On April 30th at 3:30 am we got up to get ready for our cruise. We left at 5:30 for New Orleans from Fort Smith, AR. It took about 9 hours and it was a beautiful drive. We stayed at the Hampton Inn in Metairie because they had a park, cruise and stay package. We parked all week for free in a covered parking garage, they dropped us off and picked us up from the terminal and on top of that they had a free hot breakfast that was incredible. We will probably stay there again even if we come a day early to sight see, because that same shuttle takes people to and from New Orleans all day. It only took an hour from being dropped off at the terminal at 11:30 to sitting down to lunch on the Lido deck. It was very well organized and everyone was very friendly. The buffet line was very slow, but considering how many of us there were, it wasn't too bad.
Our cabin steward was Troy and he did an excellent job. We saw him every day and he always called us by name. Our dining room staff, Augus and Noyman were very attentive and funny. Augus has been with Carnival for 20 years and was very good at his job. Noyman was fairly new, but learning very quickly. Dinner in the dining room was wonderful every night. The food was great and so was the company. We sat with 3 couples from New Orleans. There was a large number of people from New Orleans on our ship. Even people that weren't from there were because they had left due to Katrina and were coming back for the cruise. I would say about 2/3 of the people were from New Orleans. We enjoyed the shows and Lenny Halliday was a great Cruise Director. Chicken was a pretty great Assistant Cruise Director as well.
One day we decided to eat lunch in the dining room and we ended up being seated with some very rude and demanding people. A couple of them ordered Sushi then when it came they insisted that they didn't order it. One lady wanted more bread so she waves and yells "Bread here". I can see how some people might have trouble with their dinner companions if they have to sit with people like this. We have been lucky so far with all 3 of our cruises.
About the ports; we loved Key West. We decided to walk to Hemingway's house then get some key lime pie. Well the walk was a lot further than my research had told me. It was a great walk and we really enjoyed the house and the cats and we stopped at the Blonde Giraffe for pie, but we were soaked from sweat and worn out by the time we got back to the ship. It was definitely worth it but we will take the Conch Tour next time. The Dolphin close encounter in Freeport was incredible. UNEXCO was an incredible place. We learned about the dolphins and got to touch them and have a picture taken with them kissing us. I really loved it and the price was pretty reasonable for what we got. The pictures ended up being $10.00 each which is really great. In Nassau we walked to the post office to mail post cards then to the Straw Market. I loved Nassau until I got to the Straw Market. As you walk in someone tries to put a necklace on you and they say it is a gift, then they say they are hoping for a small donation "For the Children". They don't say whose children or mention any organization. If you say no they try to put the necklace on you anyway. We walked about 10 feet in and it was crowded and everyone wanted you to buy stuff. We turned around and walked out. We headed back to the ship. I realize they are just trying to make some money, but they are driving away business. I did see a construction site for a new Straw Market and it was a much bigger area. I really loved the ports but I think instead of being on our own, I would like to take a bus tour or something so I could learn about these places we are visiting.
My husband got me to go down the big slide at the pool this time and it was great. I went to tea on Friday and the music, food and tea were great. I went by myself, but sat with some women who were very nice but very noisy. I think next time I will sit by myself with a book and enjoy the atmosphere. I think the problem here was that the tea was in the dining room and usually they are held in one of the lounges. We only had one bad day and night for sea sickness and everybody was queasy. Even my husband had to take Dramamine and he has never taken it before. My favorite show was "The Big Easy" on Thursday night. We went to the casino and had fun. Didn't win very much but didn't lose much either. One night they had a problem with the card readers on all of the machines and we had to wait over an hour before we could cash out. We got to the show that night about 5 minutes before it started and barely got a seat. One day on the breakfast buffet they must have had trouble with the ovens because we had to wait in line 30 minutes for bacon. If we had known it would be that long we probably wouldn't have waited. But they brought some out and ran out and had to make more before we got any and then it was only half cooked. We got room service breakfast most of the time and it was fine.
Overall, I would recommend the Carnival Triumph to anyone. The staff was great, the casino was great, the entertainment was entertaining. Any problems we had were mostly due to other passengers, such as the ones at lunch. In the casino there were several people who would save seats at machines while their friends went back to their cabins for something or went to eat. It was kind of ridiculous. One other thing, the lady at the Future cruise and loyalty desk talked to us about future cruise certificates. We were going to book a Conquest cruise for May of next year with her and get the certificate, but she quoted us a price about $200.00 higher than we found at the website before and after this cruise. I realize she has only been with the company for 3 months and I don't blame the girl for not knowing, but I think Carnival should train these people better. We ended up getting the certificate. We made a $100.00 deposit and will get $100.00 in OBC when we book a 7 day cruise. That is a great deal.
We have been on 3 cruises so far: The Conquest, the Holiday, and the Triumph. My favorites are: Favorite ship - Conquest; Favorite shore excursion - Truimph - Freeport, Dolphin Close Encounter; Favorite port - Key West; Favorite Food was on the Conquest. The entertainment on both was great but Wee Jimmy was my favorite CD. I loved the cruise and will definitely keep working toward the free laundry by cruising with Carnival. If anyone has any questions after reading this gigantic review, I will be glad to answer them.