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NCTribeFan

Conquest Premier Casino 5/31-6/8/15 Review

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I figured I'd better at least start a thread. That will motivate me to actually unpack, do laundry, upload photos, and write my review (none of which I've started).

 

This was Carnival #22 for me, 24th overall. I was solo again. I've been on Conquest before and had been to all the ports (multiple times for some), so I don't have a lot of photos and no food porn. I've had these same menus for too many cruises now (although there are some dishes I really enjoy). Still, I'm looking forward to the new menu in October.

 

OK, so since I'm at work, I'm going to go now and hope to at least get my pics uploaded when I get home. I'll need something to fill the time before the Cavs game tonight. ;)

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Photos are uploading so I may as well start writing.

 

So, if you don't have signatures turned off, you'll see that this was my 22nd Carnival cruise, 24th overall and my second consecutive Premier Casino cruise. I don't ever get the free offers and I don't get Pack-and-Play offers, but I've been getting the Premier offers lately.

 

Of course, since I'm often solo, these still aren't cheap cruises. Yes, the prices have stayed lower than ES (not by much, but remained the lowest price). And I get casino cash ("only" $300 each of these 8-night sailings). You also get priority boarding (don't need it since I'm Platinum), free drinks while gambling, sailaway cocktail party, and other goodies in the cabin.

 

I had much better luck in the casino this time. I'm a CPA, so I'm pretty conservative (unlike some people who were throwing down $100-$200 in chips each spin!! :eek: ), but I've decided I really like Roulette. :D

 

I hadn't planned on booking this cruise, but I always need a post-tax-season break and I'm not one to turn down a pretty decent deal on a cruise.

 

I'd sailed on Conquest before (2nd leg of the repositioning from San Juan to Miami in November 2013), and been to all the ports, too. My plan was to spend as little money as possible in the ports and I did a pretty good job at that, with only an island tour in St Martin and a day pass in St Kitts.

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Photos are uploading so I may as well start writing.

 

So, if you don't have signatures turned off, you'll see that this was my 22nd Carnival cruise, 24th overall and my second consecutive Premier Casino cruise. I don't ever get the free offers and I don't get Pack-and-Play offers, but I've been getting the Premier offers lately.

 

Of course, since I'm often solo, these still aren't cheap cruises. Yes, the prices have stayed lower than ES (not by much, but remained the lowest price). And I get casino cash ("only" $300 each of these 8-night sailings). You also get priority boarding (don't need it since I'm Platinum), free drinks while gambling, sailaway cocktail party, and other goodies in the cabin.

 

I had much better luck in the casino this time. I'm a CPA, so I'm pretty conservative (unlike some people who were throwing down $100-$200 in chips each spin!! :eek: ), but I've decided I really like Roulette. :D

 

I hadn't planned on booking this cruise, but I always need a post-tax-season break and I'm not one to turn down a pretty decent deal on a cruise.

 

I'd sailed on Conquest before (2nd leg of the repositioning from San Juan to Miami in November 2013), and been to all the ports, too. My plan was to spend as little money as possible in the ports and I did a pretty good job at that, with only an island tour in St Martin and a day pass in St Kitts.

Looking forward to reading your review....thanks for sharing. I'm a solo cruiser too most of the time and enjoy reading others' perspectives on that.

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I did some of my packing on Thursday evening, and got my mani/pedi on Friday evening. My flight wasn't until 3:50 on Saturday, so I finished packing and had way too much time on my hands, so I played some Dragon Age: Inquisition. Playing video games always makes the time fly.

 

The RDU Airport Taxi picked me up at 1:30. I get in the back and the driver says, "are you going on another cruise?" What? Yes, the driver had picked me up before. Not sure if it was for the 11/1 Splendor or 11/29 Freedom, but he remembered me. Apparently I'm more memorable that I realized. More on that later. ;)

 

I'm only about 12-15 minutes from the airport and just as we pulled up to the curb, I get a text from Southwest that my flight was delayed until 4:35. Oh well, I had a 1+ hour layover in BWI, so I should be good. Checked at the counter and was assured that all the connections were still OK.

 

I realized that I wouldn't have the time between flights that I'd originally thought to grab a bite to eat. So I decided to have a beer since the plane wasn't in yet. I walked up to the bar just in time to see Messi's beautiful goal. And then, suddenly, the plane was there, and people were already lining up. Of course, this was one of the rare times I actually was in the "A" boarding group. So I pretty much chugged my beer and got in line.

 

We were all seated by 4:20. But did we leave? Noooooooo! Of course not! We sat there. And we waited. We didn't leave at 4:35, either. Not a word from anyone in the crew. Finally, at about 4:50, one guy strolls onto the plane. And we finally left. But that meant my connection time was going to really be tight.

 

Naturally, because the flight was delayed, we weren't going to be at the gate next to my next one. Of course not! We ended up at B-something and I needed A-8. Turns out that's down one concourse, through the shops and eateries, down some stairs, and down another concourse. I wasn't quite running, but I was definitely speed-walking.

 

Finally get to the gate and they hadn't started boarding, so I trotted next door and grabbed a delicious-looking $7.99 turkey on wheat sandwich (I'm lying; it didn't look great, but considering I was really hungry, it tasted pretty darn good).

 

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The flight on to Ft. Lauderdale was uneventful (but freezing cold in the cabin). Good thing about the late arrival on the first flight meant my bags were just about the first ones on the carousel. Grabbed them both and headed to the phone bank to call the Hyatt Place for a shuttle pick-up.

 

First call, I think I got the wrong Hyatt because she transferred me to the shuttle driver, only it wasn't him, and when he tried to transfer me to someone else, I got cut off. So I pulled out my res (made through ValueTrips for $99, considerably less than through anywhere else), and called the hotel directly. Woman said the driver was right outside, so I accidentally hung up on her while I was trying to hold the phone, drag two suitcases, and keep my purse and carry-on on my other shoulder, and see if I could spot the driver.

 

He was looking for me, so I had a private van to the hotel. I've stayed there three times in the past. It's in a good, central location. They offer a shuttle to the pier, but I don't do that any more since it's really cheap for a taxi which will take you straight to Carnival. If you're sailing on a day with other ships in port, you could be the last to be dropped off after several other stops (which was my first experience).

 

I dropped my bags in the room, went down to the lobby and got a beer, took it back upstairs, and drank it while watching a little telly.

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Looking forward to the rest of your review! Enjoyed sharing time with you on this cruise!!

Pat

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Looking forward to the rest. I'll be on the Conquest in July.

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Looking forward to the rest! I stay in Cary part time for work. You must be close by

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I'm in Durham, just off I-40, across the interstate from Southpoint Mall. I work now just over the Durham/Orange County line in Chapel Hill. I don't often hear any noise from the airport, but I can hear the hum of I-40 traffic when on my patio. That is if it isn't drowned out by the screaming kiddies at the apartment complex pool that's almost in my backyard. Makes it difficult to have a relaxing day on the patio, reading. What is it with kids and proximity to water that makes them immediately starts shrieking and screaming at the top of their lungs non-stop?!? :p

 

Gotta get some work done. Hope to add Embarkation/Sail-away/Old-enough-to-know-better Sunday happenings later.

 

Hi Pat. Intend to message you, but you'll have to be patient. I haven't even fully unpacked or done laundry!

Edited by NCTribeFan

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Before I move on to Sunday, let me insert a few comments here. The Roll Call for this sailing was even less active than the one for my previous cruise on Freedom. It used to be that the longer cruises were much more active than shorter ones. I was used to having fairly dead Roll Calls on my Fantasy cruises, but have been very surprised by the lack of interest in these last two.

 

When I compare them to the two repo cruises (November 2013 Conquest 8-night San Juan to Miami; November 2014 Splendor 8-night San Juan to Miami), the difference is night and day. Our upcoming Splendor to Bermuda Roll Call is much more active. These unique sailing/itineraries seem to generate a lot more interest.

 

I couldn't get any interest in an excursion over to Nevis (only needed four people). I wonder if that "other" site-that-shall-not-be-named has anything to do with it. But those are pretty worthless to me since they seem to be filled with just the daily posting of a pic with a number (signifying the countdown clock) and lots of newbies who can't (or won't) do any research and just ask what seem to an experienced cruiser to just be inane questions that with even a minimal amount of effort they could answer themselves.

 

FFS, read Carnival's FAQs! Google things! Make some tiny little effort to find things out rather than just be spoonfed by a bunch of strangers. It's a lot like these boards but people here seem to make at least a little effort to find things out. I mean, they at least found the boards! I know I posted multiple times over there that people could come here to Cruise Critic and just DO SOME READING if they didn't want to sign up.

 

Anyway, there was no advance planning of anything, really. Two sort of semi-organized M&Gs - first one turned out to be when the people with kids (who were trying to organize it) needed to be signing them up for the kids' programs, and which they didn't discover until they boarded and saw the FunTimes; second one was originally suggested to be in the Library on the first sea day but then someone got John Heald involved and got an assigned time and place. More on that later.

 

And now I've probably just insulted a bunch of people. :o

 

Oh well. I do tend to do that with my often-too-blunt comments.

 

I'm not sure I met anyone who participated in the Roll Call other than "quickrate" and her DH. Turns out we have mutual CC/FB friends who we've sailed with.

 

And now, on to the action-packed Embarkation Day!

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I'm usually a pretty early riser, and this morning was no different. I had a shower and went down for breakfast. Hyatt Place has a decent breakfast. I need my protein, and they always have eggs and some sort of meat besides the other usual cereals, breads, juices, fruit, yogurt, etc.

 

Pat and Paul had originally planned to stay there and use their parking package, and we were going to share a taxi to the port, but since they live over on the Gulf Coast, they decided to just drive over in the morning and graciously offered to pick me up.

 

They parked at an off-site lot which shuttled us over and dropped us right in front of the terminal. We're all Platinum, so made sure the orange stickers were put on the bags before we headed inside.

 

I went straight through security and into the VIP check-in line. Somehow I ended up in front of The Diamond Couple who were on the shuttle with us. There was only one person working the desk at that time (it was about 10:20) and Mrs. Diamond apparently took offense that they were going to have to stand in line! Gasp! But, they're DIAMOND!! What were these other people doing in their check-in line??? :rolleyes:

 

Just like last time, on Freedom, the room filled quickly. I believe they put the Platinum/Diamond, FTTF, and Premier Casino people all in the same small room. Eventually, they had us go upstairs and wait, just to clear out the room a bit. I didn't look at my watch, but I know we were on board before noon.

 

I had an inside cabin on Riviera, 1419, which was the second forward from the aft stairwell. I went down and unloaded my bags and unpacked the wheeled duffle I'd hauled on and investigated my black Premier Cruise goody bag. It had the same things as last time except no bags of trail mix. There were two big cups (not Tervis), two white Premier lanyards, the drinks card, the list of the week's main activities, and the invitation to the private cocktail party and drawing at 5 pm.

 

Then it was up to the atrium bar to meet P&P for a drink.

 

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Met a guy called Hollywood who you just knew was going to be one of "those" people. You know the ones. The life-of-the-party people you keep seeing the entire cruise.

 

Time for my first lunch, so I climbed up to Deck 10 for my first of several Fish and Chip baskets. I also had the tuna and watermelon appetizer. I absolutely love those things! Such a unique combination of flavors.

 

I walked around a bit and then went back to the cabin to see if my suitcase had arrived so I could finish unpacking. Nope! But there were plenty of cases outside cabins that did not have orange stickers on them and tags that did not have Priority on them.

 

So I took one of my new cups and climbed back up to Lido (I'll tell ya, there are a whole lot of stairs from Deck 1 to Deck 9. A whole lot). I made a cup of tea and went out on the port side of Deck 10 and called my DD to say goodbye. When I went back to the cabin at about 2:20, my bag was waiting.

 

Still, the past four cruises I've taken, I have NOT received my bags any earlier than I used to in the days before FTTF. The orange sticker doesn't seem to make any difference.

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Do you by any chance have the fun times you could scan as well for this trip? Also, which nights were "formal" nights?

 

Sent from my XT1080 using Xparent Pink Tapatalk 2

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I do have them but I'm not sure when I might get around to scanning them. I can add photos to my posts but have never figured out how to add a pdf file.

 

I realized I haven't even said which itinerary we had! Silly me!

 

This was 8-nights - 2 days at sea, St Martin, St Kitts, San Juan, Grand Turk, at sea.

 

We sailed on Sunday, and the first formal night was Tuesday (2nd sea day) and the 2nd was Saturday (last port day, Grand Turk).

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My flight home wasn't until 5 pm and I was planning on purchasing the Everglades tour/airport transfer excursion, so I did that via the TV, which was very easy to do.

 

Then it was time for muster drill. I have issues with my back so asked the crew member near my muster station if there was somewhere to sit and wait and was directed into Alfred's Lounge. There was a crew member in there who came around with a clipboard and took down the names and staterooms of everyone there and handed out an instruction booklet that covered everything involved in the safety briefing.

 

When released, I headed up to Lido for something to eat between lunch and late dinner. There wasn't much open (they've changed the hours on several of the venues), so I had a couple of chicken tacos, which we quite tasty.

 

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I'm up on Deck 11, waving at people on the beach and on their balconies, and realized that it was 5:15, and the Premier cocktail party started at 5. I ran down many flight of stairs to the Degas Lounge, headed to the bar and found a small table in front of the bar. Server came by with a tray of very attractive margaritas, so I decided that seemed like a good idea. I passed on any finger food as I'd just eaten. Carlos, the Premier casino host was making the rounds and stopped to chat. Meanwhile, the young woman with the drink tray dropped off another margarita. Of course, I did not win the drawing, but the man at the next table won $200. This was to be a recurring theme this week. And then the young woman dropped off another margarita.

 

Strolling along with a drink in each hand, I decided to use the kiosk and load some funds to my account. I'd purchased various gift cards, most through Verizon when they were available. It took me a while to do this as I couldn't quite seem to get the machine to read them when I just swiped them, so had to key in the numbers and, for some reason, I kept getting it wrong. I can't imagine why!

 

Then I headed to the casino for my first go at the Roulette wheel. Prior to my Freedom cruise, I'd only ever payed the slots. Over the years, I've had some nice wins, but mostly it's like throwing the money overboard. Some times I could play for a long time on very little money; other times I could blow through $100 on a penny slot in 30 minutes.

 

I always found Roulette enticing since you aren't playing against the others at the wheel and there's certainly no skill involved. My betting on a particular number doesn't mess up the person next to me. The people don't get rowdy like those crazy craps players (who were really loud, obnoxious, and annoying). To me, Roulette is so very, you know, Monte Carlo! :p

 

So I played for a bit, and somehow I ended up with another margarita. I looked at my watch and announced I needed to go get ready for dinner, and cashed out my chips. I was feeling mellow, but didn't feel at all drunk.

 

The next thing I knew, it was the middle of the night and I was sitting on the bathroom floor, freezing, in my little nightie, calling ralph on the big, white telephone!

 

I'm 62 years old and apparently don't know that I shouldn't consume four strong tequila drinks in approximately 1-1/2 hours.

 

This was my 24th cruise and it was the first time EVER that I missed dinner! I mean, until I discovered Ginger Root (thanks to Cruise Critic), I'd always suffered from mild-to-moderate seasickness on my sailings, but I'd NEVER missed dinner!

 

Good grief. Didn't I feel foolish! :o

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Thanks for doing a review...always love a well written review!! I also love the ships that have the fish and chip area upstairs...:)

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Love the review. We will be on the Conquest in Aug. and would love to see the Fun Times!! Please try to post them later. Many thanks!! John & Priscilla :)

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The next thing I knew, it was the middle of the night and I was sitting on the bathroom floor, freezing, in my little nightie, calling ralph on the big, white telephone!

 

I'm 62 years old and apparently don't know that I shouldn't consume four strong tequila drinks in approximately 1-1/2 hours.

 

 

I have never heard that expression before. You made me LOL.

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I woke up starving at about 8:30, trying to comprehend just what had happened yesterday. I was surprised I didn't feel worse, but I guess that's the plus side of your body deciding it didn't wish to be poisoned with tequila!

 

I broke my stairs-only rule and took the elevator up to Lido, but once I got there, my stomach told me it wasn't really ready to get back to normal. I had a couple bites of scrambled eggs and half a croissant, made my tea with extra milk and took it outside on Deck 10 to read. I like it up there in the area between the outside of the the Fish & Chips and the steakhouse, in the section that recessed. Found a lounger that was half in the shade. It was very, very windy, and I was actually a little chilled in the shade. Part of that could've been my body still recuperating.

 

I made another cup of tea and went down to the casino at 10:30 for the drawing, then decided to try the area up front where the Serenity Deck should be. I still don't understand why they didn't put this in when they did the 2.0 renovations. All they needed was to get rid of the ping-pong tables, put cushy lounger and hammocks, and add a couple of hot tubs. They could even skip the hot tubs (they just attract groups of loud drinkers bellowing across 3 feet of bubbles, which isn't very serene). Anyway, not a lounger to be found, but I found a semi-reclining chair (like they have on the balconies) and tried to read, but there were too many screaming kids and noise from the big TV.

 

Feeling hungry again, I decided to have a Guy's Burger. Now, I got braces on about three weeks prior to sailing (yes, I'm 62 and needed braces to shift my teeth due having dislocated my jaw in my sleep by grinding and docs didn't feel surgical intervention was the solution). So I took my burger up to the F&C seating and proceeded to eat it with a knife and fork. Once again, I was mildly disappointed. They're too charred. So I stuck to other lunch options for the rest of the cruise.

 

As I mentioned before, someone in the other group had posted to John Heald that we'd like an informal meet & greet and we were told to be in Alfred's at 2. I got there and there was only one couple. A few people trickled in, and at some point, a Carnival employee showed up and was talking to some folks. I think there had been some miscommunication along the way. I believe whomever set this up had told Carnival the TOTAL number of group members and they were expecting a whole bunch of people. The reality is there were maybe two dozen of us, so the bartenders and drink servers probably could've done much better elsewhere on the ship. No, I wasn't drinking! We did have door prizes! Won my first-ever ship on a stick! Sadly, I think I won it for being the oldest person there (although it turns out Pat "forgot" she's actually a little older than me). Both of us were also on our 22nd cruise and would've won for that but we graciously allowed the person with "only" 21 cruises to have the valuable prize!

 

Next up was to try to read out on the exterior promenade on Deck 3. I love it out there because it's one of the few places that it's usually quiet. The problem is there's little or no sun. I was actually shivering.

 

Time to get ready for the first elegant evening. I showered and dressed in my lovely tunic that I bought from Noreen Phillips in Antiqua. Waiting to head down to the MDR, I stopped at the door of the piano bar to give a listen. I ended up not spending any time there. I'm really not a sing-along kind of person. In fact, I'm really picky about music and performers. Anyway, a woman walks up and says, "are you Joan?" Uh oh. I've been recognized! She saw the clothes and recognized me from my profile pic on FB. LOL.

 

Since I hadn't been in the MDR the first night, I had to find my table. I'd requested a small table, since I didn't want to inflict my struggles with braces on a bunch of strangers, or try to conduct dinner conversation with lettuce stuck in the wires. I was at 430, which was next to P&P at their large table in the middle of the lower level, near the entrance. The table behind them appeared to be several solos, and they kept inviting me to join them, but I declined. People don't seem to understand that I actually enjoying eating alone (not every cruise, but some cruises), and I enjoy people-watching, as well as watching the servers work. When you're busy chatting, you don't have time to observe.

 

Service didn't start out very well. This is the third consecutive cruise where I've felt rather invisible at dinner. Two have been solo, but before that was the Splendor repo when I was with a friend (but we were alone at a booth for 4).

 

After dinner, I went to the theatre and got seats for Epic Rock (which was pretty good), then headed to the casino to get my $300 casino cash. I'm walking toward the cage when someone taps me on the shoulder. I turn around, and there's a drink server who says "Miss Pinot Grigio!" It was Ademar from Bosnia, who had been on my Freedom premier cruise. These people continue to amaze me. Not only did he recognize me from six months ago, but he remembered what I drank! Seriously. How many hundreds (thousands, maybe) of faces do they see over a six month time frame, yet they recognize and remember people. This has happened before on cruises and I'm always just astounded.

 

I did not gamble, but took my money and headed right to my cabin to finish my recuperation.

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I slept until nearly 9 am, which is unheard of for me. Gotta love those nice, dark interior cabins and comfy Carnival beds! Feeling totally back to normal, I got my first made-to-order omelet, ate upstairs, and headed out to read. It was even more windy than yesterday. Seriously, so windy that it was hard to hold my book.

 

Didn't win the 10:30 casino drawing again.

 

On my way to lunch, I actually looked at the buffet menu (which I rarely do), and decided I needed to try a bit of the jerk chicken and red beans & rice. I topped that off with a basket of fish and chips. Hey, I needed to make up for my missed meals of the past two days, right?

 

Time to give the Roulette wheel another try. I ordered a Peach Bellini and blew through my $100 in about 20 minute. I just never have much luck during the day and never do well unless others are playing.

 

Read some more, then went to afternoon tea. I do rather wish Carnival would get it together and have the savory items served before the sweet, but I'm not going to complain. As long as I get both smoked salmon and scones at some point, I'm happy. :D

 

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Back out to read on Deck 3 for a bit, and soon it was time to get ready for dinner. Again, it took too long to get a menu, water, and give my order. This was a recurring theme. Now, once my order was taken, it all went very quickly. Most nights, I was done by 9:10!

 

I was done so early I had time to stop for some Roulette before going to the show. Why is it I always seem to be winning when I need to leave and do something else? The Brits was OK; not as good as it's been on some prior sailings. I still hate that the Queen song is included. They were NOT part of the British Invasion and the song they use is from the 80s! If you're going to do a show about a particular era, then don't put in something from 15-20 years later!

 

Anyway, back to the casino where I did very well (for me).

 

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Love those black chips!

 

I was in bed by 12:15.

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