My husband and I just returned from the 4-day Cozumel cruise on the Triumph out of Galveston, our 4th time taking this cruise; the first three were on the Ecstasy, also out of Galveston. Several years ago we took a 3-day out of Miami on the Fascination -- our first time on Carnival, so this was our fifth Carnival cruise and our 15th cruise total (Princess - 1, NCL - 7 and Royal - 2). We went with our friends who had never cruised before. After reading the reviews I must admit I was a bit leery about this cruise even though we have never had any kind of issues whatsoever with Carnival. This cruise couldn't have been more perfect. The only "glitch", if you want to call it that, was that the current was so strong upon our arrival in Cozumel that it took an extra half hour to get the ship docked. However, because of that, we were given an extra half hour in port before we had to leave.
Embarkation was a breeze -- we got to the dock between 11:15 -- 11:30 and were having lunch on the Lido deck by 11:45. Everyone was very friendly and helpful. The ship itself we found to be very well decorated and maintained. It does not have the "glitz" of the Fascination or the Ecstasy, and we all thought it was very tastefully done. The cabins were ready by 1:30. We had adjoining cabins with balconies with our friends. We've never had a cabin with so much storage space that we couldn't fill it up -- and we overpacked! The bathroom even had a medicine cabinet, rather than the bars across the sink to hold your toiletries in place. We noted the size of the shower was about half the size as what we were used to on Carnival; however there was still plenty of room.
We met our cabin steward on the first day and he was extremely nice and kept the room immaculate the whole time. Chocolate and towel animals every night were a treat. We had the "your time" dining and it worked out really well. We were able to get the same table and waiter every night and we never felt like we were being rushed or the service was slow. My husband talked with the Maitre D when we first boarded to make reservations, but he was just told to show up when we wanted to and we'd be seated within 15-20 minutes, and we weren't guaranteed which table we'd get. We never had to wait longer than a minute or two and after befriending the assistant Maitre D the first evening, he made sure we got the table we wanted. The "your time" dining was in the London Dining Room on Decks 3 and 4 midship. The food was fantastic, as was the service and ambiance. We ate all of our diners there. Breakfasts and lunches we ate at the buffet. We couldn't figure out why so many reviewers had such negative comments on the food in the buffet. Granted one cannot expect five-star dining when food is prepared in such massive quantities as one gets on a ship, but to say it was of such poor quality or inedible as some have said is totally not true. People have different tastes and just because it doesn't please one person doesn't mean it is sub-par and no good. The four of us found the food to be of excellent quality and extremely well prepared. If we didn't want to be pampered at dinner, we probably would have eaten our dinners at the buffet as well. The staff in the London dining room and the buffet work extremely hard, yet they always had smiles on their faces and said a pleasant hello.
We did not take any shore excursions in Cozumel as we've been there several times, but we did rent a Jeep and drove around the island to a couple of beaches/bars/restaurants. The drive along the east coast was gorgeous and the water a beautiful shade of aqua/tourquoise.
My husband and friends used the gym and our friends used the spa and had nothing but positive things to say about them.
Even though this cruise was sold out, it didn't seem like there were the crowds we were expecting. In fact I asked our waiter if the ship was indeed sold out and he said it was but a lot of people stay up late and sleep during the day, hence making the ship seem less full. We know there were a lot of children on the cruise from seeing them on day 1, but they were kept busy by the different "camps" onboard and we hardly saw any of them. We were able to get chairs on deck and were also able to find quiet areas away from the hustle by the pool. One thing we did notice was a staff member nicely telling four children to get out of the hot tub, an enforcement we've never seen and were glad to see. There was a plethora of activities on the two sea days, so you could do as much or as little as you wanted. We chose the latter, but on one of the afternoons we did go to afternoon tea which was fantastic. The casino was always very active and had some interesting games, and of course there are the shops, the outside theater screen, etc. The evening performances were entertaining and the theater was very comfortable.
Debarkation was easy as well. We chose not to take our own bags on or off and let the porters handle them, and we were off the ship and in our car by 10.
This cruise is a great way to introduce first-time cruisers to the wonderful world of cruising, and our friends are ready for another, as are we. The crew works very hard and has very little time to rest, yet they are very accommodating, always smiling and very friendly, going out of their way to help you. We are by no means demanding, but we don't like to be "blown off" either. We found everything to be perfect, from the food, to the accommodations, to the crew, and don't understand why some people give this ship such bad reviews.