Carnival Conquest Cruise Review by MELcruisin: First cruise...of many!
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First cruise...of many!
My day began with an early drive to Galveston. I arrived at 12:30 pm, along with pretty much everyone else going on the cruise. Since so many of us arrived at the same time, the line was very long. It took about an hour and a half to get through, but by a little after 2, I was enjoying a late lunch on the Lido deck. My stateroom was available immediately, and my luggage actually beat me there. I was impressed, although I did hear later that a family member didn't get luggage until after dinner.
My stateroom was an oceanview on the Main deck. Engine noise never bothered me, since I was on the forward end. I spoke to a few people who had Main deck staterooms on the aft end who said that the noise was really bad. I would be happy with my room again. The layout was either twin beds or a queen, and there was a fold out couch that could have been used for a third person or a couple of kiddos. The bathroom was small, as expected, but perfectly adequate for 7 days.
I had More early dining, and the food was excellent every night. I enjoy seafood, and there was something interesting to choose from at each meal. Desserts were wonderful for the most part, although I would not do the Chocolate Melting Cake again. I know that this dessert is a big hit for a lot of people, including my tablemates, but I thought it just tasted like a chocolate cake that was not fully cooked. Not my favorite. My waiter, Rhoderick, was a lot of fun, and we really got a kick out of him when it came time for the waiters to do their entertainment. He was a really good dancer!
For breakfast, I never tried the dining room because the fare on the Lido deck was so good. Omelettes prepared to order, tons of fresh fruits, pastries as far as the eye could see. I only had lunch in the dining room one day. It was just way too much! After a good breakfast and before a delicious dinner, I just can't eat that much lunch. The Lido deck had great things to offer: sandwiches at Paul's deli, Asian wok food, burgers, and a warm buffet. One level up was Sur Mer, with delish fish and chips, and on the Promenade deck you could get fantastic sushi. There was no going hungry on this cruise.
We had so-so weather on a couple of our days, the second sea day and the last. I guess that's a factor of cruising from Galveston in January. But I have to keep in mind that back home, just a few hours to the north, it snowed while I was gone. I was happy to be on the Conquest instead of sludging through the snow.
I spent most sea days relaxing, reading, hanging out in the casino, playing cards with my family, etc. Great easygoing times. You could be as busy or lazy as you wanted. I used the jogging deck every day, and you don't have to be a runner to enjoy that. It is as great for the walker as the jogger. There were lots of activities for people of various interests. If you could get bored on the Conquest, you weren't trying very hard to be entertained.
Evening entertainment on the Conquest was not great, in my opinion. The Point and Click show was just awful. The storyline was absurd, and it seemed like the musical numbers had nothing to do with the story. Oh that I could have reversed time to see one of the movies under the stars on the Lido deck instead! The movies were fun. There is nothing like watching a big screen movie right on the open ocean. What a neat experience! If you're not into the hoaky, silly shows, just go watch a movie or head to one of the bars for karaoke or a piano sing-a-long.
Our first port was Montego Bay Jamaica. I didn't book an excursion, because the ones that sounded interesting to me required about an hour and a half of driving each way. I just didn't want to spend so much of my day riding on a bus. So, my family and I took a taxi into town for some shopping. BIG MISTAKE! The shops were awful, stocked with only cheap souvenirs and operated by the pushiest, most desperate salespeople I have ever encountered. I felt unsafe and uncomfortable in that area. After a short period of time, we took another taxi to Margaritaville. There were more shops there, but the operators were not nearly as aggressive, and the food and drinks at Margaritaville were great. If you were so inclined, there was also lots of water activity there such as a water trampoline and inner tubes. If I am ever on another cruise that goes to Jamaica, I'll just head straight to Margaritaville, or stay on the ship.
Port number 2 was Grand Cayman. What a difference. Much more upscale. My only issue with Grand Cayman is the fact that you have to tender in. It takes much longer, so you just have to be patient. We were unlucky enough to be a few of the first people on a tender ship that would hold about 200. In the amount of time it took to fill up our ship, a ship that only held 80 pulled up to another gangway, filled, and left. We still sat waiting. We thought we were being smart by waiting a little later to leave but that backfired because it took longer to fill the ship. Once in Grand Cayman, it was shop til we dropped. What a fun day!
The third port, and my favorite by far was Cozumel Mexico. We went on the Deluxe Sail, Snorkel and Beach Party excursion. We booked through Carnival. The catamaran had quite a few people on it, but the crew was so smooth and experienced that it seemed like much less. They had us on the boat, and headed for our snorkel site before we knew it. We had about 45 minutes of great snorkeling before headed to their private beach for free beer and margaritas. Lunch was available for an additional cost, but we decided to wait until we got back to the pier. There is a cute little restaurant called Pablo's Backyard, I believe. The food was fantastic, and their water and ice is purified so we could feel comfortable eating and drinking there. Besides the cute restaurant, the area by the pier where we docked is filled with darling little shops. It is very Americanized, kind of the cartoon version of what Americans think Mexico is. Stucco buildings painted bright colors with mariachi music ringing out. Very cute, and new looking. We had a lot of fun looking at hand painted knick knacks, and brought several home with us.
I really wasn't sure what to expect from my first cruise, but I'm happy to say that it was my first but won't be my last. I had a wonderful time, and I can't wait to book my next one! Less
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