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Twintowngirl

Conquest review 2-7-15---2-15-15...St. Maarten, St. Kitts, San Juan and Grand Turk

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Well, I have been wanting to enter the review writing world for the past couple of years but never had the time or the knowledge of how to go about it. Being recently retired I do have more time to figure things out on a computer and will make an attempt at a review of my most recent cruise. I hope you enjoy it and also, if anyone has suggestions for how to do it better, bring it on!

 

I am a single gal from Minnesota and am lucky enough to be able to travel with my sister, who is also from Minnesota. We started cruising in 2009 and have made an attempt to go once per year ( although this year we are lucky enough to be going twice!), mainly in the wintertime. February seems like a perfect time to escape the harsh winters we have so that is when we usually go. We are part of a bigger group of travelers and we have all gone together since 2011. In 2013 we met more people via facebook and CC who were all on the same ship and so have sailed together for the past years. It is fun to see familiar faces from year to year and always fun to meet new people from all over.

 

So we began to plan for the Conquest of winter 2015 trip immediately after we got off the Breeze in 2014. We were lucky enough to have a larger group plus a travel agent in our group who took care of the booking etc. Once we knew the dates of travel we began putting everything together. My sister made our hotel reservation at the Best Western Hotel, Fort Lauderdale Cruise Port. She booked online for 118.00 for one night after reviewing it on trip advisor and CC. It seemed like a good price! The reviews said that the hotel was within walking distance to several restaurants as well as shopping.

We were lucky enough to get a good rate on a direct Delta flight from Minneapolis too thanks to my sister's frequent flier miles. More money for shopping or buckets of beer on the ship!

 

We traveled a day before the ship set sail and since we like getting to Florida fairly early in the day, of course we had an early morning flight. I had said that when I retired I would never set my alarm clock this early again! Well, maybe when I am traveling to a tropical destination I will!

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We got to the airport in plenty of time and were thankful that it wasn't terrible crowded. I was lucky enough to have TSA prescreen on my boarding pass so breezed through the line....my poor sister ended up in a longer line. We still had time for a nice breakfast at Caribou coffee and then were ready to board the plane.

 

Almost there!

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We landed a little early at the Fort Lauderdale airport and got our luggage quickly. Once we were outside we were surprised by the cool, windy weather...it was 69 degrees with a light rain. Still warmer then 16F in Minneapolis. My sister called the hotel to let them know we were ready for pickup and we waiting about 40-45 minutes for the correct van to pick us up. There must be a ton of Best Westerns in the area.

 

Hotel

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We had a standard room...everything was in good repair and clean.

Pool Area

 

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This hotel is across a street from a McDonalds and a shopping center with several stores, including a Winn Dixie. We decided to eat lunch at the tavern there called Slackers. It had good reviews everywhere we checked.

 

My Slacker burger....Yum!

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The service was good and the beer cold. It is owned by someone who is a big Green Bay Packer fan so a lot of the pictures and decorations are of Wisconsin sporting teams.

 

We did a little shopping for snacks to bring on board the ship and then sat out by the pool area. For dinner that night be went to Grille 401 in Fort Lauderdale. It was a fun miles from the hotel, so probably not within walking distance. The food was great but a little $$$. I had a salad with beef tenderloin, greens and blue cheese for 18.00. It also has a busy happy hour but someone in our group had made reservations so we breezed right in, on a Friday evening! After dinner we made a stop at Total Wine to pick up bottles to bring on board. We usually all get a different bottle and then have a wine tasting night...more about that later.

 

Once we returned from dinner, we spent the evening at the hotel, relaxing and getting ready for a fun day of embarking on Conquest.

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Saturday Feb 7th...My sis and I both had a good night's sleep at the hotel and woke up about 7 or so. THe hotel has a free breakfast so we didn't have to venture out to eat. The food was ok, variety of fruits, breads and pastries, eggs, sausage and cereal. The hotel offered a shuttle service to the port for 8.00/PP with times of 10:30 or 11:30. We had arranged for the 10:30 shuttle when we checked in the previous day so we got our luggage together to get in line....everyone else was trying to beat the rush!

 

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I was surprised how organized it all was. The shuttle driver began to call the passengers according to which ship we were on and we got in first. This also meant that we would be the last people off the shuttle. It is a quick drive from the hotel to the port and once everyone else was dropped off at their locations, we arrived at the Conquest docking area. The porters were right there to take luggage and that part went pretty quickly.

My first site of the Conquest:

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Once we made it through security we were informed that there was a mechanical problem with the main gangway and we would have to enter the ship in the hull area. It seemed like the area was super crowded and took longer then it has ever taken to embark but I could understand why. Part of our group did Faster the the Fun and they were able to board about 30 minutes before my sister and I did but we found chairs and got to do some fab people watching.

This is the make shift "gangway"

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We finally made our way on board the Conquest. Our group usually meets somewhere on the Lido deck. We had to soak up as many rays as we possibly can during this cruise. Once settled in to our chairs I ordered my favorite fruity beverage, A Kiss on the Lips.

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Time for a little party in paradise!

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Thanks for the early and positive feedback! We loved the itinerary of this cruise and enjoyed the Conquest too!

 

Not too long after getting onboard we went to check to see if our room was ready. We were in room 8376, a port side balcony room. It seems like we had just got there and we were called for the muster drill. This went pretty quick and smoothly. We were lucky enough to stand by 4 young male flight attendants from Italy who were on holiday! We got to see those fellows frequently on the ship over the next week. Sometimes in their Speedos!

 

Now it was time for lunch so we headed to the pizza station in the aft section of the ship....yum!

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Once we were done with lunch, we set out to explore our new home for the next 8 days. This is the first time anyone from our group had been on the Conquest. It has a French painting theme that some thought a little gaudy but I enjoyed the colors and decor. Our luggage was some of the first to arrive...the fast to fun folks waited a long time for theirs! We waited to unpack because we wanted to be on the Lido deck for the sail away party.

 

Other ship leaving port:

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Soon it was our turn to leave. I never get tired of the view as we pull out of the port.

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More review to come....I am waiting for my photos to load in Photobucket. It has taken me half of the day to figure out how to upload and resize the photos. Now that I have the hang of it, I hope to gain some speed with posting! Good night for now!

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I'm doing this itinerary on 5/31 on a Premier Casino cruise. Did one on Freedom 11/29/14. Sailed Conquest 11/16/13 on the repo from San Juan to Miami.

 

I really like sailing from FLL. I always stay at the Hyatt Place and now just take a taxi rather than the shuttle. First time, the shuttle got "stuck" at the Princess ship and we couldn't get out for a very long time. Taxi from the Hyatt was only $11 (shared with another solo cruiser), so we gave $7 each to cover the tip and went straight to the ship. No waiting to load all those people and luggage and then having to stop multiple times.

 

Anyway, looking forward to more even though I've been to all the ports and been on the ship. I just love reading reviews of ships & itineraries I'll be sailing soon! :D

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Ok...I'm back with more photos! It seems to take a while to upload them through photobucket so I selected a bunch and let them do their thing overnight. That might be the way to get this job done.

 

Cabin 8376:

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Balcony:

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Next time I travel, I will make sure I pack my wide-angle lens for better pictures of the room. We loved the location of our room, close to the center of the ship and easy access to the Lido. One thing we did notice was noise in the evening from the Lido on deck 9. We could hear what sounded like carts rolling across the floor when we first got into bed. It wasn't anything that kept me awake but just an a little aggravation. We probably will be a little more selective with cabins in the future. My sister and I had originally booked an inside cabin and we had several price drops before me made our final payment. In November our TA called to say that Carnival was offering an upgrade to balcony at no extra charge. Well, we jumped on that chance!

We also had another price drop after our final payment was made that was applied to our accounts as an on board credit. We had received another one because of booking with a large group. I like having a padded up account to start things off with!

 

Our first evening at dinner was casual attire and a good chance to meet up with people we had met on previous cruises. We chose the late seating and were in the Monet Dining room at the rear of the ship. The late time worked out well most of the time. I think that twice we left dinner before dessert was served ( yes, I said that!) because we wanted to get good seats at a show that began at 10:15pm. A few nights our dinner seemed to take a long time for food to arrive and we would leave the dining room at 10-10:15.

This is my first night's dinner...Ceasar salad and the salmon.

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After dinner we zipped over to the Toulouse Lautrec theater for the show Latin Nights, which I enjoyed. My only recommendation would be to not sit in the front row as there is a dance where water gets splashed all over the place. The front row is provided with rain ponchos!

I did take a few pictures before I realized that photos were prohibited...

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I loved the music and dancing of this show and highly recommend it!

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I look forward to your review. I will be doing this same ship/itinerary in Nov 2015. So far so good. Thanks for posting.:cool:

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More, more, more!

 

I'm sailing this same itinerary in December and can't wait! Conquest is the only ship I've ever sailed on and I'm excited to be sailing on her again. Looking forward to the rest of your review!

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This was taken the first night on the Conquest. We were blessed with wonderful sunset views every night of the the cruise.

 

Our first two, full days on the ship we sea days. The weather was usually pretty good...sunny and warm but we did have a few passing rain storms that were both very brief. One time the wind was so strong it was able to blow the Lido deck chairs all over. Everyone made a mad dash to find shelter. The Lido decks were full of people starting very early in the morning. Our group would usually wake up at about 7 and head on up for chairs. We usually had 6 chairs together and would stager who was going to eat or to the gym so we could watch each other's belongings.

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It was nice having two full days without any ports to relax and explore the ship.

Mike Pack, Cruise Director...always in motion. Loved his enthusiasm!

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Love the Blue Iguana, especially the breakfast burritos. We love the "condiment station" there as it offers several varieties of salsa plus watermelon. Perfect place for lunch. The only complaint would be that they do not have tortilla chips. If you want chips and salsa you have to bring your own or purchase them at the shop on board. I just went without.

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One day we tried the fish and chips place for lunch and it was pretty good. We didn't have to wait too long and the fish was pipping hot and tasted fresh.

I usually skipped the Lido deck buffet hot food and went there for fruit and salad. One of the sea days several from our group went to the dining room for the Sea Day brunch. It is served from 8:30am-1:00pm in the Monet Dining room. They have a lovely fillet on the menu that got rave reviews from our gang. Of course there is always Guys Burgers too, which I sadly didn't take a picture of.

 

More ship photos on my next post...I am at the max.

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This sort of art work is everywhere to be found:

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House band, Six Appeal....They were great to listen to. The guitar player ( on the right with long hair) is from Argentina and absolutely fabulous. He performed during the show Epic Rock also and had a couple of fantastic guitar solos.

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Whale/dolphin mosaic tile in one of the swimming pools:

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Taste Bar fellows...Loved these guys! They were so entertaining. I would always ask, "what are you serving tonight?" and in unison they would say whatever it was they were serving in a sing-song way following by "yeh hah"

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Alchemy Bar ...Great place for Martini tasting and they will mix up a cocktail that is sure to fix whatever ails you!

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Looking forward to the rest of your review. We are on the Conquest with the same ports in October. By any chance do you have your funtimes that you could scan and upload? Also, what terminal in Ft. Lauderdale did you sail out of?

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I mentioned previously that our dinner table was in the Monet Dining room. We were at table 467 which was in the center, second table inside the door. Perfect location. The first formal night we were lucky enough to sit by the Captain and some of the other officers:

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I had lobster that evening which was good but the servings are small. It is such a rich food served along with the butter so I was fine with that. My appetizer was the Greek Salad which was delicious. Notice how I usually never say anything bad about the food! I am not picky about what I eat.

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I think that we had originally planned on going to the piano bar after dinner but the entertainer was sick for several days and couldn't perform. Eventually he was well enough to be back at the piano and put on a show. He was a bit raunchy and talked a lot more then he played but we enjoyed him.

This is Gustavo:

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and sexy Gustavo:

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Time to upload a few more photos...Next to come...Port of call...St Maarten and St Kitts.

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Looking forward to the rest of your review. We are on the Conquest with the same ports in October. By any chance do you have your funtimes that you could scan and upload? Also, what terminal in Ft. Lauderdale did you sail out of?

 

TerReuv....I do have the fun times from this cruise and will try and scan them.

Is there a certain section that you are interested in?

Not sure which terminal number we sailed out of, I wasn't paying attention to that!

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My sister and I have been to St Maarten on previous cruises and did a land tour so we decided we wanted to have a beach day on this great island. I would have to say that it is one of my favorite ports. The shopping is great, the beaches are beautiful. Along with our Minneapolis friends, we decided to head to Mullet Bay and then Maho beach to watch the planes coming and going. Once we arrived on the island we headed to the building in back of the St.Maarten sign and arranged for a cabbie take us to the beach. The driver had another smaller size group headed to Maho first so we joined them and he dropped that group off first. He charged us 12.00 each for the ride. Maho beach was absolutely packed that day when we arrived. There were a total of 6 ships in port that day and things were hopping. Our group was hoping that things would quiet down a little bit before we made it back there. We had planned on walking to Maho from Mullet as it isn't that far, but once we were finished at Mullett a cabbie offered us a ride and then a ride to port for 8.00 so we agreed to that.

Mullett Bay beach...beautiful water and beach area. Only bathroom facility is a port-a-potty in the parking lot. Several food stands and one place offers WiFi for a fee. There were a few topless women at this beach, although they were in chairs and under their umbrellas....not out walking. Really, no big deal.

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Sissie relaxing on the beach:

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Maho Beach:

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We watched several small planes coming and going at the beach. This bigger one took off and just about blew the fellow in the white shirt off of the fence. I took cover when the plane started taking off due to the sand blowing all over.

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We did have a drink at one of the beach bars but decided to head back to the port due to the crowded conditions at the beach. Our taxi driver was waiting for us and we were soon back in town. We did shop a little bit and then I took the water taxi back to the dock ( 3.00 one way) while the rest of our group walked around the bay and back to the dock.

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399.jpg

 

My sister and I have been to St Maarten on previous cruises and did a land tour so we decided we wanted to have a beach day on this great island. I would have to say that it is one of my favorite ports. The shopping is great, the beaches are beautiful. Along with our Minneapolis friends, we decided to head to Mullet Bay and then Maho beach to watch the planes coming and going. Once we arrived on the island we headed to the building in back of the St.Maarten sign and arranged for a cabbie take us to the beach. The driver had another smaller size group headed to Maho first so we joined them and he dropped that group off first. He charged us 12.00 each for the ride. Maho beach was absolutely packed that day when we arrived. There were a total of 6 ships in port that day and things were hopping. Our group was hoping that things would quiet down a little bit before we made it back there. We had planned on walking to Maho from Mullet as it isn't that far, but once we were finished at Mullett a cabbie offered us a ride and then a ride to port for 8.00 so we agreed to that.

Mullett Bay beach...beautiful water and beach area. Only bathroom facility is a port-a-potty in the parking lot. Several food stands and one place offers WiFi for a fee. There were a few topless women at this beach, although they were in chairs and under their umbrellas....not out walking. Really, no big deal.

IMG_0067_zpslmqpzwqn.jpg

 

Sissie relaxing on the beach:

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Maho Beach:

IMG_0073_zpslrecz5ex.jpg

 

We watched several small planes coming and going at the beach. This bigger one took off and just about blew the fellow in the white shirt off of the fence. I took cover when the plane started taking off due to the sand blowing all over.

IMG_0083_zpsbcyddwbd.jpg

 

We did have a drink at one of the beach bars but decided to head back to the port due to the crowded conditions at the beach. Our taxi driver was waiting for us and we were soon back in town. We did shop a little bit and then I took the water taxi back to the dock ( 3.00 one way) while the rest of our group walked around the bay and back to the dock.

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Enjoying your review. I'm doing this itinerary on this ship in October. Never been on the Conquest. Been to all the ports before and enjoy reading and seeing your pics of everything.

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Shoot...just noticed I have a duplicate post. Not sure if the moderator of this thread can remove it or not. I will be back later today and tell you all about what we did in St. Kitts!

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