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momof4boys

Just back from the CONQUEST!

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Ports:

 

Jamaica- We booked the Dunns River Falls/Dolphin Encounter throug CCL. We docked at the pier and was off the ship with no problems--no one hassling us or selling anything (as posted in some spots) It was raining so our bus waited a little for people waiting in the terminal. The bus was nice and our guide Denise was friendly and informative. The bus trip was @ 2 hours with a stop in the middle for bathroom/drink break. Our group was surprised with the poverty on the island. There were huge mansions across from one room shacks with clothes hanging on a clothesline outside. Many dwellings had rain water collection boxes on top of the roof in case of water shortages or water company troubles. We passed by some new AI resorts being built that looked beautiful, but over all, their economy looks a bit depressed. We had to travel long stretches of dirt roads to get to the falls which was again very surprising. They are getting ready to hold the World Clup for Cricket (their #! sport) so the island is working hard to get some roads completed.

 

The falls were great. We were running a little late (due to waiting for the people to originally board the bus) so Denise found us two climbing guides and up we went. On the ship during the port talks, we were warned NOT to buy the video the people make at the falls. They told us the video neve makes it to the ship. However, after we climbed, when the guy offered the CD to us, he said he would have it ready at the Dolphin place and we would pay after we got it. (Let me say, it was worth every penny! Our group was in it a lot!!! The wilder and happier you act, the more he takes footage of you!) The falls were a blast to climb--some of it easy, some of it challenging, all of it beautiful!!!

 

After the falls, we went to Dolphin Cove to touch the dolphins. They are beautiful animals and we enjoyed that a lot, too. We then ate (late--@2:00, then headed to the bus. On the way back, it really stormed and we were running late. We did not take a rest stop and some of the muddy/dirt roads made for exciting riding! :eek: Because we were late we did not have time to shop-a couple of the kids quickly bought shirts in the terminal on the way back to the ship! Great day!

 

Grand Cayman--It stormed on the way to GC at night and when we arrived there in the early am..quite a lightening storm. We wondered if our excursion to the Stingray Sand Bar would be canceled. The earlier one at 8 was cancelled and they tried to reschedule those folks. However, by around 9, the storm was stopping and although overcast, off we headed to the pier. Tendering was no problem. We did take ginger root pills and some added non drowsy dramimine/bonine. Once you get sick, those things don't help for a long time, so we were proactive!

 

We took a bus to a boat to go out to the Sand bar. The weather was perfect for the 40 minute ride--not blazing hot, a little overcast, with warm water. After a quick talk about touching the stingrays and using the snorkel floatation device, we jump into the water, and were surrounded by stingrays. It was amazing! After touching, feeding, kissing, and picture taking with the stingrays, we headed back. This is when it really got interesting!

 

(If you read my post on the GC board, you can skip this part!) The guides announced the bars were open and pictures could be viewed on the upper deck. My friend and I went up to view our pictures when one of the guides came running up the steps, pushing us aside, and yelling to the captain to turn the engines off---"The engine is on fire!" My friend and I looked over the ship to the lowere level, saw people (including my family) running to the front of the boat and putting on those yellow snorkel vests. The boat stopped and we headed down to be with our family and hear what they saw. My DH was sitting on the engine cover (along with a little boy laying down with motion sickness!) The dad of the ill boy, picked the boy up, ran to the guide in the front, saying that cover was getting really HOT! The guide ran back, opened the cover, and flames were actually shooting up from the engine!!! They grabbed three fire extinguisers and quickly put out the fire. By then DH had camera out and got pictures of smoke coming from the engine. (I will have DH post the pics when he gets home tonight!)

 

The boat was now stranded in the middle of somewhere (guess about 7 miles from land) but we figured we were fairly safe from fire. It was about this point that my wild and craziy group began humming and singing the Gilligan Island song (You know the one about "a three hour tour!!") We all started clapping when a tour boat loaded with people came by and tried to tow us. The name of the boat (with pics to prove story) was the "SEA FIRE." Well, it was too full of people so she left us as everyone waved goodbye.

 

Next Capt. Bryan's empty ship came to thunderous applause and towed us to close to the pier. He could not get us closer, so again we were left to float. Now a big empty boat came, shoved us against the bus departure parking area (part grass part concrete). Half the peple got on that boat, and the rest of us climbed over this concrete embakment to be saved (hopefully some time soon) by a bus. A very old (and I mean old) school bus soon arrived to more cheers to take us to the port area. Well, I know that usually when you take an excursion from the ship, they have to take you back to the place you started. However, this nice man was probably not in any way connected to the CCl excursion we booked, so I felt free to ask him if he would drop my group off at Senior Frogs. (It was on the way) He said "sure". After a slightly hair raising ride (Our brakes jerked and made some noise and the entire bus thought we hit the car in front of us) the kind man stopped the bus in front of Sr. Frogs and not only did our group get off, we emptied the entire bus!! After many more laughs about our 3 hour tour--we boarded the tender back to the Conquest with wonderful memories! Plus, we did not get charged extra for all the excitement!!!

 

Cozumel--What a fabulous day!!! We endered into the port and quickly found a van that could take all 13 of us to Paradise beach. It cost us $7 pp round trip plus our kind driver -Rafeal--stayed with us at Paradise Beach and said he would return us whenever we wanted. When we got there, he quickly found us an attendant,--Manual-- and helped get our bracelets, and then went to wait on us to have a fine day!! Manual found us 13 chairs and umbrellas, (got us 2 extra since some of us are very fair) and took very good care of us all day. As you can imagine, 13 people ordering at different times might have taxed some, but not Manual! He was fantastic! The beach and area was immaculate and the toys a blast. Food and drinks reasonable (bucket of 5 beers was $14.00 & margaritas yummy) and food was great. Bathrooms and showers clean. Beautiful all the way around! EVERYONE had a blast! We would go back in a heartbeat! No one wanted to leave. When we finally left, Rafeal took us to Carlos and Charlies (near shopping) and wanted to wait for us but we insisted would could walk back. I found the people here honest, kind, and friendly!!!

 

 

 

Formal nights. Monday and Thursday nights. Last year we rented tuxes, but this year we coordinated suits, shirts, and ties. The women were split between long formal gowns and mid length gowns--all very nice! Without going to each and every table I can't tell you for sure, but everyone around us was dressed in very nice suits, formal gowns, or sport coats with ties.

 

Regular dining room- Our younger guys wore polo shirts with dark pants or khaki pants. Wome/girls wore dresses or pants with suit jackets. Men mostly wore sport coats and last night on ship wore button down/polo shirt with nice pants.

 

Drinks-nice assortment of wine and margaritas on board were good. Be sure to keep your CCL drink of the day cup for refills.

 

Billsrob- they do have both types of liquor you asked about. My son ordered a B & B just for you and he payed $6.04 including the gratuity ($5.25 before grat.)

 

Washing clothes- another really funny thing is the laundry room. We were on Empress deck and the ironing board was broken. It stood about 2 feet tall/slanted down toward the floor on one end. You had to keep you foot on the stand or it would fall. DH duct taped it once, but still had some problems!!:eek:

 

PS. We drove home thorugh tornados in Oklahoma. I have a great picture of a funnel rotating right above our car (my 17 yo took it out the window with his phone!) Another interesting memory!! LOL

 

It was an amazing time. Full of laughs and wonderful memories. Those of you going soon will have a terrific time. I can't wait to book again. Let me know if I can answer any questions. I will do my best!:)

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No, but next time I will. You have to drag your luggage to customs and immigration throug very long lines (over an hour and a half for us :eek: ) so you might as well do self assist and see if you can avoid the big pile up when they call colors.

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Here are the promised pics (hopefully)

 

The smoldering boat from Grand Cayman and the funnel cloud chasing us in Oklahoma on the way home. Folks trust me....you want to cruise with us....excitement follows us!! LOL:D

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Fun to read, thanks for posting.

 

Have fun on yours, Slick52!

 

Pat

 

Thanks Pat! :D :D

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Thanks for your review. I can't wait for September.

 

I SWEAR TO GAWD . . . I wish I was sitting stranded on that boat this very minute.

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Thanks for the review, I can't wait until the end of October!

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Momof4boys:

 

What a nice son you have to order a B&B just for me. thanks for checking I appreciate it. sounds like you had a great time. Thanks for the great review. I enjoyed reading it. When you got to GC for the sting ray tour did you book on your own or use Carnival? You mentioned something about the first group did not leave right away. Did that cause any problems for the second group or did everyone have to wait a bit longer? I want to book a private excursion so what time do you think I should book the excursion for? Thanks again for all your help.

 

Robb

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Thanks for your review. I can't wait for September.

 

I SWEAR TO GAWD . . . I wish I was sitting stranded on that boat this very minute.

Joopman,

I'll be getting on the Conquest when you get back. Please leave it in good shape. ;)

 

I see you've sailed on Rhapsody of the Seas a couple of times. I'd love for you to post a comparision of it and the Conquest when you get back. Galveston is so easy for us to sail from and I'll probably want to try a different ship next time.

 

Suzy

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Momof4boys:

...When you got to GC for the sting ray tour did you book on your own or use Carnival? You mentioned something about the first group did not leave right away. Did that cause any problems for the second group or did everyone have to wait a bit longer? I want to book a private excursion so what time do you think I should book the excursion for? Thanks again for all your help.

 

Robb

Here are some excerpts from the email from Sotos confirming my reservations with them for Stingray city and snorkeling last December.

 

___________________________________________________________

 

Thank you for your credit card information.

 

I confirm 3 adults on December 15th at 9:30 am – 11:30 am

 

PICKUP IS FOR 8:30am (local) EASTERN STANDARD TIME

 

(Please check the local time when you arrive)

 

 

(Also, please try to be on one of the first tenders ashore, ask

the concierge about obtaining tickets early for the tender. Thanks.)

 

 

PLEASE REMEMBER TO PAY BY CASH OR TRAVELERS CHECKS ONLY

ON ARRIVAL. THE RATE IS US$ 30 PER ADULT___________________

THE CREDIT CARD IS USED TO SECURE THE SPACES ONLY. _______

 

CANCELLATION POLICY

Five days advance notice. If your ship does not arrive or if the ship arrives very late

and you miss the tour you will not be charged. Weather conditions, no penalty.

“No shows” are charged 50% per person.

_____________________________________________________________

 

We took one of the first tenders and had plenty of time to do a little shopping and looking around before meeting the van for the excursion.

 

Hope this helps. :)

 

Suzy

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We booked through CCL since we had people new to cruising who were more comfortable with that. We booked the 10:15 since we had teenagers. Next time I would go private and go as early as possible. (Could always be storm but I think it is less crowded in am)

 

CCL did reschedule those people whose excursion was cancelled. I believe they chartered two other boats after our time.

 

I loved this trip and you will have a blast!

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Great review. We took the Conquest October 2005 and are now looking at another cruise next year. We've went the last two years in a row and had to take this year off to get the finances in order as our daughters are getting older and ready for cars/college and other things. After a lot of prayer and consultation with God he showed us that we needed to take this year off and get things together or we'd be in trouble in a couple of years. It hurt not to take a cruise this year but I have to be obedient and I know that next year's cruise will be awesome as the financial pressure will be significantly less than it would've been this year. I do, however, love living vicariously through people like you that describe your cruise so vividly that it makes me feel like I'm there, so I'd like to thank you for providing. May God bless you and your family and I hope to return the "review" favor one day. BTW, we have great pics attached also if you would like to see them. Just go to click on our Roll call below (Cruise Critic Message Boards - Conquest 10/2/05), my wifes's profile (tricktsm) should be the first to come up, click on the club photo. Our Elation pics are also listed below as well as pics from our Celebration (Belated honeymoon) cruise also.

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You call that a tornado? You haven't lived until you hear the tornado sirens go off and you go outside to take a look.

 

:D

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Great review, thanks so much!!! I can hardly stand it... we'll be boarding a week from this Sunday!!!

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I live in Kansas City, MO--We probably have to go to the basement 5-6 times a month from mid March to July!!! I hate to say how old I am but I lived one block away from total damage about 1/4 mile wide from a huge tornado in 1957 (I was a baby!!!) We usually get to see one tornado a year from our front yard (looking west into Kansas.) but if it gets closer, we head to the basement.

 

This was a first though to be in a car under one. If we wouldn't have had my kids and our friends three little one (7-4-2) we would have stopped to get better pics. As it was, my DH was leaning over me as I was driving trying to capture better pics! :eek:

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I know how scary it can be to be in a car during a tornado. Happened to me about 10 years ago. It happened fast, no warning, and no where to go. Glad to see you all made it home alright and no worse for wear from the boat incident.

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Cascole--you will have a blast! Don't forget to take a light sweater or jacket. Believe it or not, you will need it inside! The A/C works well. I wore a jacket at dinner each night in the dining room (both years) and bought a CCL nice sweatshirt last year because I was so cold and wore it this year also!!!

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I've been on the Conquest several times but still am excited about going again! We have a Cruise Critic group cruise planned on the Conquest for Christmas! Anyone who wants to join us, check out the information here: http://www.cruisecritic.com/interests/groupinfo.cfm. We have some great rates and some perks as well! I'm sure it will sell out, so I'd like to have some more CC'ers on board with us before it does!

 

Sherryl

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Suzy - what company did you use for stingray city?

Soto's. They were great. I'm leaning towards Nativeways this time because they have a tour that adds a beach and lunch to the stingrays and snorkel experience. It costs twice as much though...

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Thanks for taking the time and posting your review. It sounds like you had a blast.

 

My daughters and I are sailing 9/3 on the Conquest. They are 22 and 27 and afraid they will be bored and there will only be old folk there. But after sending them a copy of your review they said no matter who is on the ship they know they will have a blast.

 

Thanks again to you and for everyone that posts, it sure makes it easier to explain to first time cruisers how much fun they will actually have.

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