Sailed on the Carnival Triumph on 23 Feb 2008. Took 3 children & spouses and 7 grandchildren (ages 1 to 16), 14 people in all. The ports, all good, Half Moon Cay, St. Thomas, San Juan and Turks&Cacos have already been extensively covered by others so I'll just talk about the cruise. Most people pick a cruise for the ports and find that the best were the Private Island and days at sea, as we did. Don't over look the days at sea!!
All 14 of us left from Detroit, Mi on Thursday, Feb 21. for Ft. Lauderdale deciding to go 2 days early in case we had bad weather in Detroit (imagine that!!). We took Spirit Air. As Detroit is a main hub for Northwest, we thought Spirit would be less crowded and were right. We didn't have to walk 9 miles to get from the ticket counter to the gate. When I called Spirit, all calls handled from the Philippines, to book 13 (baby was lap child) tickets I was told that I could only book 8 & would have to through group travel, quote from them was $450.00 pp round trip. Called Spirit again and asked if I could book 8 and 5 seats, agent said, in very broken English (press 1) that couldn't be done, must call group. Called again and got a super rep! I told her what I wanted to do, she says please hold, a few seconds latter she came back & said the has 8&5 seats held and proceeded to make 2 sets of reservations, the aforementioned impossible 8 and 5 seats. Cost for this was $265.00 pp, big difference when getting 13 tickets. All parts of the flight were on time and seats comfortable, bring snacks!
Stayed at the Sleep Inn & Suites Ft. Lauderdale International Airport, 1500 SE 5th Ave, Dania, FL, US, 33004 | Phone: (954) 874-1800. Cost was $180.00 per room per night. We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale at 3:00 and they picked us up at the airport right on time. The room were clean, we hand been upgraded to suites that had a sitting area that provided plenty of room. The free breakfast with biscuits & gravy, scrambled eggs & the usual other stuff was great. Restaurants, Walgreen's, Publics (a grocery store), dollar store, (go there, lots of stuff; I got a nightlight that worked out great). The next day the kids took a cab to the beach ($8.00 each) and had a great time. These 2 days were great, really made the cruise more enjoyable, conceder doing this!!
Had Super Top Shuttle, http://www.supertopshuttle.com/rates.html, pick us up at the hotel and ship when we returned, right on time, waiting when the ship docked, very courteous and competent. Good pricing to &150.00 each way for all of us. Use these guys, very good.
I'll get all of the negative stuff out of the way first. We arrived on board about noon, no direction as to where anything was, ("Lunch is on the Lido Deck", um, o.k.), happened on to a passenger who did and found our cabin. The balcony glass was dirty, (didn't say anything to anyone, just cleaned my self) the ship is older and has been obviously well used. Some trim needed replacing; lights were out in a lot of places and again dirty windows in the public areas. The photo set up was lousy! We had 4 family's get photos so we put them all in one place so that the others could view them. When we got back, we noticed a "NO Grouping" sign and all of our photos were gone, took a few days and only found most of them. No explanation for the no grouping thing. The staff in general, except in the Paris dinning room, gave us the feeling that we were in that way of doing their job, not unfriendly as they would generally talk if you spoke to them. They just seemed resigned to having all these people under foot all the time. Note that this is a SMOKING ship!would of liked the Oxford Lounge but had to much smoke. That's about it. Do get a balcony if you can, well worth it!!
The breakfast was much better in the dining room, same menu every day but very good. The N.Y. Deli had great sandwiches, the burgers & hot dogs were good to. Lunch on deck was always good. As for the dinning room dinners, we had the Paris, the beef entrees were generally ok but the others, Lamb Chops, don't miss these!, Duck, Quail etc. were great. Portion weren't gut stuffing but you could order more until they were. This was well worth doing every night. You didn't have to worry about the children eating as there was always good food available for them.
The kids all has walkie-talkies so we could keep track of them by the time the batteries wore out the third day we were comfortable with knowing there were ok. We took this cruise line because of all the kids stuff but I will have to say that I was surprised by all of the "adults" on the cruise. I herd there were 500 kids but it didn't seem like that many. The kids club was great, it became a very important part of their day. You could tell the people that ran it really loved their job and serious to. You had to be on the list, have proper I.D. and they had to think that you should before you were allowed to pick up a child. I noticed that they looked to see how the child reacted to the person picking them up. Camp Carnival made for a wonderful cruise for the grandchildren!
We definitely will take this line again with the kids and maybe even if we don't take them. In short, it was great!! All of us, the grandchildren especially, made memories of a family vacation that will last forever.
Feel free to email me with any questions.
Thanks for taking time to read these ramblings,