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indiaksue

Just off the Conquest - 1/31/05

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I just got back from a cruise on the Conquest. My DH and I, and our son, almost 15 went with my entire family for my parents 50th wedding anniversary. I want to first say thank you to all of you here at Cruise Critic for your imput. It was my first cruise, but I felt prepared because of you. I just wanted to give back by giving a long detailed review.

 

We flew into New Orleans on Jan. 22nd, the day before the cruise. I was glad we did, because the stress of having to worry about flight delays would have been too much. We stayed at the Embassy Suites on Julia Street, just 3 blocks from the pier. This was a great place to stay if you want to walk your luggage to the pier. It is a strait shot from the hotel. The Courtyard by Marriott was across the street from us. I was concerned about rolling the luggage, but I saw many people doing this. It takes about 10 minutes to roll it there. We had 14 people in our group and it worked just fine. Do be aware that when you get to the pier, you turn right after the railroad tracks, and there is a sign that says “no pedestrians allowed”. We called the pier and they said just ignore the sign. It is then another block to the entrance after you turn right. Just stay close to the building because the traffic is moving one way the other way.

 

Day 1

After we walked our luggage to the pier it was about 11:30 and the line was forming. Try to get there as close to 11:00 as possible but not earlier. It took about 45 minutes and we were on the ship. The ship was awesome, somewhat over decorated but not too bad. I have heard many say that the public spaces are small and yes they are, but I would call them intimate. It never seems like there are 3000 people on board because the ship is so big. We went to dinner and then took in the Big Band Concert, which was okay. My DH and I are not one for shows. We went to the Disco instead and the Karaoke bar. These were great and ended up here every night. Unfortunately I am not a night owl, I went to bed every night around 11 or midnight and woke up at 6 AM. If you are like me make sure to get the early seating dinner, if not then go for late seating. No matter what you do there is always something going on.

 

Day 2 & 3 At Sea

It was cold. No sun and around 55 to 60 degrees and very windy. Here I will mention that if the sun is really important to you, book a cruise later in the year. We chose this timing because it worked with everyone’s work schedule. New Orleans was 48 degrees the morning we boarded. When we cruise again it will be later in the spring. There were very few children on board. Our son didn’t really have much to do, but he stayed with us and the other adults and roamed around a lot. He loved the slide and the hot tubs. He had endless ice cream and loved the pizza.

 

One thing I was worried about before we left was keeping in contact with the family. We had 5 families in our group and I took post it notes for our room. That was helpful but not really necessary. We saw our party everywhere all the time. It was really easy to stay in contact.

 

 

The shows were okay, like I said we don’t get into shows very much. Steve Kassel, the Cruise Director was really great and we liked the Magic Show.

As far as the crew goes, our dining room staff was great. Asep, our waiter was the best. Our room steward, Chatidda was very nice and kept our room very clean. The crew is friendly and they are always cleaning something. The ship was in really good shape. I didn’t smell smoke in very many places. Just in the disco, where we went every night. I will point out that you do need to take a room deodorizer, because the bathroom starts to smell somewhat. I thought I was doing good to take a “plug in” with an extra outlet and a nightlight, but the huge thing wouldn’t fit in the plug in that was in the bathroom. So take a small “plug in” or a deodorizer that sits on the vanity.

 

The food is good in the Dining Room. I never had anything that wasn’t good, and I love trying new things. The fish and chips are fantastic and so is the pizza. The deli has really good sandwiches also. The Lido buffet was okay but that got old, especially at breakfast. It is always the same food. The chocolate buffet was okay, I really loved the Dining room desserts but the buffet desserts weren’t as good. The midnight buffet was a new experience for me. It was beautiful, but I didn’t care for much that I took. Overall I did like the dining. It was nice to have a week off from cooking, and convenience of having something available anytime you want.

 

Day 4 Jamaica

We went to Sunset Beach Resort. It was a very short drive from the port. Everyone knows where it is and it is easy to get a taxi . You can’t beat $ 20. It is a bargain. I didn’t take any extra clothes along so I was not able to eat at the buffet. You can’t go there in your swimsuit, so we just ate hamburgers, jerked chicken and fries at the outdoor grill. If you want other food than this, take clothes to change into.

 

Day 5 Grand Cayman

This was a busy port. There was a lot of devastation from the hurricane but many people shopping and adding to the economy. We went on the Stingray tour and Snorkel. This we booked thru Soto’s online and not thru Carnival. I would highly recommend this. There were only 5 of us on our tour of 2 ½ hours for $30.00. We got individual attention and teaching about the stingrays before we got in the water. Then they introduced us to them by having us hold them. Then they let us feed them, and many swarmed around. It was so awesome. The Carnival tours were 50 to 75 people all getting in the water and screaming. It was mass chaos over there while we had quality time with the stingrays at a distance from the other boats. This tour was the highlight of our trip.

 

Day 6 Cozumel

We chose to go to the mainland to Xcaret Park. This was a tour with Carnival and it is a great place to go, I highly recommend it, but there is so much to do there, and you only have about 4 hours once you actually get there. I hope to go back sometime when I have a day or two. If you do go to the mainland make sure to take Dramamine first. The water was so choppy and the boat went up and down so much that I started feeling sick. Up until this point I had not taken anything for sea sickness. There were about 200 people on the ferry, and 20 minutes into the 30 minute ride, one lady threw up and it started a chain reaction. People were getting sick all over the place. Luckily they had passed out barf bags before we left. I made it but barely.

 

Debarkation

It wasn’t so bad. We took the New Orleans City Tour because our flight didn’t leave till 6:00 PM. We got VIP luggage tags and were the first group off the ship.

We found our luggage and handed in our declaration paper and that was it. We were done. It was very easy.

 

Overall we had a great time. I would not hesitate to take another Carnival Cruise.

One thing I hear a lot on this board is “I didn’t even see that or know about that”. All I did was study my deck plans of the ship before I left so I knew every nook and cranny there was. Also make sure to read your Capers faithfully everyday. Everything that goes on is listed there and so there is no reason to miss out on something. I know I have probably left out a lot so if anyone has questions, ask away.

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Angie,

 

Great review! We are going to the same ports on our cruise in May. I've booked a Stingray City tour and can't wait! Sounds like you had a good time. :D

 

Sheila

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Glad you enjoyed your 1st cruise Angie! Thanks for sharing. Great information. Now when is your NEXT cruise?! :D

Jean

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I have a couple questions about Sunset Beach Resort -

 

Did you happen to notice what brand of beer they serve? I don't drink it - but 4 people in our group do and they wanted to know if there was going to be anything other than Red Stripe.

 

How is the waterpark coming?

 

How much did the taxi cost? I keep hearing different things. Some say $5.00 per taxi - some say $5.00 per person - which doesn't sound right since it costs $4. per person to Margaritaville and it's farther away.

 

What type of food did they serve at the buffet? Could you make a plate and bring it out? Thinking maybe if only a couple of us change we could bring food out for the others?

 

Favorite drink and why?

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Glad you had a good time.. We cruised on Conquest about a year and a half ago and had a great time.. We are cruising again on march 6th but with the kids this time.. Thanks for taking the time to post..

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I can't wait for our turn. Thanks for the review. We are also planing on going to Sunset Beach. We are definately using a private stingray tour in GC as well. I'm glad you had such a great time.

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Cheryl,

 

We really enjoyed Sunset Beach. There is just no better bargain out there. I don't drink beer but my husband said, it is red stripe and just regular or lite. He loves beer but this was just so-so in his opinion. But it was all he wanted to drink. After spending $3.74 for each drink on the ship he was glad for this option.

 

I don't drink much, but I had a couple drinks. I thought they were okay, but not very strong. They serve them in 8 oz. plastic cups. But once again, free!

 

My 2 brothers and their families went along too, so we got a small bus. It was $3.00 per person. There were buses and vans and taxis coming and going so you don't have to worry about finding one.

 

Go as early as possible in order to get the best lounge chairs. The water park is not ready yet, it will be a awesome addition when it is complete. Like I said earlier, I wasn't able to eat the buffet because I didn't have street clothes. You must have shirt, short and shoes to go here, so I don't know what they were serving. Overall the 12 of us had a great day, and we think for the money, it was the best value of the trip.

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