This was our 3rd Carnival Cruise and the second cruise on the Triumph. It was our first Eastern Caribbean itinerary. We planned to arrive on Thursday in Miami (cruise left on Sat)just in case of airline delays. This is the first time we let Carnival make our pre-cruise arrangements. We arrived as scheduled at Miami airport. There was supposed to be a carnival employee there to pick us up. We arrived in Miami at 6:30pm. We picked up our luggage and there was nobody there to pick us up. We called the emergency Carnival number several times and after 2 hours and numerous calls, we opted to just take a taxi to the hotel. (Cost $25.00 with tip) They had booked us at the hotel, Hyatt Regency and it was beautiful We were pleased with our room and the service at the hotel. We had purchased the transfer to the port but they had only 1 run and it left the hotel at 12 noon. As experienced cruisers we knew that 12 noon is too late to avoid lines (they tell you to come to port between 1:30pm and 4:00pm)I suggest that if you need pre-cruise reservations, let Carnival book the hotel but do your own transportation with the taxi service available. We took a taxi to the port ($7.00)We arrived at the port at 10:30am with less than 10 people on line. They processed us right away, sent us through security and we sat in comfortable chairs awaiting first boarding.
We sat about 20 minutes and then they let us on the ship at 11:30am. By that time the lines were already getting long for the people behind us) They had the buffet going and we ate before going to see if our room was ready. (It was ready by noon) We had a balcony stateroom which was beautiful. The pools and hot tubs were open and in use early. We started to hit bad weather by 7:00pm (we left a 4:00pm) The ship was moving around alot, which was new for us as we have cruised alot and you usually can't tell you are even on a ship. They had to drain the pools by 9:00pm as the waves and wind were causing large waves in the pool. Sunday was terrible weather, rain etc. The upper decks were closed due to dangerous conditions and most people spent the time in the casino. The captain did keep us informed of a weather problems. By Sunday afternoon, we had over 50mph winds and 14 foot waves. The ship was pitching alot, and several people were sick including the crew, many of whom said they had never been in such a rough storm. The upper decks were closed and many people skipped the 1st formal night due to being seasick. We are used to boating and did not have too much trouble with the ship moving. The captain and crew was very good and the captain informed us he was taking a more inland route as the ocean was too rough to travel in. By Monday morning the weather was better, but the route change caused us to arrive in San Juan 2 hours late (7:00pm)We stayed on board so we didn't go ashore. About 1/2 the people got off the ship. We did stay an hour longer in San Juan due to late arrival.
Tuesday was St Thomas. The weather was great the rest of the trip. We went up the skyride to get good pictures of the island (Buy your tickets from the purser, it's cheaper than buying them at the skyride itself) We then went on the Five star and trunk Bay excursion. Very good time. I would recommend this excursion. Wed was St Maarten and our schedule shore excursion was cancelled so we decided to get off the ship and walk around. St Maarten is beautiful but the vendors are annoying. You can take a water taxi to all the beaches without using an excursion. ($5.00/person gets you unlimited rides all day and they run continuous and are right there at the pier) The next 2 sea days were relaxing. Overall we were very pleased with the trip. The only down things were the weather, which is beyond the cruise lines control but the crew was very good and we at no time felt unsafe. We were disappointed in our cabin steward this time. She seems to have personality issues and we weren't happy with the job she did but others on the ship with different cabin stewards we very happy with their service (We just got the bad apple)We did go down to the pursers office and cancel the automatic gratuity due to poor cabin service (They automatically post $10.00/day per person on your bill($70.00 each for a 7 day cruise). You can have some or all of this removed if you are not happy with any of the service. There was no problem having the gratuity removed from our bill. We used self service, carry all your luggage from the ship yourself. All and all it was a great cruise and we will continue using Carnival.