Background: This was my 11th cruise with Carnival, 2nd on the Triumph. I traveled with my husband (his birthday present); it was his 2nd time on the Triumph as well. This was also the 1st anniversary of the unfortunate stranding at sea that Triumph experienced in February of 2013. And there were HUNDREDS of people onboard celebrating with "I Survived" t-shirts! Awesome!
We live in the DFW area, and elected to drive to Galveston and park in a lot across the street (literally) from the ship (galveston park n cruise dot com). Allow extra time to get through Houston; it can take a while. If there is weather expected, allow even more time. It gets hairy; people are so freaked out by snow that they forget to use directionals, slow down to around 15 mph, etc.
Embarkation was a breeze. When you get to Platinum, there are bypass lanes for check in and a different waiting room for boarding.. it's one of the best perks. (Second best perk is free laundry service. Amazing.) Our room 9202 was ready shortly after Noon; more about the cabin in a separate review.
Service was uniformly excellent on this cruise. We were seated in the Paris Dining Room; our Head Waiter was Ivan from Serbia. Ivan and his team were outstanding, both in providing excellent service and in their ability to recommend dishes and anticipate needs. I cannot give them enough praise.
Triumph now has the Blue Iguana and Red Frog Pub. We tried the Blue Iguana several times, and really liked it. The fish tacos are especially good! Sorry, we don't drink, but I saw that folks really enjoyed themselves at the Pub. It was always busy. :)
The ship was clean, the crew was friendly (officers were not - they hardly ever are), the food was tasty, and the entertainment was creative (shows, trivia around the ship, piano bar with Russell Blues, and an exceptional guy in the Lobby who sounded EXACTLY like Waylon Jennings).. all had big audiences who were totally into it.
Disembarkation was interesting. We were delayed by fog for around 4 hours, so Jen the Cruise Director had to scramble and put together activities last-minute. She did a great job! Plenty of trivia, the Casino re-opened, even free Bingo (!!) with good prize packages! And free ship to shore lines were opened up so that you could call and tweak your travel plans if necessary. After being cleared by Customs, we were off that ship in about 1/2 an hour. Use "Self-Assist" if you don't have a lot of luggage; it's a real time-saver.
My Cozumel rating is very subjective. I love this place, and have visited many times. We rented a car at Rentadora Isis (see Margarita) for $35 including insurance and toured the island; spent some time at the San Gervasio ruins on Transversal Road ($9.50 admission per person with shady parking and a guard), stopped in at Coconuts, stopped at Playa Palancar, shopped in the Old Market (visit Havana Bob's near Wet Wendy's for good cigars; he's from Fort Worth) and made it back to the Triumph with about 1/2 hour to spare.
We didn't have time to visit the Rancho Universo Horse Sanctuary this time around. It's located just before San Gervasio on the Transversal Road.