Embarkation was very stress free and easy, only headache was that they had mixed up who was staying in what room and this continued to plague us the whole week even after we had changed everything at the Guest Services Counter. Yes the lines are long as everyone says everywhere you go and you just have to bare with it. You will need to be patient with things like getting your breakfast and lunch, getting an elevator etc. Big suggestion is to have dinner in the dining room each night...the food is wonderful compared to the buffet given the shrimp, steak, ribs, pasta, and salads offered. The service is fantastic and it's a nice atmosphere to spend time with your family or friends for dinner conversation rather then a cafeteria style buffet restaurant. The spa is a hoax...they over charged us time and time again and it took my husband 3 fulls days to make sure they got their accounting straight, it was very stressful and did not make for a relaxing vacation given the errors in billing the manager at the spa made. The body wrap was very good but it's not worth the hassles and even the discounted price is too much, when I can get the same thing for cheaper at a spa on land. Defiantly do use the exercise facilities though, very nice and clean and lots of equipment to keep you fit. The Lido deck is great for sunning and taking a dip in the pool or hot tubs. Tip: take a half day excursion on a port day and then spend the other half on the Lido deck swimming and in the hot tub etc without all the hundreds of kids splashing in the pool and all the people saving all the deck chairs...it's so relaxing on the port days! The 'World' theme of the ship was pretty much NOT what it was made out to be when reading about the ship on the Carnival website. The Paris and London dining rooms looked nothing like Paris or London..they were fancy nice dining rooms but there was no theme in them, nor was there on most of the ship. The best theme was Tokyo Underground with the caves..that was really well done, and the Vienna Cafe was quite nice, otherwise it wasn't that highly themed. I guess the Carnival Designer got a little more creative with the newer ships like the Valor, which I was on in 2007. The Cruise Director Ryan was a good guy..although the jokes he told must be out of the cruise directors manual because they told the same jokes on the Valor the year before. The Shows were different from the previous year, the comedian was so so, the dancer shows were out of this World and the magic guys were good but it was easy to figure out their tricks. Overall the staff was excellent as usual, as Carnival prides itself on service, the rooms were great except for the fact my parents oceanview was reeking of smoke from day one and those ionizer machines didn't help too much, it sort of ruined their experience in their room. Although their room stewards David and Allen made up for the poor cabin experience given their friendliness and care. I would sail with the Triumph again if I got a great deal as the staff made the experience a good one. As people say..the experience is what you make it!
Ports of Call Reviews:
Jamaica: Suggest you do the Mystic Mountain Tour; you take a chair lift up this gorgeous mountain, and you have options to do the bobsledding (SO FUN!) or zip lining, which is so so...it's kinda small. You don't have to pay for bobsled or zip line on your ship, you can just choose the Mystic Mountain tour for I think $20 each? or close to that and then decide once you get up there if you want to do the bobsledding or zip line, it's the same price if you wait till you go up as you would pay if included in your shore excursion tour. Anyway it's the greatest view of Jamaica from the lookout and just the chair lift up the mountain is amazing to be surrounding in the lush green forest. Dunn's River Falls is nice but I've seen more beautiful sites, and the harassment you get to buy wooden carvings etc is not worth going there! I would suggest if you are looking for a hassle free experience without having to worry about people begging you to buy stuff and begging for tips left right and center that you go to Mystic Mountain instead because there is absolutely NO harassment up there!
Grand Cayman was a let down, it's filled with hotels and closed up houses and shops. There are a few banks for those off shore bank accounts spread out everywhere but other then that wasn't much to see and we went on a 5km walk, the public beach we stopped at to cool off was full of lava rock so unless you bring water shoes you can only dip your feet in the water and look for sea shells and sit on the beach with the little hermit crabs. The StingRay City adventure tour was canceled due to rough waters the day we were in port and I was really disappointed. Although the waters were a little rough I've been out snorkeling in worse and still had a great time and view of the fish, but I guess they did it for safety reasons and maybe that people would get sea sick with the waves. I wouldn't purposely book a trip to Grand Cayman ever given it was just OK and not a spectacular place to visit. The only things I would say they have going for them is great diving, snorkeling and the Sting Ray sand bar.
Cozumel Mexico: What can I say other then WOW! Cozumel is beautiful! My dad said it was the most beautiful view of the ocean he had ever seen, and that's huge given my dad is very much the kind of guy that thinks Canada has the best scenery in all the world with Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, etc. Cozumel is so small that you can drive a car or jeep around the entire island in an hour. I recommend other then doing tours all day that you rent a jeep or car and just go exploring. I have been to Cozumel on several occasions and it's always been an amazing vacation. The people are so sweet and kind. The driving isn't that bad, given my father in his 60's got around on his own with my mother just fine while my husband and I went snorkeling. Suggest taking your jeep/car along the coast to look at the amazing beach that runs for miles, stop at Coconuts bar and Grill on the cliff (you will not be disappointed!) and have a margarita and some tacos or their amazing Guac and tortillas. Then to work off the Guac and Tortillas suggest parking along the beach line and going for a swim, they have lifeguards on duty daily all along the coast, it is VERY rough waves, and a big undertow, so if you are not a strong swimmer stay at the edge to cool off. Jumping the waves is so much fun, the whole family did this for 2 hours, we weren't even out very far given the strong undertow and it was still just as amazing. Unfortunately we had to pack up as we had to be back on board by 4:30 and we still hadn't done any shopping. It was definitely not enough time in Cozumel. So much to see and do. Oh I suggest the Stingray encounter tour, they have just recently built this facility after the hurricane 4 years ago...wonderful facilities, yes the stingrays are penned in and not just roaming free on the ocean but they are very well fed and cared for. I was uncomfortable at first b/c I am very against having these animals captive for tourist amusement, but the guides used a lot of care with them and made sure no one was doing anything to harm them. It was amazing to swim with them and hold them and feed them. I will definitely name the experience one of my 10 best. Say Hi to Toni and his guys if you visit!