This is my second cruise on the Conquest. I was on it 10/04 also, and I have to say that boarding in Galveston was so much better than New Orleans despite the fact I had to drive a few extra hours from Illinois. I will also say that I probably won't go again during hurricane season. Last year a tropical storm had hit the night before I left and I was in New Orleans during it. I don't think I had ever seen anything like that rain! Everything was up in the air until the last minute this year due to not only Katrina hitting first but then Rita was supposed to hit Galveston and Houston. I don't like the whole issue of the plans being unknown like that so I guess I will go in winter next time. Who would have ever thought that the US would be hit by so many hurricanes and have so much devastation? Galveston appeared to have only hit and miss areas but I did come through other places that had been hit. May they all get back to normal as quickly as possible!
As far as the embarkation it was very easy to pull our car into the terminal and unload our group and luggage and have my husband park and take the shuttle back. The lines weren't bad and everything went smoothly. (I even met the future winner of the HAIRY chest contest while waiting for our first pictures to be taken.) : ) Carnival noticed my aunt walked with a cane and immediately cared for her in another line. Once on the ship she looked exactly as I remembered... beautiful!
Our rooms were ready so we began to go find them. It didn't take long at all to get our luggage either. Again much better than N.O. trip! We began to show the "newbies" in our group around the ship! Had some lunch and hung around the Lido deck.
I have to say the first several days were not my favorite due to the rough water and the ship movement was terrible. I kept trying to explain to the others that this was not typical and would get better. I guess this was due to some storms that were going to hit Mexico, but not sure. It rained hard several different times and the wind was so strong up on the LIDO deck but I wasn't going to let it ruin my cruise! I just prayed for the weather to get better and it did! The captain got on several times to assure us of this. One night the show was supposed to be dancers and was switched to the ventriloquist because of the movement of the ship. (The curtains in the Toulouse were swaying.. not kidding.)
My room and steward were great.. and convenient to lots of things BUT if you want to sleep in past say 6 or 7am do not choose the Verandah deck! (I was upgraded). I was right under the LIDO deck and it always sounded like things were rolling or scooting around above my head. Again this is not enough to ruin my trip I am just making suggestions.
According to most in my group we had issues with the shower draining but again I believe it may have been caused by the ship swaying. I didn't notice as many kids this time but I also didn't bring mine along either. They appeared to be having fun! I met lots of very nice people, but have this one courtesy suggestion,....... please please please LET THE PEOPLE on the elevator get off BEFORE YOU GET ON! It usually makes for a happier situation. I can't tell you how many people don't do this!
Jamaica- Went to Sunset Beach Resort.. they now charge $30 instead of $20 due to the new "waterpark". It wasn't really working yet, and there was only one slide open. The weather hampered our visit but we still liked it. Food was fine and service was good. It beat being nagged by people downtown that's for sure.
Grand Cayman -- This was my first visit due to Hurricane Ivan closing it down last year. I loved 7 Mile Beach. Our cab ride was $5 pp and our driver was very nice. We even asked her to pick us up at a certain time and she did. I found it VERY expensive there. The beer was 4.40 for a very small cup and frozen/mixed drinks were 8 or 9. I was used to the ship prices but GC was high priced. I saw a cheeseburger there for $9. I almost forgot the HORRIBLE tender ride. I hope I don't have to do that AGAIN! The water was very rough and the ride wasn't awful but getting onto the tender and back on the ship was so bad. The tender boat would just CRASH into the Conquest and then you had to time it just right in order to get off. I felt so bad for those that had some trouble walking and the elderly. There would literally be a 3 foot space between the boat and the ship and you could look in between the two and sea the water. NOT FUN! Still wasn't enough to not make me go back though. It is clean and the people there are nice.
Cozumel -- BEST place to snorkel. I can't say enough about Chankanaab National Park. There are dolphins and sea lions and other birds and monkeys there. Also botanical gardens, and volleyball. I know I didn't get to see it all because I snorkeled so much! It was fantastic! $20 for cab ride for 4 about 7 minutes down the main street and $12 pp to get in. Kids were cheaper. There were many chairs and shade was found everywhere if you chose it. Then $8 for snorkel equipment for the day. (I didn't book this thru Carnival..much cheaper my way) Drinks are expensive, can of Pepsi $2, bottle was more. I can't remember beer price. Lots of beautiful underwater pictures from this place!
Most all of the food was really good on the ship... lines weren't too bad with the exception of the MIDNIGHT GALA". I thought people were going to come to blows over FOOD!, of which there was never any lacking. People stood in line for over one hour before the thing even started~! Not me when I saw that line I opted for pizza which many others did also, then just people watched. I heard people yelling at one another when someone walked up just to see the ice sculpture because they thought they were cutting in! I say WHATEVER! I had enough of that and finished my pizza.. which I enjoyed very much!
Debarkation.. SELF ASSIST!!!! get your luggage off yourself and you will be out of there in a timely manner. I was off by 8:30, my friends who didn't do their own luggage.. 1pm. Again much better than N.O. no problems and back to Illinois I went. I can't say enough about the fun, and service (Boris) was a great server wherever we were at on the ship, and we were made to feel like royalty. I highly recommend cruising.. and whatever you encounter just make the best of it!