It's been a couple weeks but I still feel compelled to review my cruise aboard the Carnival Conquest. The DW and I were on our honeymoon, so we were all set to have a rocking good time. Little did we know how literal that would turn out to be.
Embarkation--The DW and I drove from San Antonio the morning after our wedding reception. We got to Galveston at about 2:00 and quickly made our way to the EZ Cruise parking lot. After reading other reviews on Cruise Critic, we pre-paid and had our receipt ready. Within 10 mins or so, they were taking me, the DW and all our luggage to the pier. By 2:30 we were waiting in line, ready to start our vacation. Since we arrived so late in the embarkation process, the line moved pretty quickly and we were ready to take our "Bon Voyage" picture. A short walk up the gangway, and it was time for the getaway Margarita! Once we had a drink and a slice of pizza, we went to find our cabin. Lesson Learned #1(LL#1)--Read the hall signs very carefully. Odd Numbered Cabins/Even Numbered cabins is hung on the wall for a reason! Unfortunately, we walked a good ways "Forward" only to find out that we were on the wrong side and our cabin was "AFT". Oh well, I guess I walked off that slice, right? Got to our room and it was great! Wonderful view of, well, of a working derrick, but we knew that view was only temporary. Checked out the balcony and discussed all the fun we'd have out there for 7 days! LL#2--Slide the beds toward the door. Found out the hard way that if you give yourself enough room on the hallway side of the bed to maneuver, you're gonna be dangerously close to the bathroom door. After having DW bang my side of the bed while exiting the bathroom a couple times, I got smart and slid the beds 3" away and the rest of the trip was much more pleasant!
Time on board--Unfortunately, on Day 1 and 2 (our sea days) we were in some rough water. The boat was rocking and rolling like Van Halen on a bad trip! We went to hang out at the pool and saw the water in the pool sloshing back and forth like the tide. I thought Carnival had installed a wave pool! Having cruised before, I had sea legs, but the rocking was still pretty bad. Neither DW or I got sick from it, but we saw a LONG line in the gift shop with people buying Dramamine and what-not. On day 3, things smoothed out and we were really able to enjoy the ship as a whole. LL#3--You can't get there from here. We learned, way too late I guess, that you cannot get all the way Forward when you're leaving the upper dining room, Aft. The easiest way, and the way I think Carnival wants it, is to go down to 5 (Promenade, which carries you past the Casino), walk all the way forward, then go down to the floor you want. (Lobby, Photo Gallery, etc) Even on our honeymoon, we made time to find our ways to the shows a couple times. (Liked the juggler and magician; the singer was so-so) DW and I made the most of our formal nights. Secretly, that's the part she likes most--dressing for dinner. I don't mind much. Only hard part was the lines for pictures. LL#4--They are really good at taking your picture, but be prepared to pay! ($21.99 for an 8X10 gets to be pretty steep after 5 or 6 pics)
Food--Where to begin? There's plenty of it and it's all pretty good! I remarked to our dinner companions that if you go hungry on this cruise, you really aren't trying! I, as opposed to DW, indulged in just about all I could find! (Diet, be damned) I had burgers, pizzas, ice cream and more buffets than you can shake a stick at! I was surprised by the lines in the buffet areas--they weren't long at all! On my previous cruise, you could starve waiting to get to the salads, but not here. Everything was tasty and fresh on the buffet. I was fortunate enough to arrive right at the time when fresh stuff was arriving to the station, so I was doubly happy. We wanted to "sleep in" so we only made it to sit-down breakfast once. We usually took lunch out by the pool, so we know first-hand how good the burgers and pizza are. We somehow made it to our assigned dinner every night, though. (We were a little late a couple times, but we were on our honeymoon. :-)) Time to send a couple shout-outs, though. Our waiters Pan and Jose were top-notch. They served us with a smile every night. They danced and sang for us. They even took pictures for all of us at the table and did it with the best attitude I'd ever had seen on a ship. They get special consideration for accommodating my MULTIPLE orders every night. I'd developed the system of ordering a "back-up" meal from my last cruise. I usually ordered something I'd like to try, but have my back-up in case the first one wasn't to my liking. Pan and Jose had my back-up close at hand, waiting for the first sign of me not enjoying the first entree. Again, that's 5-star service. LL#5--Dessert is a little weak in the dining room. Get your dessert from the buffet and stash it in your room. While, yes, Warm Chocolate Melting Cake is very good, it gets a little boring after 3 or 4 days. (Unless your name is Felicia! Just playing--Still got love for you, girl)
Ports of Call--1st stop, Jamaica. I woke up sick (bad headache), so DW went on Rum Tour without me. She said it was fun and judging from the pics she brought back, she did. When I finally felt better, I toured the ship, the pier shopping area, then got back onboard for some lunch. Next stop, Grand Cayman. DW had never been there, but I told her how much I enjoyed my previous visit, so she was excited to see it. I have to say that the little island nation has grown quite a bit since I was there last. People were still friendly and the water was still crystal clear as the last time. We booked the Stingray City and Island Tour with Carnival, so we tendered over with the early group. We went out to the sandbar and got in the water with the stingrays. It was a real rush! We had a great time in the water with them. We both fed them and got our picture taken kissing one. (14 years good luck, here we come!) Then it was off to Hell for some pictures of the rock formations. Lastly we ended up at the Turtle Farm. When picking up turtles to take pictures with, DW picked one that thought it could fly! Its little flippers were going 1000 mph! Funny as all get-out and a great photo too! Lastly, Cozumel. We'd both been there before, so we didn't do anything specific. Just spent a couple hours shopping. DW found a beautiful pendant that she loved and we got it at a good price. They even threw in the matching earrings.
Disembarkation--We opted for the self-assist option. We woke up early enough to go for breakfast and look over the ship one last time. We then went back to our cabin and gathered up our bags. LL#6--Take the stairs to the main deck, don't even bother with the elevators. We banged our way down to 3 and waited with everyone else in the state of Louisiana, it seemed. All in all, we only waited 30-40 minutes to get to Customs. We waited another 30 mins in the Customs line, but that breezed right by. Once outside the terminal, there was our EZ Cruise shuttle waiting to take us back to the parking lot--back to reality. (sigh) The driver was very friendly and even lifted my "rolling closet" onto the bus without any complaint. (I tipped him extra for his effort)
All in all, our honeymoon cruise was great! We can't wait to get back on board for our next cruise.