Medical conditions keep us from traveling to other ports, so Galveston is our only option. We were so glad that Carnival decided to replace the Ecstacy with the Triumph and the Conquest with the brand new Magic. We did eight on the Ecstasy and three on the Conquest. We got to know many of the crew and they us and we were always more than welcomed on board! We had a tear in our eye when we watched the Ecstacy leave Galveston for the last time, as she was almost a second home for us.
We were excited to board Triumph for the first time; had no real expectations set, so we went as open-minded as two cruise-seasoned old fogies can get. Our observations follow:
We were delayed and arrived the port at 3:15PM, parked the car and proceeded to the terminal, hauling our one piece of luggage and a backpack. There were no lines; just us and two other couples; we proceeded to check-in and boarded the ship at 3:45 with rattled nerves and just in time to miss both the safety drill and lunch. We found our starboard balcony cabin easily and settled in, unpacked, checked out the balcony(two chairs and a table) sat down and watched as we pulled away from the dock and headed into the gulf. We would highly recommend all passengers arrive at the port not later than 2PM!!!
As soon as we were out of the channel, the Captain announced that due to hurricane Rina the itinerary would change. We would go to Cozumel first, leave early (2PM) and proceed to Progresso. We were OK with that since we have been to these ports many times, but there were many passengers that were upset, since Cozumel was their primary port and many had excursions booked. The Captain explained that all excursions had to be cancelled and all fees would be refunded. There followed a rush to book excursions in Progresso. The gulf was extremely calm and we proceeded to Cozumel without incident.
Our balcony stateroom was well appointed, had much closet space and more drawer space than any cabin we had in the past. There was a small couch and table, a dressing/mirrow area with a stool, and a TV; the bath had a good sized shower stall, hair dryer, sink, toilet and medicine cabinet and enough room to do the necessaries.
We had opted for our favorite "anytime dining" and enjoyed the no-stress dinner options it provides. We applaud the dining room service---it was exquisite!! We always do breakfast and lunch at the buffet on Lido deck where we are able to get the items we want when we are ready for them rather than in courses as is the case at dinner. The staff on Lido are to be commended for the speed at which they kept the tables turned, their friendliness and the cleanliness of the entire area.
The deli, the pizza place, and the oriental grill food was excellent--prepared well, tasty, hot and served with a smile! Not so at the buffet; food there was marginal, usually just barely warm, mostly tasteless, many times dried out. The meat at the carving station was always overcooked and tough(the one exception was the beef that was medium rare and very tasty). The cold-cut/salad section was always fresh and tidy. The morning pastry island was great; the addition of the containers for oatmeal, grits, and scrambled eggs was an excellent idea, but the oatmeal was watery, the grits had no salt, butter or cream and had big,hard lumps, and the scrambled eggs had hard lumps of something in them, too---another "great" idea killed by poor implementation.
The shows were good, the bands around the ship were OK, but as usual, way, way, way too loud---it would hurt our ears as we passed them on the Promenade deck. The casino was well attended all the time and we were able to bring more money home than we left with---not a first time for us, but first time in a while.
Arrival in Cozumel was on-time, folks streamed off the ship in droves and attacked the local vendors with a fury, exchanging an enormous amount of money for trinkets and such. The vendors were on high-alert and ready to close since the hurricanes path was zeroed in on Cozumel. They were also dealing,
so we were able to make some serious gold buys.
The gulf was a little bumpy heading out of Cozumel and we were running thru many of the outer bands of the hurricane with their associated downpours that kept most passengers inside. Shortly after we did the left turn toward Progresso, the winds and waves died down and again had perfect cruising weather. There were just a few of us that stayed on the ship in Progresso, so we had it all to ourselves--no lines at the buffet, pizza, grill, oriental grill, or the deli!!! The hot tubs were empty and inviting and so was the pool and the water slide. We decided we will stay onboard more often!
The ride back to Galveston was smooth until we ran into a cold front around midnight that kicked up the Gulf and caused the ship to slow somewhat, but we still made port and were docked on-time. The debark was orderly, and although slow, it probably went about as fast as it could---getting 3000+ people off the ship and on their way home in 3-4 hours is a monumental task. Carnival's shore team did a great job keeping things moving to and through customs and getting people to there rides/cars/buses/taxis.
All in all we had a good cruise(come to think of it, how can any cruise be bad????). We bought two $100.00 cruise certificates to use on future cruises; if any of you readers are not familiar with these gems, we would highly recommend you look into them, since they represent significant savings potential. We are booked to ride the Triumph again in December and are looking forward to it. We have booked the Magic in February and are "really" looking forward to that ride.
warm regards to all