This was my 12th cruise overall, but my first Carnival cruise. I am a senior, single, solo cruiser. I flew from Baltimore from Miami on Air Tran the morning of the cruise and used the Carnival transfers to get from the airport to the terminal. It took me 1-1/2 hours to get from baggage claim to the ship. The embarkation process was smooth and easy.
The Triumph is a beautiful ship. All I knew of her was what I could find out online and I was a bit apprehensive about the decor based on what I could see on the Carnival website. However, it is substantially less garish in real time. The ship looked to be in very good shape. I didn't notice any peculiar odors anywhere. I did see some general housekeeping going on as areas were cleaned/repaired/upgraded.
I don't know why it happened, but I received two bon voyage gifts from Carnival - a picture coupon with a value of $15 and a lovely plate of chocolate covered strawberries. Both were a very nice surprise.
I was in stateroom 2445, which is a 1A aft and starboard with 2 big windows. There are bunk beds, but as a solo, I didn't use or see the second bed which is recessed into the ceiling when not being used. There is a sofa, chair and vanity seat. There is plenty of closet and drawer space. The only thing I would bring next time would be pants hangers so that pants didn't need to be folded over to be hung up. The shower was a good size, as was the bathroom vanity and medicine cabinet. There was a constant engine noise/vibration, but it was more soothing than disturbing.
I asked for 8:00 dining but was assigned 8:30 in the London dining room. I had no problem getting changed to the 8:00 seating at a table for 8 in the Paris dining room on the ground floor. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, 2 of the 3 couples didn't return after the first night and I offered to the third couple, on a belated honeymoon, that if they wanted to move to a table for 2, I wouldn't mind switching to another table. We did that and I ended up at a very nice table for 6 on the upper floor with other singles around my own age. I ate breakfast in the dining room every morning and lunch the two sea days. At all times I was seated with others so that I had company and conversation. The food was very good. My dinner favorites were the sweet & sour shrimp; the lobster, the chateaubriand, the prime rib and my lunch favorite was the steak salad. Out of curiosity I tried the warm chocolate melting cake. It was ok, but I don't understand what everyone raves about. But then, again, I'm not a big fan of hot fudge.
As for the alternate dining choices, I liked the hot dogs, chili and fries; the pizza was different, but not bad - I liked the plain cheese the best; the Reuben was good. The Chinese food was good, but a bit too hot/spicy for my tastes. I enjoyed the 24 hour hot coffee, iced tea and ice cream that was available.
My main purpose on this cruise was to relax, so I didn't engage in many of the various activities offered during our two days at sea. I did notice, however, that there was never a lack of things to do. While I didn't spend much time in the pool areas, I did notice that there were always plenty of available chairs to be found. I went to the afternoon tea and it was very nice, although very sparsely attended.
On HMC, I had a beach massage, had lunch and then found a hammock to relax in for a couple of hours before heading back to the ship. I took the St. John Champagne Catamaran tour from St. Thomas. It rained a bit while we were snorkeling, but it didn't spoil the day at all. I did a self-guided walking tour in San Juan. I stopped for a snack at La Bombonera (yum!) and did some window shopping before heading back to the ship. On Grand Turk I did the Reef and Rays tour. In addition to lots of fish, I saw the barracuda and played with the sting rays. After the tour I took a taxi into town and ate a conch lunch at Michaels. I was pleased with the two tours I booked and definitely felt I got my money's worth each time.
I spent some time (and money) in the casino but enjoyed every minute of it. I enjoyed both production shows (Wonderful World and Century Cafe); Cecil Parker; Asad, the comedy hypnotist; Mike Panzeca the comedian; and the Carnival Legends show featuring the passengers. I did not care for the magicians.
I had 3 spa appointments, taking advantage of the shore specials. Not once during any of the treatments did anyone mention any products to me. The spa treatments were one of the highlights of my cruise and I made special mention of the staff on my comment card.
Disembarkation went as smoothly as embarking. I had a leisurely breakfast in the dining room and then waiting on the Lido deck, drinking coffee, until my number was called. My wait in the Rome Lounge was short and I was off the ship and on my way to Ft. Lauderdale airport in good time.
As is to be expected all of the return flights on November 24 were oversold. My original flight was scheduled to leave at 2:30. I volunteered to be bumped twice and am now the proud owner of 3 free round trip tickets on Air Tran. I had a 5:30 flight back to Baltimore, and was home shortly after 9:00 p.m.
All in all it was a terrific vacation on a great ship. I will definitely consider Carnival again in the future.
I've scanned the Capers and the dinner menus. If anyone wants copies of either or both, drop me a line and I'll send them to you.