Our vacation started with an uneventful flight to Miami on Saturday. Both legs of the flight were slightly ahead of schedule and we arrived just before 6:30 PM, called the hotel and inquired about a shuttle. We were told where to go outside and one would be by in a few minutes. Well...almost an hour later we were finally picked up by a van…..we were so packed in that DW had to ride in my lap. There was no way I was going to wait another hour though. We originally booked the Clarion Collection Las Palmas Hotel. About two weeks before our flight we learned the hotel had been sold to Holiday Inn…it was now Holiday Inn Express at Doral. Our reservation was still confirmed so ok…right? Wrong…they were obviously going through start-up pains because they were so disorganized it was ridiculous. Oh well…c'est la vie!
Sunday morning the hotel had shuttles to the port every hour starting at 10:00 AM for $9 pp. We signed up for the 11:00 shuttle and came downstairs at 10:30 to check out. Somehow they did not have us down for the shuttle!! Luckily it was the same guy at the desk and I was able to jog his memory. Unfortunately, once again the shuttles were overbooked. We got outside with our bags so we were in the front of the line…I wasn't going to miss a seat or have DW ride on my lap again! Surprise, surprise…the shuttles were already running late. Ours finally arrived at around 11:45. Needless to say I would not recommend this hotel. The one kind of cool thing about it though, was we found the Carnival Cruise Lines Headquarters building was one block away.
Embarkation: We finally arrived at the port a little after noon, gave our checked baggage to a porter, and headed to the port terminal. Oh happy day, there were no lines at security, we got right through and were directed upstairs. Here we found the cattle runs fairly full. The Carnival staff was efficient though and kept things moving. We were on board just before 1:00 PM, took quick tour of the ship, and enjoyed lunch on the Lido deck before going to our cabin.
Cabin: We had booked an inside guaranteed this time and ended up with 2439, Main Deck, starboard side and aft. Didn't know if we'd like an interior cabin after having a balcony but it was fine. The bed was large and comfortable as usual. Never really felt "closed in" by the lack of a window. We kind of missed the balcony for sail-away but joined everyone up on deck 10 and had a good time. The only real negative I have about this cabin was constant machine noise, but we got used to that after the first night. Oh yeah…if you book a room in this location don't freak out when the thrusters kick in…they shake everything. By the time we came back down from sail-away our luggage was waiting outside our door. Our cabin steward greeted us in the hall and introduced himself. He was always around asking how we were and if we needed anything, the room was kept spotless, ice was always full and a towel critter greeted us after dinner each night.
The Ship: As this was only our second cruise we could only draw comparisons to the Legend. However, we did think the Triumph was a beautiful ship and the décor seemed to be a little less gaudy than the Legend. We found it fairly easy to get around once we got our bearings - the main thing you have to remember on these ships is decks 3 and 4 don't go all the way through due to a dining room. We did notice this ship seemed to be a little more crowded than the Legend. On sea days deck chairs were always all tied up.
Food: Once again the food was excellent. Food was always available and everything we had was quite good. We ate dinner in the dining room every night. We had a table for eight and were seated with a couple from Quebec and a couple from South Carolina, the fourth couple was a no-show. Our waiter, Wilfredo, and his assistant, Francisco, were outstanding. We enjoyed the service and the atmosphere of the dining room each night.
Onboard Activities: There is almost too much to do! You have to pick and choose because you simply cannot do it all. We intended this trip to be mostly R&R and with three sea days we spent a lot of time on deck in the sun. We like relaxing after dinner so we went to the shows in the Rome Lounge most nights. We thought all of the shows were very good. The onboard comedians were all very good. Neither of us gambles so I can't say much about the casino other than it was fairly busy and the people seemed to be having a good time. Bars/nightclubs, we didn't go bar hopping onboard either but most of them seemed to be doing quite well. We did meet some of our fellow CC'ers in the Piano Bar Sunday night and had a good time.
Ocho Rios Jamaica: This was the only stop of the three that we hadn't been to and we were really looking forward to it. Unfortunately they cancelled the port due to rough seas. Judging from the way the ship started to pitch and roll once we got close; it was probably a wise choice.
Grand Cayman: Once again we booked the Stingray Sandbar/Rum Point Beach Break excursion through Carnival. Last time here we missed out on Stingray City because of rough seas. We made it this time. The swells were still pretty high but it was shallow enough we were able to stay on our feet. DW is most definitely not a water person but even she had a great time. The skies were clear and the stingrays were easy to see and photograph. After leaving the sandbar we headed to Rum Point for about an hour and a half. This is a fairly small beach area but it wasn't too crowded and we had a couple drinks and relaxed on the sand. We had a little time left in Georgetown so we hit Margaritaville for a bite to eat, and of course, a couple margaritas.
Cozumel: We booked the Tulum Ruins tour here. As soon as we were off the Triumph we walked straight to a ferry boat that took us across to Playa Del Carmen on the mainland. Here we met "Lilly" our guide for the day and boarded air-conditioned buses for our ride to the ruins. On the way she gave us a brief talk on Mayan history and lifestyle. The ruins were amazing. If you have any interest in this type of thing I highly recommend this tour. The only negative I have about this trip was the crowding at the ruin site; unfortunately, with six ships in port you are going to have that. The only other drawback to this excursion is it takes up all of your port time. Don't plan on any shopping or eating in Cozumel. You won't have time.
Debarkation: We had a late flight so we weren't any a great hurry to get off the ship. We had breakfast on the Lido deck, collected our carry-on bags, and found a comfortable place to sit and wait. We were zone 15 and didn't have to wait very long, I didn't check my watch but I know we were on shore before 10:00. We boarded a shuttle to the airport and since our flight wasn't until 6:40 PM, we rented a car and drove to Miami Beach. It was so busy down there by the time we arrived we could find a place to park so we just cruised around and took in the sights. After a late lunch we returned the car, took a shuttle back to the terminal to check in.
The flights home were mostly un-eventful as well although we were delayed out of Atlanta about a half an hour. We still managed to get home before midnight.
In summary we had a great time and found Triumph a beautiful ship. We will definitely sail with Carnival again.