Knowing its passengers and giving them exactly what they want -- good times at reasonable prices -- is one of Carnival Cruise Line's greatest strengths. This commitment to all things fun is evident on Carnival Triumph, a family-friendly ship that mostly sails shorter cruises out of southern U.S. ports.
The 2,758-passenger ship, which dates back to 1999, has a checkered history. It made world headlines in 2013 when an engine fire forced the ship to be without power for several days in the Gulf of Mexico, and conditions onboard became less than ideal. Fixed up, the ship has since rebounded; there is actually a group of 200 or so who return to the vessel each year to commemorate the event.
Triumph is not a ship for the sedate. It's loud, with music everywhere. With so many large groups onboard, even your cabin can be noisy, what with doors slamming and families calling back and forth to each other from neighboring rooms. In the main dining room, waiters take breaks to dance to the Macarena or sing Frank Sinatra. Even the spa is noisy, given its strange location under the teen clubs and basketball court.
The decor is also fairly exuberant. You have to appreciate the attempt of Carnival Triumph's design team to take you on a trip around the world, even if you're really on a four-night, one-port cruise. The ship's theme is the world's greatest vacation destinations, and venues feature names like Club Monaco, The Big Easy and South Beach. One thing that's nice about the layout is that most of the entertainment venues revolve around the "World Way" on Deck 5, making it easy to hop between them.
Your best bet for enjoyment is to embrace the silliness. Go to the Hairy Chest contest, and whoop it up at Gender Wars. Chant "Seuss is on the loose!" during the Seuss-a-palooza parade. Boogie down to Michael Jackson in the nightclub. Relaxation doesn't always involve solitude; you might be amazed at how great you feel after a few days of belly laughs.