Cruising is a pleasant adventure: Carnival Triumph Cruise Review by mojomorris

Carnival Triumph 4
Member Since 2009
94 Forum Posts

Overall Member Rating

Cruising is a pleasant adventure

Sail Date: January 2013
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Galveston
Background: My wife and I are both 50+ and now cruise at least twice a year. We've only cruised on Princess (Platinum card), Carnival (Platinum card) and Celebrity. We're easy to please, use a travel agent and always book a balcony cabin BUT we're always on the lookout for the best deal. We tend to book an aft cabin on a deck or two below Lido and the casual buffet eateries. That way we're close to the food but always use the stairs so we do get some exercise (LOL).

Arrival + Houston: We booked our Jet Blue flight to arrive a day early (mid afternoon) to avoid any weather related "surprises" in upstate New York (Syracuse to be exact) -- ya gotta have a Plan "B" when you live in snow country. We flew into Houston Hobby (HOU) rather than Bush International (IAH) b/c that's the only Houston airport Jet Blue services. Also, the Carnival shuttle to the ship is cheaper from Houston Hobby. We stayed @ the Days Inn on Airport Blvd b/c it has free airport shuttle and free More continental breakfast. The staff there is friendly/helpful, the rooms are clean and have fridges & microwaves, there's a Denny's a block away for food and a bakery & market (with a Taqueria) a couple blocks past Denny's. The Day's Inn folks took us to the airport on cruise day and that's where we met the Carnival reps - that's when the misadventure started. We were advised the ship was running late (I had read the member reviews beforehand and somewhat expected this would happen).

Embarkation: We boarded the airport to pier shuttle and were among the first to arrive @ the pier around noon to learn that the Triumph was having propulsion problems and would dock @ 1:00 PM and we would board @ 4:30. We were given a letter saying (b/c of technical problems) the ship was only going to one port and staying overnight (we surmised it w/b Progresso and not Cozumel) and that we could cancel the cruise and get our money back. If we agreed to still go on the cruise we would get $15 each for lunch credited to our sign and sail card, $50 add'l OBC for not going to Cozumel and the $9 Cozumel port charge as OBC. Some people were furious but we just wanted a cruise with warm weather so we took the deal. Because we are Platinum, we boarded first ~3:45 PM and were eating on the Lido by 4:00 PM. Being Platinum has its perks.

The cabin: We were on Deck 7 aft cabin 7396 -- two decks below Lido. The cabin was the usual that you would expect but having that balcony and the "wall of glass" makes me feel less claustrophobic. And to me there's nothing like sitting on the balcony reading a book or watching the sun go down to make you feel like you're on vacation. Sometimes/rarely some noise floated down from the Lido but it wasn't much distraction. Our room steward (Franklin) was very pleasant, helpful and never showed any sign of negativity (we gave him an extra $25 @ cruise end). He also spoke English well so there were no communication issues and we even spoke several times when he told us about his home country of Indonesia. There is plenty of storage space BUT the closets are right across from the bathroom so you can't open the bathroom door and closet doors at the same time. The shower was ample and had a high enough lip around it so that the water didn't flow onto the floor. There's an overhead vent mid-cabin that you could change to cut down or increase the ventilation into the cabin. I'm not crazy about all the pink fixtures and crazy Joe Farcus designed ship amenities but I'm there to vacation and not critique ship architecture.

The food: We had anytime dining but only went to the dining rooms on one night (formal night). Service was very good and there was enough time to make the meal feel enjoyable and not rushed. The offerings were enough to satisfy us but we were there specifically for the lobster tail(s) & shrimp and chocolate melting cake. Shrimp cocktail was on the "available every evening" menu so that was a plus. We enjoyed the meal but I know some people consider themselves "foodies" and might be difficult to satisfy. We even used some of that accumulated OBC to order (California) champagne with our meal.
For casual dining, there are so-o-o-o many buffet items to choose from and so much to eat that in the evening we usually opted for something quick, light and easy rather than go to the MDR. One night I actually had meatloaf and it was very good (I can see people rolling their eyes as they read this). Also, pizza, grill items, wokery fare and even sandwiches from the "Deli" filled the bill. The buffet offerings for breakfast were numerous; I usually had eggs, hash browns and fruit. For lunch/evening buffets, there always the daily specials, stir fry, soft ice cream & yogurt, salads etc. We usually had breakfast ~9:30 -- 10:00 AM and there were no long lines although there was sometimes a 5 - 10 minute wait for deli sandwiches and/or wokery items if only one person was preparing the food. Pizza is available 24/7 but be sure to check your daily paper for times of the other offerings.
We never used room service, the specialty restaurants or soda/drink packages so I can't comment on them.

Shore excursions + time in Progresso: The ship arrived late at Progresso due to the propulsion problems. We had been advised earlier on the first sea day that this would be the case and the crew would attempt to fix the problems while we docked overnight. The shore excursion schedules were changed several times to accommodate the repair timeline so we moved our initial shore exc (inclusive day @ the Reef Resort) to the 2nd day and picked up a tour of Merida and rum tasting for the 1st day. Progesso is a poor fishing village so there is not much to do there. There is no reef to snorkel or scuba dive on and no real sights to see BUT the ruins at Uxmal and Chichen Itza (hours away by bus) are superb. I'm thinking that someone with deep pockets will build a Margaritaville in Progresso (similar to Grand Turk) and make a killing off the tourists. The pier is large enough for 2 ships (maybe not Allure/Oasis of the Seas size) and this place may be another Roatan in the making.

Progresso day 1 - Luckily for us, the weather cooperated on day one and our guide Gerardo (Jerry) made the exc enjoyable. He spoke very good English, was humorous and gave us interesting info about Merida and its history. After the bus tour of Merida, we stopped at a small rum producer for a tour of the facility and its products. I have to admit I never realized that Mexico does indeed produce good quality rum (in addition to Tequila) and as you probably surmised, we bought some rum to being back with us.

Progresso day 2 brought a windy day with overcast skies not really suitable for a day at the beach. To my surprise, Carnival offered us the option to cancel the shore exc and get a refund. We took the offer, cancelled the exc and received a check at cruise end for $180. WOW -- that was a surprise -- I assumed we'd be on the hook for the exc cost but Carnival came thru for us! Unfortunately, we had to wait for delivery of parts for the ships propulsion system and we left Progresso more than 4 hours late. Oh well...we were in no hurry to get home anyway since we had plans to stay in Houston for another 3 days.

Other services/misc: The ship may have two thousand people but it's big enough that we never felt crowded. Just don't wait until "rush hour" to eat or go to the shows. Once you find your way around, you can avoid the casino and get where you need to.

The Internet Cafe next to the Oxford Bar has about 10 terminals and several Internet "plans". You could: pay 75 cents per minute, get 45 minutes, 120 minutes and so on. On the first day you could get add'l free minutes if you bought a plan. We opted for the 120 minute + 10 free ($64 including activation) plan just to check e-mail a few times during the week. BE AWARE ----- the service is painfully S-L-O-W. On the last day when everyone was working on flights, the system was overloaded and some machines had problems getting an internet connection.

One of the nicer touches on the trip was the past guest party (by invitation). It was on Progresso day #2 @ 5:00 PM. There were free drinks (we had rum punch in 12 oz tumblers) and snacks. Hey, free booze is free booze!! We also had tickets for a free drink in the MDR for breakfast/brunch/lunch but never made it. I wish I had that free drink now...LOL

We didn't use the Spa although I used the gym in the early afternoons so I had no issues with finding an open T-mill, elliptical or life cycle. Some of the elliptical machines need fixing but the weight machines were primo.

We didn't buy any photo packages and ignored most (but not all) photographers who tried to snap our pix.

The Passengers' Service desk was helpful and I detected no "attitude" from the people there. Considering the itinerary change, there were some really hostile passengers but the staff kept their cool.

The boutiques/stores had their usual "sales" which were mostly for old stock and watches. We bought a liter of Bacardi as a way to spend more of the OBC they gave us.

We didn't go to any of the clubs at night -- not enough time it seems but we did spend some time listening to an actual "live" band outside the casino.

Departure: The ship was supposedly fixed by the time we returned to Galveston (~9:30 AM). Since we had Platinum perks, we had our breakfast and waited in one of the dining rooms until our number was called. By 10:30 or so we were out the door, down the gangway, thru customs and on our way to the shuttle for the airport. Unfortunately, (LOL) the shuttle developed a flat tire and we had to wait for a replacement shuttle. Life is an adventure -- or misadventure if you let it get to you.

Overall: It was great to get the ~$150 OBC which we spent on drinks, more drinks and rum from the on-board store -- woo hoo! We were happy! We brought 2 bottles of wine on board and did not drink any of it! The ship itself is indeed a bit dated although the crew is constantly painting and cleaning it. We were on the Triumph when it made 7 day cruises from New Orleans and now the ship is relegated to 4-5 day cruises -- it seems to be slowly working its way down the chain of importance until it will be sold to some 3rd world cruise line. If we did another cruise out of Galveston, we'd sail on the Magic -- its cabins have refrigerators {*_*}. Less

Published 02/10/13

Cabin review: 8F9376 Balcony

Comfy cabin with small but enjoyable balcony. Close to elevators and stairs.

Read All Balcony (8F) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

Day 1 - Merida and Rum Tasting - Luckily for us, the weather cooperated on day one and our guide Gerardo (Jerry) made the exc enjoyable. He spoke very good English, was humorous and gave us interesting info about Merida and its history. After the bus tour of Merida, we stopped at a small rum producer for a tour of the facility and its products. The rum samples were small but gave you a good idea of the differences between them. Sampling 10 year old rum sure opened my eyes in more ways than one. Day 2 - All Inclusive Beach Resort Getaway - it was a windy day with overcast skies not really suitable for a day at the beach. Carnival offered us the option to cancel the shore exc and get a refund. We took the offer.
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