ALL I CAN SAY IS WOW!!! WHAT A VACATION
With all of the uncertainty that Hurricane Ivan brought, I was not sure what to expect from this vacation...
My flight departed Nashville Sunday MORNING arriving NO around 11:30 a.m. The rest of the girls did not arrive until 2:50 p.m. We rented a limo and arrived at the NO port by 3:40 p.m....
Words cannot express how I felt when I saw the Conquest for the first time at the dock! She is incredibly beautiful and MASSIVE!!! Much larger that what I expected. The ship was very clean and well-maintained and the service was spectacular!!
Embarkation: Arriving at the port at 3:40 p.m., there was no line whatsoever. We went to the information desk inside the port, showed our I.D. and gave them our Sail & Sign information. They gave us our S&S cards and we were on our way! Stopped for a picture before heading up the gangway! Again, this ship was beautiful. After showing our I.D. and S&S to several persons we were finally about to enter the ship! Right as you enter, there is a lady who takes your picture or what I would call a "mug shot" for your S&S identification. I would estimate that it only took 20 minutes to go through the entire embarkation procedure. A breeze!
Cabin: Our cabins were on the Empress Deck #'s 7336 and 7338. Balconies on both. The cabin was quite roomy with lots of closet space, drawers, cubbies, etc. Very clean and nice. I had my mom's room decorated with the Happy Birthday theme package and it was far better than what I expected. We also had a dozen red roses waiting for her. Both the decorations and roses lasted the entire week of the cruise. Our cabin steward was named Philameno. Not exactly the friendliest guy in the world. I would say he gave us average service.... he did fill our ice bucket everyday. But wasn't really good about the towels on the floor, etc.
One thing I was so disappointed about was that we were NOT ABLE TO OPEN OUR BALCONY DIVIDER AND MAKE ONE LARGE BALCONY. It was not possible, as the balcony hooks onto the balcony.. and the hook for this one was right onto my mom's door. So every time she opened her door to go outside, she would have to unhook the balcony door and re-hook it... this may not sound like a big deal, but it actually is. These doors are quite large. Philameno said he couldn't do it, as the door would flap too much from the wind.... It would have been ideal if we had rooms #7338 and #7340, as the latch for this balcony divider when opened was in front of the window. No big deal, just a little disappointed.
LUGGAGE: To my surprise our luggage arrived before 5:00 p.m. I received all of my luggage except the one with the Captain Morgan's and I panicked for a second, thinking I had been caught... but it arrived a few minutes after the rest. Safe and sound. I figured that since we were probably close to the last ones on, we got ours faster than those that had boarded early. In fact, when we went down for dinner, there was still tons and tons of luggage on the carts, in the elevators, all over the place. Temporary mass confusion!!!
MONDAY & TUESDAY: Sea days... Monday there was a lot of motion on the ship. Felt like I was on a roller coaster, occasionally dropping down.... Lots of people sick and complaining of the motion. I slapped a patch behind my ear, took a nap and was fine...... great entertainment around the pool. Loved the games and activities and laying by the pool. I loved the Hairy Chest Contest and the Tarzan calls!!! Made some friends with our neighbors on Deck 8.... We even managed to send up some Captain Morgan's via the telephone cord.... They unplugged their phone and lowered the cord, we tied on the little bottles and they lured it up... we were laughing so hard, I think we woke some of our other neighbors up!!!
WEDNESDAY: So glad to wake up and see the sunrise over Jamaica. From a distance Montego Bay looked beautiful. Upon arrival, we quickly realized it was not necessarily ready for visitors. For one, Margaritaville sustained lots of damage and was closed. They had temporarily made a make-shift Margaritaville at Doctor's Cove or Cave (we didn't go there), but I felt like we should have known this before getting off the ship.
We went to SUNSET BEACH RESORT. Took a Taxi from the port for $5.00 total. Upon arrival at the resort, I was a little surprised to see the armed guards outside at the gatehouse. They escort you into the hotel and see that you get checked in. Upon paying our $20.00, they put your S&S card in an envelope and hold it at the gate. This place was gorgeous! Well worth the money. We snorkeled, ate, drank and partied all day long. I won the Name that Tune contest and they gave me a bottle of Rum from Appleton's. The snorkeling wasn't great, but it was good. Saw no jellyfish. But did see a large family of squid.... That kind of freaked me out, as all at once they were there about 12 of them... The food and entertainment were excellent. Highly recommend this place.
THURSDAY: Sea day..... fun, fun, & more fun on the ship.
FRIDAY: Cozumel :) We went to Chakanaab National Park. Took a taxi that cost $10.00 for the four of us. I had prebooked the dolphin swim & snorkel directly through Dolphin Discovery and paid $99.00. It cost $170 to book through the ship. This was the best part of my trip. Swimming with the dolphins is incredible. Well worth the money. Also, snorkeling at the park was also incredible. Saw lots of beautiful tropical fish and coral. I was amazed at how much this beach had to offer. The food was great and the drinks were excellent..... my mom and aunt drank a few too many Bahama Mama's, but they also had a blast!!!
SATURDAY.... Seaday.... Quite windy on the ship with an occasional mist shower.
WORTH NOTING & TRIP HIGHLIGHTS: Late Monday morning I went to the laundry on the Empress deck in my PJ bottoms with one pair of pants that needed ironing..... I was shocked to see one couple in there with what appeared to be their entire suitcase of clothes... I mean they had at least 30 items they were ironing.... So after standing there for 10 minutes or so, I asked her if she minded if I could just iron my one pair of pants so I could get my day started.... Well, let me tell you it went downhill from there. This witch says, well I would also like to get my day started, but can't until I'm done ironing, so you'll have to wait.... So I said whatever.... I stood there NO JOKE for over an hour watching them iron.... When she was done she started to put the ironing board away and I told her to leave it and I would do it when I was done.... Well about that time the entire board fell off the wall, including the iron and it took them about 10 more minutes to fix it... she had the nerve to tell me at least the board is now higher up than she had it... I told her to shove it up her you know what........ don't you know every single time I saw that woman on the ship she had the same scroungy t-shirt and biker shorts on... never once saw her in any of the clothes I watched her iron!!!!!!!!
I believe it was Wednesday.... The days became a blur to me, as I completely lost track of time... anyhow, I was in my cabin when the emergency signal went off!!! I rushed out onto the Lido Deck and to my surprised the ship was stopped. There was a ship sinking and we stopped to do the rescue!!!! This was a very strange occurrence, as it is not everyday you stumble across a sinking ship. The vessel which looked to be a yacht was almost complete submerged in water... the passengers had abandoned ship and the coast guard had asked us to stop as we were the closest vessel. Not sure if the passengers were ever located, but after a long stop, we began our travels again!!!!
Do not miss the entertainment on the Promenade Deck 5 near the Casino. They are awesome. It was so much fun to sit and listen to the music and watch the people!!!
FOOD: The food on the ship was good. Not great, but good. I didn't care much for the buffets on the Lido Deck, but did enjoy the dining room food. Hint: LISTEN TO YOUR WAITER. They really do know what the best selections are. A few times I went with something different than what he said was the best, and I ended up with his recommendation anyway!!! He usually had his recommendation sitting there waiting for me anyway :) Thank you Sutan!!!
HENRI'S DISCO: This appeared to be the happening place after 10 p.m. Good music.. mix of 70's, 80's and a little new stuff. Great Disco music. Loads of fun... Don't be turned off by the 20 year old party crowd! They really were a lot of fun. Some had obvious drinking problems and were slightly out of control, but still had a great time. Great place to dance and burn off those calories eaten!!!!!
BLUE'S BAR: Lots of fun! They have a piano sing-a-long that is great! Billy Joel and Elton John.........
TOULOUSE LOUNGE: (I think that's how you spell it.... Still not sure how to say it). Always something going on in there. Game shows were fun to watch. I got picked to play in one, but my buzzer was broken ;( The Magic Show is great and I really liked Point & Click.... The others were okay... wouldn't want to see them again. The talent show was also great.... And I loved the surprise ending ;)
DEBARKATION: I had originally booked my return flight for 5:40 p.m. to Nashville, as the other ones were all before Noon departures... I went to the information desk mid-week and told them I was going to switch to the early flight. Gave them the flight information, and they gave me VIP tags... I was off the ship by 8:10 a.m. and was at the airport by 8:50 a.m. I made the 10:05 a.m. flight and got home 8 hours earlier than planned. What a treat to see my DH and kids.
Great Vacation. Great Ship. Can't wait to cruise again!!!!