Hello all, and welcome to my very first blog post! Before we get into the content, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Anthony, and I am an avid traveler from Maryland in the United States. I began traveling when I was 10 when I took my first cruise, and in the past 6 years, I have covered 23 countries, and have accumulated many stories that I would like to share. I also have passions for history, the Olympics, reading, my little Boston Terrier named “Buddy”, and becoming fluent in Spanish, so expect posts related to my other passions in the future as well!
Now with the introduction out of the way, we can now talk about what you came here for: the cruise. Our idea to take a Christmas cruise started back in February 2016 when my school had announced that our Thanksgiving Break was going to be cut to just a long weekend. We had taken a yearly Thanksgiving cruise since Thanksgiving 2010, so we had to find a new time to take our vacation in 2016. With spring break too close to find any good deals, we decided that we would cruise over Christmas. This was a first for us, and we thought that there was no better opportunity than to call our family friend that we took our first cruise with, Jacqui. Once she was onboard (pun intended) with the idea, we went ahead and began searching for cruises. Our official party would be split over two rooms. My mom and her boyfriend (Elron) in one, and Jacqui and I in another.
I was a huge cheerleader for a 7 night Western Caribbean cruise from either Tampa, New Orleans or Miami that called in Roatan, Belize, Costa Maya and Cozumel. We had tried the Western Caribbean before, but a hurricane swept through, causing it to rain in every port, and to miss out on our call to Belize entirely. To make matters worse, I had broken my foot less than a week prior to our departure date, and was stuck to crutches and a cast for the entire trip. So, getting back to the Western Caribbean and giving the area an unofficial first try was something that I really wanted to do. The group was with my idea, and we had found a very good deal for the Rhapsody of the Seas our of Tampa, but being the open-minded person that I am, I had to check other options.
It was at this time that I stumbled upon an 8 night cruise from Fort Lauderdale on the Carnival Conquest to Grand Turk, San Juan, St.Maarten and St.Kitts.With St.Kitts having been cancelled on a previous cruise, and San Juan and St.Maarten being two of my favorite places, it was alluring. And once my mother had found that they were selling the aft wrap balconies for the same price as a regular balcony, she was sold. The last time we had a balcony cabin was Thanksgiving 2011, and she really wanted to have that privacy and seclusion again, especially now with her boyfriend. They both agreed that Jacqui and I were welcome to use their balcony whenever we pleased throughout the cruise, so with that, we booked their room, and then booked an inside room for Jacqui and I down the hall. It was official, I was finally heading back to my favorite island (St.Maarten!)
From mid-March to early December, we had to time to juggle ideas back and forth on what we wanted to do with our port days. Before the cruise left, we had come to the following conclusions:
Grand Turk (12/25): Enjoy the free beach by getting a lounge-chair and hanging out all day
San Juan (12/26): Do a self-guided walking tour of Old San Juan, stopping at both forts, and eating dinner at a local restaurant
St.Maarten (12/27): Book an all-day Carnival excursion that would take us around to the offshore islands, like Tintamarre, Pinel, and Creole Rock on the French side, with a beach stop in Grand Case, and finish with an anchor in the Maho Beach bay to watch some planes land
St.Kitts (12/28): Taxi to whatever beach (we would decided when we got there), and spend the day lounging
We are certainly cruisers that cruise for the ports and the destination. So, my Carnival Conquest blog posts will be mostly focused on the ports that we visited, as opposed to the ship and how we went our sea days (we had 3). I will finish my Carnival Conquest posts with a ship review, but each port stop will have its own post. I’m very excited to get this blog off the ground, so stay tuned for my next addition: Christmas in Grand Turk!