We boarded with some friends who were being married at the port in Galveston, so embarkation was very easy. We were at the terminal at 10:00 a.m. After a short wait, the wedding coordinator came by to get our group, and we were checked in. We were then escorted to another room for a short wait. Then we boarded the ship, where we dropped off our carry on luggage in the room of the bride and groom, and went to the bar to wait for the wedding to start. Just before the wedding, we checked our room to see that it was ready, and we picked up our carry on luggage and deposited that in our room.
Well, I have to say I was very impressed with the details of the wedding. The Cassatt room is gorgeous, and the wedding coordinator did a beautiful job. My friend's photos are stunning. It was an intimate wedding ceremony, with a short reception afterwards.
Day Stuff and General Comments
This was my first cruise, and I was a little concerned about having motion sickness. However, I took a Bonine prior to boarding, and although I could feel the movement of the ship, I was never nauseous. Our luggage arrived around 3:00 p.m., and we unpacked, and enjoyed sail away on our balcony.
Shortly after the sail away, it was time for muster drill. Muster drill was very much as people have described. Luckily, it did not last long, and once our life jackets were deposited back in our room, we headed for the lido deck.
Let me just stop here to comment on how beautiful the Conquest is. I love the dEcor, and everything was kept immaculately clean. Our stateroom was larger than I expected, and we had plenty of room to store our belongings for 7 days. I wasn't initially impressed after meeting our steward. I followed some of the advice here at CC and gave her $20, and asked that she take good care of us throughout the cruise. She said she would, but did not fill our cooler, after I asked her to do so. A couple of hours later, I went down the hall and asked for assistance from another steward to get ice from the pantry room. Later in the evening (around 8 p.m.,), she came by, and mentioned that she needed to check on that ice I requested. I told her I had taken care of it, and she said she would refresh it then. We did not get a towel animal the first night. However, we did get towel animals every night after that, and although our steward was not particularly personable, she took care of us, as she had promised, for the rest of the cruise.
The only negative experience that I had during the cruise was with my bon voyage order, and my limited dealings with the purser's office. I had some difficulty getting my bon voyage order delivered to my cabin, but eventually, I received everything I ordered, and it was just a small hiccup in the trip. The only other problem I had was when I tried to find out some information from the purser's desk about the excursion I booked through Carnival. They were not helpful at all. I would suggest that if you book your excursion through Carnival, you find out as much as you can from here, and not depend on personnel at the ship to assist you. Also, please be aware that if you book your excursions through Carnival, you will see the charge for the excursion on your statement. It will be deducted at the end, but it was quite a shock to see it, after having paid for it six months earlier. I was told that they had to do this in order to print the tickets out. As I said, it was deducted at that end, and that is all the matters I guess.
As most everyone is aware, the Conquest was late docking on December 9 due to fog. Let me say that the crew and staff were very courteous and tried to make everyone as comfortable as possible. Even though we disembarked later than planned, all went well, and it was just one of those things that could not have been predicted.
We had an 8:30 late seating with the group from the wedding at the Renoir. The Renoir is a terrific place to eat. The food the first night was awesome. My husband and I both had the lamb chops, asparagus soup, and Caesar salad. We had crème brulee for dessert. The food was as good as that in any of the finer restaurants in which I have dined. The service was impeccable throughout the cruise. The second night (formal night), my husband and I ordered the lobster tail as well as the prime rib. I did not have any dessert the second night. On Tuesday night, I had the jerked pork tender loin (yum), and I finally had a chance to eat some of the melting chocolate cake. Yes, the melting chocolate cake was as good as everyone described. My husband had the teriyaki beef ribs, and he said it was great. I thought the quality of the food diminished somewhat after Tuesday night. On Wednesday, I had Beef Wellington, and my husband had a seafood dish. It was ok, but nothing like the food we had had on the previous nights, although I think dessert made up for it. I had the tiramisu, and my husband had bread pudding. We had some entertainment from the serving staff on formal night, but they really pulled out the stops on Tuesday night, dancing to "La Vida Loco" just before dessert was served. Lots of fun! I also want to say how wonderful our waiters were. We had incredible service, and were always greeted with enthusiasm and smiles. It made dinner something to look forward to every night.
I ate breakfast at the buffet every morning, and it was terrific. Sur Mer, the pizzeria, and the grill were all great for lunch. I also ate at the buffet for lunch one day. I did not have a chance to try anything else, but from what I could tell, the food choices were varied, and there were not that many lines, nor did I have to wait very long at any time.
We booked the Sandals excursion in Jamaica through Carnival, and we all had a great time there. We were at the Flagship Sandals, and we were told it was the original Sandals resort in Jamaica. She has been kept up beautifully, and everyone there was very friendly. If you like all inclusive excursions, this would be a good one to book.
Thursday was a visit to Grand Cayman, and we did not have an excursion booked for this port. The time spent here is short (you have to be back on the ship by 3:00 p.m.), so we just did some shopping. I had heard that everything was really expensive there, but I did not see that the prices were that far out of line. I found a $20 jewelry shop, where the most expensive items were $20, and many items were 3 for $20, or even 6 for $20. I picked up some great stocking stuffers there, and found some beautiful freshwater pearls. The island is gorgeous, and I just wish we had more time to spend there.
Friday was spent at Xcaret, a theme park that has some water excursions, a tribute to the Mayan culture, some official Mayan ruins, an aquarium, and a beautiful butterfly garden. We floated in the underground cave and river that is located at the park. We also ate lunch there. It was very nice day, and I would recommend this excursion, especially if you are traveling with children.
I honestly did not see everything, so my comments here will be limited. I went to see the "Point and Click" show, and it was entertaining. The "Soul Man of Bourbon Street" was mediocre, and depended a little too much on audience participation. I loved the live jazz music at Alfred's. The only other things I did for "entertainment" was the wine tasting and the art auction. Both were fun, and I enjoyed each of these activities.
In hindsight, the only drawback I had with the cruise was that it was a little long for me (7 days). There was plenty to do, and certainly this vacation was geared toward spending some relaxing down time. There were lots of sales, and I shopped quite a bit in the fun shops, and I purchased LOTS of photos. I really had a great cruise, and must say that if another opportunity comes up I will probably cruise with Carnival again. I may book a shorter cruise, but that is personal choice, not any reflection on Carnival.