March 18, 2007
We sailed the Conquest to the Western Caribbean March 18-25, 2007 with our kids (ages 8 and 4). Our cabin was #7299, one of the Penthouse Suites on the Empress Deck.
We stayed at the Harbor House for two nights prior to boarding the ship. Left our car with them for the entire week for $20! Yup, $20!!!! Had a front row parking space so we had plenty of folks passing the car if something happened. They also have security and the police that patrol the area so we felt confident about parking with them.
We loved the Harbor House! It was pricey but the view we had was over the pier (under the cameras!!!) so we saw all the ships dock etc. Talk about views!
Sunday morning we decided to have a quick bite to eat and head for the ship. We were in line by 11:30am and the VIP line went quickly (aided in part I'm sure by the use of passports), we boarded and were in our suite by 12 noon! The kids and Dh put on their swimsuits and headed for the pool. I stayed behind to unpack etc. Our bags were at the door by 130pm.
Our cabin was very nice and quite. The bathrooms was large and the tub was wonderful! Hard to get in and out of but nice. We thought we might have the bunks for the kids but they had a sleeper sofa to share and it worked out fine. We were told the Conquest doesn't have bunks in their suites which disappointed the kids. We had plenty of storage space, 3 full size hanging closets and a set of drawers, plus the vanity in the bathroom dressing area. We didn't even use all the closet space! Everyone had two drawers which was nice.
Our cabin steward, Maria (from Romania) and her ass't Marco (from the Philippines) were awesome. They were so friendly and had fun with the kids.
We scheduled the early seating in the dining room and had the Monet upper deck. Our waiter and staff were the best! We never had to ask for a thing, they were on the ball from the get go. We hated to leave them behind :(
Headed for Camp Carnival's orientation meeting after supper and viewed the camp afterwards. The staff was pumped up and ready to receive the new batch of kids and there were a lot of them! Dd was in the 2-5 group with 3 counselors and Ds was in the 6-8 group with 3 counselors. They had a blast all week with lots of different activities scheduled.
Our second day at sea was rough (12+ waves) and ship was rocking from side to side. We had to make an emergency stop in the Caymans due to someone breaking a hip as a result of the rough seas. We were soon back on course headed for Jamaica.
Once we docked in Jamaica Dh and the kids headed to Rose Hall for a day of fun in the water. I stayed on board and read a book and took sunning breaks on the balcony. It was a cloudy day with showers every so once in a while but it didn't damper anyone's plans.
Our next port was Grand Caymans. We had scheduled an early morning swim with the stingrays but it was canceled due to rough seas :( We were all disappointed but got a full refund within the hour. We decided to head to shore (tender) and do things on our own. Had lunch as Senor Frogs and had a great time. Got some great t-shirts and rum cake of course!
Our last port was Cozumel. Beautiful weather, couldn't have asked for anything more. Our excursion here was the Dolphin Discovery, booked thru the company. Our original time was scheduled at 3:30pm but with the time change it wasn't going to work because we were operating on "ship time" and not Cozumel time. We called and they happily bumped us up to 2pm. Once we arrived and checked in we were scheduled for 12noon! GREAT, that left the rest of the day to play around! This was one excursion everyone should do. The kids saw a 1 week old dolphin, swam with a 3 mo old dolphin and met 2 mothers-to-be.
We didn't watch any of the evening shows due to having the kids with us. We were all asleep by 10:30 pm every night, loved being rocked to sleep!!! But we did play games during the day while they were at camp. Had a blast but didn't win the Ship on a Stick, sniff sniff.
Our last day at sea was very relaxed and nice. We were not looking forward to the cruise ending one bit!
The only thing that really disappointed us was the scenery. No one's fault except Mother Nature but it just looked like home. No palm trees to greet us at all, or if we saw some they were small. The hurricanes really did a number on these islands and it still shows. We were surprised how far every port has come in a little over a year, it's really incredible and a testament to the people.
As we were coming into Galveston I was awakened by our ship's horn blowing at 5am. I woke Dh about 5:15 and called him out to the balcony. It was very cloudy but we could see many ships in the water within close proximity to us. We knew something had to be "up". Sure enough, we were in the search party for the people that jumped ship off the Princess!
We finally docked around 7am. Disembarkation took forever! Even the crew said they didn't understand what the hold up was. We all figured it must be in Customs, maybe they found something in someone's luggage????? Our deck was finally called at 11:30am. We were back in our car after a short walk back to the Harbor House parking lot by noon. Headed home.
Overall, we really enjoyed our cruise, the staff made it special. We would love to take this cruise again in a few years to see how far the recovery effort has come.