Overall Rating: Good
|Destination:||Caribbean - Western|
|Departed From:||New Orleans, LA|
|# of Nights:||7 Nights|
|Overall Value:||Very Good|
Carnival Conquest Western Caribbean cruise from New Orleans, Sept 16-23, 2012
Sept 16 - New Orleans
Sept 17 - Sea day
Sept 18 - Sea day
Sept 19 - Montego Bay, Jamaica
Sept 20 - Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
Sept 21 - Cozumel, Mexico
Sept 22 - Sea Day
Sept 23 - New Orleans
We did not pick this cruise because it was Carnival or it had a Western Caribbean itinerary. We picked it because it was convenient to our needs. The cruise was out of New Orleans, which is now our nearest drive to port. Also, either of us had been to the city since the 70s. We needed a Fall vacation and you can never go wrong with a cruise! Well, considering the Titanic and Concordia, almost never. Actually Carnival and the W Caribbean was our only choice. Had we had other choices neither one would have been our first. That said we did have another good cruise. So far with 24 cruises under our belts we've only had good and better.
We drove to McComb, MS and spent the night and then on to NOLA for our pre-cruise night at the Holiday Inn downtown near the Superdome. Getting to the hotel proved a challenge. The lady inside our GPS was not very happy as we kept ignoring her instructions to turn down barricaded streets. Construction extending the trolley line in front of our hotel was the reason. After we finally found a route to the hotel and checked in we were happy with our choice. The hotel and our room was very nice. Also, the free parking in the covered parking garage saved us the $112 parking charge at the port.
Incidentally the Army's 75th Infantry Division, WW2 members, were holding their 2012 reunion at the hotel. We met and talked with some of the surviving members, late members wives and other family members. What a great group of folks from our greatest generation! Thank-you for your service!
Now for 'Narlands itself, yes we did head over to the French Quarter and it is as wild and crazy as it was in the 70s. We walked around for a while taking in the sights and then we stopped at the Bourbon Street Blues Company and had our hurricane. Rita ended up on stage hula-hooping and we had a great deal of fun with the crowd. Afterward we went to Pat O'Briens and had dinner.
The cruise: We took the 11:30 hotel shuttle to the ship thinking the crowd of early birders would be out of the way. We were wrong on that! We stood in an outside line about 20 minutes before entering the building. Then it was probably another 20 to 30 minutes before we started up the gangway. We entered the ship on the Lobby Deck 3 and headed to our cabin on Main Deck 2, inside starboard cabin 2373. It was exactly as envisioned and was our new home for 7 days.
We took a quick tour of the ship and then off to the Lido for the standard issued buffet.
It was okay, which was our thought of the ship's decor and layout. It's not like we were new to Carnival. After returning to our cabin our luggage started to appear one a time which worked out well as we were completely unpacked by the time we left for the safety drill. After the drill we met up with a few folks from our roll call. We enjoyed watching the ship maneuver down the Mississippi. I guess you could call this a combo ocean and river cruise!
We were late diners and that evening we found some very good pre-dinner music at the lobby bar. They had a small dance floor and a superb Philippine couple, Starlight Duo playing the music. He sang and played the piano and keyboard and she also sang. This turned out to be the highlight of our cruise. They knew and could play all the music we requested. We got the dancing going and a few other decided to join. Incidentally the duo only had a professional relationship. We became acquainted with them over the course of our cruise and she even took some photos of us for her album. What we didn't like, and seems to be typical for Carnival, is the venue. They should have been in a lounge with a bigger dance floor and not in the lobby. Same way for the Latin band playing in front of the casino with no dance floor.
We found our dining table for eight and met some nice folks and the food was good.
Some nights only one or two couples showed up and on two nights we were alone. We also had breakfast every morning in the dining room and lunch in the lido. All were good. No complaints. Same way with service, including the service from our cabin steward.
The three ports were not new for us and we did not book any excursions. Rita had her hair braided in Jamaica Mon and I drank a couple of Red Stripes while waiting. In Grand Caymen we did some walking and shopping as we did in Cozumel. We bought a few gifts for the daughters,grand kids, and dog sitters.
As far as entertainment we did go to a couple of the production shows which Rita liked and I semi-liked. The Master of Comedy Hypnosis, ASAD put on a very entertaining show which we both enjoyed. We also went to a Punchliner Comedy Club adults only midnight show starring Mark Simmonds and he was hilarious!
We caught some beads at the New Orleans Style party at the Atrium and danced on the very crowded lobby bar dance floor to some great Jazz sounds by the Conquest Showband. The Mega Deck party Friday night was Mega crowded so we headed back to the lobby bar and had a somewhat smaller party while dancing to the music of the Starlight Duo.
As stated before we had a good cruise. The main thing we were together and enjoying ourselves. The only negative was the fiasco of disembarking and getting a cab back to our hotel. 3,200 passengers are just to darn many in a small space. When we got back to our hotel the traffic was fierce since the Saints were playing. We delayed our trip home until game time when the traffic eased up a little.
Cruise Photos: http://keithnrita.shutterfly.com/