Wow, where to start! I have read many cruise reviews, but never thought I would be writing one of my own. Let's start at the beginning :)
We did the 5 day Western Caribbean (Progreso and Cozumel) cruise leaving New Orleans on December 6th. My wife and I, along with another couple, flew to New Orleans the day prior to embarkation. What a fun and exciting town. Bourbon Street was a blast, as was the shopping at all the shops.
We were fortunate enough to have upgraded to an Ocean Suite, which included VIP boarding. Embarkation was a breeze. We showed up around 11am and were on the ship in about half an hour. We had filled out all of the cruise paperwork prior to the cruise so this made embarkation go a lot faster. I highly recommend completing your Fun Pass before your arrival.
ON THE SHIP
Wow, what can I say here? This was our first cruise so we had no idea what to expect. Sure, you can read for months on the forums, which I did, but until you see the enormous size of the Triumph in person you really have no idea what you are getting yourself into. We were simply amazed at the size of the Triumph. We spent the first couple hours just walking around trying to familiarize ourselves with all of the different places and locations.
I was amazed with all of the activities available on the ship. There was no way we were going to be bored on this vacation. Our Cruise Director, "Hello Noonan!!", did a great job of always telling us what was going on, what time, and where. We had a chance to talk to him and you could tell he really enjoys his job. Of course, who wouldn't? I've read other reviews that Noonan was like a ghost. Not true in our case. We saw him talking to people all the time. He even stopped while he was on his way to an event to have his picture taken with a couple kids. Class act if you ask me.
One of the amazing things to me was the cleaning crew, especially Paquito. He was amazing. We would come back after only ten minutes or so and everything would be cleaned. I couldn't figure out how they knew when we left. I had read others saying to make sure you take or lock up everything worth money when you leave. Not true in our case. Oftentimes, I would forget the camera or camcorder sitting on the dresser and when we came back it wasn't touched.
We picked Anytime dining in the London dining room and were very satisfied with our wait staff. Our head waitress, Ardani, was amazing. She was so helpful when I was trying to figure out what to order. She was truly a joy to talk to as well.
We chose to do the Uxmal Mayan ruins excursion. What an amazing place. I told my wife that this was the closest I will ever get to the pyramids of Egypt. Our tour guides were great. Always making sure everyone in the tour could hear when they were explaining the ruins. I bet I took 600 pictures at the ruins. They were the best part of the cruise in my opinion. I highly recommend Uxmal to anyone going to Progreso.
Our day in Cozumel was spent shopping. It was my wife's birthday and all she wanted to do was shop and have a Margarita! We did plenty of both. We went a couple blocks off the main drag and just had a blast. Sure, there were many vendors trying to pressure us into buying their stuff. If something caught our eye we would go in and take a look. If not, we would simply keep walking and they would give up. We had a blast bargaining with different vendors for stuff. It's amazing how far the price drops the closer you get to the front door ;)
We were able to buy all of our Christmas presents for all of our nieces and nephews. With five cruise ships in port, over 15,000 cruisers, I figured we would be crammed in like sardines. I was pleasantly surprised that wasn't the case. Sure, some areas were more congested than others. Overall, it was pretty open.
One of the reasons I upgraded to the Ocean Suite was the VIP embarkation and debarkation. Our flight was leaving New Orleans at 11:30am and I didn't want to miss it. VIP meant we were the first wave off the Triumph. We met in the London dining room at 6:45am and were off the ship and on a bus to the airport by 7:05am!! Okay, so now we've got a three hour wait until our plane leaves. At least we're not rushed :)
Our experience aboard the Triumph was more than we could have ever expected. From the magic show to the adults-only comedy show, everything was amazing. Everyone was so nice and friendly. We purchased a future cruise certificate while on board and are already making plans for another cruise. This time, we are taking our kids, mother, and brother and his family!! There will be 12 of us going. I can't wait.