Carnival Triumph Out of New Orleans June 2011 - Stops in Key West, Freeport and Nassau, The Bahamans
The Triumph: (Grade C+) Ship is a large class that sails out of New Orleans. Having cruised before I have something to compare it to as I have sailed other ships in the Carnival fleet. Overall the ship itself was clean and in good condition. Embarkation was efficient and the parking was not an issue. We had a balcony room on the 6th floor and we had no problems with our cabin or the service in our cabin. The things that did impress me over the other ships was the Triumph has a comedy club called "The Punchline". This was a great, high quality comedy club on board where comedians that gave G rated shows for the family and R rated shows later in the night for adults. I have to say that this really stood out and was very popular among all the guest. A+ for that!! The reason I gave the ship a mediocre grade was because of the Cruise Director, dining room service and the port debarkations.
Again- not to beat a dead horse but- compared to other cruises, the Cruise Director on the Triumph was somewhat silent and didn't seems to motivate guest like others I had seen. He only gave basic information and seemed to only comment on things that were either revenue generating or basic "need to know" facts. The entertainment on the pool deck Ledo was mediocre at best and the selection of music videos was geared to Justin B and Miley Cyrus fans only. I'm ok with them in the mix but not everyday and them only! He should have recognized this and mixed up things. Still, Tex (as his name was) was not entertaining, inspiring nor a factor on this cruise. Its his job to motivate, entertain and inspire people into having as good of a vacation as possible but he was average in all these areas. He needs to take some pointers from the Conquest Cruise Director.
The food was really good as expected but our service was good but not great. Again, comparing to other cruises. Nothing inspiring nor personal and I even had to remind them to fill our drinks on certain occasions.
Lastly, the debarkation at Key West and Freeport frustrating. No we didn't have to wait more than 30 min to disembark, but it just wasn't smooth and efficient as what I've seen before.
If I had never cruised before, I would have probably given the whole experience an A but, dam that Carnival Conquest for setting the standard so high that I will judge all other cruises by. I do recommend the Triumph overall and these issues I brought up are really not that big of an issue and would gladly go back again.
KEY WEST: (Grade C) Little disappointed in Key West. Yes it does have a nice early 20th century feel to it and Duval Street is quite active with shopping, restaurants and bars but I just don't think its all that impressive. We took the recommended trolley tour which takes you all across the island and makes stops at all the significant attractions. You can hop off at any stop, visit that area and wait for the next trolley and move to other stops. The trolley drivers narrate your journey and its a pretty decent trip. Another popular attraction is the catamaran and snorkel. This has also received mixed reviews. Its quite obvious that the island is very depended on tourism and they try to make the most out of what Key West has to offer. There are no nice beaches per say because of the rocky island and coral reef make-up in the area. If you looking to stroll through and just take in some light shopping, music and general fun then this place will suffice. If your looking for family activity for the kids and/or nice beaches then this is not your place. We ate at the famous Sloppy Joes and it was just average.
FREEPORT, THE BAHAMMAS: (GRADE A-) Really nice place! Although there is not a whole lot to do here other than visit the beach resorts and some snorkeling, I have to say this place surprised me. We visited the recommend beach resort at the Radisson Hotel and purchased the day beach pass. For the 3 of us it was about $75. This gave you full access to the Radisson hotel beach, chairs, towels and bathroom facilities. We are beach goers and this was quite nice. Also very conveniently the shopping marketplace was right across the street so everything we were looking for was in one spot. You need to take a taxi ($5 per person each way) and then your set for the day. Carnival offers the same exact trip for about $15 per person more but you only can stay at the beach a couple of hours or so. If you go yourself, you save and leave when you choose. Nice place, nice people, beautiful beach...I do recommend!!
NAUSSA, THE BAHAMMAS: (GRADE A) Also a very nice place but much more developed and modern than Freeport. Being the capital, there is a lot of activity and much more to see. Atlantis is the biggest attraction and you can get access through Carnival or do it yourself. Either way its quite expensive and you will pay premium prices for any of the many activities at Atlantis. The Straw Market is right at the docks and has more than you could ever want in shopping for local treats. The Pirates Museum was a big hit with our son. Its about 8 block from the ship and I do recommend you at least make a stop there. It only takes about an hour at most and kids love it. We went down to The Sheraton resort ($5 per person each way) and it was fabulous! Just like the Radisson in Freeport, you can get a beach pass for about $25 per person and everything but your meals are included. Beautiful beach, nice atmosphere and just a really nice place to spend the day. If your a beach bum, this is a place you want to check out! The dolphin encounters are also very popular if that's what your looking for. Very nice people, no harassing salespeople and I highly recommend it!