We are just back from the Carnival Triumph 3/8/09 - 3/15/09 cruise to Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel.
We flew in directly from Atlanta. I think this is the last time we are going to do this. I'm just getting too old for that long travel day. I'll spring for the hotel for a night from now on. We took the Carnival shuttle from the Ft. Lauderdale Airport to Miami. It was a perfectly good shuttle. The Carnival staff member who greeted us at the airport was very friendly and helpful. The shuttle itself was a bus.
We arrived at the port around 11:30 and were on the ship at around 12:20. The embarkation process was smooth since we had our fun pass already filled out online and had printed out our documents and brought them with us. We had all of this information in hand and ready to go by the time we got to the counter. We had some lunch in the Lido restaurant and were able to get into our room by 1:30.
John, our room steward, introduced himself by More
midafternoon. He agreed to put the beds together and bring us extra pillows without blinking and eye. John was great. He always had our room taken care of but we rarely saw him.
People always talk about the public rooms on a ship. The decor and colors and whatnot. I barely notice this kind of stuff. This ship looked as fine as any of the other ships I have been on. We are true believers that a cruise is largely what you make of it. We are there to relax and be pampered, not be interior design critics.
The Paris Dining Room was great. Juan and Maynarld, our waiters were wonderful and Aris the bar waiter had a Diet Coke waiting for me every night. The food was great as always. My favorite was the lamb chops and the GF really loved the Flat Iron Steak. Then there is the chocolate melting cake. The GF's favorite. Unfortunately, it seems that it is more melting than cake. It just seems like a bowl of really hot batter anymore. It's tasty batter but I would prefer more cake and less molten. The food on the Lido was good too. I've gotta say though, the pizza - not good. It's undercooked and it seems that the cheese is very possibly "cheese-food" Honestly, the pizza at Cici's is better. The deli though. Really good. I had corned beef, pastrami, and grilled ham and cheese. The GF was all about plain old turkey on white bread and she loved it.
We spent some time in the casino. Nothing too exciting happened in there. We both gave a donation but we enjoyed spending it. We ended up winning $500 playing Bingo so it all worked out.
I understand from my tablemates at dinner that the shows were good, but to be honest, there is something about being on a ship that just plain rocks me to sleep. I'm usually crashed out by 10ish.
Debarkation was smooth and painless. Monday morning came way too soon.
It was sad on Sunday night when we walked into the bedroom and there was no towel animal - no turndown - no mint on the pillow. Reality is the pits. We're booking our next cruise now. Less
Oddly enough this was our favorite port. We have been there 3 other times and had considered not even getting off the ship this time. Boy, are we glad we did. We booked an excursion of a Mexican Cooking Class. What a great excursion. Not only do you have a cooking class but you also get access to the Playa Mia resort including an open bar and a buffet and the beach and hammocks and shops and non-motorized water stuff. The cooking class was a lot of fun and included plenty of drinking. We learned to cook an appetizer, entree and dessert. The instructor, Luis, was very personable and funny. The food was good. It wasn't horribly difficult to cook but it was fun. Afterwards, I went and made sure the bar was ok and chatted with one of my classmates while the GF went and played on the beach. She kayaked, sailed on a sailboat, and hung out on the beach. As we were waiting for our ride back we saw a little iguana porn. The line was long to get back on the ship but it wasn't too bad. We people watched. It's always fun to watch the drunks coming back from Senor Frogs.
For Grand Cayman we booked an excursion. We did a Stingray City and snorkeling tour. The seas were pretty choppy that day so snorkeling was just more work than it was worth. The stingrays were cool. I got to feed them and kiss one and hold one. Note - if you are taking pics with a waterproof camera keep in mind that the water is moving for you and your subject. We have 25 shots of half faces and parts of stingrays. Hilarious!
I'll admit I had some trepidation about going to Ocho Rios. Jamaica has a pretty sketchy reputation. I was totally expecting to be hassled by some Jamaicans. Guess what? We got hassled by Jamaicans. We didn't have an excursion booked. It seems like practically every excursion involved climbing Dunn's River Falls. I'm just not sporty like that. I didn't really want to climb anything so we went into town just expecting to do some shopping. Instead, we met Annie. I couldn't believe it when we agreed to go with her on a private tour in her car for $30 each. She took us into the rainforest and shopping. She was very personable and informative. She was great. We stopped at a little hut on the side of the road in the rainforest and we had an educational experience about indigenous plants and fruits. I really enjoyed it. Annie took us to a beautiful viewpoint and we took pictures...and were hassled to buy stuff. It just seems to me that sooner or later Jamaicans might learn that Americans are not going to respond well to pushy pushy pushy. All I wanted to do was escape and buy NOTHING. Which is what we did after our tour ended. If it weren't for Annie we wouldn't have lasted 30 minutes before we went back to the ship.