Day 1 Reported to ship at 11:30. Normally allowed on board at Noon, we were told via flier that we were not allowed on ship until 1:30. Finally got inside to line number 2 about 1:45, then through security onto line 3. Checked in and onto the holding area to board ship.
Finally onboard by 2:30. New this cruise we received gold sign and sail cards for being a repeat Carnival cruiser. Valuable to have as it would appear later today.
Went to our room, which was conveniently located on Deck 10 right by the hot tub!! Room was ready, but no room steward introduction as of yet. Then off to the Lido deck for lunch. Decided to go find our dinning table. We had sailed the conquest before, and were in a different dinning room so wanted to check it out. Our table number couldn't be found, but didn't worry too much as it was still early.
Checked out parts of the ship we didn't get to last year and then went to have the sail off party. Didn't set sail at 6pm like we were suppose to so we went to dinner. Arrived at dinner and were told that our table was closed. After much ado and some showing of the Gold card to the Maitre d', we were seated at our table, but the poor waiter had several, so dinner was a little "not so perfect".
Still not sailing at 7pm but around 7:30 we noticed we were beginning to move out of port. Missed the sail off, but oh well. After dinner, off to the Casino. Met Bryan, the casino host, who was very nice and helpful.
Day 2 Sea day. Woke up early to see the sunrise, off our balcony. Nice view. Couldn't hear the elevators like some had suggested we might. Went to locate the Maitre d' to make sure our dinner table would be ready for tonight. Found him in the Monet Dining room, were able to rearrange our seating so that we were in the Monet instead of the Renoir and made sure we had a waiter.
Today was a sea day, went on a ship tour, then to the Art Auction. Usually get free champaign at the art auction, Not this time! So, beware if you are looking forward to it. Off to get ready for dinner after the auction. Tonight is formal night. Met our new waiter and assistant waitress Putu and Theresia. Very, very nice and wonderful service. Off to the casino again.
Day 3 Sea day. Played in the slot tournament, made it to the finals. Went to another art auction, still no free champagne, they told us there won't be any until the last sea day....Last time on the Conquest we had free champagne every time. Dinner went well, a little dancing tonight Lido deck party at midnight. Had a lot of fun there, Red team won!
Day 4 Jamaica -- Went there last year, learned the hard way to stay out of the town area. Very pushy people. Booked an excursion this time. We did do some shopping at the port, a little more pricey, but worth it not to have to deal with the locals at the shops in town. Took the Catamaran, snorkel, beach excursion. It was okay. First time group snorkeling. Not a big fan. We snorkeled just off Doctors beach then went to doctors beach. After the snorkel they tried to sell us their stuff, claiming no pressure. I really don't like this style of no pressure. Doctors beach was nice, but they still try to sell you Jamaican "smokes" while in the ocean and on the beach. Beware. We thought that by booking an excursion we would be getting away from this, not so. They made us go all the way around through security to get back on the ship...ugg. I really am annoyed by this point. Finally back on the ship and ready! Off to dinner and the comedy show and bingo!
Day 5 Grand Cayman -- My favorite port to date! We booked the City tour and stingray city sandbar. We were the first tender, which I had never done before. Went really fast! We were in Georgetown by 7:45. Our tour was air conditioned buses. Very nice, tour guide very informative. We went to 7mile beach, Rum factory, Turtle farm then to the marina where we got onboard a pretty large boat and off to Stingray City. Once in Stingray City it was very nice. The boat guides were very informative and prepared us for the stingrays. We all got to hold them and give them a kiss and our photo's were taken. The water was waist deep so we could just stand there and watch them. A lot of people were actually there, but the stingrays didn't mind.
Back to Georgetown, did some shopping, pricier than other ports. Actually the exchange rate is .80 US to 1.00 Cayman. We tendered back rather quickly and were back on board by 3pm. Another formal night for dinner. Off to the Casino, which has become a nightly thing this cruise. We did get some bingo in there. My mom hit a slot jackpot!
Day 6 -- Cozumel. We booked an excursion. The catamaran snorkel and beach party. This was a little more laid back than the Fiesta party boat we took last time. We did the group snorkel thing again, which I decided I didn't like in Jamaica, but it was pre-booked, so did it anyway. Then off to the private beach. That was relaxing, plenty of floats and volleyball and hammocks. On the way back I think we actually out partied the fiesta party boat. They didn't look like they were have to much fun. Did some shopping in the duty free pier and back on the boat. Dinner again is awesome. Then off to some bingo, and a comedy show. Then to the casino where my mom won another jackpot!
Day 7 -- Sea day. Did another slot tournament, didn't fare so well. Went to the art auction, where they did serve some free champagne, only during the preview, not the actual auction. Just to let you know. Went to the disembarkation talk and to dinner. Took pics at dinner and said goodbye's to Putu and Theresia. More bingo and slots at the casino.
Day 8 -- Getting off the boat was a total nightmare. We were told that if we were flying after we got off the ship to put a black tag on our luggage. Then to go to the lounge by 8:30. Well, we did all that and ended up sitting in the lounge (freezing) until 10:00 when we finally were told that we could start to get off the boat. There were a lot of us...so, when we reach the infamous sea of luggage we weren't too surprised. That is until we were informed that it was in front of Customs. Getting our luggage found and then trying to get in the correct line was a joke. When you did find your luggage, you couldn't move around with it. Then when you finally broke free and found a line you were told it was the wrong one. You see they had 2 lines for non-us citizens, 2 lines for birth certificate holders and 2 lines for passport holders. Eventually it was any line could take anyone, but this wasn't publicly announced, nor were the lines marked what they were, you were taking peoples word for it. Finally by 11:30 I was thru customs. This was the longest time it has taken me to get off a ship. I understand that Galveston is not used to an additional 1200 people getting on and off a ship...but what were they doing all week while we were on the ship? Someone should have been making plans to expedite the disembarkation.
Overall, I expected the ship to be fully ready for us when we got onboard. Since they were in drydock before we got onboard, I figured that would be the case. Not so. Come to find out, we didn't leave on time the first day due to the staff not arriving on time. They were still arriving from different areas since Katrina messed it up for them. At 6 when we were suppose to leave they were 200 staff short. When we left at 7:30 they were only 20 short. Per the Maitre d' anyway.
I couldn't tell that anything different was done to the ship in drydock, other than the bedding was different this time. Overall a good cruise, not as good as when I went on the Conquest last year, but still a good cruise. I just expected more since that was the experience on my previous cruises. I tried to give them credit at the ports given they don't normally deal with the high number of passengers so I didn't get as upset as others, but it was still annoying.