This was our 9th Carnival cruise and our 12th overall. we arrived in Miami a day early and used points for a free hotel room. Rented a car for the day with Hertz and if you return it downtown, they have a free shuttle to the cruise ships.
Arrived Sunday at around 11 and had to wait until after 12 to board. we got there early so check in was fine, but they did not seem to have as many people working and it was getting crowded as we were boarding. started our cruise as we like to do, with a cheeseburger and rum drink of the day on the Lido deck (good stuff). At 1:30 we checked back at our cabins and all of our luggage had arrived. We had two balcony cabins on the upper deck, midship (one for my wife and I and one for my daughter and her husband) Typical carnival - no surprises, no complaints. Muster drill was a little late and as uncomfortable as always. do your self a favor and arrive a little late (otherwise you are pinned against a wall with very little air moving).
Dining - had the 8:15 seating in the Paris, and our first table was on the second floor in the very back. We could not see anything and the vibration was very bad. The second night I complained to the Maitre D and he changed our table immediately. Food was again typical Carnival. Very good with some interesting presentations and dishes (not gourmet, but we never had a bad meal). We like Carnival food over the other lines we have sailed on. I would not miss dinner in the dining room, and they are very accommodating if you want extra appetizers or entrees. Staff was good, but because we moved and one of our assistants got cut, it was not quite the same. Although service was good, it seems as though they have increased the tables per waiter so it seemed to take longer. Deli was great, but crowed at peak times. Pizza and cesar salads not so good. other buffets varied with the day (somedays found many good things, other days nothing looked appetizing) Burgers at the aft pool were always great and never a big line. Had lunch in the dining room twice and it was very good (A nice break from the sun)
Half Moon Cay - Nicest beach we have ever been at. Never seen clearer water, and sand. We rented a few mats (at $6 each) and floated the afternoon away. The kids played volleyball. We opted to go back on the ship for lunch, so I do not know how the buffet was on the island. All seven days we had perfect weather, so I will not keep mentioning that.
St Thomas - did the jeep tour through Carnival. Nice tour and we stopped at 2 beaches and Mountain top (gotta have a banana daiquiri there). My only complaint is that Carnival charge $20 more per person than Royal Caribbean does for the same trip. Guide was very knowledgeable and friendly.
Puerto Rico - explored on our own, taking the free shuttle and touring the forts. Stopped a small restaurant for nacho's and beer. don't remember the name but it was a lot of fun and the bartender was very interesting describing life on the island. Made a few bucks in one of the casinos (slots on the boat were tight, tight tight), and stopped for a little craziness at Sr Frogs.
Grand Turk - Another great surprise (similar to Costa Maya which we also liked). Beach was close but a bit rocky. We decided to hang out at the pool at Margaritaville. What a blast. Great pool, swim up bar and a DJ that kept things hopping. Had a great day
Bummer - probably the poorest cabin service we have had. He was not that bad, but all the others were so much better. We normally tip an extra $5 bucks up front, to keep whatever beers we have in a bucket iced up. It took us reminding him 3 days to remember it. just not impressed. In all service on this ship did not seem that great
Tips, Carnival allows one bottle of wine person. Take advantage of it. We also packed an extra suitcase and brought in soft drinks, water and beer.
Overall one of the best itineraries we have been on. Maybe I am getting tired of Carnival, but I was not impressed with the Triumph.