Room: So listen, I am no Suite Snob. We had booked a balcony stateroom as we always do. Then, mysteriously, about two weeks before we were to sail I saw that we had been assigned a new room number. Low and behold, we had been upgraded to a suite. I thought this was odd (and fantastic!) because we did not get an upgrade offer or price increase or anything, just upgraded without asking and free of charge! Anyway, thanks the Carnival, the room was fantastic. The room was about twice the size of a regular balcony room with tons of space and a nice whirlpool tub. The balcony itself was bigger, but not by allot. They had some extra items on the room service menu for the suites The cabin steward was great. Barely every saw him but he kept the place super clean and ice fresh, twice a day.
Ship: She is large but not huge, pretty well laid out. I hear people complain about how you "can't get there from here" because most of the decks don't go completely forward to aft. Listen, if you are going to cruise then get used to it. All ships are like this, until they create a mile long, one deck boat you are just going to have to deal. The pools were small but ok, decent hot tubs. The Waterslide was great. I stood in line with all the kids to go down it over and over. One thing about the design of the slide--the entrance to the slide area overlooks the lido pool and is directly across from the adult(topless) deck on the other side. This was quite evident to me as I waited in line at the top of the waterslide and could plainly make out topless women 50 yards away. Interesting design, the attendant at the top of the waterslide has the best job on the ship. I digress.
Shopping: On board, we don't do allot. They do have great deals on liquor, we purchased a few bottles. Some of the jewelry hawkers where a little pushy, just tell them to pound sand once and they will leave you along. Same goes for the constant barrage of picture taking. I think this is great if you want to buy a bunch of pictures, but if not just say no thanks and keep on walking, they get the hint soon enough.
Food: The food was mainly very good. The main dinning room food was very nice, portions were not too large so I usually ordered two entrees (no problem). Our table mates left something to be desired so we only ate at the main dining for dinner 3 times. The buffet food is very similar, just not with the nice plating and presentation you get in the MDR. Nice large buffet, never much for lines except for the sandwich station at lunch. The Pizza and Grill were good, service/wait time for the pizza went down during the late night but I guess that is to be expected. Room service was great, nice options and prompt service, even at 2am. Must have ordered it 12 times in the week, great for snacking during the day.
Drinks: They are pricey but pretty well made. We try not to rack up the bar tab too high when we cruise. Brought two bottles of wine on board (which they allow) and had a couple of shore escursions with free beer/punch which can go along way to fulfilling your binge-drinking needs without breaking the bank.
Service: Mostly very good. Ship always clean. Cabin stewards great. A couple waiters/bartenders were a little gruff but I think some of this was because of the language barrier.
First sea day was fun, relaxing. Wife sunbathed most of the day. With welsh/irish blood, my tan consists of burning and freckling up so I spent most of the day gorging on food and exploring every part of the ship.
Belize: Never actually went to the main land. Had a shore excursion where the excursion boat picked us right up from the ship. Nice, because you get to tender off first out of everyone. We did a ray/shark snorkel and trip to Ambergris Cay. The snorkeling was decent, say a ton of rays but no sharks. Warm water but a pretty strong current that I found annoying but I am an experienced swimmer/snorkeler. Allot of the other swimmers had to call the snorkeling short. Saw some nice barracuda and puffer fish too. Its an amazing reef, second longest in the world, worth checking out. Then the crew took us to Ambergris Cay which is a nice touristy little island, maybe 2 miles long. Almost no cars, just golf carts. Had a nice included lunch at a local restaurant, jerk chicken, which was good. Drank a few local beers which where decent and like $1.50/bottle. Everyone else from the tour went shopping but my wife and I went back to the tour boat which was empty except for the tour guys. This ended up being the best part of the trip. The guys were all our age (20's) and with no one else around dropped the whole "welcome to our island, mon!" shtick and really told us about themselves, how they felt about tourists, the politics of the country. They also broke out the rum punch that was supposed to wait til our trip back to the Triumph. Great time, by the time we got back to the ship we were feeling pretty good. So good that we decided to take a nap at 4pm so we would be more presentable for dinner. Closed the blinds and went to sleep, when we woke up it was 1am! Serves us right, had room service and got to watch the sun come up.
Roatan: Weather was drizzly, but we had booked a beach break/snorkel and went. Cleared up a little but was still cloudy. They had a nice buffet lunch. I was the only one who really snorkeled as the water was pretty rough but saw a lot of nice reef and tons of fish, just had to keep an eye out not to get bashed on the reef with the rough waves. There are many parts of this island that are developed and movie stars have houses here. On the other hand, many of the locals are dirt poor. If you want to see a little slice of the real central america, you can see some of that poverty here. Don't be frightened by it. They people are super nice and won't try to rob you, its just the reality of being poor. The rain really started once we got back to the boat, torrential. Everyone retreated into the casino/shows. I put on my swim trunks and sat on deck alone for an hour or two as we pulled away, really pretty and quite, people must have thought I was hammered or nuts.
Cozumel: Been here before, pretty touristy but nice enough. Great weather. We went on a catamaran snorkel with a beach break. The snorkeling was pretty suspect, you could hear the music from Senor Frogs it was so close the the glitzy cruise area. But the fish where plentiful and it was very very clear so good for underwater pictures. Make sure to pick up a couple of disposable underwater cameras before you cruise. They run you about 6 bucks each at walmart, but them on board or in port and expect to pay $18 each. The tour then opened the coolers with free tequila and beer as we sailed to a little resort beach. Beach was nice, you had to swim up to the beach from the catamaran so that was cool (only like a ten foot swim). Hung out there and swam for an hour or so, met some cool fellow passengers from the Triumph. Then back on to the catamaran for a 30 minute sail back to the dock. The crew fed me so many beers I always was double fisting and a couple times had 3! By the time we got back to the dock were had gotten out money's worth in beer out of this tour. Decided against Hard Rock since we were already tipsy. Wife hit up a dollar-per-souvenir stand and grabbed a ton of stuff tacky yet memorable stuff.
Nice sea day on the way back, midnight chocolate buffet was nice for grub and pictures, disembarkation was ok, maybe 45 minutes to get through customs.
All and all a good cruise for the money, Triumph is showing it's age a little but its still a good boat with great service and food. Would sail her again if the price was right.