Cruise day - Around 1:00 pm Sunday January 4 - My husband, daughter and I drove to Galveston from Houston with no traffic or congestion problems. It was a little foggy and sprinkling rain but otherwise no major problems. Arrived at the port so that we could drop off luggage but was told that the ship would not be accepting cruisers until 4:00 pm due to heavy fog. So we drove around and decided to stop at McDonalds for lunch. Around 2:30 we decided to park since we had prepaid parking at EZ Cruise, however, EZ Cruise had a line of about 2 blocks of cars waiting to park. We sat in the line for about 1 and ½ before we were able to park. We parked and decided to walk over to the terminal instead of riding the EZ Parking Van since there were quite a few people already waiting and we had already checked our bags. Once we made it to the terminal we discovered there was another very long line to get onto the boat. We waited another hour before getting to the escalator to check in. After passing the line where you show your passports and fun pass we were able to go into the VIP section because of our Carnival Vacation Club Membership. We were then taken to a little waiting room that had a couch and two chairs and was told that we would be called when it was our turn to speak to a Carnival representative to get our Sign and Sail Card. Waited and waited but noticed that people were coming in behind us but leaving before us. So I got up and peeked next door to let them know that we were told to wait in the room - how much longer would it be. Well of course the Representative was surprised that we were waiting and claimed he wasn't told we were there. My husband was starting to show much frustration on his face at this point. We were just hoping this was not the beginning of bad vacation. After meeting with the representative, we stood in line to take our shipboard picture which was about 15 minutes. We were given some sort of badge (not the sail in sign card) and we were told to take to the Concierge to pick up our S&S card. Stood in another line 15 minutes to get on the ship. Then made it over to the Concierge and another very long line so I asked the Carnival Rep at the Platinum Member window if we could just pick up our S&S card from her - initially she said "Mam this line is for Platinum Members only are you a Platinum Member" and I said "no but I am a Carnival Vacation Club member and all we need is out S&S card can you help us?" I guess she saw the frustration on our faces and she finally said she could help us. So she gave us our cards and we had to walk back over to the entry to take our picture for the S& S card. Ok after about 6 hours we were able board the Carnival Conquest. I totally understand that the fog was not Carnival's fault but the whole S&S card issue was a very frustrating.
One nice thing is that Carnival gave everyone a $15 on board credit - I guess since we had to buy our lunch waiting to board the ship. The crew all looked so tired in the dining room and I could just tell that there day was just as long as ours had been if not worse. But they all seemed to still have the warm and welcoming smiles. Cabin 1026 (Balcony-8E) Deck 10. The cabin was big enough for the 3 of us - there was a king bed (2 full size pushed together) and a full size bed where the couch normally is with two drawers underneath. Three closets - one with shelves, two for hanging clothes - middle closet is where life jackets are stored 2 at the very top and 2 at the bottom no room for anything there. Three drawers on the vanity and two more storage cabinets on the other side of the vanity. Enough storage for the three of us. The only problem was that we were right underneath the Spa Deck and could hear furniture moving early in the a.m. Typically around 1:00 am or 2:00 am. Kind of annoying to say the least.
Monday (Ship Day & Formal Day) Relaxation day for us. We did wake up early and my husband worked out at the gym while I visited the spa to determine what treatments I wanted. I decided on a facial and was happy with the treatment. However, I was promised that I would not have any breakouts or scars but I did on Tuesday morning. Nothing major - it cleared up by the time we were to leave the ship on Sunday. This was also formal day so we dressed up to take pictures.
Tuesday (Ship Day) Decided on a massage and another day of relaxation. We explored the ship and decided to eat the fish and chips for lunch. Pretty tasty and greasy just like we like when we are on vacation. We splurge on everything including our diet. It was not yet hot outside so not too many people laying out - It wasn't cold but kind of a cool breeze. Enjoyed the boat activities - was a good day. For dinner we weren't feeling the dining room so decided to grab a burger and go to the room and watch UT pull a last minute win on Ohio State. A very exciting game to say the least.
Wednesday (Jamaica) The weather was beautiful - felt like mid 80's but the sun was hot. We e-mailed the Ritz in Jamaica to see if they had a day rate available and was offered a rate of $199 - which included use of the resort and a room for the 3 of us. This was perfect for us because I like to lay out and take a bubble bath afterwards, my daughter likes to watch MTV and my husband likes to lay out and take a nap. We really enjoyed the Ritz. The staff is very friendly and very customer service oriented. There was also rafts, snorkel equipment and paddle boats available for use. We did have lunch which we decided on Pizza and Jerk Chicken. It was pretty good. We left the Ritz around 4:30 pm and it took about 45 minutes to get back to the boat. Back in time for dinner - My husband and daughter grabbed another burger and I had a turkey sandwich from the Sandwich Bar. Enjoyed some of the boat festivities and retired to our room to watch a ship movie. "What happened in Vegas stays in Vegas"
Thursday (Grand Cayman) No plans on this day except to watch the big OU and Florida game. We arrived in Grand Cayman at 7:00 am and I couldn't get up that early so we slept until 8:30 and dressed for breakfast. Made it to the dining room to find out that it closes at 9:30 on dock days so we made our way to the buffet. I am not really a big buffet person but thought this buffet was not too bad. There was an omelet station so I had eggs over easy, my husband eggs over medium and my daughter a ham and cheese omelet. All prepared well. Bacon was hot and also had my favorite cereal "Raisin Bran" with 2% milk. We tendered over around 11:00 no line and walked around the shops. Decided not to do any of the tours since we had to be back on the boat by 2:30. We went back to ship a little early so we could try the Chinese place since it closes at 2:30 which in my opinion was not very good. We sat out on the Lido deck and listened to the Caribbean sounds while we watched the kids run around was another nice day except for the OU loss later that evening.
Friday (Cozumel) We decided to take advantage of the beautiful Intercontinental Hotel in Cozumel. There rate was $130 which included use of a room with a $45 credit for food and drinks. I actually liked this hotel better that the Ritz. The layout was really nice with the bamboo umbrellas. The food was delicious - My daughter had her favorite Club Sandwich, me a Mahi-Mahi sandwich and my husband Fajitas. The room was really nice but majority of the television stations were Mexican. I believe there were 2 stations that spoke in English but who goes to Cozumel to watch TV anyway. My daughter was a little disappointed since she loves the reality shows that are on MTV and she was hoping to catch up on what she had missed out on. I actually was happy that she decided to join us out on the beach since there was nothing on. We headed back to the port around 4:00, my husband wanted to buy a pair of eel skin cowboy boots. He swears that the price in Houston would be quadruple. We returned to the boat around 5:30 and were welcome to the wonderful tunes of Caribbean music. Decided to grab a bite on the Lido deck and meet new friends.
Saturday (Ship Day) Worked out and decided on another massage. Decided on the $99 special - 20 minutes Stone, 20 minutes Back and 20 minutes Neck and Shoulders. Was my favorite massage. Mary was my masseuse and she was very good. She will try to sell you the kitchen sink but I really believe she loves the product (or gets a big commission from sales). She was excellent with my massage, I left the room feeling more relaxed than I have in months. We decided to return to the dining room and our server joked that he thought that we had stayed in Jamaica since he had not seen us all week. He was very nice and brought us the lemonade we asked for on formal night. How these people remember everyone is amazing to me. We really enjoyed this day.
Sunday (Back Home) We decided to self embark. Came down around 6:30am and was seated on the second row. It is cool that you leave on the order that you came in so we were one of the first off the ship. No line just rolled our luggage over to customs-3rd in line and we were off the ship. Very cold in Galveston glad I bought a jacket. My husband ran to EZ Parking and grabbed the car and came back over to the dock to pick us up. We were out of there by 8:30 am. The exit off was much better that the entry on. Overall - I enjoyed the cruise. It was very relaxing and the massages were great. I think Carnival is feeling the recession too. I thought the food was better on my last trip on the Conquest but it wasn't terrible. I was told that the Conquest is going in to dry dock in the Bahamas and everything is getting replace even the workout equipment. I think that will definitely improve the ship - it needs a little upgrading. Fun times - Voyage on the Sea - who could complain.