My husband and I arrived in Galveston around 9:45 am. We parked at The Lighthouse Parking Lot which offered covered parking at a reasonable price and super friendly staff.
This was our 3rd Carnival cruise (2nd time on Triumph) but the first time to purchase the Faster To The Fun (FTTF) package. We weren’t sure that FTTF would be worth the extra money. Let me tell you, it was worth every penny!
At the Terminal we dropped off our luggage and made our way towards the entrance. Since we had FTTF we were able to check in at 11:00. Make sure you look for the FTTF lane as this can be easily missed and you can end up in the wrong lane. We were about the 8th couple in line and we actually didn’t move for about 25 minutes due to some unprepared guests that were checking in ahead. The FTTF line was quickly forming behind us, which looked endless, and the guests were becoming restless. It was reassuring to see the Carnival staff was attentive and concerned with this hold up and assured everyone to be patient. They let us know they were working hard to get that "clueless" family checked in. I think Carnival even directed those in our lane to the Premier and Diamond lanes to help expedite the line.
After check in we were sent to the waiting area around 11:30am. All the chairs were occupied so we had to stand, but there was complimentary water available. We had to wait for a huge wedding party to board first (which I think the party was all running late). Premier and Diamond members loaded next and we were after. All said, we were on board by 11:45am give or take.
We headed up to our Aft Balcony rooms which were already cleaned and ready for us. Enjoying the view for a few minutes and soaking in our surroundings we decided to all head up to the middle pool area at the Blue Iguana Bar to enjoy our first beverage. Half of our friends arrived a couple hours later as they did not purchase FTTF. We had a total of 12 in our group. Around 2pm we went back to the cabin and saw our luggage had already arrived. (another perk of FTTF). We unpacked and looked out our balconies and chatted with our other friends that also had adjoining AFT balconies. 90 degree weather with absolutely zero breeze and scorching sun made us all walk up to the lido deck and take in other views. The breeze felt great on top deck but we wanted to be back on our balconies to watch the ship leave port. We were able to watch a family of dolphins play beside our ship before we disembarked.
We were blessed with great weather and smooth seas for our entire voyage! The last cruise my husband and I went on, rained all 7 days with rough seas.
This cruise, Sea days were spent at the Aft pool enjoying the cool water (minimal screaming kids) and attentive drink service. Cussy was our waiter along with another waitress but I can’t remember or pronounce her name and they both took awesome care of us and we never went thirsty. All the bartenders were great and friendly. I still think Carnival should put more staff behind the bars, but you rarely had to wait more than 5 minutes to be acknowledged to place your drink order. The Middle pool was very crowded with kids running every which way and some adults dancing like they needed to “go back to their room”, although it was very entertaining to watch from afar. We ventured down the water slide a few times. That was really fun and refreshing! We enjoyed the music the DJ was playing on this deck.
In Progresso, some of our friends chose different excursions. My husband and I and another couple friend decided to stay in town and ride the double Decker tour bus for $5 per person. You had to make sure to duck your head a lot as the power/phone lines were super low and you could lose your hat if not more. After the ride, we walked to the beach, enjoyed fresh chips/salsa/guacamole and some margaritas which did not taste anything like you expected. The margaritas were hard to swallow but we managed. Along the walk back we stopped in some shops and practiced some bargaining.
The next day we docked at Puerta Maya in Cozumel. We opted out of any excursions. (We’ve visited Cozumel numerous times). We decided to see what a Rental Car Agency had to offer. They were really friendly and we found it humorous that the rental car agent went out of his way to tell us where to drink the best tequila and beer. We ended up renting a convertible Volkswagen with our friends and drove around the island making our own stops to some of the "off the beaten path" restaurants/bars along the beach. Views were spectacular and we even saw some dolphins playing out in the ocean. The cost was $125.00 total (includes insurance) which is cheap compared to some $79 per person excursions that were offered. After the drive, we dropped the car off and walked back to meet the rest of our friends for a couple of frozen drinks at Fat Tuesday in port.
We had open seating dining, and for the most part, we were seated within 10 to 20 minutes. One night, we did have to wait about an hour and a ½. It was impossible to be seated all together if you had more than 6 in your party, however, the staff made sure we were seated close together. The staff in the dining room was attentive. One night they were a wee bit off and everyone received different food and or drinks but they made sure it was corrected. No biggie. Everyone enjoyed the food that was served and no one complained.
Pizza Pirate is open 24/7 and we visited that quite often. If you’re impatient then don’t go. It takes about 10 minutes or more if the line is not too long but it’s worth it. They don’t have pre-made pizza sitting out just waiting for you to come by; they prepare it in the rear kitchen. I didn’t feel like waiting for my own specialized slice so I just asked for whatever was ready and had my slice in hand within 1 minute. Buffet lines were crazy as usual with kids running everywhere and people holding up the line chit chatting etc. There is a small breakfast area outside that seemed a bit secret that we visited to avoid the crowd. It is located in the Aft outdoor pool area. Homemade omelets, breakfast potatoes, pancakes, toast, grits, bacon, scrambled eggs etc.
Casino we visited often. Of course it’s smokey, it’s a casino, but I did see some air machines spread out. My husband played some table games and slots. I stuck to the slots. Machines were pretty tight but I did see some people win a bit here and there. Enjoyed listening to the live band each night, they were pretty good. The casino bar was the longest to wait for a beverage. The casino bar was always crowded. I would go down to the lobby bar (one floor just below casino) and order a beverage in less than 5 minutes. The Lobby bar was never crowded. (Or at least the times I was there).
Our friends and I visited the Nightclub twice for some dancing! It was super fun and the DJ played some great music. We didn’t care for the piano bar as it was too bright and atmosphere was non-inviting. We’ve experienced the dueling pianos at Pat Obrien’s in New Orleans and this was not at all in comparison.
Our room steward “Rudy” was fantastic. He kept our room clean with fresh ice morning and night. He was always pleasant and the towel animals were cute. We never had to look at dirty dishes in our aft hallway etc. We would have liked clean windows too, but I'm not sure if that was part of his job?...The windows were hosed down one day while in port but it really could have used a squeegee.
My husband and I went down to breakfast that final morning in the Paris dining room and we were able to watch the ship dock into port (the ship was running about 15 minutes late due to winds)…we then went to our disembarkation station in the London dining room around 8:50am and were walking off the ship by 9:30am. We retrieved our luggage and rolled it over to customs with no lines, yes you heard me, no lines… and out the door by 9:50am. FTTF is so worth it!!! Disembarkation with FTTF made the whole package and vacation) so worth it.
We will definitely cruise with Carnival in the future and purchase the FTTF package (if available). We know what to expect on a cruise and your vacation is what you make of it. My husband, myself and our friends all had a wonderful and memorable time and are discussing options for a future cruise.
We always try to choose the AFT balcony if available. Best views and somewhat private. Lawnchair, two tables and two chairs fit ok on patio. Bed was comfortable and bathroom good size. Suitcases fit under the bed and ample closet space. We brought our own extension cord. Almost hit my head on the TV a couple of times after closing a drawer or two down below. Maybe Carnival will upgrade to some flat screens in the future?...Other than that cabin felt clean etc.