Our first cruise- I am the nerd of our marriage so I had done tons of research, joined the chat rooms, and did a lot of trip advisor shopping.
That being said we for a month and a half tried to decide what cruise line to go on, what port to go out of and duration. We chose Carnival, we wanted to go to Cozumel and were on a budget so the rest settled into place. We booked our cruise in January for September sailing. In April a couple decided to join us. Then the real research and waiting began. I have to say all my research panned out very well and helped tremendously. We got to Galveston early about 10:30 and were on the ship by 11:45. Zone one boarding and an empty ship to mill around, take pictures and get acquainted with our "dream boat". We had some complications and were not able to leave port until 11:15 during our sail-a-way show. This made us a little late in Jamaica which I will explain later. The first full day at sea, we did the spa tour, the CC mix&Mingle and secret door tour and a cabin crawl. Got to see a lot, but was never got to see a balcony room. I have seen pictures so we are ok.
The second day we did some shows, did a private training, soaked up some rays and just enjoyed the ship life.
Third, fourth, and fifth day were excursion days and I will address under those topics. The fifth day, we had to turn around and head back to Cozumel due to a elderly person getting sick and needing more attention than the ship doctor could give. This turning got a little rocky and I got motion sick. Threw up once, took some motion sickness pills, laid down for about an hour and was back on the Lido for the deck party.
Six day we slept most of the day trying to recuperate from Cozumel snorkeling and sun. We did get in the pools finally and sat in hot tub. Seventh day was our last so we made it last. We stayed out as much as we could and made sure we did everything we could before packing our luggage.
Our ship the conquest was a big ship, a little bit older, but it really served us well. I was surprised, being my first time on a ship, with the size of the pools and lack of slides. I was also disappointed with the disco dance club because they did mainly older type music. The ship closed down at midnight every night with the only thing to do is eat pizza or go to the lame disco club. I was also wanted more time at the ports especially since we were late to our first and I really think we should have made it up there or at the second one. Now I said all that to note the following: 1. It is an older ship, before all the newer attraction on deck. 2.I have been told the longer cruises are aimed at the older crowds which were reflected in the crowds on the ship. 3. A cruise is not a water taxi and I am sure they wanted their passengers on the ship spending money and drinking, rather than at a port doing so. 4. I was a cruise virgin and not experienced with reality versus advertising.
Our service was fantastic! Our room steward "Lee" was awesome. He was always outside in our hallway working when we came out in the morning to ask us how we slept, and in the evening to wish us a good night. He made sure the extra touches were done for us (for example on last night he put our refrigerated stuff in our cooler with ice) and we made sure we showed him our appreciation with a private tip. Our waiter was a little cold at first but after getting him to warm up to us became a great server. his assistant was our main waiter and he remembered how many pieces of what kind of bread we wanted and what we drank. It was great. I was also amazed that no matter who you talked to in an elevator at a buffet, or wherever the cruise employees were always friendly.
The food was unbelievable. We truly ate like kings. Most nights I ordered 2 appetizers, 2 main courses, 1 didja and 2 desserts. I always ate more than my share at the Lido breakfast buffet and lunch seemed to be a constant grazing from 11am to 4. I know over-indulgence but it was all so good and I knew at the end of the cruise I was back to my regular diet.
Overall we loved the cruise, loved the ship and already planning our next cruise. It was the first time in 9 years (since our honeymoon) that my wife and I had been away from the kids for more than 2 nights. It thoroughly relaxed us and I came back to work with a noticeable new outlook.