My most beautiful girlfriend and I got back from our adventure in New Orleans and aboard the Carnival Triumph last week. The “rare” November Hurricane by the name of Ida made this our first less-than-perfect weather cruise. This being our 4th cruise we knew it would have to happen eventually. We watched the hurricanes progress the week leading up our scheduled Tuesday departure. With a flight outta Boston on Monday we knew any changes would be last minute. We learned that our itinerary was changed while checking into The Country Inn & Suites on Magazine St.(recommended) They accommodated us for the extra evening at the same rate.
Due to the closure of the Port of NO, Triumph was unable to dock and our 4-day cruise with a stop in Cozumel had become a 3-day cruise to nowhere, leaving Wednesday. Having been to Cozumel before it was no big loss and we enjoy the sea days very much. Plus, Carnival was refunding us 50% of the cruise fare and we got an extra night in NO. They did give us the option of a 100% refund if we chose to cancel but changing the air travel made that option impossible.
We found NO to be very Boston-like with the buildings and side streets. There seemed to be a “smell” about the city that was less than pleasant. We enjoyed the Riverwalk and some general sight-seeing but were put off by the pan-handlers and the many shady looking folks on the streets.
Embarkation was a bit slower than the other Florida ports we have sailed but not too bad of a wait, Perhaps 45 minutes or so to get through the line and onto the ship. This was the first cruise in which they did not require everyone to lug their life vests down to the muster-drill, which they called the “safety briefing”. This made the whole experience not only much more comfortable but also more efficient and quick. Not sure if this is something new but we were grateful!
Because this was the first trip for this ship out of NO, there was no delay getting to our cabin on the Lido Deck. We could have (and wish we had) carried on our bags instead of having to wait for them to be delivered. When 4 O’clock rolled around we headed out to a high point to take in the scenery and check out the Mississippi River as we set sail.
Didn’t happen. After about 45 minutes they made an announcement that, of all things, we were being delayed because a passenger was missing! Of course, everyone wanted to know how someone was missing before we even left the dock. Another period of time went by and then they announced that we would all (every passenger) have to go back to our staterooms- to be counted. An hour later we were indeed “counted” and allowed to roam the ship again. By this time it was almost 6PM and time for dinner and they were repeatedly paging a certain “Shannon” to contact the pursers desk. It became obvious that Shannon was the one who was MIA. Finally, after dinner and after 8 PM- 4 hours late, we were cleared to sail. There was never any indication that we heard as to whether Shannon was located but we were happy to be underway despite it being dark now.
Shannon then became quite the conversation starter and good fodder for the comedians as well. A group of passengers went as far as to create T-shirts with the phrase, “Are you Shannon?” sprawled across the back and a painted-on nametag on the front saying “ My Name Is: Shannon! So as you can see by that example we were going to be sailing with a good group of folks who were able to take everything that had happened so far in stride.
I would say the average age of passengers on this cruise was easily 50-plus. There were practically no children between the ages of 1 and 19! Sweet! (we are in are late 30’s)
Wouldn’t it be cool if Carnival made available the demographics of each cruise? Am I the only one who would be interested to know that out of 2500 passengers, this many are under 20 and this many are over 40 etc…?
The cruise itself was very good and ship the most attractive one we have sailed. Our Lido cabin (9287) was just 10 steps and a side-door away from the outdoor action. The cabin and balcony were clean and spacious. The Lido deck itself seemed smaller than I thought it would be but there was never a shortage of deck chairs. The Casino and lounge areas were very comfortable.
The “Big Easy” show was by far the best show we have ever seen on a ship. It covered every aspect of NO in powerful music and exhilarating dance. Do not miss this show if you sail Triumph! The second show, “Around the World” was not as good but partly because we had seen it before. The comedians were OK but we have seen better.
The food, surprisingly was not nearly as good, particularly in the Dining Room. The service was dragging in there too with far too mush time between courses. Some of the entrees were cold, the pasta dishes were blah the roast duck rather dry.
I whispered to my head waiter that it was my girlfriend birthday one evening upon arriving in the dining room. Throughout the dining room we heard “Happy Birthday” sung at least 6 times during the meal. It was not until we were finished with dessert and we getting up to leave when our waiter stopped us and gathered a few to sing to my girl.
I was disappointed and annoyed as I had hoped to surprise her with the acknowledgement.
My girlfriend enjoyed a massage at the spa on her B-day and was very pleased with her treatment there. In fact all of the crew we encountered (outside the Dining Room) were smiling and accommodating..
Overall despite Ida and Shannon we had smooth sailing and enjoyed our vacation. We are already scouring the Carnival website looking to book the next one…