My wife & I took our first cruise to celebrate my 60th Birthday and our 38th Wedding anniversary. We are both experienced travelers use to nice things. I did a great deal of web-based research and talked to lots cruisers (most those in our age group). I kept getting a conflict, as the reviews were mostly positive and the older folks said no way, Carnival is too loud and rowdy (only to find out that none of the couples we talked to had ever been on Carnival... Anyway, I made a decision to try Carnival, Eastern Caribbean, as it seemed like a good value. The seven-day cruise allows lots of time at sea which is what we were seeking, as we had already visited San Juan, St. Thomas and St. Martin via air.
The cruise was great. The Carnival Triumph ship was clean and our Suite was wonderful, will worth the extra money. The ship population was a mixed bag of age and income types, but each seemed to find their area of interest and areas to eat. My wife and I were part of the older crowd. Frankly, thefood, entertainment, and staff were wonderful. I felt, based on my research that the Carnival Triumph cruise was a very good dollar value.
This is a cruise for those who want to kick back and relax, like we did, or a cruise of non-stop action, which we did a little of, but most of the time were in the sack at 10:00 pm and up at 4:30. I did go wild and have pizza once for a 4:45 breakfast! (it was tops) but never made it to the midnight buffet.
I have done more research, and after three months of study have just booked another Carnival cruise on the Valor for Dec. 05.
The embarkation went very smoothly. The ship was absolutely stunning. At first, I did not like the ship because I am used to Fantasy-class ships and I didn't have that "cruise feeling." Now, I dearly miss my home...and am planning to go back in 2 months. The decor was excellent, even though there was a rip on a chair in the Oxford Lounge. The Cruise Director, Mark Price, was not involved in many activities, but was hillarious when he was. The three social hosts were Noonan, Adam, and Karlein. In the beginning, Karlein did a lot of social host-like activities, then Adam, then Noonan. Wee... Jimmy did most of the activities and was fun to be around. He's Scottish and wears a kilt... wee jimmy actually got to know me by name and by age. It was quite interesting. The only bad thing about him is that he always uses the same jokes, you'll see.
The second day was our day at sea. There were plenty of activities and some good movies on cabin television. I believ this was the first of two formal nights. GO RED TEAM! I thinkthere was Family Feud, Game Show, and LOTS of Bingo and trivia. There was the first Production show that night, "Wonderful World", and it really was a "wonderful" show. The dancers are excellent! Root for Allen, Surgae, and Victor for me!
The third day was a day at sea and San Juan at 5 p.m. San Juan was frightening, so we avoided this port. There was, as usual, plentiful activities this day as was on the previous.
St. Thomas is a beautiful port, and I recommend you get off and explore. You should take a Taxi to Trunk's Bay, a well-named top 10 beach in the world, or you can just take a skyride to Paradise Point, the most famous place in the Virgin islands. That is a great place for picture taking. I highly recommend going there.
St. Maarten is also beautiful, with cliffs that probably look stunning when a storm is approaching. We went to Shipwreck Cove and snorkeled, and that was a blast. Lots of sunken ships from some hurricane and lots of species of fish and coral... an experience of a lifetime.
The 2nd day at sea was filled with activities, just like the first. Make sure you play in the scratch-offs! Oh, this was the 2nd formal night. Cheer for Jemma and Hailey at bingo!(Dancers)
I'm sorry to say that the last day at sea, there really wasn't that many tings to do, and it feels like the last day of a cruise. There was "Who Wants to be a Millionare", but that's about it for us. The food was horrible. Carnival really needs to do something about that. I was about to starve before I ate!!! Yuck!
The entertainment was excellent. The other show with the dancers was "Century Cafe". That was on the 2nd formal night. Before the show the Big Screen gives you a quiz from the 20's to the 9's and then seguays into the show. Another fantastic performance. The other shows were two singers (on different nights), a comedy show, and a magic show. Entertainment was great!
My boyfriend and I just returned from our cruise onboard the Triumph. I will give you a quick introduction, pre-cruise, before I get into the actual cruise. First of all, we were supposed to sail on a 7 day E. Caribbean cruise departing Miami on 9-25-04, but due to Hurricane Jeane, our itinerary changed to a 5 day W. Caribbean cruise departing on 9-27-04. We were not notified by Carnival of the change until late Friday afternoon. Ok, now onto the cruise.
Embarkation: Once we got to the Carnival terminal, it was total chaos. Nobody knew what to do or where to go. When I asked one of the Carnival reps about parking, they said "They did not know, as they have never been in this terminal before." We took our chances that the lot was the right lot and hoped the car was still there when we returned to the port. After we made it through the very long line, to check in, we got in line to do our Sail-N-Sign Card. I think we were about 6th in line when their machines went down. Again, we had to waitabout 30 min. or so until they got their machines up and running.
Cabin: Once we finally made it to the ship we went straight to our balcony cabin, which was 9225, on the Lido Deck. The cabin was awesome. Definitely enough room for two and the location was perfect. They provided a basket of samples like shampoo, razors, etc. I did not use any of them, as I brought my own stuff. The bathroom also had a hair dryer, but again, did not use. This was our first balcony and it was so nice to come back to our cabin after the evening festivities and sit on the balcony. Another plus, when I was getting ready, my boyfriend would sit out on the balcony and enjoy the sea air and the ocean. The important thing, he stayed out of my way.
Meals: We at lunch on the day of embarkation at the buffet. The food was ok. For dinner, we had 8:00 p.m. seating and were assigned to the Paris Dinning Room. We never made it to breakfast or lunch, only dinner. The food there was awesome and so was our waiter. If we ever had a problem deciding on what to eat, the waiter always gave us some helpful suggestions. Plus, if you really could not decide, you could always order both entrees. For breakfast and lunch we usually at one of the buffets. They have an inside buffet, called the Southbeach Club, and a Sun Lovers Buffet, which is out by the main pool. If for some reason we did not like what they were serving on the buffets, then we got a cheeseburger and fries or pizza. The ship did have a place to get chinese food or deli type sandwiches, but we did not try them. We definitely did the ice cream and soft yogurt and you could get it in a dish or cone. It was available 24 hours a day and was located outside by the doors leading from the inside buffet to the pool area. They only had one midnight buffet, and that was held where the inside buffet is located. It was ok. I have been to better midnight buffets. During the other nights, the grill would open and you could get a late night snack of a hamburger, cheeseburger, chicken sandwhich, etc. Of course the pizza place was open 24 hrs., and it was very good. You could choose from a variety of pizzas or calzones. As a last resort, there was always room service, which we did not try. As far as drinks, you could get all the juice, punch, lemonade, ice tea and water you could drink for free. My boyfriend loved the lemonade and ice tea combo. If you drink a lot of soda, then the best thing to do is get the soda card. For us, it was the free stuff duing the day and beer at night.
Sea Days: We slept in and mainly hung out by one of the pools, listened to the music and had our drinks. We had no problem in getting places directly by one of the pools. We also went to a couple of the game type shows they had late in the afternoons. They were fun and something different to do when you got tired of being in the sun. They also had bingo during the day and before some of the evening shows.
Nightlife: The ship had a lot of activities. We saw both the Vegas style shows. They were awesome. The singing and dancing were tremendous. We also saw both comedians. The first comedian was really funny. The second one, who had a midnight show only on the last night on the ship, was just ok. It was supposed to be an R rated show, but I did not hear anything that would have been considered R rated. We also took a short trip through the casino and I lost $20 playing Blackjack. The casino was nice and I did not notice any smoke problems from people smoking. In fact, I did not notice any smoke problems on the ship at all. We ventured into the nightclub a couple of times and it was pretty crowded. They played a lot of hip/hop type music and other recent tunes. We did not get to the piano bar, but from what I heard, it was a great place to be. We did check out a group called The Hightones. They were pretty good, and depending on what night you saw them, depended on what kind of music they played.
We also saw the guest talent show, which for what it was, was good.
Cruise Director: Mark was our C.D. and he was really good and entertaining. There was an Assistant Cruise Director by the name of Wee Jimmy and he was really funny. They make an excellant team.
Room Steward: Overall he was good. The first night on board, he did not come in and turn down our bed or give us Capers for the next day. I thought it was strange, but did not let it bother me. From reading someone else's review, from the same cruise, they did not get service that night either. After the first night, when we got back to the cabin, there was the traditional towel animal, mints and bed turned down. He kept the room clean and picked up where he could. We did not use any of the items provided in our cabin, so I cannot comment on how they replaced the items.
Debarkation: Carnival has a new policy, thanks to customs, that if you are a U.S. Citizen, and can carry your own luggage (all of it) then you can leave the ship between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. Do not place any luggage out the night before. You wait in your cabin until they call your deck. Then you leave. We did not have to wait in a crowded waiting area or deal with long lines. I think we were to our car by 9:00 a.m. Everbody else starts to leave after 8:30 a.m. I highly suggest cruisers try and take their own luggage. Definitely worth the aggravation.
Overall: Overall it was a good cruise. Carnival is refunding us 30% of our cruise fare and gave a $100.00, per person, ship credit. I think it was a difficult time because the Port of Miami had all the ships, that were stuck at sea, come in at once. You cannot really blame Carnival for the hurricane and the chaos that can occur. I just know that from now on, we will never book during hurricane season again. Living in Orlando, you would have thought we would have realized booking during hurricane season can be a problem. We are definitely planning another cruise next summer to the E. Caribbean. Hopefully on the Glory out of Port Canaveral. The Miami drive can be rough when you are living on 6 hrs. sleep.
Arrival at airport:Tranfer to ship a little slower then desired.Bus waited to be filled and took about one half hour to depart.
Embarkation:Cant really comment because we were given priority due to wheel chair for mother in law.The Carnival people were very helpful and made it a swift painless process. The Miami termanal is old and I noticed even at 2:30 the lines were long.However Carnival works hard at getting people on the ship under difficult circumstances.
The Ship:I am getting very tired of nit pickers saying that a 5 year old mega ship is old. It is well taken care of and I dont go on a cruise looking for carpet stains.This ship is clean,fresh, and well kept.I would prefer paper towels to hand dyrers in bathrooms but hey I dont want to be a nit picker. Clean bathrooms and public areas and only smoke problem was in casino,but that cannot be avoided.
Cabin and Room Steward: A clean non smoke smell in cabin. 8a balcony upper deck.Lever2000 soap,shampoo, toothpaste,razor etc and hairblower and safe.Ketuk did his job non intrusive and pleasent when seen.
Food: Decent quality and selection. I have seen better butno real criticism here. Only 3 late buffets but piza pizza pizza plus lemonade fruit punch apple juice frozen yogurt and ice cream You woulnt starve.However ,no trays on Lido deck made it a little harder to stuff yourself.
Wait Staff: Ihave been on about 10 cruises and although wait staff on Glory last year was untoppable Karinna and Romona this equaled it. Jean from Haiti and Lubirmir his assistant from Hungary great people and great at their jobs.Jean seemed to find us even when we at open sittings and at Lido deck .
Activities and Entertainment: Main suggestion is not enough to do on port days if you stay on ship. We were in Cozumel until midnight and after dinner nothing to do until a game activity at 9 pm. Welcome Aboard show typical but still well done. Carlo the cruise director is new at the job but is well polished. He is warm and friendly and is developing his own style instead of copying others. He will become a top CD and I would be glad to sail with him again. His staff is very professional and do their jobs well. Special mention must be made of Ralph aka Weeeeeeeeeeeeee Jimmy. He is simply the best. Words cant describe him. I got to speak to him a few times and found him to be a real good guy. He is the most entertain and hysterically funny performer. Carnival make him a CD please. Comedians were Al Romano, Percy Crews, singer Ron Joseph. All did well. Magic show by Kevin and Caruso. Decent stuff but I am spoiled on Vegas magic.Guest Talent show was good but it really brought out the talent of Carlo who introduced acts and interacted with them without rehearsing. He is very well spoken and make the show enjoyable.
Casino: Nice size nice variety of games but smoooky. Dealers friendly. Bogdan learned my name first night and always gave me warm greeting.
Ports: Didnt do much in Cozumel but wlaked by Carlos and Charlies.Ship offered good variety of tours.
Grand Cayman: Stingray tour a must. Had fun and didnt get stung.
Jamaica: Sure Dunns River falls but skipped it for river tubing.Guide Emerson was great and so was driver Dove. A must do tour.
Conclusion: Didnt go to bars just internet cafe.Jogging track fine so were pools and watert slide and health club.
I give it a good recommendation. Remember not all are fortunate enough to be able to cruise. If you do dont look for ways to find fault. Enjoy yourself and realize that if you have a legimate complaint the cruise line will listen and do their best. Please have fun.
My wife & I did the Western Caribbean & really enjoyed ourselves. We embarked around noon with our Funpass & passport in hand. All went smooth as can be & never really had to wait at all. I'm not sure if the funpass or passport helped at all because they did have a separate line for funpass but wasn't much shorter than the other. We were able to go right to our cabin & were pleasantly surprised. We booked an inside cabin & it had all the room we needed. Next time will probably get one with porthole because of the lack of sunlight makes it hard to tell when its daylight. We got our bags shortly after the ship left port and all in good shape. Upon arrival of the deck we were bombarded by drink waiters offering us a pretty souvenir glass (plastic) with a tasty looking foo foo drink for just a swipe of our sail & sign card. This was a beginning of a bad habit. The deck waiters were very rude unless you're buying the drinks.. I asked for a glass of ice with mydrink and he ignored me. I asked another for a cup of water & he ignored me.. From that point on I ignored them.
We met our room steward, Baskara, the first night & he was great. He had a knack for knowing when we were gone & cleaned our room well. My wife enjoyed the towel animals a lot. We dined at the Paris Dining Room (late seating) every night except Cozumel. The food was good & our wait staff were excellent and funny. I am a big eater, so I never really felt full after we ate unless I order two entrees. The servings are very small and they don't mind giving you all you want. We were not at all impressed with the food on the Lido deck. I can't imagine cooking for 3000 people but the food was very bland tasting. Even some of the deserts.. But I still ate there for breakfast & lunch.
The shows were pretty good. Excellent dancers. The comedy show was not that funny. The cruise director John Heald & his assistant Wee Jimmy were funnier than the comedians. We got very tired of hearing John promote the local jewelry stores at each port. We expected to get great deals there (Cozumel) but didn't seem too great to us. Photographers on ship did an excellent job but charged too much. $20 for one picture.
Ports of call: Cozumel. Did the Dolphin Swim at Chankanaab Park. I booked this on-line. The swim was great but a little short. The park was neat. We saw iguanas climbing in trees. We also snorkeled there. Then off to shopping. We went to Carlos & Charlie's and had fun there..Adults only here. We ate at Ponchos Backyard in the shopping area (not the pier). This is a little hard to find but well worth it. It is on the main drag but you must go thru a shop to get in. Grand Cayman. Loved the snorkeling here. We used Captain Marvin's. They were very professional. No extras, just 2 snorkel sites & stingray city. They video taped it for us but didn't buy it ($65). The weather was rainy but it didn't bother us at all. Jamaica. Beautiful Island. Did the Dunns River Falls & a countryside tour with Peat Taylor. A very good choice. He took us anywhere we wanted. Afterwards he dropped us off at Margaritaville which was a lot of fun. We hated the way the native people were so pushy. If they would ease up they might sell more. I went to 4 stores to get change for a $10 bill to tip someone & no one would break it for me..Guess what? No tip. We probably won't go back there just because of the rude aggressive behavior that is displayed there. All our excursions were booked online and didn't regret it..The info we gathered from message boards helped us make the right choices for us. We saved money doing this & felt we got a quality trip. Disembarking was a snap.. I don't know how they could have done this any smoother. We were off the ship by 9:30 and at the airport by 10:15.
All in all it was a good time. We will cruise again, but next time not with Carnival. Only because we want to see what other cruise lines have to offer. Triumph is a very nice ship and we are glad we sailed her.
Like the review previous to mine, our party of 19 booked our cruise well in advance and many families ended up not sitting together. Not a big deal, but odd. You would think that since we paid for our trip so far in advance, we could have them get us seats together! Uneventful embarkation. It went downhill from dinner though. Our waiter and his assistant, just didn't know how to handle a large group. There were 10 adults and 9 kids. The first night one of our party asked if we could get more bread and our head waiter said "I can only do one think at a time". Never did get that bread. No one came by for drink orders, so we went to the bar to get our own - which seemed to annoy the maitre'd. He eventually had a server come to us but she could not keep up with our orders as well as the orders of half the Paris dining room (which looks like it has wood-grain contact paper on the walls). She was a doll but told them she could handle all theorders without help - she was wrong and missed out on a lot of tips due to it. Each night we went for at least one of our own drinks or took one in with us. They treated the children (ages 5 through 13) as though they weren't there - and we even had compliments as to how well behaved they were.
Service like that seemed to radiate throughout the ship. Kids had soda cards and tried to get sodas from the bars only to be ignored - even if they were the only ones there. Many times I had to flag them down - and then I was given the impression that it was a huge inconvenience for them.
My friend asked a bar server on deck 5 which is the fastest / easiest way to get to the kids club. He pointed up and walked away. It is on the 11th deck. I guess up was his answer. We laugh now, but not then. The boat is laid out funny...you have to go up or down and around the dining areas to get forward to aft, etc.
During dinner a photographer asked if we wanted a picture. We said we did but one of the spouses was away from the table and would be right back and could he come back or wait? He said no and abrubtly left and never came back. The food was only so-so. I've had better. Desserts not that great either.
Excursions were great. Loved snorkling in St. Thomas and St. Martin.
The kids had a great time in the clubs although in the 9-11 age group, the counselors would not be at the assigned area to have the kids check themselves out and then the kids didn't know what to do - bring a 2-way radio to give to your child so you can keep in touch with them!
Debarkation was a nightmare....at least trying to get to the airport. We waited outside in the heat for 2 hours. When they lined up our luggage and the bus finally arrived, they ran over a piece of our luggage. My husband and a friend had to remove it from the wheel well. When we spoke to the Carnival rep about it all she said was, "So do you want to take the bag up front with you on the way to the airport?". How does that help repair snorkel equipment??? Then the driver had the nerve to ask for tips!!!! Take a taxi. Less of a headache. Or better yet, avoid the Miami port area all together.
We had a good time due to the group we were with. The piano bar with Greg was so much fun. Great service in there and in the cigar bar. The gift shop folks are wonderful as well. John Heald is the best cruise director! Although I wish he knew some of these things that were happening on that ship. He would be appalled.
Our room steward was the best. Randy knew exactly what great service was. He was so kind and helpful. Room stewards work so hard and really deserve extra tipping.
I won't do Carnival again. Will do Disney or Royal, or probably any other line.
Occupation: Aircraft A & P Mechanic, Wife: Administrative Asst Location: Columbia, SC 29212
Previous Cruises: CCL Fantasy 1990-Honeymoon Cruise Did Not Like Celebrity Century 1994 Eastern-Fantastic Celebrity Century 1995 Western-Also Fantastic RCCL Voyager Of The Seas 1998 Western-Excellent RCCL Nordic Empress 1999 Southern-Will Not Go Out Of San Juan Again, Nice Ship Princess Golden Princess 2001 Eastern-Never Again Going On Princess CCL Triumph 2004 Western-100 % Improvement Over Fantasy Experience, Definitely Recommend
The Good Points: Best coffee on a cruise ship, Best and largest lobster tails (I had 3) not ruined in lemon water like other lines, Friendly staff onboard and land most spoke good English, Excellent clean buffets-no fly's like other cruise buffets we have been on, Ships deck layout very easy to get around, Speed and availability of elevators, potency of bar drinks, Prices in gift shop specials like $10 watches wallets t-shirts etc., NY Deli was outstanding corned beef on grilled rye melted in your mouth and the pastrami on grilled rye was good also the turkey on a sub roll was just ok, Hong Kong Noodle company very good Chinese style food small portions because they cook it up freshnever a problem getting 2 plates if you wanted it, 24 hour pizza was very good and good selection wife's calzone and Caesar salad looked very good also, 24 hour ice cream and frozen yogurt was very good always a good supply of cones and bowls and spoons I used a large coffee cup and a cone inside( I love ice cream), Room service was very good and a nice selection of cold sandwiches pastries and again the best coffee we ever had on a cruise they were fast and accurate always bringing what ever we asked for including a lot of my favorite drink "milk" it was slow at times which we understand but they always told us when we called in our request if they were busy we always tipped a couple of bucks and the final 5 days we had the same girl bring us our treats because she knew we tipped well,
Camp Carnival for the kids was nice my daughter said it was ok not as many kids as she has been with on other cruises probably because it was the week before Christmas break, Casino was very large and the dealers were very friendly Fun 21 is blackjack/21 with a twist you win 2.5 times your bet with a blackjack even if the dealer has one not considered a push you win with any combination of 21 even if the dealer has a blackjack you win 2.5 times your bet if you get 3 7s only the dealer hits on a soft 17 is the only tricky part for the house but they usually bust on this one.
The Not So Good Points: Porters in Miami literally beg for there tips as the one we had told us point blank "take good care of me as you will never see me again and you want to see all your belongings don't you" he even went to the trouble of counting out loud how many bags we had in front of everyone present and after counting 9 items(we are fat and our clothes are larger than normal) he said "$10 that's all your going to give me?"(yes we started to worry when our last bag did not show up until 8pm although we know they have thousands of bags to deliver cabin to cabin, Worst stage shows on a cruise ship 2 musicals and 1 comedian(he was very good and it was very R rated) on a 7 day trip plus 1 holiday show including camp carnival kids my daughter had fun with this one but 2 big screen movies of Garfield and Irobot was not my idea of a stage show, Worst bingo on a cruise ship 1 card for $10 or 3 for $20 is ok but they only play 1 game with only 1 winner not fair with hundreds of people playing, 2 hours to get onto ship even with pre-registered fun pass and 5 hours just to get off plus the usual customs, Our waiter and asst waiter ignored our small family of 3 in a comfortable booth and favored the large group at the table for 10 we saw much better wait staff working there sections we often had to beg for seconds of rolls (we took the automatic tipping off of our sail and sign account and adjusted our wait team way down $$ while our cabin steward was great and got a lot more $$ than suggested)(BTW, Best breads on a cruise ship) and refills of water(wine steward was a real pain in the neck harassed us every night even though we asked him not to come back), Expensive bar drinks $5.00 for a single beer and $5.00 rum & coke is just too much in my opinion plus $2.25 for a small bottle of water is just too much, No mini-bar in our balcony cabin is unacceptable only available in a mini-suite or above(not good if you have refrigerated medicines or drink a lot of milk like me, Cabin Air conditioning is very cold at night and you can only control the volume of air at the vent on the ceiling not the temperature of the air coming out of it, long lines at the buffets-well with over 2000 people I guess it wasn't too bad unless someone holds up the line because they pick though everything, We found it very unusual for the staff to eat in the public areas with the paying passengers although finding a good table was never a problem.
Other Cruisers: Very good mix of mostly heartland of America with some Canadian, Asian and European, white-black-skinny-fat not as many Latin's as RCCL seems to have(we are not prejudice we just don't like to hear Spanish every 2 seconds), security was very good usually always present and never saw or heard of any problems.
Ships Condition: Considering it was built in 1999 it is in very good condition with only minor wear and tear in the most used public areas (it is probably near impossible to recover the seating during a quick home port visit in Miami but maybe CCL should get this done ASAP, carpets are in very good condition for as much as they get used you always see the crew shampooing the carpets and cleaning and picking up dishes in the buffet-a table was always clean and available, the cabin was very large and comfortable with only minor wear and tear, the bathroom was excellent for me as I weigh almost 450lbs I found the commode placed very well and did not have a problem taking care of my business, the shower was a good size and this was the first time the shower curtain did not cling to our bodies(most irritating as was other cruises).
Ports And Sea Days: Day 1 Embarkation Saturday Getting on (previously mentioned) Checked cabin and was very clean had lunch at the south Beach Club buffet which was a good spread and even found a nice window booth, than back to the cabin to relax and get ready for early seating at 5:30pm (big mistake on my part, going for late seating next time as you will find out it is difficult to get there on time on port days). Day 2 Sunday Sea Day Woke up early to have coffee and croissants from room service (there is a order card for each day in your stateroom) than went to breakfast when our daughter woke up, went to the pool and found plenty of good seating with very comfortable loungers and had very good hot dogs cheeseburgers and grilled chicken sandwiches the steak sandwiches were good also, played in the casino and had a great lobster (3) dinner with a side of thick juicy prime rib with very little fat ( I have enough of my own thank you) went to show (previously mentioned) and back to the casino which was very good to me wife won $1000 playing Wheel Of Fortune Slots and I made $250 playing Fun 21 (previously mentioned). Day 3 Monday In Cozumel until midnight very nice beach and shopping though beware the port shops require bargaining as a $35 Mexican blanket was haggled down to $6 yes six dollars (glad we bought 3 as I like to sleep in the cold cabin (previously mentioned) Oh yes and we ate and ate and ate (never ever had a bad meal) Day 4 Tuesday Sea Day Lots of pool (even though they are small it never seemed over crowded) ( the water was even warm and very clean as they drain and clean them every night) Lots to eat and drink (we carried onboard in our backpacks 5 bottles of 2 litre sodas, 1 each rum, JD, vodka, JW Black Label and some southern comfort) check in was so busy they did not question anything brought on with us. Day 5 Wednesday Grand Cayman shopping although prices are not very negotiable and tendering in with 4 other mega-liners was a little rough and it was very crowded and of course back onboard to eat (seems like every 15 minutes) and back to the casino where the winnings continued. Day 6 Thursday Ocho Rios beware of street peddlers outside the very secure port gates went to Margaritaville and some shopping than back onboard to you guessed it eat and play in the casino which finally paid for most of our total vacation (after all said and done we spent under $200 for the cruise, souvenirs, driving from SC to Miami, and eating on the road (did I mention we like to eat?). Day 7 Friday Last Sea Day same as Day 4 Saturday Disembarkation Crying that it is time to get back to reality and getting off (previously mentioned) we went to our favorite restaurant (we used to live near Ft Lauderdale and have gone here for over 30 years) The Deli Den in Hollywood (we had horrible service with which we only left a small tip and they had the nerve to resubmit my credit card with an additional 20% tip, this is currently under investigation by my Visa card company)
Final Thoughts Sorry this is so long and hope it did not put you to sleep, please email me at sunbird1986@aol. com if you have any comments or questions, I love to talk (obvious huh?) Carnival has really come a long way since 1990 and in our opinion is now considered by us a premium line and a excellent value vacation. Yes we will definitely cruise with CCL again probably as early as summer 2005, would we recommend the Triumph? Most definitely
Happy Sailing, God Bless, Happy Holidays and a Very Happy and Prospeous New Year For ALL.
This is my 5th cruise, 3rd with Carnival. I'll try to provide some details on certain aspects of our cruise, both the good and the not so good, as well as information on our ports-of-call.
Friday Arrival: We flew in from Charlotte to Miami the day ahead and stayed at the Clarion, downtown. It was clean and comfortable enough for one night. We ate dinner at Bubba Gump's Shrimp Co. at Bayside Marketplace. Excellent food. Be sure and watch the movie again before you go and see how you do at their trivia questions. Arrival the day ahead is the way to go. It makes things seem to go more smoothly and you're not as stressed as arriving the day of and then feeling like you are rushing to get to the port.
Embarkation: We took a taxi from our hotel to the port, arriving between 10:30 and 10:45. We went immediately to check-in after dropping off our luggage. This is the best time to arrive. As soon as we finished check-in, they started the line to walk through the security section. After passing through security, we picked up sign &sail cards and then were directed to a "holding area" where we waited until boarding the ship. We started boarding around noon and were some of the first 15-20 on board the ship. That was the earliest I'd ever been able to board, and I appreciate Carnival making that accomodation even though they advertise boarding starting at 1:30. Our table mates arrived later and said that embarkation later (around 1:30) is very hectic. So go early!
Food There are two dining rooms on the Triumph. The London is midship and the Paris is aft. Both have early and late seatings. Paris has early at 5:45 and late at 8:00. London has early at 6:15 and late at 8:30. We were in the Paris Dining Room, early seating, upper level at table 524, near the window. Carnival seated us with another family around our age who had a son near our daughter's age (they became friends as the week went on). We were served by Raymond and Wanpen, both very attentive and efficient. Wanpen always had a smile on her face! They quickly learned our names and our likes/dislikes. The food was excellent and the servings were just right. I never left feeling like I'd eaten too much. The cappuccino pie was excellent as well as the chocolate decadence! The food at lunch in the South Beach Club was buffet style. We only ate there a few times. There were always long lines. We ate breakfast usually from the outside buffet lines on Lido Deck (near the pools). We did not try the NY Deli or Hong Kong Noodle Factory, but it must have been good because the lines were always long there also. We enjoyed the Coney Island Grille for lunch and never did try the pizza.
Entertainment: There are two "show times," at 8:30 and 10:30. The shows performed by the Carnival dancers on Mon. and Thurs. nights in the Rome Lounge were very good. But the rest of the "shows" in the Rome Lounge were disappointing. The magic show on Tuesday night was OK, but not the best I've seen. There were several nights that the provided entertainment was games with passenger participants. That's personally not the kind of entertainment that I expect for the money I've paid. There was a comedian, but he only performed at one of the later show times and had an adult late-night comedy show. We never got to hear him. The best entertainment we had on the ship was in the Big Easy Piano Bar. Unfortunately, we didn't "find" it until Tuesday night, but thereafter, we were there every night. Ed Rrocks was great! He is a phenomenal pianist and can put away his coronas in six seconds! He is very personable and does his best to entertain and get you into the party spirit. For those of you cruising after 8/21/04, you'll miss him because his stay on the Triumph ends then. That was the most fun we had during the entire week. Carnival needs to promote him more when he's back on one of their ships. Other entertainment on board the ship included karaoke, a band called Hi-Lites (very good also), and the poolside games during the day.
Cabin Service: Our cabin steward on the Main Deck was Harvey, and he was wonderful. Always smiling! He kept my cooler filled with ice the entire week also. We had to book our cruise at the last minute due to my husband's health and booked a 4A guarantee. Bad decision. We ended up being on Main Aft, inside, and our cabin was right above the anchors and engines. Each time we arrived in port, we were awoken to the sounds of the anchors being lowered and the engines cutting back. We didn't complain, because we were so thankful to have been able to cruise after all. We will do our best to do cabin selection any other time.
Ship Layout: The ship is very easy to get around. We had learned our way the very first day. The ship is maintained very well to be 5 years old and is kept clean and shiny. The crew works very hard on port days to keep it in tip-top shape. There is some wear and fading of the upholstery on the benches in the Rome Lounge and on the chairs in the South Beach Club, but that is to be expected. They are clean though and the carpet is in good condition.
Teen Program: Carnival is known for having an excellent program for children, Camp Carnival, which we used years ago, but they need to work on improving the teen program. There were lots of teens on our ship and some activities for them, but not interesting enough to really want a teen to get involved. Our 15 year old daughter went to two different advertised activities early in the week, but when she got there she found out the activities were for 12-14 year olds. There were groups of teens traveling together, and those teens were always active. But for teens traveling with parents only, they need to make sure that there are activities to get those teens more involved with one another. Maybe some kind of team activities.
CD and staff: Our CD was Carlo Lombard. We were not impressed with him at all. He came across as phony, silly and many of his lines sounded too rehearsed. I realize that CD's have to use the same lines over and over, but his were not delivered well. He needs some polish. On the other hand, the CD, WEE Jimmy, was wonderful! He was very enjoyable and more of a natural with his humor. He works very hard at making people laugh and have a good time. We made it a point to tell him personally how much we enjoyed him and had made positive comments on our comment card about him. The other social staff was acceptable...........about the same as on other Carnival ships I've been on.
Ports-of-Call: We had a Western itinerary. It is my favorite itinerary. We did not book any of our shore excursions through Carnival. I did my homework before our cruise, and we knew what we wanted to do on our own. Cozumel: We were in Cozumel on Monday, arriving around 7:30 a.m. It was very, very hot that day, so we did not spend a lot of time trying to shop. We took a taxi to Paradise Beach ($12 each way-be sure to have correct change). This is a free public beach, very pretty and clean. Arrive early ( before lunch) to get the best spot. There are free beach chairs and umbrellas, free use of rafts and kayaks. The snorkel gear is $10, but we did not snorkel here. There is also a large water trampoline. There is usually a "climbing rock" in the water, but it was not set up the day we were there. The food and Margaritas there are excellent also. My husband had a large basket of Mexican chips and salsa for $5 and my daughter and I each had chicken quesadillas for $7. This was a very enjoyable and relaxing day for us. Many on our ship headed in to Carlos & Charlie's or Fat Tuesday's that evening, but we chose not to because of not wanting to leave our daughter on board without an adult contact for her. We did hear the next day that there was a couple who partied a little too much and missed the ship. They were left in Cozumel and had to make flight arrangements to meet the ship in Cayman on Thursday. Cayman: I've been to Stingray City before and highly recommend it if you've never been. This year though, my daughter and I snorkeled at Eden's Rock. It's within walking distance from the pier (to the right). We saw some huge fish in the water there! Very relaxing time. Ocho Rios: My husband had surgery recently so the climbing Dunns River Falls was out this year. We've been before though and loved it. This year we chose to spend a few hours at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville. It's right on the water and has a small beach. There's also a beach dining area and volleyball net set up. There's a small pool with a water slide and of course, Buffet music playing! Lots of fun.
Overall, this was a great cruise. We were disappointed with some things on the Triumph, but we were not going to let minor issues ruin our fun. There are some things that Carnival needs to update (like some of their games, canned lines and intentional "plants" for some of the games), but if it happens to be your first Carnival cruise, you would enjoy it all. I guess I'm ready for a change from Carnival for awhile. What I do enjoy the most about cruising is being able to truly get away from it all and relax in my own little paradise for a week. It wouldn't matter to me if I was at sea the entire seven days! There's something about the peacefulness of the water that puts my soul at rest for a few days.
Hey Ya'll- Just back from the Triumph, were a young couple that was looking for some sun, some parties and some fun..
Arrival: We arrived in Miami a day early. If you are flying into FLL to save some cash, get a transfer or you WILL get screwed on a cab! We thought we were saving some dough, but the cabbie wanted $70 to get to our downtown Miami hotel! I was able to get away with giving him $60 because he got lost and was a bit slow, but he wasn't happy. But Miami is highly recommended if you have the time and haven't seen much of it. We went to an incredible restaurant on SW 3rd Ave, The Capitol Grille, they have the best steaks you can find! Pricey, but worth it. DO: Get the Carnival transfers for $16pp! And use priceline for your hotel, I saved big $! DO NOT: Waste your cash on a cab!
Embarkation: This was a pain for us. We got there about 1:30 or so and were in lines until about 4, that really sucked!!! First the check in, security, pictures, yadda,yadda.. But we came to find out it was more of Customs from the previous cruise that was holding us up, but its part of it all, so just deal with it. DO: Get there either really early or very late (3:45-4pm) as these people boarded much faster. DO NOT: Waste your afternoon in lines!
The Ship: A-ma-zing! She is huge! The layout is a bit tricky at first, but after the first day you're all set. Lots of deck space. I read that a lot of people bitched about not having any deck chairs but that's bullsh*t. Our cruise had only 4 open cabins on the entire ship and we never had a problem.
Staterooms: We decided to be cheap and go with the inside cabin. Big mistake for us. Were pretty big partiers and found that the combination of hangovers and a constant pitch black room really throws off your perception of time. Great way to save a few dollars, but also a great way to waste a few mornings! DO: Get an oceanview or balcony stateroom. DO NOT: Be a cheapass and waste half of your days like I did!
Restaurants: We were in the Paris dining room. It is beautiful! The staff was VERY efficient, except the barmaid, she was pretty slow. They really do go out of their way to make sure you enjoy yourself! The restaurant food was excellent! We had lobster tail, chateaubriand (sp?), some duck too, I think. DO: Get the late seating, and request a large table, you will not be hungry, plenty there to eat. Plus this will help you meet more people. DO NOT: Go to dinner w/o a drink! Barmaids will take forever to get you one.
Casino: I wish I spent as much time on the deck in the sun as I did here. First evening the slots seemed to be pretty loose as a lot of people were winning, that's where the winning stopped. Played some blackjack, poker and roulette, made my donation to the house and went on my way. DO: Bring cash to gamble with! DO NOT: Pay $5.50 for an ATM transaction or 3% to the house to use your sail 'n sign card.
Food: Great!!! Well, lunch was. Cant tell ya about breakfast as I never got up before noon! Lots of lines for the buffets on the lido deck, but watch both sides, they are usually pretty uneven and theres always some little punk kid you can cut in front of. Just kidding! ;-) DO: Pack all your shorts that have an elastic waistband and hit up the 24hr pizza bar- perfect drunk food! DO NOT: Miss the midnight buffet, very yummy!
Entertainment: The comedians were hilarious! Don't miss them! The big easy is a piano bar. THIS is where the damage was done! Both to my brains cells and our $1,900 bar tab! Yikes!!! Ed Rocks was on the ivories and he was fantastic! He knew everything you could think of and he's got some serious skills on the piano! DO: Hit up the piano bar. DO NOT: Be a cheapass and go there without cash to tip him!
Excursions: Cozumel: We swam w/ the dolphins! This was insane. They push you through the water, do jumps and flips, just super cool!!!! Also, save some time and get to Senor Frogs and Carlos N' Charlies- crazy, crazy, crazy parties!!! I would love to spend an hour telling you all about it, but that's about all I can remember! Caymens: Stingray snorkel- this was awesome! You feed them, hold them, pull their tails, its just great. This is cool cuz you can throw the raw squid on your friends and all the stingrays will swarm around them- be sure to have the camera ready for this one!!! Jamaica: Dunns River was the best!!! Very refreshing and fun! Prepare yourself for Ocho Rios- they are extremely aggressive here in selling you anything! One guy tried to sell us a dog! They don't care, they will do whatever it takes. Do NOT go anywhere w/ them, I have heard some sick stories, and they may just be stories, but don't chance it. DO: Party at Carlos N' Charlies and swim w/ the dolphins, it was unbelievable!!! DO NOT: Book any excursions through Carnival! They will give it to you right in the, well you know where! Book them on your own, after you get to port. You will save mucho dinero amigo!
Cruise Director Carlos: kind of annoying w/ his constant announcements about what time the ship leaves the ports, it was just non-stop. DO NOT: Bother w/ his 'important meetings', they are just a bunch of sales pitches. DO NOT: Ask him what time the ship leaves the port.
Captain Fabio: Yep, that's his name! Never saw or heard from him, who knows, maybe Carlos drove the boat.
Well kids, theres much more, but its about all I've got time for before my boss screams at me for doing this at work, so happy sailing everybody!!!!
We booked this cruise with two other couples almost year and a half in advance directly with Carnival. Most everything went off without a hitch with the exception of two things. Our departing flight from Minneapolis to Miami, none of us had seat assignments together. Because the flight was full nothing could be done. Not that it really mattered to us that none of us could sit together, but since we had booked so far in advance, I thought it was strange. We were all couples. When we arrived in Miami, 11;45 am, we were greated by a representative from Carnival as expecetd.
We were led to a bus loading zone, along with numerous other people, all with luggage in hand expecting to board the bus (which was included in our ticket price) to take us to the ship. After waiting 2 full hours in the hot sun, and no explanation as to where the bus was, we opted to take a cab, as did many other travelers waiting for the bus, to the ship. $25.00 cab ride, which to this date, Carnival has done nothing about to accomadate us.Never did finsd out if the bus arrived or not. Embarkation went smooth as well as debarkation. The whole trip was a blast. We did not experience any dissapointments with the ship or cleanliness as stated in previous reviews I read. All met my expectations. The staff was great, a few seemed a little craby towards tthe end of the trip. This was my second cruise on Carnival and I would do it again.