My husband and I had sailed late 2010 with some friends of ours. It was their first cruise, so I couldn't wait to introduce my best friend to all the things I loved about cruising. Well, it was a bust. I wish I could say that Hurricane Paula has been the worst part of it, but no. The staff and service had been deplorable, and I didn't think I was ever going to get them back on a ship at all, much less Carnival.
Well, we all agreed to give it one more try, so we scheduled the same cruise, same boat, leaving out of a different port. Given the fact that I don't see a lot of reviews regarding the Triumph, I was afraid that things had not improved much, and that people were probably opting to say nothing instead of something derogatory.......but I was wrong!
The Triumph and it's crew were outstanding! From Room Steward to Maire'D, everyone was fabulous. Now, I need to say that we are not those type of people who absolutely expect our rear-ends to be kissed the whole time. I expect friendly service, but I don't expect to make people feel that they are below me either, so we're pretty easy to please.
You could tell the ship had had a good cleaning recently, which felt great. I noticed a lot more attention to detail than I had seen before. A couple of the bars had been changed up a little as far as decor. I noticed some new tiles in some areas, and the a lot of the bathrooms had new "muraled"(is that even a word?) stalls that gave them a good pick-me-up.
Our room steward, Moody, was great! He wasn't so attentive that I was afraid I might walk in on him working, but nothing was ever left undone. He knew all of our names before we even sailed, which blew my mind.
We had the early dinner seating, our waiter(don't remember his name) never disappointed, and he was a lot of fun. We never once had to get up to get our own refills! The bartender, Igor, was A DANDY!! We were lucky enough to be seated at the best table in the dining room, it sits just below the stairs. and it couldn't have been better. Front row seating for all the entertainment, and we got to take part in it(much to the mortification of my husband). But I loved it!
Maitre'D, 007, was very approachable and friendly. Had never come across that in a Maitre'D before, and we actually saw him out side the main dining room. He was always walking through ensuring everything was as expected in the buffets throughout the day also. It was nice to see that he takes so much responsibility and pride in what he does, and you can tell he genuinely does.
We had opted for an 8F room on the Spa Deck, and LOVED the balcony access. That is until we started racing Hurricane Rina to Cozumel. We were trying to beat her there by a day, so that we could leave and get to Progresso while she was behind us. The wind was so strong that at night my door would shimmy open and I would wake up to my curtains flying outside the cabin.
Seas were a little rough, but nothing to get anxious about. Once we made Cozumel, there were a good many of the water sports cancelled and shops already boarded up waiting for Rina. So shopping was limited. Carlos and Charlie's was still a hoot! Our friend got to celebrate his birthday that day, so it was a good day!
I had been very apprehensive about visiting Progresso. I had heard everything from "it's so authentic, it's heaven" to "Good stars, you're liable to get shot in the street", so I was not at all sure about getting off the ship. I was glad to see their were options. There is a little shopping mall and bar and pool immediately off the ship on the pier, so you don't HAVE to go anywhere to do something off the ship. My husband and I ended up going into town, and I decide that it may be a little of both scenarios that I had heard before. Stay in the populated, busy, tourist-y areas and you're good. But I will say that some persons will try to "press" you where they can. My husband had walked off a few booths and I was video-taping the market, when a man walked up to me that had been in my frame and gruffly insisted that I give him $5 for the picture I took of him. I thought I was going to pass smooth out, but thankfully my husband walked up right at that time, and then he just played it off as a joke. And the police they have down there DO NOT play--we saw a young man on a bike that they had stopped for some reason, and they even had his shoes off checking them for whatever.....kinda funny, kinda scary.
On our way back was the real test. There was a front coming out of Texas, and the hurricane didn't have ANYTHING on this thing! Seas were crazy! They had the decks blocked off because winds and seas were so high. But this is what made the difference.........the crew never wavered or stopped trying or got out of sorts like we had seen them do on our previous cruise.
I really expected this to my last Carnival cruise, but the crew on this ship from October 24 through 29, 2011 has restored my faith in that boat and Carnival.
Would recommend to others, and we will definitely be seeing Carnival again soon!