Just got back from the Conquest out of New Orleans. What a great time! I will start with Embarkation. This turned out to be a fairly painless process. Once we dropped off our luggage we proceeded to check in. After checking in and getting our sail n sign cards we were then directed to a waiting area where we waited around 45 minutes until we were allowed to board the ship.
The Conquest is a very large and beautiful ship. I have taken one cruise, on the Pride, and found this ship to be very easy to get around after a couple of hours of walking around and exploring. My wife and I were pleased when we got to our cabin and found that we were upgraded from an inside cabin to a cabin with a window (no balcony unfortunately but hey I was not complaining).
The first two days were days at sea. I spent most of the afternoons playing basketball, lounging by the pool or taking a ride down the waterslide. In between times I would be filling my belly with an abundance of food. Cruises are an excuse to eat whenever you want just because you can. Although there is always an activity to do while on board I did find myself at times getting bored because not all things to do during the day appealed to me. I found that just taking that time to chill out and rest was perfect. We did encounter a few rough nights at sea due to weather from the hurricanes, but overall it was not too bad. We were lucky enough to stay a few days ahead of the hurricane that has now wreaked havoc on our first two stops, Jamaica and Grand Cayman.
Our first stop was Montego Bay Jamaica. I have read many horror stories online through reviews so I was prepared for the worst but tried to maintain an open mind. We decided not to book any excursions through Carnival so in this port we took a shuttle from the port over to Margaritaville. We arrived before they opened so we ended up walking a few blocks down to a resort beach that is open to the public for $5 per person. This turned out to be a nice beach with what turned out to be very good snorkeling. I was quite impressed and surprised to find that quality of snorkeling at the beach.
After spending 3 hours at the beach we walked back over to Margaritaville for a drink and to check it all out. After Margaritaville we took a taxi back to the pier and boarded the ship a few hours early. I found many of the negative reviews of Jamaica to be true. I was offered drugs at least 5 times. A polite no always did the trick but it was an uncomfortable position to say the least.
Next stop, Grand Cayman. Very beautiful island and a great change from Jamaica. We booked an excursion online through Native Way Watersports to do Stingray City and Snorkel tour. This was an awesome experience and a must do when visiting this island. Native Way hires a local production company to join the excursion and film the day above and under water. If you want, you can buy the video on VHS or DVD and pick it up back on board the ship at the Pursers desk later that night. A DVD is $63, which I thought was a bit expensive, but it provides a great memory of the trip to show all your friends and family.
Our final stop was Cozumel. We decided to do all of our shopping in Cozumel. We took a taxi downtown to do some shopping. We also visited Carlos n Charlie's and Senior Frogs. Be prepared to bargain. Don't settle for the list price. After shopping we went over to Paradise Beach. This is a free public beach. They have nice amenities at this beach but was a little disappointed in the beach itself. We regret not booking an excursion to snorkel on this island. The water in Cozumel is beautiful!
A few side notes about the ship. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of food offered. I was not impressed with the food I received on my past Carnival cruise but the food on this ship I found to be very good quality. The evening shows were also very entertaining. Carnival is by no means perfect and they could do little things here and there to improve but I feel like they try very hard to make sure everyone has the best cruising experience possible. I will not hesitate to cruise with Carnival again.