We are a quiet couple in our 60s. We sailed to obtain our Platinum status before the end of the year and purchased the minimum 1000 shares of stock in order to get onboard credit. We bought and sold this stock on other occasions, always with a little profit.
We booked this cruise the Monday the Triumph was being towed to Mobile from Progreso after an engine fire. The bad publicity Carnival suffered does not intimidate us.
We chose offsite parking with Premier parking and were picked up promptly when we arrived and departed Tampa. We booked online and received a $4 discount coupon.
We arrived at 11:00 a.m. and as Platinum members, we were escorted to a private room where we were handed our tickets and immediately escorted to the gangway...No Wait!
Our open bottle of water was confiscated by security; only sealed water bottles are allowed.
We are still not sure if we could have accessed our room immediately upon arriving on board as we hear it is OK for those who pay FTTF! All the doors were closed so we waited until 1:30 p.m. to drop our bags off.
It took place in the Normandie Lounge and the crew even asked those of us who could not use stairs to stay after the drill so they could take down our names. We were spared the walk up to the actual muster station to view our lifeboat.
Clean Fantasy Class ship, she is showing her age, however.
Sorry the Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades were not available here.
The Fun Shops are small and very crowded. There is not much inventory and we were disappointed in the lack of Carnival logoed items. $$$ high dollars.
The liquor store attendant from Australia was adamant about telling us that we could take as much liquor as we wanted for $1 a bottle through CBP. He had been on the Triumph during the fire, he mentioned. I don't think he knew what he was talking about...not the first time a liquor store attendant tries to dupe us on Customs clearances. He is really the only unpleasant crew member we encountered on this ship.
Contrarily to the previous sailing on Triumph where we were completely turned off with the Anytime Dining "experience", this time, we really enjoyed it. We were seated immediately every night.
In the Elation Dining Room, the venue for those of us who selected Anytime Dining, the food was delivered hot and well prepared. We requested waiter Manoj Parmar each time along with a table for 2. The noise from the Piano Bar was a bit loud a couple of nights, but Manoj complained to excellent Maitre d' Ian D'Souza, who took care of it.
We had breakfast in the dining room once so we could try the eggs Benedict. They came overcooked and the sauce was hard as a rock but I didn't have to say anything, Manoj noticed and exchange them.
Manoj also asked for the Tiramisu recipe for me but it's for 512 portions.
Room service worked for breakfast twice but on one occasion, they didn't collect our slip from the door.
I always liked the chèvre pizza, straight out of the oven. It is now served as an entire pizza, smaller size than before. I brought my Ziploc bag and saved what I couldn't eat for a midnight snack. Too bad it won't be available with the changes to the pizza menu.
We skipped the buffet on the Lido deck and almost only ate in the Elation Dining Room for lunch.
We went to the Wok station once. The plates of vegetables were pretty much empty. There was very little sauce on the Szechuan shrimp and the dish was tasteless.
We each ordered a Reuben at the Deli and could not eat it. It was a bit too fatty for our taste.
I had made a reservation for the Chef's Table but it was cancelled since only 3 people had booked it. The chef offered a private galley tour but I declined it. He sent a plate of chocolate covered strawberries.
Drinks and Beverages
We carried our 2 allowed bottles of wine with us and stuck to the 500 ml size since on another sailing, we had a 1.5 ml confiscated once and returned to us on the last evening of the cruise.
We find the cost of liquor and water pretty steep so I usually pack my own water and soft drinks and order a bottle from Bon Voyage, something we can now do online. I didn't want to lug this heavy bag with 6 bottles of water and 6 diet sodas so I checked it. The bag was sent to the "naughty room", searched and delivered to our cabin after the other 2 bags with a letter stating it had been opened because it appeared there might be some illegal items in it. I never lock our bags but seal them with a plastic tie which they can break if they need to so I am not called to that "naughty room".
Ordering liquor or wine after being seated in the dining room takes a while. We had a free coupon for a drink as Platinum members and I truly enjoyed my pomegranate Martini. DH had a Guinness.
Behind the Fun Tour
DH took this tour and enjoyed it very much. The cost was $55 and limited to 12. They took a picture of the group with the captain gave him a bag as a souvenir (cheap make and not the baseball cap we thought they gave) and sent him a plate of chocolate covered strawberries. Some ship stats and the chocolate melting cake recipe were also offered.
We selected an Oceanview Guarantee and were pleasantly surprised to find that we were on the Empress deck, forward. The stateroom was comfortable although it needed a good dusting. I wiped it down and sprayed Lysol everywhere.
I used the laundry room's iron in front of stateroom E2 once. It is fully equipped with vending machines for soap and the washer dryer take quarters only.
Our steward kept our ice chest full of ice. He was happy when we ordered a robe from him since this gave him some favorable points.
He made a towel animal every night and on the second night, left our Platinum gifts, 2 Carnival logoed Tervis mugs and 2 pins on our bed.
We docked at the International Pier, a last minute change from Puerta Maya.
Our goal here was to purchase typical items from Mexico: we took a cab to the local grocery store, the Chedraui where we bought local Castillo rum and some tropical flavored Crystal Light envelopes. Then, on to the PAMA store on Av. Rafael Melgar for some duty free colognes and multiple stops at the small stores in the town's center where DH purchased a big 22" clay sun. The store clerk claimed it was a Talavera piece but it was not marked as such and had about 10 more colors than the 6 colors unique to Talavera pottery. I also bought 28 Mexican beach cover ups "salidas" to wear around the house.
Haggling in Coz is not like it used to be. Shop owners are more independent now even though they still hassle tourists to enter their shops and their restaurants.
We had noticed on a previous sailing that cabs now use more big vans and pile up different groups, stopping at different destinations on the way, a waste of time for those who don't get off at the first stop. We did not hesitate to ask for a small, private cab since our time is limited and better spent shopping or sitting on the beach rather than riding around making stops to let others off.
A breeze! Platinum members were asked to wait in the library. We didn't. We had breakfast and came back to our room for just a few minutes since we were the first ones called.
Our luggage had been collected the night before and was waiting for us in Zone 1, closest to the CBP exit checkpoint.
We hired a porter who walked us to the stop where the parking company picks up, a good ways from the port.
CD, Steve Cassel was the CD, nice guy! He made a lot of announcements.
The seas were rough although it didn't bother us...just helped us sleep better, it seems. The docking in Cozumel was so hard that one ship, the Oceania Riviera did not stop in Cozumel that day. We say it going the other way as we were arriving in Coz. I checked their roll call and found out that their captain said it was just too rough for them to dock.
There was a very active roll call and meet and greet set up for this cruise on Cruise Critic. Sorry I missed the M&G. It's always fun to meet everyone prior to sailing so we can share stories and socialize later during the cruise.