The trouble began before we boarded. We were three individuals traveling together. Every time one of us logged into our cruise record to add information Carnival's system defaulted the payment information for all of us to the first person to log in. When we checked in for the cruise we had to go through the process of re-validating our credit card information. The second evening I attempted to buy wine for our table and was told my credit was declined. That was rather embarrassing. So, off to the Front Office to be told the same thing had happened again and that I needed to go get the credit card and again fill out the proper documentation. I couldn't simply go back to the cabin and get it as it was locked in the safe and on the Triumph the safes are coded to one cabin key which wasn't mine. This took another hour to resolve.
It was in the 40s in Galveston when we boarded and the ship wasn't much warmer. In our cabin we had a choice of no air or cold air. When I first board a ship I haven't been on I usually walk the ship starting aft on the Lido deck and work my way forward and down. I walked onto the Lido deck and was hit with the stench of rancid grease and cigarette smoke. Moving forward and down I was curious about the design of the ship. It has two MDRs with the London Dining Room amidships taking up decks 3 & 4. To go between the public spaces fore and aft you have to go through the dining room which may or may not be open or up one or two decks walk through the casino and then back down. The dining room itself was rather drab and the curtains were drawn over the windows not that there was anything to see as the windows looked directly at the lifeboats blocking any view or light.
The next disappointment was Carnival's "My Time Dining". Unlike most other cruise lines including several of Carnival's sister companies which take reservations this simply an opportunity to stand in line for up to 45 minutes waiting for a table. There are no reservations. The food, after waiting that long, was the worst I've ever been subjected to on a cruise. It was just short of being inedible. I've gotten better food and better service in a Denny's.
The second day was a sea day and it was rather cool. On the Triumph there are very few places you can find quiet deck space to read or relax. The only area that is really out of the wind is the pool deck and it was packed. The big screen on the pool deck had huge dead sections so watching anything wasn't great and the volume was always too loud. The second night we again had to stand in line for more than 30 minutes to get a table. When we did get a table it was again a booth and the table was almost at chin level and I'm 6'1". Either the tables were mounted too high or the cushions were broken down. Given the tired appearance of the rest of the ship I would expect it was the cushions. The selection of food was poor and the quality was quite bad. I usually enjoy the cold fruit soups but the soup on both nights was something that resembled colored skim milk with a little coloring in it. I asked about shrimp cocktail and was told it was only served on one evening.
The formal night was a joke. There were people in the MDR in blue jeans, t-shirts and baseball caps. There was no attemptto enforce any kind of dress code. The ship is so chopped up the photography areas set up for the formal evening made it extremely difficult to get anywhere around the center of the ship.
The third evening we went to the MDR and looked at the menu. The starter included exciting things like chicken tenders and the line looked to be at least a half hour. We gave up and went to the Lido. It went from bad to worse. I had some chicken dish that was cold and rubbery. I also had a piece of what was described as breaded Cod Fish. It was cold and mush. There was little more than green salad and a couple of bean dishes and only one hot vegetable which was a green-bean based dish that was like eating pencil erasers. There were a total of four deserts, one described as a pumpkin cake which was a yellow dry mystery cake, another was labeled a hazelnut custard and the other two were mystery items. At this point I would have welcomed a McDonald's Quarter Pounder.
I asked for a meeting with the Hotel Director and got stood up with no explanation as to his no-show. I did meet with the Manager of Customer Service in what I believe was the Hotel Director's office. She was sitting behind a desk and right next to her was this free standing heater. She was nice and warm while the rest of us were freezing. So much for the regulation about no items with any type of heating elements on board. I think I head "I'm sorry" or "I apologize" at least 20 times. There was absolutely no effort to offer any kind of remedy to the complaints.
The fourth day was a sea day and for the most part it was spent in the cabin or looking for some suitable place to have some quiet time. We had poked our head into the Rome Theater a couple times and were not impressed with the entertainment. I've seen highschool drama clubs and choruses that do a better job.
On most ships the captain and senior officers are out amongst the passengers and these seem to be the best run and happiest ships. On the Triumph the captain did one briefing and was out of the Captain's cocktail party and the crew introductions.
We got back to Galveston and did the walk off. We couldn't get away from the Triumph fast enough. The only decent part of the cruise was Chitzen Itza, Cozumel and Galveston.
If this had been my first cruise, it would have been my last. I've been cruising long enough to know that is many better companies and ships out there. This was the third Carnival cruise and was the fourth trip in 12 months. I've been cruising since 1982. I've had some great times, this wasn't one of them.
I felt sorry for the first-time cruisers as they had no idea there are much better cruise experiences. I've have three more trips scheduled this year and none will be on Carnival. I see no compelling reason to ever set foot on another "Not-so-Fun Ship"!!!!!!