Background Info - I'm Linda, 43, and I've been on 8 cruises before this. My daughter, Danielle, who is 13, has been on 7. My father, in his late 60s, also came along. He was on 6 cruises before this one.
We flew down the day before and stayed at the Sheraton Biscayne Bay Hotel. It is very nice but my father wished they would have had a coffee shop instead of just the restaurant. However, we found a Coffee Beanery across the street and even had breakfast there the next morning. Our room had a view of the cruise ships which we really enjoyed.
We took a cab to the ship rather than use the transfers. It just seemed more convenient to leave whenever we were ready. Since we were able to do our cruise check in at the hotel, we were able to walk right on the ship when we arrived at the pier. We were in our cabin by 12:45. After a quick look around, my father had to go to the welcome aboard buffet and my daughter and I just relaxed for a while.
Our cabin was category8A, midship, on the port side. It was a good location. We really enjoy the balcony and are now too spoiled to go without one. We were assigned to the Paris Dining Room, main sitting. I went down to the dining room to check out our table assignment. It was a table for 8 in the center of the room. I asked if we could change tables to be nearer a window...they were able to put us at a table of our own just a few feet from a window. Our waiter was Christian from Trinidad and our assistant waiter was Thomaslav from Croatia. Both were very friendly and attentive. The food was also very good and we fully enjoyed our dining experiences. Besides dinner, we also ate a few breakfasts and lunches in the dining room. (Breakfast was open seating which I appreciated since we had early seating.) Our other meals were in the South Beach Club...either the buffet, Chinese, pizza or the Grille. It was nice to have so many options.
The shows were also good. I enjoy the production shows and all the other entertainment. Corey Schmidt was the cruise director and I thought he did a fine job. I really enjoyed his exotic bird show.
Our first port was Cozumel. We had decided to go to Chankanaab Park and had made arrangements over the internet for my daughter to swim with the dolphins. When we got to the park, I checked in at the Dolphin Discovery area and found out that her name was not on the list to swim that day. I asserted that we had booked and paid for the swim in February and if there was a problem, she should check further. She called her office and even had me get on the phone with them. After waiting a while, (maybe an hour?), they finally apologized for the error and made room for her at the 12:00 swim. All in all, it was worth the wait. She thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the photos and video they take are also great. It was well worth the money. I highly recommend swimming with the dolphins. I would suggest that if you book over the internet, you should probably confirm your reservation a week or so before you go to avoid what happened with us. Other than the dolphins, Chankanaab Park has many other things to do. We walked through the archaeological area and took a quick swim. Unfortunately, we didn't get to the botanical gardens.
In Grand Cayman, we took the Mermaid Party Boat. I hadn't heard much about this excursion prior to going but it turned out to be a lot of fun. The boat had 3 decks...the bottom deck with glass bottom sections, the top deck was open and the middle deck had the bar, tables and chairs, music and a ‘dance floor'. The rum punch was available as soon as you got aboard. We went to Seven Mile Beach where we had time to swim and on the return trip really had a party on the boat. My daughter even won the limbo contest!
In Ocho Rios, we took the Cool Runnings excursion to Dunn's River Falls. We had been to the falls before by bus and decided we would go by boat this time. My father swam at the beach while my daughter and I did the climb. It's a beautiful spot and we enjoyed it. Since we weren't going anywhere else on the island, I was afraid I wouldn't be able to buy my Blue Mountain Coffee. When we returned from the excursion, I went to the building at the pier and found 3 small shops....not a lot of choices, but I was able to buy my souvenirs from Jamaica.
Back on board, we had one more day at sea. I enjoy taking the dance classes, shopping and the entertainment. My daughter spent much of her time working on her tan with the friends she met the first night at the teen get-together. They've been e-mailing each other since we got back. My father just enjoys relaxing....and the casino! Although we each had different experiences, we all enjoyed the Carnival Triumph. We have already made plans to sail the Southern Caribbean on the Carnival Destiny next year!
This was my first cruise. I traveled with 4 other people, all of us staying in one room.
Embarkation: Because our flight was late we arrived at port around 4:00 which gave us absolutely no lines. We were on the ship within 15 minutes.
Room: We were on the Verandah deck cabin 8046 towards the back of the ship. This was a pretty convenient location for us because it was right under the South Beach Cafe and the Lido pools. If we got hungry or thirsty we just ran up a flight of stairs and picked something up.
The room itself was great. We had a balcony which turned out to be lovely. We had a queen size bed, a couch bed and a pull down bed. We also had to bring in a cot but even with all this it was still quite comfortable. The bathroom was large with a big mirror and medicine cabinet. We also got 2 bathrobes and a basket full of goodies from starbursts to razors to soaps. It was great. We always had hot water and great pressure.
The ship: I was very shocked at howlarge this ship really was. It took us half the trip to find our way around but that was the most fun. Getting lost and finding new places to explore gave us countless hours of fun and entertainment. Also because the ship was so large I rarely felt it move. I did feel it rock slightly when I was laying in bed, but that just made me fall asleep faster. However I would still take dramamine or bonine just in case you hit some rocky waters. We hit that one night and if I didn't take that dramamine I wouldn't have been eating my dinner. Also, if you have any type of ear problems like I do, plan on feeling the boat after you get home. I was feeling the boat move for about a week after my trip and it got so bad one day that I had to leave work early. (Don't let this affect your decision to cruise)
The food: We ate our dinners in the Paris dining room, (late seating) grabbed our lunch either from the Noodle factory, pizzaria(?) or coney island and our breakfast was eaten at the South Beach Cafe (buffet). Our dinners were absolutely great. I'm not a really picky eater and it's not often that I get to eat fancy foods so this was a treat for me. I ate the following meals: New York strip steak, lobster tail, cornish hen, garlic shrimp, prime rib, and a pasta dish. Everything was so good, especially the cornish hen. I also had salads and a couple times I would get an appetizer like french onion soup, or shrimp cocktail.
Lunch was pretty good too. The ceasar salad from the pizza place was great and so was the pizza. The chicken sandwich from coney island was yummy and the chinese from the Noodle Factory was so good. (As you can tell, I love food). I really can't say anything bad about the food except that breakfast wasn't the greatest. I don't eat much for breakfast anyway so I wasn't very disappointed. I was told that the made to order omelets were very good though.
The best part of this trip was even after all the food I ate, I still lost between 5-10 pounds. (I tried to stay pretty active)
Entertainment: We went to all of the shows after dinner except the magician. They were all pretty entertaining especially the comedians. I have never laughed so hard before. The R rated show the one night was superb. (Sorry I can't remember their names) We didn't attend any of the ship activities during the days, which now I kind of regret. I really didn't know they were going on so I didn't go. I spent most of my days at sea taking in lots of sun. Which was just fine with me.
Schedule of events: Our first day was at sea. This was Easter and formal night. I suggest you take advantage of all the picture stations. They're done professionally and you can have as many done as you want. Of course the prices are a little steap. $20 for 8X10. We spent this day soaking up the sun. We went back to the room about 2 hours before dinner to get ready (we all took our showers at night). The show this night was the Las Vegas style show.
Our first port was Cozumel. My friend and I did the horseback riding tour and had a great time. Our tour guide Charlie was very informative and very funny. After that we went back to the ship to lay out and wait for the other people in our group to get back from their tour. This was a good time to lay out because there was no one on board. We relaxed for a while and picked up some dinner from the coney island before heading into town. We shopped a little and found some pretty good deals on silver and other trinkets (not gold). We also stopped at Carlos n' Charlies for yards of Margarita's. These were tasty but very strong. If your not a drinker, I don't suggest this drink. We grabbed a taxi back to the ship ($5) and headed for our room.
The third day was at sea and was the Captain's Cocktail party (free drinks and food). Again we spent the day in the sun. Our second port was Grand Cayman. We shopped in the morning and did the Stingray City tour in the afternoon. This was the best tour I went on. We had so much fun that we can't wait to go back and do it again. On our way back from the sandbar we spotted a funnel cloud. This was neat. When we got back to the ship it rained for about 15 minutes and the sun stayed shining through it all. We spent the rest of the day relaxing in the sun. It was a good day.
Our last port was Ocho Rios. We did not have a great experience here. We wanted our hair braided and somehow we ended up getting completely ripped off. They try charging $3 per braid and trust me it adds up. I think I spent $40 for just the front part of my head to be braided. My friend got her whole head done in small braids (110 braids) and they tried charging her $2 a braid. They wanted $200 for that. She only gave them $50 plus a $10 tip. Yes they ask for tips too, even after they rip you off. That kind of ruined our day so we shopped for about an hour and went right back to the ship. This was the second formal night.
Our last day was at sea. We just relaxed the entire day. We went back to our rooms early this night to start packing and getting things together. We had to have our luggage outside of our cabin by midnight (ours was out 15 minutes before midnight). The final morning we ate our breakfast and spent about 1 hour waiting for our tag to be called. We were one of the last groups called. We got off the ship pretty quick and were at the airport by 11:30.
Service: I don't have much to say about these people other than they worked really hard. Of course they weren't always prompt with our food or perfect with our room questions but we did not let those things bother us. They still did wonderful jobs and we tipped them well. What most people don't realize is that these people are working on these ships for 6 months out of the year, without any breaks. Most of them have to ship their tips to their families so they can have something to live off.
Other comments: For my first cruise I had a wonderful time. I can say that this was absolutely the best vacation I've ever taken. If you go without expecting the world and just want to have fun you'll enjoy it too. The only problem we encountered was the families that would save deck chairs for their kids, who never used them. We would spend almost an hour looking for chairs almost every day at sea. Most of the time families of 5 or more would save chairs (disregarding carnival's policy) for their entire family and these chairs would never be used. People, try to be kind to others and only get chairs that you'll use. And don't save them!!!!!
I hope this review helps you in any way. It's not the most informative because I didn't do too much. Sorry about that. I'll make sure that I do more things on my next cruise in March on the Ecstasy.
We flew into Ft. Lauderdale from Detroit on Spirit Airlines, and saved around $160 PP on airfare. We took an Airport Express Car (nicer than a cab, it was a Lincoln, believe it or not less expensive than a taxi) to the Port of Miami for $48 plus tip, you can arrange for one outside baggage claim in Lauderdale. At that time we made arrangements with our driver to pick us up the following Saturday outside the CCL terminal at 10am, no money up front for the return. He also told us that some drivers wouldn't do this because people are not there when they say they will be. I guess we convinced him we would be there, saying we have to get back to Lauderdale for a 12pm flight on the following Saturday, and that if he didn't want to be there FOR SURE, then we would find someone who wanted to take our money (taxi). He was there.
Embarking: Our flight landed in Ft. Lauderdale on time at 11:00am. We had our luggage and our Express car at about 11:45 and were on our way to the PortOf Miami, it is about a half hour drive. Coming over the hill and seeing the Triumph is a thrill in its self, but to our surprise the Triumph and the Destiny were nose to nose, what a sight. The Destiny was taking a few days off for some wet dock repairs. We got some great shots of Destiny as we were leaving port. Since we had a Category 11 suite we got to be in the Skippers Club, which means that we checked in a separate room and line from the rest. When we booked this cruise we started with a category 8. The prices dropped so much that for less than our original booking cat. 8 price we upgraded ourselves to the cat. 11. We were checked in with boarding picture, sail and sign card and escorted to our suite in less than 10 minutes. Later while talking to others on the cruise I found out that at about the time we checked in, people were waiting a little over half an hour to get fully checked in and on board.
I didn't try to bring on any liquor in my carry on, though I am sure I could have if it was in a soda bottle. Did bring on a fifth of Absolute in my checked baggage, packed in the middle of my large suite case in the original bottle, wrapped in a zip lock and some bubble wrap, our cabin steward didn't say a word about it. Our suite had a refrigerator, with CCL's drinks and soda in it, which when something was removed a charge would show on our account, but our cabin steward told us we could call the Pursers Desk and they would come up and remove the items, then we would be free to place our own items in it. We really liked the bigger room we had a cat. 8 on the Destiny. Loved the whirlpool tub, the separate dressing area (be sure to bring an adaptor that lets you expand your electrical usage like a one to three adaptor). There was a blow dryer in the bathroom but it didn't work very well, I have a very powerful blow dryer (1600 watts) and had no problem using it in the cabin. Also liked the larger balcony, not to mention more dresser and closet space. After the lifeboat drill that took about 15 minutes at 3:30, we set sail at 4:00 pm right on schedule. Dinner the first night was good, NY Strip Steak. I found the food to be good through out the cruise, especially some of the appetizers, deserts, the lobster, and filet minion. Played a little roulette that night after dinner and hit the sheets at about 1am. It is so nice to be able to prop open your balcony door at night, I love hearing the sea, and the smell of the ocean it, really puts you to sleep. Not that traveling all day makes you tired. Did this every night except one when it was just too windy resulting in a wind tunnel in our suite, a sort of tornado of sail and sign receipts. During the day when it is hot and in port because of bugs (unless you like heat and bugs) you will want to use the air, and keep the door closed. Hint to using the safe, you don't have to use your sail and sign card to program it, any card like your AAA card with a magnetic strip will work, then you can hide it in the cabin, so that you all can have access. You can program it to take two cards but we had three in our party. Did notice that the carpets on the ship where looking old and tattered (for a new ship), but they do get a lot of abuse.
Day at Sea: Woke at about 8:30 and went to the main dinning room for breakfast. New on Triumph is open seating breakfast from 8-10am. What a great change I wish lunch and dinner could be the same, but then you wouldn't be sitting with the same people every night, which I like. We have always been lucky to have great dinner companions. I use to hate having early seating for breakfast, and really dislike the powered eggs on the Lido deck, if you do go there for breakfast have the made to order omelet, or the eggs over easy. Love the Eggs Benedict in the dinning room, they only give you one, so make sure you say you want two, if you do. After breakfast we sat on our balcony and enjoyed our coffee, and the sea air. Did some sun tanning. I go to a tanning booth twice a week for a month before the cruise so I don't have to worry about burning, didn't use any sun block (I know), and with some common sense didn't burn. Watched a movie while getting ready for dinner the first formal night. I like to dress up and to see others dressed up. It was lobster night. To my surprise everyone was fairly dressed up and looking good. Let me say right here that our waiter Oscar and our bus girl, Valentine took care of us in every way, for instance we like lemon in our water and after the first night there was always a plate with nicely laid out lemons every night. Second, I like extra salad dressing with my salad and the second night I didn't ask, Oscar just brought it. Third, my friend and traveling companion Andy likes to try more than one entree, Oscar must have over heard him as every night he always brought Andy a second. Andy really likes food. I did have two lobster tails this night, which were not Maine lobsters but were quite tasty. I skipped the show that night to play roulette, since I was up from the night before, and didn't give back all the money I had won the night before. The night before, for the first time I took all my color chips away from the spinner (great way to start a cruise), which I would do a second time on this cruise. Went to the comedy show at midnight was only so-so, but some thought he was very funny, and he thought he was funny.
Day at Sea / Puerto Rico: After breakfast in the dinning room the day was pretty much a repeat of the day before. The Captain said that with the stiff tail wind we would get into port early at 2:30pm, and we did (it was pretty windy on deck both days and if you didn't tie your things to your chair you sacrificed them to the sea). Got some food at the NY deli (excellent corn beef and pastrami), and then headed into San Juan at about 6 skipping dinner in the dinning room to be in port. It got dark at 5pm, so there wasn't much you could see, but coming into port we got some great pictures, and a view of the island. Bought some rum poured it into a soda bottle so I could have it in my room and not have it confiscated by CCL police, and got many t-shirts. I did my best to help out foreign aid by loosing $40 playing roulette in their casino (not very impressed), and went back to the ship. Didn't do much else that night watched a movie, had some pizza (pretty good, but not the best as some say), some soft serve ice cream and hit the sack. I agree with some that this is not the best port, but I did see some very good-looking men even though they didn't speak English, and enjoyed seeing the town even in the dark. I went out alone, and never felt threatened, but then again was never out of sight of the ship except in the casino, which was within walking distance. The people were very nice, and not pushy.
St. Thomas: We got into port at about 7:30am. Took some pictures as we came in, and then went to breakfast. Did the St. Thomas Beach Treats tour, and liked it very much. I think most of St. Thomas was quite slummy, but this beach and club were ok, felt the same way about St. Croix. Got back to the ship at 3 after some shopping for more t-shirts.
St. Croix: Got into port on schedule and once again got some great pictures. Had an early tour so we had breakfast on the Lido Deck. Did the St Croix Beach Party Tour, there was quite a bit of damage all over the island from hurricane Lenny only 2 weeks before, and as I said the poverty is pretty evident. I must say I liked the Western Caribbean much more. We figured when we got back that booking CCL's shore tour was only a few dollars more and much less of a headache than it would be worth with the transportation to and from, the ferry, the lunch, the admittance to the island, and the beach chair etc. FYI, you can look at CCL's shore tours on CCL's Web site www.carnival.com under destinations, then under shore tours. I researched all tours before I left, then used that info along with the info on CCL's interactive TV to book and see further what the tour would be like. A good vacation is a researched vacation. The lunch on the island was BBQ chicken and burgers, with a few salads, it was okay. This tour took us across the island, which is how I got the feel for the way people live there. From the island we were on you could see that there were some nice houses up in the hills, but that is not the way 98% on the people live. Did some shopping; most of the shops were rundown, as were the streets. I am not trying to cut the place down just give others the feeling for what I saw. Okay place to visit, wouldn't want to live there. Once again dinner was great I think Beef Wellington. Loved the towel animals our cabin boy (as I called him) made, he really took care of us his name was Hugo.
Day at Sea: See first day at sea. I love them, some don't. I like lying in the sun, or sitting on the balcony, having good food and chatting with people you have been getting to know. Some say you never see the same people twice, I did. There seemed to be plenty of activity for those who wished to do so. Me, I am not into racing across the pool with an orange on a teaspoon, but if you are go for it. For you single women I didn't have any trouble meeting single men. I will say that finding a deck chair can be a problem, and forget being by the pool unless you get lucky, or get there early in the morning. Higher up on the ship there was plenty of deck space but no chairs to be found. CCL really needs to address this (maybe buy some more chairs). Seeing as it was partly to mostly cloudy but beautiful I still had to hunt for a chair, glad I only wanted one and not 6 or 7. Second formal night everyone looked good. Tried to escape from the dinning room before the waiters broke into their song and dance, no such luck. Some like to watch them, I don't. Went to the Las Vegas type show in the Rome lounge it was okay, the men probably like it better, scantily clad women don't really do much for me, but the lead female and male have great voices, and the laser light show should not be missed. Played some more roulette. Had some pizza, watched a movie and was out like a light. It doesn't sound like I did much, but vacations can be exhausting. Note: CCL really needs better TV there is an hour break in between movies, their pay per view movies and movie channels are all old movies, and they really should have more than their channels or movies to choose from, like CNN and maybe Discovery. I know you don't go on vacation to watch TV but I like to fall asleep with it on, and do listen to it while in the cabin. I would like to know if there was going to be snow up to my rear when I get back to MI.
Day at Sea: See yesterday. Very sad the last day is here, a week never will go by this fast on land. We had some rough seas at night, but it didn't bother me or any others I spoke to, could see some people wearing patches behind their ears. Skipped dinner tonight I just ate too much this last week, but did drop by and tip the people who had taken such good care of me all week. Tipping is personal, I tipped more than the recommended amount, and they were all worth it. Lost the rest of the money I had taken at roulette this last week, plus $50 of my own (I know you are shocked), but it was worth all the hours of entertainment I got. Didn't really go into the nightclubs much, I will never do the Macarena (sp), but talked to people whom really liked it. Got back to the room at 10:00 packed up and got the bags out side my door by midnight, ordered a movie and reflected on the cruise with some pizza.
Disembarking; Got up at 7:30 showered and had breakfast we were already back in port when we woke. Got to the designated room at 9:15, we had VIP checkout due to our very early flight, and our being in a suite. Seeing as we really didn't leave the U.S. customs was not a problem. We had our luggage and were in our Express car at 10:15, our driver experienced big traffic on the highway both ways to pick us up, so he took a different way back. We had no trouble making our 12pm flight back to Detroit.
All in all a great cruise, to cure the post cruise blues you plan and book your next cruise, Victory Dec 10, 2000 Western Caribbean. I never felt the ship moving when I got back home as some do, but I did feel it when in port and off the ship. Met some great people, was well taken care of, and liked the food. Some people don't like CCL, I cruise on the newer ships and have never had a problem vacation is what you make of it (next time someone makes you angry try laughing, or you can let it wreck your trip).
I sailed the Triumph on 12/11 to the Eastern Caribbean with my wife and two 13 year old girls. I'll try and keep this review brief.
Condition of Ship: Absolutely Great. However, I was surprised by the fact that many things are already broken on the Triumph. Things like room receptacles broken or missing, Cabin Door Lock broken, Sliding Glass Doors not functioning, and mainly the amount of lights throughout the ship and in it design features that were burnt out or not functioning. I counted hundreds not working in just in the Dining Rooms, and Fitness Center alone. Everything else was clean and in order.
Food: Wonderful... probably the best I have had on any of my numerous cruises, both in the dining room and in the alternative dining areas. Lots of options.
Photo Program: This is hands-down the BIGGEST BLUNDER on the ship! Carnivals photo process is straight from the 1950's... only with the addition of Guards, theft detectors, alarms, monitors, and cameras. The Photo Gallery alone could ruin this cruise for many. Nothing like sitting in the Grand Atrium's piano bar trying to relax and have a conversation only to thewalk-thru theft detectors alarms going off loudly about twice per minute... and echoing throughout the atrium! Carnival's greed for the Dollar has caused them to treat this area like Fort Knox... to to guard what... photo's that they have less than 50 cents invested. Carnival is out-of-control when it comes to this process, and program. On two separate days of our cruise I counted no less than 14 solicitations for photo's... they in fact take more photo's than they have room to display. It's a madhouse... but the biggest blunder is those ugly, obvious, and NOISY alarms. I could go on and on about this one...however all I will suggest is that Carnival "get with the program" as Disney Cruise Lines has.. and allow their customers to select their photo's from the privacy of their Cabins via TV. Get electronic... Please!
Service: Great.... rarely did I see a dirty table, used dishes/glasses, or an unorderly public area. Food Service was also wonderful, and quick. Except for those individuals in the self service food line who just had to have an omelet made...but would not step aside while waiting so the others could continue thru!
Activities: Carnival and the Triumph Staff seemed to do a great job of have activities planned for all... this is important on a 7 days cruise with 3 days at sea!
Entertainment: This also surpassed my expectations... and at times was quite good. However, Carnival is smart enough to know how to make even more money by spending so many days at sea, thus capturing your dollars... and my main complaint was that no shows were schedule on the nights in port, also the dancers/singers only performed 3 or 4 nights... thus salary saved! Other live lounge entertainment was the normal stuff... nothing special. The Rome Lounge is the most attractive assembly I have ever been in .. on land or at sea!
Shore Excursions: All I can say here is "Do your Own Thing", the ships are mainly utilized by the Senior Citizens, and also costly!
Embarkation: Not too bad.. we were able to board at 12:30. However our Luggage did not show up until 7:15pm. Therefore we missed dinner, ect... One thing I continued to notice is that everybody has to be at the front of the line. It still amazes me how rude many folks are by walking right by the forming line to the front, or continuing to crowd into and area already occupied by waiting people! We often fuss at the Cruise Lines and their crowd control processes.... can you imagine how they must feels having to deal with so many rude, pressing, and eager individual each week. I almost witnesses a fight due to rude folks trying to butt in at the front of the boarding line! Arrogance is abundant during boarding!
Disembarkation: Amazed that Carnival does this each and every week... yet they still can't get it right! On our final morning we were all ask to got to different areas of the ship... for example our floor and several others were ask to assemble by 9:30am in the main show lounge at the front of the ship. Therefore Carnival had 4 or 5 different luggage tag colors assembled in this one area. When it came time for the first color to disembark they did not even announce it in this Lounge! They were announcing it throughout out the rest of the ship... but not where they had ask these colors to assemble. Amazingly dumb! Thus since everybody in this assembly area saw folks starting to leave... regardless of the tag color, they all started for the door! What a mess! I got the feeling by watching, and listening to the crew... that at this point they really didn't care... they had already made their money off of you... so your own your own! Bring on the next crowd! Now for the biggest disembarkment blunder! PARKING LOT exit! You have this lot full of hundreds of cars... you have two of Carnivals largest ships disembarking at the exact same time... yet you have ONE Exit Gate, and ONE attendant working! It took me 1-1/2 hour to get out... and I cheated! Many others I have heard were there for more than 2 hours trying to get out!
Lounges: Great... some of the most beautiful I have seen! Service was also great!
Exercise Facilities/Gym: The best I have ever seen on a cruise ship... better than many Cities Gyms I have been in! Very impressive!
Interior Design of Ship: Wonderful... it will be a long long time before I will find a more attractive ship than Triumph! Everything was laid out nicely... and the ship was easy to get around on. Triumph has many design improvements over the Destiny... thus much more deck space for sunning, etc.! Finding a chair was not a problem!
Exterior Design of Ship: Triumph is well thought out.. however the exterior of the ship is not the most attractive you will find. Carnivals ploy to make extra passenger cabins, and higher price balcony rooms was at the expense of the ships visual attractiveness!
Overall impressions: Great Ship, Great Price, Wonderful Food, nice/friendly staff, annoying Photo Gallery, and Great Lounges! Now, if Carnival would put this ship on a Southern Caribbean route... with 5 or 6 Island stops, and 1 day at sea... I would rebook on her tomorrow! The current eastern itinerary is lacking... to say the least!Happy Sailing, Crooz
Well I'm a "newbie" cruiser, so pardon the fact that I may not have all the "CRUISE LINGO" down pat. But I calls em the way I sees em.. as some will tell ya !
Getting on the Boat: I flew in from Toronto.. Landed in Miami,, went smoothly from airport to luggage (luggage a little slow coming - but that meant NO waiting for the guide) the on to "follow me to the bus".. my luggage went on,,,, the bus took off - and I started making my first friends....Then to the pier, point out my luggage to the porter, and into the building. 5 minute wait in line and off I went, sail and sign card in hand, and then just walked onto the boat. It was like going into a hotel.. I don't know what I expected but I was more than impressed !!!!
No fuss No muss.. It was an hour till sailing, and I'd heard about the big lineups to get on,,, so I guess most people herd onto the ship as soon as they can. which would have been a few hours earlier, soperhaps, waiting a bit is better ? I don't know. I went down to my room right away and Sandy my friend from Houston had just gotten in.. HI HONEY I'M HOME !!
The Room: Well I really expected an oversized closet.. however even though it was a category 1 cabin.. I was more than pleased. ( we actually had a cat 8 person, with balcony come down to look and they said ours was bigger ) on the map of the deck, ours was larger, perhaps just the location, right up near the front, where the ship curves in, wider, but slightly narrower. More than enough room for the very little time we spent in it. The main thing was it had 2 CLOSETS !!! The bathroom was super clean -- shower a standup, not very large, but amply adequate --- there was soap, deodorant, tylenol (oh pray tell what do they think I'd need THEM for LOL) and a few other niceties. I have to say tho that the glasses they left in the room for our "beverages" were small, so I had to keep refilling them for myself.. causing me undue hardship I must add.. Making it totally necessary to advance myself to the buffet to refresh my strength ! I really don't know what the diff between a cat 1 and a cat 4 would be,, other than money. And actually for the amount of time we spent in the room... I didn't mind NOT spending an extra 1,000.00 US to be "upper deck"... (means I saved enuff muchachos to go again !)
Porking Out: Food was grrreat. Breakfast was little "same every day" but them I'm not a big breakfast kinda person. Throw me some coffee (coffee was not up to my "Canadian" standards LOL-- so I put Baileys into it to perk It up !!)
Great variety on the lunch buffet. And good fresh veggies..and fruit - loved that, I do try and eat healthy so after all them brewskies , martinis and "munchies of the day" in the evening, I felt right healthy chowing down on a crunchy salad !!!! For the sitdown more "formal" type lunch we only went once, good variety too, and very great food.. however we preferred the more casual atmosphere up on the lido deck for lunch. (made dinner more special) Pizza was ok.. the Chinese food was ok... didn't try a burger, can get them anywhwere, the New York Deli ,, yummy indeed !!! and MYYYY what big PICKLES they had !!!!
For the sit down more formal dinner, we started at one table and then changed - and joined a really fun bunch of people. Now you have to remember I'm a newbie at this, so I ordered one appetizer, one salad, one entree. And thought to myself ( I'll starveeeeeeeeeeee - what is this ??? -- not realizing that the guy across from me ordered one oF EVERYTING !) wellllll tell ya what, once I got the hang of "experienced cruising dinner" I was eating EVERYTHING off the menu,, one of this, 2 of that. Oh yes and can I have some CRACKERS with my BRIE ??????? We had lobster one nite, and yes I asked for another piece of TAIL. voila I got that quicker than saying " can I buy you another drink !"
The desserts were great - I enjoyed all the food I ordered.. all 7 tons of it LOL... And it was great that the portions were small, enabling you to chow down mucho foodo.
Although I do have to say I'm a "spicey food" kinda girl and there wasn't much spicey on the menu , so next time, I'm going to take a few bottles of hot sauce. On Jamaica I did have some realllly excellent jerk chicken.. but I have to admit, I missed the POW BAM in your face kinda spice I like to do at home. NO ONE on the ship knew how to make a Bloody Caesar, which is typical of the U.S. As well (not knocking you guys, it's just a fact, it's not a common drink anywhere cept here I guess - where we need the HEAT and the WARMTH of the tabasco/clamato to warm our innards as we sit in our igloos).
The Big Sun Porch on top of the Boat: It was tough to get a deck chair up on the sundecks.. (newbie I am, I think they are called lido decks).. Anyway, what I think people do is get a wakeup call and go put some stuff on couple chairs, saving them , which isn't fair, but then life is not a box of chocolates. So I said to Sandy, hell, lets just drop our towels on the deck and stretch out. NO PROBLEM MON. We drank and sunned ourselves quite sufficiently and to be honest it was a GREAT view as the men walked buy in their boxer style bathing suits. OH la la... ( Juan, I am in LOVE !!! )The Bars... Clubs,, Nightspots:
The Big Easy (or clam bar LOL) great. This guy played piano and sang Elton John, Billy Joel, etc.. I KNEW THE WORDS.. it was great.. stuff I enjoy.. Met a lot of fun people here, and ran back into them.. hehe.
The disco.. well I didn't know some of the music, but didn't stop me from dancing, and yes they can look up from below and see under your dress. So I made sure to have my email address embroidered on my panties. I've heard from 27 men so far !! ( just kidding )
The Oxford Lounge - where they smoke cigars, little more subdued, but I can do that too, and I love the smell of a good cigar..
Rio Lounge. Had a couple of "freebie parties" there - ( to note if you are a new cruiser, check off that you have already cruised carnival before, you get invited to a "repeaters nite". free drinks ! --- suck em back and enjoy ! )
We found the canapes at the freebie parties not the greatest.. but hell not like there was nowhere else to eat !! ( 24 hrs/day )
The Wine Bar - grrrrrrrrrreat Martinis - ask Kris to make them he's great.
The Cruise Director: John Heald.. well I know if you've cruised before you've seen the "spoon thing" but I had never so it was hilarious, and yes some of the "anecdotes" I know were probly not exactly true, but they were funny. And although I'd heard some of it before John had such a presence and a personality, that he could tell the "chicken crossed the road joke" and still get a laff. For the "getting off the boat talk" I silently applauded him when he didn't go on and on and on about tipping, he said " this is this and its up to you".. He may do some of the same "skids" on a regular basis, and maybe has some "help" from the audience, but it was "entertainment" and that is what I went for.. to Lafff and Relax. I had read about him,, and to be honest he wasn't what I had pictured.. But he was MORE than I expected. Hats Off to John !! and OHIO>>>>>>>>
Getting around the Boat: At first seemed daunting, but decks 5 and 9 --- most of everything was there.
Picture and Videos: They take a HORDE of pics.. but you know, they are so good at it and it's rarely that I go for a pro shot. I got some great pics of Sandy and I and some great ones of myself. I am going to be front and center on my parents PHOTO wall now !!
Other people on the Boat: There were 3400 people on board, 850 kids, 1000 crew, but it never seemed crowded. Lot of kids, but they were never a problem in "my" opinion. John said they had people from 51 countries in the world working on the boat.
Getting off the Boat: I had to go to Immigration at 7AM. Bummer but c'est la vie. Took bout an hour to get through it.. then we went to sit down breaky.. Then to the rome lounge for 9"15. It was an hour 10 min before we were called. Off we went. Slowly but not tooo slowly to the pier house to get our bags. It seemed like mayhem at first but cleared fast. Our bags were nowhere to be seen. Slightly panicked both Sandy and I missing our bags talked to Carnival reps, who were calm and helpful and eventually found our luggage with the VIP bags. ( ahh one day ! )
Other comments: One thing that truly annoyed me --- Thursday was American Thanksgiving, which is fine. But singing 'GOD BLESS AMERICA" I don't think so. All the staff has to stop and sing this song, like they mean it. (one other patriotic type song, which I don't know the name of ) I honestly felt a little insulted. I'm sure they don't sing OH CANADA on July 1. Or God save the Koala Bear on October 14th.
The ATM machine never worked. I wanted to get some further US $$ but the only way I could get it without costing me an arm and a leg, was to take my Sail and Sign card to the casino cashier and say I wanted to get 300.00 worth of chips on it.. they give you a slip, you go to the crap table, get it in 50.00 chips and then take it back and cash it out. (pain in the butt, but avoided the 14% fee)
Sandy won the 2nd slot tourney 250.00 US Yippeeeeee Last night out Sandy and I hit a 500.00 US jackpot on video Poker. YIPPEEEE
I had believed that a "singles cocktail party" was supposed to happen -NOT.. didn't, disappointed in that.. really.. however I'm a kind of a social butterfly/kinda/smart ass kinda girl, so I made lotsa friends anyway.
We were on main deck, and at times there was an obnoxious kinda "sewage smell" on our floor near the elevators. Being a new ship they're probably working out the kinks, I HOPE so.
They have a great spa on board,, all up to date equipment, treadmills, steppers, bikes, free-weights, just great.. I watched it all from the hot tub - those people were really sweating ! I did however enjoy the benefits of the steam room , the sauna, the hot tubs.
We had been told we couldn't bring alcohol on board. We had alcohol in our checkin luggage, as well as pop. NO problem.
Both Sandy and I went down the big water slide couple times, hilarious, we talked to a couple of young girls, 9 and 10, they were really cool.
Towel animals, we had heard about them, but forgot about them. The third night in, we came a "wandering" ( not stumbling mind you ) in and there was this creature sitting on Sandy's bed ,,, with her GLASSES on... ohhhhhh we almost peeeed our pants... it was the best. Rudolph had done good !
All in All Grrrrrrrrrrreat time !!!!! I'd go again in a minute. It's the kind of cruise you could go on your own. It's the kind of holiday that a family could really enjoy - no meal planning - no trip planning - no hassle.
There were so many friendly people. All the staff we had contact with were friendly and helpful and some were funny and just plain GREAT !! They made you feel like real people, not just " a guest on the boat they are working on"..
On whole..... Like I said.. give me a sail and sign card, AND SHOW ME THE GANGWAY !!!!!!!!
Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Triumph by Nicolas Poitras October 7, 1999 I finally found some time to get back on-line and I'm ready to share with you my experience on the Triumph. This is my way of saying thanks to all who provided precious information before the cruise. Our cruise was on October 7th, the 4-night to Halifax itinerary. This was Triumph's second-to-last cruise to Canada before heading to the Caribbean. We are in out late twenties and this was our 6th cruise. We had sailed RCI (Sovereign and Majesty), NCL (Leeward and Majesty) and CCL (Fantasy). Overall, this was an outstanding cruise. We like bigger ships so we felt right at home on the 102 000 GRT Triumph. Contrary to what we've read before going, we had no trouble at all finding our way throughout the ship. I do have to admit that I had been studying the plans for a while... Once you know where the atrium and the interior promenade are, you can easily find your way.
EMBARKATION / DISEMBARKATION
We arrived at Pier 88 NYC around 10 am. We had to wait till noon to begin the embarkationprocess. Since we were among the first there, we did have to wait for the staff to get organized before letting us onboard. Overall, I have to say to went suprisingly well. We did not experience any of the "horror" stories we read on-line. By 12:30 pm, we were having lunch on the lido deck. Disembarkation was also a breeze. We had breakfast in the Paris dining room, headed to the lido deck where we were instructed to wait based on our cabin location and at 9:30 am, we were asked to head to the gangway. If you ask me, this was even to fast as we did not want to leave the ship!!!CABIN
We had a balcony cabin on Lido deck. Carnival does not exagerate when they say their cabins are larger, they really are! Large bathroom for a ship, comfy sofa for 2 in leather, plenty of storage space, large picture windows, etc.. I had read that some people felt the balcony was small. This was our first and we were surprised by its good size. We also appreciated the CCL robes offered in that category. On the negative side, we heard a lot of noise at times coming from the corridor. Were the neighboors simply noisy or was the vent in the cabin door letting every sound go through? This should be improved. Our cabin steward was the best we've had so far. The cabin was constantly spotless and inviting... He took the time to talk to us when we arrived. Asked where we were from, if we had any question regarding the ship. Very friendly.DINING
This was the biggest surprise. On our first cruise with CCL, we felt the food was average and the service left much to be desired. We clearly saw an improvment on the Triumph. Although dining room service is still informal, it is clearly on its way up. The food was very good to excellent. Ingredients were obviously fresh and of high quality as was the presentation. The lido food was also above average. No one should miss the pizzeria and the NY Deli. The latter has outstanding corn beef sandwiches and smoked salmon bagels. Room service was quick and had refreshing choices. We had open-face shrimp salad sandwiches that were just delicious. Lots of quality options when it comes to dining on the Triumph. With this experience, CCL is clearly above RCI and NCL for dining in my book.ENTERTAINMENT / ACTIVITIES
This is where Carnival shines. The 2 shows were the best we've seen at sea. Obviously, the size of the ship and its equipment allow for more elaborate productions. However, CCL clearly invested in this area. Besides the Rome lounge, where most of the evening entertainment can be found, there are lots of bars and lounges that offer dancing, comedians and night-time activities like karaoke and other contests. I would have liked to hear more variety in the disco though. It played mostly teen music. Casino is of a good size also. I don't play much but I did win 20 $!!! During the day, the ship does not lack action either. There's almost always something going on in the Rome lounge or in other public areas: game shows, musicians in the atrium, band out on deck. The cruise director John Heald was, as everybody says, outstanding. He is a great comedian and he knows how to work up a crowd. Although he does use some traditional CD jokes, he is probably one of the most creative we've seen. We also appreciated how he did not over use the PA system. In terms of sports, the ship has everything: 7 hot tubs, inside and outside pools (not used on oursailing--water too cold), water slide, full spa, classes, etc. We went to the spa every single day before dinner. Very relaxing before a great evening! Overall, if you like to keep yourself busy, this ship is for you.PUBLIC ROOMS
This is Carnival. Even if they've toned down their decor with the last few ships, it will remind you of Vegas. If you're going for an action-packed vacation, this is just the right ambiance. We liked it a lot even if we also appreciate more upscale ships in decor. The rooms we prefered: the atrium and the Oxford lounge although we spent little time in it. We didn't like the piano bar with oyster shells on the walls. The dining rooms were fine although a bit crowded and dark. Overall, the ship is attractive and is well designed.FINAL WORD
This was a memorable long-weekend. I really feel Carnival is making immense efforts to upgrade its product. I think they're succeeding!!! This cruise was great value and it makes me want to try Carnival again. Don't hesitate to e-mail me if you want more!