On Wednesday, December 14th, my wife and I made the 300 mile drive from our home in Central Texas to the port of Galveston where we were scheduled to embark on a 4-day, 4-night "Christmas Cruise" on the Carnival Triumph at noon the following day.
Thursday morning, December 15th, the Galveston harbor was enshrouded in dense fog. Since we were staying at the Harbor House Hotel (a very nice hotel) near the dock, we walked over to speak with the Carnival personnel about what to expect. We were told the fog would dissipate later in the morning and the ship would dock by 10:00 AM. That hour came and went, but the fog didn't. Another trip, another talk, and we were assured the fog would dissipate by noon (which it finally did) and the ship would dock shortly thereafter (which it didn't).
The ship finally docked around 4:00 PM; however, we were not allowed to board until around 9:00 PM. On boarding the ship we were shuffled into our dining room ("You MUST go to the dining room!") where they tried to make us eat dinner at 9:30 PM. We declined and finally managed to get to our cabin around 10:00 PM (but only by ignoring the Carnival staff). The ship finally sailed out of Galveston around 12:30 AM on Friday, December 15th, and our luggage arrived at our cabin around 1:30 AM.
We missed all the Thursday activities, plus dinner as we had to eat onshore, and a good deal of sleep. For all this Carnival Cruise Lines generously issued us a $15 "on-board credit" per person.
The delayed arrival, delayed boarding, and consequential late sailing were never explained. The ship arrived at the dock some 5 hours after the fog had completely cleared. We realize that Carnival has no control over the weather, but the long delay in the ships arrival had to be attributable to something other than the weather, which the cruise line never bothered to explain.
Once aboard, "if you care to look past the crowded bars, [extremely] loud music and long [slow] buffet lines" there was very little to actually do on the ship. The only sign of Christmas we saw was a small tree in the dining room and children were evidently able to get their picture taken with Santa Claus. The food in the buffet lines was sub-standard. The food in the dining room was satisfactory, but not up to what we had experienced on other cruises.
Arrival in the Port of Cozumel was at 1:00 PM on Saturday, December 17th. The ship was scheduled to arrive at 9:00 AM. I'm sure the Captain made up as much time as he could. The ship was originally scheduled to depart Cozumel at 5:00 PM; however, the departure was delayed until 6:00 PM (sunset was at 5:00 PM). You can't do much in 4 hours of daylight, but the passengers extended the departure well past 7:00 PM as most of them were still waiting in line to get back on the ship at 6:00 PM. Carnival made no offer of any compensation for the abbreviated stay in port.
Arrival in Galveston was on time Monday morning and all the passengers were rapidly disembarked, which is about the only positive comment I can make about the voyage. My wife and I have both been on quite a few cruises. A couple of those previous cruises were on Carnival; however, I can assure you that neither of us will sail on Carnival again.