This was our third cruise out of Galveston and second on the Triumph. We went in December 2011 with our 92 year old grandmother and other family members. We went again with more family members this year who wanted to watch Grandma have the time of her life.
We chose this cruise because Galveston is an hour away from our homes. We also made a controversial decision to book the cheapest cabin available for four people. We landed in room 1423, the 5th room from the back of the ship on the starboard side. To our surprise, we did not feel much motion. We did hear the engines on occasion, but it was not very loud. Our aft position made the Paris Dining Room very convenient.
The 4 person cabin featured the traditional two twin beds and the bunk beds that dropped from the ceiling. Placing the twin beds right under the bunk beds maximized our room space. The rooms are very well designed for offering lots of storage space. We were able to put away all of our luggage and clothing with room to spare and the bathroom had a very large medicine cabinet.
We were much more comfortable in a four person room than we thought we would be. Of course, we liked the substantial 3rd and 4th person discounts and, all in (room+taxes+auto tips), we spent $252.00 per person on our cruise. The value on this ship is just sensational. Carnival gets even with us a little bit on the casino, specialty coffees, a few drinks and photos. However, you can very easily cruise and have lots of fun without spending any more money on the ship.
I see people complain about the food and no one in my family understands this. We feel the food in the dining room is truly fine dining. The dishes are elegant, the service is incredible and...where else do you get to try spicy alligator fritters followed by lobster and jumbo grilled shrimp? The buffet had lots of great offerings too. The Chopsticks side station offered great Oriental fare. Plenty of burgers and pizza were served outside on the Lido Deck.
The live music was semi professional, which translates to pretty good but not excellent. On a cruise ship, you would not expect to find the very best musical talent....but it was still nice. We skipped most of the shows since we had seen them before.
Your cabin TV will have ABC, CBS, CNN, The Discovery Channel, TNT, TBS, TMC, The Cartoon Channel and lots of cruise ship promotion channels. The networks feed out of Miami. I did not remember seeing NBC, but it may have been there.
We were expecting the lines to be much longer for food, but the buffet lines were pretty manageable and tables easy to find. Our best tip is to try to get to the buffet closer to its opening or closing and avoid the prime meal times. This will get you through the line three times faster.
While we really enjoyed our cruise, we would say that there are a few negatives. Every passenger will be relentlessly pestered for bar service. The servers are very aggressive and will interrupt your conversations to solicit drinks. Another one comes every two to three minutes. It is annoying, but you can tell that drink sales are important to the ship's bottom line.
Debarkation was a mess. To be fair, we were told the night before that the engines were damaged and that we would arrive in Galveston late. The number of self debarkers was much higher than I had ever seen it and everyone was in a hurry. The young lady trying to control the crowd was overwhelmed and frustrated and argued with many guests who began to ignore her somewhat unreasonable instructions. We did not get off the boat until about 1:40 P.M.
We were about 2.5 hours late getting into Cozumel which really cut into our limited port time. Our biggest issue was with our bathroom which had a musky, moldy smell. This kept us stopped up a little bit. It was not obvious where the smell was coming from.....our best guess is that the mold was behind the shower surround. The listed problems make our cruise rating 4 stars instead of 5 stars, but we would do the cruise again without hesitation.
The 4 day length was ideal. Big thumbs up to all of the crew members who never seem to have a bad day and work very, very hard. Thumbs up to all of our cruise mates who were so considerate of Grandma in her wheel chair....and thumbs down to the family who were so obnoxious in trying to save a whole row of ten chairs for people who may or may not have shown up when the deck was crowded. We know that the chair hogs have been well discussed on this site but, yes, it is a problem even in January.