Just got back from a four day cruise on Carnival Triumph. This was our second cruise, first time with Carnival. Not much to complain about as I'm the type that likes to make lemonade out of those lemons I sometimes am handed.
Embarkation was a breeze. We were in a lot right across the street from the terminal. After waiting almost two hours in line and to board when I took my first cruise, I decided to do what I have read here so many times and simply ignore the instructions to get there around 1:30 or even later for a 4:30 sailing. I checked my watch when we parked and it read 11:34. By 11:55 we were eating lunch on the Lido Deck. This is definitely the way to go from now on.
The food was pretty good, but we found the variety on the buffet to be a bit limited. The buffet was like this the whole cruise. Great food but not as big a selection as we would have liked. On the other hand we found the MDR menu to have more selections than we had experienced on our first cruise. We easily found something we wanted every night, which also meant that we didn't have to rely on the buffet too much.
Public areas were good for the most part. The photo gallery could get very crowded due to the way it's set up, and I wasn't thrilled with the promenade area being used as a huge portrait area, blocking a lot of the seating. Combine this with the library being used for the Chef's Table and there were few quiet areas to just sit and read a good book indoors (was a bit windy and cool outside in the evening). Luckily I found the Oxford bar on the third night. Nice atmosphere, plenty of seating, and quiet.
Our cabin was nice and a bit bigger than I was expecting. I wasn't a fan of the decor, especially in the bathroom, but it grew on me after a while.We saw our cabin steward at least once each day and he was very good at his job. Even kept our ice bucket filled without us ever asking him to do so.
The production shows (what I saw anyway) seemed very well done and were entertaining. I missed the Welcome Aboard Show, saw the Wonderful World show which I really enjoyed, and tried to watch The Big Easy. I say "tried" as I could only sit through the first number. Even though the CD asked that there be no flash photography, someone sitting in the row right behind me, who obviously had the IQ of a bag of hammers, decided that didn't apply to her. It was like sitting through a musical thunderstorm. At one point I even turned around and said "Excuse me", but she wouldn't even make eye contact with me. I decided it wasn't worth the trouble and just left. I was hoping that after multiple flashes someone from Carnival would have seen it and come by to ask her to stop.
Overall I liked the ship. It's well maintained and clean, but it's obvious it's getting close to dry dock time. At first it seemed to be a bit darker than I was hoping for, but that feeling passed. Loved the fact that there were plenty of elevators. Never had to wait too long.
With this being a short cruise and two of the days being over a weekend, we were a bit afraid of it being more of a "booze cruise". Luckily it never got that bad and we never encountered any drunks, but we did see quite a few "whoo girls". There were also a few groups on the ship that seemed to make it their mission to let you know they were there, by the loudest means possible. Although our cabin was on the Lido Deck, we were far enough away that we never heard any noise, even on the balcony. I don't want to be "that guy" that wants you to stop having fun, but there is a point where your fun overlaps my relaxation and can be annoying. To keep that at a minimum we've decided that our next cruise will be at least five days and during the week.
Would I sail Carnival, specifically the Triumph, again or recommend it to friends? In a heartbeat.