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We booked this cruise because it was a great price when we booked and it was a quick getaway that would have us back home before Christmas. Rather than drive 8 hours each way to New Orleans, we booked flights on Southwest Airlines during one of their sales. We are used to flying Delta and choosing our seats. Southwest is not set up that way so I was expecting a chaotic mess at the airport. Although I checked in online about 20 minutes after the window opened, we were still only able to get into boarding zone B. Surprisingly, it went very smoothly. Boarding zone B got us undesirable seats near the back of the plane but we were trying to seat 3 people together. Overall, it felt like we got off the airport parking shuttle and got on the plane. That's how smoothly everything went. We were looking forward to a sunny, somewhat warm day in New Orleans filled with sightseeing and eating some local cuisine. When we landed, it was cloudy and gloomy with temps in the 40s. It started to rain before we got off the plane. It was raining harder when we exited the airport. We scrapped our sightseeing plans and caught a cab to our hotel. We arrived at the Springhill Suites Downtown $45 poorer after paying the cab driver. In hindsight, Lyft would have been cheaper. It was 3 hours before the official check in time but they graciously let us check in early. We stayed at this hotel before on our first trip to New Orleans in 2009. We booked it again because it is one the closest hotels to the cruise terminal and it’s a Marriott. We can always count on comfy beds, a hotel that is clean and modern, friendly staff, and reliable wi-fi. Embarkation Day We packed light, only one large suitcase and a carry-on for three people. This made walking to the port much easier. From the hotel, we just had to go over one block to Julia Street, turn right and the entrance to the River Walk mall was in sight. It gets confusing once you're inside the mall. We wandered around in Nordstrom Rack for a few minutes before we realized this was not the way out to the cruise terminal. We went back out to where we came in and my husband spotted some elevators with blue signs directing cruise passengers where to go. The elevators are for Royal Caribbean and Norwegian passengers. Carnival passengers take the doors out to the balcony, turn right and then follow the balcony until you get to the stairs that lead down to the cruise terminal. It was easier than we thought and it saved us $5-6 versus using Lyft or Uber. Embarkation was surprisingly easy. I was happy I picked an 11:30 check-in time because it was really cold in New Orleans that morning. Any sightseeing plans would have been cancelled anyway. We got to the cruise terminal around 12. The line moved quickly and we were on the ship by 12:45. We didn't want to go through the crowded buffet with our bags so we waited in the elevator area on our floor for the doors to open telling us our rooms were ready. The doors still weren't open at 1:20. So, I opened the doors and took our carry on suitcase and my purse to our room. This was a good call since the buffet was unbelievably crowded. It's been a long time since we have seen a crowd like that but we usually aren't on the ship until after 2. The Ship We are used to this class ship but the Triumph seemed more crowded than usual. There were a lot of families traveling together and they tended to go everywhere in large groups. This meant a lot of unnecessary clogging in certain areas like Guest Services, hallways, stairwells, the narrow pathways along the Lido, etc... They often stopped in place trying to figure something out or to argue about something - sometimes in the buffet line - creating a clog of people behind them. It was annoying. The ship has been upgraded but some of the decor is still quite dark and dated. Overall, the ship is clean and well-maintained for its age. Service We boarded the ship expecting to get an onboard credit for the Dzibilchaltun Mayan Ruins tour we had booked for Progreso. Carnival offers a low price guarantee if you find the same excursion cheaper with another vendor. I did find it cheaper. So I submitted the claim form and got approved the same day. The confirmation email says nothing about having to go to Guest Services and asking them to apply the onboard credit when you get on the ship. But that is exactly what I had to do. There was no credit on our account. The lines at Guest Services were too long when we got on the ship so I went to the desk the next morning with confirmation email in hand. The lady at the desk said she would have to email the main office about it. We went about our day thinking this is a simple thing that will be fixed. Wrong. She called our cabin a few hours later saying the main office had refused the credit because the difference had already been refunded to our card and we got the credit on our last cruise. How can both of these be true? Why would a credit for this cruise be applied to another cruise unbeknownst to me? I will spare you the details of all that transpired while I was trying to get this resolved but it involved them cutting off our onboard spending account because of their mistake and me sending a strongly worded email to Guest Relations. A promise is a promise. Guests should not have to go through all this to get what was promised to them. But, it's a lesson learned. We will not book another excursion with Carnival unless they are the only place that offers that excursion. If another vendor offers an excursion we want to take cheaper than Carnival, we will just book it directly with the vendor. Otherwise, the rest of the service we got on the ship was top notch. We had an awesome steward. Yasinee, the barista in the café, was also a standout. The rest of the crew were friendly whenever we encountered them. There’s not enough of them on the ship but they do a great job regardless. Activities Our first sea day was pretty lazy. We got up late. We dropped our son off at Camp Ocean after getting dressed. My husband went to the gym and I went on the top deck for my daily walk. The temperature was much warmer than New Orleans but it was still very cloudy. The upper decks were practically empty at around 11:00 in the morning. It started to rain again near the end of my walk so I decided to finish up in the gym. It was way too crowded. We picked up our son from Camp for lunch. He was disappointed that he didn't get a turn at playing video games because there were so many kids there. We decided to try mini golf after lunch. Also crowded. But my ever patient husband toughed it out and played with our son despite the crowd. We went back to the cabin to take a break. I noticed in the Fun Times that caroling and "snow" was scheduled for around 5 that afternoon. It seemed a little early in the cruise for that but we didn't want to miss it. We stopped by the atrium on our way to the pool so our son could see the "snow". They gave all the kids Santa hats, we sang a few carols and down came the "snow". Our son was super excited. We left for the pool shortly after. Our son seemed to have a better time at camp at night since there were way fewer kids and he got to actively participate in some of the activities. He hardly asked to go to camp on this cruise because of the crowding issue in the camp during the day time. We watched the dive in movie just about every night. I am so happy that they were handing out blankets for the movie. It was windy up there most nights. We have never had to watch a movie sitting at the Blue Iguana bar before. This ship was so crowded though, that if you did not get to the movie early, there were no lounge chairs left. I am not kidding. I am not sure if that is evidence of the lack of interesting activities or if we were just sailing with a lot of movie buffs. We went to the family comedy show. The comedian was just ok. I commend the Triumph for having production shows that we have not already seen on previous cruises. However, we decided not to go because there was only one show on the nights they were scheduled. This meant it was going to be crowded. Food Even on formal nights, the dining room menu was not very impressive. We ate most of our meals in the Lido buffet. Also not impressive. The selection was minimal as usual. I really dislike the American Table menu offered in the dining room. It has very few selections and what is offered is usually not very appealing to us. The only meal we ate in the dining room was Seaday brunch. I ordered the mac and cheese yet again because I keep hoping that the way it was served on the last two cruises was a fluke. Nope. I got the same soupy mess that was just torched on the top. Service was slow as well. The dining room just is not what it used to be. I’ve learned to lower my expectations when I go in there now. Guys was good as usual and the crew is very efficient. The Pizza Pirate usually had a long line but the pizza was good. I got fed up with the long line at the buffet one day and decided to walk around to the other side to go to Guys. I lucked out and ran into Chopsticks. I had no idea it was there. It was a much shorter line so I decided to try it. It turned out to be some of the best food I had on the ship. Ports Progreso Despite the headache that booking the Dzibilchaltun Mayan Ruins tour excursion with Carnival ultimately caused, we enjoyed it. We got up early to meet our excursion group at the pier. There were already long lines forming before we had even been cleared to get off the ship. We took our time getting ready and eating. Around 8:30, the cruise director announced that the gangway was clear. We got to the pier just as the bus driver was leading the group away from the assembly point. After confirming that we were following the right group, we got on the bus for the 30 minute bus ride to Dzibilchaltun. The tour is operated by a team of two, one drives the bus and the other one leads the tour. Unfortunately, I did not get the bus driver's name. The tour guide’s name is Luis. Carnival uses the company Total Gusto to operate this tour locally. On the bright side, our tour had fewer people than the same tour we were thinking of booking with Auto Progreso. We had plenty of room to spread out on the comfy air conditioned bus. We were back at the pier around 2:00. Cozumel I got up early and went to get my morning cup of chai from the cafe. I enjoyed it on deck 3 port side, just in time to watch our ship dock. There were already 5 ships docked; Carnival Glory, Crystal Serenity, Harmony of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas, and the Majesty of the Seas docked on the farther side of port. Our plan for the day was to take a cab to Playa Corona. While my husband and son slept, I took my walk on the top deck just in time to watch two more ships arrive - the Carnival Freedom and Carnival Paradise. Our son wanted to stay on the ship so we ended up not going anywhere. With so many ships in port, this was probably a good idea. We ate a late breakfast and hung out on the Lido deck for most of the day. Disembarkation Getting off the ship was surprisingly easy. Once again, we were actually able to get a seat in the buffet for breakfast. We were off the ship a little after 9:00. The customs agents were not even checking passports. They just took the declaration forms and sent us on our way. We had a late afternoon flight. Our plan for the day was the New Orleans Zoo. Advanced Check-in was right outside when we exited the building. We paid them $25 dollars to store our two pieces of luggage and take them to the airport. The guy with our bags called us right as we were leaving the zoo to confirm what time we would meet him at the airport baggage claim. It worked out perfectly. We took a Lyft from the port and enjoyed a few hours at the zoo. We called an Uber when we were ready to go the airport. The Triumph is a perfectly fine ship. It is actually one of the better Conquest class ships we have sailed on. Overall, we had a good time even though it was mostly self-directed entertainment.

Pre-Holiday Cruise Getaway

Carnival Triumph Cruise Review by saharaga

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We booked this cruise because it was a great price when we booked and it was a quick getaway that would have us back home before Christmas. Rather than drive 8 hours each way to New Orleans, we booked flights on Southwest Airlines during one of their sales. We are used to flying Delta and choosing our seats. Southwest is not set up that way so I was expecting a chaotic mess at the airport. Although I checked in online about 20 minutes after the window opened, we were still only able to get into boarding zone B. Surprisingly, it went very smoothly. Boarding zone B got us undesirable seats near the back of the plane but we were trying to seat 3 people together. Overall, it felt like we got off the airport parking shuttle and got on the plane. That's how smoothly everything went.

We were looking forward to a sunny, somewhat warm day in New Orleans filled with sightseeing and eating some local cuisine. When we landed, it was cloudy and gloomy with temps in the 40s. It started to rain before we got off the plane. It was raining harder when we exited the airport. We scrapped our sightseeing plans and caught a cab to our hotel. We arrived at the Springhill Suites Downtown $45 poorer after paying the cab driver. In hindsight, Lyft would have been cheaper. It was 3 hours before the official check in time but they graciously let us check in early. We stayed at this hotel before on our first trip to New Orleans in 2009. We booked it again because it is one the closest hotels to the cruise terminal and it’s a Marriott. We can always count on comfy beds, a hotel that is clean and modern, friendly staff, and reliable wi-fi.

Embarkation Day

We packed light, only one large suitcase and a carry-on for three people. This made walking to the port much easier. From the hotel, we just had to go over one block to Julia Street, turn right and the entrance to the River Walk mall was in sight. It gets confusing once you're inside the mall. We wandered around in Nordstrom Rack for a few minutes before we realized this was not the way out to the cruise terminal. We went back out to where we came in and my husband spotted some elevators with blue signs directing cruise passengers where to go. The elevators are for Royal Caribbean and Norwegian passengers. Carnival passengers take the doors out to the balcony, turn right and then follow the balcony until you get to the stairs that lead down to the cruise terminal. It was easier than we thought and it saved us $5-6 versus using Lyft or Uber.

Embarkation was surprisingly easy. I was happy I picked an 11:30 check-in time because it was really cold in New Orleans that morning. Any sightseeing plans would have been cancelled anyway. We got to the cruise terminal around 12. The line moved quickly and we were on the ship by 12:45. We didn't want to go through the crowded buffet with our bags so we waited in the elevator area on our floor for the doors to open telling us our rooms were ready. The doors still weren't open at 1:20. So, I opened the doors and took our carry on suitcase and my purse to our room. This was a good call since the buffet was unbelievably crowded. It's been a long time since we have seen a crowd like that but we usually aren't on the ship until after 2.

The Ship

We are used to this class ship but the Triumph seemed more crowded than usual. There were a lot of families traveling together and they tended to go everywhere in large groups. This meant a lot of unnecessary clogging in certain areas like Guest Services, hallways, stairwells, the narrow pathways along the Lido, etc... They often stopped in place trying to figure something out or to argue about something - sometimes in the buffet line - creating a clog of people behind them. It was annoying. The ship has been upgraded but some of the decor is still quite dark and dated. Overall, the ship is clean and well-maintained for its age.

Service

We boarded the ship expecting to get an onboard credit for the Dzibilchaltun Mayan Ruins tour we had booked for Progreso. Carnival offers a low price guarantee if you find the same excursion cheaper with another vendor. I did find it cheaper. So I submitted the claim form and got approved the same day. The confirmation email says nothing about having to go to Guest Services and asking them to apply the onboard credit when you get on the ship. But that is exactly what I had to do. There was no credit on our account. The lines at Guest Services were too long when we got on the ship so I went to the desk the next morning with confirmation email in hand. The lady at the desk said she would have to email the main office about it.

We went about our day thinking this is a simple thing that will be fixed. Wrong. She called our cabin a few hours later saying the main office had refused the credit because the difference had already been refunded to our card and we got the credit on our last cruise. How can both of these be true? Why would a credit for this cruise be applied to another cruise unbeknownst to me? I will spare you the details of all that transpired while I was trying to get this resolved but it involved them cutting off our onboard spending account because of their mistake and me sending a strongly worded email to Guest Relations. A promise is a promise. Guests should not have to go through all this to get what was promised to them. But, it's a lesson learned. We will not book another excursion with Carnival unless they are the only place that offers that excursion. If another vendor offers an excursion we want to take cheaper than Carnival, we will just book it directly with the vendor.

Otherwise, the rest of the service we got on the ship was top notch. We had an awesome steward. Yasinee, the barista in the café, was also a standout. The rest of the crew were friendly whenever we encountered them. There’s not enough of them on the ship but they do a great job regardless.

Activities

Our first sea day was pretty lazy. We got up late. We dropped our son off at Camp Ocean after getting dressed. My husband went to the gym and I went on the top deck for my daily walk. The temperature was much warmer than New Orleans but it was still very cloudy. The upper decks were practically empty at around 11:00 in the morning. It started to rain again near the end of my walk so I decided to finish up in the gym. It was way too crowded. We picked up our son from Camp for lunch. He was disappointed that he didn't get a turn at playing video games because there were so many kids there. We decided to try mini golf after lunch. Also crowded. But my ever patient husband toughed it out and played with our son despite the crowd. We went back to the cabin to take a break.

I noticed in the Fun Times that caroling and "snow" was scheduled for around 5 that afternoon. It seemed a little early in the cruise for that but we didn't want to miss it.

We stopped by the atrium on our way to the pool so our son could see the "snow". They gave all the kids Santa hats, we sang a few carols and down came the "snow". Our son was super excited. We left for the pool shortly after. Our son seemed to have a better time at camp at night since there were way fewer kids and he got to actively participate in some of the activities. He hardly asked to go to camp on this cruise because of the crowding issue in the camp during the day time.

We watched the dive in movie just about every night. I am so happy that they were handing out blankets for the movie. It was windy up there most nights. We have never had to watch a movie sitting at the Blue Iguana bar before. This ship was so crowded though, that if you did not get to the movie early, there were no lounge chairs left. I am not kidding. I am not sure if that is evidence of the lack of interesting activities or if we were just sailing with a lot of movie buffs. We went to the family comedy show. The comedian was just ok. I commend the Triumph for having production shows that we have not already seen on previous cruises. However, we decided not to go because there was only one show on the nights they were scheduled. This meant it was going to be crowded.

Food

Even on formal nights, the dining room menu was not very impressive. We ate most of our meals in the Lido buffet. Also not impressive. The selection was minimal as usual. I really dislike the American Table menu offered in the dining room. It has very few selections and what is offered is usually not very appealing to us. The only meal we ate in the dining room was Seaday brunch. I ordered the mac and cheese yet again because I keep hoping that the way it was served on the last two cruises was a fluke. Nope. I got the same soupy mess that was just torched on the top. Service was slow as well. The dining room just is not what it used to be. I’ve learned to lower my expectations when I go in there now. Guys was good as usual and the crew is very efficient. The Pizza Pirate usually had a long line but the pizza was good. I got fed up with the long line at the buffet one day and decided to walk around to the other side to go to Guys. I lucked out and ran into Chopsticks. I had no idea it was there. It was a much shorter line so I decided to try it. It turned out to be some of the best food I had on the ship.

Ports

Progreso

Despite the headache that booking the Dzibilchaltun Mayan Ruins tour excursion with Carnival ultimately caused, we enjoyed it. We got up early to meet our excursion group at the pier. There were already long lines forming before we had even been cleared to get off the ship. We took our time getting ready and eating. Around 8:30, the cruise director announced that the gangway was clear. We got to the pier just as the bus driver was leading the group away from the assembly point. After confirming that we were following the right group, we got on the bus for the 30 minute bus ride to Dzibilchaltun. The tour is operated by a team of two, one drives the bus and the other one leads the tour. Unfortunately, I did not get the bus driver's name. The tour guide’s name is Luis. Carnival uses the company Total Gusto to operate this tour locally. On the bright side, our tour had fewer people than the same tour we were thinking of booking with Auto Progreso. We had plenty of room to spread out on the comfy air conditioned bus. We were back at the pier around 2:00.

Cozumel

I got up early and went to get my morning cup of chai from the cafe. I enjoyed it on deck 3 port side, just in time to watch our ship dock. There were already 5 ships docked; Carnival Glory, Crystal Serenity, Harmony of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas, and the Majesty of the Seas docked on the farther side of port. Our plan for the day was to take a cab to Playa Corona. While my husband and son slept, I took my walk on the top deck just in time to watch two more ships arrive - the Carnival Freedom and Carnival Paradise. Our son wanted to stay on the ship so we ended up not going anywhere. With so many ships in port, this was probably a good idea. We ate a late breakfast and hung out on the Lido deck for most of the day.

Disembarkation

Getting off the ship was surprisingly easy. Once again, we were actually able to get a seat in the buffet for breakfast. We were off the ship a little after 9:00. The customs agents were not even checking passports. They just took the declaration forms and sent us on our way. We had a late afternoon flight. Our plan for the day was the New Orleans Zoo. Advanced Check-in was right outside when we exited the building. We paid them $25 dollars to store our two pieces of luggage and take them to the airport. The guy with our bags called us right as we were leaving the zoo to confirm what time we would meet him at the airport baggage claim. It worked out perfectly. We took a Lyft from the port and enjoyed a few hours at the zoo. We called an Uber when we were ready to go the airport. The Triumph is a perfectly fine ship. It is actually one of the better Conquest class ships we have sailed on. Overall, we had a good time even though it was mostly self-directed entertainment.
saharaga’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Ages 7 to 9
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Ocean View
Cabin 6B 2230
Our cabin ,2230, has not been upgraded. We were in cabin 2234 on the Valor two months before this cruise and they are different. The unrefurbished cabins seem larger, probably because there is no cabinet for the mini fridge or TV. The small flat screen TV is mounted in the corner by the window and there is no mini fridge. This cabin also feels longer than the one on the Valor. The bathroom is shockingly pink but clean and functional. It has a hair dryer and a bottle opener mounted on the wall for your convenience. We did not find this cabin particularly quiet. On the first night, we could hear things being rolled across the floor upstairs and some loud bumps and bangs at all hours. The second night was much quieter with only occasional noises from the theater upstairs. We could also hear our neighbors next door in 2234. They are adjoining cabins so I guess the shared door is not soundproof. Thankfully, they were not very loud and we did our best to make sure our son wasn't too loud. Overall, we would only book this cabin again on a ship where the cabins had been refurbished. We just didn't experience this kind of noise on the Valor even though we were practically in the same cabin.
Main Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • New Orleans
    We had a late flight out of New Orleans after our cruise. So we decided to go to the Zoo. We called a Lyft from the port. We met the Lyft driver in front of the Riverside mall. It took about 20 minutes to get to the Zoo. We bought our tickets at the gate. The zoo is large and very spread out. They have a good variety of animals, some we have never seen. We got to see the sea lion show around 1:30 in the afternoon. The zoo grounds are just beautiful. Even if you don't look at the animals, nature is all around you.
    View All 13,543 New Orleans Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's New Orleans Cruise Port Review
  • Mayan Ruins
    We booked the Dzibilchaltun Mayan Ruins tour through Carnival. Progreso is not very scenic. Our tour guide, Luis made the best of it by talking almost nonstop on the approximately 30-minute bus ride there about the local history, flora, and fauna. It was a little confusing when we got to the ruins site because there were quite a few buses. After waiting for our guide to check us in, we stopped for a bathroom break at a little reception area behind the gate. There is also a reasonably priced souvenir shop, a snack stand, and a restaurant. Luis recommended eating lunch after the tour. After getting separated briefly, we rejoined our group and Luis led us out to the ruin site.

    We could tell that he is passionate about Mayan history and culture. He spoke at length at certain spots about the structures we were looking at and the significance of where we were. The guided tour ended at what Luis called a sinkhole. We would call it a swimming hole or a pond. It seemed to be a naturally occurring fresh water pond of unknown origin. Luis mentioned that no one knows where the water is coming from. He left us there to swim at our leisure and explore the remaining ruins on our own after explaining how to get to the bigger ruins on the site. We sat around the pond and people watched for a while. The pond has a shallow end for smaller kids. There is a sea of lily pads in the middle of the pond. So people can really only swim around the perimeter.

    We left the pond and headed out to explore the larger ruins. The weather in Progreso was beautiful. Sunny and in the high 70s to low 80s. But, it feels much hotter than that when you are walking down the long dirt road to the Temple of the Dolls. The tour operator provided complimentary bottled water. Sunscreen, bug spray, and loose comfortable clothing are a must though. You will also need comfy, closed-toed walking shoes since the site is a bit rocky and dusty. After exploring the ruins we made it back to the reception area around 12:15. We bought a souvenir and got back on the bus to wait for the rest of the group. We were back at the pier around 2:00.
    View All 37 Mayan Ruins Reviews