Leading up to this cruise, I had read mixed reviews. It seemed either everyone loved the Triumph or hated it. Thinking about the negative comments I worked hard to find evidence of those things but am happy to say I could not. Each person's experiences are different, so I know that this next statement does not pertain to all. From the FEW negative comments I heard on this cruise, it seems that it is the individual person who decides if they have a good cruise or bad cruise. We chose to have a good time, to laugh, to live. Those who I heard saying they had a bad time on this cruise frankly, they were stiffs who should have taken a different type of cruise. After all, Carnival does run the FUN SHIPS. If dancing, singing, laughing, staying up late, Laughing is not your personal taste of fun or if you do not like children this would not have been the cruise for you. Let me share some highlights of my experiences. By the way, this is my fourth cruise with Carnival.
Embarkation- We had completed the Funpass which did make the overall process go faster than in previous trips. However, we were at the terminal with most of other 3,000+ passengers around 1:00. I must say though considering how many people were on the ship ( it was FULL) the lines moved quickly. Once we were on the ship - we ate lunch on the Lido deck.
Cabin- We had an ocean view cabin -near the elevators which was very accessible to most everything. The room steward, Ray, did a fabulous job keeping it clean and tidy for us. He was always very alert to our needs and inquired each evening how our day went. I never tire of coming in each evening to see the animal towels. Yes, I still take pictures of them. It was nice having the access to our ship account on funvision. We never tried booking a tour on there as we were afraid of booking the wrong one but love the idea of being able to do so. The goodies basket in the bathroom was also very nice. If you are reading this and have never cruised, be prepared no cruise ship has " large" rooms ( unless you want to spend big $ for a suite). However, the ocean view room we had was much larger than any of the previous rooms we have had. Within our group of 8, My husband and I had a cabin to ourselves. Having the couch in the room, was nice when others wanted to come to our room. We have stayed on the upper deck on previous trips but we think the Riviera deck is the best. You do not feel as much movement and when you do decide you need rest, it is quiet. An added bonus for us ( remember we were by the elevators) we were right above where we needed to go to get off the ship.
TOURS- This was my second time on this route. You must see the ruins in Tulum they are beautiful and well worth the journey to get there. IN the Cayman Islands- go feed the stingrays at Stingray city. Book the earliest tour possible for two reasons. One- the stingrays will be hungry and they will want to eat ( if you choose to feed them) and you will beat the crowd. We did this and were very glad we did. The water is so clear and green and the experience was priceless. TAKE THIS TOUR. Jamaica- I always hear mixed reviews here. My husband and I LOVE it there but others in our group not so well. Someone in my group did have a bad experience, so I understand why she feels the way she does. Let me explain more clearly. We took a wonderful tour to THE ENCHANTED GARDENS which we all LOVED. It has 14 waterfalls spread out over a beautiful rainforest with all types of plants and wildlife. We were able to feed parrots and other birds from our hands. We went to Dunn's rivers fall which once again we all loved. Now my husband and I already knew that SOME Jamaicans can be VERY, VERY, intimidating and pushy. It is set up so that you have to go through the craft village when leaving the falls. A member of our group became separated and a gentleman cornered her off and refused to let her go until she paid him money. As you can imagine this really shook her up. She still liked Jamaica but she never wants to go back to the falls. Here is my advice-1. Take a ship tour 2. Stay has a group or at the very least partner up. DO NOT LET YOUR PARTNER OUT OF YOUR SIGHT. NO MATTER WHAT ANYONE SAYS. 3. As you leave the falls, go down the right side of the craft village (it is shorter to the tour buses). Look straight ahead and just tell each person no thank you- do not accept the free beads. It is a trick to get you to their stand. There is a sweet, sweet young women who has the last stand on the right (underneath a big shade tree). She is not pushy and I encourage you to buy from her. I did not intend on buying anything there but when she called out " a different place to shop- no hassle", then she did not follow me, I decided to turn around and go look at her stuff. I bought a painting from her and had a great conversation about schools there ( I am a teacher and was curious). The tour guides do not prepare you well enough for how pushy some of the people are in Jamaica, So I am here. Do not be scared just prepared. Most Jamaicans are very mellow and friendly- there are bad apples in each bunch you know. For shopping with less hassle go to " Taj Mahal" , it has a little of everything and with the exception of the jewelry stores- no hassle.
* Always go the to the cruise directors discussions- he/she has the experiences that is why they have the job. Their advice is invaluable when you are in foreign areas. We heard many people complain about ports when they did exactly what the director warned not to do. I have NO sympathy for these people.
FOOD AND DINING: First let me say, I have eaten at fancy restaurants and the food I had this week was far better than most of those places. One thing I love about a cruise is the chance to eat foods that I never or rarely get to eat in Tennessee, so I try new things. There were some foods I did not like, but it was personal preferences not the ability of the chefs. If we did not like something, we ordered a different option. My brother loved the Chinese Noodle Company and DH couldn't get enough midnight pizza. A highlight for mother and me was the Ice-cream. Honestly, the food on every corner of the Triumph was Superb!!!!!!!!!! This week we met a truly wonderful person who touched our hearts and would imagine she does so every week. Our waitress, Lumi, was the best waitress we have ever had only did she go above and beyond in her ability to do her job, she made us a part of her family. We ourselves are a close family, so maybe that allowed us to encompass her in that regard.Along with her team mate Athan, they allowed us to have a top-rate dining experience. Each evening, Lumi and others in the Paris dining room did a fantastic show that got everyone involved ( if they chose to). We enjoyed the Paris Dining Staff so much that we rarely ever ate on Lido deck. We ate 95% of all meals in the dining room. Each and every person was extremely friendly and helpful.
ENTERTAINMENT: Carlos was the best cruise director ever, he was genuine in his desire for everyone to have fun. He has a true gift in being able to crack jokes quickly. If you are conservative- you may not like his humor but all I can say to that is loosen up. You only live once. The shows were great- especially Percy Crews and the illusionist ( I can't think of their names right now). There was always something, somewhere to do.
Shopping:The selection on the triumph was great. I think we did as much shopping here as on the islands. Different items each day were featured/put on sale. The prices on many items were much better on the ship especially alcohol.
Debarkation: Compared to previous trips this was a breeze. We were in the general group- so we did a lot of waiting on the ship but once off within thirty minutes, we were at the airport. Wish the MIA airport was as quick as the cruise terminal. * One thing that I did notice as a small not huge problem but if not corrected could become one was parents letting their children roam the ship. I am a teacher so I am patient around children. However, several times I witnessed Small ( 7-10 years old) running around unattended. These parents need to me smacked into reality. I paid good money too and should be able to relax without being knocked over by your children. If you were on US soil and did that DHS would be on you in a heartbeat that is called neglect. There is no way I would let my young child walk around unattended. Don't get me wrong,I think that cruises are one of the safest ways to travel. However, even cruise ships may have perverted people who could do the unspeakable to anyone, especially children. Shame on you if you let your children roam alone like that.That is not responsible parenting. I saw this at all hours of day/night. Carnival is not a babysitter. If you don't want to entertain/take care of your children-leave them with Aunt Sussie. I bet these would the same parents who would be ready to sue Carnival if something did happen to their child. I think if Carnival staff see children without their parents or teens being unruly ( we heard one stole a watch on our trip) then call their parents over the loud speaker to come get them. Once again, if you don't want to include your children then leave them with Aunt Sussie.
* Back to the good points- The ship was clean and considering how many people are on there and how large it is - I applaud the staff for keeping it this way. It does take a while to get a feel for where everything is and I can't say with confidence we ever really did. Whenever we were turned around, there was always a friendly face to point us in the right direction.
This was my favorite cruise yet. If you went this past week and did not have a good time or were bored, then I would imagine you never have a good time. I have heard it said many times, "If you want to find bad, you will even in the best of situations." Everyone in my group agrees you should go on the Triumph- it is the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is first cruise where I really wanted to cry as I left the terminal because I had such a good time. Thank you to all the Carnival staff who made this such a fantastic trip, this year was a hard year for many of us but you made it better. :)