This was our first cruise and overall we found that it exceeded our expectations. Our cabin, 7434, was perfect and the balcony was absolutely awesome. Spent many mornings and evenings just watching the world go by.
We flew in to Houston on Saturday and then drove down to Galveston on Sunday morning. We arrived very early and drove around Galveston for awhile and then turned in the rental car. Hertz drove us to the terminal and we went in at 9:05. We were the first ones to sit in the green chairs. Met a real nice couple, they were second to arrive, and they had cruised before so they helped us with our questions. The Carnival personnel were great and advised us that those sitting in the chairs would be the first to proceed to the check in counter. 11:00AM: Check in was a breeze and then we went and sat in some more chairs waiting for our boarding photo. Then it was onto the ship, 1205PM, and our security photo for our sail and sign card. Then onto Lido deck for some food and umbrella drinks. We went to the Spa and made appointments for messages and pedicures. About 1:30PM we went down to our cabin and found it to be ready for us. We unpacked, sat on our balcony for awhile and then our room steward came and introduced himself. I told him that it was our first cruise and that if he took good care of us, I would take good care of him at the end of the cruise. He took excellent care of us and then I took good care of him at the end of the cruise.!!!!!!!! These people work their can off trying to please their customers.
Muster Drill: Necessary evil, hot and took longer than necessary, but very informative.
We departed Galveston, absolutely invigorating. Sat on our balcony and watched our send off, drank a little wine, ate the chocolate covered strawberries I had ordered for the wife, sat back and enjoyed. Then we walked around the ship, went down to the Monet room and found our table, table for two. We then just took a quick tour of the ship. Went to the embarkation talk and I must say that Malcolm, our cruise director, made everything very clear, especially about the shows and comedy shows being somewhat risqué.
Went to dinner, wait staff were very attentive and professional. Had some college aged boys at a table next to us, two were late arriving and one of them started using some pretty foul language, well on his way to inebriation. Waitress went and informed the Matr'd, he immediately advised the young boys that the language would not be tolerated and they complied. It was handled very professionally and discreetly by the staff. Food was excellent, in fact never had any bad food anywhere on the ship and we tried it all. After dinner we checked out the shops and the casino. Went back to our cabin and enjoyed the ocean ambience from the balcony.
Our air conditioning was not functioning properly, could not adjust the temperature. Just about froze Sunday night, even with the balcony door was open. Notified our room steward first thing in the morning and he called the electrician to fix it. We still could not adjust the temp but we liked the door open so we could hear the ocean sounds. It was much more comfortable the rest of the week.
First Formal night, put on the tux, the wife put on her dress and we headed down for our formal night photos. I thought I looked pretty good in my tux, but the photographer took one photo of both the wife and I and then told me to move out and took several more poses of just the wife. Oh well I guess she was much more photogenic than me. Went to the Monet room and had a great meal. After dinner we changed into more comfortable clothing. After the meal we had just consumed, we both needed a little more room. Went and watched the Las Vegas show and then stayed up after midnight to see Phat Kat. Yes the dancers wore skimpy clothing at times, but I saw more skin at breakfast and lunch buffets and around the pool. Most of the time they had full length gowns on. Oh yes Phat Kat used some foul language, but nothing I did not hear the first night we ate at the Monet room. Remember Malcolm told us that it would be a little risqué. The show was well worth it, he is a very funny man.
We were awakened about 1230 in the morning when the ship stopped to pick up 28 Cuban's that were stranded in a small sail boat about 150 miles north of Jamaica. The captain launched a life boat and brought them aboard the ship. The Captain kept us informed of their condition for the next couple of days. They were eventually taken off outside of Galveston on Sunday.
We took the Appleton Rum tour, so we did not get to go downtown. This tour is a long drive, but we made our own fun on the way. Very steep and curvy road, both directions. Our tour guide taught us a new saying "It is no problem, mon, it is just a situation". Thought that was cute. Very interesting tour, got our fill of rum and then some. Had a very nice lunch as well. The drive to the rum factory and back can be somewhat depressing, since you see where and how the natives live. It is a real reality check for us folks that can afford to travel to these places. We thanked God for what we have.
After watching our departure from Jamaica, we put on our fancy go to meeting duds and went to The Point. If you want to be pampered with fine dining, this is the place to go. Well worth the extra $30.00 each. Seven course meal, with some of the best food I have ever eaten.
Tendered onto Grand Cayman after waiting in the Toulouse Lautrec Lounge for what seemed to be forever. The ship had some problems with customs clearing the ship. I had scheduled Stingray City and Snorkeling tour through Captain Marvin's, at 11:15. We did get onto the Island with plenty of time to walk around town, get something cold to drink, by some jewelry for the wife and get to Captain Marvin's in plenty of time. The two man crew that took us out in the boat were fantastic. Gave us plenty of time to snorkel and plenty of time at Stingray City. They had a young man videoing the whole trip. (DVD $55.00) they caught a stingray and we were all given an opportunity to hold, pet and kiss the stingray. They said kissing a stingray in Grand Cayman insured sevens years good luck. We had some people come over from another ship, because their guides did not catch a stingray. Highly recommend Captain Marvin's for this excursion. We arrived back just in time to stand in line, about three blocks long, to get a tender back to the ship. Line did move fairly fast though. Grand Cayman is a pretty expensive Island, for drinks that is. One non-alcoholic and one with was $15.75. This Island is very beautiful and prosperous.
Back on the Ship:
We did not feel like getting all gussied up to go to the second formal night, so we just ate at the grill on Lido deck, after watching our departure from our balcony. Went down to the casino for a couple of hours, lost of course.
Tendered onto the Island, again long wait in the Toulouse Lautrec Lounge, but not to long. We just walked around town, no excursions scheduled. Wife bought some items from the vendors. We made our way down to Carlo's and Charlie's for lunch and a couple of margaritas. Great food, drinks and entertainment. We then hired one of the horse and buggy carriages for about a forty minute tour of Cozumel, $30.00 but with tip we paid $40.00. Very interesting and a great way to see the town, especially after a couple of large margaritas. The natives have done a great job rebuilding after the hurricane, only a couple of buildings and the piers still need to be rebuilt, at least along the beach front.
Back on the Ship:
As we were getting onto the tender a young lady got her foot crushed by the gangplank right behind me. Be careful when stepping onto the gangplank, it moves as the tender rocks with the seas. In this incident the gangplank rolled back on down onto her foot. She was in a lot of pain. The tender left immediately and got her to the ships infirmary. Once back on the ship we took the wife's new possessions to the cabin, freshened up and watched our departure from Cozumel. Since we had such a large lunch in Cozumel we just went to the Grill on Lido deck. By the way the frozen yogurt was so cold the wife had to blow on it to warm it up, it was good to the last bite. We then went to the casino for a couple of hours, won back what I lost earlier in the week plus about $40.00. Spent more than that on drinks while gambling though, still had a great time.
Very Ill Passenger:
We were awakened about 12:30 AM Saturday by vibration from the ship. Could see land off the back of the ship. Checked my compass and it indicated we were traveling in a southeasterly direction. Even at that hour I new that Galveston was north of Cozumel. Found out later that an elderly woman became very ill and we had to turn around and take her back to Cancun. We were about 6 nautical miles north of Cancun when we turned around. The Captain then put us in high gear and we were back in Galveston by 8:00AM Sunday.
We stopped just outside of Galveston so the Coast Guard could board the ship and take the Cuban's into custody. They will be returned to Cuba eventually.
Spent more time in the Toulouse Lautrec Lounge waiting for our color to be called. First they call the colors for the people that are going to self assist off the ship. This is those that are going to carry their own luggage off the ship. After that they start to call the colors for those of us that had too much luggage to carry ourselves. We were off at about 10:30. Then you find your luggage and go through Customs. I found mine very easily, because I read these boards, by marking my luggage in a unique manner. Now since I am a law enforcement officer I have access to yellow crime scene tape. Wrapped a large bow around the handles of my luggage and the luggage handlers had all three bags together. Other than standing in line, Customs was a breeze. Then it was onto the rental car company to get the car and then onto Lake Charles, LA for another week of vacation.
We had wonderful weather and very calm seas the whole week. Would never cruise without a balcony. Our room was the last room before the corner of the ship on the port side, this gave us an extra large balcony (twice the size of the others on the side of the ship). The Conquest is huge, but once you figure out that you use either the Lido or Panorama decks to get from one end of the ship to the other, it is easy to navigate around the ship. We cruised during Texas spring break, about 1500 of the 3700 aboard were under the age of 21. Though there were a lot of kids we were not bothered by them at all. Every employee we encountered was very polite and professional. They answered all of our questions and attended to us in every way possible. Of course we were always polite and respectful to them, so I guess you reap what you sow. Did not use everything we brought with us, from reading the message boards, but if we did need anything we had it. Did not use the bungee cord, used the balcony table to prop open the door. Did not use magnets to keep the air conditioning on while the door was open. Did not use the walkie talkies. I think that is about it, concerning this cruise, other than to say that our Carnival PVP was partially responsible for our fantastic cruise, after all she is the one that talked me into taking the cabin that I did. She responded to all of my emails and phone calls in an expeditious manner and answered all of my questions. I have taken the time to write her and Captain Marvin's expressing my thanks for a job well done and received immediate responses from both of them. We are no longer first time cruisers, but are now future cruisers.
Photos Posted on Cruisemates. com