After a nice, but short, four day cruise on Triumph last year around this time, we decided to try a five day. The four day just went by too quick, plus we wanted another port to visit, and we noticed that the cost for a five day was about the same as a four day. While I still prefer seven days, five was a nice getaway at a great price.
We had Faster To The Fun so were able to board fairly quickly. We arrived at the port around 10:30 in the morning. The Priority line for security had about five people in front of us compared to about fifty in the regular line. Likewise, when we got to check in our line had two people in front of us compared to about a hundred in the regular check in line. We entered the FTTF waiting area at 11:10 (Diamond and Platinum had their own area) and boarding began right at 11:15. By 11:30 we had dropped our bags and bottled water in our cabin and were headed for Guy's Burgers.
The burgers at Guys were pretty good with a really nice toppings bar. Admittedly I can find a burger this good at any number of places around town, but these were definitely better than the burgers Carnival used to serve. The fries reminded me of a slightly crispier version of Fuddrucker's fries. We never got a chance to visit the Blue Iguana for tacos, but living in Houston I can also get great tacos at any number of places so wasn't upset. Food in the MDR was really good and the service was great. Buffet seemed to have slipped a notch since last year and the couple of times we ate there we weren't impressed. Room service was hit or miss. Ordered coffee and bagels for 5:45 the morning we docked in Progreso as we had an early excursion. It didn't arrive until almost 6:20 by which time I had brought coffee and pastries down from the buffet. The server was very apologetic and said they were overwhelmed as a lot of people had the same idea. A call from room service would have been great as I would have simply cancelled and saved him the trip and us the wait. Another morning the other cabin in our party didn't get their door hangar picked up the night before. They waited about twenty minutes past the expected time and only discovered it still there when they thought they heard a knock and opened the door to find it hanging on the door handle.
Entertainment was OK. The Welcome Aboard show was funny, Wonderful World was as good as last year, the Big Easy was cancelled due to rough seas, and a Magic and Illusion show that I had never seen before was probably the best of the lot. I also took in a comedy show which was hilarious, and a karaoke show that was a lot of fun.
As for the new bars, I skipped the Blue Iguana since I'm not a tequila fan. Enjoyed the Red Frog Rum bar. Really enjoyed the Alchemy Bar. The drinks there were fantastic! I only wish I could have tried more of them. Walked through but didn't drink in the EA Sports Bar. I actually liked the old Olympic Bar's ambiance better.
Debarkation was very pain free. We got a letter the day before telling all FTTF cruisers to go to the Rome Lounge on Deck 3. We got there as instructed at 8:00 and were off the ship by 8:30. The only thing Carnival needs to get a handle on is the number of people either trying to sneak in there who don't belong, or the people who belong but want to crowd the door so they can get off a few minutes sooner. We sat close to the stage and still were off ten minutes after we were called. There was only one girl (one of the dancers I think) trying to control the mob and half of them were ignoring her. Carnival really needs to get a security guard down there to help keep the crowd from blocking the area around the theater doors.
My next cruise will be with NCL, not because I don't like Carnival, but because I want to try other lines. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend a five day cruise on Triumph.
I can't say enough about the staff, especially those from the Philippines. This was the week that the big typhoon hit. I'm sure they were all sick with worry for family and friends, but except for an occasional glance at the TVs in the common areas, you'd never have known it. They gave the same great service with a smile that they always do.