This was a 7 day cruise aboard the Conquest from New Orleans with stops in MoBay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel.
Embarkation - This is New Orleans folks. When you have 2 large ships unloading and loading 6,000 people you better expect a little bit of a traffic jam. After about 30 minutes in traffic, around 11:00am, we entered the garage and promptly unloaded our baggage and parked. Due to the escalators being broken there was a delay in boarding as everyone was directed outside to a long single line and had to take turns on the elevators. Fortunately we had great weather for it and were able to talk and visit with our fellow passengers. Once inside things moved rather smoothly. We were on the ship and eating fish 'n' chips by 1:00pm.
The Ship - We found the ship to be very appealing. The decor wasn't near as gaudy as we have seen on previous Carnival cruises. Everything was done in good taste. It is a large ship and while I didn't have any problems the wife and daughter had to take a couple of days to get their bearings straight.
The Staff - I don't know if it's the recent increase in gratuities or what, but this was by far the friendliest crew we have ever had. From our room steward I (pronounced E)who met us when we first went to our room and did an excellent job, to our waitress Ramona and her team. Every employee we encountered had a smile and a nice greeting.
The Food - We ate in the Monet dining room with early seating every evening. The food and service was great.We especially liked the didja servings which gave us a chance to experience something different like alligator, shark, escargot and so on. We ate breakfast every morning on the Lido deck moved around for lunch from the Lido to fish and chips,pizza, and deli.The food was always good and normal for a Carnival cruise and we never had any long waits. The only 2 complaints I had about the food are those small chicken nugget looking things they called hashbrowns. I prefer real shredded southern hashbrowns. The second complaint I had was that it seemed like every other time I went to the ice cream machines they were either broken or out of cones. I guess it's because of the great demand for this wonderful treat.
The Room - Main Deck 2420 - This was a spacious oceanview room that was convenient to the elevators and dining in The Monet. It is under the galley but in the seven days aboard we only heard a small amount of noise twice and never during the night. It is a long walk though to the front of the ship for the show lounge and the gangways. Not bad if you like walking.
Friends - We made friends with several people thru Cruise Critic prior to the cruise. We had previously arranged a meet and mingle after the muster drill and a poker crawl for the first day at sea. We had 29 people in the poker crawl and it was the most fun I think I had on a ship. If you ever get a chance to participate in one I highly recommend it. A great way to meet and make new friends.
Entertainment - The musicians and dancers were par for the course. Out of the 4 comedians we saw, 2 were so-so, 1 mediocre ventriloquist and 1 that was absolutely hilarious. I'll let you decide for yourself without naming anyone as everyone's taste is different.One thing I really liked and saw for the first time was the Live Karaoke where you sing live with the show band in the Degas Lounge. There were plenty of the usual deck games,auctions, bingo and such to keep you occupied. I especially liked watching The Green Lantern on the Big Screen one evening.
Montego Bay - We took a Freestyle Sail and Snorkel that we booked thru jamaicawatersports.com prior to the cruise. For $35 a person you couldn't ask for more fun. We sailed on the catamaran and went snorkeling on a reef. After that they took us to Margaritaville or Doc Cave Beach, your choice, where you got to spend time dining, shopping or swimming. They picked us an hour and half later and returned us to the pier with plenty of rum punch and great music and dancing.
Grand Cayman - We had made plans to spend the day with family on Grand Cayman bu they had to fly out before we got there. We booked an excursion thru Carnival called Hell,Turtles and Stingrays. It was worth the money for the turtles and swimming with the stingrays, however you can get these excursions a little cheaper once you are tendered into port.
Cozumel - This was our 4th time to Cozumel. It is our favorite port. We shared a ride with friends to Corona Beach for the best snorkeling around. We like going here because there's nothing fancy. No entrance fee. Good drinks. Good service. Great snorkeling, even if the water was rough that day. We then went into to town for shopping where our new friend Steve went into a jewelry, bought a ring and proposed to his new fiance, Brenda. This was the highlight of our trip and we will always be grateful for him letting us share the moment with them.
Debarkation - It went smoothly. We leave our bags out the night before and were in the very last group to be called. After a relaxing breakfast we were off the ship and on the freeway by 11:00am.
This was a great cruise and wonderful vacation and I would recommend it to anyone.