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jgmpuma

Conquest Review: 2/27/05

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We are back home in the real world. No more beers on the Lido deck before lunch. We have to clean up after ourselves. Supper tonight is red beans and rice: take it or leave it. No towel animal on the bed at night. Now it is the real thing: our gassy dog. The bed isn't turned down. No chocolates on the pillow. The shows are on TV. We will not be on an island tomorrow. We will not see blue water except in the toilet.

 

There were four of us: me, wife, and wife's sister and her husband, all late 50's. We did the same cruise together about two years ago, and our expectations were high.

 

Embarkation: Our son dropped us off at the terminal at about 1:00 p.m. We were right behind some buses, so the lines were long. Brother-in-law was in a Cat 11 stateroom, so they were offered VIP boarding. He slipped $20 to the VIP host and they let us follow them, so we were on board in about twenty minutes. This being Louisiana, such things happen.

 

The Conquest: It's a big ship with the feel of a small ship. Very taseteful and understated decor, by Carnival standards. The only crowds were around the main pool on the Lido deck, which we avoided. We spent much of out time around the smaller pool on the rear of Lido, and it was never crowded. There were fairly long lines at the buffet at peak time, so we just avoided peak time, and seldom waited more than a few minutes to be served. Our cabin was 8356, on the Verandah deck, with a balcony. The balcony is worth every penny. We had breakfast there every morning, drinks before dinner, and a wonderful view of the deep blue sea. Samuel, our steward, was very good, but not exceptional. He made towel animals on most nights. One, I think, was a stingray, but the others I was not too sure about. One nice touch is that ice dispensers have been installed on each deck, so we didin't have to track Samuel down every time we needed ice. I like a beer which Carnival does not offer, which I bring with me, and I enjoy buying the local beers in each port, so we use a lot of ice. The beds were firm and comfortable. We have them placed togetehr, and on the Holiday my wife kept slipping into the crack (not my fault). Didn't happen this time.

 

Fellow passengers were mostly about our age or a little younger. The cruise director told us that there were 700 kids on board. If that is true then Camp Carnival must have kept them locked up in steerage, because we saw very few of them.

 

Food: Each morning, I went to the breakfast buffet and loaded up a tray with enough for both of us. Wife can't get dressed and made up much before lunch. The food was nothing special, but for me breafast is usually a bowl of Cheerios, so it was a nice change. The grits were not nearly as watery as the last time. A southerner must have sneaked into the galley. The coffee was pretty weak, so I bought latte's from the coffee bar. I guess Carnival has never heard of coffee with chicory. Our one room service breakfast arrived about fifteen minutes after it was ordered.

 

Lunch was at our favorite table on Lido. We knew from the last cruise that there are lots of choices besides the buffet. There is Sur Mer on the second level of the Cezanne with good seafood. There is a deli on the port side with grilled sandwiches and an Asian place on the port side. And, of course, that geeat goat cheese pizza.

 

Carnival has made some changes on the dinner menu. A lot of old favorites are still there, with some new offerings. A couple of old favorites are missing. The daily menu is on the interactive TV, in case you are curious. I like to be surprised. Our server was Diana from Macedonia, and she was terrific. Very attentive, and offered suggestions from the menu each night. She told me that the dining staples in Macedonia are potatoes, sauerkraut and sausage, so I suspect that her recommendations are based on the response of the passengers rather than her personal tastes. We had brought most of our own wines, mainly to have what we wanted and not to have to rely on Carnival's wine list (which was actually pretty good, and not overpriced, by testaurant standards). We gave her a nich tip on the first night, and she only charged us one corkage fee. There is abviously some common cultural connections between Macedonia and Louisiana.

 

Jamaica: Brother-in-law wanted to play golf, so wife and I went to Sunset Beach, which I had read about on the Jamaica boards. It was just as advertised. A $5 cab ride. Admission was $20 each, and included everything. The waiters and bartenders would not even accept the tips I offered them. There are two pools and three beaches. One beach is, as they call it, "au natural." We didn't venture onto this one, but could see a few people in the distance. Most people don't look very good naked anyway. There are free kayaks, paddle boats and snorkel equipment. From the paddle boat we could see some coral formations, but no fish. We probably scared them away. The drinks are served in small plastic cups, so it would be a good idea to bring an insulated mug. There was a grill with burgers, etc. and some very good and spicy jerk chicken. Also a buffet with a salad bar and a pretty good selection of vegetables and entrees. This place isn't fancy, but it was just what we were looking for, and very inexpensive. It is actually within walking distance from the ship, maybe a mile or less.

 

Cayman Islands: Brother-in-law didn't really want to do anything. We had done the stingray city tour through Nativeway on our last cruise. I thought it was wonderful. Wife was afraid to get in the water. Her logic: they sting, or otherwise they wouldn't call them stingrays. So, wife and I walked to Eden Rock, about a five minute walk to the right when you get off of the tender.There were seven ships in port, so Georgetown was a zoo. For $14.00, I rented snorkel equipment at Eden Rock. There are a lot of coral formations and very colorful fish within fifteen yards or so from the point where you enter the water. On the way back in I encountered two tarpon, each about four feet long. That was a surprise. Someone sitting on the beach next to my wife told her that they were barracuda, which freaked her out a little. I've never heard of tarpons attacking people, but there is always a first time, as my wife says. Since the Conquest leaving at 4:00, we returned at about 2:00 and had lunch on the ship. The shops and restaurants in Georgetown were packed.

 

Cozumel: We rented a VW convertable from Alamo for about $70.00. This included every insurance known to God and man, and gas. I probably could have done better, but Alamo was right there at Porto Maya, and paying a few extra bucks was worth the convenience. We drove to the east side of Cozumel to do a little bar-hopping and have lunch. If you have never seen this side of Cozumel, you have missed a lot. The first twenty minutes of the drive are pretty boring, with a lot of traffic. But once you get past the beach clubs there is very little. We stopped at Rata's and had a beer abd some nachos, which were pretty good. We had eaten at Chen Rio in the past and intended to stop there, but it looks like it has gotten popular, or maybe it was because of the number of people in port, because the small parking lot was full. So we wnet on to Coconuts. Coconuts is on a bluff about forty feet above the water, and the view is spectacluar. Among the four of us we had shrimp quesidillas, fish tacos and grilled grouper (this was on a Friday in Lent, so no meat, not that we missed it). The bill for the food, four beers and two margaritas came to $48.00. Unlike at Rasta's and Chen Rio, Coconuts has running water in the bathrooms. Not a big deal to me, but wife has her standards. Back to the terminal by about four. Wife bought more cheap vodka. She loves a bargain. Our kids usually end up drinking most of the vodka, so I consider it a loss.

 

Entertainment: We saw Pont And Click (pretty good), the R-rated comedian (he has cerebral palsy, and most f his jokes are based on that. Very funny), some karoke (pretty lame) the piano bar guy (excellent, but repetitive) and the pasenger talent show. Besides the usual singers, there was a bit by some passengers from Japan on how to dress as a Japenese. No one (including the cruise director) could figure out what this was really about, but there were two female volunteers from the audience who stole the show. They had no idea what was going on or what they were supposed to be doing, so they vamped and cut up and did some improvised dances to the Japenese music in the background, and it turned out to be the funniest thing I have ever seen on a ship.

 

Casino: Weplayed some slots, blackjack and craps. The slots were pretty good to us on the first two days, but got a lot tighter as the cruise wore on. I guess that was just a coincidence. Most of the blackjack players had no idea how to play the game. Splitting tens, not splitting aces, etc. The craps table was cold until the last night, when I won back all of my previous casino losses. My wife played Bingo a few times and, as usual, she almost won.

 

The gym was excellent, according to my brother-in-law. This being vacation, I vegged. We did climb a lot of stairs and almost never used the elevator. We didn't have to do a lot of walking, except when we got lost trying to find the dining room at night. I think they move it from one night to the next. It is was never where I remembered it to be from the previous night. Or maybe that was those before-dinner drinks.

 

Debarkation: During the debarkation talk the cruise director announced that they were going to do an experiment in what they called "casual debarkation." The VIP's and those with early flights would debark first. Then, instead of calling baggage tag colors, everyone else would get off when they felt like it, as long as the were out by 10:00 or so. This smelled like trouble to me. We hauled our stuff to the Lido deck and had breakfast. At about 9:00 debarkation started. At arounf 10:00 we decided to join the fray. We moved fairly quickly off of the ship, found our luggage, and entered the chaos of the pickup area. I'm sure that things will improve one the parking garage construction is completed. Only about one-fourth of the old pickup/dropoff are is still usable. With cabs, buses, limos and private cars all trying to pick up passengers, and others arriving for embarkation at the same time, it is just a mess. The Norwegian Dream was debarking at the same time, just to make things a little more interesting. To the credit of the officers directing traffic, they do a remarkable job of keeping traffic moving and maiing the process as painless as possible. One of the cab drivers locked her keys in the cab with the engine running, right next to the area where all of the debarkers were gathered. The exhaoust fumes gave all a reminder that they were back in the city, in case we hadn't figured that out already. At least we didn't have to spend Sunday getting home.

 

Other than a few minor complaints, this was a great cruise, and we look forward to doing it agin. Sorry about the typing mistakes, but if I don't get this done now, it will never get done. Everything useful I know about cruising I have learned on these boards, and I like to return favors.

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Excellent Review!!!!

 

I am booked on the Valor but u made me wanna go on ur cruise hehehhe.

Your review has me more excited than i was about my cruise:)

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Great review.

 

We had brought most of our own wines, mainly to have what we wanted and not to have to rely on Carnival's wine list (which was actually pretty good, and not overpriced, by testaurant standards). We gave her a nich tip on the first night, and she only charged us one corkage fee.

 

Can I infer from this that Carnival's "two bottles per person/room" is not strictly enforced?:D

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The two best bottles were in our carryons. The rest went into a bif hard-sided suitcase which weighed a ton. Since we don't have to fly, there are no weight restrictions. We just tip the baggage handlers generously.

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Wow! Great visual of your trip!

 

My husband, 2 daughters and I will be on the Conquest 7/24. His birthday! It is snowing and reading your review really makes me crave the Conquest!

 

Thanks a bunch :)

 

Kim

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Gosh we were probably bumping elbows a few of those days!

 

We didn't arrive at embarkation until about 2:00 and I think we got there right after a few busses from the airport as well. We had a long line, but it moved fast and we decided not to sweat it, we are on vacation, after all and about to embark on 7 days of bliss. But, since we had all run the marathon that morning (26.2 miles) we were hungry!!! We got boarded, dumped our carryons and headed up to lido for burgers and pizza. Yum!

 

The ship looked great and I thought the food was very good. Breakfast buffet on lido was nothing special but it tasted good. But I thought the food on this ship otherwise was better than what I'd had on RCI and Princess. I also thought that the entertainment was excellent and they had organized acitivities that extended past midnight. Not that I participated, but the other ships I've been on have been a ghost town after the 10:00 show. I thought the shows were great! There were 2 other comics in addition to the one mentioned, who has CP. There was a juggler and magician. I thought they were all good.

 

We also did Sunset Beach in jamaica. Enjoyed that much. In Grand Cayman, we went to Sea Grapes Beach and did some parasailing (awesome!) We also stopped and PD's Pub, our favorite, only to find it had been wiped out by the hurricane :( . But, we did find his temporary location about a mile away. He had limited offerings but it was interesting hearing about Ivan and what they are all going through. Then we stopped at Eden rock for some snorkeling. Since I have my own snorkel, it was free. Cozumel, we went to Paradise Beach, which was, in a word, Paradise.

 

Debarkation was okay. We relaxed and pretty much waited until everyone was off to go. There were long lines for taxis but we found a FQ shuttle that took us to our hotel right away. No waiting, so that worked out good.

 

We had a great time!

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I was looking for someone wearing a Mardi Gras Marathon medal. Saw lots of beads, but no medals.

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I know this is an older post, but if you happen to catch it, I realized we are going to be in your room Conquest 8356 at the end of June, just wanted a quick review of the room.....Thanks.....

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See if you can find that $100 bill I left under the bed.

 

We had the same room for our 2002 Conquest cruise, and specifically asked for it in 2004. It was very convenient, one deck below Lido and two above the elusive dining room. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

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