I just got back from a wonderful cruise on the Carnival Triumph. Date of sailing was June 1-8. Ports of call were Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Jamaica.
I arrived in Miami and stayed at the Days Inn on Saturday May 31. The shuttle picked us up from the airport in a timely manner. The rooms were clean and spacious. On the day of sailing checkout took about 20 mins. A shuttle bus picked us up at the back of the hotel at 11am and we were able to prepay $10 for our return shuttle trip at the end of the cruise. The ride to the Port took about 15 mins. At the port our luggage was taken by the luggage guys and we proceeded to check. Getting through security took about 25 mins and having your fun pass helps when checking your passport. The actual check in line is in different sections and takes about 30 to 45 min depending on the crowd. We got our sign and sail card and boarded the boat. A buffet lunch is served on the Lido Deck 9. There are different food stations that serves sandwiches, pizza, hamburgers, ect. Don't join the first line you see but walk around the different stations. The Triumph is an old ship and you can see the scratches in the paint, toilet seats on the 9th deck were broken, there were also broken seats and tables all on the Lido Deck. The layout of the ship is very confusing. To get to the front of the ship take the front elevators and to get to the rear of the ship it is easier if you take the rear elevator. Be prepared to walk through the casino and restaurants to get to you designated areas. We had a quad room and it was surprisingly large. There is enough dresser space, and drawers in the room, there were three closets and in the bathroom there is a clothes line, vanity space and a shelve under the sink and there are enough outlets in the room. The Triumph is a beautiful ship if you can get over the decor. Camp Carnival is closed on port days and have some weird hours. If you drop off the kids at 9 am be prepared to pick them up at 10;45 ect. We could not really plan anything around their hours because as soon as we dropped off the kids and started doing something it was time to pick them up. Also you will receive invitations for the kids to party after 10pm. Please be aware that these parties are not free and babysitting fees apply.
The Cruise director Matt was very entertaining and informative. He kept us informed of the different shore excursions and shopping opportunities. The shows at night were very enjoyable. I did not think the comedian was very funny. Enjoyed the magic show tremendously along with the other shows. The band on the Lido Deck kept us entertained poolside. The food was hit and miss. Sometimes the ribs were soft and other times it was hard. The salmon needed some salt, the chocolate melting cake is just hot melted chocolate which is too sweet, the lobster on Captains' night was excellent and the deserts were also hit and miss.
In Cozumel Mexico we did the ruins through the cruise line. Be prepared to be herded in groups according to your bus number. We stopped at one shopping plaza on the way to the ruins. The ruins are interesting, it was not hot. If you are wearing flip flops be aware there are biting ants. There is a beautiful beach at the bottom. The tour guides give you a brief history of the Mayans and after about 45 mins you are allowed to go off on your own. The boat ride over to the mainland is rough so please take precautions.
In Grand Cayman we booked the stingray/snorkel with Nativeway. They picked us up at the pier and after a short ride boarded the boat to the stingray sandbar. The stingrays came right up to us and we pet and fed them. We then snorkeled and had lunch at rum punch beach. The food was ready when we got there and the chicken tenders and fries were excellent. Nativeway was very professional. DVD of the trip costs $30. If you are interested in buying duty free liquor do so before going on your tour because it has to be ordered an hour before the last tender.
In Jamaica we booked Dunns river fall and shopping with Island Marketing. We were met at the pier and taken to the falls. Water shoes is needed for climbing the falls which can be rented there. The climb up the falls was slow due to the amount of people. Triumph was the only ship in Jamaica but it was still congested. Pictures costs $20 and the guides are willing to use your cameras. We then went to fern gully which turned out to be a ride up and down the fern gully road. We stopped briefly and did some shopping and then went up the mountains for an amazing view of our ship . We enjoyed the jerk chicken at the jerk center and sampled local fruits like mangoes at the market. The Jamaicans are very aggressive sellers so do not fall for the first price that is given to you.
To disembark Carnival uses two methods. You can use the zone tags that are left in your rooms and leave your luggage outside your room the night before or you can keep your luggage and leave with it.We opted for the self assist disembarkation method meaning we kept our luggage since we had an early flight. If you have your luggage you can leave whenever. You do not have to wait for your zone to be called. After waiting initially for about an hour we walked right off the ship. The Customs line can take anywhere from 10 mins to 45 mins depending on what is happening ahead of you. We called our prepaid shuttle company and the shuttle was there in about five minutes.
Verify your balance with the purser's desk. We had charges added to our account night before arrival and could not dispute it because the department was closed. If you are from a different country and using a card from your country Carnival may put a charge pending to your account and it takes a while to get that money back into your account.
It was our first cruise and we enjoyed it tremendously. We are already planning our next cruise. Hope this review helps.