My husband and I talked my two sisters into going on this 5-day cruise out of Galveston. One sister had never cruised, the other had but a long time ago. I was pretty anxious that they would have a good time. The cruise left on Monday, Feb.10, and the fog had been bad recently in Galveston. Sure enough, as we got to Galveston, we got text messages that heavy fog prevented the Triumph from getting into port from the last cruise, don't come to the terminal until 2:30. Our usual routine is to get there about 10:30. This was our 8th cruise, 6 out of Galveston, and the first time fog was a problem. We drove around town to see the historic houses, walked on the sea wall, checked out a souvenir store, until 1:30 when we went to 81st Dolphin Parking, then were taken to the terminal. Wasn't too long of a line, got checked in and went to wait. We had some snacks with us for just such a time, and Carnival had lemonade and water for passengers. We finally got to board sometime after 3:30. Straight to the Lido deck and Guy's Burgers! Pretty good! Cabins were soon ready and then muster drill which wasn't too long or awful, although it was out on the deck by our lifeboat. After unpacking we wandered around the ship. We had Ocean View cabins, with a connecting door, which was nice. Triumph didn't look a whole lot different than before the refurbishing, but really liked the addition of Guy's burgers and the Blue Iguana. Good burritos. I think we set sail about 5:30. We had late seating in the upper Paris dining room, with a terrific team of Juan and Imade. We had excellent service every night, food was good, my sisters enjoyed the waiters dancing and singing, as did we!
We hit the casino for a while, it was very smokey in there. Had a few drinks, then everyone was ready for bed, it had been a long day. Bed was comfy, slept well. In the morning we slept a little later than usual, then went to the brunch. The rest of the day was spent exploring the ship, sitting in the sun, drinking, really just relaxed. Checked out the shops, bought a few things.
The next day in Progreso we had arranged for a trip to Chichen Itza with Auto Progreso. Got into town and found where to go to catch the van. We were supposed to be there by 9 and leave by 9:30, but it was about an hour later when we left. The four of us and two couples, with the driver and the guide were in a van which had good a/c. The drive is 2 hours. This tour was available through Carnival, but was about twice as much. I assured my sisters Auto Progreso would get us back in time. Chichen Itza was wonderful to see, although we didn't have much time there. The guide insisted we go to a nearby hotel that had a cenote, and that we would pay $15 for a lunch buffet. We said we weren't interested in that, but we went anyway and had to pay $7 each to get into the hotel grounds! I think the guide may have had a kickback going there. We did not have the $15 buffet! We eventually started back to Progreso. About to Merida, the van started having mechanical problems - we finally stopped and the guide called for another bus to come pick us up. It's getting late now, we were supposed to be back on the ship at 3:30, leave at 4. By now I'm sweating bullets, just knowing we won't make it and it's all my fault because I didn't book through Carnival! The bus shows up and we made it back to Progreso about 3:45, and onto the ship a little before 4! We were the last ones on, they had pulled in all but one gangway, the engines are running, people on board are yelling down to us! That was way too close a call!
We had a much better experience in Cozumel. We had seen a shore excursion on line through Carnival that we wanted to go on, but it was sold out. When we got on the ship on Monday we had gone to the Shore Excursion desk and asked if they had a waiting list for it, and they did, so we got our names on it. The night before we got to Cozumel, the tickets were delivered to our cabin! It was called La Casa en La Playa Rocky Shores. We had docked at the International Pier this time instead of Puerta Maya, so the walk off was shorted. We found our tour guide, Charly, who said he was our host, and he loaded the 24 of us into 3 vans for the short ride to this lovely house right on the beach. It had a pool, and trees, and lounge chairs, cabana beds, hammocks and 9 staff and a chef! We settled into a shady spot in a little grove of trees, asked for some lounge chairs to be brought over and placed where we were facing the beautiful blue water! We were served anything we wanted to drink, appetizers, my sister went snorkeling - they had the snorkel equipment, water shoes as the shore was a little rocky, and towels. This tour was limited to 24 people, adults only, and we had the beach all to ourselves! We had a choice of about 6 dishes for lunch, which was cooked by Santos, the chef. The food was fantastic! I had grouper baked in garlic and butter, fish tacos, and grilled veggies. Dessert was crepes. This place was just paradise! After about 4 1/2 hours we had to leave, though. Will definitely do this again on my next cruise to Cozumel! At first we thought the $119 per person fee was a little high, but it was worth every penny.
The next day we spent time on the Lido deck at the Red Frog Rum Bar, enjoying the sun and the dj, music wasn't too loud for a change, and all the people having a good time, my younger sister most of all!! This was something new for me and my husband, we usually don't spend any time on the Lido. A nice change!
We also enjoyed the man in the atrium, can never remember his name - Luke? - who sings and plays his guitar, wonderful voice, draws quite a crowd. They had a country western band at the casino, good, but loud. Spent more time in the casino, actually was winning some money for a change! Went to the MDR for dinner, tipped our waiters and told them goodbye, back to the cabin to pack, gave our good room steward John a tip. He was unobtrusive and kept our cabin clean and our ice bucket filled, brought robes when we didn't have any. Saw very few kids on this cruise, and never had any loud people out in the hall late at night.
Saturday morning we were up early to eat breakfast in the MDR, then out of our rooms by 8:30. We went to the theater to wait to disembark, as we were zone 30. Didn't have to wait long, one of the quickest and most efficient disembarkments ever. After a short wait we got a porter and were out quickly. 81st Dolphin van was waiting and got us right back to the parking lot and we were on our way home.
I was so pleased that my sisters had a great time! They're ready to go on another cruise, think we should make this a yearly thing, if not more often. I'm all for it! I enjoyed spending time with my sisters so much, and the whole cruise was just excellent, except for almost missing the ship!
One thing we were disappointed about, and it's such a small thing, but the map channel on TV that shows the location of the ship was not on. It was listed on the channel guide, but nothing was on. Other than that? Nothing worth mentioning!