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Bandman

Conquest 7/11 review (cont)

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part 3

 

Grand Cayman -

 

Grand Cayman is a tender port. We were up early to watch this ship pull into the harbor. The Rhapsody of the Seas was along side.(we were bigger, ha ha) The water in Cayman is gorgeous. There are so many different shades of blue and turquoise. We wanted to be off the ship early and since we were not taking a tour we would need to go to the show lounge to get a tender ticket.(If you are on a tour you get priority) So at 7:10am we headed to the lounge. There was an employee just sitting on the stage chatting w/ folks who were already seated. So we took a seat, unaware that we should go up to this person and get out ticket. We realized our mistake when a family of 20 or so came in and proceeded to get the last of the number 1 tickets. But, we got a ticket w/ number 2 on it. At about 7:30 they called groups 1,2, and 3 at the same time and we went downstairs to board the tender. The water was calm and the trip takes just a few minutes and you land right in the middle of the action in George Town. We walked to the Blue Iguana Shop where they were to call for the Avis shuttle and in less than 5 minutes were on our way to pick up the car. After getting the car we headed to Rum Point. This is a beach on the north side of the island. It is really pretty. Lots of shade, a restaurant, water sports are at one end so they do not spoil the mood. They also have sting ray city trips from here w/ Red Sail Sports which we have taken before. The boat only holds about 20 people and it makes for a better time than the huge boats you are on w/ the cruise line excursions. I found my lounge chair beneath the Australian Pine trees and my wife a hammock and we both "Vegged Out" and then had lunch at the restaurant. Warning: things in Cayman are expensive. $1 Cayman is $1.25 U.S. That's part of the reason. The other is that almsot everything has to be shipped in. So be prepared.

 

After Lunch we took the rental car back and did some shopping in the shops around the pier but did not buy anything. The wife was looking for a specific beaded necklace to go w/ one of the outfits she brought but no luck.

 

At 2:15 we got in line for the tender back to the ship. This is a short port day. The last tender to the ship is at 3:00pm. The wait was short, but those after us said they had to wait a while.

 

Carnival Vacation Club -

 

Ok, for those interested, we joined the Carnival Vacation Club. We went to the presentation on board. We did not go intending to do this. I told my DW if this was like a time share we were going to get up and leave. It wasn't. We liked it. Thought it suited us. So after a night to think about it and do some research on the internet, we decided to do it. I will be happy to answer questions to those interested.

 

Thursday Night -

 

Decided to skip the Las Vegas Show and went to the Degas Lounge to hear the Blood Power Band. We thought these guys were the best entertainment on the ship. They play at various times around the ship and everything from Disco, to Motown, to the Beatles, to Elvis, to Elton John, Billy Joel, and on and on and on. They were great.

 

Cozumel !!!!

 

This was our favorite port on this cruise by far. We arrived a little late into port and thus the stairways to the gangway were crammed w/ people. We really think that this ship needs more gangways for the number of people it serves. The lines getting back on the ship in Cozumel from about 4:30 until the ship left were absolutely the longest I have ever seen. They were 4 and 5 people across and so long they wrapped around the end of the Paradise(also in port) and out of sight. But we got off the ship about 10:20 and went to find a cab. The pier emptys you into a large shopping village that you must work your way out of to get to the cabs. Just keep heading generally to your left and forward and you will eventually get there.

 

We took a cab to Mr. Sanchos Beach. We decided against Paradise because it has more toys, which to us said more kids and noise. The cab system here is the best of any port we have ever been to. The rates are posted at the pier on a large board. The cabs are lined up at the stand waiting to be called by a port official . There are lines of cars for small groups and lines of vans for larger groups. The cab ride was $14 and I tipped the driver well. Mr. Sanchos was very nice. There are plastic picnic tables and umbrellas in the center of the strip of beach. To the right are a line of Thatch covered hut/umbrella/thingys. We decided on one of these as it was away from the main area where the restaurant and water sports are. The water was amazing. Sandy bottom and clear as glass. After a couple of hours we decided to take a recommendation from a Vacation Club employee and go to Panchos Back Yard for Lunch. There is one at the port that is sparkling new and one downtown that is older and feels more authentic. We headed downtown. Again the cabs were right there at Mr. Sanchos lined up and ready. The fare was $16. When we arrived downtown we headed into a collection of shops where Panchos was located. We new we had chosen well when we were lead to a little courtyard shaded by all kinds of Palms and green plants. There was a marimba playing and a cool breeze. Perfection ! The Marimba was being played by a father and 2 daughters in traditional beautiful dresses. The marimba itself was very old and also gorgeous w/ inlaid wood.

 

The waiter came and suggested one of the specials. I was leaning another direction but decided to go w/ his advice as did my dw. It was the Carne Asada plate with steak, a chicken enchilada, cheese quesadillo, rice, beans, and guacamole. It was perhaps the best food we have ever had in our lives. I never thought I would say that about Mexocan food, but it was that good. I do not like guacamole but this was delicious and I couldn't believe I liked it so much. We also got dessert and 2 sodas. the bill was $46. You must go here. you will be so glad you did !!!!

 

SHOPPING -

 

Ok, when you get off the boat take as much money as you could ever think you would spend and then double it. So many neat things to see and buy. Every shop keeper is on his doorstep inviting you in in the nicest way to "let me show you my store, Senor". And if you see something you like, you are in trouble because these people's methods of persuasion are formidable. Be sure to bargain. I mean start at least half price.

 

The first place we came to after lunch was Diamonds International. My wife had a coupon from the ship for a free charm bracelet so she went in to redeem it. I told her I would be right next door in a little tourist shop. After severeal minutes she did not appear so I went to find her. She was still at the jewelry counter talking about the charm bracelet(So I Thought, LOL). When after several more minutes she did not come outside I went in to discover that she was looking at Tanzinite rings. Well. Do I need to say that she is wearing it on her hand right now? LOL! So, several hundred unintended dollars later we continued down the street where we bought t-shirts, a dress for our 2 year old, and a woven rug. At this point I said we are going back to the ship NOW. Don't look at anything else. We covered our eyes and ran for the nearest cab before we could be lured by anyone or anything else. The cab ride back to the pier was $6.

 

more to come.....

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I'm interested in what you have to say about the Vacation Club

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I'm interested in what you have to say about the Vacation Club

 

 

It is a program where you buy cruise points to use over the next 5 years. The program gets you some perks like no waiting for embarkation and first off of the ship and a few others. There was a big-wig on the ship from Corporate who said others are coming soon like discounts on shore excursions, etc.

 

Here is the breakdown:

 

4 levels

 

Bronze - $3495 for 14000 points

 

Silver - $4995 for 20000 points

 

Gold - $7495 for 30020 points

 

Platinum $9995 for 40030 points

 

in addition to the cruise points you also get 2 free companion air certificates

 

plus

 

2 Resort Vacation certificates good for a week at a resort for a fee of $299.00 . Resorts are all over the globe 450 of them

 

The points basically works like this About 350 points per day per person in low season, 400 points per day in mod to hi season, and 500 points per day for holidays, etc. If you run short of points you can buy short term points to make up the difference for say your last cruise.

 

For us it made sense. Additionally, your family and friends can use your cruise points or get discounts.

 

Also as a member you get discounts on all lines of CCL ships. That's Princess,HAL,Cunard,Costa, Seaborne, and so on. The big wig told us that in the near future we would be able to use our points on those lines as well, but we did not purchase the plan thinking that was a sure thing.

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Last Part

 

After returning to the ship we watched the ship sail away from Cozumel on the balcony and later the sunset as we got ready for dinner.

 

Saturday was the last day of the cruise and also a sea day. We needed it to rest up from the port days.

 

We went to the Comedy show in the main lounge. this was not an adult comedy show. It had two comedians. The 1st was Phat Kat. He was hilarious. Lots of ship humor(shower curtain jokes, etc.) The second comedian was the headliner. He confessed that this was his first cruise. He was not well prepared. He got lost in his routine seveeral times and stammered and stuttered around until he could think of something to say. And would make little comments if no one laughed at his jokes. Several times when he got lost he went "blue" and remember this was not supposed to be an adult show. Lots of kids in the audience. He made jokes about homosexual men "sword fighting until it was time to make the donuts" and several other remrks that were much worse and I will not write them here. He should be reprimanded. Big Time.

 

After the show we returned to our cabin to get our luggage out in the hall. Then we spent a few final moments on the balcony enjoying the Miss. River.

 

Disembarkation -

 

Because we are in the vacation club we had VIP tags and were off the ship by 8:15am. \

 

A few notes -

 

This was our 5th cruise and we are falling into a groove. We have noticed that many people tend to evaluate the entire cruise based on a negative person, crewmember, show,excursion, etc. If you think about it we don't tend to do this on other trips, i.e Disney. If people have a rude waiter one day, or a rude ticket taker, or a bad experience on 1 ride they get over it and move on. But for some reason some folks think every moment of a cruise should be like the commercial - PERFECT. It isn't. My advice is to enjoy the good, get over the not so good and move on. Before you know it you will be having a great time.

 

Our cruise was great. There were things that we didn't care for, but nothing to make us ruin our trip. We are looking forward to our next cruise. thinking about a Spirit class ship !!!

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Sorry.. dont mean to be dense.. but can you explain the vacation club a little more.. I just would like more info so I can see if this is something I would be interested in.. you mention 400 points per day for peak season.. so that would be 2800 points for 1 person for a 7 day cruise.. 5600 for 2 people 8400 for 3, etc.. just trying to find out if its worth it.. Am I correct on my thinking??

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Bandman,

 

Have cruised many times but enjoyed reading your post. You do a good job of allowing us to visualize ourselves crusing until we can cruise!:)

And your last two paragraphs are right on target!

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Sorry.. dont mean to be dense.. but can you explain the vacation club a little more.. I just would like more info so I can see if this is something I would be interested in.. you mention 400 points per day for peak season.. so that would be 2800 points for 1 person for a 7 day cruise.. 5600 for 2 people 8400 for 3, etc.. just trying to find out if its worth it.. Am I correct on my thinking??

 

You are mostly right. As for the 3rd person there would be a 3rd person charge. I don't know for sure how this works but when you book a cabin there are 3rd and 4th passenger rates that are much cheaper.

 

Here are some specific examples:

 

Carnival Destiny to Suthern Carrib. 9/12/04

6775 points for 2 for a baclony

 

or

 

Destiny to southern CArrib 11/7/04

4010 points for 2 for an inside cabin.

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Thanks for the great review! My 15 year old reads over me now when I get on CC. He really liked the review. Very excited to be going real soon.

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