CARNIVAL TRIUMPH Western Caribbean Aug. 24-31, 2008 by Mary & Vincent F
This was our fourth Carnival Triumph cruise and we looked forward to sailing with Captain Francesco La Fauci, but as luck would have it, we missed him again since he was on vacation. However, not all was lost since Capt. La Fauci introduced us to Captain Salvatore Messina, and we were very impressed by his kindness and intelligent handling of the situation caused by the erratic Hurricane Gustav. The itinerary was altered after Cozumel, Mexico. Instead of going East to Jamaica we went North, while Jamaica took a direct hit from the hurricane. Captain Messina kept us well out of harm's way, and we headed back for two fun filled sea days before landing at Half Moon Cay on Friday, a private white sand beach on a beautiful tropical island. On Saturday we landed at Nassau, Bahamas for another beautiful day. Whenever a port is dropped passengers always complain, but those with hurricane experience always avoid the high seas, wind and rain. It's an unwritten law! Bravo Captain Messina.
EMBARKATION The Port of Miami is easily accessed on a Sunday noon --- with minimum of traffic and security. We boarded at 12:30 pm; Check-in was simple and we had wheel chair assistance to our cabin all the way forward just near the bridge. Vincent checked on our dining room assignments, unfortunately, they were all the way aft in the Paris Dining Room. He talked with the Maitre D' Manuel Costa, who changed us to the London Dining Room (midship) and a table for two near the entrance.
SHIP We have published three reviews on the Triumph; the first in 2001 has a detailed deck by deck description of the ship's stats and decorations. The Triumph entered service in 1999 and will be undergoing extensive refurbishing in two weeks. She was built at the Fincantieri Shipyards, Monfalcone, Italy: hull # 5979. Her gross tonnage is 101,509; she is 893 feet long and her beam is 116 feet, with a cruising speed of 21 knots. Crew is 1,100 and guest capacity is 2,758 double occupancy.
The globe and map theme is throughout the ship with an impressive World's Way and World's Hall. The passenger areas are on Decks 3, 4 and 5, plus the rear of Decks 9, 10 and 11 while the staterooms are on decks 1, 2, 6, 7, 8 and forward of 9 and 10. The extensive use of marble makes the ship quite elegant.
SERVICE & FOOD Under Hotel Director Stewart Howard, this ship is a fine floating hotel. The service is excellent; The London Dining Room is watched over by Maitre D' Ahuja Ramesh, who gave us our excellent Waiter Norman Campbell. Both Norman and the Asst. Waiter Kevin Quadros were fabulous. Restaurant Hostess Monika Jendrekova always took special care of us at lunch in the Paris Dining Room with a delightful table for two by the window overlooking the ocean. The food on Carnival has improved over the years and we find the menu varied enough to have interesting dining experiences every day.
The Appetizers were appetizing and some, like shrimp cocktail, were available every night. The soups were of the both hot and cold types (try the wild mushroom and the cream of asparagus --- excellent. Salads of both the fruit and vegetable kind were fresh and inviting looking. Pasta courses were available every noon and evening. Entrees included excellent Prime Rib, Fillet Mignon, Lobster and several types of fish. Desserts were irresistible including hot souffles and warm chocolate melting cake every evening along with pies, freshly made ice creams and sherbets. Or try their cheese and fruit plates. Espresso coffee, tea, hot chocolate and after dinner cordials were nice final touches. Our congratulations to Chef de Cuisine Ajit Bangera!
In conclusion, we found the service on board quick and cordial. We especially want to thank Staff Captain Isidoro Renda for his time spent with us and his explanations of the ship's intricacies. Vincent enjoyed conversing with him in Italian.
CABIN Our wheel chair cabin #6208 is located on Upper Deck 6 forward. This is a poor location for physically challenged passengers, since they must go half the length of the ship just to reach the elevator. Most other ship lines cluster the wheel chair cabins mid ship near the central elevators. The balcony was very small with two chairs and a small table, it could not accommodate the wheel chair. The ramp to the balcony was too steep to use. We did not stay too often on the balcony because it was small, but Mary liked the height of the chairs. Many times chairs are too low to get up out of easily. These were perfect.
Even though the cabin was very small, there was ample storage and closet space with a private safe, but, alas, no refrigerator. The bath had safety rails all around and a nice medicine cabinet ---- a shower with seat and a single sink. The king size bed was comfortable and the room was equipped with TV, a desk/vanity and a small coffee table with two chairs. Colors are bright and our Steward Orlando Cruz was terrific.
ENTERTAINMENT Cruise Director Lenny Halliday is always on the go with so many activities that he and his group host: Bridge and Poker tournaments, Trivia, Bingo, Water Wars, and contests like the "Hairy Chest" and game shows, line dancing, etc., etc., etc. There are Vegas Style shows with the Carnival Singers and Dancers (the vocal talents of Randi Adlesic and Michael Valentine were tops). The Magic of Kevin & Caruso was "transportational!" Almost every day, the music aboard starts at 11:00am and includes all types: Classical with the "Grace String Trio", Calypso with the "Dynamics", Piano music with "Sharon" (thanks for the wonderful rendition of "Greensleeves"), Jazz with the "Peter Halloin Trio", Sing-Along Piano Bar with "Paul," etc, etc.... A lot of musical entertainment. Very Cool!
We took this cruise for relaxation and we rested every day --- it was a rejuvenation cruise. But, most vacationers on board had fun with a vengeance. We were bemused when we saw how much energy they expended on "fun." Carnival has passengers of all ages and something to make everyone happy.
PORTS OF CALL Sunday: Port of Miami, Depart at 5:00pm.
Monday: At Sea.
Tuesday: Cozumel, Mexico Arrive 8:00am Depart 10:00pm. Cozumel provides many tours starting at the end of the pier: Scuba for beginners ($91), Jeep and beach combo ($91).
Wednesday: At Sea.
Thursday: At Sea.
Friday: Half Moon Cay, Bahamas. This is Carnivals private island paradise --- with pure white sand, Palm trees and sparkling seas for excellent swimming.
Saturday: Nassau, Bahamas. Arrive 8:00am Depart 5:00pm.
Sunday: Port of Miami. Arrive 7:00am Disembark.
DEBARKATION When over 3,000 passengers are involved, it can be frenetic. But Carnival's system was painless, if a bit slow, due to passengers not paying attention to directions. We were off by 10:00am and on our way home to Boca Raton, just 40 miles north of Miami. Happy Cruising!