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Carnival Conquest 12/5 Review-long Part 1

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Carnival Conquest Cruise Review

 

Dec. 5-12, 2004

 

 

 

We were a party of 5. My husband and myself had a cat. 8A cabin and our teens had an inside cabin across the hall.

 

 

 

Sunday Dec. 5,

 

We flew from BWI to New Orleans, changing planes in Charlotte. Our plane had to be changed in Charlotte so we didn’t get into New Orleans until about 3pm.(note to self try to arrived at least a day early at departure point) Destination Management handles the transfers in New Orleans from Airport to pier. The ladies that met us at baggage claim where nice but where NOT dressed in red, white & blue. They said that was because they were meeting people going to different cruise lines.

 

 

 

After waiting in line about 15 minutes they boarded us on a bus where we sat for another ½ hour without any explanation. Finally after waiting a DM person got on and said we were waiting for another couple arriving soon. We complained about the wait and the lady told us that the bus only goes about every ½ hour anyway. It would have been nice to have known that an ½ hour earlier!!! (note to self, take a taxi to pier!) We finally got to the pier about 5pm, I think. We boarded the ship pretty quickly but all the Bon voyage activites where over. No pictures of boarding the ship. :-/ It was a rush to find our cabins and do the lifeboat drill. At least it wasn’t hot, I can’t imagine standing 4 deep on deck in 90 degree heat!!! I did not see any Cruise Critic people to meet up with under the Conquest sign, I’m sorry I missed you!!

 

 

 

Our luggage wasn’t delivered yet so we went to dinner in our traveling clothes. YUCK! Dinner seemed rushed and I let our waiter know. He said that there had been a Coast Guard inspection and it put everyone behind in getting ready for departure. He said not to worry about our clothes that we were on “vacation”. Our headwaiter was “Tom” and his asst. “Tony”. They were very nice. I would have liked them to keep my water glass full without my asking but that was a very minor issue. When we got back from dinner our luggage had been put in our cabin.

 

 

 

Our cabin was an 8A balcony. The bed was already made up as a king and other than slight sag in the middle of each side it was comfortable. It was cabin 6304, the kids where in 6306. I probably could have done without the couch. I think a couple of comfortable chairs would have been better. I guess they use the couch for the 3rd person in the room. The temp. in the cabin was fine the whole trip, a little chilly at night but I like that.

 

 

 

I have the Capers for the whole week if anyone has specific questions.

 

 

 

The first sea days where a blur. The second night was formal. I paid for my 17 yo daughter to get an “up-do” for 45.00 in the salon. Dinner was fine but the lobster was a little dry. I shared prime-rib with my DH. We got some pictures taken. WHY do they make you buy a 8X10 BEFORE they let you buy smaller copies??!!??

 

 

 

Wed. found us in Jamaica. We didn’t go to Sunset Beach, I totally wimped out about going. If I had met up with others going I probably would have felt better. We ended up doing the Pirate Boat cruise. Rich and I did a little shopping on the pier and then met up with the kids for the Pirate Boat. They put a sail but I think they where mostly under motor power to the snorkeling site. We snorkeled for a while then they dropped us off at Margaritaville!(darn it, I should have taken that coupon for the free drink) for an ½ an hour. We then motored back to the pier. They gave us very strong rum and cokes or punch on the way back and sold us jewelry and t-shirts, or at least tried to!!!

 

 

 

The next day found us in Cayman Islands. We got off the ship earlier than we needed to but I didn’t want to miss our tour!. We did get to look around at some of the shops nearby. It was VERY crowded with 4-5 ships in that day. We did a tour with Nativeway Watersports. The tour got a little messed up but it worked out Ok, we where supposed to do the land portion first. First they met us at the pier and walked us to a van. They drove us to the tour dock on the other side of the island. We went out to the Coral Gardens and snorkeled for a while. It was wonderful. There weren’t any other boats around. After we were done Chris our “captain” took us further out to StingRay City. He anchored the boat away from the hoards of other tour groups and attracted some stingrays for us. After we were done there we went back to the dock., eating the sandwiches I had made that morning at breakfast!!!(the sandwiches were the only thing we got to eat during the day.) We then got back into their van and went to Hell and the Turtle Farm. We did not have time to stop at the Toguga Rum Cake Factory, which disappointed me. We got back to the pier 15 minutes before the last shuttle to the ship. NOT enough time in the Caymans for shore (sure!).

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Friday we arrived at Cozumel. We decided to do the Tulum tour on the mainland. I have to say I’m glad we did it but if we ever go back to Cozumel I’m staying on the island!!!

 

We all met in the lounge at 8:30am. They walked us to the ferry to Playa de Carmen. Because of construction we walked to the buses. They handed us a substantial snack as we boarded.(banana, juice box, crackers, cheese puffs, fruit bars, and corn muffins) ½ way to Tulum they stopped at a rest stop for a “potty break”. There was also conveniently, a big store there. We bought a dress, a tablecloth and vanilla. I hope the vanilla is OK. The label looked like it was the “real” stuff. We got to Tulum and opted for the tram ride to the ruins (2.00 rt/pp) While waiting for the tram the Indians started their “Pole dance”, where they go up this tall pole and come down on ribbons. One of them walked around collecting tips. I tipped but then our tram came and we missed the show. Our guide, Jesus aka Chey, escorted us into the ruins and narrated some of them. We had two people who couldn’t walk much and I think he didn’t show us around as much as other groups because of that. Some of the other groups seemed to be escorted more around the ruins. He did take time to explain the Mayan calendar and then offered to sell us one for 25.00 that goes to the ongoing support and dig. My son bought one.

 

They also take pictures of family groups in front of the ruins and sell them to you on the ferry back to the ship for 16.00.(they include the family picture and then a copy of the site, my daughter talked them out of buying both so we just got the family photo for 11.00) After we got back to the tram depot we shopped a little more and then the Mayan Indian’s did the pole thing again and we got to watch it. They wanted more tips and didn’t quite believe us when we said that we had tipped earlier and didn’t get to see the show. We had time for a “siesta” on the way back to the ferry. The Tour guide and Bus driver both requested tips. We ran to the last ferry back to the ship and just made it back before the ship was due to leave Cozumel.

 

 

 

Rich and I had made a 6pm Reservation for the Point that night. It was a rush to get showered and dressed for our 6pm reservation. We made it only 5 minutes late!!!

 

The dinner was very nice. I felt bad that we didn’t order a bottle of wine but we did order two cocktails and my DH a glass of wine with dinner. (bar tab 36.00!!!) DH had the 9oz Filet, and I the surf and turf. My lobster was PERFECTLY done, and the steak was good too. I had the Escargot, Spinach salad, assorted breads, surf and turf, and Flourless Chocolate cake with ginger-cardamom ice cream. My DH had carpaccio(sp)(raw beef appetizer, salad, breads, and 9oz Filet and the mousse’s for dessert. We also had a very nice cup of cappuccino.

 

We went back to the cabin and were asleep by 9:30pm!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Last day at sea. L It was Cold(65 degrees) and the ship was really moving both in speed and wave action! I think the seas were up to 7 feet. It was fun! I got a spray on tattoo for 14.00, it will wash off in about a week.

 

 

 

All in all we had a good time. We also participated in the Nascar Rusty Wallace activites. Dagas Lounge is non-smoking and had a band that play a variety of music that you could dance to. Unfortunately, you had to go by the LaTour Wine bar that was smoking to get to the lounge. No way around it!

 

 

 

They lit Hanukkah candles every night. I wonder why they couldn’t light an Advent Wreath on Wed?? I didn’t get a chance to ask.

 

 

 

The ship though large and full never seemed that crowded to me. They did offer to do a bag of laundry but limited to underwear, shorts, and T-shirts for 15.00. (I talked to a gentleman on Holland America who was offered a all you could fill laundry bag for 12.00 and they did shirts and returned items on hangers.)

 

 

 

 

 

Oh! And we did sign up for the Vacation Club. I’ll see if it’s worth it!

 

 

 

Any Questions? Ask away!

 

 

 

Lesley

 

Oops ran over, check next post!

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Below my teens comments:

As a teenager whether or not you will have good time is up to your

personality and ability to go with the flow adapt and make do with what's

there. J not that there's really any lack... Flowing with the reality of

curfew, if your parents set one, accepting that the group of other teens

there are the teens there. If your going to annoyed with your parents over

curfew or something the entire time, you're not going to enjoy yourself very

much. Like wise, if your going to be complaining that you don't want to be

there you're not going to have a fun time and other teens won't want to hang

out with you.

 

 

 

Do: Have fun

 

Follow shipboard rules: drinking age etc.

 

Follow parents rules without complaining: it'll make things nice and

easy if you do, feel free to try to negotiate for a later curfew, but don't

keep harping if they say no. Also, a good way to do it is to come in on time

the first night and then try for a later curfew.

 

Go to teen activities: at least the first day or so, it'll at very

least get you acquainted with some people you can hang with later.

 

Liked everything. pretty much.

 

By Erika 17

 

(BTW, I thought I set a VERY generous curfew-Mom)

 

 

 

the cruise was okay, at least there were actually teens on this one, uh..

food was great, really good service and stuff... i liked the arcade... i've

really nothing else to say... by Jonathan almost 16 (man of few words)

 

 

The cruise was great, overall it was (???). One of the best parts of it was

the shore excursions. The three port-of-calls were: Montengo Bay, Jamaica.

Grand Cayman. Cozumel, Mexico. The best one of the three, I thought, was

Grand Cayman. There we went Snorkeling, played with stingrays, and went to

Hell and back! Jamaica was somewhat boring, mostly since I can't drink and

the last thing we did was goto a bar... long story. In Conzumel we took a

ferry to the mainland and took a bus trip too some Mayan ruins and I got a

"Mayan" Codex!

 

The food and service was great in the dining room aboard ship. Though I

lothed the formal night and getting in uber formal dress. *shudder* We had

very nice waiters and very conforming to our needs, for example, I use the

fork in my right hand, and the knife in my left. I thought it was "ok",

sence no one told me other wise for years. But when I switched them right in

front of one of the waiters.. yeah. And the fact that I could've gotten

pizza, ice cream, and soda at any time was kool.

 

That is my contribution to the Nyborgian review. By Karl 14 1/2

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Thanks for the exciting reviews! We are traveling on the Conquest in March and I can't wait for my son,12, to read your posts.

Dave

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Thanx for the information. I especially enjoyed Erika's comments. It is basically what I tell my teens when we cruise and they've always had a great time. It's not the time to be shy....it takes a little guts to be outgoing and make sure you meet people to hang out with.

 

I know there are limited activities for the older teens, but did Erika participate in any and does she have any comments for us? Also, how's the ping pong and basketball situation on the Conquest......busy; do you have to check out paddles or are they readily available, etc.? Finally, how did the kids in their own cabin work out.........next cruise is our first time with separate (next to each other) rooms. Any tips (keys, etc.)?

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I may or may not be more relaxed about my teens than other parents but here are some thoughts and hints that I learned.

 

1) Set a "reasonable" curfew. Have last kid in the cabin call you!!! The first night out I didn't set a curfew and woke nervous that they never got back to their room!:rolleyes: (Remember I had 3 teens in one room)

 

2) When you tell them to put sunscreen on make SURE that they do! Erika STILL has a wicked burn.

 

3) Be VERY specific about were and when you are meeting up for activities and/or shore excursions. For example be at the Toulouse Lounge at 8:20AM on the 3rd level, enter on the right side, do you know where that is? (we had a couple of nerve racking mis-communications!!)

 

4) I did get Soda cards for the kids. Carnival also offered a thermal cup for 4.95 when buying the card.

 

5) They all had their sign and sail cards, I looked over the account regularly on the TV. Thank goodness I did!! Karl had 3!!! separate charges for computer time at 58.00 EACH!!! It was a mistake and we took care of it, quickly.

 

6) Discuss "What if" situations with your kids. What if someone offers you a drink?, What if someone invites you to their cabin., Etc......

 

7) I printed out a list for each kid to pack. Have them pull together what they are taking a week or more ahead of time just in case you have to do last minute shopping.

 

8) I gave each kid spending money before the cruise to purchase gifts and stuff. They didn't spend much of it!:rolleyes: But they didn't bug us for money on shore excursions!

 

 

If I think of any more I'll post them!

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Funny to read your tips about teenagers. We leave for this cruise in a couple of weeks and with my kids being four and two, there is nothing to "discuss", no "what if situations"...ahhhh, I shall remember to enjoy this age! I think I will take the whinning and crying and willfullness compared to the nerve racking teenage years! (are they in the cabin, what do you do if someone asks you into their cabin?) So...from your review I will take a new appreciation of the whinning and crying on this cruise with me an remember that it could be worse!!

 

Really glad you posted a review. Don't know if you noticed, but I posted the pics of the ship leaving and arriving on the "Conquest Here We Come" thread you created before you left! Thanks for the info in the review. Was the mayan ruins tour booked through the ship? We did Chitznitza when we were in CanCun in 97 and loved it. Could not stomach the idea of the drive from the pier with the toddlers though, so no ruins for us! Kinda scary that you just made it back! I guess if it was through the ship, they would wait for the group of you all, but not so if it was independant.

 

Do you have the 2-5 year old capers by chance? I am interested to see what my kids will be up to and also trying to plan when to put them in there and when to have family time. I want to make sure that when we put them in there, it is some activity they will really enjoy.

 

Cripps I wrote alot!

 

Thanks!!

 

P.S. I see you "wimped out" about going to Sunset Beach. Did you hear something bad about it? That is where we plan to go.

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Here are some additional comments from Erika:

I personally thought the amount of activities for the 15-17 year-olds was good, with the group of teens that were on the boat if we saw each other around when it wasn't an "activity" and we weren't with parents or something we'd normally join up and hang out in the meantime. I went nightly to the "Dance party" activities, to both of the karaoke and to one of the movies. As for ping pong and Basketball... I don't know, I didn't do either. Basketball looked kinda cool though, they had a Plexiglas walled area so the ball wouldn't run off. The area wasn't like a greenhouse though, so that's good. ;)

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Excellent tips for parents of teens. A good balance between age appropriate freedom and supervision. I know what you mean about sunscreen......my kids are white white white! Funny, my kids have their own spending money on vacation (usually given by grandparents) and, they too, don't spend that much. When we cruise, I buy them their choice of t-shirt from the gift shop (or last day special), but anything else, arcade included, is up to them. On the last cruise, one didn't go to the arcade at all and the other spent less than $5 there. Oh, I do buy them each a soda card because they like to order shirley temples with extra grenadine!

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