This was our third cruise, but the first in 10 years and the first with children (ages 7 & 5). We picked Carnival only because they are the only cruise line offering shorter cruises out of Galveston in the summer (we live in Houston). Also, we had heard good things about Carnival's kids club.
You would never know the trauma that the ship went through earlier. It looks & functions fine. The public areas are very nice. The formal dining rooms (Paris & London)are beautiful as is the main theater (the Rome lounge). So are the main lobby,the casino and the other lounges/bars inside.
Both embarking and disembarking went very smooth.
Our room was ample enough for the 4 of us in terms of storage space, bathroom space etc.The ocean-view window was large and I did not really miss the balcony we had on earlier cruises. We were on deck 2 which was very convenient to access the formal dining rooms and the Rome lounge on deck 3. The one complaint I have about the room is that the sofa does not fold out to make a bed for two. Rather it simply has a single mattress. To accommodate the 4th person Carnival had a small mattress/bed-spring that stores under the main bed and that they place on the floor next to the sofa sleeper & leave there. It was fine for sleeping but intruded on the floor space and left little room for walking from the door to the main bed.
Triumph has 3 pools. All are outside, shallow & salt water. None is big, even the center one on Lido deck where outdoor events occur. This pool becomes overcrowded & unusable at times. The pools overall were a disappointment.
Other outside stuff includes a nice water slide, a basketball goal, 9 hole mini golf (very popular), a ping pong table (broken) and a fenced in toddler area with slides etc. and a number of peddle cars/trikes (most broken).
Service in the dining rooms etc. was excellent.
A negative was the fact that many of the activities on the schedule were geared to getting more money from the passengers. "Free" seminars for example. Carnival sets up lots of opportunities for paid photos (getting on the ship, getting off the ship, dress elegant night, dress casual night etc.). My wife happened to ask our steward where he learned to make the towel animals and he instantly produced a book on this from his cart, for sale. And Carnival charges for drinks in the casino, unlike every land based casino I have been to. It was too much.
The shows in the main lounge (Rome) ranged from so so to excellent. A couple were quite elaborate. The lounge itself is very nice & large & never filled up. We did not catch any of the comedy or burlesque shows.
The food in the main dining rooms was very tasty, though portions were on the small side at times (hey, we're from Texas!). One could always order more. The your choice dining (versus set time) worked well for us & we only waited once for a table (for 30 min). The buffet restaurant on Lido deck was convenient and had ample seating but the selection was not as varied as I would have expected on a large cruise ship and the quality was so so. We tried a couple of the specialty food outlets (Guy's Burgers and Pirate Pizza) and they were fine though not exceptional.
We put our kids in the kids club 2-3 times for 2-3 hrs each time. Our 7 yo son always enjoyed it. Our 5 yo had mixed reaction due to the fact she was with a 2 - 5 yo group that she felt was babyish at times. It was generally convenient but they do close for 1 hr for lunch & 2 hrs for dinner so you can't leave your kids there literally all day.
Carnival has (or had) a reputation for being more of a party cruise line. We saw this to some extent (compared to our previous Princess & RC cruises). This cruise probably would not be the best choice for older couples or families with small kids (like us). Overall it was not bad, but frankly, we did not have the same sad feelings upon disembarking from this cruise as we had on our other cruises.