Carnival CONQUEST, repositioning cruise San Juan to Miami
We booked this trip almost as soon as it became open, mostly because we wanted a specific room category. We booked a Cat 4J, way up high, forward, great room. We got confirmation from Carnival, and paid our deposit and then some. About 2 to 3 months later, Carnival informed us the room would be “under construction”, and we were offered several alternatives. Ok, fast forward to the sailing. We met several people on Carnival’s web site (Funville Forum) and agreed to meet prior to sailing in Old San Juan, and also on board. Lo and behold, one in our group booked at the last minute, and got the exact same room we had originally booked, but at a much higher price! How, and why, do you ask? Carnival “reconfigured” the categories, and the room was now listed as a 6G (from 4J) and the rate jumped several hundred dollars!!! While I understand the need for Carnival to maximize their bookings, in this case I feel they should have honored the booking, even if it meant telling us we had been upgraded, or, they should have “bitten the bullet” so to speak. As it is, it leaves a very bad taste in their customer service area. Conquest is a larger ship, and has many of the newer upgrades Carnival has implemented in recent years. The “best” is Guy’s Burgers, where you get burgers as conceived by Guy Fieri, Food Network Star. There is also the Blue Iguana, Red Frog Pub, and others. Red Frog beer is pretty good, but the burgers are absolutely great! The itinerary was San Juan to St. Kitts, to Dominica, to St. Maarten, Antigua, Grand Turks, with a final in Miami. St. Kitts is a nice island, and we (several of us) grabbed a cab for a tour of the island. We chose the Batik Factory, a beach,( We had a snorkeler in the group) the golf course (one member wanted a polo shirt from there) with a stop at a roadside place to buy some raw sugar cane, then back to the cruise port. All in all it was a good way to see the island. In Dominica we went on a river tubing excursion. The water was “cool” and we had a blast tubing down the river, with me going head over heels a cropper when I hit the rapids. Glad I was wearing the helmet!! The roads in Dominica leave much to be desired, and there is construction all over the island. St. Maarten I was able to fulfill one item on my bucket list. I was able to crew on a 12 meter racing yacht, in this case, the “Stars and Stripes” of America’s Cup fame. After completing the course, we went back to get some photos and shirts, then back to the ship. Antigua was a laid back, lets just see the city center area. I was able to get some of the rum I was looking for, without spending an arm and a leg. Pyrats Cask 1623 was at a reasonable $214, and no, it was too much for me! Grand Turks was our “beach day” with the afternoon spent at Jacks Shack, a very nice little bar about 500 yards down from the pier. Jack has his own web site, and if you go, remember to look at it, since he has a coupon for a free shot. Miami port was just as bad as we remembered it. Even with all the announcements, people refused to listen, and as a result, getting off the ship was an exercise in a slalom of legs and baggage, a wall of arms and bodies blocking the exit, and the ones who just felt that they were the most important ones there, cutting in front of everyone, then feigning innocence. (who, me?) Oh well, we eventually got off, headed to the train station, and boarded for our relaxing trip home. Amtrak is a really great way to go to or from the ports. In our case, Tampa to Ft. Lauderdale, or Miami, we leave the day before, get to our hotel, then head for the port with no rush. Coming home it’s also pretty good, departing Miami at 11:50 or so, departing Ft. Lauderdale around 12:30 or so, and getting back into Tampa around 5:00 or so. It makes for a relaxing trip, we can unwind, stretch out a bit, snooze if we want.
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