We just returned from the Conquest sailing May 30th thru June 6th.
First and foremost I would like to thank everyone on this board for their input and helpful information. My family and I (Husband and myself 40yrs old/ 15 yr old girl and 17 yr old girl) had the most wonderful vacation ever! You must know that we are fairly seasoned travelers. We have been abroad with the kids twice and all over this country. A cruise was not really high on our list. But after my girlfriend sailed on the Conquest in December, then again in February, and had such a wonderful time, we decided to book the cruise. Best decision we've made in a long time! Here's my review - I know it's long but I liked reading everyone's detailed review.
Embarkation: Smooth, everyone courteous. Arrived @ 1:30pm but despite the long lines, we were in our rooms (which were ready) by 2:30pm.
Rooms: We had two. Both on Empress Deck - Balcony (for husband and I ) and Interior right across the hall for the girls. Loved the big balcony room. It was very special to have breakfast delivered every morning and to sip coffee leisurely on the balcony. Both rooms were very clean and well appointed. Plenty of storage in both rooms. Someone on this board recommended that we bring a small gift for the room steward, which we did. The bags consisted of t-shirts from my business in the French Quarter, New Orleans spices, prepaid calling cards, note cards and pralines. Our steward, Emam was very grateful and our rooms never lacked for anything. Our Carnival beach towels were replaced every day and our complimentary bathroom samples were replenished as well.
Dining: Being from New Orleans in the food industry, it really takes a lot to impress me. However, we found the food very good (Monet dining room, Pizza, Paul's deli) to excellent (The Point Supper Club). Our wait staff was the best. Always attentive and very friendly. We found out early on to ask what our waiter would recommend as the best choice for the evening. We always took his recommendations and were never disappointed. We loved the formal nights! It's not too often that we're all in formal attire so that was special. We ate at the Supper Club one night. For a small fee($25.00 per person) it really shouldn't be missed. The wine list was much better than the dining room. We took the advice of the Sommelier and were very pleased. The food was excellent and very well presented. Dessert was incredible. The chef sent out samplings of appetizers and dessert assortments - nice touch.
Entertainment: Games were fun (Trivia, Newlywed, etc.). Magic show was OK. Vegas style Show - Yuk! My girls were actually drifting off to sleep during that show... I didn't blame them.
Excursions: Jamaica - I had heard that this was a bad stop. But we loved it! Everyone was very friendly. Husband played golf at White Witch w/ Tyler the golf pro. He reported that the course was beautiful, difficult and well maintained. The girls and I hired a taxi driver to accompany us for the day. We went to Margaritaville and ended up staying 2 hours. The food was good and the girls loved the craziness and the trampolines. Then the taxi driver took us to Aqua Sol where we rented jet skis and went extreme tubing behind a power boat - great fun. Then we went shopping. No problems to report whatsoever. Just a good time had by all.
Grand Cayman: Wow! I had heard from so many people on this board about the stingrays. I am so glad we went. It truly is an incredible experience. We took the Stingray Sandbar tour. It was so much fun! Loved the Captain and his mate. The water was SO blue and the stingrays were like big soft dogs. They loved being petted, fed and held. My 15 yr old was carrying one around for about 30 minutes. She kept reaching up to give my daughter a kiss on the chin! Sweet! We went shopping afterwards and found great deals right there by the terminal.
Cozumel: Our favorite port! We took the Catamaran / Snorkel tour. The catamaran was big and beautiful. The Captain and the crew were hilarious. Snorkeling itself was lovely but a little crowded. After that we went to a private beach. My 17 yr old and I relaxed on rafts and scouted for shells. Both girls went kayaking. My husband and 15 yr old started a volleyball game that turned into a volleyball tournament. Great fun! The ride back on the catamaran was filled with great music, dancing and margaritas flowing. After this we took a taxi to Carlos and Charlie's for lunch. This is not a place for young kids. We knew this (we had been before), but thought that with our girls growing up with Mardi Gras and the French Quarter, they wouldn't be shocked by too much. It turned out to be pretty tame and fun. The food was very good. We got great pictures at the bar and with the wait staff. Before we left we had a list of teenagers who wanted Carlos and Charlie's and Senor Frog t-shirts. So, we headed around the corner to Senor Frog's and filled up our bags with t-shirts. We had also heard that we could get some good deals on diamonds. This was not the case. No great bargains here. But, we did end up buying a lovely pair of earrings the last night on the ship for about 70% off.
Spa - Fabulous therapists, but very expensive. My husband and I had the couples massage and thoroughly enjoyed it. We liked it so much that we went back for foot massages, scalp massages and facials. The girls were a little jealous, so we booked them a couple's massage. They loved it. Although the therapists were great, I felt that the spa itself was not what I am accustomed to. No lush waiting room with cold cucumber water, no changing rooms, hair dryers or lotions. It was also a little noisy. Even with these small disappointments, it was a treat to get pampered and relaxed while we were at sea.
Debarkation - Just as smooth as embarkation. Had our luggage outside our doors by 10:00 on Saturday night. We waited in our rooms until 8:30 am then brought our carryons down to breakfast. About the same time we were finishing, they called our color. We were walking in our house by 10:30 am.
Final thoughts - I can't wait to do this again. Our entire family had a spectacular time. The girls loved to teen area and the freedom. We all loved our family time together, but also that the girls had so many people to hang out, and places to go that it gave my husband and I alone with each other. It was really like a second honeymoon. I loved this vacation. We are all now officially CRUISE ADDICTS!!!