We took NJ Transit over from New Jersey into Manhattan's Penn Station. Jumped in a cab and were whisked up to 12th and 48th street where we could see the Triumph. Walked over to the porters who took our only piece of large luggage. We directed where to check in.
Got inside the terminal where there was a small group of about 50 or 60 passengers were seated and being given instructions by an terminal employee. She showed us where to sit and she would instruct when to get on line to go through security, check-in, receive our Sail and Sign cards and take pictures. Everything moved in a timely fashion and we were on the ship by almost 12pm.
Carnival Triumph Boarding:
Entering the promenade was awesome. The ship (though built in 1999) was gorgeous and spotless. Everything was shining brightly. Crew cheerfully greeted us. Other crew directed us to the decks we wanted to go to and answered questions. Having been on other cruises we knew we wanted to first check out our dining room table. So we headed to the lower level of the London dining room, spoke with the Maitre d' and he fulfilled our request.
We then headed up to the Lido deck to check out the buffet, The Grill, Pizzeria and just generally check outside deck areas. We were surprised to see MUTS (Movies Under The Stars) had been added as well as a very nice sound system for the band. The deck itself and lounge chairs were in excellent shape. The kids were very anxious to get on the huge yellow slide (it opened at 2pm) and the kids and adults loved it. We checked out the miniature golf green on the upper deck. The entire ship was in tip top shape.
We were in Cabin 6344 on the Upper Deck 6. It's an inside cabin. Very spacious. Lots of closet space. Easily placed luggage under the bed. Bedding was amazing and comfortable. Air conditioning excellent. Bathroom was a bit dated but still in very good condition. Lots of mirrors and a cabinet with shelves for your things. Show is small but very manageable. Love the new shower curtains. They don't stick to your. Be careful when turning on the shower water. Always test before you get in spray. It gets very hot. We had the same cabin on the Victory and we requested it again on the Triumph and it was like dEjà vu. We'll probably request the same one again next year.
Our dining experience on the Triumph was mostly excellent. We never went hungry that's for sure. The buffet was not one of our favorites and it was mostly pick and choose. It really was like cafeteria food. And forget about breakfast. Not a high point at all. We tried it once and that was no big deal because we are not breakfast people anyway.
Lunch is usually our first meal of the day because we are on vacation and we like to sleep in unless it's a port day (and sometimes even then if we'll be in port late). So we go up to the Lido deck, decide if it's going to be The Deli where they make made to order sandwiches, The grill for great hamburgers, hot dogs and fries, The Pizzeria for some of the best pizza I have had on any cruise ship (I had it every night before turning in). All of these food places we enjoyed very much so the buffet for us other salad and fruit (and they day they served fried chicken) we really didn't miss. Also the Hong Kong Noodle Co. wasn't a favorite for us either. That does not mean the food wasn't good. It was freshly prepared daily right in front of you. It just didn't suit our taste buds. Others loved it, even the kids.
Diner. Ahh...dinner. First off our waiters IMADE, head waiter and IMADE 2 assistant waiter. Without a doubt they are the best waiters we have had in our 20 cruises. I know we will remember them always. They remembered our names, our likes, no request was to much. Very friendly, always smiled and greeted us (even around the ship). Thank you IMADE 1 and 2. Hope to dine with you again. God Bless.
The food. We did not have a bad meal at dinner. My husband had the flat iron steak a couple of times and loved it. He also had the Chocolate Melting Cake every night. He loves it. I had lobster, prime rib, veal Parmesan, baby back ribs, shrimp (not all at one time, lol) and everything was so delicious and freshly prepared. We also on most evenings instead of salad had the pasta dish for the night as an appetizer and it was no problem.
IMADE 1 encouraged us to stay and wait for the waiters singing and dancing which he was a part of and it was well worth it. This dinner dining experience for us was the best of all of our cruises. Very memorable.
St. John: We've been to St. John four times before so we knew what to expect and knew our way around the downtown area. We walked over to where the RCL Grandeur was docked, looked in the market tents (not much different from the tents where we were docked but less) walked over to the City Market, walked clear through the City Hall came out and discovered a beautiful park with a very nice gazebo and colorful flowers. We sat there for a while enjoying the parks and the huge dogs the residents of St. John have. Walked back to enjoy the solitude of the ship. Gorgeous day in St. John about seventy degrees. Last three times there it was very cloudy, windy and cold. So we were pleasantly surprised.
Halifax, Nova Scotia: We were blessed again with a very warm, sunny, bright and clear day. We really didn't bring enough warm weather wear because it was so cold and wet last time we were here. But it was gorgeous and since last time we took an excursion to Peggy's Cove (talk about cold, but beautiful) we headed out for an on foot tour of our own. I had overheard a passenger saying that if you walked to the end of the boardwalk you would find a casino there. If figured we would at least get our walk in and check it out. The walk was about an half an hour down going through town, stopping by different shops, and other inside market places. Walking back using the boardwalk was much quicker. What a nice harbor town. We enjoyed the sight seeing and would do it again. The casino was very nice. A little quiet. If you go you can only use Canadian money (machines don't accept USA currency) so see what exchange rate you can get on the ship.
We went to two of main shows, Wonderful World and The Big Easy. Enjoyed both very much. Those dancers work really hard. We stepped in to check out the Magic Show for a few, very nice. Meant to return to the later show instead went to the casino. The casino was pretty busy and had live entertainment and bar. A lot was going on there. It was pleasant to be in this casino because the cigarette smoking was not overwhelming like on other cruise ships and I didn't come out smelling like smoke. Saw a man from a large Irish group traveling together win $1000 on the Wheel Of Fortune slot machine. Heard stories of many other winners.
The Caribbean band on the Lido deck was phenomenal. They played Caribbean tunes I had never heard played on other ships. The Rome Theater house band was absolutely the best. I think there are about 10 or 12 band members but they sound like so many more. They did a special Big Band show for us and it was just great. The comedian Marvin Bell was so funny. I was in stitches. I look forward to seeing him again. There was music all over the ship, the Promenade, Latin music, Jazz, the disco was so much fun. There was no way you could be bored. Thank you Brad and Big D for the Michael Jackson Tribute Hour. It was a lot fun.
Cruise Director Brad and his assistants:
Awesome job! Greg is soooo funny. I'm laughing as I type this. He was hilarious and energetic. I forgot the Belgium teacher's name. Hilarious. I hope to see him on-board another CCL ship again. The entire cruise entertainment staff were very upbeat, hard working and all over the ship to make the passengers cruise a great one and they were very successful. Great job guys.
Our Cabin Stewart:
Gunthgur (hope I spelled it right) for cabin 6344. What a quiet person. But he was excellent and attentive. He made towel animals for us every night except the first night (that was our fault) he even made a very detailed frog for us. I took pictures of them all. Thank you for keeping our cabin spotless and making me smile when I walked in after a long evening.
Easy, easy, easy. We do Self-Assist and since we only had one large bag it was not problem. We got down to the Rome Theater about 7am. The shipped cleared at about 7:15am. After everything was set up by the crew were being bonnggged off the ship with our Sail and Sign cards about 8am. Passports and custom card in hand, down the escalator, whisked the the customs line (very friendly agent with a smile), outside we crossed the street to the Taxi Stand, into a cab and on to Penn Station to NJ. We were home by 9:45am.
This cruise was way more than we expected and I expressed this to one of the Maitre d' in the London dining room. We were on the Triumph I believe it was 2004 and it was a different ship. Though we had a good time, how could you not have a good time - "you're on a cruise!" The crew back then was not a very happy one. The Triumph needed a lot of repair. The food was not very good. But this time on Triumph was like stepping on to a revived and refreshed ship. CCL did a lot of work on this ship and it showed. We do this cruise every August and I most definitely look forward to next August 2010.