March 2016 - Carnival Conquest to Caribbean - Eastern
I went on this cruise with my mother, sister in law, and her mother. My SIL and I utilize Carnival's off site partner, Park N Fly. We paid 30.00 to 40.00 less than what we would have paid had we parked at the port. The service was great(picked and dropped you off at your vehicle) and we didn't have too much wait time.
Check in was the same as usual...long lines. But, the person who checked our passports and boarding pass was fairly quick once we reached him. Our check in agent Debbie was great and we had her in stitches with our foolishness. We had her laughing so much that other agents were telling us that we were having too much fun. We proceed to our cabins which were already ready to start getting settled in before heading to the Lido deck to get something to eat. My mother and I had an interior with a picture window cabin(6203). Instead of two separate beds, they had the beds together so I had to call housekeeping to ask if they would separate them. Our bags arrived to the room faster than I expected. So while we were waiting for our room attendant to come separate the beds, we unpacked and put mostly everything up. I was able to take an hour to hour and a half nap from waiting so long on the room attendant. It wasn't until my SIL came knocking on the door when I realized how long we had been waiting and it wasn't until the 2nd time I called that we finally met the room attendant.
Our first port was Grand Turk and we decide to take an island tour since my mom, SIL, and her mother had never been there. I cannot remember the name of the tram but it was awful. First, we had to walk from the port sight to outside of the gate to get on the tram. Second, the driver did a test run on his microphone to see if we all could hear him. Since there were a group of us in the second car, we repeatedly told him that we could not hear a word of what he was saying. But, he didn't listen to us until we made our first stop where we told him that we wanted a refund. He told us that that tram had rust issues that affected the speakers and that he would work on it while we walked around "downtown." After getting back to the port, my SIL and I tried to find the guy who had the horses. Since we couldn't find him, we headed back to the ship to get something to eat. I know Grand Turk is a hit with a lot of people but it is my least favorite port...as a matter of I'm good with not visiting there again but for some reason, a lot of my itineraries always have this particular port in them.
Amber Cove, DR was our next port. This is a fairly new port that opened in October 2015. I think they are still developing this area as there isn't anything in close walking distance. I would suggest an excursion for this port. Or you can always chill out at the water park area that is located within the port. My SIL and I did the ATV and Beach Adventure. This excursion was a lot of fun. The guides picked us up from the port then we were transported on an open air truck to the excursion location. The ride was extremely bumpy as the roads were undeveloped and basically just dirt roads. I definitely would not suggest this excursion for anyone who has back problems or who just recently had surgery. Upon arriving, we were separated into groups that would initially go to the beach and the other who would go ahead and ride the ATVs. Our guides Francisco and the other whose name I can't remember were great. They were very thorough with explaining how the ATVs worked and stressing safety at all times. The guides put all the first timers in the front then made sure everybody's helmets were on and buckled correctly. I would suggest you bring at least two scarfs(one for face the other for your hair), sunglasses or goggles, and a pair of bike gloves due to the throttling of the ATV. We did a couple of practice runs around the area where the ATVs are kept then we were off. We stopped a few times for them to explain where we were and for photo ops. We even visited a native Dominican to see how she and most of the other Dominicans lived. Aunt Trina allowed us to tour her home and even offered us coffee. Once we were back to the facility, we had the opportunity to head to the beach. The water was cold but refreshing especially since we were so dusty from riding the ATVs. We were served lunch which had a variety of items to choose from. The food was very tasty in my opinion. We also had an opportunity to shop if we chose to. We then headed back to the port where we had time to shop for souvenirs.
Our next port was Half Moon Cay which is Carnival's private island(technically speaking Princess's island but they are under the Carnival's corporation). Getting off the ship for this port was a hugh mess! It was so unorganized and took entirely too long. The staff had everyone in lines that were circling all over the place. I don't if this was their first time tendering but I woulld suggest they get some suggestions from other ships who tender regularly. By the time we got off the ship, we really didn't have much time to do much of anything. We settled on the paddle boat then splashed around in the water for a little bit before waiting for our mothers to come back from their excursion. I wasn't too thrilled with this excursion either being that you didn't really have any souvenir selections and it was basically a beach port only. I would probably skip any itineraries that has this port even though this was my 2nd time visiting here.
Activities on the ship were not plentiful other than the broadway shows and the comedy shows. The comedians were great especially one in particular. I attended the movies on the Lido deck every night except for one. There appeared to be great amounts of empty space between some of the activities. And I hated that some of the activities coincided with some of the other activities that I wanted to see. I wish they had offered two time slots for them(such as the Hasbro show) just like they offered with the broadway shows.
We picked the late dining time slot. Our table neighbors were a hoot and we interacted with them every night. Our wait staff was good also and I especially appreciated Ilya who made sure that I had apple juice every night. I know a lot of people aren't thrilled with the American Table menu but it actually wasn't too bad. There were a couple of days that the menu was lacking but I felt the food actually tasted better than it has on my other cruises. We basically never had a chance to get dessert because of how long it would take to receive our food and most times we were trying to make it to a show or movie.
Overall, the cruise wasn't too bad. This was my first time cruising during spring break and I just wanted a chance to relax and renew myself. I have to say that I did not like the fact that our room attendant, Pande did not come to introduce himself to us until I had to call a second time for someone to come and separate our beds. I also was a little perturbed about the shower flooding the floor each time I took a shower and maintenance not fixing the problem the entire cruise.