Overall we were not impressed with the Carnival Triumph. There were some positives but mostly there were negatives.
The embarkation process was great; the new terminal is immaculate and very efficient. We were one of the first people on the ship. Our room was actually a 2-category upgrade as we have been on several Princess cruises before and there is some affiliation with Princess. Our room would be the first disappointment of this cruise. We were right under the Lido deck, which seems like a great location (balcony). Let me assure you, we could hear tables and chairs being moved (very annoying) between the hours of 6:00 AM through 2:00AM. The room itself was nice but the noise created by the tables made it unbearable to be in the room itself.
The ports of call were nice, we have been on several cruises in the Caribbean eastern and western and this seemed to be a good itinerary. Having been to Half Moon with Holland America, we knew what to expect and had a great time. In San Juan, we walked to a cathedral and to the two Forts; this proved to entertain us and was not that far for my wife and I. In St. Thomas, we dove with Blue Island Divers, I highly recommend this outfit. They picked us up directly at the port and the dives were fantastic as was the Dive Master, very knowledgeable and nice.
Now I will break down the pros and cons of this ship.
Pros: The deck plan was nice as it was very easy to locate a lounge chair for the day, probably the best cruise line we have been on for this. There was lots of closet space and cabinets in the room (they could use a few more hangers) The Chinese buffet was very good as was the NY deli; incidentally these two locales were probably the best food on the ship, and often closed. Our Room steward was fantastic, the room was kept very clean and he took the time to introduce himself the first day. Our waiter tried his best but due to the language barrier, we had a tough time relating and communicating to him. I can't fault him for this as he did try. The Hypnotist was hilarious The towel creatures were cool. Princess and Holland do not do this. It was a nice touch at the end of the day to see these. The water slide (when operating) was very fun as was the usage of the spa facilities (steam and sauna). On other ships, we have not been able to use these facilities.
Cons: The food was horrible. I have never been so disappointed in the food as I was on this ship. The Lobster was more like craw dads (very small rubbery and tasteless). I ordered steak where possible and most nights did not finish it due to the blandness of the food. The Concierge Konstantine was extremely rude to the four of us on the first day. We had requested to eat together, and were given separate tables. When we asked if we could get a table together he gave it to us without ever looking at us. Incidentally we ended up in the worst possible table in the entire dining room, very isolated by the stairs. Overall there was a major attitude problem with the crew that you did not have a relationship with. I have noticed this in several reviews but came to experience this first hand. Between the hours of 7-9 PM there was absolutely nothing to do, this was the first time I have actually been bored on a cruise. Along this same line, the afternoon activities were very limited. There were only two lunches served in the dining room. We often enjoy afternoon tea. This was offered once with Lipton teas and limited sandwiches. The pools were all salt-water pools. We have never experienced this before. This was especially nice when coming down the waterslide and getting a mouthful of salty seawater. Plug your nose after the fifth turn. Lastly, the soda card we purchased for around $50 seemed extremely overpriced for what you were getting. Especially when the waiters seemed put out that they had to help you.
Overall, I would never sail with Carnival again. Our friends have sailed the Triumph before and mentioned its decline in service and entertainment. It is definitely worth paying a few bucks extra to go with a quality cruise line where you are treated with respect and don't have to worry about the quality and taste of the food overall.