rendered in the pointillist style. The ceiling is a mural of clouds in a blue sky with special LED and star lights which will provide a sunset-to-night effect during the course of the evening.

New for the Conquest-class is an expanded game room and teen area that serves as a "second promenade for teenagers," said Farcus. Decorated to resemble the back alleys of the infamous Montmartre district of 19th-century Paris, the room sports brick walls with peeling stucco decorated with rock concert posters and graffiti, building facades and wood fences. The facilities for teens include a dance floor, video wall, lounge, soft-drink bar and the latest state-of-the-art video games.

The Polynesian world of post-Impressionist Paul Gauguin is re-created in the Tahiti Casino. Beams and columns of bamboo and wood, and cast thatch ceiling panels impart the feeling of a Tahitian village with colorful jungle- motif fabrics and rich wood tones add to the ambiance. Gauguin-style native figurative sculptures with simulated flames rising from their heads complete the mysterious, rustic decor.

Gauguin's Bar, the Conquest's sports bar, carries on the Tahitian theme from the adjacent casino, but incorporates more wall murals of Gauguin's paintings.

Henri's Dance Club takes its theme from the exotic jungle paintings of Henri Rousseau. Painted metal cutouts made to look like the coarse grass of Rousseau's paintings are mounted on the wall, with occasional three- dimensional heads of animals similar to the kind often seen lurking in the artist's works. Muted reds, golds and greens dominate the fabrics and window treatments, while the carpet is a colorful, cartoon-like pattern of animals peeking from behind bright-green leaves of grass.

Vincent's Piano Bar breaks with the design of the other public rooms by not reproducing any actual Van Gogh works as part of the decor. Instead, the architecture itself is made to imitate Van Gogh's surreal style with twisted columns painted bright yellow typified in his painting of the Church at Auveres. The walls are finished in murals of sunflowers reminiscent of the artist's famous painting of a vase of sunflowers, accented by shuttered windows. Light fixtures are colored glass in the shape of irises -- another prominent Van Gogh subject.

The Blue Piano Bar takes as its theme from the blue color commonly found in the works of Henri Matisse, considered the greatest French painter of the 20th century. The walls, ceilings and doors are highly decorated -- as if painted by Matisse himself -- with swirls, flowers, arabesques and abstract designs. The carpet is a pattern designed after the artist's work "Icarus," which shows a silhouetted figure falling across a background of blue sky and yellow stars.

Alfred's Bar, located on Atlantic Deck beneath the dance club, is named for Alfred Sisely, an Englishman raised in Paris and one of the fathers of the Impressionist movement. The room is decorated like a wood-paneled English drawing room with large reproductions of Sisely's cityscapes, landscapes and rural subjects displayed on the walls. Dark, rich colors dominate, and between the windows are pedestals supporting busts of the artist's likeness.

The Degas Lounge, aft on Promenade Deck, takes its theme from the artist's fascination with ballet dancers. Bronze cast sculptures of ballerina figures are fitted into niches around the room. The ceiling has case decorative bronze-colored moldings and chandeliers, and the fabrics are deep burgundy and gold, creating a very classy venue.

The launch of CARNIVAL CONQUEST marks the continuation of Carnival's relationship with Miami Beach's Joe's Stone Crab restaurant, whose crab claws are among the featured menu items in The Point, a "steakhouse-style" supper club. CARNIVAL CONQUEST is the fourth "Fun Ship" to offer Joe's crab claws.

Located at the top of the Conquest's soaring 11-deck-high atrium, The Point offers a décor featuring the works of Impressionist Georges-Pierre Seurat, with images inspired by his famous painting "Le Cirque (The Circus)," created in the artist's distinctive "pointillism" style. Passengers looking to dine at The Point are charged a $25 per person reservations fee.

This Impressionist theme is also carried out in the Conquest's two-level Renoir and Monet formal restaurants, which offer a menu that includes eight different soups, salads and appetizers, seven main courses, including broiled Caribbean lobster tail once each cruise, and six desserts nightly. "Spa Carnival Fare," items lower in fat, calories, sodium and cholesterol, and vegetarian and children's selections, are available nightly, as well.

The selections at the casual Restaurant Cezanne, located pool side on Lido Deck 9, includes full breakfast and lunch buffets featuring dozens of hot and cold items; a New York-style deli with sandwiches and traditional side dishes; Asian and American specialty areas; "Taste of the Nation" featuring different cuisine from around the world each day; a rotisserie offering broiled meats and chicken; and a 24-hour pizzeria, serving seven different kinds of pies and calzone, along with Caesar salad and garlic bread, 'round the clock.

Also housed within the 1,200-seat restaurant are pasta and meat-carving stations, extensive salad and dessert bars and 24-hour self-serve ice cream and frozen yogurt stations. The restaurant also serves as the venue for Carnival's popular "Seaview Bistro" alternative dinner-time service.

CARNIVAL CONQUEST also includes a patisserie, Café Fans, on Promenade Deck 5 serving flavored coffees, espressos, cappuccinos, liqueurs and lattes, as well as decadent confections such as chocolate covered strawberries, banana splits, carrot cake and apple strudel.

Guests in CARNIVAL CONQUEST's 1,487 cabins can enjoy complimentary 24-hour stateroom service with newly revamped menus featuring such items as Focaccia Sandwich with Grilled Zucchini, Fresh Mozzarella and Portobello Mushrooms, and Whole Wheat Wrap with Cheddar Cheese, Refried Beans and Lettuce, along with a variety of sandwiches, chips, fruit, desserts, etc.

Any ship that can comfortably accommodate 3,700 passengers needs to have a lot of cabins, and the CARNIVAL CONQUEST does. And on as many as seven different decks, she has 1,487 rooms. That gives her a double occupancy of 2,974 which means, of course, those other 800 passengers are sleeping in upper berths and/or sofa beds. Taking their cues from the FANTASY class ships' cabins to develop the private quarters on this new ship, Carnival has arranged these hundreds and hundreds of cabins into the same twelve easy to understand categories it has always used....unlike their competition out in Los Angeles who, so desperately hungry for a buck, have set up THIRTY-FIVE different cabin categories for their GRAND PRINCESS.

Don't forget, almost all of the standard cabins are the same size, and fitted with all the same amenities, the difference in price is a result of the three most important factors in the real estate biz¼location, location, location! And while we are on that subject, Carnival suffers no delusions of grandeur, unlike the folks out west, so there is no need to mortgage the homestead or dip into the baby's college fund to enable yourselves to take a cruise on the CARNIVAL CONQUEST. We won't bore you with details of every cabin type...but must tell you that the CARNIVAL CONQUEST's cabins have been furnished with a lot more soft fabrics and softer, attractive color schemes than cabins in earlier Carnival vessels. You will want to know that the overriding majority of cabins in every category from 4 through 12 have two beds that are convertible to a king.

Never mind that most of these rooms have a small sitting area...432 cabins have private balconies...16 rooms on Spa Deck have floor to ceiling windows. But okay, we give...confess...this ship has 40 suites with balcony and 8 penthouse suites with large balconies...and the décor in all of these is quite pretty. The three lowest grades have Carnival traditional one lower bed with one upper...in categories 1 and 2...and1 lower and an upper or 1 lower and a convertible sofa in some category 3s....these moderately priced digs make dandy singles. And yes, there is plenty of storage space for a one week cruise....and110 volt AC outlets in the cabins means you can use your hairdryer. Carnival has not left interactive technology on the dock...quite popular for those few minutes you are going to be in your cabin when not sleeping is fun vision, which besides allowing you to order pay per view movies, provides you with all kinds of fun and games and information options.

Who Goes
EVERYBODY who likes cruises ought to cruise with the CARNIVAL CONQUEST at least once. A typical passenger load includes a pretty fair cross section of the bulk of America's people. More clean cut and well scrubbed than you might think, and a lot younger than you will find most anywhere else, CARNIVAL CONQUEST can and does appeal to any age group from cradle to grave.

Is the CARNIVAL CONQUEST really perfect for everyone? Theoretically, yes....but practically, no. This is not a ship for you if you need the quiet ambience of a retirement home, the soothing confines of the nave of the Cathedral of Notre Dame...it's also probably not the ship for the insecure who need to be front and center, the star attraction among cruise passengers...because very few people are likely to be noticed for long here.This does not mean that you won't get good service, because you will...but don't expect this crew of over 1000 to remember your name. Nor is it for anyone demanding a high level of constant personal service and attention. Other ships in Carnival's extended family would be better choices for someone seeking that.

CARNIVAL CONQUEST operates on regular Western Caribbeanseven-day service from New Orleans, with stops at Montego Bay - Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. There are also three "Fun Days" at sea.

If you still don't think Carnival's got the fun, you would be wrong....and if the other ships in this amazing fleet aren't for you....and we guess there are some people out there who wouldn't like them....you need to check out the CARNIVAL CONQUEST. Enough said.

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