Review of the Conquest 7/10/2011-7/18/2011
Well, I have never written a review before so please be patient!
We were a group of nine, 7 adults and two small children (ages 2 and 3). Our cabins included 7275 (a suite), 7281 (inside) and 8231 (inside). Due to the suite, we were VIP. Since we were all on the same credit card, we were all allowed to board thru the VIP area. We arrived at 11:30 to the dock after parking at EZcruise parking. (Won't use them again...will explain later). We went directly into the VIP area, filled out the information, got our sign and sail cards and immediately walked to boarding. On the ship by 12:15! Walked around the ship and ate some lunch at the Cezanne. Food was good and the fish was excellent! In our rooms by 1:30.
The Suite was nice but now as big as the previous ones that we have had. It had a couch and two make up areas. These rooms were all close to each other and were close to the stairs/elevators. We only heard noise one night from next door where a huge fight was going on. It seemed that the wife hated her husband and didn't want to be married anymore! That was the topic of the extreme yelling that was taking place. I was about to call downstairs for security to come but it stopped after about 15 minutes. The next morning, they were all smiles and lovey dovey on the balcony next door! Our room steward, John, was great and very helpful. The other rooms had no complaints with their room stewards and left extra tip for the two babies.
We are not VIP with Carnival. This is our 7th cruise with Carnival but we are Platinum with Royal. We have usually in the past, cruised Royal if it was all adults and when children were involved, we cruised Carnival. We have always preferred the food, the casino, the ship more on Royal. But, this one threw us for a loop! The ship was wonderful, the food was outstanding, the casino was great due to their free drink program ;-). We would and will consider Carnival in the future for our adult trips!
The first day and second day, we laid out...unfortunately, did not get out until 12 so all chairs were full! That is one thing that I like about Royal..if you have a suite, you have an area that is just for the suite occupants. We finally found an area on 11 around the corner, which was fine because we are not the contest type. Waiters were few and far between.
On the first day, we each had massages. They were wonderful! After telling them that I had all the products I wanted, they moved on.
I read about the VIP program concerning the Casion on Cruise Critic. So I had called them to make sure they had registered with our past cruises. A lovely basket was sent the second day to the room from the casino host. Both of the suite occupants (me!) reached free drinks by the second day...yea! The waiters were great in the casino and even with the free drinks, they still came around quite often at the beginning of the cruise. At the end, it seemed like they were not around as often. I won a little on the first and last night of the cruise, coming home with a couple of hundred more that I took so I call that success! My husband and friend were not so lucky. My husband complained about not getting free drinks by just playing cards. He plays for hours every night but he only bets $5 or $10. He lost far more that all of us so it seems that there should be some system for card players. He questioned it and the casino host did buy him one drink. The only complaint I have on the casino is that it is smaller than others that we have played in and the machines were so very old. Some I haven't seen in years. But they still paid me so I better quit complaining.
On Tuesday night, we went to the specialty restaurant, The Point. Oh my goodness!! This place was out of this world!! The food was beyond good...it beat Three Forks in Dallas, which is my favorite steak restaurant. The presentation of the food was beautiful. Every detail was perfect. I had the Tomato/mozzarella salad which is huge! Please share this item. The lobster bisque was...I am running out of words...simply divine. The steak (bone in something or other) looked like a bone in ribeye...it was perfectly cooked. My only suggestion is to share the appetizers but try them all. The escargot was perfect. The food was beautifully presented on each course. We had five adults and not one had one bad thing to say about this place...just talked for days about how it good it was. It blows the specialty restaurants on Royal out of the water!
On Wednesday, we docked in Jamaica. Normally, we do not even get off the ship in Jamaica but this time, we had offered to keep the kids on all three port days so the parents could enjoy their time alone. I had prearranged to have Courtney Taylor meet us at the dock to take us Doctor's Cove and stay with us all day. I did this because we were going to have the small children (2 & 3) and we wanted to be safe and to be able to come back when we wanted. It costs us $35 each. He showed us another beach area which was built for kids but we chose to go to Doctor's Cove. When we arrived it was not crowded and quickly set up our area with chairs and umbrellas...all $5. Waiters came by regularly and it was very clean. Beach was beautiful. When we walked out, there was Courtney waiting as arranged. Great day!
The other couple had arranged to go with Peat Taylor to do the falls and the river floating. I had told them to make sure that they go to the falls first to beat the line. He insisted on taking them to the river first then the falls. The falls were so crowded by the time they got there, they only went part way up. Very disappointed! I would have insisted but this is a young couple not very traveled.
When we were sitting on our balcony, a Jamaican marching band came and played at the each of the pier in front of the balconies. Most people threw money to them which they caught in a hat. You really needed to put the paper money in something heavier which most people figured out. They would dance and play music. Very fun. It was quite a show! They played for about 45 minutes and ended with God Bless America. Everyone in the balconies sang along and it was quite touching.
The next port day was the Grand Caymans. We all went to the Royal Palms Beach Club. It was beautiful and very clean. $10 for deck chairs and umbrellas. No waiters on beach!!! They would have made a killing if they had some guys walking the beach taking orders. One bucket of beer (six) was $34. Drinks were around $10 a pc. We left after a couple of hours and took a Taxi back to the Hard Rock Cafe. Some wanted to shop and some wanted to eat. We stayed with the kids and ate. Headed back to the ship around 2. Last tender left at 3. There was no wait for the tender over around 10:45. The wait for the tender back was not too bad but with two small, extremely tired kids-it seemed to take forever!
The next day was Cozumel. We had made reservations online for Nochi Cocum. Very nice private resort that only takes 100 people. The total cost was $45 a day per person. We arrived around 10:45 because we did not dock till 10:00. There were five other ships in Cozumel that day and we were glad that we had planned on this. I can not imagine what Channakaub would be like with five ships in port! As it was, we had to walk to the end to get chairs and hut. Evidently, the other ships were all in earlier than us so they got to the resort much earlier. Wouldn't have bothered us but again, two small, extremely tired, kiddos with lots of toys and "needed" items to carry make long walks hard on us grandparents! But made it and had a great time. Waiter, again, did not come around very often. The food was pretty good. The drinks were great ..just not enough of them! Left around 2 for the ship. I hate the new pier where they make you walk thru the big market and then the long walk back to the ship...again, two tired kids! So I got a rickshaw (?) loaded the kids and all their stuff in it and was taken directly to the door of the ship. Just for tips!! Best money ever spent!!
That night, Friday, we again went to The Point! Again, it was wonderful.
On the last day, we women had facials, shopped, gambled, and napped. Packed up that afternoon and went to dinner. Before we left, two plates of chocolate covered strawberries were delivered to our room from the Casino host. The wait staff at dinner was fine. Nothing special but very adequate.
At the Casino that night, we were found and given a letter stating that if we booked again soon, we would get special discounts. Wahoo!! Again, the Casino took care of us. We have gambled as much if not more on Royal and we have never even been given a free drink!
We had breakfast at 7:30 that morning in the main dining. The eggs benedict was terrible on all days but esp. the last day. All other food was good. Because we were all together, we went to the VIP area and did not get seated before they told us to follow. We were up at the VIP area at 8:30 and we were off the ship at 9:15!! Great!! On the road to Dallas by 9:45. The extra 30 minutes was waiting for EZ cruise to come pick us up and wait for more people to load an UNAIRCONDITIONED BUS!! Enough said, will not use them again. They did the same thing to us in May but it was not 100 degrees out.
Ok, I'm done.
One more item. This ship seemed to have a very small work out room. Every time someone went down to work out, it was very crowded and had wait lists for all machines.