Carnival Triumph Review Sailing date June 27, 2005/Canada
Our family of four had previously cruised two (2) times. First on Royal Caribbean and second on Princess, so this was our first experience with Carnival. This time there were thirty of us, and some had never cruised before. (Ages ranged from 5-82) I can't speak for everyone, but here are my thoughts.
New York: Our group had chartered a bus, which I would highly recommend for any groups out there. We arrived at the New York pier at 11:15, and security would not allow our bus to enter the parking area, and asked us to return in 30 minutes. I guess they wanted to allow more time for loading/unloading of existing people in the parking area first. So, we killed about 20 minutes and were allowed right in. Check in went very smoothly, no problems, and we were on board by 12:30. Our cabins were not ready, so we all headed directly to the Lido Deck for the lunch buffet. The food was OKAY, but everyone found something to eat. I personally loved the fruit. It was delicious. About 1:00 we walked down to our cabin and it was ready, so we got the word out to everyone else in our group to head to theirs. Sure enough, everyone was able to get settled in early. (They tell you to give them until 2:00 to clean)
Cabins: Many in our group ended up on the UPPER DECK inside cabins, and our family was one of them. We lucked out with our children right next door, (ages 22 & 19), even though we all booked 4A GTY. Our TA did a wonderful job of linking our bookings so we were all pretty close together. Others in our group had booked 6A GTY and ALL ended up on the SPA DECK with the floor to ceiling windows. Nice upgrade!
We were happy with our cabin location. Prior to boarding, I was concerned since we were right over the casino that it would be noisy, but I worried for nothing. The only noise we heard was from people in the hall. Unfortunately, some parents must have used this as an opportunity to let their kids run wild, so THEY could have some quiet time, because there wasn't a parent in sight, and some of these children were quite young. My sister and I did have a nice "TALK" with them all in the hall, and it seemed to help. We asked them to please walk and not run, and to please talk quietly because people were sleeping. The looked afraid, so whatever works!
Our cabin steward Elio did a wonderful job of keeping our cabin clean, and we loved our towel animals he left for us. The cabin itself has plenty of storage, and thanks to all the wonderful advice on the boards, I don't leave home without my shoe organizer for the back of the bathroom door. That's the best tip I have gotten and I had every section filled. This keeps things very organized. I take along an extension cord and alarm clock also. Forgot the nightlight and we could have used one. We asked Elio to please make up the beds as a king, and he did so while we were at dinner.
Weather: Lets just say I'm glad we didn't pay extra for an oceanview! Fog, Fog, and MORE FOG!! LOL!! We did have ONE nice day to enjoy up on deck. Book in hand and a nice little sunburn. Didn't expect that on a trip to Canada, so this was an added bonus! The rest of the trip, was cold and rainy, but we still had a great time. It's what you make it. For those of you wanting information on the water slide, it was closed everyday for us, but not sure if it was due to weather or maintenance issues.
Saint John: My husband and I made no reservations in advance but ended up walking around for a little, and then getting a cab to see the Reversing Falls. ($9.00) I think it's well worth it, because the views are beautiful. If you go, head to the Fallsview Restaurant, and continue to the next place on the left. (sorry don't know the name) It had outdoor seating set up, and a staircase down to an outlook area. Great spot for pictures and to check out the jet boats which come by often. Then we walked over the bridge to Douglas Ave, (if you are afraid of heights, don't look down), and made a left to head to where the jet boats depart from. We hung around there for a while, and met up with others from our group who were booked to ride one. EVERYONE loved the boat ride and had a smile ear to ear when they got off. You WILL get wet! They highly recommend this, and booked this on their own to save money, rather than through Carnival.
Halifax: My husband and I had read a lot about Halifax, and it's true. If you are able to walk, and don't mind hills, you can certainly check out the place on your own, without having to take any tours. We walked for 4 hours, and headed back to the ship. We walked up to the Citadel first and went inside to look around. Then to the Freaky Lunchbox Candy Store that I had read about. I enjoyed seeing candy from days gone by…and of course I had to buy some. Then we walked towards the waterfront and happened upon a pedway that had a sign to the Casino. So we headed there just to check it out (no deposits made J). The pedways kept us out of the weather, which was worse in the am, and got better in the afternoon. On the way back we walked outside along the waterfront, since the weather had cleared. Now my parents, who can't walk for long, shared a cab with another couple and for $100.00, he took them to ALL the sites, including Peggy's Cove. They had a wonderful day, and saw everything!! Again, no plans were made in advance. They got off the ship, and intended on just getting a cab to the casino, and from there they planned on making arrangements for the Double Decker Bus, which they could hop on and hop off of. Well, when talking to the cab driver, he said he would take them everywhere they wanted to go, and he certainly did! They saved a bundle doing it this way. (I think they were charging people $51.00 a person just to go to Peggy's Cove).
Entertainment: We didn't see all the shows, but a few. The Wonderful World show was the best one I saw. Everyone that saw it really enjoyed it. I especially loved the costumes, and thought it was well done. Showtime was another show later in the week, and it was good, but didn't touch the other IMO. We did not see any of the comedians, so I can't comment. I caught a little of the not-so-newlywed game, and it was funny. Karaoke in the Club Rio was entertaining, but by the end of the week I had had enough. The singers seemed to get much worse as the week went on, and I just couldn't stand it anymore LOL! I give them all credit for having the nerve to get up there-KUDOS!! Thanks to my waiter Mino-he kept the beers coming and called me by name. I guess I was spending some time in there. J I spent some time in the sing-a-long piano bar too. I believe the piano man's name was Mark, and boy can he play the piano! Excellent!! The singing was another story, but hey, everyone was having a good time in there. As for the casino, no deposit made from us J, but believe it or not, my parents were hitting on the video poker machines, and doing quite well! I told them both, I hoped they realized that just doesn't happen often on a cruise ship. (they live in Las Vegas, so need I say more?) Luck was on their side, so we were very excited for them. They like Bingo, but $20.00 for ONE game was a big rip off, so they just wouldn't play. Again, they live in Vegas, so they're not used to that. Overall, I thought the entertainment was "fine to good". 5 days was just right to have time to check out most of the activities on board, and get your fill.
Food: We love room service for breakfast, and did this everyday morning except for 2. It always arrived on time, and I loved having that hot coffee in my cabin, along with the delicious fruit. My hubby had cereal and yogurt also, and boy the juice sure is a large size. We always tipped $2 or $3, and felt the service was very good. One morning we headed to the dining room for breakfast. We had never done this before on any of our cruises, so we wanted to check it out. We were seated with strangers at a table for 8, but by the end of breakfast no one was a stranger any longer. That was the best part about it. The food was OKAY. The last morning we had breakfast on the LIDO DECK, and it was OKAY also.
For lunch we tried the deli, which I thought was very good. (Pastrami on rye and turkey). We also tried the pizza and we felt it was OKAY. We didn't try anything from the Hong Kong Noodle place, but my parents did love the soup from there. I had a couple hamburgers from the grill, and the second one was good. The first must have sat for too long. The fries are very good. Hubby said the ice cream was OKAY.
Now dinner was very good. Our server Amela was excellent, and by the end of the week, we all hugged her goodbye. Our group was celebrating my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, and she made them feel special. She even brought out a dessert with a candle in it, and several servers all sang Happy Anniversary to them. Thanks Amela! Take advantage of trying different things you have not eaten before. You can always order another meal, if you don’t care for it. Many nights I passed on the salad, just so I could try a few different appetizers. I liked everything I tried. On formal night, I had FOUR lobster tails. Yes FOUR. That is one of my favorites things, so I took advantage. I didn’t eat any of the sides so I was able to handle this just fine. One in our party ordered a lobster tail first, then a filet, and then another lobster tail. No problem at all! My husband’s favorite was the chateaubriand. Everyone in our group thought dinner was very good. No complaints. I’m not a big dessert eater, but the soufflé was fantastic, so try it!
Service: I thought the service on board was very good. Everyone said hello to you in the halls, and was very friendly. I went to the purser’s desk several times, and they were very nice and resolved little things with ease. The only problem I heard about was when some of the younger crowd in our group (17-20+ year olds) went to the Hollywood Dance Club and started requesting songs. They all said the DJ was rude to them, and not nice at all. Not sure what his problem was, but I guess he was not a happy camper, or maybe having a bad day? The only other “bump in the road” we encountered was when we went to the dining room after boarding to make sure our table assignments were correct for our group. This was something we faxed directly to Carnival months in advance and had each table figured out for our group so families could sit together. Well, they had it all wrong, and basically said that was the way it was going to be, and there was nothing more they could do for us. We gave up pretty easy, especially after hearing how things went for other folks who were in front of us in line. Lots of unhappy folks in this room, sorry to say. So my sister and I sat down at a table and spent a half hour trying to work out the new seating arrangements for thirty people so that families could sit together. This was a little stressful, and we were unhappy, but we finally came up with a plan that worked for our new table sizes. What a feeling of relief! We were happy to move on…but not so fast… We all show up for dinner, and the table sizes were totally different than what we were told when we went to the dining room earlier! So thirty people are standing around while my sister and I scramble to figure out again another seating arrangement. What an absolute mess. Thankfully Amela our server stepped in, and with a chair added here and there, we worked everything out.
After dinner I approached a photographer to ask how I could arrange for a group photo for the following day (formal night) prior to dinner. He told me to go the photo shop the next morning and make an appt. I did so, and at 4:15 the next day, a photographer showed up as scheduled and placed our group on the staircase near the atrium. Everything went smoothly and he was very nice. So great service there! Then off we went to the Captains Reception for free drinks!
Several different lounges were available for the Captains Reception. Our gang all went into The Big Easy Bar and pretty much had the place to ourselves. There was a gentleman playing the piano in there too. Very nice. Meanwhile there was a line a mile long to get into the Club Rio. Either they didn’t know they had other options, or it was important for them to shake hands with the Captain I don’t know. The only difference with being in The Big Easy is there is no bar in there. So you were left with the choices of drinks, which were brought around on the trays. Now one person in our group wanted a beer, and strolled over to the Club Rio bar, and brought it back no problem. They served appetizers also, which was a nice touch.
General Comments: For those of you wondering if the Triumph has started replacing their bedding, the answer is yes. They were doing so as we boarded, and for a few days I did see new mattresses in the halls that they were moving about. Not sure if this has been completed in all cabins, but they are definitely in the works. I’ve read other comments about how slow the elevators are, and I can certainly attest to this. We had several in our group that really needed the elevators to get around more easily, but they really are terribly slow. I’m not sure why. So this did make it difficult for some to navigate around the ship. Speaking of which, this has also been talked about, and yes the Triumph, is a little tricky getting around. I don’t know how many times we ran into a roadblock right at the London Dining Room, which is mid-ship. Now we knew it was there, but kept doing it anyway. J If the door was opened, we’d cut through, but we weren’t always so lucky. So, we’d turn around and usually go to deck 5, and use this deck most of the time to get from one end of the ship to another. This deck runs front to back with no roadblocks, along with the cabin only decks, so if you keep this in mind, you’ll be fine.
I thought the condition of the ship itself was very clean and you always saw the crew wiping or cleaning something. Yes, you’ll see a carpet spot or 2, but no big deal. Just don’t look down J
As far as the range of ages on board, we found many many families, and many many children. Now I love children, especially mine, but have I said there were many children? Compared to our other cruises, this ship did seem crowded to us. Maybe it was because the weather really wasn’t nice enough to be out on deck? We’re not really sure. We couldn’t help but notice how casual the atmosphere was either. Much more casual than our other 2 cruises. Again, not sure why, just stating the facts.
Debarkation: They asked that we be out of our cabins by 8:30 and to hang out in any of the public rooms. Our group arranged to meet on deck 10 (Lido). This doesn’t seem to get as crowded as deck 9. We were cleared by customs I’d say by 8:30, so they first called anyone doing the self-disembark. A little while later they called everyone else. I was surprised at this. I thought they would maybe call by color or deck, so everyone was not trying to get off the ship at once. So, we hesitated, then decided to give it a shot. We headed to deck 3, and it was a massive mob a people all crowded together, with more people heading from the stairs and elevator. I did not want anywhere near this action. So we noticed a crew standing on the staircase, and asked if we could exit from Deck 2 also, and he said yes. So we headed down one more flight of stairs, and wow, what a difference! We lucked out, so I’d say head directly to deck 2. We did have a short wait, but we were off the ship within 30 minutes. Thankfully our bus had already arrived and was waiting for us. I parked myself at the elevators in front of the NY terminal, and waved our party members in the direction of the bus. Pretty darn smooth! We exited the terminal around 10:30. Not bad!
In Summary: Everyone in our group had a good time, but I really think it’s what you make it. If you didn’t like something to eat, order something else. They are so many options. Our cabin locations worked out fine, the only thing about those on the Spa Deck, the fog horn went off every night all night, and they could certainly hear this clearly up there. They knew the alternative though, so what can you do? Overall Carnival came through, and we had a great trip together.