I so wish I could remember each and every staff members name that we came into contact with on this ship. They were all absolutely fabulous ! Let me start by saying that this was our first cruise, and will certainly not be our last. Our itinerary was from Galveston to Cozumel and back to Galveston. Our stateroom was an OceanView on the Main Deck (Deck 2), #2407. The Captain was Capt. Bonilla from Italy.
After reading many, many reviews on Carnival and the Triumph, I was just a little concerned with some of the negative reviews about sewage smell, bad food, bad service, etc. My fears were soon put to rest on day one ! The ship is beautiful and it was very clean. The staff managed to keep up with the 2500+ guests the entire trip. There was no sewage smell anywhere on the ship that I noticed (except a slight odor on our debarkation day in the bathroom only).
Our room steward and his cleaning staff were excellent !! We never wanted for anything. If I did, all I had to do was ask. And the towel art and animal creations that were left in our room each night were a great added touch !! It was so nice to come back to a clean room with one of those sweet creations and chocolate mints on the bed each night.
Now, for the food. The food on this ship was 5 star !! We were assigned early dining (6pm) in the London Dining Room, table 122 (I think). The entire staff in this dining room was excellent. Our head waiter (God bless him) was awesome. I wish I had written down all these names. Oh yes, back to the food... I will run down a few of the dishes although I can't remember the exact names of all of them......There was steak and lobster, shrimp cocktails, pan seared talapia, Mahi Mahi, salads galore, Roasted Indian Pumpkin soup, etc.etc. My teenage boys even ordered a bacon cheeseburger that was gourmet all the way. Everything was wonderful. The Lido Deck buffets were excellent as well. When they served French food on one side, I had the Filet of Corvina. It was awesome !! They also had Italian, Caribbean, American, etc. It changed daily. My teenagers particularly enjoyed the 24 hour pizza, sub, and ice cream spots. Breakfasts were equally tasty. I had heard stories about the eggs tasting powdery. Not ours. The omelet station was super !!! They had almost anything you could ask for. Everything tasted very fresh to us, not a pre-made or frozen taste to anything.
Let's get to the entertainment part now. Tex was our cruise director. We had time to talk to him a few times and he is just a great guy, and very funny !!! We saw two different Broadway/Vegas style shows in the Rome Lounge; Wonderful World and The Big Easy. These were full on musical and dance productions. Done by some extremely talented individuals. We thoroughly enjoyed both shows. Then there were two different comedians performing in the Comedy Club at the Rio Lounge; Jason Blanchard and Lance Montalto. Hilarious !! Family friendly shows were done early in the evening and the R rated shows later at night. We also attended a magic show performed by Barman outside of the California Wine Bar. This was great ! I even got to participate in one of the illusions and was given my card from the deck as souvenir. In addition to all of this, we attended several cool DJ dance parties on the Lido Deck (Deck 9), a towel animal making workshop, and an ice carving demonstration. There were a couple of different dance clubs, a piano bar, and the Club Monaco Casino. During the day they had various interactive games in the Rome Lounge as well, including Bingo (if that's your thing). Movies would be shown on the big screen up on the Lido Deck in the evenings too. Whenever you need some down time, you just grab a deck chair and sit and soak in the beautiful ocean and breezes and relax !!! There is also a small quiet library and an internet cafe as well. There are plenty of cool shops with bargains to be had too. For example....there were some great jewelry buys. I bought a silver ship charm for my charm bracelet for about $10. If you are a smoker, they had 2 cartons of Marlboro's for about $32 I think. There were also some great buys on bottles of liquor too. I also bought 2 Funship Freddie stuffed toys for my two grandsons for just under $10 each.
Formal/Elegant Night : This was really nice !! We got all dressed up, went to the Promenade Deck and met the Captain. Had our picture taken with him and talked to him a bit. Very nice man !! Then we went to the various spots and had some formal pictures done. My favorite was the one we had taken on the "Grand Staircase" in the Lobby (Deck 3, I think). The next evening after we returned to the ship from Cozumel, the photos were ready. They will give you a card that tells you what section of the photo gallery your photos will be in. Then you go find them and decide which ones you want. We bought 4 8x10's and an album. These are pretty pricey, but it was SO worth it !!! I spent a total of about $92 on the formal photos (they gave me the album for $3.95, which was regularly $15). Each 8x10 is about $21 or so. We also got our embarkation photo they do just before you board the ship. We got a 6x9, 2- 5x7's, and the album with a picture of the ship on one side and a spot for the 6x9 on the other side for $44. I probably spent more on photos than anything else. After meeting the Captain and taking photos we headed for our assigned dining time in the London. Had an amazing 5 star dinner, yet again. Then everyone was ready to get rid of the formal clothes. :) We all went back to our rooms (we traveled with another couple and their son), and changed and headed back out. Spent some time at the casino playing slots and black jack. Didn't win much, but had a blast doing it !
Sign and Sail Cards: This is your currency on board. You can use a credit card to secure it or place cash on your account. Just be sure and keep track of your spending. It adds up. Everything is paid for except for alcohol and sodas. I bought a sticker for my boys cards for $22 each, that gave them unlimited sodas for the entire trip. One side note....whenever you order anything like a soda or an alcoholic drink, they will add a 15% gratuity automatically. As for the tipping....they automatically add $10 per day, per person to your account for gratutity. We chose to pay as we go. So, we had to wait until after 10:30pm on our second night on the ship and go to guest services (Lobby, Deck 3) and have them remove those charges. Easy and no hassles. Wisdom helped us several times at guest services. Very nice young man.
We interacted with and met a lot of people from various different cities while on the ship. Everyone was (for the most part) very nice to each other and helpful. Many people would come and offer to take your picture so everyone could be in the shot, and we did the same for other people. I don't know if it's just the relaxed atmosphere or everyone is just so darned happy to be there, but I wish I could bottle that and spread it around !! :)
The international crew is quite interesting too. The crew is from all over the wolrd. They will have their name on their name tag, and right under that it tells you what country they are from. Many from Serbia, Slovakia, China, Thailand, Italy, France, Ireland, etc. etc. Lots of little things like that made the trip even more fun and interesting.
There are pools, hot tubs, mini golf, ping pong, shuffleboard, and other things too. You will never get bored !!!! And when you just want to relax and kick back, just do it !! No pressure !! On our bed every night (in addition to the cute towel animals) will be a newsletter that will tell you everything going on around the ship for the next day. It gives you show times and locations and all the other activities too. On the television, Channel 14 gives you your sailing information (time, distance, your ships location on the map, etc).
Well, I think I've about covered most everything. The ship is pretty big, so expect to get lost a few times. The only deck that runs all the way from front to back is Deck 5, I believe (where the casino is). The rest, you will either need to take forward or aft elevators or stairs to get to your location. And be prepared to do a lot of walking. It's a big ship. :)
Overall, I can't say enough good things about this ship and it's crew. This was our first cruise and our first family vacation ever ! I'm so VERY glad we chose this ship, this itinerary, and Carnival !! We WILL be doing this again !!!
Bon Voyage !!
Cindy Doyle - new cruising fanatic !
PS... By the way...If you are like I was and really wanting one of those Coconut Monkey Head cups that you have seen and heard people talk about...be on your toes ! There are only about 20 of them per cruise. We sailed out on Thursday and on Friday about 9 or 10 am they had them on the Lido Deck. Within an hour or two , they were gone. But....I GOT MINE !!! :) ($14.95, drink included) There will also be drink cups shaped like the big red and blue tail of the ship available on the last day for about $5. Those make great souvenirs too.