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PARADISE found, plus our CONQUEST of two more ships (with pics) - 4/14/2018


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Hello again everybody! For those that do not know me, my name is Jeff “Jamman54” Maskall, and along with my lovely wife Patti, have just returned from another nearly month-long vacation. This retirement thing is really a lot of fun! Once again we spent some time in Orlando before driving to Tampa to board the newly refurbished Carnival Paradise for a five day cruise to Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Our good CC friends Jim and Pat were also on this cruise, and it was great to share some of our casino, dinner, beach, and pool time with them. We can’t wait to sail with them again on the Pride in October.

After our Paradise cruise was over, we drove from Tampa to Fort Lauderdale where we spent a few days before we boarded the Carnival Conquest for a six day cruise to Amber Cove, Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay, and Nassau. We called this our “cabana” cruise, since we had cabanas booked at our first three ports of call.

Once again there were many “firsts” for us on these two cruises. With over fifty cruises under our belts it’s pretty cool that we seem to have “firsts” on every vacation that we take. This would be the first time that we have sailed on the Paradise and Conquest. In our quest to sail the fleet we could now cross these ships off the list. Our goal is to sail at least one new ship, to us, each year. We had never cruised from Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades), before. We were very impressed with our first experience there. Lastly, we had never been to Amber Cove, so we were excited to finally visit there.

This review will cover both cruises, plus our time in Orlando and Fort Lauderdale. As always, we will be giving you a lot of detailed information along with lots and lots of pictures. This will help you decide if you would like to sail on these ships, or visit the ports of call we visited. We like to make these reviews fun, and to make you feel that you are sailing along with us. Folks, grab yourself a DOD as this is going to be another long one!

Patti once again took well over three thousand pictures during our journey. I brought my laptop along so that I could download the photos from our cameras daily, and try to keep up with resizing and cropping as we went along. It soon became apparent that there was no way that I could keep up with Patti’s itchy trigger (shutter) finger, so as I write this, only the Orlando and the Carnival Paradise cruise are fully finished. I will work on the rest daily as I write this review, so that I can stay ahead of the game. For those that are wondering, our go to camera is the Canon PowerShot XS710 HS, and our water camera is the Fuji FinePix XP60.

So, on Sunday April 8th at 9pm in the evening, we began our latest journey. In October of last year we learned how to, or was it how not to, pack for a month vacation. This is what our month long packing looked like. We both agreed that we still packed too much…..


This is the obligatory “we’re leaving Ryan at home with the cats for a month, see you later photo”. See how happy we are……



Once again we will be driving down to Florida. We like driving overnight so that we miss the morning rush hours of Baltimore and Washington, and there is hardly any traffic at all. I just set the cruise control at, ahem, 79 mph and just steer between the white lines while listening to tunes all night long. We usually make quick potty and/or gas stops every two hours or so. After nine hours of driving we were ready for some breakfast so we stopped at the Patti’s favorite place, Cracker Barrel, in Santee, South Carolina…..




About three hours later we were crossing the border into Florida……




We always take the I-295 bypass around Jacksonville. Here we are going over the Dames Point Bridge…….






Two hours later we had made it to Orlando. I-4 is still a nightmare, and not for the faint of heart! To think that it’s going to take six more years to fix this mess. Yikes!!!


To be continued…..


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So excited! I’ve read a few (not all as I only “learned of you” just about a year ago) of your reviews, and I find them very informative and fun!


You drive during the middle of the night? Hats off to you as I would never be able to stay awake!

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We arrived at our hotel a little after 2pm. Once again we stayed at the Rosen Inn International at 7600 International Drive. This hotel in not 5 stars by any means, but is very clean, convenient, and caters to a mostly British clientele.Got to love those Brits! Lol. Plus, for $80 a night you can’t beat the price. Without even asking, we were given the same room that we had last October…..


As you can see, our room was spacious, clean, and had plenty of amenities….











As is our custom, we went to the Brick House Tavern for our first dinner in Florida. After dinner we went back to the hotel where we crashed for the night. We were so exhausted from our drive down that I think we were asleep by 9pm.


To be continued…..


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The next morning we were up at 8am and ready to go. They have a really nice breakfast buffet here at the hotel for like $10 per person, which we utilized just about every day. Our plan for today was to head over to City Walk at Universal. The hotel runs a free shuttle over there, so we arranged to be on the 10am shuttle. It was not a very nice day. It started to rain and didn’t let up all day. Here I am on the way into the City Walk……


Here are some City Walk pictures…..











To be continued…..

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This is the Grill and Brew where I will be taking up residence while Patti shops and takes pictures……





Because the weather was crappy, Patti was not happy with the quality of the pictures, but I’ll share some with you anyway. Patti would return later in the week to do some hotel exploring and got some much better pictures, which again, I will also share….









To be continued…..

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Patti continues on her shopping and photo tour……


We decided to have lunch at Margaritaville …..




Here we are enjoying our drinks…..




Here are some pretzels and conch fritters to get us started…..






The volcano inside of Margaritaville erupts every half hour or so…..




The first shuttle back to the hotel wasn’t until 5pm, but since the weather continued to be crappy, we decided to leave early. We easily were able to grab a cab for $11 with tip and head back to the hotel. I hung out there for the rest of the day, though Patti took a drive over to a nearby Walmart to pick up a few things.Hope the weather gets better tomorrow!


To be continued……


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So excited! I’ve read a few (not all as I only “learned of you” just about a year ago) of your reviews, and I find them very informative and fun!


You drive during the middle of the night? Hats off to you as I would never be able to stay awake!


Thanks for reading! For me, driving during the night is so much easier. I just make sure to take a long nap before we leave. ;p


Jamman54, looking forward to another great review!


Thanks for coming along for the ride once again! :D

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Welcome back Jeff, looking forward to this!

Sent from my iPhone using Forums


Hey there! Always glad to have you along for the ride. Hope we get to cruise with you guys again in the future! :D


Yay!!! Love your reviews! And I am headed to Universal on Sunday so bonus pictures! Although I am not following it up with a month of cruising...:(:( Maybe someday! ;p;p


Glad to have you along! We love Universal and we always stay at the Royal Pacific when we vacation there. There will be some more pictures from Universal a little later in the review.:cool:

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I got the big popcorn so I can get the free refill, I have a feeling this is going to take a while.:D


Hey Joe, always glad to have you back! Enjoy all the free popcorn you want, and there will be a Happy Hour special! :D

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Hi Jeff, it's always nice to see you back with another wonderful review and great pictures. I'm looking forward to following along! :D I'm glad you are enjoying retirement.



Hey Heather! Glad to have you back on board once again! :cool:




Thanks for reading. Just getting started. :cool:

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