Considering the negative reviews we read on this website, we were pleasantly surprised that we liked our Triumph cruise. Normally, we prefer to take NCL cruises. However, on this trip, we were in Houston for a family event and wanted to extend our stay by taking a cruise. We didn't want to drive to New Orleans, so a cruise from Galveston made sense. Triumph's itinerary fit perfectly with our plans.
Although Hubby and I had arrived from Los Angeles three days prior to the cruise, we had booked airport transfers to Galveston. We met the Carnival folks in Terminal C after we returned our rental. We waited about 15 minutes and then boarded our bus. After a quick stop at Hobby, we were on our way. Once we arrived in Galveston, porters were waiting to take our luggage onboard.
We got in line for security.
Now, we had read that you could bring one bottle of wine per person. Hubby loves wine but not the prices on any cruise ship. So, he packed two bottles of Pinot Noir in his carry on bag. When security saw the bottles, we were sent to a guy who seemed to be collecting bottles. "Oh, oh!" I thought. "So much for trying to save some money." The guy looked at the bottles and told us to go right ahead. Embarkation took awhile. NCL does a much better job at this. We dropped off our carry on bags in the room and went off to the buffet for lunch.
We were delighted to see that Triumph had much larger cabins than NCL. I have to admit that the bathroom was twice the size of the ones we've had on NCL. We had taken quite a bit of time researching what cabin to book. The reviews we read suggested that the Empress Deck (#7)was the best one for an interior cabin. They were correct. It was a quiet cabin that was close enough to the elevators.
Someone on this thread talked about the lower decks as being from another world. They were correct. We wandered to the lower decks and it's a different world down there. The hallways and cabins didn't seem kept up as well as on the Empress Deck.
We picked the late sitting for dinner. We were assigned the London Dining Room, second floor at a table for six. Food was hit and miss. That didn't bother us. After all, if your cooking for hundreds, of course you're going to have some misses. The warm chocolate melting cake is divine, though.
One of the highlights of the trip was the Chef's Table. We managed to get reservations before we left Los Angeles. We're so glad we did! Only 12 people get to experience the Chef's Table. The night of the Chef's Table, Wednesday, we gathered at the entrance of the London Dining Room. After being introduced to the Chef, we were taken to the galley for champagne and hors d'oeuvres. We watched the chefs make that evening's meals. Fascinating!After the reception, we were taken to the Library where we had a seven course dinner. That was out of this world! Many thanks to the Chef for making the evening so special!
Disembarking at Progeso was a breeze. We never book tours through the cruise line, having found that you can get the same service at a much lower price if you book with someone else. For our excursion, we went to Chichen Itza, the famous Mayan ruins. It's almost a two hour drive from Progreso but it was worth it. In Cozumel, we went snorkeling.
We didn't see any of the shows nor participated in the ship's activities. We preferred to sit by the pool and read. For such a large ship, Triumph's pool and hot tubs were small in comparison to other cruise ships.
Service was excellent. Our cabin attendant made up our room twice a day. Hubby thought the towel animals on NCL were better. Our waiters were very attentive and always called us by name.
The biggest complaint we have about Carnival and the one thing that would prevent us from becoming repeat customers is their lackadaisical attitude towards sanitation. On NCL, hand sanitizing is required before entering the restaurants. An NCL crew member will stand by the hand sanitizer and politely remind you to sanitized. Not on Carnival. A lot of the hand sanitizers machines were empty. No one cared if you sanitized. Sorry, Carnival, but that was a big turnoff for us. We were so grateful that we had brought our own hand sanitizer! So. please, Carnival, get your crew members to push sanitizing and make sure those machines are filled.