My family and I decided on a semi-last minute cruise on the Carnival Conquest. This was my first time sailing the Conquest. Even though she’s an older ship, she was still beautiful and was able to accommodate my family’s needs.
|Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
|Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan
|Disembark Miami ?
On my last cruise on the MSC Seaside, we stayed at the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay. It was absolutely beautiful and we really enjoyed it. It was especially nice since we could see the ships come in and out of port. But this time, we stayed at the Hampton Inn &Suites- Miami Airport South/Blue Lagoon. Now the reason for this choice was based solely on my Mother’s desire to go to Pollo Tropical which was just a block away. We’ve stayed there before and enjoyed the hotel. There’s a strip mall across the street that includes a Burlington Coat Factory and both Walgreens and CVS were on opposite corners. So, if you forgot anything or didn’t pack it because of TSA restrictions, you could go pick up a few things.
We normally fly in the day before, but this time we flew in two nights before. We took the last flight out on Thursday night and landed about 10:30pm. We took the free shuttle from the airport and was in our rooms by 11:15pm (#NoCheckedBags). We did this so that Friday would REALLY be a vacation day instead of a travel day. I was always so tired by the time I got on the ship. This really transformed how we cruise.
Friday morning, we met my Dad for brunch at First Watch. The menu was different, but in a good way.
After brunch, we had the rest of the day to relax. November in Miami was still scorching hot, but we braved the heat anyway to go to Burlington Coat Factory and the pharmacy to pick up those last minute items I decided not to pack. Since I knew we would be at this hotel with the surrounding amenities, I packed a little lighter than I normally would.
TIP: Bring your own candy. Candy from Cherry On Top (Carnival’s Candy Shop) can be a little expensive.Your Cruise Girl
Friday evening saw us going to Pollo Tropical. If you’ve never been, it’s like the Boston Market of Caribbean food. Citrus marinated chicken, black beans and rice, plantains and a whole host of other foods. And their signature sauces just make everything taste better. I fell in love with their Guava BBQ sauce. Be sure to try it if you stop by for a meal.
Mom and I are platinum on Carnival, so we get priority boarding and our room is ready early. If you’re not platinum or diamond on Carnival, then Faster to the Fun is your best bet. The price varies depending on the length of the cruise, but it was worth every penny for us before we were platinum.
Faster to the Fun offers Carnival cruise passengers the following priority access:
~Priority security lines, check-in and boarding
~Early access to cabins on embarkation day
~Priority delivery of checked luggage
~Dedicated phone line to the guest services desk, as well as an exclusive line at the desk itself
~Priority dinner times (early, late or Your Time Dining — does not include priority reservations for flexible dining passengers on a daily basis)
~Priority tender service
~Choice of early or late debark at the end of the cruise
*These perks are included in the Platinum and Diamond guest loyalty program.Carnival Cruise Lines
Early access to our cabin is EVERYTHING!! But I digress. Back to getting on the ship. The hotel offers a shuttle service for $10 per person. We booked our shuttle at check-in on Thursday night. There were different shuttles depending on what ship you were going to. We got down to the lobby for our 11am scheduled shuttle. Shuttles showed up. Shuttles left us. For one reason or another, we could not fit our party of 5 on a shuttle. We called. We complained. Each time we were told the shuttle is on the way. We finally made it on a shuttle at almost 1pm. Color me not a happy camper ?. This was not the service I remember when we stayed there before. I was very disappointed.
The good news is we were finally on our way to the ship! If you’ve ever cruised before, you know the excitement you feel as you pass by all the ships in port on your way in. We pulled up and unloaded everything. Some of my party had to check their bags with the porters. But you know by now that Mom and I are living the #NoCheckedBag life on 7 day cruises ?. We got our documents out and walked in to the priority boarding lane. We zoomed right on through check-in and security. Mom and I got separated from the rest of the family as they had Platinum and Diamond go left and Faster to the Fun go right. But guess what? We got on the ship at the same time!
The excitement you feel when you take that step from the gangplank to the ship is still exciting. Even after 20 cruises, it always feels like the first time.Your Cruise Girl
We all went to our cabins and unloaded. Then the quest for food! My traditional first meal on the ship is always a burger from Guy’s Burger Joint with lots of grilled onions and mushrooms. Mom always likes Blue Iguana.
After lunch, we had time to unpack (#NoCheckedBags ?) and explore the ship. Even though the ship launched 21 years ago in 1999, it still looks great!
Stay tuned to find out what we did on the cruise!
Have you cruised the Carnival Conquest? Let me know below if you have or if you’re booked.
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