About me...30 something, traveling with my husband and 2 children, age 10 and 3. Also traveling with my sister, her husband and 3 kids, age 9,7, and 5. Also had friends with their kids on board. This is my 4th cruise, 3rd on Carnival. First cruise with the 3 year old.
Room--We were in a balcony room on the Lido deck. Location was great. Very close to pools, but not noisy at all. Buffet was just across Lido deck. Camp Carnival just 2 floors up. All 4 of us were in one room, and all 5 of my sisters group was in one balcony room. Was definitely a little tight, was worked just fine for us.
Pools--Have read a ton about the pools on this ship being small, and I can confirm, yes, they are small, but our kids had a great time swimming either in the morning or evening after dinner. This way, was not too hot,and not so crazy. Lots of young partiers on this cruise, and we honestly avoided the Lido deck in the afternoon. I am sure it was largely due to the time of year...
Food--We were in the Paris dining room, early seating. We were at a great table for 10 by the window. Food and service in dining room was very good. A little slow the last couple of nights. Maybe less choices than in the past, but everything I tasted was very good. I had warm chocolate melting cake all 5 nights! Also, 3 year old ate with us 2 nights, rest of time at Camp Carnival. Kids menu in dining room included, chicken nuggets (just like McDonalds), pizza, burgers, etc. We ate breakfast and lunch on Lido every day. We get up early (thanks to the 3 year old!) and lines were not bad at all at around 7:30-8. Not a ton of options for breakfast, but omelets were very good, as well as fruit, waffles, etc. For lunch, me and kids had burgers and chicken by the pool most days. Everything was good. Buffet inside had theme everyday that was sometimes a little weird, but always found something to eat. Sandwich and Chinese stations good, did not try pizza but my sister's kids ate it every day! FYI, seating upstairs is also available and much quieter than downstairs.
Entertainment--Shows were much better than I remembered from past cruises. The Big Easy was a little weird but entertaining, and magic show and Wonderful World were both very good. Went to family friendly comedy and Tim was very good, Chas kind of annoying. Went to past guest party and enjoyed free drinks,and even won a bottle of champagne!
Camp Carnival--We were worried about our 3 year old going to Camp Carnival. He does not like strangers and has never been to day care or anything. Bottom line, he loved it. He woke up in the morning asking to go, and usually went for an hour or so in morning, hour in afternoon, and then asked to eat there in evening. He always went and was picked up with huge smile on his face. The ladies in Camp Carnival in 2-5 age group were absoulutely wonderful. Also, just a bonus, if you have a 2-5 year old in Camp, you get a phone so they can call you if there are any problems. Since my sister also had a 5 year old, we could call each other, and could also receive calls from the rooms. Very cool! My 10 year old did not love it quite as much. Most of the time, the 6-11 age groups were all grouped together, and most of kids were closer to 6 than 11. She did enjoy all scavenger hunts, and mostly just hung out at pool and went to shows with the grown ups.
Ports of Call--Cozumel was great. Went to Chankanaab, just got a taxi and bought admission at the door. Did not have near enough time to enjoy all the great stuff at the park. Mostly just hung out at children's beach, great pool, and watched dolphins. Would love to go back when we have more time. Progreso....honestly, I would never recommend anyone to go to Progreso voluntarily. We probably had 200 vendors trying to sell us everything from movies, jewelry, hair braids, and every imaginable do-dad piece of crap. Within an hour, my 3 year old was telling people "no thank you". With that said, we really ended up having a fun time. We walked through the craziness to the public beach, where we sat at a table and umbrella in exchange for buying beer and listening to everyone's sales pitch. After a few buckets of beer, the locals were not near as irritating, but am not in any hurry to go back. If Carnival would put some money into this port and regulate the vendors, it would be a lot better.
Only cons...Next to last night in dining room, waiter went on and on about comment cards and tipping and how Carnival only pays him $74 per month and if we don't tip him, his family doesn't eat, etc. Of course we were going to tip him, but this speech went on and on and was uncomfortable to say the least. Don't think Carnival would want their staff telling people this (whether it is true of not). Does not reflect well on Carnival...
Sorry if I have rambled....Bottom line, we had a great time for a very good price. The Triumph definitely could use a little updating, due to a little rust on the balcony, etc, but for us, it was a fabulous, fun vacation, that we would repeat in a heart beat.