Preface: I booked this cruise based on its short itinerary and Galveston location. Not because I HAD to get on the Triumph. It was my 15 year old daughter's birthday present.
I bought my parking through EZ Cruise online in advance and only paid $32 for 5 days of parking. Not bad. EZ Cruise people were great and I will surely use them again.
Embarkation: Best embarkation ever. Carnival land crew was great! Breezed through security in less than 15 minutes (was around 1 pm)and had my Sail and Sign card in my had 30 minutes after I locked my car up. Awesome! An;t say enough about the land based crew.
Upon settling in our room I was suprised that our luggage arrived so fast. About 2 hours after I got onboard. The ship looked pretty good. Public spaces looked freshened up and the cabin was acceptable. Typical Carnival staff pushing drinks on you evvery 5 minutes, but that is to be expected. We shoved off on time and the pool area with the TV and Red Frog/Blue Iguana Bar was really hopping! Very nice sail away.
Food: Typical for Carnival. Tasty, but not outstanding. I give them a thumbs up though. For the price paid you get some good meals. Main dining room had some friendly staff and a few that were very quiet. I think language was a barrier for a few. While they could communicate, they lacked enough english skills to carry on a conversation.
Casino" staff was friendly but their pathetic points program should be tossed IMMEDIATELY. I spent A LOT of time in the casino, all of it at the blackjack table (although my bets were $10 hand) I didn't accumulate squat. Essentially when my 15 year old daughter would go to Club O2 or out with her new friends I went to the casino. Probably 20 hours in a 4 day cruise altogether. I was told that after I aquired 200 points I would get a drink card. After 4 days of gambling I had accumulated 28 points. This is a joke. Would be better to not have a program than to have one that 98% of cruisers get nothing out of.
Entertainment: Comedy- Lester was hilarious. Adult show is VERY adult. I would have been embarrased to be in their with my parents (and I am 42) or my adult kids. The other comedian (white guy, cant remember his name) was NOT funny. Seemed very canned and was getting little crowd response. so comedy shows were a split.
Main theater shows were good, although on the day of our Cozumel stop there was no show, even though we were required to be back on board by 3:30pm. First time I ever had a ship not provide a nightly show.
Pool deck entertainment was good. DJ kept things going very nicely at the pool. Volume could be a tad lower. Sometimes hard to have a conversation by the pool. The Red Frog/Blue Iquana are both nicely situated and had great staff.
Room stewards were good.
Ship seems to be in good repair and functioned flawlessly. Seemed to be the "B" Team. I think they use shorter cruises for less seasoned staff or at least it seems so. The short itinerary and low prices make it a bit of a party ship. Lots of kids and bachelor parties. I have never heard as much noise in my hall ALL NIGHT as I have on this cruise.
I never buy into the "Carnival is a party ship" mentality, but this ship definately was a big party/kids ship. With short cheap cruises, that is to be expected.
Jen, the Cruise Director was so-so. I was never really feeling the vacation vibe that other cruise directors have brought out in me.
My 15 year old daughter LOVED every minute. Met a ton of kids her age and loved Club O2. I dont know what they do, but they did it right. Teens were having a blast.
Overall it seems like a good first cruise or perhaps a good short getaway. Having several week long cruises behind be, this one seemed to lack something. I am still a Carnival fan and would recommend them. I simply thing I need to have a longer cruise to get the full value out of getting on a ship.
The Triumph herself looks great and I had no complaints about the functionality. Carnival did a great job on repairs.
I am thrilled my daughter had a blast and ANY cruise is better than work, but this one gets 3 1/2 stars from me.