I feel I owe a review of the Carnival Conquest since I gained so much insight into our cruise prior to leaving. My wife and I celebrated our 20 year wedding anniversary on the Carnival Conquest the week of July 4 2004. We are late 30ís with two teenage children. We drove from Huntsville, AL to Lafayette, LA on Friday prior to embarkation to drop off the youngest boy with family and visit a little. We then drove to Diamondhead, MS on Saturday to spend the night with a relative. On Sunday morning, we visited the French Quarter with our relatives until noon. We then headed back to the car, and my brother-in-law dropped us off at the embarkation port. We arrived at the port at 12:30. I had filled out the fun pass on-line, but forgot to print it out. We had to go into a different line, but, I think we got through faster than the people that had the printed fun pass. The initial check-in took about 15 minutes, no problems. We then proceeded to the infamous yellow chairs, which were not bad at all. We then proceeded to take our embarkation photo, and away we were onto the ship. We went straight to the room and dropped off our carry-on bags. The time now was approximately 2:00. We then proceeded to the buffet and had a great lunch. We headed back to the room, put our swim suits on, and headed for the Lido Deck for some sun. TIP: Prior to the cruise, we purchased some lanterns at Walmart (in the jewelry section) for $.97 cents, and these proved well worth it to hold our sign and sail cards, AND credit cards when we at port. The ones I had had a zip-lock type fastener to secure the card. At 5:00, we headed back to the room, changed, and went out on the deck to watch the ship leave. That was koolÖthe ship actually turns completely around before heading out on the Mississippi river. There are plenty of cocktail waitresses to serve you drinks. We headed back to the room to see if our luggage had arrived, and it hadnít, but we had brought a set of clothes in our carry bag. The wife hit the shower, and I wondered around the ship for awhile. 3 of the 5 pieces of luggage arrived at 6:00, and the other two pieces arrived at 6:30. In talking to people on the ship, I think it is pure random when your luggage will arrive, as some peopleís luggage arrived early and some late. We headed out at 7:00 and took some pictures on Deck 5. They really do a great job, and have several backgrounds to choose from. We had the late sitting in the Monet dining room (8:00), so we headed there at 8:00. TIP: Donít go to the dining room early, as you will have to stand in a cramped line until they open the doors at 8:00 SHARP. You will be better off getting there at 8:10, and walking straight to your table. We had a table for 10, and 8 were present the first night. We had a great dinner and a great visit. Our table mates proved to be our buddies throughout the remainder of the cruise, and we did many things together. We were the craziest table and always were the last to leave. Our waiters, Moe and Cesar were awesome. TIP: You can order as many entrees as you wish. After dinner, there are always shows in the Taulase Lounge. These shows are VERY GOOD. I didnít think I would enjoy them, but I did. At midnight, there is always an adult comedian. They were also VERY GOOD. By the time the comedy show was finished, we were wiped out and hit the bed. TIP: I wish I would have brought my pillow. The ones in the room were bigger than the one I use at home. I did not sleep very well, but WHO CARES, IíM ON VACATION. TIP: Bring some pepto bismol, because you will Over Eat. I used it every night. It was worth it weight in GOLD.
Day at Sea 1:
Iím an early riser, so I got up and went exploring some more, and gazed out over the water drinking coffee. I then ate breakfast, and brought the wife breakfast in bed. We actually went to the gym! It is a very nice gym. We then headed out for some sun. Yes, most of the lounge chairs by the pool and band were taken, but we kept moving up and eventually found some. There are plenty of drink servers around all day. We then went to lunch at the buffet, and it was again awesome. The wife spent the afternoon sunning, while I took in some gambling, bingo, and events/games in the taulese lounge. There is a Carnival Caper Paper that gets delivered to your door each day describing all of the events. Prior to going into the room to get dressed, we went to Deck 4 and checked out the pictures from the day/night before. TIP: Be sure and check your pictures each day. After a couple of days, they get put into a huge bin where you will have to sift through thousands of pictures. Tonight was the first formal night. We dressed up and took many pictures on Deck 5. There are also picture stations in the Main Lobby on Deck 3 that I wished I would have known about. Prior to the first formal dinner, there is a Captainís Party in one of the loungesÖFREE DRINKS. The party was fun, and the band playing oldies were very good. Formal dinner that night included LOBSTER. This was one of the best meals I have ever eaten. Following dinner, we headed to the show and then attended the comedy show. After that, we headed to the disco into the wee hours. Guzzled a swig of pepto and hit the sack. I have to admit I didnít sleep very well again. There are a lot of sounds on the ship and I am a very light sleeper. Also, the room stewards get started very early. And the walls of the room are very thin. I wished I had brought some earplugs or something.
Day at Sea 2:
Again got up early, ate breakfast, brought wife breakfast. We were having so much fun at dinner, we decided to cancel our reservations at the Point Supper Club that morning. She spent a lot of the day sunning, while I caught some shows and gambled. I did ride the slide this day and it was fun. We had lunch at the buffet again, and it was very good. Typical night, took pictures, went to dinner, went to the show, went to the comedy show. After the comedy show, there was a Hawaiin party on the deck and that was really fun. That didnít end until 2:30 AM. We then hit the sack again (and we may have stopped for a piece of pizza). Oh yea, we checked our pictures sometime in the day.
Day 3 Montego Bay
If you read these boards, this port does not get much advertisement. We slept lateÖyes, I finally got a good nightís sleep!! We ate a sandwich at the Paulís deli that was very good. We then headed (via cab) to Dr Caves beach ($8 for both of us). This is a really nice place..only $5 entry per person. There are drink servers, and you can run a tab and pay when you leave. Very safe, there are life guards around. The prices are really reasonable. I had 5 beers and the wife had a daq, and I think the total was $13. Of course, I left a good tip. TIP: Bring your snorkel gear if you go to this beach. There is some really kool snorkeling. Iím no expert, and havenít snorkeled much, but I had a good time. I bought a cheap shorkel set at Walmart and brought it with me on the trip. They do have snorkel gear to rent. Also, at this beach you can see the ship, so kinda kool and reassuring. From the beach, we walked to Marguaritaville. We got solicited a few times, but no big deal. We had a Cheeseburger in Paradise and a couple of drinks. Not too cheap here, but the view was awesome. Itís a little loud on the lower floors, but simply request one of the top decks. We saw a man from the ship and he offered us a ride back to the ship with a driver he hired for the day. The cab drivers are like wolves outside of Mville, so be forewarned. Some of our dinner companions went on the turtle farm/Hell tour and didnít care for it. Also, the pirate tour is a joke. Typical nightÖ took pictures, went to dinner, went to the show, went to the comedy show, went to the disco. FUN DAY. I think this was my favorite day, because I was really ready to get off the ship for awhile. Also, a couple from our dinner table ate at the Point Supper Club the previous night, and said they wouldnít do it again.
Day 4 Grand Cayman
I had booked a glass bottom/snorkel tour with Captain Marvinís on-line prior to the cruise. We ate breakfast, took the tender to the port, and walked to Captain Marvinís. This port is a lot safer than Montego Bay, but they do drive a little crazy. The tour was perfect for us because my wife doesnít get in the water and canít swim. So, while I snorkeled, the tour guide fed the fish so my wife could see some fish. The tour left from 7 mile beach, (which would have been a $12 cab ride if we hadnít rode with Captain Marvin). We hung out at that beach after the boat ride. We stayed close to a little bar/restaurant called ďCalico JackísĒ. A chicken Jerk Sandwich and a drink of the day was $16.00. Daqs were $8.10, and beers were $4.10. The ship leaves early at this port, so we started heading back to the ship at 2:30 (plus we couldnít afford to hang out and Drink !). Nice cab ride back, $12.00 for both I think. You can see the ship from 7 mile beach. We were starving, so we took in another wonderful buffet on the ship, and headed to the room to get ready for dinner. Same routineÖlooked at our pictures from the previous night, took pictures, had a few cocktails, and headed to dinner. Had another wonderful meal, headed to the show, and then to the Kareoke Bar. This was real fun, and all of our dinner partners were there. I think we may have also went to the disco after that. Some of our dinner companions did the stingray tour and seemed to enjoy it. GREAT DAY.
Day 5 Cozumel
We booked the Fiesta Boat Party ($55 pp) from the ship. I woke early and ate breakfast, then brought breakfast to the wife. We headed off the ship at 10:00, so we had to rush a little to find the excursion; but we made it. We took the Fiesta Boat to Playa De Sol beach. We had a great time all the way over there. We hung out at the beach for 1 hour and 45 minutes, then headed back on the boat. TIP: There is some really good shopping at the beach, its behind the main pavilion..a little out of site. We bought 2 nice belly rings and a Cuban cigar (for me) for around $40. I smoked my Cuban on the ride back and did some more partying. This is a really fun excursion, but if you are offended by people getting drunk, donít take it! One guy had to be wheel chaired back onto the ship. Back at the port, we walked over to Panchoís Backyard and had some Mexican food. The food was pretty good. We then met up with some of our dinner companions and cut up. This was the only night we didnít make dinner. We werenít drunk, but VERY CLOSE. We watched TV in the room and ordered room service later that night. We got some much needed rest!!
Day 6 Day at Sea
I was sunned out! The wife sunned on deck, while I hung out inside. The debarkation talk with Steve is a must. Itís actually really fun. There was also some bingo, some games, and I think I played in a slot tournament. We were really ready to leave, because we missed our boys, and hadnít been in contact with them all week. The cell phones donít work once you leave the port. We had lunch at Sur Mer (spelling?). This place is awesomeÖits on level 10 above the main buffet lines. Dinner was fun, the show was good. No disco tonight, we had a 7 hour drive ahead of us on Sunday.
Not too bad. We just hung out in the room until our color was called. Put your sign and sail account on a major credit card and you donít have to do anything. Our Sign and Sail balance was $946. Found our bags, and my brother-in-law was waiting for us in the outside the port. He had our youngest son, so it was nice to see him.
GREAT TIME..GREAT SHIP.
Pack some liquor in your carry on - no problem. You will still spend lots on drinks.
Bring a lantern for your sign and sail card, it also works well for credit cards at port
Bring some Pepto Bismol! The food is awesome and you will over eat
If you are outgoing, try to get a table for 10 in the dining room. We hung out with our dinner companions a lot.
Stay out of the Casino J
Bring a little safety flash light, especially if you have an interior room.
Bring some disposable cameraís for the days at port.
I bought a water proof fanny pack and it proved to be very useful for days at port
Do all of your shopping in Cozumel
Check your pictures each day, $20 for 8x10ís
I put bright colored duct tape on my luggage for debarkation, it helped
Bring an extension cord and a socket extender (and your cell phone chargers for when you get back)
Bring a 12 pack of coke in your carry on
Bring an insulated cup
Bring sunscreen and after sun gel (you are very close to the equator in the ports)
Bring a snorkel set ($9.00 at Walmart)
Do the formal nights, itís a blast
Check out the shows each night, they are fun
Donít miss the captainís reception prior to the first formal night dinner
Eat dinner in the dining room, the food is awesome!
Bring your pillow
Bring a few clothes pins to pin your bathing suits on the shower thingee
Get to the port early, I think between 11-1 is optimal
Donít get in a hurry during debarkation, just hang out in the room and watch the news until your color is called
Be sure to eat before getting off in Grand Cayman. Food is VERY expensive
Watch the tequilia in Mexico. It is 160 proof, and it wonít take much to blind you J
The Cruise director is kool
Bring alot of 1 dollar bills for tipping
Bring a small box of detergent in case you want to wash (there is a $15 special on Thursdays and the room steward will wash all of the clothes you can get into the designated bag)