Getting to Miami: We flew out of Halifax, Nova Scotia on Friday, March 28 at 6:20 am. We were a group of 3 couples anxious to escape a Canadian winter. We flew Air Canada via Montreal and arrived in Miami at 1 pm. We were promptly met by Carnival staff who quickly got us to our bus and off to the Miami Airport Hilton. We had cocktails in hand shortly after 2 pm. We made a trip to South Beach around 5 pm and we were back to the hotel around 11 pm.
Embarkation day: The weather on Saturday morning was beautiful. We had a lovely buffet breakfast at the hotel and then we gathered to catch the bus to the Port of Miami. We met at 11:30 am and we were on the road shortly after noon. We arrived at the new terminal, which I might add is much better than the old one. The new one is much less chaotic. Check in was very quick even though there was a lot of people. We were on the ship an waiting for our cabin at about 1:10 and our rooms were ready at 1:30. Our cabin was in great shape except for a couple of signs of wear on the carpet. Everything was is working order.
Our Cabin Steward: We met our room steward. His name was Herve. Right away and I gave him half of his tip up front. His service was awesome and he called us by name all week. My wife wondered if Herve actually lived under the bed, because everytime we left our cabin, it was serviced when we got back.
Our Dinner Seating: We had the 8 pm dinner seating in the Paris Dining room...as requested. We had a lovely table for 6 on the upper level by a window. It was perfect. Our waiter was Cyprian and his assistant was Sergei. They were two of the best servers we have ever had.
The Food in the Dining Room: The food in the dining room was excellent and there was lots of it. If you wanted two starters...no problem. If you wanted the lobster tail and the prime rib...no problem. It is amazing the quality that they can produce on such a large scale. I would highly recommend the peppercorn steak, the jumbo shrimp, and the chocolate melting cake and the bitter and blanc for dessert.
Other Places to Eat: The lido deck was great for a quick breakfast, but we enjoyed the dining room for breakfast on 4 of the mornings. The eggs benedict and the corned beef hash were popular with our group. For lunch, we tried a little bit of everything. The pizza was good, the Hong Kong Noodle Company was very tasty as well. The grill had great burgers and a nice chicken on a bun. The deli made a great Corned Beef on Rye...and it was even better toasted. The lunch buffets were good and there was plenty of selection. If you were hungry, it was your own fault. We did not order room service or go to the late-night buffets.
Ports of Call: Our first stop was Half Moon Cay. It was beautiful...at least from the ship. The weather was a bit off and my wife was coming off a cold and we thought it best to avoid a rain shower and get soaked. Our next stop was St. Thomas. We did an excursion to Megan's Bay and Paradise Point. Both are must see stops. We did a bit of shopping and had a few beer at Hooters...the wives were thirsty after all the shopping. We really liked St. Thomas. San Juan was our next port. The first thing we saw in San Juan was two body bags on stretchers. They were actually shooting a movie called "Perfect Getaway". It was interesting to see all the activity. No excursion here. We walked around old San Juan and did some shopping. Walked along the sea wall and it was beautiful. Stopped at Senor Frogs for a cold one...or two and then back to the ship. We enjoyed our day in San Juan very much. Our last stop was Nassau. We had read some negative reviews, but we had a great day. We did not do an excursion. More shopping and strolling around. The Straw Market was an interesting experience.
The Ship: We were on the Carnival Victory in 2006 and the Triumph is it's sister ship. It seemed very familiar and that was nice. Take some time to roam around and explore. The best way to get familiar with the ship is to get lost a time or two. Everything was in great shape for a 9 year old ship that is due for refit in September. We enjoyed time spent at the lobby bar. Iin and Noel were excellent bartenders and it was a great place to meet people. On deck, we had no problem getting lounge chairs although you might if you wanted to be in the heart of the action.
The Entertainment: The comedian did not make it due to a cancelled flight, but Matt Ross, the Cruise Director, did a great job on the first night to keep us all entertained. At one point I almost fell out of my seat I was laughing so hard. The hypnotist, Asad, was excellent, as were the magicians. The production shows were quite impressive. The legends show on the final night gets old, but it was entertaining. Matt Ross, the Cruise Director was very good in my opinion. He was not on the PA all the time like some are. You heard from him when you had to. They do need some new material though.
Debarkation: We left our luggage out the night before for pick-up. Our tags were zone 7. In the morning, we had breakfast at 7 am and we were tentatively scheduled to debark at 9:15. At 8:20 or so, our zone number was called and we went to the Rome Lounge. We were off the ship and on the bus to the Fort Lauderdale airport at 9 am. We were extremely impressed by the process.
Final Thoughts: Only one real complaint. There were some teenagers horsing around and running around on the ship. This is not a Carnival problem but a parenting problem. Please...if you bring your teens on any ship, have a discussion about what is acceptable and what is not. It is not all, but a few that make it hard on the rest.
We had a great cruise and the ship staff were second to none. We would definitely go on the Triumph again. The countdown is on for the Valor in September!!!
Mulligan from Nova Scotia