My husband and I have been on three cruises since 2008, our first being on NCL and our second and third on RCL. We were very happy with our NCL experience but had nothing to compare it to at the time. We loved RCL and have another RCL cruise booked in January and a Celebrity cruise booked for June. We were a little concerned about sailing on Carnival but since we live in NJ, leaving from New York for a four day getaway seemed an ideal way to spend the Labor Day weekend.
Since we enjoy cruising so much, we try to focus on the positive aspects of the cruise. It very interesting that people on the same cruise have such differing opinions, but here is what we experienced.
Embarkation - My husband surprised me with an upgrade to a Balcony Suite so VIP embarkation was a breeze. We arrived at the terminal early, checked our bags and went to the VIP lounge to check in. We were there less than 15 minutes and were told we were boarding right after a wedding party and were on the ship by 11:30 am. We went to the buffet for an early lunch so as to avoid the crowds and then walked around the ship. The Triumph is a little difficult to get around as you must go to Deck 5 to get anywhere and the World Way (the main thoroughfare) can become crowded. By 1:30 pm we were standing on line to see the maître’d to request a table for two, which we were able to get. We were in our cabin by 2:30 pm and our bags arrived shortly thereafter.
Muster Drill - Another reviewer mentioned the muster drill and how there was a “whiner” behind him complaining. That could have been me! It was the worst muster drill we have experienced. We were packed in like sardines on the deck shoulder to shoulder, five rows deep on a hot day with the cumbersome life jacket around our necks. Being short, I could not hear or see the crew member’s demonstration. And, of course, we had to wait for the passengers who think they are special and do not need to participate. When I complained to a crew member about the drill, he agreed and said they are working on it.
Common areas and staff - The ship is in excellent condition considering its age, except for the pools, which are very dated and quite small. I didn’t think the ship was as soundproof as other ships we have been on. We could hear people talking in the hallways and children running up and down. The staff was very helpful and friendly. The ship also has a very nice gym and spa. We found some of the lounges to be quite smokey.
Cabin - Our suite on Deck 7 was lovely and in beautiful condition with granite countertops, dark wood cabinets, a jetted bathtub, separate vanity area, abundant closet space and two large windows on either side of the door leading to the large balcony. Our steward, Rodney, was excellent. Although we only saw him a few times, our room was always immaculate.
Food - The food in the dining room was better than average. Our waiter, Suki and his partner Wayan, in the Paris lower dining room were the best. Suki made dining fun and we enjoyed the waiters singing and dancing. We prefer to eat breakfast and lunch in the dining room and only go to the buffet when the dining room is closed. We did not try the Deli but the pizza at the buffet was very good.
Entertainment - The entertainment was what we expected on a cruise with the typical song and dance reviews and comedians…nothing special but somewhat entertaining. I did not feel there was enough variety of activities to participate in during the day. I did not find a bean bag toss or hairy man’s chest contest particularly entertaining, although I’m sure other passengers did.
Port - We took a trolley tour around St. John (actually a bus painted to look like a trolley) which was average at best and then went to some of the shops in town. As other reviewers have noted, there really isn’t much to do in St. John and we may have been better off taking one of the longer excursions.
Disembarkation - Having VIP status, disembarkation was organized and efficient and we were off the ship in a very reasonable time.
Overall, this cruise exceeded our expectations and was a nice getaway.