Thought I would write a review for all of you posters with upcoming cruises on the Triumph. Any questions, please feel free to ask me and I'll try my best to respond if I can. A little background info, I am 37 and work in a law firm in New York City, DH is 37 and works for an environmental company. This was a trip to celebrate our 11th anniversary and just to get away from the craziness of life for a week. We picked this particular cruise for the itinerary.
THE BEGINNING OF IT ALL.....We flew from JFK to Miami International Airport on the morning of our cruise. We had a 7:55 a.m. flight and it was schedule to land in Miami at 10:55. It was amazing at JFK, I kept hearing these stories of how flights were delayed and that they were booking too many flights at one time so of course, I was a bit nervous. The flight was on time and we boarded. As we started to taxi and make our way to the runway, the pilot came on and told us we'd have to go back to the gate because something in the engine was not opening on the right side and we'd have to go back and have it manually opened. Now, let me just say that I am not the best with flying. I do it when I have to. So, you can imagine that this gave me a bit of a worry. The guy behind me did not stop talking the whole 40 minutes we were delayed about plane crashes and what would happen if the engine gave out while we were in the sky and oh no, this could be it. I really wanted to turn around and tell him to zip his lip but it was the beginning of my vacation and I was trying to think only positive thoughts. Long story short here, they fixed the problem, we were on our way and landed in Miami safe and sound around 11:40 a.m. We got our luggage, grabbed a taxi right outside the baggage claim area and were on our way to the Triumph! The taxi cost $24.00 and we got there with a little bit of traffic in about 20 minutes or so.
EMBARKATION (We're getting there!!!!) They apparently just recently built this new terminal and it was very nice, clean and everything was very organized. We were charged $1.28 each on our sail and sign card and it was explained on a sheet of paper why were were getting this charge. It was for the new terminal. Fine with us. We got to the terminal around 12:30, there were porters waiting everywhere outside to take your luggage. We tipped one of them and then it was off to the business part of our trip. Docs in hand, I was ready to roll! You have to first go through a line to show your passport (or picture ID, birth certificate, driver's license, etc.), then they put you on another line (there were many!!!) to wait to "check in". We were on line for a good half hour or so before getting up to the desk. They asked for our fun pass and credit card (or cash) and the process was very fast and easy. Then a woman came over with an envelope and handed it to the woman helping us and inside were our sail and sign cards. They told us to go upstairs and we were on our way!!!!
We entered through deck 3, the lobby area and there were already people inside at the bar drinking and getting their vacation started. Some people were just looking up and around and taking the beauty of the ship in. We couldn't wait to get to our room. We headed up to our balcony cabin on the Lido Deck (Deck 9) and our room was ready. The layout of the room was great. There was so much storage space!!! We liked the Lido deck because it was the same deck where the pools and buffet area were. It was just a short walk to the grill, pizzeria, hong kong noodle company, the deli and fun in the sun!!! The only thing I was a little concerned about and did speak to someone about it and put it on our comment card was that there are people coming in and out right from the pool area onto a marble hallway dripping wet and it was slippery there many times. We suggested they put down some kind of runners in the hallway to reduce the risk of someone slipping which we witnessed a few times.
Getting back to our room, when we got in there, we saw a big beautiful basket of goodies waiting for us. It was a gift from my firm. There were many pieces of fruit, nuts, dried fruits, cheeses and a big bottle of wine in there. Anyone thinking of getting this gift from the Bon Voyage Department, don't hesitate. The quality of everything was excellent and the fruit lasted all week! We enjoyed some fruit out on our balcony and were so happy that we sprung a few extra bucks for a balcony room. It was really worth it. We were also treated to a tray of candies and chocolate covered strawberries and a scrumptous chocolate anniversary cake. All wonderful, fresh and delicious. I'd highly recommend all three.
Our room steward was not the best. She was really not friendly at all. We tried talking to her quite a few times, joking with her or finding out about her but she was not biting. She just seemed like she wanted to do what she had to do and be done with it. DH has to keep his insulin cold so we brought along a collapsible cooler and he asked her to keep it filled with ice but she told him to take it down to the information desk and keep it there and he said "You mean every time I have to take my insulin I have to go down to the information desk?" and she said, "that's the way you have to do it". Now, that may be true, I don't know but I think she could have helped him out a little bit there. She was never really friendly to us and the guy who was helping her, I never met. He never came over to us, we only saw him from down the hallway if we waved at him. He always looked nervous about something. It was strange. DH even gave both of them a nice pre-cruise tip before we started and that didn't help at all. She was happy and smiling when she got it but then I don't know what happened. We always had to ask for stuff. The bathroom always smelled like it wasn't cleaned and when he mentioned this to her one day, she started getting loud and saying "I clean, I clean" in an accent I could not make out having not being able to have a conversation with her. That was that. We did mention it to someone in charge and filled out a few comment cards along the way. We don't like seeing anyone get in trouble at work and always try to find a better way to handle things but this lady was not the best one in the bunch. We made some nice friends on the ship and kept hearing such wonderful stories about their room stewards. We just kept quiet through that whole conversation and were happy to have clean towels and our beds made every day. We figured everything else was nice so who cared?
There's so much to comment on and I'm realizing that if I mention each and every little thing, this review will be 100 pages long. So again, if there's anything I haven't touched on and can answer, please ask away! Now to continue on.....
GETTING AROUND THE SHIP....Well, this my friends was a little shaky. DH must have asked me a million times what deck we had to go to in order to get to the dining room. You can get a little map of the deck plan at the information desk but you will still be a little confused. Some decks do not go all the way through and you are just standing there in a hallway trying to figure out what you did wrong. It was funny at times and it just made the trip a little more interesting. For example, we were assigned to the Paris Dining room. So, we had to take an elevator to Deck 5 (or if, we weren't feeling particularly lazy that day, we could have walked but hey, this is vacation!!!) Then we had to go to the back of the ship (aft) and walk down the stairs in order to get to the top level of the Paris Dining Room (Deck 4) where our table was. You could not get to the Paris Dining Room from Deck 4 if you walked from the front of the ship. Very interesting.
SPEAKING OF FOOD......Yes, one of my favorite topics. I know everyone has different tastes and there are something like 50 nationalities on the ship (according to Constantine the Maitre D' of the Paris Dining Room) but some of the choices were weird to me. I always found something to eat though and it was always pretty good. I could see some folks complaining about the flavor of the food as I've read on here several times. DH and I do not add salt to our food and I don't even really cook with it but looking around at the tables, I saw countless people just pouring on the salt on EVERYTHING!!!! I think my favorite thing was the vegetable enchiladas. They were sooooo goood! and spicy! Wow! DH had filet mignon one night and steak another two nights. The first night he ordered steak, he asked for it medium well and it came out still moooooo-ving on the plate (Of course, I kid here...) but he sent it back and never again did we have a problem with the preparation of any of the dishes. The desserts were pretty good but almost every piece of cake I had on this cruise (and honestly, I had quite a few) all tasted the same and were somewhat dry. I kept thinking it would get better. The warm chocolate melting cake, however, was sinful and rich and delicious and I'm wishing I had some right now. Also, the grand marnier souffle was very very good too with warm vanilla sauce drizzled on top. Mmmmmmmm.....vanilla sauce. The last sea day (Friday), they had a huge display of cakes and cookies and candies in the South Beach dining area while lunch was being served. I hadn't seen this advertised anywhere and just pretty much stumbled across it one day grabbing a slice of pizza so be on the lookout for it if you like sweets.
The pizza was pretty good but always seemed a bit undercooked as did the calzones and when we mentioned it to the guy who worked there, he gave us a grunt and a look and that was that.
Burgers from the grill, yummmmm-O. The fries were great, DH said the dogs were yummy too.
Only had some of the chinese food on the first day and it was not bad. Never had the deli food. I live on turkey sandwiches at home, don't like ham or pastrami or any of that so it was not for me.
We had set our alarms for the gala buffet picture taking and to have a late night snack (which was on Thursday) but slept right through it. I was disappointed, I'd heard great things about it. It was probably for the best though. Need to fit into my work clothes again tomorrow (LOL!!!!)
DH got the soda card which was $38.95 and a take along thermos type thing which was $4.95 both charged to our sail and sign card. He made the most of the soda drinking! The woman in the dining room in charge of bringing you your sodas and cocktails kept telling him not to drink too much soda, that it was bad for him and bad for his stomach but she kept bringing the soda anyway and he kept drinking it.
Our waitstaff, Erwin and Nantha were terrific. They were friendly and polite and called us by name every night. They knew what we wanted and after dessert, we'd usually chat with them and found out a little bit about them and their families. It was nice. The last night we had a long chat and found out Nantha was going home today to see her son she hadn't seen in 7 months and he is 2 years old! I can't imagine! Erwin is getting married in December. They were so nice and we'll miss them both. We are going to write a nice letter to Carnival about them. They really made our dining experience very enjoyable.
ENTERTAINMENT....We only attended a few shows. We went to the Newlywed/Not so Newlywed Game and it was pretty funny. They picked three couples from the audience who were "newlyweds" "middleweds" and "oldieweds". The couples were pretty funny and learned at the end that the whole thing had been videotaped for everyone to watch during the whole rest of the cruise. The two oldieweds were hysterical!!!! You can imagine some of the questions. We went to the magic show which was half cheesy and half "wow, how did they do that?" We went to bingo a few times to try to nab some extra cash and didn't win but many people did, someone even won a free cruise on the last night! I went to some trivia games a couple of times which were fun and even managed to drag DH to the TV Theme Show Trivia which he wound up really liking and doing better than me! We never made it to the Carnival Legends Show on the last night. We just wanted to sit out on our balcony and enjoy the last night of looking up at the stars and hearing the ocean waves crash all around us. The skies are so incredible out there!
THE SHOPS....The shops on the Triumph were pretty nice, it was mostly jewelry though. I bought a beautiful silver necklace. They were running a special one day on gold and another on silver starting at $1.00 per inch. If you got a 21 inch necklace, they gave you two free bracelets of equal or lesser value. It was so funny because the design I picked which was very thin was the only one they had left at $1.00 an inch. There was no price on it so I didn't realize it was only $1.00 and there was not much of it left. People were getting pretty mad that they had this big advertisement and only one style at that price left and not much of it. I managed to get a beautiful necklace and a bracelet and an anklet instead of another bracelet. There was mass confusion that morning and a few arguments.
THE PORTS OF CALL.... Okay guys, I have to say that Half Moon Cay is beautiful. It's a pretty big beach. We walked around and it was overcast that day but sooooooo humid so we didn't really stay that long. DH is diabetic and doesn't do so well in the heat for long periods of time. It was nice to see. We weren't the first off the ship to tender and we got off maybe two hours after they started letting people off and it was then come as you please, no need to wait for tickets. That was great! Tendering was easy as pie. Snapped some photos, got a cold drink, talked to some people and then it was back to the ship.
ST. THOMAS....having never been here before, we booked a tour thru Carnival called "Best of St. Thomas" and it was a great tour. We all had to go through immigration that morning and it was not bad. My suggestion would be to get there early! Even if you have to wait a while, it is worth it to get there early because the lines were huge!!!! We got there before they started calling people to come down. It was done on Deck 5 between the Casino and the Coffee Shop. They had computers set up and we got our passports scanned and then onto the room with the immigration officers who looked at our passports and then into our eyes as if they were scanning us, it was weird but they do take their jobs very seriously and with good cause so I had to caution my usual jocular DH not to make any jokes at this point. It was hard for him, but he did okay!
Our tour guide was waiting for us and we were put on the open air bus and off we went. Our tour guide was a comedian and told a million jokes all the way thru the tour. It made the tour that much better. We made a few stops, he told us about the island and about the history and the weather and explained the architecture of the buildings as one of the hurricanes had destroyed 80% of St. Thomas at one time ( I cannot remember if it was Hugo or Marilyn). We got to get off at each stop for about a half an hour. The first stop was high on a cliff with a souvenir shop and daiquiris. Then it was off to Mountainview with some of the most breathtaking views I have ever seen in my entire life! DH enjoyed a Banana Daiquiri here made with 151 rum. So much for the diabetes, huh? He only took a few sips though and just wanted to experience it. Of course, being the wonderful wife I am, I just HAD to finish it for him. Couldn't let all of that good rum go to waste, now could I??? We also stopped at St. Peter's House and got to have some free rum punch. This ride was getting more interesting by the second for me!!! A couple of words of caution. It is HOT, HOT HOT here!!! What a beautiful day with beautiful weather. I am always chilly and when I tell you, I don't think I ever sweat so much in one day, I'm not kidding. I had on very lightweight clothing and it was just brutal. Make sure you wear lots and lots of sunscreen on these tours!!! The tour itself was great and a nice way to see the island.
We then took the skyride to Paradise Point which was in my opinion, not really worth the $19.00 each. The views were great, believe me but the cars run very slow and they only have three on each side running at a time. The lines are long and most of the time you are standing in the baking sun. I finally had a Bushwhacker though (okay I had two Bushwhackers, you found me out... ) They have little shops up there but I guess all in all, I was glad we did it. The ride down was soooo hot. They put 8 people in this small gondola type thing and there's hardly any air up there. I would love to find out if you could walk up there or get up there another way if we ever go back.
We did some more shopping at the Havensight Mall and then were just so tired we called it a day.
NEXT DAY.....SAN JUAN....DH was still baked from St. Thomas the day before and was really not up to joining me on this venture. We didn't have a tour booked and I figured I could find something to do on the ship, take a nap, eat some more or get up and get out and take a walk around. I did just that. Got dressed, got off the ship, was handed a map of the City by some nice woman who was soliciting tours and was on my way. There are tons of taxi cab drivers and tour busses all over to take you where you want to go here. I decided I'd walk and took a left off of the dock and just kept walking down. Then I got to the little town and walked along the cobblestone streets taking lots of pictures of the people and just the town itself. There was a really great store there that was also in Grand Turk called Del Sol. They have these neat tee-shirts that are plain white and black and change colors in the sunlight. I had to get a couple of these and know my friends are going to love them. I passed the government buildings and suddenly, I saw the fort, El Morro and San Cristobal. I didn't go in but got some shots from outside and then just kept walking. There was some big demonstration going on something about cruelty to animals in front of this big building and I took a walk over and there were tons of cops there. As I got closer, I looked up the hill and saw this beautiful, gorgeous turquoise colored water and was just so taken in by it I had to keep going. I wore the wrong shoes that day and my feet got pretty cut up around the ankles but at that moment, I didn't care. It was such a sight. The palm trees were swaying, there wasn't a soul on the beach and it was just a sight to behold. Wow, I thought, I'm glad I came out. It was really nice. It was a good experience and I got a great walk out of it (minus the cuts) I limped back to the ship and told DH about my experience and he of course, thought I was crazy for not coming back sooner and getting better shoes. Men!!!!
GRAND TURK....Wow and I mean Wow. What a beautiful sight!!!! We docked right at the beach and were one of the first people off the boat (see a pattern here?????) and it was great. The water was incredible, the sand was not hot at all and it was a gorgeous day. We found a great spot with two loungers with covers on top that came halfway down the lounger if you wanted coverage. We swam for what seemed liked forever and then had to get out because DH was getting pretty burned up on his head and ears. Some woman kept screaming that she was getting bitten up by yellow looking worms. I think she may have had a couple of margaritas before she came in the water! We took a breather and went over to Margaritaville and I had two frozen margaritas and we had lunch there. It was a bit pricey, $14.95 for one frozen margarita but I did get to take the souvenir glass home. They had a dj playing some music and giving away tons of prizes. They had a dance contest and it was just a really great day. We did a little duty free shopping here and looked around and by then were pooped. We grabbed two frozen fruit drinks at a place called Froots (really yummy frozen fruit smoothies!!!!) and then we headed back to the ship. This was a formal night.
We played a little in the casino a few nights and on the first night, I played the quarter slots and after putting in about $4.00, I won $80 and then $100 and then another $80 and felt it was time for me to quit while I was ahead. This was on the machines in the back against the wall where you can play pinball or the wheel games for all of you curious slot players out there wondering which machine I was hitting on. You know who you are! The second night, I hit again for another couple hundred and decided that was it for me. I was up (way up) and was going to stay that way. Unfortunately, DH donated a lot of his money during the week but on the last night, he got it all back! Woo hoo!!!
We were tempted to hit the spa more than once. They always had some specials running. We were going to do a couples massage but it was $266.00 and figured we'd spend that money on gifts for our friends and family back home and that we'd just find other ways to enjoy each other and relax together.
The seas were very, very calm this week and the ride was smooth as silk I have to say. We still took our bonine and ginger pills every day though just in case but really probably would not have needed them at all. You could always find out from one of the channels on your television how high the seas were and what the temperature was, etc.
We bought some cigarettes for my mom which were $19.00 in Grand Turk, $24.00 in St. Thomas (she smokes Newport Box) and a nice bottle of Baileys with creme caramel for my dad (18.95) and a nice bottle of Cave Rum from Grand Turk for my boss ($15.00). DH saw a huge bottle of Grey Goose for $35.00 which here costs a ton more. There was a limit on what you could bring back with you which we found out thru the Debarkation talk with the Cruise Director Brad. Those customs forms are confusing! We kept getting different answers from everyone on what to fill out but I guess we did it right because here we are! There's a limit on what you can buy from the ship and it's different than what you can buy from the ports. I'm sure most of you guys know that though. You have to declare everything you buy, even souvenirs and give the value of each item.
We got our final bill on the morning of the cruise and we let them take our bags for us only because it bought us an extra hour and a half on the ship since we had a later flight. It was nice to be able to have that extra time on the ship. They had a nice breakfast for everyone and we enjoyed our coffee and just relaxed and were off the ship and thru customs by 10:00 a.m. There were several porters waiting inside and outside of the terminal to help you with your bags and call a taxi for you if you needed them to.
They started the Halloween celebration on our Triumph cruise in the middle of the week. It was so cool. They had some Halloween decorations around and those big blow up life-sized pumpkins and ghosts. There was a huge grim reaper at the entrance of the Hollywood Dance Club. They also had a Halloween party that we did not attend and there were lots of kids and grown ups dressed up. I think it was either Tuesday or Wednesday, not sure exactly what night. They had a trick-or-treat for the kids too and candy all around. They are probably doing it more now that Halloween is getting closer. It was fun and something different
I'm probably leaving out tons of stuff that I'll remember as soon as I submit this thread. This was truly a wonderful cruise all in all. DH and I just relaxed so much and it was just great to be able to have that nice quiet time alone together to laugh and enjoy life and appreciate each other. There were no deadlines or phone calls or computers or bills and it was a lot of fun. We made the most of it, participated in a few things but mostly just enjoyed our time off and our time together. That is really what it's all about anyway. We didn't let the little things get to us. We could have a few times but we just let stuff go. I am going to miss my time on the Triumph. It was a wonderful trip and she is a wonderful vessel. I hear she is going into drydock in February. Thanks for the great trip Carnival!
I'm really going to miss all of that pampering.