CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews

Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Conquest Western Caribbean August 17, 2003

Eight of my friends and I traveled on the Carnival Conquest from August 17-24th, 2003. We had a great time! Our stops were Montego Bay, Jamaica, Georgetown, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, Mexico. I will try to cover as much as possible in my review, but feel free to get in touch with me if you have any questions!  I'm trying to include any information I was looking for before I left!

ROOMS For the nine of us, we needed four cabins. The group of three that were rooming together booked a category 11 on the Empress deck (deck 7). The other three couples couldn't afford rooms on the Empress deck, so we booked a Rivera deck (deck 1) guarantee, which means it could be anywhere on the ship but no lower than the Rivera. We didn't get our room assignments before we got to the ship because we had guaranteed rooms. All four cabins were booked together initially, and we were happy to see when we got to the dock that we had been upgraded all the way up to deck 7 (from deck 1!) and only around the corner from our friends! It was a very pleasant surprise!! The three couples had inside rooms, which were a decent size. The shower was very small and it was very easy to flood the bathroom!  There were three closets, two with a hanging rack and two shelves each and the third just had shelves. There was a bar/fridge in the room but it was looked and you had to ask the room steward to open it if you wanted. There were also a few drawers, and a safe in one of the cabinets. The bathroom didn't have a medicine cabinet with doors, just shelves along the mirror to store your toiletries. Beds were comfy and the rooms were fine-we didn't spend a whole lot of time in them anyway. The category 11 that my friends stayed in was okay- just slightly bigger than ours, but they had a bigger bathroom, an extra couch/bed and a balcony.

FOOD Breakfast- Most mornings we ate breakfast in the Monet Dining Room. They had a good selection of food, although it didn't change much from day to day. One morning we ordered room service by completing the door hook, and it was delivered right on time. Another morning we ate at the buffet, which was pretty much the same food as the dining room, but it was sitting out longer and wasn't as hot. The dining room is your best bet, but be aware; the portions are kind of small. We tended to show up for breakfast about a half hour before it ended, and when we wanted to order more food on the first morning (because we were unaware of the portion size) it was too late because the kitchen had closed. After the first morning, we knew how much of what to order and it helped! 

Lunch- The first few days we ate lunch at the buffet on the Lido Deck. There is an outside buffet area that is pretty much the same on both sides. There is also a grill area where you can get hotdogs and hamburgers. If you go into the Cezanne Restaurant (which is air conditioned!) it is still pretty much the same food, although on your way up to the buffet on one side is a deli, and on the other side is a Chinese food place. Both have a limited selection of food, and I am sorry to say I never got a chance to try it. If you walk all the way through the Cezanne Restaurant, there is another grill area that stays open later, as well as the 24-hour pizzeria. I liked the hot dogs, and had a hamburger one day. I wasn't thrilled with the selection of food in the buffet. After the first two days, we realized that they serve lunch in the Monet dining room as well. We ate there twice and the food was great! We ordered room service once or twice, which was also good, although the service wasn't that fast.

Dinner- We had the late seating in the Renoir Dining Room. Now, I am a very picky eater! I don't eat much other than pasta, chicken and turkey. I'm not a red-meat eater, and I don't touch seafood! The starters and salads were usually very good, but on most nights I had a hard time finding a main course. They tend to serve exotic things, and we were told everything was pre-made so we couldn't order things without stuff on it. (For example, one night there was a pasta dish, but it had caviar in it) You could order as much as you wanted which was good, because on some nights I ordered two starters. I actually had to eat chicken nuggets from the kids meal one night! The rest of my friends were happy with the selection, there was a different kind of steak each night, lots of sea-food, different kinds of poultry as well as a vegetarian dish. The desserts were always great! Our waiter, Rajesh, was excellent!!

Café Fans- This is the coffee/dessert bar that is at an additional cost to you. We only had it once; I had an iced Moccahino with Ameretto and a chocolate covered strawberry, which was very good! A few of my friends tried some of their desserts and thought they were great! Prices are reasonable. worth a try!

ACTIVITIES/SHOWS/BARS ON BOARD We spend most of our days at sea by the pool. The slide is great! We went into watch some of the dancing lessons, although we didn't participate. We did play Bingo twice (and two of my friends won). A lot of the activities or shows we wanted to see were at bad times, either around lunch or during our dinner (late seating). My friends aren't into the nighttime shows for the most part, but we did catch part of the talent show which was great! We also saw two of the X-Rated comedians, Thomas Brown who was fantastic, and Cole. can't remember his last name, who wasn't so good. There was a lot of different stuff, Survivor games, pool games, Hairy Chest Contests, etc going on at different times. The Mardi Gras parade was a waste! The cruise director and a few of the dancers walk up the promenade with a radio throwing Mardi Gras beads. That's it! The social hosts were great, especially "Dangerous Brian" and Dominka. There was a deck party one night that would have been a lot of better if there was a different band (Ugly Mickeys, I think). They were awful. Last year on the Imagination we went to a deck party that was great! Also, on the last night at sea they had a Beach BBQ party and everyone went in their bathrobes, which was cute. No band, just the BBQ area was open later than usual. I think they could work on better shows/parties for the boat. We didn't spend too much time in any of the bars because they were not our type. Henri's was a disco type bar but was usually very crowded. One night they had a 70's party at night, and the next day they had an 80's party. My friends would have loved the 80's party but it was before dinner which left nothing to do at night. It definitely should have been a night party like the 70s party was. The bars are beautiful though. We just would have liked it more if there was more to do in them.

MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA We did two excursions in Montego Bay because they say not to leave a group in Jamaica. My friends did two different ones. Myself and five of my friends did the Chukka Blue Jungle River Tubing. It was interesting. Mostly relaxing, just floating down the river.. My other friends did a Jeep excursion which they enjoyed, even though they got stuck in the mud after it rained. Then we met up together to go on the Wet and Wild Party boat. It was okay, not that wild  Our first stop was for about a half hour to a snorkeling area. I just jumped in and out to cool off but my friends enjoyed snorkeling. Then we got stuck in a DOWNPOUR! It was okay since we were already wet :) We then had a VERY quick stop (description said 20 minutes, we were told only 15) at Margaritaville, which SEEMED like a lot of fun but we didn't really have enough time to experience it. We wanted to go down the slide and on the water trampolines but by the time we got our of the gift shop we had to go back onto the boat. On the way back they gave us drinks and put on music but it was not as much fun as I had expected it to be. Best advice I can give is to stay with an excursion on this island, because we heard of a group who was shopping that experienced a shoot-out right in the middle of the day.

GEORGETOWN, GRAND CAYMAN We had visited Grand Cayman last year when we were on the Imagination and seen most of the sights, so we decided to spend the day on the beach. We tendered off of the boat about 10AM, and took a cab over to the beach for $3 a piece. We booked the excursion through Carnival which included admission, a beach chair and a free drink. It was very warm out but the beach wasn't extremely crowded. Water was beautiful. The group of us decided to rent jet skis ($65 an hour plus a credit card to put a deposit on) which was fun. Two of my friends rented what looked like a "Big Wheels", kind of like a water bicycle. They had a little bit of a hard time getting it moving and were very hot in the water. However, the beach was nice and we had a fun day!

COZUMEL, MEXICO Again, the group split at Cozumel. Six of us decided to do X-Caret and the other three went on another Jeep excursion. Because we had to travel to Playa Del Carmen, we had priority exiting off of the boat in the morning. After waiting in the Degas lounge for almost an hour, we were finally taken right off of the boat onto a ferry for about a half hour ride. The ferry did a lot of rocking on the way. Once we arrived we walked a few blocks to a bus for the ride to X-Caret. Once we got there we did the underground cave, which was really cool. Once we finished that we walked around the park but felt very rushed because we only had about three hours there and the park is huge. We were also afraid of getting lost and not being able to find the exit so we finished up a little early to make sure we got there in time. People were late coming back and we practically had to run to catch the ferry back to the ship. We got back with no time to see Cozumel, which was disappointing since we would have liked to have done some shopping or hit some of the fun bars. Although the trip was fun, I wouldn't' recommend taking X-Caret as an excursion because there just isn't enough time to see everything there.

Overall, we had a terrific time as a group and enjoyed our second cruise with Carnival. We barely felt any movement on the ship and it was immaculate. I hope this review helps, and if you have any questions about anything, please feel free to ask!

Happy cruising!

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