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sissyfromcab

Christmas Cruising on the Conquest 2013 - Photo Review w/Fun Times

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I love reading reviews and seeing what others have done on their cruises. I meant to do a review previously, but never got around to it. When we booked this cruise, I didn't find much information about Christmas cruises, so hopefully my review will help someone in the future!

 

My husband, Travis, and I (Kristi) are both teachers in North Carolina. While we love what we do, it means traveling when we are out of school - this year, the only time our time off overlapped was Christmas. Normally we drive to Michigan (where it's COLD and SNOWY!) to visit family, but this year we wanted to try a cruise (where it's warm and sunny!).

We had booked a last minute cruise the week before Christmas last year on RC Liberty of the Seas and had a great time, so looked first at RC. Sticker shock put the cruise plan on hold. Then I looked at Carnival, which we have also sailed on, and the prices were much more reasonable. Travis wanted to visit as many new ports to us as possible, so we booked the Carnival Conquest out of Miami to Nassau, St. Thomas, Puerto Rico, and Grand Turk.

 

 

Travis and Kristi

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I saved all of the Fun Times and papers we were given, but I still have to scan them. I also took over 1400 pictures. Now that school is back for the semester, I may not be able to finish quickly, but I promise I will finish!

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So excited to read your review!! My DH also works for the school system in NC!! We are doing the same cruise in April during spring break and I'm so excited!! It's been hard to find details on this itinerary with pics of the fun times! So thanks for doing this review!!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Great start, cant wait for the rest!

 

Cute t-shirts! :D I'm on the Conquest in 6 days!! Can't wait!

 

Thanks! I love Christmas and wore a Christmas every day, so keep an eye out for the others!

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So excited to read your review!! My DH also works for the school system in NC!! We are doing the same cruise in April during spring break and I'm so excited!! It's been hard to find details on this itinerary with pics of the fun times! So thanks for doing this review!!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

Great start, cant wait for the rest!

 

Thanks to both of you!

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I had a lot going on with exams the week before Christmas, so I procrastinated until the last minute, but the night before we left, I had to paint my toes for Christmas (since they were actually going to be in sandals and not woolly socks!)

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Saturday morning started out early (for me at least) with breakfast at my favorite, Panera! Yum! We then put the address for our hotel into the GPS. It was about 8am and said we would arrive at 7:30pm. With stops, we expected it to be closer to 8:00 or 8:30, but much warmer than our normal drive to Michigan!

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Things didn't go quite as planned.... We've driven to Florida several times and it's normally super easy. Take 40 to 95 and get off when you see the ships. Well, apparently, everyone on the east coast had the same idea of heading south for Christmas. This was our view for most of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida (until the exit for Disney).

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On top of that, about an hour into the drive, we figured out that the AC wasn't working and it was HOT and sunny! It made for two hot, crabby people in our car.

 

The one plus to the traffic is that I was able to get (sort of) a picture of the cool bridge in Jacksonville that Travis always likes.

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We ended up getting to out hotel (Hampton Inn Airport in Miami) at about 10:45... our 12 hour drive turned into a 15 hour one! We both collapsed in bed and enjoyed the wonders of AC until morning. I didn't get any pictures of our room (pretty standard hotel room).

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Can't wait to hear more about your cruise! We were on the Conquest in October, while she was still in New Orleans, and had a great time!

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Oh no! Sorry to hear about the traffic and the A/C. At least it wasn't something more serious. Glad to read you made it to Miami. Now.....cant wait for the rest of your review!

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Sunday morning we slept in a bit after our long drive. When we got up, I realized charger for my camera at home, so we made a trip to Target and picked up a new one. (I have several extras, but wasn't sure they were all charged up and didn't want to risk running out of batteries over the week!:eek:)

We had signed up for the hotel shuttle to the ship. It was scheduled at 11:15, so we sat in the lobby and played games (me on my new Kindle Fire and Travis on his school iPad) while we waited. The shuttle showed up on time, but it took several minutes to load up all the people and luggage. We were the only ones on the Conquest and one couple was on the Glory. Then there was a large group (probably 15-20 people) on one of the Norwegian ships. We prepaid for the shuttle on the way back, but they told us they would only take us to the airport and then we would have to call the hotel shuttle back to the hotel. We were a little worried about how long it might take, but it ended up working out better than we thought. (More on that later.) We headed to the port and arrived about 11:30.

 

Our first view of the ship!

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This next part requires a little bit of back story. Travis is a runner - like marathons and triathlons. Most of the fall, he was having pain in his right foot. He finally went to the doctor around Thanksgiving and they figured out that he had plantar fasciitis. He had to wear a special sock to deal with it and felt a lot better after a couple weeks, so he decided to go for a run with his running group. He was so excited to be able to run again that he took off on his own without a light. He made it about 100 yards before he stepped on the curb and twisted his left ankle. It swelled up about the size of a softball and hurt so bad the next morning that he went to urgent care, because he was afraid it was broken. It turned out to be just a really bad sprain, but they gave him a brace and crutches and told him to take it easy for a couple weeks.

By the time we left, he was mostly off the crutches and could walk, but we were both worried about something happening on board or on an excursion, so he decided to bring the crutches along. We have had enough experience with baggage being ruined, that we knew to carry on the crutches ourselves (and it was easier for him to use them with a heavy backpack to carry while I rolled the carryon). When we got off of the shuttle, one of the baggage guys saw me struggling to handle two large suitcases and one small suitcase and Travis on crutches and quickly took the two large bags that we were checking. We then headed inside to check-in.

We first had our passports checked by some sort of security person and then went through metal detectors and had our bags scanned, before we got to head upstairs to check-in. They were training a new guy on how to hand out boarding numbers and split people up into lines and he handed us a boarding number (somewhere in the upper 20's). They were boarding lower 20's then, so we would have pretty much waited in line and walked right onto the ship. But one of the managers noticed Travis on his crutches and told the trainee guy to give us a priority boarding card and she personally took us to a special line. We only ended up waiting about a minute before getting to a check-in person!

 

Gimpy Travis and our priority boarding

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The lines as we boarded... not horribly long, but would have taken a while.

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From there, they offered to let us take the elevator, but there were several people in wheelchairs, so we managed the escalator. We were on the ship by noon!

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We went up to the lido deck for lunch. I had read about Guy's burgers and how great they were and knew that we should start our cruise with one, so that's where I directed us to. I tried a pig patty and Travis had a plain cheeseburger. I wasn't a huge fan of the pig patty, but found later in the week, that I like the regular burgers with the crumbled bacon from the toppings bar much better. Travis loved his burger and had one almost every day! We also tried the new pizza. I didn't get a picture this day, but I had the four cheese and Travis tried cheese/mushroom/pepperoni over the course of the week. We both LOVED the pizza and had slices almost every day at lunch.

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While we were eating, servers were coming around with trays of free champagne. We each tried a glass, but it was pretty cheap, so we stuck to one even though they were coming around with trays and offering more.

I also tried some desserts. The strawberry cake pops looked yummy, but were mushy and gross, so we both stuck to chocolate chip cookies.

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After that, we wandered around the ship for a little bit before heading down to our room.

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thanks for the review... we're considering the Conquest in Sept, so I'm looking forward to more ship photos :)

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Shore Excursion Flyer

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Photo Gallery Flyer

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Internet Flyer

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I have copies of most of the other flyers (spa specials, etc) if anyone wants to see them, but didn't scan any others so far.

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can't wait for more - heading out on Conquest for Christmas 2014 - almost identical itinerary. Will be our first cruise. Subscribing. Keep the pictures coming!

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After lunch, we explored the ship. I was looking for Christmas decorations as well. Here is what we found:

Christmas Gingerbread Village - near Alchemy Bar

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Casino

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Promenade - near Coffee Bar and Future Cruise Desk

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Entrance of Main Show Lounge

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Atrium (There was also a small Christmas tree and Menorah - about 6' each).

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Shore Excursion Desk

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There was also a big red mailbox labeled Letters for Santa. It was cute, but I forgot to get a picture of it, because it was in an out of the way place and we didn't see it often.

I was underwhelmed by the Christmas decorations. At the time, I thought it might be that I was comparing them to the RC ship we had gone on last year at Christmas. But seeing pictures of the big tree in the Atrium of the Glory makes me think that I was just missing a big tree to make it feel really grand. The tree in the atrium wasn't much bigger than the tree we have at home, so it just didn't feel special.

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We made our way back to our room about 2pm and our luggage was already waiting for us!

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We had a balcony on deck 7 near the aft stairs and it was a great location! We loved that it was just 2 flights up to the lido (mainly the pizza, burgers, and ice cream) and 2 flights down to all of the venues on deck 5.

Our only problem with our room was the neighbors on one side. They were THAT family. They seemed to be a large group that had only booked a couple balconies, but they were all in and out of the room at all times of day and night. Several of them would sit out there and chain smoke. There were several kids that would slam the door every time they went out onto the balcony. They were just rude and loud and everything you don't want in neighbors. Not much you can do about it, and we didn't let it ruin our trip, but it was still annoying.

I took a bunch of pictures of our room, because my dad and stepmom are thinking about an Alaskan cruise and wanted to see what the rooms were like. (These were after I decorated.)

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More pictures of the room - this time the bathroom...

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Pretty normal bathroom for Carnival, but we actually got some decent goodies on this cruise compared to our last one.

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I had a problem the whole cruise with figuring out where to put my shampoo and stuff in the shower, since we had no shelf. I ended up balancing several bottles on the shampoo/soap they provided, but it was always precarious. Bad design Carnival - girls need a shelf in the show to put their stuff on!

 

We did have a problem with the shower that we didn't discover until later though. If we took a shower when the ship was at sea, this was the result:

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I'm not sure what was wrong with it, but it didn't drain properly the whole cruise. We just mopped it up as best we could and left the soggy towels for the room steward to take care of.

Edited by sissyfromcab

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Thanks for taking the time to share these pics and details related to Christmas. Next year on our Carnival Cruise (same dates as this) we'll be on board with my daughters, aged 2 & 4. Still trying to work out how we'll explain Santa bringing/not bringing gifts on the ship versus waiting til we get home... Good to know there's a letter to santa mailbox! Thanks and look forward to future posts :)

 

 

Marylena

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One other question about the room - we are also going to have a balcony room, but will be sharing with our kids. Does the couch fold out or down? Wondering how there'll be space for the 4 of us...

 

 

Marylena

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One other question about the room - we are also going to have a balcony room, but will be sharing with our kids. Does the couch fold out or down? Wondering how there'll be space for the 4 of us...

 

 

Marylena

 

We've only had 2 person rooms, but my understanding is that they will turn the couch into a bed and there is a pull down bed in the ceiling to make it like a bunk bed over the couch. You should be able to find pictures on Carnival's website.

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Great review and nice pictures. We enjoyed our cruise on the Conquest as well. We enjoy sailing at Christmas time.

 

Happy cruising! It's a great way to travel!

Edited by JimAOk1945

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If you click on one of the Photos...it will take you to the same photo in Photobucket...above and to the right side of the photo there will be a block of 9 white squares in between the Prev and Next...click the 9 blocks and you will get the Photobucket albums on the left of the screen. :):):):)

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We had muster outside by the lifeboats. It was December, but it was HOT and HUMID! One girl near us almost passed out!

We then headed up to our balcony for sailaway. It was our first time actually watching sailaway from our balcony, since we've only had oceanviews until our Liberty of the Seas cruise and sailaway was delayed until about 8pm and we missed it!

I loved seeing the shadow of the whale tail on the water.

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The two Norwegian ships had left while we were mustering and it looked like we were next, since we were third in line, but the Disney ship left next.

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I LOVE Disney World and would sail on a Disney ship in a heartbeat if their prices were slightly reasonable!

While we were waiting, someone decided that it would be a good idea to feed the seagulls from their balcony. Bad idea, very bad idea. The seagulls swarmed all of the balconies for about 5-10 minutes!

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Next up was the Glory.

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Finally it was our turn (almost an hour late)! At least we got to see a pretty sunset over Miami as we left.

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We have never left from Miami before, so it was interesting to see the highway that ran right along the ships. Travis was loving all the expensive fast cars and watching a few of them race. He claimed this was going to be his back-up home when we retire:

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The white car waiting for the ferry is apparently some super car. I had never heard of it, but Travis was impressed.

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Good bye Miami! Don't look forward to seeing you in a week!

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Only one ship left behind us. We couldn't tell what it was. NCL Epic? MSC Divina? Can anyone tell?

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We got to see the pilot boat in almost every port, which was neat. I can't imagine being able to jump from a very large moving ship onto a small moving boat - I can barely get onto a tender when it's wavy!

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Sometimes life gets in the way of writing reviews! :o

Thanks for your understanding. I work two jobs and am taking a class. I also had to take over an extra class for an instructor that had unexpected pregnancy issues, so haven't had a lot of free time to work on this! I would much rather relive my cruise than do Calculus 3 homework!

Enjoying your photo review...nice Christmas toenails...could you provide your Balcony Cabin Number? :):):):)

7400 - Great location!

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I would much rather relive my cruise than do Calculus 3 homework!

 

I can't even imagine! No apologies necessary...I'm enjoying your review. :)

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After sailaway, we got dressed for dinner and spent more time exploring the ship. We generally choose late dinner, because it allows us to spend more time in port on port day and we can always get a snack (ice cream cone, anyone?) if we are hungry before dinner.

I'd read about the Taste Bar where the sushi used to be and hoped to try out several of their offerings, but sadly we only made it there on the first night. Tonight was the Blue Iguana - some sort of tomato based soup and spicy shredded chicken. I liked the soup and drank all of mine, but thought the chicken was too spicy. Travis thought pretty much the opposite - he liked the chicken and thought the spicy-ness was just right, but the soup was bland.

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We wandered around deck 5. Travis normally plays in the arcade for a bit at some point, so we went in to check out the games and found this:

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It looked pretty cool and was normally behind a gate, so that guests couldn't see it. I don't think Travis ever made it back to play any games, probably because nothing looked all that great.

 

After that we headed to the very aft area, near the lounges.

The outside of the Vincent's Bar looked pretty neat. It looked like it was straight out of a Van Gogh painting.

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But the ceiling inside was AWESOME!!

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