We are in our 60's. My husband is retired and I am very close to doing the same. This was my 13th cruise and my husband's 12th. We live about 70 miles from Galveston. When we were young, I was in the airline business and we enjoyed traveling at greatly reduced rates to see the world. Now, we are happy to sit under a palm tree at an all inclusive or hop on a ship for a 5 day cruise... at least until this cruise. We have no children but enjoy our animals. We don't care to dance or go to shows and we hardly gamble anymore. We love good food any type of good food.
We arrived around 1100 and parked at E-Z Cruise. We were directed to a special area so our liquids could be identified. They now shake bottles of water to make sure they are not filled with liquor. I had an unsealed bottle of water filled with distilled water that had to be approved by a supervisor. Laptops must be removed from the luggage.
We did not have to wait but about 30 minutes before our section was called. The only thing that slowed us down was the picture taking before boarding.
All the elevators worked fine and there was virtually no wait to get on. Don't know if deck 0 was blocked off but only the forward elevator went there. It took us a while to find this out. If you arrive before they open up the staterooms and get on an elevator to go to your room, you will find all the fire doors closed.
New carpeting was installed in the dining rooms during the dry dock...not sure of what else was done though.
The shelves in the perfumerie shop were bare. The Bijoux Terner shop was closed the first night when all others were opened. The gals were restocking the tables.
Husband went to the casino but could not stand the smell of the smoke. There must be a ventilation problem because I have never heard him complain about this before... he is a seasoned gambler and has spent many a day in various gambling establishments.
So sorry that there is no area for adults only on this ship; there is no serenity area and little kids had free reign in the New World pool bar and pool area. Children were allowed to use the hot tubs. The main pool was drained every time I walked by it. I saw a baby with diapers in the aft pool. The bartender had a hard time explaining to 2 little girls that yes, they could order their drinks at the bar but they could not sit there to drink them. She was very polite and very patient as she repeated herself several times.
The paint job didn't hide the previous registration of the ship totally. It looked like Nassau was painted over the words Panama (forward starboard side). Crew members were on scaffolding painting the sides as we were docked in Progreso.
The laundromat, machines only accept quarters. It's $3.00 for a wash, $1.00 for soap or fabric softener. I wound up hand washing since I only had dollar bills and didn't feel like chasing quarters down. I didn't need most of the clothes I brought anyway since we didn't go into the dining room after the first night.
Our room #6-434 was right above the Rio bar and we heard the entertainment every night. Fortunately we brought a white noise machine. We even heard someone practicing their trumpet scales one afternoon
An alcove or private entrance isolated our stateroom and that of 6432 with a small hall and an extra door that could be locked. This helped with the noise and privacy.
The room safe uses a card with a magnetic strip (safe would not take the magnetic strip from the current or a previous Carnival Sign & Sail card, nor from my debit card) It finally worked with my credit card. However, maintenance had to come twice to reset it. I used it very sparingly in fear that I would have to call again.
Room had great air conditioning, 2 vents.
Ice machines are available across from where the laundromats are indicated on the plans, at least on deck 6. The ice buckets are so small, I used my small ice chest extensively with a hard plastic insert to keep water, ginger ale and, champagne cold. So disappointed not to have a fridge!
No beach towels in room and no place to retrieve on deck despite sign in bathroom saying so.
I had requested twin beds from the "Manage my Cruise" feature on the Carnival website. The beds were together when we arrived. No problem to get this changed.
I requested hangars for pants since none were available; 2 were delivered for such along with 4 additional regular hangars.
Bathroom tile and caulking looked new. The sink was cracked. There was no hot water in the sink on the first day. Was happy to see a blow dryer that worked well. The drug cabinet mirrors were stained and dirty. The shower was bigger than any other stateroom we have ever had. Shampoo and body wash were adequate. I don't know why Carnival doesn't opt for liquid soap for the sink instead of the messy soap bar. The samples included breathe rights (2) teeth whitening strips (2) a Suave body lotion and a Suave body wash.
Reaching guest services on our stateroom phone was impossible while in port and on several other occasions, we were placed on hold with a repetitive canned message until the line was finally disconnected. It was impossible to reach the stateroom attendant's pager from the same phone.
We looked for a towel station since there is a sign in the restroom indicating that these would be located at the pool but nope that is not the case.
No flat screen TV in our stateroom! TV was big, old and dusty (the pay per view feature showed an error and we had to call guest services to make sure we would not be charged. Our bill was not viewable on the TV either). Some rooms have flat screens. No account info or interactive information available definitely could have used some modernizing during the dry dock at the end of September 2011.
Our balcony was an aft wrap, at least 27 feet long and fabulous for privacy. The glass had several spots of wood stain from the recently repainted rail). There were several specs of paint in visible areas, namely on one of the 7 chairs. A razor blade was stuck to the ledge of the outer area below the glass. Cigarette butts and red fake flower petals littered the balcony floor, unfortunately.
The stateroom was the biggest one we have ever had, at least 230 square feet and a good thing since we spent a lot of time in it with the rough seas on the last couple of days.
Our S&S card was charged with 2 additional bottles of water that I didn't notice were placed in our room by the steward. These charges were immediately when I noticed them.
"BlasÃ©" is the term that best describes some of the crew members. I noticed it more on this cruise than any other. A bartender told me that the folks from New Orleans were really "COOL" when I asked how Texan cruisers compared to Louisiana cruisers (Triumph's home port was New Orleans until October 2011.
Our cabin steward was very nice! Jassen was from St-Kitts and had a great attitude. We bought a beach towel through him and a towel animal book from Formalities. He said that purchasing these items through him instead of anywhere else, helps him because if he doesn't sell anything "they" make him towel animal classes or other tasks that take away from his free time.
In the ship's liquor store, the clerk tried to get me to purchase 2 bottles at a discounted price for 2 and told me I would just have to pay a couple of dollars for extra duty if I purchased an extra bottle...this is incorrect information as far as I know, unless the CBP law changed recently for Texas ports. I didn't want the item that bad to have to wait 30 minutes for so I just got a refund and went on about my business of staggering back to our neighbors' stateroom to help them celebrate his 40th birthday something I felt was a lot more important than waiting 30 minutes to get a bottle of booze. I paid for the bottle of liquor at 1830 on that last evening; the clerk instructed me to return at 1900 to collect it. We were experiencing rough seas...seas so choppy, as a matter of fact that the entertainment had been cancelled for the evening.
I mentioned this 30 minute liquor store rule to Big Tex, the CD, who replied that he didn't make the rules.
Our muster station was outside on the promenade deck and we stood there for a good 25 to 30 minutes, waiting and then listening to inaudible speech...mumbled faster than the speed of light. It's quite evident that this is a formality and that there is no quality control on the delivery of the speech. No life jackets were necessary and the drill was right before sailaway, around 1530. The crew was quite determined to make everyone use the stairs instead of the elevators to get to the muster station.
When we returned to the ship after shopping at the dock in Progreso, the guard at the entrance told us to wait in a line. As we complied, a group of ladies arrived behind us and wanted to go look at the end of the pier, therefore bypassing this mandatory line this guard had set up. He "ordered" them to stand behind us. We were now standing in the hot sun around 1230 and waiting patiently when there was no line in front of us. No explanation was offered. When we were finally allowed to board, I asked the guard if their machine was broken, he ignored me. When an elderly lady did not put her purse on the belt, the guard who had ignored my question told her, "MOMMA" you put the purse here, then you go through". Does Carnival offer any lessons in manners to their security staff?
Two crew members rammed into me and offered no apologies in port in Cozumel. I recognized one of them as a Serbian a crew member. He was with a female. Again, does Carnival offer any lessons in manners to their crew members when they are in port or is that an innovative idea?
Dining Room: dinner in the dining room the first night was a fiasco. While the hostesses were very nice, we were given a pager because we had anytime dining and the place was packed when we showed up at 1830. We were given the choice of eating with others, something we had no desire to do, although we might as well have since there were only about 12 inches separating our table from that of the table for 4 next to ours. It took about 30 minutes for them to page us. This was not an issue for us but we did not return to dining room for the rest of the cruise after having one of the lousiest meals ever on a Carnival cruise ship. I had ordered escargots; they were not the great garlic tasting escargots I am used to eating on Carnival, they were not even warm and tasteless with some blob of cold cheese...I think on top. I had ordered lasagna as an appetizer; it was not even lukewarm. It took nearly 1 hour to get 2 of the 5 bottles wine package pre-ordered through Bon Voyage delivered to our table. The waiter said it wouldn't be a problem to get just brie on the cheese plate. It evidently must have been and when he noticed, he just blamed his assistant. I couldn't eat my cold steak and later my raw steak (so the same dish was returned "twice"). We appreciated the matre d's call to our room to ask us if everything was OK as he also mentioned since he noticed that we had not returned to the dining room in the next 2 days. This is the first of 8 cruises on Carnival and an additional 4 on other lines that I do not eat in the dining room every night. The evening meal is an important event for me and I have NEVER in my life returned the same meal twice.
At the Coney Island grill, husband found the hot dogs to be "OK" but the bun was stale and hard as a rock on the first day. He said that the hamburger was nothing special. I enjoyed the sauerkraut and the French fries here. There were fresh cooked mushrooms but they were fried in some indescribable type of unknown fat.
The sushi bar is probably not 3 feet long and certainly not as inviting as the ones on the Ecstasy and the Conquest. The tray of pickled cucumber was left empty until I asked that the attendant refill it. here. I don't know why the wasabi has a creamy texture instead of the usual paste. I enjoyed the 3 pieces of sushi served per plate and was also pleased to see that it was available at the dinner buffet.
Unfortunately, the buffet area of the Lido is too small and we felt very crowded here at lunch. The problem could have been alleviated if the area small buffet area forward of the big buffet had opened earlier than 1230 but nope.
Lunch and dinner buffet did not include the wide variety of salads previously found on other Carnival sailings; the salads were pretty much the same each night at the buffet. We did not care for the lack of variety of desserts at dinner.
The bowls of sour cream and cheese for the baked potato remained empty until I requested they refill them. Chives and bacon bits are no longer offered at the buffet and in the dining room for the baked potato.
Food was served lukewarm in the dining room and at the buffet. Noodle Company food was good and hot. Deli food was good and hot.
Pizza was excellent. I did not order any pre-cooked pizza and chose to wait the mandatory 7to 8 minutes for freshly cooked. They said they'd need 8 minutes for the chÃ¨vre and 7 minutes for the capriciosa and the margherita. It took much longer but was well worth the wait as it just melted in your mouth straight out of the oven. Unfortunately they had no Caesar salad at the pizzeria as they used to. Parmesan is freshly grated. The pepperoni pizza is definitely the one most in demand and is snatched up as soon as prepared.
We ordered room service for breakfast each morning to be delivered between 630 and 700. It arrived between 715 and 730. One morning, I noticed our slip had not been collected from the door so we just went up to the buffet. We did not order room service for any other meals but noticed that no hot foods are offered on the room service menu and the fabulous roast beef and brie on baguette sandwich is now made with roast beef and cheddar cheese... another cutback.
The morning we ate breakfast at the buffet, there were no French toast, no bacon (or at least DH never found it), and the sausage was Cajun boudin, hopefully a leftover memory of our neighbors' culinary preferences to the east of us and something that will soon be replaced by the more traditional sausage. I loved the croissants and other pastries.
A cappuccino purchased at the small coffee bar at the buffet was made with stale coffee beans and totally tasteless: a waste of $3.39.
The omelet station is counter is less than 2 feet wide and is not inviting as it is in the direct path of those exiting the buffet line. The attendant gave me more of a golden fried pancake than a nice fluffy omelet. I didn't go back.
The Chef's Table is still the original menu. I would have jumped at the opportunity if it had been the new menu. Unfortunately, there is no way to know which menu it is unless you ask on CC or on board.
We purchased 2 double bloody Maries from the New World bar after embarkation as our welcome drink: total: $27.97 and a glass of wine: $10.94. On one occasion, I purchased a single bloody Mary on special for less than $5.00 from the Lido deck bar...so much for bar drinks!
The bartenders are very insistent and come by every 3 minutes to sell drinks on the Lido.
We had ordered 8 bar coupons from Bon Voyage. I probably will just pay next time since the bloody Maries are less on sale in the morning than a bar coupon valued at $5.95. We also pre-ordered the 5 bottle wine package. It took one hour to get the first 2 bottles at dinner and in the dining room the first night. The gal I spoke to at Bon Voyage told me that I could retrieve these bottles at the bar on the Lido deck. Two bartenders at 2 different bars on the Lido deck told me I could not. One said I should go to the Casino Bar if I was not going to get them from the dining room.
I had pre-ordered 8 bottles of water from Bon Voyage about $35 worth.These were in the stateroom when we arrived. I won't be doing this again unless I am sure that there will be a refrigerator in the stateroom.
We also pre-ordered the 5 bottle wine package from Bon Voyage for $147. The gal I spoke to at Bon Voyage had told me that I could retrieve these bottles at the bar on the Lido deck. Two bartenders at 2 different bars on the Lido deck told me I could not. One said I should go to the casino bar if I was not going to get them from the dining room...no thanks, I didn't want to go back to the dining room during this cruise. After contacting guest services, the bar manager called me and graciously had the 3 bottles we were entitled to delivered to our room.
For $70, a bottle of single malt Scotch whiskey, Glenmorangie, also purchased through Bon Voyage was delivered to our stateroom soon after we left Galveston.
The advantage to ordering water and the wine package through Bon Voyage is that you save the 15% gratuity.
We chose self-assist for debarkation and were happy to have our bungee cords to tie our carry-ons to our rolling suitcses. As we made our way to deck 3, about 20 minutes before they let us out, one staff member was adamant about making us return to the room with our suitcases even though several folks were already in the lobby area and in the Rome lounge. Another staff member was kind enough to ask us to go on to the lounge instead of making us return to the room. We were off at 0900 hours, the fastest we have ever been off a ship. The gangway is longer now, with at least 2 more ramps.
The anticipation and the joy of preparing for this cruise was enormous. As is often said on these boards, "any bad day on a cruise ship is better than a day at work". The fact remains,though, that we all pay good money to go on these cruises and it is disappointing not to get what we pay for. This is unfortunately not the type of review I was hoping to write. Perhaps this is why it took so long for me to finalize it. Reliving a cruise through a review should be a happy occasion.
This cruise was a letdown for us as we were looking forward to celebrating our 38th wedding anniversary with a nice meal in the dining room. The events of the first night put a damper on our celebration.
With just 2 cruises to become platinum, I doubt that I am going to book before the new platinum program comes out, if at all. I was so anxious to see the Carnival Triumph move to Galveston for a change of pace from the Ecstasy. We are pretty much burned out on cruising, at least for now!