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Momw/4boys

Conquest 040305 Review W/ Teenagers

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Just got off the Conquest - first time cruisers - had 13 people from ages 8 - 57 in our group. My family was my husband, my 3 teenage sons , ages 13, 16 and 17, and me.

Loved the cruise - what an incredible value!!!

Details: Arrived in NO Saturday night - took the Airport Shuttle (group rate of $10.38 each - reserved 2 weeks in advance) to the Maison St. Charles. Waited a long time for the shuttle but couldn't find anything more economical. Maison St. Charles is right on the streetcar line but we didn't see any streetcars go by so we walked all the way to Bourbon Street - a half mile or so? A beautiful night, not a problem. Ate po' boy sandwiches at Mother's Restaurant (a NO institution) - delicious! Walked through Bourbon Street - very busy and crazy, alot of people in the streets drinking, but nobody was obnoxious. Interesting experience! Walked back to hotel. The next morning the kids had breakfast at Wendy's next door. Took a Limo compliments of the hotel to the pier around 11 a.m. Everybody enjoyed that. Porters greeted us right at our limo and whisked our luggage away. Embarkation was long but no big deal - we're on vacation! Didn't need to show the affidavits proving that I can take my minor children out of the country without their father, but I was glad I had the documents anyway.

Finally got on the ship - a friendly staff member announced that they had lunch waiting for us on the Lido deck. Sure enough there was lunch and also a live reggae/caribbean band - the sun was shining, people were smiling, life is good!

Got to our cabins around 2 p.m. - inside cabin, Riviera deck. No balcony, no window, but it was fine. Met our friendly room steward. Had the alcohol taken out of the boys' refrigerator (the boys shared a cabin next to ours). Was surprised at how roomy the cabin is.

Activities: Lots to do on the ship. My teenage boys mostly enjoyed meeting other kids, making new friends and hanging out together. There were alot of kids on board but they behaved just fine. I'm sure my boys rode the elevators half the night along with the rest of the kids but I never lacked for an elevator when I wanted one. I was adamant about the boys being very quiet when they walked down the halls at night because others were sleeping, and that they were quiet in their cabin. We tried walkie-talkies but they did not work well - too many other people had them and they only worked out on the decks, not in your cabins. I just ended up writing the boys notes on post-its on their door - where I could be reached, what my plans were on board. I expected the boys to show up at dinner every night dressed appropriately and they did. Most of the time, the boys and I ran into each other on the Lido deck or near the Arcade. The teenagers had a tendency to walk as groups from deck to deck so if my husband and I were enjoying a drink somewhere, the boys would eventually walk by. I thought that it was a very safe ship and felt comfortable letting the boys spend their days on board as they wished. My husband and I attended an art auction, spent time on deck chairs in the sun, went to some of the shows, and just enjoyed being with our family and friends.

Ports of Call: These I had researched many months in advance.

For Montego Bay, the people in our group who were in their 20's went to Sunset Beach (this is not a Carnival Excursion so you would only learn of it on this board). For $20 each, they ate and drank all day on the beach - they had a great time. The rest of us wanted to see more of Montego Bay so we hired the Orville Taylor Company to take us around. We were met at the pier by two of Mr. Taylor's employees - Mr. Henry and Omar. They had 2 nice air-conditioned vehicles waiting for us and off we went! We paid $66 per family of 5 so they earned $132 total for 10 people. I thought this was a fair and reasonable price for taking us sightseeing and spending the day with us. For lunch, we ate at the Pork Pit, a casual, inexpensive restaurant where we ate delicious jerk chicken and jerk pork, of course. We eventually drove over to Doctor's Cove Beach where some people wanted to swim and others wanted to shop on Hip Street. We agreed to meet the drivers down the block at Margaretaville in 2 hours. Right on Hip Street is the Cool Runnings Restaurant where you can see the actual bobsled from the Olympics (remember the "Cool Runnings" movie?) and you can even sit in it. It cost $5 apiece to swim at Doctor's Cove Beach. We met our drivers eventually and they took us back to the pier. Couldn't have been easier!

Grand Cayman: Booked the Sting Ray tour along with the Turtle Farm and Hell Tour with Captain Marvin's. Nice people! Easy to work with. Had a great day. You absolutely must swim with the Sting Ray once in your life. The boys didn't think they would like the Turtle Farm but once we got there, they found it quite interesting and thought it was fun to pick up the turtles. Hell was a tourist trap but no big deal. Saw alot of damage from the hurricane as we drove along the island.

Cozumel: Didn't have a tour reserved but knew that I wanted to see some of the island. (My husband and some of the men booked an absolutely fabulous deep-sea fishing trip with a local company - they had the best time, they said). Anyway, the rest of us just wandered up to the taxis and were able to negotiate with a driver to take us around the island, to the ruins, to the city of San Miguel and then to Paradise Beach, for $20 apiece. It was a little pricey but just the taxi ride to the ruins were posted at $45 on the board by the taxis. I thought about renting a van but that was $100 and I just didn't need a hassle if I had a problem. I don't know Spanish and would not have been able to read the road signs, etc. The driver ended up spending over 3 hours with us. He took us around the island and pointed out things to see. He waited for us over an hour as we toured the Maya ruins (really great! The signs by each ruin are in 3 languages, one of which is English). And what did the boys like best about the ruins? The huge iguanas all over! Bet there's at least a full roll of film with iguanas on it when I get my pictures back. We dropped off my two eldest sons and another friend in San Miguel after we shopped awhile, with taxi money for the ride back to the pier. Apparently a bunch of teenagers had made plans to meet at Senor Frog's. Great.... but my boys are pretty responsible and I did warn them that they would have to pay me back the thousands of dollars it would cost if they miss the ship! The rest of us had our driver take us to Paradise Beach where we said Adios to him. Paradise Beach was wonderful - excellent service - the best chips and salsa I have ever eaten - plenty of chairs (we sat in the shade under the palm trees - there were hammocks strung between the trees, too, or umbrellas out on the beach if you preferred. My 13-year-old son and I parasailed ($110 for both of us) and it was an incredible experience! Took a taxi back to the pier ($14 for all 5 of us).

Spent way too much money on the portraits on board the ship but what fun! For dinner, we had early seating - Monet - 5:45 and our waiter was wonderful - couteous and fun!

Didn't buy soda pop cards for the boys but will do it next time - a bit pricey for 3 boys but it was a hassle carrying on soda pop or buying it in ports. I didn't miss soda pop at all and enjoyed the free lemonade.

We will take another Carnival Cruise in a few years just as soon as I can save up the money again. This was definitely worth every penny. I didn't have to worry about feeding 3 hungry teenage boys, there was enough to do for every age group, we learned so much in each of the ports, and we were treated like royalty! Already pouring through the Carnival catalog for the next trip......

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Great review, leaving for NOLA in two hours :D !!!! Your trip sounds great, I'm sure we'll have just as good of a time !!! Was going to try the walkie talkie thing but now I won't. Never thought of taking the things out of the boy's fridge but now I will.

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Great review and we too were a group of 38 and many were first time cruisers and I just LOVED everything about the Conquest..the food was FABULOUS! The ports were beautiful and the staff was great. I became an addict before I sailed the Conquest (due to these boards) and once we came home...I was ready to plan again. Just booked during the one day sale this week and ready to pick out my ship for next year:eek:

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Thanx for the review! Nice to hear about the inside rooms on the Riviera deck......this will be our situation in June; 2 rooms side by side. Can I ask, what rooms did you have? Also, what about dinner---what time and what dining room? Any other teenage tips----my boys are 15 and 17.

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hello, Cali-Croozer! My husband and I were in 1291 and the 3 boys were right next door in 1295, a nice location kind of in the middle of the Riviera level. You may wish to know that there is a laundry room way down the hall - you can get quarters from the purser and buy packages of detergent for $1.00 in a machine. We brought along really cheap thin towels for the shore excursions as the Carnival beach towels are nice but too big to stuff in my beach bag, so we needed to wash these towels along with our swimsuits when we got back on the ship. We ate dinner at 5:45 in the Monet dining room and this was the part I did not research in advance - hence, we did not get tables near any windows which would have been nice but it wasn't the end of the world - our waiter was wonderful! I don't know how you get a good table. (Anybody out there have any hints on this? Does it depend on how much you spend for your cabin?)

Anyway, I would bring along an over the door plastic shoe rack for your cabin and put all of the little things for the family (suntan lotion, aloe, aspirin, band-aids, a few wooden clothespins, etc) in it but I wouldn't bother getting one for the boys as my boys didn't really use theirs. Also, my boys wouldn't be caught dead with a lanyard around their neck with their sign and sail card, so I went to Home Depot Hardware store and for 99 cents each, got a bunch of those metal clips for keys - I had the purser punch a hole in each of our cards, and the boys clipped their cards to their belt loops.

In the ports, after my organized family outting and before we got back on the ship, the boys had requested some free time just to walk around by themselves. I was of course a little leery but went over the information with them on how to get back to the ship. In Montego Bay, there is Hip Street where Doctor's Cove Beach is and also Margaretaville and I let them walk from the beach to Margaretaville as I wanted to shop a bit more. Then we all had our drivers take us back to the ship. In Grand Cayman after our excursion, the boys could walk from Captain Marvin's three blocks to the pier. In Cozumel, the boys met a group of friends from the ship at Senor Frog's and they took a taxi back to the pier (Note that there are three piers in Cozumel so you have to know which pier the Conquest is at). They always kept their own Sail and Sign cards with them so that they could get back on the ship when they wanted to. And we had a conversation about alcohol as there does not appear to be any age limit. You may not wish to give your boys that much freedom but we live in a big city and the boys are used to taking public transportation all around and figuring out how to get from one place to another, and they know to stay together!

I felt that the ship was very safe so I let the boys go wherever they wanted to and just requested that they show up at the dinner table each night. Apparently, the teenagers stay up half the night just hanging out on the upper decks or where the food is on the Lido deck. I only asked that they get a reasonable amount of sleep the night before the ports of call so that they would enjoy those. My 17-year-old son said that his favorite part of the trip was being on the ship and meeting other teenagers from all over the USA. My boys did not attend the Welcoming Party for teenagers the first night although I encouraged them to go. They thought that was the most lame thing I could say! But by halfway throught the trip they all had new friends anyway - the teenagers seem to find each other no matter what.

Your boys will have a great time and so will you!

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Could you please find out which deep sea fishing trip your husband took and let me know. My husband would love to do this when we are there on the Valor and would love a recommendation. Thanks so much.

Rebecca

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Thanx for responding.....sounds like everyone had a great time. I think I'll pick up some of those clip on things, just in case-----they did use the lanyards last time, but you never know!;)

 

About the tables, we always put in requests with our TA, but I think it depends on how many people you have in the group, etc. When we were a party of 6, we were put in a booth for 6 (Elation). Last time, there were 8 of us; I asked for a window table and got it, but most, if not all, of the tables for 8 were by the window anyway (Inspiration). This time, we have, I think, 15 people, so we'll see. We asked for 6:15 dinner and will just cross our fingers! You can also request changes through the maitre'd, but we've never been able to change our times; probably because we were in a group, and always sail at peak times.

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Hello Voleymom: My husband, his son, 2 other adult men and a boy, age 11, reserved a half day fishing excursion with Albatros Charters www.albatroscharters.com . It's run by Americans. They met our men about 11:00 a.m. at the Casa del Mar hotel pier which was just a short walk from the Puerta Maya Pier where the Conquest docked. For a 4-hour trip, it cost $420. I think and the 4 adult men just split the bill. They caught red snapper to begin wwith which ended up being their lunch. The fishing guides had a cook stove on board and threw peppers or something in the stove and just chopped the fish up raw and made the BEST fish tacos that our men had ever eaten. They also caught some other big fish but they just catch and release. The men said this fishing trip was a highlight of their whole trip! They didn't get to see any more of Cozumel as they had to rush just to get back to shore at the end of their trip but they didn't care!

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Thanks so much for the info. I will go and book it for my husband right now. He is dying to fish somewhere and since we have been to Cozumel before he doesn't care if he sees the Island or not. Thanks again

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Great review-we go in 4 weeks- how was the food in Monet-heard both good and bad!! we are on deck 8 right below pool starboard side- is this a good location? Do you think a 10 year old can gat aroudn the ship OK-I've heard it's just huge!! since we'll mainly be ta pool and we are immediately below the pool and have stairs right by our room I think he'll be fine- what deck is arcade on? What about casino? Thanks

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