Stepping onto Carnival Conquest is a bit like stepping into a 19th-century French Impressionist's dreamscape. Illuminated Murano-glass flower sculptures adorn the ceilings, and hand-painted replicas of Degas' ballet studios and Toulouse-Lautrec's Parisian theaters accent the lounges and theaters, while the main restaurants tip their caps to Renoir's "Lunch at the Restaurant Fournaise" and Monet's "Water Lilies" paintings.
It's a surreal juxtaposition, the high-brow art referenced in every nook and cranny of the ship contrasting with the leave-your-pretensions-at-the-door atmosphere that comes with every Carnival cruise. Passengers on Conquest are ready to shake off the concerns of their everyday lives and just let go, relax and have fun. To have the best cruise experience, you've got to do the same.
Carnival cruisers are onboard to for fun and have few worries about being judged. How could they when some of the biggest belly laughs come from watching a somewhat oversized man shake his groove thing while whipping his shirt over his head in order to win a bottle of Champagne and a "ship on a stick" (literally a plastic trophy featuring a gold replica of the ship)?
Carnival Conquest is also for cruisers who want to soak up the sun while listening to popular radio hits (loudly) and chatting it up with their deck chair neighbors. It's not at all unusual for large numbers of passengers to grab lounge chairs early and stay poolside until it's time for dinner.
This leaves cruisers not entirely into baking in the sun a bit out of the loop, as a typical sea day will offer few indoor activities, and the ones that are scheduled often centered on trying to sell you something (spa treatments, shoe inserts, paintings by little known artists). Just bring enough reading material, and you'll always find a quiet lounge to curl up in for a few hours of literary escapism. You'll also find sports broadcasts playing in the Deck 5 sports bar and movies on the TV in your room all day long. The beds in the cabins, by the way, are super comfortable for afternoon naps.
Carnival Conquest draws families, couples and groups of friends in all age groups and from all across the United States and Canada, with a handful of passengers from outside of North America. Large groups, such as family reunions and wedding parties, are common, especially in the summer.
Daytime: As on all Carnival ships, the dress code for daytime is casual.
Evening: Evening is casual as well, but there are two "cruise elegant" nights on cruises of six days or longer (one formal night on shorter sailings), during which long pants and collared shirts for men are requested. Suits, sport jackets and ties are not required, but you will see plenty of men decked out in suits. On cruise elegant nights, women may dine in sundresses, cocktail dresses, pantsuits, and skirt and blouse combinations. Similar attire is required every night in the Point Steakhouse.
Not permitted: Cutoff jeans, basketball shorts and swimwear are never permitted in the main dining rooms.
For more information, visit Cruise Line Dress Codes: Carnival Cruise Line.
Fun and friendly with a laid-back vibe; highlights include waterslides, a singalong piano bar, nightly Punchliner Comedy Club and mini-golf; carries some 2,500.
Elation is the seventh of Carnival's eight Fantasy-class vessels (debuting in 1998), and went through a significant upgrade in 2009.
Smaller ship with a fun and family-friendly atmosphere: highlights include short warm-weather itineraries, a waterslide and mini-golf; carries about 2,500 people.
Fun, friendly vibe with a packed lineup of daily activities, nightly comedy, energetic stage shows, silly pool deck fun, and a multi-slide waterpark.
One of Australians' favourite cruise ships -- like a true Aussie, it's laid-back, fun and friendly -- from crew, to passengers and the atmosphere.
Lively and fun with a dizzying art-through-the-centuries decor, nightly standup comedy, two waterslides, four pools, and lots of bars and lounges; can carry about 2,500.
Fun and friendly with lots of pool-centric fun, a multi-slide waterpark, nightly comedy, and 16 lounges and bars; spends much of year in Australia.
Unpretentious vibe with pool-centric fun and water slide, plus Hairy Chest and Mr. and Mrs. Conquest contests; also 11 bars and 9 eateries; carries about 3,500.
Lively entertainment and activities include nightly stand-up comedy, high-energy Playlist Production stage shows, twister water slide, and a nonstop schedule of daily activities.
Fun, family-friendly ship focused on Carnival signatures like the high-energy Playlist Production shows, nightly comedy, RedFrog Pub and line dancing deck parties.
Silly poolside games, piano bar sing-alongs and PG- and R-rated stand-up comedy give this smallish mega-ship its fun vibe; also features the RedFrog Pub.
Fun, friendly vibe focusing on Carnival signatures like the Punchliner Comedy Club, gut-busting Guy's Burger Joint and cocktail-focused Alchemy Bar; holds about 3,500.
Fun, laid-back and friendly; highlights include nightly comedy, high-energy stage shows, twister water slide and the popular RedFrog Pub; holds about 3,500.
Can hold upward of 4,000 passengers; features indoor/outdoor pool with retractable dome, Twister water slide, mini-golf and just one extra-fee restaurant.
Fun, friendly vibe; features Guy Fieri's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse, family-friendly and adult stand-up comedy, nightly karaoke, water park and mini-golf.
Holds about 4,000; highlights include water slides, the RedFrog Pub, two-bathroom family cabins that hold up to five, a ropes course and Carnival's signature fun.
Nonstop activities and attractions include top deck water park and ropes course, 4D Thrill Theater and nightly standup comedy; can hold up to 4,700 cruisers.
Fun and friendly with nightly stand-up comedy and short, energetic stage shows, plus a calorie-packed burger joint from celeb chef Guy Fieri; holds about 3,500.
Holds a bit more than 4,000 passengers; offers a waterpark, suspended-in-midair recumbent bike thrill ride, ropes course and the first IMAX cinema at sea.
Carnival's newest megaship, holding some 4,000 passengers, launches April 2018; highlights include new barbeque/brewery and Teppanyaki restaurants, an IMAX movie theater, waterpark, beer brewery and ropes course.
A completely reimagined ship, Carnival Sunrise is Carnival Triumph transformed with new venues, entertainment options, and a whole new Fun Ship look.