I was on Triumph in late April with my entire family (14 of us!) and we had a GREAT time and I know you will too!
The meals were good, though I was a *little* disappointed with the desserts. They just weren't as "rich" as I remembered them being on my first two cruises. HOWEVER, on one of the last nights we discovered a secret I wish I had discovered sooner (and my waistline is glad I DIDNT discover sooner
!). For an OUT OF THIS WORLD dessert, go to the cafe/coffee bar on the Promenade deck and enjoy the chocolate cake. O M G it was the best chocolate cake I think I've ever had! The specialty beverages were great there too. So that's one little tidbit for ya
The gym on board was great. Skip the exercise classes if you are a regular at your gym at home... they leave a lot to be desired. But all of the equipment was great.
My FAVORITE thing that I did almost every day on the ship was getting up and seeing the sun rise and/or watching the ship pull into port. This was all courtesy of my then 12 month old daughter. But I tell ya, there is only one thing more awe inspiring than seeing the sun come up over the sea (and that is watching your child be born). I got some EXCELLENT pictures and video footage of the sunrise.
We skipped most of the shows in the evening. The one time we did duck into one, we weren't so impressed. Instead, after dinner, we'd go for a walk on deck with our daughter, then drop her off to my mom's cabin and go out for a drink and conversation. The piano bar is great, and the karaoke is hilarious!
I did great in the casino, so I'm a big promoter there. But you have to win, and get out or they'll take it all back from you (as DH will tell you!).
Stay on the ship in some of the ports if you can. That is one secret that is so precious. Most guests get off the ship in port and if you stay on, you get the best seats on deck, no lines for meals, etc. It feels like having the ship all to yourself. We did this in one port for the first time in all of my cruises and I'd do it lots more in the future.
A secret to good lunches... go to the sit down lunch served in the dining room. No lines, no waiting. It was a bad week when we went (April vacation for most schools in the states) and the ship was PACKED. After waiting in line for a burger (which wasn't that great!) for 10 minutes, then waiting in another line for some pizza for my husband, and then a third line to get something from the buffet for my daughter...we decided to try the sit down lunch, and we never looked back. Of course, that's only on sea days. But definitely do it. It's worth your sanity and relaxation, and the food was much better there too.
That's all I can think of for now. As another poster posted re: her first cruise (I know this isn't your first), try to slow down and relax some. Don't try to do everything. Enjoy the ship, enjoy the people, and come home feeling refreshed (if not completely depressed your cruise is over and your pool boy is gone, and nobody is going to turn down your bed anymore -- at least til the next cruise!)
Oh -- almost forgot -- here's a web diary of our trip -- with pics and all!
Carnival Inspiration 2/97, 12/99
Carnival Triumph 4/05