First let me start by saying this was a great cruise and I would do it again. Me (34)second cruise, Wife (36) third cruise and DD's (12,15) first cruise for both, We all sailed on the Conquest 8-6-06. My wife and I both sailed on the Elation 4/05.
We drove to Galveston on the Friday before we sailed as we wanted to spend extra time in Galveston. We stayed at the Quality Inn & Suits in Galveston at a great rate $69.95. the hotel was great and had a balcony with an ocean view. I booked this hotel months before which is why I think I got a good rate.
SHIP INFO: We arrived at the pier at about 11:30am and parked at the EZ Cruise Parking very easy and cheaper then the parking at the cruise terminal $50:00 on line. We where on board the ship by 12:30pm, the first impression is the ship is huge and decorated nicely.
When we first got on the ship we made our way to our stateroom which had already been cleaned and was ready for us. After dropping our bags off we made our way to the Lido Deck and had lunch. After eating we toured around the ship took pictures then made our way back to our cabin and waited for the lifeboat drill which took about 20 minutes. After the drill we went back to the stateroom as some of our luggage was beginning to arrive, so we unpacked then toured the ship some more until dinner.
STATEROOM INFO: Our cabin was nice as we had a balcony on deck 6 (UPPER) the stateroom was kept clean everyday by our cabin steward,my hats off to him. towel animals where left each night except for the first night, but is understandable, there was a lot of work going on the first day as for as bags being delivered and other things. The size of the cabin was OK but when you stick four people in one cabin it's going to be a little tight, but having the balcony made it worth it. I originally had a oceanview family stateroom reserved on the Spa Deck but changed it to a balcony at the last minute. I think next time it will be a coin toss if I go with an oceanview family room or a balcony as there is suppose to more room in the family stateroom.
DINING: We where seated in the Monet dining room table 566 for dinner late seating. we went to dinner in the dining room 4 out of the 7 nights. The food ranged from good to excellent my only disappointment as for as food goes was the lobster I did not think it was very good but I also had prime rib the same night, so i had something else to eat since I did not like the lobster. Our head waiter Phillipe was great as well as his assistant but i can't remember her name. the only complaint I have about the dining room was there seemed to be no enforcement of the dress code even on formal night. I seen people wearing ball caps, shorts, tank tops and flip flops. this was not enough to ruin my vacation but just a disappointment. the food in the Buffet areas where good but they need more variety during dinner time. lunch time there was plenty of variety. so much so I did not get a chance to try all of them. But what I did have was good. This was a relief since I did not think the food on Elation a year earlier was very good at all. The breakfast was also good each morning but the variety did not change except some mornings they would have french toast that was very good. There is an omelet bar that was also good.
Activities: The daily activities on board ranged from shows in the different lounges to parties on the Lido deck. It seemed like there was always something to do. besides going to some of the activities during the day I also went to the casino where I ended up $300.00 in the hole. but I still had fun. Keep a close eye on your sail & sign bill, you can view it on your TV in your cabin. We did not use the Camp Carnival but it looked like the kids on board had fun that did join in the different Camp Carnival events.
Speaking of kids I think my only other disappointment on board was the number of kids I would hear cursing in the public areas of the ship including in the hallway outside the cabin.
Shore Excursions: Our first stop was Montego Bay Jamaica we got off the ship with no problems and got a cab to Sunset Beach Resort. The cost was $40.00pp but well worth it. the resort has a water park with two slides a lazy river and I believe three different pools. The cab cost $2.00pp not bad at all. After leaving the resort we shopped outside the port terminal. We where never offered drugs like I've read about in other reviews. As we went thru customs to get back on the ship there was a kid looked to ba about 17 yrs old that appeared to have been caught with some drugs and was almost in tears as his mom was yelling at him and asking how could he do that. i do not know what the final result was with the kid.
Grand Cayman: I booked a Stingray excursion thru Capt Marvins. We where not disappointed at all. After swimming with the stingrays we snorkeled by a reef and got plenty of pictures even got to pet a nurse shark about three and a half long that came swimming up while we where snorkeling. The whole excursion was great and I would recommend it to anyone. We did not do a lot of shopping in Grand Cayman for I already knew how expensive it was by reading other reviews on Cruise Critic. so we waited to do most of our shopping in Cozumel.
Cozumel: Our third and last stop was Cozumel we where going to go to Playa Mia Beach Resort but instead decided to just go shopping so that's what we did until a 2:00pm The bargains are much better here then Grand Cayman. The store keepers where not that pushy just tell them no thanks and they will usually respect that. We went and ate at Hard Rock Cafe it was pretty good. We all had Cokes and shared a very large plate of nachos --- cost was $27:00
Our last sea day was pretty uneventful we just laid around and only went to one show.
Disembarking: We took advantage of the self assist and was putting the bags in the car at 8:15am. My only advise with self assist is about 6:00am take your luggage to the main lounge on the Lobby Deck get comfortable and watch all the other people that try to position themselves to be the first one off with some getting more emotional then necessary. If you go find yourself an out of the way spot in the lounge and just wait for the crew to let everyone know they can start leaving the ship you'll be just fine. Once the line starts moving it does not take long at all.
Conclusion: This was an outstanding vacation and would do it again any time my advice to someone wanting to take this trip would be to take a look at how much stuff your planning on taking and get rid of about a third of it because your probably not going to need it. I take my hat off to all the crew of the Conquest as I realize they do this every week and and still manage to make the majority of people happy every week. They really do work very hard for the guest.