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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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Another NC cruiser here...enjoying your review...great pictures!!

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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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