Our resident teen cruise editor, Alex Gaynor, interviews fellow teens on their impressions of a Carnival getaway to New England/Canada.
In the final days of summer, I embarked on an exciting cruise to Canada on the Carnival Triumph with my mom, brother, and friend Vienna. I was a bit leery about traveling with Carnival because I have to admit that I'm more of a Royal Caribbean fan. However, I was pleasantly surprised by all that the Triumph had to offer. After the experience onboard, I would definitely travel with Carnival again.
But enough about me. I interviewed my friend Vienna, who has only cruised once prior to our cruise, about her experience onboard. Here is what she had to say.
Q: Being that this was your second time on a cruise, how did your previous cruise compare to the Carnival Triumph?
I think the ship is a little older, and harder to navigate, and less convenient than the last one I was on; Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas. Overall, the rooms were nicer, and the fact that there was a water slide and mini golf was pretty cool too. One thing I didn't like about the ship was that there was no Promenade like on Royal Caribbean. This caused a inconvenience at times because there was no set place to "hang out" except the teen club.
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Q: You were super excited to come on this trip. What were your specific reasons?
I was very excited to be going on this trip because it would be my first time going without my parents, which added an air of independence to the whole trip. Also, I was excited to be going to Canada, because my family doesn't really like "sight seeing" and will probably be happy if they never have to go to Canada ever. It was a unique opportunity for me to go someplace I otherwise never would have gotten to go. (I also love the Canadian TV show Degrassi and always wondered what REAL Canada was like.)
Q: How does Canada compare to the Caribbean?
They are two totally different places, so it's hard to compare. For one thing, the Caribbean felt like the same thing every day. A beach, an island, water sports, that whole thing; whereas Canada was a different city everyday, with new things to see and do. I can honestly say I would go back to Canada before I'd go to the Caribbean again, simply because I found it to be more interesting and exciting.
Q: How did Carnival itself compare to Royal Caribbean?
For lack of a better word, Carnival seemed a bit "cheaper" as far as fancy things, and the dining area, and the food, but overall, it did live up to its name as "the fun ship". I found that there were more activities, and they really wanted to make sure you had a good time, where Royal Caribbean kind of left you to fend for yourself when it came to having fun.
Q: What were favorite aspects of the Triumph?
I really like the large TV on the deck, and the fact that the crew didn't yell at the teenagers all the time just for hanging around, like they did on Royal Caribbean. I didn't feel like everything I did was being monitored, and the whole "no curfew thing" was pretty great. Overall, they made it very relaxing and enjoyable as a teenager, where Royal Caribbean did the exact opposite, and always made me feel like I was not welcome, or doing something wrong.
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Q: What did you think of the teen activities? How about the family activities?
I think the teen activities were just like any other cruise ship would be. They didn't exceed my expectations, but then again, what else could they really have done. As far as I can tell, most cruise ships only have dance clubs for teens, and if you don't like dancing then there isn't as much for you to do. If you like dance clubs though, then I'd say this one was pretty good. They took requests, and the DJ was a pretty cool guy, which is always a good thing. As far as family activities go, Karaoke was pretty fun, and there were a few "dance parties" for the younger kids and their parents, which looked cute.
Q: Where did you hang out the most?
During the day, we stayed on deck or in the hallways (you know, the typical "teenager" thing to do). The outside pool deck is a nice place to sit out in the sun, even if it is chilly Canada. At night, we would go to the teen club to meet up with our friends. From there, we were pretty nomadic, going from hallways to buffet to lounges to teen club, etc.
Q: How did you feel about the food, service, staterooms, and entertainment?
The food was, in my opinion, hit or miss. The chocolate lava cake dessert was delicious but my filet mignon wasn't the best I've ever tasted. The service, however, was GREAT. The staff was so friendly, and really cared about making you happy. The staterooms were staterooms, small and cramped, but always very clean, and taken care of. The entertainment was good, typical on deck "variety shows", which are always cute, but in my opinion, if you've seen one, you've seen them all.
Q: Would you recommend Canada to teens?
Maybe not all teens, but definitely those who get bored easily of beaches and swimming, and enjoy sightseeing and exploring cities. We, however, had a great time in Canada. Our cruise went to St. John, New Brunswick and Halifax, Nova Scotia.
In St. John, we went on a 'reversing falls jet-boat ride' which was a blast (literally, we were soaked!)
One of my favorite parts of the trip occurred in St. John. Alex and I had just purchased some cute animal hats from local artists at a street fair when some Canadian teenagers approached us. They complimented our hats and we stuck up a conversation. We were both mutually amazing by them being from Canada and us being from America. We talked with them for about an hour before we left. Meeting the locals definitely made us appreciate the location and culture more than if we had just gone "sight-seeing".
In Halifax, we had more of a low-key day. We took a ferry over to Dartmouth (across the river from Halifax) and walked around for a bit. It was so pretty and very relaxing. We did some shopping downtown and took a hike at a nearby park area.
Q: Would you recommend Carnival to teens? Why or why not?
Absolutely. It was SO teen friendly, and the staff didn't seem to get annoyed or yell at us at all. (Even when we accidently broke a glass and it shattered all down the stairs, they were patient, and didn't yell at us or ask us to go somewhere else.) Also, like I said, being that there wasn't a set ship curfew, a lot of stress was eliminated. I would absolutely cruise on Carnival again.
Q: Overall, what would you rate Canada, the Carnival Triumph, and the trip in general?
I would give Canada FIVE stars, the Carnival Triumph FOUR stars, and the overall trip FIVE stars.