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My Conquest Review 10-03-04
NEW ORLEANS: If you've never been to New Orleans before I recommend arriving a minimum of one day early. We stayed at the Landmark/Best Western. Due to Hurricane damage, they had problems with their roof leaking and mold in some rooms, but we all had rooms that were fine for our group.
EMBARKATION: We walked into the cruise terminal to discover all the beautiful yellow chairs. Carnival?s embarkation procedures were painless." I'm not kidding! If you're organized the boarding process is a breeze. We walked right up to the counter for our sail and sign cards without any waiting. I had already done the fun pass online, which sped up the process. This is where you present your passports, birth certificates, and photo ID and credit cards if you are going to use one. Then they take you to sit in the awesome yellow chairs. Then we were called to board the ship. We took our security/welcome aboard photo. It took us about 45 minutes to get on board and we arrived before noon. Just make sure to keep your ID handy and fill out your information before hand. We found out when we got to the terminal that our itinerary had changed (again due to hurricane damage, which we suspected all along, we just didn?t know how), we had an extra day at sea instead of Grand Cayman and they gave us a credit on our sign and sail card $25 per person, and we stayed longer in Montego Bay (in at 9 out by 7) and Cozumel (in at 8 and out by 6). Our room was on the Riviera deck 1 very bottom. We had inside rooms; I don?t think I would pay the extra for the ocean view, as we weren't in our rooms very much.
SUNDAY: Up to the Lido deck for the buffet. After we ate lunch, we went to see if our room was ready about 1:30 and it was. After the muster drill my girls and I headed to dinner in the Renoir dinning room. Folks, if you haven't been on a cruise before, don't be shy. Order several appetizers, several entrees and several desserts. You paid for it! Steve Cassel, our cruise director, was very entertaining. We sailed down the Mississippi river for what seemed like hours. Night fell and it seemed like we'd never get into the gulf. We kept seeing lights that we assumed were houses and buildings on land. Don't let this fool you. We found out on our return trip that the lights we were seeing weren't from land, but from Numerous Oil Rigs lined up like miniature cities for mile after mile. (Very interesting)
MONDAY & TUESDAY: Sea days? I loved the sea days because you were able to relax and enjoy the vacation. They had various things to do for entertainment: game shows, bingo (always had bingo), hairy chest competition, casino, pools were open and of course the bars and food. !!! If you do not think you are going to buy any photos from the ship, think again. They are $20 for a 8X10 which is pretty expensive when you think about it at first, but when you think how much it would be to do on your own, it is not that bad. Just because you took the photo does not mean you have to buy it.
WEDNESDAY: So glad to wake up and see the sunrise over Jamaica. Montego Bay looked beautiful. Also there were Rasta guys outside taking pictures with everyone getting off the ship. Upon arrival, we quickly realized it was not necessarily ready for visitors. For one, Margaritaville sustained lots of damage and was closed. They had temporarily made a make-shift Margaritaville at Doctor?s Cave, They have a little hut set up selling food and drinks and they have a shop to buy t-shirts and stuff. (We didn?t go there). We went to SUNSET BEACH RESORT. Took a Taxi from the port for $5.00 total. Upon arrival at the resort, I was a little surprised to see the armed guards outside at the gatehouse. They escort you into the hotel and see that you get checked in. Upon paying our $20.00, they put your S&S card in an envelope and hold it at the gate. This place was gorgeous! Well worth the money. We snorkeled, ate, drank and partied all day long. My 14 Yr old daughter was able to Kayak and wind surf at no extra charge and all in all have a blast. My 7 yr old just wanted to swim in the pool the whole time we were there. My self I indulged in a few of their daiquiris, also enjoyed the food (the Jerk Chicken and grilled fish were heaven to me!). The food and entertainment were excellent. Highly recommend this place. But like any place take your normal precautions and use your judgment wisely.
THURSDAY: Sea day? Fun, fun, & more fun on the ship.
FRIDAY: Cozumel: We went to Paradise beach. Took a taxi that cost $12.00 for the three of us. Paradise beach was nice and being past the 1st of October they started charging for the use of the water toys, so the kids got wrist bands for $5 each to use the kayaks, water trampoline, iceberg, floats, and life jackets if needed, also they had snorkel equipment. There was someone right there renting wave runners ($55 for 30 minutes), parasailing ($55), boats taking people out snorkeling. They also had hair braiding and wraps, massages on the beach and those henna tattoos. We didn?t have to pay for beach chairs or umbrellas. The food was pretty good and moderately priced and the margaritas were great! Myself I enjoyed the gulf breezes under my umbrella on my lounge chair, while being plied by drinks by Tom the manager (great guy to meet too!). I was amazed at how much this beach had to offer. This port city is absolutely brilliant. There's a ton of things to see and do. Every "Vice" can be satisfied in this city. And of course we had to make our annual trip to Fat Tuesday's by the dock to swing at the bar and soak up atmosphere and watch people before getting back on board.
SATURDAY?. Sea day?. By this time most folks are worn out from the marathon they've just ran during there days in port. Trust me. You?ll be worn out. Tropical Storm Matthew made for some interesting swaying by the Conquest. Carnival lost a few glasses I know as I could here them falling and breaking while sitting by the lobby bar. But most people made the most of it and looked at it as another adventure on the cruise to tell everyone at home about.
DEBARKATION: We had dark brown luggage tags. The only complaint I had is that the whole luggage retrieval process is a bit unorganized. Mass chaos as several hundred folks hurriedly search for all of their bags in one big room. Oh well. Roll with it.
WORTH NOTING & TRIP HIGHLIGHTS: Do not miss the entertainment on the Promenade Deck 5 near the Casino "Two's Company" Mary Ann Mendoza and Roger. They are awesome. It was so much fun to sit and listen to the music and watch the people!!! Also they are very personable and were jewels with my 7 yr old daughter, who loves to dance!!!
Marc Rubben (comedian/ventriloquist) pulled a lady from the audience and he put a mask over her face and she pretended she was the dummy, which was hilarious.
Adrian (Romania) a photographer was great fun and very helpful....and was just a great guy to meet. Imade (Indonesia) a bartender at the lobby bar was super with my 7 yr old daughter and her friends, making my stay in smokers Siberia at the side of the lobby bar much less painless (LOL)
FOOD: The food varies from day to day but it's still above average. Not great, but good. Hint: LISTEN TO YOUR WAITER. They really do know what the best selections are. Thank you Olivera (Croatia) and Angel her Asst. (Peru)!!!
HENRI?S DISCO: This is a happening place after 10 p.m. Good music.. Mix of 70?s, 80?s and a little new stuff. Great Disco music. Loads of fun? Great place to dance and burn off those calories eaten!!!!!
BLUE?S BAR: Lots of fun! They have a piano sing-a-long that is great!
TOULOUSE LOUNGE: (I think that?s how you spell it?.). Always something going on in there. Game shows were fun to watch. (The Magic Show is great and I really liked Point & Click?. The others were okay. The talent show was also great.)
In closing I'd have to say the ship was always clean and the crew was extremely friendly.
Some folks will tell you that the Carnival Conquest that the ship isn't very classy...To heck with them. I don't remember Carnival advertising Five Star Accommodations and a Emeril Lagasse Menu. Do you? The truth is, you're on a ship. Marvel at its ability to float and serve its 3000 guests every week. Great Vacation. Great Ship. Can?t wait to cruise agaiN!!!!!!