This was my second cruise with Carnival, the first being one the Paradise about 10 years ago. The Triumph appeared to be a twin of the Paradise, and is in need of updating. The cabin looks like you stepped back into the 80s. The rest of the ship isn't doing much better. Note that I am not a travel snob, as a rule. I'm usually pretty easy going and understanding - I'm a very go with the flow, make the most of it kind of traveler.
The Pros: the wait staff in the dining room were all excellent. Great personalities and very accommodating. Out cabin steward was also very nice. The comedy show was good. The lounge shows were good. We really enjoyed our shore excursions booked through the cruise line. The food at Guys Burger Joint was excellent. Ate burgers for lunch every day and fell in love with chipotle mayo! My mom had never cruised before, so she seemed to enjoy herself moe, having nothing to compare the experience to.
The Cons: The rest of the staff was okay, but not stand out. The staff in the shops were barely even polite. The breakfast buffet had a lot of food on it, but it wasn't the best. I've had better food at a school cafeteria and it was so packed you waited in line 10 minutes to get food and could be standing with your tray for 10 minutes waiting on a table.
Although we had fun, and really enjoyed the excursions, unfortunately, the four stand out memories of this cruise are not good ones. First, everywhere we went on the ship, we kept finding ourselves bombarded with marketing and promotions. They are setting up so many portrait sets to take your picture (which you will buy, of course) that you can't go anywhere on the ship during the dinner hours without being hounded to get your picture taken or tripping over one of the sets/cords to the lighting. I found that a bit distasteful. It was almost as bad as the street vendors in the ports. They are also constantly coming on the intercom touting special sales and events in the shops, only to find out that these are the every day prices for these items and you don't need to buy them during the sale to get the price. There are also a lot of product demo events going on. Like I said, I just felt marketed to at every time I turned around. It was annoying. The second unpleasant memory was the kids. They. Were. Everywhere. And unsupervised or acting unruly. Several times, we were confronted with small groups of young teens from the kids club programs, running wild on the ship without adult supervision, doing scavenger hunts. They were literally running through the ship playing this game, organized by the kids club staff. I was nearly knocked over twice on the trip by these kids. The kids at the pool area, even while in the company of their parents, were not much better. Between screaming babies and rude children, we must have said a hundred times "next time we need to find an adults-only cruise." I later found out that SOME Carnival ships have an adults only area, but not this one. The third bad memory was that there is no room on the decks for guests to enjoy the sun. There were stacks and stacks of deck chairs, but they were kept tied down and the top decks empty for the whole cruise, while the lower decks were packed. Well, not really packed, as about 1/2 the chairs were not really in use. People had dropped their things off or put a towel on them to save the chair, then disappeared for hours. It was nearly impossible to find three deck chairs together that were not "saved" in this way. The staff really needs to be policing this, as it lead to customer dissatisfaction AND several arguments between passengers who wanted to use the saved seats and those saving them. Finally, the last unpleasant memory was the extremely loud music on deck. Though they made an effort to vary the genre of music to suit different tastes, it was blasting so loud that it was hard to relax and enjoy the sun on deck. It was especially loud when they were playing rap and club music, which was most of the time, and caused a lot of the 40+ cruisers to leave the deck altogether.
Bottom line, I would not recommend this cruise to anyone who can afford to take a less restrictive vacation, to people who are done raising children, or those who have become accustomed to 4-star dining and accommodations. If you are a family or young person traveling on a budget, this would certainly meet the need of an affordable fun little getaway. But don't expect it to be the vacation of a lifetime. I would really have to hear/see that Carnival was stepping up its game before I would take another cruise with them.
This was a great experience, except for the outrageously priced pictures and not letting you take your own camera in. For the price you pay for the excursion itself, this seemed a bit too much. But as far as the experience itself, Really the highlight of the trip for all three of us. Read my in depth review under Attractions, Dolphinarius, Cozumel on Trip Advisor.
It was a good experience overall. You do have to ignore the things that cannot be changed, like the long bus ride, the limited time at the site, and the vendors all over the site, if you want to walk away feeling satisfied with your trip. But I would definitely do this excursion again. Read my in depth review under Chichen Itza in Attractions on Trip Advisor.