As a 29 year old cruiser I find that sometimes i want to party all night and other times sit in the sun and just relax and mellow out with a drink in my hand. Pre-Cruise hotel : I stayed at Sofitel Miami the night before while a nice hotel with great rooms mainly high end suite type desk big comfy bed. This is a very business oriented hotel it seems and it's right next to the airport not that noise was ever a issue never heard a thing not one sound all night. But this hotel is rather far from areas like south beach and even down town Miami. So unless you have a car it can get pricey to travel around. They do run a shuttle service for $10 per person to your ship from the hotel leaves at 10 - 11 - 12 - 1 sat and sunday. A taxi fare is about $34 from the hotel to port miami. I took the shuttle
Ship : Carnival Triumph Embarkation: I have to give carnival this they have it down to a science when it comes to putting everyone on board their ships. Arrived at the pier 11:30 am and was on lido by 12:15 sipping a fun ship special and eating lunch. State rooms weren't open till 1:30 so did have to carry around some stuff for a hour or so but no big deal. Activities: This cruise was mainly a bunch of spring breakers from canada and from the mid-west who only wanted to drink till they passed out and most did. But carnival did have the normal activities going on all day and night shows, entertainers, piano bar (Mark is a great singer and knows how to party!! ARRR!!!), casino games, deck parties.
Service: I have to say this is the first cruise I've ever taken where i had my luggage before the ship set sail. I took this as a sign of some great things to come. Mainly i was right. Shore Excursions: San Juan- We arrived at 5pm sharp to the pier off the ship by 5:30 went with a few new friends and took a private bus tour of the island got to see some great sights as the sun set and got some great pictures. The driver then dropped us off a few blocks from the ship in a shopping area / bar area. Went around looking for anything worth buying didn't find it. Went to a restaurant that claimed to be the original creators of the pina colada. I have to say this best one I've ever had in my life not to much ice not to much liquor you can't feel your face after a few sips. Made it back to the ship by 11:15pm. Sadly a few in our group forgot something at the restaurant and thought they could run there and back to make the ship. Sadly they were wrong and we got to watch them run the pier trying to make it back only to miss the ship in seeing we were 50 feet off the pier already. Thankfully carnival put them on the pilot boat and let them jump on board while we were leaving port. St. Thomas- I took the shopping and beach excursion tour through the ship and i would do it again. The tour was very reasonably priced and if you had to pay for a taxi your self to the places they took you the cost would be much more. The took us down town in the morning and we got to shop for about 3 hours give or take a few minutes. Then back to the ship for 30 minutes to get our stuff for the beach and to have lunch if we wanted to. back on the bus and off to morning star beach (Marriott's beach) very nice plenty to do or plenty to not do if you wanted. I brought my own snorkel equipment and enjoyed every minute of it the coral and rocks and boulders buried in the sand were awesome along with the fish and a barracuda we saw. Then they took us back to the ship about 3 hours later. St. Maarten - Once again the America's Cup race rocked. We had a bit of rain in the morning but nothing to major but it sure did make for some great sailing. So great that the boat spend alot of time heeling over on it's side and running fast. We of course blew the other boat out of the water and taunted them about it for the rest of the week. They took us back to their marina after sailing about 2 blocks from down town. Had some rum punch and walked downtown for some quick shopping. Wandered around saw a guy getting arrested and figured it was a good time to turn around. Don't miss the Chocolate Shop on old street, best chocolates around and they package them so you can bring some home.
Stateroom - Upper Deck Room 6401: Nice balcony cabin, only bad thing about it was that across the hall is the door they use to deliver room service and the area they use to wash the room service dishes. The stewards also use this area alto so the door is kinda annoying sometimes but other than that great room.
Dining- Some people in life shouldn't be in the service industry epically our waiter the first night took 45 minutes to get a few drinks and a bottle of wine sent to the table and once they arrived they were wrong. Food was served cold and wrong for most of the table the first night. Things that should have been medium were well and well items were raw. After then entire table went to see the maitre d' we all changed not only tables but dining room from London to Paris and had a great new table and even better service. Sadly the lobster tails weren't that great very chewy and tough and cold also. Lido deck food was good, but had a very India food feeling to it probably has to do with the executive chef being from India. Pizza was good deep dish crust could have been cooked more sometimes but i like it crispy. Grill had the normal burgers and hot dogs. NY Deli was awesome great sandwiches. Hong Kong Noodle did look inserting but was just basic food with a oriental flair. passed on that.
Entertainment- Most was ok to good. The legends show was funny and some people were rather good. Epically dolly parton (seeing the CD in drag is always funny) Mark in the piano bar and a few other room's during the day was great really got the party going and never let it die. Also he does ask for tips for requests. I'm sure this is a large part of his income be sure to tip ever few songs at least epically if he played one of your requests a dollar isn't a big deal now is it.
Disembarkation: They call people by their luggage tag colors so be sure not to rip them off after you arrive on board you need them to get off the ship but you can ask at the desk for more if needed. I actually was waiting around on deck 3 having a cup of coffee not to many people around i think mostly everyone does self disembarkation now a days and only a few hundred or so are left to do the normal process. Well I was waiting in the lobby area and a woman who worked for the line said come on you can go if you want no need to wait. So i gout up finished my last cup of ship coffee and walked right off the ship into the luggage room and collected my two pieces. The porters are rather rude there carnival was telling people to form two lines and the porters were yelling that no guests on this side without a porter. So a bunch of us told a porter to please stop yelling at us and speak with carnival who then came out with a megaphone and told the porters that they will be locked out of this building if they continue to verbally assault guests. End of that problem right there. Customs was rather easy to get through and off onto a transfer buss to the airport.
In conclusion of this huge review i want to say that it was a great trip and i will probably sail carnival again