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willybegolfer

Another Conquest Review 7/11 Sailing

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First I’ll start with a few pertinent details. The Conquest was sold out for the July 11th cruise. I booked a guaranteed 8A (for lovely wife {LW} and myself) and 4A for my 3 daughters and a friend (2 – 21 year olds, the others, 15 & 12). We drove from St. Louis and parked at the terminal.

 

Embarkation: We had stayed the night at the Staybridge Suites nearby the cruise terminal and the French Quarter. At 11 am we drove to the terminal, stayed in the left lane and dropped off the family and luggage. Swung back around paid my $84 cash and 15 minutes later joined the family at the Fun Pass Line.

 

A note on alcohol and soft drinks: We brought 4 bottles of wine as carry-on, a six pack of Bacardi Raz (clear malternative beer), 6 pack of water and a 6 pack of Diet Coke. One of the water bottles had been cleverly filled with Rum, a very good job by my oldest daughter and her boyfriend. Everything made it to the cabin, except one bottle of Raz (it was there, but empty and no bottle cap) and the water bottle of rum. By the way, I’m not a rum drinker, so I didn’t mind. There was a woman next to us that was being charged for bringing 2 cases of soft drinks (I guess that exceeded the Carnival “Reasonable Limit”). I also talked to several people who had hard liquor taken.

 

While on the alcohol topic, in Jamaica I was coerced into buying some Appleton Rum. After going through the x-ray boarding the ship, I was told to check the liquor at a desk 20 feet away, where there were already 2 people standing in line. I merely walked to the elevators without visiting the line. As it turned out, at the end of the cruise, I had 2 unopened bottles of rum to pack away.

 

The cabins and a dilemma: We wound up being upgraded (a word on that later) to an 8C and the daughters were upgraded right across the hall on the Veranda Deck. However, I was officially booked with my 3 daughters in the interior cabin and my wife was booked with my oldest daughter’s girlfriend, since they were not 25 years old. OK, so what? Well, my daughter’s friend had her credit card on her sign and sail card, so we couldn’t just switch cards and my LW and I often separate. I went with the friend to the Purser’s Desk to have the keys switched. After 20 minutes in line and a 5 minute backroom consult between the purser and her supervisor???, I was told they could not switch them. Halfway back to the cabin (10 minutes later, yes it’s a big ship) I got furious and turned around, bypassed the line and was ready to unleash a tirade on the poor Purser that happened to be the closest to the exit opening. Long story short, this purser did the change without blinking an eye. Problem solved.

 

The cabins were nice, clean and new looking. Having a balcony was great. Wine at sunset on the balcony with the LW was a treat.

 

Question: Is the Veranda Deck an upgrade? Being right below the Lido Deck, I’m not real sure. Although the noise wasn’t a big problem, the rolling of carts in the Cezzane Restaurant was annoying at time.

 

The Ship: In one word, “Beautiful!”. Can it be too big? My LW thinks it might have been. I haven’t read about this anywhere else, but here is a secret. Go to the Lobby Deck at the main elevators and Purser’s Desk. Go through one of the doors out the side to a covered outdoor deck area. There are wonderfully padded lounge chairs there, unlike anywhere else I saw and sit in the shade with the wind blowing over you. It can be heaven on earth and it was never crowded (remember, our ship was sold out).

 

The Food: Food lines were long and crowded on the Lido Deck. When we went to the Cezzane Rest. most times we ate at tables on the 2nd level where the Sur Mer Restaurant is. Seem like most people don’t realize its there and there was always a window table available. By the way, many people have raved about Sur Mer, and the fish and chips. I’m sorry, maybe they had an off week, but I tried it twice and the coating was undercooked and the fish was greasy.

 

The ice cream and frozen yogurt machines were overworked and were REALLLLLY slow at times. But always worth the wait.

 

One word (well two): Paul’s Deli hard to find the first time, but make sure you do. All thier sandwichs were great, the Rueben is fantastic. The Chinese Restaurant was also very good.

 

The Monet Dining Room: The food was very good and the desserts in the main dining were terrific. The wait staff was fabulous and worked very hard at pleasing us. The Maitre De was basically invisible. Never met him and only knew he was there because of his announcements near the end of each dinner.

 

The Entertainment: Ok, I’m not a big dance aficionado, but my LW and kids are. The first show, “Point and Click” was incoherent and didn’t make sense, in other words, Horrible. The male dancers were good, I thought the female dancers needed help. The dancers weren’t all that outgoing and friendly during other activities, such as Bingo, etc. Also, several of the female dancers were indulging in the buffet lines a little too much.

 

There was a good magic show, and several really funny comedians (PHAT CAT especially). The ventriloquist was really good also.

 

Steve Cassel is a better juggler than cruise director. He is a bit too cutesy for my taste. His jokes are recycled and he always claims they happened on this cruise. However, if you watch the Travelogs from the previous cruises shown at the beginning of the trip, you see that the exact same circumstances happened on the previous cruise also. I guess I’m being picky, but my 15 year old spotted it first.

 

Also, no scavenger hunts the whole trip.

 

Ports:

 

Jamaica – A pleasant surprise. We did not take a ship sponsored tour at any port. If I had, I would have taken the Canopy tour in Jamaica. Zip lining through the tress sounded great, but it was sold out quickly.

 

We walked off the ship, caught a Juta cab (bus) inside the port gates and went to Doctor’s Cave Beach. The driver was friendly, gave a little bit of touristy information on the way and offered his bus for $15/person for the day. No body took him up on it, so he asked if we wanted to be picked up anywhere. We told him to pick us up at 4 PM at Margaritaville.

 

The beach was very nice with 2 water trampolines and pretty good snorkeling. $5/person entry fee. They offered umbrellas and snorkeling gear, had a restaurant and bar with waiters & waitresses to bring stuff right to your beach towel.

 

We then waked to Margaritaville (several blocks) with no hassles. It was crowded, loud and expensive. Go to the upper deck for a little quiet. The slide is a must do. Grip your nose tight or be prepared to have water draining from it for an hour or so (I speak from experience).

 

There are many Juta cabs waiting at Margaritaville and the doorman will make sure you get in a good one. $4/person and you are back at the pier. Prices at the duty-free shops were good, especially for Blue Mountain coffee and rum.

 

Grand Cayman - Went with Nativeway to Stingray City and the Reef. Awesome experience and half the price of the ship tours.

 

Cozumel – If you want to get drunk for free, hang out with your 21 year old daughter and her friend while shopping. Almost every other store offered free tequila shots to us. I just kind of aimed myself at the gangway when back at the pier.

 

We pre-booked the royal dolphin swim at Chankanaab Park with cozumelinsider.com a month before the cruise. If you can afford it, do it. Also, you’ll save some money. The cruise didn’t even offer the royal swim, I’m guessing it was sold out. The park is very nice to spend the rest of the afternoon at snorkeling, sitting in the sun or shade, or just relaxing.

 

No way to explain Carlos & Charlies :eek: , especially when you have 2 young ladies in your group. You have to experience it. Make sure you specify the size drinks you order or you will automatically get the monster size and pay dearly. 3 margaritas, 2 cokes, 1 beer, 2 nachos and a quesadilla and I was $70 USD poorer. The beer was 940 ml for cryin out loud, like a keg in a bottle.

 

Debarkation: With a full ship, very slow. We were called 3rd last and of course we had an 11 hour drive ahead of us. For the adventuresome, go to the Purser’s desk the night before the end and there will be a stand to get luggage tags. You can try getting tags from each color and exit at your leisure.

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Thank you, I loved reading your review, I plan on getting as many tequila shots as possible in Conzumel, although no one,any where near 21 will be with our group. ( much older).

We sail July 3 , 2005, and your review made the wait go by just a little faster.

Great tip about the luggage tags and the secret hidaway near pursers desk.

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Funny and interesting to note several discrepencies in recent Conquest reviews. I guess one man's heaven is another man's hell. Here are some things I thought about since I wrote the review:

 

Entertainment Revisited: The talent show was pretty entertaining. There was a couple singing a duet of Endless Love, and they were fantastic. It went downhill from there, although there were some good acts.

 

The Blood Power Band was very good (just need a name change) as is the Phillipean couple in the casino area. I was very disappointed in the Blues Bar. The Karaoke DJ was really entertaining, but there were wome mic hogs that kept going up and not all that talented.

 

They do Bingo to death on the Conquest.

 

Other Issues: The fitness center was very nice. New equipment that worked, unlike the Holiday last year. The folks in the Spa really push the luxury treatments everytime you walk by.

 

The golf pro was a bit of a disappointment. Nothing new or exciting here. I was planning to do a video analysis of my swing, but after talking with him, I decided not to waste the money.

 

It seems like Carnival could make better use of the sports deck with organized activities. I would have loved to have played volleyball, but either it was too crowded or (most of the time) nobody was there.

 

OH, and by the way, this ship has a real small topless deck.

 

Maybe somebody can answer this question? We searched for ways to get to the very front of the ship to do the "KING OF THE WORLD" routine. I mean right at the pointy end. We could see it, and there were people out there, but I'll be darned if we could find it. I'm thinking it is a crew only area, but not sure.

 

Even though we thoroughly enjoyed the trip, we did not mark all "EXCEEDS EXPECTATIONS" on the customer survey. However, I'd sail the Conquest again in a heartbeat.

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Thanks for taking the time to post your review. We are sailing on the Conquest next February and really enjoy reading these reviews.

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We too were on the 7/11 sailing of the Conquest. Me, the wife, and two sons -- 15 and 9. Stayed in two cabins on Panorama Deck (deck 10) near the front of the ship -- one with a balcony, the other inside just across the hall. My wife and I have not cruised for 14 years. A few changes since then, shall we say. First, the balcony was heavenly. Spent much time out there, sometimes just watching the beautiful blue water go by. Highly recommended. This cabin location worked great for us as we spent much time with the kids around the stars (?) pool and waterslide. Our floor also had an exit to an outside deck at the front of the ship -- great for pictures and video.

 

Only major complaint of the whole trip was the incredibly rude room of 4 teenagers just a couple of doors down. Unbelievably loud, even yelling down the hallway at their parents at 1:00am a couple of nights!

 

Shows:

--Made my sons go to Point and Click show. After twenty minutes I was sorely regretting that decision. Not because of the costumes, the show was just weak. I apologized to my boys and we did not go back for any of the "vegas shows".

--Illusionist ("Deja") was fun. Both my boys enjoyed it.

--I alone went to some of the comedy show on the last night. Phat Kat was funny, the headliner was not. He went "blue" at times in what was billed as a family show.

 

Food:

--Buffet was as expected -- lots of food, nothing outstanding. but OK.

--We were disappointed in the dining room food. Lobster was average and beef was tough, chewy. Desserts were the best part of the fare. Service was strong. I am not a fan of a slow meal, but the pace of the meal was quick, even for me. We were at the early seating, so guess they needed to move us out to get ready for the late seating.

--My sons LOVED the hamburgers/french fries from the sky grill and the pizza and the ice cream. Nightly trips back there to the sky pool/grill area.

 

Pools:

--The waterslide was awesome when the line wasn't horrendously long. I didn't ride it until the last day at sea. Had so much fun that I regretted I had not done it earlier in the cruise.

--My boys swam late one night in the main (sun?) pool. The ship was rolling just a bit creating a bit of a wave pool!

--Did the recorded music blasting from the deck stage by the main pool in the evenings bother anyone else?

 

Ports:

--We booked non-Carnival tours in both Jamaica and Grand Cayman. A little nervous about this going into the cruise, but both were great. Would do it again. Did YS falls and tubing in Jamaica with A-Z Jamaica Planners and snorkeling/stingray city with Capt Marvin's in Jamaica.

--Did book a Carnival shore excursion the night before for Cozumel. My sons enjoyed snorkeling in GC so much, they wanted to go again in Cozumel. It was fun too, but more expensive.

 

Embarkation/Debarkation:

--Embarkation was smooth. We got there (walked from Hilton Riverside with rolling bags) by 11:00am, no lines, but had to wait in chairs about an hour. Were on the ship and having lunch by 12:15pm.

--Disembarkation was a little painful. As noted by others on this board, ship was completely full. Waited in sun pool area changing table to avoid nearby smokers. Once called, still had to wait in a loooong line in the lobby to get off the ship. Claiming luggage was fairly easy but I highly recommend some distinguishing marking/scarf/something on your bag so you can pick it out from the HUNDREDS of bags from your deck. Customs was non-existent as long as you had your customs form filled out and ready.

 

Sorry for the long post, but wanted to share some as I learned MUCH pre-cruise from these boards.

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Great reviews! I'm just off RCCL's Mariner, and we're already looking around for our next cruise. I'm curious how your 12 yr old liked the Conquest. Did she participate in any tween programming? Did she meet other girls her age? Our experience w/ that age on RCCL was not great. Looking hard at Carnival now. Please let me know!

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We are leaving the end of August for the Conquest. This will be my second cruise on her but everyone else in my groups first. I have a balcony and an inside cabin on the Empress deck. It looks like a really good location as there is nothing above or below us to cause noise problems. I am really looking forward to my first balcony and want to know if it has partitions of some sort on either side for privacy between cabins or are they just open all the way down the side of the ship. thanks so much for any info.

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We hadn't heard from you in a while on the 8-29 Conquest roll call!

 

Are you the one that has teenagers going on the ship?

 

I have a 14 year old ds and a 10 year old dd who can't wait. We have already connected with several other families ( my daughter has an e-pal already!) and are looking forward to meeting on the ship!

 

Write back! If you want to write privately, my email is mehudicka@aol.com.

 

Thanks!

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Cinderelli,

 

No, I am not one of the teenagers. I am the mom. I am bringing 3 girls ages 20, 19 and 17 and one boy aged 13 but over 6 feet tall and looks as old as the girls. Our trip is actually a graduation gift for my 17 year old daughter and her 19 year old best friend, but the older sister and younger brother are paying their way and get to go along. None of the kids have been on a cruise before and are very excited. I'm glad to hear there will be some other teenagers on board. I was getting a little worried because school has already started here and I was afraid they would get bored.

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