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Old July 3rd, 2012, 03:33 PM
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Post First post and First cruise - Carnival Conquest (7/8/12)

Hello all,

I've been reading the forums for quite some time and really appreciate the fact that, for the most part, everybody seems helpful and friendly.

My partner and I are celebrating our one-year anniversary of being civil unioned (not intending to start political debates here, just being honest) on the 7-day Western Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Conquest that departs New Orleans on Sunday.

We've been together for 11 years now and took advantage of making it official the first year Illinois allowed civil unions. I booked us a junior suite a year in advance of the cruise (our anniversary is 7/9/11, close enough) and we are taking the train down to NOLA.

Reading everybody's posts makes me a bit envious of all the great adventures that people have had either with loved ones, friends, family or all three.

That's kind of my hopes for this trip - to have a great adventure. To have an experience worth remembering (in a good way) is what we all strive for, isn't it?

Never before in my life have I sat down and said, specifically, "I want to have a good vacation." before this trip. I know I've substituted "want" for "hope" or "would like" in the past, but given the nature of our situation, this is something I want for us.

I've tried to do as much research as I can. I've looked at deck plans, excursion schedules, photos of the suite, checked weather reports, local customs in Jamaica, Mexico and Grand Cayman.

I hope to meet some experienced cruisers on this trip and make a few new friends. After all, great people are shaped by the experiences they have and by the people they experience them with.

- Pete
Future Cruiser, Carnival Conquest
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Old July 3rd, 2012, 03:41 PM
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Yall will have a great time. We have done that cruise before. We have taken the train from Bham to New Orleans and that is fun also. (Take food to eat on the train as it is very expensive and not a wide selection). We cruise every year. You WILL have the best time of your lives. There are so many fun things to do on the ship and the ports are great. I always research everything I can before we go We have made many lasting friendships on cruises. Eveyone is there to have a great vacation! Good luck to yall and hope you love it and will become regular cruisers. Let me know if I can answer any questions.
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Old July 3rd, 2012, 04:15 PM
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You will have a great time, Pete. You will meet lots of wonderful people. We have only cruised twice both with Carnival. We did the Conquest- out of Galveston,2005. Magic- out of Barcelona in 2011. Loved both. Looking to book our next one soon. New Orleans is our closest port, now, so I am interested on cruisers' feedback out of that port. Enjoy your trip! Happy Anniversary!
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Old July 3rd, 2012, 04:36 PM
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Arkcruisers and Averrette - Thank you so much for your replies. I have a question on the Lido Deck (which is where we're staying), I have heard that it is the "place where everything happens" is that true? Our suite is on the fore section close to the bridge wing. I've read reports that it's pretty quiet on that end of the ship, but how far is it from food/entertainment areas?

I will be sure to give a review of the NOLA port. Our train leaves at 1:26 a.m. Saturday and we got a superliner roomette, which means that our meals (thankfully) will be covered on the way down. We looked into flying, but it would have been a $740 round trip flight compared to the $540 for the train (roomette included).

We've done the whole driving thing, we drove 13 hours for a vacation to Universal Studios Florida a couple of years ago, and said never again. I hear the train is an interesting experience too.
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Old July 3rd, 2012, 05:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speezy View Post
Arkcruisers and Averrette - Thank you so much for your replies. I have a question on the Lido Deck (which is where we're staying), I have heard that it is the "place where everything happens" is that true? Our suite is on the fore section close to the bridge wing. I've read reports that it's pretty quiet on that end of the ship, but how far is it from food/entertainment areas?

I will be sure to give a review of the NOLA port. Our train leaves at 1:26 a.m. Saturday and we got a superliner roomette, which means that our meals (thankfully) will be covered on the way down. We looked into flying, but it would have been a $740 round trip flight compared to the $540 for the train (roomette included).

We've done the whole driving thing, we drove 13 hours for a vacation to Universal Studios Florida a couple of years ago, and said never again. I hear the train is an interesting experience too.
My husband just did Amtrack from Memphis to Chicago (round trip). He had a room with a bath on the way up and a room with a shared bath on the way back.

He found the Amtrack trip very enjoyable. It was much less than flying since this was a very last minute trip.

He said there were a lot of folks that had just gotten off the Carnival ship in New Orleans that were getting off in Memphis and some who were coming to Memphis to get on the new "paddlewheel" that sails from here.

As for the Conquest, we have sailed that ship years ago...and are headed back to it in September. It is a good size ship.

The Promenade is where everything goes on INSIDE. Think P for PARTY....that is where the Casino, Disco, Piano Bar, Comedy Club and Cover Band lounge is. Also think of the Promenade as your boulevard that easily transports you from the front to the back of the ship.

Lido is where lots of things go on for exterior things (pool, etc) and to the back...the buffet, deli, pizza etc.

There are 2 Main Dining Rooms (forward and aft) and they usually try to assign you to one closest to your cabin for convenience.

Remember that while they do charge for soda and bottled water on the ship, you are allowed to carry on (important....carry on) a reasonable amount.

You are also allowed to carry on one bottle of wine or champagne per adult 21 or older that is no more than 750 ml per bottle.

There is can be a cork fee of $10 if you have it opened in the Main Dining Room.

There is a steam room and sauna. Men and Ladies each have both. This (as well as the gym) is included in your cruise fare.

Some folks think it costs extra because you have to walk past the Spa desk to get there. Not to worry, the lockers are also free but they will hold your Sail and Sign card until you return the key.

Hope you both have a wonderful cruise and enjoy this trip to New Orleans.
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Old July 3rd, 2012, 05:13 PM
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When do they assign you to a dining room? We're Anytime Dining confirmed, but I haven't gotten anything telling us which dining room we're assigned to.
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Old July 3rd, 2012, 05:40 PM
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When do they assign you to a dining room? We're Anytime Dining confirmed, but I haven't gotten anything telling us which dining room we're assigned to.
It will be on your S&S card. I'm sure you probably read this before, but just to remind you on Anytime Dining if you really like your wait staff, you can request them again. We did that last cruise, my wife and I really like our waiter the first night and we requested him the rest of the time.

Just curious here, how long is the train ride?

Hope you all have a wonderful cruise. I'm looking forward to hearing all about it when you return.

Harold
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Old July 3rd, 2012, 05:52 PM
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Hi Pete! Welcome to our addiction.

Y'all are going to have a great time. Make sure you take time to watch the sunset on your balcony(and don't forget to hold hands while you're doing it). Guaranteed to remind you why you got married.
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Old July 3rd, 2012, 07:17 PM
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Congrats on the anniversary and cruise.
You want to spend some time on your balcony the first night. You will see a lot of interesting things as you cruise down the Mississippi River.
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Old July 3rd, 2012, 07:33 PM
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Pete, best wishes on your civil union. As everbody has said, you will really enjoy your cruise together. Cruisers are a friendly bunch, and, with just a hello, how are you, you could end up with new friends.

We have sailed the Conquest,and really enjoyed this ship. You can do as much, or, as little onboard as you want, but leave some time for serendipity. Make great memories,and come back, and tell us all about it.
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Old July 3rd, 2012, 09:34 PM
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Everybody is so friendly, it's awesome

I wish I had an elegant proposal story, but I don't. If you've been with someone for 10 years already, it's pretty much a formality. We were on our way to Wal-Mart to get groceries and I turned to him and asked "Honey, do you want to get married?"

"Sure"

"Ok, let's get married."

That's it, lol. But I'm getting off track. To answer the train question, it will take 14 hours, according to Amtrak. I know some people will look at that and say ugh, but considering it leaves at 1:30 in the morning, I figure we'll be asleep for most of it.

It would have been a nine-hour drive, which is deceptive because there's few people I know that can drive nine hours without some kind of break. Add in the cost of gasoline, meals and parking fees and it just wasn't worth it to drive IMO.

The return train leaves at 1:45 p.m. the Sunday we get back, with the Conquest scheduled to dock at 8 a.m. that morning. I figure that's plenty of time to disembark and get a taxi to the train station.

It's nice to have such a great forum and community to ask questions, I'm sure I'll have more the closer we get to Saturday.
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Old July 4th, 2012, 12:39 PM
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Speezy I think and hope you both will love the ship, she is truly lovely. You now have my husband and I thinking of driving to Memphis and taking the train down for our trip the end of Sept. He has never been on the train, so sort of made his eyes light up.
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Old July 4th, 2012, 01:21 PM
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I have heard good things about the train. My boss tells me that he has never slept better than during train rides (I guess due to the gentle rocking motion of the cars). I have been told that they seat 4 people at a time regardless of your party size in the dining car, which could mean meeting different people from all walks of life.

The train station we are departing from (Carbondale) is 7 miles from our home, which is better than driving 2 hours to St. Louis (the closest major airport) and flying.
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Old July 4th, 2012, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speezy View Post
I have heard good things about the train. My boss tells me that he has never slept better than during train rides (I guess due to the gentle rocking motion of the cars). I have been told that they seat 4 people at a time regardless of your party size in the dining car, which could mean meeting different people from all walks of life.

The train station we are departing from (Carbondale) is 7 miles from our home, which is better than driving 2 hours to St. Louis (the closest major airport) and flying.

I think what surprised my husband the most of the size (or lack there of) of the rooms.

He is used to ship cabins being small...but these took on a whole new meaning of tiny...lol
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Old July 4th, 2012, 04:53 PM
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Speezy I think and hope you both will love the ship, she is truly lovely. You now have my husband and I thinking of driving to Memphis and taking the train down for our trip the end of Sept. He has never been on the train, so sort of made his eyes light up.
I wish they have a train from Dallas to New Orleans for this cruise.
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Old July 6th, 2012, 11:31 AM
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Anytime Dining on the Conquest is done in the lower level of the forward dining room on deck 3.........The peak time when you may encounter a wait are around 7pm...and on at least the 1st elegant evening there is usually a wait until after 7:45......if there is a wait, they will give you a pager (like in a land restaurant)....you can go relax at the Lobby bar until you are paged.....

You can ask for a private table for 2 or ask to be seated with others, the choice is yours each evening......

Sister and I love YTD and wouldn't consider going back to traditional dining for any reason.........enjoy the Conquest, I've sailed on her many times.....just really study the deck plans......like LHP said it can be confusing and use deck 5 (Promenade) as your main path from the front to the back of the ship........plus there are such cool places to hang out there.......

Don't miss free sushi on deck 5 midship from 5:30ish to 8 each evening......it's a great pre-dinner snack.............
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Old July 6th, 2012, 01:32 PM
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Speezy, you will want to watch for Friends of Dorthy events. There are usually get togethers scheduled each day of the cruise. Watch your Fun Times.
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Old July 6th, 2012, 05:39 PM
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Thanks for all the great tips guys, roughly 9 hours until the City of New Orleans (Amtrak) leaves. Now, it's all about cleaning and writing instructions for the house/pet sitter.

I plan to do some writing on this trip (I'm a reporter by trade) and I've dabbled a bit in writing novels. I figure the 14 hour train trip (both there and back) is a good excuse to get the notebook out.

Don't worry, I don't plan on writing that much on the ship, I want to be out having an adventure

I do have another question, when are the elegant dinners? I've heard there's two per trip.
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Old July 6th, 2012, 06:28 PM
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Bon Voyage!! I hope both of you have a wonderful cruise! Can't wait to hear all about it when you return.
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Old July 6th, 2012, 06:33 PM
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Bon Voyage Speezy,
You will find your first and last evening will be a casual dress, usually the 2nd night will be a "formal" evening and the 2nd to last...Have a great time, and good luck with the writing.
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