I would like to start off by saying this is my first review, so be gentle when critiquing.
We sailed out of Galveston on Dec 2, 2013 on Carnival Triumph. We had never been on her before, but this was our third cruise with Carnival. We have cruised on Ecstasy in 2008, and Conquest in 2012, and enjoyed all three of our trips with Carnival.
I will talk about Faster to the Fun in more detail later, but I'll start with this, it was worth it to us.
We boarded the ship and immediately put our bags in our rooms, and went up to grab a quick bite, as we were one of the first ones on the ship, we got a light bite to eat, because we didn't want to eat a lot, then want to eat at a normal time later. We then took a quick tour of the ship, something we didn't do until the end of the cruise last time, which was a mistake, we missed a few things we would have liked to have done on the Conquest.
We found the Triumph to be tastefully decorated, and having been on pre 2.0 Conquest, and mentioned how dated the look was to each other on Conquest, we thought it was refreshing looking. A few things were still a bit dated, but overall the ship looked nice.
The layout on the main pool area was fine, we had no issues during the cruise navigating from the front of the ship to the back using the Lido deck. I only mention this because some people have said that it was a pain to get around the deck because of the pool layout. I thought about that specifically as I walked out of the main doors from the front of the ship, out onto the deck, between the two hot tubs, then made a left or right and went around where people were dancing or getting in or out of the pool. I went around the Red Frog, or Blue Iguana bar, whichever direction I wanted to go, without any hinderance.
Guys Burgers were amazing. AMAZING. The fries were delicious, and the toppings bar was always full of fresh toppings. I LOVE tomatoes, and I didn't see a bad tomato on the entire cruise, they always looked fresh. The staff at the burger bar were always happy to accommodate me with whatever my request was, more fries, double burger, 1 plate of fries, no burger, whatever. Again, awesome awesome awesome.
Mexican bar, didn't try, but my wife said there was too much cilantro in the chicken for her, so we didn't eat there after she tried it once. There were a LOT of people eating it, so I can't imagine it was bad. The toppings bar looked all fresh each time I walked by it.
The Deli was simply amazing. We had the deli bar twice, and loved the food out of it both times.
Chopsticks. I don't eat Chinese food, and my wife never saw anything she liked on the menu, so we passed on that, always a line there though, and the cook was the same guy that did our omelets, Claudio from the Philippines, was great.
Pizza place (forget the name). The pizza was OK. We ate it once, but it didn't do anything for me so we didn't get any more.
Omelet your way. As mentioned above, Claudio was AMAZING. He could knock out 3 omeletes at one time, he was really the only staff member that we learned his name, other than our room steward, that should tell you something. He was amazing.
Breakfast Buffet. We enjoyed that every morning, good fresh food out, never seemed to be out, and the staff was quick to replenish was was running low. I really thought the food was pretty good. The ongoing complaints about Carnival buffet food baffles me. I never once thought that I was going to get a 5 star meal from a buffet, so I didn't expect it. The food had good flavor, was fresh, and I enjoyed myself.
Lunch Buffet. The same can be said about Lunch as the Breakfast, food was good, and we ate it. Nothing remarkable about the food, but it was good.
Dinner Buffet. I liked almost everything they put out on the buffet for dinner, we didn't go to MDR every night, as we like to do, well, whatever we want. Dinner was tasty every day, nothing spectacular, but I did like it.
Main Dining Room. We had Paris late, and met a nice couple when we were there, Victoria and O'Neill on their first cruise. Enjoyed nice dinner conversation with them. Gave them a few pointers on what to look for and chatted it up for a bit. The menu had a lot more on it than our last cruise so that was a plus. We tried the alligator, I thought it was pretty good, she didn't care for it. Scary thing is, I'm the one who doesn't like to try anything new. Food was good, I had the Prime Rib, it was very good, lots of flavor. She had the Lobster Tail and Shrimp, she said "it was good. It was REALLY good actually".
Room service. We had room service twice, food was cold sandwiches so not much to do there. Had plenty of meat on them, they didn't scrimp on the sandwiches. They served them pretty quickly too, which was good.
Room Steward. If I had ANY complaints about this cruise it was this. It wasn't enough to warrant any kind of request of a reprimand or notification of any bosses to make him do things differently, but it still kinda stuck with me.
We brought soda on board, and would have one, each evening in the room, before the final turndown, the cup that I brought down with ice, and the empty can, would still be in the room each time. We emptied the box of soda, placed it on the floor next to the trash (it would fit, we just didn't want to fill the can and wedge it in there making it tougher to pull out), and it was still in the room after they cleaned the room. We used one of the glasses to scoop out our creamer for our mugs in the morning, and after they cleaned, they would still be there, dirty.
So, I kinda felt like they were not really finishing the room. Again, nothing huge, just some trash laying around each day.
I didn't see our steward but one time the entire cruise, I wanted to meet him, and told my wife if she saw him to ask him to come to our room, she did, he said that I should call him if I wanted to see him. It's a shame, I was going to give him a tip at the beginning of the cruise, but he wouldn't come to our room.
Faster to the Fun.
First off, I want to say, I felt like I was doing something wrong after reading some people's comments about faster to the fun. I was on the ship and didn't want anyone who was diamond or platinum to see that I had a sticker on my red card, or the labels on my luggage (I actually pulled them off my luggage before we went to debarkation so that someone wouldn't see). As I sit here now, it kinda upsets me that someone would have to feel like that because others opinions. I would like to say, I will buy F2F every time, it's an amazing $50 purchase, if only for the debarkation.
Now, the benefits we saw were limited, as we didn't tender at any ports, but embarkation allowed us to our rooms immediately, and to start relaxing quicker, which we did by eating.
Debarkation, as I said, was worth the $50 alone. We were in our car and 30 minutes down the road before they started doing the "relaxed" debarkation. Fifteen minutes from the time I left my room, to loading my luggage into my car, and pulling away from the terminal.
So yes, I will spend the extra $50 on each cruise for that perk, until I have spent enough money to have it for free with my VIFP points.
Entertainment. We wanted to, but didn't make it to the comedy shows, although I heard not one person talk about the comedy shows the next day.
The Big Easy. I thought it was awesome, and it was rated PG-13, which I thought was appropriate, but I have seen some complaints about the outfits being too risque. IT'S ABOUT NEW ORLEANS PEOPLE. Yes it's going to be risque.
The magic show. It was above average, that's about it.
We did notice a SLIGHT odor on the lower decks, but not overwhelming, and VERY brief.
Overall, Triumph the ship was great. We had an amazing time, relaxed and overall enjoyed ourselves.