We flew from Columbus, Ohio to West Palm Beach via Cincinnati on Delta Thanksgiving morning without any problems. We picked up our rental car from Hertz (I'm a long standing Gold Member) at the West Palm Beach airport location without any problems. This may have been a first, it seams they have always find a way to messed up my reservation. We annually spend Thanksgiving with my DW twin sister in West Palm Beach. This is also another reason why we cruise the week after Thanksgiving is that we are already in Florida.
Saturday morning we drove to the Hertz Rental Care location in Downtown Miami, turned in the car and were shuttled over to the Carnival cruise dock. Hertz provides a free shuttle service from the downtown location. We arrived at the dock at around 11:50 AM. and were on the ship by 12:30 PM.
We place our carry-on items in our room (which was not made up yet - our steward was on shore). The room not being made up was yet not a problem for us. Went up to the Lido deck to get some lunch and ran into sparkscruiser and mdbowl 300 from our CC roll call group. We got to know each other and decided that we wanted to change our dinner reservations so we call set together. Went to the London dinning room and the arrangements were quickly made. We had our meet and greet just after the muster drill at the New World Pool. What a wonderful group of people (this was the first time we have be involved with a CC roll call). We are already on the CC roll call for next years cruise.
The Triumph has been in service since 1999 and while she does show a little rust and wear, she is still a very good ship. During our port stops we would see the crew doing maintenance and we never smelled any strange odors as had been report in past reviews.
We had cabin 8315 on the Verandah deck, which was a balcony cabin. This was our 3rd balcony and it is true what the say once you have a balcony you will not go back to any else. Our room steward was Wittaya from Thailand (we called him Witt) and he was excellent. DW had her towel animal every night except for the first and last nights. He kept the room very clean; along with keeping a minimum of 2 bottles of water in the room at all time (one on my major requirement). Dining & Food
As I said earlier, we were seated with 2 other couples from our CC roll call group. We were seated in the London Dining Room for the late (8:30pm seating) at table number 175. Our dining room staff was excellent. Our main server was Kishore from India and his assistant was Inyoman from Indonesia.
Overall, the food on this cruise was very good. Most of the time we had the buffet for breakfast, except for 2 days when we had it in the Paris dining room. Most of our lunches were at the Pizzeria and the Grill. We never did have lunch at the buffet or dining room. All of our evening meals were in the dining room and were excellent!! The only desert I had that I did not care for was the diet pumpkin pie.
Shows were good. You should go and see Asad the hypnotist and his adult show on Thursday night.
Half Moon Cay
This is one beautiful island. We did not get off right away, but waited about an hour. When we went down to the Rome Lounge we were given a number, we were the last few to get a number and only had to wait about 5 or 10 minutes to get on the tender. As far as some of the comments that I have read regarding the addition of more tenders, that's not really feasible with the docking situation. You just need to be patient!! We did have lunch on the island and it was not bad considering what has to be done to prepare it. Spent a little time walking around island and explored the shops at the tender dock
This was our 3rd visit to the island and still remains one of our favorite stops. We were told that we would not be leaving St. Thomas until 8:00 PM ships time, instead of the printed time of 6:00 PM. Still not sure why our stay was extended by 2 hours, but it was nice. We were about half an hour late arriving because of rough seas the night before. Clearing customs was not that bad. Carnival announce that they would clear those with shore excursions first. Here's a little tip - when Carnival says shore excursions they mean the ones booked through them. So if you book a short excursion with some one else, just get in line. We book a tour this year with Sunny Liston and it is everything his website says and more. I requested Sunny for our tour guide when I setup the tour and we had Sunny as our guide. I highly recommend Sunny Liston Tours for seeing St. Thomas (www.sunnylistontours.com). Several of our CC roll call members also book with Sunny after I posted the information in our threads. They all said they had a great time also.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
We booked the Barcardi/San Juan City tour and it is not worth the time or money for the Barcardi part of the tour. It is not Carnival's fault, but rather Barcardi's. You go to an open air visitor center for your 2 free drink's (Gift Shop is there also - item's are pricey, including the liquor and you will pay tax on it if you buy it at the gift shop). From there you take a tram which takes you about 600 feet to another visitor center where you listen to several people talk and see a video. Then it's back on the tram where they drive by the plant and bottling plant - NO PLANT TOUR - on the way back to the open air visitor center and gift shop. We have been to Appleton Estates in Jamaica and there you get a plant tour.
San Juan is a beautiful city and the city part of the tour was worth the time and money. We did stop for an hour at the fort, after leaving the fort you will have approximately an hour to and hour half to shop. If you take the shopping option, you are on you own to get back to the ship, which is a couple of blocks away. If you're looking for good prices on liquor, go to the second level of the cruise terminal - they have very good prices.
Grand Turk Island Here we booked the island bus tour, which is not bad. Our driver had a lot of interesting information about the island. I also got to visit the lighthouse. I have a hobby of photographing lighthouses. Came back to the dock and looked around the shops.
Since we were driving back to West Palm Beach, we were assigned number 27. According to the schedule we received on Friday, we could expect to get off the ship around 10:15 AM. We made it off around 11AM (NO PROBLEM). We were allowed to stay in our cabin until 10:00 AM, at which time they asked those still on the ship to go to deck 5 or 9 to wait on your numbering being call to go to the Rome Lounge. Carnival uses the Rome Lounge on the Triumph to stage for disembarking. I have to say it appeared to be working very well, at least better than in the past where hordes of passengers would show up on deck 3 or whatever deck they were to disembark from. Finding our luggage was a very easy. They airport style carousal works fine. There are 3 of them and each has a sign above it with tag numbers posted on the sign. You go to the carousal that matches your luggage tag number and get you luggage as it comes by.
In closing I have to say that I have read several reviews about the Triumph and how bad it was, that includes on from our sailing date. I really have to question if that person and I were on the same cruise and ship. I have to say that this is not a BAD SHIP; it is a VERY GOOD SHIP. The crew is very friendly; it was some of our fellow cruiser's who were RUDE. The buffet is just that, a buffet - do not expect 5 star food at breakfast and lunch, however, expect that what you have will be good - if not - try something else. I have never gone hunger on a cruise.
Know what you want out of your cruise prior to book it. If you want 5 star treatment, then sail on a cruise line that cost twice as much. If you want to relax and have fun then sail on Carnival - The Fun Ships!!
Cruising is what YOU make it and that includes choosing the right cruise line!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Up Coming November 2008 - Carnival Miracle November 2007 - Carnival Triumph November 2006 - Carnival Victory November 2005 - Carnival Fascination November 2004 - Norwegian Spirit November 2003 - Norwegian Sun May 2003 - Carnival Fascination November 2002 - Norway - We Will Miss Her November 2001 - Carnival Fantasy