I must have forgotten to mention embarcation and tendering. This is two areas that nearly all cruise lines seem to struggle with, but the Triumph really got it right. We stayed at the Radisson on Biscayne BLVD and while it had lovely views of the port, and I got to see the ships leave on Friday Night and my ship and the Liberty of the Seas come in Saturday morning it was a really yucky hotel we had to change rooms because I wasn't about to share the first room with some guys socks he left behind and the hair and the muck still in the bathtub. But the second room was better, but still ready for a good scrub. We rented a car from Executive because they were located at the terminal of FLL airport and there was an office located at the Radisson where we could drop it off. Right behind the Radisson is a Doubletree and it looked much nicer. and was right by the Yachtclub, a small mall and some nice looking eaterys and would offer equally good views of the ships...if I ever cruise out of Miami again, this is where I will stay. I always get to the port early and this time we left the hotel at 10:30 a.m. and I kid you not, we were on board by 11:00.
I don't generally book excursions through Carnival, we did do the Eco Jeep and snorkel once through Carnival in Cozumel and it was great but it was quite pricey, and the next time we returned to Cozumel we just rented a vehicle and did it on our own. It cost about half the price for six of us to go than it did for just the two of us the first time. This time I just had a list I had made of places I wanted to go and see, and we did it by taxi or public transportation. I have found some really great private tour operators in Belize and Guatemala, I imagine we will use them again when we return in March. Oh in Grand Turk we met this really cool guy who owned a cab. His name was E.Z. ask for him when you get there. Super nice and knowledgable guy. He was born in Grand Turk then moved to Maryland when he was 2 and grew up in the states where he met his bride who was also from Grand Turk by coincidence (strange since this is such a tiny island) Anyway he moved back about 20 years ago. He would be a great guy to have drive you around the island. This place is very safe, with an extremely low crime rate. Things are pricey here though because everything is imported.
I don't know what your pre-cruise plans are but we flew in a few days early, I had orginally booked a little hotel down in the Keys to stay at, but the weather forcast was not favorable and it was set to rain the whole time down there so at the last minute I cancelled the hotel and booked a 4 star resort through Hotwire on the Gulf Side near Naples in Bonita Springs check it out: http://coconutpoint.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels/index.jsp
It was gorgeous. They have a water taxi that will take you to a private Island, and it was so much fun for us and the kids. Its about 2 and a half hours from Miami and FLL. My one regret is that I was wishing that we had not stayed in Miami the precruise night and that we stayed the extra day here instead and just drove to the port the morning of our cruise. I think this winter if I need a quick getaway we may just head back here for a few days. I loved it and it was the perfect way to start out a vacation. The rooms here run between $350 and up per night, but on Hotwire we got it for $109 per night.
Hope that helps and you have a great cruise.