This was our 18th cruise and I have always said that a cruise is what you make of it. Did we have fun? Yes, but this was not one of my favorites cruises.
We sailed on the Triumph’s 5-day, 1/27/14 sailing. We like to take a post-holiday cruise in January and have done the Progresso, Cozumel route twice before on the Ecstasy and enjoyed that ship. I feel the Triumph experience is a step down. We did have fun on the trip, but mostly in spite of Carnival and not because of them. We typically find a way to have fun where ever we are and whatever we are doing, and that was the case on this trip. I think that there may be an increasingly poor product that Carnival is offering. It may be focusing on the masses or lowest common denominator.
Below are some random thoughts, opinions and comparisons on the cruise. They are not meant to anger or offend. Each of us is different and these are my thoughts. Take them as such.
We did FTTF and were in our cabin by 11:15. You do have to go thru the closed door to get there and not all the cabins/suites are available that fast. Our luggage however did not arrive until after 4.
I was expecting a ship that had recently been through an extensive remodel to be in better looking shape than it was. Nothing horrible more troubling. We saw a lot of rust, dirt, worn varnish/stain on wood work, warped boards on deck, things like that. We had rust in our shower and several items in the stateroom did not work and maintenance had to come fix them. On other cruises we have seen the crew constantly painting or cleaning. Don’t recall seeing one paintbrush on this ship. We also experienced a ship wide total power failure including propulsion on the last sea day. Thoughts of last year ran though everyone’s mind but I will say the crew did a fantastic job of handling the situation which was minor and we were back underway in about an hour. I have to wonder if what appears to be a lack of maintenance is contributing to these mechanical failures.
The traffic flow on the ship is ridiculously bad. The locations of the Guy Fieri’s and the Blue Iguana Grill, the deli and Chopsticks limits the flow through aisles on lido greatly and makes it especially difficult if you are trying to navigate while carrying food, and even more especially since there are no longer any trays to carry your food and drinks on. There were drink stations set up so that people in line for drinks were lined up out into the traffic flow. It was just ridiculous. The other ridiculous traffic flow area was on Promenade during the evenings when they sit up all of the photo op stations. It limited the flow through area to a corridor about the size of a normal hallway. Throw in people stopping to look at the photo backdrops, 20-something guys trying to bull their way through, etc, it just made for an annoying trip down the Promenade.
The Stateroom – Cabin 7400 Balcony on Empress Deck
The cabins are small. There is only about 12” from the end of the bed to the wall and about the same from the side of the bed to the balcony wall. Makes it difficult to get into that side of the bed. I will say there is plenty of storage space however. There is no fridge in the room. The safe is strange in that you have to use your room key to lock and unlock it. That is fine, but if you wife locks it then she has to unlock it. It has to be the same key that locked it which at some point could be an issue. The older number system was better.
The location near the rear of the ship was convenient as it made for easy access to the MDR, the Alchemy bar and deck five as well as the rear pool on deck 9.
Cheers and bar service
The Cheers package is $49.95 a day. BUT, everyone in the stateroom has to buy it. Since my wife drinks very little I knew this would not work. Also on port days I see no way to make this be a value. I was not aware of the 15 drink max and really don’t see where this might be an issue unless that is per stateroom.
We enjoyed the Alchemy Bar and it staff. They make some interesting and tasty concoctions and are very friendly. Service at the other bars was also very friendly.
Food to me was a big disappointment. The food in the MDR varied from bland to tasteless to not edible. Several of the dishes, I either did not eat or ate only part of. They had frog legs one night that were drowned in congealed garlic butter. Completely not edible. Most of the other foods to me were of a lower chain restaurant quality. The exception would be breakfast in the Paris dining room. The omelets were very good and being able to sit down and not fight the hordes in the buffet was a plus. We had a couple of Guy’s burgers. They are good burgers but they aren’t better than Fuddruckers or any other land based burgers. They are just good for cruise ship burgers. The burrito from the Iguana grill was OK. The tacos not so much.
We seldom go to the theater shows. We did make the comedy club shows and they were good. Music around the ship is also nice. But the one complaint would be that in every venue and anywhere there is a sound system the volume is so high as to make it uncomfortable. The band playing in front of the casino bar was good, but was so loud we could not stay and listen.
When we have done this route before we did the Uxmal excursion. This time we did not want the 5 hours on the bus so we took the tour around town on the double-decker bus. It cost $5 pp and I thought it was worth it. We then went back to the shop rather than fight all of the street vendors.
We have been to Cozumel so many time most of it is been there done that. We now just go to a beach called Nachi Cocum where we get lounge chairs, a palapa, all we can drink, and a 4 course lunch. It makes for a relaxing day.
Did I have fun – yes, but that is because of my DH, who did things like decorating the room while I was in the shower complete with a bubble machine, and because my main goal for this trip was to be able to get some sun, read a couple of books and relax and I got to do those things.
Would I cruise Carnival again – I’m not sure I’m going to cruise again at all. We have a big land vacay planned for Hawaii later this year and next year we may do the Florida Keys. But for sure if we cruise again it will not be with Carnival. Now that RCCL is sailing year round from Galveston and NCL and Princess will both be sailing from Houston, we will have more local cruise options. We did a NCL suite from New Orleans last Feb and you can’t beat those suite perks.
Would I recommend Carnival to someone else – It depends. If my son’s friends wanted to go and they were really only looking to drink and party on a limited budget, I might recommend Carnival as an acceptable option, especially if they were first time cruisers. However, I will no longer recommend the line to my friends.