In order to get my mother-in-law and father-in-law to go, we booked five people on Amtrak from Los angeles to Houston, and they had to leave 3 days before the rest of us. My husband my daughter, and our 7 year old granddaughter went with Majo and Poppa on the train. I booked three sleeper cars for this. It was exciting for all of them. They had all their meals free, and my grand daughter had a wonderful adventure from start to finish. I used Ambassador Limo service out of Houston for all of our ground transportation, and highly recommend this company. They were in Houston waiting at 4:00am for the train. it was a big relief knowing my family was well taken care of for the hour and a half drive to Galveston.
The Holiday Inn Sunspree resort in Galveston was wonderful also, putting them in their rooms at 5:30am instead of making them wait until 4:00. The rest of us flew out Friday night from San Francisco on the red-eye, arriving in Houston at about the same time, 4:30am. Our driver was waiting in baggage claim and took us straight away. Our rooms were given to us as soon as they could get it ready at about 10:00am, and much appreciated!
We had a wonderful time in Galveston at the beach, Eating three times at Millers Seafood Grill for breakfast and Dinner. The portions were Texas size, and the chicken fried steak and fried fish was so delicious. The hotel's restaurant remained open late for us on the last night, and fed our large group, because we ate a late lunch, then were starved at 9:00pm for dinner! it is amazing how just 2 hours time difference can mess you up. They were very gracious. i liked the Texas hospitality from everyone we met there!
May 2, Our two Van cabs were called for by the front desk, and arrived in less that 10 minutes! We had 13 people and 20 pieces of luggage, so you can imagine...smile:) We arrived at the pier by 9:00am and were first in line. Only a wedding party got to board before us! The porters at galveston Pier are great, and check-in was pleasant and uneventful. we were on board by 11:00 and eating our first lunch by 11:15! now that is just about as good as it gets.
This was our first cruise with Carnival, and it was a perfect fit for the family trip we had planned. Our grandaughter 7, and our grandson who will be two in June had a wonderful time. I liked the size of our balcony cabin, and our bed was very comfortable. Our room attendant Sosou, was outstanding. I think that was really the cleanest any of my staterooms have ever been kept! The pillows were great, the sheets were soft. We always had clean beach towels ready and waiting for us in our cabin.
We had early dining in the upper Monet restaurant, and our waiters Bobby and Agus were so nice and friendly, and took very good care of us. We were lucky to have a beautiful table by the window and once Bobby knew my Father-in-law like the blind open, he made sure to open it every evening. I found the food to be really good on Conquest, with very generous portions as well. the beef was always tender and cooked perfectly, and the lobster was actually perfect, not tough or over done at all. Let me just say Warm Chocolate melting cake!! I had it 4 times. That was just delicious and i have so missed it since we got back! The other thing that Conquest does really well, is the pasta dishes. They were all fabulous.
If I had to complain about anything,( and I am not one who nit picks, i haven't ever been on a bad cruise, because i am a really glass full person) it would be the blasting radio from 6:30am on Lido deck till the wee hours, and no variety whatsoever. I love country music, and believe me, i know who fills that ship up every week are people from Texas. but the same 20 songs all week never a change, 7:30am here come Brooks and Dunn... 10:00pm Garth Brooks again same song. I mean its 2010, use an ipod and give us some variety of country even! The water slide was a huge disappointment. You could never use it unless you were in port, and it had so little water going down on it, if you were larger than a 10year old child, you literally had to push yourself down. I did like the Seaside theater. And the food on Lido was great, the pizza, ice cream , and Mongolian BBq were excellent. The entertainment was not really good though. Over all it was great. They were all very wonderful to the kids though, and I loved how relaxed the staff was. the kids just had a blast.
The ports Montego Bay Jamaica: We ended up having an absolute wonderful day. We had no idea what to expect here, last time I did Western Caribbean we stopped in Belize instead. Our intention was to get on the advertised $5.00 per person shuttle into town to shop, and catch it back to the ship. Well we soon learned thats just not how things work in Jamaica! We had a guide named Rose, who was very engaging and funny, and they made sure to take us straight to the scariest part of town, first, while talking everyone into remaining on the bus and taking a tour of various places for a flat charge per person, then back to the ship. She started out trying to charge us $25.00 per person, and nobody went for it. Then $20.00 (I was ready then, because I could see that a tourist had no business walking around that town without assistance)! We settled on $15.00 per person and all stayed but a couple of people who got dropped off in Margaritaville. Our first stop was a Sugar plantation that was about 300 years old at the top of a mountain. it is a museum now, and you donate 1 dollar per person. It was breathtakingly beautiful, and you could see the whole city, and across the bay, our ship parked. Lovely pictures, and very interesting history as well. Then we were taken through the newer resort area, where large homes sit atop the mountain on the "upper road " which looks down on the abject poverty of the "lower road". We drove down into the ghetto, and were shown and told about the history of the city. We pulled over and Rose got out and bought us all fresh sugar cane and fresh pineapple, and it was delicious. Then we drove to the Pork pit for an authentic lunch of Jerk Pork and chicken, rice and peas, and roasted yams. it was outstanding, and a wonderful experience for all of us. We ate our fill for about $12.00 for two people. Next we were taken to a store, where we had about 30 minutes to shop. Then we went to a beach resort, and swam in the warm beautiful ocean. We stayed about an hour. Of course there were several vendors selling various things. One guy tried to get my son-in-law to pay because he was showing our granddaughter his 2 donkeys that were there! We found out along the way that all these things are owned by the Indians, not the Jamaicans, they just work at the places, but what can you do when you are a tourist and don't know? I would have really rather payed jamaicans since they are poor and it it is their country, but they are not the ones who own the tour busses. We were deposited safely back at the pier about an hour before sail away. Once on board looking out the balcony, a boys school band came to the ship and entertained us until they pulled up the gangway. They caught money we were dropping, and candy, cigarettes, snacks, everything you can think of and put it in bags they had. A great experience for all of us!
Georgetown grand Cayman: All 13 of us did the Stingray city tour. It was a beautiful day how can you not have fun in that crystal clear water? We all had a blast, and Manuel our guide was the best! Picture perfect, and sunburns all around!
Cozumel Mexico: my husband and I took his parents on the Tulum mayan ruins tour which lasts all day. We took a ferry to the mainland, Playa Del Carmen it took about 40 minutes. then we boarded our bus for the hour and a half ride to the ruins. we stopped about midway at a bathroom and store for some quick shopping and buying of snacks, then on to the ruins. it was so hot, but the tour was excellent, and the ruins a marvel. But the best of all was the beautiful ocean that beckoned us, and we all flocked down the four flights of stairs leading down to the most beautiful beach and warmest turquoise water I have ever seen. We had the best time, body surfing in the huge waves for about an hour and a half, you could see the temple above on the cliffs. it was simply gorgeous. Watching my husbands parents having such a grand time, was one of the best times in my life! A lifetime memory that was. back on board, my husband and I took the fastest shower on record 15 minutes, sand still in my hair, we made it to dinner to share with the kids! it was a great cruise, and one I will never forget.