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bigmacfan

My Conquest Review from 5/30

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This was the second Conquest cruise for my traveling buddy and me. The first one was last summer and we liked it so much we decided to do it again.

We arrived in New Orleans on Saturday via Amtrak and took a cab to our hotel, the Hilton Riverside. We had booked this through priceline for $45. This hotel was very nice and was sold out for the night, so we felt lucky to have the $45 rate. My only complaint was the way they handled luggage. There was a bellman to take them from the taxi for you and gave us claim checks for them and told us that he would load them on a conveyer and to go to the bell stand after getting a room assignment to tell that bellman where to take them. I saw this as a way to get us to pay bag tips twice (which we did). We left to explore the city and grab a bite to eat. We ended up eating at Mother's. I had the Debris sandwich and was a little disappointed. The atmosphere of the restaurant was priceless and we had a good time and I didn't regret going there, but I didn't care for that sandwich. My friend had a ham and cheese and didn't care for her sandwich either.

We got up on Sunday morning and went to Cafe Du Monde for breakfast. We really enjoyed this! We then went back to the hotel to check out and head to the port. We arrived at the terminal at about 11:00 and were on the ship eatinig lunch at noon. Check in was very smooth, but I did run into a VERY rude security lady. We bought a case of water and tried to put a luggage tag on it and have it delivered with our luggage, but the porter told us it would never arrive to our cabin, so we had to carry it on. Our rum, beer, and soda were locked away safely in our checked suitcases with our collapsable cooler.

We had a balcony cabin on the Panorama deck (deck 10). This was a wonderful location and we enjoyed our first balcony very much! Our cabin steward kept our cooler full of ice without us even asking him to (he got an extra tip for that one).

Dining Room: We had the 8:30 dinner time. We have always had late dinner, might try early next time??
We found the dining room food to not be as good as it has been in the past. Specifically, the meat didn't seem to be as high of quality as it was in the past. This statement applies to Lamb and beef. Let me say, I did get some good beef...it was just hit and miss. The waiters, of course, were very accommodating and offered to bring something else out when they noticed we hadn't eaten much. We requested, and received a table for two as we don't really like the pressure of making conversation with strangers all week. I know others really enjoy this time, but we do not..so were very please with our table for 2.

On this itenerary, the first two days go by at a snail's pace and I love that. The two days to just relax and get ready for the port days do me wonders. Steve Cassel was the cruise director. There are those who are not Steve Cassel fans, but I love his goofy humor. I had him as a CD last summer as well and was pleased to have him again. The assistant CD, Sara was also very good. One of the social hosts was good, but Sam was ....well...a rambling idiot! I thought he had absolutely no stage presence and really rambled on and on and on about everything.

[B]Jamaica:[/B] We took a cab to the Sunset Beach Resort and paid the $20 per person day pass fee. They took our Sail and Sign cards at the desk and returned them when we left. This was the deal of the century! They have three pools. Two of the pools connect to a swim up bar in the middle of them. There are two other bars, a buffet, a grill that serves jerk chicken and burgers, beach chairs, snorkel equipment, umbrellas and clean changing/rest rooms. The $20 pass included all of this. I saw some crew members there, which reinforces that this is a good place to go. I just laid in the pool and ordered dirty bananas all day (they use fresh bananas in it!!!). The cab ride was $5 each way (per cab, not person). There were plenty of JUTA cabs ready to take us back.

[B]Grand Cayman:[/B] We took the ship's reef and wreck snorkel tour. We did this one last year as well and loved it both times. The snorkeling is amazing. After the snorkeling, we walked to Subway in town for a fast bite to eat and then took a cab ($3 per person) to the Royal Palms Beach Club on seven mile beach. We, however, did not go to the beach club. We got off there (because that is the easiest place to catch a cab back) and walked one block to the next hotel. There are signs from the road indicating where the public paths to the beach are. The hotels do not actually have "private" beaches, except right up near their property where their chairs are. So, 3/4 of the beach to the water is actually public (although they don't advertise this fact). We brought one of those "neat sheets" from home and spread it out on the sand and had a wonderful day on the beach with ample room around us. In fact, I think there were only a couple of other people in front of this hotel. Tons of room, unlike the beach club's wall to wall people. We then went back to town for a little shopping before catching a tender to the ship.

[B]Cozumel:[/B] I want to start by saying that we have never like Cozumel...until this year. We went to Paradise Beach and played Mini golf. We took a cab to the beach ($12 per cab)Paradise Beach was amazing! It wasn't crowded at all, was extremely clean, had great food and drinks, had great service, and was a great day. Our waiter took great care of us in our beach chairs all day and ran a tab for us. I would absolutely recommend this beach!! We then took a taxi to Mini golf downtown ($13 per cab). We enjoyed this as well and loved watching the iguanas play while we golfed. This is really a nice place and Sally will even give you a claim check for your bags and hold them while you play! We did a little shopping and took a cab ($6) back to the ship.

[B]Overall complaints:[/B]Room service was the slowest that I have ever encountered. It was at least an hour EVERY single time we called (which was 8 or so times for the week) and we always tipped, too.

The hot tubs were not working at any point during the week....NONE of them. Not the one in the spa, not the ones by any of the pools. Six hot tubs on board and none of were EVER open. Little odd, I thought! [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif[/img][img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif[/img][img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif[/img]

[B]Final thought:[/B] We took things much easier this time. We didn't see very many shows at all and tried to remember that we were on vacation and didn't HAVE to take everything in just because it is there. In the past we have both been guilty of thinking we had to do everything and see every show just because it was being offered. We like to get up at 6:00 or so...so doing those late night things really made me sleep deprived by the end of the week and a little grouchy. So, this time I took it easier and got more sleep. I enjoyed my vacation more for it this time. I also really enjoyed my balcony. While I won't say that I won't go without having one...I sure would prefer to have one and really feel they are worth the extra money (IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT!).

There were no unruly kids on board and no unruly adults either [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

We sat through a "carnival vacation club" talk and received our free companion airfare for doing so, but declined to purchase into this time share for Carnival cruises.

I'm sure I have left things out and hope I didn't ramble too long on you! Please don't hesitate to ask any questions that I might be able to answer.

Sovereign of the Seas 06/00
Inspiration 06/02
Carnival Conquest 06/03
Carnival Conquest 05/04


[img]http://escati.linkopp.net/cgi-bin/countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=4169e1&cdt=2004;5;30;16;30;00&timezone=GMT-0600[/img] Until the Conquest sails!!!!!

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How much was cab fare to Sunset Beach Resort? Did the $20 include food, or was that additional? Also, would this be a good place for kids? We did Rose Hall Beach Club last year, and I wasn't overly impressed with the experience. Looking for something new to do this October.

Celebration 5-98
Holiday 9-03
Conquest 10-03
Counting Down to Conquest!
[img]http://escati.linkopp.net/cgi-bin/countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=111111&cdt=2004;10;03;16;00;00&timezone=GMT-0600[/img]

Then On To The Sensation...
[img]http://escati.linkopp.net/cgi-bin/countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=ff0000&cdt=2005;1;29;16;00;00&timezone=GMT-0600[/img]

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The cab fare to and from Sunset Beach resort was $5 each way. The $20 included all you cared to eat and drink. We arrived at 8:30 and they were serving breakfast at the buffet until 10:00. At 10:00, the grill opened and the lunch buffet started at noon. The bars opened at 10:00.

I think it would be great for kids. As the afternoon wears on, it gets a little louder near the swim up bars as people have more to drink. HOWEVER, there is a completely separate pool that is quiet as there is no swim up bar...you actually have to get out to get a drink! Also, don't wander too far down the beach...there is an au natural area...we went too far by accident and realized it immediately. [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif[/img][img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif[/img][img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif[/img]

Sovereign of the Seas 06/00
Inspiration 06/02
Carnival Conquest 06/03
Carnival Conquest, again 05/04

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[B]Forgot the most impressive thing...for me anyway[/B]

I got my butt into the gym and did aerobics on the three sea days....I was SO proud!

Sovereign of the Seas 06/00
Inspiration 06/02
Carnival Conquest 06/03
Carnival Conquest, again 05/04

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We stayed on the Spa Deck last year and I didn't even LOOK at the gym lol! This year we'll be in a stateroom far from the gym, but I'll be using it on all sea days.

Do you know if there's a website for Sunset Beach? I'd love to get more info on it, as I think this is what we're going to do.

Celebration 5-98
Holiday 9-03
Conquest 10-03
Counting Down to Conquest!
[img]http://escati.linkopp.net/cgi-bin/countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=111111&cdt=2004;10;03;16;00;00&timezone=GMT-0600[/img]

Then On To The Sensation...
[img]http://escati.linkopp.net/cgi-bin/countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=ff0000&cdt=2005;1;29;16;00;00&timezone=GMT-0600[/img]

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Bigmacfan,
Were you worried about giving your Sail/sign pass to the desk at Sunset Beach Resort? Does each person hand over their sail/sign...or just one member? Were drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) included in the all inclusive fee? How was the food? Was snorkling available and how was the area for snorkling? Would my 14 and 18 year old daughters be happy here for the day? Was any shopping nearby? Sorry I have so many questions, but my family has usually gone to Drs. Cave Beach and paid for everything individually and Sunset Beach seems to be a better deal...can you email me more info? [email]junebaker@houston.rr.com[/email]
thanks so much in advance! And again sorry for all the questions [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

June
[img]http://escati.linkopp.net/cgi-bin/countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=ff0000&cdt=2004;06;13;18;00;00&timezone=GMT-0600[/img]
Until We Leave on the Conquest, AGAIN !!


Conquest 2003
Pride 2002
Inspiration 2001

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Bigmacfan,
Thanks for taking the time to write your review of the Conquest. I am so excited to have booked a balcony guarantee for our cruise. We debated between an inside and balcony; but decided to spent the extra hundred $$$. I know some people think that the extra $ is a waste since you're not in the room that much; however, I think with the balcony we will be in the room more to enjoy it. (My theory is- if you don't have a balcony of course you won't stay in the room a lot... who wants to look at 4 walls!)

Sunset Beach sounds nice... we may check it out in September. We are definately going to Paradise Beach in Cozumel. Do you happen to know how far away Margaritaville is to Sunset Beach?
Are you posting any of your pics to the web? If so, let me know. Thansk in advance for any other information you have.[img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

Debra

[img]http://escati.linkopp.net/cgi-bin/countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=800080&cdt=2004;9;19;11;0;00&timezone=GMT-0600[/img]
Girls Only Conquest!

[img]http://escati.linkopp.net/cgi-bin/countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=800080&cdt=2005;2;12;11;0;00&timezone=GMT-0600[/img]
Sensation Family Cruise

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I wouldn't think that snorkeling at Sunset Beach would be very good as it is a sandy bottom, so there wouldn't be as many fish as there would be around coral.

All food and drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) are included in the price. In fact, there are fountain Coke machines that you can access yourself and don't have to ask the bartender for a soda. The food was good, I thought. Breakfast was scrambled eggs, pancakes, sausage, bacon, hard boiled eggs, bread baskets full of bread for toast, english muffins, bagels, etc. There was great coffee (so I hear from my friend...beats the ship, that's for sure), orange juice, water, etc. After you get your food at the buffet, you sit down at a table and they serve your drinks, etc to you. The grill had some spicy jerk chicken and great fries. The burgers looked good as well. We also sampled some of the lunch buffet of chicken, grilled fish, veggies, salad, etc.

The bartenders were not skimpy on the alcohol and they have red stripe and red stripe light beer on tap. I had great pina coladas, daquiris, dirty bananas, and I forget what else!

I think children would have a great time here, at least the ones I saw were having a great time. I would suggest that you stay around the non swim-up bar pool the later that it gets for more quiet, but it was never really wild since we were only there during the day time. I would guess that the all day drinking by the pool would make it quite loud at night (as with any all inclusive place).

We didn't have a problem leaving our S&S cards. We couldn't think what they could do with it on land [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]. Seriously, they put them in an envelope with your name on it and return the envelope to you when you leave...no problem. But...they do require all S&S cards, not just one person's.

In terms of the distance between Margaritaville and Sunset Beach...it is a little farther away than the ship is. If you have ever been to Montego Bay...Sunset beach resort is the opposite way from town...turn right out of the terminal and it just down the road...but too far to walk! You can see it when pulling into port. It is the resort with the two tall orangish towers on the right when you are pulling in. I would think you would add about $5 to the cab fare to Margaritaville since it it a $5 cab ride from the ship to Sunset Beach in the opposite direction from Margaritaville. But..sorry I do not know how much it is to Margaritaville from the ship

Sovereign of the Seas 06/00
Inspiration 06/02
Carnival Conquest 06/03
Carnival Conquest, again 05/04

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[img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]
Thanks so much for all the info!
Will pass it on to the family and see what they want to do!!

June
[img]http://escati.linkopp.net/cgi-bin/countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=ff0000&cdt=2004;06;13;18;00;00&timezone=GMT-0600[/img]
Until We Leave on the Conquest, AGAIN !!


Conquest 2003
Pride 2002
Inspiration 2001

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I cant wait to see all this for myself. Thanks for the great review.


[img]http://escati.linkopp.net/cgi-bin/countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=FFA000&cdt=2004;11;14;18;00;00&timezone=GMT-0600[/img]
Until my ship has come in!!!!! Conquest - 11-14-04

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Hi!
Thanks for the great review! My husband and I sailed the Conquest too last yar in May. We are now debating whether to take it again or sail on the grandeur of the sea that leaves out of New Orleans also. I know we are going somewhere in November this year.

You listed the positive aspects that I was thinking. A relaxing vacation for a change! My husband is all for that since his favorite place on the boat was the sports bar with all T.V.s.

Well, what do you think of Grandeur of the Seas, did you consider another boat or cruiseline?

thanks,
Hamp 6.5
Conquest 2003

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Good review. We've been on the Conquest before and will sail her again in December. You made a comment about the "Carnival Vacation Club". That's something I've never heard discussed on any of my cruises with Carnival. Is it like one of these timeshare presentations, etc.?

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The Carnival vacation club is new...just rolled out a month or so ago. It is a timeshare plan where you buy "points" up front to be used for cruising. You also get some deals on resort vacations throughout the world. Wasn't a good deal for us, however..but might be good for some folks! This is only available on-board (or so they said)

You do not have to reserve the day pass ahead of time, just tell them at the gate.

I would actually like to do the Grandeur, but like to sail in the summer when it is not there. I have done RCL in the past and loved it and would do it again, but nothing offered from NOL in the summer.

Sovereign of the Seas 06/00
Inspiration 06/02
Carnival Conquest 06/03
Carnival Conquest, again 05/04

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Great review. We went last Sept and not sure that we will make it in October (very upset about that), but will definitely be going again. We had the best time! My question, what is the "neat sheet" for the beach? Sounds like a great idea.

Thanks

Amy
Proud Member of O.A.T.C.
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Till the Conquest again!!!!
Celebration 10-07-02
Conquest 9-14-03
Conquest 10-24-04

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Very nice review. I never heard of Sunset beach and will keep this in mind next time I go to Montego Bay.

I did find the website, beautiful pools! You have to look through the website to find some photos. There's not very many of them.

[url="http://www.sunsetbeachjamaica.com/"]Sunset Beach Resort and Spa[/url]

Next Cruise: Alaska - 2005!

Triumph, Inspiration, Holiday, Explorer of the Seas, Granduer of the Seas, Glory, Conquest, Sensation

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Thanks for the great review! Now, I'm really leaning towards doing Sunset Beach. You mentioned the pool areas, how are the beaches? Does the $20 include a chair/umbrella? Also, you said you were on there by 8:30....what time did the boat dock? I was thinking we weren't in Jamaica until 9 a.m? One last Q.....any idea how far this is from Rose Great House? I'm wondering about taking a taxi to tour the house before or after Sunset beach....just not sure what the taxi cost is to Rose Great House.

Melissa

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I thought the beaches were narrow, but nice. As is typical in other areas of Jamaica, there is a lot of "vegetation" (don't know what it is) under the water. I never go anywhere without my aqua socks, so I was fine.

There are chairs, umbrellas, etc everywhere on the beach and by the pools and are included in the $20 cost.

The "neat sheet" is a product manufactured by the Kimberly Clark company. Their website is [url="http://www.theneatsheet.com"]www.theneatsheet.com[/url] However...I buy mine at Wal-Mart. They are around $8. The work well for us. They have built-in weights on the corners for not blowing away.

Sorry, I don't know the proximity of Rose Great House to Sunset Beach Resort.

The ship docked earlier than expected/posted in Jamiaca...about 8:00 rather than 9:00. Just head downstairs when you realize that you are docked.

Sovereign of the Seas 06/00
Inspiration 06/02
Carnival Conquest 06/03
Carnival Conquest, again 05/04

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I loved reading your review. It makes me miss the ship. We sailed during Mardi Gras and loved it. We are going on the Conquest again this Thanksgiving and will be on the Panorama Deck. Since you were up so high, did you feel the motion? When we last sailed on the Conquest we were near the bottom (oceanview). We hardly ever felt any movement down there, but when we went up to higher decks we did. Were the rooms quiet?

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Sounds like you had a great time on your vc /
we are thinking about going on the conquest in dec ? x-mas cruise
we have always went on DCL but its a little pricey for the 10 day x-mas cruise /
can you compare them ?
also at sunset beach resort sounds like you got free drinks as well for the $20.00 ? is that right ?
we dont care for coz either love grand caymans though.

thanks for any advise you can offer on both ??? conquest vs DCL
and sunset beach resort ?
thanks cmatt

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[font=Garamond][size=3][color=navy]Great review!! Thanks for sharing!![/color][/size][/font]
[font=Garamond][size=3][/size][/font][color=navy] [/color]
[font=Garamond][size=3][color=navy]We're booked on Conquest for the 10/31/04 sailing, and were thinking about doing the day at Sandals. They charge $50 for the day, and you have to sit through a 15 minute presentation. [/color][/size][/font]
[font=Garamond][size=3][/size][/font][color=navy] [/color]
[font=Garamond][size=3][color=navy]It sounds like Sunset Beach offers the same thing for a lot less!! [/color][/size][/font]
[font=Garamond][size=3][color=navy]Thanks for the link Brenyznfl! I'll have to check it out!!! :) [/color][/size][/font]

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