We arrived at the Erata Street Cruise Terminal at about 9:30 a.m. Check in was a breeze. We were sitting down in the waiting area by 10:00 a.m. We were allowed to board starting at about 11:00 a.m. During the time we were waiting to board it started to rain (Hurricane Lee was just beginning to form). As we were boarding and walking along the walkway we looked out the window and saw the port workers loading our luggage. It was pouring rain and they were loading luggage in cages with no top or sides. Needless to say the luggage was getting soaked. When our luggage arrived at our stateroom it had water draining out of it and everything inside was soaked. There was a constant line at the Guest Services with people and their wet luggage. Some luggage was so wet that the luggage tags washed off and they had no idea who the bags belonged too. They just piled it all up in front of the Rome Lounge and people came down to try to identify their luggage. The bad part was that Friday night was formal night and the laundry didn't open until 8:00 a.m. Friday morning.
After this fiasco the actual cruise went smoothly. We had some rough water due to the Hurricane but nobody in our group got sea sick or anything. We were 2 hours late getting to Cozumel and ended up docking at 10:00 a.m. instead of 8:00 a.m. Everyone on the ship decided to get off at the same time. We were in line trying to get off the ship for over an hour. The weather was beautiful in Cozumel. We booked an excursion at Nachi Cocum which I wasn't very impressed with. The food on the ship was okay. Not the best I've had on other ships for sure. We were disappointed that we didn't get souffle or Bitter and Blanc. We were looking forward to that on formal night. It also seemed that the onboard activities were a bit unorganized. They scheduled lots of activities in the "World Bar" which is basically the walkway in front of the casino. There was never anywhere to sit and it was always very crowded. I couldn't figure out why the wouldn't have these activities in one of the lounges or bars.
Debarkation was a nightmare to put it mildly. We were scheduled to get back into New Orleans at 8:00 a.m. Monday morning. We got to the mouth of the Mississippi River and the river had been closed due to weather. We were forced to anchor and wait. The river finally reopened at 7:00 a.m. on Monday morning. We finally docked in New Orelans at 5:00 p.m. After customs cleared the ship they started calling for wheelchair passengers and persons with early flights to debard the ship. At this point just about every single person on the ship decided they would get off at one time. It was total chaos and it seemed to me that the Carnival employees did nothing to sort it out. After 3 hours we finally were able to get off the ship at 8:00 p.m. After clearing customs we were all herded into a little room to wait for the elevators to take us to the parking garage. There are NO stairs available so the elevator is the only option. There were 3,000 people waiting for 3 elevators. It was pandamonium. Several fights nearly broke out because people were pushing to the front of the line. After almost an hour in line I was finally able to get on an elevator and get to my car. I was never so glad to be out of a terminal in my entire life.
All in all the time onboard was good. We weren't able to spend any time on the outside parts of Lido due to rain which made all the inside areas very crowded. This is to be expected on a cruise during hurricane season. I have traveled before during hurricane season (Hurricane Katrina/Rita) and had a cruise extended from a 7 day cruise to a 10 day cruise. However, we didn't have to deal with any of the debarkation issues as with this cruise. Frankly, I have never experienced anything like this in all my cruises.
I always love cruising with Carnival and will definitely cruise with them again. The Triumph was a nice ship and very well maintained. It is my understanding that it is headed to dry dock shortly and I'm sure will be even nicer following dry dock.
Our waiter, Ragu, and Assistant Waiter, Jeffrey John, were great!
I look forward to going on another Carnival cruise and can't wait to become Platinum!!