We cruised March 22-26, 2012 on the Carnival Triumph. It was VERY last minute, and we were told we booked the last available cabin. So, there was no planning or careful choice of ship. It was the only cruise that fit our schedule so last minute.
That said, we were pleasantly surprised by Carnival. Our only hiccup occurred during embarkation. When we got through the line to check-in and get our sign and sail cards, the cabin that we booked was already given to another party. Carnival was able to put us in a comparable cabin a few doors down, and assured us that the cabins were identical. My husband was disappointed because we changed from Port to Starboard, but it worked out great because when we were docked in Cozumel, we faced the island and it was a great view and we had fun watching the people and the other boats.
After reading the boards, I had lower then normal anticipations about the Triumph, so overall, I was very happy with our cruise. Our Steward was fantastic. He was always there for us, knew all our names from the start and the kids loved the towel animals each night. Our stateroom was clean and kept perfectly.
We were assigned the late dining in the Paris Dining Room. We were disappointed at first that we were not at a bigger table with another family, however, we were so worn out after the first day or two, it was nice not to have to make conversation at dinner if we didn't want to. Our wait staff was also excellent. They were great with our kids. The food was good, but certainly not 5 star.
The kids participated in Camp Carnival and had fun. It was a great way for them to meet other kids their age on the ship and it was great for mom and dad to have some alone time. Some of the Camp Carnival staff was good, some were not so good.
We spent a lot of time on the Lido deck watching the kids swim during the day. However, we did not do any of the night parties on deck. By the time we finished our late dinner, we were exhausted. The first night we went to the late Welcome Aboard show and the last night we went to the Mardi Gras show. The kids really liked the singing and dancing and my husband and I enjoyed Tex, the Cruise Director.
The ship is nice for its age. Most of it is still looks pretty up-to-date. But, it is definitely at the lower end of the cruise lines and even among the other Carnival ships.
We are planning our next cruise and are going to go back to Royal Caribbean, however, we will not count out Carnival for future sailing.