Carnival Conquest 12/06/2009 Western Caribbean. We live fairly close (250 miles) to Galveston, so as in the past cruises, we have driven. The traffic is relative comfortable and on the heavy side in Houston. We drove down on Saturday and stayed at the Hampton Inn and then parked at the EZ Cruise Parking. The parking lot has a shuttle bus that delivers you and picks you up at the terminal. The cost is $50 for a 7 day cruise in a secure parking area. I should know as I forgot to lock the car and all was well on our return.
We arrived at the dock at approx 11AM and was checked in and on the ship by PM...we couldn't get our room but were able to drop off our carry-on thanks to the steward and was through lunch and sightseeing by a little after one. The lifeboat drill was a little better in my books as we didn't or were not required to wear the life jackets. The muster went smoothly and we were under way by 4PM. Sunday and Monday was a little cloudy and not as conducive to laying out but some did anyway...we are really not sun people, so all was OK as far as we were concerned. Tuesday the sun was in full effect albeit windy as it was Sunday and Monday. The temps were in the upper 70s to lower 80s and really nice as we left a cool, cloudy and damp Waco on Sat.
Wednesday ... we arrived in Montego Bay, Jamaica W.I. ... the weather was warm and sunny ... we took a shopping and highlights tour and although the highlights had something to be desired...the shopping was OK and the driver and tour director was great ... we had a rowdy bunch on the bus and must have laughed for 3 hours...
Thursday ... George Town Grand Cayman Is. ... With Kathy and I not beach and water people, we disembarked and did some independent shopping along the coast road at Margaritaville, Hard Rock Cafe, Harley Davidson and a few other shops and then returned to the ship in time for lunch in the buffet. Very nice weather again. The tender boats were good and we had the number one anchor position so we were directly in front of the pier.
Friday ... Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico ... We have been to Cozumel 7 time in the past and have never been to the East side of the island so this trip we booked a Highlights and shopping tour that traveled from the ship port to the Southern tip, around the Eastern shore and then back across the island to San Miguel. This tour went to Discover Mexico ( a really neat of scale attractions like Mayan ruins), El Cedral, and a Tequila factory. Disembarkation was very easy...we did the self assist and was through customs and in the car by 8:45am and home by 1 PM.
We have sailed Carnival now 5 times. We have heard of drastic cuts and trimming ... we saw nothing outstanding ... some things were missing like a past guest pin, the Capitan's meeting was in the lobby thus no free drinks, dinning was where we say a slight re-adjusting of the menu with the main course coming with sides and not a personal choice. There was really none of the cut backs that affected us all that great. The food was good as always like the Flat Iron Steak, Ribs, Salmon, Filet's, etc ... the deserts were very good and were up to Carnival's standings and fattening as always.
Would I recommend Carnival and the Conquest?...YES Would I Do the cruise again?...YES Can I go now (sadly) no.