Cabin 9230, Lido Deck (Cat 8D) LOTS of pictures from our cruise on the Conquest at http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/mngopher2004/album?.dir=e836
Sunday, 16th (Embarkation day)
We stayed at the Maison St. Charles and did the Bon voyage package so we got the free limo transfer to the port. We left for the port at about 1pm from the hotel. It was a short ride and we were at the port. Not too bad of a line but once we got in it, it suddenly got REALLY long. By 1:40 we got to the check-in desk and completed the passport check, then on to the FULL room of yellow chairs. We sat in there for about 20 mins then on to get our photo taken? NO! Another warehouse full of yellow chairs! Waited in there for another 15 mins then got our pics taken and then on our way through security and up to the ship. Waited in line a bit on the skyway into the ship but were on the ship and in our room by 2:30 I think.
The room was awesome, I am so glad we got the balcony room, it was great!! Thebathroom was a bit small, but I didn't think the overall room was that small, I liked the size.
We read some of the info in the cabin then we were off to the spa tour, very cool, some good deals on spa services. Next we went exploring and grabbed a drink and some buffet food on the lido deck.
Next it was time for the lifeboat drill and we did that, was very cold on the atlantic deck in the wind, seemed like we waited forever! Went back to the room and put away the life vests and went down to the promenade deck for some wine at the Latour wine bar. Then up to the lido deck to watch us push off and set sail.
We went to the dinning room at about 8:20 to talk to the Maitre D about getting our table switched because we didn't want to sit at a tale for 8. We got switched to a table for 4 and it turned out we had no table mates the entire week! How nice, just to have it to ourselves. I am sooooooo thankful that we weren't at our original table because it was 5 other Women, which we could tell we would have not enjoyed dinning with.
After dinner it was back to the cabin and then to the Bingo at 10pm then the welcome aboard show at 10:30.
Monday, 17th (At Sea)
This day was spent mostly laying on deck and working out in the spa/gym. The view from within the Steam Room and Sauna is incredible with the huge windows.
Formal night dinner with great steaks and lobster. I had never really liked lobster but I tried it anyways because heck it was already paid for. It tasted pretty good. I was not feeling too good, I didn't think I was sea sick but turns out that's what it was. I tried one of those free pills "Mezcycline" sp? From the infirmary the next day and it really helped, so I guess I was sea sick, the waters were really rough and the ship was swaying the first two days at sea.
After dinner we went to the nightly show "Formidable", I was sooo tired I fell asleep during it and we ended up leaving and going to bed.
Tuesday, 18th (At Sea)
Again another day of sunning on deck and working out in the spa/gym. We took the galley tour in the afternoon which was neat. After that we went to the casino and I tried Roulette, which I had never played before. I quickly learned all the rules and the different bets and I ended up winning a bunch of money and winning back $20 I had lost the first night.
Dinner was good as usual and the show tonight was Steve Cassel (cruise director) and his juggling act. Also had some singer from New Orleans. It was pretty good. Had some funny audience participation stuff too.
Wednesday, 19th (Montego Bay, Jamaica)
I woke up as we were pulling into the bay and docking, got to watch the ship dock, which was cool. We went to breakfast and then we headed downtown to shop. What a nightmare, the people are soooo pushy and constantly nag you. We got offered drugs by a good 10 people or so. After a little shopping it was back to the ship to drop off our stuff and then we got off again and went to Sunset beach resort.
The resort was pretty nice. We got a couple drinks and had some food then headed down the beach to check things out. We both decided we would try the nude beach. So we went down to a secluded spot on the beach and laid out there for a few hours. Then we went back got some more drinks and food and then laid on the regular beach. Then more drinks and back down to the nude beach. After we had had enough we went back to the ship.
All in all I would say I will never go back to Jamaica, sure the beaches were nice but for how uncivilized people are I would much rather go back to Grand Cayman.
Went to the show before dinner tonight, "DEJA" the diva of deception. This show was absolutely FABULOUS!! The magic was incredible and I loved the music the show was set to. Afterwards we went to dinner, which was good as always. I loved our serving staff. Especially Aloina our Bread/Water girl from Lithuania I believe.
Thursday, 20th (Grand Cayman) Pulled into Grand Cayman early and went and had breakfast in the dinning room today. Then we got all our stuff and went to get a tender, we didn't have to wait and were on shore very quickly. Looked around for a bit then went to Captain Marvin's to head out for our snorkeling and stingray city tour. The snorkeling was AWESOME, I still can't get over how clear the water was and I have snorkeled in Hawaii before. Next stop was stingray city. I didn't think I would be scared but I was FREAKING OUT! I didn't want them to touch me but then slam right into you and are all around. I finally pet one; got lots of pictures of them and Andy held one. There was no way I was gonna hold one though.
We left stingray city and did one more snorkel stop which was cool. Then back to town and we did a little shopping and then back on the ship. Four other ships were in port with us at Grand Cayman: HAL (Westerdam), Carnival Victory, RCCL (Mariner of the Seas), and some Princess Ship. Very crowded as you can imagine.
This was the week that the big Norwalk outbreak happened on the Mariner of the Seas and they weren't letting very many people off of that ship.
After we were back on we grabbed some lunch on lido deck and then I went on a picture taking spree and got tons of ship pics.
We went to dinner (formal night) then we were sooooo tired and drained from snorkeling that we went back to the room to lay down, decided to skip the show for the night. The midnight gala buffet was this night and I wanted to go so bad, but I dozed off and woke up just as it was getting over!! I was sooooooooooo mad! I wanted to get pictures of the ice sculptures and buffet!! Darnit all!
Friday, 21st (Cozumel Mexico)
We woke up very refreshed and went to eat breakfast in the dinning room. Went up to deck and saw Cozumel in sight. RCCL, Mariner and Rhapsody of the Seas were already in port. We pulled in and then came the HAL Westerdam shortly after which pulled in next to us. Got some great pictures.
We got off the ship and did some shopping at the port. Then headed downtown to shop big time. The downtown was beautiful, I love Mexico. I have traveled all over in Mexico and I just love the culture. I bought a fake Rolex, looks awesome, identical to the real thing. I worked my Spanish and talked to the locals to see where an authentic restaurant for lunch was. Found a decent one and had lunch. Then shopped a little more and went and had some drinks. We felt we didn't have time to do much else and just went back to the ship early and hung out.
Again tonight we were VERY tired and even our drink waiter told us we looked really tired. We barely made it through dinner and then we immediately went to bed and got like 12 hours of sleep.
Saturday, 22nd (At Sea)
Got up and went to breakfast, I was sad this was the last day. Everything had gone perfectly, I have absolutely not one single complaint or gripe about the cruise, everything was perfect.
Did some last minute shopping and lying out on deck trying to get some sun, my tan had not evolved as nicely as I would have liked. I bought some pictures in the photo gallery and went and tried the slots tournament. No luck there did some more roulette and blackjack and lost about $50.
We went to the debarkation talk with Steve and I was choking up when they brought out the crew, room stewards, dinning staff. I was so sad the cruise was coming to an end.
Went to dinner, was sad to say goodbye to our dining staff, got our pictures taken with them to remember them.
After dinner we packed and put our suitcases outside.
Sunday, 23rd (Debarkation)
Got up at about 7am and got ready and all packed up and left the room to go to the lido deck for breakfast, it was PACKED with people. Everyone was up there, Andy didn't feel well so he didn't eat much. Luckily our tag, Lime Lido was called first and we went right down to get off.
The line to get off was very unorganized and long. But we were off the ship by about 9am I think. The line was kind of long to get into the bag holding area. Finding our bags in the warehouse was no treat but I didn't think it was as much of a nightmare that some people had described it to be. We got our bags and were out to get a taxi in no time. Taxi's were very unorganized at the port also with all the construction going on.
The weather was freezing on top of all this, there was a cold snap in New Orleans and it was in the low 40's.
We were planning on staying in New Orleans for two days after the cruise but decided to cancel the hotel reservations and just drive home early. Andy wasn't feeling well, he got a cold and we just got the heck out of there.
------------- I am so sad to be home but I am very looking forward to going on another cruise very soon. I want to try Royal Caribbean next time though. Not that Carnival was bad or anything, just want to see what RCCL is like.
Regarding the food in the dinning rooms. I was not impressed. I am not complaining really because I can understand that they are trying to serve like 1,000 people at each sitting. But I think Carnival is trying way too hard to make their meals so gourmet and fancy when they really aren't. Give me a steak and mashed potatoes not a steak and some fancy schmancy side dish. I'm not a picky eater either, I tried everything on my plate. Also Carnival needs to make bigger portions, I quickly learned to order two entrees every night because one simply would not fill me up. (I'm not some fat cow either, I'm a skinny 23 year old).
Other observations, I was very surprised how many elderly people were on this Carnival Cruise. I thought Carnival was more for like families and like people up to like their 60's. But I sure saw my fair share of Grandmas and Grandpas on the ship.
One thing I thank god for is that there were hardly any kids onboard. Probably because of the time of year we were sailing.
LOTS of pictures from our cruise on the Conquest at http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/mngopher2004/album?.dir=e836
Rob Minneapolis, MN
My husband and I just returned from the 11/14/04 sailing of Carnival Conquest. This was our 8th cruise, and our 7th on Carnival (the other was on Princess). It was one of our best cruises yet.
We started by arriving at New Orleans two days early and stayed at Ashton's B&B on Esplanade. This was a very nice B&B and the food was excellent. Karma and Patrick were wonderful hosts. We stayed in the Charpantier room, which was quaint and had a beautiful bathroom with a whirlpool tub. After two days of running around New Orleans and marvelling at how many people are drunk by noon, we headed off to our cruise.
At 10:30 am, we took a taxi to the cruise terminal and were stuck in traffic for about 1/2 an hour (thankful that we were being charged a flat fee). We finally arrived at the cruise terminal and check-in was very easy. We then sat in the yellow chairs for about 45 minutes before boarding the ship.
The Conquest is a very nice, clean ship. I don't agree with other reviews that the ship is tacky; I think it's tastefully decorated.The only item I would change is the orange decor in the cabins--why does Carnival insist on orange bedspreads?! As other reviewers have stated, this ship is not laid out logically (for example, the Monet dining room in the middle of the ship prevents you from walking straight across deck 3); it takes some maneuvering at first to learn your way around. The Renior dining room also has an entrance, I believe on deck 4, that is very small and congested. Other than that, we didn't run into large lines.
As I stated earlier, my husband and I are experienced cruisers. We have never been seasick on a cruise--until the Conquest. The first night out, we were in the piano bar as the ship headed down the Mississippi into the Gulf of Mexico. As we sat at the piano bar the ship was visibly listing in the rough waters--the barstools were moving as we sat on them and our drinks were sloshing somewhat. The next morning we both woke up feeling lousy. We had room service bring us Dramamine and by afternoon we felt much better. The ship's staff told us this cruise was much rougher than previous cruises. Just to be safe, we continued taking Dramamine throughout the cruise. Because of the rough waters the shows scheduled for that week were delayed twice.
My husband and I opted not to attend the various shows on the ship. We spent our evenings in the Blues Piano Bar, hosted by a very talented Jamie Mahn and equally entertaining bar staff Ming and Christina. This was a show in itself each night and it was a blast.
Our cabin was number 6252 (category 8A), and it was in disrepair when we checked it. The extra bed was hanging from the ceiling with a note not to touch it. The balcony door wouldn't lock, the vanity stool was missing, and the bathroom door wouldn't stay closed. All was remedied fairly quickly.
The food was very good in the dining room. The desserts, in my opinion, could stand some improvement. The food on the Lido deck was the usual fare--always room for improvement there. The pizza was great as was the food from the sandwich bar. Sur Mer (the seafood restaurant) was adequate--better than Long John Silvers.
The ports were wonderful. We took a shore excursion in each. In Montego Bay, we went to the Croydon Plantation, where we were treated to wonderful fresh fruits (pineapple, coconut, oranges, etc.) and fruit juice, as well as a very nice lunch of jerk chicken and fried plantains. In Grand Cayman we went snorkeling on the Reef and Wreck tour--a very nice dive with lots of fish to see (even a stingray). In Cozumel we went to Passion Island, which was worth every penny; the beach was beautiful, the staff were great, and the food was excellent (chicken, mahi mahi, fresh fruit, rice, chips and guacamole--oh, and an open bar).
When the time came for debarkation I was expecting it to be pretty smooth based on previous Carnival cruises. Unfortunately it seemed very slow and my deck was called last. I'm not sure how they determine who will leave, but they started on a top deck, worked their way down a few decks, then started at the bottom. We wound up leaving at around 11 am and the cruise terminal was a mess. Once you exit the ship you are left on your own (no Carnival personnel to direct you). Outside the terminal was a huge line for taxis. There were no signs directing you to the airport transfer buses. Traffic was backed up horribly. It took about 1/2 an hour to get out of the cruise terminal again.
One helpful item--we booked our airport transfer (one way) through Carnival for $23 per person. When we finally got to the bus, they were selling them for $10 per person. I'll keep this in mind for future cruises.
Overall we thoroughly enjoyed our cruise. The Conquest is a wonderful ship and I highly recommend it. We will definitely continue sailing on Carnival for our future cruises.
My wife and I arrived in New Orleans a day early on 16 Oct 2004 so we could do some sightseeing and shopping before our day of departure. We stayed at the Mansion St. Charles on St. Charles Ave which has the rustic streetcars running just in front of the hotel. We purchased the Bon Voyage package deal for $99 for 1 night. The hotel then took us to the ship the next day in a limousine and allowed us to park our vehicle for just $5 a day versus $12 a day at the pier. Great deal!!
During our stay in New Orleans we attended the New Orleans School of Cooking for a 3 hour session of learning to cook and then eating like a King. The menu was Gumbo, Jambalaya, Bread Pudding and Pralines. Highly recommended! My wife and I then ventured inside Harrah's casino and got in some practice before the ship the next day. Later in the afternoon we went shopping at the Flea Market off Decatur Street and found some great deals just before they closed at 6:00 pm. I then surprised my wife witha Horse-drawn carriage ride through the French Quarter. It was very romantic and at just $10 per person it was another great deal as the evening sun set. We then went for a long ride on the street cars through the Garden District down and back on St. Charles Ave. The homes are beautiful and a definite must see. We had purchased the all day pass from the driver for only $5 per person so we rode everywhere and did not have to worry about parking the car.
Embarkation day- all the rumors that I had read about from other passengers was not true. After waiting in line for about 15 mins, we received our sign and sail cards and then was lead to the famous yellow chairs. We sat there for only 15-20 mins, then we were lead back into this other room where we stood in line to have our picture taken for a souvenir and then we went thru security and then up the gangway up to the ship. Total time was about 1 hr. Once on the ship we went up to the Lido deck and ate lunch. At 1:30 our room was ready and our luggage arrived about 15 min later. We were lucky to receive an upgrade from 8a to 8d. We were on the Lido deck in room 9264 on the Port side of the ship. I had arranged to surprise my wife again with decorations in our room for her birthday, and our Travel Agent had sent us some wine to help us celebrate our 21st wedding anniversary. The agent worked very hard for us in planning our cruise and even loaned us some videos to see the ports of call ahead of time. This was my wife's and I first cruise so this made it even easier to make the arrangements. We had been in our cabin only a short time when our cabin steward arrived. His name was Alexis, and he turned our to be a great help the whole cruise. We never had to worry about our room as it was always clean and restocked several times a day.
The only negatives that we experienced the whole cruise were these items: The Tahiti casino was a huge disappointment. The machines were the coldest I have ever seen in my life. We lost over $1000 alone playing. It seems as if they are only there to suck up your money and not provide any entertainment value. Not recommended at all. The other disappointment is their fitness gym instructors are only interested in trying to sell you these $272 bottle of vitamins, and if you say no then they get very defensive and treat you like dirt. The Spa personnel on the other hand were very friendly and helpful and did not try to force their products down your throat.
Later that evening we went to the Monet Dining room at the aft of the ship where we met the most incredible pair of dining service staff. Our waiters were Ioan (pronounced John) and Florentina who were both from Romania. They were very professional and always made us feel special. Every evening was perfect with them waiting hand and foot on you at your every whim. One hint to all of you when you hear announced "Showtime" this is not a secret code for you to hurry up and eat to get out so they can prepare for the next group, but it really is a "Showtime" where the waiters get up on table like stands and dance to different tunes every night and everyone joins in on the fun. A truly remarkable sight of entertainment. Fun, Fun, Fun
Monday and Tuesday- both of these days were sea days and there was always something going on. The Carnival Caper newspaper keeps you informed of all the activities for the whole day. The Las Vegas type shows are incredible, and every night there is a different show. Don't worry if you get late dinner seating as there are two shows a night so no one will miss the show.
Wednesday- we arrived in Jamaica early that morning about 7:00 am and the wife and I just happened to be the first ones off the ship. I had already booked a shore excursion with Barrett Adventures owned by Carolyn Barrett. This was the smartest thing I could have done. As it turned out that we were the only customers for this day as Hurricane Ivan had slowed business for a while, so we had a private tour the whole day. Let me make this perfectly clear folks, you cannot go wrong booking your tours though Carolyn. She was very prompt inside the terminal waiting on us when we debarked. We then were driven to Mayfield Falls about 20 miles away in the real Jamaica countryside. This was an amazing experience also, with the sights and sounds of the local people and we were never hassled for anything. At Mayfield Falls we were one of the 1st to arrive so we had the river to ourselves. Our private guide Gary was excellent and very knowledgeable of the river and he knew where every rock was so you could step with confidence when he said "step here". With advance notice Carolyn can also arrange for photos to be taken so you do not have to worry about your camera getting wet. We had taken our movie camera so Gary had a waterproof bag and carried it for us, then he would take it out when we wanted to take home movies. Gary was also an expert at operating the camera so my wife and I had a wonderful and safe time. Highly recommended. One word of advice, get Carolyn to take the pictures as she will do it a lot cheaper. We had a private photographer from the falls follow us and take digital photos of us and then we viewed the pictures on the computer afterwards. This is very expensive and they wanted $100 for only 51 pictures on a CD disk. My wife did an excellent job in haggling the price down to just $60. Carolyn later told me she has a 5 megapixel camera and would have done it for about $20 to $25. A much better deal. But, all things considered we had a excellent time.
After the falls we had Carolyn take us the back way home to Montego Bay and we went through the sugar plantations and orange field groves. On the way back we stopped along side of the road and Carolyn bought us some fresh coconuts and we drank the water from them to cool down. We then went to have some real Jerk chicken from Jamaica. She then took us for a drive through the tourist area so we could see where most of our ship passengers were being taken for a ride in the high prices. We then went to a local shopping area to buy some Jamaican rum and coffee. We made a steal for only $8 a bottle for the rum and only $12 a pound for Jamaica Blue coffee which normally sells for at 50-70 dollars a pound in New York. T-shirts and other souvenirs were also haggled down by my wife to a great deal. So get out there and haggle for the best deals around. We were never approached by the locals selling drugs and Carolyn made sure of that being she is a local there for over 20 years seeing that her husband Errol is Jamaican. We then went to a local market and purchased Tortula Rum cakes way below the regular price on the ship. ($19 versus $26). Wonderful day! Thanks Carolyn at Barrett Adventures
Thursday- another sea day because Grand Cayman was closed due to Hurricane Ivan. They expect to be open in November sometime. My wife and I came upon one of the best kept secrets on a cruise. We attended the Art Auction and purchased some investment art at some very good prices, plus it was a lot of fun, and they had free champagne. Everywhere else you pay for the alcohol. I probably drank at least 15-20 glasses WOW! No pain at all this day.
Friday- again we arrived in Cozumel, Mexico, very early in the morning about 6:00 am. Both Jamaica and Cozumel was extended in port due to us missing Grand Cayman. This time my wife and I took our time to get off the ship. We had booked the Royal Swim with the Dolphin tour and it was scheduled at 2:00 pm. We departed the ship and went through the shopping area just off the pier. Lots of places to shop but, be wary as these are the stores where Carnival takes in a profit. We took a taxi down to the park where the Dolphins were at. When we arrived I asked if we could swim early at the 10:00 am show and they took us in with no problems. Remember the park fee is $12 per person and they have a lot to do at their beaches. I highly recommend this event as the Royal Swim with the Dolphins was truly incredible. The Dolphins are very gentle and powerful to get me out of the water as I weigh about 270 lbs. I was floating across the water like Superman, no problem. We spent approximately 1 hour in the water interacting with 2 Dolphins and their trainer who kept busy and learning. They had Video and still picture photos of us and the showed you a personalized video of your group, we only had 7 people in ours. My wife does not swim, but everyone wears a life jacket and it is incredible what these Dolphins can do. Had a wonderful time and cannot wait to go back. The video was $49, but the still pictures were very expensive, so we did not buy them. Recommend you have someone out there take pictures of you with your own camera. Several people were there just watching as we swam with the Dolphins. We then had several hours to go downtown shopping and got my wife to do more haggling and again got some great deals. Make sure you get back to the ship early, when they say departure time is 6:00 pm, they mean it as we did leave a couple in Jamaica and they had just been married. What a way to start your life -- stranded in Jamaica. Not sure if they ever did catch up to the ship in Cozumel? At 6:00 pm the ship started to depart and we saw several people running so they would not be left!! Remember this fact!
Saturday- another sea day and this is when you start to realize that this wonderful vacation is almost over. Everybody starts to get the blues as you are traveling back to New Orleans.
For our 1st cruise this was very enjoyable and would highly recommend sailing on the Carnival Conquest. I was in the Navy for 20 years and traveled all over the world, but nothing can compete with this. My wife and I really enjoyed the balcony cabin, and will probably never get anything less. I am now looking forward to our next cruise, which will probably be Alaska or try the Eastern or Southern part of the Caribbean.
Sunday debarkation- again this was not as bad as a lot of people had described, it went very smoothly as you just wait until they call your color of luggage tags and then you debark and go through customs. We had no problems and were out of the terminal in about 15 mins. Hint: We had made puffballs out of yarn with orange and yellow yarn which made our luggage stand out very well so I had no problem finding our bags mixed with all the others, Plus our complete set of luggage was Red.
Great trip and I highly recommend the Carnival Conquest to anyone and fell free to contact me for any further information by e-mail. firstname.lastname@example.org
My husband and I just returned from the Carnival Conquest departing from New Orleans on October 3, 2004. It was our first cruise, and a celebration of our 20th anniversary. I tend to write short and sweet and to the point, and I hope I can do this beautiful ship justice.
We arrived a day early in New Orleans, giving us time to see the city. Our hotel accommodations were booked at the same time as our cruise, thru Carnival direct. We stayed at the Pere Marquette Mariott hotel. Carnival had a representative meet us at the airport, take us to the hotel, and the next morning, had a bus meet us and other guests for transportation to the dock. It couldn't have been any easier or less stressful. Great job.
Embarkation, as in other reviews, takes a little while to get through...but hey, we're talking 3000 plus passengers here. I would estimate our dance thru the ballroom of yellow chairs took approximately 45 minutes , but it was again, planned , well organized, and stress free. We arrived between 12:30 and 1 pm, and were to our room just before 2pm.
We were stunned by the sheer size of the ship. Stunned, and perhaps intimidated. Our fears as first time cruisers were that we did not bring walkie talkies to find each other if we got separated! The decor is French Impressionistic, and quite lovely. Our first stop was to buy the soda cards as we are not heavy drinkers. You can purchase them at any bar onboard. We purchased two, and in hindsight, one would have been sufficient. We arrived at our room, a balcony suite upper deck aft. Again, as others have said, save money other places, but SPEND for the balcony room! It was truly heaven getting up in the morning and sitting out on the deck watching the sun rise and the waves go by without worrying about getting your gear out to save a deck chair for the day. The muster drill happens about 5 pm....our luggage arrived in stages, but was all received by 8 pm.
The ship experience, these are the things you cannot write about , but have to let the next cruiser experience for themselves. Suffice to say, the cruise director Steve Cassel was entertaining, the games and onboard activities kept us laughing and happy throughout our cruise! The staff is always polite, friendly, and eager to assist. The ship has so many places to explore you will not run out of things to do. Although there were 3000 people plus the crew onboard...we rarely felt crowded. Your choices of music, food, entertainment, games, quiet spots, are many and all enjoyable.
Our first port was Montego Bay, Jamaica. Margaritaville was damaged during the hurricanes but has relocated down the beach a bit. Our planned shore excursion was the Appleton Rum Plantation. We were so happy we had chosen this tour, as it gave us a real tour around the island, a chance to see people in their daily routine, and how they live. We drank our share of rum, but were never approached about drugs. All in all, a great experience!
Again due to the recent hurricanes, no Grand Cayman stop this trip. We were given 25.00 per person onboard credit.
Cozumel Mexico, we chose the excursion to Passion Island for a day at the beach. The water was beautiful, warm, there were hammocks strung between the trees just like in a postcard. Only 200 people or so on the entire island, which was so unlike our vacations to crowded beaches in California. They served us a traditional lunch, had an open bar, and we relaxed in the sun. Again, a great experience!
We chose to dine one night at the Point. Everyone had said to try this if you got the chance. We would also whole heartedly recommend you try it. Our anniversary was mid week, and so we chose that night for our Point dinner. The service was exceptional, the food delicious and presentation superb. Our server made recommendations including the wine, and the team assigned to us *yes, it's a team* were attentive but not intrusive. Dress is formal, and hubby had opted to rent the tux onboard for the entire week. Again, great idea. It was ready when we arrived, and fit perfect.
Our regular dining was Monet upstairs late seating. Our servers Osborn and Amanda were terrific. They offered suggestions from the menu, and remembered our preferences by the second night. How do they do that meeting a ship load of new faces every week!?
We went to our first art auction while onboard. While not something we would attend time and time again, it was interesting and not anything we had done before. This trip was all about doing things our kids would be surprised we had done!
Speaking of the kids, they didn't go along! ha! But they were real sweet and had ordered stateroom decorations for our anniversary, which surprised us in our room after our day in Jamaica. We've decided we'll take the kids along NEXT time!
Ok, short and sweet, isn't very short at all, so I'll end it here. We are hooked, and already planning our next cruise. We would recommend Carnival, and the Conquest, anytime!
The Conquest is quite a ship. My family and I have not cruised before, so we have no comparison. I will attempt to do her justice. We drove to New Orleans and arrived Saturday night. We had a reservation at the Hilton Riverside, which included the cruise special (99$ for room and parking for 7 days, you however had to pay $22 for the Sat. night parking). The hotel was very nice and very convenient. We walked two blocks to eat at a cajun place called Mulates. My family doesnt care for Cajun food, but they had other things on the menu. They had live music and dancing. The kids got beads from someone by the band. If you go here to eat and order the chicken tenders off the kids menu, have the kids split one. We ordered 3 and our 3 kids could have split one order, you get a lot. Harrahs is right across the street from the hotel. You can catch the trolley right outside the front door and take it to the French Quarter which we did on Sunday morning (I dont remember howmuch it was but it was nominal). We had beignets at Cafe Beignets (Cafe DuMonde appeared to be too crowded, although I found out later they have a take out window). We walked around Jackson Square (some of the artists were set up) and we were able to go to mass at St. Louis Cathedral (wear a jacket it is cold in there). We then walked back to the hotel, an easy walk. Yes you could walk to the ship, either outside or through the Riverwalk mall, but there will be some stairs and we had too much luggage. So, my husband dropped us and the luggage off at the cruise terminal and went back to the hotel garage to park the car. Advice, when you get to the terminal, there will be 2 lanes one slow and on the far right (they are trying to get into the parking lot at the Julia street terminal), take the lane on the left if you are dropping off and go around the slow lane. We found out after already taking some of our luggage to the car that the hotel would have taken our luggage to the terminal for $25. We took walkie-talkies so my husband could find us on the way back. We got to the terminal about 12:30 and were on the ship by about 2:00. Our room was ready when we got there and our luggage was already there.
We found out when we got to the terminal that our itinerary had changed (which we suspected all along, we just didnt know how), we had an extra day at sea instead of Grand Cayman and they gave us a credit on our sign and sail card $25 per person, and we stayed longer in Montego Bay (in at 9out by 7) and Cozumel (in at 8 and out by 6).
Our room was on the Riviera deck1 very bottom and very last 2 rooms. We were pleasantly surprised with the size of the rooms, the only time we felt cramped was when someone was trying to get something out of the closets and out of the bathroom at the same time. Each room had plenty of closet space and extra hangers and also plenty of drawer space, there were robes in each room, a safe and a refrigerator. Our room steward Alveydas was very attentive and pleasant. He made up our room in the morning and gave us fresh ice and towels then and then turned our bed back every night, gave us fresh ice, towel animals and chocolates and more fresh towels if needed. On several nights he left cookies for the kids. The kids stayed in one room (they loved the bunks) and we stayed in the one next door. The first night, I used a baby monitor to make myself feel better, but we didnt after that. The first night was rather loud, I think as the ship was going down the river and we felt some movement, but after that we only heard the white noise from the air conditioning and didnt feel any movement except for coming out of Cozumel (loud again with some vibration). Being at the end of the hall it was very quiet too, no noise in the hallway. I forgot to state we had inside rooms (guarantee 4A). I dont think I would pay the extra for the oceanview as we werent in our rooms very much, maybe the balcony would be nice.
We ate in the Monet dining room, top, early sitting. We had a fantastic service team. Anthony from Barbados and Iketut from Indonesia,and the bar waiter (dont remember his name). They called the kids by name after the first night and the bar waiter had their drinks waiting for them every night. To answer the question about pop in the dining room, the kids were served pop without charge, including refills as much as needed. Iketut had a magic trick or napkin folding trick for the kids every night and he took a lot of time to teach them how to do them. The food was good, not fantastic. I especially enjoyed the salmon on 2 nights. The kids sometimes ordered off the childrens menu and sometimes off the regular menu. My husband doesnt like the fancy desserts and on the kids menu they had brownies, so every night he got brownies and ice cream, Anthony remembered it every night. The service was fantastic, they were very attentive. I think if we had to do it over, we would request the later dinner as it was a rush to get cleaned up and to dinner. By the way, people straggled in between 5:45 and 6:00. However, if you are at at table with others (which we weren't), they have to wait to serve you all together. We also missed the leaving at ports, although we had a window view, we were at the back of the dining room. But, with the kids and Camp Carnival activities the early sitting worked out for us.
Camp Carnival was wonderful, the kids enjoyed it and wanted to do everything they had planned. I know many ask can a child move up, and they wouldnt let my younges, 8, move up to the 9-11 year olds to be with her brother and sister. She didnt mind though, she had a great time. Some of the time they were together for activities. The 9-11 year olds could sign themselves out, but asked mine not to, and I was always there to pick them up after their activities. Camp Carnival does have a talent show on Saturday so if your child has a talent and needs prop you might bring it. My kids were able to remember some songs they could play on the piano. The counselors were excellent and the kids really enjoyed them. There werent too many kids attending very often, maybe 5-10 in each age group.
The shows were good. My husband and I enjoyed I think it was Tues. night, the Motown review with Lawrence Neals (?) and prior to that juggling with Steve Cassel, cruise director. The Vegas shows were pretty good and the magic show was fair. We didnt make it to the comic acts, but I heard they were funny. We enjoyed the Blood Power Band in the lounges, often played in Degas Lounge and also we enjoyed the piano bar. Alfreds Bar was too smokey, especially with Cigar smoke.
The Captains Cocktail party was good. They come around with a selection of drinks on the trays, but my husband drinks Coors Light and they brought him that without charge.
Montego Bay-My husband took the ATV adventure and the kids and I horseback riding. He said the view was beautiful on the aTVs but too slow of a ride for him. The horses were fun, especially riding in the water. We met back at the terminal and then took a van (JUTA) to Dr. Caves beach ($5 admission), nice but not spectacular. For those wanting to go to Margaritaville, it was badly damaged in the hurricane. They have a little hut set up on Dr. CAves beach selling food and drinks and they have a shop to buy t-shirts and stuff. We arrange for our taxi driver to pick us up at a certain time, which he was there early even. It is a little intimidating when they are all trying to get you to go with them, but all we had to say was Sugar was picking us up (our driver) and they even got him for us.
Cozumel-We took the early Atlantis Submarine excursion and it was excellent. My husband and I had been on one in Barbados and he wanted the kids to go. I think the one in Cozumel is even better as the water is so clear. We booked through the ship as we were unsure of our final itinerary. It was more expensive, but also the fact that we didnt have any hassles getting to the Atlantis office and back, not to mention cab fare, was worth it. At the end of the pier we met, they got us a taxi (which was included in price), the boat took us out to sub, then after they dropped us at the pier right by the ship. It really is something to see along the reef there. After that we took a cab to paradise beach, they have all of the cab fares posted. I think it was $3 per person, and since we have 5 and we all got in one cab they charged us $14 total. Paradis beach was nice and being the 1st of October they started charging for the use of the water toys, so the kids got wrist bands for $5 each to use the kayaks, water trampoline, iceberg, floats, and life jackets if needed, also they had snorkel equipment. There was someone right there renting wave runners (55$ for 30 minutes), parasailing ($55), boats taking people out snorkeling. They also had hair braiding and wraps, and those henna tattoes. We didnt have to pay for beach chairs or umbrellas. The food was pretty good and moderately priced and the margaritas were great!
Overall, the ship was very clean. We saw them cleaning nooks and crannies that I wouldn't even think needed to be cleaned. All of the people working on the ship were friendly and helpful. We didnt ever have a hard time finding lounge chairs by the pools. I thought kids were not allowed in the hot tubs, but only not allowed in the aft ones. Our favorite place to sit was on Deck 3, under the shade of the life boats, the loungers were padded. I thought the lounge chairs by the pools were not very comfortable.
Miscellaneous: My husband bought the fountain card. We decided not to get the fountain cards for the kids as they could get soda in the dining room without charge. My husband likes diet coke in the morning, and the bars don't open prior the 9 am, so he had to wait to get his diet coke. He then bought some in Jamaica, so he would have some available in the morning. I didnt try to specialty coffees at Cafe Fans but i did look at prices and comparable to Starbucks (lattes were $3.25). The purser cashed travelers checks without any problem. The only inconvenience we found was when we had to book one adult in each room, then my husband's sign and sail wouldnt let him in our room and one of our daughters sign and sail wouldnt let her in the kids room. We went to the pursers to change it and they wouldnt, because they had to have on adult for each room even though they didnt care who slept where. So we basically kept all the sign and sail cards between my husband and I.
Disembarkation wasnt too bad, our color was called probably in the 3rd or 4th round. It was not much fun waiting but it didnt last too long. Once off we had a porter take our bags to the curb, while my husband got the van from the parking garage. Once again the walkie talkies came in handy. They startding disembarkation about 8:30 and we were on the road by 10:30.
I would recommend the Conquest and Carnival to future travelers
This was my first cruise. I have always been a little leary, but agreed to go on this one since a group of friends was going.
Embarkation: We arrived at the terminal in NO at around 10:00. After we waited 15 minutes or so for a porter to find us, I walked to the gate between the ship and the building and got a porter for our luggage. We entered the terminal building, where we were given a flyer stating we would not be going to Grand Cayman. I had called Carnival that morning to ask if we would be going there, and they said we definitely would. Why must they lie to us? Anyway, no big surprise there. My husband and I went ahead to the skippers club, while our friends got in line for regular check in. It took us about 45 minutes to check in (thanks to some people in line who did not have their paperwork completed and had left their ID in the car). After a brief wait, the skippers club was permitted to board. We waited in the Cezanne dining area for ourfriends to board. It was about another 1 1/2 hours before they boarded. We ate some lunch and went up to our rooms at about 1:30. Most of our luggage was there already, the rest arrived by about 3:30.
Room: We had a suite on the empress deck. I highly recommend this. The room was large enough for the six of us to all hang out before dinner for drinks and not feel cramped. I had a BATH TUB - well worth the extra money in my opinion. It was a whirlpool tub, but I never turned the jets on. OUr balcony was spacious enouch for 3 chairs and a small table. We had 2 closets, 2 sinks, 2 vanity areas, fridge, bar glasses, several cupboards, and several drawers. Plenty of storage.
Food: I'm from Louisiana, so this might be the longest portion of the review. Let me first say that although it is rare that I find food outside of Louisiana that I think is exceptionally good, I am not a picky eater by any means. I can usually find something that I like. We did not like the food in the buffet or the dining room. We did enjoy the burgers, pizzas, dogs, and sandwiches. We did not try Sur Mer or The Point. The food at the breakfast buffet was extraordinarily greasy, the bacon was wiggly (not crisp) and the sausage was just odd. Pastries were tasty. We usually ordered room service for breakfast and enjoyed it on our balcony. Highly recommended.
The lunch buffet had a lovely salad bar that we did enjoy, but as for the rest of the food, two thumbs down. We much preferred the sandwich station or the hot dogs. Lunch service (except the pizza) began promptly at 12:00. Kind of aggravating. There is no "Beating the rush" as everyone is STARVING by then. Seems they could get the lunch thing going by 11:00. Also, no potato chips except through room service. Not a big deal, just stupid. Why not have them available at the sandwich place? So, you either had to order them from room service or go stand in the LONG line for fries at the burger place. Anyway, I recommend the Reuben at the Deli. I had this at least 4 times last week. It was my favorite thing on board.
Be advised, even though some of the literature says juices are free, they aren't. You can get fruit punch (sometimes) lemonade (sometimes) apple juice, and iced tea (which is nasty) at the buffet fountains. You must get OJ, Pineapple, cranberry etc from the bar, and you must pay. Unless, you go to the open seating braekfast or lunch, and then it is free. Again, not a big deal, just stupid. Why is it free one place and not free once you go outside? Many people also say the water on board is fine to drink. Maybe so, but it tastes metallic and needs a lot of lemon.
Dinner: we had late seating at the Monet room. OUr waiter was just okay. Not much personality. The food was below average on the whole. The pumpkin soup, tomato soup, and black bean soup were very good. Many of the salads were good as well. Entrees were bland at best, completely inedible at worst. I had some pan seared fish of some kind that was atrocious. I would not have served it to my dog. The beef entrees were generally better than anything else, although the last night I had some seafood and rice item that was tasty. Bring Tony's with you. Ask for Tabasco sauce. Salt and pepper everything, as they seem to have forgotten this step in the kitchen. The desserts were just so-so. I enjoyed the sherbet every night, but the other desserts ranged from really good (apple pie, bitter-n-blanc) to gross (summer berries over tapioca). We all ordered a couple of different entrees and desserts every night hoping we would fing something good.
The Ship: Lovely. Very large and spacious, and we never felt crowded even though it was booked to capacity. We did feel a lot of rocking, especially in the dining room.
The Shows: Don't bother with them, with the exception of the comedians. Fat Kat was the first one, and he was HILARIOUS. Can't remember the other ones, but we enjoyed them. Formidable was awful - it became one of our running jokes throughout the cruise.
We spent most of our time on the ship by the main pool people watching. This was fun, but by the end I was BORED. We had an extra sea day since we missed Grand Cayman, and I think that was just a little too much for me.
Jamaica: We asked at the information desk where we could go diving in Jamaica. The Carnival representative told us not to go, that there were no shops near montego bay. Pretty sure he just wanted us to book a Carnival tour. We called Round Hill Resort and scheduled a dive. A $30 cab ride for 4 of us, about 15-20 minutes. The resort is beautiful, but there did not seem to be a sandy beach on the premises. We did a one tank boat dive . It was OK. We enjoyed a tasty, yet pricey, lunch before going back to the ship. The dive staff was very accomodating. We did NOTHING. They set up our gear, washed it, hung it up . . .We sat down after the dive and enjoyed THE BEST pina colada we have ever tasted.
Cozumel: we booked the 2 tank dive through Carnival. If I were to do this cruise again (which I would not), I would just call Sand Dollar Sports directly and get a day pass to the beach club where the shop is located. The tour left 45 minutes late due to some stupid people without their dive cards. I did not feel that we should have waited that long for them to look for them They should have had all that together before getting off the ship! Anyway, the dives were lovely, and I would definitely recommend this excursion to anyone. We will probably take a trip to Cozumel sometime next year to dive and see a bit more of the island.
We had a fun trip, but I would not do this cruise again, nor would I take any cruise that stopped at Montego Bay. I might feel differently if we had been able to go to Grand Cayman. We had a great time relaxing, drinking, and hanging out on the boat, but by the end of the trip, I wanted to do anything but relax by the pool. I think that extra sea day was just too much.
Just got back from the Conquest out of New Orleans. What a great time! I will start with Embarkation. This turned out to be a fairly painless process. Once we dropped off our luggage we proceeded to check in. After checking in and getting our sail n sign cards we were then directed to a waiting area where we waited around 45 minutes until we were allowed to board the ship.
The Conquest is a very large and beautiful ship. I have taken one cruise, on the Pride, and found this ship to be very easy to get around after a couple of hours of walking around and exploring. My wife and I were pleased when we got to our cabin and found that we were upgraded from an inside cabin to a cabin with a window (no balcony unfortunately but hey I was not complaining).
The first two days were days at sea. I spent most of the afternoons playing basketball, lounging by the pool or taking a ride down the waterslide. In between times I would be filling my belly with an abundance of food. Cruises are anexcuse to eat whenever you want just because you can. Although there is always an activity to do while on board I did find myself at times getting bored because not all things to do during the day appealed to me. I found that just taking that time to chill out and rest was perfect. We did encounter a few rough nights at sea due to weather from the hurricanes, but overall it was not too bad. We were lucky enough to stay a few days ahead of the hurricane that has now wreaked havoc on our first two stops, Jamaica and Grand Cayman.
Our first stop was Montego Bay Jamaica. I have read many horror stories online through reviews so I was prepared for the worst but tried to maintain an open mind. We decided not to book any excursions through Carnival so in this port we took a shuttle from the port over to Margaritaville. We arrived before they opened so we ended up walking a few blocks down to a resort beach that is open to the public for $5 per person. This turned out to be a nice beach with what turned out to be very good snorkeling. I was quite impressed and surprised to find that quality of snorkeling at the beach.
After spending 3 hours at the beach we walked back over to Margaritaville for a drink and to check it all out. After Margaritaville we took a taxi back to the pier and boarded the ship a few hours early. I found many of the negative reviews of Jamaica to be true. I was offered drugs at least 5 times. A polite no always did the trick but it was an uncomfortable position to say the least.
Next stop, Grand Cayman. Very beautiful island and a great change from Jamaica. We booked an excursion online through Native Way Watersports to do Stingray City and Snorkel tour. This was an awesome experience and a must do when visiting this island. Native Way hires a local production company to join the excursion and film the day above and under water. If you want, you can buy the video on VHS or DVD and pick it up back on board the ship at the Pursers desk later that night. A DVD is $63, which I thought was a bit expensive, but it provides a great memory of the trip to show all your friends and family.
Our final stop was Cozumel. We decided to do all of our shopping in Cozumel. We took a taxi downtown to do some shopping. We also visited Carlos n Charlie's and Senior Frogs. Be prepared to bargain. Don't settle for the list price. After shopping we went over to Paradise Beach. This is a free public beach. They have nice amenities at this beach but was a little disappointed in the beach itself. We regret not booking an excursion to snorkel on this island. The water in Cozumel is beautiful!
A few side notes about the ship. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of food offered. I was not impressed with the food I received on my past Carnival cruise but the food on this ship I found to be very good quality. The evening shows were also very entertaining. Carnival is by no means perfect and they could do little things here and there to improve but I feel like they try very hard to make sure everyone has the best cruising experience possible. I will not hesitate to cruise with Carnival again.
I will try to be brief but there is so much I want to say about the ship. We got to the terminal around ll:30. Once my husband got finished parking the car at the Hilton (good parking rate), we were on the ship within 45 minutes. We went up to the Lido deck (9) for lunch. After lunch we checked out our rooms (6278 - balcony and 6290 -inside). My husband and I had the balcony and our girls had the inside room. Our room was nice. A little stain on the carpet but not bad at all.
We had the first seating in the dining room (Renoir). The ship didn't leave exactly at 6 p.m. because of some river traffic. Our waitress (Zuzanne) was a doll. We tipped her more than what was recommended. The dining room food was fine but they only give you small quantities. You can always go to the Lido cafeteria and get more food most of the time.
The first two days at sea was nothing but being lazy. If you happen to get a chair on the top of the pool area,you get a better breeze.
We had pictures taken every night. Most of the pictures were $20 each except for the pictures they took when you were coming on the ship or off the ship to a port. We bought quite a few.
On Wednesday we were at our first destination (Montego Bay). We took the Rosehall Mansion tour through the ship. If you take this tour, try to read the book "White Witch of Rosehall" before or after you go. If was interesting. After the mansion, they stop at two shopping areas. The first being a market type and the other a regular shopping area.
Thursday we were in Grand Cayman. We had book Soto's Stingray Tour (half the price of the cruise ship's tour) and we went to the same places at the tour from the ship went. We had quite a few less people on our boat. We went shopping after the tour.
Friday was Cozmuel. We didn't book any tours - we just shopped and shopped.
There were two formal nights. The Captain's Dinner was the first night. At the show at night, they introduced the "big whigs" on the ship.
The shows were pretty good. I can't say that the clothes that the dancers wore were family rated. They were pretty but they showed quite a bit of skin. The comic and magicians were also good except that I like dancing type shows better.
We were on level six and I could feel the movement of the boat more than I did last year on the Sovereign. I am not sure why. Our girls could feel more vibration in their room (didn't stop them from sleeping though).
Our sixteen year old daughter made friends the first night and we hardly saw her except for dinner and shore excursions.
I am trying to think what I may have left off. The cabin steward was nice and made the usual towel animals.
On the negative side, I think they needed to have more activities on the boat such as going away dances, more pool activities and such. They had a so called "Mardi Gras" parade. What a joke!!!! The cruise director said they would be throwing out gobs of beads. Well, the parade consisted of about six people and maybe twenty-five beads. Everyone was disappointed in this.
All in all it was a good cruise and wouldn't hesitate to take it again. I needed more time in each port.
If you have any questions, please e-mail me at email@example.com.
This was our ( husband & I) first cruise. We are hooked and ready to go again.
We arrived in New Orleans on Friday. We were with another couple. We had booked rooms through Priceline for the Marriott hotel on Canal St. We got a really good price on the rooms, $55. a night, but the parking was $28. a night so that did bring the price of the room up. The hotel was very nice and in a convenient location. We took in some of the sights of NO on Friday and Saturday.
We arrived at the dock between 11:00 and 11:30 Sunday morning. It was already getting busy. We had to wait in line a while to park our car. We checked our baggage and waited in line to embark. It really didn't take too long considering how many people were already there waiting to get on the ship. We were on by about 12:30.
The ship is beautiful. The lobby where you enter is very nice with all the wood, glass, baby grand, staircase, etc. It makes a good first impression. We found the Lido deck and got somethingto eat and checked out the ship. Our rooms were ready when we went to find them about 1:30. We had booked guaranteed inside 4F and our room was on the Empress deck 7, toward the back of the ship. It was very convenient. We could get on the elevators by our room, go 2 floors up and be right by the pools and the buffet. A few floors down and we got off right at the entrance to the Monet dining room, which we were assigned to.
Our first 2 days at sea were spent just relaxing. There is a lot of chair saving which Carnival needs to do something about, but we just went up on the higher decks and got a chair. We didn't need to be by the pool. A couple of days at sea, we got up at 5:30AM. Ordered room service the night before and had coffee delivered. I wanted to walk my usual 2 miles and my husband wanted to see the sun rise. The walking - jogging track is on one of the top decks and it is beautiful up there early in the morning. When my phone rang the first morning at 5:30 with my wake-up call, I thought "what was I thinking," but after I got out on deck I was glad I did. Hardly anyone is up and it is quiet. You practically have the whole ship to yourself. We ate almost every meal in the dining room. We didn't care for the food at the buffet that much. It's like every cheap "all you can eat for $6.99" place around. We really enjoyed the food in the dining room. Since our children our grown and I still work, I have a lot of clothes and jewelry and enjoy dressing up. It was fun for us. Our waiter and assistant waiter were wonderful. They were very professional. They took wonderful care of us. We had a table for 4 with the other couple we were with. I think I would have enjoyed a big table so we could have socialized and met with others. If you are in the Monet dining room and have the good fortune of having Sorin and Diana as your waiters (both from Romania) tell them "Hi" from the Grayums.
We enjoyed both of the Las Vegas shows. The singers and dancers were very good and the costumes were lovely. We spent several evenings at the Karaoke bar. It was a lot of fun. There was a band in one of the bars that was very good. They were from the Phillipines. I can't recall the name of the band. Something with "Blood" in the title, I think. Saw one comediene who was funny. There was a lot more I wanted to do, but ran out of time.
In Jamaica, we took the Fiesta party boat tour. We went snorkeling, drank all the rum drinks we wanted. They dropped us off at Margeritaville. It was supposed to be for 20 minutes, but we weren't ready to leave so they picked us up about 3 or 4 hours later when they made their second tour of the day and took us back to the ship.
Grand Cayman: We took a taxi to a public beach for a while.
Cozumel: We rented a jeep. Went to a beach called Mr. Sanchos and drove around the island. The other side of the island is totally different. Very beautiful. I was a little nervous driving there as the drivers all drive crazy. I was relieved when we took the jeep back in one piece. We did a little shopping and returned to the ship. I wanted to go to Carlos and Charlies, but we didn't make it there.
I also did some shopping on the ship. I was surprised at how reasonably priced things were.
I thought our room was nice and had plenty of storage. The bed was a little uncomfortable, but I like a soft bed. Our room steward, Gregorio, also did an excellent job. Our room was always spotless, all the clean towels, beach towels, ice. Everthing was perfect. Between our room steward, our waiter and assistant waiter, and our wine steward (I"m sorry I can't remember his name) They all made our cruise a very special experience. All the personnel on the ship were friendly and did a good job of taking care of us. I really hated for the week to be over.
We had bad news. The other couple we were with got an emergency phone call to tell them her father had passed away. Even though we were driving home, I went down to the pursers desk and asked if there was anyway we could get off early Sunday morning so we could get an early start home due to the circumstances and they said "No problem". They gave us VIP tags and we were the first group off the ship. Trish wanted to get home as soon as possible because of her father.
I loved the Cruise and can't wait to go again. There was things I didn't have time to do. I think my whole family, 3 children and spouses and 8 grandchildren are going to plan a family cruise before long. My grandchildren range in age from 3 years to 18 years. It should be a blast.
BW, myself, and 2 daughters took the Carnival Conquest to the Western Caribbean from New Orleans on 5/9/04. BW (Beautiful Wife!) and I went to NOLA a couple of days early to let her have her first look at The Big Easy, and we stayed at Le Pavillon:---EXCEPTIONAL!!!! Daughters were each coming from different directions.
BW and I arrived at the Julia Street Terminal #1 early-about 10:15 AM. Don't want to miss the boat! There sat the Conquest--majestic, monstrous, dwarfing everything around her! Simply overwhelming! Passengers were still debarking from the previous cruise, and the "Sea Caps" were busy with off-loading passengers' luggage. So, we wrestled our 4 bags into the waiting area. Though we were quite early (boarding supposedly wasn't to begin until 1:30 PM), there were already a couple of hundred people there. Because of the ongoing debarkation, we were asked to take a seat in the first of several sets of "yellow chairs", just opposite the check-in counters. We were also handed a welcome letter, which said we would be able to board early, but to stay away from the rooms until the crew had a chance to make themup for us new arrivals. The letter also said the Lido buffet would be open for lunch after we boarded.
About 11 AM they began the check-in process, and we made our way to an open Fun Pass check-in position, baggage in tow as instructed. Our ID's and ticket were checked, and we were given our stamped boarding pass. Then, we were told to proceed to another desk to pick up our Sign & Sail card/room keys and take our luggage with us. After picking up the S&S cards, we were told to return to the outside waiting room until boarding, and that the Sea Caps would pick up our luggage there. While waiting, one daughter arrived and found us. Shortly afterward, the Sea Cap came to take our luggage; and, much to our delight, he was willing to take daughter's Conquest-tagged luggage even though she had not yet checked in. Relieved of the luggage burden, we went outside for picture taking and to just marvel at the ship.
Also, another great accommodation by Carnival: the two daughters were booked on the same ticket, though each was to arrive at a different time. First daughter to arrive checked in and asked if she needed to stay outside and wait for the arrival of the second daughter. They said "No, she's now in the system." When second daughter arrived, all she had to do was give her name, show ID, and she was on her way on board.
The three of us came back into the waiting room about 11:30, and passengers were already lined up to pass the ID/boarding pass check and gain entry to the next room, and set of yellow chairs. Carnival personnel directed us to successive rows of chairs as each row would fill up. Just about noon, security people told us to have our drivers' licenses or passports available for inspection; and, Carnival people began directing each row to the door, taking them in the order that they had entered this room. The next room, with the ubiquitous yellow chairs, was where we waited to have our boarding pictures taken. Again, Carnival people directed us in order, row by row, to the photographers' lines. I must say that all of this moving and lining up was handled very well and orderly, with no crowding, pushing, or people jumping line. This is a tribute to Carnival's efficient boarding procedures. After the pictures, we boarded!
Walking up the stairs and across the entry bridge was a total thrill! Each passenger had to put their S&S card in a machine, which checked it's validity, took a picture of the passenger, and registered them as "on board". BW's card was inexplicably "Not Activated"; but, a quick pass by the Purser's counter to our left, and in less than 3 minutes we were officially on board! WOW!!! What a view! You enter the ship on Deck 3, the Lobby Deck, where the first thing that greets your eye is the Atrium. One can look up along the 4 glass elevator shafts, to the 10th deck! That's 7 decks up, folks! And, this is a ship! A classical trio was playing in the lobby as we boarded. I joked and said "Please, not classical! Too much like the Titanic!" Yeah, I know: lousy joke. We grabbed lunch in the Lido Buffet, where second daughter joined us. Then, we were all off to explore the ship.
The Lobby Deck (#3) has the Purser's counter, tour counter, the Lobby bar, the lower level entrance to the Toulouse Lautrec theater, and the Renoir and Monet dining rooms. Deck 4 (Atlantic) houses the photo shop and gallery, and second level entrances to the theater and dining rooms. Also, Alfred's Bar and the Internet Café are on this deck, but more easily reached from Deck 5. Deck 5 (Promenade) has all the shops, the casino, most of the bars (7!), the coffee and sushi bars, and yet another entrance to the theater. The Lido Deck (#9) contains the Cezanne buffet and grills, pools, hot tubs, and 2 outdoor bars. Deck 10 (Panorama) has The Point--the extra cost 5-star restaurant. Deck 11 houses the Spa/Health Club, walking/jogging track, and basketball court. Deck 14 (Sky Deck) contains the entrance to the water slide. Staterooms are found on Decks 1, 2, and 6-11. The glass elevators serve Decks 3-11, and there are three banks of enclosed elevators that serve most all decks. Entry and exit to/from the ship in ports of call is accomplished on Deck 0, which is predominantly crew.
Casual dress was fine at dinner, as most had to wait for luggage. Luggage finally made it to our rooms while at dinner.
BW and I were on the Panorama deck (10), port side, 4 cabins from the front. Size of the cabin was about 185 sq. ft., with bed set up as king size. There was a sofa with cushioned back, which could become a twin bed if needed. We had a balcony, with 3 chairs--size was about 3 ½ ft. by 8 ft. Had 3 closets, plenty of drawer and shelf space in the desk/counter and under the sofa/bed, TV, safe, and luggage could easily be stored under the bed. The FREE (!) safe could be locked and unlocked by using a credit card, but they suggested NOT using your S&S card. It had plenty of room for wallets, passport, jewelry, and perhaps a video or still camera, but not both. Bath had shower (no tub-OK by me), shampoo and liquid soap dispensers with PLENTY of each, basket of goodies such as dental flosser, shower cap, and Rolaids! Plenty of towels. Girls room was almost directly beneath ours, port side, forward, but on Deck 1 (Riviera). It had same basic storage and bath features as ours, except it had twin beds. Had 2 portholes, but girls didn't look out for fear of getting queasy! They complained of pounding noises at night, which they thought was stuff being moved around. I suspect it was from waves hitting the hull, as they were fairly close to the water.
One comment about the balconies: there was a comment in some review about the "privacy" panels that supposedly prevent neighbors from peering around at your balcony, or climbing from theirs to yours. In truth, they are only 5 inch wide panels that run from the railing to the top of the balcony, and they would certainly NOT deter anyone from looking onto your balcony, nor would they stop a determined cat burglar. Matter of fact, the neighbors on either side of us looked around our panel and said good morning a few times. Certainly friendly, but blows the heck out of privacy. Also, we seemed to be right in the middle of a group that was cruising together. Those in the two cabins to our right knew each other and those in 1 cabin to our left. They frequently shouted greetings to each other in the morning. Could have done without that!
For those first timers who might worry about sea sickness: The Conquest is the largest in passenger capacity of the Carnival fleet. Though it is shorter than others in similar classes, it is a good bit wider. As a result, there was no pitch (front to back rocking) at ANY time, even though we had 6 ft. swells at one time (per the Captain). There was just a tiny bit of roll (side to side sway) when the ship turned (only natural, if you've ever been in a smaller boat, or ridden a motorcycle), and a couple of other times going in and out of ports. BUT, that was so gentle, it was hardly noticeable in the inner ear. One had to look out the windows to see it. I didn't notice anyone looking green or frantically running for the head (bathroom to you landlubbers). AND, no one hanging over the railing! After Cozumel, and Senior Frogs and Carlos and Charlies, there were a lot of folk unsteady in their gait, but didn't see any get sick.
Table service breakfast, lunch, and dinner were served in the Monet and Renoir Restaurants. Open seating for breakfast and lunch, assigned tables for dinner. Each had two dinner seatings, with the Monet starting at 5:45 PM and 8, and the Renoir starting at 6:15 PM and 8:30. There was NO class distinction between the two--your assignment was simply luck of the draw. Some reviewers felt the Monet was more desirable, as it was at the stern of the ship, and the entire back wall was all windows. However, I found it a bit dark. The Renoir was much brighter, as it was more amidships, and had windows along both sides. Our assignment was early, in the Renoir. We had a rocky start with our waiter "Arpy", ( Arpyana, from Indonesia), as he seemed a bit disinterested, and his service left a bit to be desired. For instance, he would serve perhaps 2 or 3 of a particular course at the table, and the remaining party would have to wait sometimes as much as 5 minutes for their similar course to be served. Though that might have been the fault of the kitchen, a good waiter would wait until all diners' food was ready, and served them together. (We know! Wife and daughters have owned restaurants and served for most of their adult lives.) One time he needed to reach an item that was at the farthest end of the table from him, and he simply pointed to the item, rather than asking for daughter to hand it to him. There was another (normally) head waiter named "Amelia" from Hungary, who was efficient, personable, and VERY professional. We mentioned to her that we would have preferred her to be our main waiter, expressing our dissatisfaction with Arpy; and, she showed her true professionalism, tact, and diplomacy by saying "Well, he has different qualities." I turned in a comment card expressing our dissatisfaction with him, and received a form letter of thanks for the comment. BUT, the following night, Arpy came on like a REAL waiter--a complete 180 turnaround from before. As we got to know him better, we learned what might have been his problem: seems he has to be away from his family for some 6 months, and he has a baby on the way. From that point on, we all warmed to each other; and, via the end-of-cruise comment card, I praised him highly, and voted him "Most Improved Waiter". Though I almost adjusted the automatic tip at first, I wound up leaving it in effect, and gave both him and Amelia a cash additional tip for their service.
As for food, I read a review somewhere in which a reviewer said the food was lousy. I couldn't DISAGREE more! The food was quite good, with a dizzying variety. Each evening's menu contained at least 2 meat entrees, 2 fish entrees, and a vegetarian entrée. Starters included gourmet cold soups such as Cold Cucumber, Zuchini, and Vichyssoise. GENUINE Caesar salads were served on several nights. Every menu had "Spa" selections in all three main courses that were designed for the calorie and fat-conscious. Of course, desserts did not make it on that list! One particular entrée that really pleased me was the "Essence of India"-a variety of Indian entrees, breads, and condiments. Wonderful! Portions of everything were adequate but not excessive. Needless to say, one could order as much or as many of anything that one could want: the girls frequently doubled up on desserts! The steaks were the only disappointment to me; the sirloin (not the best cut anyway) was a bit fat and contained more gristle than it should have. And, they and the prime rib were not as rare as I would have liked. But, face it: most folks don't care for rare beef. The chateaubriand and filets saved the day. We had talked about doing "The Point" on one night. But, they girls said "Hey, we're getting 5 star service every night. Why pay $25 a head for the same thing we get already-included?" So, we skipped that.
The enclosed, air-conditioned area contained 3 double-sided serving lines, and several separate dessert and beverage stations. One of the serving lines was designated the "Nation of the Day" line, and each day had specialties for the selected region: French, Caribbean, American, etc. Paul's Deli served corned beef, pastrami, and other deli fare. P. C.'s Wok served a variety of Oriental dishes. Outside forward was a station called The Broiler, I think, which was a miniature of the indoor lines, and an ice cream (soft) station. Outside aft was the Grill, which served burgers, dogs, and minute steak sandwiches, and The 24 hour Pizzeria, as well as another ice cream station. Though I seldom ate a full meal at the buffet, I did look a bit and sample the more interesting dishes. Carnival posted a menu at each serving line, and labeled the dishes with place cards on the glass in front of each dish. I've got to give it to Carnival: their buffets were NOT in the class of Golden Corral or Ryan's. They had FINE food, with interesting and tantalizing entrees. There was a carving station with roast meat for every lunch and dinner service. The salads were NOT the usual pasta, cole slaw, and potato salad one might expect: one in particular that piqued my taste buds was a Cold Smoked Beef salad. It consisted of julienne strips of smoked beef, with julienne strips of a somewhat crunchy white vegetable (jicama?), and a cream style sauce (mayo, sour cream?) containing a hint of horseradish. Not overbearing, but definitely tasty. I could have made a meal on just that! Even the standard old green salad station offered spinach leaves along with the iceberg lettuce, as well a large variety of other salad toppings.
The pizza was good--had some almost every night at midnight. Though I never had a burger or hot dog, I did have a minute steak sandwich one day. Same problem there as with the sirloin steak in the dining room: too much fat and gristle for my taste. I did have a combo deli sandwich, and it was great.
Each night there was a mini midnight buffet aft, around the Grill and Pizzeria. A dessert station was set up between the Grill and Pizzeria, but no other additional food was available. Of course, that was plenty! The Grand Midnight Buffet was held on Thursday night in the indoor area. Very fancy pate's, sandwiches, ice sculptures, and sculptures made from large blocks of cheese. AND, the most luscious desserts of the cruise! Had to partake of those. Oh, and on the last "Sea Day" (Saturday), the Nation line served a Chocolate Extravaganza!!!! That's the ONLY time I've ever gotten my fill of the food of the gods! Every kind of chocolate cake imaginable, hard ice cream, shakes, cookies, chocolate covered strawberries, truffles (YUM!)-and, I only gained 5 pounds!
A couple of reviewers somewhere posted negative comments about breakfast in the buffet, saying that there was only one omelet station. I didn't find that to be true. Each serving line that was open had two cooks preparing custom omelets: there were seldom more than one or two people waiting. Also, each cook could have 2 omelets in progress at the same time. In addition, the Broiler (outside, forward) had an omelet station.
The only negative I can offer is DEFINITELY NOT Carnival's fault. On the day that the "Nation" line featured Caribbean fare, I watched in horror as one lady, who had no idea what Pepper Stew tasted like, took the serving spoon from the serving pan, tasted it, and offered a taste to her friend, then put the spoon back in the pan!!!! I turned and walked away. No wonder there are epidemics of sickness on some cruises!!! That woman was a totally selfish, inconsiderate, thoughtless BOOB!! Certainly, Carnival (or any other cruise operator) can't prevent such idiotic behavior, short of stationing attendants to monitor all serving areas. May that wretch writhe in pain with ptomaine!!!
Spent a lot of evenings in Alfred's Bar. They had a jazz trio most nights, and it's the only place INSIDE that one could smoke cigars. They even sold cigars: Fuente's, Partiga's, Macanudo's, and other top lines, at $4 and up. Sorry, no Swisher Sweets! Waitress, Sylviyah from Bulgaria, remembered me and my drink order after only one visit. Very impressive! In the afternoon, they had a tea, with coffee, tea, and fine, small pastries, with the classical trio entertaining. NO SMOKING at the tea. The easiest way to reach Alfred's is to go aft on Deck 5, past the casino, past the coffee bar, and watch for signs pointing down to Alfred's and the Internet Café. The Internet Café was oddly named--never saw anyone eating in there. I did see a few souls willing to pay the high bucks to check their E-mail, but not this geek! Henri's was the disco. NOISY late at night. But, on a couple of evenings, they had 70's, then 80's music. Vincent's was the karaoke bar. A lot of fun, but awfully noisy. Rowdy young folks mostly. Only open about 3 hours each night. Blues was a fortunate find. It is a piano bar, with pianist "Joe", who is really a versatile and talented entertainer. Sing along with everything from country to Billy Joel. You gotta hear his rendition of Charlie Daniel's "The Devil Went Down To Texas". Degas Lounge was a large venue, the largest lounge on the ship. It had a good, live rock and R&B band every night, with dancing. Gaugin's Bar was just off the casino, and quiet except for the noise of the slots just outside. No entertainment, but TV screens showing news and other network fare all over. There was also a bar with a one-man band entertainer at the end of the casino. He seemed fairly good, though I didn't stay very long to listen at any one time. The Lobby Bar had a piano opposite that was used by classical pianist "Odeta", from Lithuania. She played each night for 3 hours, with hour breaks between each set. And, one afternoon, she played a special classical concert. She takes requests, too. Quite talented and personable. An island band (steel drum, guitar, etc.) played on the Lido Deck at the Sky Pool and Bar (forward) in the afternoons. They also played occasional evenings at the aft pool/bar. Latour was a wine bar on Deck 5. Never stopped there, so I can't comment about it. The Coffee Bar was disappointing, and all items are extra cost. Espresso was good, but skip the other specialty drinks.
Our cruise director was Stuart "Little". Very personable, and funny. I've always thought that Aussie's were the most fun-loving folks on the planet, anyway. Too bad he got saddled with having to do so much selling. But, his debarkation presentation was GREAT! Don't miss that on Saturday morning. I read a review wherein someone thought the shows weren't particularly good. He didn't think there was anything worth seeing. (Same guy that didn't like the food! Why the heck did that guy even go on a cruise?) Now, I lived in Phoenix for 30 years, and in 26 of those years I was a 4-times-a-year (or more!) visitor to Vegas. I caught (among others) Elvis, The Righteous Brothers, Tom Jones, Duke Ellington, and a lot of dancing reviews. I've got to tell you, the shows in the theater were every bit as good as the shows I saw in Vegas--on a smaller scale, mind you, as the theater and stage are smaller. But, the dancers are just as precise and professional, they have moving and rising stage sets--everything one would expect of production shows. And, variety--a great R&B singer, a magician, comedians, dancers. The stage band was great as well! Not the usual (for these days) 3 guitars, a drummer, and a tambourine. But, a full 17-piece band with brass, reeds, piano! They played 40's music (Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, etc.) a couple of nights for dancing, in the theater; and, they played behind other entertainers most nights. Really professional and polished. A pleasure to listen to.
Had no interest in these--I'm on a CRUISE, people! BW and daughters got off the ship, but did independently planned activities. Daughters dove in Grand Cayman, but did not book with Carnival. No problems with timing.
We were told to put our luggage outside our rooms by midnight Saturday night. Those with early flights were given special VIP luggage tags, and met at 7:45 on Sunday morning in the theater. From there, they were the first to leave the ship. (Daughters did this, and made their 11'ish flights without a hitch.) The rest of us were told that we would be called to leave the ship by luggage tag color (based, of course, on your residence deck), starting at 8:30 AM. We were NOT told that we couldn't take our luggage off ourselves, and I saw some that did just that. However, they did say that if anyone tried to board out of their order, they would be sent back. They preferred that we wait on Deck 3 or 5, or in the theater--they needed to get us out of the rooms so that the crew could make them up for the next sailing. The tag colors/decks were called in a random order: not top deck down, or any kind of priority scheme. The Panorama deck was not called until about 10 AM--no problem for us, as we were staying another night in NOLA anyway. Debarkation was a breeze-just had to show our ID once. Customs took our declaration forms, didn't even look at them, and hurried us on our way--no questions about what we were bringing back, or how much booze. Luggage was arranged in a huge hall by deck. It didn't take us very long to find ours. I enlisted the aid of a Sea Cap to wrangle our 4 bags and bunches of carry-off (the booze, you know!). He took us right to the taxi line, and we were away, MUCH TOO SOON.
I traveled all over the world for some 23 years, to Asia , Europe, Australia, and visited some 20 + countries--even flew around the world once. I particularly enjoyed the diversity of nationalities among the crew on the Conquest. I was able to meet people from countries I've never visited, and learn about their country. A great deal of my travel was in Business or First Class air; and, I've stayed in some pretty good hotels as well. I have to tell you that I have seldom been treated any better than by the employees of Carnival. Sure, there were some who didn't smile, who maybe had a bad day, or weren't as effervescent as others. But, most were very cordial and concerned. Even the people maintaining the ship were courteous and friendly for the most part. When you would meet a crew member in the elevator or a hall, most would smile and speak. Each question or request was met with a smile and a sincere attempt to answer or help. Yes, I would cruise with Carnival again, and I will as soon as I can afford it!