This was one of the best cruises we have taken. It was number 7 for me and number 10 for my best friend! No husbands this trip! We booked our trip with Janice Prince from Carnival. She has booked all our trips. We did the early saver and actually got a lower price a few times! Carnival Personal Vacation Planners are the only way to go! I left from Colorado to meet up with my best friend and her daughter from Rhode Island! We met in New Orleans on Saturday night and stayed at the awesome Renaissance Arts Hotel in the Warehouse district! We got a steal from Priceline! Put in 4 stars, warehouse district and $110 ... it popped up with the average win is $217. We purchased the $5 insurance and YES! We were able to stay at a posh hotel for $110 a night! It was close to everything! On Sunday we woke early and visited Harrah's, lunch at Bubba Gumps, enjoyed the fireman in the beignet eating contest and the food festival in the French Quarters, a mule carriage ride around the French Quarters (found it after we had walked the whole thing, but for $15 it was great to hear the history of the area), walked past the French market and Cafe du Mond, shopped at Riverwalk and then dinner at the Crazy Lobster. We walked everywhere! We finished the night with drinks at Lucy's( across from the hotel) and a jump in the hotel's rooftop pool and hot tub! In the morning, we walked to Mother's for a wonderful breakfast. We stopped to get some pop! 2 liter at the first store was $5.00 so we walked a half block beyond and it was $2.50! Got back to the hotel and asked the front desk for a box and some tape. We boxed up the pop and put our Carnival luggage tag on top! Grabbed our luggage and we were off for the Triumph! We had VIP boarding so walked in and were escorted to a lounge area, we were on the ship in about 15 minutes! It really is a nice ship. Not the outrageous colors that are on some ships, but as I usually say.... who looks at the colors anyway! LOL! We went right to our room, past all the signs on the doors that say not to! We had booked our favorite Aft balcony room on the Empress level (7). On other ships we have done the 6th level, noisy from downstairs... and the 8th level, with chairs scraping the floor above from the 24 hour ice cream area. We have settled on the 7th floor and slept like angels! Our steward was Sue, and of course we asked him if he ever gets called a "boy named Sue"... LOLOL! He was WONDERFUL! We tipped him and extra $10 a piece the first day and told him to keep the ice coming! LOL! He ALWAYS called us by name and was ALWAYS so pleasant!
We hung a while then had our favorite Hot Pastrami sandwich on a country roll! LOLOL! I dream of those sometimes in the cold Colorado weather! LOL! We sat on our balcony for bon Voyage. Leaving out of New Orleans was a treat, we traveled down the Mississippi for about 5 hours before entering the Gulf of Mexico! Incredible how muddy the Mississippi really is! We went to the dining room every night! WE were seated with some beautiful and great people from the state of Tennessee! A shout out to Tammy and BreAnn! Our waiters were Rommel and Novie in the Paris dining room! They were perfect! Always made us feel special! They knew JUST what to bring us (my tea between dinner and dessert)! And could they DANCE! LOLOL! Chocolate melting cake was eaten about every night. The meals were all the same as other Carnival ships, It is good, but maybe a little change is needed sometimes. After dinner we always hit up the shows! The main singers on the Triumph, Rob and Kate were the BEST we have seen in the Carnival system. The shows were colorful, entertaining and lively! The Big Easy was amazing! Tex was a great cruise director, but Nelson, Charlie and a few of the other entertainment workers made our trip memorable! We played Bingo quite often. We played in many games, the digital scavenger hunt, the mixology contest (Shout out to Bev and Congrats on winning fellow CC'r Scott!) , BINGO, ice cream eating contest, free throw contest, musical chairs, you name it we did it! We were a little worried about spring break being FULL of children. There were many but we never ONCE had a problem. They were polite, giggly, and enjoyable! We loved going to the casino! I play Black Jack and actually won the entire week! My friend did terrific on the slots... cashed out with $1100 the last night! Beth, the casino Host was a doll! We had a little problem with one of the employees one night. My friend's daughter is 22 and has special needs. On the muster drill she was given a green wrist band that identifies her as needing help if there was ever a time that a real muster drill is run. It is the same identification that is given to children so that Camp Carnival can get children to the correct area if there is a real muster drill. Anyway, she was questioned about her age in the casino and was told to leave numerous times. When her Mom was at the cashier they asked for the daughter's age three times (the daughter was just standing there and never gambled). This was very troublesome for my friend but especially her precious daughter. Carnival needs to come up with a different color wrist band that identifies someone with special needs and not being a child. Beth was mortified that the employee even questioned the age of her, she doesn't even look under 18! Beth had her come the next day and gave her a hat and an Ocean Players t-shirt! She definitely defused a touchy situation!
The first sea day we had a tough time finding a poolside seat, found one on the level above the pool. The next sea day we were up at 8 and got a front row seat to all the entertainment! We remembered that Carnival's Pina Coladas and Drinks of the day cure all! There were always people walking around asking if we wanted another! We booked our own excursions instead of going through Carnival. After much homework with Cruise Critic we picked two all inclusive beach areas. We went with www.crisstours.webs.com in Progreso, Mexico. We went to Slicer Beach club for $45 each! Wonderful chicken fajitas and drinks! Clean beach, comfortable cushioned beach chairs. The pool was much bigger and cleaner then I expected. We relaxed in hammocks and also got a 1/2 hour massage for $20! They transported us there and back. We even left something there and had the cab turn around and they held it behind the bar for us! Cris was very gracious! WE also paid $10 more for the driver to take us back to the boat instead of waiting in the heat for the free shuttle bus. It was a wonderful day!! The next day we went to Cozumel. For $60 we used www.CozumelWaterSports.com and went on the all- inclusive Passion Island Beach Escape We had to take a cab to the center of town (paid ourselves), and then caught a cab for a 15 minutes to a small boat(not the twister that was offered by Carnival) A short boat ride later, we were in paradise! Great food, wonderful drinks, the beach is now our favorite of all islands! It is the white sands beach filmed in some Corona commercials. There were beach toys (trampoline, kayaks, and floaty tubes for us to use. A few little shops, massages, and tattoos were also available. It was heaven on earth, we did not want to leave!
On the day of disembarking we used our VIP disembarkment. We had to be on level 3 at 6:45AM 9a killer after staying up so late) with our luggage or wait until 8:30 to meet our luggage downstairs. We wish we could have left about 8:00. It didn't make any sense that they had us go at 6:45, but it took all of 5 minutes to leave the ship. We caught a ride to the airport and had to wait to even check in our luggage for a noon flight! To wrap up this review I wanted to say, we loved this cruise! We were disappointed in our October Dream cruise (beautiful new ship, but the employees were not friendly) but this one was outstanding. The employees made a BIG difference. The ship was clean, the ports were great, and the weather was fantastic!