On 12 September 2009 I sailed on the Triumph to New England/Canada.
The only negatives I can relate was the transportation issues getting to the ship from the airport. Even though I purchased Carnival's air, I was left behind in LaGuardia airport. Lucky for me the NYC cab drivers are proficient in offensive driving with haste. I made the ship with minutes to spare!
The New York terminal functioned quit efficiently and courteously once I arrived. Debarkation was easy & fast. Sailing from Manhattan is quit the thrill with more landmarks than one can count.
If you have sailed one Destiny or Conquest class vessel then you have pretty much seen them all, but the Triumph does possess her own personality to a point. With the exception of one odd chandelier in the Rome show lounge, the ship is tastefully decorated I thought. The food in the dining room is standardized Carnival menu, tasty but nothing unique. One night we had open seating dining due to late port time in Boston. Based on this muddle it would be advisable for Carnival to stick to assigned seating's such as 6 &8 and not become allopen seating such as Norwegian.
There entertainment was wonderful by my standards/taste. There was nearly always some great live music performed, plus some real cheeky music as karaoke when I sang. There a spell binding magic show and a hypnotist as well as live comedy. The two production shows reiterates what great entertainment Carnival presents. The first show‘s theme was a trip around the world's great cities, the second was a tribute to ironically enough New Orleans, the Triumph's next home. Without a doubt, this cruise line jumps through many hoops in order to entertain its guest. For one thing the high energy special effects simply blew me away. WOW!
Ports of call were Boston, Portland ME, Saint John NB, and Halifax NS. All were wonderful places to visit.
In Boston I visited Lexington/Concord & Harvard where I was impressed by historical ambiance of the architecture. In Portland I took the ship tour up to New Hampshire's Mount Washington. New England seems to be one picture perfect town after another.
The people of Canada's Atlantic Provinces were perhaps the most gregarious of any ports of call that I have visited. It was a mutual pleasure conversing with the locals in both New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Out of Saint John, I toured Fundy National Park where the world's highest tides can reach 39 feet. Halifax needs no shore excursion having so much within walking distance. The hill-top fortress and board walked waterfront are worthwhile. I did take a bus ride out to Peggy's Cove which is lovely beyond words.
All things considered, I can highly recommend both the Triumph and the New England/Canada itinerary.
This was my fourth Carnival Cruise to date and as expected it was both an incredible and "Triumphant" experience. I sailed of course with my all too beautiful Wife – Princess Doll Susan and we were joined this time by my Brother Jim and his lovely wife Karin.
We set sail from The Port of New York (NYC being my old home town) so I was somewhat familiar with all of the sights, sounds, and yes – smells of New York and didn't need any pre-cruise touring however I would suggest that if you have never been to NYC then you certainly must not limit yourself by just going to and from the Cruise Port and the Airport, there is just so much to see and take in.
Back to the cruise.... The Port of NY is fairly well organized and we had no difficulty whatsoever in checking in. In fact, checking in here was the FASTEST I have ever checked in anywhere thus far and I give kudos to CCL and the port personnel for having their collective acts together. In general, embarkation was a simple 1-2-3 procedure and just couldn'thave gone any smoother. I know I read somewhere that someone wasn't very pleased with the embarkation in NY or dealing with the staff, but I'll just say if you don't understand the "NY attitude" and have a sense of humor too then you might just get your feathers ruffled. Remember, you're going on a cruise so lighten up Francis.
Welcome Aboard... The Triumph is a BIG ship; I believe one of the (if not the) biggest ships in the CCL fleet. Nevertheless, if one is already familiar with the basic layout of a CCL ship, particularly the deck names, then you will not have any trouble finding their way around especially to the LIDO DECK for lunch. Those of you that have sailed before know exactly what I mean – starting your cruise off as early as possible (as soon as they open the doors at around 11:00 AM) and heading straight for the Lido Deck for lunch and a beverage of your choice, is the only way to start your cruise!The only thing that dampened things a bit was the inclement weather (that's code for RAIN)!!! The cast off / sail away deck party was best attended by ducks as the rain just kept pouring. We did manage to get some rainy pictures of Ellis Island and The Statue of Liberty but hidden in rain. Lady Liberty needed an umbrella rather than a torch! The food...of course was above par and as always quite bountiful, there's just too much to eat at any one time but it's very nice to know that you have such an abundant array of choices. This goes for dinner as well which was enjoyed by all in the London Dining Room. There isn't much more to say about the food per se that hasn't been said already except – keep it coming! On a side note, our headwaiter ZUBIN and assistant waiter AMY did an incredible job of keeping everything well organized and the table happy. Zubin is by far THE BEST waiter that we have ever had and should be a maitre'd himself. Excursion Time... We chose to do the Kayak and Lobster Bake excursion on the St. John River. THIS IS A MUST DO!! Yes, it is one of the more expen$ive excursions, however when all is said and done (and eaten too) then the overall cost will pale in comparison to the experience. This excursion is appropriate for beginner kayaker's and lobster novices alike. Three miles (round trip) of kayaking up/down the St. John followed by an incredible feast of mussels and whole lobster (not to forget about the maple cookies) was one of the best and tastiest excursions I have ever experienced. One another side note, St. John is not the warmest town, but certainly not the coolest. We experience temperatures that started around 60 degrees that climbed (perhaps crawled) into the low 70's. Not bad, but for some it might be cool; I was just fine in a bathing suit and t-shirt for the excursion and shorts and an aloha shirt afterwards when we walked around the city market area and stopped for an Alpine beer – cheers! FOG....Yes, I said fog and plenty of it too. Our second Fun day at Sea was more of a Fog Day at Sea. Despite the fog and clearing later on I actually managed to get nasty sunburn on my knees. Debarkation day...We chose once again to use the self-assist debarkation process. After enjoying our last sit down breakfast in the Paris Dining Room we gathered our luggage and were off the ship and through customs in 15 minutes. Once again, the Port of NY seemed to have their act together. All-in-all it was yet another great cruise, one that I shall never forget and I cannot wait until we sail again – just around 88 days from now when we sail on the Carnival Legend for my 50th Halloween Birthday. I'll be the one dressed as a Starship Captain sailing out on the Starship USS Carnival Legend – NCC-1959! See you on deck... ShotoJuku
Our cruise to Canada was the worst experience I've ever had cruising. This was my fourth cruise and the first with Carnival.
The worst thing about the cruise was the food. It was luke warm at best and usually cold. Our party of six had to send back our food almost every night. While we talked to management about this problem, no one seemed interested in resolving the matter and the head waiter stopped coming by our table. When we ordered meat medium, it came back well done. We learned to order it rare but it was still cold by the time it was delivered to our table.
There's no clock in the room. We had to buy one in the gift shop. We were told that we bought the last one of 25 they had at the beginning of the cruise.
The entertainment was very poor. We think the lead male singer knew someone in order to get the job --- he was that bad.
We spent the last two days hearing all about the guest comment cards and how they wanted to be rated as exceeding our expectations. When someonedoes the job that you expect, like cleaning your room and turning down the bed at night, how can you rate them as exceeding your expectation?
I wouldn't recommend Carnival to anyone and would tell friends to find another cruise even at a more expensive price.
We sailed to Puerto Rico, St. Martin, and St. Thomas on the Carnival Triumph. We endured seven days of a horrible sewage smell all over the ship. Reported it to the front desk and they denied a problem existed and offered no help or suggestions whatsoever, nor told us about their satisfaction guaranntee program whereby you can notify the front desk and then get off at the first port of call with a full refund. We were not told about this.
We asked for a refund and Carnival refused. This is poor customer service, so beware of sewage smells!
You will get no help from the front desk personnel, nor from their Customer Service department. Try Royal Carribean Cruise Line instead. They are of a higher class and provide great customer service.
This was our 5th cruise overall and our first on the Carnival Triumph. Departure was Sunday from Miami, but we elected to arrive the day before. Coming from Indiana, this was a good decision as it relieved us from worrying about flight delays and ensured that we arrived for boarding refreshed and rested, and in our summer clothes. Not having been to Miami previously, we chose to take Carnival's pre-cruise package with a stay at the downtown JW Marriott. This was a bit pricey at $150 per person including transfers, but an excellent hotel in a very good location.
Boarding was tedious as expected with security checks and waiting in line for check-in. My wife and I were traveling with four other family members, two of whom had not previously sailed on Carnival. In order to get the past-guest discount for them, I made the bookings with me and one of the other couple under one booking, and my wife and the other half of the couple on a second booking. I was very upfront with the Carnival reservations folks about this, and they assured me in several calls that thiswas commonly done, and that all we needed to do was inform the agent at check-in that we wished to switch rooms which could be done simply and with no problems. The reality was quite different, and involved the services of a trainer, and then a manager at Carnival's Miami port check-in counter. In the end, it took about an hour to get our Sail & Sign cards, over and above the additional hour or so to get through security and wait in line. And after all of that, it wasn't until the middle of the week that we found that the folios had been incorrectly set up such that the onboard charges from our Sail & Sign cards for all four of us were being charged to my credit card! This was quite disappointing considering the assurances provided by Carnival's reservations folks, and something that I wouldn't do again. Once we finally got on board, things improved significantly.
About the Ship I understand that the Triumph had been placed into dry dock for renovation in late 2008. They did a great job, with nothing on the ship looking worn, stained, or scuffed. Our rooms (balconies on the Verandah deck) were excellent, intelligently laid out, and with plenty of storage space, which is standard for every Carnival ship on which we had ever sailed (with the exception of the Mardi Gras back in 1978 which was too long ago to count). The only amenity I missed from our last cruise on the Conquest was a mini-bar in our cabin.
I've read some reviews where folks have mentioned some difficulties finding their way around the ship as the configuration of the second levels of the London & Paris dining rooms prevent walking from the front to the back of the ship on deck 4. We did not find this a problem at all, making deck 5, the Promenade Deck, our main avenue of transit when not up on the Lido deck sunning, visiting, and reading. The casino was excellent, if not too kind to us this time around. I guess this was a payback of sorts from the $2,000 we won on our last cruise.
About the Handicapped Facilities One of our group was of limited mobility, using a walker most of the time and a wheelchair for longer treks. Arrangements were made for a handicapped accessible room on the main deck. Note that Carnival doesn't hand these out like candy, requiring a rather complete physical assessment document at the time that reservations are made. After seeing the handicapped accessible room, I can understand why. This room was huge, being more than twice the size of a regular stateroom, with a bathroom large enough for wheelchairs and a walk-in shower and no step-up's or door sills to navigate. We were particularly appreciative of the special attention given by the room steward who made sure that all extra needs were met.
About the Dining Dinners in the Paris dining room were outstanding. Food variety, quality, and quantity was excellent. For formal dining, Carnival is hard to beat amongst its primary competitors. Alternatives to formal dining are plentiful and include the South Beach buffet along with individual locations for Deli sandwiches, stir fry, hamburgers and hotdogs, and pizza and calzones. I'd rate the quality of the alternative dining as perhaps a 7 out of 10; good, but not great. The pizza is outstanding, but the calzone was underdone and doughy in the middle. I particularly liked the grilled corned beef/Pastrami combo from the deli bar. We were disappointed in the absence of midnight buffets, and especially that of the grand buffet which was always a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. Don't know if the decision to not do this was fleet-wide or just on Triumph. We also made liberal use of room service, especially for breakfast. My wife and I have, over the years, gotten used to light breakfasts of coffee, juice, fruit, and sometimes pastries. I usually am the first up in the morning, and made it a practice to order breakfast before my wife rolled out of bed. While you can pre-order your breakfast via a card that you hang outside your door, we preferred to order in the morning via phone as we were never really sure just when we'd get up. I don't know how they did it, but it never took more than 20 minutes from order or delivery. In any case, I can assure you that you will definitely NOT go hungry or suffer from want of great food.
About the Entertainment Not being "party people," we didn't join in on most of the daytime events on the Lido deck (e.g. the Hairy Chest contest, etc.). But we did make it to all but one of the evening shows in the Rome Lounge. If you take this cruise, make sure to take advantage of these productions. They were all exceptional. In past cruises, we had been somewhat frustrated with people (inconsiderate boobs in my opinion) who would send one of their party to the lounge an hour ahead of time to stake out seats for the 5 or 10 people traveling with them. On this cruise, Carnival made significant attempts to discourage this with positive results. We made it a point to head to the Rome Lounge about a half-hour before the show and never had a problem finding six seats together in a good viewing location. While it was common to find someone saving a seat for their spouse/companion, we didn't run into any instances where someone had tied down a whole row or section.
About the People Can't express enough how pleased we were with the ship's friendly and accommodating staff, from our room stewards to our wait staff, and all of the other folks we encountered on this cruise. Our waiter in the Paris dining room, Wilfredo, was a special joy for us. Not only was his service efficient and prompt, but his engaging personality made dinners a special event for us. (Wilfredo, if you should ever read this, thank you again for the extra efforts and joy that you brought to our week.)
About the Itinerary We took the Eastern Caribbean route, arriving in San Juan early evening on Tuesday, followed by St. Thomas on Wednesday and St. Maarten on Thursday.
San Juan: Given our evening arrival time in San Juan and not being into the night club scene, we spent our time walking through the old city, enjoying the architecture, shopping, and sampling some of the local cuisine. The ship docks within comfortable walking distance of the old city, so no need for cabs or other transport.
St. Thomas/St. Johns: Being beaching and snorkeling types, we always make it a habit to head over to Trunk Bay on St. Johns whenever we port in St. Thomas. While you can purchase a $78/pp excursion to Trunk Bay, we prefer to go our own way and save some money in the process. Getting there is easy. Just grab a taxi at the pier to Red Hook (the ferry terminal) at a cost of $7.00 per person. From Red Hook a ferry will take you to Cruz Bay in St. Johns for another $6.00 or so. And from Cruz Bay, there are plenty of open taxis that will take you directly to Trunk Bay for another $6.00 or so. Once at Trunk Bay which is in a US National Park, you will need to pay a $4.00 part entrance fee. These costs are approximate but you can figure roughly $50.00 round-trip per person, with the benefit of being on your own schedule. There are showers and changing rooms at Trunk Bay, so no need to wear your sandy and wet swim suits all day, and you can also rent snorkel gear, beach chairs, lockers, etc. This is a great place to spend the day.
St. Maarten: We had been to St. Maarten on a prior cruise and had done a catamaran excursion to a private beach on that trip. This time, we elected to rent a car with plans to visit at least a couple of beaches that I had heard were excellent for sun, sand, and snorkeling. As it turned out, our first stop was at Dawn beach, and we never made it beyond that point. Dawn Beach is an absolutely beautiful strip of white sand with surf high enough to be fun, but not so high that you can't comfortably snorkel the reefs just a few yards off shore. As recommended from my internet research, we parked at Mr. Busby's Bar and Grill where we rented a couple of beach chairs equipped with a large umbrella which was very welcome as the sun was very strong. Unlike Trunk Bay, Dawn Beach is a "commercial" beach with lots of lounge chairs set out. A relatively short stretch of sand -- around a half-mile long -- this is not the sort of beach you will like if you want an isolated, solitary beach experience. On this day, we desired a bit of pampering, with food (excellent pizza from Mr. Busby's), drinks, and other fare available to be delivered directly to your spot on the beach at very reasonable costs. Chair rental from Mr. Busby's was $10.00 per person, although I have heard that if you get there early and order breakfast, they will let you use the chairs at no cost. If we had to do it over again, the only thing we'd change is our decision to rent a car, instead simply taking a taxi.
One of the couples we were traveling with elected to purchase an excursion for horseback riding through the surf. They were very disappointed. At a cost in excess of $100.00, their 3.5 hour excursion consisted of 90 minutes of riding, with the rest of the time spent hanging around at a beach that didn't have much going for it. They reported that the beach was so bad that a number of the guests arranged for their own taxis to get them back to the port rather than wait for the excursion's transportation.
Debarkation Carnival has gotten really good at debarking better than 2,500 passengers in just a couple of hours. Luggage was packed and in the halls outside of our staterooms by 11:00 PM where it was collected by the crew. We needed to be out of our cabins by 8:30 AM the next morning and went to the Lido deck for breakfast. Unless you choose to go with "self-debarkation" (a real zoo, I understand) where you haul your own luggage through crowds of other like-minded "type A" personalities, guests are debarked by numbers provided on special luggage tags given to you the day before. Being in group #12, we were among the last to be debarked, but were still off the ship by 10:00 and on a bus to the airport by 10:30 or so. Unlike our embarkation experience, this was quite painless. Depression set in the following morning when I rolled over in bed, dialed 8000 for room service, and no one answered. Bummer. Had to make my own coffee.
Final Comments This was a great cruise, and one that we would do again in a heartbeat. Carnival offers some of the best overall value in the business. Every year that we decide to cruise again, we look at the possibility of sailing with other lines -- most notably Celebrity -- but end up going back to Carnival as we can't justify paying significantly more money when Carnival has never disappointed us. Next time? We're thinking that a back-to-back cruise may be in the cards. Seven days just doesn't seem to be enough.
The Triumph is a wonderful ship for its age. The interior is tastefully decorated and every club or diner was spick and span! The food was excellent! Our waiters Jamie and Iputu were excellent and helped make each dining experience enjoyable. Our cabin was on the Veranda deck 8434. We had a balcony for the first time and it was at the rear of the ship. We never spent any time in our cabin much before because it was always an inside cabin. That changed this cruise as we spent much time on our balcony and had the most relaxing cruise we ever had. Pedro was our room steward and he catered to every whim! Room service on this cruise was the best we ever had also!
With the exception of the Mickey Utley Band the entertainment was rather bad! Angela in the piano bar couldn't carry a tune in a dump truck and the roving piano player was the worst we had seen. The shows in the Rome lounge weren't very good as far as I am concerned, more dance than audio and no rhyme or reason to itall. The Magic show was so fake it wasn't funny and the comedians were their own best audience.
We really enjoyed our time in Jamaica! We went to a private resort called Couples Sans Souci. We bought a day pas for $50 each and really enjoyed our stay there. It was an all-inclusive club and the food and spirits were excellent. This is an all adult resort so there was no hollering and screaming kids running up and down the beach, very relaxing. Our cab driver took us to an out of the way place to buy souvenirs and let me tell you we got some great deals -- $7 cuban cigars, $20 per pound Jamaican blue coffee, 5 t-shirts for $20 -- all good deals.
Grand Cayman was a real disappointment as we had booked the Turtle Farm, Hell and Stingray excursion and couldn't do the stingray part because of rough seas, we were really looking forward to that! All in all though we had a nice day. The tendering went fine. The turtle farm was neat and Hell was??? Hell, I guess! We visited Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville for the first time. Had a Margarita and a Cheeseburger in paradise!
Cozumel was fun too. It was the first time we have docked at the new pier and that area is much nicer than the old one is. We went to the Playa de mia beach break, an all inclusive beach, and enjoyed relaxing and getting a great massage on the beach.
The week ended all too soon. We had a great cruise and came back really relaxed. I would suggest this cruise ship to anyone.
This was our fourth Carnival Triumph cruise and we looked forward to sailing with Captain Francesco La Fauci, but as luck would have it, we missed him again since he was on vacation. However, not all was lost since Capt. La Fauci introduced us to Captain Salvatore Messina, and we were very impressed by his kindness and intelligent handling of the situation caused by the erratic Hurricane Gustav. The itinerary was altered after Cozumel, Mexico. Instead of going East to Jamaica we went North, while Jamaica took a direct hit from the hurricane. Captain Messina kept us well out of harm's way, and we headed back for two fun filled sea days before landing at Half Moon Cay on Friday, a private white sand beach on a beautiful tropical island. On Saturday we landed at Nassau, Bahamas for another beautiful day. Whenever a port is dropped passengers always complain, but those with hurricane experience always avoid the high seas, wind and rain. It's an unwritten law! Bravo Captain Messina.
Embarkation The Port of Miami is easily accessed on a Sunday noon -- with minimum of traffic and security. We boarded at 12:30 pm;Check-in was simple and we had wheel chair assistance to our cabin all the way forward just near the bridge. Vincent checked on our dining room assignments, unfortunately, they were all the way aft in the Paris Dining Room. He talked with the Maitre D' Manuel Costa, who changed us to the London Dining Room (midship) and a table for two near the entrance.
Ship We have published three reviews on the Triumph; the first in 2001 has a detailed deck by deck description of the ship's stats and decorations. The Triumph entered service in 1999 and will be undergoing extensive refurbishing in two weeks. She was built at the Fincantieri Shipyards, Monfalcone, Italy: hull # 5979. Her gross tonnage is 101,509; she is 893 feet long and her beam is 116 feet, with a cruising speed of 21 knots. Crew is 1,100 and guest capacity is 2,758 double occupancy.
The globe and map theme is throughout the ship with an impressive World's Way and World's Hall. The passenger areas are on Decks 3, 4 and 5, plus the rear of Decks 9, 10 and 11 while the staterooms are on decks 1, 2, 6, 7, 8 and forward of 9 and 10. The extensive use of marble makes the ship quite elegant.
Service & Food Under Hotel Director Stewart Howard, this ship is a fine floating hotel. The service is excellent; The London Dining Room is watched over by Maitre D' Ahuja Ramesh, who gave us our excellent Waiter Norman Campbell. Both Norman and the Asst. Waiter Kevin Quadros were fabulous. Restaurant Hostess Monika Jendrekova always took special care of us at lunch in the Paris Dining Room with a delightful table for two by the window overlooking the ocean. The food on Carnival has improved over the years and we find the menu varied enough to have interesting dining experiences every day.
The appetizers were appetizing and some like shrimp cocktail were available every night. The soups were of the both hot and cold types (try the wild mushroom and the cream of asparagus -- excellent. Salads of both the fruit and vegetable kind looked fresh and inviting. Pasta courses were available every noon and evening. Entrees included excellent Prime Rib, Fillet Mignon, Lobster and several types of fish. Desserts were irresistible including hot souffles and warm chocolate melting cake every evening along with pies, freshly made ice creams and sherbets. Or try their cheese and fruit plates. Espresso coffee, tea, hot chocolate and after dinner cordials were nice final touches. Our congratulations to Chef de Cuisine Ajit Bangera!
In conclusion, we found the service on board quick and cordial. We especially want to thank Staff Captain Isidoro Renda for his time spent with us and his explanations of the ship's intricacies. Vincent enjoyed conversing with him in Italian.
Cabin Our wheelchair cabin #6208 is located on Upper Deck 6 forward. This is a poor location for physically challenged passengers, since they must go half the length of the ship just to reach the elevator. Most other ship lines cluster the wheel chair cabins mid ship near the central elevators. The balcony was very small with two chairs and a small table, it could not accommodate the wheel chair. The ramp to the balcony was too steep to use. We did not stay too often on the balcony because it was small, but Mary liked the height of the chairs. Many times chairs are too low to get up out of easily. These were perfect.
Even though the cabin was very small, there was ample storage and closet space with a private safe, but, alas, no refrigerator. The bath had safety rails all around and a nice medicine cabinet -- a shower with seat and a single sink. The king size bed was comfortable and the room was equipped with a TV, a desk/vanity and a small coffee table with two chairs. Colors are bright and our Steward Orlando Cruz was terrific.
Entertainment Cruise Director Lenny Halliday is always on the go with so many activities that he and his group host: Bridge and Poker tournaments, Trivia, Bingo, Water Wars, and contests like the "Hairy Chest" and game shows, line dancing, etc., etc., etc. There are Vegas Style shows with the Carnival Singers and Dancers (the vocal talents of Randi Adlesic and Michael Valentine were tops). The Magic of Kevin & Caruso was "transportational!" Almost every day, the music aboard starts at 11:00am and includes all types: Classic with the "Grace String Trio", Calypso with the "Dynamics", Piano music with "Sharon" (thanks for the wonderful rendition of "Greensleeves"), Jazz with the "Peter Halloin Trio", Sing-Along Piano Bar with "Paul," etc, etc. A lot of musical entertainment. Very Cool!
We took this cruise for relaxation and we rested every day -- it was a rejuvenation cruise. But, most vacationers on board had fun with a vengeance. We were bemused when we saw how much energy they expended on "fun." Carnival has passengers of all ages and something to make everyone happy.
Ports of Call Sunday: Port of Miami, depart at 5:00pm.
Monday: At Sea.
Tuesday: Cozumel, Mexico, arrive 8:00am, depart 10:00pm. Cozumel provides many tours starting at the end of the pier: Scuba for beginners ($91), Jeep and beach combo ($91).
Wednesday: At Sea.
Thursday: At Sea.
Friday: Half Moon Cay, Bahamas. This is Carnival's private island paradise -- with pure white sand, palm trees and sparkling seas for excellent swimming.
Saturday: Nassau, Bahamas, arrive 8:00am, depart 5:00pm.
Sunday: Port of Miami, arrive 7:00am, disembark the ship.
Disembarkation When over 3,000 passengers are involved, it can be frenetic. But Carnival's system was painless, if a bit slow, due to passengers not paying attention to directions. We were off by 10:00am and on our way home to Boca Raton, just 40 miles north of Miami.
EMBARKATION: A TOTAL disaster! This was the 3rd time sailing out of the Port Of Miami in 16 years and it is STILL the worst port to cruise from! It took almost 2 hrs. to get from the parking garage to our cabin. The biggest hold-up....THE EMBARKATION PHOTO! Carnival has to add a line for people that don't want their picture taken when boarding (god knows they take enough of them onboard)! We waited 1 hour on that line alone. Doesn't Carnival realize that some people leave their homes very early when flying in or driving to the port? By the time we arrive at the ship, all we want to do is BOARD!!! Most of us could care less about having our pictures taken at embarkation. My advice to anyone cruising from Miami would be get to the pier by 11:30am or after 2:30pm. Between those hours, plan to wait in VERY long lines. There is alot of construction going on at the pier and the signage to get around is POOR.
THE CABIN: We had a balcony cabin (6331) on the upper deck. It was a great location.Mid-ship in all aspects. The cabin itself was a little smaller than on our past Carnival cruises though it may have just seemed that way because there was furniture pieces that were too oversize for the cabin. If you have alot of hair, bring your own hairdryer. The one in the bathroom is OK for short hair but takes a long time to dry long hair.
THE DINING ROOM (And Food): We dined in the Paris Dining room. Very far and difficult to get to from our cabin. They should divide the ship in half and send the passengers in the foward part to the mid-ship part of the ship to the London Dining room (mid-ship) and send passengers in the aft portion of the ship to the Paris Dining room. We had to either go all the way to the aft elevators or go through the casino and walk aft to get to the dining room. The food was better than what I had read in past reviews. The portions were also larger than I had read in past reviews. The desserts left a little to be desired though. The 24 hour pizzeria and the grill on the Lido deck were better than I had expected. The buffet (outside on the Lido deck) for breakfast offered mostly cold eggs but had omlettes to order. I didn't try one but heard they were pretty good. Try the buffet inside. The lines are a little longer but the food is hotter.
THE SHIP: We enjoyed the ship. Even though the ship was booked (3150 Passengers) completely, the hardest thing we found was getting lounge chairs at ANY of the pools. This is the RUDE passengers fault though that put a towel on the chair and dissapper for 2 hours. The ship was always being tended to in some way from the time of embarkation to disembarkation.The staff on the Triumph should be commended for doing a fantastic job. The Triumph sailed the ocean like we were standing still. Granted the seas were calm during most of the cruise, but a vessel that size doing 21 knots will have displacement. We felt no movement!
SAN JUAN: What a waste of time. We docked at 5pm and did the Bacardi Rum Factory tour. We also did this tour 16 years ago and their were MAJOR changes to the tour since then. The majority of the tour was a 10 minute video. BORING!! 16 years age we did an ACTUAL walk through of the factory and that was interesting. Our tour guide,"POPPY" was the highlight of the tour. At that time of the day, there is nothing to do in San Juan (not that I think the time we arrived made any difference). I wanted to send some E-Mail pictures from the factory to some friends but we were rushed back on the bus for return to the ship. If you go to this port...Stay on the ship!!! Don't waste your time OR money in San Juan.
St. Thomas: A very beautiful island (once you get past the taxi drivers trying to get you to hire them for a tour of the island). We eventually did the tour ($20 p.p. and we took as long as we wanted, a good deal) and got some really great pictures and did some shopping. Again, A VERY beautiful Island!
St. Maartin: The best stop on the whole cruise!!! I could have stayed here all week and skipped the other 2 ports of call. We did the St. Maartin Beach Break (at Mullets Bay) and have never exprienced a more beautiful beach!! The ocean was crystal clear, the sand had no rocks or pebbles or shells and was like walking on cotton (very hot walking in bare feet though) and the beach was clean. CAUTION......If you plan on going here on a shore excursion, be prepared for some topless bathers. Even though it is illegal on the Dutch side of the island, we had 5 woman that were walking around and swimming topless like it was permitted.I WILL make St. Maartin a future stop on a cruise. I highly reccommend it!!
RENEWAL OF VOWS : We purchased the $385 package and it was handeled great. They had a ceremony (performed by the Captain), a 2 tier wedding cake, a rose for the bride and a boutineer for the groom and LOTS of photo's. The Captain actually sat with us and had cake and spoke to us for about 15 minutes. He was quite the gentleman. The staff assigned to us (Tanya) was excellent. We were fortunate to have 2 friends from a cruise on the Pride 2 years ago sailing with us and the acted as our best man and maid-of-honor and signed the Renewal Of Vows certificate along with the Captain . It was great. Be prepared though, the photo package is $1200 and you don't find this out until AFTER the pictures are taken. You can talk them down (we got some pictures and the video slideshow for $250) and you get 1 FREE 8X10 as part of the package.
DISEMBARKATION: A TOTAL disaster!!!! Customs held us up for 1 1/2 hours past normal deboarding time and the cruise director kept apoligizing because they wouldn't tell him why either. I am sure flights were missed because of this. I have sailed from New York & Port Canaveral and it was ALWAYS easy on and easy off. Like I said earlier, Miami is just a mistake to cruise from. It can make a very exciting time of the prior months waiting for the cruise VERY stressful. It is very disorganized.
I would sail the Carnival Triumph again and would reccommend it to others. Just not from the Port Of Miami!!!!
Embarkation: nice and smooth. It really helps to have pre cruise forms filled out.Some passengers did not and had to wait while they filled out the paper work.
Cabin: We had cabin 6339 and our family was in 6343 next door. Our steward opened adjoining balcony partiction. We had a very good time enjoying the open seas, dining & company. Our cabin was delightful, plenty of storage and closet space.The cabin sterward Arief, from the Philippines, always kept ice on hand and the cabin was kept clean.Carnival advertised the great comfort of the mattress, and sheets.But, I did not think they were anything special. Earl's birthday surpise awaited us. The cabin was decorated with streamers,and lots of party favors.
Dining: Paris main 5:45. Because we were cruising with others,the choice was for the early seating.Food was really very good. I remember when Carnival did not have the best, but this cruise was exceptional.Everything from appetizers to desert were served with beautiful flare, Tastefully decorated and excellent flavor.
The very best was the prime rib,lobster & chicken dishes.
We ate mostly in the paris dining room.Much better service and food.
Food on the Lido deck needs some improvement.Cakes were dry, long lines for the buffet line, and flies. UGH! I reported this to the management.
Shows & entertainment: Rome Lounge. WOW, where do I start! The singers and dancers were GREAT. Every show they put on was wonderful.You have to see them to enjoy it. What energy, talent.
We did the bingo some, and tried to particapate in the contests.
We are not big on gambling, but did try out a few of the games.Of course, lost it all.
Cruise director, Paul Santley was a laugh a minute.
The comic Eddie Capone was great to. We have seen him on other ships, so some of the jokes were old. At other times there was the beautiful music from "Prelude Trio" playing classical music in different areas of the ship.It was a very nice touch. The Oxford Bar had the music of "Montreal Jazz Duo" and Sharon played the piano in the Lobby bar.
Pool side had "Caribbran Ectasy".
Over all the music & entertainment was very good.Ports of Call:
Half Moon Cay; My very favorite beach. Sugary White sand, blue waters, all kinds of sports, food,bathrooms& cabinas. It was great! We stayed untill the last tender back. A very nice and relaxing time. The only problem is the tenders. Some of our fellow cruise family have disabilties & could not make the trip.This small island is owned by Holland America/Carnival corporations.
St. Thomas; it was just ok. to commercial for my taste.We did the usual shopping for souvenirs, then back to the ship.We wanted to see St. Johns National Park and Trunk Bay, but didn't have the time. Maybe some day.
San Juan P.R;We booked the Baccardi Rum tour, and Fort San Cristobal.
Grand Turk; my next favorite beach. We toured the island. Very small area 7 miles by 1.5 miles.
There was not much there to see, the lighthouse,& the prison. We shopped at the Maragritteville shops.
Yeah, Jimmy Buffett for his dream to build a customer service and shops on the island. I predict this will be the best stop for cruise ships in the near future. The island reminded me of Grand Cayman 20 years ago.
Last day at sea; The time flew by, now it is time to pack, drive home. Oh how I hated to leave the ship.We all are tanned, happy,and looking forward to our next cruise. Carole aka Sea Trekker
This was our second cruise on carnival.our cruise was an oldies cruise with guest stars, the four tops,bill medley, paul revere and the raiders, and andy kim. the shows were great.we had been on carnial before and knew what to expect, however when we arrived at the port of miami, all passengers arrived at the same time and once on the ship all passengers were directed to the lido deck for lunch.you can guess with nearly 2,900 passengers what that was like. I know carnival was overwhelmed with the crowds, but I saw no effort from carnival staff to help.once in our room we were very surprised.we had stateroom 6432 on the upper deck. this was an 8-a category room and much larger than all other 8-a staterooms,and a large balcony.
I would recommend 6432 to any first time balcony passengers.the food was great, as usual and our head watier was the best.we had no time for on board activities, as we had concerts with the stars during the day, so I can't commment on shipboard activities.our room steward was good, but hardly ever saw him.I feel that carnival taking out tipsthe first day lends staff not to work as hard for tips.overall the ship was in great shape, and the triumph was the largest ship we had been on.for those who like casinos, this casino on the triumph was huge.bars and dance clubs are everywhere and you can stay out all night and have a great time. I would rate the triumph an overall 4 out of 5 stars.shore excursions are what you make of them.we had been to cozumel mexico, grand cayman, and jamaica before and my wife knew that shopping was a must in cozumel, great deals and the best part is they give you free tequila just to come into the store, even without buying anything.we love carnival and will most likely only cruise on carnival.some people say carnival is too much of a party boat, but you can have a great time on carnival even if you don't party. we have never had problems kids on ships, but as I say we have on been on two cruises, and I have read reviews of terrible brats running up and down, but we have been lucky so far.the triumph is a large ship and hard to get around on at times, there are floors you can not get to from other floors without getting on elevators and knowing which floor to get off on, and all elevators don't go to the same floors, but after a day or two you can get around just fine.I highly recommend carnival.