Well, we just got home from a great cruise on the Conquest. It was wonderful for a first time cruiser like myself. My wife thought it was good as well, but not as good as other Carnival ships she had sailed on before. Anyway..............if anyone has any questions about anything, please feel free to ask away. I'm here to serve you. I'm still exited and I want everyone to have a great cruise when they go. Talk to you all later then.
We booked our shore excursions thru the ship, was easy. We were first time cruisers too, and it made sence to us , to attend the port excursions travel talk before making up our mind. They give a great overview of what to expect for each excursion.
I was on the Conquest in May this year for my second cruise. The weather was really nice and the water in the Carribbean was pleasant. I've never been on a cruise in the winter months. Can you please shed some light on what the temperature was like and were you able to go in the water in November?
Hi Jester! Did anything unusual happen during debarkation today in New Orleans? I have friends that are leaving on the 11-28-04 sailing of the Conquest and they called me from their car and said that they could see flashing lights and possibly ambulances near the terminal. It took them from 9am to 1pm to travel less than a mile due to traffic gridlock around the terminal. Any clues as to what happened?
In Jamaica we went to the Sunset Beach Resort. (this excursion isn't through the ship)It's a hotel about 5 minutes driving from the ship. You have to take a taxi to get there, but just tell the driver that that's where you want to go. The ride should cost no more than $5. We had a great time. Twenty dollars per person covers use of the private beach, all the liquor and food you can consume (that's right, I said all the liquor is included for the $20), and you get use of the resort's non-motorized water toys (kayaks, two-person paddle boats, snorkle gear). This one is really a great deal in my opinion. Our cab driver tried to dupe us by saying $5 for each of us, but we were firm and repeated that we were told $5 for the ride and he accepted that. Oh, be sure to take cabs with RED license plates. Those are the government regulated ones. All the others are independents. We took one of the independents. The people at the resort were very friendly though.
American money is the currency of choice in all three ports by the way.
In Grand Cayman we booked a beginner's scuba diving excursion through the ship on our in-room television. BOOK YOUR EXCURSIONS AS SOON AS YOU GET ON THE SHIP. THEY FILL UP FAST. The scuba excursion was great! We got an intro to the basics of it, then we did about an hour's worth of practice in the pool at the facility, then we went in the ocean for about a half hour. Very nice people there. Mostly Australian accents from what we were hearing. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I'm glad we did it. We also heard very great things about the stingray encounter excursions.
In Cozumel, we did the dolphin encounter. Don't confuse this with the dolphin swim. That one costs an extra $80 bucks. Let me fill you in on something; the encounter and the swim are at the same facility and you do the same things (kiss and pet the dolphins and interact with them for about half an hour). The only difference between the two excursions was that with the swim, you "take a lap" in the water while riding on the dolphin's belly. If you think it's worth an extra $80 per person, go for it. If you just want to pet and be up close and personal with the dolphins, do the encounter. Oh, there's one dolphin "assigned" to each group of 20 tourists, but heck; you're petting and kissing a dolphin. This one was my wife's favorite. There is also a swim with the sea lions activity at the same park with the dolphins, but you have to book that when you are at the park. That one isn't offered on board ship.
As far as the water in the ports, they weren't bad at all. Typical "cold at first, but you get used to it" water. The temperature in Grand Cayman was quite warm as it was a sunny day. Jamaica and Cozumel gave us cloudy days, so the temps were quite nice. We actually pulled into Cozumel while it was raining.
As far as differences between other ships, my wife had cruised previously on other, smaller Carnival ships. She just noticed that the staff was somewhat more personal on those smaller ships (i.e. remembering what you like to drink at dinner, what your name is, etc.), but don't let that get you down. The staff on the Conquest are great!!! They just have a lot more guests to tend to than other ships. This is the biggest class of ship that Carnival has after all. We sailed during a sold out cruise too, so there were over 3,000 passengers on board. Very friendly people that always said hello in the hallways and were happy to answer your questions.
Sorry, I noticed your post after I had finished typing all the answers to the other questions. My wife and I were waiting to disembark and we were by the aft pool with a great view of the pier. We saw 2 ambulances and a fire truck down there. Apparently, a gentleman had either fell or fainted coming down the escalator, so there was quite a hold up in the disembarkation process. We saw him get wheeled out on a gurney and put into one of the ambulances, then they both took off together. I think the fire truck was for re-fueling safety, but I could be wrong. Also, there is a bit of construction going on at the terminal, so that adds to the chaos. I'm sure your friends are loving life right now though. They'll have a great time I'm sure.
Jester, We leave on the Conquest on Sunday. How as Grand Caymen? Are they getting things back up and running. We have talked about Sunset Beach also. Did you check out any of the places like Margariettaville or Carlos and Charlies?
Thanks, Glad you had a good time.
Carnival Triumph Dec 2002
Carnival Conquest Dec. 05, 2004
Grand Cayman was still recovering, but it was up and running. There were obvious signs of hurricane damage like missing roofing shingles and downed trees, but they're rebuilding and it shows. The scuba place we went to didn't even have electricity back on yet. They were running their air compressor off of a gas generator. Things there in Grand Cayman were good though. Lots of excursions and shopping to do. Go to the Tortuga rum cake place. They have free samples of all the different flavors that they offer. We bought several as gifts for family & friends. We didn't make it to Margaritaville or Carlos & Charlies, but we heard that both places were quite the social hangout while we were in port. The day we were in Grand Cayan, there were 3 other ships there as well. That's roughly 12,000 tourists in the same area at the same time, so you can imagine the amount of people at Margaritaville and Carlos & Charlies.
About Sunset Beach.............it's totally worth it!!! We heard Dunns River Falls was too long of a drive (2 hours each way) and that the water in the falls was too cold.
Looks like you leave in a week. I hope you have a blast!!!
Thanks Pat for the information. A couple of the girls went to Dunn's fall last yr, so we are doing things closer. They said it was a lot of driving but a beautiful area. YAHOO, Ileave in 4 days for New Orleans.
Thanks for all of your great information I can't wait to sail the Conquest in April!
Also, did you book the dolphin encounter through the ship or on your own? It sounds like something I would be interested in, but I also would like to go to Paradise beach. That beach seems to be "the place" to go?
Jester?..we leave this sunday on the Conquest and I was wanting to know how was the tendering?..In grand cay we have an excursion at 9:15. Can we make it in time and how fast to do they get you off of the ship while in port? We did not book thru the ship and know that the ones that did get priority. Thanks for your help
We did book the dolphin encounter through the ship. Book early as I said before. Some excursions in Jamaica were sold out by day 2 of the cruise.
As for the tenders in Grand Cayman, I do know that you need a tender ticket if you want off the ship before 10 a.m. (I'm not sure if the tickets are free or not, because we had an excursion that "took care" of our tickets.) If you have a non-ship excursion, they will let you off early, but those that do have excursions booked through the ship do have priority. There were 3 tenders running for Conquest the day we were in port, and each one held at least 100 people. We anchored in Grand Cayman around 6:45a.m. and the excursion people started leaving that early, so you should be all right for your 9:15 time. From the ship to the dock took about 10-15 minutes. (I didn't time it exactly you know)
Pat, thanks for all the information! Here's another questions, if you can stand it. Did you have to book in advance with the Sunset Beach Resort in Jamaica or can you just show up and spend the day there?
For Sunset Beach, there is no pre-booking. Just get off the ship and go out through the port terminal. There will be cabs and vans everywhere. More likely than not, there will be a uniformed attendant asking where you are going. Tell them Sunset Beach Resort and they will get a cab for you. (remember to only take cabs that have RED license plates as those are the ones that are government regulated) Settle on a price with the driver before you get in the cab and make sure they're not going to be charging you more than $3 per person. (Try to get it for around $5 all together, that's what we did) When you arrive, the cab driver will direct you to the guard shack at the gates to the resort. We had a very nice guard named Christopher who escorted us to the check-in desk. You pay $20 per person and you have the rest of the day to eat, drink and be lazy. It's well worth it in my opinion. Try the pina coladas at the bar, my wife said they were the best she had ever tasted. I myself had the strawberry daiqurai and it was very good with the Jamaican rum they gladly put in it.
Ouch, it hurts!!!!!!!!! I can't read anymore of what you wrote . . . I want to be back there so bad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This website is great for the info and especially for the chance to meet great people. Our family met Pat and his wife by way of these websites. We got a chance to eat with them every night in the Monet Room. We even met up at Sunset Beach.
Everything he said about it was true. You do get all of that for $20. My husband said that the pina colada was the best one he's ever had, too. Our taxi driver was great. He took us to Sunset Beach, then shopping, then to Margarittaville and then back to the ship.
In Grand Cayman we did the Reef and Wreck Snorkeling. I am still in shock that I actually snorkeled. I don't know how to swim and am scared of water, but I was actually in 20-25 feet of water. The view was beautiful and truly did not seem real to me. Snorkeling above the ship wreck was interesting, too. After that we went to Hell and redeemed ourselves by eating lunch at Paradise (at Eden Rock). For $12 my husband even snorkeled off of the rocks while we shopped. Yes, everything is expensive. Lunch for 4 was $60 (hamburgers and chicken fingers).
In Cozumel we went to Senor Frogs 1/2. It is on the pier next to where the Conquest docks. They had a beach, hammocks, snorkeling equipment ($7), music and dancing. Here is where you should do your shopping (it's the cheapest port). Take a taxi downtown and go to some of the side streets. St Michael's church was interesting, too. The best fajitas ever were at an outside cafe across from a pharmacy by the square. They come out sizzling and then the waiter pours Dos XX beer on top.
Well, I just wanted to add some to Pat's post (sorry for the length). Try to meet as many people as you can (it's a great experience). If you happen to have Christina or Pia as your waitress, please send our love.
As for the ship itself: eat at the Point, spend some time each day in the steam room and hottub, the Fun Ship Special and the Yellow Bird drinks are great, tea time was nice, so was the jazz. Make sure you read your Capers early and plan for the next day.
Have a wonderful cruise!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh, and Pat, don't forget we all plan to get together during the holidays to have a cruise night. Bring all of your pictures and videos. See ya!
I just got off the Conquest, too! I'm only 17, but I had an awesome time. Our waitresses were lovely, our room steward was awesome; we couldn't have asked for a better time! Plus, I found a very good looking dancer to stare at. *wink*
I did the Dolphin Encounter in Cozumel, too. Nala was my dolphin. I agree about the whole swim thing - it isn't worth it. The encounter is nearly the same thing, and it costs way less.
Kaley, we had Nala for our dolphin as well. My wife and I were the first two people on the far end of the line. We had to have been in the same group as you. What a neat experience with the dolphins. We enjoyed it very much.
Eileen!!! How are you??? I miss it. A week ago at the time I'm typing this, Tricia and I were changing into comfortable clothes getting ready for the show that night. I miss it. (think I said that already) We definitely want to get together with you and Ken and Erin and Patrick (I hope I spelled all names correctly) and share photos and swap stories. We're extremely pleased to have met you and your family and we want to thank you again for making us feel very welcome. Just e-mail me or I'll e-mail you and we can exchange numbers and such. By the way, 17 days, 20 hours and 59 minutes until I'm a college grad!!! Woo hoo!!!
Keep the questions and comments coming. That's what this board is all about.
Going on the Conquest in January for my first cruise. My girlfriend and I would like a two seat table. Were there alot of 2 seat tables, did you notice any empty? What dining time did you have? How was the food?
We originally got a 2-seater, but we were wanting to sit with others so we could socialize. That's why we switched and sat with Eileen and her family. The wait staff was much better at the new table as well. We had the late dining in the Monet (aft) dining room. We sat for dinner at 8:00 every night. There were a few 2-seaters, but not many. I would say maybe 20 in the whole dining room; and this is a big dining room. It seats over 1,000 people if I recall. If you prefer a 2-seater, just approach the Maitre'd on the first night of dinner. First, have him check to see if your assigned table is a 2-seater or not. He has a computer at his station with all the table seating assignments. If your table is a 2-seater, great! If not, kindly request to be moved to one. If there is one available, he will be glad to oblige your request. Remember, you are the dining patron and he is there to make your dining experience the best possible one. Mick was our Maitre'd and he was very helpful in getting us moved to our new table.
Good job Mick!!!
Any other questions, please ask away. It's my pleasure.
Sorry, forgot to answer the last question from Demonstar. The food in the dining room and on the ship overall was good. It wasn't great because not all of it was high class. You have to remember that the kitchen staff has to prepare dinner for around 3,000 people every night. (Take the galley tour and you can see just how much goes into a meal on board Conquest) The food overall though was good, and that's a strong "good". There are many selections each night. If you're not a very picky eater, try something different. There were a couple of nights that I ordered something and didn't know what I had just ordered. Then it arrived and I wound up eating it. Go figure! Just don't expect 5-star dining at dinner. If you do, you'll be disappointed, but the food is in NO way bad or "not so good". They do a good job for the number of people they have to feed each day/night.
If you really want an experience, go to The Point one evening. It's a supper club located on deck 10 I think. It's $25 extra per person, but from what we've heard, it's worth every penny. The Point is literally a separate restaurant from the other galleys on board. There, the chefs are cooking solely for the people that paid the extra money, so the food quality is much better. We looked at the menu one night (you can see each night's menu on your television set) and saw caviar, escargot, and lobster tails. Very fancy stuff!!!
Have a great cruise! I know you will.
Did you feel crowded as you were relaxing or just walking around the ship? What about on the pool deck, was it crowded or were there alot of kids running around screaming their heads off? Was the pool deck big enough that you could find a place to be alone if you wanted? Did you have to wait in line alot for food or elevators?
Demonstar, there are about 3000 passengers on board and about 1500 crew. I thought that people would be thick, like Mardi Gras. But, no, it's relaxed and not hectic. We never stayed right next to the pool, but, up a level. Could watch everything going on and not be bothered with spalshing water on my hair, etc.
The food lines were not long. There are plenty of places to eat and snack and they are placed where it won't get congested. The elevators have virtually no wait to them. I would suppose this is contingent upon the number of youngsters aboard. There were a few that rode them like they were at an amusement park, but, that novelty wears away quickly.
Here's a tip that I have about the pools. Stay away from the main pool area if you don't want to feel crowded. The main area is where all of the families hang out all day. It's also where all of the activities (hairy chest contest, Survivor) are held. My advice, stick to the aft pool area. There will be people back there (obviously) but we found it to be much more laid back in this area. At most there were 6 people in the hot tub with us, and they were always nice people to talk to. (and these hot tubs can seat 8 comfortably, they're not small at all)
Elevators can be slow on board sometimes. We were waiting sometimes up to 3 or 4 minutes for one. If you don't have far to go, use the stairs. Chances are you'll end up beating the elevators and working off some calories.
Just have fun and don't let the little things get you down. Remember, you're on vacation!!!
Not many solo people that I saw. Mostly groups and couples on board for the Thanksgiving week. There may have been a few singles on board, but they made fast friends and weren't too noticeable as being alone. They did have a "singles" night in the disco, but as I am a married man, I couldn't attend. (aw shucks!)
The average age was hard to define. There seemed to be equal amounts of kids, adults, and senior citizens. Like I said, it was Thanksgiving week, so everyone had the time off to take a holiday cruise. If I had to pinpoint a majority, I would say somewhere between 25-50 was the biggest "average" category on board. We saw everything from infants (yes, babies that can't crawl yet) up to folks in wheelchairs. One older couple were both unable to walk. They had a great system though. The man had a motorized scooter and the woman had a regular wheelchair. Everywhere we saw them, the woman was holding on to the back of her husband's scooter and he was "towing" her around the ship. It was quite amusing to see it.
What is Grand Cayman like? The reason I ask is because I have already planned the shore excursions for Montego Bay and Cozumel but I was thinking of just getting off the ship in Grand Cayman and walking around. Was there much going on around the port in Grand Cayman? Did anyone say it isn't safe to just wander around?
Grand Cayman is very save. You can walk and shop all you want. There are several shops there at the port. Don't forget to get you a supply of rum cake while your there.
On our last cruise, thats all we did was shop. We made it all the way down to the Hard Rock Cafe. That was oneday, my wife got to shop till she almost dropped ! !
( Come out of the cruise terminal, and turn right )