Carnival Lines Carnival Conquest Review Western Caribbean Andrew
Number of Cruises: 4
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Conquest
Sailing Date: June 25th, 2006
There is more to do that you can ever get around to doing. We did see the signature show in the main lounge, "Formidable" (say it in French - for mid DAH bluh), and rate it about a 7 on the Show-O-Meter. Maybe we sat too close, but we could see some holes in the dancers stockings and one actually had the sole flopping off the bottom of her shoe. The female lead singer was way too nasal, and the male was way too show-tune. I think they've peaked. The comedy shows were good, even though we don't routinely stay up that late for the midnight R-rated show. One clinker: an illusionist called 'Deja' was the headliner after leaving Montego Bay. The cruise director billed her as having 'flown in from Las Vegas' for the show, which is hogwash because looking at other reviews this seems to be a standard booking for her. Also, judging from the caliber of her show if she is playing anywhere in Vegas it is the bus station. Horrible. Do yourself a favor, if you are thinking about taking the time to see 'Deja' find a maintenance closet and slap yourself in the groin with a hammer. Then go watch karaoke. Most of the rest is traditional cruise-ship: Newlywed Game, Guest Talent Show, Hairy Chest, Survivor, so on. We've seen all these on every other ship but since the guests are different it is always fun to watch.
Bottom line: Average.
Expensive. The only bargain here is the duty-free liquor. Even when they have their special sales, the merchandise can still be bought for that price stateside. Don't get caught up in the hype.
Bottom line: Average.
PORTS OF CALL:
Your 'Super Shopper' is going to be having talks the day before each port as to which shops are 'recommended.' Understand that these stores have paid Carnival a fee to be 'recommended' and these recommendations are NOT based on any special value you might get. If you are all starry-eyed about the great deals you are going to find on everything from silver to hammocks, prepare for sticker shock.
Montego Bay, Jamaica -
We did the Appleton Rum Estate tour. This does involve about a 1 1/2 hour bus ride from Montego Bay, so if you are in ANY way susceptible to motion sickness PLEASE take something before you leave. Roads in the Jamaican mountain country are narrow, poorly maintained, and go up-down-right-left-180degree-back again worse than most theme park roller coasters. Once we got there, though, we went on a very informative tour of a working rum distillery and were treated to a nice Jamaican lunch and an OPEN BAR. Prices on rum to purchase were very reasonable as well.
Georgetown, Grand Cayman -
You will NOT find any bargains here. The "Super Shopper" will tell you there are, but there simply are not. Well, not true. You can find DECENT prices on new Rolex or Omega watches at Kirk Freeport. DO NOT plan on eating in a restaurant here, it is ungodly expensive. Go snorkeling, take advantage of the gorgeous beaches, but save your trinket money for somewhere else and eat on the ship.
COZUMEL, Mexico -
Again, same as above on 'recommended shops.' Please understand that silver is not mined on Cozumel. It is imported, marked up, and sold to tourists. It is also faked, and a stamp of '.925' does not mean its actually sterling. Use your head, if it is too good to be true.... you know. We did the Mexican Cuisine tour at the Playa Mia Beach Park. Great fun and a great lunch.
All in all, we had a great vacation. The Conquest is a well done mega-liner, it sails well, and takes the average cruise-ship experience up just a small notch. My advice is to sail in April, as this June sailing was flat eat-up with teenagers thugging around the decks. Good choice for families, couples looking for an upscale romantic vacation should look elsewhere.