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Trip Report Review Carnival Triumph NE/Canada 10/3/09-10/10/09

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Hello: This is my review of our 7 day cruise on the Carnival Triumph from NYC (Manhattan pier) to NE/Canada with stops in Boston, Portland ME, St. John NB, and Halifax NS.
1. Embarkation: All cruise begin with an embarkation and this was the worst we have ever had. It took a full two hrs. to get to our cabin from the time we got to the terminal. Most of this time was spent just standing in line. Why? The reasons are several;
Apparently CCL upped the time from 1300 to 1030 but as we were in NYC for a few days B4 we had no notification of this. We arrived at noon thinking to get the jump on the scheduled 1300 time but so did everyone else.
Per the employees I was told there were computer problems and short staffing.
To me it seemed like some employees just spent too much time gabbing and were quite casual going about their business, despite the long and slow moving line. They idi have a special line for th handicapped.
2. The shows: The performing group on this ship was one of the best I have ever seen on cruise ships. Their first show was a world themed production and had so many costume changes I lost count. Amazingly good. The two lead singers were quite good though IMHO the female lead really outperformed her male counterpart. They did songs in several different languages too and so I give them a big thumbs up for for effort and results. We saw a few other shows and one was an illusionist team that had the audience awestruck. The theatre was very nice and the CD, Jorge Solano is one of those guys who is perfect for what he does. His disembarkation talk turned into stand up comedy. This CD really makes a difference to be sure.
3. The food. I know this area is subjective so here is my take. I think the food was on a par or better that what we have had on RCI and Princess. We had lunch in the buffet once and for me the selections were about the same as on Princess and a bit better than on RCI. Of note there are other options such as the grill for burgers, etc, pizza, a NY style deli and an Oriental noodles station. The pizza was OK, the rueben from the deli pretty good and the noodles we tried were also good so overall these are viable options. We chose to eat in the MDR for lunch and breakfast as we prefer the atmosphere and the chance to meet new people. My wife said the chicken Parmigana she had one day was the best she's ever had and overall I compare their MDR meals favorably to what I've had on the other cruise lines mentioned. My wife requested Indian food and as usual no matter what line we have used they accomodate this request and the preparations were excellent. In fact I had a chance to speak to the head chef who is Indian and he told me they added an Indian selection to the menu on day one to accomodate all those who ask for Indian food. After this the requests come in so they know how much they need on a nightly basis. Very good idea I think. One nice touch in the dinner service that I've not seen on other lines is that the staff nightly perfom a brief song and dance routine. We found this to be fun and entertaining similar to the parade of baked Alaskas that Princess does. Soft serve ice cream is free and the dessert selections in the lunch buffet were the best I've ever seen on a ship. The regular coffee is just plain bad. On Princess its weak and bad and on the Triumph it was strong and bad. RCI uses a special blend made by Seattles Best. I sure hope CCL and Princess can improve. They could use say Maxwell House Columbian and this would be better than the junk they serve now. CCL does not have a coffee card like Princess though you can purchase speciality coffees. If you can serve lobster, filet mignon, etc. you can serve better coffee too. Ok I'm fussy about my coffee but c'mon. this stuff is bad.
3. The service. The cabin steward was great. Our room was always spotless. Overall the meal sx. was a bit below par I think. The servers were courteous but too often we had to ask for H20 refills, etc. For breakfast we had to ask several times for the sweet roll guy. It seems they just forgot. It was less attentive than what we are used to. Overall it was pretty good but its a notch below what we've had on other lines.
4. The ship: I love this ship! It has a stadium size screen on the pool deck for movies and several night clubs, a sports bar and it just seems there always something going on. It is a fun ship to be sure which I think was refurbished in 2008. The appearance is spotless. Our last cruise was on the Panama canal on the Island Princess and to compare its like chamber music to live jazz. The Triumph was just way more fun. Also I think its more stable too. We had some choppy seas similar to what we experienced one day coming out of the PC and I must say the Triumph was noticably more steady in the rough seas that the IP. However there was one incident. As I arose on the 2nd morning I saw my wifes jar of lotion by my feet and asked why she had put it there?? Hello. Well as it happened the ship had to veer sharply to port (our side) while exiting Boston at night (2200) and in a fog as it was nearly out of the lane. Thus there was a brief list to port which we slept through. I heard some folks were pretty scared and the capt. explained and apologized the next morning. He did make an announcement moments after this happened but we slept through that as well. Sometimes it pays to be dog tired. :D
5. Disembarkation. This was a breeze. We chose to porter our bags and were given the first go to disembark over passengers who chose to use CCL's system. We were off and in a cab to LGA in about 15 mins .
6. There are some other niceties I would like to mention as well.
They still have a MN buffet.
Afternoon tea is served some days, not all.
There is ample storage space in the cabin
The beds are great!!
CCL is more generous in terms of alcohol for use in your cabin. A litre of a fine single malt Scotch (Glenmorangie) that I had prepurchased was waiting in our cabin. The price, $70.00, was a bit not too much really. By contrast what CCL does is more generous than Princess and I don't think this is even an option on RCI.
Overall I was quite pleased with this cruise, our 2nd with CCL and 8th overall. Would I use CCL again? W/O a doubt and would focus on their newer ships. If you have and questions please ask. Thank you. Larry :-)

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