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Safeteeguy

Another Long Conquest Review - June 5-12

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I will try to make this review brief, but informative. I always wanted to take a cruise, and I'm glad to have experienced this one, but as with most cruises, or any vacation for that matter, there are good and bad and this trip was no exception. At the end of this review is my personal summary of good and bad. This was our first cruise and I would rate the overall vacation on a scale of one to ten as about a six and a half.

 

On Saturday, my DW, 17yo DS, 3yo DD, and I stayed at the Maison - St. Charles. The décor was French of course, and the building was old, but recently refurbished. We didn't feel safe enough to venture off the premises and that night I looked for some folks I met on the Cruise Critic who said they were staying here, but never found them.

 

On Sunday, we drove to the pier and parked in the designated area. Parking at the pier went very smooth, although it was raining and we had to hover under the canopy in the heat and humidity, shoulder to shoulder with other would-be cruisers. We waited, the bus took us to the terminal and we waited in line to check in, waited again in the infamous yellow chairs, walked, and waited again. From the time we arrived at the parking (about 9:30AM) to the time we actually boarded the boat was about 2.5 hours which wasn’t bad because of our pre-trip anticipation, we were patient and excited. We stayed in the balcony room 6335 on the upper deck.

 

The first two days at sea were fun and the weather was okay although because of clouds we did not see a sunrise or sunset. We participated in some of the activities the ship had to offer, mostly laying in the sun. We did not have our picture taken unless made to a couple of times; we have photographers back home. We did not do the formal dinners; we were on vacation and sequence, ties, and tuxes were not on our agenda of fun things to do, so we skipped the formal stuff and ate pizza those two nights. I always heard that you can have anything to eat while cruising, but found out that’s just a myth unless you’re prepared to pay. The Point restaurant offered lobster, which was what I wanted, but chose not to pay the $120 for the four of us to eat there; not to mention, I did not bring a tie. I asked for lobster and other items that weren’t on the menu at the Monet, but was told they did not offer other dishes.

 

Day three at Montego Bay, the excursion was easier than I thought. At first I was a little apprehensive about being in another country and getting lost, but Carnival’s arrangements with the islands to make getting around absolutely “no problem Mon.” Jamaica was irie too Mon. We did the beach break, my DS and I brought our snorkels and took some pictures of some urchins and a stingray. It rained all day, but that didn’t spoil our fun. The jerk chicken was good and the rum was strong.

 

Day four, the rain definitely spoiled our fun. We woke up that morning with 20+ feet waves, strong winds and heavy rains. Our cruise director said we were in the middle of Arlene, the first tropical storm of the season. Needless to say, our Cayman Islands stop was cancelled and we continued sailing toward Cozumel. We had planned stingray city in Cayman and were very disappointed. We were refunded.

 

Day five in Cozumel was very fun. We went to the Playa Mia beach break where my son and I rented some jet skis and spent the rest of the cruise in pain. Jet skis can wear a person out (especially like us who were out of shape). The shore at Playa Mia was very rough with a lot of seaweed, but the margarita’s were free.

 

Day six was another rough day with 20+ feet waves again. My wife was green again. We started pulling into the Mississippi River at 8PM for our eight-hour trip into Louisiana where we docked at 4AM at New Orleans.

 

Disembarkation was very easy. They did not call out folks by color, instead they just announced that we could exit at leisure to claim our luggage in the terminal. By the time we walked off the ship and took the shuttle bus back to our car was less than an hour.

 

I doubt I’ll plan a cruise again for a while. This cruise was fun, but I’m not a big party animal like I used to be and I prefer more seclusion and relaxed atmosphere as opposed to the hustle bustle time schedule. For the same amount of money, my next Caribbean trip will be a fly-in to an all-inclusive resort for a week. Maybe there I won’t feel so out of place.

 

Summary of the Good:

 

Our room steward Johnson always made sure we were happy and our room was to our liking.

 

Ramona our hostess in the Monet was very professional and always anticipated our needs.

 

Every single crew member was very nice and worked very hard - I give them all A+.

 

Our cruise director Todd was pepped and worked very hard to please everyone, especially on the day we missed Cayman. The reds should have won though.

 

The Vegas-style shows, the magic show, the comedian, and music were great. Besides the buffet, the shows were about the only thing that didn’t cost extra to enjoy.

 

The Mardi Gras party on Tuesday night was really fun and an experience. About all I can say is what happened on the cruise ship, stays on the cruise ship…if you know what I mean.

 

I saw flying fish for the first time; I always thought flying fish was a myth.

 

 

 

Summary of the Bad:

 

New Orleans. We didn’t feel safe at all in this city, so we remained in the confines of the steel fence that surrounded the hotel.

 

Rain all day at Montego Bay.

 

The tropical storm that canceled our stop to Cayman Island. The water was very rough and the rocking of the boat made walking interesting. My DW was popping Dramamine and sleeping and I eased the pain by drinking a few hurricanes.

 

The adult beverages were over priced and watered down; reminded me of an airport.

 

The cigar smoker on the balcony next to ours was upwind.

 

Every Jacuzzi on the ship was closed and roped off the entire trip. Big disappointment.

 

The lights on the ship made it nearly impossible to see stars. So did the clouds.

 

Everything was on a timed schedule, I like my vacations to be more relaxed.

 

Too many jewelry vendors.

 

The buffet always had the same foods…with no fried chicken or barbeque.

 

I paid to see Cayman Islands as part of my cruise. I’m not blaming Carnival for the bad weather and I was reimbursed for the on-shore excursions, but I feel a little cheated for missing an opportunity to see one more country.

 

I swear the sound of slot machines was piped through the ship’s speakers. I couldn’t hear loud music in my room that was being played on the same level and same room as the slots, but I could hear the ringing of the slots in my room. Subliminal?

 

When planning how much money you’ll need to take on a cruise? Take twice as much.

 

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To bad about the weather this is our 4 cruise we will be on the conquest in Aug I have never been in bad weather and I hope I never will but it sounds like yours was a bummer and Grand Caymen is great done the stingrays twice loved it .

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When we sailed last Summer, Lobster and Filet' of beef were served in both "regular" dining rooms on the first formal night. We enjoyed both.

 

Thanks for the review. There are many "perfect" reviews. It was good to see a review from a cruise that was interrupted by weather or other circumstances.

 

If you have ever been to Florida's panhandle, Destin, Panama City Beach, ect, Grand Caymen looks much the same. Very flat, with alot of strip malls. The stingrays are about the only amenity on the island if you aren't there to launder a bit of money. You didn't miss much.

 

Had you booked a land based vacation in the Caymans, it would still rain. We take comfort in the fact that we are on a moving "resort" that can escape very bad weather.

 

Cruising...37% better than real life ;)

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To bad about the weather this is our 4 cruise we will be on the conquest in Aug I have never been in bad weather and I hope I never will but it sounds like yours was a bummer and Grand Caymen is great done the stingrays twice loved it .

 

Thanks 4kids. Glad you got to do the stingrays. I'll keep looking at photos online to see what we missed.

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Too bad you didn't venture to the French Quarter - you missed out. I've roamed all over at all times and have never had a problem.

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Thanks for your review. You have the right attitude about it. It wasn't perfect, but nothings perfect. Thanks for sharing the good & the bad. I apprecitate it!

 

We're on the Conquest next week (6/19) & I have a quick question. Do you happen to know any what movies they were playing? I know that most people don't go on vacation to sit in their rooms & watch movies they could rent at home. DH likes to take an afternoon nap on sea days, so I was just wondering if there are any good movies playing to help occupy that downtime.

Thanks for any info!

Amy

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Thanks for your review. You have the right attitude about it. It wasn't perfect, but nothings perfect. Thanks for sharing the good & the bad. I apprecitate it!

 

We're on the Conquest next week (6/19) & I have a quick question. Do you happen to know any what movies they were playing? I know that most people don't go on vacation to sit in their rooms & watch movies they could rent at home. DH likes to take an afternoon nap on sea days, so I was just wondering if there are any good movies playing to help occupy that downtime.

Thanks for any info!

Amy

 

They had a movie channel that mostly played Dr. Doolitle most of the time. You can rent current hits made for all ages for a nominal price.

 

Hope you have a wonderful cruise. If you see Ramona in the dining room, tell her 3 yo Zoe says hi

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Thanks for the review. I will be on the Conquest Oct 9th. What is cruise director Steve's last name? I thought Steve Cassells had moved to this ship. Is he gone again? Thanks Again.

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Safeteeguy,

 

Thanks for the review. I am going to be on the Conquest next week.

 

I was watching Arlene and guessed about where the Conquest should be and figured they should very close to each other. I wondered how the trip was going for you guys. It sounds like you made the best out of it.

 

I wish they would just stop at an alternate location providing there is room in port. Maybe you could have stopped at Cancun or Progresso.

 

It's interesting that you had 20ft swells. I was surprised that the buoy reports only showed 10-12 all over the gulf.

 

Kevin

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Were the hot tubs roped off because of the weather or for some other reason?

 

Did you have the new beds/bedding?

 

PS.....thanx for posting your review

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Thanks for the review, we're sailing on her Aug 7. and we're also staying at the Maison St. Charles. Very excited to go. I'm having 2nd thoughts about hotel tho?? you said it was fenced?? is it in a bad neighborhood?? we're planning on walking down the street a ways to eat. You said it wasn't safe?? any comments from others would be appreciated.

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It's too bad about the weather, but weather problems last week would have affected many ships, not just Conquest.

 

I do want to point out that it was your choice to skip the formal nights, and those are the nights the best food (i.e. lobster) is available. I don't think it's really fair to complain that you didn't get lobster when you voluntarily gave it up because you didn't want to wear a tie.

 

I'm also glad to see that you enjoyed the shows. I enjoyed most of the shows on the Conquest, and I feel like they consistently get rapped here, especially Deja the Diva of Deception magic act.

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Enjoyed your review....When you miss a formel night you usually miss the lobster. In New Orleans, my DD's and I felt safe walking around, Just pay attention to your surroundings. Don't worry you missed very little in Grand Cayman. Snorkling with the sting rays is nice, but if you are money concious everything else in Cayman out of line to me. I agree about "Too many jewelry vendors", how many do they need, there seems to be one on every strret corner, as well as the ship....LOL

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I am sure it "felt" like 20 foot swells.....sorry you had a not so good time...We sail at the end of next month.

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Hi Safeteeguy ~

 

We are also from Oklahoma and will be on the Conquest in December. We have previously sailed Disney, Princess, and Royal Caribbean. Sounds like you enjoyed your cruise but weren't overjoyed with it. I understand that. We took a Royal Caribbean cruise out of San Juan and it was our least favorite. The ship was new and we had a great time on a snorkeling excursion and enjoyed the shopping in St. Thomas & St. Maarten. But there was just something about that one that left us kinda luke warm.

 

We have thought about an all-inclusive vacation also. But we do enjoy going from port to port. June through November is so uncertain because of hurrican season. We always sail in December. The weather is still warm enough to enjoy the water.

 

I'd love to know where you are from in Oklahoma and compare notes.

 

Thanks for taking the time to write your review. They are always useful to others.

 

Cindy & Howard

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We have stayed at the Maison St. Charles a couple of times. Some rooms are nicer than others, but the price is right. It's not unsafe, nor is the area any unsafer than NOLA in general. I think many people have heard too many urban legends about New Orleans and might have pre-conceived notions about safety. As anywhere, common sense is the key. The trolley stops right in front of the hotel on St. Charles about every 5 minutes and takes you right to Canal St. From there, you can walk around the French Quarter or walk down the the Riverwalk, where the ship docks. We took our children to eat at the Riverwalk and then the Aquarium of the Americas.

 

The Maison St. Charles has free limo service to the NOLA cruise terminal, which is less than 5 minutes away. We thought the Maison St. Charles was a great value.

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Thanks so much for the review. It's good to hear a balanced review occasionally. Cruising is certainly not for everyone (thank goodness, as I would be devastated ;) if I couldn't get a balcony cabin when I wanted it, God forbid!). As a previous post stated, most of the "bads" were due to either your personal choice or weather. Not much to do about that. Were you aware of the set charges ahead of time? As a first time cruiser, it can certainly seem like you are being nickle and dimed to death. It usually takes one or two cruises to learn where you can improvise and figure out ways to save a few bucks. We are embarking on our 12th cruise 6/26 (on the Conquest) and are still learning things from Cruisecritic that we didn't know before. It's amazing how every time I get on here I find another interesting idea. Again, thanks for the review and I hope you will give cruising another chance at some point.:D

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I'd love to know where you are from in Oklahoma and compare notes.

 

Cindy & Howard

 

 

C & H

 

We live in Jenks.

 

Hope you have a great vacation!

 

Mike

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It's too bad about the weather, but weather problems last week would have affected many ships, not just Conquest.

 

I do want to point out that it was your choice to skip the formal nights, and those are the nights the best food (i.e. lobster) is available. I don't think it's really fair to complain that you didn't get lobster when you voluntarily gave it up because you didn't want to wear a tie.

 

I'm also glad to see that you enjoyed the shows. I enjoyed most of the shows on the Conquest, and I feel like they consistently get rapped here, especially Deja the Diva of Deception magic act.

 

The reason for my complaint is this: don't they make enough lobster for every passenger? They don't know who'll be attending formals and not attending. So where does all the leftovers go? Maybe it goes in the lobster bisque, which I did enjoy as a starter the following night. I just heard that you can eat anything on a cruise ship, but wasn't told there would be exclusions.

 

Deja was good and Marc Rubben was absolutley hillarious...I laughed tears!

 

Thanks for your follow-up.

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Were the hot tubs roped off because of the weather or for some other reason?

 

Did you have the new beds/bedding?

 

PS.....thanx for posting your review

 

All the hot tubs were closed because of chlorinating...

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I am sure it "felt" like 20 foot swells.....sorry you had a not so good time...We sail at the end of next month.

 

Actually, the swells felt like 40 feet, but the information on the tv from the captain's logs said they were 20 feet.

 

It was really fun to watch people walk. :D

 

Have a great vacation!

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Thanks for the review, we're sailing on her Aug 7. and we're also staying at the Maison St. Charles. Very excited to go. I'm having 2nd thoughts about hotel tho?? you said it was fenced?? is it in a bad neighborhood?? we're planning on walking down the street a ways to eat. You said it wasn't safe?? any comments from others would be appreciated.

 

 

Yes, it was fenced in and they locked the gates at dusk for some reason. I went over to the Wendy's next door and there was only one security officer posted inside, so it must have been pretty safe neighborhood to have only one officer.

 

The room they put us in was the two-room, 1.5 bath suite. We paid for the standard room, but the only room they had available was on the third floor in part of the building with no elevator. They saw that my DW was in a knee brace and gave us the suite at the same price.

 

They have a limo service to take you to the port on your sail date and you can park your car at the hotel for only around $5/day, but they don't pick you up when you return to port and you'll have to take a cab to get back. We chose to drive the few blocks to port and park in the lot there. It was $12/day, but debarkation was extremely smooth and we were back in our car in no time.

 

Hope you have a great vacation!

Mike

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Thanks for the review. I will be on the Conquest Oct 9th. What is cruise director Steve's last name? I thought Steve Cassells had moved to this ship. Is he gone again? Thanks Again.

 

I never heard of Steve, ours was Todd Wittmer, but I'm sure they switch out occationally.

 

Hope you have a great vacation!

Mike

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The reason for my complaint is this: don't they make enough lobster for every passenger? They don't know who'll be attending formals and not attending. So where does all the leftovers go? Maybe it goes in the lobster bisque, which I did enjoy as a starter the following night. I just heard that you can eat anything on a cruise ship, but wasn't told there would be exclusions.
Well, no, they don't. They don't have one lobster tail per person. They've been in this business for years and years and years, and I'm sure that after all this time, they have a very good idea of what percentage of their guests go to formal night, and what percentage of those order the lobster. Of course it's not an exact science, but it's probably pretty accurate. It's like colleges that give out admissions - they estimate how many kids to accept based on past rates of how many of those will come to the school.

 

You can't just go onto a cruise ship and expect to be catered to like a king, eating whatever hits your fancy whenever and wherever you want. Yes, there is a lot of food on the ship, but they do have a set menu, and you get your choices among what is there.

 

Also, if everyone started making demands (e.g. "I want the duck from two nights ago, I was sick and missed it") then it will be problematic for the chefs. Imagine if you had to cook for upwards of 3,000 people every night, it'd be a headache to take individual meal requests. I think it's also quite selfish. Different foods are cooked at different temperatures and with different ingredients. Say they can put 20 orders of beef at a time in the oven. Why should they have to then hold off on the next round because they need to use the broiler to cook one lobster? They shouldn't have to drag all the ingredients for lobster out just for one person. They're going to delay food for 20 people because one person "didn't feel like dressing up" for formal night the night before and is now demanding the lobster everyone else got?

 

As pointed out by others, you were not excluded from eating the lobster, it's just that you chose not to eat it when it was offered. That was your choice. It's like going to a buffet, deciding not to get the fried chicken, and then complaining later on that you didn't get to eat it.

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