I was on the Carnival Conquest on August 15th- August 22nd. I went with my mother and fiancEe. This was all of ours first cruise to go on. We arrived in New Orleans on Friday about 4pm so we could explore New Orleans since 2 of us had never been there before. We stayed at the Hilton Riverside for the cruise special for $99 a night. We had 3 people in one room so they added an extra $20. I do not know what kind of people have been leaving bad reviews about the Hilton Riverside, but they are crazy, it was one of the nicest hotels I have ever stayed at.
On Sunday morning, we took a taxi to the cruise terminal about 3 minutes from the Hilton. Boy was she huge, the Conquest that is. We arrived at 10:30 and was able to get a skycap immediately. Off went are luggage that he said would be at our room by 4:00pm. We had nine bags and I made it easy and just gave him a $10 tip. We walked into the cruise terminal to discover all the beautiful yellow chairs. You will know what I mean when you get there. We walked right up to the counter for our sail and sign cards without any waiting. I had already done the fun pass online which sped up the process. This is where you present your passports, birth certificates, and photo ID and credit cards if you are going to use one. Then they take you to sit in the awesome yellow chairs. It was now about 10:45 or 11:00 and we waited for about 30 minutes. Then we were called to board the ship. We took our security/welcome aboard photo. This is just like an airport security, only one difference the medal detector is turned way down and you can get through with almost anything it seemed like. After that more security checks of IDs and Sail & Sign cards. We were on the ship at 12:00 exactly. Embarkation was no problem at all but I do suggest getting there before 11:00 since the crowds did get quite large.
Up to the Lido deck for the buffet via the atrium elevators. There is a lady you will get quite familiar with. I do not know what country she was from but she kinda had a sexy accent. You will know what I mean when you get into any elevator on board. After we ate lunch, we went to see if our room was ready about 1:30 and it was. It was my fiancEe's birthday so I had Carnival decorate the room for her and it was great and just how I ordered it. For the rest of the day we got familiar with the ship and all of our bags arrived before 4:00 just like they said it would. At 5:15 we did the muster drill, that was chaos. At 6:00, yes I know I missed the sail away; I was getting a 50 minute massage. If I booked it the day of embarkation I saved $15. On to the 1st night of dining in the Monet Restaurant, which is in the rear of the ship, this is the only time when we really felt the ship moving. We had a very nice table. It was at table 334 and it was a window seat at the rear of the ship directly in the middle. Talk about some wonderful presentation of the table and food. We had to awesome wait staff. Our head waitress was named Saskia. She was from Slovakia. She made the trip that much better since we never had to worry about a thing. She was very informative about the ship and the food and she never once made a mistake. She knew what everyone liked to drink by the second or third night and the food was brought to the table in prefect order. After dinner, it was on to the Welcome Aboard speech in the Toulouse Lounge, which was at the front of the boat. Steve, the cruise director was a hoot. He would do something stupid just to make you laugh.
Day 2 & 3... Both of these were sea days. I loved the sea days because you were able to relax and enjoy the vacation. They had various things to do for entertainment: game shows, bingo (always had bingo), hairy chest competition, casino, pools were open and of course the bars and food. Loved eating in the dining room during the morning, day, and night. Monday was the 1st formal day. It seemed like the dining rooms were pretty full still on these nights. Took more pictures than I ever thought I would in my life. If you do not think you are going to buy any photos from the ship, think again. We went on thinking that we would not buy any but bought almost $200 in pictures. They are $20 for a 8X10 which is pretty expensive when you think about it at first, but when you think how much it would be to do on your own, it is not that bad. Just because you took the photo does not mean you have to buy it.
I am more of a steak person so I ate steak every night, but there was lobster the first formal night. Also the first formal night they had the first Vegas style show, which was awesome. These dancers did not miss a beat. What else can I say about these days but wake up early and do everything you can. After the Vegas Show, a comedian named Phat Cat performed and he was hilarious. If you get a chance to see him, do it but a little note, he is pretty graphic and that's why it was a rated R comedy show. On Tuesday, we tried the supper club, "The Point Restaurant." It was a wonderful presentation of food, even better than that of the dining room. However, after you eat in the main dining rooms, if you think that this pretty fine dining already than I would recommend not going to "The Point." If not have at it and enjoy, it is $25 a head and they leave tipping up to you. Wait staff was awesome and I tipped our waitress $20 for all three of us.
Day 4.... MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA... I have two words for you...BE CAREFUL!!! We arrived about 7:30 that morning but I was up about 5:00 and saw that we were close to the island. Once we ported, there was a Jamaica band playing for the cruise ship outside. Also there were Rasta guys outside taking pictures with everyone getting off the ship. We were not really trilled getting off the boat and going to far, so we went to the duty free shops and got some pretty go deals. After spending our money, we went back on the boat and enjoyed the day on the boat. Do not know if we missed anything good in Jamaica, but there were some mixed emotions later when people started returning to the boat. Whatever you do please take a cruise through the ship here. It will be worth the extra money since you do not know the people.
Day 5...GEORGETOWN, GRAND CAYMAN... We had booked a private excursion with Captain Marvins for the Sting Ray City and the Island Tour (Turtle Farm & Hell). We woke up early so we could get the first tender ticket and get off the boat as early as we could. Our excursion was at 8:30 but we had to be there to check in by 8am. Boy was I worried the whole time. We in fact were the first ones to get a tender ticket which had the #7 on it. She gave out about a page of 7s and continued on 5 through I believe like 13 or so. I thought that meant we were going to be first out of the lounge but I was wrong. About 7:30, the lady announced that everyone that had received a ticket could go and get on the tender boats. Boy was I freaking out even more. But everything worked out ok and we made it to our excursion with only 5 minutes to spare. I would highly recommend Capt Marvin's tours. We all got into a nice small air conditioned bus. There were only 15 people in our tour. Awesome compared to the ships tours which had hundreds I believe. Our bus driver that I did not realize at the time, but he was also our tour guide and he was awesome. On the way to the boat he let us know everything there was to know about the island.
Once we arrived at the boat, they took us out to Sting Ray City and this ended up being the best part of the cruise. When we arrived the stingrays were everywhere. They were the softest things ever. They felt just like velvet. Anyone that is afraid of trying this please don't be. They are very friendly and remember to bring your underwater cameras. After playing with the Stingrays for about 20-30 minutes we went to about 9 feet of water and snorkeled. This was also awesome. There was very nice coral and very colorful fish and even a Stingray. We then proceeded back to the dock and went on our Island Tour now. The driver took us to Hell, which was interesting. We then went to the turtle farm where we saw the biggest turtles ever and there were hundreds in many different tanks. We then went to the souvenir shop right next to the turtle farm. Do not by any Rum Cakes here. About a block down form Captain Marvin's towards the ship was a place that awesome deals on them. We then proceeded back to Captain Marvin's shop and they gave everyone a free complimentary rum cake. Thank you very much Captain Marvin's. You made the day and our cruise. Back on to the boat we went after a little of more shopping. Be Ware, this place is more expensive than the USA. Tendering back to the boat was quite interesting since the water was a little rough but we made it. All in all Grand Caymans is a lot like the US but I would probably have to choose Grand Caymans over the US any day.
Day 6...COZUMEL, MEXICO...We got off the ship and went to go and shop for a couple of hours. The people here were pretty pushy to try to get you into their shop and buy their stuff. We then returned to the ship to drop our things off in the room and off to dolphin discovery. We had booked the Royal Swim in February. It was $119/person at that time but I believe it has gone up to $125. We had a blast playing with the dolphins. The trainers were awesome but the other people that are working there you might need to watch out for. Just do not trust anyone while your there. Not saying they are going to do anything but we had a few things go wrong and when we tried to get help with something they were asking for tips. Parents this is an awesome experience for your children. The royal swim is the best interaction you can get out there. All the other interaction programs are just touching of the dolphins not playing with them. After Dolphin Discovery we were running short on time so we decided to go to Fat Tuesday's instead of going to Carlos 'n' Charlie's liked we had planned. Fat Tuesday's was right next The Conquest. Bring your money the margarita's are about $10 each but they are huge and 1 is enough to get you going. So after drinking ourselves away we stumbled back to the ship and made it an early night since none of us were a condition to do anything else that night.
Day 7.......Day at SEA.... The day started off pretty rough seeing how we ended the day the day before. We just relaxed by the pools today and went to the shows. This day you have to pack everything up and have all your luggage out between 8pm-12am for the people to come and pick it up for customs the next day.
Debarkation DAY... We woke up early enough to enjoy breakfast in the dining room for the last time. Then up to the Lido deck to wait until our luggage tag color was called. It seemed like it was going to be bad but they had called the first color about 8:30am and we our color was called about 9:45am. We were off the ship and into the cruise terminal at about 10:00am. Be aware there are US Custom agents everywhere and you will not get pass them with anything. Trust me I know. I turned the corner into the US Custom check where they had a dog that I did not see until it was almost up my rear. I did not know what he was after, but I was cleared to move on after the agent said the dog was not alerting. I believe in was the Rum Cakes in my bag. I guess the doggie was hungry. The debarkation in all was really pretty easy and harmless.
If anyone has any questions I will be happy to answer them. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .