This was our 5th cruise with Carnival and 8th overall. We always book inside guarantee and take our chances. So far we have not been disappointed with our cabin assignment. I am continually amazed at the types of things people complain about and the wide variation of opinions expressed on the same cruise when I read reviews. We live in southern Ontario and fly from Buffalo, NY. We generally go down a day earlier to relax and arrive at the terminal early on embarkation day. This trip we stayed at Fairfield Inn West. Booked on Hotwire. Free shuttle from airport. $7.00 pp to the cruise terminal. Great service. Embarkation was easy as we were at the port by 10 am and checked in prior to the main rush. We were among the first people on the ship which was nice. Carnival has done away with the mandatory photo which kept things moving nicely as well. This was a good move
The Truimph is in great shape. We found nothing in disrepair. I had read about some problems with the hot tubs on some previous cruises which concerned me somewhat since our sea days consist of primarily lounging at the aft pool area which is both quiet and covered (if nec). The center pool area is much larger and busier. I find the music there to loud for my liking and prefer the quieter areas of the ship. We were upgraded to Panorama Deck 10 which is very convenient to the Lido deck and all the outdoor activities.
We found the service on par with other Carnival cruises we have taken. Our dining room waiter seemed to be a bit confused sometimes. This service was a bit substandard from my experience. To be fair he seemed to have quite a few people to look after in comparison to other cruises we have taken. The food was excellent in all areas. I don't know how people can complain about it. I especially enjoy the omelette station in the morning and the sandwich deli at lunch.
We generally do our own thing at the various ports. We usually rent a car where the driving is easy or hire a car for the day to drive us. We usually travel with another couple and this keeps the cost down. In San Juan we took a city tour which was nice but would be better in the daylight. The 5 pm arrival is a bit late. In St. Thomas we rented a Jeep and drove around with the top down all day. We have been there once before so it was somewhat more familiar this time. Driving on the left requires a bit of extra concentration. In St. Maarten we also rented a car and toured on are own. This was also the second time here as well. Last time the weather was cool and rainy. This trip was much more enjoyable. We visited Orient Beach and took in all the "sights".
We enjoyed the shows on this ship. Coincidentally the cruise director, Paul Santley was the same guy we had on the Holiday a few years earlier. He does a great job and keeps you entertained and informed.
Disembarkation is the usual pain in the butt. The best way off if you don't mind getting up early and dragging your own bags is the self assist program that Carnival has. You get off early and can make earlier flight if necessary. We haven't used that yet because we like to have a more leisure morning and not be rushed at breakfast. Lugging your bags off the ship and through the terminal can be a hassle
In summary we enjoyed this cruise as we always do. I find cruising good value for the money and very relaxing. We don't go looking for things to complain about unless something is seriously wrong then you should bring it to someone's attention so that it can be dealt with. That is what the line would want to have happen anyway. The people go out of their way to serve you 24 hours a day and they work hard at it. You can probably find better service on some other lines but it is hard to beat the value of a Carnival cruise.