My husband arranged this cruise for our 7th Anniversary. We have sailed on Carnival ships in the past and are going on our next cruise with Carnival in March of 2004. So we hope our review is helpful to those planning their first, or next, cruise:)
Our Cabin: we went all out with a Category 11 suite, complete with balcony and a jacuzzi bath tub! Cabin was huge and went beyond our expectations!!:))) We were able to board the ship easily, being we were part of the Skipper's Club. We got to bypass the long lines in the New Orleans cruise ship terminal. If you book a category 11 or 12 cabin, you get this added benefit:)
The Ship - the Conquest is huge and beautiful! It was kept extremly clean and the paintings and art work through out the ship were amazing! My husband especially loved the water slide up on the Lido deck! If the weather had been better, we would have spent most of our time at the pool and slide!
The Crew - the crew can make or break your sailing experience and we can say that this crew was amazing! We have a lot of people on board to thank for the great time we had!
First, thanks to Nigel for tracking down our luggage (which American Airlines left behind in Texas!!). He stayed on top of it all for us! Our bags arrived on a later flight and he made sure they were transported to the ship and delivered to the cabin for us! He literally saved our cruise for us, as all we had were the clothes on our back!
Jordan, our Cabin Steward was the BEST!! Our room was always clean and the towel animals made our nights! Everything from a stingray and snowman right up to a monkey hanging off our balcony door!! Jordan was always smiling and was always happy to help with whatever he could!
Waiter & Assistant Waiter - wish we would have gotten their names!! We had main seating in the Monet Dining Room and these two great guys took the best care of us! Even though they work 12 to 14 hours per day, with seldom a day off, they still greeted us and everyone with the largest smiles and the sunniest of personalities!
Cruise Director - while Corey is the cruise director (and he and his trained birds are nice) I have to tell you that Stuart, from Australia, easily won our hearts hands down!! His sense of humor kept us all in stitches and his grin is the best one we have seen! He was always around when you needed him and his smile and laugh were contagious!!! Our vote is for Stuart to be head Cruise Director!!!:)
Point Supper Club - this supper club costs extra (around 25. per person) but is well worth it! The attention you get there is unmatched and the quality of food is wonderful!!
Food - ok, speaking of food, every single place we ate at on board was Wonderful!!! Whether it was the formal dining room, the lido deck buffet, the deli, the point supper club, etc, we thouroughly enjoyed all the meals and desserts!!!
Complaint - one on board complaint for us was the fact that, when you use the soda fountain card, you are looked down on by some of the wait staff in the lounge and some of the bar areas. We found ourselves completly ignored by one woman in the lounge (I believe her name was Tiahana). Once she knew you would be using your soda fountain card, she would steer clear of you. They need to work on some of the attitudes concerning this.
Other complaint - we had to visit the infirmary once and, while the doctor was good, the staff behind the reception desk was not. They were cold towards everyone and offered no help, even to a woman who was limping back to the doctors area. No wheelchair or assistance was offered to her at all.
Ok, on to the ports and shore tours!
Montego Bay - skip it. Awful place, not the friendliest of people down town. A lot of people on the cruise were disappointed with this port. Also, do NOT waste your money on the so called Pirate Ship Cruise there as it turned out to be a small boat that might hold 15 people but they were trying to jam 35 or more people on to it. The only thing that even makes it a so called "Pirate ship" is the cheap tiny plastic pirate flag tied to one of the ropes on it! We got a full refund back on this tour as we refused to take it. We spent the rest of the day on board the ship at the pool and water slide.
Grand Cayman - Loved it!!! Take the Turtle Farm / Hell / Stingray Sandbar tour early in the morning!! Our driver was Elizabeth and she was fantastic!!!
We got to hold turtles at the turtle farm, sent post cards back to our family and friends from Hell and the stingray sandbar was amazing!!! Water was only about 4 feet deep there so, if like me, you can't swim well, don't worry!! You can still enjoy yourself there!! We got to hold stingrays, kiss them and even got back rubs from them as well!! Bought a great video of the trip, showing us in the water with everyone else, and it was well worth the price!!!
Cozumel - Love Cozumel!! Our shore tour left a lot to be desired though. We went on the Mexican Folklore Show & shopping tour. Starts off with being dropped downtown for half an hour of looking around. You then meet in the Havana Club for a free drink. We found out they don't like it when you order diet sodas!!
Then we all went in to a small room that felt like it had no air conditioning in it at all. Show was extremly long, no breaks in it for restroom visits so many people were running out of there near the end to go. They give you a voucher to use to get a cab back to the ship, as we docked at Porta Maya and need taxi ride back. The cab drivers do NOT like those vouchers. We actually had to pay double just to get one to take us back to the ship! Next time we will skip this tour and just grab our own cab to downtown and back to the ship!
Shopping in downtown Cozumel is great!! Lots of excellent deals there, if you know where to look! Viva Mexico and Fiesta are great places to start! Del Sol has awesome color changing items! Looks black and white or clear until sun hits them and then they come alive with colors!!
We ate lunch at Panchos Back Yard and, while it looks tiny from the street, it opens up to a huge patio once inside!! Food was great and service was good. Prices were about the same as we find at a Mexican Restaurant back home.
Bottom Line - While we would sail on the Conquest again, we would NOT sail on her end of November to beginning of December as the weather was bad and the water was extremly rough!
The Fascination, out of Miami, still remains our number one most favorite Carnival ship to cruise on!:)
We would return to Grand Cayman and Cozumel in a heart beat but we will never return to Montego Bay.
All in all, our cruise was wonderful, thanks to Nigel, Jordan, our waiter and assistant waiter and huge thanks to Stuart!!!!:))))))
Stuart, if you are reading this, you will remember me as being the Belly Dancer (who had lost 68 pounds) in the Guest Talent Show on Friday, Dec. 5, 2003! YOU made me feel so wonderful the entire cruise!! Thank you!!!!:)))