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Carnival Cruise Lines: Carnival Triumph

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating
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Nov 11, 2016

COZUMEL PROGRESO

we just returned from a port ....at progreso......took shuttle to shop more..........this town would not take us currency......no way, now how.......in the town itself, after taking the shuttle away from the port . we went to the bank........would not exchange our us dollars for pesos. we finally happened to find a 'grocery store' where we were able to buy some bottled water......wow, what a surprise to find we could not shop in the town itself.

the post office workers, actually all the people we tried to buy from were very unfriendly and we felt quite uncomfortable in this town. we will never stop here again. excellent gourmet service...antonio etc.....and great options everyplace aboard ship. should take greater care and make more of the disinfectants available, like norwegian and royal do...... people should be made to disinfect before partaking of the food in group settings.....children should be watched more cautiously. so pleased with our room.......best views in the house and great as far as not feeling so much movement while sleeping, etc.....wonderful room, we loved it. good activities, jess does a good job with group dances, etc....... glad to see no glasses are allowed in the pools. would like to see more crew while on board, felt like the food service was running the ship. stay away from the shuttle service into town......these people are not friendly and do not want tourists spending money in their dirty little village. just did. see above. loved cozumel, willy and helio were excellent, loved the trip to punta sur.......was not warned the crocodile may be swimming with us, though!!!! the food was prepared cleanly, even with raccoons around.....not threatening at all. felt safe and enjoyed the jeep excursion very very much..........water was lovely, beach facilities were terrific, everything worked.....very very good. good masseuse also.....

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Jul 22, 2016

New Orleans to Cozumel and Progreso

Our experience on this cruise is not typical for most cruisers, but it was exactly what we were looking for. Our mission was simply to chill. Not to party or overindulge in food or drink, or lay out at the pool, and certainly not to participate in all the silly games designed for kids. We booked this cruise solely to spend the evenings in the piano bar with Tony Ward at the keys. We met Tony on another Carnival ship and enjoyed his talent so much

that when we heard he had moved to the Triumph, we wanted to join him again around the piano. I rated the entertainment as a 5, solely on him. We did not see any other entertainment on board. The food was typical Carnival. A decent variety, and plenty of it with generally good taste. Guy's burgers are great, the pizza was so-so. We only ate on Lido, ( we were assigned late dining and doing so would have meant we missed half of Tony's time), so I cannot comment on the dining rooms. The stateroom was great. We paid a bit extra for a corner balcony room at the very back of the ship, and it was well worth it. The location made it a bit of a rougher ride at times, but the balcony was large enough to entertain guests, had that been our agenda, or to lie in the loungers and totally relax, which was our preference. The room was actually larger than the Jr. suite we had on a previous one, the only difference being the lack of a refrigerator. Our steward, Wayan, was excellent. The only real issue was the hinge on the balcony door didn't squeak, but screamed! I have learned that next time I need to pack a travel can of WD40! The piano bar, as I mentioned earlier, was excellent. The rest of it was just silly games and such. I know I'm not in the target demographics, but the music choices played over the ship's speakers is for the most part annoying.It was so loud in the buffet area at times that it was impossible to carry on a conversation. the only place I found that had any decent music at all was sometimes at the aft pool on Lido. However, that was the same 20-30 minutes looped over and over all week. There's too much good music available to do that. The other activities were either just plain silly, or designed to take more of the passengers' money (can you say a minimum of $20 to play BINGO?). We did our own private excursion on Cozumel to the back side of the island, away from the trinket shops and masses. Once again, our mission was peacefulness, and it is there, but only on the back side. At Progreso, we did go with a Carnival excursion to the all-inclusive resort of The Reef. The idea was good, and it was ok, but not great. The food was decent and the drinks were watered down. We did have an excellent tour guide, Aron. All in all, we had a good relaxing trip. I don't expect royal treatment on Carnival, so I wasn't disappointed. We got what we paid for, and I have no real complaints.

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Jun 25, 2016

New Orleans to Mexico and back

The Dr's and nurses along with the Captain took less than 15 minutes to make the decision to turn the boat around as they knew I was having a stroke. We were 4 hours from Cozumel and they still turned around and met the Coast Guard who had a Dr on board along with a team waiting on me! They took my husband and I to a hospital in Cozumel. We were treated like Royalty. We had a rep from Carnival Cruise line in my room everyday asking if the care I

was receiving was good and did I want or need ANYTHING. I had a phone with free calls back to the united states. When I was cleared to cruise back home the Triumph was there just like they promise and instead if mailing my clothes back to the United States they held it in customer service just like I was promised. The ONLY CRUISE I WILL EVER TAKE WILL BE CARNIVAL ON TBE TRIUMPH ! ONE HECK OF A CREW! All of them from the Captain to the Stewards! THANK YOU TRIUMPH FOR SAVING MY LIFE ! Your a great ship my lady and you have a wonderful crew! WONDERFUL cabin WONDERFUL food The activites looked fun and first 2 nights I got to enjoy but I was sick afterwards. Swam with Dolphins! Childhood Dream! Loved it. Can't wait for the next one!

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Jun 13, 2016

Cozemel and Progreso

This was by far our worse cruise experience to date. The lack of communication and commitment to customer service was appalling. The quality of food served by Carnival has definitely regressed over the past decade. Guy's Burgers and the Mexicancplace were good however service was slow in the dining rooms and timing always seemed to be off. The cafeteria served"cafeteria style" no thrills food at best. A majority of the state room phones were

broken so room service was not an option. We received a letter in our state rooms saying they were working on the problem and would be repaired asap. I went to customer service the second day to inquire and the employee told me they'd been having problems for a long time and they didn't think repairs would be made this cruise. I asked for an account credit and the employee laughed and said there was no way room service was important enough to warrant a credit. Really! I went back on day three to inquire again and was told if I needed room service to come to customer service and they would order for us. I was able to order on three occasions from elevator area phones. The best part....at 9pm on the final night of the cruise Carnival sent a letter to our state room saying they had repaired the phones. Ok at this point I'd really rather not know they had repaired them for the next cruise. Our balcony state room was adequate. It was not clean. You could tell the attendant was a "middle of the floor" cleaning type person! The base boards and counter top edges needed cleaning. Our shower had great water pressure and plenty of hot water however the drain would overflow filling the room with sewer fumes if you used the shower as designed. We questioned our room stewart about the drain being stopped up and the shower overflowing into the bathroom and out into the room. He said it was a problem with most rooms and that we should only turn the water on about half force to avoid flooding the room.The hallway carpets were stained as to evidence of continuing problems. One day we noticed a sprinkler head dripping outside our door and pointed it out to a maintenance guy who said yes I see it. Not sure if there was a language barrier or if he was trying to say yeah I see it so what. No complaints or comments on activities on board. They were typical and as expected. We booked a last minute excursion for Cozemel for a VIP Luxury catamaran tour. It was outstanding. Food and unlimited drinks were included. The staff was overly accommodating and went out of their way to be sure all 18 on board had a great experience. Bravo guys! For Progreso we booked day before as well and found out at 8pm that night that the excursion was cancelled due to lack of interest. Ok we thought we'll stay up late enjoy on board activities and sleep in the next day. We woke up to find excursion tickets under our door so we got dressed and made a mad dash to get off the ship and to the rally point only to find no one holding a sign for our excursion. We looked around found Klara an excursions employee who advised us the excursion had been cancelled the tickets had been printed and delivered in error. She suggested a replacement tour which we reluctantly agreed to being as we were there and the only way to get out of the port was with hired transportation. The pier is 4.5 miles long! I suggested a discount or an account credit to cover the inconvenience which fell on death ears. Basically our choice was pay for what was being offered or get back on the boat. Carnival really didn't care. We expected a budget cruise as you get what you pay for usually and with Carnival it's lower cost family friendly entertainment and accommodations. With that being said I expected to get what I paid for and feel like I didn't. What bothers me the most is Carnivals lack of concern and standoffish attitude. I would like to see Carnival executives mirror my experience and see if the outcome would have been different. Somehow I don't think a carnival executive would want to be mindful of not using too much water when showering and running the risk of having sewer back upon your feet in the sshower. ..just saying.

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By Ken_CR

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Nov 26, 2015

Cozumel

We are avid cruisers but not much positive to say about this trip....best thing going for it...just 5 days. I can only say this was the single most disappointing cruise we have been on. Food was typical for a cruise on a buffet. The formal dining at dinner left something to be desired. The entire process takes about 2 hours and food is below average. My teens thought the top sirloin was brisket and I had to agree with them. Everyones

food was brought at a different time so the first person had their food approximately 1 hour before the rest of the group. One steak was less than rare when ordered well done. The environment was fun but for the most part stick to the buffet or Guys Burgers which is fantastic. The burrito place is awesome as well. We had 2 suites so above average but below average for price. Attendants were on the spot and very accommodating. They were the best thing on the ship. The only major issue was the constant overhead pages for people. One morning starting at 445 am we had a missing person page every 30 minutes...I certainly hope the found Katie....... If you really do not want to drink to the point of intoxication daily then well below other cruise lines. Trivia....held in the casino which if you appreciate second hand smoke you will love. This is topped off with nice folding chairs and nothing to write on. Several lounges with ample space went unused which I assume was to merely keep the cleaning efforts down. Shows were average yet due to high seas were cancelled with little backup plans in place. Kids and teens activities seem average to above average. Shopping was less than average with little to no selection and the stereo typical cheap stuff with no port influence other than Carnival inspired swag. We had wind which was not their fault obviously but all movies are outside so this is great when calm but when windy the water from the pool and hot tub blow all over you. However, even if it is raining you still need to sit exposed in the weather if you want a movie... Excursions are absolutely pathetic. This is the only time we have bought excursions and not been told they were cancelled at both ports! One while on the ship and the other while in port. They literally just turned us loose at the port to fend for ourselves. If I would not have known the guy from the excursion desk I would have never known that I was standing at a sign for excursion which was never going to happen. I ended up paying for an additional excursion and followed the Princess cruisers so I knew what to do. Carnival sent no one with you in a foreign country to assist. In all situations when I asked about cancelled excursions they said "not our fault". After hustling up my own excursion I went to address when back on the ship and the excursion desk never opened again. I am not exaggerating this was unsafe, disorganized and they could care less. Galveston 5 day in Cozumel etc.....

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May 27, 2015

Progreso and Cozumel

Ship has seen better days, service was slow at best, last cruise was on the Dream there is a difference of night and day for the entire experience, we will never go on the triumph again. In my opinion you should run not walk away from this ship, they are disorganized in the dining room and the unloading process was ridiculous. The bathroom at times had a hint of dirty diaper odor and the pool water had an not so clean smell as well. Overall

the food was good especially Guy's Burgers and the Pizza Pirate, most of the time our food in the dining room was not as warm as we would have liked, but this could be attributed to the slow service. The buffet food was as good as expected. The drink dispensers were not so great, I tried on a couple of occasions to get orange juices and got orange water instead, the coffee and tea were OK and the lemonade was very sweet almost too sweet. The stateroom had seen its better days, there was the dirty diaper smell of the bathroom at times, not constantly though. The TV did not work so well, but we were not there for the TV any way, the balcony was nice. The beds were turned down and the room was cleaned daily. The activities were OK, it was a bit odd that they close one of the bars on deck early every night, they have the Red Frog Rum bar which stayed open and the Blue Iguana tequila bar which the best I could tell closed at about 7:00PM except for one night of the five day cruise. The dive in movies are OK, but the pool is not heated and the small kids that like the swimming the most do not like the cold swimming pool. We went on the all inclusive beach in Progreso, it was nice ,the food was OK, and the pool and beach were very nice, it is a 5 hour excursion, but you have about 2 hours of bus riding so you really only get 3 hours there, also the drinks were very weak so if you are wanting to go for the drinks you should find something else to do, but for the family it was very nice. The trip was nice, the weather was good, if this had been my first cruise I would not have been impressed, but I would have had nothing to compare it to. Like I said in the beginning I may go on another ship, but it will not be the Triumph, about the only way I would be on this ship again is if it were free, and then I would have to think about it.

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Nov 18, 2014

Galveston to Cozumel

My wife and I have just returned from a five day four night cruise to Cozumel Mexico aboard the Carnival Triumph sailing out of Galveston Texas. The entire experience was top notch, far beyond expectations. There was always something to enjoy on this cruise. Early risers beware, you are in for a LONG day of fun. There were a few times where we were quickly exiting one event to travel across the entire ship to another experience. The shows in the

rome lounge were fantastic, the food was surprisingly good. The all inclusive food idea made me worried before we arrived, but I was pleasantly surprised. With a buffet complete with hash browns, an omelette station, french toast and pancakes and so much more you were never to start your day hungry. There was always food even when the dining rooms were closed and the buffet was empty, we enjoyed a hand made pizza at one point where we needed a late lunch/snack. Although there were some lines I wouldn't say that they were oppressively long, once again better than expected. There was almost always music going on either in the casino or one of the lounges. The "Adults only" comedy was hilarious with two great comedians, definitely adults only. Every day we received our Fun Times with a list of all the events so we could plan out our day, and it was always chock full. I will say if you can't say "NO" to a hard sell from a sales person, you WILL go broke on this cruise. Whether in the shops, or buying some of the pictures, or a spa package whatever it is, if you can spend extra money on it they will ask you to spend extra money on it. They were slinging deals all over the place! many of which were very tempting, but we managed to stay under budget (mostly due to saving on booze by bringing our own wine *restrictions apply*). I did notice that with all of the deals on the boat they would have options at lower costs as well as stuff I could never afford. We did a shore excursion but we did not purchase one through carnival and we were upset over the price of the pictures, but that's for another review. I would think again about purchasing an excursion through carnival next time to see if they have a better experience. All in all this was an amazing trip and I would recommend Carnival Cruises to anyone. I would definitely recommend making a budget and keeping track of it because it is really easy to spend a bunch of money even with all the free shows and free food included. A few of the fantastic crew members of the Carnival Triumph: Ni Wayan at the coffee shop, best latte on the high seas. Michael our steward, always remembered our names with a big smile. The Park West team, Angel, Rae Anne, Cole, Marcus and of course "Gabe the Babe! Gabe the Babe!" Pauly V ¿Assistant cruise director? with a wonderful towel animal theatre show. Olga our photographer at the pixel studio, made for a fun and relaxing photography session which isn't nearly as easy as it sounds. Beautiful pictures as well. Venu our waiter at the london dining room, provided a great atmosphere for every elegant dinner out. The room was very nice, with a couch and a double twin bed, a small tv and enough space for all my wifes make up and hair products, she even had enough room to style her hair with a curling iron. The space was enough for all our stuff for a four night cruise, with three closets and three drawers and space under the bed for our suitcases. The bathroom was fine with a decent vanity and a good sized shower. With the rocking of the boat the water would switch from hot to cold throughout the shower. There was a big window to catch a nice view throughout the cruise. I would recommend having hanging pockets that you can keep your smaller items in, like toothbrushes and vitamins... just to save counter the limited counter space.

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Feb 23, 2014

cozumel

I was very disappointed in this cruise. It is a low dollar cheap cruise,. Do not expect too much . The food in my opinion was average at best. The buffet was better than the dining rooms. Limited vegetables on buffet. Stateroom was adequate but hardly ever see the steward. They were in my opinion very amateurish (the activities). The gambling is atrocious. I never played blackjack where they removed all the queens. Double odds on

craps is very subpar.

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Sep 18, 2013

Cozumel

The smell of sewage was overwhelming. I had a balcony room and interior room across the hall on the lido deck. The smell in the hallway after you got of the elevator would knock you down. The interior room also had a strong smell of sewage. We also had a terrible experience with the my time dining. We brought our 11 month old and 4 year old daughters, and it took 20 minutes to get a high chair. It took an additional 20 minutes to get an appetizer.

40 minutes later with a 11 month old did not go very well. The second night we ended up leaving dinner service because it took so long to receive our food. Food was OK at best. Not much else to say. Dining rooms are showing there age. Not renovated and dirty with stains all over the ceiling. Not sure if it was from sewage leaks from when the ship broke down. It was a 1970's shade of peach, and the original decor that has been in it since the ship was built. It also had a lovely old school TV. No flat screens here. The 115 million that was spent on renovations went where?? Oh yea carpet. But wait if you stay in room 9248 the sewage flooded, so the carpet in that room isn't new anymore Progresso is the worst place to go unless you like feeling unsafe, eating from places that have no regulations and being hassled to buy something every five minutes. STAY ON THE SHIP!!!!!!!! This will be the last time I will travel with carnival. The whole trip was a bust. Save your money on this ship, because the renovations that were made you can only see in a couple of places. They did just enough to get the ship back in the water and start making money. They also didn't get the sewage fixed as well. I hope I have convinced one person to save their money because this was the worst vacation I have ever had.

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Sep 5, 2013

Cozumel

There was a large variety of food and cuisines offered, however, the quality of most of the food was below average. Items such as breads, eggs, and fruits were just fine. Dinner items such as prime rib, lobster, and shrimp sounded great, but the quality was very poor, thus, the taste was poor. I suggest skipping evening dinners where you are given a reservation and finding other sources of food. I had a room with a balcony which

made relaxing in the room with a beautiful view of the ocean amazing. If you plan on spending time in your stateroom, I suggest having a room with a balcony. Note that the balcony does not offer a lot of privacy from your neighbors. I enjoyed the onboard activities and never got board. The piano bar was tons of fun! I also enjoyed a couple of great tasting cigars at the cigar bar, which also had great live music. The casino was fun and not overcrowded. I took in a musical at the main stage which was very entertaining. I enjoyed the submarine excursion at Cozumel where I got to see all sorts of fish and marine life (including a shark). It was well organized and fun. Overall, I had a great time and the staff was extremely courteous and attentive. The ship was overly crowded by the pools and at meal times, but I expected that. If not for the low quality of the food, I would definitely repeat this cruise, by because of the food, I'm not sure if I will go again.

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Feb 3, 2013

Progreso and Cozumel

Carnival Cruise aboard the ship Triumph, she's seen better days. The personal service of our attending staff was outstanding however the executives have something else in mind. Profits. It is clear with Carnival, the sale comes first and the truth comes second. The majority of the fellow cruisers I spoke to were very dissatisfied with their overall experience and lack of compensation by Carnival. In my opinion the buffet food

quality was very inconsistent, and the shows were not very entertaining. However breakfast and the scheduled dinners were enjoyable. The furniture and fixtures in Spa deck balcony stateroom 1103 were very outdated and clearly heavily used, including the tube television and dingy sofa. The shows were somewhat sexual and lots of hip hop music played on deck. The entertainers were practically begging people to engage them. I've seen better shows at Six Flags. Progreso was a huge disappointment. The beaches of Progreso weren't the least bit enjoyable for me as a snorkeler and diver. They were teaming with vendors and beggars who were ready to take advantage of as many unsuspecting tourists as possible. Our initial departure was delayed several hours because of propulsion system problems that according to Carnival began on the previous cruise. We were notified of this issue at 8:10 the night prior after we had already traveled hundreds of miles to Galveston, the port of Departure. An hour after setting sail the featured and most anticipated port of call, Cozumel, was completely omitted from our itinerary. We sailed across the Gulf of Mexico at a snails pace and stayed overnight in Progreso while repairs were attempted to the Carnival ship Triumph. At the scheduled time of our departure from Progreso, the tugboats hooked up to the ship and began to pull us away from the dock, but before any forward motion we were pushed back against the dock, along side once again. A repeat no less of our initial departure, at the last minute were delayed again several hours as we waited on 'spare parts & special tools' to come from the airport in Merida. Once we finally set sail for Galveston there were constant changes to our expected arrival causing many people problems with their traveling accommodations, some were required to change their flights home. Even after about 36 hours in port the Triumph ship was not repaired and we didn't even leave with enough time to make it home ON time; who made THAT call? OUCH.

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Feb 2, 2013

Cozumel mexico

We are so very disappointed. We paid for and expected a cruise to the Caribbean. What we got was a five day cruise to nowhere. We were informed of this change in itinerary 10 minutes after pulling up the gang way. Carnival choose to spend 2 full days in dock in progreso Mexico instead of taking 3400 passengers to Cozumel (the intended destination). The lied to us, deceived us and continually high jacked our vacation for their big business gain. This

was a once in a lifetime opportunity for my family of 5 to snorkel together in (what I hear is beautiful) Cozumel. $3000 later carnival refuses to compensate us or any other victims of big business choices, sighting "policy". You know it's funny, it is against my policy to have my vacation sacrificed to line the pockets of Carnival. We will NEVER cruise with carnival again. As you can imagine there are many angry prisoners...I mean passengers. Carnival has blocked any comments regarding this 5 day horror on their face book. They will do their best to keep it under wraps, I will do my best to expose them. Not as good as expected. Decent to good. If you are on spring break the lido deck would be great ( not family friendly) if you are over 65 you may find the other activities entertaining. Not muck for families that want to experience the cruise together. In progreso we met Eddie. He was AMAZING! A real personal tour of Uxmal and Merida. Eddie won our hearts and respect. We would have never had such stories with insight, laughter and fun without him. If we go back to Mexico we will undoubtably hire Eddie again! Delays and set backs abound. We were kept in the dark and lied to for 5 days. Carnival still chooses to not make any compensation and told me I can call as much as I want to complain but corporate has made decisions and that is that.

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Jul 12, 2012

Progreso and Cozumel

Overall our party of 11 had a blast. We were fairly laid back about what we would do from day to day. We had ages 17 to 60. We enjoyed our meals, most especially in the dining room. We managed to keep ourselves busy most of the time. Loved our balconies. I don't think I would. Rise without one again. The nighttime shows were disappointing. The dancers and singers were good. The show concepts, not so much. The comedians were extremely foul

mouthed. No problem finding deck chairs, especially on the upper decks. It was cooler up there with the wind anyway for July heat. Never swam...pools are so small and were packed with kids. I really didn't miss swimming. Service was wonderful on the ship in our room and in the dining room. My son had a bubbles card and they never hesitated to fill up the cup. The mixed drinks are pricey, but taste very good. We all loved the tastes of food at the World Bar on 3 of the nights. Wished it would have been every night. I gambled a little, but not big on that. Enjoyed 2 different bingo games and the couples quiz shows. Our food was very good. I cruised on the Ectasy 6 years ago and the food was awesome then. I was still good this trip. I had lobster, lasagna, trout almondine, crab cakes, chateubriand and it was all good. The sourdough bread was excellent. I enjoyed eggs Benedict at breakfast. One morning it was tasty. Another it had been put under a broiler and was dried out. The grits were good every morning I had them. Bacon was fairly good, but never cooked well enough. I'm sure they bake it and it's hard to get it crisp that way. Desserts were good also. Our waitstaff was awesome. So attentive, friendly and called us all by name every time they saw us. Our stateroom, on the Verandah deck had a port side balcony. Our room was in the aft section. For the Lido Deck buffet or coffee, we just had to walk up one flight of stairs and we were there. It was a great location. We enjoyed sitting out on the balcony. The bathroom was bigger and better than I remembered the Ecstasy bathroom being. It was clean and well stocked with towels. There was plenty of closets, drawers and storage space for out clothes and other items. It was my 20 year old son and I, so I had the beds separated into 2 twins. It was kept clean the entire cruise. We had a great time at the bingo games. One in our party won $500 on a scratch off. My sister won $100 in a bingo game. We played twice. We went to the Punchliner comedy show the first night. Foul language was used constantly. The lady was funny, but the male comedian was awful and gross as far as we all were concerned. We went to the big night show about around the world. Our guys all fell asleep. I would have liked too. It was awful and boring. We went to "the Big Easy" show the last night before dinner. We love New Orleans and knew we would enjoy a musical show about NOLA. There was very little in it to do with NOLA. I have been there a lot ad have yet to see dancing gargoyles. If they would have done more NOLA Jazz and songs about NOLA, it would have been good. The dancers and costuming were good as we're the 2 female singers. It's a shame whomever develops the shows doesn't know what they are doing. They need to be fired! There was an offensive "religious" part and the girl dancers were flashing their crotches... what I've ever seen in a Southern church service. The magic show was good. It was stretched out with the dancers. I enjoyed it. If you like to gamble, the casino was good. My son and the other guys went to sports trivia one day. My son said the info wasn't accurate. He is a sports trivia expert. He wouldn't go back again. We caught a couple of couples quiz shows. They were hilarious. Stay away from an excursion in Progreso to a "five star hotel". Mexican five star = 2 US stars...maybe. It was to Hotel Reef Yucatan. The food was bad and the mixed drinks were awful and watered down. The pools there were nice as was the facilities. You are better off staying at Corona Beach for free. We spent $45 and a lot of time on buses or waiting for buses. In Cozumel we caught a taxi to Ocean Beach Club. It was all inclusive for $50 for foods and drinks. The food was wonderful, the drinks were great too. They were generous with food and drink. The waiters were super attentive. They waited on kids and adults alike. They even asked if we wanted our kids cut off from drinks. The beach and facilities there were nice and they had a fairly good pool. The kids spent most of their time in the pool. Some of our party went snorkeling out on a couple of reefs for $30. Some rented jet skis and parasailed. They had free kayaks. We were taken for free on a catamaran ride. We tipped the guy $5 each. We really enjoyed the catamaran ride. Our experience there was so good. We tipped the waitstaff well before we left. They definitely aimed to please. It was right next to Carlos N Charlies and Paradise Beach. It was fairly close to Mr. Sanchos Beach Club, which was where we were headed when we got to the cabs in port. We made a great choice. It was fun and relaxing. All our kids want to go back to Cozumel. We could all live with never seeing Progreso again. Carnival would be smart to spend 2 days in Cozumel so the cruisers could have more time in a pretty port with plenty to keep them busy. I'm looking forward to going on the Magic in about a year.

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Apr 28, 2012

Review of Carnival Triumph

Roger Age: 60 Occupation:retired Number of Cruises: 4 Cruise Line: Carnival Ship: Carnival Triumph Sailing Date: 2016-11-11 Itinerary: COZUMEL PROGRESO we just returned from a port ....at progreso......took shuttle to shop more..........this town would not take us currency......no way, now how.......in the town itself, after taking the shuttle away from the port . we went to the bank........would not exchange our us dollars for pesos. we finally happened

to find a 'grocery store' where we were able to buy some bottled water......wow, what a surprise to find we could not shop in the town itself. the post office workers, actually all the people we tried to buy from were very unfriendly and we felt quite uncomfortable in this town. we will never stop here again. excellent gourmet service...antonio etc.....and great options everyplace aboard ship. should take greater care and make more of the disinfectants available, like norwegian and royal do...... people should be made to disinfect before partaking of the food in group settings.....children should be watched more cautiously. so pleased with our room.......best views in the house and great as far as not feeling so much movement while sleeping, etc.....wonderful room, we loved it. good activities, jess does a good job with group dances, etc....... glad to see no glasses are allowed in the pools. would like to see more crew while on board, felt like the food service was running the ship. stay away from the shuttle service into town......these people are not friendly and do not want tourists spending money in their dirty little village. just did. see above. loved cozumel, willy and helio were excellent, loved the trip to punta sur.......was not warned the crocodile may be swimming with us, though!!!! the food was prepared cleanly, even with raccoons around.....not threatening at all. felt safe and enjoyed the jeep excursion very very much..........water was lovely, beach facilities were terrific, everything worked.....very very good. good masseuse also.....

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By Tony_CR

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Mar 28, 2012

cozumel

Great cruise with Carnival again! The food was amazing, and we had a variety to choose from. My cool was perfect. I had a Balcony on the Lido deck, cloe to the foor and activities and pool. The activities were good. Lots to choose from depending on your perference. This was the fastest we ever made it on the ship. On cruise day, we made it to the terminal at 1:30pm and because of the change in the way the security checkpoints

were set up, we were able to board the ship in 30minutes. Getting off the ship was even quicker as we chose to carry our own luggage. It only took 12 minutes. (yes we timed it) lol Since we had a group of 4, along with a total of 6 bags, we grabbed one of the cart men who happily loaded our things on his cart and led us to the customs desk to show passports. This was my 3rd cruise on Carnival and i must say, it was a great one. We were involved in many of the activities including the bean bag toss, gambling, golf, swimming, and many others. Each day, our housekeeping staff addressed us all by name. That made it seem more personal that he knew all of our names. He also remembered that it was my sisters birthday, so they gave her a card on that day. A cake and song was provided at dinner by several of the waitstaff. She was pleasantly surprised. We stopped in Cozumel half way during the cruise. It was my sisters 21st birthday so i arrange for Paradise Beach to set us up on the beach with chairs and umbrella. They also provided birthday balloons for her. It was a great day at the beach. The cost for the beach is only $2 per person which includes chair, umbrella, use of the new pool, and shower facilities. Lockers are also provided at a low cost of $4. Back to the ship; the deck was never too crouded as there was plenty of room for all the people. Movies were shown at night on the Big Screen, ice carving was performed during the day, towel folding class, drink mixing contests, and other activities were provided by the carnival staff. We did have a lot of food choices per day to choose from. There is also hamburger station at the back of the ship. In case you dont like beef, they had grilled chicken breasts (this wasnt anounced in any of the brochures) you just had to take the chance to go check it out and ask for it. My next cruise will be with Carnival. Thanks for making us feel at home during our trip!

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Mar 17, 2012

Progresso and Cozmel

Visited Progressso, Mexico but absolutely no need to go. No fun. No beautiful sea. Just wast of vacation. It was not kids-friendly. They were bored. They didnt prepare even small cups for kids. Good. Good. A little narrow barcony. Some shows were good but they have only 2 night which had twice. Late stage started 10:30pm this was quite late if you have kids. Went to Jeep excursions at Progresso but you never

go this one. Very slow guides and too expensive. Anyway not worth visiting this port at all. It is very convenient since this cruise is from Galveston but if you have kids, you had better chose Disney even if it is twice or triple of this trip cost. You may take 7 nights Cruise but I quite wonder how boring the 2 consective "at sea" days.

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Feb 13, 2012

Cozumel

Over all AMAZING! 1st time Cruiser. I didn't know what to expect, this was sheer pampering all the way. Plenty to do but at the same time lots of space for quite time. My husband & I used this cruise for our 40 wedding anniversary. Neither of us were disappointed. Exceptional, by the fact I have Celiac Sprue disease compounding an array of food allergies. I was "catered" to. I had lovely food ~ Not 1 reaction the whole trip. The dining

room staff & chef made sure I was well fed, not left out of the special food that makes formal dining wonderful. Spacious, neat & clean. I had a balcony which was a joy. Was able to see sunrise,sunsets, moonshine of the water. The young man taking care of our room was excellent with his service & very helpful with any of our questions. Fun Shows. Some interesting speakers & seminars too. Also wonderful "sales", stocked up for Christmas gifts. Don't miss the Corral Reefs! I spoke with lots of the group (Elliott Electric) & all of them really enjoyed their Excursions. With 228 people they almost all got explored. Lovely! Amazing staff, nice rooms. Good food, with lots of selections everyday.

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By Iris_CR

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Jan 7, 2012

Western Caribbean

Some elements of the cruise just seemed uniformly bad to us, especially the food and the shows. We found ourselves wondering "Does anyone really enjoy these?" Apparently, given the several five-star reviews online, and the rave reviews of the warm chocolate melting cake on cruising forums, many people do. Other elements just made us think that this style of vacationing isn't for us, though we could see where others may enjoy it. - Announcements

loud enough to wake up anyone sleeping are broadcast through the ship randomly throughout the day forget about sleeping in, they're just so excited to let you know about the hairy chest contest and the towel animal class! Ciao for now woohoo! (GAG) - Most forms of on-ship entertainment just don't appeal to us (see the above contest and class, as well as the casino, karaoke, etc.) - Nearly EVERYWHERE that is not your stateroom is LOUD. - The over-the-top attention from your stateroom attendants. Really, I'm a simple girl. Just replace my towels and straighten the bed and I'm thrilled. I do not need to be fawned over, in fact, it makes me uncomfortable. - The inability to sleep in on your last morning of vacation! We're back, now get out! They're polite about it, but that's still how it feels. The food, honestly, was terrible. Cruise ships must be the #1 place where the stereotype of the gluttonous American is seemingly confirmed to the international crew every day, because to get enough "just edible" food, we found ourselves opting to get "backup" appetizers or mains. The hotdogs at the grill became my staple at lunches, because even though the bun was always stale, at least it was otherwise okay, though nothing great. The pizza was swimming in grease, the asian station had "mystery meat", and the buffet's hot dishes were usually cold and the cold dishes lukewarm. The story didn't change in the dining room, where we tried mushy escargot and greasy frog legs, mealy cheesecake and melted ice cream. The best part of dinner each night was the cappucino served with dessert, because the dining room was always FREEZING! We had Your Time Dining, and even though Carnival has been doing this for a while, it seems like they are still working out the kinks. The first night, we waited nearly 40 minutes for a table (the following nights, five minutes or less). We were given a "private" table each night, though said table was often less than a foot from the next table over. One night we had to stand and wait as they split a two-top off of a six-top for us, after just having walked past empty two-top tables. ??? The rest of that night, we kept finding missing utensils from our table that had been left on the other. Another annoying thing was that nowhere in the pre-cruise information were we told that there were TWO Cruise Elegant nights for our sailing, instead of only one like most 5-night cruises have, so we only packed one nice outfit each. New Year's Eve was on the usual night for elegant night, but for some reason, they chose to make the night before it elegant as well. We knew about that one because our waiters told us the first night that tomorrow will be elegant night. Unfortunately, we didn't look closely enough at our Fun Times on NYE to learn that it was ALSO a Cruise Elegant night, so we ended up wearing casual clothing to the dining room. The staff let us in and didn't say one word about it...we didn't know until a woman at a nearby table made a loud, snotty remark to her husband that, Gee, and I was worried I'd be underdressed. Our stateroom was #7-384, an interior which was right by the aft stairs and elevators. There was some noise from fellow guests in this area, but I'm sure a couple more rooms away would have been perfect. There was no fridge in our stateroom, but it was no trouble for us to pop down the hall to refill the ice bucket. On occasion, the room steward or one of his assistants would refresh it when cleaning the room. Two blue Carnival beach towels were in our room when we arrived; we used them in Cozumel and they got wet and sandy. Housekeeping picked them up but it took over a day for them to return fresh ones. In the meantime, when we wanted them as coverups to sit out by the pool (it was just a bit nippy), we were able to get them from the "towel bar" located by the forward pool, tucked in the corner. This same location also dispenses the balls and clubs for the mini-golf. They take down your room number in case you don't return the items. The bed was comfortable enough, considering that it was really two twin beds pushed together. Forget about cuddling in the middle of the bed, though, unless you are somehow able to sleep on what felt like a 45-degree angle. Our bathroom sink was cracked, which we found a little odd considering that the ship just left dry dock. Otherwise, the bathroom was in general good repair. There was a distinct sewage smell that seemed to randomly appear and disappear throughout the cruise. We made certain to always keep the bathroom door closed when not in use, and that kept the smell from entering the rest of the stateroom. The TV in the stateroom was an older, bulky model, which isn't a big deal to us, but the brightness setting had been turned incredibly dark and we had no way of changing it. Carnival's interior staterooms are apparently among the largest in the cruise industry (along with Disney's), and it was a good thing, as we found it difficult to find a place quiet enough to relax elsewhere on the ship. We love going to shows comics, concerts, musicals, all kinds. So we were looking forward to their supposedly "award-winning" shows (at least, that's what our CD Felipe kept claiming). Well, they won a personal award with us “How Do I Even Begin to Describe the Tacky Horror I'm Witnessing?" award. Honestly, I've seen high school plays that were better put together. The dancers and singers had obvious skill (especially when the ship was really pitching), but the works that their talent was bringing to life were just terrible! Now, not all the hired singers were talented just the ones leading the shows. The gentleman who played in the Atrium daily, by the main elevators, was SO BAD that it would have been funny...if we hadn't had to listen to him during that entire 40-minute wait for our first dinner. We did enjoy the "Love and Marriage" show (basically The Newlywed Game with contestants of varying relationship length). But that was basically six audience volunteers and the CD. We also kinda enjoyed one of the comics at least enough to go to two of his shows when there wasn't much else to do. I'd say he was "Last Comic Standing" caliber, if you've seen that reality show. Good for a couple laughs during a set, but with other bits that just leave you going, "What?" Our favorite "hang out and relax" places, outside of our room, were the Oxford Bar or the deck chairs further away from the pool (up toward deck 10 and 11 by the waterslide). We did play one round of mini-golf, but it is up on deck 11, and it was so windy that the wind was moving the balls more than our putters were! :) We did feel the lack of an adults-only area on the ship. The hot tubs were always crammed full of kids. We booked a beginner's scuba excursion with Sand Dollar Sports, through Carnival, both because it was our first time and because SDS requires all cruising guests to book to through their cruise lines. Any excursion you book through Carnival is easy to identify. The only way off the pier is through a big duty-free shop when you exit this shop, people will be standing under multiple Carnival-branded signs that list the different excursions. Just go up to yours and show them your tickets. We really loved learning to scuba! We were finished and back at Puerta Maya by about 1:30. We browsed through the shops and got a Christmas ornament (travel tradition). We sat and relaxed along a little stretch of “beach” right by the pier, then grabbed a little lunch at a nearby restaurant called Pancho's Backyard. In the middle of the trip, I told my husband, This feels like Vegas on a boat, to compare it with another vacation where I felt like the atmosphere and entertainment options were not really in line with our interests. But that isn't exactly true. At least Vegas had Blue Man Group and several actually-award-winning Cirque shows! At the end of the day, when choosing our subsequent vacations, I will spend my dollars somewhere that lets me sleep as long as I want, where housekeeping isn't straightening up seemingly every time I leave the room, and with more appealing food and entertainment options.

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By Anne_CR

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Jan 3, 2012

Western Caribbean

Review of Carnival Triumph Western Caribbean, Sail Date 12/29/11. Accommodations: we had a balcony room, 7th deck, starboard side. It was very spacious, and definitely exceeded our expectations. Towels were good quality and robes were provided. The toiletries provided were limited (soap, shampoo, shower gel). Overall, I would stay in this room again anytime. Bring your own hairdryer if you need one. Theirs is inadequate. Service: Cabin

service was very prompt and room was always made up nicely. Service at dinners in the Paris dining room was outstanding. From the maatre de to the wait staff, service was very friendly and helpful. The breakfast service was equally friendly but a little more disorganized. Nevertheless, service overall was very good. Food: Ranged from very good to just okay. The dinners in the Paris were very, very good, the breakfasts were good (except the toast and bacon, which were both undercooked). The 24 hour pizza service was good. We only did the buffet once and found it acceptable. Overall, I found that for the large number of people being fed, the food was good, and I am an admitted "food snob". It was certainly at or above my expectations for this trip. Activities: There was plenty to do and you would never be bored. Loads of activities, we did dance classes, trivia contests, shuffleboard, used the gym (which was nice). If you can find something to do here, it's your own fault. Safety: We felt very safe. Security was in evidence at the pools and we were on board for New Year's Eve and never felt things were wild or out of control. Embarking/Debarking: Embarkation involved a few long lines but nothing too bad. Overall, it proceeded in a fairly orderly manner. I have nothing to compare as this was my first cruise, but it was no worse than security lines at most airports. Debarking we used self-assist and were off in a jiffy and on our way. They did a good job of explaining the options and various procedures. Overall, I was impressed and I would recommend this cruise to anyone looking for a reasonably priced four day get away.

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Dec 27, 2011

Western Caribbean

Overall, this was my first cruise and it will be my last, at least with Carnival. The food was not bad, but certainly nothing special. I have better meals on a daily basis. The pricing on the alcoholic beverages was outrageously out of line. This is disappointing. You are not allowed to bring anything other than one bottle of wine on board. Those of us who are not wine drinkers were taken advantage of by the unfair prices on beer. I

did like my stateroom. I was in a room with a view and it was not a bad size. It is a good thing that I liked this room since I stayed in it most of the time. This was the only thing I liked about this trip. Because we were fighting a trpoical storm for most of the trip, the outdoor activities were severely hampered. The only enternainment I enjoyed was the Karaoke. Everything else seemed staged and stale. I never got off the ship. I stayed in my stateroom. Everything was about average. Nothing was special. Disembarking was an absolute nightmare. There was no organization. After forcing us out of our staterooms, they left us sitting in a smelly casino for hours. When we finally made our way to the third floor, there was a fight about to break out between two irate guests. The children had to witness this. There was NO security to be found. We were literally on our own. What if this had been an emergency situation? People would have been hurt or worse. Not only did this cause me to be hours late, it left me with a negative attitude regarding this ship and this company. I wrote to Carnival complaining about what had happened, but all I got was an apology. To them, my time which was wasted by them, meant nothing. The guest treatment on this ship was abyssmal.

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Oct 10, 2011

relaxation

This is the first cruise for me and my fiance'. We found the room well maintained. The towel creatures were cute. The balcony was smaller than we expected. The ship rocked more than we thought it should but that was due to the gulf wave directions. The people were nice, no major complaints from anyone. My fiance' did have trouble with the food. Not sure if it was the food or if the food just did not agree with her. We took ginger capsules

during the trip so we didn't suffer any motion sickness. The spa was great. The products are way over priced. The shore excursion was fantastic. We took the Twister, a speed boat that does 360 degree turns and soaks you through and through. Our guide Jorge and pilot Willy were the best. They take care of your belongings in a water tight container, lock you in your seats, and insist that you are on vacation and to have a good time. It was very easy to do. We went to a private island although it was accompanied by 4 other groups, it was not crowded. The food was wonderful, the service was immediate. The water and temperatures were perfect. The sand is so soft. The shops are rather expensive so we waited to shop on the main street. On the way back, Jorge and Willy will soak you again. I recommend not wearing glasses unless you have a tie on them. I almost lost mine. I don't recommend this trip for anyone with back or neck issues. It is rough and jerky and will leave you in pain if you are not prepared. What a rush. The food was okay. The buffet was good and had more choices. We did try the formal dinning but the portions were small. The wait staff are very nice. The dancing waiters were a blast. We ate at the buffet and outside grills mostly. The sandwich bar was great. Room service was also wonderful. it does take some time to get your food to your room. The room was decent. They kept it clean and we always returned to something different each day. The towel animals were cute. The bed was a bit rather hard. But they will bring you a memory foam mattress should you need a little padding. The air conditioning was great. I like it super cool and it was cool in my room. The balcony was smaller than I thought it would be but there were two chairs and a table with plenty of room to move around.

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Sep 19, 2011

Western Carribean

Perfect cruising experience. Everything went smoothly and enjoyable. Zero complaints! Food was good as usual. Buffet is typical cafeteria style at the South Beach; we ate breakfast there every morning. Eggs leave a bit to be desired, but everything else was very good. Those chocolate muffins are incredible! 24 hr pizza buffet (that also serves Ceaser salad) and (no longer 24 hr) hamburger/hotdog buffet were awesome as well. Ate way too much

of both! Fine dining in the London was fantastic. Flat iron steak is awesome for the nights where the selection of the day didn't grab me. Ceaser salad before every meal, baked potato with every meal, and of course the chocolate melting cake after every meal is a given. Dijon was our sever a couple of nights, this guy is fantastic! Other nights were rotated between servers, but had zero complaints on any of them. They were all very nice and attentive. Natasha at the hostess stand was always smiling and oh, oh so gorgeous! ;-) Room service was awesome as well. Ordered grllled cheese most every night. (Yes I ate too much on this trip lol) Stateroom was large (room 1398) w/ a window. Our room was almost completely aft, port side, which was nice because we didn't have people walking and talking going past our room. Room stewards kept the room tidy and stocked. Carnival seems to have larger rooms than most other cruise lines from what I've been told. Bed was super comfy...slept like a baby every night. Zero complaints on the room; it was perfect! Onboard activities were nice. We went to a couple of shows, and played some of the trivia in the Rome lounge. I took first prize (the only prize actually) in the movie trivia. They showed a still shot from 40 different movies and we had to write down what each movie was. Couldn't believe I won, and went on stage and talked to Charlie. (I got a score of 39/41). Won the 24 kt gold, plastic lol, "ship on a stick". Good times :-) The comedian was an Asian guy (sorry can't remember his name). We saw him last year and he had the same routine, but it was still very funny. (For those of you who were there or have been there, he's the guy w/ the tag line of " write it dowwwwwwn") Others in my party went and saw the late night comedians and said they were super funny. Excursions are always fun. Despite what some others may say, I say stick with the ones sponsored by Carnival. Our snorkeling expo in Belize got cancelled due to thunderstorms, but we tendered over and shopped and ate. It was still very, very fun. Mohagany Bay in Roatan is AWESOME! Went snorkeling there, ate, drank, layed out. Had a blast! Beautiful place. I recommend taking the flying beach chairs!Passion Island in Cozumel is BEYOND paradise. Seriously did NOT want to leave! Over all it was perfect. I've read so many negative reviews, and just can't understand them. So many gripe about trivial things. Listen, I was on a cruise for a week, got waited on hand and foot, went to beautiful locations. How can anyone complain about that? I gave 5 stars to everything, and that's an honest score. Granted, it's only my second cruise (read my first on here from 09/10 under the user name "Gulf Coast Fanatic"), but I have yet to have the first complaint about Carnival or anything on the cruise/ports. WELL worth the money!

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Sep 14, 2011

Western Caribbean

Cruise got started late due to Tropical Storm Lee. Ship got under way 8 hours late. After boarding, everything went well. Ship still made both ports of call. Lido deck restaurant food was good and evening dinners were very good in the Paris dinning room. Also enjoyed some late night pizza from the rear pool area. Main deck stateroom 2397. Window view. Entertainment was great. Attended evening family shows and one magician performance.

The only down side might be some costumes may not have the best for younger viewers. Didn't take any excursions this cruise, but from past experience, Carnival were great. Just relaxed. Overall cruise was very pleasant. Enjoyed the get away!

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Sep 8, 2011

Western Carribbean

Worst Carnival cruise in the 5 cruises that we've taken with them!! Throughout the cruise there were multiple issues with the service that we received. There were not enough wait staff to handle the number of passengers aboard this ship, the 24 hr. pizza took forever to get because the cooks NEVER had enough prepared, the only ice cream machines that worked the entire time that we were on board were all the way in the back of ship -- and this

area was rarely ever clean and from time to time smelled sour, the drink machines where you would get iced tea and lemonade were not working 50% of time that we were on board and last but not least on the last day of our cruise the wait staff in the Paris dining room were extremely rude and once our food was delivered they never came back to refill coffee or juices and we eventually left. The only positive experience we had was with our room steward, Reinaldo. He was great...he always kept our room nice and tidy and greeted us in the hallways by name whenever we would see him. We found that the activities for us to do were the same things that we had done on our past cruises. The hairy chest contest, the newly wed game & bingo are getting really OLD. I think that it is time for Carnival to rethink the activities on their ships as they are all the same time and time again. My husband, myself & our 6 year old daughter have been on 5 cruises with Carnival and this last one was the worst overall. Our bad experience started out with our luggage being left out in the rain before being loaded on the ship and only got worse from there on out. Once the luggage was delivered to our stateroom 1/2 of our clothes which were packed in three suitcases were soaking wet and had to be hung up in our stateroom to dry. The next problem came when we went to take a shower, the drain beside the toilet would back up and cause our whole cabin to smell like sewage. Once we were able to freshen up, we then began to explore ship as it was our first time on board. To much dismay I noticed that there were numerous areas of the ship that need to be either touched up with paint or repaired such as the steps leading from the kiddie pool to the miniature golf area. On the past cruises on the Conquest & Fantasy ships, I clearly remember crew workers consistently touching up & repairing parts of the ship throughout the entire cruise. On the last day of our cruise due to the bad weather and the delay in our arrival, there was an announcement made that the phone lines would be opened up for us to use free of charge so that we could contacted our family to let them know that we were OK but that our arrival would be delayed. We tried numerous times to make phone calls from our stateroom but were unable to do so. When we reported this problem to guest services we were told that the lines were just really busy and to keep trying which we did but we were never able to get a line out. And as if all of that was not bad enough -- the disembarkment process was a DISASTER!!! There was no organization by the Carnival staff and they had no control over the hoards of people that were continuously packing the main lobby area. During our past cruises, the crew would shut down the elevators so that no one could come down from the upper levels directly into the main lobby area. This did not happen nor did any of the staff members prevent people from coming down the stairs before their scheduled zone/floor was called. With all of this being said our group has agreed that our next cruise will not be with Carnival. We will be trying out another cruise line on our next trip out of New Orleans.

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Aug 11, 2011

Western Caribean

My husband, three teenage children and I sailed on Carnival Triumph. The food was excellent; cabin steward and dinner servers were attentive and pleasant. There are, however, many opportunities for Carnival to improve their service. To be brief I will list those things that I found very disappointing regarding our cruise experience: 1)There is a terrible odor in the hallways and some common areas. I complained to Guest Services about the odor and

they acted like they were not aware. This made me suspicious that the odor is an ongoing problem that has not been corrected/addressed. 2)There was an odor that came out of our cabin sink. 3)Our shower drain backed up and black stuff came out. I notified our cabin steward and he quickly called the plumber and the steward cleaned everything. 4) There is very limited to non-existent planned activities for the teenagers during the day. My kids kept going to the teen club and it would be locked during the day. At night they would have dancing for the older teens. Younger teens would gather in groups and roam the ship at night. 5). Internet charges are very high .75 to .55 per minute¦ Really?! 6)I have an error on my bill for internet charges that I did not charge. I tried to clear this up before leaving the ship. The internet cafe promised to investigate and call me back while on ship, but never contacted me. Instead 4 days after the cruise, I get an email with more charges for internet! 7)I called Carnival about my concerns and they promised to have someone contact me. I have not received a call or a customer satisfaction survey request. Carnival has many areas in which they can improve. I am disappointed and wish that I had chosen another cruise line. Thanks. The food was great and exceeded my expectations Stateroom was great and was larger than I expected. We had a balcony room. Onboard activities for adults was adequate, but for my teenagers was lacking. There are clubs for the teens, but they are closed during the day (they are supposed to be open). I would not use Carnival again due to the odor on board ship and the Triumph needs more attention to detail..clean carpets and cabin hallways.

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Mar 30, 2011

Western

We sailed on the Carnival Triumph out of New Orleans on 12 March 2011. This was my 9th cruise overall (6th with Carnival) and my kids 3rd cruise. The cruise was seven nights and stopped in Cozumel, Belize, and Roatan. The ship is easy to get to and parking your own car at the terminal parking garage was $112 for the cruise duration. We checked our luggage with the porters and tipped $1 per bag. Check in was painless and fast as we arrived at

the terminal at 1030 and were on board by 1145. The buffets were open once we boarded and remember to go check out all your food options before stopping at the first line you see. Our stateroom was ready at 1330, an inside cabin with no windows, which is nice for allowing the kids to sleep in. The ship rode fine and there was minimal rocking. I really enjoyed being up on deck when we were leaving and entering port. The trip down the Mississippi River is an added plus to this cruise. Alcoholic drinks on board are expensive, but that shouldn’t stop you, you’re on vacation. I only drink beer and they charge roughly $6 for a 16 ounce one. If you buy them by the bucket, they are a little cheaper. Remember that the tip is already added in to your drink prices (look at the receipt you sign). The soda cards are a good deal if you drink a lot. I thought the food onboard was very good, but I’m not real picky either. The one place the kids really enjoyed was the pizza station and of course the ice cream area. The first port was Cozumel. We did the Playa Mia Deluxe Beach Break through Carnival because the kids wanted some beach time. Nice place, decent buffet, and bar drinks were included. The second port was Belize. It is a tender port and all we did here was get off the ship and shop around at the pier area and re-board the ship early and enjoy the pools and slide onboard. The third port was Roatan (my favorite). Carnival has built its own dock here and it is very nice. There is a chair lift ride to a private beach area and a zip line experience at the entrance. My son and I actually did a zip line excursion and also did the zip line at the dock. Both were very fun!! The kids program on board was very good. There were a large number of kids on the ship since it was spring break timeframe. My son, age 13, meet many new friends and they roamed the ship and hung out a lot. My daughter, age 10, was in a more structured program and I signed her in and out of activities. She went to activities during the day and night. I felt comfortable letting my son roam the ship but kept a closer eye on my daughter. I had plenty of time to hit the casino and other adult areas. We attended all the shows and enjoyed them. Concerns: lots of kids on board during spring break, lots of loud college kids on board during spring break (ear plugs are the answer for sleeping though), the ship is showing some wear and tear, but it sure beat being at work. Recommendations: explore the ship and marvel at its ability to float, go all the way forward to the outside railing on Deck 9 for a great view, see the shows and the comedians and if you don’t like them leave, check out all the bars and other areas to decide which is the best for you, bring a cheap hole punch and lanyards to wear around your neck for your sail and sign cards, sneak booze on board in your luggage if you want to, order two entries (food was great), tip extra they work hard seven days a week, and remember there’s no such thing as a bad cruise, it’s just that some are better than others!!! Read reviews and learn all you can before you go, have fun and enjoy!! All in all, a great cruise and the kids are ready to go again. If you have any questions shoot me an e-mail at stanley.skipper@yahoo.com and if you are considering cruising single, check out singlescruise.com.

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By Hank_CR

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Dec 4, 2010

Mexico

We have cruised before on Royal Carribbean, Princess and Carnival ships in the past. The cruise we took on the Carnival Triumph (November 27-December 2) was not up to our usual expectations in the areas of crew courtesy and food options. If we had never cruised before and had no prior cruises to compare it to we would have considered it to be a good experience. The cabin was large and clean and the ship was in good overall condition. The embarkation

procedures at the Port of New Orleans was long and tedious, taking us over two hours to board the ship as compared to a 30-45 minute norm for our previous Princess and Royal Carribbean cruises. The destinations were good and egress from the ship was easy in both Cozumel and Progresso. The disembarkation at the end of the cruise in New Orleans was very smooth and quick. There was a much higher percentage of rude and obnoxious passengers on this cruise out of New Orleans than any previous cruise we had taken....(NOT the cruise lines fault). The food served in the Paris dining rooms was above average quality and the wait staff was courteous. The buffet on the other hand was pathetic compared to other cruises we have taken. There was maybe a third of the buffet food options available as compared to our last cruises on Royal Caribbean and Princess. The desserts were generally old and had been frozen prior being put out. The wait staff in the main buffet dining room (Deck 9) was totally inattentive and not polite at all. Not once did a waiter offer to get us anything or even refill a glass of water. They just stood around looking like terrorists that hated Americans. The balcony stateroom was fine, plenty of room and storage. We only saw our roon steward a couple of times and he only checked on us once in five nights. There were no nice extras we had experienced on prior cruises (Royal Caribbean & Princess) like towel animals, candy in the room, etc... Just the basics. The shows were good and profesionall done. My recommendation is that you spend your money with another cruise line, unless you have to go out of New Orleans for financial reasons. As I stated earlier, it was not a "bad" experience, just not up to the standards of other cruise lines we have sailed with.

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Dec 4, 2010

Mexico

I had a much better time that I expected. The food was excellent no matter which restaurant we went to. The only odd thing was that the room service breakfast was very inconsistent in terms of the quantity received. We placed the same order on two separate days -- one day we got 3 each of muffins and croissants and another we received only one of each. Some days we receive milk we hadn't asked for, other days when we ordered yogurt we got

knives and forks but no spoons. I would recommend picking a lot of different options and hoping for the best. This was the only flaw in an overall excellent customer service experience onboard. As it was in the rear of the ship near the engine and the side thrusters it got a little noisy when docking. The shows were horrifyingly bad. At one point they broke into "One Night in Bangkok" which was just laughable. Went to a couple of the art auctions and shopping advice talks which were interesting. Stingray Beach in Cozumel was great for snorkeling and playing with the rays. Unfortunately, because of the way they've got the expeditions timed there is no way to go on more than one on a given day. Don't plan on doing any shopping in Progresso -- there is a tiny shopping area right at the pier that doesn't have much. Cozumel has a similar pierside shopping area that is much, much larger and with some high quality stores. Also, more shopping available in downtown Cozumel - not sure anything is available within Progresso. Went from New Orleans to Progresso and then Cozumel and returned (5 days).

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Oct 31, 2010

cruise

We went with a group of 15 family and friends. Overall, it was a good experience, but not the best. We went on the Fantasy 2 years ago and it was much better. This ship is too crowded. I don't mean with people. It's the "stuff" in the boat. Rooms are very small and it's hard to navigate through them. There's a lot of chairs, tables, piano's that no one plays, decorations, etc... I felt very enclosed on this ship compared to the Fantasy. My hubby almost

got heat stroke waiting for the Paris dining room to open because there were tons of people and no room for them to wait. This was a 7 day cruise and I don't think we'll go for 7 days again. It was too much on the ship. I like the islands. There was 4 days on ship and only 3 days on shore. On a 4 day cruise you have 2 on ship and 2 on shore. Just my preference. Roatan was our favorite island and favorite day for all 14 of us. The food was good. It wasn't the best though. I love the chocolate melting cake and I didn't find it as good as on the Fantasy. The cheesecake was good. The almond sufle was terrible. The tiger shrimp were horrible!!!! Our chef just couldn't cook seafood. The fried shrimp tasted like something you find in your grocery freezer. My hubby called it Mrs. Paul shrimp. LOL The Maimai had a real fishy taste. The steaks were really good but not the best. If you've ever been to Houstons in Metairie, LA, then you compare every steak to one of theirs. I like my veggies cooked and all of theirs were raw. Some people like it that way, but I don't. The corn soup was nothing but potatoes. I had 2 cornels of corn and it tasted like dishwater. So did the mushroom soup. The best food on the ship was breakfast. It was awesome. The combination scrambled eggs, grits, cream of wheat, orange and banana muffins, crossants, pancakes with jelly or syrup, and crisp bacon or ham. The pitza was good also, but I wanted to slap the guy serving it. He was an ass. Nasty, nasty. Our stateroom was nice except for the bathroom. It smelled like a sewer and was putrid pink. It was better after someone told us to pour water in the overflow drain. We flooded it and then it was better. I hated the towels. They felt like sandpaper when you dried yourself. I guess they haven't heard about Bounty or are too cheap to use it. The bed was so hard we had the guy that cleaned our room fold up blankets and put them under the sheet to make a cushion. It was still a little hard but at least we got some sleep. The air was out in my daughter's room. They wanted to move her to another room 4 floors below. My grand daughter was on the floor she was on and didn't want to be separated from her so didn't move. When we got to Roatan another room opened up on our floor and they gave her that room. Seems to me they should keep one room on a floor in case something happens. We were on the Varanda deck and I'll never book these rooms again. All night long there was scraping on the Lido deck above. Next trip I'll know to go two floors below the Lido deck. We didn't do any onboard activities. They were boring and things I could have just as well stayed home and done. We mostly sat on our balcony or roamed the ship. It is interesting seeing all the different rooms. The Lido deck by the pool is a nightmare. It's like a sea of people all jammed up together. You couldn't hardly walk through it. Same with the restaurants on that deck. The tables were jammed together. We've kind of learned to stay away from all excursions. We pretty much go on our own. There was a Monkey and garden on Roatan that my daughter was interested in. She wanted to see the monkeys because we used to have one. She paid a bunch. We took a cab and found the monkeys and paid $5 to get in. The cab also took us all over the island. My youngest daughter wanted to go snorkeling and took a cab to the beach and got off lots cheaper than if she had booked an excursion. Sometimes you can do better on your own. I think this is a learning experience and you get more familiar with what you're doing as you go along. We had a great trip over all. I wasn't crazy about the ship but being with my family and friends was great. We didn't get to go to Belize because of the hurricane so we had to go to Cozumel twice. We tried to dock in Costa Maya, but it was too rough. I didn't like having to see Cozumel twice but I understood that was the best the captain could do. It would have been nice though if he had swung around and taken us to Progresso instead. Guess he didn't want to waste the gas.

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Oct 14, 2010

Bahamas

Overall a wonderful cruise experience. Food was very good, and always readily available. Stateroom was clean and well maintained. Onboard activites were great for killing time. MUST go snorkeling in Nassau and MUST do the Dolphin encounter in Freeport. Well this was my first cruise. I went with my fiance (she's been on one years ago), and my mother (whos been on several). We took a train from Memphis to New Orleans, and thats when the fun

began! Embarkation went smoothly. Overall I have to say it was the greatest week of my life! First off the ship: The Triumph is a nice ship; although some of the decor is a bit dated. Pepto Bismol pink bathroom, and 80's styling throughout the ship, but who cares? Its a big ship...big! LOTS of stairs, LOTS of walking. I learned this: the elevators are your friends! (but there always seemed to be a wait). First time cruisers, if you're proned to sea sickness, I recommend a pill or that behind the ear patch. You feel the ship move at all times. It didnt bother me, but may to some. Food was good. Cafeteria style, and there's always something readily available. What I didnt know was that the buffetts close for hours on end throughout the day, but the pizza buffett and hamburger buffett are always open! (I WORE OUT the pizza buffett). Room service is fast and easy, although the choices are limited. I got the pbj or grill cheese nightly. Fine dining was nice. We were assigned to the London for dinner (Paris for breakfast and lunch on occasion). Food was good, but the chocholate melting cake is ADDICTIVE! Our waiter, I Ketute, was the BEST. I litteraly cannot say enough good things about him. For that matter, the entire staff of the Triump was fantastic! Only "staffing" gripe was Ieva, the liquor girl. Pretty on the eyes, but not overly friendly. Maybe she was having a bad week, who knows. We didnt do many shows...we saw a comedian one night. An Asian guy who had me crying from laughter the first 5 seconds of the show (his opening line was "Hello! Anyone here from out of town?"). I was dragged to the animal-towel making thing class. It was cute, and luckily on 30 minutes. Other than that I cant comment on the shows. Shore excursions were FANTASTIC! Snorkeling in Nassau, the Dolphin encounter in Freeport...the two most incredible days of my life. On a side note, I met Miss Louisiana, who was on our ship, and had the Dolphin encounter with us. VERY nice girl! ....ANYWAY (brain clogged up for a minute thinking about her lol) Anyway as said before, the shore excursions were wonderful. In Key West we just did our own thing and loved it. We never did the "dinner with the captain"..guess we missed it. We did, however, (and first time cruisers I recommend this) do the "your time dining". What else...oh yeah, "Noonan", our cruise director (Hello, Noonan!), was funny and helpful. He was on the p.a. a bit much, but again, who cares, right? And thanks to Carnival, that's exactly what we had.

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Sep 26, 2010

BAHAMAS

THIS WAS MY FIRST TRIP THE SHIP WAS NICE AND PARTS WERE CLEAN. THE SEATING AT NIGHT WAS GREAT ALL DUE TO PEDRO . I HAD A GOOD TIME BUT I WAS NOT HAPPY WITH ALL THE ACTIVITIES,BINGO WAS BAD PAID 20.00 FOR A GAME CARD THAT WAS OVER IN LESS THEN 30 MIN. HOT TUB WAS FULL OF DRUNKS AHD VERY BAD TALK ABOUT THE LADIES ON SHIP. I DID NOT STAY AROUND AT ALL BECAUSE I WOULD HAVE SAID SOMETHING.THERE WAS A YOUNG MAN WALKING AROUND SHIP WITH A T-SHIRT SAID SOMETHING

ABOUT F--KING ALL OVER HIS SHIRT.IT NOT THE BIG THING IT WAS THE LITTLE ONE JUST HALFWAY DONE.. THE PARKING WAS 112.00 FOR THE 7 DAYS THAT JUST TOO HIGH. I DO NOT KNOW THAT MUCH ABOUT CRUISE ON SHIP ALL IN ALL IT THE LITTLE THING THAT NEED HELP THE FOOD AT SEATING WAS BAD I HAD STEAK 3 NIGHT BECAUSE I A VERY TICKIE EATER . THE MENU WAS ABOUT THE SAME EVERY NIGHT LOOK LIKE MIX TOGETHER AND CALL SOMETHING. THE BUFFET WERE BETTER .ALL I HEAR WAS HOW GREAT THE FOOD WAS ON SHIP MY WIFE HAS BEEN ON 2-3 SHIPS AND SAID SHE WAS LET DOWN. THE SNACK SHOP WERE GREAT HOT DOG/HAMBURGER/PIZZA WE WERE IN 8265 IT WAS GREAT WE HAD A SMALL LEAK UNDER THE SINK . WE CALL TOO REPORT IT AFTER SOME WATER GOT IVERY THING WET BUT NO LUCK NO ONE CALL BACK .THE LAST DAY WE TOLD A YOUNG MAN ON THE WAY OFF THE SHIP SUCKS THE BEAT PART WAS THE YOUNG MAN DOING THE KARAOKE STAY AWAY 1ST. TIME TRIP 7 DAYS TOO LONG BUT HAD A GOOD TIME

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Sep 5, 2010

cozemel mexico

do not bother this was not for the family cruise, you get no sleep due to the noise at 3 am and the lack of security on the cabin floors(2nd). the service was deplorable from about a third of the workers, they all acted is if you were bothering them when ever you ask for anything including a napkin....and when you complain about something with your cruise, say like the noise at 3 a.m., or the lack of quarters on the ship to do your own laundry (carnival

charges $3-$4 per garment , including children clothes)the workers all of a sudden do not speak english...... the food is good for the most part in the formal dining rooms, and for the rest of the ship it is cafeteria food, hamburgers hotdogs, french fries, all the time.......the food at the buffets were hit or miss, some of the food was as if they combined leftovers and called it a salad or quiche......the eggs were inedible at the buffet and room service looks good when you get the menu all those sandwiches and fruit brought right to your room,,,,yeah if you get through everytime i called (which was at all hours of the night due to the noise) they were experiencing a " high volume of calls " at three in the morning and would never get to you .......and forget it on the last night on the cruise they figure your out of here tomorrow anyway so good riddance.. the room was nice except for the thin walls,if you can hear the next room over snoring? you know the walls are thin.. but it was nice and clean whenever you returned from somewhere and always supplied with towels and supplies... the shows were exciting and entertaining, as well as the movies outside on the pool deck...there were not enough pools or the pools were to small for the amount of people on the ship , sure everyone could get in but do you want your children wading around with 50-60 yr old drunks in a hot tub? or that 300 lb. women in a bikini at the pool?? no excursions, too long to get to where your going, whether it's the bus ride or the boat ride to the snorkeling spot, too long and too much money.....only so much time to do one excursion or two short ones so choose carefully if you dare!!!! overall the trip was a disaster, there just didn't seem to be enough room for a family of four who do not drink and party all the time....everything on the ship is geared toward drinking alcohol and everyone on the ship seemed to obliged the ship...sure there were putt-putt holes on the top deck but you had wait for the 70 yr old drunk and his wife to get their "round" in before the buffet opened up again..(oh by the way did i mention she's on a scooter!!!!) all the time your are waiting in line for something due to the fact everyone wants to get their money's worth of something, whether it's food, entertainment, free ice cream or complimentary coconut shell drinks....always a line and a rush to get ahead of the next couple and forget manners or courtesy..that would be another cruise line I hope

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Aug 24, 2010

NO - Cozumel - NO

The sour points first. The parking garage increased it's cruise-duration rates from $60 on the 15th to $80.00 on 16 Aug, the day of departure. Pretty cheesy. We arrived at the New Orleans terminal at 1230 and were placed on a line outside (in 90 degree-plus temps) where we shuffled forward for over an hour to clear customs, which led to another line for our boarding cards which lasted another hour and a half (an embarrassed Carnival rep told us

their computers had broken down three times and we should make a complaint), which led in turn to another line for security - we finally reached our cabin a little after 4 p.m. - I've seen evacuations managed better. No effort was made to communicate the circumstances to those enduring this process. Very unsat. The "couch bed" in our aft balcony cabin was totally inadequate for anyone other than a child to sleep on - they had to bring a cot every night for our son which consumed about half of the floor space in the cabin. Very unsat. The balcony lighting was turned off for "safety" purposes. Having worked with ships for 30 years this stumped me, in that usually the more lights at sea the better, unless you are in a hostile zone. It annoyed me because it had not been mentioned when booking the cabin, and I looked forward to reading and relaxing outside in the evening. Plus, if safety is such an issue the first-day lifeboat drill, while I believe people were still boarding or arriving in their cabins would not have been such a farce. By the way, looking at their lifeboats, I noted they are each supposed to accommodate 150 people? That I'd like (or wouldn't like) to see. Very unsat. Progreso is a waste of time; hustled to and from by worn-out buses without A/C, we found a place on the beach to have lunch and were approached at our inside table no less than 14 times by vendors selling CDs and junk. I would stay aboard, visit the junk shops at the end of the pier, and avoid the lines for the buses returning as well as those for boarding the ship, but be advised that while in port nearly every facility on the ship is closed. Unsat. Tipping - for three people $30 a day for 5 days, including the first and the last, when you board late in the day and then disembark early in the morning. $150 seems a tad much - doesn't the cruise line pay their employees? The disembarkation breifing puts out some good information, but is primarily a love fest for the staff to solicit yet more tips. On the plus side (as well as the food in the dining rooms - though the Lido deck is a cafeteria-style service with commensurate cuisine, best for a quick breakfast) is the "Swim with the Dolphins" in Cozumel - well organized and an absolute delight; literally a life-moment. It doesn't leave much time for - you guessed it - shopping in the port complex or seeing what Cozumel might really be about), but there's enough time for a drink at Fat Tuesday's near the pier and then to - you guessed it again - get on line to re-board the ship. The staff was quite good (although it took three days to get our cabin sink, which wouldn't drain - fixed); very pleasant and professional, both our cabin steward and dining staff. I would avoid the casino - never saw anybody win (including myself), and no one would tell me the house odds - just seemed another bright and fancy way to separate passengers from their money. Bottom line? If I want to see the dolphins again I believe I'll look into the cost of flying down with a hotel package. Excellent. The so-called sofa bed was a joke; having a cot placed in the cabin every night was an annoyance. No balcony lighting was also annoying - those purchasing balcony cabins should be told. My wife enjoyed some of them. Don't bother with Progresso. Please see cruise summary above.

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By Mary_CR

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Aug 23, 2010

Mexico

The ship is outdated and in bad need of updating. Rusted sports equipment on the pool deck, with a very lame ping pong table missing the net. The big screen TV on the pool deck had a large black box of missing pixels the entire week. The high point was the shows and entertainment which was very good. Some toilets were stained black. Long lines everywhere. Especially the buffet which was basically the same everyday. Service was very good

at the sit down dinners. Our cabin steward was outstanding. It wasn't very good. Same buffet everyday. Dinners were very rushed at the first seating. We were in and out in 45 minutes each night. Larger than I expected and clean. Shows were very good and our cruise director was a riot. Very funny guy. Shows where guests were included were fun. snorkling for beginners in Cozumel was a waste of time. Hardly any fish in a spot right near the ship. Swimming with the dolphins was great. Mayan ruins in Progreso was also very enjoyable. I won't cruise carnival again. If the food was better I would change my mind.

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Jul 3, 2010

Western Carribean

Dissappointed in this cruise. The ship was not properly supplied or staffed for the number of people on the cruise. My wife and I were seated at a table for eight by ourself. When we asked to be moved, the staff did not respond, because of change to their seating chart. Went to Guest Services twice for an advertised item, and both times was told the supplies were already sold out. Do not like writing negative reviews, but if you are looking for

a cruise where you are "pampered", this is not the one to choose. I am afraid Carnival is slipping. Food on the Lido deck (9th Floor) was better than formal dining. Two evenings in formal dining, our food came almost cold. Stateroom was clean. This was our first room with a balcony, and really enjoyed sitting watching the ocean from our room. The activities aboard the ship were adequate, but not outstanding. If you want a quite or romantic cruise, stay away! If you want a cruise that is a "summer Six Flags experience", come aboard. Carnvial did a good job boarding the ship and departing. Staff was friendly. However, this is our fourth cruise and by far the worst of all. I will go to Royal Carribean or Norweigian for next cruise.

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Jan 31, 2010

Western Caribbean

This was our first cruise at Platinum level and the boarding and disembarking privileges alone were worth reaching this level, but I did gather from others that New Orleans port has really improved their boarding process. The weather was very foggy, but that did not dampen any spirits. When departing, the thick fog had barge traffic shut down, but Captain Los proceeded to navigate the fog without incident. The Seaside Theater that was added since

our last Triumph cruise is simply awesome, especially for football games. Regardless of the temperatures, there were always people on deck watching it. Every ship needs one of these! Jorge, a great Cruise Director, was ill during a lot of this cruise, but his staff kept everything rolling smoothly. Captain Los is among the most "green-table" and sincere Captains I have ever encountered and we enjoyed sailing with him. You hear comments about cruise lines cutting back on food quality, but in my opinion, the food on Carnival ships just keeps getting better and better! Our dining room waiter was simply awesome and made the dining experience as great as the food. It was neat to see how attentive he was to Lobo, the young gentleman he was training. I also have to commend the Maitre'd of the Paris Dining Room, for creating the happy atmosphere among all of the dining room staff. They all worked together like a well-oiled machine and appeared to truly enjoy their jobs and service. I had not chosen an "inside cabin" since 2002, but am glad that we did because this cruise was more about rest than it was about activity. In the inside cabin, all concept of time is lost and we have never slept that much, or that soundly. Having been on Carnival 10 times, the room was just as expected and everything worked great - even with "pinkish-orange" not being my favorite bathroom color! We did not get to interact much with our stateroom steward except when we first boarded and I regret not getting his name, but his service was awesome. Disarray when leaving the room turned into perfection every time we returned. The cabin was very clean and well-maintained. Triumph did not get the flat screen TVs during its last dry-dock, but there is nothing at all wrong with the bigger ones from the past. The Seaside Theater jumbo-tron makes up for anything they may have not done yet. When cruising out of New Orleans in the middle of winter, the pool games on the days at sea are hard to pull off! Its hard to belly flop and synchro-swim with a coat on! The "fun patrol" did keep things going constantly elsewhere around the ship. There was some great talent at Karaoke and the sing-alongs in the Piano bar were fun. The Kevin and Caruso show was simply amazing. The "Big Easy" production was terrific in every way, with every voice in key. How those performers manage their costume and set changes the way they do continues to amaze me. Do NOT miss this show! Whatever you do, go ahead and set aside $95 per person for the "Behind the Fun" ship tour, which is conducted on the last day at sea. It is limited to 16 passengers and covers virtually every inch of the ship behind those "crew-only" doors. You are introduced to the crew-members life-at-sea as well as other fascinating operational areas, to include the engine control room, laundry, behind the stage in the main theater, the galley and all of its various areas, and too many other places to name. The 3.5 hour tour also includes a visit with the Captain on the Bridge, especially impressive while the ship is at sea! Captain Angelo Los is very personable and enjoyed seeing us enjoy the visit. Progreso is improving with every visit and is truly a fun port if you allow it to be. On this visit, we chose to find a spot on the beach where our group could take advantage of the inexpensive, but effective, massages. ($10/hour) Buckets of ice cold beer and interacting with the local beach vendors really is a lot of fun. Progreso recently opened a large "Farmers Market" type place which is interesting. This place is growing and it is really interesting to see it developing as a tourist destination. I hope this port continues to be a stop for ships. If I could afford to open a beach-side venue (similar to Carlos & Charlies) this is where I would be. Cozumel has too much to offer! Pick an excursion and stick with it, then plan to come back another time and do something else! We're hooked on visiting the Carlos and Charlie's Beach Club which has great food, and an awesome beach to enjoy whatever watersport you desire. We did not get to visit Pancho's Back Yard this trip, but it is among our favorites too. Another highlight of Cozumel is getting back to the ship early enough to enjoy the waterslide, and then hit the Deck 9 bridge to watch the people that are late getting back to the ship! We were docked next to Carnival Glory and I do believe somebody missed the ship. Although we prefer hot weather, the 2 cooler days at sea allowed us to enjoy venues of the ship that we normally overlook. Be sure and visit the dining room for lunch at least once per cruise. The atmosphere is great and the service is too! No, I do not work for Carnival, but want to encourage anyone thinking about sailing the Triumph out of New Orleans to go ahead and book!

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Jan 17, 2010

progresso cozumel

This was our first cruise (for our 29th anniversary) and we enjoyed it. One thing about our cruise was if you don't drink alcohol, you can be really bored. We don't drink and your kinda limited on things to do. The service is excellent, the housekeeping staff are awesome. Every time we left our room and came back, it had been serviced; very clean. They tried their best to accommodate every request we had. The shows were very good but the only thing

is, some shows were only at 10:30PM on some nights. We just could not stay up that late. We also wanted to play Bingo but just one game was pretty expensive at $20/game. And the game lasted maybe 20 minutes. We did enjoy our formal restaurant (we had the Paris Dining room). The weight staff was excellent. And I did enjoy a massage at the Spa. I had an hour long massage ($99), which was amazing. The only thing was that it was on the 11th floor and you really can feel the waves. If you get seasick I do not advise it. I wore a motion sickness patch and I never got seasick. They also charge for all the pictures they take, I spent $125.00 on pictures, so take extra money. The food was good and there was something different every night. We really enjoyed the Paris dining room. The breakfast buffet was good. I had to pay an extra $34 for a fountain beverage card. Also, there was no Dr.Pepper on the ship (they have Mr. Pibb). I was not happy about that. We had an ocean view so our room and view were excellent. The housekeeping was AWESOME. But take your blow-dryer, the one they have must be from 1950. I did not like their pillows, it was a feather pillow. Didn't like that you have to pay for Bingo.I think it should be part of your cruise cost. they need more non-partying things to do. We don't drink alcohol and felt all the things up on the Lido deck, were for drinkers. We would have liked things not requiring alcohol. Don't book excursions on the ship. You get the same things if you wait till you dock. When you get off the ship and walk toward the pier you will see people trying to sell you the same activities. On the boat the Mayan Ruin tour was $99, while we only paid $39 at dock. We waited till we got there. Also, haggle with the locals, they will come off their prices. I got a pair of earrings they wanted $175 for, and I only paid $33. That's the truth. We enjoyed the cruise, but we got bored on the last day. You pretty much do it all by the 5th day. Next time we will do a shorter cruise.

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Jan 5, 2010

carribean

We cruised at Christmas! It was great leaving cold weather and going to warmth! We had an interior room b/c of affordability and I was told that less motion interior and midship. I get extremely motion sick, I wore the patch as well as took dramamine every day and did well with that. Food and service was great. Ship was beautiful, lots of activities and was decorated for Christmas but could have been more. Love all the variety of food on the

Lido deck. 24 hour soft serve low fat yogurt was almost the death of me, but what a way to go right? lol, great gym tho. Great ports and the shows were amazing and Camp Carnival was good for my nine yr old. Can't wait to go again. Food was really good. Stateroom was fine and luggage got there promptly and was comfortable there. lots to do. In Belize, I wish we would have went to the beach there, we went cavetubing and it was really good but the water was chilly but they were extremely nice and safe. Roatan, don't miss the beach on west inn Cozumel was amazing, go to the beach and snorkel from a boat. Know that beaches like paradise beach that says it's free cost to do activities there and they get ill if you don't order food and drinks so it's not free. We loved this trip and Roatan and Cozumel were our favorites. Cozumel felt safe and we enjoyed getting a taxi downtown and eating and shopping. It was beautiful! The ship was great, the last day was very rough and everyone seemed to stay in there rooms, you could not walk straight down a hallway and a lady dropped her tray in the dining room but thanks to the patch and dramimine, My family did ok. We can't wait to cruise again. I did love our ship and all our ports!

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Sep 7, 2009

Canada

My boyfriend and I just spent our Labor Day weekend on a 4-night cruise from NYC to Saint John aboard the Carnival Triumph. The following is a review of our trip. Food was certainly all about quantity, not quality! Most of the food was terrible. I enjoyed the omelettes for breakfast, and sandwiches at the NY Deli, but how can you really mess up breakfast and sandwiches? I thought any sort of fish they served was inedible. Since it was all pre-frozen,

it was always extremely fishy and stale. They did a decent job cooking meats, particularly steaks, however. They offer 24 hour pizza, burger and ice cream as well as 24-hr room service, which is pretty cool. Room service was fast, and my portobello and mozzerella sandwich was tasty. We had booked an interior room, and, despite our fears prior to seeing it, we were pleasantly surprised at how spacious it was. We had a queen-size bed (in actuality, two singles pushed together), which had a thin down comforter and 4 pillows (and was very comfortable), a decent-sized bathroom, and TV, which included 3 movie channels that played the same 3 new movies each day. Although it was strange to wake up the next morning in complete darkness, we adjusted quickly. I highly recommend bringing a clock, though (and setting to EST), since there are none in the room. The ship looked like it was modeled after an old, rundown Atlantic City casino. Decor was tacky and tasteless. The pools were small like bathtubs, and the hot tubs were out of service. Although the pool deck was always crowded, we didn't have a problem grabbing extra lounge chairs and finding a spot for them. I enjoyed the live Caribbean and Latin music on the pool deck, and the entertainment staff did a good job trying to keep guests entertained with different activities throughout the day. I loved the gym, which had panoramic views of the ocean, and was huge! We highly recommend renting a car for $40/day from Avis, which is diagonally across the street from where the cruise docks. The tours offered on the cruise cost an arm and a leg, and we had a blast on our own. We drove to Reversing Falls (check to see their tidal schedule, and try to make it during low tide), St Martin's Sea Caves (also best experienced during low tide, but beautiful regardless), and Fundy Trail Parkway (where you can bike, hike or drive to see the Bay, waterfalls, salmon creek, etc). We returned the car, and then visited City Market in Saint John. Service was EXCELLENT! All the workers were extremely friendly and considerate, and did a great job from housekeeping to waiters to entertainment staff. They made the trip all the more enjoyable. If it were for another short trip, if it left from NYC (where I live), and for the extremely discounted price that we paid, I may consider doing it again in the future. However, I would never pay full price, travel to board the ship, or force myself to spend an entire week on the ship. Nonetheless, I enjoyed it for what it was.

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Aug 28, 2009

Canada

I was traveling with my 84 year old mother. The maitre d' would not permit us to dine in the dining room close to our stateroom, but rather required that we go to the one that was on the far end of the boat. This necessitated that my mother, who uses a walker to switch to a wheelchair. There was absolutely no assistance on and off the boat, although the angle of the walkway was extremely steep. The elevators were turned off for testing at 10:15 AM.

Since my mother was chilly, I needed to walk up eight flights of stairs to get her a jacket. The attitude of staff toward the physically challenged or those with adaptive devices was completely insensitive. Wait staff would ask me what my mother wanted to eat, although she is perfectly capable of reading a menu and making her own selection. Our last night, the waiter came up to me and asked my mother's age (I told him to ask her). If you are young and healthy, the cruise is adequate. If you have any special needs, stay away! The dining room was fine, the buffet on the lounge had very long lines and the food was very greasy. Our stateroom was very good. The beds very comfortable and shower excellent. If only I could have remained in my stateroom and never interacted with the staff. The excursions were fine, if you want a quick overview of the city. Guides were excellent. The service was absolutely awful. The insensitivity and the lack of desire to help of the staff was abominable. It seemed as though there was no one in charge. When I asked for assistance with my mother, I was sent from person to person.

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Aug 17, 2009

Canada

The cruise was a cost efficient way of getting away from it all for a few days. The fog was as thick as I've ever seen it but the size of the ship helped to keep you from getting claustophobic and sea sick. The food was great in the Dining Room & the service couldn't be better. Request "Zubin" as your waiter, you'll feel like you're a millionaire. Stay away from the buffet's unless you are a sumo power eater. The stateroom was clean & adequate

& the Cabin service even remembered our names. I suggest you shower in the gym to avoid the cramped and messy cabin. There was plenty to do onboard. Watch out for the casino dealers they shorted me chips twice, and overpaid me once...count your chips! I complained to the casino manager & then to guest services. They sent a bottle of wine to the table and gave me a nice goody bag at the end of the cruise. Other activities were great. The entertainment was terrific although the show girls (oh show girls) never quite returned the love I had for them. In Saint John don't take the Kayak tour with the ship. Contact Eastern Outdoors - he picked us up at the ship and took us to his place on Dipper Bay where for about $60 per person we Kayaked for ~ 3 hours; a big savings and quite a thrill manuvering through the rocks and lobster boats. If you call in advance I'll bet you can even get Deanna, Bob's wife, to make some Fish Chowder for your lunch. I also heard, from another guest that the St John bus tour was lame. In Halifax we hoofed it & there was enough to do within walking distance that it was terrific. I found that the shops right outside the ship had better values then the ones down the street. All in all a terrific way to spend some summer days.

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Aug 12, 2009

EASTERN CANAADA

This was my first cruise and I loved it. There was something different to do every minute. We had all types of weather in 4 days. I want to do it all over again and very probably will. There were so many people working long hours to keep the cruisers happy and for me they accomplished that. The biggest surprise was how much I enjoyed meeting and chatting with fellow cruisers - everyone was very friendly and we were all interested in talking about

other cruises and ports and comparing this cruise to them. Getting on the ship was much less hassle than I imaged it, even better getting on/off when in port and when we got back to NYC. I think everyone should have a cruise experience and feel like Queen for a Day every day they are on the ship. I like the idea of 24 hour food available. I work 2nd shift and find myself eating at different times than most people. I would have liked the grill open 24 hrs instead of the pizza, but that is just my taste. The grill was open at 1:30am when the midnight show broke up. I can't judge the pizza because the first night when I got up at 4AM the pizza guy was sea sick. One of the staff that was there took pity on me and one other night worker looking for food. But the small pie I had was standing under the lights too long. There was a buffet lunch the first day that had an excellent red snapper dish (served on top of small white beans). I loved the crab cake appetizer, duck, and the sauces for both were very tasty. The Hot Dogs on the Lido deck were great! - and I'm from New Jersey, I know my dogs! - I wish I knew where they got them. The NY Deli was recommended, but I never got to it. There was a midnight Spanish (maybe Taco) buffet, but I did not get anything. I missed the point of the Chocolate bar that was offered at the same time. I saw cookies and a puff pastry that had two toppings to choose from. I didn't see much chocolate. The desserts in the dining room and on the buffet were quite good, the Chocolate melty thing - a Carnival specialty - was really excellent. Also the birthday cake pieces brought out for special celebrations was excellent. The only thing I wouldn't have again was the salmon. I had it in an omelet and it was too salty then had it for dinner and found it tasted "tinny" but that could be me. When I did not like my salmon, they switched it out for another Crab Cake appetizer and asked if I wanted one or two!! The table captain and his "runner" were excellent. I wish I could remember their names and give them credit. It seemed getting to breakfast in the dining room within the first 30 minutes of breakfast opening avoided lines. We ate lunch on the Lido deck, next time I want to try the dining room, that's where you get the best tips from fellow cruisers. The buffet has two stations, if one has a long line, try other side or try the Grill, NY Deli, Pizza or Chinese stations. The coffee, tea, lemonade, iced tea and soft ice cream (I think also soft low fat yogurt) were 24-7. Room service menu seemed limited to sandwiches, but I may have missed a breakfast menu. We called for it once only getting hot coffee and tea; it came within 20 minutes. There is no charge but you're expected to tip as if there was. Generally some foods were very, very good, most were quite good. I certainly have nothing to complain about - there were plenty of choices and if you didn't like something they switched it for you. The Stateroom probably has me spoiled for any other cruise line. Most experienced cruisers said the staterooms were the largest they had stayed in. There was lots of space for clothes - 3 closets, one with shelves, 3 drawers, another section with shallow shelves and two deep night tables. 186 sq. ft. If you get a balcony 20 ft comes out of the stateroom to make space for the balcony. The ones we saw looked cramped compared to the Oceanview and inside cabins. We had an oceanview cabin, middle of the ship, main deck (bottom). Turns out that is the best place to be in rocky seas, and we had 14 ft waves the first night. Middle of the ship was the most convenient spot for getting around the rest of the ship. Room steward was very, very nice: unobtrusive, great towel animals and genuinely pleasant person and did a great job keeping the cabin clean! All I can say was I was never bored. I missed the galley tour, art auction and marriage game because it was sunny and the weather changes VERY quickly. We needed deck chair time. Out of the 4 nights there was a period of only two hours when I couldn't see anything organized that I wanted to do. Later I looked closer at the Carnival Capers and found music in one of the bars we could have gone to, but it was fine going back to the room and getting room service coffee and relaxing. Except for an hour nap the 2nd day that was the only time we were in our rooms from 8:30 am to 1:30am. And neither of us are party animals. We did see all the shows and both midnight comic acts. The sets and costumes we very, very good. I think they upstaged the talent. The two comics were both funny. The midnight show was well attended and most people were laughing. The hairy man contest was funny. The Reggae band on the Lido deck was very good. The Cruise Director Jorge Salano was really very funny and comes across as a very warm person. There was a get together for singles over 30 (maybe 40), but the seas were so rough I was getting dizzy walking and it seemed like a better choice to go to bed. I wish I could have taken more than one excursion. We had a hard time deciding and finally choose one but it was canceled because not enough people had signed up. We did the land and water tour of St. John. St. John is a small town with a large port - lots of victorian homes, The land part was on short bus. We were with a group of about 18 or 22. Pleasant driver and a very informative tour guide. We saw some interesting buildings from the bus and heard an overview of the history of the town as we toured. Two couples had to get off because they were car sick, but I think it was left over from the rough seas the night before. The water tour had two great watermen guiding us, gave us a look around the port. I was very cool seeing the ship from the water level. It's huge. Gave a sample of some snack food from the sea. Lovely people. Probably pretty expensive at $79. Still don't understand the reversing falls, but I'm going to check it out further when I get time. In the morning when the ship docked we went thru the new terminal and out to a fenced brick area with a large tent. The tent had vendors. The prices were very reasonable and all the vendors friendly. If we wanted make our own arrangements for travel there was a guide outside the gates, but I got the feeling he might be asked to move away soon. He was offering a long tour for pretty reasonable amount of money. Also there was a cab that could be hired for $50 an hour (only a good deal with more than two people). I was surprised there wasn't more vendors offering tours outside the terminal gates. Just a few blocks away there were bikes for rent. That looked like fun. The town itself was charming. Reminded me of Portland, ME a lot, hilly going up from the water. But level along the waterfront. We found 4 used book stores in 3 blocks. Passed one bar that sounded like everyone was having a great time! There was a festival going on, lots of street performers and people out walking and watching. Lots of churches. A new mall connects with a walkway to the old Farmers Market. If you walk it's all uphill, if you take the mall escalators it's level!! (Escalators or elevator - not sure because we walked it). Along the "Boardwalk" that runs outside from the new mall between the docks were lots of sidewalk restaurants. We stopped, had dessert and watched the crowds go by. For lunch we ate at the Farmers Market Seafood vendor. THE BEST scallops I have ever had. I heard people say the next day the town was very small, but I think there would be plenty to see and do going back next year. One of the older couples took a public bus the the reversing falls, but did not realize it would be so hilly from the bus stop to the viewing point. I think it was a strain for them. Overall, this was the best tip. On the first sunny day - no deck chair was to be found until we climbed to the smoke stack level. The next day we discovered Deck three. The Carnival Cruise Director John Heald has a blog and I asked him his advice for where to go when all is crowded. Deck three was his advice. Very few people go there and it is shady because the lifeboats are stored way up above the rail. On our trip the deck chairs were still stacked except for one.

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Aug 1, 2009

NY to Canada

The Carnival Triumph is decorated like a bad disco tech. The staff is friendly, but at times too many announcements and the announcements were difficult to hear depending on if you were in a noisey area or had your stateroom door closed. The food in dining room was fabulous. The pizza was good, just not fantastic, the buffet was good, though eggs were the powdered kind, and the cheese in the ommlette tasted like processed cheese. The decor in the

Lido Lounge is tacky. The room was great with lots of storage space and seemed soundprrof on sides as we did not hear neighbors, but hallway traffic was loud (especially the ones drinking late at night or kids running in hall) and ceiling had a snap crackle sound to it constantly. We paid for a balcony room, and loved that though we were told not to use it two mornings as cleaning and painting was done (could they not have done that before we left?). The weather was poor. All of the hot tubs were shut down for the whole cruise and only a few pools open some of the time. We did our own walking around town and enjoyed being able to determine our own schedule. We talked with a few others who paid for exursions and were disappointed in what they saw or did. We did this trip for our 30th anniversary, and the main thing we wanted was quiet. We were able to relax some, and loved going to the dining room every night for a fabulous meal. I would not reccommend this ship to anyone else though. Do your research.

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Jul 8, 2009

Nova Scotia

Overall, this was a good cruise for the value you get. My wife and our 2 children enjoyed the ship's food and entertainment, and the service was excellent. We dined in the Paris dining room, one of two large areas for both earlier and later seating. While we signed up for early seating, we ended up on the later seating. I don't mind eating later (around 8:15pm), however many of the kids' activities take place right after early dinner and when

late dinner is just starting up. So if you have kids and get on the later group, they will miss out on some things (or dinner). Throughout the cruise, Carnival was very well organized and efficient. However, dinner seating is probably the one area where they need a lot of work. 15 minutes before seating the later group people line the halls all the way up the stairs and block the elevators so people cannot even get off. To make matters worse, the maitre'd's station is right in the center of the entrance when you first walk into the dining room, so if you want to speak with him to make any changes, you line up in such a way that no one else can enter easily to go sit at their table. The food itself was exceptional. Two nights in a row I ordered the flat iron steak, and it was cooked absolutely perfect, consistently on both nights. We also put in a special request for the chef for Indian food (which was only on the menu the first night), and he made special arrangements for us. Like the rest of the food, it was cooked perfectly and was out right on time. The food in the outside areas (buffet, NY style deli, and cuisine of the day) was all very good. My only complaint about the food is the breakfast in the outside areas. The eggs are absolutely the worst food I've ever eaten. I realize that with 3-4 thousand passengers you'd need a ridiculous amount of eggs to use the real thing, but jeez, whatever they use to make those eggs (I'm assuming powdered eggs) should be forbidden by the FDA. You can, however, stand in line and get fresh cooked omelets, but be prepared to wait a very long time. We stayed in an inner stateroom, and it was merely okay. It's about the size of a closet, and for whatever reason they chose not to provide us with a clock. Besides that, as long as you don't plan on spending much time in your room outside of sleeping, it's about what I'd expect on a ship for the money we paid. The house cleaning did an exceptional job cleaning our room as soon as we were out in the morning, and they came back several times during the day to make the beds, clean up, etc. Very friendly and professional. Our kids enjoyed Camp Carnival, and the staff was very polite and professional. They had quite a few fun activities, as well as playstations / wiis / computers for some down time. For the adults, we saw one of the comedy shows and it was extremely funny. Very well done. The excursions in St John's and Halifax are really expensive, and I don't see how you really get your money's worth. Halifax is one of those areas where you can get off the boat, and within 5-10 mins of walking, you see probably all you need to see. It's a neat little town, with good restaurants and pubs. People were friendly in the shops and on the street. We visited the Nova Scotian Crystal shop which had excellent wares and not terribly pricey.

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May 14, 2009

Eastern Caribbean

We were pleasantly surprised with the Triumph. It had been two or three years since the last time we cruised with Carnival(at that time we were not impressed, nothing to write home about). HOWEVER, Triumph excelled!!!!! Reoutfitted in November 2008 the ship was nice, the staff we had were superb and the handicapped accessibility was good (although pool lifts are needed). Even though we have cruised before we are still learning. Remember to check

WHEN the ship pulls into port so you will not be disappointed if one of your stops is at night (late afternoon, then running a couple of hours behind schedule) and only for a few hours. I had not heard that Carnival upgraded their menu. Is this shipwide or only on the Triumph? I do not know. Though we are fairly particular when it comes to the quality of our food, Triumph gets a solid 4 star rating.We are not buffet people, though we did eat there once or twice and it was OK. The dining room menu, food quality and wait staff was on par, at LEAST real close to Princess. We were impressed! Is this due to the Captain, Chef or a change in company policy? Without knowing, we would in a heartbeat sail again on the Triumph! Other ships I cannot recommend. The stateroom was adequate. We do not spend much time in our room, though we obtain a center room so we are not affected by engine noise at the aft or crashing waves at the bow. Then, if you do run into heavy waves (twenty, twentyfive, etc.) at least it is minimized. Somewhat better than fore or aft. For us it is. Our sailing weather was fine. The shows in the evening were overall very nice. We are people who entertain ourselves by reading, computer or just lounging, so I cannot speak about ship activities. We have been to all ports visited before, with the exception of San Juan. St. Thomas is more our cup of tea than the others.

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By Tim_CR

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Mar 21, 2009

Western Caribbean

My wife and I went on our second cruise last year. We went on the Norwegian Dawn. Both cruises had its ups and downs - with Carnival the only real down was the outdoor entertainment during the day. They only had a women and a man singing, when you could hear them she was terrible the people doing kereoke sang better. The lines were long to eat while at sea and the buffet dining room people did a lousey job cleaning the tables. we ate dinner in the

Paris room which was very good and entertaining. If you go to Jamacia the bobsled ride was a blast it put a much needed smile on our faces. Everything else to me was above expectation. We would go on carnival again. Buffet was average, pizza shop was good, icecream was excellant. Plain in the decoration part, but alot bigger than Norwegian. Wasn't alot to do during the day, thus boring while at sea. Night entertainment was excellant. Jamacia bobsled was a blast.

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Oct 11, 2008

Western Caribbean

The Triumph was beautiful! We have been on 4 Carnival ships and loved them all. I have read several negative feedbacks and I just can't understand it. I wouldn't have changed one thing about our cruise. My suggestion is that you get to the port early. They let you on the ship and even though you can't go to your room right away you can explore and they serve you lunch. We got some lunch and sat out by the pool and just enjoyed watching the

people and soaking up every minute of the day. For one week I feel like we were treated like royalty. Our room steward was soooo nice, for that matter everyone was polite, helpful and always smiling. For as long as we are able (with the economy and all) we will take a cruise once a year, and always on Carnival. We have been on the Victory, Inspiration, Valor Triumph and now booked on the Legend next October. We don't think a vacation could ever been any better then what Carnival offers. I think the food is great. Only problem is I gain about 5 pounds every cruise simply due to over eating. But then again what are vacations for right? I have to admitt we are not real big on fancy dining, we tend to stick to the buffet, pizza, burgers, and the deli is awesome. Love the turkey sandwiches on the country roll. It was fun to try new things off of the buffet. All the food areas are kept very clean and the food was always the right temperature. The food service personel were very nice and constantly cleaning off the tables getting them ready for the next group of people coming through. We had a balcony room and a couple nights we would just get a deli sandwich, go back to our room, siit on the balcony and watch the sunset. Very nice!! Unbelieveable is the first word that comes to mind. A month before the cruise we got a good deal so we upgraded from a regular balcony roon to a suite. It was very spacious and very clean. Edward seemed to always know when we were out, and every time we came back at night our room was ready for us, little animal and all. Where else can you get your room picked up for you twice a day? Our room was right behind the elevators on the 6th floor. I was a little concerned I might be loud there but I never heard a thing from the hallway. I stuck my shoe in the balcony door at night and it sounded just like waves hitting the shore line. I doubt we will ever do a suite again, definately not because it wasn't wonderful, just because the regular balcony room suites us best. Though I have to admit, the bathtub with the jets in it was a nice touch, and the little lights in the ceiling that you can dim down was nice too. Kind of makes your room glow like candles! There is plenty to do on board. You can do as little or as much as you like. We went to most of the shows, why not? The singers and dancers are very talented, excellent at what they do. All the other shows are also professional quality. The newlywed not so newlywed game made me laugh so hard I cried. I highly recommend it. It only last 30-45 minuted but it's a lot of fun. The hairy chest contest can be quite entertaining as well. There are many different types of activities offered, take advantage of them When it comes to excursions we usually book one each cruise and go off on our own at the other ports. Just remember if you book through carnival the ship has to wait for you, but if you go off on your own and don't get back in time you might get left behind. Just be mindful of the time. We do research on the internet on all the ports. Sometimes you can find independent tours that are very good and much cheaper then what the ship offers. My best advice is to take the time to check it all out ahead of time. I would recommend a cruise vacation to anyone. Dollar for dollar I don't think any other vacation could compare. I have 365 days until the next one, and yes I am counting down! After reading some of the feedback I see where some people have had problems, but it's hard for me to understand that because at of our 4 cruises there is nothing I would change about any of them. Some ports are more crowded then others, some people like crowds, some like solitude. Depending on your likes and dislikes you can find whatever it is you are looking for. My best advice like I said before do some research before you go on your ports of call. Take lots of pictures. Cruising with Carnival is the best. How often do you come home from vacation completely relaxed and rested? The Triumph is a beautiful, clean wonderful ship. You can see the pride in the employees with all they do. Enjoy!!!

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Sep 13, 2008

Western Caribbean

Previous Cruises: CCL Fantasy 1990-Honeymoon Cruise Did Not Like Celebrity Century 1994 Eastern-Fantastic Celebrity Century 1995 Western-Also Fantastic RCCL Voyager Of The Seas 1998 Western-Excellent RCCL Nordic Empress 1999 Southern-Will Not Go Out Of San Juan Again, Nice Ship Princess Golden Princess 2001 Eastern-Never Again Going On Princess CCL Triumph 2004 Western-100 % Improvement Over Fantasy Experience, Definitely Recommend

The Good Points: Best coffee on a cruise ship, Best and largest lobster tails (I had 3) not ruined in lemon water like other lines, Friendly staff onboard and land most spoke good English, Excellent clean buffets-no fly’s like other cruise buffets we have been on, Ships deck layout very easy to get around, Speed and availability of elevators, potency of bar drinks, Prices in gift shop specials like $10 watches wallets t-shirts etc., NY Deli was outstanding corned beef on grilled rye melted in your mouth and the pastrami on grilled rye was good also the turkey on a sub roll was just ok, Hong Kong Noodle company very good Chinese style food small portions because they cook it up fresh never a problem getting 2 plates if you wanted it, 24 hour pizza was very good and good selection wife’s calzone and Caesar salad looked very good also, 24 hour ice cream and frozen yogurt was very good always a good supply of cones and bowls and spoons I used a large coffee cup and a cone inside( I love ice cream), Room service was very good and a nice selection of cold sandwiches pastries and again the best coffee we ever had on a cruise they were fast and accurate always bringing what ever we asked for including a lot of my favorite drink “milk” it was slow at times which we understand but they always told us when we called in our request if they were busy we always tipped a couple of bucks and the final 5 days we had the same girl bring us our treats because she knew we tipped well, Camp Carnival for the kids was nice my daughter said it was ok not as many kids as she has been with on other cruises probably because it was the week before Christmas break, Casino was very large and the dealers were very friendly Fun 21 is blackjack/21 with a twist you win 2.5 times your bet with a blackjack even if the dealer has one not considered a push you win with any combination of 21 even if the dealer has a blackjack you win 2.5 times your bet if you get 3 7s only the dealer hits on a soft 17 is the only tricky part for the house but they usually bust on t his one. The Not So Good Points: Porters in Miami literally beg for there tips as the one we had told us point blank “take good care of me as you will never see me again and you want to see all your belongings don’t you” he even went to the trouble of counting out loud how many bags we had in front of everyone present and after counting 9 items(we are fat and our clothes are larger than normal) he said “$10 that’s all your going to give me?”(yes we started to worry when our last bag did not show up until 8pm although we know they have thousands of bags to deliver cabin to cabin, Worst stage shows on a cruise ship 2 musicals and 1 comedian(he was very good and it was very R rated) on a 7 day trip plus 1 holiday show including camp carnival kids my daughter had fun with this one but 2 big screen movies of Garfield and Irobot was not my idea of a stage show, Worst bingo on a cruise ship 1 card for $10 or 3 for $20 is ok but they only play 1 game with only 1 winner not fair with hundreds of people playing, 2 hours to get onto ship even with pre-registered fun pass and 5 hours just to get off plus the usual customs, Our waiter and asst waiter ignored our small family of 3 in a comfortable booth and favored the large group at the table for 10 we saw much better wait staff working there sections we often had to beg for seconds of rolls (we took off the automatic tipping from our sail and sign account and gave this wait team a very deserving low $$ tip, and gave our fantastic cabin steward much more $$) (BTW, Best breads on a cruise ship) and refills of water(wine steward was a real pain in the neck harassed us every night even though we asked him not to come back), Expensive bar drinks $5.00 for a single beer and $5.00 rum & coke is just too much in my opinion plus $2.25 for a small bottle of water is just too much, No mini-bar in our balcony cabin is unacceptable only available in a mini-suite or above(not good if you have refrigerated medicines or drink a lot of milk like me, Cabin Air conditioning is very cold at night and you can only control the volume of air at the vent on the ceiling not the temperature of the air coming out of it, long lines at the buffets-well with over 2000 people I guess it wasn’t too bad unless someone holds up the line because they pick though everything, We found it very unusual for the staff to eat in the public areas with the paying passengers although finding a good table was never a problem. Other Cruisers: Very good mix of mostly heartland of America with some Canadian, Asian and European, white-black-skinny-fat not as many Latin’s as RCCL seems to have(we are not prejudice we just don’t like to hear Spanish every 2 seconds), security was very good usually always present and never saw or heard of any problems. Ships Condition: Considering it was built in 1999 it is in very good condition with only minor wear and tear in the most used public areas (it is probably near impossible to recover the seating during a quick home port visit in Miami but maybe CCL should get this done ASAP, carpets are in very good condition for as much as they get used you always see the crew shampooing the carpets and cleaning and picking up dishes in the buffet-a table was always clean and available, the cabin was very large and comfortable with only minor wear and tear, the bathroom was excellent for me as I weigh almost 450lbs I found the commode placed very well and did not have a problem taking care of my business, the shower was a good size and this was the first time the shower curtain did not cling to our bodies(most irritating as was other cruises). Ports And Sea Days: Day 1 Embarkation Saturday Getting on (previously mentioned) Checked cabin and was very clean had lunch at the south Beach Club buffet which was a good spread and even found a nice window booth, than back to the cabin to relax and get ready for early seating at 5:30pm (big mistake on my part, going for late seating next time as you will find out it is difficult to get there on time on port days). Day 2 Sunday Sea Day Woke up early to have coffee and croissants from room service (there is a order card for each day in your stateroom) than went to breakfast when our daughter woke up, went to the pool and found plenty of good seating with very comfortable loungers and had very good hot dogs cheeseburgers and grilled chicken sandwiches the steak sandwiches were good also, played in the casino and had a great lobster (3) dinner with a side of thick juicy prime rib with very little fat ( I have enough of my own thank you) went to show (previously mentioned) and back to the casino which was very good to me wife won $1000 playing Wheel Of Fortune Slots and I made $250 playing Fun 21 (previously mentioned). Day 3 Monday In Cozumel until midnight very nice beach and shopping though beware the port shops require bargaining as a $35 Mexican blanket was haggled down to $6 yes six dollars (glad we bought 3 as I like to sleep in the cold cabin (previously mentioned) Oh yes and we ate and ate and ate (never ever had a bad meal) Day 4 Tuesday Sea Day Lots of pool (even though they are small it never seemed over crowded) ( the water was even warm and very clean as they drain and clean them every night) Lots to eat and drink (we carried onboard in our backpacks 5 bottles of 2 litre sodas, 1 each rum, JD, vodka, JW Black Label and some southern comfort) check in was so busy they did not question anything brought on with us. Day 5 Wednesday Grand Cayman shopping although prices are not very negotiable and tendering in with 4 other mega-liners was a little rough and it was very crowded and of course back onboard to eat (seems like every 15 minutes) and back to the casino where the winnings continued. Day 6 Thursday Ocho Rios beware of street peddlers outside the very secure port gates went to Margaritaville and some shopping than back onboard to you guessed it eat and play in the casino which finally paid for most of our total vacation (after all said and done we spent under $200 for the cruise, souvenirs, driving from SC to Miami, and eating on the road (did I mention we like to eat?). Day 7 Friday Last Sea Day same as Day 4 Saturday Disembarkation Crying that it is time to get back to reality and getting off (previously mentioned) we went to our favorite restaurant (we used to live near Ft Lauderdale and have gone here for over 30 years) The Deli Den in Hollywood (we had horrible service with which we only left a small tip and they had the nerve to resubmit my credit card with an additional 20% tip, this is currently under investigation by my Visa card company) Final Thoughts Sorry this is so long and hope it did not put you to sleep, please email me at sunbird1986@aol.com if you have any comments or questions, I love to talk (obvious huh?) Carnival has really come a long way since 1990 and in our opinion is now considered by us a premium line and a excellent value vacation. Yes we will definitely cruise with CCL again probably as early as summer 2005, would we recommend the Triumph? Most definitely Happy Sailing, God Bless, Happy Holidays and a Very Happy and Prospeous New Year For ALL. Regards, BigCraig

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By Reed_CR

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Oct 5, 2007

Eastern Caribbean

Began the trip LA to Miami on AA then stayed at the Holiday Inn 5 min taxi ride across from Port of Miami. Had a great time at the shops and listening to the music there—it was a great precursor to the voyage on Triumph. Just be prepared that Holiday Inn is not a 5 star experience—great for one night. Staff was friendly, but wouldn’t recommend it for a long stay in Miami. Once you arrive at the ship expect a line as you have

to check in and receive your “sail and sign” cards (room keys). I strongly suggest you carry on luggage—it was so easy to get on the ship and simply take things up to the room and be done. The traveling) and ourselves gave it anywhere from 7 or 8 (10 being best) regarding asthetics, service, etc. Once you learn your short cuts around Triumph you can make your way round the ship very easily. Do expect this to be a “commercial” adventure. There is a lot of “selling” and promotions for Carnival’s excursions, towels, extra this and that—it never ends. Look past some of this and you’ll be fine. I want to give a special shout out to the entertainers on this cruise. They were all extremely hospitable as I asked to “sit in” with just about every band and they all graciously said yes. The level of musicianship was 10 as each genre of music was professionally presented. The Oxford room Jazz musicians (Larry Corban’s duo (Larry and Vince) were nothing short of A list professionals and were not fully appreciated (sadly) by most of the passengers. Best way to describe that is image you were on a ship and Wes Montgomery, or Charlie Parker were playing…and nobody went to see or hear it…thankfully we did. Half Moon Cay: Not a great experience but certainly visually nice at the very least. This is a strip of island purchased by Carnival and has all the trappings of “we got you—now, buy and have fun. St. Thomas: This was a high point for me. I didn’t listen to Carnival’s warnings about the dangers of renting scooters and not buying THEIR excursions. Went ahead and rented a scooter (driving on the opposite side of the street was nothing—really!) It was a blast! Hit almost every inch of the island (including self tours of the University of Virgin Islands, hey I’m a counselor). Then ended up on a very private pristine beach with locals only (who were smoking some local pot as it were). Incredible experience and I’d do it again. San Juan and Puerto Rico Another excellent time, rented a car, drove to rain forest, drove to non-tourist neighborhoods (and a private country club where we got to visit for a spell), drove back to San Juan (this all took about 4 to 5 hours). Then dropped the car off and walked the whole shopping and residential district—this was amazing and satisfying. Lastly, I would highly recommend being on deck when sailing away from this port—it literally takes your breath away. Grand Turks/Cayucos This part was the same as the first island port—nothing to shout about, all marketing and sales. There’s a cool Margaretville (Jimmy Buffet’s restaurant) and some snorkeling if you can rush to get the early group. In closing, the days at sea (not being back to back) were very pleasent and easy. There was small storm and our room had a balcony--this was magical to say the least--if you can get one do it! Enjoy. R.

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Sep 21, 2007

Eastern Caribbean

My girlfriends and I booked this as I was turning 30 and we all needed a vacation. We were given an upgrade which was positive considering there were 4 of us staying in the room. We arrived at 2:00pm which was a great time as most people were aboard already and our room was ready. We hit the ports of call above and our days at sea were on Monday and Friday. Scheduled excursions for PR (national rain forest) and Turks (riding horses

along and in the ocean - excellent). Recommend excursions at these two places because there is not much else to do otherwise. Been to St. Thomas before, everything is easy to get to via taxi- went to Meghan's Bay, and did some shopping downtown. There is a great local dive bar which was full of locals and had yummy food. Finished up the day at Paradise Point for the view and a Bushwhacker to cool off. We were also impressed with Half Moon Cay. Felt very 'resort like' and as it was owned by Carnival, and they catered lunch ashore. Housekeeping was excellent as usual. In the shower they had canisters which contained shampoo and soap. The food was good - I loved the Chocolate Lava cake for dessert. Outside of the dining times, the other food was fair. Sushi was available from 5-8:00pm in the evenings. And the typical 24 hour pizza and ice cream was good when you're hungry late night. Each person is able to bring a bottle of wine or champagne onboard and we smuggled in hard liquor in scope containers. Corkage fees were $15 (!) at dinner so pack an opener. The staff were exceptionally friendly overall. Brad was a great cruise director. The evening shows were excellent. Bingo was fun and we won. We did a ladies spa day on a day at sea on Monday which was relaxing. Since we have cruised on Carnival before they had a returning guests party one evening which had apps and free drinks which was nice. Pre and post cruise: It's an experience to stay in downtown Miami if you've never been there. I'd recommend the hotels there, as they are cute boutique places and moderately priced ($100-$150 night). They have a shuttle to and from the airport as well. To save $$ there are great restaurants along Ocean drive.. They compete with one another and there are "happy hours". Overall it was a great experience and I'm ready to plan my next vacation!!

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By n/a_CR

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Jul 20, 2007

Western Caribbean

We got to the actual building after waiting in line for fifteen minutes. Then there was a line inside to show your passports. There goes another 15 minutes. Okay, no big deal. So we go to the next room, another line and metal detectors. After another 15 minutes we get to the desk, get the papers, and high tail it out of there. We have 2 floors of winding walkways, stairs, and escalators left. Finally the gangway and onto the ship we

go. Welcome Aboard- We were welcomed by a Carnival Dancer who pointed us in the right direction. We had photos done, that would be imprinted on our room cards for i.d. The atrium was huge, amazing, and stunning, really. I was really ecstatic. So we went to find our room. Right away we found the stairs and the elevator, and went down. The room was done up nicely (we had been upgraded from and interior to a window room) with both beds pushed together, my couch done up as a bed, and the bunk right above. There was plenty of room, closet and drawer space, and all the amenities you could want including capers and guides to the ship, and the Caribbean. We waited and walked for a while until it was "MUSTER DRILL" time. Overall very well organized, and very thorough however my life jacket was malfunctioning (one side pushed into my head, while the other side was fine, not very helpful or comfortable). Moving on we went to the cabin, and then found our way to the buffet. We had lunch which was pretty good. There were plenty of choices. We were able to see the pool decks, water slide, and band. The weather was sunny, but some dark clouds loomed over the port and before we set sail the monsoons came (okay not that bad, but it was gray and rainy) We had to go into the bay to reposition and then set sail. The scenery was gorgeous and we moved down to the deck we had entered by, (covered by the way) and left the port. About 20 minutes later we passed the last tip of land, and retreated to our cabin. We plotted out our night, and waited for our luggage to arrive. We also had the dinner seating we wanted (6:15). So our luggage got there all but Dad's of course so most of us had our evening wear. We went to dinner and had very nice staff, and the food and view were great. We were approached by the head person and asked to change tables (better view and service). The food was great and service was prompt. (only bad thing was I had the same steak many nights, very good but very fatty and I only got about half the steak I was given) Afterwards we explored, and my brother and I went to the meetings for kids and teens. I grabbed a form and left. We took a walk on deck, and went to the cabin. We found heavenly chocolates, capers, a cute animal, and the softest pillows ever. We loved our deck (Riviera deck 1, forward, port side) Our room steward had already introduced himself, and we felt no motion what so ever) Sea Day- I got up early, and went to the window immediately, and saw the beautiful view. We went to the dining room for breakfast (we had London broil for dinner, but it was not available for lunch or breakfast during our cruise so we went to the Paris dining room) The food was great, and better yet perfectly proportioned. The back of the ship (all the way at the back) was the only place you felt the rocking which wasn't that bad) Then we hung out at Camp Carnival Activities, and later at the pool, and water slide. Great weather all the way. That evening we walked around deck and saw the swells behind the ship, and I discovered the all you can eat, low fat chocolate frozen yogurt. Need I say more. I was in heaven!!! We retired and found the same great surprises. We also saw a great show involving places around the world, great music, costumes, and choreography (and some skimpy costumes) and it was very enjoyable. Cozumel- we arrived in Cozumel early, and watched us dock from the cabin. It was beautiful and we realized some noises beneath the cabin (guess what we were above the gangway, it wasn't a big deal though, and we loved cabin 1250) We ate at the buffet and went ashore. The water was a clear green color and we could see fish. Everyone was nice and we embarked to a shopping center and later caught a cab (many drivers were very pushy but ours was nice) and went to Playa Mia Beach Park. We got there early and the parrots, beautiful beach, sparkling pool, playground, and fun awaited us. We had an amazing time, and I ate real Mexican food. We returned to the ship, and hung out at the pool and waterslide. We had the same routine, and we watched as we left Cozumel. (Adios, Mexico). The next sea day we went to some fun show, and other great activities, and the pool. We tried the burger place for lunch, and it was very good, and in a great setting. Grand Cayman- Overall the best stop on the trip. The water was crystal clear blue. We took boats ashore, and the people were extremely friendly. We looked in some shops, and took our bus to the 7 Mile (Sea Grape) beach. They told us all about the island, and its life, sites, and history. It was great and then we got to the beach. We each got a free soda, and use of the beach. For 10 dollars we rented comfortable rafts, and had the best day imaginable. We walked all over and explored. We returned to the ship later, and set sail. Another great night. Jamaica- We arrived early, and the water was a darker, deeper blue. We saw villas, and tall rolling mountains of green. We had breakfast and left. We went ashore, and waited for almost an hour for our excursion to begin. We left on a bus with another annoying family of three. We traveled over bumpy roads to Prospect Plantation. We embarked with other groups on a tractor tour and had an amazing time. the two guys leading the tour were hilarious, and kept the jokes coming. We saw an old home from the 1700's, fed ostriches, ate fresh fruit, and sugar cane, and tried punch, and got amazing views. We learned new things about Jamaica, and the went to the supposedly optional shopping trip. We didn't buy anything and some of the sellers were pretty pushy. We then set out for the beach. When we got there we went to the beach, got chairs, and looked around. It was pretty with rock surrounded coves, trees, bathrooms, lunch, and two stores. I had wanted to do a dolphin swim but missed the last one. I was pretty disappointed so I went with my parents over to the dolphin cove. (beginning the weirdo that I am I started making my dolphin noises which are pretty good, and soon all 4 dolphins swam to the edge of the cove, beneath the railing, and circled for almost 10 minute) It was a memorable experience, that I will never forget. We spent a while there and although the water was warm, there were occasional bursts of cold water. We went back to the ship, and hung out. I came in third for water slide races. Final day at sea- I signed up for the kids talent show, went to rehearsal, and spent my day nicely as usual. Later I performed, and spent the day as usual. We saw the Legends Show which at times was hilarious, while at other times it was hideously unbearable. Overall it was a perfect last night, and I knew I would miss it. Debarking- We got off quickly after breakfast, got our luggage in about 5 minutes, and were on a bus and to the airport. We went home and had a plenty of memories to last a lifetime. The shows, and singing waiters were great. The facilities were up to dated, colorful, creative, and always being cleaned. The food wasn't gourmet but it was very very good (I even had Crème' Brule! The service was great accept for one man at the information deck who was very short with my mother. The room was amazing, and we were always well informed. The ship was gorgeous, and well maintained. Overall it was an amazing cruise, and I would go on it again in a heartbeat (different itinerary of course, as it would get monotonous and boring) It was easy to find your way around, but wasn't a small ship. Camp Carnival was fun, and the counselors were nice but I think more activity variety would be great. I loved Carnival Triumph, and the prices were the cheapest I've seen on cruises. Everyone on board was fun, and happy. You should definitely go on this cruise.

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Jul 13, 2007

Eastern Caribbean

Our vacation began the day before sailing on July 13. I traveled with my husband to Miami via rental car. We arrived in Miami around 3:00 and headed to Bayside to look around and have some pre-cruise fun. We ate dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. The food was great and the scenery was awesome. After traveling all day we decided to go to bed early so that we could be well rested for our sailing the next morning and possibly see the ship

pull into port. We took the rental car back and took a cab back to the hotel for the night. I think I woke up every hour thinking that I had overslept, finally giving up on a solid rest at about 6:30, I got up and got dressed and got everything ready for the cruise. The hotel provided shuttle service to the port, so we took advantage and left about 10:15 heading to the terminal. Upon seeing the ship up close, I was overcome with excitement. We got into line about 10:45 and proceeded to another line to wait and get on the ship. There was some problem with the ship clearing customs (so we were told) and had to wait until a little after 12 before we were able to board the ship. I went to see the Maitre'd to try to get a table for 2 as my husband and I were celebrating our honeymoon and wanted a little intimacy. I was pleasantly surprised that we were already assigned a table for two for the late seating and all was well for me. I then went to the purser's desk to put cash on our sail and sign which was also a breeze and joined my husband who went to find a table on Lido deck for lunch around 1:00. After lunch, at 2:00 we went to find our cabin which was a balcony cabin on deck 10, and was amazed at the size, space, and the view from our balcony. Our bags were not delivered yet, so we went exploring our new home for the week. We were both speechless at everything especially since this was our first cruise and it was hard just trying to take everything in. We came back to the cabin for the muster drill, I had a little episode with the heat and the lifejackets so I was a little slow joining the party for sail away. I didn't miss the sail off as the ship pulled out late and I was glad that I recuperated and was able to join the fun. After staying on deck for a while we went back to the cabin and found our luggage had arrived in the great condition that we last saw them. We rested before dinner and had a great dinner in the London dining room nightly. After dinner we took in the Welcome Aboard show and really enjoyed our cruise director Paul Santley. He was a riot. I am a hard person to humor, but he kept me humored the entire week. We also was entertained by the orchestra, the dancers, the social directors and a comedian who also entertained us on Monday night with an adult show. After that I went to bed. My husband went to try his luck in the casino. He won $400 and I was glad that he did not give it back to them. Ports of Call: Half Moon Cay, Bahamas- This was a comfortable and relaxing day on the beach. We enjoyed the barbeque lunch that was provided and enjoyed the scenery and our fellow passengers. We did not participate in the excursions offered by the ship, but had a great time on the beach. St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands- We booked the tour with Sunny Liston tours and was very grateful that we did. We had a wonderful time with Sunny. He really gave you your money's worth for the time that we had with him. I was really impressed with the very detailed and sometimes humorous stories that he told about landmarks on the island and also neighboring islands. He was also very punctual so we didn't have to worry about time. San Juan, Puerto Rico- We booked the City and Shopping tour and had another great tour guide. He took us to key places on the island, stopping at some for photo opportunities and pointing out others. His only complaint to us was that he wished that he had us for a longer period of time to show us more of the island. The highlight of this tour was the Fort San Cristobal which was fascinating and breath taking. Grand Turk- We decided at the very last minute to do the Iguana Loop tour. I was undecided because of negative reviews that I read about this tour. I was genuinely surprised and pleased with the decision to do this tour. I had a lot of fun and learned a great deal about Grand Turk and its history. This was a beautiful city and I'm glad that we did more than just the planned beach day. The 2 days at sea, one on Monday and the last on Friday were very fun days. The cruise director and other staff members made sure that there was plenty to do and tons of fun to be had. Debarkation- We decided to do the regular debarkation and wait for our color to be called since we did not have a flight and was hours away from a drive home. I needed to go see the purser and wound up in the madness of those guests who decided to do self assist and was horrified at the madness in the lobby. There was no order and what appeared to me to be mass confusion. I vowed right then and there that I would NEVER (if I could help it) do self assist. Regular debarkation was easy. Our color was the second set to be called. We were off the ship, through customs, and had our bags by 9:45. Overall, we had a wonderful experience as first time cruisers aboard the Triumph. Our steward Wally from the Philippines, kept our room cleaned and seemed to know when we were out of the room. Our waiter Ladislav from Slovakia and his assistant Anesa were very attentive to our dining choices and knew how we liked certain items prepared. The food was excellent in both the dining room and the other areas on the ship. The staff all were very pleasant and friendly and they gave us a clean ship. Honestly, I did not choose this vacation to notice smells, stains etc, so if they were there as others have pointed out, I didn't try to discover them on my on. I had a great vacation and would not for a minute hesitate to cruise Carnival or the Triumph again. Here I have to add that my husband left his camera in a bag of liquor that he had given to a staff member until the end of the cruise. This individual personally came to our stateroom to reunite my husband with the camera. We did not even know the camera was missing, so as you can expect we were very happy. This kind act was one of the many nice things that other crew members did for the guests. Now I'm off to book our next cruise!

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Mar 3, 2007

Western Caribbean

Embarkation- Me being a 13-year-old kid, never being on a cruise before and getting out of school, waiting in lines did not bother me. Although there were very few lines to go though, you still needed to wait. It took my parents, my older brother and I, about 45 minutes to get onboard the vessel, and another 15 to get to our two rooms on the Veranda Deck. This was due to the massive crowd of fellow cruisers trying to do the same. Our

luggage arrived about 3-4 hours later, in perfect condition, right to the door of our Interior Staterooms on deck 8. Day One, Fun Day At Sea- After being on deck all the night before getting used to the ship, finding the rooms of our friends who traveled with us. I met our cruise director, Paul Stanley, in one of the very nice glass elevators on my way up to see the Ice Carving and The Hairy Chest Contest. He is one of the funniest people in the world. He is even more funny then the comedian who was performing the night in the Rome Lounge. You must meet him! After tanning on Lido deck for half the day, I decided to grab a bite to eat. Now, I did not care for the food that they served in the main Dinning Rooms so that night I stayed in my cabin and ordered a peanut butter and jelly sandwich from the very handy room service. Day Two, Cozumel, Mexico- Cozumel looks very small from the deck of the ship and that it is, very small. The Triumph luckily did not have to take a tender to shore. When we got on shore the first thing in our face, photographers. They are very pushy; you can either take the picture for the fun or just politely say no. My family did not order any Shore Excursions, we stayed on the main strip and shopped and partied. I highly suggest Carlos n’ Charlie’s, best restaurant in the world! It was very windy in Cozumel but other then that, it was a great day. Here is a fact for you, for every car in Cozumel there is seven taxis, so you can get where you want to be. Day Three, Fun Day At Sea- Today was the first Formal Night in the dinning rooms, which I did not really want to do, dressing up and all, but I eventually went and had a good time. You get to meet new people that will sit at your table, which is very pleasant. Today was my golf day. I am a huge golfer. It was great having a specialist on board to help me in all ways. Later that night I went to play Scattagories in the Rome Lounge. I was there the rest of the night, playing Bingo, almost winning and watched the Magic Act by Kevin & Caruso. It was a great act with the music and all but the tricks were very lame and I could easily figure them out. Day Four, Grand Caymen, Caymen Islands- Our second stop of three was great. Although having to take a tender to shore and waiting to get back on one to get on board. Here is a very valuable piece of information, DO NOT RIDE THE TAXI’S OR BUSES WITHOUT A RED STICKER OR LICENSE PLATE and DO NOT RENT THE MOPEDS OR SCOOTERS! Without the sticker, they are not legalized and may be dangerous. The scooters are also very dangerous, sadly, there was a case of a person getting hit by a car when his scooter broke down in the middle of the road. Again we did not order any Shore Excursions and while we were on shore we easily found a bus with enough empty seats and did a two hour tour around the island stopping at all of the major sites in Grand Caymen such as the Turtle Farm, Hell and 7 Mile Beach. We did not get to do the Stingray Excursion due to the wind in the open water. Everything in Grand Caymen cost a lot more then you would think, try to hold off getting many souvenirs because you will see it will cost you. Overall, the Caymen Islands are a great place to go. Day Five, Ocho Rios, Jamaica- Ocho Rios was by far the best destination on this cruise. So much that you can do and here is one that you absolutely have to do! Dunn’s River Falls, at first it may look scary as you walk up the famous falls as water is shooting down at you but it is not that bad. You have to do it! Then there is the Bob Marley Museum which is also necessary visit. Now the vendors are definitely the worst of all the stops. First the will come to you and say “respect” and put there hand out to shake yours and then when you do, they will ask you question like “ do you like necklaces?” and other things like that when you answer you will be at there booth buying a wooden elephant! Just keep that in mind. Also, the taxi drivers, they will say “do you need a drive” you say “no” and then he will offer you a joint. Now if you are one of those people who would take it, you better watch out! Most of them are undercover cops trying to stop the major drug problem in Jamaica. The weather was great and you must go to Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville. Day Six, Fun Day At Sea- Now since it’s the last day on the vessel I decided to get some final pictures of the great sites around the ship and that I did walking the ship for three hours taking in all of the wonderful things that have happened to me. That night was the best show all week. Throughout the week, there was Karaoke each night in the Club Rio Lounge, which was quite amusing. That night the picked the person who most resembled the singers such as James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Madonna etcetera, etcetera. This was funny! Debarkation- During the debarkation we had the choice to get off on our own with our luggage or give them our luggage to bring ashore and then we get off when they call our deck. We chose to give them our luggage. We were one of the last decks to be called which we didn’t mind because we had an extra day in Miami and it was easier to find our luggage. This was very quick and very easy. Overall- This cruise was the best vacation I have ever been on and I would definitely do it again! Everything was perfect and I definitely recommend Carnival to anyone going on a first time cruise. Everyone was nice, almost all the food was great and everything was easy to locate and find. I would rate this cruise 110% on everything!

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Feb 24, 2007

Eastern Caribbean

We (Jo-Anne and Gary) are just back from our Carnival Triumph cruise to the Eastern Caribbean – February 24 – March 3, 2007. I spent the 6 months prior to our cruise reading reviews and forums and it is now payback time – I’m going to contribute a review. You might as well know before you read this that we thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of this trip and I’m going to offer (what I think) are some really good tips. The Triumph

left on Saturday February 24 at 4:00. I don’t like worrying about connections etc. so we arranged to fly to Miami on Thursday the 22nd. We stayed at the Holiday Inn right at the Port of Miami. Great choice. The rooms were reasonable ($125 for Thursday, $160 for Friday) and were OK – nothing fancy but clean and adequate. The Bayside Mall is right across the street and is a great place. Lots of restaurants, shopping, entertainment, and a really nice place to visit. Since we flew in on Thursday we had a full day Friday to sightsee and we went to South Beach. If you haven’t been to South Beach – it is well worth seeing. We took a cab from the Holiday Inn and I asked him to take us to the News Café. Cab ride was about $10. The News Café is one of the most popular spots on the beach – at 800 Ocean Drive. It has a live web cam (www.newscafe.com) and I used it for the month prior at least once a day to check the Miami weather – check how the patrons were dressed. We walked to Joe’s Stone Crab and had a wonderful lunch at this landmark restaurant. I’ve been told that the wait for a table in the evening is about 2 hours but there was no wait for lunch. For dinner we went back to Bayside Mall and went to “The Knife” – an Argentinean Steakhouse. I really liked it because I’m a meat eater and this was like paradise – ribs, steak, chicken, pork, stuffed chicken, fish – take your choice and you can have as much of each as you want. It was a fixed price of $22.95 each. Thursday we had dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp and it was nice too! The Mall has a bandstand on the waterfront, there was a live band on Friday and we had a drink and sat outside on a beautiful Friday night and listened to them. First Really Good Tip – arrive at least 1 day early, stay near the Port of Miami, and enjoy the Bayside Mall. (We stayed at the Holiday Inn but there are lots of hotels in the area). After all, this is a holiday and you want to relax and not worry about making connections. We arrived 2 days early, but you don’t have to do that, but do get in the day before. I should also add that there is a Liquor Store and a Walgreen drug store about 2 blocks from the Holiday Inn. We bought sunscreen and some toiletries at the drug store and 6 bottles of wine at the liquor store. (I’ll discuss issues pertaining to alcohol later). On Saturday we got up and had a nice breakfast in the hotel. Then we went for a walk. But, at 10:20 I was getting pretty “antsy” so I said to Jo-Anne - “let’s go”. Carnival suggests a 1:00 PM boarding time but I’ve read on several forums that you can get on early if you try. Second Really Good Tip – get to the ship early! We took a cab from the Holiday Inn at 10:30 and after the 5 minute ($7) ride we arrived at the port. A porter took our luggage (I tipped him $5 for 2 bags) and he pointed to the building where we should go next. There were about 40 people in line being processed. In about 15 minutes we were at the front and were processed. Then onto the next step – pick up your Fun Pass. The whole process was very organized and everything was ready for us. We then sat in a comfortable lounge for about 45 minutes. At 11:45 we were told we could board. At 12:00 Jo-Anne and I were on board, drink in hand, standing at the New York Deli getting a Pastrami on Rye for me, and a Rueben for Jo-Anne. No kidding – 12:00!!! We got into our cabin around 2:00. I booked a balcony for the cruise – it was very nice and we enjoyed sitting on our balcony very much. Usually around 4:00 or so we would order some snacks from Room Service and have them with a glass or two of wine. And we really enjoyed leaving and arriving at ports from the balcony. I’ve seen several threads about “smuggling liquor on board”. We phoned Carnival several weeks before departure and ordered 2 bottles of rum (1 liter) to be in our room on arrival. Cost was $40 apiece. It was more than you would pay in a liquor store but it saved a lot on the ship. We also brought 6 bottles of wine with us – Carnival says that a “reasonable” amount of wine is OK. I thought that was reasonable. I felt that we followed the rules and I preferred that to outright smuggling. Each to his own though. We both felt the ship was kept very clean – spotless even. Tables were always cleared immediately and there were always empty tables available on the Lido Deck. Food everywhere was excellent. Had Prime Rib on 2 separate nights and it was delicious. Jo-Anne ordered all the seafood and thought it to be delicious – especially the lobster – which Cyrus made sure she had 2 of. We ate every evening dinner in the Paris Dining Room. Our head waiter Cyrus was absolutely wonderful. His assistant, Zoran, was our favorite – very funny, and just a delight. Drink service on the Lido Deck was excellent and very attentive. On different occasions we had the lunch buffet on the Lido Deck with a fish dish to die for, Pastrami and Reuben sandwiches from the NY Deli, Pizza and cheeseburgers. All were good. I like my food, expected it to be good and was not disappointed. People still “reserve” deck chairs early and keep them all day. I guess you just have to deal with that. I decided I couldn’t beat them, so I did it too for the last couple of days. Our stops were at San Juan, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and St. Martin. As we got in at 5:00 and left at 12:00 Jo-Anne and I didn’t get off the ship at San Juan. In hindsight we both agree we should have got off and at least had a walk around the old town. We talked to some people who did and they enjoyed it. In St. Thomas we went on the Catamaran Champagne Sail away. Sailed across to St. John – Trunk’s Bay. Lovely excursion. We snorkeled at St. John’s and then enjoyed champagne, cheeses, breads, and fresh fruit on the way back. I would highly recommend this excursion – but book early, (we booked through the Carnival site a week before departure). At St. Martin we simply got off the ship and took a taxi to Orient Beach. Orient beach is divided into separate sites – largely by the color of beach chairs and umbrellas. We went to Bikini Beach because a friend who has been there before recommended it. Orient Beach is several miles long and there about 10 different sites. One just flows into the other. Be warned that part of Orient Beach is nude. We walked through it (kept our clothes on) but no one seemed bothered. Quite the experience. All in all Orient Beach is a very beautiful spot. I highly recommend you go there. And, don’t worry about getting there or getting back – there are taxis everywhere and you won’t have any problems. We paid $7 each to get there and $7 each to return. Third Really Good Tip – if you go to St. Martin go to Orient Beach. And do it on your own. And here is a Bonus Tip – go to Bikini Beach and have lunch in the lovely little restaurant there. Orient Beach is on the French side of the island and they love good food. Jo-Anne and I had lunch there and it may have been one of the best meals all trip. I had a mixed stir fry consisting of scallops, shrimp, chicken, pork, and some wonderful vegetables in a sauce “to die for”. Jo-Anne had a salad filled with fruit, seafood, and vegetables and she loved it. Now, back to the ship. I thought the shows were good. I particularly enjoyed the Legends Show” on the last night. Early in the cruise people were invited to audition for roles like Elvis, Elton John, Cher, etc. Then, once chosen they rehearsed with the ship’s live band. They performed on Friday night and it was a great show. Our cruise director was Paul and he also did a great job. Getting off the ship was relatively easy. We had an early flight and were allowed to leave with the first group. You have to “self assist” – carry your own luggage – to do this. If you don’t do that, keep in mind that there are 3000 people who have to get off so don’t get impatient. All in all we had a great trip. Neither Jo-Anne nor I had any complaints. Carnival did a good job and the staff on the Triumph were nothing short of wonderful. I have read some pretty negative reviews on some of the forums but I certainly didn’t experience anything negative. And, I’m not naïve, I think my expectations are pretty much the same as most other people’s. Maybe Carnival reads the reviews and corrects things that are mentioned. I’d cruise again and I’d cruise Carnival again and I’d choose the Triumph again.

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Dec 9, 2006

Western Caribbean

I'm 28, gay, single, and cruised completely solo. Aside from having to pay a couple hundred dollars extra for my own cabin, I'd say this was a perfectly fine cruise to go solo on. I live in one of the big, impersonal Northeastern cities, so I was literally blown away with how friendly most people were and how many people I was able to meet. This was by no means a "gay cruise" (it was lots of families, primarily), but I did meet a few

gay singles on board, completely at random. So that was nice. EMBARKATION Get there as close to the end as possible if you don't want to wait in line. That's about the only advice I can offer. Even if your "FunPass" is totally filled out, you'll still wait in line. I got there around 1:30 (for a 4 p.m. embarkation) and waited about 30-45 minutes. THE SHIP ITSELF It's huge, obviously, but not unmanageable. I actually printed out a deck plan from home and carried it with me for the first day or two, so I could learn the ins and outs of the ship. After the second day or so, I more or less knew where everything was. On Deck: I never had a problem finding an open deck chair, though I guess it's easier when you're just one person. (Also, the first few days were cloudy, which probably helped.) You'll want to have a perch within view of the main pool for the schmaltzy games (hairy chest contest, "Survivor," etc.), though if you can't see it, you'll definitely be able to hear it thanks to the loudspeakers. If you're looking for a quieter place to watch the sunset (or just read), try the deck on either side of the Lobby level. The Gym: If you're expecting a state-of-the-art facility, think again. The cardio equipment is hugely dated, and there's not enough of it (with the exception of treadmills). The atmosphere is dark and claustrophobic, not at all conducive to working out. Probably the biggest disappointment of the cruise. The outdoor track is OK for running, but it's pretty small (11 laps make a mile) and you have to negotiate walkers and gawkers. One random oddity: All hot tubs -- even the ones in the gym -- were closed the week I cruised. Not sure why, but that was a bit of a bummer. THE ROOMS I went the el-cheapo route (inside stateroom), but I wasn’t planning on spending a lot of time in my room, so it worked out just fine. Beds were incredibly comfortable. It's almost impossible not to meet your room steward in person at some point as you're walking from your room to the elevators... mine was incredibly nice and went out of his way to strike up conversations with me. They're really good about monitoring when you are and aren't in your room (kind of like Big Brother, but in a non-scary way) so that they know when to turn your bed for the night, make your bed in the morning, etc. The towel animals they leave for you at night are a hoot. Bathrooms come stocked with shampoo and soap dispensers, razors (but no shaving cream), facial wash, and even a little thing of deodorant. Minor quibble: The network reception in my room was pretty poor. I didn't watch a ton of TV, but it was definitely something I noticed. FOOD: LIDO DECK Not great, not terrible, but good God, there sure was plenty of it. If you're on a diet of any sort, expect it to be busted here unless you have Herculean willpower. The buffet fare served at lunch and dinner was palatable, no more. I actually found the desserts to be the best part, though that's probably because I have an insatiable sweet tooth. Lines could go from nonexistent to insufferably long, depending on your timing. The worst line of the week by far was actually at the midnight "gala buffet" on the penultimate night. They set it up early so you can take pictures of all the food -- that part's kind of cool -- but as it turned out, it looked a WHOLE lot better than it tasted, with the exception perhaps of the desserts. The most consistent Lido Deck food I had all trip was actually the sandwiches from the New York Deli. Lines are longer during the day when everyone is poolside, shorter in the evening. As others have written here, the Reuben and the Pastrami are both good. (Though I do find it humorous that the sandwiches are labeled "overstuffed" -- they're just standard size, maybe even a little punier.) Pizza is solid; if you don't want to wait, take a piece of whatever he's got already made. The novelty of having it available 24 hours a day wears off quickly, especially when you have to wait 15 minutes for it. I never tried the Hong Kong Noodle place. Stuff looked appetizing enough from a distance. Breakfast fare, again, was merely decent. They have buffet stations with your standard stuff -- pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, etc. -- or a separate line where you can have an omelet made. Frankly, I got more out of the pastry selections (mmm, those cinnamon buns!) and a bowl of cereal with milk. FOOD: ROOM SERVICE Very basic menu of sandwiches, fruits/salads, drinks and desserts. The chocolate cake was the best thing I had. I did room service four or five times; it always took 15-30 minutes for things to arrive. FOOD: DINING ROOMS I didn't bring a suit, so I had dinner in the dining rooms only on the non-formal nights. Again... the food was good, not great. Definitely don't hesitate to order two of whatever if you feel like it. I'm a natural introvert so I was a little leery about eating with strangers, but it turned out to be perfectly pleasant. I was seated with another single cruiser, a family from Australia and another pair who only showed up once. The service was friendly and prompt. Never had to wait too long between courses. If you're watching your weight, the dining rooms offer a "Spa Carnival" selection for each course (appetizer, main course, dessert). I never tried any of them, but it's nice to know they're there, anyway. An aside: You can sit in the dining rooms for breakfast or lunch, but it's open seating. I went for just one breakfast and requested a table to myself, and it was like pulling teeth (even though there were plenty of empty tables available). Had the eggs benedict -- the one thing on the menu you can't also get on the Lido deck -- and it was just OK. Never had lunch in the dining room. THE ENTERTAINMENT Each evening, you receive a copy of "Carnival Capers," the guide to what's going on the next day, both on deck (during the day) and in the various entertainment venues (at night). There's always something happening, but I never felt overwhelmed or like there were two or three things I wanted to do at once. Really, all you need to know is this: Anything involving the cruise director, Paul Santley, is a must-see. He was funnier than any of the comedians and more entertaining by himself than any of the other shows were without him. That's not to say the other shows aren't worth seeing... just that anything involving Paul is a must-see. The main shows for the evening (along with all the Bingo games and some of the other second-tier shows) are held in the multi-level Rome Lounge. The major shows each night are offered twice so that you can see them regardless of whether you’ve got early or late dinner seating. All the other entertainment venues are conveniently set together in the same vicinity of the ship... a casino and several lounges with varying themes. My favorites were the nightly karaoke at the Venezia lounge, and Mark at the piano bar. (I tend to hear "piano bar" and think it's going to put me to sleep, but he kept it very entertaining... lots of contemporary hits, etc.) The Oxford Lounge, in my humble opinion, is the coolest room on the ship, but it's also the trickiest to find, stuck on Deck 4 in between the two dining rooms with no direct access from the main central atrium. MONEY MATTERS Before boarding, you get a "Sail and Sign Card" that serves as your room key, the key to your in-room safe, and a debit card for on-board purchases. It's very convenient... maybe a little TOO convenient. =o) When you wake up on the final morning, you get a bill under your door for how much you've spent, and it's charged to your credit card if you put a credit card down. What's free? All the food, dispenser-style juice/tea/coffee (grievously, the gratis beverages are only available on Lido deck or via room service), all the entertainment. What's extra? Alcoholic drinks, anything involving your photo being taken, anything you spend in the casino, any souvenirs you choose to purchase on board. If you're not an alcohol drinker or a huge shopper (like me) it's pretty easy to go the whole week without dropping much extra cash. One note: If you end up receiving an "on-board credit" to spend on the ship, you get that money refunded to your credit card if you don't spend it. So don't feel like you have to spend it just because you've got it (though, by all means, spend away if you want to). Another note: Carnival automatically bills your account $70 for tips. You can go to the Purser's Information Deck anytime during the cruise and adjust this amount up or down. PORT OF CALL: COZUMEL The ship docks on the island of Cozumel, then if you're doing an excursion on the mainland, you take a separate boat to Playa del Carmen. The waters were INCREDIBLY choppy on our ride to Playa... so take a Dramamine or something beforehand if you have a weak stomach. I did the 11-hour excursion to Chichén Itzá. The departure process to the ruins was a bit disorganized... all the tour groups (for Tulum, Chichén Itzá, etc.) were essentially gathered together under one canopy. Definitely stay alert, lest you end up on a bus to the wrong place. The ruins were simply amazing, once we finally got there -- the ride itself was an incredible experience, down these long, flat, thin inland roads packed with cars, trucks, other buses and even pedestrians. Only complaint was that the place we were taken for lunch and shopping was a complete tourist trap, and the food was terrible... would've appreciated something a little more authentic. Only had about an hour to spare when we finally got back, so I strolled a few blocks down the main drag in San Miguel. Didn't seem like there was too much to see, aside from the ubiquitous Senior Frogs and shopping joints oriented to cruisers. PORT OF CALL: GRAND CAYMAN The ship sets anchor offshore near George Town -- apparently their port can't handle a ship this size, so you take a separate "tender" to get to shore. (Thankfully the ride to shore was far more peaceful than the one from Cozumel to Playa -- I'd woken up with miserable stomach cramps, which I'd later discover was a mild form of norovirus.) My excursion was through a separate agency (Soto's Cruises) for a combination snorkel and trip to Stingray Sandbar. Excellent value compared with what you'd pay through Carnival. Definitely not hard to tell how monied the island is -- golf courses and lavish homes all over the place, especially once you get outside George Town proper. After the trip to the sandbar, I had the van driver drop me off at Seven Mile Beach (a must-see, for the white sands and amazingly warm/clear water), and I walked back to the port from there. It's about a mile one-way, not too bad at all if you're in reasonable shape. PORT OF CALL: OCHO RIOS We docked (at an actual dock), and unlike Cozumel, the tour embarkation process was incredibly well organized. I did the "river tubing adventure" through Carnival. Definitely worth it. The ride into the hills above Ocho Rios was very slow and very bumpy, but it provided an amazing snapshot of life and architecture on the island. The water itself was crystal blue and exhilaratingly cool, though I wish we'd had more time in the water -- just 30 minutes or so. One other thing: Don't do this if you don't have decent arm strength, because you have to paddle yourself out of still water several times. I had a couple of hours to spare after the tubing was over with, so I walked to Dunn's River Falls (about a mile) and back. COMPLETELY overrated. I'm glad I didn't pay for the excursion itself. Though it has its moments, the walk along the main highway to the falls isn't exactly stunning (you walk past a sewage treatment facility, and the sidewalk sort of comes and goes, among other things). Not something I'd attempt with kids in tow. Still some more time after I got back from the falls, so I walked into downtown Ocho Rios. The locals are completely harmless -- they'll offer you a taxi, and if you don't accept one, they'll offer you a joint. It's all rather amusing. The main thing to remember there is that EVERYTHING is negotiable. DEBARKATION It was miserable, but by accident: Someone slipped and fell on the gangway, so we had to stand in line for well over an hour to be able to get off. (And by the time we knew we'd have to wait in line and all got the smart thought to go back to our rooms, we were told we couldn't because they'd already been prepared for the new arrivals.) Can't really fault Carnival for that, I guess, but it still wasn't much fun. I carried my bags off with me, which in theory is supposed to save you lots of time. THE GRAND CONCLUSION If I had to give the cruise a grade, I'd say solid B+. Or 8 out of 10, whichever you prefer. Would definitely do it all over again.

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Dec 2, 2006

Eastern Caribbean

Please read this review if you're considering going on the Triumph as most of the other reviews on this site are negative and I had a fabulous time. The embarkation process was very smooth and while we did have to wait in line for a little while it was to be expected considering how many people were trying to get on at the same time. Once we were on board there were cocktails waiting for us on Lido deck...brilliant. The ship (or

vessel as it should be called) is huge and beautifully decorated. We were upgraded to a balcony room on the first day which was fantastic. We're not sure why...just lucky I guess. The food was fantastic and anyone who faults it has expectations that are way too high. The dinners in the London or Paris dining rooms could not be faulted and the service was superb. The tours were great and reasonably priced. The islands were lovely and the locals were very welcoming. Only one warning to single people...our cruise was all married people with families or couples. If you're looking to meet someone special this is not the cruise for you. While I am single and so is my friend that I went with, we still had a great time and met some lovely people. The debarkation process was very smooth also as we chose to take our bags of the vessel ourselves. All in all I had a great time and would highly recommend Carnival to anyone looking for a relaxing, self indulgent holiday.

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Nov 18, 2006

Eastern Caribbean

Sailing: Choosing the right ship and itinerary for a 14-person family vacation can become an ordeal! In my mind, with such diverse ages in our group,17-85, a 5-day cruise would be just the right amount of time. However, the 7-day cruise on the Triumph was the best deal out there, all things considered - so, here we go! Everyone booking a cruise needs to be aware that there are many incentives available; past-guest rates, military discounts,

etc. I booked directly with Carnival through vacation planner, Damien Smart. Damien gladly took the extra time to arrange our bookings so everyone would receive some type of discounted rate - pairing those with military or past guest status with those first timers in our group. What made it more difficult is that not all reservations were made at the same time. The whole process went down without a hitch and we were on our way to Miami! We have always had great experiences flying into Ft. Lauderdale, and then taking a taxi to port of Miami. With numerous people, it is cheaper and eliminates another "waiting process" over the shuttle buses that are available. Boarding was an easy process and the lined moved at a reasonable pace. There were a few more added "checkpoints" in the boarding line than previous cruises serving no purpose other than to regulate certain areas from over crowding. After boarding, we had to visit the Purser's Desk and "re-do" our room assignments to whom was actually with who which was easily accommodated by the staff. Well worth the savings we acquired by the complicated reservation shuffling! Now to the cabins! Ours was 6385, a balcony stateroom mid-ship. All was in great order there and Javier the steward called us by name before we put the card in the door. He knew everyone in our group and where they were located, even the ones outside of his "jurisdiction." He was pleasant and attentive the entire trip and had perfected the art of towel animals! We were assigned to the Paris Dining Room, Upper Level with Ludwila, from Russia, and Edjuardo, from the Phillippines. They were sincere, pleasant, and interacted with our group just as they were our family! The food was good and the service was outstanding! Ok, maybe the filet or prime rib wasn't always perfect for everyone but I cannot make this happen when grilling for just 4 at home, much less 3000 at sea! Desserts were tasty, especially the chocolate melting cake. I personally love the traditional assigned dining because it allows the staff to put a personal touch on your experience, which I missed when trying anytime dining on other lines. I won't bore anyone with further dinner reviews for all were pleasant. Although the buffets are loaded with popular breakfast items, everyone should at least try breakfast in the dining room, most especially the eggs benedict! The pizzeria always came in handy just when you needed it. It would be nice if they would make more of the popular selections up ahead of time rather than each pizza to order. Adjacent to the pizzeria was the grill, which had delicious burgers, fries, steak and chicken sandwiches. The buffet always had a nice selection and carving station, with quick moving lines. I tell people the main reason I love Carnival is because they have actual ketchup, mustard, and even A-1 bottles on the tables in the buffet areas! Sure beats those tacky cups and plastic pouches! Having traveled on both other Destiny-class ships before, the Triumph's deck plan was already familiar to me. I encouraged everyone to first find the best route to the dining room, then the pool, the atrium, and then the casino and everything else would fall into place, which it did for no one ever got lost very long! The demographics of a Thanksgiving cruise can be all over the board and this one was. All ages from all nationalities were present in full force. Family cruises seem to be getting more popular every year and this cruise was proof. The days at sea are a great time to explore the ship and take advantage of its numerous offerings. There truly is something for everyone. Something was missing on this ship, this cruise...there was no band on the pool deck - ever. We later learned that the band was on holiday vacation and no replacement was available. No big deal because everything else was in full swing to make up for it. The casino staff on the Triumph is the friendliest I have encountered, even though they managed to keep all of my winnings! If you frequent the casino, be sure and join the ocean players club for extra perks. I've never been too big on cruise ship productions, but was very impressed with the talent and shows on Triumph. They were easy to follow, very enjoyable and consisted of some really complicated sets and set-changes. Even the comedians were actually funny and the illusion show was incredible. The "Legends" show, featuring actual guests in various roles, is much better than the previous talent shows. On future ships, Carnival needs to put more emphasis on their pools and pool decks, which can be hard to navigate at times. The miniature golf course was in great condition and actually fun to play! The waterslide is awesome and really fast. By the third time I figured out exactly when to hold my breath before splashing into the trough at the end. First port was the Port of San Juan, with the ship arriving in the evening just before dark. There is enough time for visiting Old San Juan if you hurry. Although we didn't have an excursion in San Juan, many recommend the Barcardi tour, which we haven't tried yet. All in all, I would prefer skipping San Juan for Half Moon Cay, or for allowing more time in St Maarten or St Thomas. The ship simply isn't in San Juan at the right time to do this stop justice. In St. Thomas, the first thing to do is tour the island after getting off the ship and we recommend Henry's Island Tours. The port personnel all know Henry so just ask when you go thru the turn-styles. Henry is a native of the island and served our country in Vietnam. We have used him numerous times and always enjoy his flexible touring. Banana daquiris are plentiful at the various stops. St. Maarten can really be fun to explore on your own. Cars are easy to rent just to the right of the port pier. Always negotiate and let the different companies there compete back and forth. Don't bother with reservations because there are always more cars, jeeps, and vans. There are many interesting areas of the island, although I personally think Marigot is overrated. I would rather spend the extra time in Phillipsburg. We had lunch at a great place near Oyster Pond called Captain Marvin's. At the restaurant/marina, for restaurant guests there is a pool with transparent sides and waterfall overlooking the restaurant table area. Grouper sandwiches are great here! After lunch, might as well make the ceremonial stop at Orient Beach where "what shouldn't be - IS and what should-be - ISN'T! On the far left of the beach is Bikini Beach, whose 2-man band was playing great oldies! They did not charge for loungers, or using the bathroom as long as you bought something there, or looked like you were. OK, its time to get back to Miami. The new "self-assist" disembarking was a total nightmare. Rather than going by floors as called, the whole ship went at one time and no enforcement provisions were made. I understand that is not the usual case but next time, we'll just book a return flight after 1:00 and be the last ones to leisurely get off the ship! The Destiny class ships are among the most stable ships we have traveled on and Triumph was no exception! The Eastern Caribbean can get pretty rough and these ships handle the seas well, with mid-ship to aft cabins ride being noticeably smoother when rough. Whether it is your first cruise, second, or more, you can count on the Triumph to give you a great experience at a great price!

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Nov 4, 2006

Eastern Caribbean

My wife and I have decided this will be our first and last Carnival cruise. Let's start at the beginning - we booked our air through Carnival with the idea that doing so would protect us in case of air problems. Carnival booked us a flight from Toronto to Montreal with about an hour to change planes and fly to Miami. Our flight was delayed due to a medical emergency and we missed the connecting flight, Air Canada was very good and had

tickets for a connection to Fort Lauderdale, the new tickets were ready when we got off the plane. I called Carnival from the Montreal Airport and was told that the shuttle would be gone by the time we got to Fort Lauderdale and we would need to find our own way to the ship. They didn't offer any assistance at all, they just told me we would have to take a taxi at our expense. I was also told that I would have to contact the airline for re-imbursement. I did not book my air travel with the airline, I booked it with Carnival. Carnival should reimburse me and they should contact the airline for reimbursement. I then called the agency we booked with, they contacted Carnival and relayed to me that there would be a Carnival agent at the Fort Lauderdale airport who would try to assist us in getting to the ship. There was not, and we had to take a taxi to the Port of Miami at a cost of $75. We arrived at the ship at about 3:15pm, 15 minutes before last call. I asked the taxi driver for a receipt but in the rush to get to the ship forgot to obtain it. Once we were on the ship and in our room we discovered our television did not function. I told the room steward and she said it would be looked at by a technician. Later that evening the TV still did not work. I went to the Information desk and explained the problems we encountered getting to the ship. They would not refund our taxi fare without a receipt. I offered our transfer coupon which we obviously did not use for the shuttle. I guess they think we walked from the Fort Lauderdale Airport because they still would not offer a refund. The clerk did say she would file a report and get me a reference number that evening. For the record, I did not get it until Monday morning. I then brought up the TV problems we were having and was told the whole ship was without TV due to satellite problems. I accepted that and went back to my room. The next morning we still did not have any TV. We went for breakfast and my wife overheard another couple talking about using their TV to book shore excursions. I then asked several couples if they had TV and all said their TV worked fine, from the moment they boarded the ship. Now, I was upset at the experience we had the first day but being lied to left me extremely angry. I returned to the information desk and told the clerk what I had discovered. She seemed startled at the fact that I knew she had lied to me. She even said, why would I lie? I don't know why she would but she knew we had no TV and even if she did believe that it was satellite problems, she never followed up to see if it was working. So for a day and a half, when the weather was miserable and we couldn't be outside, we couldn't use our TV either. The clerk said she would have it looked at, and some time Sunday evening our TV was replaced. She also told me that she sent a message to Carnival's head office asking about my request for a refund but would not get an answer until Monday. To be honest I did not believe her. I think she just said that to try and make me feel better. The night we arrived my wife went to the spa and was supposed to be given a 50 minute massage, I had hoped that it would make her feel better since we had suffered so much stress that day. She came back to the room from her 8:00pm appointment and was very upset. She said that the first 5 or 10 minutes the masseuse just talked, then for what seemed like 15 or 20 minutes at the end the masseuse talked again. Before leaving, my wife was offered a body scrub brush which she thought was a gift, she was never told there was any charge but there it was, on the invoice. Then my wife was told that the masseuse was not a Registered Massage Therapist, something we specifically asked before booking the appointment. The lady that booked the appointment said that all Massage Therapists on board were registered, why say that if it is not true? We are able to submit invoices for re-imbursement to our insurance company if it is from a registered massage therapist. Now we cannot do that. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind paying for something if I get what I am paying for. In the above cases I don't believe I am getting anything from Carnival. It seems that their staff just want our money and don't concern themselves with honesty and integrity. The way I see it Carnival owes us $75.00 for the taxi we had to take to the ship and $79.00 for a massage that we expected to be reimbursed for by our insurance company. There is nothing they could say or do to make us feel like we would want to cruise Carnival again, but being reimbursed for these added expenses would leave us feeling like somebody cared about the experience we had. I sent the above to Carnival while still on the ship but they didn't reply. Things only got worse after the initial writing of this letter. My wife purchased from their spa, a treatment kit valued at over $400.00. After using it for a few days she felt there was not enough of one of the creams that she was given. She decided to visit the spa expecting to purchase the additional cream but was instead told that she was not using the product correctly and was wasting it. My wife explained that she was doing what she was told to do, but the manager became aggressive and insisted that my wife was not doing it right. This left my wife extremely upset and she was actually in tears when I saw her. Unbelievable that a person would go to a spa to feel relaxed and the spa on the Carnival Triumph made her feel the exact opposite. I took the kit that my wife purchased back to the spa and told them to take it back, they of course refused citing that it was opened. Now, I am sure by this point that I was yelling and telling them how much I thought of Carnival, to which they replied they were not associated with Carnival. I was stunned, and replied "But you are wearing Carnival name tags". I returned the un-opened portion and left, just a little angrier then when I went in. I guess this could go on and on, yes there is much more. Mostly the little things that really wouldn’t have affected our vacation but these items above basically ruined a lot of the memories we hoped we would be left with. Finally, a response from Carnival, they don't seem interested at all. The first line of their e-mail says to contact the agency I booked with. Not sorry you had so many problems, no, they don't acknowledge that. NEVER AGAIN! We went on a Princess cruise 3 years ago and it was 100 times better, in every way.

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Sep 6, 2006

Eastern Caribbean

I traveled with about 30 family members to celebrate a reunion. Booking the cruise was a disaster. We never had any idea who our representative was, as they kept changing. Also the price kept changing (increasing of course), and no matter how much more we paid they always came back claiming we still had a balance. After threatening to cancel the trip entirely, Carnival offered us a free bottle of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries

for each room. When we arrived, there was quite possibly the cheapest bottle of champagne known to mankind, and unripe strawberries with several long black hairs on the plate. Our luggage did not arrive to the room until after dinner time, and it was carelessly left outside our door where anyone could have taken it. We never received one of our bags. The steward suggested that we "go look over there," pointing to a huge pile of bags thrown in a corner of the hallway. We found our bag, which had been badly damaged with holes torn in it, handle ripped off, and all ID tags missing. Food was mediocre at best. The buffet lines are extremely long, and most empty tables had dirty dishes on them with no busboy clearing them. I noticed that food is frequently "recycled" -- whatever is served in the dining room one night magically appears on the buffet the next night. I have a medical condition that requires special food preparation, which Carnival told me would be easily accommodated and to simply tell the waiter. Unfortunately the waiter was either not aware of this policy or unwilling to follow through, and refused to make dietary modifications. Considering most of the food is very heavy, greasy, fattening, there was very little that I could eat the entire cruise. San Juan was a waste of time. The ship did not get there until the evening, when everything was closed except for the bars. Only the drunkards seemed to enjoy this. St Thomas was okay, although the snorkeling excursion was over priced and a waste of time. Basically we were taken out on a small boat and told to jump off and swim "over there where the reef is." After swimming for 30 minutes, no one in the group found any kind of reef, and before we knew it the captain was indicating that it was time to get back on the boat. St. Maarten was okay, although we were once again ripped off by Carnival on another excursion (Divvy Beach excursion). They charged $45 for a day on a private beach, including lunch. First, we were charged to rent beach chairs and umbrellas on top of what we already paid. Lunch consisted of hotdogs cooked outside on a grill. Other cruise goers simply walked over to the beach from the ship and hung out all day for free. There was really no point in paying that much money for this. Even the spa tried to rip us off. They advertised a special drawing to be held at 8 pm, which we all attended. Of course we did not win, but as a "consolation prize" the spa offered $30 off any service to everyone present at the drawing. I immediately went to the counter to receive my $30 credit for the massage that I had already booked for later in the cruise. I was told that I did not qualify for the $30 discount they had just offered, since I had booked my massage the day before. I was so upset I just wanted to cancel the entire thing, to which they informed me I would be charged for the massage regardless since they require 24 hours notice. Several members of our party came down with colds, probably due to the stale re-circulated air in the cabins. They went to the infirmary and were charged $5 for ONE DOSE of over-the-counter cold medication! Considering there is nowhere else to purchase medication, they had no choice but to be ripped off $15 a day for 3 Tylenol cold tablets (normally around $4 for 30 tablets at any drug store)! I will never again go on any cruise with Carnival. They tried to rip us off at the beginning, and later succeeded in ripping us off every minute of the week-long cruise. This was not the kind of service that we appreciate or expect from a somewhat reputable cruise line.

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Sep 6, 2006

Eastern Caribbean

Embarkation: Carnival suggests that you download and print your "Fun Pass" at home prior to embarkation as this will speed things along; however, EVERYBODY in line had a "Fun Pass" so it did not seem to have any benefit as far as shorter lines were concerned. The customer service reps at the Port of Miami were very polite and professional, and were a pleasure to deal with. Despite the long lines, they moved quickly, and we were able

to board the ship in a reasonable amount of time. The baggage handlers at the port carelessly threw our luggage around on the pavement outside the terminal and were incredibly rude, stating "this is when you're supposed to tip us." (When our luggage arrived to our stateroom that evening, half of it was damaged so badly that it was no longer functional and we had to purchase new luggage.) On-Board the cruise director went out of their way to be friendly and provide great customer service. Our room was made up promptly each morning, clean towels and ice were replenished throughout the day, and turn-down service was provided each night. Stateroom: We had two ocean-view rooms, which had two portholes that did not open. As a warning to everyone, THERE ARE NO NON-SMOKING ROOMS ANYWHERE ON BOARD. Our rooms obviously had smokers in them. The bedding and carpet was full of cigarette burn holes and they did nothing to try to fumigate the room prior to us boarding the ship. The room, as well as the rest of the ship, was FREEZING as the recirculated air seemed to be set at the coldest setting and there was no apparent way to control the temperature of the individual rooms. Keep this in mind and pack accordingly. I did not think I'd need to pack sweats and a coat for a trip to the Caribbean, but I sure wish I had. Also keep in mind that none of the shops on board nor on the islands seem to sell sweatshirts or other warm apparel. Entertainment: Again, there is smoking EVERYWHERE. Carnival attempts to hang "no smoking" signs in certain areas, but rude people smoke in those areas anyway and Carnival does nothing about it. All of the bars and the casino were unbearable. Sitting outside on the decks was a challenge too, with inconsiderate smokers flicking hot ashes on others and polluting the air. Speaking of sitting on-deck, it took us over an hour to find chairs located together. There were tons of empty chairs with towels tossed on them, as other passengers apparently "claim" their chair and then disappear while others are walking around forever trying to find a place to sit. Carnival has a "no saving chairs" policy as well, but does not do anything to enforce that either. Food: I put this in a separate category because I found the food on-board to be incredibly bad. Everyone always raves about the wonderful food on cruises. They must not have been talking about the Carnival Triumph! I had to send my dinner entree back to the kitchen nearly every night. The steak entrees were never cooked to order -- when requesting rare, I always received well-done. The seafood always came out dry and tough as leather. The lobster entree that many people really look forward to was tough, rubbery, and had a strange odor -- definitely NOT fresh. They inaccurately describe the food on the menu; for example, the same medium-size pink shrimp are called "Mississippi prawns" one night, and "Black tiger shrimp" another night, when in fact they are neither. Similarly, the "Grilled Atlantic salmon" and "Broiled cold water salmon" are prepared in the same manner and are one and the same. Why exaggerate? The dinner salads consisted of nothing more than iceberg lettuce with one barely-ripe tomato wedge and one thin cucumber slice. I tried the buffet a couple nights hoping for better luck, but found that they basically served reheated leftovers of whatever was served in the dining room the previous night. The lines at the buffet were always quite long, and full of people in dripping wet bathing suits and dirty hands grabbing at the food with or without utensils. I recommend trying to get food that is recently put out, so as to avoid any unwanted contamination by inconsiderate guests. The late-night food options were disappointing. There is supposedly a 24-hour pizzeria on the ship; however, I was never able to actually get any pizza as they never had any made. It was always going to be "20 minutes," with a line of people patiently waiting for the mysterious pizza. The late-night buffet consisted of hamburgers, hotdogs, fries, and cookies -- nothing else. Room service was very efficient, and it was nice that it was complimentary. The selection is very small, however -- mainly just sandwiches and a coupl! e small salads. Shore excursions: Carnival royally ripped us off on these. First, during the shore presentation, the Carnival employees reinforce how important it is to book excursions only through Carnival, to ensure one's safety on shore, etc... Once onshore, I realized that this is because Carnival charges DOUBLE the actual cost of the excursions. These same excursions can be booked through the individual companies at half the price. We found out the hard way by paying Carnival $60 each for three of us to go snorkeling. We were assured that all equipment would be provided. Well, what was provided to us was snorkels with mold growing in the mouthpieces and leaky masks. Needless to say we weren't able to do any good snorkeling with masks that filled up with water and snorkels that we could not put in our mouths. We brought this to Carnival's attention immediately upon reboarding the ship, but they refused to do anything. Speaking of shore excursion rip-offs, we noticed that the "Harley in Paradise" excursion, when booked through the private company is only $190, while Carnival charges $400 to book it through them! This is totally outrageous. Debarkation: This was handled as efficiently as embarkation, except that this time we carried off all of our own luggage so that they would not destroy it again. Again, Carnival did not fail to rip us off one last time, this time through transfer service to the airport. We paid $45 for the three of us, and they proceeded to put us on a Greyhound bus crammed full of other cruise-goers. Needless to say, we walked past dozens of local cab companies waiting just outside the ship, willing to take us to the airport for only $20. All-in-all, Carnival lived up to its reputation as far as this cruise is concerned. The service and overall quality was in line with what others have told me to expect. The most disappointing aspect was the blatant ripping off of customers and failure to stand behind their services. I can understand needing to make a profit, but marking excursions up 110%, and then taking no responsibility for what occurs on said excursions? How pathetic. We certainly won't be booking another Carnival cruise again, ever.

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By Ann_CR

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Aug 25, 2006

Eastern Caribbean

Things went bad from the start for us, when booking our cruise through Carnival. We were given the run around on many items and my vacation rep. was changed 3 times allowing a lot of confusion and many hours wasted on the phone. After complaining to the right person, I was given an upgrade to an ocean view room, a free bottle of Champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. As far as the cruise itself, getting on the boat was a breeze.

It was really organized, and we were on the boat in under an hour. We did take the transfer service from the airport to the boat, and while it was fast and organized, the bus driver more or less demanded a tip. We did not cave in as we were told ahead of time as did our transfer ticket state that gratuity was included. The boat itself was very nice, though I found Royal Caribbean's boats to be a bit more impressive. We headed upstairs to the Lido deck for the welcome buffet. This was mass chaos. Basically there are about 4 different options for eating, but you are not informed of this. There is the deli, the main buffet, the grill, pizza, and another buffet outside. The buffet itself has mediocre food and often was greasy. Stick with the grill, pizza or Asian cookery (though that is often hit or miss). When I would ask crew members on the boat where things were I would be sent in the wrong direction or given a snotty attitude. They were not helpful at all. Perhaps they had been on the boat too long, but how is that my fault? 4 hours later we got our luggage it was placed outside of our room and another bag was there that wasn't ours. It took another 2 hours for them to come and get it. I was frustrated because I didn't feel comfortable about my luggage just being left outside for anyone to take. Our room was very lovely. Quite big and a nice sized window. We were on the 2nd floor which was ok. Made it easy to get to dinner. Breakfast is the best in the dining room, though the waiters at times are rude. One even argued with my husband that eggs over hard is not an option and brought his eggs runny. Lunch is a waste of time in the dining room. Stick with the grill or the buffet. It took an hour to get our food, and it was bad. We ended up eating at the buffet anyhow. Dinner is a definite in the dining room. We asked for our own table, and they accommodated. Our waiter was fabulous and made wonderful suggestions. They even sang a few nights which was cute. The food at dinner is the best on the boat. They have 2 midnight buffets which are way crowded and just ok. The Mexican one was better than the gala buffet and it was less crowded. They did do snacks ever night, but they were dry cookies and powdery brownies. Another piece of advice, with dinner bring your drinks from the Lido deck. If you want the stuff that is free there you will have to pay for it in the dining room. This was absolutely ridiculous. The ports were much better than the western Caribbean. San Juan was beautiful though I wish we would have gotten there earlier because everything is closed except the bars. We just walked around and took in the city, which was very historic. We also hit a local bar which was great and much cheaper than the ship. St. Thomas was wonderful, however do not do the St. Thomas Snorkel by Dive World. Dive World is a DIVE. They are rude, unorganized, and will leave without you. We barely made the bus. The equipment seemed dirty and they didn't offer any instruction. St. Martin is the best. We did the St. Martin beach break and it was worth every penny. However, we were lied to and informed that there was snorkeling which was not the case at all. We had a great time none-the-less. The beaches were wonderful and clean. We had all you can drink rum punch, and the people were very friendly. The shows that don't have outside entertainment and boring and a waste if you are under age 60. We walked out of a few of them. The adult only comedy shows were amazing as were the magicians :) The pools are small and overcrowded. They really need an adult only pool. The whirlpools shut off on more than one occasion. I am not sure if they were broke or what, but after the 2nd day, it was a bit frustrating. We got a massage, and there was constant noise. This is because the spa is next to the camp carnival. It was very frustrating, and the spa staff didn't care. My hair appointment was an hour late and I almost missed dinner because of it. I do not recommend this boat. A lot of noise and really bad service overall. Spend a few bucks more and go on Princess or RC.

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Aug 11, 2006

Eastern Caribbean

Food in dining room is excellent as is the service. The cable television in the room was poor, as there was no sports or financial channels, only CNN. San Juan was a waste of time as the fort was closed by the time we got there. St. Thomas was alright as all we did was go to beach. St. Martin was really nice with beaches, shopping, European flavors and great photo opportunities. The ship should spend two days there and skip San Juan.

The Midnight buffet had much to be desired and long lines made it impossible to get to. The onboard shows were excellent and worth watching more than once. The two days at sea at end of the trip is too long, the itinerary should be changed. I lost a lot of money in the casino and was only given one drink. Debarkation was a mess, bring your luggage with you. Next cruise will be with another company and I will take it during the winter months.

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Jun 30, 2006

Eastern Caribbean

While not an extensively experienced veteran of the cruising lifestyle, I've been on enough cruises now to know what I like and what I don't. Additionally, as someone who fits pretty squarely into the average cruise passenger demographic, I feel I can offer some insight that may prove beneficial. Our cruise on the Carnival Triumph was a family reunion, and as such, the first time we had cruised with a large group, 27 in this case. The

ages ranged from 71 to 5, with a fair mix throughout. Everyone along for the ride found something interesting to keep them occupied, and despite the wide variety of age groups and interests, everyone had a great time. Before I go any further, a special word of thanks to our travel agent, Neal, at National Discount Travel. He did a great job of coordinating a constantly shifting group with numerous, often unreasonable, demands. He never grew frustrated and really came through beyond my wildest expectations. Now to the cruise. Embarkation- I have to say, I was really concerned that the embarkation process would be a mess after reading previous reviews regarding this cruise, however, I found the process to be quite average for cruise ships of this size. We arrived at 12:15 and were on board, with drink in hand, by 1:15. The lines were organized and the staff quite friendly. Despite some confusion related to family members assigned to different cabins, the Carnival staff sorted everything out and got us on board without unnecessary delay. I was a little disappointed upon boarding when we discovered that there was no central location for ordering things like wine for dinner, drink cards, excursions, etc. On Royal Caribbean, the only other cruise line we've utilized, you board into a lobby where all of these things are available. Since our kids were with us, drink cards were essential. I was directed to a booth on the Lido Deck(9) where I stood in line (more on this later) to purchase the cards. After 15 minutes, with cards in hand, I proceeded to the bar, where I discovered that I could have purchased the cards there, with no line, no waiting. Oh well, you live and you learn. Despite the fact that it was beastly hot (July 1st in South Florida) we quickly immersed ourselves in the cruise lifestyle, tropical drinks and plenty of them. We also took advantage of the welcome aboard buffet, so by the time they announced the lifeboat drill, I was ready for a long nap. We assumed that our lifeboat station would be in doors, as on Royal Caribbean. WRONG!! We were packed together like sardines on a very narrow deck(4), under the supervision of crew members who must have graduated from the Attila the Hun School of Charm. Their vocabulary seemed to consist of the phrases "Stand behind the line", and "Not much longer". Did I mention it was hot, and where we were stationed, there was no breeze. I quickly surmised that this was Carnival's way to sweat 10 pounds off of each passenger in preparation for the 7 day buffet extravaganza. I'm happy to report that no one passed out, and after what seemed like an eternity, actually about 15 minutes, we were allowed to depart. We quickly returned to the air conditioned comfort of our Deck 6 balcony cabin and enjoyed our departure from the Port of Miami. CABINS- My wife and I had a balcony on the Riviera Deck (Deck 6). Two double beds that pushed together to form a king size bed were very comfortable. The cabin provided us with plenty of room to move around, as well as storage space for our luggage, which arrived without any lengthy delay. My wife made a point of bringing her own blow dryer, and this seemed to be the right call since many of the members of our party ended up borrowing hers rather than using the one provided in the room. Balconies were roomy and the overall ambiance was exceptional. Our kids were located in an inner cabin on deck 3. Despite the fact that 4 teenage boys shared the room (not all mine, thank God), they did so without complaint and seemed to manage well. Day 1- We spent the time between departure and dinner (late dining, Paris dining room) exploring the ship. While quite large, the Triumph seemed small in comparison to RC's Explorer and Navigator of the Seas. A minor complaint. DINNER- As a large group, we had requested seating for 27, all in close proximity to one another. I could not have been happier with the arrangements. We had three tables, all together, on the upper level of the Paris Dining Room, directly adjacent to the windows. This provided us with a spectacular view, which certainly enhanced our dining experience. Head Waiter DeJean and Assistant Waiter Anok were fantastic. I have to admit, our expectations were quite high, since the dinner on board has always been a highlight of the cruise experience for us, and Carnival did not disappoint. A word of caution. The food was good, not great, good. What I would describe as cruise ship average. When you consider the volume of food produced by these sailing smorgasbords, to expect anything more would be unreasonable. To be fair, I found the soups and desserts to be above average on most nights, but for us, it was more about the experience, and being treated like royalty, that sets the cruise dining event apart. DeJean and Anok did not disappoint. A big thank you to both of them for making this part of the voyage memorable. Went to the show (no big deal) and then hung out and did family stuff the rest of the night. Day 2- Sea Day. This was the day we began to familiarize ourselves with what unfortunately became the norm throughout our cruise, long lines. I mean really looooooooong lines anywhere food was served. This included the buffets, hamburger station, pizza station, deli, and Chinese. We had read reviews in which others had complained about the lines, but we paid very little attention since our dining times very rarely occurred during peak demand. On previous cruises, we had observed long lines, but rarely encountered them ourselves. On the Triumph, there was no respite. As soon as the breakfast buffet was closed, the line for the lunch buffet began forming. I have never seen anything like it. The norm for arriving at the end of the line to sitting down to eat was approximately 30 minutes. This led to lots of hamburgers, hot dogs and pizza, which required slightly less line time. Food was good, again, cruise ship average, and there was plenty of seating. This was also when we discovered the large number of kids on board. Despite the fact that there were tons of kids, I felt that they were well behaved for the most part. Since our party contributed to the teen population on board, I can only say if you have a problem sailing with a bunch of kids, don't take this cruise. Day 3- San Juan. Why bother. Got off the ship at 6:30, and everything in Old San Juan closed at 8:00. My brother, brother in law, and I did enjoy the free samples in the duty free area adjacent to the ship. One word of wisdom- If you are going to buy booze, buy it in St. Marteen. While you will think San Juan has good prices, you ain't seen nothing yet. Got back on board and discovered the Oxford Bar, the only cigar bar on the ship, which became our home away from home for the remainder of the cruise. Day 4- St Thomas. I love St Thomas. I want to live in St Thomas. We had booked the Mini Boat tour as our excursion, however, due to high winds, the excursion was canceled. The cancellation notice provided alternate excursions, and we took the St John's Bay snorkeling adventure. We had a blast. This trip was nice, since there was a beautiful beach for the non-snorkelers to enjoy. Free rum punch for all, which we felt obliged to enjoy, led to a most excellent adventure. It was also in St Thomas where we found a genuine imitation Coach bag for $27.00. Take a taxi downtown($4.00 per person) and look for the tents next to the waterfront. I'm ready to go back now. Day 5- St. Marteen. Another great day and another great snorkeling excursion, this time to Shipwreck Cove. Lots of stuff to see, but more Junkyard Cove than Shipwrecks. However, the water was fantastic and the rum punch flowed freely again. Did I say I was ready to go back? From my own point of view, having been to St. Marteen before, we saw no need to travel to the French side. We enjoyed the Dutch side, and found the liquor prices to be unbelievable. Day 6 & 7- Sea Days. I disagreed with this portion of the itinerary. I felt like another port of call should have been included, especially since San Juan stank. I guess this is one of the ways Carnival keeps prices down. We spent our time either on deck sunning (no problem finding deck chairs, you've just got to look), eating, drinking, or in the Oxford. One note to pass on. Carnival has a slide that is very popular with the kids. Average wait time 15-20 minutes. No big deal. However, Carnival also has a clothing optional deck located directly across from the slide and one level down. No need for binoculars. This may help to explain the large number of teenage boys taking advantage of the slide. No big deal for us, but some of you might care. Debarkation- This was a nightmare, but I expected it would be, therefore, we were able to minimize the aggravation factor. Carnival dumps all of the luggage in a huge warehouse, then turns everyone loose for a gigantic Easter Egg hunt. Luggage is supposed to sorted by color, but we found only half our bags where they were supposed to be. The other half were located after an exhaustive search. Of course, the Carnival personnel were happy to assist us by suggesting that we look "over there". They also suggested that we wait for the crowds to thin out. Thankfully, we found our bags, since the process for reporting missing luggage appeared to involve another lengthy line leading to a table staffed by one person. Oh well, it could have been worse, it could have been raining. Oh yeah, it was. Conclusion- My wife and I both agree that our next cruise will be on Royal Caribbean, however, if we bring the kids, Carnival it is. The differences were so minor, except for the lines, that I wouldn't have a problem with either one. Enjoy your cruise and look for us in St. Thomas.

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May 12, 2006

Eastern Caribbean

Sometimes we book cruises with a specific aim and this was one of those times. Vincent's nephew Matteo was coming from Italy with his beautiful wife Grazia on their honeymoon. Since we had sailed with Captain Francesco La Fauci (Italy), we thought the newlyweds would feel at home on the Carnival Triumph with Capt. La Fauci. We then booked ourselves on board too, after recalling how wonderful our last cruise with him was. However, the

best laid plans do not always "come to pass." Captain La Fauci debarked the same day we embarked 5/13/06. But this hospitable gentleman left instructions to the new Captain Angelo Los to watch over the newlyweds. Captain Los took this very seriously and their first cruise was a "Triumph" for the honeymooners. A full moon was ordered and the setting was complete for a week of cruising in the Caribbean. This was our second cruise on the Triumph, our first one was in 2001 when she was quite new. We are happy to report that she is kept in excellent condition and still stunning with her fourteen decks and the traditional red Carnival whale tail funnel. EMBARKATION The Port of Miami is easily accessed from I-95. There is serious reconstruction going on, but it neither blocks nor delays access. We were given wheelchair assistance and priority registration. Even though, the staterooms are not available until 1:00 pm, we were shown directly to ours on Upper Deck 6 at 12:30 pm. We checked on our dining room reservations and they were perfect --- a table for four in the London Dining Room Balcony, mid-ship on Deck 4. Since our cabin was all the way forward, this was the closest restaurant for us. We always check the logistics when boarding these very large ships. It is important for those with limited mobility to book a centrally located stateroom to minimize the effort of getting to and from the areas of interest. However, in this ship the only two wheelchair accessible cabins with balcony are located all the forward, thus we did not have any other choice. We are thankful to Captain La Fauci who personally reserved our table in the centrally located London Dining Room. Passengers with limited mobility must plan ahead so that they can get the best enjoyment with the least possible effort, avoiding unnecessary fatigue. Captain La Fauci understood our situation and made the proper arrangements to accommodate our needs. Results: A very enjoyable cruise for us all. After inspecting our staterooms, we went to the welcome aboard buffet at the South Beach Club on Lido Deck 9. We stopped at the Grille for tasty hot-dogs, hamburgers and French fries ---- the honeymooners loved the American food. SHIP The Triumph was built in the Fincantieri Shipyards, Italy in 1999 and the bronze plaque on Promenade Deck 5 lists it as hull #5979. The ten deck high Capitol Lobby on Deck #3 has a magnificent geographical depiction of the world on the ceiling and more of these wonderful maps are on the ceiling of the World's Hall leading aft. The Triumph is a tastefully decorated ship, less glitzy and more functional than many of the newer ships. For a detailed description read our earlier review (9/29/2001), since this review will concentrate on both ambiance and service on board. The Carnival Triumph is 101.509 gross tons, 893 feet long and 116 feet in the beam with a cruising speed of 21 knots. Her guest capacity is 2,758 (double occupancy) with a crew of 1,100 and registry is in the Bahamas. She has 14 numbered decks plus Deck "O", which we will discuss later. SERVICE & FOOD It is always apparent that the level and quality of service comes from the top - down. The Captain dictates the tone and response of the crew. Under Captain Los, the Triumph aims to please. Every crew member we encountered tried their utmost to make us comfortable and happy --- and they succeeded. By keeping close tabs on his staff Hotel Director Henry D'Roza can be confident they are on their toes. Chief Purser Andrew Sideras runs the Passengers' Service Desk most efficiently and his Assistant Karine Rayneau made our life on board smooth sailing. It is in the restaurants on board that passengers mostly notice the quality of the staff. Executive Chef Pradeep Rao was in the first week of implementing the newly introduced variation in the menu by French Chef Georges Blanc. This is a hit for us --- Monsieur Blanc has added delicate sauces and unusual combinations to Carnival's fare. Yet, the traditional American menu items are also highlighted. It was nice to see gustatory classics remain while new items are integrated into the menus. Now there are stuffed quails and pate` brulee` side by side with delicious chicken breast or cooked to order steaks. The menu reflects the passengers' desires, from honeymooners to retirees, from young families with babies to established families with teenagers: there were many large tables with families of several generations all enjoying spending time together. The London Dining Room Maitre D' Joseph Vincent has a well organized group: our Waiter Stephen (St. Vincent Is.) and his asst. Wijayanti were very efficient. The breads were hot and fresh every day, but, alas we wanted them crispy and darker. We dined with Captain Los on the first Formal Night and found him to be a polite and genteel host. However, on Tuesday night he invited us to Deck "O" for a pasta dinner. This turned out to be the highlight of our trip, since we got to see the crew on its own turf. We dined family style with the ship's officers. We selected appetizers from a spread of olives, prosciutto, cheese, etc. and had a very down home soup of lentils and black-eyed peas. There were two types of spaghetti, aglio olio e peperoncino or puttanesca. Our entree was a choice of either filet mignon or tilapia filet. Cruise Director Stuart Dunn, whose Aussie accent we enjoyed over the PA System, joined us confessing that nightly he ducks in to check out the appetizers. This was a great night with a lack of pretense on the part of Captain Los, Staff Capt. Domenico Cilento and Chief Engineer Sergio Sciolla; their welcome was heartwarming. Fine food and simple surroundings brought out the best in all of us. It was interesting to see the direct phone line to the Bridge (periodically ringing). However, even while eating, we noted that it is the ship which is uppermost on all of these men's minds. The 24 hour room service is great, each morning we had continental breakfast in our stateroom --- always prompt, always hot. Lunch in the dining room is open seating, with menus that vary each day with tempting offerings we enjoyed. Since many cruisers go to the buffet, there are always lots of window tables available and service is prompt. We also lunched at the 24 hour Pizzeria where pizzas are made to order (Neapolitan --- Tomatoes, olives, peppers and mushrooms; Rustica -- Basil, tomato and olive oil; Pan -- Sausage, peppers, onions, and tomatoes; and Mary's favorite Le Chevre -- Goat cheese and wild mushrooms. If you prefer you may order a Calzone, ask and they will bake it extra crispy, Vincent's favorite. The Pizzeria also has a great Caesar's Salad with croutons and sliced chicken breast. The Pizzeria is located all the way aft on Deck 9 near the outdoor pool and bar. During this cruise there were a group of Chefs teaching Georges Blanc's methods to their colleagues. We found the new menus very interesting and the food quite good. The lobster tails were prepared perfectly not over done, coming from Boston, Mary is picky about her seafood. The escargot was not as good as the former recipe, now there is a bit too much potato. Just butter and wine makes a much better sauce. Food has been continuously improving on the Carnival ships. Congratulations Chef Rao. There are less offerings, but better and more unique ones, and the plating is elegant too. CABIN Wheelchair accessible stateroom #6207 is all the way forward at the prow. From the balcony, we could look directly over head to the Bridge overlook. When we first sailed on the Triumph, we were told that there were no wheelchair accessible staterooms with balconies. That is incorrect, we were misinformed. There are two of them at the prow and this time we had one. When entering on the left, there is a triple armoire with private safe, shelves and hangers. Next, there is a lighted mirrored vanity/desk with three drawers, two large cabinets and a TV. Alas no mini refrigerator. When entering on the right there is a large bathroom with a double sized shower, safety rails and a mirrored medicine cabinet and a single sink. There is a king size bed, a single night stand, two reading lamps, a coffee table and one arm chair. On the balcony there was a table, two chairs and our excellent steward Anatoli (Bulgaria) brought Vincent a small low chaise. The colors were shades of orange and the cabinetry was maple. Very bright and pleasant. ENTERTAINMENT Cruise Director Stuart Dunn kept things humming and the shows in the Rome Lounge Theatre were lively. The "Wonderful World Show" was a tribute to music from around the world. The hit act of the cruise was "The New Wave Magic" of Kevin and Caruso, which was very nice, high tech and fascinating. There were high stakes bingo games, cruise raffles, exercise, trivia, pool side games, etc. There was something for everyone and all ages. DEBARKATION Carnival does not rush passengers out of the staterooms, in fact they are allowed to remain until 9:30 am. The same baggage tags used to board were used to debark. We had wheelchair assistance from Agnetha Combrink (S. Africa) who was so sweet. Once passengers carrying all their own baggage were off, then regular passengers began to disembark. We were off in a jiffy, fast and painless, in about 20 minutes we were out of the terminal. PORTS OF CALL Sat. 5/13/06 Miami, FL Depart 4:00 pm Sun. 5/14/06 At Sea Mon. 5/15/06 Cozumel, Mexico Arrive 7:00 am Depart 6:00 pm Tues. 5/16/06 At Sea Wed. 5/17/06 Georgetown, Grand Cayman Port Authorities closed the harbor due to high seas and winds. Tendering was too dangerous. Port charges were refunded. Thurs. 5/18/06 Ocho Rios, Jamaica Arrive 8:00 am Depart 3:30 pm Fri. 5/19/06 At Sea Sat. 5/20/06 Miami, FL Debarkation begins at 8:00 am for those who carry all their own luggage. CONCLUSION This was our 60th cruise, but only our 5th on Carnival ships, since we had our first cruise on Carnival in 2001. We have enjoyed Carnival ships better and better ever since, especially when considering our low initial expectation. Carnival is now becoming one of our favorite cruise lines, and we have already booked another cruise on the Triumph for this summer, mainly to meet again our friend Capt. La Fauci. Our next cruises will be Sept. 2nd on the Triumph, Sept. 23rd on the Caribbean Princess, Oct. 15th on the Freedom of the Seas, and Jan. 20th, 2007 on the Voyager of the Seas, unless we can find some great value with last minute sales before then. Undoubtedly, encountering old friends on a cruise is always a pleasure, it gives us the opportunity to reinforce the friendship, reminisce with them on past events and update each other on recent happenings. Of course, it is always nice to revisit familiar faces and places and to make new friends. That is the best reason to cruise, for us it makes our days on board interesting! Happy Cruising!

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May 5, 2006

Eastern Caribbean

OVERALL CRUISE EXPERIENCE (Scale of 1-10) 8 EMBARKATION: A TOTAL disaster! This was the 3rd time sailing out of the Port Of Miami in 16 years and it is STILL the worst port to cruise from! It took almost 2 hrs. to get from the parking garage to our cabin. The biggest hold-up....THE EMBARKATION PHOTO! Carnival has to add a line for people that don't want their picture taken when boarding (god knows they take enough of them onboard)! We

waited 1 hour on that line alone. Doesn't Carnival realize that some people leave their homes very early when flying in or driving to the port? By the time we arrive at the ship, all we want to do is BOARD!!! Most of us could care less about having our pictures taken at embarkation. My advice to anyone cruising from Miami would be get to the pier by 11:30am or after 2:30pm. Between those hours, plan to wait in VERY long lines. There is alot of construction going on at the pier and the signage to get around is POOR. THE CABIN: We had a balcony cabin (6331) on the upper deck. It was a great location. Mid-ship in all aspects. The cabin itself was a little smaller than on our past Carnival cruises though it may have just seemed that way because there was furniture pieces that were too oversize for the cabin. If you have alot of hair, bring your own hairdryer. The one in the bathroom is OK for short hair but takes a long time to dry long hair. THE DINING ROOM (And Food): We dined in the Paris Dining room. Very far and difficult to get to from our cabin. They should divide the ship in half and send the passengers in the foward part to the mid-ship part of the ship to the London Dining room (mid-ship) and send passengers in the aft portion of the ship to the Paris Dining room. We had to either go all the way to the aft elevators or go through the casino and walk aft to get to the dining room. The food was better than what I had read in past reviews. The portions were also larger than I had read in past reviews. The desserts left a little to be desired though. The 24 hour pizzeria and the grill on the Lido deck were better than I had expected. The buffet (outside on the Lido deck) for breakfast offered mostly cold eggs but had omlettes to order. I didn't try one but heard they were pretty good. Try the buffet inside. The lines are a little longer but the food is hotter. THE SHIP: We enjoyed the ship. Even though the ship was booked (3150 Passengers) completely, the hardest thing we found was getting lounge chairs at ANY of the pools. This is the RUDE passengers fault though that put a towel on the chair and dissapper for 2 hours. The ship was always being tended to in some way from the time of embarkation to disembarkation.The staff on the Triumph should be commended for doing a fantastic job. The Triumph sailed the ocean like we were standing still. Granted the seas were calm during most of the cruise, but a vessel that size doing 21 knots will have displacement. We felt no movement! SAN JUAN: What a waste of time. We docked at 5pm and did the Bacardi Rum Factory tour. We also did this tour 16 years ago and their were MAJOR changes to the tour since then. The majority of the tour was a 10 minute video. BORING!! 16 years age we did an ACTUAL walk through of the factory and that was interesting. Our tour guide,"POPPY" was the highlight of the tour. At that time of the day, there is nothing to do in San Juan (not that I think the time we arrived made any difference). I wanted to send some E-Mail pictures from the factory to some friends but we were rushed back on the bus for return to the ship. If you go to this port...Stay on the ship!!! Don't waste your time OR money in San Juan. St. Thomas: A very beautiful island (once you get past the taxi drivers trying to get you to hire them for a tour of the island). We eventually did the tour ($20 p.p. and we took as long as we wanted, a good deal) and got some really great pictures and did some shopping. Again, A VERY beautiful Island! St. Maartin: The best stop on the whole cruise!!! I could have stayed here all week and skipped the other 2 ports of call. We did the St. Maartin Beach Break (at Mullets Bay) and have never experienced a more beautiful beach!! The ocean was crystal clear, the sand had no rocks or pebbles or shells and was like walking on cotton (very hot walking in bare feet though) and the beach was clean. CAUTION......If you plan on going here on a shore excursion, be prepared for some topless bathers. Even though it is illegal on the Dutch side of the island, we had 5 woman that were walking around and swimming topless like it was permitted. I WILL make St. Maartin a future stop on a cruise. I highly recommend it!! RENEWAL OF VOWS : We purchased the $385 package and it was handeled great. They had a ceremony (performed by the Captain), a 2 tier wedding cake, a rose for the bride and a boutineer for the groom and LOTS of photo's. The Captain actually sat with us and had cake and spoke to us for about 15 minutes. He was quite the gentleman. The staff assigned to us (Tanya) was excellent. We were fortunate to have 2 friends from a cruise on the Pride 2 years ago sailing with us and the acted as our best man and maid-of-honor and signed the Renewal Of Vows certificate along with the Captain . It was great. Be prepared though, the photo package is $1200 and you don't find this out until AFTER the pictures are taken. You can talk them down (we got some pictures and the video slideshow for $250) and you get 1 FREE 8X10 as part of the package. DISEMBARKATION: A TOTAL disaster!!!! Customs held us up for 1 1/2 hours past normal deboarding time and the cruise director kept apoligizing because they wouldn't tell him why either. I am sure flights were missed because of this. I have sailed from New York & Port Canaveral and it was ALWAYS easy on and easy off. Like I said earlier, Miami is just a mistake to cruise from. It can make a very exciting time of the prior months waiting for the cruise VERY stressful. It is very disorganized. I would sail the Carnival Triumph again and would reccommend it to others. Just not from the Port Of Miami!!!!

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Apr 30, 2006

Western Caribbean

First, I had read so many negative things about Carnival, that I was almost afraid to go on there, but I'm "glad" I did. First, there were no long lines to wait in when we arrived. We were able to go directly to our room. We had a guaranteed inside cabin, but had no clue what deck we would wind up on. To our amazement, we wound up on deck 6, with a large window. Ample closet/drawer space. Nice bath robes to wear. People had complained

about small toiletries, I seen more than enough for us, and they were much larger than on other cruise ships I have been on before. The night shows of the dancers/singers, were very good with wonderful color costumes being changed every 10 minutes or so. The food wasn't that bad, and there was plenty to choose from, if you didn't like a particular kind of food. The personnel on the ship, from the Captain to the lowest person shining the wood decks, were very friendly. People were complaining about photographers being pushy. I did not find that. If you wanted to have your picture taken, you had to ask them, or get in line. The only time I seen the photographers pushy, was when you were going to the different islands, and if you did not want your picture taken, you did not have to. People had complained about the children, but for the most part, they were on deck 11, so you did not see/hear them very much. We wound up going to Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios, Jamaica. I did not book tours off the ship, but through the internet. You can save money that way. For Cozumel and Grand Cayman, you had to use a tender to get ashore. There was a very large tender for Cozumel, that probably holds at least 100 people or more, and air conditioned. This was one of the best vacations I have had in my life, meeting people from all over, and staying in touch.

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Apr 15, 2006

Eastern Caribbean

First, I’m writing this review a few months after we have taken the cruise because I was reading so many bad reviews and wanted people to read a good one. I have to say my girlfriend and I had and absolutely wonderful time; there were a few little things that were irritating but only if you let them be. One other thing is that most of the people that write bad reviews are the people that have something to complain about; these people

with find something to complain about no matter what they do. People that are happy with the cruise don’t usually post reviews. I’m going to give a quick point form review of the good and bad things on the cruise: Good: - No problem boarding very fast, do the Quick Pass Board online before you get there - The cabin was an inside state room, very nice lots of room, King size bed - The food I thought was great, formal dinning room was good (if your looking to meet people sit at a group people), we ate at 7 which worked out good because we were never rushed while out on the shit or on shore for an outing, Another thing is your eating all day because there is food everywhere and your not always hungry at dinner time. - The crew and cleaning staff were unreal, when ever we went out and return the cabin was spotless - The shore trips were awesome had a great time but we booked our trips @ shoretrips.com not on the cruise, we saved a lot of money and there were less than half as many people. Bad: - There are just a couple of small thing but you get the good with the bad. Depending on what floor you on the elevators are always full so you will be walking a lot of stairs, no big deal its only 4 floors at most - Looking for pictures that were taken that day, guess I can blame that one on my girlfriend - Waiting to get back on the ship after a shore trip, again not a big deal - Phone calls and internet are very expensive, get a calling card for on shore (2 calls collect cost me $66) - People complained about not being able to find a deck chair but we always did, may have to look around a bit Over all the trip was awesome and we had a great time, we are planning another trip for 2007 with Carnival. Like I said there are some people you can never please and they will always complain, hope some of this is helpful to anyone thinking of going on a cruise.

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Apr 14, 2006

Western Caribbean

Embarkation Even though we were VIP’ed for some unknown reason and bypassed the major line up there was some delay in boarding the ship. It gave us an opportunity to meet a family from California who had a daughter the same age as ours and they shared their experiences re. Camp Carnival. Lido Shuffle Upon boarding we had to go to the Lido deck while cabins were being prepared below. We managed to get a decent meal on deck and

spend some time soaking up the sun. The pools were out of the question, as we had not yet gotten access to our baggage. Dining We dined in the Paris dining room and found this to be mostly an enjoyable experience. The wait staff (Ricky and Victor) was quite good and amazed me in their ability to remember everyone’s name so quickly (including my daughter’s toy Monkey “Swing”). Despite going on a Carnival Cruise in the past I was not prepared for Formal Dining nights (I left sub zero temperatures in Newfoundland packed only to enjoy the sun). As a result I was refused entry in the dining on two nights (I accepted this given the circumstances). However, I found the maitre d to be quite rude regarding this matter and at the end of the cruise I tipped him accordingly. Tipping Speaking of tipping take some advice. On the first day of your cruise remove the automatic tipping from your account (we did this the next to last day). I prefer to tip individuals based on their service. The cabin steward was fantastic, dining staff as well, the bartender in the Venezia Lounge (Karaoke!!!!!!!) was excellent as well. I meant to tip our server on the Lido deck as well (seemed he always found us no matter where we pitched) but unfortunately we did not see him on the last day. Honorable mention goes to the K.J. (Karaoke Jockey) given what he had to listen to during the week he should get a Captain’s wage. (I include myself in that group that punished him). Deck side The best part of the cruise for me was when my wife and I relaxed on the pool decks. The kids were safe and within sight for the most part and on other occasions they were having a blast at Camp Carnival. I am not sure who loved camp more them or us. Shore Excursions Cozumel Sad what the hurricane did to this island. Our travel agent told us that we would only have to get on the pier, shop and have a beer to enjoy Mexico. (She had no idea of the devastation this area was hit with). No planned excursions here and we quickly went back aboard ship to enjoy the day. Grand Cayman A beautiful island! We did a glass bottom board tour with the kids. Like swimming in an aquarium. A Trolley Roger tour was okay but ventured into beautiful residential areas which I thought was a bit rude. Stopped at a pretty beach but only for a couple of minutes. Ocho Rios Dunn’s River Falls! Beautiful but a challenge with a 7 and 9 year old in tow not to mention the 60 year old dragging on your arm as you try to pull them up the falls. Hint: Use the shoes they rent on site and make sure you are in decent physical shape. Also, avoid the local market after you leave unless you like being harassed. Karaoke Best fun and most pain I enjoyed suffering. Only problem are the large groups of kids that can’t sing at all who just want to make everyone suffer. I also heard some terrific voices including an 8-year-old girl. (Watch out world!!) Gambling Lost $2. Feel like I won!!!!!!! Cabin We had a terrific balcony cabin on the port side. All the amenities you could ask for. I think we will redecorate our bedroom to match. Lots of quality time spent in the room. Camp Carnival Kids loved it. So did we. However, we only used the services up to 10:00 P.M. and took breaks to let the kids have fun on the pool deck. Food Great!! Shows Saw one Review (pretty good), Magic act was excellent! Comedian was so-so. One comment I have is the shows were very Pro-American themed (not a surprise given most of the clientele) however given the mix of passengers and crew a bit surprising. Go again?????? You bet! Hope they have a new maitre d next time though!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Apr 1, 2006

Western Caribbean

Okay, here goes……another one of my long, overly detailed reviews: We sailed on the Carnival Triumph out of Miami on April 1st . Boarding was fast. I STRONGLY advise you carry on your luggage yourself. It makes a world of difference when you disembark. Famous motto: bring half the clothes and twice the money. The boat was nice but very glitzy. The crowd was definitely blue collar except for the college kids on spring break. Still,

everyone we met was extremely friendly and polite. There was also an extraordinary kindness bestowed on us by a passenger who found my gold watch and turned it in to lost and found! Thank you again! I will ‘pay it forward’. We had a balcony stateroom that we booked 7 months in advance. I booked the lowest listed rate for a balcony and they put us on the 9th level with a spectacular view of everything. We will never go back to an ‘outside’ stateroom. The balcony is the ONLY way to go. Our quarters felt very roomy and all the plastic laminates looked new (every finish or fixture was either plastic or aluminum). The mattress was a dream and linens were first rate. White terry-cloth robes and fluffy white towels were a nice touch. Everything was clean and the bathroom looked newly renovated. The room was cleaned twice a day and the little towel animals at bedtime were too, too fun. Beware! There are no clocks in the staterooms and figuring out the wake-up call system was a chore. Also, every time you turn on the TV you will be tuned to a screen of black and white static and a very LOUD static noise. There is no way around this and I woke my husband up a number of times just trying to tune in the morning news. The food and presentation in the main dining room was fine. The fillet minon and lobster were very wonderful but I have no idea how they can pass off a shoulder roast for ‘chateaubriand’. Thankfully, there was no problem ordering a different entrée and we thoroughly enjoyed our wait staff. Room service was another story. Portion size was miniscule and we quickly learned that ordering multiple portions ON THE SAME PLATE was the best way to go. We stopped at Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios. If you are a scuba diver you can’t miss the Chikin Ha Cenote cavern dive in Cozumel...but only on a sunny day. I have been diving for 20 years, all over the world and this was amazing! Ocho Rios canopy tour was a bit lame and even though I am in top physical condition the downhill hiking was very rough on my knees and calves. We booked our excursions through Carnival over the internet about a month in advance. This turned out to be a good idea even though they up-charge about 20%. I was not able to take one of our planned trips and Carnival refunded my money. Kudos’! But it’s no problem booking your own excursions when you go ashore since there are independent agents everywhere who are eager to help you. Just make absolutely sure you will get back to the boat in time for sailing. Pay attention to the time changes from ship to shore. We did not take part in any shipboard activities preferring to read on deck. I was VERY disappointed that our 16 yo son could not find a friend among the hundreds of [shy] teenagers on board. If the teen club had organized more games throughout the day to get everyone mingling I know he would have had a much better time. As it stands now, he has refused to go on any more cruises. We only saw one show (the Vegas style ‘around the world’ extravaganza) which was extremely well done. I heard the other shows were very good. I will book the early dinner seating for our next cruise. The late show started at 10:30p, and at our age we can’t seem to stay up that late anymore. Be warned! The art auctions are a joke. Save your money and buy it on Ebay. It’s all the same stuff for half the price. NO KIDDING! The jewelry store again is way overpriced. Shop through Ebay or online for the best value. The absolute BEST value on the ship was the photographers. We had stunning individual black and white portraits done of the whole family for $20 each. And we only paid for the ones we liked. The last thing I need to warn you about is the unseen ‘extra charges’. Internet access is NOT free if you bring your own laptop with wireless card. The brochure is much too vague concerning this fact. .75 cents a minute! If you lose your beach towel they will charge you $22. You are automatically charged $140 per person for tips to the wait staff and steward. If you feel this is extreme, you have to go to the bursars desk to have this charge removed from you account…..and endure a disgusted look from the desk clerk and a very embarrassing line of questions as to why. Our two sons ate in the main dining room twice! $280 is a little extreme for a tip for two meals! We left $70 in our sons' stateroom for the room steward since their room didn't look much different after they cleaned than it did before. I have cruised on Holland America and Disney. Both were nicer ships and Holland had MUCH better food. But I found Carnival (at least this newer ship) to be a good value for the money. I would definitely go with the cheaper cruise line if it means upgrading to a balcony. Just be sure you know in advance what to expect.

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By Neil_CR

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Mar 25, 2006

Eastern Caribbean

This was the first cruise vacation for my girlfriend and I. After reading all the reviews, I was under the impression that the food, service and ship conditions may be substandard on the Triumph. Wrong! This was a great vacation! The food, service and ship conditions all far exceeded my expectations. Remember, you're on vacation, so you really shouldn't be dwelling on the small insignificant things. I had read that the ship was dirty,

and yes I did see minor carpet stains and some dirty dishes now and then, but come on...you're on a ship with 3000 people on it. Not everything can be perfect. This experience was excellent. Here are some observations/opinions: Embarkation We arrived at about 11:30 AM. We took a taxi from Miami airport...set rate of $24 total for the two of us. You can take the Carnival shuttle, it is $12/pp. It takes about 20-30 minutes depending on traffic. Please note that there is some minor confusion during the embarkation process, but all you have to do is ask the Carnival representatives questions, and you'll have no problems. Here's a tip...if you don't have a room assigned, ask the baggage loaders for the manifest to find out what room you're in. I RECOMMEND VERIFYING YOUR ROOM BY GOING TO ANOTHER BAGGAGE HANDLER AND VERIFYING IT ON HIS MANIFEST. I only recommend this as we found 2 different room assignments on 2 different manifests. We simply went to a third and picked the room that showed up twice...I wasn't worried as I was certain the luggage would show up. Finally, bring some sandles and some beach wear in your carry on luggage so you'll have something to sit pool side with until the evening. I was 4 beers in by 2:30 in the afternoon! Rooms We were upgraded from an interior room to an oceanview (room 2393). We were pleasantly surprised as the rooms are big...and according to some seasoned cruisers we spoke to, the biggest they've seen on a cruise ship. Ours had a queen bed, with a full 3 person couch (that could be pulled out to being a double bed). Room steward was fantastic, as was room service. One beer order to the room did not show up, but we just called to remind them and they were there shortly thereafter. I recommend taking advantage of the free room service...it's nice to have snacks (both healthy-celery, carrots etc. and bad - cookies and brownies) in the room. Also, you can pre-order breakfast. Just ask for the pre-order card if it is not in your room. This is also well worth it. One thing that can be improved is the room service selection. The menu is rather limited. Ship Condition/Observations Ship is in great condition. It is laid out awkwardly...probably on purpose so you have to go through the bars and casinos to get to where you want to be (leading to additional drink purchases!). I was told there were 16 bars...and we hit each one. Each bar has it's own flavour. We thoroughly enjoyed the Oxford Bar. Although very dimly lit, the live Piano player, extensive drink selection and comfortable chairs make the experience unique. It is a cigar bar (for all those irritated by smoke). The casino was huge. Oddly enough, it always was busy, but you were never hard pressed to find a spot to gamble. Drink waiters/waitresses were always easy to find. I had read that the decks were always packed and you were always hard pressed to find chairs. This is true, but you'll find a chair and space if you take the time to look. There are a number of different areas to catch sun, so take the time to look. Of course there are the people that save chairs with towels, for hours on end, but get past that and you'll be fine. The highest deck in the middle section of the ship is a topless deck. If you're an adult, I recommend this deck. It was always quiet, and easy to find a spot. One thing I did note was the pools were small. In fact, I did not swim once, but it didn't really matter to me. Gym/Spa The gym is well maintained and large. The spa personnel are inviting and friendly. I went to the gym 3 times, and found out the first time I went that perhaps going in the morning between 8-11 is not the best time (far too crowded). I definitely recommend taking advantage of their facilities. NOTE: the only true hot tub is found in the gym. The other hot tubs on deck are warm...the one in the gym is hot. I got a pedicure in the spa (never done that before...it was disturbing). Expensive, but if you take advantage of their daily specials, the prices are reasonable. Definitely take advantage of the in-port specials. Dining/Entertainment Simply put, the dining experience was incredible. I highly recommend taking advantage of the dining room seatings in either the Paris or London dining rooms for all your meals. The food is of better quality, and you usually get a more "sophisticated" selection. Of course, the dining room seatings may interfere with your mid-day activities, so the buffets are also available. The food is quite good, but the line ups are long during peak times. The eating areas also get real crowded during peak times. We always timed it so if we were eating at either the buffet or the grill, we went at times later on during the scheduled buffet times. This made for a more enjoyable experience. Be sure to take advantage of the dinner seatings. We went every night, and I'm thankful for it. If something is not on the menu, just ask, and they'll give it to you. One evening, my girlfriend wanted pasta but did not like the sauce being served, so she just asked for noodles and a marinera sauce. They gladly served this to her. One gentleman I spoke to had FOUR lobster tails one night. I, on the other hand, ordered the lobster tail and prime rib. As I mentioned, if you don't see it, just ask. And if you want more, they'll gladly give it to you. The pizzaria and grill are good. Pizza at 2AM is always good, especially when chased with a late night icecream cone. In fact, the Pizza is very good at anytime of day. As are the Cheeseburgers from the grill. Food is never scarce, so pace yourself those first few days! We tried to go to the late shows every night. Some nights we weren't interested. The adult comedians are definitely worth going to...as is the adult magician. But the night life is really really good. Because there was a large number of people aged 18-35, the night clubs were always great to visit late at night. Overall, there were a lot of younger people. Some of the +60 year olds I spoke to, indicated that by far, Carnival cruises attract the younger crowds. So if you're looking for something more laid back, you might want to consider a different cruiseline. Overall, there were plenty of things to do if you wanted (art auctions, games, bingo, shows, contests, shopping, drinking, exercise, spa, deck parties, live music) at all hours of the day. Or you could choose to do nothing. And while there were plenty of kids, the ship is large enough that you don't really notice them, and Camp Carnival does a good job of taking care of them. Ports San Juan, PR As we got there in the evening, we were really pressed for time. In fact, moving forward, Carnival should probably reconsider their port time of 5PM. We went to Senor Frogs (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED), and partied there until we had to get back on the ship. Lots of drinking, dancing and fun. If this is your thing, you should definitely visit this bar/restaurant. St. Thomas, St. Maarten In my opinion, these two stops were essentially the same. The towns were littered with jewelry and souvenir shops. But as I mentioned, this is a vacation, and you have to let the little things go. It's nice to walk around and see the culture. We took a snorkle tour to Turtle Cove in St. Thomas. That was fun. We went to Orient Beach in St. Maarten...I highly recommend this beach (be careful because clothing is optional - not sure if this would be your thing). At Orient Beach, there is tons to do. Shop, eat, swim, lay out, drink, water sports - you name it. The cab fare over depends on how many people are in the car with you. Average is $7-12 pp. This drive also allows you to see the island (the real side of St. Maarten). Some of it is pretty. Some of it is not...much like a lot of other islands. On both islands, I definitely recommend that you visit the shopping areas just to get a feel for the vibe of the island. Debarkation This took long, and it was our own fault. Because our flight was at 3PM, we waited until 9:30 to debark, and we took our luggage. TIP: If you have a late flight, have them take your luggage. It's much easier! Overall Impression This was an amazing first time cruising experience. One thing that has to be noted: during this particular week, the seas WERE ROUGH. Even the experienced cruisers said that this was some of the roughest sailing they've experienced. It was rough enough that I had to take anti-nausea medication, and I normally don't get sea sick. It may have been just this week, I'm not sure. I don't think I'd ever sail the Eastern Caribbean again, for that fact alone. Although maybe earlier in the year, it would have been calmer. This is definitely something you should consider researching further. But, even with this "hiccup", this was truly a great vacation. Because I don't plan on cruising often, I'd probably try a different company, just for the experience, and for comparison's sake. But I highly recommend the Carnival Triumph for great food, dancing, enterntainment and fun.

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Mar 11, 2006

Eastern Caribbean

This was our 2nd cruise, and both have been with Carnival. We went on our first at New Years, and liked it so much, we decided to take the parents on this one a couple months later. In total, there were 8 of us (both of our parents – late 50’s to early 60’s; we’re mid 30’s, and our 2 daughters 8 & 11). The Triumph was great. Just fantastic. We read some reviews that said it needed updating, etc, but we found it in great

condition. Someone said it had been dry docked 5 or 6 months earlier, so maybe that’s the reason. Embarkation was a breeze. In total, 45 minutes tops. We arrived at the port around 11:45 or so (on the advice of another review we read. Thanks!). Had no lineup for security, no lineup to do the paperwork, and no lineup to get our cards. Because we were a little early, though, they made us wait in the lounge for about 10-15 minutes. After that, straight upstairs & along the walkway to get our pictures done. A good indicator of things to come. This cruise was during spring break, so we figured there’d be a lot of families with kids. Well, there were a fair number of families, but A LOT of college spring breakers. This was definitely a happening ship. But not over-the-top though. The college kids were pretty quiet throughout the day (catching up on the lack of sleep from the night before, no doubt), but about mid-afternoon you could see the ship really coming to life. It was a lot of fun. Room steward was great. Always went out of his way to say hi and ask how the day was going, etc. Not sure if it was the tips I was leaving or just his attitude. Either way, he kept our rooms perfect. Our head waiter & assistant were awesome and service was great. Definitely no complaints there. Even if they saw us during the day, they’d come up & ask about things. Really nice personal touch. Once again, not sure if it was the tips I was leaving or just their personalities. We thought it was sincere, though. My parents gave them each a nice gold bracelet on the last night & they were really thrilled. Food was anywhere from average (some days at the buffets) to fantastic, but overall really good. I still can’t understand why some people complain about it, though. With all of the dining choices, it’s impossible not to find something you like. If the buffet isn’t working for you, go to the grill, the deli (awesome sandwiches), the chinese food place, the pizzeria, or go to the sit down meal. If you don’t like your sit down selection, order something different. No big deal. We didn’t do any set excursions. In Puerto Rico, there really isn’t enough time (you arrive at 5:00pm). We just toured the main downtown area & it was nice. Lots of shops & vendors there. In St. Thomas, we did some shopping and ended up getting our own tour from a taxi in the downtown area. There’s literally hundreds of these taxis that are large converted pick up trucks with a roof & open seating in the back. They get together a group of 10 or 12 people & do tours. The parents did their own thing, so it was just our family of 4. It was $90 in total. That included a tour of most of the island, 2 hours at Sapphire Beach (beautiful), and being dropped off right at our ship. St. Maarten seemed A LOT cleaner than St. Thomas, but both were just beautiful. We did some shopping again (they must have more jewelry stores than people – it’s insane). And then got a taxi out to Orient Beach ($7 / person). Incredible beach. Just can’t say enough about the beach & the colour of the water, etc. I couldn’t tell you how many people were there – thousands and thousands. But it didn’t seem over-crowded; it’s one huge beach. For debarkation, we did the early, do it yourself routine, as we had noon flights. It’s the only way to go. Talk about fast. We started leaving around 7:45am, and we were off the boat and through customs in about 15 minutes. Overall, the 8 of us had a fantastic time. Not sure if we’re going to cruise Carnival next or try something different; just to get something else to compare to. If we do go to another cruise line, it’s not because Carnival was lacking, that’s for sure. We’d be back in a heart beat.

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By Joe_CR

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Mar 4, 2006

Western Caribbean

First of all, please remember that this cruise was during a college spring break (which I was apart of), which may help or turn away some of you who read this, however I have included nothing about spring break and those types of activities. My immediate group included twelve of us; four guys and eight girls ranging from 19-22. To start, we got to the Port of Miami very early; around 11:30 (embarkation for us was around 12:30). They

had already started to board passengers, which at the time was not bad at all. There were a few lines here and there, but nothing that took longer than twenty minutes or so. It took us about forty-five minutes to get on the ship and past all the checkpoints and photographers (there’s a lot of them everywhere you go). A good idea is to get to the port early. After boarding the ship, we could not go to the rooms until 12:30 or 1:00, but they had the restaurants on the Lido Deck open (the upper deck where the pools are) and we sat ate and had an inaugural drink before we went to our rooms. After eating we headed to our rooms. I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of space the rooms had. The bathrooms were small, but luckily I didn’t spend too much time in there (unlike some of my friends; not due to alcohol surprisingly). The beds were very comfortable and the view out of our window was not bad either. We were on the lowest deck (Riviera) and quite close to the water (or so it seemed, you’re actually higher up that you think). You can feel some movement down there if you are sitting still, and at times when you were walking the halls, you would sway (nothing violent, but funny when watching your friends walk in front of you). Going back to the arriving early topic, we just hung out and relaxed while people were still boarding the boat, so it is a very good idea to arrive early to the port. The Triumph is an amazing ship. When getting off the ship and on to a tender (shuttles from the Triumph to get to the ports) you could really see the massive size of this boat. It towered over everything on the islands we visited (except Jamaica) and the big red fin on top of the boat could be seen just about anywhere you were when you at the various ports. It was always kept very clean. I saw people at every time of day cleaning something. Your room is cleaned twice a day and your cabin steward will make towel animals and put your stuff on it to dress it up (like sunglasses). The galleries and open areas were grandiose and beautiful. They made sure you felt like you were on a luxury cruise ship (even though Carnival is not particularly renowned for its luxuriousness, I think). The pool area was pretty nice. The pools are filled with sea water so be careful when first jumping in or going down the slide (swallowed a lot of sea water the first time on the slide). The “Fun Days Sea” are particularly difficult when it comes getting a chair. You have to search for a while if you get up too late. Oh, don’t worry about getting up for a drink, just be patient and someone will come around. And if you need some water or soda, no matter where you are on the top deck, you’re within feet of a drink station or bar. Soft serve ice cream is available too, for free! For those worried about sea sickness or motion sickness, it never bothered me too much. A few of my friends had problems, but they took motion sickness medicine and they were fine. A few nights we felt some turbulent movement. We ate in the Paris dining room which is located in the back of the boat and it got a little rough. Club Rio, where karaoke is available, is right above the Paris dining room so it was rough there too. By the second day you will get used to it. I really think it is a mental problem so just have good time and don’t think about it. Now, on to the food. We ate in the dining room every night. To be able to sever the amount of people on the boat, the high quality of food we received, is amazing. Lobster tail, filet mignon, the delicious soups and salads; we never went hungry in the evenings. I’m not a seafood person (here’s where you laugh) so I had some kind beef or chicken every night and it was fantastic. The desserts were terrific too. It is all served in a very fancy way. The formal nights are fun too. It was nice to see everyone dressed up and having fun. You have the same waiters every night and they are terrific. Our waiter, Andy, was a riot. He sang and danced and would joke around with other members of the staff. He definitely entertained us. He also was very good at remembering what kind of salad dressings we all liked and the ways we liked our food prepared. They did a top notch job. For lunches and snacks, the buffets and little restaurants were still quite good. They had something for everyone. The entertainment was ok. The shows included acts like magicians and comedians. They usually had late night acts for adults which we enjoyed. We would have enjoyed them more had they been longer than thirty minutes. It was strange to think that they knew we had literally no place to go and they had acts that short. The casino was nice. Don’t expect to play Blackjack at night unless you’ve been there since 6:00pm. I found the piano bar and karaoke lounge my favorite places. A bunch of my friends sang and we all had a great time. The piano bar was great because you could sit around the piano and sing along (if you knew the tune). If you just wanted to relax the Oxford lounge was great for trying the Cubans you could pick up at the ports and listing to jazz or piano music. The top decks were also nice to watch the sun set and to look out at the sea. Some nights were windy, but it was very comfortable. The temperatures, by the way, were anywhere between 75-90 degrees. They also have a dance party on the top deck one night which is fun and family friendly (for those wondering). The destinations were all unique in their own ways. Cozumel, Mexico was our first stop. We had to take tenders because the hurricanes had destroyed the docks and just about everything else. The downtown area was getting better, but we were quite interested to see what it looked like before. We went to a beach instead of excursions. We got a taxi driver for six hours for around $120 (divided by six people). Don’t worry about currency, all the destinations utilize the American dollar. Taz, our driver, waited while we enjoyed the beach and then took us downtown for some drinks before we headed back to the ship. Back to the beach, there was not a lot of beach, but the water was warm and beautiful. There were tiki huts all around which we ate some nachos at and drank our cervasas. All the people were very nice and friendly. After the downtown scene, we decided to walk back to the port which turned out to be a pretty bad idea. We ended picking up a taxi half way there. You don’t want to get left behind, because they will leave you. Grand Cayman was our next stop. We were excited to do some shopping, but despite what they say, it's pretty bad. Unless you are in the market for expensive jewelry or cheap t-shirts, you might as well just head to the beach like we did. The water was amazing. All shades of blue and clear as glass. My best friend and I rented waverunners (overpriced, but we wanted to do something out of the ordinary) and we had a blast. You could go out pretty far and the water would still be crystal clear. My sister was also on the cruise with some friends and they saw other sites like “Hell” and governors mansion. They really enjoyed it. We headed back to the port early and when we got there to get our tender back to the ship, the line was extremely long. We had been in the sun all day and we had to wait for about forty minutes in the sun to finally grab a boat. We finally got on the last of the four tenders. When I got off we started moving while they were still unloading the last two tenders (which my sister and her friends were on). It really shows that they stick to their schedule, so keep a close eye on the time. The ship stays on the time of the port you left from so bring a watch (i.e. leaving from Miami would have Eastern Standard Time) Ocho Rios, Jamaica was our last stop. The landscape and hills were breathtaking. Of course, we had not see land elevation above ten feet in days. By then we were pretty tired, as you could probably imagine. The only problem we encountered was when you got off the boat. They have this little market set up within the confines of the port and the people selling “crap” were very pushy. They wanted you to come over and look at everything and they will bargain hard. I stayed away as some of my friends got sucked in. This was the only port where we did not use tenders. We simply walked off the boat and it was nice not having to wait in line for a boat. We walked around a little at the village shopping center and finally gave in to Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville. We had a delightfully funny waitress named Sonya. It was pretty expensive, but we all had a great time just relaxing. The restaurant actually backs up to a beach and has a water slide that goes through the building. Some other people went to the waterfalls which looked incredible from the pictures they took. The only thing we were concerned about was time because each time we went to a new place, the time there diminished by an hour or so. All in all, the trip was outstanding. I cannot wait to go on another cruise, whether it be on Carnival or some other cruise line. Carnival did a great job though and I would definitely use them again. When I’m vacation, I expect to be relaxed and virtually worry-free and that I was. I ate well, drank a little too much (alcohol will put a dent in Sail and Sign account), and enjoyed everyone on the boat (other passengers as well as staff). The staff was exceptionally friendly and did a wonderful job. Get on the ship with an open mind and care-free attitude for that one week or however long your cruise is and you will have a great time. Hopefully I will cruise again sometime very soon.

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Feb 4, 2006

Western Caribbean

This was the first cruise for my Wife and I. We both didn't know what to expect, but hoped for the best. We had mixed reviews, which I'll explain below. Also, sorry for the long post, but I like to try and cover everything, so you get a good feel for things before you go. Embarkation: We arrived a little after 2pm. It happened to be raining this day, a sign of things to come, I guess. Once at the dock, the 'dock porters' will check

your bag directly to your room. Make sure you have your Ship luggage tag on there with your room number, because I believe thats the only way they know where to deliver them. The crew will leave them outside your room. I recommend you carry on board with you at least 1 bag of clothes and your toiletries, since the bag delivery can take up to 3-4 hours after the ship sets sail. The boarding area is huge area, but the lines moved quickly. Before you get on the gangway, the photo crew will take your picture - get used to this. The entire cruise we were getting our picture taken 3-5 times/day. You have nothing to lose by taking as many pictures as you want, as you only have to buy the ones you like. They vary from 7-$20 for a 8x10. Room/Amenities: Our cabin was on Deck 6, midship interior. Our cabin was relatively small with one queen sized bed, a small table and a chair. There is a small television in the corner which continuously plays 2-3 movies, 2 cnn channels, cnbc, and 3-4 satellite feeds. Not much selection. The bathroom is sufficient. They provide little sample-size amenities, but you should bring your own toothpaste, shampoo, soap, etc. There is also a card-activated safe in the room. Being an interior, ours had no windows - which makes it interesting getting up in the morning and getting used to the ships motion. You might think 'who cares, i won't spend much time in my room.' Well, when its a day at sea, raining outside, and you don't feel like playing bingo, gambling, or drinking at the bar, you'll probably spend more time in your room than you think. If you can afford it, go for a room that at least has a window. Our cabin steward was great. She made up our room around 9-11 in the morning, and then turned our bed down between 7-8pm. Like most of the staff, they are very friendly and courteous. You'll get some chocolate, and the Carnival Capers, which lists all the activities, and some other stuff like dining hours, and dress code for the next day. The filthy, and I never saw anyone ever clean them. The crew tries to keep everything else fairly clean, but you can definitely tell the ship is 7 years old. They say that with this ship's stabilizers you can't feel the ocean if its rough. That's a load of crap. Our first complete day at sea had 5-10' swells, and the ship was pitching and rolling just like a plane. A lot of people were getting nauseous, and I saw many people with the transderm patch. I threw down Dramamine for the first 4-5 days until the seas smoothed out. It will take some getting used to going from the front to the back of the ship, since there are only 2-3 floors where you can easily get from the front to back. Decks 4,5, and 9) There are bars everywhere, and you'll never be 20-30 feet away from either a bar, or someone offering drinks. The drinks range anywhere from $4-15. So if you like to drink, get ready to throw down some cash at the end. If its sunny outside, there can be a shortage of good chairs. They say you can't reserve chairs, but I've seen some people throw towels out in the morning and never use them. Dining: To my wife and I, this was just 'okay,' I heard some people say the buffets are great. Great I guess if you like having access to food 24 hours a day. The food itself is nothing to write home about, more like fancy cafeteria food. I did both sit-down and buffets for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Whatever you choose for breakfast and lunch, the food is the same. The only difference is if you go to the dining room for breakfast or lunch, they'll sit you next to some random people to eat with. You'll also order your food off a menu as well. Breakfast buffet offers custom-made omelet's, cereal, fresh fruit, yogurt, and hash browns, eggs, grits, oatmeal, French toast, etc. Lunch has an ethnic theme which varies every day. But you can expect the usual salad bar and a dessert bar. The free drinks are juices, coffee, and tea. If you drink a lot of soda, you'll want a fountain card (~$40) for unlimited soda. The deli sandwiches are pretty good. There's also the 'Noodle Co.' which is Chinese food. I didn't think it was very good. In the aft of the Lido Deck is the Pizzeria which is open 24 hours, and the Coney island Grille, which makes very good hamburgers and fries, also has hot dogs, and chili dogs. Our dinner was the last one at 8:30pm. With our itineraries, I would've chosen something a little earlier, but we just lived with it. Our waiter and his assistant were very nice throughout the whole cruise. If you want more of anything, including lobster tail, they'll bring it out for you - as much as you want. We did feel a little rushed though towards 10pm. They'll just hand you a desert menu, even if you're still eating your main course. There's a good wine menu, and the menus are posted outside the dining room before hand to check out. Dinner had the better food, by far. And the appetizers ranged anywhere from soup to escargot. Main courses had anything from pasta, to prime rib, to lobster. You'll have no problem finding something you like. My impression of our dinner company was that they sorted us by age. Everyone in our table was 25-30 years old. Everyone else in the dining room seemed to be arranged the same way. Before the cruise is over, they'll leave an envelope in your room for a tip for the Maitre'd. We ended up giving the dude a couple of dollars. We couldn't understand tipping a guy who we hardly ever saw, and who never spent any time at our table. Cozumel: This place is still recovering from the hurricanes. Our stay here got shortened significantly to 8am-4:30pm. Reason being is the dock facilities looked like a plane dropped a 2000lb. bomb on it. Instead of docking, there are tenders to take you ashore. I was told they don't like doing this in the dark, so the port of call was shortened. My wife and I did the 'Eco-Kayak' which finishes in Paradise Island or something like that. $79/person and a complete waste of money. We took a boat to the kayaks, paddled around some mangroves (which stunk) where the water was sometimes to shallow to paddle, got eaten by mosquito's, and then paddled to the island. If you want a laid back beach, just buy the Island escape instead. I tried to drink the difference of the 2 excursions (it was open bar and food) but that didn't work out too well. Afterwards, the chef, the bathroom attendant, the tour guides, and the bus driver will all ask you for tips. Others we talked to either went to Tulum or the Shot over boat and they were pleased with theirs. Grand Cayman: it was overcast and windy here. We decided to just go shopping instead. A nice port, but the food here is EXPENSIVE. $12 for a hamburger, yikes! Ocho Rios: We did the Dunns River Falls and Exclusive snorkel for $69 a person. Despite the warnings from the cruise director, we never hassled for drugs or anything here. One thing we were hassled for were tips - from everybody. I highly recommend climbing the falls, though. I never understood, however, why they don't recommend you parasail or jet ski on excursions b/c its dangerous, but they don't mind you climbing a cascading, slippery 850 foot waterfall wearing some rented $5 aqua socks. The snorkel at Dolphin's Cove was great as well. Overall, I was fairly happy with our cruise. I don't have another one planned yet, but if we do go again, we're going to try one of the more premium cruise lines like Celebrity, or Holland America to see what the difference is like.

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Jan 28, 2006

Eastern Caribbean

The Norwalk Virus is alive and well on the Triumph! We booked the Eastern Caribbean on January 28, 2006. On our arrival in Miami, the boarding process took much longer, and had more numerous lines than what we encountered with either Holland America or Princess at Ft. Lauderdale. Nonetheless, we boarded about 12:45pm. Because the cabins were not yet ready, we were invited to have lunch on the Lido Deck as is the normal custom. Needing

a restroom facility, the first I came across was the restrooms just aft of the main pool on the Lido Deck near the buffet line on the port side. It was filthy and had no paper or cloth towels to dry your hands. Instead, as in most restrooms, it had an air dryer which is supposedly more sanitary. I used the air drier but the two doors leading outside require turning and pulling a handle which was wet from previous use – hand washing I can only hope. In several other public restrooms on board I noticed and used a small paper dispenser attached to the door which provided a paper to open the door. This first restroom and several others were not so equipped. Later that night about 2am I became violently ill, with extreme vomiting and diarrhea, which lasted through the next day. My wife contacted the medical staff the next morning and they provided me with an anti-nausea and diarrhea medicine and confined me to my cabin until the next day. I have not been that sick in years and at age 57, I don’t bounce back as quickly as I used to. The next day, I felt well enough to walk around and was released from quarantine. While weak, I was determined to see San Juan. We walked for a about an hour, sat and rested, and went back to the ship. Now my wife was feeling nauseous. She came down with the same thing that night and remained in bed throughout the next day. Using some of the medicine I was given, she eventually began to feel better. Needless to say we completely missed St. Thomas. Although neither of us could eat well after our experience, we were able to see St. Maarten. It was a great day of sightseeing in our rental car, getting ill again every time we smelled any kind of food. I can say, thankfully, that the Triumph has really great mattresses and we used them extensively. It is also a major benefit that the toilet and sink are so close together in the bathroom! We never got in a pool or hot tub, were able to go to dinner only three of the seven nights and then not eat, and attended only two shows due to our condition. The time we spent outside our cabin however revealed, at least in my mind, why this Norwalk virus is so difficult to eliminate. The ship appeared clean when we got on board and we saw the staff cleaning it very well during disembarkation – getting ready for the next group. During the week, at least on the exterior decks there was little or no cleaning or bussing of dishes. There were several areas around the rear pool area bars and on the sun decks where dishes, food, and drinks were left, spilled, and walked in throughout the day. The port side Lido Deck ice cream station had apparently spilled and had not been adequately cleaned creating a sour milk smell that gagged you as you entered the South Beach restaurant. During the day I spent reading a book on Deck 10 while in port in St. Thomas – (with my wife sleeping in the cabin), I noticed several deck crew members actually hiding to keep from having to work. I mentioned this at dinner the last night and two other couples had seen similar instances and agreed with the lack of cleanliness. During the entire trip, when on deck or in public areas, I never saw a ships officer or supervisor making any effort to ensure the cleanliness of the ship. It left me with a very bad impression of the line. I tried several times to throw away trash that I was carrying only to find that there are no trash cans for guest use in public areas. There were no bus tubs for you to put your used plates or glasses assessable to guests who might use them. This leads to these items being left everywhere and spilled – a haven for disease. Needless to say, we are extremely disappointed in our cruise. I doubt we will be cruising any line in the foreseeable future – at least until the memory of this cruise has faded. We will clearly never cruise Carnival again. I doubt we would have cruised the Triumph this time had we known of the maintenance conditions on board before sailing. I sent Carnival a letter outlining these issues and received a letter saying they had no report of anyone being ill – yet they confined me to my cabin and provided medication. Because I complained, they offered me a Bon Voyage gift on my next sailing. I was impressed!!!!! It is amazing to me that Carnival, Princess, and HAL are all the same company. HAL Zuiderdam and the Coral Princess are clearly better run ships. I am sure all ships have problems occasionally but this was not the response I anticipated. My suggestion is that if you travel on the Triumph, carry the hand sanitizer stuff, some paper towels, and watch what you touch. Keep copies of any records of treatment and take photos of the nasty areas of the ship for documentation. That way you too can get a free bowl of fruit or something. Seriously, there were a bunch of folks that had a great trip. Take precautions against the Norwalk, regardless of the ship you get on.

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By Dan_CR

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Jan 7, 2006

Western Caribbean

We were very happy overall! We were traveling with another couple, 4 adults total, no children. The initial lines at the airport and the ship were long, but after we got on the ship there were few lines. The food was really good. All the service was great. The ship is very clean, and doesn't show much wear. The shows were good. Ports- Cozumel has a decent free beach with free chairs called San Francisco beach that is a $12 taxi each way.

Grand Caymen has a turtle farm, Hell, and swim with stingray tour that I thought was fun. Takes about 4 hours, but is relaxing. In Ocho Rios the Dunns river falls is great. Make sure you bring your water shoes or good sandals. Tips- At the captains cocktail party, and at the Carnival past cruisers party, you can order beer or any other drink you want for free. You don't have to just suffer through the premixed drinks that they walk around with. After all the cruises I've been on, I don't know why I didn't figure this out before. Also, at the end of the cruise, if you want to pay your bill some other way besides your credit card, make sure you do it before the last night or morning of the cruise. The line is a solid 30 minutes long. Overall, this was a super deal. We paid $750 each with all taxes and airfare from Minneapolis for an outside cabin with a balcony.

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Dec 3, 2005

Eastern Caribbean

Our cruise was scheduled to leave around 1pm and we arrived at the port between 9 and 10 am. I would definitely recommend arriving around this time as we were one of the first 30 or so people in line. By 10:30 the line already extended well into the parking lot and some people probably spent 2-3 hours waiting outside. Even in December it was pretty hot out in the sun. It took about 2 hours to finally get on the boat. We booked a balcony

suite and our luggage was already in our room when we arrived even though we saw lots of baggage still being delivered to some of the rooms. Also, arriving early meant we had a few minutes to run around and explore before the decks got too crowded. THE ROOM Our room was fantastic. I will never cruise without a balcony. We didn’t really enjoy arriving/leaving any of the ports up on deck. It’s really crowded and hard to get a view. Especially because my wife is only 4’ 11”. The balcony is a great way to watch the ship dock in a new port. Also, since room service is free and you can schedule when you want breakfast to arrive the night before, we found it was one of the best places for breakfast and late night snacks. I loved sleeping to the sound out the waves against the side of the ship. The door to the balcony doesn’t stay open on it’s own but we were able to keep it open with one of the deck chairs. Our suite had a larger balcony than just the regular rooms so we had two different kinds of deck chairs, uprights and loungers. Our room also had a couch and chairs which was another wonderful place to eat, relax, and watch TV. I was pleasantly surprised that there was satellite TV on the boat. It is also a great way to check the balances on your Carnival cards. Movies can also be easily rented on your TV. Another great feature in the room is wireless internet access. If you take your own laptop and use the wireless internet in your room or various other spots on the ship you don’t have to pay per minute like you do in the internet cafe. Our room also featured a vanity outside of the bathroom that my wife loved, two closets, a mini-bar, and a whirlpool tub. The bed was wonderful too. THE FOOD I am a vegetarian and I never had trouble finding something to eat. Even in the formal dinning rooms the menu is posted the day before and you can request something else to be prepared ahead of time if you don’t like the menu selections. And for those of you who aren’t vegetarians, you can order steak any night you want, even if it’s not on the menu. The food in the dinning rooms was always wonderful, portion sizes are perfect too, we hardly ever had room for dessert. Even if you find that you have not had enough to eat, just ask your waiter for a second helping!! We had dinner in the London dinning room and some mornings we had breakfast in the Paris dinning room, the rooms are exactly the same, just mirror images, even the services is the same, so it doesn’t matter which you are assigned to. The 24 hour pizza always had hot fresh pizza and it was my choice for late night snacks. I would even take it to my room sometimes and the stewards will take your dishes when they come to clean. The south beach buffet line always had something interesting and new to try, I highly recommend it for lunch. This cruise was to celebrate our second wedding anniversary and my wife’s 21st birthday. For a little treat I ordered a cake and chocolate covered strawberries from the Vienna Cafe. They were served to us at dinner on one of the formal nights. It was delicious and made exactly to order. The chocolate covered strawberries had white and milk chocolate in the design of a tuxedo. THE SERVICE Service everywhere on the ship is superb. Even if you go to play bingo, which I never won, you will see bar waiters walking around to serve drinks. The only problem we had was at the very beginning of the cruise, it took until the next morning to get someone to unlock our mini-bar. The room steward was very friendly and always ask if you wanted him to return later if you were still in your room. He would even organize my wife’s supplies on her vanity, which she isn’t very good at doing herself. In the dinning rooms the service is always prompt and perfect. My wife is somewhat of a picky eater and any time she wasn’t pleased with her entree the waiter would quickly replace it with something else. I never had to wait for my water to be refilled, which is one of my pet peeves at restaurants. In fact, the staff noticed that I tend to drink a lot of water at dinner and by the second or third day of the cruise they were supplying me with two glasses at every meal! Exceptional! THE ENTERTAINMENT We went to a few of the shows on the ship and we did enjoy them but it was not a highlight of our vacation. We knew we had a few days that we would not be in port so we decided to get off the boat as much as possible and enjoy the boat on the days we had to stay on. I was really looking forward to seeing the comedian but by the time I showed up to where the performance was going to be the seats were already full and people were even standing outside the doors to watch. In the casino we only played the slots. I only won $5 here and there but my wife won $170.00. All together the casino was enjoyable just because it was the first time we had ever gambled. We also played Bingo a few times and a game show they had as well. We spent some of our time in the fitness center which has spectacular views! There is always something to do no matter what your tastes are. They really to live up to their motto. “A million ways to have fun.” THE PORTS-OF-CALL San Juan- We would have liked to have spent more time in Puerto Rico. My wife is of Puertorican decent but have never had the chance to visit the island until this cruise. We took the guided tour of the island which included the capital building, shopping, and the fortress of San Cristobal. This was a great excursion. It gave us the chance to learn some history about where my in-laws came from and for my wife to speak to native Puertoricans about life on the island. We had dinner at a hotel near the port that served authentic food which was delicious. The waiter even walked me down an alley to the liquor store that he shops at to save me money instead of buying from the hotel itself!! We also use Cingulair phones and have free mobile to mobile calling which is even free from Puerto Rico! St. Thomas- We did some shopping on the island and also took a taxi to a beach on the other side of the island. The taxi was cheap but you had to pay to get onto the beach as well. It was kind of crowed and the water had some debris in it. It was beautiful but not quite what I expected in the Caribbean. We purchased tickets for the sky ride to the top of the island as well. The was the best part of that stop. The views from the top are incredible. You can even see the island of Vieques which is part of Puerto Rico. We ate at the restaurant at the top and ordered some drinks (the drinking age in Puerto Rico and St. Thomas is only 18 and I am only 20 so I got to enjoy some too). St. Maarten- This was our favorite stop. We sailed on the Golden Eagle catamarans. They take you out about 45 minutes to a different beach that has beautiful white sands, some coral, sea urchins, and fish. You get about an hour and a half to snorkel and the even bring drinks out into the water. Again, off the boat I was old enough to drink. The water was perfectly clear and the temperature was perfect. I purchased and brought my own high quality snorkeling gear which I would recommend. Get some that have a valve so you can dive with out drinking the ocean. They will provide some free of cost but they are cheap. On the way back they gave out champagne and subs. They made cheese subs for me on request. They even let the guest help out raising and lowering the sails. It was a wonderful experience. When we got back we still had plenty of time to do some shopping at the duty-free mall. DEBARKATION The only problem was that it took way too long. It didn’t ruin the trip though, it just wasn’t very efficient.

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Nov 26, 2005

Western Caribbean

Before going on this cruise I read all the reviews I could on this page and found them to be very informative and exciting. Especially for a first time cruiser like myself the reviews have been most helpful in preparing for this cruise. Therefore I will also write about my cruise experience so that others can get information and inspiration for their cruise. I traveled on this cruise with my boyfriend and my parents. A bit of background

information about us: I am from Denmark (and so are my parents!) but live in Spain with my Spanish boyfriend. My parents have cruised several times before and invited us on this cruise with them so that we could spent some quality time together and experience what a cruise is. For my boyfriend and I this was our first cruise and for my boyfriend it was also the first time he traveled to other places than Denmark, so naturally, it was a very big experience for us. Pre-cruise – South Beach, Miami Since I had only visited Miami one day about ten years ago and my boyfriend obviously had never been, we decided to fly in early. We flew in to Miami (from Alicante over Madrid) on Wednesday afternoon. It had been a very long day of traveling and after clearing immigration and getting our bags we just got into a taxi which took us to our hotel (Best Western South Beach). The hotel was okay. The price, location and breakfast were all excellent, but the rooms were old and dirty (actually found a very dusty (and dirty) pair of tracksuit bottoms on the final day when checking if we had left anything under the bed!!!). The next couple of days we spent exploring South Beach and we had a wonderful time doing so (highly recommend it). On the second day we were joined by my parents who had flown in from Copenhagen. They had been to South Beach several times before and showed us some of their favorite places for walks and great dining. Cruise travelogue: 1st day – Saturday: Embarkation On Saturday morning we were all really excited about going to the ship, but had decided to wait until checkout time at the hotel. When we finally left for the port we could see the ship as we crossed the causeway – very impressive! When we arrived at the check-in area the check in line was also very impressive!!, but we took it all as an experience and passed the time people watching and trying to figure out which step of the process was next (very happy that my parents had tried it all many times before!). All in all it took us two hours to get through all of the lines and enter the ship. We went straight to our Staterooms (enjoying some aerobic workout on the stairs as all elevators were occupied). My parents had really splurged and booked two balcony staterooms on the eight floor. The room was just beautiful and much roomier than I had expected. The bed was the best I have ever slept in and the giant duvet just made it perfect – I even agreed to join my boyfriend in sleeping “the siesta” sometimes because the bed was just soooooo comfortable. We had some lunch and then went to explore. Having never been on a cruise ship it was difficult to know where to start…………I think we saw all of the pools and then headed to the spa deck to check out the gym. We are very fond of working out (some might call us fanatics, but that just sounds so negative!) and had read that the Carnival Triumph has one of the best stocked gyms on a cruise ship…………..well, we were a bit disappointed I must admit. There was a small free weight area with miscellaneous dumbbells and small bars with even smaller weights to put on…………hmmmmm, then there were some weight machines which worked with hydraulics – never been my favorite kind of thing. On the positive side, though, there was a lot of cardio equipment with nice views over the ocean. Since I had not been able to gather a lot of specific information about the gym equipment from reviews read I have chosen to cover this in more detail for those interested: The gym The gym is ok in size and is located at the front of the eleventh floor with views over the ocean. In the middle there are two hot tubs with glass walling around them. On one side you will find the free weight area and on the other the hydraulic machines. One the front row there is cardio equipment. Upstairs there is a small aerobics area equipped for step classes, spinning and different types of aerobics. The dressing rooms are shared with the spa and are quit nice and the showers have a lot more water pressure than the ones in the cabins. There are small and large towels available and meal substitute bars for free. Cardio equipment: -A large number of well-functioning treadmills. -A few outdated stationary bikes -A few outdated steppers that were very noisy and not at all well-functioning -A number of cross-trainers (never tried them, but seemed to work well and were popular) -Two reclining stationary bikes, well functioning and new -One reclining stationary bike with a TV screen with some kind of videogame where you were supposed to follow the route – never got it to work properly! Free-weight and machines: -A number of (old) dumbbells in miscellaneous weights and designs -Two bars that were very light and short + some weight to put on, the heaviest weighing 5kg – not at all in good condition and I was actually afraid to use this equipment because it was so old and fragile. -5-6 basic machines to work chest, legs, back and abs. -A large number of swissballs -Two benches fixed at a 90º angle NO bench press, no squat rack, no pull-up bar, etc. The gym was generally not crowded and we only had to wait once to use a treadmill and that was on a sea day at about 11a.m. Rules of proper attire such as wearing shirts and closed shoes are enforced. Now, on with the story…………… After this small tour of the recreational areas it was time for the lifeboat drill. We all put on our west, went to our lifeboat station and had a good laugh bumping into each other and taking silly pictures. We were supposed to sail shortly thereafter, but it just did not happen! After some waiting around on the deck an announcement was made that they were still loading water and were therefore not ready for sailing yet. After hearing this we decided to hit the gym (after three days of not touching any weights while in South Beach we were getting quiet restless!!). We did some weights trying to adapt our regular routine to the free weights and equipment available – did not really succeed the first day, but by the second it was easier to find solutions (probably because my expectations had dropped!). After the workout we relaxed in the hot tubs in the spa (water very warm!!) and by the time we got back to our room we were sailing out off Miami port. We enjoyed the lights of the port and South Beach from the balcony and then got dressed for dinner (2nd seating, London Dining Room). We had a table for four upstairs in the dining room. There were not a lot of people in the dining room and especially not upstairs. We thought that this was just because it was the first night and some people might be tired. But no, this was not the reason – a lot of people just never showed up and I suppose that they preferred dining in the buffet restaurant. Really a shame because the food was just lovely and the service very nice. I was surprised to see how small the portions were (having been to American restaurants I assumed that the portions would be just as enormous!) but it was actually really nice because you could have all courses of the meal and still have room for dessert. 2nd day – Sunday: Day at see The morning we spent hanging around the pool and then we met up with my parents for lunch (too much to choose from!). In the afternoon it rained so we headed to our room for a long “siesta” and then hit the gym before getting ready for the Captain’s cocktail party and the first formal night. I was surprised to see that everyone was really dressed up and some wore truly beautiful dresses. After having read reviews on this board I had gotten the feeling that people did not really dress up; well they did! I was very happy that I had decided to pack my gala dress at the last moment! We had some cocktails and then headed to dinner and later more cocktails and some disco dancing (just my boyfriend and I, though – my parents hit the casino) – great evening! 3rd day – Monday: Cozumel We had been looking very much forward to this stop and were very pleased to see that it had been added back on to Carnival’s schedule just the week before. Our time in port had been greatly reduced, though, and we had to tender in since the piers had been destroyed by the hurricane. The tendering process was just a nightmare. We went down to get our tender ticket after breakfast and it took us 1 ½ hour to get on a tender!!! We really tried to stay positive and excited about seeing Cozumel, but the whole process was just tiring and did not seem very organized. I understand that they normally do not use tenders in Cozumel, but their own pier and therefore they are not used to the process, but even still it was handled quiet badly. My boyfriend and I had decided to rent some bicycles and go have a look at the island. It turned out that it was not the easiest thing to rent, but we ended up at a scooter rental place (Sol y Mar) where the guy who worked there was able to radio for some bicycles for us. They were not the best bicycles we have ever tried, but we happily headed out along the coast anyway, excited to see a bit of the island. What we saw was very impressive - everything had been really badly destroyed by the hurricane and there were no leaves on any of the palm trees and the bottom of the sea had literally been washed up on the beaches. There were huge sea shells, fossils and dead corals everywhere – very interesting to see. We passed by the Chanukkaban (not sure of spelling!) Natural Park and saw that everything there had been destroyed as well. Shortly thereafter a passing car started waving at us to turn around – we would have none of that though and just continued on our way, while discussing why the men in the car wanted us to turn around (did we not look comfortable on our bikes??). Well, we soon found out why - the road went missing!!! The road was so badly damaged by the hurricane that it had been closed off/was not there anymore! We then had the choice to go to the larger road away from the coast or turn around. Considering the fact that we are very fond of our lives we decided to just turn around and follow the quiet road back to the port area. From there we continued into the town (the ship tendered into a port area about 2-3 miles from the town) and started looking for a place to get some lunch. After a bit of searching around we found a cozy looking restaurant one street from the ocean, La Candela. It had a really nice, shaded, verandah with wicker furniture and the food was just wonderful and also very cheap. We had the menu of the day (menu del día) which included starter, main course and drink. We paid only 95 pesos for the two of us!! I cannot recommend this restaurant enough – you should go! After lunch we did some shopping, but found the prices to be much higher than what we expected, so were a bit disappointed. After handing in our bikes we got in line for the tender back to the ship. This was about an hour before the last planned tender. But the tender ride back was planned even worse than the morning’s tender – we waited in line on the pier for almost an hour and no tender came!!!!!!! The line of people was just huge and everyone got more and more disgruntled as the time passed – not very comfortable at all! I was convinced that there was only one tender operating and that it must have encountered some kind of problem, since it did not return? But when the tender finally picked us up and took us out to the boat another tender was docked there and a third was heading ashore – where were these tenders when we were waiting in line for over an hour on the pier????!!!! Very tiring and I must say that the grumpiness and slight aggressiveness of some of the fellow passengers in line just did not make it any more enjoyable! 4th Day – Tuesday: Day at Sea Enjoyed a relaxing day by the pool and in the gym. The evening show was a hypnotist. We had never seen this kind of show before and were very curious as to what it was exactly. I found it to be very fascinating, my boyfriend found it to be very relaxing – he actually feel asleep to the hypnotist’s calm voice!!! My parents, who have seen this type of show before, did not think it was that good, though, had seen better. 5th Day – Wednesday: Grand Cayman We had booked a tour to Sting Ray City with Moby Dick tours from home after reading great things about them on the internet. When we came off the tender (which was much easier this time) it was very easy to find the Moby Dick crew and we quickly “checked in”. The price had gone up to 40$, but since we had booked before the price markup it only cost us 35$. We had a wonderful trip and the crew was very entertaining and attentive. They were both in the water with us and made sure that everyone who wanted to touch or kiss a sting ray did so. At first I was a bit too enthusiastic and attempted to feed the rays squid as the crew had illustrated. The rays must have been very hungry though, because I was quickly surrounded by three or four rays that rubbed up against me and one mistook by forearm for a piece of squid (I do eat a lot of seafood, maybe they can smell that?) and gave me a beautiful hickey!!! I have to admit that I got a bit nervous and threw away the squid and just tried to stand completely still until the rays had found out that I was not a piece of squid. My mom did not go in the water and my boyfriend only briefly, but they still had a great time viewing everything from the boat. They also told me that the crew brought some rays close to the boat for them to see and take some good pictures – nice touch. We also made a stop for snorkeling, but the coral was not very impressive – the water was great though, so we very much enjoyed the swim. After the tour we walked a bit around the town, but did not really like it – soooo many people – there were 7 cruise ships that day and you could barely get into the shops because they were so overcrowded. We did go into two shop selling watches because my boyfriend wanted to buy one, but in both cases the same watches could be bought cheaper on board the ship! This evening there was a marvelous magic show – I have never seen anything like it – it must have been like the expensive shows in Las Vegas – so, so impressive. My parents had just been to see David Copperfield in Copenhagen and said that this was just as good, if not better! The tricks were incredible, they were funny, and the stage show just fantastic. You should not miss this show! I believe the artist were called “David and Carusso” and it was also the name of the show 6th Day – Thursday: Ocho Rios, Jamaica Again I had booked a tour from home after reading reviews on the internet. I had booked the tour with Orville Taylor and we just wanted to be driven around a bit and see and learn a bit about Jamaica. We were met by a woman with an Orville Taylor sign. She, however, thought that we were a group of five and that we wanted to go to the waterfalls like everyone else!!! I had specifically written that we did not want to go to the falls, so it seemed a bit strange. Also the driver was not Orville Taylor – I thought it would be – maybe I understood it wrong and it is just the name of the company? All this made me a bit uneasy, but in the end we had a very nice tour with Tony who told us a lot about the island and stopped several times to pick spices, so that we could smell them. What I did not like about the tour, though, was that he wanted us to stop for shopping all the time. We said no thanks, but it seemed that he actually got into trouble with some of the vendors for not stopping. Towards the end of the tour we agreed to stop and shop, however, and bought some really beautiful wood carvings. When we were later dropped off in town we asked the price of similar carvings in the market and it seems that we had made an okay deal. The town was full of shops and markets. Everybody was very eager to sell, but in most cases accepted a “no thanks”. My boyfriend was offered to buy marihuana a couple of times, I once, and my parents none. All in all we found Jamaica to be much more pleasant than expected from what we had read prior to the visit and the island was very lush and beautiful. One tip concerning buying liquor: We bought some small bottles of Jamaican rum in town, but found that they were half the price at the liquor shore at the ferry terminal! (Bought some more J). Also, my parents just brought theirs up to their cabin and no one said anything (Being a real goody-two shoes I dutifully handed mine in for storage and later delivery to the cabin – arrived the following afternoon). In the evening it was the second formal night and time to dress up again. We, again, had a lovely dinner and then had some nice pictures taken (bought some of them – were really nice) before hitting the disco. The music was really fun at first (80´s disco) but then became strange ( I do not understand why a DJ does not change the music if he sees everyone leaving the dance floor!!!) so we left. We then went up to see the grand midnight gala buffet full of ice sculptures and beautifully decorated cakes. We were surprised to see people actually standing in long lines just to take photos!!! Had these people never seen a decorated cake before………………. My boyfriend and I decided to come back when the buffet opened and try some of the food. When we came back the lines were so long, though, that we just gave up. Instead we ordered a pizza (without cheese – the cheese is VERY greasy) and had a chat with the pizza baker. Nice pizza! 7th Day – Friday: Day at Sea Again we spent the day relaxing by the pool and going to the gym. This day we even ventured to try the water slide – very fun! In the evening before going to dinner we prepared most of our suitcases. When we came back from dinner we found out that this had been a very good idea, because the time we had to leave the suitcases outside the door had been changed!!! We did not find out till we read the newsletter on our bed. This actually annoyed us some, because all of a sudden we were in a hurry to finish our bags. All through the night there was a great deal of noise – bags being carried away and passengers screaming?!!!? 8th Day – Saturday: Disembarkation and flight home Our flight was not until 6 p.m. so we had booked the tour to the Everglades. This meant that we had been given special stickers for our luggage and had priority at time of disembarkation. The disembarkation went rather quickly, but with some confusion because there was no one to inform the tour groups about where to go/meet and the cruise director and the entertainment director gave conflicting information. Also our luggage was not separated according to the tours as we had been informed, but according to decks. Strange……. The tour was very nice, though, and since we were a small tour group (24 people), we could all see the alligator show without any pushing and showing and the ones that wanted to could hold the baby alligator, “Snappy”. The airboat ride was a bit disappointing, though. We did not go that fast and we were not supplied with earplugs (just some toilet tissue to stuff in our ears!!!) so the noise was overwhelming. We found the tour to be very good value at 35$/person. Not only do you get the tour, but also priority disembarkation and a ride to the airport! After the tour we were dropped off at the airport, and from thereon things got a bit annoying, but that would be a review of Iberia Airlines……………….. Conclusion We had an absolutely wonderful vacation. We saw so many places and had so many experiences while still being able to relax soooooo much. Before going on this cruise I was somewhat apprehensive about the whole “cruise thing”. Being very fond of independent travel, avoiding the crowds and living out of my backpack I was afraid that I would just be terribly bored on such a ship and not be able to enjoy it due to the crowds of people and only quick stops in port. But I actually did enjoy it and the short stops in the different port were not that big of a problem because I had researched everything from home and made plans, so we still got to se a lot. Also I greatly enjoyed the relaxation side of the cruise – did not have to do anything!! No cooking, no cleaning, no hectic driving, etc. The gym was three floors up, the pool one floor up and the restaurant four floors down! I was just all so easy – think it is the first time ever that I have truly relaxed on vacation! What I did not enjoy, however, were the constant crowds and lines for everything. At lunch time the lines were just horrendous and as mentioned earlier we completely gave up on getting anything form the Midnight Gala buffet. And of course the whole tender thing in Cozumel was just not nice! Another thing that I did not enjoy was having to listen to fellow passengers always complaining and bickering about each and everything – lighten up! I cannot comment on the quality of Carnival versus other companies, this being my first cruise. But I very much feel that this cruise it what you make it. Since the boat is so big and there is so much to do you can design your own cruise experience. For example we did not take part in all the fun and games offered, we did not eat lunch at the same time as everyone else and we did not get into the overly full hot tubs! But we did not do all of these things because we prefer it that way; they were there if you wanted them, but you could also have a wonderful day just going at your own pace and doing your own thing. So in conclusion we had a wonderful vacation and can highly recommend this form of vacation to everyone else!

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Nov 26, 2005

Western Caribbean

Before going on this cruise I read all the reviews I could on this page and found them to be very informative and exciting. Especially for a first time cruiser like myself the reviews have been most helpful in preparing for this cruise. Therefore I will also write about my cruise experience so that others can get information and inspiration for their cruise. I traveled on this cruise with my boyfriend and my parents. A bit of background

information about us: I am from Denmark (and so are my parents!) but live in Spain with my Spanish boyfriend. My parents have cruised several times before and invited us on this cruise with them so that we could spent some quality time together and experience what a cruise is. For my boyfriend and I this was our first cruise and for my boyfriend it was also the first time he traveled to other places than Denmark, so naturally, it was a very big experience for us. Pre-cruise – South Beach, Miami Since I had only visited Miami one day about ten years ago and my boyfriend obviously had never been, we decided to fly in early. We flew in to Miami (from Alicante over Madrid) on Wednesday afternoon. It had been a very long day of traveling and after clearing immigration and getting our bags we just got into a taxi which took us to our hotel (Best Western South Beach). The hotel was okay. The price, location and breakfast were all excellent, but the rooms were old and dirty (actually found a very dusty (and dirty) pair of tracksuit bottoms on the final day when checking if we had left anything under the bed!!!). The next couple of days we spent exploring South Beach and we had a wonderful time doing so (highly recommend it). On the second day we were joined by my parents who had flown in from Copenhagen. They had been to South Beach several times before and showed us some of their favorite places for walks and great dining. Cruise travelogue: 1st day – Saturday: Embarkation On Saturday morning we were all really excited about going to the ship, but had decided to wait until checkout time at the hotel. When we finally left for the port we could see the ship as we crossed the causeway – very impressive! When we arrived at the check-in area the check in line was also very impressive!!, but we took it all as an experience and passed the time people watching and trying to figure out which step of the process was next (very happy that my parents had tried it all many times before!). All in all it took us two hours to get through all of the lines and enter the ship. We went straight to our Staterooms (enjoying some aerobic workout on the stairs as all elevators were occupied). My parents had really splurged and booked two balcony staterooms on the eight floor. The room was just beautiful and much roomier than I had expected. The bed was the best I have ever slept in and the giant duvet just made it perfect – I even agreed to join my boyfriend in sleeping “the siesta” sometimes because the bed was just soooooo comfortable. We had some lunch and then went to explore. Having never been on a cruise ship it was difficult to know where to start…………I think we saw all of the pools and then headed to the spa deck to check out the gym. We are very fond of working out (some might call us fanatics, but that just sounds so negative!) and had read that the Carnival Triumph has one of the best stocked gyms on a cruise ship…………..well, we were a bit disappointed I must admit. There was a small free weight area with miscellaneous dumbbells and small bars with even smaller weights to put on…………hmmmmm, then there were some weight machines which worked with hydraulics – never been my favorite kind of thing. On the positive side, though, there was a lot of cardio equipment with nice views over the ocean. Since I had not been able to gather a lot of specific information about the gym equipment from reviews read I have chosen to cover this in more detail for those interested: The gym The gym is ok in size and is located at the front of the eleventh floor with views over the ocean. In the middle there are two hot tubs with glass walling around them. On one side you will find the free weight area and on the other the hydraulic machines. One the front row there is cardio equipment. Upstairs there is a small aerobics area equipped for step classes, spinning and different types of aerobics. The dressing rooms are shared with the spa and are quit nice and the showers have a lot more water pressure than the ones in the cabins. There are small and large towels available and meal substitute bars for free. Cardio equipment: -A large number of well-functioning treadmills. -A few outdated stationary bikes -A few outdated steppers that were very noisy and not at all well-functioning -A number of cross-trainers (never tried them, but seemed to work well and were popular) -Two reclining stationary bikes, well functioning and new -One reclining stationary bike with a TV screen with some kind of videogame where you were supposed to follow the route – never got it to work properly! Free-weight and machines: -A number of (old) dumbbells in miscellaneous weights and designs -Two bars that were very light and short + some weight to put on, the heaviest weighing 5kg – not at all in good condition and I was actually afraid to use this equipment because it was so old and fragile. -5-6 basic machines to work chest, legs, back and abs. -A large number of swissballs -Two benches fixed at a 90º angle NO bench press, no squat rack, no pull-up bar, etc. The gym was generally not crowded and we only had to wait once to use a treadmill and that was on a sea day at about 11a.m. Rules of proper attire such as wearing shirts and closed shoes are enforced. Now, on with the story…………… After this small tour of the recreational areas it was time for the lifeboat drill. We all put on our west, went to our lifeboat station and had a good laugh bumping into each other and taking silly pictures. We were supposed to sail shortly thereafter, but it just did not happen! After some waiting around on the deck an announcement was made that they were still loading water and were therefore not ready for sailing yet. After hearing this we decided to hit the gym (after three days of not touching any weights while in South Beach we were getting quiet restless!!). We did some weights trying to adapt our regular routine to the free weights and equipment available – did not really succeed the first day, but by the second it was easier to find solutions (probably because my expectations had dropped!). After the workout we relaxed in the hot tubs in the spa (water very warm!!) and by the time we got back to our room we were sailing out off Miami port. We enjoyed the lights of the port and South Beach from the balcony and then got dressed for dinner (2nd seating, London Dining Room). We had a table for four upstairs in the dining room. There were not a lot of people in the dining room and especially not upstairs. We thought that this was just because it was the first night and some people might be tired. But no, this was not the reason – a lot of people just never showed up and I suppose that they preferred dining in the buffet restaurant. Really a shame because the food was just lovely and the service very nice. I was surprised to see how small the portions were (having been to American restaurants I assumed that the portions would be just as enormous!) but it was actually really nice because you could have all courses of the meal and still have room for dessert. 2nd day – Sunday: Day at see The morning we spent hanging around the pool and then we met up with my parents for lunch (too much to choose from!). In the afternoon it rained so we headed to our room for a long “siesta” and then hit the gym before getting ready for the Captain’s cocktail party and the first formal night. I was surprised to see that everyone was really dressed up and some wore truly beautiful dresses. After having read reviews on this board I had gotten the feeling that people did not really dress up; well they did! I was very happy that I had decided to pack my gala dress at the last moment! We had some cocktails and then headed to dinner and later more cocktails and some disco dancing (just my boyfriend and I, though – my parents hit the casino) – great evening! 3rd day – Monday: Cozumel We had been looking very much forward to this stop and were very pleased to see that it had been added back on to Carnival’s schedule just the week before. Our time in port had been greatly reduced, though, and we had to tender in since the piers had been destroyed by the hurricane. The tendering process was just a nightmare. We went down to get our tender ticket after breakfast and it took us 1 ½ hour to get on a tender!!! We really tried to stay positive and excited about seeing Cozumel, but the whole process was just tiring and did not seem very organized. I understand that they normally do not use tenders in Cozumel, but their own pier and therefore they are not used to the process, but even still it was handled quiet badly. My boyfriend and I had decided to rent some bicycles and go have a look at the island. It turned out that it was not the easiest thing to rent, but we ended up at a scooter rental place (Sol y Mar) where the guy who worked there was able to radio for some bicycles for us. They were not the best bicycles we have ever tried, but we happily headed out along the coast anyway, excited to see a bit of the island. What we saw was very impressive - everything had been really badly destroyed by the hurricane and there were no leaves on any of the palm trees and the bottom of the sea had literally been washed up on the beaches. There were huge sea shells, fossils and dead corals everywhere – very interesting to see. We passed by the Chanukkaban (not sure of spelling!) Natural Park and saw that everything there had been destroyed as well. Shortly thereafter a passing car started waving at us to turn around – we would have none of that though and just continued on our way, while discussing why the men in the car wanted us to turn around (did we not look comfortable on our bikes??). Well, we soon found out why - the road went missing!!! The road was so badly damaged by the hurricane that it had been closed off/was not there anymore! We then had the choice to go to the larger road away from the coast or turn around. Considering the fact that we are very fond of our lives we decided to just turn around and follow the quiet road back to the port area. From there we continued into the town (the ship tendered into a port area about 2-3 miles from the town) and started looking for a place to get some lunch. After a bit of searching around we found a cozy looking restaurant one street from the ocean, La Candela. It had a really nice, shaded, verandah with wicker furniture and the food was just wonderful and also very cheap. We had the menu of the day (menu del día) which included starter, main course and drink. We paid only 95 pesos for the two of us!! I cannot recommend this restaurant enough – you should go! After lunch we did some shopping, but found the prices to be much higher than what we expected, so were a bit disappointed. After handing in our bikes we got in line for the tender back to the ship. This was about an hour before the last planned tender. But the tender ride back was planned even worse than the morning’s tender – we waited in line on the pier for almost an hour and no tender came!!!!!!! The line of people was just huge and everyone got more and more disgruntled as the time passed – not very comfortable at all! I was convinced that there was only one tender operating and that it must have encountered some kind of problem, since it did not return? But when the tender finally picked us up and took us out to the boat another tender was docked there and a third was heading ashore – where were these tenders when we were waiting in line for over an hour on the pier????!!!! Very tiring and I must say that the grumpiness and slight aggressiveness of some of the fellow passengers in line just did not make it any more enjoyable! 4th Day – Tuesday: Day at Sea Enjoyed a relaxing day by the pool and in the gym. The evening show was a hypnotist. We had never seen this kind of show before and were very curious as to what it was exactly. I found it to be very fascinating, my boyfriend found it to be very relaxing – he actually feel asleep to the hypnotist’s calm voice!!! My parents, who have seen this type of show before, did not think it was that good, though, had seen better. 5th Day – Wednesday: Grand Cayman We had booked a tour to Sting Ray City with Moby Dick tours from home after reading great things about them on the internet. When we came off the tender (which was much easier this time) it was very easy to find the Moby Dick crew and we quickly “checked in”. The price had gone up to 40$, but since we had booked before the price markup it only cost us 35$. We had a wonderful trip and the crew was very entertaining and attentive. They were both in the water with us and made sure that everyone who wanted to touch or kiss a sting ray did so. At first I was a bit too enthusiastic and attempted to feed the rays squid as the crew had illustrated. The rays must have been very hungry though, because I was quickly surrounded by three or four rays that rubbed up against me and one mistook by forearm for a piece of squid (I do eat a lot of seafood, maybe they can smell that?) and gave me a beautiful hickey!!! I have to admit that I got a bit nervous and threw away the squid and just tried to stand completely still until the rays had found out that I was not a piece of squid. My mom did not go in the water and my boyfriend only briefly, but they still had a great time viewing everything from the boat. They also told me that the crew brought some rays close to the boat for them to see and take some good pictures – nice touch. We also made a stop for snorkeling, but the coral was not very impressive – the water was great though, so we very much enjoyed the swim. After the tour we walked a bit around the town, but did not really like it – soooo many people – there were 7 cruise ships that day and you could barely get into the shops because they were so overcrowded. We did go into two shop selling watches because my boyfriend wanted to buy one, but in both cases the same watches could be bought cheaper on board the ship! This evening there was a marvelous magic show – I have never seen anything like it – it must have been like the expensive shows in Las Vegas – so, so impressive. My parents had just been to see David Copperfield in Copenhagen and said that this was just as good, if not better! The tricks were incredible, they were funny, and the stage show just fantastic. You should not miss this show! I believe the artist were called “David and Carusso” and it was also the name of the show 6th Day – Thursday: Ocho Rios, Jamaica Again I had booked a tour from home after reading reviews on the internet. I had booked the tour with Orville Taylor and we just wanted to be driven around a bit and see and learn a bit about Jamaica. We were met by a woman with an Orville Taylor sign. She, however, thought that we were a group of five and that we wanted to go to the waterfalls like everyone else!!! I had specifically written that we did not want to go to the falls, so it seemed a bit strange. Also the driver was not Orville Taylor – I thought it would be – maybe I understood it wrong and it is just the name of the company? All this made me a bit uneasy, but in the end we had a very nice tour with Tony who told us a lot about the island and stopped several times to pick spices, so that we could smell them. What I did not like about the tour, though, was that he wanted us to stop for shopping all the time. We said no thanks, but it seemed that he actually got into trouble with some of the vendors for not stopping. Towards the end of the tour we agreed to stop and shop, however, and bought some really beautiful wood carvings. When we were later dropped off in town we asked the price of similar carvings in the market and it seems that we had made an okay deal. The town was full of shops and markets. Everybody was very eager to sell, but in most cases accepted a “no thanks”. My boyfriend was offered to buy marihuana a couple of times, I once, and my parents none. All in all we found Jamaica to be much more pleasant than expected from what we had read prior to the visit and the island was very lush and beautiful. One tip concerning buying liquor: We bought some small bottles of Jamaican rum in town, but found that they were half the price at the liquor shore at the ferry terminal! (Bought some more J). Also, my parents just brought theirs up to their cabin and no one said anything (Being a real goody-two shoes I dutifully handed mine in for storage and later delivery to the cabin – arrived the following afternoon). In the evening it was the second formal night and time to dress up again. We, again, had a lovely dinner and then had some nice pictures taken (bought some of them – were really nice) before hitting the disco. The music was really fun at first (80´s disco) but then became strange ( I do not understand why a DJ does not change the music if he sees everyone leaving the dance floor!!!) so we left. We then went up to see the grand midnight gala buffet full of ice sculptures and beautifully decorated cakes. We were surprised to see people actually standing in long lines just to take photos!!! Had these people never seen a decorated cake before………………. My boyfriend and I decided to come back when the buffet opened and try some of the food. When we came back the lines were so long, though, that we just gave up. Instead we ordered a pizza (without cheese – the cheese is VERY greasy) and had a chat with the pizza baker. Nice pizza! 7th Day – Friday: Day at Sea Again we spent the day relaxing by the pool and going to the gym. This day we even ventured to try the water slide – very fun! In the evening before going to dinner we prepared most of our suitcases. When we came back from dinner we found out that this had been a very good idea, because the time we had to leave the suitcases outside the door had been changed!!! We did not find out till we read the newsletter on our bed. This actually annoyed us some, because all of a sudden we were in a hurry to finish our bags. All through the night there was a great deal of noise – bags being carried away and passengers screaming?!!!? 8th Day – Saturday: Disembarkation and flight home Our flight was not until 6 p.m. so we had booked the tour to the Everglades. This meant that we had been given special stickers for our luggage and had priority at time of disembarkation. The disembarkation went rather quickly, but with some confusion because there was no one to inform the tour groups about where to go/meet and the cruise director and the entertainment director gave conflicting information. Also our luggage was not separated according to the tours as we had been informed, but according to decks. Strange……. The tour was very nice, though, and since we were a small tour group (24 people), we could all see the alligator show without any pushing and showing and the ones that wanted to could hold the baby alligator, “Snappy”. The airboat ride was a bit disappointing, though. We did not go that fast and we were not supplied with earplugs (just some toilet tissue to stuff in our ears!!!) so the noise was overwhelming. We found the tour to be very good value at 35$/person. Not only do you get the tour, but also priority disembarkation and a ride to the airport! After the tour we were dropped off at the airport, and from thereon things got a bit annoying, but that would be a review of Iberia Airlines……………….. Conclusion We had an absolutely wonderful vacation. We saw so many places and had so many experiences while still being able to relax soooooo much. Before going on this cruise I was somewhat apprehensive about the whole “cruise thing”. Being very fond of independent travel, avoiding the crowds and living out of my backpack I was afraid that I would just be terribly bored on such a ship and not be able to enjoy it due to the crowds of people and only quick stops in port. But I actually did enjoy it and the short stops in the different port were not that big of a problem because I had researched everything from home and made plans, so we still got to se a lot. Also I greatly enjoyed the relaxation side of the cruise – did not have to do anything!! No cooking, no cleaning, no hectic driving, etc. The gym was three floors up, the pool one floor up and the restaurant four floors down! I was just all so easy – think it is the first time ever that I have truly relaxed on vacation! What I did not enjoy, however, were the constant crowds and lines for everything. At lunch time the lines were just horrendous and as mentioned earlier we completely gave up on getting anything form the Midnight Gala buffet. And of course the whole tender thing in Cozumel was just not nice! Another thing that I did not enjoy was having to listen to fellow passengers always complaining and bickering about each and everything – lighten up! I cannot comment on the quality of Carnival versus other companies, this being my first cruise. But I very much feel that this cruise it what you make it. Since the boat is so big and there is so much to do you can design your own cruise experience. For example we did not take part in all the fun and games offered, we did not eat lunch at the same time as everyone else and we did not get into the overly full hot tubs! But we did not do all of these things because we prefer it that way; they were there if you wanted them, but you could also have a wonderful day just going at your own pace and doing your own thing. So in conclusion we had a wonderful vacation and can highly recommend this form of vacation to everyone else!

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Oct 17, 2005

Bahamas

My friend and I have just returned from the Bahamas. It was my second cruise and her first. We had a wonderful time, since we went out of a port near our home our driving time was less then before. All the shows were tastefully arranged, even the adult rated comedy was at a time when the audience was free of underage people. The meals were wonderful, service was great. The only problem was I gained extra pounds that I didn't need. The

ship was a lot bigger then I expected but it gave the large group of people room to move about. We enjoyed the cab ride we took through Freeport. Not much shopping but I enjoyed hearing about the area. Nassau was alot of fun. We are both handicapped so our walking was limited. We joined 7 other people in a taxi ride around the island. Their will be alot of drivers offering rides, we met a driver named Big T. Born and raised on the island, so he had alot of interesting stories to tell, I highly recommend the Triumph, I am already planning my next cruise.

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Oct 16, 2005

Cruise to Nowhere

My wife and I just returned from a 2-day cruise out of Norfolk, VA to celebrate our 10th anniversary. Norfolk is evidently just beginning to accommodate cruises and hasn't yet figured out how to do it well. For starters, once you get off I-264 there is a "cruise parking" sign, and we followed it to drop off our car. Unfortunately, the Triumph returned late and the prior passengers had not yet returned, and we could not park for "at least

1 hour" Ultimately that turned into 3-4 hours"! Fortunately, we decided to drive around downtown Norfolk to kill time. We saw the boat and a parking garage across the street from the dock. The price to park was the same - problem solved! For some reason, niether carnival nor the city wants you to know about this. There is no port facility in Norfolk, so you have to wind around a naval museum, partially in the hot sun until you get into a temporary tent where you are processed. The whole ordeal took about 2 hours. I hear it is easier in established ports like Miami. Now about the boat and the passengers. The passengers were primarily "outlet mall people" dressed in pastel sweat clothes with cartoon characters on them. DEpsite this most people were pleasant and we had nice conversations with other diners in the main rooms and casually throughout the ship. The ship itself was mixed bag. The rooms were great, they were clean, stocked with what they were supposed to be stocked with, and the balcony was awesome. The common areas in my opinion though were like Las Vegas and an Italian wedding parlor on a bad day! Horrible decor. Further, certain areas of the ship are having issues w/the sewage system and it smelled as such. The gym was incredible, with lots of equipment, great views, hot tubs and a spa. Fortunately most cruise people don't exercise so there were no crowds. The food was the biggest disappointment! The formal dining rooms served middle American fare (prime rin, stuffed flounder, and attempted a few exotic dishes but they were mediocre at best. The South Beach cafeteria on the upper deck may actually be a better bet because they keep the food simple. Admittedly, I expected a lot and was disappointed. Entertainment is a matter of taste and the shows at least were not my cup of tea. I thought the performers were talented but the shows were stupid vacuous stuff that really didn't interest me. The comedians were raunchy, and at times unfunny. However, they beat the shows hands down. Activities were practically non-existent and I was getting bored after 2 days. The famous hairy chest competition was stupid. Perhaps on the longer cruises there is more on board entertainment but it was pretty scarce on this trip. Service was excellent almost without exception. Conversations with the waiters, crew were among the most interesting parts of the trip. If you like to drink, smoke, gamble and eat and are not picky Carnival is for you. I gues the general lack of sophistication in food, entertainment, etc. was what bothered me the most. I hear it caters to families, and we plan to bring our kids on the Triumph again in January. The ship is due for drydock later this month and hopefully will be brought up to more contemporary standards. Perhaps the longer cruises have more interesting after dinner activities such as deck parties, more cerebral games, etc. I'll report back in January 06 and give the Triumpg another chance.

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Oct 8, 2005

Bahamas

This was my wife and mine 15th wedding anniversary and our 1st cruise. We were scheduled to board the Triumph at 1pm on October 9th. We arrived at 11:30 am based on the recommendation of our travel agent. Norfolk is currently building a $36 million cruise ship terminal so they have temporary structures set up for passengers. We had our sail and sign cards within 20 minutes and were heading to lunch. We had cabin 8273 which was an

interior cabin. This being our first cruise we were not sure what to expect. The experience exceeded our expectations. The first full day out was a fun day at sea, and also the first formal dinner night with the Captains party. Free alcohol and snacks for 1 hour prior to dinner was very nice. Dinner was very good all nights and our waiter, Vitali was excellent giving an appetizer, salad, entree and desert recommendation each night. I had a fountain drink card and diet coke was waiting for me each night when I arrived. We wound up going back after the cruise docked and tipping him extra do to how good he was. Our dinner guest, Dan and Sandie had cruised previously and we enjoyed our dinners with them very much. Our ports we visited were Nassau, and Freeport. Nassau was wonderful and colorful. We booked our shore excursions ourselves and saved $20.00 per person on the dolphin encounter, swim and $13.00 per person on the pirate museum. The shows were excellent to me and the entertainment such as the hairy chest competition, new and not-so newly wed game were very funny. The ship is huge and people we knew who were on there with us, we would not see for a day at a time just due to the size. Freeport is a bit of a bummer, industrial area at the ship dock with just a market area right there. The market area was nice but limited with tourist trinkets and souvenirs. The casino was ok, the dealers were nice, but most of the gambling tables were set for $10 minimum bet, $5.00 would have been better. Don't play the slots, they have no minimum payback so other than $6,000.00 won the first night payouts were few and far between. The piano bar with Eric was excellent. He plays and sings and everyone sings along. The highlight of the trip was the deck party with the band "Impulse". The are a calypso band and after their last song, we all hooted and hollered so much they played for another 30 minutes with the audience on stage dancing and joining in the singing. Exiting the ship was a bit of a pain. We thought that by carrying our own bags we would save time. Instead we were stuck in a stair well with half the ship waiting to get off of the boat. Still it only took 20-30 minutes but Carnival needs to come up with a better system. Perhaps releasing a deck every 15 minutes or so would expedite the line. Still it wasn't too bad. The food in all of the restaurants was good and room service was always about half the time they stated they would take. The only place I would recommend not eating at was the Hong Kong Noodle Company. Everything tasted stale or undercooked. The NY Deli was great as was the pizza deli. We are already looking forward to booking the same trip next year. Hope this helps.

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Jul 29, 2005

7 Day Eastern Canadian Cruise

My husband and I went on the Carnival Triumph cruise to Saint John, New Brunswick and Halifax, Nova Scotia. This was our third cruise together and our second Carnival cruise together (I went on the Ecstasy as a teen). We had a lovely time on the ship. There is nothing like watching New York City from a ship sailing off into the sunset. We had a beautiful view of the skyline and Lady Liberty. This was rather crowded, yet well worth

it! We enjoyed dinner, especially because our waitress was wonderful. Kate spent time talking with us and letting us know about her life, while suggesting great meals and making sure the service was good. My husband loves milk with his dessert. He only had to ask one time, every other night the milk came out with the dessert menus. That is a nice touch. For lunch, we enjoyed the New York Deli with yummy corned beef on rye and the Coney Island grille burgers. Breakfast was the best in the dining room. While there were 3000 people on the boat, the only day it seemed crowed was when we arrived on the ship. We did the fun pass sign-up on Carnival's web site before arrival, which saved us at least an hour's worth of waiting in line. I highly recommend signing up onine before arriving at the port. Cruise ships can be a bit confusing for a first time cruiser, so if it's your first time, I recommend looking at the layout before arrival. This cruise was my in-laws first and they were very confused with getting around and figuring out what was going on during the day. The Carnival Capers newspaper explains everything, so make sure you read it and make the most of every interesting activity. Remember, this is your vacation, make it what you want it to be! I convinced my husband to take some dance lessons with me, and we truly enjoyed ourselves while we stumbled to learn the cha-cha and other dances. The dancers were very friendly and talented teachers. The 2 main shows on the ship were spectacular. I highly recommend getting to the Rome Lounge early so that you can get a good seat. The comedians were not very funny at all. We left the adult comedy show, it was so bad! Carnival makes their money in 2 main ways, through people gambling and through people drinking. The casino's seemed a bit rigged to me, especially the tables. I watched for a while, and was surprised at how well the dealer did every hand. Also, Bingo seemed to be a rigged as well. No matter how late or early bingo started, they were always finished at the exact moment that the next activity was starting. I say, save your bingo money so you can go on another cruise, instead of making the donation to Carnival. The duty-free shops had a lot of cool items, especially nice jewelry. Everyday, the shops had drawings for free stuff. My husband kept entering my name into different drawings, and on the last day I won blue topaz stones to make into earrings. Might as well enter the drawing, you never know... The photographers took amazing and highly professional pictures. Every night, we had as many pictures taken as we could, then on the last day, we gathered all the pictures together and chose the best ones. We have done this on every cruise, which I believe is a good system. Our first stop in Canada was in Saint John, New Brunswick. It rained for most of the day, which made it difficult to do anything. We looked around at the reversing falls, and it was okay, not as exciting as we thought it would be, but maybe that was because of the rain. Some friends took the kayaking shore excursion and really enjoyed themselves. The next day, we went to Halifax, Nova Scotia. We really enjoyed our time in Halifax. My husband and I do not normally do the cruise line shore excursions because they seem to be over priced and over crowded. We hopped in a taxi with our in-laws and had a wonderful tour of Halifax, including Peggy's Cove, the sight on the Swissair plane crash, the cemetery where people from the Titanic are buried, and the sight of the 2nd biggest explosion in the world. We had as much time as we wanted at every place because the taxi driver was wonderful. We spent $100 total for the trip, which was a big discount to Carnival's $59 per person tour bus. I highly recommend Peggy's Cove. It was a beautiful place to take pictures, rock climb, and enjoy the view. Definitely allow at least three hours if you are planning to go to Peggy's Cove because it's a bit far away. but well worth the drive. My husband got ill before the trip, and was still ill while we were on the ship, so we used the infirmary. The doctor and nurse were very helpful and considerate. The temperature in Canada is a lot cooler than in NJ where I live. I was happy that I checked www.weather.com before we left. This helped me with packing the right temperature of clothing. In Canada, I wore pants and long sleeve shirt in August. On the boat, we did not do many things outdoors like on a Caribbean cruise. It's not your normal cruise weather, but it was nice for us since it has been a hot and humid summer! All in all we had a wonderful vacation. I recommend the Carnival Triumph to young active people and families. We did not use any of the Camp Carnival services, but they seemed to be run well (I am a teacher and highly judgmental about such things). The teen dances looked like a lot of fun. In closing, this cruise is good for people who do not mind cold weather, enjoy the boat more than the ports, and are looking for an economical way to cruise. Enjoy!

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Jul 10, 2005

Eastern Canada

I would like to start off by saying I had a great time on the cruise to Nova Scotia. People were great, food was good, weather couldn't of been better and seas were calm. Now I have been on the Disney Cruise where guest are taken care of no matter what complaint it may be. On the last night of the cruise I experienced something unlike I have never had to deal with, Let me first say that I live 20 minutes from Atlantic City NJ.. I was

playing black jack on the last night of the cruise, and low and behold I catch the dealer cheating, now in most cases some might say this was just an oversight or a mistake in math. But...I had to get loud and draw attention to myself to get a pit boss over to see the wrong doing. after I proved the dealer was wrong...(dealer had 23 and I had 19. dealer took everyone's chips) but I said. stop don't touch those cards. and asked for a pit boss 3 times.....after being paid my winnings...I asked if he was going to continue to deal at that table. and the pit boss informed me that he would remain.....I felt that I could no longer stay there in good standing and play knowing this guy was pulling a fast one...so I had to leave the table. In Atlantic City and Las Vegas, most cases that dealer is replaced just for comfort reasons.....I cant believe that Carnival even though in International waters would allow this practice. I doubt I would ever cruise carnival again....And my sympathy goes out to those on the 1st and 2nd decks who had to breath Diesel fuel the entire trip, some rooms were so bad you couldn't sleep in them.....Get it together Carnival, to many other cruise lines out there to choose from.

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Jun 22, 2005

Canada/New England

I had cruised with Carnival about 18 years ago and more recently with Royal Caribbean (Bahamas) and in many ways, this cruise was far superior. I was traveling with my teenage niece (birthday trip) and we had an outside cabin on the Main deck as I know she gets a bit claustrophobic. The cabin was much larger than the one I had on Royal Caribbean and much more comfortable. HUGE bathroom. We had arrived in NYC from New England the day before

to take in a show and do some shopping. We checked out of the Waldorf Astoria at noon and made our way by taxi to the pier. There were a lot of large groups, family reunions with many small children traveling. This was definitely "family cruise" day. Didn't really bother us and we met some very nice people. Embarkation was a lot of waiting and long lines but that's just what it is unless you want to arrive at the last minute. I know from past experience to carry on luggage whenever possible and even though we got some strange looks from people in line as we lugged our things on (just your basic drag-along bag and briefcases), we knew we'd be sure to have all of our things with us. Checked baggage is not guaranteed to show up in your cabin until perhaps 8pm that evening. Plus, it tends to go astray (the dockside porters do not work for Carnival so the cruise line holds no responsibility if they lose your bags -- so says the fine print in your cruise packet which I'm sure very few people actually read). We left on a Thursday and by Friday night, we got a notice that people were still missing luggage. So, word to the wise: It's only a 4 day cruise. You CAN fit it all into a carry on bag. No need to pack like you're going to Europe for a month! They also have convenient and inexpensive self-launderettes so if you really run out of clean clothes, you can throw a few things in the wash. Bring a few bucks in quarters if you think you'll need this. It's just like being back in college. We had requested the main sitting for dinner but were assigned the late sitting. This actually worked out better for us. We could go to the shows before dinner, have something to eat and then hit the hay if we were so inclined (as we sleep-deprived workaholics often were!). We arrived at the Paris dining room for our first night's dinner and were assigned to a table with about 10 people. The matre'd came up and asked us just as we sat down if we wouldn't mind being moved so a large single-family party could sit together (I gather the whole dining room assignment business was a bit disorganized at check-in). We said "fine" and we were given a very nice table just for the two of us, which was perfect. Our waiter was very personable even though we couldn’t really understand him. My niece is a vegetarian and while there were vegetarian entrees, this cruise is definitely geared toward the meat eater. But the appetizers were very nice and I had the roasted lamb shank, which was excellent. We never did see the waiters dancing on tables or singing or whatever they did. Maybe that was for the early seatings. Food-wise, dinners were the best. Breakfast in the dining room was really quite horrible. I ordered regular eggs one morning and not only did they not arrive the way I requested (eggs of all sorts basically come well-done, not matter what you want. I think it’s the sitting-under-the-heat-lamp issue), each item ordered comes separately. Personally, I like to eat my toast, eggs and hash browns all on the same plate, but it was not to be….. Eggs Benedict also came completely overdone. It looked like it had sat under the warmer for 20 minutes (had a nice crust growing on it). We tried the buffet the next morning and it was your basic fare. Bottom line is, we ended up preferring to have coffee, croissant and bagels brought to our cabin each morning. Lunch was OK. Again, not a lot of vegetarian choices, but salads were fine. Pizza was good but we had thought to get pizza and bring it to our cabin for a movie night, but even tho you have to special order anything other than cheese or pepperoni, we couldn’t just order a whole pizza. Unless you are a major soda drinker, it is not worth the $22 to buy the unlimited drink cup thing. There is always free water, lemonade, coffee, iced tea and juice from the buffets that you can get at any time. That will keep your from drying out in the sun. Formal night was nice. We actually got a good black and white photo out of it, and I never like my photos! We saw one Vegas style show that was fun. The comedian was not funny and actually, I was wondering when someone was going to call him on all the stereotypical comments he made. People just laughed kind of uncomfortably. Now, to this business of deck chairs: I think Carnival should clarify what “no saving” really means so everyone has an understanding. Apparently, some passengers were taking it to mean that if you left your chair for ANY reason (use the restroom, went in the pool, grabbed a drink, etc.) you forfeited your chair. I completely agree that people should not show up and save 30 chairs like they do in movie theaters, but I saw some rather heated arguments between people who felt that any vacant chair was fair game and subject to seizure and the friend in the next chair who kept yelling “she’s in the POOL! She’s just there in the POOL!”. It was not a question of too few chairs, merely idiots who wanted to be where they wanted to be but weren’t willing to show up early enough to call dibs. I’m sorry, but you can’t show up at 11 am and expect to have primo sunbathing locations still available! Major frustration of the cruise: The elevators. Slowest contraptions on the planet! Just walk the 12 flights of stairs. It’s quicker even though you subject yourself to cardiac arrest after the climb. Our cabin steward Robert was a saint. He would make up our room in the morning and then we’d use the cabin to rest in the afternoon. He’d always make everything up so nicely. We tried to remake the beds and we even told him he didn’t need to put it back to perfection each time, but he always did. he also seemed to recognize us each time we passed him and said hello. Very nice guy! Cabin was always clean and comfortable Weather was perfect except for the last day coming back from Canada. We were enveloped in this weird Bermuda Triangle thick-as-pea-soup fog and about 50 degrees all day and night. Really creepy and strange as the previous days had been sunny, hot and beautiful. The activities directors were not prepared for bad weather and many activities were simply canceled. We took a nap and read in the library which was really a very nice way to spend the afternoon. Renting movies in the cabin was also a great thing. They have a good selection and there are not a lot of satellite channels available. We opted for the self-assist early debarkation to avoid the crowds. We were told by a crewmember where the gangway was going to be and chose our waiting spot based on that info. We were told that there would be an announcement when it started and that it was only going to be open for about 20 minutes ("so be ready!"). Well, we were waiting waiting waiting…..then we hear “This is the final call for early debarkation. The gangway will be open for only 5 more minutes. 5 minutes left!” So we and several other waiting people ran to where we’d all been told the gangway would be. Not there! It was at the other end of the ship and of course “you can get there from here” so we had to run up and down (because of the comatose elevators) and along the length of the ship. When we got to the right place we all mentioned to the crew people that there had been no “first” announcement and we got a smiley “Oh, yes we know!” in response. Argh!!! But we made it off, called for our car to pick us up and drive us to JFK (because Carnival only has airport transfers to LaGuardia) and we made our way home. Helpful hints: 1. Bring lots of small dollar bills to tip room service. It is free but you still have to tip them 2. Pack into carry on luggage. This really is the best way to go. Why would you want to wait for hours to get your things? Seriously, you don't need that many clothes 3. Don’t drink any of the beverages in the room – too expensive 4. Planning a quite night in with the kids, ordering room service and renting a movie for $8.99 really is a nice relaxing idea 5. Don’t bother with the $22 unlimited drink cup thing unless you can’t live without 5 sodas a day. Other free beverages are always available. 6. If alcohol is important to you, avoid the mixed drinks. Anything that has juice in it will be mostly juice, even cosmopolitans. If you really want to have an alcoholic drink, get something that is just plain booze. All in all, it was a fun time, we got lots of sleep, got enough sun to make it look like we were on vacation and actually got off feeling like we were ready to get back to work - a good sign of vacation for me.

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By LE_CR

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Jun 17, 2005

Eastern Canada

I traveled with my husband, 14 year old son and 12 year old daughter. New York: We drove into NYC the morning of our cruise and had no problem finding and parking at the pier. It’s only a few blocks away from the Lincoln Tunnel (the directions are on the Carnival website). You must drop your luggage off at the berth where a porter will meet you ($1/bag). Passengers can also get out of the car here and begin the wait in line for embarkation

while your other half parks the car on the rooftop. Parking was $24/day and you must pay in full (Visa or cash) on arrival. We all had passports and had registered online with Carnival which made the embarkation process painless – we probably waited in line less than an hour. We were on the ship by 2pm and ate lunch at the buffet on the Lido deck. Dinner was casual the first night which was good as half of our luggage didn’t arrive until 8pm. Weather: We sailed from New York up to Canada. Bring a sweatshirt, a jacket, and slacks – it will be COLD on deck and especially at breakfast! Even if you are eating inside it will be quite chilly. The gift shop had a run on hooded sweatshirts the first day at sea ($60 each!) We had gorgeous weather in Canada – sunny and 50-60 degrees (a tad chilly, especially in the shade). The Room: We had an inside cabin on the first deck. The cabin was fine – two twin beds pushed together and two bunk beds for the kids. There wasn’t much drawer space but there was plenty of closet space and there was space under one of the bunk beds for shoes and luggage and dirty laundry. The bathroom was supplied with shower gel, shampoo, razors, and a blow dryer. The only bad thing about being on deck 1 was the distance to deck 9 where most of the action is (the elevators tend to be very slow). You can work off all those buffet calories by using the stairs. The Entertainment: There was a Vegas type review show the first night that seemed a little long (there were a few people snoozing!). My husband and kids liked the magician – I opted to play in the blackjack tournament instead of watching the magic show. I am not a gambler and was a little intimidated to try my hand at blackjack but the host was fantastic and friendly and he helps you along. There was also a slots tournament. For a $20 entry fee for either tournament you get 100 pulls of the slot machine, or $1000 in chips and 7 hands of blackjack. This is a fun way to feel like a big roller! The orchestra pit was experiencing hydraulic difficulties the last night of the cruise and so the Vegas show (different from the first night) was canceled and a comedian was added. Since this was a “cold weather” cruise there were no pool games and only one or two deck games offered (bingo one day and a hairy chest contest which wasn’t even announced). Since Carnival is known as the “fun ship” I would have liked to see more fun, gaming type activities offered during the day and evening. I felt like there wasn’t much fun going on at all, unless you like to pay $20 for one game of bingo or attend an art auction or watch other people play Pictionary (only 10 guests were specially selected to play!). The only time I ever saw the cruise director was at the one bingo game per day! The restaurants & food: The 24 hour pizzeria and ice cream was a definite plus and especially popular with the kids. We ate in the dining room every night - the food was good and there was usually a good choice of meals. My kids ordered from the adult menu each night – it is a great way to try new things and if you don’t like something you can send it back and get something else. I was disappointed twice – neither the Cherries Jubilee nor the Baked Alaska was flamed. Everyone was served Baked Alaska – there were other choices for dessert but we weren’t told about them. For lunch there was plenty of variety: Hong Kong Noodle Co, Burger Grill, the NY Deli which had GREAT sandwiches, and the daily buffet which usually had a theme (Mexican, Asian, etc). There was a separate dessert area each day. We did not buy the soft drink cards because coffee, tea, lemonade and iced tea are available all day. Hot chocolate was also supposed to be available which was nice since this was a “cold” weather cruise but the machine was often out of order. I’m glad that Formal Night was the same day as an “At Sea” day (as opposed to a port day where you are rushing to get back to the ship in time for dinner). However, I was disappointed that the Gala Midnight Buffet was the same night as Formal Night and also held the night before a port day where you typically get up earlier than usual (and so want to be in bed by a decent hour). The service: Most of the service was good. My daughter loved the towel animals made by the room steward. Carnival puts the service charges (tips) right on your Sail & Sign card, but I wish I had dropped those and handed out the tips myself to make it more personal and to make sure I knew my dining room team and cabin steward were taken care of. I never saw the dining room Maitre’ d and therefore did not tip him. Our waiter handed out souvenir prints of the ship at the last meal and the kids enjoyed having our wait staff “autograph” the prints for them. This is when it would have been nice to hand out the tips myself. I do want to say that if you want exceptional service, go on a Celebrity cruise. The service seemed much better on Celebrity than on Carnival. The shore excursions: Our stops were St. John (New Brunswick), and Halifax (Nova Scotia). Debarking at both locations was pretty simple and straightforward. Bring your Sail & Sign card off the ship with you. At Halifax you will also need a photo id (passport, drivers license, etc). Each port has different rules about what you need to get back onto the ship. Each port is very welcoming and it’s easy to find a taxi or rent a car right at the port if you want to. St. John’s is doing a major overhaul of their pier in order to better serve the cruise ships. I got the feeling that both ports were trying very hard to please the cruise ship passengers. Most of the shops etc will give a 20% discount when you use American cash – but try to use exact change or else you will get your change in Canadian money (with no exchange rate). When you debark at St. John the city reps will present all women with a rose and the men will get a pin. It’s a nice gesture but then you have to carry a rose around all day with you! In St. John, eight of us opted to book our own kayak excursion (instead of booking through the ship). We saved half the price by booking it ourselves and we had a private tour of Dipper Harbour (the cruise kayak excursion goes on the St. John River). Bob, the owner and guide of Eastern Outdoor Outfitters was wonderful!! He met us right at the pier with his 28 passenger bus and drove us by the Reversing Falls at Bay of Fundy on to Dipper Harbour (about a 50 minute ride). He left it up to the group how far and how long we wanted to paddle which was nice, as we did have several children with us. He has a nice bathroom and shower area, so take along a change of clothes for afterwards. My butt got a little wet, but only because I kept splashing myself accidentally with water (I’m not much of a paddler!) It would have been nice if we could have packed lunches & drinks to take with us (or stopped somewhere to buy a bag lunch) as there are several scenic places to stop paddling in order to eat and rest. The other plus to booking it ourselves was not only did we save money and have a private tour, but we only had to put down a small deposit and if we had to cancel we would not have lost a lot of money. Bob takes Visa and his prices are Canadian, so remember in US dollars it will be even cheaper (Visa will automatically do the conversion). We used two-person kayaks so that each kid could paddle with an adult. Give Bob a call or check out his website. http://easternoutdoors.com/dipper-harbour.htm Toll Free: 1-800-56-KAYAK Fax Number: 506-634-8253 E-mail: info@easternoutdoors.com After getting back to the port we asked Bob to drop us off at the City Market, which is like a farmer’s market. The kids got souvenirs and there were plenty of stands where you could buy food. I had a cup of awesome seafood chowder at the Wild Carrot (near the back of the City Market) – but unfortunately I had the last bowl (I would have ordered another!). In Halifax, Nova Scotia, we decided to walk around town on our own. The town is quite hilly – be prepared. It’s a nice little college town with plenty of pubs, restaurants, book shops, clothing shops and also a candy shop called Freak Lunchbox that my kids loved. We had a snack and some brews at the Alexander Keith Brewery up on their rooftop patio. We walked up to the Citadel fort (quite a hilly climb) but opted not to go in – we walked around the outside of the fort. Our friends went on the Harbour Hopper amphibious tour – they saved money by buying their tickets that day instead of through the ship’s excursion desk. Debarkation: We could either carry off ALL of our own luggage and disembark early (8am), or let the porters take our luggage the night before and do the general debarkation. Because we weren't in a hurry, we opted for the general debarkation. We ate breakfast in the dining room about 8:30am and the general debarkation started about 9am. It went smoothly – they had two decks from which you could debark. The luggage is in color-coded areas at the pier – we were able to find a porter and our luggage fairly quickly (suggested tip is $1/bag). We spent the day in NYC – we took the subway to Battery Park (head towards the theatre district and ask any cop or at the info desk in the subway station which metro to take). I had made advance reservations before leaving for our cruise to see the Statue of Liberty (make your reservations for the Statue of Liberty ahead of time or else you will be waiting in a LONG line). We left our car at the pier but I’m not sure if this is wise or not – I’m not sure how long they stay open. We lucked out and there was a worker leaving at the same time we were (6pm) – I’m not sure if we would have been locked out otherwise because they do lock the doors to the steps. In general: We enjoyed the trip. Next time, however, I'd probably choose a warm weather cruise (going south). I thought that Carnival gave good value for the money and found the whole experience was more than satisfactory. The 24 hour availability of pizza and ice cream was a plus but the lack of activities on the ship was a minus.

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  • New

Jun 5, 2005

Bahamas

Just returned from one of the best vacations ever! I had read both positive and negative reviews about this ship before my vacation and was not sure what to expect. I have never been compelled to submit a review in the past but, loved this cruise so much that I decided to share. I live only a few hours away from Norfolk, Va so, we drove to the departure port. Had photo ID and certified birth certificate ready and the embarkation was very

smooth. Decided to take the stairs to our room on the 6th floor because the elevators are so packed during arrival. Dining the first evening is not at your assigned tables and is casual. We wore shorts. The next day we were out at sea all day. This is the first cruise I could feel the ship moving but, it wasn't too rocky. We had secured our reservation just a few weeks before through a travel agent. We booked an interior room with no window just to save money. Through the agent, we were able to automatically receive an upgrade if available. We were lucky. Our room was on the front corner of the ship and had a window. My family all had rooms with balconies but since ours was a corner room, we actually had more square footage compared to their rooms. We didn't spend much time in the room though and there was a lot of walking. My parents are in their late 60's and were on board as well. While we took the stairs most of the time, they used elevators and had no complaints about the large size of the ship. I actually felt like the walking helped since we were eating so much on board. My advice - get involved and go to the shows, etc. on board. There were great movies available on the cabin TV but we ended up so busy that we were not able to watch them. On to the daily activities, the gym on the spa deck has a great view while walking on the treadmill. Staff was very friendly. The spa on board offers facials, massages and beauticians. The prices are higher the first few days. During the last day or two they offer special, lower rates. My husband and I bought soft drink cards for $33 each person. They allowed unlimited soft drinks while on board. I felt like they were a great investment since we drink at least 3 soft drinks a day. I found the Lido deck buffet has a good variety at breakfast but I prefer the dining room service. In the dining room, you are seated with different people each morning but, you feel like you are in a high quality restaurant and don't have to wait on yourself. Same for lunch. We did eat at the NY Deli on the Lido deck (excellent Reuben’s), the pizzeria (specialty pizza's take 10 minutes to cook but pepperoni and cheese are always available) and grill by the pool served burgers and hotdogs that were really good. During dinner in the London Dining room, I always order 2,3 or even 4 items for each course. That was there was always something I enjoyed. My family would only order one dish and were not always pleased with the quality of food. I like my steak cooked medium and found you do not have that choice in the dining room. The steaks were all cooked one way and I found them to be overcooked and dry for my taste. The salmon was wonderful as well as the pasta dishes I tried. Cakes were dry but other desserts were delightful. The pool area always seems to be the happening spot on the ship. Every day there was a huge crowd but I was always able to find a chair. Usually they have a band playing live music in the center of the deck each day. In Nassau, we did not schedule an excursion from the ship. We decided to explore on our own. So glad we did! When we entered the marketplace, there are taxi and van drivers who offer their services. Although onboard they advised not to use these drivers, we took our chances. We got a van for the 6 of us and our driver was a local named Big "T”. For $20 each person, he drove us all over the island, showed us sights and explained in detail all about Nassau and the Bahamas. He saved us money too!!!! When he took us to Atlantis (Paradise Island) he told us that after 5pm they do not charge to view the underground aquarium or the Digs. He personally took us through the casino, aquarium, Digs and around the resort before returning to the market. Best tour I've ever had - - At the straw market - never pay the price they are asking. We found Louis Vutton wallets for $25 each. We finally were able to talk one seller into giving us 2 wallets for $32. Even in the shops in town, we always offered a lower price and got it. Don't be shy! Once you go through a few shops, everything is the same. Good prices on alcohol - Many were 1/2 price compared to the states. Found it to be much cheaper to buy a phone card for $10 in a local store. This allowed us 20 minutes of calls to the US. Thing is, the calling card we bought in Nassau, we could not access in Freeport. My suggestion is to buy a $5 card in Nassau and $5 in Freeport if you are one who calls home. Calls on the ship are $7-$9 per minute. Atlantis (Paradise Island) seemed much like Las Vegas to me. Luxury resort but not as fascinating to me as learning about the real culture in this area. The next stop was in Freeport. We had scheduled a snorkeling excursion at each stop and both were cancelled (the information desk could not tell us why) When we arrived in Freeport, the area looked depressing to me. There was a small colorful market but besides that, most of what I could see looked like an industrial park. I did find this island to have fewer "tourist traps" and I really enjoyed our time there. They have a local band playing under a shelter right outside of the ship. There is a local "show" next to the band that we were able to watch right from the ship balcony. A local man did the limbo to the music and went further down than what I thought was humanly possible. He received tips from those around him after the performance and he was well worth a few bucks. He was also posing for pictures after the show. We took a cab about 5 minutes into town. Cost was $4 per person for the one-way trip. So glad we did. The shopping area the driver took us to was very quaint. There was a band of 5 or 6 men dressed in tribal type costume playing drums. They walked through the streets outside the shops while we where there. We danced with them and they actually allowed us to play their instruments. Women constantly come up asking to braid your hair (for around $50) I never did this but many of the younger people on board came back with braids. (25yrs and younger) One last thing about Freeport, we found some of the same jewelry and carvings sold in Nassau at a much lower price in Freeport. There are also nicer women’s clothes in Freeport. On board, the magic show was the best we've ever seen. Worth making plans around to make sure you are able to catch this one. They have an adult only show at midnight that was terrible. Raunchy humor and just a few illusions. The earlier magic shows were top notch and will impress everyone in your party. Other variety shows on board were average. Pictures are taken all over the ship on both formal nights. I suggest taking as many as you can. We stopped everywhere we saw a camera. The pictures are then displayed the next day for purchase. The 8x10 are $20 and small pictures taken in the dining room are only $8. You can also get 4 wallets made of your 8x10 for only $5. You are not obligated to buy any of the pictures and they are fun to look at. We actually took home 4 large pictures that where better than any taken by our local photography studio. Very top notch quality. You are even able to have one printed and enlarged on canvas if you like. (They have an impressive photo system there on the ship). The late night buffet was not as nice as others I have seen. Not a large variety of food, very unimpressed. Another tip – The casino uses their playing cards for only a day or two and will then sell the decks for $1 a piece to those on board. Nice quality and a bit unusual. Great gift for teen-agers who are into the Texas Hold ‘Em craze. Was disappointed that they did not have a Poker Tournament- only slots and Black Jack. (two tournaments of each and cost was $20 entry fee – winner takes $500). Dance clubs at night were not too crowded. Mix of people. Although I have heard there are a lot of children on Carnival, I didn’t see very many. The majority of people I saw on board where about 30-50 yrs old. I have traveled on Holland America and Carnival in the past. I believe the Carnival atmosphere is much more relaxed than Holland America and you will find more average income people aboard this line. I happen to enjoy the carefree feeling this ship offers. On a scale of 1-10 (1 least and 10 best) my husband and I both rated this cruise a 9. Keep in mind, your attitude has a lot to do with the experience you have. Relax and enjoy. I am already looking to book our next Carnival cruise to take our 14yr old son with us!

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By _CR

  • New

May 20, 2005

Eastern Caribbean

VACATION TIME Our cruise date was on May, 21 2005. I went with my fiancée Emily and our two friends Jason and Ania. We left Michigan from Metro Airport on a 9:05 flight and flew into Ft. Lauderdale around midnight. The flight started off badly when there was about 10 more carry on bags then there was room for. THANKS RIVIERA!!! Our flight stewardess was very lazy and didn’t help the bag problem much. We had a shuttle guy waiting

for us at the luggage pickup n Ft. Lauderdale with our name on a sign. He took the four of us to The Port of Miami which ended up being about an hour drive because of an accident on the freeway. We arrived at our hotel around 1:30 AM and went to bed. I woke up the next morning around 7:30AM and looked out the window. Ah! Beautiful palm trees and two cruise ships in the far distance one had the large red wing and I knew it was ours. I called Jason and we walked around the port as the girls got ready. The Port was nice and looked very clean but we were quickly distracted by the amount of homeless people y the harbor. As soon as we crossed the street from the hotel we were approached by a scary guy who said and I quote “I’m not a scum bag of anything but I need 84 cents more to get on the bus”. We did a quick lap and decided to return to the safety of our hotel. On a side note I am 6’3” and weigh over 300Lbs and was still was happy to get back to the safety of our hotel. We picked up the girls and after a wet breakfast (Emily spilled her water twice) we decided to look for some last minute supplies for the cruise. We found a convenient store and purchased some 2 liters of pop and some water for the trip. GETTING ON THE SHIP / OUR ROOM Time to go! We checked out of the hotel and took two taxis to the boat. When we pulled up the carnival workers were quick to open our door and help us with our luggage they put them on metal skids and told us where to go. We were part of the Skippers Club which was very cool for getting on the ship. We walked in the building and a greeter escorted us into a nice room with where we sat down with another carnival worker and got all of our custom stuff done(sign 2 papers and that’s about all). We were then allowed to wait in there for customs to clear Carnival to start boarding. After about 15 minutes we were escorted threw the security checkpoint and past the long line of people and upstairs so we could wait to get on the boat. It only took us about a half hour before we were allowed to board the ship. The only bad thing about the nice Skippers Club was that the camera person was not set up to take our picture as we got on the boat. We walked across the ramp and walked into the main lobby located on the 3rd floor of the ship. We were greeted by a worker at the door. He took our sail and sign card that we were given in the Skippers Club room. He took a quick picture of us for the security checkpoints and handed the cards back. The sail and sign cards are used every time you get on of off the ship and are also the only thing you need to buy anything on the ship. We took the elevator up to the 7th floor (Empress Deck) where our balcony suites were located so we were told we could drop off our carry on and explore the ship. Our room doors were open and they were just about finished being cleaned up. The rooms were wonderful. They have marble tile as you walk in and nice marble tops on every surface. Our balcony was very nice it had 3 chairs and a small table. We also had a nice setting area with a couch and a table. Before you enter into the bathroom you go into the make up area which has a large counter top, plenty of drawers, a chair, and several mirrors. Emily loved it as she had lots of room to put all her makeup stuff. The bathroom was also very nice. It had a shower with a Jacuzzi tub and plenty of room to move around. The bathroom also has shampoo and body wash in a nice dispenser on the shower wall. LUNCH After putting our bags the room we did a little exploring and decided to get lunch. We went into the buffet located on the Lido Deck, and I went to the Coney Island. The Hamburgers and hotdogs were great. The girls got pizza for the 24 hour pizzeria and it was pretty good as well. Now for anyone reading this who is a Seinfeld fan will understand what I’m about to say. During our cruise we had came up with names for the guy who worked at the pizzeria and the guy who worked at the Coney Island. It was like the Soup Nazi Episode of Seinfeld the guys who worked there were just like the soup Nazi (burger Nazi and Pizza Nazi). We felt like we had to stay in a single file line and when it was our turn we had to be like. “One burger and fries please”, and then move down the line without laughing or saying anything or he would say no burger for you. The burger Nazi gave me a burger and I said “can I have some fries”? He reached in hands in the fry tray and tossed them on my plate. Then one time we were waiting for pizza and a young kid in front of us who could barely see over the counter asked for 2 slices of mushroom pizza and the guy in a mean voice (like the soup Nazi) said “Only Pepperoni and cheese, special order, come back in 10 minutes” the kid looked like he was going cry and said “ok I’ll have Pepperoni”. Both of them were very rude most of the time and we never knew what to expect when we went to lunch. If they were in a good mood we would go tell our friends in a joking manor that they should go get something because he’s in a good mood today. SAFETY After exploring the ship after lunch and sitting on our balcony for a while it was announced over the loud that we would do the life jacket thing around 3:45 and the ship would said about 4:30. The life jacket thing was stupid they call the letter on the life jacket located in our room end table drawer and tell you to go to the 4th floor and stand in a line shoulder to shoulder in front you designated life boat with your life jacket on. They have a person show you how it should be fastened. It was hot wearing the life jacket and basically a waste of time. It would be like if every time you flew you had to meet next to the airplane and put on the mask and hold you seat cushion in you hands while the stewardess showed you how it should be held. FORMAL DINNERS At dinner time we decided to go to the formal dining room located in the upper level of the Paris Dining room. Everyone was wearing shorts because most of the luggage had not been delivered to the rooms yet. (Note, it is on the forth floor in the back of the ship, but the get there from the fourth floor you have to go up to five and them back down). The dinning room was very nice and our waiter was pretty good. I had the New York Strip Steak and Baked Potato. The waiter and his assistant were very close and always filled up my water and made sure everything was ok. Jason was more into trying new foods and enjoyed the menu more then us but we were happy with the food as well, but we just kept to basic foods. The nights we ate there except for the first one we had to ask if they had any steak as it was not on the menu. They always had some kind of steak available. I just wonder why they don’t put it on the menu if they have it. The deserts were good but very small so order more then one if you’re not a health nut. The waiters put on a show every night and it was so funny to watch. (THE KETCHUP SONG RULES!!) We enjoyed the formal nights it was nice to get all dressed up for a change. I was upset about the whole dressing up thing before we went as I thought who dresses up on vacation I wanted to wear shorts and sandals but I soon realized it was a nice change to get dressed up. I had lots of fun. If you don’t want to dress up or change out of your bathing suit there is lots of other options. There were 2 formal nights the first one was Sunday night for the captain’s party we had early seating so we were to meet in Club Rio located on the 5th floor. On the way to the party they have several professional photo areas set up where with carnival ship backgrounds, beach backgrounds, a piano you could pose on, and a few basic backgrounds. They have professional photographers who take your pictures. At each background we went to the photographer took about 3 shots. The pictures were all displayed the next day where you can buy them if you like the way they turned out. Ours were great! They cost about the same as they would normally cost if you got them professionally done. The Captain Party was nothing special. All that happens is the captain goes on the stage and announces he head staff who run the boat. Even though it’s boring I would highly suggest you go as the drinks were free. Jason and I had at least 6 drinks each. They were strong and they had everything from screwdrivers to martinis. Needless to say the party was a little better with free drinks. RELAXING BY THE POOLS It was so relaxing just laying around on a chair and soaking up the sun. Use lots of sun block as the first day we laid out for around 4 hours and got badly burned. The pools were nice and cool and the hot tubs felt nice. The only thing I didn’t like was the fact that they closed them so early. We were hoping we could relax in the hot tubs at 1:00 AM if we wanted to, but every night they were closed off. The chairs were not too hard to get even thought everyone saves a seat. I don’t blame them, I wanted the best seat I could find, Emily and I switched 3 times until we were happy. We were able to find shade everyday since we got burned so badly the first day. THE SHOWS / CASINO The theater on the ship was very nice. We loved the shows a lot it was like being on Broadway. The magic show was very cool and we ended up going to the second adult show at midnight. (The adult show was short and really had no reason to be for adults except they swore a little bit and the girl’s outfits were a little more revealing.). The comedy show was excellent I loved how the comedian made fun of the audience but only because I was hidden I the back. We spend a little time each day in the casino. I played the slots and loss, and Jason and Ania played the tables and broke even. (A.k.a. lost what they planned on loosing). Emily stuck to the 2 cent slots. SAN JUAN / ST. THOMAS / ST. MAARTEN We arrived at San Juan earlier then we expected. The captain had the ship at full steam! It was rainy when we arrived. Getting off the boat was easy and there were more free drinks in the port. We didn’t get to see the best parts of San Juan as we ended up walking around the dirty streets full of trash. I swear every 5 feet was a pile of trash. We went into a few souvenir stores but they were all packed and smell very musty. We ended up going to Senor Frogs and luckily walked right in before the crowds got bad. I loved Senor Frogs but some advice is to drink before you go. I spent $50 on myself. Jason was smart as he snuck his Jack Daniels on the ship and got drunk before we went to Senor Frogs. Gotta love Jack! That’s weird I lost my money and never even got drunk that seams like it’s reversed. Usually you loose your money because when drunk. St. Thomas was beautiful we went to Coki Beach and did some snorkeling. Then we spent the rest of the day at Megan’s Bay. We loved both beaches, if your looking for a big private beach then Megan’s Bay is best for you, and if you don’t mind a smaller beach but love to snorkel go to Coki Beach for the best snorkeling I have ever seen. Another thing we forgot to think about was taxi cost. It was $7 per person no matter where we went. It added up after a while, but what can you do? St. Maarten was just as nice as St. Thomas. We went to Dawn Beach and Orient Beach. Dawn Beach was very nice it had some nice areas to snorkel and had a beautiful beach. Orient beach, what can I say. Jason and I were looking forward to going here to see the sights (if you know what I mean). Let me just say we saw some sights, unfortunately a lot of the sights were older people, but there were a few younger sights that made it worth it. It was a cool beach and we had fun listening to the people selling chairs and umbrellas. They were almost fighting with each other to get our business. We got our guy down to around $7 per chair and it came with 2 free drinks and bathroom use. It seamed like the day wasn’t long enough we wanted to see so much more but the taxi fees and the sunburn was killing us. Debarkation We had a late flight out of Ft. Lauderdale at 5:00 PM so we were in no hurry to get off the boat we were able to say in are rooms until almost 10:00 AM. This is when it would be nice if they let the Skippers Club people get off as easy as we got on. We stood in a long snaking line for about an hour and it would be nice if the AIR was on. At the end of our line we found out it was all so that some guy with a gun could stamp a piece of paper and say have a nice day. My biggest regret about the trip is that it’s over. We had a lot of fun and can’t wait to go back!

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May 13, 2005

Western Caribbean

I'm a 49-year-old woman and I traveled with my 18 and 20 year old step-daughters. It was our first cruise and I chose Carnival and the Western Caribbean route specifically for them. Miami: We flew into Miami a day early and stayed at the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay. The hotel was well-located and room was lovely, but the service was terrible. I had reserved a concierge level room but the desk clerk claimed that I had reserved a regular

room (at the same, higher price, of course). If I had not had a print out of my confirmation indicating that I had, indeed, reserved a concierge level room, I would not have gotten it. Also, be aware that there is no special concierge level service on the weekends. The only concierge level extra you will get is a room on a high floor (we had a lovely room that overlooked the port, where we watched our ship come in early the next morning). As we checked in, the desk clerk went on and on about the "special" concierge level privileges, including a concierge level reception room and a free breakfast. Rather deceptive considering that it turned out they were not available to us on Saturday morning. We asked for dinner recommendations and were sent to South Beach, to an Italian restaurant called "Sopranos." We were told that a limo would give us a ride to and from the restaurant, and when it didn't materialize, that we would be reimbursed for the taxi ride (which cost $20 each way). None of that happened. Needless to say, the concierge gets a kick-back from the restaurant for his recommendation (the food, in the opinion of my Italian step-daughters, was adequate). South Beach had interesting art deco architecture, but was generally shabby and seedy. We left the hotel 10:30ish and it took about 50 minutes total to board the ship. We had reserved a balcony cabin in December and were upgraded to a demi-suite. This gave us "Skipper Club" embarkation privileges. This was a very good thing, because it allowed us to avoid the first two of the four long embarkation lines. We were on the ship at about noon and couldn't get into our room until 1, so we ate lunch on the Lido Deck while we waited. Considering how many people were boarding, I thought that whole process went smoothly, quickly and painlessly. The Room: We were more than thrilled with our room. Our demi-suite, on the Empress Deck, comfortably accommodated three adults. The bathroom was roomy, with an extra little dressing area (very useful to three women with lots of makeup and hair accessories), and the Jacuzzi tub was a nice extra. Our balcony was also large and we all spent a great deal of time there, reading. The Entertainment: The "fun" atmosphere the ship tries to induce is of the spring break variety: lots of alcohol and sexually suggestive games. Not my kind of fun but other people seemed to be enjoying it. I saw the two evening variety shows: earnest young people in cheesy music and dance numbers. I didn't see the magicians, the passenger talent show or the Mexican folkloric dance company (although I would have loved to have seen the latter, they only had one show at 10:30 and, embarrassingly, I couldn't stay up). I did see the comedian, who I thought was the best of the entertainment (though rather adult for a "family" show). I heard, while just passing through, the reggae band on the Lido deck and the classical trio in one of the bars, and they were fine. On days at sea, I worked out in the gym in the mornings (nice gym facilities), napped, read or went to the internet café in the afternoons, and did dinner and a show in the evening. My step-daughters got up at noon, went sunning on the Lido Deck for the afternoon, and did dinner and dancing or the casino until the early hours of the morning. There were lots of young people on board, so they were able to socialize with people their own age. The restaurants: The food was adequate (average hotel food, in my opinion). I ate most of the time at the buffet in the casual South Beach restaurant and my girls availed themselves mostly of the 24-hour pizza and ice cream. Since we preferred to eat when we wanted, without dressing up, we only went to the more formal restaurant (we were assigned to the early seating in London Room) twice. The girls never liked anything on the menu, but the waiter obligingly brought them burgers and mac and cheese. The dress code wasn’t strictly enforced and we saw plenty of people there with shorts on. We did not go to the two formal nights but judging by the people we saw around the ship, the dress covered the range from evening wear and tuxes to casual sun dresses. We were seated at a large table with a Baptist minister and his family, with whom we had nothing in common but who proved to be extremely nice and interesting dinner companions. The girls are underage and I don't drink alcohol, so we all bought the all-you-can drink soft drink cards. It turned out that I didn't need one, because I only drink coffee and water which is free (along with ice tea and various fruit juices), and I never used the card. The service: Most of the service was terrific. Can't say anything but positive things about our room steward, Afan, and our London Room waiter, Lawrence (and their helpers) and we did supplement their tips at the end of the cruise. I ran every morning on the deck track and, at 5:30 in the morning, the crew was up and polishing the brass on deck. One of my step-daughters forgot a med so had to make use of the ship's medical facility. The nurses were terrific. I also used the purser's desk several times and got prompt and courteous service. The only less-than-exemplary service I got was in the ship's shops. I got the feeling that the sales people there work on commission, because they seemed only to be interested in serving people buying big ticket items. The only other annoying service related issue happened at the end of the trip, when we were informed that it was customary to tip the dining room Maitre D'. They even delivered an envelope in which to provide the tip. We had never seen the Maitre D', so when he came around to the table the last evening (ostensibly to give us a souvenir print of the ship but in reality, to collect his tip), we had no idea who he was. Needless to say, he did not get a tip from us. The shore excursions: Our stops were Cozumel, the Grand Caymans and Jamaica. We bought all of our excursions through the ship. The night before we got into a port, we would program our television to see the excursions and make reservations. It might have cost a little more than making arrangements on our own, but for us, the convenience was worth the cost. I wanted to see Chichen-Itza in Cozumel but decided against the 12 hour trip and compromised with a trip to the Mayan ruins of Tulum, which I would highly recommend. Don't forget to take a bathing suit, because the ruins ajoin a lovely beach and you'll have time to swim. The girls had no interest in Mayan ruins, so they went for the Playa Mia Beach Break. They said that it was the nicest beach they encountered on our trip. The best shopping (choices, quality and prices) was in Mexico and I regret not doing more shopping there. We decided against a tour in the Grand Caymans and opted for shopping and going to the beach on our own. Both the shopping and the beach were nothing special (I understand that the hurricanes last year wreaked havoc on the Grand Cayman beaches) but it was fine for a day out. In Jamaica, we went on the Shaw Park Beach Break and Dunn's River Falls tour. The beach was lovely and climbing the 600 foot Dunn's River Falls (something you’d never be allowed to do in the States) is a must. Jamaican vendors are famous for their aggressive sales tactics and even the cruise director (Chris Jefferson), who tended to put a positive spin on everything, warned about them. We had no problems, but heard stories from others on our tour who were "attacked" by vendors on the mandatory trip through a craft market from the Falls to the buses. Debarkation: We could either carry all of our own luggage and disembark early, or let the porters take our luggage go with the general debarkation. Because we weren't in a hurry, we opted for the general debarkation. Those who had an early flight could have been off the boat by 8. We were off by 10ish and at the Miami airport by noon. Again, there were long lines to get through immigration, but it went fairly quickly and painlessly. In general: We enjoyed the trip. Cruising is not at the top of my must do again list, but I would, given the right opportunity. Next time, however, I'd probably choose another cruise line. I thought that Carnival gave good value for the money and found the whole experience was more than satisfactory. However, if I were not traveling with young people, I would opt for a cruise line that geared its services to an older, more upscale client base.

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By Tony_CR

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May 13, 2005

Western Caribbean

This cruise was dubbed our "WeddingMoon" by my new wife, as we were to get married during our cruise, in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. There were several couples getting married either before or during the cruise. For those couples getting married on the ship, the ceremony is performed before the ship leaves port, and family & friends can attend, but of course must be off the ship at least an hour before departure. We watched one

ceremony. In my opinion, however, getting married on a Tropical Island was much more romantic. The views were breathtaking. Embarkation We stayed overnight with friends who live in Miami to avoid driving 3.5 hours (we live in Florida) to the port on the day we were to sail. A short ride from my friends house to the port and we were in line to board. The lines were somewhat long, but moved fast. Within ½ hour we were on the ship looking for our cabin. Cabin Having previously cruised on several cruise lines with some cabins no bigger than my guest bedroom at home, we were pleasantly surprised at the amount of space our deck 9 balcony cabin had! My fiancé could actually run from the stateroom door to the balcony door, which she did several times with glee. There’s a king size bed (2 twins pushed together), a small sofa, and plenty of closet space to hang my fiancé’s garment bag (wedding gown). Dining Our assigned dining hall was the Paris Dining Room, very elegant, and you are assigned the same table every night during your cruise. Being a 7 day cruise, we decided to skip a few nights – after all, this was our WeddingMoon! Our cabin was on deck 9, the Lido Deck, which is were the pools, bars, and the casual dining rooms are, so we popped in there to grab a bite to eat. Hot Dogs, burgers, pizza, deli, Chinese, Japanese, you name it, they had it. The food is excellent no matte where we ate. Ports First stop – Cozumel, Mexico! We wanted to do a horseback riding excursion, and read up on excursions before going on the cruise. Most excursion reviews mentioned the ridiculous prices you will pay if you book thru the cruise line, and you would be better off booking on your own. Boy were they right! The ship charged 90.00 per person for a jungle/beach horseback excursion. We took a taxi in port to the same location, and paid only 60.00 for the two of us! More money in our pockets for drinks! Most people say if you go to Mexico and don’t go to Carlos & Charlie’s, you missed out. I say, go there to eat, then head right on upstairs with your drink in hand to Senor Frogs, and P – A – R – T – Y!!! Best part of the cruise so far!! Free drinks, conga lines, dancing, drinking, and did I mention drinking? Grand Cayman is expensive. We paid $4.00 for a taxi ride to 7-mile beach (didn’t do the excursion, just went on our own). Then, in town, $22 for 2 burgers, 2 fries and 2 drinks. We would’ve eaten on the ship, but having tendered to the island, we were too hungry to wait for the next boat, and reluctantly paid. We decided not to buy anything here, and headed back to the ship. In Ocho Rios, we got married! Beautiful botanical garden park overlooking the whole Ocho Rios Bay! I cannot say much about this port, since most of our short 6 hour visit was spent on our wedding ceremony. Again, if you plan to marry, think about an island ceremony versus on-ship. Overall There isn’t much to do by way of physical exercise other than the spa fitness center and the small jogging track, but great food, fun, large balcony staterooms, friendly staff and plenty of activities are available, which is why you went in the first place!

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May 6, 2005

Eastern Caribbean

My wife and I just returned from our fourth cruise, our second on a Carnival Ship. We were accompanied by one other couple who also cruised with us on our last Carnival cruise in September, 2004. Embarkation: What can I say other than the reviews I had read on this site were correct. We arrived via a Continental flight which arrived in Miami at 11:15 AM and were greeted by our first Carnival representative as we exited the plane.

We were given instructions and directed to baggage claim. We did not book our air through Carnival but there was no way we could not have gotten lost since we encountered several Carnival representatives on our way to collect our luggage. We had purchased transfers in advance through Carnival and upon the collection of our luggage we were escorted by another Carnival representative to our pickup location. We arrived on a Saturday along with several thousand other Carnival & RCCL passengers who were all trying to get to their ships. All-in-all, the process was very smooth and it took about 1 ½ hours to get off the plane & to the peer. After our arrival at the peer, the process of checking in and collecting our sign and sail cards took about another hour. I would recommend filling out the Fun Pass on line before you leave home and taking a moment to find the Fun Pass line. Several passengers with Fun Pass in hand joined the first line they came to while the Fun Pass line was much shorter. Our Stateroom: After the standard embarkation photos we entered the ship and were given directions to our deck 7 mid-ship stateroom with a balcony. To my wife’s surprise the anniversary decor package I had ordered from Carnival was hung in our stateroom as requested. The room was clean with plenty of storage space for those like us who always over pack. The balcony is a nice touch but the space for the balcony is taken out of the 185 sq. ft. you can get in a standard outside cabin on Main Deck. Our friends outside cabin was forward on Main Deck and had more interior space without a balcony. You will need to make the choice of interior space or balcony view. Our friends did report early morning noise on our stops in St. Thomas & St. Maarten due to the gangway being setup directly below their cabin. One problem we noticed was that our in-room safe was locked and needed to be reset for our use. We called and with all that was going on getting the passengers onboard and the luggage delivered, I expected this to be taken care of later that evening. To my surprise, they were there to fix the problem within 10 minutes. Our luggage was also delivered within 2 hours after boarding. Our stateroom steward stopped by to introduce himself shortly after our arrival. Except for the one time during our 7 days that we called to request something from him, this was the last time we saw him. We always knew he had been there because our room was always clean, towels changed, ice & sodas replaced, sheets turned down with chocolates on the pillows and a nightly towel animal to please my wife. I don’t know about you but this is what I like from a room steward. By the way, the one request was also handled promptly. Food: The first thing we noticed was that our friends were seated in a different dinning room at a different time. We were directed to the dinning room where the Head Waiter took care of our problem quickly. It was now time for a late lunch after traveling all day and before the required abandon ship drill. What can I say about the food? There are so many options that we could always find something we liked. Don’t be afraid to try something and change to something else if you don’t care for it. I read so many reviews from people who did not like the _____ or the _____. My question is, why didn’t you get something else? On the Triumph we had a choice of the Buffet, Hamburger & Hot Dog Grill, New York Deli, Oriental Kitchen, Pizza Station, Main Dinning Room or Room Service. If you can’t find something you like, your just too picky. The food quality was just as good as what I remembered from our cruises with RCCL & Holland America. The Main Dinning Room staff was even better than my last cruise with RCCL. Between my wife and myself & our friends we reordered something every night when our first choice did not meet our expectations. The dinning staff quickly responded to our request and were prompt with our second choice. They even suggested that we order two entrees or deserts when we could not makeup our minds. Ports of Call: Our ports of call on this cruise were San Juan, St. Thomas and St. Maarten. While we enjoy seeing new places, with 7 to 10 hours in each port you only have time for a tour or two and some shopping. The more we cruise the more we have come to realize that the cruise vacation is the ship and the ports of call are just another activity on the daily schedule. I was disappointed that our stop in San Juan was scheduled from 5 PM to Midnight and that all the historical venues would be closed. We also arrived on trash day and all the trash was piled onto the narrow streets of old town. After a little shopping in old town, we headed back to the ship for dinner and more fun. I did not get a chance to see more than a few blocks of old town San Juan so my impression may not be correct. The party crowd did seem to enjoy the nightclubs. Our early morning arrival in St. Thomas was breathtaking from our balcony and our room service coffee & danish was a good start to a great day. We had signed up for a snorkel tour of Trunk Bay, St. John which was canceled due to high seas in the bay. We were given the option of a snorkel tour of a bay on the other side of St. Thomas. We accepted their offer and had a great morning of swimming, snorkeling and exploring the beach with plenty of rum punch on the trip back. The tour picked us up about 100 yards from the ship and dropped us back at the same spot early in the afternoon. This worked out great and gave us a chance to change and grab a quick lunch before heading into town for shopping. The shopping district is a short taxi ride from the peer but it is too far to walk. The converted trucks and vans are waiting at the peer and cruising the streets of the shopping district to take you back and forth. You’ll have no problem getting a ride. The only bad thing is that they try to fill the trucks before they take you into town and before they leave town for the return to the ship. Since some of these conversions hold 9 to 15 people, this sometimes take a while. Anyway, the shopping is great and St. Thomas would be one of my choices for a return trip. Our third port of call in three days was St. Maarten. Again, it was a beautiful arrival into port, the island and people are great and the shopping was full of bargains for the savvy shopper. We took the water taxi into town for shopping but after late nights of fun and three ports in three days, we headed back to the ship to eat and relax. St. Maarten would be another of my choices for a future trip. Carnival Capers: I can testify that there is something to do on this ship from 8 AM to 2 AM. I do not know what goes on before or after that but it appeared that many people do. We were never the first ones up of the last ones to head to our cabin. The shows were on par with many we have seen in Vegas in the $60 and under price range while the live bands and piano bar entertainment was as good as any Vegas lounge act. I’m not sure how this sounds but we happen to like less expensive Vegas shows and lounge acts. On the days at sea the pool side games & antics hosted by the cruise staff are fun to watch while catching a snack for lunch at the outdoor grill or while catching some sun. We can’t stay long because we have another bingo game, slot/blackjack tournament, art auction, or trivia game to get to. Then it’s off for a quick nap, shower and a change of cloths for dinner and the evening activities. You just can’t do it all. Debarkation: We scheduled a late, 5:45 PM flight out of Miami due to our experience on our last cruise from this port. This turned out to be a mistake since the passengers who had early flights were off between 7 & 8 AM, then passengers who carried all their luggage were off between 8 & 9 AM. At 9:15 AM they announced general debarkation for all remaining passengers. We were off the ship and through customs by 10:15 AM. I’m not saying that this will be your experience but we could have made the 3:15 PM flight with time to spare. Our experience with a late debarkation on a previous cruise was effected by a hurricane and nine ships coming into port at one time. Due to this we did not know what to expect when flying out of Miami but we will book and earlier flight next time. Rating: We love cruising and I give this cruise 4 ½ out of 5 stars based on our three previous cruises which I would rate 4 out of 5 stars.

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Apr 29, 2005

Western Caribbean

We booked airfare through Carnival and had bad weather the Saturday of the cruise and almost missed the boat. I called the emergency number for Carnival and was very frustrated that the only information they could give me was that we would have to run once we got there and hope there were enough other people calling in that the ship would be held. Once we actually arrived in Miami I was pleased that someone met us at the gate and escorted

us to baggage claim and then to a bus (there were a lot of others in this same situation.) I thought the food in the dining room was very good, and the service was excellent. The food on the Lido deck buffets was just OK, though there was a different ethnic food offered everyday on the buffet which I though was very good. One thing you should know is that the day in port in Cozumel the dining room is open seating, your assigned table is not available, which is something that I've never seen before. The cabin was spacious and we loved having our own balcony, though there were smokers in the room right next to us which made it unpleasant to sit outside if they were also outside. I was not pleased one bit with the cabin steward, who did not even clean our room or bring any towels on the last night of the cruise. We booked excursions over the Internet prior to the cruise, which I would recommend, there was not much information about the excursions once we got on the boat. I would caution you -- two of the excursion that we chose specifically because they were not early were changed the night before to 8AM, the only notification being a note slipped under our door the night before each one, after the excursion desk was closed and it was too late to do anything about it. The magic show was very good. If you have children with you I wouldn't suggest the comedian, even during the "family show" he did a ten minute spot about how you should beat your children. I did not find the ship crowded, we found plenty of space both on deck and in the bars, we enjoyed the jazz musicians.

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Apr 15, 2005

Western Caribbean

We took a flight from CT on Friday morning and arrived in Miami later that afternoon. I would advise to leave on Friday and spend the night for anyone having to make connections. (We saw one couple who missed the departure in Miami and had to catch up with us in Cozumel.) We then took a shuttle from the hotel over to the Port at 11am. It took about an hour to go through line and actually board the ship. Lunch is served up on deck 9. We

went to our room about 2pm. It was ready and our luggage arrived shortly after. We were on deck 2 ocean view. Nice cabin a little noisy near the elevators. For first timers: Your cabin has a hair dryer, Clothes line in the shower, shampoo, some hangers in the closet and lots of storage. We had 2 people and didn't have any trouble. Around the ship: They have an ATM for those low on cash. $6.00 fee. Gift shop has lots of little things you may have forgotten as well as nice gifts. We brought our own towels with us and they came in handy when we went to the beach. You can also buy your own along the way and keep them for souvenirs. Remember you can order room service in the morning for your coffee etc. They are very prompt and we always tip the person if they do a good job. Food around the ship is very good. We are not fussy eaters and if all else fails get a great deli sandwich and the burgers are the best. They also have pizza day and night. You can also ask for a Ceasar salad at the pizza stand. The soda card they sell is $44.00 for an adult and $34.00 for a child for the week. We don't drink much soda so we didn't buy one. My husband and I like the Lemonade. Drink of the day runs $6.25 and refills are $4.50. You can also buy a bucket with 4 beers in it, not sure of the cost. Shore excursions, some people want to know whether or not its better to book them through the cruise line or on your own. Well the advantage is usually your with other Carnival guests which makes its a lot of fun. Carnival also sends out a photographer to take pictures you would never get on your own. The pictures are $8.00 but we really like them. Instead of worrying about getting a good shot we were having fun. Another advantage is that if all the Carnival guests are their you have no need to worry making the ship on time. Carnival works with these tour operators to make sure everything runs smooth. Ok you might pay a little more because Carnival gets a cut. One other experience we had was some guys got a taxi and it took them all over the place you need to be careful. We swam with the dolphins in Jamaica and went to the beach in Cozumel. Grand Cayman was devastated by the hurricane but is coming along nicely. The shows onboard are pretty good. Overall Carnival is a good cruise line. The first cruise we went on was Carnival Victory. The next time we cruise we'll try someone else. Here's just a couple things we noticed we didn't like. The water gets drained out of the pools rather early and they start cleaning up the deck chairs making you feel like you have to get up and move. No dancing after dinner. They have some little clubs but no one seems to go. Well I hope you enjoy your cruise and write tell us about it.

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Apr 15, 2005

Western Caribbean

Getting There: Parking at the Port of Miami for seven days is $84, cash and it’s paid up front. If you go from anywhere in Florida you can call Cruise Connection and they’ll put you on a bus for less than that. Many people came and went by Taxi. Embarkation: Imagine if you will the line for Space Mountain just after it opened for the first time. That’s how long the line is to get on the boat. Don’t forget to pickup your keys

on the other side of the x-ray machine (I left mine there). Our room, 8422: AWESOME! Balcony had enough room for four chairs comfortably. Room had a couch and a king-sized bed. Room service is excellent. You can order from dozens of items, including cookies and brownies. They’ll bring them to your room with a cup of coffee. In the room, they have soap, shampoo, hairdryer, toothpaste, his and her razors and dental floss (you’re going to need it). Booze: Plentiful. We put two bottles of wine in our carry-on and no one stopped us or asked us about it. You could probably take more. On the boat the first day you can buy a refillable glass for the drink of the day. It’s $6.95 upfront and $4.00 for a refill. Drink prices range from 4 to $7.00. You are never more than 100 ft. away from a bar, waiter or waitress. We found the fastest service at the wine bar and the casino. Bars: There are three pool bars and they all have quick service. There is a similar bar on the embarkation floor right in the middle of the ship. There is also a bar in the casino, four to five clubs, a wine bar and they serve on the first floor of the show lounge. Drugs: Take some Dramamine even if you’re a seasoned cruiser. The motion-sickness patch you stick behind your ear was also very popular onboard. You’ll go places where Cuban cigars and other Smoking material are legal. You’re bound to smell it at some point. The ship is searched at debarkation by inspectors with dogs, so I wouldn’t advise trying to get anything off, or even using it while you’re onboard. Food: Ugh! There is a plethora of food onboard this ship. There is a 24-hour pizza station. It’s the same stuff that spins around the circle at the gas station. The grill, had well done hamburgers, cheeseburgers and hotdogs, as well as stringy greasy French fries. The lunch and breakfast buffets in the South Beach kitchen will have pretty much the same thing everyday. The lettuce, bread and desserts start to get a little stale by day four. At the sit down dinner you can have lobster tail, some good salmon and an excellent quesadilla. The portions were small. The salads all tasted like they’d been washed in salt water. You can order as many entrees and desserts as you want. Make sure you ask for two the night they have the Baked Alaska. You won’t be able to get it on another night. They have two formal nights. If you don’t bring formal clothes, you can still go, but you may get some funny looks at first. No one will notice once you sit down. Non-alcoholic beverages: They have a soda card for just under $40. The idea being you can refill it anytime. Well, there aren’t any soda fountains sitting around. So you have to find a bar tender every time. There are water, tea and juice dispensers out in the open and you can use them anytime. They also have coffee all day. Tipping: Carnival lets you pay the tip upfront. That way you don’t have to worry about tipping anybody. That said, every time you buy an alcoholic drink you are charged an automatic 15% tip. Then, they’ll ask you to tip your Maitre D’. He’s the guy who stands there in a tux when you go to dinner every night. For some reason you’re supposed to tip him on the last night even though you’ve never met him. They leave you an envelope and you’re supposed to take it and give it to him on your last night as you enter the restaurant. Excursions: The first full day at sea there is an excursion meeting where they try and explain what you can do and try and answer any questions. However, I would book at least your first excursion over the internet on Carnival’s website. The website actually has more information than is available on the boat. While on the excursion you should also expect the unexpected. For example, two of our tours dropped us off at places other than where we started. In Cozumel, we took the Chichen Itza tour. It involved first getting on a ferry that smells like hurl when you get on it and they start passing out barf bags as soon as you start moving. It was a very bouncy ride over to the mainland. Once you’re in Mexico you’re paraded about 4 blocks to a bus. The vintage 1970’s bus with 1980’s televisions poorly mounted on the ceiling, then takes you on a bouncy three-hour tour through a poverty-stricken section of Mexico. Once you finally arrive at the pyramid site, it is spectacular. You must be prepared for lots of pushy venders inside the site. They’ll sell you the shirt of your back if you let them. Then you get back on that bus, which reminds some of the night bus in Harry Potter. It zips side to side on the two-lane road to weave around traffic at what can only be described as ludicrous speed before getting you back to the pier. Then you get back on the puke ferry and ride back to Cozumel. In Cozumel the cruise ship is docked at the pier. We heard from others who tried to rent a buggie for the day on Cozumel. They had a rough time because the buggie kept dying on them at intersections. At Grand Cayman we went on the Reef and Ray tour. Anything to stingray city looked like it was fun. It’s not something you’d ever be allowed to do in the states. You get in and feed the stingray. The guides will also put the 3-foot long creatures on your back and take pictures of you holding them. There is a tour that also takes you to Hell. It is a small unimpressive place on the island, named after a nearby rock formation. There is a place there where you can send a post card from hell. At Grand Cayman you tender, which means you take a smaller boat from the cruise ship to get on and off the Island. It can be a little time consuming. As soon as you get to the Island there are plenty of shops to visit in walking distance. To get to seven mile beach, you will either have to sign up for the excursion or take a taxi. At Ochos Rios Jamaica the main attraction is the hike up Dunns River Falls. Again, not something you’d be allowed to do stateside (at least not without crash helmets, life jackets and a rope). The falls move fast and you will too. Everyone holds hands, sounds scary at first, but it’s actually very helpful because you really move fast up the falls. The more tours the guides get in a day, the more tips they get. It takes 40 minutes to make it up the falls. The woman in front of me was probably in her 70’s and made it, but it was hard for her. The guides are very friendly and if you tell them ahead of time you may have a difficult time, they’ll make sure you make it, regardless of size, age or ability. Then there is Dolphin Cove. You can swim with dolphins, stand in water with dolphins or just watch.   The cost for each is different. The dolphin show is then about 10 minutes. You’re not missing much if you just watch. The scenery from Dolphin Cove is breath taking. Back on the boat there is never a dull moment. They publish a paper daily called the “Carnival Caper.” It has a list of everything you can do the next day. The singing and dancing shows are like high school show-choirs with good props. The “Adult” magic show isn’t worth the air the performers breathe. Bingo costs you $20 for three cards, but the jacket pots can get up to a couple thousand dollars. The recreation department is always running some kind of event like the hairy chest contest and the synchronized swimming contest. They also throw nightly parties on the deck. There is a special club for teenagers. They really seemed to enjoy it. There is also an arcade. There are some events for singles and an entire store for those who are celebrating some kind of event, birthday, anniversary, honeymoon or wedding. Carnival is also always taking your picture. The second night they run a special on the pictures, so wait a day, but then the special ends and it gets expensive again. The ship has several nooks worth seeing. Go all the way to the front left of deck 6 or 8. There you can walk out the “secret door.” It takes you to the front of the ship and you can do your “King of the World” reenactment. The exercise area of the spa has one of the most amazing views on the ship.   There is a topless sundeck for those looking for an all over tan. It’s well marked and sits up high, on the top floor above the running track, so you’re not suddenly surprised. There is also an internet café, but it’s connected to a cigar bar where someone must have gotten sick repeatedly, because it stinks. Cell Phones: It will work on the top floor of the ship the first and last nights of your trip. It will also work in Mexico and Grand Cayman but not in Jamaica. You can call out of your room, but it is expensive. For Sale: Somebody will always be trying to sell you something on this cruise. If you don’t give in, you’ll be better off. Once you’re on board you could easily drop a couple grand, or you could spend virtually nothing. As for my car keys, which I left at the security booth, the day I arrived, Carnival was good enough to keep them in Miami for me, when I went looking for them during Debarkation. That was seven days later.

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Apr 15, 2005

Western Caribbean

63 of us in all, just returned from a 7-day Western Caribbean cruise – Carnival Triumph (April 16-23rd). INTRODUCTION: We arrived April 15th in Miami, the day before setting sail which is highly recommended to any future cruiser. Traveling on the day you set sail, can be extremely tiring, or even worse, there's an off-chance you may miss the boat. Our group stayed at the Doubletree Hotel at Biscayne Bay (Hilton Chain), which is only

1 mile from the Port of Miami. If your room is located on the harbor side, you can see all the cruise ships as they arrive in port. The hotel was very clean, with a beautifully landscaped area on the 9th floor, housing a very large pool overlooking the harbor. We had a shuttle transport us to the Port at 11:00 a.m. and were through all line-ups, security points, etc., and on the Triumph heading for Lido Deck within 1 ½ hours. Sailing was scheduled for 4:00 p.m. and we were off not too long after. PASSENGERS: The Captain advised that we were traveling with over 3400 passengers on board. 2758 is considered a full ship at double occupancy and 3478 is full capacity with 3-4 in many cabins, so I knew that many cabins had 3 – 4 people in them. In my opinion, this made for an over-crowded ship in many public areas. One day at sea, our lounge chairs were so crowded together, we had to be contortionists to get in or out. We quickly figured it best to stay in the chair and have those great waiters, serve you any of the many varieties of “cold” drinks they love to serve. I was advised that 1100 of the 3400 passengers (32%) were children, which made it impossible to enjoy a swim in the pool on Lido Deck at any time (a disappointment). The Disco (Hollywood Dance Club) was also full to capacity every night with 14 – 18 year olds, which made it difficult/impossible for any of our age group (35 – 55) to dance following our late dinner (our 2nd disappointment). WEATHER: The weather was in the low 80’s and sunny (with cloudy periods) every day. Friday morning during breakfast there was a quick rain shower. There were moderate waves (4 – 8 ft.) most of the trip, with the last 2 days being virtually waveless (.5 – 1.5 ft. waves) FOOD: The food overall was excellent. Breakfast on Lido Deck (South Beach Restaurant) provided standard buffet breakfast items, along with an omelette station. Lunch had many salad dishes, 3 – 5 hot dishes (braised beef, chicken, fish, potatoes, etc.) and always a roast of one kind or other (prime rib, roast pork, turkey). An entire station was beautifully displayed with many kinds of desserts. NY Deli Sandwiches was another excellent choice for lunch. The Rueben sandwiches were great, and others in our group said the turkey and pastrami were the best. I only managed to try the Hong Kong Noodle Factory on one occasion and it was very tasty, as well. Our group had the late sitting (8:00 p.m.) in the Paris Dining Room where entrées of lobster tail, grilled jumbo shrimp, prime rib, quail, beef Wellington, weiner schnitzel, etc. were available. Many nights, several of us ordered two entrees and/or two appetizers. I never made it to the dining room for lunch, but did go for breakfast on 3 occasions. Breakfast and Lunch in the dining room is open seating, where your party will be seated at a table with others in order to fill up each and every table. Breakfast in the dining room was a great alternative and very quick if you felt the line-up in the South Beach was too long or you just felt like being served. While line-ups were visible in the South Beach restaurant and in the NY Deli Restaurant, there was never a time, which took more than 10 minutes to reach the front of the line. This was phenomenal service, considering there were 3400+ passengers on board. SHIP: Our room was an ocean view cabin located on Main Deck, close to the elevators, and very comfortable. There was ample closet space, drawer space and lots of room to move around. Our Cabin Steward (Rigoberto) was fantastic and we never wanted for anything. He kept our ice-bucket full, our bed made, fresh linens always available and was always within arms reach should we have been in need for anything. The ship was very clean, with no noticeable stains or wear and tear anywhere. I did, however, find that the public washrooms were sometimes neglected longer than they should have been, with such heavy use by lido deck, etc., on sea days. Since “noro-virus” is so prevalent (forms distributed to us prior to boarding), paper-towels should be provided for hand-drying in the public washrooms. Hand-dryers were available, but this meant we had to use our clean hands on the handle to exit each time ------ and this is where such viruses can be picked up. Dining rooms, theatres, lounges, etc. were all very well maintained. Workers were visible each and every day busily painting, scrubbing, cleaning, etc. PORT OF CALLS: Stop # 1 – Cozumel, Mexico - We only shopped and went to a beach (5 minute cab ride) where we snorkeled and swam for the afternoon. Evening found us downtown at the famous Carlos and Charlie’s where yard-stick drinks and tequila shooters were abundant. Lots of fun and laughs there – for adults. In Grand Cayman, many in our group swam with the Stingrays which they all said was a great experience and well worth the money. 7-mile Beach was beautiful with a nice sandy beach and warm waters. In Jamaica, 14 of us rented a 29-seater air conditioned bus (driver Jeffrey – highly recommended) for $25 each and he took us on a tour of many hot spots (tour was approximately 3 hours long). We went up in the Mountains, where we saw many of the foliages/plants of Jamaica (old spice plant, plants for arthritis, fruit bearing trees, etc.). We stopped at a point on Dunn’s River Falls, saw the local schools, police station, market, shopping area, etc. Our final stop was at the beach at Margaritaville and Jimmy Buffets, which was within walking distance of the ship. SUMMARY: A great vacation overall, with lots of sunshine, great food, tasty tropical drinks, all spent with a group of friends and provided a very quick peak at three more Caribbean Islands. What more could one ask !!

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Apr 2, 2005

Western Caribbean

Ok!! This was the best experience I've ever had....ever. And Im Going through major cruise withdrawal. I'm ready to go on another. This was my first cruise along with my buddies first time and we weren't sure if there'd be a lot of a younger crowd on the ship, so we decided to go around late end of spring break. There was a nice mixture of younger kids...I didn't see all the younger kids (babies and elementary kids) like SOO many people

post on here...but they're were quite a few 15 yrd olds. First off I read a lot of review on this board and i mean people, get your pants out of your butt and enjoy everything. Service---We started out with telling our room steward to not even worry about cleaning our room for the first 3 days. He was very happy and we often just stood in hallway talking. Dining room steward was also realllly nice...one night i only got a starter cause i was feeling sick, then next night he wanted me to try about 3 main meals and deserts and made sure i was full to the brim. Also.....the guys that do the free wine tasting and the girl that gives out the credit cards near the casino...They are awesome!!! We saw them at the club one night and man they can party! Ok, Ship experience. Everything was great. Our room was upgraded. We made friends with a bunch of people down our hall. Bartenders don't mind sparking up a conversation. Ship was clean. What else can you ask for. Since i was on vacation my friend and i made sure we drank a lot...sometimes too much because i didn't always remember the next day who i danced with or if I had break danced (past tense i guess) the night before. But then people would call out your name down the hall so i guess i met them. The clubs were nice, Hollywood is good area for meeting younger girls 18-30. Sometimes you wondered why 13 year olds were still dancing on the floor at 1 am. The piano bar is a very chill bar and good place to hang out. One thing i stress is to go out and make friends with other people, couples whatever. We met sooo many people. I have to say though our main dining room table guests were the best! We sat at an 8 person table and everyone was cool. 4 guys and 4 girls total. We hung out with them all throughout the cruise having the time of our lives. It was everyone's first cruise by the way. We will definitely be keeping in touch with them for a long time. Excursions- Ok i'm doing this with college kids in mind since all the reviews ive read are...."ewww the taxi driver was scary" and "I ordered an AppleTini and he gave me a BananaTwist". So here goes. Cozumel: Awesome place. We went to Playa Mia Beach Resort and it is well worth the money if you actually plan on drinking. They have little contests there but we were focused on the open bar. If you go...say hey to Samuel for me. They were all nice and lets just say I had at least 8 tequila shots and 3 mixed drinks...my buddy swears its past the 10 mark on shots...don't remember. Ok, not soo good....I don't remember half the day.. just bits and pieces...jumping off pier (not allowed) taking home a big huge sea shell (not allowed, falling face first into sand several times (funny), Getting Samuel the bartender to take a shot with me (his was actually filled with water that tricky guy), Going back to ship trying to talk to a girl until she finally tells me i have sand all on my face (Made friends with her next day after she reminded me who she was). Well, we went back to ship to get more money, came out to pier and my friend who speaks Spanish asked a guy where we could go to get away from the tourists...he then got off work and took us in his beetle bug and took us waaaaaaaaaaaay out....we were driving through neighborhoods and stuff and we stopped by 2 bars looked like hole in the walls. Awesome time and i actually remember all of it. After Mexico...go up to the Lido deck cause they have a huge party there at night...congo lines....dancing till laaaaaaaaaaaaaate at night. This was a really fun day. Grand Cayman- I'll start off with saying i did not drink one bit that day.. since it was the day after Mexico and tequila shots. So we just went snorkeling at 7 mile beach. Bus was i belive 4 bucks each way and the part of 7 mile we went to was free to get in. We did not book this or any of the other excursions through Carnival cause we were lazy. Snorkeling was about the same as down in south Florida....some tropical fish but not crazy. The water was nice though. Not much went on that day except recovering from the night before. Ocho Rios Jamaica--we decided to go to Bob Marleys house and where he's buried with our dining room table guests. I've always like reggae and Bob Marley and this was just beyond words. 10X better than i thought it was going to be. You really learn a lot. We did this on our own and it cost us somewhere around 65-75 dollars for cab drive and excursion....cab guy sat and waited on us. Let me say that the drive was amazing!!! Really beautiful scenery. But Man!!! They drive crazy as heck!!!! I'm talking skidding around corners, in total we almost got in 3 wrecks. Very nuts, but man, the scenery!! Just so everyone knows, I don't drink THAT much usually, but it was my 25th B-day and B-days last like 3 days I say. I think everyone knew that it was my b-day...getting it announced at 2 different clubs, dancing with everyone i could...people buying me drinks. Sorry for the older people reading this but i'm trying to put it in to a young guys perspective. If i had read something like this I would of signed up along time ago. Ohh and this is going to be a tradition for al the next cruises we go on. Myself, my buddy and the 2 guys at our dinner table, on the last night of the cruise we all got our bathrobes and walked around in them. Kind of crazy at times but chug down some drinks and you really don't care. People thought it was funny and a good idea and we tried recruiting some people...but we just did it for laughs. I'm telling you Bathrobe Parties Last night should be on itinerary. All in all this experience is overwhelming and will be doing it again soon. We most likely will be doing it with our dinner table partners again. When you finally get off the boat and have to spread back out to different corners of US its really hard. Everybody was pretty much in tears and ill never forget how the big dude at our table from Rhode Island said he cried the night before because he was soo happy he met such cool, down to earth people. (I'm leaving names out for a reason folks) Now that's when you know you have had a good time, when you form tight bonds with people and hate leaving. Feel free to email me with questions or if you remember me and want to say hey.  

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Mar 19, 2005

Western Caribbean

This past March (19-26) my family and I took our very first cruise. The Triumph was a very clean & comfortable ship. Yes, it was my first cruise so what do I have to compare it to? I think it is safe to compare your cruise ship to any other resort you have stayed at on land. I am very nit-picky when it comes to being sure my accomodations are clean and this demand was met upon arrival and throughout our entire cruise. Embarkation

was a breeze. We arrived the day before and stayed the night at Courtyard By Marriott in downtown Miami. For $145.00 with tax my husband, son and myself were treated to clean accomodations, breakfast the following morning and a transfer to the pier the morning of our cruise. This hotel is less than 5 minutes from the port and you actually woke up in the morning to see your ship outside your hotel window. Coming from N.Y. all of that is a bargain @ $145.00. The total embarkation process from leaving the hotel to being on the ship was jsut over an hour. Not bad considering the amount of passengers looking to board. The carpeting and other fabrics on chairs in the longes and dining rooms all seemed clean enough to me. No stains that I could see anywhere. Our cabin steward was great. Never had to ask twice for anything. Our ocean view room was found spotless on the day of embarkation and throughout this cruise he kept it that way. It is standard for your steward to make up your room twice a day. Once in the AM and again in the PM. After swimming all day and being in and out of our room so much I would hang the door card "please make up my room" and our room would be started within ten minutes. This cabin steward was great. The food in the Paris dining room was very good, no complaints. The buffets were OK, there was something for everyone. Never had to wait long at all on buffet lines and might I add it was spring break time. The cruise director Chris Jefferson was entertaining and imformative at the same time. Overall the entire staff of this ship was great. This cruise could be what ever you want it to be. You can be busy 24/7 or just lay back and sun yourself. My 12 year old son would have liked a few more activities for his age group. This W. Caribbean cruise offers some great ports to visit. Cozumel is great for many things. We did do the Dolphin Swim & Encounter and thought it was very a waste considering they spend more time with you waiting in line to get in the water than you do with the Dolphins in the water. Cayman Islands was just the best!!! Be sure to swim with the stingrays. This was such a great experience. The stingray swim was priced $49.00 per person a far greater value than the Dolphin swim in Cozumel at $177.00 a person. We did both and would do the stingray swim again. The Dolphin swim we would not bother to do again. Jamaica was OK the beaches right near the port are very shallow so if you want to really swim in the beaches of Jamaica go for an excursion that takes you somewhere besides the beaches in port. I have only one complaint about this cruise and it isnt about something Carnival did. All over the ships decks there are signs that ask people to not save beach/deck chairs. Of course nobody pays any attention to this and people go out at 7AM put their beach towel on a chair and then do not use it. They may come out of their state room and sit there for an hour or so but leave their towel on the chair so nobody else can sit there. This seemed to be a problem. Overall we enjoyed this cruise and the ships staff. We enjoyed it so much that we were not home 2 weeks and we booked another cruise for next February 2006.    

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Mar 12, 2005

Eastern Caribbean

I just returned from a 7 day cruise on the Carnival Triumph (March 12/05) and thought I would post this review while everything was still fresh in my mind. Where do I start? The beginning I guess. We are a family of 5. I have been on two previous cruises (NCL & RCI) and I booked our vacation with Sears travel. They gave us the best price and payment options. I did look everywhere. I booked my own air out of Detroit. By booking my

own air I saved $625 dollars---that is serious money in my book. I did however choose to buy my transfers from Carnival for $110 round trip from Miami airport to the pier. Cabs will cost you $45. Our flight went as scheduled and we arrived at 12:00pm on Saturday. So did about 2000 other people. If you can book an earlier flight or go in the night before it will make life easier. Yes, they are organized, yes it goes smoothly and yes it took an hour and fifteen minutes. The transfer took 40 minutes because there were already too many people at the dock and there was a basketball game and traffic was a zoo. I do not blame Carnival for any of this-----I am simply retelling what happened. Carnival cannot control traffic and when you have 3000 plus people that you have to board in 5 hours there are bound to be lines. Make sure you have your Fun Pass filled out on line before you got-----it does help but it is not the express line that people seem to believe that it is. Once we were on board we were mesmerized by how big this ship is. If there are huge crowds don’t bother with the elevators just walk to your cabin. They say the cabin won’t be ready till after 3 but they start working on them as soon as you’re out that morning. Ours was ready. We dropped off our stuff and went to the Lido deck 9 for the buffet. The food was good, lots of variety free beverages are available 24/7 we did not waste our money paying for soda cards. When our kids wanted a drink we just went up on deck. There are ice cream stations out by the middle and aft pools----our kids never missed an opportunity to make their own. Also take some time to familiarize yourself with all the food service areas----it does get crowded at peak meal times and lines can be 20 minutes at times but I never waited more than 3-4 minutes. Look around visit the Coney Island grill at the back or the pizzeria or the deli or go a little early or eat later around 1:00 after the rush. This is a big ship but there are 3400 people plus 1000 crew-----that means that certain areas will be crowded at times----deck chairs in prime locations will go early as they do on every ship. I always found a chair but I really don’t care about location. FUN SHIPS Yes they are! If you are looking for peaceful refined elegant superior cruising vacation then you should try one of Carnivals upscale brands. Carnival is like a floating Las Vegas/Caribbean resort there are all ages. Many families, lots of young people 18-24 and the older crowd. Most people stick to certain areas of the ship based on there age. Example, young people almost never came to dinner they preferred pool and buffet. Families and the older crowds almost always went to dinner in the dining room. We did! The Food Food in the dining room was excellent I only had 2 bad entrées all 7 days and they happily changed them for me. I ordered 2 of everything everyday and no one even flinched. I had three lobster tails on the first formal night (only time we had lobster). On RCI they told me I had to finish my first one before they could order and seemed frustrated when I did. This was 5 years ago so I can’t say if it has changed. Steak, prime rib and filet mignon are plentiful but you have to go to dinner and lunch in the dining room. Steak sandwiches and chicken breast sandwiches are also available at the Coney Island grill. They had Panzarotti at the pizzeria as well. (8 min wait for this) Pizza was good so were the hamburgers and fries. Breakfast buffet was the same thing every day. Fruit, cereal, oatmeal grits, grilled ham, scrambled eggs, omelets at the omelet station, fruit and Danish, croissants, muffins, yogurt and more. (I never had breakfast in the dining room but menus are available on line.) Yes, this kind of buffet can get boring---- but only because you get spoiled and used to it. Let’s keep it in perspective--- its breakfast and there are a lot of other dining choices. PORTS Standard Eastern Caribbean San Juan been there before and you get in late---5:00pm did not disembark. St. Thomas Liquor is as cheap as you can find it here whether you go in town or off the dock every body is within a dollar of each other---I found the stores to have good prices but you have to know yours. Never buy anything without knowing the product and the price back home or you will waste time and money transporting something that could easily have bought at home. St Maarten Excellent jewelry prices, but again know what you want, there were good deals but I had done my research at home----I found many overpriced deals as well. All brand name watches Movado, Rolex Raymond Weil, Longiness, Omega, they have them all. Movado prices are really good here. I looked at some diamonds and they were over priced in my opinion and poor quality. Sorry to rain on the parade but buyer beware. Duty free shops on board were good---- most of their sales happen after the islands. Beware of gold by the inch. It seems strange to me that pure silver costs more by the inch than layered gold. Whatever layered means it is not 10k or more and therefore not real according to industry standard. If you just want a souvenir however this is a cheap way to do it and Carnival Guarantees it won’t change color. However you need to be on a ship to take advantage of the guarantee. Shows I found all the shows to be excellent and a good variety. Two Las Vegas style shows were good -----comedian was good -----excellent magic show—even passenger talent show was good but a bit of a cop out since it really is a free show for the company. Again, if the style is not to your liking ------well you won’t enjoy the shows. Cabins and Stewards and Waiters general stuff The Cabins definitely show wear and tear, this is a 6 year old ship and she is due in dry dock this October. Good, because chairs and upholstery everywhere need to be changed. Many chairs in the Grand buffet are stained and in disrepair. I am not saying they are junk----- they’re just not up to what I would consider an acceptable for this level of cruising. Also be careful of the beautiful granite floors they are very slippery when wet. I found that out first hand. (Expect that Carnival is going to be more worried about being sued than about your health when you fall). There is an awful smell in the Oxford lounge. I managed to get someone to admit it. They were having problems with the sewage or septic system. I read other reviews complaining about this. My solution, don’t go down to the Oxford Lounge this is big ship and you have hundreds of options. As for old or stained carpets----I saw some----so what? I saw the same on RCI and the ship was only half as old. The people doing the cleaning were always working. As a matter of fact it seemed at times that they were understaffed and could use more “hands on deck” as they say. The Waiters were good but they too seemed pressed for time. However, they accommodated every wish immediately with a yes sir. The dining room shows were nothing more than dancing and music. I have seen better----quite frankly they should do away with this tradition. I go to the dining room to eat. The wait staff has enough to do without worrying about entertaining me---that is what the shows are for. There cruise director and staff are the BEST I have ever seen. Camp Carnival Was the best for the 2-5 and 6-8 group my 12yr old said she was bored. I loved the fact, that Camp Carnival took the kids free of charge when we were on the islands. They were even open on the day of disembarkation. They would also take the kids to dinner for you so you could enjoy an evening with your spouse. By far they are WAY BETTER THAN ROYAL CARIBBEAN. The best I have experienced Conclusion I give this cruise 4 out of 5 stars and would have no problem recommending it or going again. I am already looking for next year.    

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Feb 5, 2005

Western Caribbean

Just returned from a fantastic 1st cruise. Would definately do it again with Carnival Cruises. The food is delicious in the dining rooms, adequate in the buffet, hamburgers are great and so are the deli sandwiches. Pizza is available 24 hours a day and many different kinds. Late night buffet the night we docked in Cozumel. The guacamole was better then I had at Senor Frogs. We picked up 2 bottles of wine in a small store in Cozumel and

attempted to take them aboard. When you re-embark the ship everything you carry on is scanned. We were told to take our liqueur to a table, where we signed for it and was told it would be delivered to our cabin on the last day of the cruise. We did this and then my husband went to the pursers desk and they went with him immediately while he retrieved the wine, and then we took it to our cabin. If you wanted it delivered to your dinner table they wanted a $10 corkage fee. We did the same thing in Jamaica without having to get the purser involved. Very informative talks the day before each port of call. Shopping tips and tours were discussed. Tours can be made through the TV in your cabin so there was no need for the many people I saw lined up the first day at the tour desk. Just follow the instructions on the TV and your tickets will be delivered to your cabin. The cabins are cleaned many times a day and your beds are turned down each night and a chocolate placed on your pillow. Nice touch. I will cruise with Carnival again for sure.

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Jan 22, 2005

Western Caribbean

I read quite a few reviews before our trip and hope my opinions will help you choose a cruise. My wife and I had been on a Carnival cruise a number of years ago with our daughters and on a Princess cruise on our own more recently for comparisons. I chose the Triumph for its itinerary, value, entertainment, and convenience to a non-stop flight from Chicago. We have read and heard some negative comments about the abundance of children

and young adults on Carnival cruises. We did not experience that because of the timing of our trip. Those parents with children (I spoke to several) had very good comments about the programs for their children. We caught unseasonably cool (low 70’s)/windy weather in our first port, Cozumel. The shopping ($6/cab to town) in Cozumel was the best of the three ports. We went to Chakannaab Park ($10/cab + $12/person entry fee) on our own for the afternoon. Snorkeling (rentals were available) was mediocre because of the wind. The beach was beautiful and had free lounge chairs. It also had a thatched roof open-air restaurant with music, a dolphin training area, a nature walk, and replicas of Mayan ruins. Our second port, Grand Cayman, was our highlight. I booked a “Stingray City/Snorkeling” excursion through Soto’s on the Internet. His boat was fast and staffed by very personable people. We received more individual attention as a result of a small group. I highly recommend them. The damage to the island from earlier hurricanes was very evident. At our third port, Ocho Rios, we experienced mist and rain in addition to a botched shore excursion I again arranged on the Internet. It was entirely my own fault. Carnival, having heard about my misfortune, sent us a bottle of champagne to apologize for their being unable to help make things better. They didn’t have to do that since it had nothing to do with Carnival. We took a taxi ($5.50/person rd. trip) to Dunns River Falls ($10/person entry). After looking things over, we walked up the falls from a midway point on our own which wasn’t very difficult. You can rent aqua shoes for about $3 at the falls. Lockers are available for $5. We enjoyed the large ship. We continually discovered something new. The huge fitness center overlooked the bow was well equipped including two hot tubs and all the other spa features. The food and presentation was fantastic. Our waiters were very attentive and quickly knew our drink preferences and diet interests. The other dining options were equally satisfactory including the buffet lunch upon boarding the ship. There was only one midnight (11:30-12:15 for pictures first) buffet, which was fine for us. The entertainment was exceptional. Two evenings were dance and song reviews equal to any Las Vegas production. Another evening featured the New Wave Magic of Kevin & Caruso. They were great. The first of two comedians was good. The only sub-par entertainment came the last night. The comedian was a little too crude for a 7:30 show including many children. Later, a Motown singer was just “o.k.” We didn’t see the “guest” show, but saw parts of it on TV in our room. There were a lot of very talented people on the ship. The ship has satellite programs and even brought in the NFL semi-final games to air. The crew is always coming by to see if you need “bar service.” Between deck games, two pools (one with a removable roof), 6 hot tubs, running track, water slide (did it three times), shuffle board, BINGO, the casino, card room, shops (reasonable prices), movies, TV-type game shows, and all the other things I can’t recall, there was always something to do (like on any cruise). On crusing days, I recommend one reserve a deck chaise with some article of clothing or towel. The crew was superb. Mark Price, the cruise director, was fantastic. Our cabin steward was very visible and willing to do anything to make our stay (inside room) pleasant. They work very hard, “on” 7 months and “off” 3 months. Carnival automatically puts a designated tip amount on your bill for the waiters and cabin stewards. We found this very convenient. We gave more to those who deserved it. For departure on the final day, you can leave early (7:30 a.m.) if you can carry your own bags off the ship. Otherwise, you put your bag beside your door the night before from where it is carried ashore, wait until 9:30 a.m., exit and then begin the search for your bags in colored coded sections of a large warehouse. I recommend some way of easily identifying your bags. There are tons of black or navy suitcases. The bus transfers between the Ft. Lauderdale airport and Miami port went smoothly. Expect to tip. I agree with someone recommending one carry singles. We really enjoyed our cruise. Carnival is VERY attentive to details, punctual, and a “Fun Ship”.

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Jan 8, 2005

Western Caribbean

We had a group of eight people including my husband and myself age ranged from 30 - 50. On Friday January 7, 2005, we flew into Ft. Lauderdale, rented a van and drove to Miami to spend the night. We live in the Midwest and were worried about the weather, so we decided to fly down a day early. It was about $80 a person cheaper to fly into Ft. Lauderdale and rent a car than it was to fly into Miami (at the time we booked). We booked our

Friday night’s stay at the Courtyard Marriott which I think was a great value, it was within walking distance of Bayside Mall and we paid $89 +taxes for each room, which included two breakfast buffets. The hotel also had a van pickup to take us to the Port of Miami on Saturday for $5 a person. Saturday – Embarkation: We arrive at the Port of Miami and since all four of our rooms were booked as guaranteed, we needed to check with the porters for our room numbers so we could get our luggage at a reasonable time. The rooms we booked were two balcony rooms and two inside rooms, they were both very spacious and the balcony was well worth the extra $500 we paid to have one. Otherwise, your luggage goes into a holding room until they can figure out where to deliver it to… The porter was very accommodating; we tipped him very well (about $10 a couple) for his help. Embarkation was okay, we had to wait in line for about a half an hour and once we received our sign and sail cards, took our picture, we were on our way to drop off our carry-on and to the Lido Deck Pool for a couple of drinks (I was unable to drink, because I just found out I was pregnant) I had a great time anyway, thank goodness for virgin pina colada’s… Sunday – At Sea: There were a lot of activities especially around the main pool. One of the guys in our group competed in the hairy chest contest, we thought he should of won, but he didn’t. Our dining room was the Paris Dining room early seating at 5:45; we thought that was a great time. My other cruises we had late dinner and at 8:00, it just seemed kind of late to eat dinner. Having early dinner, we still had time to take photos and shop and get a good seat in any of the bars on board. Monday – Cozumel: My husband and another guy in our group went on the ATV excursion offered through Carnival, it was $99 each person. They thought it was very fun and worth the money. The rest of us went to Chankanaab Park because a couple of the girls wanted to Swim with the Dolphins at Dolphin Discovery. We booked that on our own because they saved about $50 a person vs. the ship prices. They booked the Royal Swim for $125 a person and said it was worth every penny. The park is very nice, it has white sand beaches and pathways through a small forest, lagoon and snorkeling. It is $12 a person to enter the park. After the park, we went back to the ship, met up with the other guys, had lunch and off shopping downtown. We shopped a little and ended up at Senor Frogs and Carlos & Charlie’s, we had such a great time there. People of all ages were there from young to old, so we didn’t feel out of place. I told our group we should leave about 11:00 pm to make sure we get back to the ship on time. We made it with no problem, but we did watch a few girls come in right at midnight, I think we were getting ready to take off, when they came running down the pier. Tuesday – At Sea: Another day roaming around the ship during the day and formal night for dinner. Wednesday – Grand Cayman: We knew that we wanted to go snorkeling and Stingray City. We opted to go independent and save about $30 a person vs. the ship’s prices. We tendered to Grand Cayman and signed up with Harbor Side Excursions, they first took us to Stingray City and then Snorkeling at Coral Gardens. It was great and sure worth the $35 a person. The boat even made a stop and a couple guys jumped off and pulled seven conch shells off the bottom, proceeded to kill the muscle inside and handed out the shells. Two couples we were with received shells for their kids. We wanted to do some shopping, but it was so expensive we did not buy a thing. I am assuming they have raised their prices to compensate for the loss due to the hurricane. Thursday – Ocho Rios Jamaica: We really didn’t have any plans for Jamaica; we knew we wanted to shop. We hired a red license plate driver (government owned), he dropped us off at the shopping mall and came back about 1 ½ later to pick us up, went buy Dunn’s River Falls and then drove us around Fern Gully and up on the mountain so we could get some great pictures of our ship at the pier. The only issue we had was when we hired the taxi driver, he told us $5 a person just for Dunn’s River Falls and shopping and then when we got out of the taxi at the pier, he upped the price to $15 a person because he drove us around more. We didn’t mind the extra price, but we sure did not tip him then, because we felt scammed. Friday – At Sea: By today we are running out of things to do on the ship, I am not a sun-bather so I did not want to lay by the pool, plus it was about 90 degrees plus humidity. So I opted to pack. Saturday – Debarkation: Went very smoothly, this was the fastest we were ever off the ship. We were in the warehouse picking up our luggage at 9:00 am. Then picked up a taxi to take us back to Ft. Lauderdale airport (taxi ride was $15 a person + tip) to head back to Chicago. We all had a great time, I know that other cruise lines offer better food and higher standard of service, but we just wanted a cruise line that we could be casual and was in our price range. Carnival fits right into our specifications.

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Jan 8, 2005

Western Caribbean

We just returned home today from a week-long cruise to Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and Ocho Rios. This was my husband's second cruise. It was my sixth. It was the first time for our 9- and 11-year-old kids. We were excited to get them enrolled in Camp Carnival, but my 9-year-old daughter didn't have fun, yet my 11-year-old did. My daughter said she was bored, so she didn't go often. We absolutely LOVED the Cruise Director and his staff.

Mark Price is a born entertainer! He and Wee Jimmy made the cruise a lot of fun! We couldn't make everything, but what we missed we were able to see on the TV in our stateroom. The Super Shopper (Andrew) is an AWESOME wealth of information! He tells you where to find all the great bargains while at port, and will even help you haggle with the merchants if you're not very good at it on your own! We simply loved him (he helped us save a lot of money, and he's such a nice guy too!). Now for the negative part. I didn't feel my cruising experience overall was as good as in time's past. The food wasn't as good. The cabin steward wasn't great. (Many times she forgot to replace items that were missing from our room, like shampoo, etc.) On our last night, she failed to deliver our customs papers, envelopes, and survey forms. We had to hunt them down from the Pursor's Desk. Overall, we had a blast though, and would definitely not let this one experience stop us from cruising with Carnival, or on board the Triumph.

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Jan 8, 2005

Western Caribbean

Only having one cruise under my belt, I can't compare it to anything. However, this vacation was by far the very best I've ever taken. The Triumph was an absolutely beautiful ship, the staff was unbelievable. Service was excellent, fast and very friendly. The food was delicious. Our cruise director, Mark Price, was outstanding. The shows and discussions he hosted were hilarious and informative. For a first time cruise I have to say it

was wonderful in every way. I highly recommend Carnival and I hope to book another cruise very soon!

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Dec 18, 2004

Eastern Caribbean

Carnival, what can I say, the fun ships! That it was. You would be crazy not to have enjoyed this sailing. There are so many positives, from the room stewards attention to detail to the wait staff -- how can you say anything bad? Well, I wanted to put some of the cons out there so that you can better prepare. CONS: Dining, if you have a large party, call carnival a few days before and make sure you are being seated together. We booked

a family of 10 months before and we did not get to dine together. Although we requested a correction to their mistake, it was not accomodated -- that sucked. Alcohol purchases on the ship: They do not allow you to take the liquor that you purchase on the ship, you must wait until the end of the cruise to take possession. Also, any liquor you buy on shore, they want it until the end of the cruise. I guess it is in order to keep the overpriced bar drinks selling. SOLUTION: Pack plenty of liquor in your bags, ours made it all through with no problems! Tours: Remember, you can and will do much better getting off the ship, and having a local tour operator fill your needs! They are less expensive, usually of the same or better quality and the money stays on the ISLAND! Carnival is really greedy, they want all your money -- but remember (because Carnival seems to have forgotten) the only reason these small islands and countries allow 3000 people per ship (sometimes 4 at a time)to dock is to help their economies. If Carnival and the other lines don't start making it worthwhile, these ports will shut US out, what a pity -- Belize is already starting to restrict the numbers! CARNIVAL!!! THINK ABOUT THIS!!! I don't want to be negative, because this was an incredible cruise. Lines were long but usually quick. People were friendly and the staff was helpful. Getting on and off the ship as well as getting our bags was a breeze -- they handled this better than most. The activities and the shows were world class. This is definitely worth every penny and then some. I would recommend this cruise --    

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Dec 18, 2004

Eastern Caribbean

I am not as experienced a cruiser as some of your reviewers, myself and family having only gone on 2 Carnival cruises. What did I like? Almost everything about the ship and the professional and courteous staff. We stayed on the 8th deck had a balcony, and I highly recommend paying extra for the luxury of the balcony. The food was excellent. We enjoyed the NY deli, the Lido buffets and the 24 hour pizza. Our dining was in the Paris

Room, but we did not attend many seatings as we were disappointed to be sitting with our guests. We would have preferred our own table, as we had on our first cruise. The day trips were good. We really enjoyed the butterfly farm in St. Martins and the Coral World in St. Thomas. We felt that St. Thomas was definitely an island we would like to return to. San Juan, was dirty, crowded, a disappointment. I would recommend it not be included in this type of cruise experience. Another positive feature on the ship is its excellent athletic facility. Great gym! What didn't I like? San Juan, as I have already mentioned and the gratuities which were automatically added to our bill. I found this to be insulting, as well as over priced. We were being charged $70 a day per person in our room. We are a family of 3 - this added $210 per day X 7 days = $1407 almost the cost of the cruise itself. We asked for these to be removed. All but one day's was taken off our bill which was not what we had asked for. Another point was the dirty windows in the Lido room. Was disappointing to sit in a dining room and look over the seas, with dirt on the windows. Smoking was also a negative for us. We found that the smell of cigarettes and cigars from the bars, lounges and casino to be overpowering at times. It would be nice to have a smoke free environment especially when this type of cruise attracts so many families with small children.

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Nov 20, 2004

Eastern Caribbean

Hi there, I just got back from this holiday cruise with my family! We had the most incredible time.... I had a BALL, can't imagine it being any better than it was. There was plenty to do on board, tons of food (nothing to write home about, but plenty of it), great service in all areas, and fabulous ports of call. Boarding the ship was much like we assumed, long lines and time consuming. As long as you know what to expect in advance,

you won't be disappointed. We came prepared! Bring a light carry-on bag and have all your necessary paperwork close by! Cabin: Very roomy, tons of little compartments for anything that needs to be stored, very well thought out. The only thing we noticed that was missing was a clock. Guess since you're on vacation they think you don't want to know what time it is. Next time I'd carry a little travel clock just so I'd know if it was 7am or 11am!! On Board: Loved all the entertainment, great shows, very humorous cruise director. I loved the casino (won a little money!!), the spa (they have daily specials that you should check out, don't pay full price) took a couple of days to get my bearings and be able to move around the ship without a map. Believe it or not, the most fun part for me were the silly things.... the "fun" things on the Lido deck, hairy chest contests, Survivor contest, Conga lines. I loved the competition created with the teams! During your first dinner your table is assigned to the Red, White or Blue team. With everything that happens throughout the entire cruise, all the contests, bingo games, shows, etc, you win points for your team. Several times a day they will announce "where's the blue team" and you'll hear roars from the crowd. It gets very loud and competitive, lots of fun. Ports: Had a great time at the ports, take your time getting off the ship and be prepared for long lines. Had the BEST MEAL ever in San Juan, incredible food and service. It's called the Parrot Club, you shouldn't miss it. When I order a salad and it's the best meal i've had in years, that says a lot. In St Thomas, I made a bad choice in excursions and feel like i missed out on seeing the island. I picked the MiniBoats, it was fun but I didn't get to see St Thomas. My brother and his family went on the BOB tour and the drive to the BOB location was incredible, made them want to come back to see more of St Thomas again in the future.... I didn't see the beauty of the island on my trip, so i wasn't impressed. I feel like I missed out, don't make the same mistake! St Maarten was gorgeous, we did the 4x4 adventure, lots of fun however we never did the off-roading that you would expect with the name! You're in a 4x4 but you're on main roads the entire time, with stops at lovely beaches (including the nude beach on the French side. Wow..... it's not Baywatch, in fact there's no one there under 40, lots of sagging skin and cellulite, but glad i saw it. DO NOT take a camera, it's against the law). When disembarking the ship, don't expect it to move quickly, don't book a flight before 1pm! We finally got in a cab at 11am after searching in a HUGE warehouse for my suitcase! It took me an hour to figure out that it was color coded, just remember what color tag you put on your suitcase, that helps. It's like looking for a needle in a haystack, i'm determined to buy PINK luggage from now on. We made it to the Ft Lauderdale airport in time to catch the flight, long lines there at security. This is the first vacation i've had in my life that I wasn't ready to go home when it was over. I had such fun, I didn't want it to end... very sad on the last night.

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Oct 22, 2004

Eastern Caribbean

I would like to supply a review for families going on their first cruise. My husband and I searched all the cruise sites for reviews to read and prepare us for our first trip and while we do understand that everything is not going to satisfy everybody, we felt that most of the reviews were only about what people didn't like and not really about the whole experience...thus, we didn't know what to expect at all. Now that we have gone on

the cruise, I would like to give my version in hopes that it might help some of you who can't find the info you've been hoping for. First of all, we booked our flight into Miami 2 days prior to sail, which worked out perfectly, so we could pick up last minute items we did not want to take on the plane with us (such as sun screen, it's $10.00 a bottle on the ship, reading material (it's limited in the gift shop on the ship, although there is a library as well). Anyway, it worked out great, we then had the Thrifty car rental bus drop us off at the port when we returned the rental car (all the car rental buses go right to the ships at no charge.) We were told that cabs cost $45 one way (for those of you who were wondering) and there seemed to be plenty of them. We arrived at the cruise ship terminal and dropped the bags with the color coded deck tags completed and attached (if you don't want to be held up, it pays to have this done ahead) at the baggage crates, they're right in front of the ship so you can't miss them. You will be surrounded by baggage handlers, which do expect to get tipped so have some small bills on hand cause they " don't have any change" .We then took our carry ons and went to check in at the terminal, it's quite a bit of walking up and down escalators, at the desk, we had our FunPass completed online before we came and it went quick, we just had to hand it to the clerk with our birth certificates and photo ID and put a credit card down for the Sail and Sign card, which she then issued to us and we were on our way. The Sail and Sign card is your room key, credit card and ID card while on the ship. They do not accept cash on the boat at all. The kids (we had 2, ages 9&11) also get their own cards which are linked to the master account, you are able to give charging privileges to whoever you want by initialing next to that persons name. We just did the adults, but you can do the kids as well. At the gangway you are photographed and this picture is directly linked to your card. Another picture is taken of the family as you enter the ship (you can view and buy this picture later in the photo gallery). The Triumph has 12 decks and we booked the family stateroom, which is the 220 sq. ft. room with floor to ceiling windows on the Spa deck. There are only 15 rooms on this deck vs. 50+ rooms on some of the lower decks. Our room was on the Starboard side of the ship and while we didn't have a balcony, we had a perfect view of each port and of the ocean. We found the room to be comfortable , clean and quiet. 2 bathrobes are provided during the cruise, there were ample towels, toiletries (disposable razors, shampoo packets, toothpaste, Rolaids, floss, lotion, etc.) We had a nice shower with hot water and great water pressure! There is a king bed(2 doubles made up as one) a convertible couch and a bunk that pulls down from the ceiling. The room is air conditioned, as are all indoor places on the ship. I was able to get 3 extra blankets without a problem. Our room steward, Antoine, was great, he brought us anything we needed promptly. My husband had his formal wear pressed and Antoine took care of it so we didn't have to worry, he hung the clothes in our cabin while we were out exploring the ship. They also made cute little animals, like elephants and monkeys out of bath towels, a different one every night, which the kids adored. Our steward even taught the kids how to do it when we requested it. The television has a few complimentary channels. There is a cartoon channel, news, and movie channel that shows a different newer movie each day (The Punisher and Dodgeball are the 2 I remember, we really didn't have much time to watch T.V. with all the exciting activities on board). There is also a channel that lets you view your purchases and total on your Sail&Sign card and book shore excursions, it's user friendly. The other channel is videos of the days events, it shows the passengers in the contests and relaxing on deck throughout the day. You can buy a copy of this video in the photo gallery. There is 24 hour room service from the menu in the room, it is excellent and prompt. There is no charge but you do have to sign a receipt. Sail away is great, we stood on the deck watching Miami behind us. More pictures are taken to buy later during this time. The bags are delivered to the cabin throughout the evening, so if your bag isn't there right away, don't worry, it will be there while you're enjoying dinner or one of the evenings activities. The first night is a casual dressed dinner, since some of the 3,000+ guests don't have all their bags yet. There are 2 dining rooms. The Paris dining room is located AFT (back of the ship), the London dining room is located FORWARD ( front of the ship) and there is an upper and lower seating arrangement. We only ate in the Paris dining room once (the London is closed while in port so everyone eats in the Paris, it's open seating as well.) On the Sail & Sign card it will tell you which dining room , table and time you are. There are 2 dinner times Main 6:15 pm and Late 8:30 pm. We had the main seating and it worked great because the kids dinner is at 5:45pm.(with Camp Carnival in the South Beach Club). We had our own table and sat at this table every night the entire 7 days. Remember these are assigned seats, so nobody will take your seat if you happen to be a little late, but don't be too late or you will miss your assigned eating times. There were others that shared a table (maybe 2 different cabins) and they were the lower priced cabins. The menu for the dining rooms is exactly the same and is posted daily outside the dining room door. Our servers, Weston and Cornelia, were great, they were very quick. The food is prepared exactly how you order it (I ordered my beef medium rare and that's exactly how I got it). You can order as many as you want of the appetizers, salads, entrees, desserts. We had lobster one night and ordered 3 plates of it. The food was excellent. The kids can order in the dining room from the kids menu or they can order from the regular menu. Again, they can order as much as they want. We had a spa appointment one night and we told our waiters and they brought our food out quickly so we could make it. The maitre d and staff put on a show every night in the dining rooms, it's very entertaining. The Cruise Director goes over team points also. What I mean by this is, on the first night in the dining room there will be a colored piece of paper on the table, that is your team color, it will be either red, white or blue. Points are given out at the various activities for teams and tallied at the end of the cruise and the winners are announced, prizes of various sorts are given for teams with the highest points. If you don't like fancy cuisine, there are other options, the buffet, located in the South Beach restaurant, Aft, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner (as are the dining rooms, but we only ate dinner in the dining room) and is different every day. There are salads, fish, various hot entrees, bread , fruit, desserts, carved meat, and pasta at this buffet. There are also 2 smaller buffets, Lido deck, around the main pool, these serve hamburgers, hot dogs, fries, and a couple of entrees. In the Lido deck, Aft, there is a Grill and a Pizzeria. The Pizzeria is open 24/7. I didn't have anything there, but all my son ate the whole trip was pizza and he said it was great!! It also has a salad or two and calzone. Just inside the door to the South Beach buffet, Lido deck, Aft, is the Chinese restaurant (port side), my husband and daughter ate there for lunch several times and said it was great (they serve different entrees, egg rolls every day), on the Starboard side, Lido deck, Aft, at the South Beach buffet is the New York Deli, my husband had sushi for lunch and said it was okay, we didn't get any custom deli sandwiches there, but I saw a lot of passengers with them and they looked good. Overall, we had plenty to eat and the food was great. They do offer a small late night snack bar at different eateries on the lido deck, your daily ship newspaper (your cabin steward will lay it on your bed each night) will tell you where it is for that day. The Grand Buffet is open late one night and it is great. You definitely will not go hungry on this ship. The drink stations (self service tea, coffee, juice, lemonade, water) are available 24/7. If you want soda or alcohol, you have to get them at the bars. We bought soda cards for the kids $30 for unlimited soda and it worked out great. There are daily special cocktails (again, posted in the ship's daily newspaper), beer and mixed drinks at any of the various bars (there are so many bars, I don't know if I could name them all). I will tell you that they make them with a heavy hand. 2 Vodka-Cranberries and I was feeling it!! The drinks are great however you have to remember that that is how they make their $$, it is not outrageous just a little more than a normal bar. On the Lido deck, there are 3 bars, 3 pools and 6 hot tubs. The water slide comes down from Deck 12 to Deck 9. My daughter went on the water slide and said it was fun, so fun she did it all afternoon one day. On Deck 11 is Children's World, a playroom for the young ones placed on display and you find your own and take it to the counter for purchase or place the ones you don't want in the bins for disposal. There are 4 long staircases where you can take your own photos or have them professionally done, we did this and it turned out great! There are also side decks on this floor and they have lounge chairs on them. The piano bar has violinists and a chex mix type snack as well as drinks. The information desk and shore excursion desk are also on this floor. The Rome Lounge is located forward and is where all the shows are. We attended the Vegas style show (excellent) and the Magic show (excellent). The kids attend all the shows with Camp Carnival and they have reserved seating. The adults are on their own for seating, so I suggest you get there early if it's something you really want to see. We showed up about 20 min prior and didn't have a problem. There are drinks available at every show. During the day, they had Bingo and game shows such as the Newlywed game and Name that show, tune, person. Bingo gave out prizes up to $1000. You do have to buy the bingo cards, they are $10 for 1, $20 for 3, etc. This is another place where you can use cash or your S&S card. There are 2 ATMs on board, one outside the jewelry store and one in the casino, the ATM fee is $5.50. The excursions are well planned. We booked our St.Thomas snorkel & beach the night before on the T.V. ($39 each) and our tickets were delivered to our cabin along with where to meet in the morning. We all then got off at 9 am and into the open safari bus, to the dive shop for gear (which was included in the price) and to the beach, this excursion was 3 hours and was great. It gave us time to play on the ship in the afternoon. St. Thomas was gorgeous and we had a great time. Wait to shop until St. Maarten, it's cheaper. They do Island braids at the beauty shop on board, however, we were approached by a local woman at the beach in St. Thomas and my daughter got beads and braids done for 1/2 the price. St. Maarten is shopping. Take the water boat across the other harbor, it's $5 per adult, kids 12 and under are free. There are little shops everywhere and they will bargain with you. Liquor is cheaper here too. We went to beach here. It is crushed seashells and they are everywhere, we collect some of the whole ones to take home. Very beautiful. We didn't get off the ship in San Juan, we were only there for a few hours. The view into San Juan port is impressive with the castles and forts. There was a huge deck party on board this night. Overall, I would say this was an excellent trip for the money and for families. We will definitely cruise again!!!!

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Oct 1, 2004

Western Caribbean

The Carnival Triumph is the largest ship I've ever been on, and compares favorably to other ships, with it's own set of pros and cons. First, the experience. I flew in overnight from Las Vegas, reaching Miami at about 7:30 a.m. (about an hour delayed from schedule). No problem; I grabbed a breakfast sandwich, got my luggage, and took the Super Shuttle to the Port of Miami. For one or two people it's the fastest and cheapest way to

go - a taxi will cost $21, and the ship shuttle is both more expensive, and departs STARTING at 11:00 a.m. That would have meant several hours waiting at the airport. Why do that when you can wait at the port, and eventually be among the first to board the ship? In any case, 3 or more people are better off with a taxi on a per-person basis. There was some waiting in the terminal, first to set up a sign-and-sail account, then to go through screening and security, then to get room keys and board the ship. There I obtained for the first time the revised itenerary; Costa Maya on Tuesday instead of the Grand Caymans on Wednesday. I wasn't surprised since I knew the Caymans were closed due to hurricane damage, though I had hoped they would have released the change earlier on their web site. I boarded at noon, though had to wait until 1:30 to use my cabin. I went directly to the lido deck and enjoyed a tuna sandwich and lemonaide, then relaxed in a deck lounge chair on aft lido and read a book. At 1:30 I checked into my cabin. All I can say is WOW! This is my 7th cruise, and this was the best cabin I've ever had. I only paid for a 1A cabin, but ended up being placed in 2445 in Main Aft. It's an unusual cabin (check the floor plan on their web site), with a long thin corridor entering it, and a long, wide cabin containing a bed, a couch, desk, tv. etc. The cabin probably seemed larger than most due to the single bed (all I needed) and extra room. The cabin contained two huge portholes, but the curtains darkened the room quite well for late sleeping. My cabin contained the extention cord I had requested for my C-PAK machine, though the proximity of the power plugs made it unnecessary. All I can say if I'm ever offered this type of cabin again at 1A prices, I'd take it in a minute. Indeed, I'd recommend it for both singles, or for two people who don't share a bed (a second bed is lowered from the ceiling). Couples, particularly honeymooners will NOT like this cabin, since I doubt they could fit beds side-by-side in this cabin. A bit of advice - pack a change of clothes in your carry on. I had long pants on for the airplane, but was wishing for a bathing suit or pair of shorts. I received by baggage before dinner - but many people weren't that lucky. If I had any complaint about the cabin service, it is that I never got the room safe to work. I even called room service, but after waiting an hour I gave up. The cabin steward did a nice job making up the room, and left towels folded into the following animals: Bulldog, Cobra, Manatee, Swan, and Elephant. Shore tour tickets and my invitation to the past cruiser party were delivered promptly. The food in the dining room was superb. Being from Las Vegas, I always ordered food I couldn't get cheap here, such as the duck, quail, and beef wellington (others opted for prime rib and lobster). The only item I didn't care for was the lobster bisque soup. Cruise line traditional deserts such as cherries jubilee, baked Alaska, and cherry black forest cake were served. I was placed at a table with 7 women (Ruthie, Sarah, Lily, Marian, Helen, Joyce, and Donna). It was a diverse and interesting group. Dejan, the server, was first rate, Sergi, the assistant, always showed up with my drink (diet coke), and Panit was always ready with bread and coffee. I saw more of her than the other staff since she always worked in the Lido aft, where I spent a great deal of time. Lido aft was also were the grill and pizza stands were, both of which provided good late night snacks. The ship shows were entertaining, and included a comedian, a magic act, two production shows, a singer, and the guest talent show. The only disappointment was the last night comedy act, which I felt didn't contain enough adult material. I wasn't impressed with the films shown on the in-room television, though I did watch the family movie (Garfield: The Movie). One thing I excelled at was the game show mania entertainment. On the first night I was selected in the third group of contestants, won my round easily, then won the tournament of champions easily. Noonan, the social host, was visibly impressed, and actually had to disqualify one of my correct answers and toss mercy questions to the others to extend the time. Still, I walked away with both a ship trophy and a bottle of champion - as well as bragging rights. I also won the 50/50 trivia game on the last night (the subject matter was Urban Legends - something I'm something of an expert on), earning another ship trophy.. Other entertainment I watched, rather than participated in, including shipboard Survivor, sing-a-longs, family fued games, and the new/not-so-new newlywed game. I did sing karoke one night, though I realized I'm more the Superstar USA type than an American Idol. One new item was the competition between the red, white, and blue teams (determined by dinner tables). Points were won for people winning ship events. I was on the red team, and won points for my trivia and game show wins). Other points were for bingo, longest congo lines, and the most karoke singers on a certain night. Red led the first day - and never looked back, finishing with 395 points, compared to white at 320 and blue at 290. It's just for bragging rights, and is a gimmick to get people to buy tee-shirts of the right color or play bingo, but it's just extra mini-entertainment. On ship, I spent most of my time either at the entertainment, or on lido aft in the jacuzzi or on a lounge chair. The jacuzzis were fairly warm for a cruise ship, and the retractable roof covered the pool and hot tubs when it was raining, a nice feature. My only complaint is that they closed at 8:00 p.m. I went on three shore tours, one in Cozumel, one in Jamacia, and one upon the return in Miami. Ordering is quick and easy through the in-room television, though it took some time for the system to work (I booked XCARET on the first day; it rejected by account until after dinner). In Cozumel, I opted to go to XCARET, the aquatic theme part actually located near Playa de Carmen. Only nine people took that tour, which I recommend. The first half is shown by a tour guide, after which everybody was free to do their own thing. I went for the swim on the underground river (bring snorkling gear; I did), visited the manatees, watched the Mayan flyers, went to the observation tower, and many more things. I only wish I had a few more hours to spend there. I would seriously consider doing XCARET again on a future cruise - and maybe a swim with the dolphins. The two people who did that reported they got 30 minutes of swim time. I had visited Cozumel previously and did the Mayan Ruins, another tour I recommend. In Costa Maya, I declined a shore tour. I did some shopping, buying two pieces of rock art (cat statues). Unfortunately, one of them was not well wrapped and broke at the neck on the way back. It should repair with superglue though. Anybody who buys such artwork might consider getting some kind of box or pack it in the middle of clothes (I didn't). On the whole, I would have preferred the Grand Caymans (I've been there before), so if it is important, book a cruise outside hurricane season. In Jamacia, I opted for the Dunns River Falls / Dolphin Cove tour. Here's what I did right and wrong. Wrong - not having my swim trunks on underneath my shorts. There aren't good changing facilities at the start, and I ended up climbing the falls in my shorts. I wasn't smart enough to take out my wallet and put it in the locker along with my other stuff - it and the money in it are still damp. What I did right was bringing my deck shoes (no slip). Trust me, do not climb the falls without them. Even with them, I slipped a few times, and twisted my ankle. I limped for two days afterwards - and was exhausted from the climb (1000 feet long and 600 feet up). Still, I'm glad I did it. I bought tiki statues and another cat statue (this one made of wood) as well as coffee and tee shirts. Necklaces were given to me as a bonus (though they are not of high quality - string and beads mostly). I declined to buy the ganga (marijuana) several locals offered to sell me - I don't know how to smoke; I'm too old to learn; and it's illegal anyway. If I go back, I might take a plantation tour. In Miami, I opted to take a tour of the Everglades. It offered early disembarkation from the ship, a trip to someplace I wouldn't normally see, and a drop off at the airport. The tour included a ride on an airboat, and a demonstration of alligators and crocodiles. I'm glad I went, but I wouldn't pay to do it a second time. After the tour I checked in at Miami airport for my return trip. A word of warning - the food there sucks, at least on terminal D. I had asked a security officer if there was anything decent there - they said yes, but I disagree. If I had known then what I knew then, I would have eaten at the Cuban restuarant before going through security. I don't drink alcohol, so I didn't hit the bars. A nice quiet place is the Oxford Bar (where I did some brief internet mail checks); my most common hangout was aft lido. With a ship that large, activities like piano sing-alongs and karoke are offered every night, and the two discos should keep dancers happy. I don't gamble, but the casino is large. Bingo is offered regularly, but I only sat in waiting for other events instead of playing. The downside of a ship so large it has such a diverse range of activies and entertainment is the crowds. There are often lines for the grill and pizza, as well as for the late night buffets. The showroom can get crowded, particularly for those shows that only have one seating (such as the adults only shows). However, on the whole I liked the large ship, feeling that the range and availablity of activies and entertainment outweighed the lines that formed at time. I can always wait out a line, but a lack of activities can't be waited out. My next trip will be a shorter cruise to the Mexican Riveria in January, but I'm going to seriously consider another 7 day cruise on a large vessel for next fall.

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By _CR

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Sep 17, 2004

Western Caribbean

My cruise on the Carnival Triumph was great. There was a short wait during the pre boarding process. On board at 11:45 am eating lunch. There was a party on the lido deck when we set sail at 4:30 pm. The staff on the Lido was ready to serve drinks to everyone as they entered the dining area. They were kind of pushy the first day but eased up after getting out to sea. The luggage had already began to be delivered to the cabins and I had

all of mine by 5:30pm in time to change for dinner in the London dining room. Our waiter was Watson who took very good care of us during the cruise. The food in the London Dining room was great. If you were hungry when you left then you did not eat. The food on the lido deck was pretty good depending on what you ate. The Coney Island grill had great burgers and hot dogs but the steak was not that great. The NY Deli had the best sandwichs I have had in a long time. I had a great time at the Hollywood Dance club, the DJ knew what to play to keep the people dancing. The Karaoke in the Club Rio Lounge was fun and Linka was a fun host. The Venezia with the International Band was great. I didn't go to the The Big Easy Piano bar but saw people there just singing with the piano player. The casino was ok, made a few dollars at the slots. The comedy and stage show was nice. The games were funny. At the Battle of the Sexes the women walked out on round one which gave it to the men however they tried to beat the men during the second round. Shopping on Board was so easy and simple with the sail and sign card. The Islands which we visited were fun. Cozumel was humid but had a nice shopping. You can get deals if you know how to talk to the merchants. You get better deals away from the port. Costa Maya was ok, they were still recovering from the storms and is a pretty new Cruise port in which I know that in a couple of years it will be a port to remember. Shoppong there was not that great but at the shopping area there was a big pool with a bar at the waters edge. FUN,FUN,FUN Ocho Rios Jamacia was also recovering form the storm however our driver Fresh who drove us around the Island took care of us. Jimmy Buffets Margaritaville was great. Great drinks, food, music, even a water slide. We also went to another restaurant away from the dock area and had a great meal and good Rum Punch. Had a good time in Jamaica, Most of the passangers wished that we spent a little more time there. Well on the way back to the states we found out that the Port of Miami may be closed about the time we were to dock because of the storm. We had two extra days at sea. The Triumph went from Cruise ship to Cruise Shelter. Two more party days and nights. 9 day cruise. WOW I have read other reviews both good and bad and now have my own. All in all I hade a great time and ready to go again on a Carnival cruise ship next year.

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Sep 16, 2004

Western Caribbean

Embarkation: What can I say, but very very smooth. This was my 3rd cruise, and first on Carnival. I must say I was very impressed. We arrived at the pier via bus around 10:30, tipped the bus driver (everyone asked for a tip, but it's ok I guess) they took our luggage, and we were off to the lines. After waiting in three lines, we got on board. It took around 30 minutes to get through all of the lines, it would have been sooner if everyone

didn't have to take the welcome aboard picture, that was the longest line I think. Staterooms: What can I say, they were huge! Well, huge in compression to RCCL. Plenty of closet space, spacious bed, and nice sized window if you are doing the window cabins. Very clean, but I was not very impressed with our room attendant. They use a paging system if you need them, and sometimes they don't show up. On other cruise lines a real person answers the phone and helps you. She wasn't bad, but not good either. Food: I am a Chef, a real chef, not your local diner cook, and I must tell you the food in the dining room was quite good! What surprised me the most was the temp of the food. Hot food served hot, and cold food served cold! As it should be. Being a chef, I ate on every part of the ship that offers food, and I must say thumbs up to the Chef. I talked to the Chef, and they work hard, please remember that before anyone criticizes the food. The buffet salads were not really up to par in my opinion. Seems to me at the dinner and lunch buffet they were more concerned about pretty food than taste. Best bet is to go to the dining room for lunch. Breakfast? What can I say about that? PEOPLE NEED TO CHILL OUT WHEN IT COMES TO BREAKFAST BUFFETS! What else can you ask for, omelet's, any other kind of eggs, pancakes, sausage, bacon, waffles, hot and cold cereals, yogurt, grapefruit, muffins, and more. They had everything, just the same thing every day. I don't mind having the same thing every day if you have a choice of EVERYTHING. The burgers, were just burgers, go get it if you like burgers. The deli was good, and the Hong Kong Noodle Co. was good also. You must try the ribs in the dining room for lunch. Very good. Room service is available 24 hours a day, and is quite big I think. Offers an array of cold items. You don't have to tip, but coming from a culinary man, I always tip the "food people." So thumbs up on the food. Entertainment: I was impressed! The dancers were good, the CD was funny, the comedians were funny both PG, and rated R, and the magic show was great! No matter what anyone else says the entertainment was out of this world. Ports of call COZUMEL: Had a good time here. Went to a free beach, and ate some Mexican food, and played around on the beach. You may want to try a massage on the beach here instead of the spa on the ship. I did, loved it and saved a ton of money. We also did the Senior Frogs party boat. If you are into some partying, and big fun, check this out, you will not be disappointed! COSTA MAYA: Didn't have a chance to go to Cayman Island because of the hurricane (which also scored us 2 free days at sea because of the hurricanes) so we went to Costa Maya, did some snorkeling, and some shopping. Nice little town. Glad I had a chance to go there. OCHO RIOS JAMAICA A lot of people claim they don't feel safe here. That is so not true. People just try and sell you stuff, just say no, and go about your business. Very safe and fun! Didn't really do too much here. Went to see the falls, but will climb it the next time I go in April of '05. Oh, did I mention I booked another cruise on the same ship. That has got to tell you it is a good ship if I am going back for seconds! This time I hope to go the Caymans. Now back to Jamaica. Jimmy Buffets place is a blast. the water slide is very fast so be careful when going down, and they have a little private beach right by the pier. So check it out for a good time. Summary: Great time, nice people, and 2 free days at sea! I am going back on the same ship in a couple of months, and will write a review then. Remember everything is on this ship. If you want to party, go to the dance club. Quiet places there are plenty, something for everyone on this amazing ship. Happy sailing! If there is any questions

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Jul 23, 2004

Western Caribbean

This is my 5th cruise, 3rd with Carnival. I’ll try to provide some details on certain aspects of our cruise, both the good and the not so good, as well as information on our ports-of-call. Friday Arrival: We flew in from Charlotte to Miami the day ahead and stayed at the Clarion, downtown. It was clean and comfortable enough for one night. We ate dinner at Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Co. at Bayside Marketplace. Excellent food. Be sure

and watch the movie again before you go and see how you do at their trivia questions. Arrival the day ahead is the way to go. It makes things seem to go more smoothly and you’re not as stressed as arriving the day of and then feeling like you are rushing to get to the port. Embarkation: We took a taxi from our hotel to the port, arriving between 10:30 and 10:45. We went immediately to check-in after dropping off our luggage. This is the best time to arrive. As soon as we finished check-in, they started the line to walk through the security section. After passing through security, we picked up sign & sail cards and then were directed to a “holding area” where we waited until boarding the ship. We started boarding around noon and were some of the first 15-20 on board the ship. That was the earliest I’d ever been able to board, and I appreciate Carnival making that accomodation even though they advertise boarding starting at 1:30. Our table mates arrived later and said that embarkation later (around 1:30) is very hectic. So go early! Food: There are two dining rooms on the Triumph. The London is midship and the Paris is aft. Both have early and late seatings. Paris has early at 5:45 and late at 8:00. London has early at 6:15 and late at 8:30. We were in the Paris Dining Room, early seating, upper level at table 524, near the window. Carnival seated us with another family around our age who had a son near our daughter’s age (they became friends as the week went on). We were served by Raymond and Wanpen, both very attentive and efficient. Wanpen always had a smile on her face! They quickly learned our names and our likes/dislikes. The food was excellent and the servings were just right. I never left feeling like I’d eaten too much. The cappuccino pie was excellent as well as the chocolate decadence! The food at lunch in the South Beach Club was buffet style. We only ate there a few times. There were always long lines. We ate breakfast usually from the outside buffet lines on Lido Deck (near the pools). We did not try the NY Deli or Hong Kong Noodle Factory, but it must have been good because the lines were always long there also. We enjoyed the Coney Island Grille for lunch and never did try the pizza. Entertainment: There are two “show times,” at 8:30 and 10:30. The shows performed by the Carnival dancers on Mon. and Thurs. nights in the Rome Lounge were very good. But the rest of the “shows” in the Rome Lounge were disappointing. The magic show on Tuesday night was OK, but not the best I’ve seen. There were several nights that the provided entertainment was games with passenger participants. That’s personally not the kind of entertainment that I expect for the money I’ve paid. There was a comedian, but he only performed at one of the later show times and had an adult late-night comedy show. We never got to hear him. The best entertainment we had on the ship was in the Big Easy Piano Bar. Unfortunately, we didn’t “find” it until Tuesday night, but thereafter, we were there every night. Ed Rrocks was great! He is a phenomenal pianist and can put away his coronas in six seconds! He is very personable and does his best to entertain and get you into the party spirit. For those of you cruising after 8/21/04, you’ll miss him because his stay on the Triumph ends then. That was the most fun we had during the entire week. Carnival needs to promote him more when he’s back on one of their ships. Other entertainment on board the ship included karaoke, a band called Hi-Lites (very good also), and the poolside games during the day. Cabin Service: Our cabin steward on the Main Deck was Harvey, and he was wonderful. Always smiling! He kept my cooler filled with ice the entire week also. We had to book our cruise at the last minute due to my husband’s health and booked a 4A guarantee. Bad decision. We ended up being on Main Aft, inside, and our cabin was right above the anchors and engines. Each time we arrived in port, we were awoken to the sounds of the anchors being lowered and the engines cutting back. We didn’t complain, because we were so thankful to have been able to cruise after all. We will do our best to do cabin selection any other time. Ship Layout: The ship is very easy to get around. We had learned our way the very first day. The ship is maintained very well to be 5 years old and is kept clean and shiny. The crew works very hard on port days to keep it in tip-top shape. There is some wear and fading of the upholstery on the benches in the Rome Lounge and on the chairs in the South Beach Club, but that is to be expected. They are clean though and the carpet is in good condition. Teen Program: Carnival is known for having an excellent program for children, Camp Carnival, which we used years ago, but they need to work on improving the teen program. There were lots of teens on our ship and some activities for them, but not interesting enough to really want a teen to get involved. Our 15 year old daughter went to two different advertised activities early in the week, but when she got there she found out the activities were for 12-14 year olds. There were groups of teens traveling together, and those teens were always active. But for teens traveling with parents only, they need to make sure that there are activities to get those teens more involved with one another. Maybe some kind of team activities. CD and staff: Our CD was Carlo Lombard. We were not impressed with him at all. He came across as phony, silly and many of his lines sounded too rehearsed. I realize that CD’s have to use the same lines over and over, but his were not delivered well. He needs some polish. On the other hand, the Assistant CD, WEE Jimmy, was wonderful! He was very enjoyable and more of a natural with his humor. He works very hard at making people laugh and have a good time. We made it a point to tell him personally how much we enjoyed him and had made positive comments on our comment card about him. The other social staff was acceptable...........about the same as on other Carnival ships I’ve been on. Ports-of-Call: We had a Western itinerary. It is my favorite itinerary. We did not book any of our shore excursions through Carnival. I did my homework before our cruise, and we knew what we wanted to do on our own. Cozumel: We were in Cozumel on Monday, arriving around 7:30 a.m. It was very, very hot that day, so we did not spend a lot of time trying to shop. We took a taxi to Paradise Beach ($12 each way–be sure to have correct change). This is a free public beach, very pretty and clean. Arrive early ( before lunch) to get the best spot. There are free beach chairs and umbrellas, free use of rafts and kayaks. The snorkel gear is $10, but we did not snorkel here. There is also a large water trampoline. There is usually a “climbing rock” in the water, but it was not set up the day we were there. The food and Margaritas there are excellent also. My husband had a large basket of Mexican chips and salsa for $5 and my daughter and I each had chicken quesadillas for $7. This was a very enjoyable and relaxing day for us. Many on our ship headed in to Carlos & Charlie’s or Fat Tuesday’s that evening, but we chose not to because of not wanting to leave our daughter on board without an adult contact for her. We did hear the next day that there was a couple who partied a little too much and missed the ship. They were left in Cozumel and had to make flight arrangements to meet the ship in Cayman on Thursday. Cayman: I’ve been to Stingray City before and highly recommend it if you’ve never been. This year though, my daughter and I snorkeled at Eden’s Rock. It’s within walking distance from the pier (to the right). We saw some huge fish in the water there! Very relaxing time. Ocho Rios: My husband had surgery recently so the climbing Dunns River Falls was out this year. We’ve been before though and loved it. This year we chose to spend a few hours at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville. It’s right on the water and has a small beach. There’s also a beach dining area and volleyball net set up. There’s a small pool with a water slide and of course, Buffet music playing! Lots of fun. Overall, this was a great cruise. We were disappointed with some things on the Triumph, but we were not going to let minor issues ruin our fun. There are some things that Carnival needs to update (like some of their games, canned lines and intentional “plants” for some of the games), but if it happens to be your first Carnival cruise, you would enjoy it all. I guess I’m ready for a change from Carnival for awhile. What I do enjoy the most about cruising is being able to truly get away from it all and relax in my own little paradise for a week. It wouldn’t matter to me if I was at sea the entire seven days! There’s something about the peacefulness of the water that puts my soul at rest for a few days.

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Jul 23, 2004

Eastern Caribbean

My husband, myself and my daughter who is 21 and her boyfriend went on this cruise together. We had a fabulous time...lots of things to do for all of us, from sitting on deck to playing games in the casino. Fun was had by all of us. The food was super and the staff in the dining rooms were great..never had a problem with any staff at anytime. Ordered room service for my morning coffee and they were there fast...always need a coffee right

away upon waking. The ship was clean and our cabin steward kept our room up everyday...always lots of clean towels and nice and tidy. The cabin steward was always there when we needed him. We went on a few of the Island excursions....the ones the ship organized....they were all super and got just what I expected. The only complaint I had was the getting on and off the ship...did not seem too organized and we had an early flight when we left and almost missed our flight. Started at 6:45 a.m. getting lined up for our passports and our flight was at 11:30 and almost missed it....so if I was to go again would try and book a later flight. thought it was a bit much taking 4 1/2 hours to get thru line ups and waiting around. The distance from the ship to the airport is only about 20 minutes so the rest of time was waiting around and standing in long lineups. I think Carnival could have that better organized. Other than that everything was wonderful....and we had a blast and I would travel carnival again!

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Jul 2, 2004

Eastern Caribbean

 Doug Hicks This will be a brief evaluation of embarkation/debarkation, the ship, and the itinaries. If you want hour by hour details, there are many other good reviews listed on this site to help. If you're flying in to Miami, arrive the night before. We drove to the port from the Tampa Bay area and boarded the ship by 12:30 with little waiting, but our friends flew in from Kansas City the morning of the cruise and waited in

the heat for 3 hours to board just prior to the lifeboat drill. Always get to the port well before noon, and you'll be happily on board with prime shore excursions and spa appointments booked by 1pm. We had no problem bringing reasonable amounts of alcohol and soda aboard in our luggage. If you ship your luggage through, bring one carry-on bag with a swim suit, book, toiletries, etc. because it can take up to 4 hours to get your bags delivered to your stateroom. We think the extra $150 per person is worth it for a balcony room. When arriving and leaving a port it is the best place to see and hear the action. Almost all the cabins on new ships have balconies now. Th Carnival Triumph is a huge beautiful boat, and a great choice for families. The kids (and adults) loved the huge water slide. It boat is well maintained and easy to get around. The only problem you may encounter is that you can't get from bow to stern on decks three and four because one of the two main restaurants (London Dining Room) is in the way. After four days on the boat we challenged the kids to find rooms and lounges that we hadn't seen yet, and there were plenty of quiet, hidden get aways. It is a big ship with a cozy feel. The food was quite good throughout the boat. We enjoyed the Lido's made-to-order omelet stations for most breakfasts, but found all the restaurants on deck nine crowded at lunch. So we ate a better lunch faster in the Paris dining room. We ate all dinners in the formal Paris as well. Great food, and don't be shy about saying, "bring me both the lobster and the filet tonight." We enjoyed the staff at the casino and all the big shows in the Rome Lounge were top notch. I'd heard good reviews on the guy in the sing-along piano bar. Great pianist, bad singer. Also Carlos the Cruise Director was anoying and his act got old quickly. If you've ever been to the Bahamas or any Caribbean island, you won't find much new and exciting about Puerto Rico. The history of Old San Juan was overshadowed by the drug addict we saw shooting up. St. Thomas is the most beautiful place I've ever been. The view of the harbor from the top of the mountains is amazing. The best shore excursion was in St. Martin where a bus took us to a dock where we boarded a small boat and rode over to Pennel Island. We got a great bus tour and lesson on the French/Dutch history, a short boat ride, great snorkeling, and then time to relax at a private beach. Book it! Overall, it was a great trip and good itinary, but we probably wouldn't do it again because of the number of days at sea. We've done the Western a few times, so our next Caribbean cruise will probably be the Southern. You fly to Puerto Rico and then visit five exotic southern ports from there. If you have any specific questions, feel free to email.

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Jun 25, 2004

Western Caribbean

I felt compelled to write this review since I had read many negative reviews about the Triumph prior to going on this cruise, which made me feel so bad that I considered canceling our cruise. I am happy to report that I did not have the negative experiences of those cruisers, and we enjoyed ourselves immensely. I should mention that this is my third cruise on Carnival. I have cruised to the Bahamas on the Fantasy and to the Western Caribbean

on the Pride in the past. My husband and I live in Florida, so we drove down to the port in Miami on Saturday, our debarkation day. It was no trouble to find the port or to park, although the parking garage is being renovated, and we were asked to pay in cash when we entered the garage, which was $84. This was an unexpected cash outlay, but in the future, credit cards will be accepted. Although you are told to board the ship between 1:00 and 4:00, there were many people in line at 10:45, when we arrived, and we were allowed to check in early. We had to wait to get on the ship, but even so, we were seated on the deck drinking a cocktail at 12:00 p.m. The check-in process seemed very organized. Lunch was being served upon boarding the ship. I enjoyed the ethnic food of the day practically every day on the cruise. Our cabin was wonderful (I highly recommend getting a balcony suite), and our cabin steward (Fernando) was very friendly and introduced himself to us the first day. We spent time touring the ship, sitting on the deck, unpacking in our cabin, and generally relaxing before dinner. We enjoyed going to the Oxford bar (across from the dining room) each night before dinner to have a cocktail. We had the 8:00 late dinner seating, which we loved. We were at a table for 9 (there was an extra chair), but we only had dinner companions the second night of the cruise (formal night) and were alone the rest of the nights. We went to some of the clubs after dinner and enjoyed a live band. On Sunday, our second day, we were at sea. My husband and I got up early and used the jogging track on the top of the ship. We used it four of the days on our cruise, and it is very convenient to have this amenity, since otherwise most days are filled with eating and minimal activity. I only gained 3 lbs. on the cruise, which is surprising considering I ate and drank a lot more than normal. Each day, breakfast is the same, but there is enough of a variety to please anyone. I was impressed that Carnival servers also came up to the tables of diners to offer coffee or pastries. We sat out on the Lido deck for 5 ½ hours on Sunday. We liked the Hairy Chest Contest. We liked the photo opps offered on the ship, since my husband and I rarely have pictures taken of us together. We also really liked the pictures taken during the cruise by Carnival staff, and we purchased each table picture, as well as a few formal shots. We had no desire to buy the pics taken when getting off the ship at each port. Lobster and prime rib were served Sunday night. Our waiter (Arnel) was excellent. We did not attend any of the shows after dinner this cruise. I had done this on the two previous cruises I had taken, and we were in the mood to do our own thing this time. Our third day was the port of Cozumel. My husband and I decided to order pizza for breakfast, which Carnival staff and other diners seemed to consider odd. However, it is a 24-hour pizzeria, so we decided to take advantage of it! We had also been to Cozumel on our honeymoon about two years ago, and we decided not to take a shore excursion this time. Looking back, we should have done this since the streets of Cozumel were torn up due to roadwork being done. They were dirty and dusty, and the town was not as nice as I had remembered. A short taxi ride to town was only $6. We remembered from our last visit to Cozumel that taxi drivers either do not have, or do not want to make, change, so we brought small bills this time. I enjoyed jewelry shopping in Cozumel. I trust in buying from the stores recommended by the cruise, and Diamonds International was great. Tip: In Cozumel, prices of many things are negotiable. Never pay the first price the salesperson tells you, especially with jewelry! Of course, we again went to Carlos & Charlie’s, a bar/restaurant with a lot of character. I had two delicious mango margaritas. Going to Carlos & Charlie’s is THE THING TO DO in Cozumel, apparently, as everyone who has been to Cozumel recommends a stop here. Another store I love in Cozumel is called Pama, which sells perfume, makeup, and high-end watches. It is one of the most beautiful stores I have ever been in, and perfume is priced much lower than in the United States. However, I noticed when I returned to the U.S. that Pama had posted the same charge to my credit card twice. I promptly disputed this with my credit card company, but I would warn you to try to use cash at Pama. In Cozumel, 11 pesos = 1 dollar. We enjoyed dining in the dining room this night because it was open seating (due to being in Cozumel until midnight), so we dined at a small table alone. I was very impressed with how helpful and customer-driven the dining room staff was. The next day, Tuesday, was another day at sea. We again used the jogging track and sat on the deck for much of the day. I had great Caribbean food for lunch. We went to the casino and only gambled $20 each. I stopped after I won my $20 back. We had an excellent dinner and loved the duckling appetizer. Since the serving was small, the waiter offered to bring us another. He was a very good waiter. I enjoyed each day’s drink special, which was a new tropical concoction. Wednesday we were in the port of Grand Cayman. We decided to take a shore excursion to Sting Ray City. I highly recommend this tour! We decided not to do the combination tour with Hell and the turtle farm since I had heard negative reviews of them. We met in one of the lounges for the tour. It is very easy to order tours on the ship, since it can be done interactively on the TV screen in one’s cabin. I was impressed with how prompt Carnival staff was and how organized with getting us on our tour on time. We took a tender to shore, then we rode a bus to the edge of the water, where we took a yacht to Sting Ray City. It is a sandbar in the middle of the ocean where sting rays come up to humans, eat out of their hands, and you can pet them and swim with them. I highly recommend a bathing suit for this tour! Although the water is only about 3 feet deep, it is more comfortable to wear a bathing suit. The tour guides were great. Tip: Although the tour guides sell waterproof cameras on the yacht, and Carnival sells them before exiting the ship, we used our regular digital camera in the water (of course, being careful not to immerse it), and since the water is so shallow, I did not have a hard time using the camera in the water. We have about 70 wonderful shots of swimming with the sting rays. Being in the water with the sting rays was so fun! They rub against you and bump into you, and they feel so soft. The tour guide allowed each person to hold a sting ray in the water. The guides have squid in case anyone wants to feed the sting rays. My husband was so happy we did this tour. Then we went back to Georgetown. It is a very clean, quaint town. In Grand Cayman, 80 cents = 1 US Dollar. Again, perfume and makeup sold for less. I liked LaPerfumerie, where I bought two bottles of my regular moisturizer. We did not go to the Tortuga Rum Company’s main location, but we did visit a site right at the entrance to the port. I was not impressed with the rum cake. I was disappointed that the food in the restaurants at the pier was so American. I would have enjoyed more unusual cuisine, but I guess this is hard to find in the tourist areas. That night on the ship in the dining room, I had jerk pork, which was great. The next day, Thursday, we went to the port of Ocho Rios, Jamaica. This was my favorite port. I highly recommend taking excursions to see more of the port than just the shopping areas. We went on a tour river rafting down the Martha Brae River. We were supposed to meet at the end of the pier at 8:00 for our tour. The tour company of Juta was very organized and escorted us to our tour bus almost immediately. I would recommend leaving the ship early (we got off at 7:45) since no one was getting off the ship at that time. The tour guides waited until 8:30 for the last two absent members of our group to arrive, and then they decided they had waited long enough, and we set off for the river. Driving in Jamaica is very scary, indeed. People drive very fast, and people pass on curves and generally take a lot of risks. Supposedly, highway deaths are very common. Our tour bus driver was great, however, and did not take risks when driving. Our ride was about 1 ½ hours to the river. This was probably my favorite part, because we were able to observe the countryside and little towns in Jamaica while riding in the bus. Jamaica is very poor. Our tour guide was great and told us about the local customs and the area. We were allowed several bathroom breaks along the way and souvenir stops. When we got to the river, we were told we could have a free drink (either a rum punch or just punch) before getting on the river raft. The river rafts hold two people each, and are made of bamboo. Each raft is manned by a river raft captain. Ours was named Spence, and he was wonderful. He has been a river raft captain for 34 years now. He also sells hand-carved gourds, which look like vases. There are little stands alongside the river, where one can buy a soda or beer. This tour is very peaceful and calm. There is a little bar at the end of the tour, where one can buy a beverage. After our ride back to the town of Ocho Rios, we went to the downtown area to shop. I do not recommend shopping here as the shopping is not as good as the stores near the pier. The Jamaicans are constantly hassling the tourists to take a taxi, buy marijuana, etc. We went to the shops near the cruise ship, which were nice. Also, we had to stop into Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, which has a lot of very overpriced drinks and very loud dance music. This was our second formal night in the dining room. On Friday, it was our last day at sea. We relaxed and prepared to go back to our routine back home. We enjoyed the Newlywed Game (first time we had seen the cruise director Carlo), and we had seen this on our last cruise. It was very entertaining. On Saturday, we used the early debarkation process, which was very quick, easy, and efficient. I highly recommend this if you want to get off the ship as soon as possible. Since we had to drive back home (to northern Florida), we wanted to get an early start. I only have two complaints about Carnival. The first night of the cruise, we went to the bar in the main Atrium area and were told they did not serve the daily drink special. This is the only time during the whole cruise when a bartender refused to sell us a daily special. Also, the Carnival staff do not enforce keeping the walkways clear in the deck areas. When people sit on the deck, they end up blocking stairwells, walkways, and entrances with their deck chairs. It took several hours on our first day at sea for a member of the sailing crew to be aware of, and reprimand, passengers for blocking walkways. The waiters do not enforce this policy. This is a serious issue since I noticed several people with obvious physical disabilities (crutches, cerebral palsy, etc.) who were not able to get through due to deck chair blockage. It is a safety hazard, as well as discriminatory to people with disabilities, to have these entryways blocked. Overall, I was very impressed with the selection of food offered (many people have complained about the food in the cruise reviews), the service, the drinks, and the staff of Carnival in general. I highly recommend this ship (which I liked more than the other two Carnival ships I had cruised on), as well as the ports of call. It was an unforgettable experience.

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Jun 11, 2004

Western Caribbean

We have recently returned from a seven day western caribbean cruise. I wish to thank all the staff at Carnival for making our cruise a memorable one. This was also our 20th anniversary. Day one, Embarkation: All went relatively well, we were very impressed with our cabin. It was clean and spacious. The safety drill went on without a hitch and we were on our way. Day Two, Fun day at sea: The previous evening, we had the opportunity

to attend the "Welcome Aboard" show, with our cruise director Carlo Lombard. He was the best! He made our cruise very special! It was definitely a great start to our vacation. Lots of activities to keep us busy on this day. The only issue we had was a loud noise coming from under the hallway floor, but this was promptly rectified by the maintenance crews. By now we realized that a better channel lineup on the TV would have been nice ( at least CNN!). I like keeping up with current events and the only TV channels shown were from TN and PA. That was not a major issue since we did not spend that much time in the room. The show that evening was spectacular. We were somewhat dissapointed that we could not secure a smaller dining room table, and since the company there was not the greatest, we ended up dining at the other cafes the rest of the cruise. It would be nice to be able to secure these table reservations prior to the cruise. That evening after dinner we went to the Hollywood Disco, at that time only people over 17 were being admitted to the disco. We were accompanied by our daughter who is seventeen, and was not admitted to the disco, even though both of us, her parents, were assuring the security guard that she was old enough to be admitted. I can see if she had been alone, but goodness gracious, she was with her parents! I know she may look young, but that was a bit too much. After the security officer saw my reaction and dissapointment, he reconsidered his position and allowed us into the disco. By then however, my fun meter had pegged, and we retired for the night. Day three, Cozumel: We went to the Tulum Ruins tour, the guide Chuy was good, the service great, the bus driver Tirzo was superb. He went above and beyond expectations. The archeological site was not what we expected however, the site is pretty small, I should have done a little more homework on that one. If we were to do it again, we would probably go to XCARET. The town of Cozumel was all torn up (streets and sidewalks were nearly impossible to walk due to construction)for renovations, and this was also dissapointing. We called for room service, ordered coffee and cookies and they never arrived. We called to find out what happened with the order, and they admitted that it had been sent to the wrong room. They then promptly corrected the situation. Day four, day at sea: Again plenty to do. Our cabin steward Ramona was very good, and went out of her way to take care of us. We loved the towel animals! Day five, Grand Cayman: Beware that due to the poor exchange rate to the US dollar, shopping for anything other than Tortuga rum and rum cakes, this little gem of an island is pretty expensive. Again, back on board for more fun and great shows at the Rome Lounge. Carlo continues to be the life of the party. Very informative and funny port of call briefings at the Rome lounge. Day Six, Ocho Rios Jamaica: We went to Dunns River Falls. Highly recommend it! Beautiful tropical scenery, and falls. Good exercise. Much needed too, after gracing on the ship for over five days now! Dolphin Cove did not meet our expectations, as the animal handlers and tour guides looked like they were having a miserable time, and would rather be elsewhere. Zero on the enthusiasm scale. The folks in the water on the dolphin touch tour seemed to be faring better. On to town to shop. It was sad leaving Jamaica, as it marked the end of our vacation. The next day was spent at sea, cruising back to Miami. To sum it up, the entire staff worked hard to make this an enjoyable trip, Carlo, although we missed the opportunity to take a photo with you before the cruise ended, great job! And if you read this, send us a picture! The South Beach Club food was good, although there is room for improvement in the quality of the food and variety of the menu. The Hong Kong cafe was good, the pizzeria was also good. The internet cafe manager was very knowledgeable and helpful.The debarkation process was very fast and efficient thanks to our customs agents and to the new self assisted debarkation option. We are already planning our next vacation, and we will definitely go Carnival. In spite of some minor incidents, which I mentioned earlier, this was still a great vacation.

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Apr 16, 2004

Western Caribbean

So, it's the day after the cruise and I am in cruise withdrawal, so to speak. Overall it was a good week, the weather cooperated (for the most part) and the cruise itself was pretty decent, for my first time on a Carnival ship. There were some problems but I will talk about them later. Day One: 4/17/04 Flight from Newark to Miami. We arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare, even had time for a bite to eat at McDonalds. Before

we knew it the flight was boarding and we were "Going to Miami" (this is where you hum the Will Smith song). Anyway we arrived in Miami about a half hour before we were scheduled to arrive, around 10:30. Plenty of Carnival people around to make sure you were in the right place. We opted for the transfers but am not sure this was the wisest decision. The line was huge! We had to wait for what seemed like forever. Then when they finally herded us outside we had to wait more for the bus to show up, then more waiting on the bus for one person to load all of the luggage. Well we finally got moving and on our way to the pier, there we met up with my sister in laws parents, who live down there. They were nice enough to bring us some food and hang out with us for a short time before we got on the boat. Then it was on to embarkation. It was quite good, the line moved quickly, first we waited for our carry ons to be screened and to walk through a metal detector and then it was on to get our sail and sign cards. We pre-registered online and we only had to wait a couple of minutes to get past this point. The longest we had to wait was maybe 5-10 minutes to get our boarding the boat pictures taken then it was onto the Triumph! On the Boat We immediately went to our cabin, this is where we encountered our first major issue of the cruise. We were a group of three and they put us into a room for two, with a roll-away child's bed (all of us are in our twenties). We were furious, we ran down to the purser's desk (along with many others) and waited in line for about 15 minutes until they told us it was not their problem, it was our travel agent's fault and that we had to call her to complain. She did however recommend that we ask our room steward for a larger roll-away bed to accommodate us (I'm 5'4 and on the child's bed I was hanging off a good foot). So, steaming mad, we went back to our room and our steward was right outside, she immediately said she would get us a new bed (without us even asking, she knew that she had set up a child's bed and that none of us were children) and that it would be there before dinner time, which it was. All in all the issue was resolved, but not the way it should have been. It is ridiculous to expect three grown adults to sleep in a room made for two, we had hardly any floor space to walk around, we were constantly stepping on the beds to get around each other, all we wanted was a room with a bunk, apparently that was too much to ask. Anyway, from there we headed to the Lido deck for some of the lunch buffet. From there we roamed around the ship, acquainting ourselves with where everything was located. Then it was time for the muster drill, not so painful, it was over before we knew and then the ship set sail, we went up on the deck to wave goodbye to the Carnival Imagination, who was also in port that day, we were the first ship to leave. We sat out on the deck and watched as we sailed away from Miami, then it was time for dinner. The lamb was delicious and our waiter was the best. We turned in early this evening as we had awoken early that morning for our flight in. Day Two: Day at Sea We had breakfast in the Paris Dining Room, a nice change since we had dinner in the London Room. I had the eggs benedict, not the best I've had but they were good, my brother ordered an omelet and it was so not enough food for him! We ended up checking out the breakfast buffet afterwards so that he could have some more to eat. The rest of the day was spent in the gym (not that impressive, old machines, windows are extremely slanted and hard to look out, mirrors everywhere, Kaiser circuit machines, some of which had leaks in their air hoses so that every time you lifted it would drop a few pounds of resistance, safe to say this was our first and last trip there, also the scale was about ten pounds too heavy, I know because I weigh myself every morning and I did not gain ten pounds in less than a day!) From there we sunned a little bit, there were always chairs available if you were willing to be on the sides or rear of the boat, far away from the pool, near the pool the chairs were all taken or reserved (don't get me started on this one). This afternoon we attended the talk by the cruise director (large man!, but very funny, a little raunchy for my taste though) he spoke about Cozumel and what to do there. Poor Dick from New Jersey, he was a larger man and he did this bouncing thing and a dance then said yabbadabbadootime! If you were there you know all too well. How could we forget Willy Banger! Anyway we spent the rest of the day in the casino then on to formal night and the captain's party. Free Drinks!! Yeah!! Dinner was Prime Rib and Lobster. Day Three: Cozumel Went to breakfast at the buffet, omelet line was too long so we had scrambled eggs. We signed up for a tour to go horseback riding ($89.99) for three hours arranged by Carnival. It was a good time, the ruins left a little to be desired but I hear the better ruins are those on the mainland, this tour was fun because we got to ride horses, my first time on a horse and it was a memorable one. Our guide Daniel was great, very friendly and he looked like a Mexican Mike Piazza. After this we returned to the boat and met up with my brother for lunch, hamburgers in the dining room, delicious. Then we headed back out and downtown (tip, have exactly $6 for the taxi because if you give him a $10 he won't give you change, no matter how mad you get). Downtown shopping was good, lots of jewelry, my brother bought a watch, I bought some tanzanite earrings and my sister in law bought a Caribbean topaz bracelet. Then it was snack time at Carlos and Charlies, beware, you will get groped if you buy a shot from the shot girls. Dinner we had upstairs at Senor Frogs, more delicious drinks. Then more shopping and back to the boat before 11:30pm. Day Four: Day at Sea Breakfast in the Paris Dining Room, more sunning, gambling, shore talks, marriage show (I think was today) and just a relaxing day at sea. I believe the magic show was tonight, it was pretty decent, some good illusions (tip, get there early as we got there on time and it had already started, we ended up all the way in the back behind a pole, kinda hard to see but I think it was really great, would have been nice to be closer though). Day Five: Grand Cayman We opted to buy a tour ahead of time online from Soto's Cruises to go out to Stingray City and Snorkeling at two stops for $24pp. It was a great time, the water was a little rough at our first stop but besides that we had a great time. The guides held the stingrays and gave us each a chance to hold them and feed them if we liked (the food was free). It was a blast, this is not to be missed. A great value too. If I had to guess I would say there were between 20 and 30 people with us and it was just right, I saw some boats at the sandbar with hundreds of people on board, ours was much more enjoyable. They also provide you with the gear and water and lemonade. Be advised that the island time is one hour before ship time (ex if you get off the boat at 8am it is only 7am in Cayman) because they do not observe daylight savings time, I imagine in the winter the time would be the same on the island as the ship, there is a big clock on one of the buildings there and it is easy to know the island time. After our trip we came back to town and hit the Hard Rock (expensive!) and then did some shopping then it was back to the boat. Day Six: Jamaica Too short of a stop! We went against Carnival's recommendations and did not book a tour here. We walked off the boat and there were plenty of people offering to drive you wherever you wanted to go. For $11pp we went to Dunn's River Falls (had to pay $10pp to get in) and were the first ones there!! We climbed, had a great time then it was off to get my sister in laws hair braided. Then we stopped at the downtown shopping center. Then back to the pier. Once there we ate at Margaritaville and watched the beer drinking competition. After that it was time to board the boat for our trip home. Tonight was our second formal night, I sat this one out for many reasons, one of which I will mention at the end. Day Seven: Last Day at Sea This morning we woke up to see that the pursers office had dropped off 6 drink coupons for the three of us, (probably because of the issues I will mention later) We spent the day sunning, gambling, shopping on board, and drinking! Also we went to the last talk about disembarkation. This was a relaxing day with not too much excitement Day Eight: Back to Miami We chose to do the early disembarkation from 7:30 to 8:30am where we took our own luggage off the boat. We were concerned the regular disembarkation (9:30-11am) might not get us to the airport in time for our 1pm flight (I think it would have been fine) but since we were at the airport so early we tried to get on an earlier flight home, but they were all booked. We had lunch at Sbarro’s and then boarded our flight home. Good Points: ~Our room steward was the greatest, she seemed to always be in the hallway, each morning she gladly announced that we were the first ones up and she was always raring to go in and straighten up. She made the cutest towel animals too! ~Our waiter was always willing to go above and beyond to make sure we were happy while dining. ~The Cruise Director was amazingly funny and very informative throughout the voyage. ~No Charge Pizza 24/7 ~No Charge Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt 24/7 Our Three Major Issues: 1. Three adults in a room for two, given a roll-away bed which took up much of the floor space. Carnival was unwilling to help us saying that it was our travel agent's fault, not theirs. Our travel agent said that Carnival told her the room we were placed in accommodated three people. By that logic every room on the boat could accommodate three people, it doesn't mean it accommodates them comfortably!!!! 2. No Hot Water in the Shower, the ENTIRE WEEK!!! I did not have one hot shower the ENTIRE WEEK!!! We asked our room steward and she said all the cabins she cleaned had no hot water either. (We were in an inside room on the panorama deck 10) We talked to the pursers desk again about this, the next day they left a note in our room saying that they would be sending a plumber to work on the pipes, guess what, no difference!! Still no hot water. 3. Loud banging on the ceiling above our room at all hours. One morning we were awoken at 5:30am by this loud noise. That day we went up to the floor above us (which happened to be the gym) my sister in law decided it had to be people dropping the free weights so she complained to the spa manager. The next morning it woke me up at 2:30am (the gym doesn't open until 6am). I promptly called the pursers desk and complained that I could not sleep with the loud noise, it was so intense that at times the ceiling would shake. It sounded at if someone picked up a pile of ten deck chairs and slammed them down. The next morning was when we received the drink coupons. Guess that was their way of saying SORRY! Aside from these issues it was a great cruise. About the Boat Here I would like to address some of the questions I had before arriving on the boat: Q: How does the room safe operate? A: Insert any credit card or even your sail and sign card to lock and unlock the safe, no need to worry about the room steward being able to get into the safe while you are out of the room, we used this for all our valuables, it was big enough to accommodate our camcorder, digital camera, wallets, passports, jewelry and much more, it seems small but it is more than adequate. Q: What toiletries are provided? A: There is a blow-dryer in the bathroom, not the greatest but it gets the job done. Also there is a dish full of things you might need, soap, toothpaste, a flosser, rolaids, woman’s and men’s shavers, and some other small stuff. In the shower there is a dispenser that is refilled as often as needed that provides shower gel and shampoo, bring conditioner if you need it. Oh and don’t forget your toothbrushes because none are provided and the ones in the gift shop are junky. There will be beach towels in each room and they can be traded in for new ones by leaving them on the floor at night or at a stand by the pool. Be careful not to lose them or you will be charged for them ($22 I think). Q: How does purchasing pictures work? A: Actually this was not a question I was concerned about but after figuring out their scam onboard I think this is something everyone should know about. Lets say you find a picture you like but you only want it in a 5x7, so you can save money right? Nope, they require you to purchase the 8x10 and then you can buy additional smaller copies if you would like. So you must pay $19.95 for the 8x10 and then an additional $5.95 for a 5x10. Also, for people that are worried that the pictures may go away (eg. pictures from the day you board might be gone by the last day) you do not need to worry, they keep all the pictures out from the entire week so you can wait till the very end and buy the ones you like the best. Q: What drinks are available for free? A: Ice Tea (unsweetened), Lemonade, Fruit Punch, Apple Juice, and Orange Juice Summary: All in all it was a good week, if I were to sum it up I would say I enjoyed myself. Would I recommend this cruise to a friend? Probably not, simply because we had too many issues, mainly revolving around the room and I felt Carnival was not willing to help us out, except in the form of drink coupons. The weather was great, 70s and 80s with one rain shower overnight between Cayman and Jamaica, not enough to ruin/dampen spirits. The ports were fun with lots of opportunities to shop and have adventures. My next cruise will be with Royal Caribbean which I have never had a problem with in the past.

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Feb 28, 2004

Eastern Caribbean

We selected the Carnival Triumph to sail as we celebrate our 25th. Anniversary this year! I sailed with my wife Beth and two great friends of ours, Joyce and Phil, who where first time cruisers. We have previously sailed with Carnival on the Inspiration in 2001 and the Victory in 2002. We enjoyed the “Destiny Class” layout and size and decided to get a stateroom with a balcony for this special cruise. I have read many cruise

reviews prior to sailing to get some tips and ideas of what others found when they sailed previously on board. For those of you reading this review, I will say that what we liked may not be what you would care for as everybody will have their own way of rating their surroundings and some may be more critical than we were. Hopefully, you will find this information helpful in choosing a cruise ship to sail on. Flight: We flew from Michigan and arrived in Miami at 8:40 PM on Friday, a day prior to sailing. We booked a room at the Ramada Inn in Hialeah, Florida, which offers a free shuttle from the Miami airport to the motel and also a free shuttle to the Port of Miami on Saturday morning. The rates on Expedia for this motel were very reasonable, $68.00 per night, and I found out why. The management at this location is as poor as I have ever seen. If you have ever heard the saying, “Too many chiefs and not enough Indians”, you will get an idea of what it was like. Except it was one very rude chief (shift manager) and too few people to clean the rooms and attend to guest’s needs. Since we just needed a place to sleep we took the remaining room that was left, a very smoky smelling room with two double beds, while our confirmation stated a King – No Smoking room. There was much chaos on Saturday morning as to who would be taken to the Port of Miami first. We had our friend’s sign us in the logbook the night before, but many people were told it was ”First come – First Served” on the van. Not so! We were fortunate to leave the Ramada from Hell by 10:15 for the Port of Miami and had a courteous driver, Tito. As there is no charge for this ride, we tipped Tito well as he was doing his best. As we had already booked the following Saturday night there as well to stay in Florida one more day, we would find out later that our first night was to be the best of the two days spent there! Embarkation: We arrived at the Port of Miami at 10:30AM and beat the crowds. We had a cabin class guarantee “TBA”, but did not know which stateroom was ours until we arrived at the Port. We were given the manifest and looked up our names and found that we were assigned to Room 8352, on the Veranda Deck, which was a TWO LEVEL UPGRADE from what we were guaranteed. We pre-registered our “Funpasses” ahead of time on Carnival’s web site on the Internet as well as completed the passes in the ticket book. This is a MUST to save time as Carnival then has all of the immigration and return flight information in their computers. We spent about 10 minutes in line until we got up to the security attendant. The carry-on bags were then run through a scanner and we walked through the metal detector and proceeded to the counter. Our Passports were checked and then we were directed to pick up our “Sail N’ Sign” cards, which are your onboard spending cards (no cash is accepted anywhere on the ship except the casino) and also act as your cabin keys. After receiving our cards and having a security photo taken, we took a seat in the waiting lounge. I would say that it was about 11:15AM and we had completed the Embarkation process. Around 11:45AM groups of 25 people or so were allowed to start boarding the ship with the instructions that staterooms would not be accessible until 1:30PM and that we should proceed to the South Beach Club for lunch! As we proceeded to the gangplank, Carnival photographers will stop you for a photo just prior to boarding. We had Phil and Joyce join us in the picture, and it turned out so nice, that we purchased it the next day. There is a date and clock on the photo’s backdrop, which showed that we boarded the ship at 12:07PM! The Triumph: We went for a buffet lunch at the South Beach restaurant. We then decided to tour the ship. This is a spectacular ship. The view of the Capitol Rotunda atrium is a beautiful sight as we boarded. There was a string trio playing as we walked towards the elevators. We decided to take a chance that we might get into our room so that we could drop off our carry-on bags Stateroom # 8352 The room was already cleaned and ready for us. My wife Beth was most impressed with the balcony. It measures about 4 feet in depth and had 2 plastic sitting chairs and a small table for drinks. There is a tinted glass panel below the handrail so that you have an unobstructed view out your window and door. Carnival’s staterooms are roomy and well laid out. I believe our room was 180 square feet plus the 40 square foot balcony. Our friends Phil and Joyce had an ocean-view room, which measured the full 220 square feet. TIP – I read about bringing a bungee cord to keep the door open at night. We used the cord one night and it was very pleasant to hear the waves breaking along side the ship and smell that fresh sea air! There is ample closet space as well as several drawers. Our entire luggage was kept under our bed. One thing I enjoyed seeing is the two “twin” beds are pushed together to make a king size bed AND the bed is set up with king size sheets and blanket, as opposed to separate beds as was our experience on the Victory two years ago. It was especially nice since we were celebrating our 25th. Our cabin steward Leo was most attentive and did a great job. The towel animals were very cute and the chocolates on the pillow were a welcome treat each night. There is an amenity basket in the bathroom that contained small sample size packets of tooth paste, skin lotion, Men’s and Women’s disposable BIC razors as well as dental floss. The shower had both shampoo and body wash gel dispensers. A hair dryer is mounted to the wall and has both 115V and 230V electric razor power jacks. DINING on the Triumph We had a nice booth on the lower level of the Paris Dining Room (table #425) which had a gorgeous view of the dining room. Carnival had placed the four of us together. I have found that working with a reputable travel agency that specializes with cruises can make a big difference. We booked our cruise through Cruise Connections of Canada (1.800.661.WAVE) and have dealt with Mark Stortz for our past two cruises. Mark has been most professional and has always delivered on everything we discussed. Thank you Mark for putting it all together for us! The food was quite good, with quite a bit of variety. Always served hot and fresh. Our waiter, Michael, was incredible, as was his associate, Violetta. By the second night, they both knew who wanted extra rolls and coffee. Each night, the waiters did a little show before dessert, which was fun. Our friend Phil, who rarely would get up and dance, was persuaded by Violetta to dance to “Raise the Roof”. They worked extremely hard to keep the guests happy. We tried all of the different food options for lunch. Chinese, N.Y. Deli, pizza and the grill for hot dogs, hamburgers, grilled chicken and steak sandwiches with grilled onions. I must say that one of the best Rueben and Turkey & Swiss sandwiches I have ever had were the ones prepared at the N Y Deli. The Deli is open from 11AM to 11PM and two guys work that entire 12-hour shift every day. They do a GREAT JOB! The South Beach Club had made to order omelets along with fresh fruit, eggs and the typical fare. There is a charge for soft drinks and Beth and I found that we loved the mixture of 90% Ice Tea and 10% Lemonade, with a slice of lemon added! And the best thing is, it is FREE! Lastly, the Soft Serve ice cream machines are a hit. There were three operating machines that had ice cream and one that had self-serve Chocolate and Vanilla yogurt. Yum-Yum! Entertainment: I must mention here that we encountered some very strong headwind of 50 knots and 12 to 15 foot swells for the first two days. Many people had bouts of seasickness. This was the most motion I have ever experienced on a cruise, but my wife and I were not affected with the pitching of the ship. John Heald, our cruise director was funny and made us forget about the rough seas. The first night he brought eight passengers up on stage including Wanda and her husband “Beeiillll” from North Carolina. Throughout the entire cruise, overtime “Bill” heard John say “North Carolina”, he would jump three times, do the Mexican Hat Dance and then get down on one knee to propose his love to Wanda. While this may not sound that funny, when you see John play the “straight-man” on stage, you will be hurting from laughing. He is truly one of the legendary cruise directors and if you can sail on a ship he is on, I am sure you will be glad you did! The bedtime story, which also involved the guests, was absolutely hilarious and with guests on board like “Mary”, who tackled John down to the stage and then bounced on him, how could the comedy not be good? There were also four superb talents from the fellow passengers that did some first class singing! The production shows were great. I really enjoyed “Century Café” with the music from each decade during the past century. Weeeeeeeee Jimmy was priceless. He kept everyone laughing all the time. All of the shows were very good. The Magic Show with Kevin and Caruso was one of the best I have ever seen! The snowstorm at sea was something to see! The dancers were very good too. Arrive a half-hour or so before the show starts to get a close seat on the Lobby Deck in the Rome Showroom. It fills up fast! There was entertainment for everyone, quiet bars, Karioke, jazz, piano, dance and much more.

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By Rita_CR

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Feb 14, 2004

Eastern Caribbean

We flew from Louisville at 6:10 am to Atlanta at 8:25 am and then to Miami with Delta Airlines. The flight was good, although there was no refreshments served .We landed at 10:30 am, Miami Airport is a MESS! There were so many people and it is HUGE Airport! We found our luggage OK and the Carnival people were sure to find us.They lead us to where we needed to be ,to catch our bus to the Port. Our bus was scheduled to leave for the Port

at 11:30. Our bus ended up leaving just after 11:30 and we arrived at the Pier at approximately 12:10. We had to tip the driver $1.00 per bag of luggage. The bus driver took it off the bus and takes two steps to put it into a holding container. We were then off to the Carnival building . Embarkation: Very, very efficient, quick and easy. We filled out our Funpasses ahead of time…this is a MUST to save time. We spent about 10 minutes in line until we got up to the attendant. She took our passports. We walked through and received our Sail N’ Sign cards, which are your onboard spending cards (no cash is accepted anywhere on the ship) and also act as your cabin keys. We had our photo taken very quickly and then made our way up the stairs to the ship. Right up to our cabin. Cabin Verandah deck: First stop......cabin #8428! on the Verandah deck This was, without any doubt, the best feature of the entire cruise!!!!! We had booked one of the wrap-around balcony cabins (category 9A). The cabin itself was very nice. It is the same size as a standard cabin but is shaped a bit odd due to being on the corner. It had a queen sized bed and a small sofa with a small table. There was lots of storage space (three rather large closets) and a large dresser with 6 drawers. There were two night stands that also had storage area. There was a large, mirrored, vanity area. The bathroom was pleasantly roomy and had yet more storage area. We had a glass door and two large (very large) glass windows that overlooked our balcony. We could lay in our bed and see right out to the ocean!!! (The balcony railing is made out of plexiglass so you can see right through it). This was going to be a great place to spend a week!!!! And we hadn’t even been on the balcony yet! This cabin is located at the very back corner of the ship. When we walked out our door on to the balcony we were facing straight back. Our balcony was about 20 feet long at the back of the ship. It went about 10 feet wide along the back of the ship, and then it cut to the right around the diagonal corner of the ship. The balcony was about 5 feet long along this diagonal and traveled about 20 feet further down the corner of the ship till it came to another slight right turn bringing you to the port side of the ship. Now the balcony was about 5 feet long and traveled about 15 more feet where it met the divider of the balcony next door to us. So, believe it or not, our balcony was about 45 feet long!!!! What a paradise we found on this balcony! There were one lounge chairs, one tables, and an two upright chair. When we were on the very back of the ship we could stand by the rail and visit with the neighbors to our left and everyone in the cabins below us at the back of the ship. This was pretty neat! Our luggage arrived in our room by about 4:30. Best of all, we could come right out of our cabin and hop up the stairs and be right at the Aft pool and the South Beach Club (which is where all the food is!!!) It was great to be able to run up and grab a glass of iced tea and run right back down to our fabulous balcony!!! Well, here we are on day one of our cruise. After checking out our cabin we went to explore the ship and grabbed some pizza for lunch . The Triumph: The ship was beautiful. The water slide was not open at all on on are trip! The decks were always clean and there was always someone working on something (ie: touching up paint, washing windows, etc.) Our cabin steward was very attentive and did a great job. The towel animals were very cute and the chocolates on the pillows nice. THE FOOD: We had a beautiful table on the lower level of the Paris Dining Room (table # 418) The food was quite good, with quite a bit of variety. Always served hot and fresh. Our waiter, Keyman, was incredible, as was his associate. Each night, the waiters did a little show before dessert, which was fun. They work extremely hard to keep the guests happy. We tried all of the different food options for lunch….Chinese, deli, pizza and the grill for hot dogs and hamburgers. There was something there for everyone. Entertainment: Bingo was fun, the Casino was fun and the shopping was great. Bingo was held in the Rome Lounge with $1,000. prizes each day and a free cruise on one day. Weeeeeeeee Jimmy and John, our cruise director was funny and made us feel like family. The bedtime story, which involved the guests was absolutely hilarious and with guests on board with names like “Willy Banger” and “Dick Wooden”, how could the comedy not be good?! Everyone laughing all the time. I have seen this names on more then one Reviews . The two Las Vegas style shows were very good. The dancers was very good excellent by far the very best!!! The magicians Kevin and Caruso with their new wave magic were excellent. Shore Excursions: We chose to purchase all of the excursions through the ship as they were wright for us. In San Juan, Puerto Rico, which is normally a night port.we did the San Juan Nightlife & Shopping Tour we went to the old city. we had a lot of fun there. In St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands We went on the Atlantis Submarine Paradise Point Tramway- we seen a Bird Show it was very good . and a lots of shopping near the pier In Phillipsburg, St. Maarten Is another one of our favorite ports. Butterfly Farm & Marigot Debarkation: Quick, easy and efficient. No problems whatsoever. we opted to carry our own bags off the ship. If you can do this, I highly recommend it.Saturday AM and by 8:30, we were on our way to the airport. The “Self Assist” Program is so efficiently run, it is hassle free, unless you have very heavy suitcases. Overall: This was a good cruise !!!! This was truly the trip of a lifetime and I would recommend it to singles, families, couples young and old. It was simply perfect. If you have any questions or concerns about this ship, please email me and I will answer whatever I can. gordon24@kyol.net Rita & Brad

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Feb 7, 2004

Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Ocho Rios\

WOW....where to begin! This was a FANTASTIC cruise! I sailed with my Husband, Joe, my mother-in-law, Marisa and my two sons, Frankie, age 7 and Nicholas, age 4. I have sailed with Carnival on the Jubilee in 1988 and with Sunquest on the Vasco Di Gamas in 1994. I read several reviews after booking and was really afraid of what I would find, but all my worry was for nothing! The ship was brilliant. She is huge, clean and very

“user-friendly”. Flight: We flew from Toronto to Miami at 6:30 am with American Airlines. The flight was good, although there was no breakfast served, so we were HUNGRY! Miami Airport is a MESS! There were so many people and it is HUGE! We found our luggage OK and the Carnival people were sure to find us and lead us to where we needed to be to catch our bus to the Port. We landed at 9:50 am and our bus was scheduled to leave for the Port at 11:00. Our bus ended up leaving just after 11:00 and we arrived at the Port at approximately 11:30. We had to tip the driver $1.00 per bag of luggage to have him take it off the bus and take two steps to put it into a holding container. We were then off to the Carnival building. Embarkation: Very, very efficient, quick and easy. We filled out our Funpasses ahead of time…this is a MUST to save time. We spent about 10 minutes in line until we got up to the attendant. She took our passports and said she would keep them until the end of the cruise because we were not US citizens. No problem, she gave us a receipt for them. We walked through and received our Sail N’ Sign cards, which are your onboard spending cards (no cash is accepted anywhere on the ship) and also act as your cabin keys. We had our photo taken very quickly and then made our way up the stairs to the ship. We went right up to our cabin, number 9265 on the Lido deck. It was very clean and quite spacious as far as ship cabins go. We had a little balcony, which was very nice as well. Our luggage had not arrived, so we went for a buffet lunch at the South Beach restaurant. We then decided to tour the ship. Our luggage arrived in our room by about 4:30. The Triumph: This is a spectacular ship. We purposely went looking for water-stained carpets and found that the Riviera deck hallways needed to have the carpet replaced, but it was not THAT bad. There was also no smell anywhere on the ship. It was beautiful. The water slide was a BLAST! The decks were always clean and there was always someone working on something (ie: touching up paint, washing windows, etc.) Our cabin steward was very attentive and did a great job. The towel animals were very cute and the chocolates on the pillow were my 4 year old’s favourite treat! We had a beautiful table on the lower level of the London Dining Room (table #110) which had a gorgeous view of the ocean. We lucked out in that it was a table for 12, but we were the only family at the table! The food was quite good, with quite a bit of variety. Always served hot and fresh. Our waiter, Jaco, was incredible, as was his associate, William. By the second night, they both knew the boys’ names and had chocolate milk waiting for them each night. Each night, the waiters did a little show before dessert, which was fun. They work extremely hard to keep the guests happy. We tried all of the different food options for lunch….Chinese, deli, pizza and the grill for hot dogs and hamburgers. There was something there for everyone. The pools were clean and just the right temperature. The hot tubs were nice…a little crowded at times, but that’s to be expected with over 2,000 passengers on board. Camp Carnival: The children’s’ program was INDESCRIBABLE! My kids never wanted to leave when it was time to pick them up and BEGGED to go back! They did arts and crafts, Playstation, movies, games, dancing, and much, much more. There were times set aside where parents attended and played with the kids. There is not enough room to tell you how wonderful this program was. Very secure and the staff is excellent with children. Entertainment: The shows were very good. The Magic Show was by far the best…how the heck did they do all that stuff?!! The dancers were very good too. John, our cruise director was funny and made us feel like family. The bedtime story, which involved the guests was absolutely hilarious and with guests on board with names like “Willy Banger” and “Dick Wooden”, how could the comedy not be good?! Weeeeeeeee Jimmy was priceless. He kept everyone laughing all the time. There were bars for everyone….quiet, karioke, jazz, piano, dance and much much more. Bingo was fun, the Casino was fun and the shopping was great. Excursions: We chose not to purchase any of the excursions through the ship as they were WAAAAY too expensive. In Cozumel, we took a taxi to Chankunaab National Park. It cost $10.00 to get there and $10.00 for the adults to get in. It was beautiful and if you want to, you can swim with the dolphins. There was a little lagoon-like place on the beach for the kids and we had a lot of fun there. In Grand Cayman, we took a taxi to Seven Mile Beach. We chose the beach in front of the Holiday Inn, as per Jaco, our waiter’s recommendation. We had fun there too, but, in my opinion, the beach is nothing compared to Cuba or even Punta Cana. In Ocho Rios, we chose to just stay on the ship. Our kids were too little to enjoy climbing Dunns River Falls and it was nice to have the ship to ourselves for the day. Disembarkation: Quick, easy and efficient. No problems whatsoever. Our flight home was not until 7:30 pm, so we decided to do a tour in Miami. We picked “Parrot Jungle” and were so glad that we did. The kids got to feed the birds, we saw a serpent show, a bird show, humungous tortoises and monkeys and alligators too. The tour guide got us to the airport by 1:30 and the waiting began. I highly recommend doing anything in your power not to get a late flight. Sitting at the Miami Airport for 6 hours was pure hell. Not the way to end such a perfect vacation. Overall: I wish there was something negative that I could say so that it doesn’t look like I’m lying. This was truly the trip of a lifetime and I would recommend it to singles, families, couples young and old. It was simply perfect. If you have any questions or concerns about this ship, please email me and I will answer whatever I can. Dawnbelmonte@hotmail.com

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Jan 24, 2004

Eastern Caribbean

Last year this time we went on the Carnival Victory for the Eastern Caribbean itinerary. So, I know the layout of this ship very well. They are both pretty much the same. Four of us were traveling. Flew from Philadelphia to Miami the day before sailing. Stayed at the Embassy Suites near Miami airport. They have a free shuttle to the port, but you have to wait till at least 11:00 to use it. Took a taxi at around 10:40 AM. Arrived at

the port by 11:00 AM. Take the taxi! It’s so much better than waiting for a bus or a shuttle. Cost $28 one way split 4 ways. Once we made it to the Port, they took our luggage and we were on our way to embarkation. Kept a backpack with a change of clothes and some sunscreen. Embarkation: At the pier by 11:00, the porters look our bags and we preceded to the entrance. We pre-registered online and was able to use the FunPass. But we didn’t need it because we got there early enough. Went through metal detectors with no crowd and were first in line. The lady had the 4 of us booked within 10 - 15 minutes. Next, we picked up our sign and sail cards upstairs. We were asked to be seated in a waiting area. Sat for about 50 minutes. Nice comfortable chairs. Once they started boarding, we were called section by section, row by row. We had to walk about ten minutes. Then got our pictures taken with no line. Then it was off to the ship. We got on the ship around 12:15. We weren’t allowed to access our rooms until 1:30. So we went on the Lido desk where lunch was served. And sat around the pool area till about 1:30. Cabin: We had 2 balcony rooms right next to each other on the Lido deck. We asked our cabin steward if he could open the divider between the 2 balconies. He has a key that opens the divider and it latches to a hook. It made for a nice long balcony. We each had 2 plastic chairs and a little table. The room had the usual twin beds and a small sofa. There was plenty of closet space. The bathroom was normal like the others cabins, CAT 8 or lower. Noticed that our showers now have a shampoo and body gel dispenser. Our cabin steward was a nice guy, Francesco. Did a good job. Made a different animal out of towels each night. Dining: We had late seating at 8:30 in the London dining room. We were seated in a booth on the second level of the dining room. Our head waiter was, Agus. And our team waiter was Joel. Joel was in training to be a head waiter. Both waiters switched on and off as the headwaiter. Real nice guys. Very good service. The food was great. Save room for the desserts. Yummy. You’re on vacation. EAT!!! Breakfast for us was out on the Lido deck or in the Paris Dining room. Only 2 times did I eat breakfast in the dining room. I really like those eggs benedict. The pizza was good. For either lunch or late night snack. I really liked their grilled chicken sandwiches and burgers. We had lunch from the Hong Kong Noodle Co. a couple of times and the NY Deli as well. Both are good. And the buffet lunch was good, too. The Deck: The pool area is enormous. There are 3 levels to lounge and a huge water slide. Do the slide! There is also a pool area in back of the Lido deck. Get your chairs early. We threw Carnival-logo towels from our room on the lounge chairs before eating breakfast. Most people do this every day. So forget about sleeping in if you want to catch some sun. (Carnival doesn=t give out those blue pool towels anymore.) The action is here most of the afternoon while at sea. Contests and music all afternoon. After being on a couple of cruises, I try to drown out the noise of the contests. The survivor one is annoying. The band is cool, though. Entertainment: Went into the Casino after we set sail. I put 3 dollars in the Wheel of Fortune machine and won $50 on the first try. It’s not much but I cashed out and never gambled another cent. There were 2 cocktail parties that we attended. The first one was on the first formal night. The second cocktail party was for past guests only and was during the second formal night. They showed a short movie in the Rome lounge about their Carnival Fleet. We watched the Mexican dance festival during the evening at Cozumel. Also watched the guest talent show one night. That show is hilarious, but definitely rehearsed. Some of us went to the disco 2 or 3 nights. We met some really nice people whom we hung out with from time to time. Had some drinks and just chilled out the rest of the time. Ports of Call: Cozumel: We took the passion island tour. This place is really nice. A bus will pick you up in the AM. It takes you to a dock where you will be transferred to the island by a ferry. Ferry ride is about 10 minutes. Got to the island around 10 AM. We had an open bar and a free lunch buffet. The only problem is that the last bus leaves at 1:15 PM. Went shopping in Cozumel and ate an early dinner at this place called Ponchos Backyard. They have really good Mexican food there. After a little more shopping, we headed back to the ship. That’s where they had the Mexican Dance show in the Rome Lounge. After the show there was a party on the Lido deck. The also were serving Mexican food buffet style in the Casual dining room. Music and dancing till late. Grand Cayman: We took the Island and Rum factory tour. I think it was around $30. A little waste of my time and money, but it was something different. They first take you to the town called Hell and then through their gift shop. Then they drop you off at a rum outlet. It’s just a little gift shop that sells rum and rum cakes. Across the street they take you to a turtle farm. That was fun. I guess. And of course another gift shop. We had a little time to shop and see the beach and that was it. The last tender leaves at 3:45. By the way, they have to tender you from the ship to the dock. I don’t think their port can handle large ships. This is a beautiful. Spend as much time there as possible. Ocho Rios: My 3 friends went to swim with the dolphins and climb Dunn’s River Falls. That’s not for me. I went to the Island Village that was right near the pier. Did a little shopping and then went to Margaritaville. This place is really cool. They have a small pool with a swim-up bar. Drinks and food are expensive. Hung out with a group of people from the ship. We took a quick dip in the ocean. Don’t be afraid of the people trying to sell you anything and everything. Be nice to them and they will be nice to you. It’s all about respect on this island. This is another short stop. Watch your time closely. At Sea: There were 3 days at sea. This is when they get you to spend money in the casinos and shopping. The first one was going from Miami to Cozumel. The second one was between Cozumel and Grand Cayman. Then the last one was between Jamaica and Miami. I like the way these days at sea were spread out. The captain’s dinner was during the first day at sea. I missed the cocktail party. Stayed in the hot tub too long. From what I remember of last’s years cruise, they have some really good hors d=oeuvre. Debarkation: Carnival has a color system for debarkation. Depending on where you are on the ship determines the color tags they give you for your luggage. Since we had an early flight going home, we were allowed to take our luggage off the ship straight from our rooms. I think it’s called self-assisted debarkation. We had an 11:55 AM flight out of Miami. We were off the ship around 09:00 AM. Took a taxi van. It was around $8.00 per person. He filled the van with about 10 people. And then it we were on our way to the airport and on our way home. Overall: Pros: I really enjoyed this trip. Well worth the money. We met some nice people and had an awesome time. I like the fact that one of the pools were open until 10PM. I highly recommend this ship and its sister ship the Carnival Victory. Will I do Carnival again? Yes! Cons: Wasn’t too crazy about our cruise director. In the middle of a fun contest on the Lido deck, the cruise director would interrupt the show on the PA. He did this throughout the whole cruise. The band would be playing and he would interrupt them while they were playing out on the Lido desk, just to announce stuff like bingo and jewelry sales. That’s pretty lame. The guy just didn’t have the right attitude. Just On the last day at sea, they close the pools and hot tubs at 6PM. That wasn’t cool. They spend too much time at sea compared to other cruise lines. As far as booking excursions, book them as soon as possible. And don=t be afraid to do something different. Also, you can book excursions off the ship for less the price. Do a little research online before you go.

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Jan 1, 2004

Eastern Caribbean

My family and I have just returned from a seven day Eastern Caribbean cruise aboard the Carnival Triumph. (Sailing date of January 1, 2005.) We wanted to share our thoughts about the cruise with others thinking about booking this ship. Before booking this cruise, we did make use of the various reviews available on the Internet. Those reviews usually were of one extreme or another. Either one liked the ship and the cruise or they hated

it. Our experience is somewhere in the middle. The Triumph is a large ship with lots of people aboard. It is geared towards a younger crowd, which pleased our teenagers just fine. There are plenty of activities available during the day and the staff made every effort to keep us posted on those activities. There are contests, dances, shows, exercise classes, talent shows and of course excursions. We had read in some reviews that the ship was in need of repair. We found the Triumph to be in good shape. There was ongoing maintenance during our trip. Our ocean view stateroom was relatively large. (My wife, who has now traveled on three cruises, says it is the largest stateroom she has seen.) Similar to others’ experiences, there was a smell of urine or sewage upon entering our stateroom. We never did figure out why. On a previous cruise, our initial departure was a big deal. The cruise director encouraged everyone to be out on deck to observe our departure. Music played and we threw confetti. On this cruise, we were participating in our muster station drill when we departed. It was very uneventful and not an impressive way to begin the cruise. Food. We had read the Triumph had great food. We disagree. The food was good. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. It was average. The steak was always tough and “chewy.” My wife and daughter took one bite of fish and immediately asked for another selection it its place. The desserts were good. The food on the Lido deck was, again, good but not great. I was impressed with the sandwiches from the NY Deli, but found the consistent long lines as reason to look elsewhere. (Carnival needs to add more help for the NY Deli.) There was a place for hamburgers, which were good, and a 24-hour pizzeria. My teenagers found the pizza to be very good. The Las Vegas shows were very good. The singers and dancers were very talented. The magician was also impressive. My teenagers suggest some movies for the young crowd in addition to the constant teen dances that were available. They also suggest an expanded sports bar featuring more football games during football season. A note about debarkation. There is an option available, but not well-publicized. If you have an early flight out of Miami or Fort Lauderdale, you can get “VIP” tags for your luggage from the Purser’s Desk. Put your luggage outside your cabin the night before. Go to the Rome Lounge at 9:00 am. You will be permitted to disembark after those who carry their own luggage, but before the general call for debarkation. Your luggage will be waiting for you at the VIP portion of the terminal. It worked very well for us. The television screen in your cabin allows you to monitor your account balance (Sail and Sign Account). This was a useful tool to monitor our teenagers’ spending on board the ship. San Juan was not impressive. It was dark during our short stay in the city. The cruise director did everything possible to suggest not taking any shore excursions in San Juan. He even offered a show at the Rome Lounge while we were in port. St. Thomas and St. Maarten were much more impressive. Check out the Magen’s Beach tour in St. Thomas and the Island Explorer tour or the Divi Beach Tour in St. Maarten. We enjoyed them all. Magen’s Beach is a beautiful beach and the kids (of all ages) will love it. In summary, we had a good time and our teenagers (for whom this was their first cruise) said they thoroughly enjoyed the experience and wanted to do it again. The Triumph is geared towards a younger crowd and a large population. If you have teenagers accompanying you and you want to keep them entertained, and if you want to get by as cheaply as possible, this cruise is for you. If you are interested in a refined, classy cruise with an older crowd and fine features about the ship, this cruise is not for you.

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Dec 20, 2003

Eastern Caribbean

This was my first cruise and I would need some serious convincing to ever do it again. At least on this ship! EMBARKMENT: What a mess. Expect to wait in line for an hour at least to go through the metal detectors. Our cruise was sold out and they only had two detectors open for over 2,000 people to go through! Then, expect to wait in another huge line for yet another hour to get your Sign & Sail card, which is your "credit card"

while you are on the ship. Think you are finished with the lines? No way! Another huge line awaits upstairs, can't even remember why anymore, and then you have to wait AGAIN to get your picture taken and finally board the ship. Once on board, I was impressed by the size of the ship. However, the decor was extremely gaudy, much like a Vegas or Atlantic City hotel or casino. The hallways had water stains throughout, and certain hallways smelled like urine. There weren't many twenty or thiry-somethings on board. It was definitely a middle-age to elderly population. And I'm not rich by any stretch of the imagination, however the class of people on board was pretty low. Lots of loud, obnoxious over-weight people fighting in line at the buffets! ROOMS: We had decided to book an inside cabin on the lowest deck and hope for an upgrade. We didn't get the upgrade, but I was very satisfied by our room. Not as small as I was anticipating, comfortable temperature, ample blankets and pillows, and our room steward did a terrific job of keeping our room clean and tidy each day. The towel animals were truely adorable, however it is sad when that is one of the best things I can say about the ship! The TV was helpful in that it allowed us to check the balance on our Sign & Sail card whenever we wanted, however Carnival often had a day old program on, for example, telling you what you can do in San Juan (after we'd been there and gone!) I forgot to mention, while we were in our room the first time, we must have set sail. You would think they would announce this and make a big deal out of it in some way, but we didn't even know we were moving until we went up to the Lido Deck to get lunch! We were supposed to leave port at 4:00 however the ship waited for a couple from Michigan who had missed their flight. We got ripped off right away by buying the "Drink Special" with a souvenier plastic cup for over 6 bucks because they don't tell you that if you decline to keep the cup the drink is actually $2.95! FOOD: Pizza was good, the burgers and fries were good at the Coney Island Grill, and the Deli would have been okay if the server hadn't had bleeding knuckles under his plastic gloves! Luckily we noticed before we ate the sandwiches and they immediately went into the trash!! The food in the main dining room was good, but not what I would consider terrific. The desserts had no taste. The buffets were gross. Especially the breakfast buffet, with the same cold hash browns and runny eggs and greasy sausage links every morning. By the end of the cruise I didn't want to see another french fry or slice of pizza ever again. I actually lost a pound on this cruise! We had poor weather and rough seas which didn't help...the boat rocked VERY badly for the first 3 or 4 days! Plus there was a problem with the propulsion system early on which leads me into my next issue - we were late to San Juan. PORTS: San Juan was one port I was really looking forward to and one of the main reasons the cruise was so appealing. My boyfriend and I had signed up to do the Night Bioluminescent Kayak Tour. Only four spots in the world have this bioluminescence in the water and Puerto Rico has three of them. Due to the late departure from Miami, plus slowing down because of the propulsion system problems, we were three hours late to San Juan and all excursions were cancelled. We did get our excursion money back plus $25 per person, however in my mind that doesn't come close to making up for missing out on this once in a lifetime chance to experience this natural wonder. St. Thomas is gorgeous. We were supposed to snorkel at St. John at 12:20 in the afternoon. The night before we received notice that this excursion was cancelled and we could go to the Purser's Desk to sign up for the 8:30 a.m. tour if we still wanted to go. We had to waste part of our night in line at the desk because there are only two staff working there. Then in the morning we got off the ship all excited only to be told that we couldn't go to St. John because the weather was bad and the water was too rough! We were offered a refund or we could go to another little private island where there was some snorkeling but nothing compared to St. John. My boyfriend and I decided to go anyway, in part I think because we were already awake and ready to go, but also because the tour guide seemed genuine and friendly! We took a boat called the Leeland Sneed to St. James, the crew was terrific, funny and informative. Snorkeled for 2 hours, had open bar on the trip back, and then walked the shops on the island for the remainder of the day. Remember to tip the crew for the excursion if you go on this tour. I doubt they get much from Carnival and from what I saw the other people barely tipped them. We gave them $15 which probably wasn't enough. On the island, I bought a 3.2 megapixel digital camera with all the accessories for a great price, and it was fun to look at all the jewelry! Long lines to get back on the ship, and Carnival didn't even reimburse us for any of the tour even though it didn't end up being what we paid for. We just didn't have the energy to stand in that line at the Pursers Desk again to complain! St Maarten: my first impression, the water is beautiful but the island itself was dirty and depressed. Lots of run-down homes and buildings. Each shop had either jewelry, perfume, or the same t-shirts and island carvings as the last. I wish we had taken one of the cabs to the outer beaches on the island. I had heard they were beautiful...however there was a lot of confusion when we got off the ship because it was raining and it looked like it would cost $50 a person to get a tour of the island, and I just didn't feel like sitting in a shuttle all day! My boyfriend and I ended up finding a cute little Rum Bar and getting a strawberry daqueri and a "pain killer". Back on the ship and two full days at sea ahead of us. I was already bored from the lack of things for people my age to do. The ships bars and clubs had potential however were either empty or full of teenagers. We couldn't get into the karaoke bar most nights, so we spent most of our time in the Piano Bar. It was a cool bar, but after three or four nights of the same songs and the same people, it gets old. One night there was a comedian who I heard was really great, however that was in the beginning and the ship was rocking so bad I was seasick if I went up higher than the first deck! We actually resorted to Bingo on the last night hoping we'd win some of our cash back, but no luck! The pools were rarely filled and when they were, you couldn't get in them for all the small children! Same for the hot tubs! I was really expecting all-night deck reggae parties and interesting people. I got neither. The deck was empty past 9:30 and there was only one deck party the entire cruise. One good thing I can say is that most of the cocktail waiters and waitresses were very friendly. Just don't try to order a soda, and if you do, expect attitude! One night my boyfriend asked for one and the waitress brought back everyone's drinks except his! MY TIPS: DO NOT put your luggage out the night before! If you are able, keep it with you in your room and carry it off yourselves! They call you first and you get off the ship relatively quickly. Buy the soda card for $35 at the beginning of the trip at any of the bars, and have a smaller bottle packed so you can fill it with rum from your room. We brough two bottles of Captain Morgan with us from the start and this saved us a TON on our bar bill! Wrap plastic bottles of liquor up well in clothes. Just don't put them in your carry-on or they'll probably be found. DO NOT go on this cruise if you are a twenty or thirty-something who likes to have fun and enjoy a variety of activities. I was very disappointed and will NEVER go on another Carnival Cruise even if they offered it to me for free.

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By _CR

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Dec 13, 2003

Western Caribbean

This was our fourth cruise, and things could not have been worse. First we were delayed a day, they said a minor problem, but later it turned out to be a huge sewer problem. The whole lowest level was covered in sewage. Finally we got under way .Our seating assignments at dinner were all messed up but they did nothing about it. One night my 15 year old went to the disco on board, they advertised a night of teen dancing, only there was

no music as scheduled. Two hours later the d.j. showed up . Now nobody is dancing because the d.j. is playing music nobody liked, and he refused to take requests saying “ if you don’t like my music leave”. So much for the fun ship. When I went to the purser’s desk the next morning to see if they could get the d.j. to take requests, two pursers were talking openly about a passenger that died onboard the day before. Carnival the fun ship? I must tell you my 10-year-old daughter loved camp carnival, they kept he busy with fun activities the whole time. The food is usually pretty good, not this time, just normal cafeteria quality except for the crème Brule that was great. Everywhere you go they take your pictures so you can buy them later, this is a great idea. We never bought any on the other cruises but this time we saw a bunch we wanted. We were going to wait till the last day, just before getting off the ship to purchase our pictures, this way we had a better chance to see all that there would be and make our selections. I asked if we waited till that day would there be a discount? I was told, “ that would be unfair to all the people who paid full price and that on the last day we would be in port so the shops on board would be closed." o.k. We bought about $200 worth. The next day when we were getting off the ship, there were signs up that said all photos on sale buy 2 get 1 free. The purser was of no help. One night my wife and I looked at the schedule to see the hot tubs would be open till midnight, so we got our bathing suits on and went to relax in the bubbles. As soon as we got in security said we must get out so the hot tubs could be cleaned. I told him the schedule allowed three more hours of hot tub time, couldn’t they clean then? He said no it must be done now. O.K. we left and the tubs were turned off. We got dressed and 30 minutes later saw the tubs on again, so we hurried to our room, changed into our bathing suits again and went straight for the bubbles .now security says we cant use the hot tubs because the have been reserved for a private party. Carnival the fun ship…. If you have the right connections. When we got home we contacted carnival’s home office. They offered a 15% discount and $100 credit for on board purchases for a future cruise. Remember, all the other carnival cruises we went on were great, this one must have had a poor management team.

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Dec 13, 2003

Western Caribbean

First cruise for my wife and I. The first thing that happened was our trip was delayed from Saturday afternoon until Sunday Morning due to maintenance on the propulsion system. We had a Balcony room which was very nice. However the carpeting in our passageway was stained and smelled like urine. When I asked about it I was told the carpet cleaning machine had broken down prior to the floor being dried. Many other passengers complained

about the Urine odor. When I called to get a repair man to fix the power outlet in the bathroom a young man was sent. He couldn't speak English or repair the outlet. He tried unsuccessfully twice to repair the blow drier which housed the outlet. We went the entire cruise without power in the bath. Then our sink stopped draining. The plumber sent cleaned out the blockage but left a mess which was left for the Stewart to clean up. This took 2 hours to happen. Later that day when I used the toilet, sewage came out of both floor drains. I called for the plumber again and he cleaned out a trap located in the hallway. He told me they had been experiencing problems for some time and the stained carpet was in fact a result of the plumbing backing up and the smell was in fact Urine. The ship was scheduled to be refurbished in 2004. It took 4 hours for housekeeping to clean up the sewage in our bath. Since we were unable to use the bath, we missed the formal dinner. The most upsetting part of the whole experience was the total lack of concern by the Pursers office. I called them at least 3 times trying to get the mess cleaned up in time for us to attend the dinner. The fact that Carnival was aware of the problem and hadn't done anything to correct it was most upsetting. Also the health concerns we had about the sewage stains and odor in the hallway. My complaints resulted in Carnival offering my a 15% discount on my next cruise. I didn't understand the cruise line's lack of concern for the obvious health threat and my complaint. With all the bad press about sickness on various cruises you would think this would be a prime concern, but it wasn't. This experience soured a cruise which otherwise was very pleasant.

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Dec 13, 2003

Western Caribbean

This was our 1st cruise. We were extremely disappointed. The ship was to leave Miami @ 4pm on Sat.13th of Dec. But did not leave until Sun. 14th @ 7 am. While we were stuck in Miami they never turned on the water slide so the kids could have fun. The halls on all decks smelled like Urine. We named this the SEWER cruise. The food on board was no better than diner food. No nice layout, no ice sculptures. Kinda like a cafeteria. 1st stop

Cozumel. Couldn’t pay me to go there again. Gotta watch those cab drivers. We set the price of the fare before getting into the cab. By the time we got back his English got real bad and told us he said the cab fare was 90.00 not 19.00. We had the police there and everything. But who do you think they went with? He started talking in Spanish and we have no idea what was said. If you must go there on a cruise the best place on that whole godforsaken island is Chaancanab Park (excuse the spelling). The Dolphin Royal Swim was Great. Too much time in this Port could have skipped over this one. 2nd stop Grand Cayman. Was a nice place, do the stingray city tour. Only Problem is there is not enough time in Port to see much and you felt rushed. Hell was a disappointment. Was not much to see at all. Turtle farm ok, Tortuga Rum cake factory very good. Lots of free samples of both rum and the rum cake. Gotta buy this cake. 3rd stop Ocho Rios, Jamaica. AWESOME1 This was the very best stop of all. Jamaica is beautiful. A must see is the Shaw Park Gardens & of course the Dunns River Falls. The gardens was breathtaking. Only complaint was not enough time at all in this port. For the cost of this Sewer Cruise we could have spent 3 wks in Jamaica and loved it. Would not go back on Carnival again.

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Dec 13, 2003

Western Caribbean

This was our first cruise and more than likely our last. EMBARKMENT: A mess. Port of Miami was terrible it was under construction and things were not marked very clearly. We finally get into the terminal and got handed a paper saying our sailing was delayed till the following morning. That meant our Dolphin Swim in Cozumel had to be rescheduled. So far the cruise is at the very least annoying. ROOMS: Our room was a nice size and the

animals they made from the towels always gave a laugh when we came in from dinner. BUT hold your breath in all the halls no matter what floor you’re on cause it smelled like urine. This cruise is referred by many as the SEWER CRUISE. FOOD: We enjoyed our Headwaiter enormously. He was great BUT the food was no better than DINER FOOD or CAFETERIA FOOD. You won’t have to worry about gaining any weight on this cruise. PORTS: COZUMEL- All I can say it WATCHOUT for the sleazy cab drivers. Better to rent a car for 40.00 a day than go with one of them. You can negotiate a price before you get in but when you get out all of a sudden there is quite a language barrier. We were charged triple what was said in the beginning and there is NO ONE to stand up for you. We had the cops there and all who's side does you think he took. The only thing in Cozumel that was of any good was Chankanaab Park (excuse the spelling). The Dolphin swim was great. We booked these ourselves on line it was the Royal Swim. Carnival did not offer this! I will NEVER go to Cozumel again. Many people on the ship had similar problems. TIP: Don’t bother going to the Pursers Desk about it. They all but told us TOO BAD NOT OUR PROBLEM AND WE DON’T CARE. If you saw the line at the purser’s desk you won’t want to stand there anyhow. GRAND CAYMAN: Things are looking up. Took the tour (it was not a big deal) they could keep the town of Hell. Nothing there, big disappointment. Turtle Farm was ok. The Torguga Rum Cake Factory was very good. Lots of free shots of Rum and Cake. The cake is a must get. All in the entire island is very nice the water gorgeous. TIP: Do the Stingray tour instead. My husband and son did that and had a great time. OCHO RIOS: This was the HIGHLIGHT of my cruise. This is a beautiful place. Shaw Park Gardens is AWESOME. Dunn’s River falls also beautiful. Watch out when exiting the fall and going to the parking lot. Vendors all over wanting to sell you something, rather bothersome. They don’t want no as an answer. Ocho Rios is a place to go for a week. We did not have near enough time here. Always looking at the watch to make sure we were not going to be late getting back. TIP: Go for a week. BINGO: Well I thought there was going to be a RIOT. They played Bingo for a free cruise. When asked what would happen if more than 1 won the answer was. “There wouldn’t be but, if there are I guess we would have to give away 2”. WELL 3 people won. They said only 1 cruise could be given away. The audiences BOO’s were unbelievable, Jason came out and said you can boo all you want we are only giving away 1. BAD MOVE. People were getting ugly. I WILL NEVER CRUISE AGAIN !

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Dec 6, 2003

Eastern Caribbean

Sailed on Carnival Triumph Dec 6-13 2003 and what a trip it was!! This was my first cruise and my last at least with Carnival. ARRIVAL: upon arriving at port of Miami lines of people awaited the total time it took to get through was 3 hours and let me tell you it was not at all fun. Finally on board is a breathtaking experience to see the size of the ship itself however at the time of sailing away you would have no idea we were leaving

the port unless you were standing there watching they really should make a bigger deal of going and beginning your vacation. CABINS: Very clean and bigger than expected. The towel animals everyday were really cute. The halls outside the cabin were water stained but that was the least of my worries. ACTIVITIES: Boring!! By the third day I had enough. During the day if it isn't nice out theres nothing to do, my husband and I even resorted to bingo one day. The games they played on the Lido deck were funny, thats if you can see them with all the people on the ship. THE SHIP: Huge, it took me the whole week to finally know my away around it without getting lost. Very clean but with a 70's look to it. The pool was rarely filled with water and when it was it had mobs of small children in it. I felt the ship was really overcrowded with people, everyday lines were unreal and the elevators were even more fun considering you had to wait 15-20 minutes for one to come which is already packed with people. I suggest doing the steps if possible. I never saw so many rude and obnoxious people as I did on this trip, other passengers acted like they never ate before in there lives. People butting in line for the buffets was only the beginning of some heated arguments. THE BARS: The only two my husband and I really liked was the Karaoke Bar and Piano bar. If you can get a seat at the karaoke bar your set. If you are a karaoke singer, don't expect a huge selection of songs it's very disappointing to see the very few they have. It got way overcrowded in there to the point of claustrophobia kicking in so go there early. The piano bar was cool in the beginning of the week, The jist of this bar is you sit in a circle and the piano spins slowly while everyone around the piano can throw dollar bill at a basketball net to have there song played. After hearing Piano Man 20 times it gets old. But one tip is stay up until closing when the x-rated songs start, it's hysterical. There was a dance club but we just aren't dancers plus it was a lot of rap music which is not my thing. The other bars on the ship were more for the 50 and above crowd not very fun for the younger crowd unless your into classical music and smoking cigars while playing bridge all night. ENTERTAINMENT: The reggae band on the lido deck was good. The comedians at night were excellent. The Vegas style shows were awful unless again your in the 50 and above range then it might be enjoyed. They really needed more entertainment on the ship I expected to have so many things to do and see my head would spin, definitely not the case. We were trying to find things to do. FOOD: Nothing spectacular. The Coney Island Grill was great especially the french fries. Pizza bar was good. Tokyo Joe's Chinese was alright but not much to choose from there. The deli had some good sandwiches. The buffets were terrible especially breakfast. My advice is to go to the Paris Room for breakfast were they make it to order and have a lot more different things on the menu, the lunch there is also very good with a lot of different entrees to choose from. The main dining was the best Especially captains night with as many lobster tails as you want and the waiters were very nice. THE STAFF: Very nice and helpful at least the ones who spoke English. The bartenders were awesome and very kind they even knew my name which I found odd considering there's thousands of people on the ship. PORTS: San Juan: not much to see at night. The only thing to do is walk around the town which was neat to see. The only thing is there was a lot of people begging for money and stray animals around but its a nice island to visit. St Thomas: Beautiful!! I recommend doing the sky ride the view is breathtaking at the top. There's also a bar up there which overlooks the whole island. I had there famous drink The "Bushwacker" but watch out its wicked. The shopping was good but a lot of jewelry stores. The liquor was very cheap which we took advantage of only $4.00 for a bottle of vodka. St Martin: This is were we really screwed up. We decided to do a tour that Carnival offered, don't do it. It was the bushwacker jeep tour, which sounded great it went something like this: A tour of the island in a jeep with 4 people and a lead vehicle, 2 hours of shopping at a fabulous flea market, Sightseeing, and snorkeling/swimming at a beach for 2 hours. Well it was nothing like that, we drove through the ghettos of St. Martin for 2 hours stuck in traffic with our guide getting us lost, we arrived at this flea market with only a half hour to shop due to the lateness of the tour guide. Our sightseeing consisted of sitting in traffic and going in circles, we finally arrived at the beach which was beautiful however there was no snorkeling and we only had 45 minutes to be there, my recommendation is do not do this tour it ruined our whole day and we saw nothing on st martin. When we returned to the ship we did complain and got half of the money we paid back by the way the tours are not cheap this one was $90.00 per person and not worth it. DEPARTING: This was crazy but trying to get thousands of people of the ship. Don't put your luggage outside your door the night before instead keep it with you and be up early, go to the Rome lounge and you'll be the first group of people off, of course there's lines yet again but not as bad as if you get off later. OVERALL: It was an experience but not at all what I expected I've been to all inclusive resorts before and I would definitely recommend that over a cruise our bar bill alone was $800.00 for two people. I would do a cruise again but not carnival but it'll be a long time before I go again. If your not a patient person, don't like crowds or standing in line a cruise is not for you. One more thing when people say you can't feel the ship moving that's a lie, take dramamine with just in case.

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By _CR

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Nov 22, 2003

Eastern Caribbean

This was my second cruise, but my first aboard Carnival. I enjoyed the duty-free shopping, but not the ship. The carpets in the hallways were stained, and the food in the buffet area was edible, to say the least. If it were not for the Deli, pizza, and burger stands, I would have starved to death! San Juan - not much to see at night. However, there were great deals on gold jewelry. St. Thomas - go to Tanzanite International for tanzanite

jewelry. They have the most beautiful settings I've ever seen! Great deals to boot! St. Maarten - the port for your liquor and digital camera purchases. ($5.95 for 1-liter bottle of Absolute Vodka) This was my first and last cruise aboard Carnival. If I ever take another cruise, it will be aboard Royal Caribbean again.  

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Nov 15, 2003

Eastern Caribbean

Traveling on the Triumph was an excellent experience for me. This was my first cruise experience and a very impressionable cruise it was. All of the crewmembers and employees were very kind and professional. This ship was truly the “Fun Ship”! I really enjoyed myself on each port, especially Jamaica. The experience was truly one to remember, especially Dunn’s Falls. I definitely suggest that if anyone ever has the opportunity

to go to Ocho Rios, Jamaica, please look for Mark Morris’s Cab Company to show you around the town. He (Mark Morris) was an excellent driver as well as very informative, professional and friendly. His prices were very reasonable. He made the trip in Jamaica for me very accommodating. I felt very safe and comfortable with him. I would recommend this cruise to anyone and everyone. I have no complaints whatsoever about the Carnival Triumph. I would definitely take another cruise on a Carnival Line in the near future. I had a really great time. Thanks Kim

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Nov 1, 2003

Western Caribbean

This was our first cruise for my wife and I, along with being our honeymoon. To be honest it was our first real vacation together. Except for weekend trips around the state. We had a couple of mishaps at the beginning, but over all we both had one of the best times in all our years together. We had booked our own airfare rather than going through Carnival, saving ourselves several hundred dollars. We did however purchase from Carnival

a pre-cruise hotel stay and transfers. We had a room at the Sheraton Biscayne Bay Hotel, which was very nice. It had a wonderful view of the bay and also of the cruise ships docked at the pier. A nice feature at the Sheraton is that you can pre-register for your cruise in the hotel lobby. After arriving at the Miami Airport we were to be met by the transportation arrange through Carnival. We spent over an hour searching for the transportation company, but they were nowhere to be found. Plus the phone number on the voucher was a recording. So we found a cab and made our way to the hotel at a cost of $30.00 (which we did get reimbursed for after writing a letter to Carnival upon our return home). The next morning when we did our registration for the cruise, we were told we needed to be out in front of the hotel with our luggage by 11:30 am. The shuttle was to leave promptly at noon. Unfortunately it didn’t arrive at the hotel until 1:15 pm. Before leaving home I had also made arrangements for a Romantic High Seas Gift Package and for a tuxedo rental. When ordering, I had asked if it were possible for them to make the wine in the package a bottle of non-alcoholic wine. I was told that they only came with alcoholic wine, but all I would need to do is to contact room service after we arrived in our cabin. Well, it sounded simple enough, but unfortunately it wasn’t quite that easy. It took us two days and about a dozen phone calls, but upon our return to the cabin after our day in Cozumel we had the bottle of non-alcoholic wine. These were both minor problems and from here on out everything went pretty much as planned. As for the tuxedo it both fit and looked great, and was much easier than taking a suit along and a suitcase. Amenities Carnival provides in all their cabins a small care package that contains several items that passengers probably tend to forget on occasion. When booking a cabin with an ocean view or balcony you are also provided with robes for your use while on the ship. Service provided by the crew Other than a couple of times when asking a question of a crew members in one of the service desks or shops. Then being told we needed to go to a certain area and then again being told we needed to be somewhere else. Our over all experience with the crew was excellent. Everyone was very friendly and always tried to be as helpful as possible. Daniel our waiter in the dining room was wonderful. He always did everything he could to make our experience on the ship the best possible. If he saw a problem with an item on the menu whether it was appearance of the preparation to the item. Daniel was very quick to bring it to your attention. Offering you the chance to change our order or serving you. Then again letting you know if you had a problem that he would be more than willing to do what ever it took to correct it, or get you anything else you wanted. One evening Daniel and a few other staff member presented us with a honeymoon cake. No one else at our table wish a share it with us. So we only ate a small portion. Daniel asked us if we would like, he would have the rest sent up to our cabin. To our surprise, when we retuned to our cabin at the end of the evening. He had sent us a whole new cake. We are sorry to say, that Daniel is no longer with the Triumph. He switched to the Victory right after our cruise. Every night after most passengers have about finished eating. The service staff performs a song and some night includes a little dancing. Our room steward Inga was just fantastic. Every time we saw her she always asked us how we were doing, and if there was anything she could do for either of us. We could not of asked for a sweeter person. She along with her assistants straightened and cleaned our cabin, and replaced the towels at least twice a day. It was very nice to simply get up in the morning and leave the room and have her there to take care of everything. Plus, at the end of the day to return to our cabin and have the bed turned down and mints on the pillows. We really enjoyed all of the cute little towel animals at the end of each day too. Dining Whether it was the formal dining room the buffets or even the small specialty shops. All of the food was delicious. We ate breakfast at the South Beach Club every morning, and also lunch except for a couple of day. On those days we tried the pizzeria, New York Deli, and the Coney Island Grille. We couldn’t think of anything bad to say about any of the food. The service was good and reasonably fast, and there was enough staff to keep everything looking neat and clean. Cabins Our cabin was actually a little larger than we expected, and as I said earlier was always keep clean and straightened. We had plenty of closet and draw space. We were worried about the fact that they slide two single beds together to make a king size bed. Surprisingly it was quite comfortable. They most use a mattress pad, because you can barely feel and seem between the two beds. It is definitely worth the extra money to have a cabin with a balcony. You cannot only see different things while you are at sea, but also at all the ports. It is also nice for checking out the weather anytime of day before going a shore or up on deck. Not to mention the fact that you have some fantastic views of sunset right from your own cabin. As for what a lot of reviews say about the carpet in the hallways. Yes, the carpet is water stained. Now let remember the number of people who use those hallways, and also remember that those same people are not going to dry themselves off before going to their rooms like they would if they were at home. Many people also talk of the smell of urine in the hallways. Well, we don’t really know what to say about them. Only that we never notice anything that even smelled remotely close to urine. Maybe a slight musty smell, but it was nothing that should bother anyone. Entertainment Whether it was the magician, dancers, singers, or the comedian. They were all enjoyable shows. Now as for the shows where the guests are part of the show. Well some were entertaining, some were down right funny, but there was a dud or two. The band that played poolside was pretty good. Although it did sometimes seem a little loud, but only if you were trying to carry on a conversation. Cozumel We definitely agreed that Cozumel was our favorite island that we visited. Everyone we encountered was very friendly and pleasant. We started our day out with an early excursion. We chose the four hour All Terrain Truck Eco Adventure & Snorkel. Our tour guides Lewis and Niko met up with us and led us to a big camouflaged Kodiak truck with a yellow canvas roof and nicely padded seats. They also had water, pop and beer, which was included in the price. Jose our driver took us to the Punta Sur Eco Park, driving by some nice scenery, while Lewis was telling everyone about some of the islands history. Upon arriving at the park we were shown several beautiful plants, which are used as medicines on the island still today. We were shown turtle nests and a large replica of a Mayan structure, which is used for the education of children on the island. Teaching them about the turtle and explaining that the turtles need to be saved. Then we were off to a Mayan lighthouse and a chance for a close encounter with some crocodiles. Next we were taken to the beach and give snorkel equipment and provided with beach umbrellas and mates. The snorkel out over the reef was both amazing and quite beautiful. Back on the truck we were taken to a lighthouse that you may climb the 133 steps to the top, and what a fantastic view it is. Finally it was back to the pier, but on the way it was party time as Lewis and Niko got the party started with some good party tunes. After our return to the pier we were offered the chance to ride into town for shopping on the truck. This excursion was worth every penny, and we would both recommend it to anyone. Then after lunch on the ship we took a cab ride to town for a little shopping. There are some very nice little shops and lots of jewelry stores. No visit to Cozumel would be complete without a visit to Carlos’N’Charlie’s. Known for there barbecued ribs, and being a great party place. After your return home, you can go to their web page to check for pictures of yourselves during your visit. Grand Cayman This was our number two island. Most of the people of Grand Cayman were pleasant. On this morning we started out early on the Stingray Sandbar, Hell & Turtle Farm Experience, a four-hour excursion. Our guide showed us some of the local scenery and talked of the history of the island. Our trip to the turtle farm was both fun and educational. As for the experience of the town called Hell. Although Hell was a unique place, and also someplace you can tell people about. It definitely wasn’t what we expected. Seven Mile Beach was beautiful and very scenic, but we were only given five minutes at the beach. Now going out on the sandbar to swim among all of those stingrays, what an unbelievable experience. That was something neither of us will soon forget. The water is shallow enough for about anyone of any age or size, at only about three to four feet deep. We didn’t find the shopping here to be as much fun as the other two islands, but the town itself was quite nice. Ocho Rios, Jamaica Here again we were on the early three and a half hour, Highlight Tour A. This excursion starts out with a bus ride up a mountainside through the forest. Next we were off to Shaw Park Garden, the former sight of a resort from the early 1900’s. The waterfalls, plants, and flowers were all very beautiful. On the way we were told that our drive had a PHD, Pot Hole Dodger. Finally we were at the bottom of Dunn’s River Falls looking up. The six hundred-foot climb was actually pretty easy, with your largest steps up only being about a foot and a half. After the excursion our guides offered to take us to one of the local shopping center, and after returned us to the pier. The Jamaican people we had contact with were all pleasant. There were a few we saw in passing that just didn’t look to be all that friendly in appearance though. Summary We would recommend this cruise to people of all ages. There is plenty to do on this ship whether you are at a port or a day at sea. Don’t hesitate, book this cruise you won’t regret it, and remember to get the balcony. It’s well worth the extra cost. We believe that anyone who doesn’t have a good time on this cruise is simply looking for any thing they can to complain about. So just go out and have a great time, we sure did.

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Oct 24, 2003

Eastern Caribbean

My wife and business partner sailed the Triumph the last week of October, 2003 and found the ship - and the cruise - to be first rate. We paid $649 each for an outside cabin on the 10th level - and each of our rooms had a spectacular balcony that was one of the highlights of the trip. Since we were traveling with friends, we had adjoining rooms and we had the room steward remove the balcony partition outside between the rooms - thus

allowing for much more balcony space. You will no doubt have to pay extra for the balcony, but I would HIGHLY recommend doing so and would suggest you attempt to get a room on levels 10 or 11. You'll have easy access to the main pool area and you'll be able to avoid the waits at the elevators for many of your activities. I was pleasantly surprised to find the ship in IMMACULATE condition even though it is almost 4 years young. I had read other reviews about stains on the carpet and cigarette burns but I saw no such thing - and I looked for them. The public areas are dramatic and well decorated, and the two dining rooms were well appointed as well. In terms of the dining rooms, I would suggest you request the Paris Dining Room (instead of the London) and if you want to see the waiters dance nightly, the best location is on the lower level. However, if you're interested in a view - ask the upstairs maitre'de (Babu) to put you on the second floor rear area where you'll have a stunning view of the back of the ship as it leaves port each night. If you happen to be at early seating (5:45 p.m), you'll have a real treat of seeing the sun set from your dining table. And don't worry about asking them to change your "assigned" table - they do it all the time. If you want privacy, there are several booths at the back of the second level (ours was table 564) that seat four people comfortably and allow you to have a remarkable view. The main pool can get crowded during the day with 2,800 passengers on board, so we headed to the rear pool behind the buffet dining area and found two nice hot tubs there and a pool that is "adults only". There is a retractable roof at the rear pool that they can close if inclement weather arises, and the lounge chairs at the rear pool have cushions - whereas the main pool loungers do not have them. A small thing - but clearly more comfortable. And the rear sunning deck one level above the rear pool is MUCH less crowded and gives you a great view of the ocean as you sun. The food was fine - particularly on the two formal nights when lobster and chateaubriand was served. Throw on a sport coat (no tie necessary) or a sundress and you'll look fine - and be sure and order the soufflés.....they are terrific. And yes - you can have as much lobster tail as you'd like. Our waiter told us the Triumph record was NINE lobster tails for one guest. And try the crème Brule dessert - spectacular and not to be missed. The entertainment in the main show room (the Rome Lounge) was average, although the magic show was on par with something you'd spend $50 to see in Vegas - and you should definitely plan to see that show. There are two alternative dining spots besides the sit down and buffet restaurants. There is a NY style deli at the rear of the ship (near the buffet) that makes TERRIFIC cornbeef and Rueben sandwiches and is open till 11:00 p.m. There is a Asian Noodle/sushi grill on the other side of the ship that was quite good as well. And the rear pool grill made very tasty steak sandwiches, although they are made to order and take about eight minutes to be prepared - a lengthy wait when you're hungry. Carnival gives away the rooms for bargain prices and hopes you'll drop big bucks on their casino, drinks and photograph offerings - but if you can resist those things, there are plenty of other options to entertain you at little or no cost. If you'd like a drink or two, try the daily special at $2.95 and you'll save a couple of bucks over the standard drink pricing. There is also a bloody Mary special every morning between 10:00 a.m. and noon at $2.95 and you'll find waiters everywhere more than happy to bring a drink to you. Avoid the plastic souvenir glass that they offer with the specials - it adds four bucks to the special cost and if worth maybe fifty cents. We did NOT use any of Carnival's shore excursions since we felt they were expensive and didn't allow much individual flexibility. In San Juan you can get off the boat and walk right to the shopping district - but other than rum there were NO bargains in San Juan. It's easy to see why they only stop there for a few hours. Saint Thomas has wonderful bargains on electronics (the cheapest in the Caribbean). Try a store called Royal Caribbean Electronics - we found digital cameras and mp3 players there at least $100 less than in the States - and of course there's NO tax and NO duty, which will save you even more. There's also real bargains on jewelry - our two favorite stores downtown were Nita's Jewelry (for diamonds 40 percent less than in the States - ask for the owner Harry) and Beverly's Jewelry (for larimar jewelry). They REALLY had great prices - and we were happy to spend our hard earned dollars when we realized the bargains. The best beach on Saint Thomas is Magens Bay Beach - but it has a $3.00 per person entrance fee which I found irritating. You'll need to take a cab from the ship to Magens Bay and the crowds there are pretty dense. Saint Maarten (Dutch) and Saint Martin (French) are both fun stops. Take a taxi (for $15 for two) over to Marigot on the French side and check out the open air market at the harbor. Then stop at a French pastry shop and have some éclairs - you'll feel decadent. Next take a cab drive from Marigot to Orient Beach ($15 more US dollars for two) and you'll be treated to a spectacular beach that has five separate beaches linked together. Our favorite was Kakao Beach. Beach chair rental will run you $15 for two, but the site is spectacular. Shopping on Saint Martin is not as terrific as that of Saint Thomas - but stop and buy some Guavaberry Liquor. It is a local specialty that you can't get at any other island stop. It will run you about $15 per bottle. Also - this is the only place you can purchase genuine Cuban cigars for consumption on the ship before you dock back in Miami. The Monte Cristo brand ($30 for three cigars) is the most mellow cigar I've ever had the pleasure of indulging in and there is a cigar bar on the Triumph that is a perfect place to relax with a port wine and a legal Cuban cigar. Other highlights onboard are the Real Easy bar that has sing-a-longs with Greg every night from 10:00 p.m. on....and the Karaoke with Jillian every night at 7:30 p.m. We also sat across from the Disco every night on the Promenade deck around 8:30 p.m. and "people watched" as couples and families strolled to dinner and returned from dinner. Very entertaining - especially the various outfits that some people dream up - and you can have a specialty coffee drink or handmade milkshake from the specialty bar just past the disco. Their is also a neat "cave" for kids outside the disco that has many arcade games that seemed to be a magnet for the children onboard. In October and November there are very few kids on the ship - probably under 100 last week out of 2,800 customers - so if you want to avoid being overrun by the younger set, then this is the time to go. The photographers are everywhere - young enthusiastic foreigners who have varied skills at taking photos. The photos are expensive, but you can view them every day and laugh at the poses without spending a red cent. If you are considering this cruise - and you can get a balcony for under $900 per person, I'd highly recommend you do so. You'll love being able to retreat to your room and watch the sea speed by - and Carnival allows you to bring your own wine onboard - so you can drink your favorite brand before or after dinner and REALLY indulge yourself. There is satellite television and satellite internet - but I'd suggest you avoid both. The great thing about a cruise is the ability to get away from the "noise" of home, and TV and internet bring that noise right with them. My advice? Take the cruise with one thing in mind....RELAXATION with the occasional break to eat and drink. If you have those things as your goals, then a cruise on the Triumph will deliver remarkably well.

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Oct 23, 2003

Eastern Caribbean

First off, don't believe anyone who tells you that "you can hardly feel the ship move." That is arrant nonsense -- you sure as hell *can* feel it move! And I'm certain this doesn't apply solely to the Triumph. The first two days out everyone was staggering around the Triumph's hallways like drunken sailors; the swaying motion was simply awful. I even briefly pondered getting off the ship at the first port of call. So, if you're

considering a cruise and wavering, wondering if you'll feel the ship's movement... you will. If this is a deciding factor, I tell you now: don't go. A related problem was that of the noise in the cabin. I had an outside room on Deck Two, at the back of the ship. Whenever the ship rocked and rolled, my room was almost intolerable. At times it sounded like: sitting in the belly of a B-52 with a full bomb-load, riding in the back of an old bus in need of new shocks, or floating in a huge bowl of Rice Krispies (snap, crackle, pop). One evening I thought I was the star of that old "Twilight Zone" episode where a skeleton with a hammer is pounding on the hull of a wrecked submarine. When the docking thrusters were engaged (two days, at 7 AM) it sounded as if I was in the epicenter of an earthquake. Others reported similar rackets. If you're a light sleeper, think twice about a cruise. Other noise-related issues concerned the cabin doors, which automatically slam shut whenever my neighbors entered or exited. A couple of stewards were thoughtlessly yakking loudly in the hallway at 8 AM, but when I suggested that some people might be trying to sleep, they apologized and never did it again. I didn't even bother mentioning talking in the hallways to my unthinking fellow-passengers. Activities on the ship were somewhat lame and limited. These included a hairy-chest contest, knobby knees battle, newlywed game, talent show, etc. There was a pretty good gym, casino gambling, bingo, swimming pools, jacuzzi, internet access at 75 cents a minute, a library, card room, an expensive "costs extra" spa, and several bars. This may sound like a fair amount of choices, but after you spend an hour or two at each you're apt to find them boring. The evening shows were okay, although I found the comedians unfunny. Bottom line: unless you like lots of eating, drinking (costs extra) and lying around a pool, you'll find you have plenty of "dead time" on your hands. I shipped out as a member of the SinglesCruise.com group of 600+ singles. Unfortunately, I found their highly-touted "exclusive" activities weak, and most were just mixers or cocktail parties. Examples included "White Theme Night," where you simply wear some white clothing, meet in a bar and drink alcoholic beverages, and "Tropical Theme Night," where you simply wear some Hawaiian clothing, meet in a bar and drink alcoholic beverages. "Speed Dating" was speedy indeed -- I had about 30 seconds to speak to each of app. 40 women -- and since we weren't provided with cards to indicate the people in which we had interest, the entire event was meaningless, and everyone just faded away when they announced "it's over." Never once did they split the group into age-brackets (under-40 / over-40 might have worked). This would have been a good idea, since 600 singles is a huge group -- I met several folks I'd have liked to speak with a second time, but just couldn't find them again! A group of say, 200, would have made it a lot easier for us to find and learn about each other. The layout of the Triumph was mildly annoying; for example, some decks didn't go all the way from bow to stern and you have to go up or down a floor to traverse the ship. The mandatory lifeboat drill made no sense, as those passengers arriving last would get to board the lifeboats first; obviously in a real emergency utter chaos would ensue. When the ship reached port, it became practically deserted; you're almost forced to sign up for one of the tours ($35-$75+). Carnival is heavily into promoting its various revenue streams: the cabin's TV teaches you how to gamble in the casino, public address announcements remind you of the latest bingo game, the spa and gift shop are always offering "special discounts," and photographers keep snapping you in the hope that you'll buy some glossies at $8 a pop. There was even an art auction which promised fantastic paintings at ridiculous prices. In-cabin TV is feeble: five self-promoting Carnival channels, a sometimes-working free movie, and three regular channels. At one point, "Judge Judy" was on all three at the same time. Cabin stewards were always working, dining room staff was exceptional, entire crew was friendly and professional. Smoking on the ship was a problem only in the casino, where it was essentially suffocating. Food was plentiful but of average quality. Dinners in the main dining room had great presentation but lacked flavor. Examples included rubbery asparagus, tasteless filet mignon, and a chocolate souffle which more accurately resembled bread pudding. The buffet foods were at about the same level you'd find at a $10 All-American buffet. Most of the desserts were tasty and very good, however. The Coney Island Grill served up the worst burger I've ever had; it tasted more of minced onions than beef. The pizza was pretty bad, with a shortage of toppings and ersatz mozzarella cheese. The best thing I ate on the ship was a turkey grinder from the N.Y. Deli; I had to wait in line but the custom-made sandwich was worth it. Standard drinks like gin-and-tonic cost $4-5, plus a 15% built-in tip. Wine was more expensive, about $6-9 a glass. A very large bottle of Evian water cost $3.75. Tipping was conveniently added to my charge card, app. $10 per day. Keep in mind that my criticisms doubtless apply to all cruise ships, and not just the Triumph. I've tried to report my experience objectively, but I do have to say that I didn't get much enjoyment out of my 7-day cruise, and don't plan to try again.

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Oct 17, 2003

Western Caribbean

  This was my first experience cruising and we chose it because I have a 3 and 5 year old and wanted to take advantage of the onboard daycare services. I thought this would enable my husband and I to have some alone time together which it did. First the parking arrangements in Miami were terrible. We followed the signs for Carnival however they had blocked the driveway off and we had to loop all the way around in order to take

a through road (which was not marked) twice in order to get to the drop off for the Triumph. Once we got off, our bags where collected and we went in to wait in line to board. The line moved quickly and everyone waiting seemed to be in a good mood so it wasn’t unpleasant. It took about 40 minutes and we were on. We had chosen to wait to confirm our room and it paid off cause we were upgraded from a level 8A to one level up. We went from a balcony room on the Upper Deck (6) to Empress Deck (7). The room was incredible. Marble floors, a dressing/makeup area, Jacuzzi tub and power shower head as well as two closets and an extra large balcony. The room also had a refrigerator stocked with sodas and snacks which they charged at a premium plus 15% restocking charges but it was convenient and they also had a couple of each size glasses in the event you wanted to do a little entertaining in you room. Our room steward lacked a bit though. He never refreshed our ice bucket and he would leave empty wine bottle and half full glasses of wine for days. Our room was always made up and fresh towels were brought in daily but I expected a little extra something if he wanted to get an extra tip at the end. I had read on other reviews of the ship that the floors where hard to figure out and I found that to be true as well. Even by the end of the trip we still were confused on how to get around. You had to go up one and down 2 a lot to get to your destination. All the areas seemed to be clean and cleaned regularly. I took advantage of the Spa and really enjoyed the treatments. I would recommend the Ultimate Facial and the Seaweed Wrap. The treatments are expensive and the professionals really push the products which are really expensive as well. Some of them push the expectation for a tip but I found out from others that work on the ship that it is against the rules to ask for tips. You can find out a lot if you are interested in the life of an employee on the ship from the Spa techs. It is very interesting and they are from all over the world and most are very young. The Spa offers discounts on port days as well as after you have one treatment they offer 10 – 20% off your next treatment. We found the food in the buffet areas to be good and lots to choose from at the various grill areas. After the 3rd day though I was done with the buffet breakfast and wanted something different. We ate on the last day in the Paris dining room which was where you could be served breakfast and they offered a few different items such as eggs benedict. I found it to be just like what was served in the buffet only they put the items together. On the last day, it seemed like the wait staff was done being nice to the guests. They seemed very rushed and didn’t come back to often to refresh the coffee or see if you wanted anything else. The dining room experience was very nice. Our waiter, Jaco and his associate Katie were very accommodating and kind. They went above and beyond to make my children feel welcome in the dining room. The mid meal entertainment was fun and very unexpected. As far as the food in the dining room we felt that the presentation was very nice however the food just didn’t cut it. It seemed like they recycled different meals. Such as on the first night they has a mushroom appetizer and on the next day they has a creamed mushroom soup that tasted exactly the same as the app. Then on the last night they had a pasta dish with an Alfred mushroom sauce on it, also tasting exactly the same. The deserts were boring for lack of a better description. They also looked terrific but lacked the decadence that I expect in a desert. After having one, I didn’t need to waste anymore calories. The daycare was very good. My children and most of the other children we got to know during the cruise really enjoyed being there. I would like to have had a pager or some way to communicate with the daycare instead of having to check up on your kids all the time. The age group that my children were in had a very large time when you couldn’t leave your children. From 12-2 daycare was not available and then from 2-4 they require one parent participation. This kind of took away from my time relaxing pool side since it was at the peak of the day. The slide on the ship had a height requirement which my youngest did not meet and he was devastated that his sister could go down it but he couldn’t. The staff did allow my husband to hold him and go down together a few times even though that was against the rules. After 10 pm they charged for the daycare services. We took advantage of this service a couple of time and they are very accurate with charging to the minute. It was $6 for the first child and $4 for the second which could have gotten very expensive if we used it too often. The shows were very good and very professional. Every night was a different show. I did see the magic show which I had read was incredible and it was. Also we saw a Las Vegas type review which was also very dramatic. Our friends did a lot of the daily activities such as the Newlywed Game and the Bingo games. The Cruise director and staff were awesome. Very entertaining! You felt like you knew them and they knew you by the end of the cruise. In Cozumel we did the 4 x 4 Jeep tour to the Cave. First we took a boat to Playa Del Carmen and met up with our Guide who walked us a couple of blocks to our Jeeps which was in a very poor part of the county. Then we drove to the cave which I believe was described as “off road”. We discovered that it was the condition of the roads in the local communities. What we believed to be abandoned homes were actual residences. It was very heart breaking to see the way these people live. The Cave was incredible. In the middle of nowhere you go deep into the ground and see some very interesting things. Then they allow you to get into an underwater freshwater pool and swim. It is about 72 degrees and very refreshing. The guide then takes you to a beach where they feed you some local Mexican food. The staff was very accommodating . They came around and asked us if we wanted more food and would actually get it for us. The beach was very clean and beautiful. We stayed for about an hour and then we drove ourselves back to the boat and had to board right away. We were hoping to maybe have a cocktail at Senior Frogs but there wasn’t enough time. This was our longest port so we were able to get back to the ship, shower and change and then bring the kids to daycare so we could go out for some nightlife. We walked the strip and went into several of the shops. We also took one of the carriage rides which was nice. I believe that in Cozumel you have the best ability to negotiate a price on goods. They are ready to wheel and deal more than any other location. Also we found the alcohol in Cozumel was the cheapest so buy it here. All but the Jamaican Rum. Buy that in Jamaica. Also, they did not provide us with car seats for my children nor did they have any. So if you are concerned about that, this is not a trip for young ones. It was fun to drive the Jeep with the top down and the kids loved it. The guides where very nice, Gabriel and Eddie. They explained everything professionally. In Grand Cayman we decided to book a trip on our own to snorkel Sting Ray City through Native Ways Tours. The cruise ship offered the trip for more than double then what we paid and it was exactly the same trip that our friends took. There were 4 cruise ships in the Caymans so you can imaging over 12,000 visitors disembarking and having to take tenders in and out to your ship. Caymans were very clean and considering all the visitors things went smoothly. The stingrays were incredible. Our children went with us and my daughter (5) was the star of the trip. She was held by the captain of the boat and he held in their arms a large stingray and she would kiss it. She posed for pictures for about 15 minutes because people couldn’t believe she had no fear. After that location we went somewhere to snorkel a reef. Our boat mate through some food to bring fish up close and that was nice, however the reef was nothing spectacular. Overall the excursion was very good. When we got back to the tenders we were able to go and have some lunch at the Breeze. It was upstairs from another restaurant and it was awesome. Very expensive but a great way to eat some local food. We did a little shopping around but Cayman is very expensive even though our ship director strongly recommended us shopping in the Caymans. I think he must get some kick backs from the stores to recommend them. In Jamaica we decided not bring the children on shore because we had heard from so many people including the cruise director that it was not safe to wander off on your own. We wanted to wander off on our own and did. We also met quite a few people who did what we did and had just as awesome a time as we did. After debarking we walked past the gates and found quite a few men standing around and one approached us, Alphonso Adams, who was a cab driver with Juto tours. He offered to drive us around to various sites for $80. We told him we just wanted to explore on our own and he said he would walk with us. While he walked with us he told us some other places he would take us to or how he would lower the price and stay with us as long as we wanted. We decided to go with him and while we waited for him we asked to local police officer who was standing there about him. He advised us that he was a good man. He also drove a very nice clean Lexus type car. We paid him $50 for the day and not until the very end of the day with him. He took us to the Dunn River Falls before anyone else got there. We decided that we just wanted to walk the steps and not the actual falls. Alphonso waited for us at all locations. He then took us up to Fern Gully all the way to the top of the island so we could look down at the port and our ship. It was very beautiful. The whole time he would give us information about the local stuff. Then he took us to go shopping and again we were some of the first people there. I wanted to buy coffee and he took us into a shop where he was friends with the owner and wheeled and dealed for us a great price on Jamaican coffee and rum. The store owner then gave us each a Red Stripe beer and we were able to walk around in all the stores shopping with our beer. In fact each store owner gave us a fresh beer. I wonder if this is a sign to other stores that we are buyers. My husband and I got quite buzzed shopping! We asked Alphonso to take us to a restaurant that was not a tourist type place and he took us to a lovely place overlooking the bay where we had Jerk Goat and Lobster Thermadore. This port ended up being our favorite excursion of all. It was at our pace, we saw everything we wanted. We learned a lot about the people and culture and we felt very safe with our drive. He definite was a great guy. I would strongly recommend contacting Jute tours in advance if you can to see about booking Alfonso direct for a private tour. We ended up tipping him and extra $10 plus we bought him a bottle of creamed rum and we took him to lunch with us. He was a true gentleman and a pleasure. Overall, a very good trip… The final debarkation once they called our floor, went quickly. Although waiting for 2-3 hours with small children is never a good experience, we were able to wait in our room until about 10am and then they asked us to leave and go to one of the floors open to us. I used this site prior to my cruise and I found it to be incredibly helpful. I hope this review will do the same for you. Especially those of you traveling with small children.

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Sep 19, 2003

Western Caribbean

This is a review of our 9/20/03 cruise on the Carnival ship Triumph. Cruising were my wife & I, along with our three teenage daughters, 17, 16, & 15. First off the Triumph leaves out of Miami and we flew into Ft. Lauderdale on Friday and spent the night in the Embassy Suites. This was due to the fact that flying from Phoenix Arizona, we could not get to Miami in time to board the ship before it sailed. Embassy Suites was a beautiful

hotel, cooked to order breakfast included, which for a family of 5 was a nice benefit. Embassy has free shuttle to and from the airport which was another $ saver. They also have free shuttle to the port of Everglades, which I’ll remember the next time we cruise. So to get to the port of Miami we booked a limo through ABC Limousine. Because I booked on line, they gave me a free upgrade to a 10-passenger stretch, which with 13 pieces of luggage was a must. They were on time and were very professional. Total cost was $119.00 tip included each way. Embarkation: We had booked a guaranteed suite cat 11, so we got to use the skippers club. At 11:00am, we arrived at the dock, the baggage handlers gave me a list of passengers and asked me to find my name and write the cabin # on our luggage tags, didn’t receive a cabin # in our doc’s. I tipped them $20.00 and they were very polite and said not to worry about a thing. We walked up to the huge warehouse and asked the security guard where the skippers club was. She pointed to the end of the building and said to go through the blue doors. Inside the blue doors there were people sitting at tables enjoying refreshments. We should have sat here and enjoyed some refreshment too. But we followed people in front of us to a line to get your sail & sign cards. The line had about 20 people in front of us, and immediately found to have 20 – 30 people behind us. This was great because not more than 1 minute went by and they opened another window and cut the line into 2 right at us, which allowed us to go to the new window first. We received our sign & sail cards, which only my wife & I had purchasing power, and on to another sitting area to wait to board. Here we met some wonderful people, a single woman who had cruised this ship before and a mother daughter who had cruised before, but they were on their first carnival cruise. It was now only 11:30am and we were told that boarding would be at 1:00pm. This is when I found out if I wanted refreshments I should have stayed in the 1st area. They did have soda machines in this area though. Time flew because the next thing I heard was we were to board in a few minutes, actually it was noon and we were boarding early, yippee!! Cabin: We were bumped up to a cat 12, penthouse suite. This suite is awesome! My wife & I got the twin beds, which they already had made up as a king. Our 2 oldest were on the pull out queen couch, and the youngest was on a roll away, which our cabin steward removed and brought back every day. It was a great cabin. The balcony was huge. The cabin steward’s name was Lucy, can’t remember where she was from, but she came to our cabin every morning while we went to breakfast, removed the roll away and cleaned. She also came every night while we were at dinner to bring in the roll away and turn down the beds and clean again. The towel animals were awesome! We got a pig, elephant, rabbit, stingray, and another one that we couldn’t figure out. I say it was a sloth, like the one in “ice age.” Back to the cabin, the bathtub was great, complete with Jacuzzi jets. There was a separate vanity area, we used as another dressing area. We brought a shoe bag for the bathroom door, but didn’t need it, as there were 2 medicine cabinets in the bathroom and plenty of drawers in the vanity area. We also had 2 closets and dresser drawers for all our clothes. The 4 sets of 3-piece luggage fit perfectly under the bed. Dining: We ate every dinner meal in the Paris dining room. Our waiters were Adrian & Sasa. They were fantastic. The meals were awesome. Our table for dinner was at the very back, which had an awesome view out the windows. However we didn’t get to see the waiters dancing very much, due to our level was below the main area. We would not have changed our tables view for anything. We were very courageous in trying new food, so there were a few items that were sent back and others brought in their place, this was all done with the biggest smiles, our waiters would have done anything to make us happy. The desserts were fantastic. We ate 1 breakfast and 1 lunch in the Paris room. Both were very good, but you are seated with others, and both times we were the only ones speaking English. Room service became our breakfast, and lunch was usually at one of the other eating-places. Buffet: If there were any food I was not impressed with, I would say it was the buffet. It was ok, but usually had long lines and just wasn’t that great. Chinese: Wife loved it. Deli: The Rueben’s were melt in your mouth terrific. Pastrami was also good! Grill: Steak sandwiches were fantastic. Pizza: My girls lived on this stuff. Open 24 hours. I admit I ate my share of pizza too. We bought soda cards for all 5 of us on the first day. These cards were great, they worked anywhere on the ship. I was told when I purchased them; they would not work in the dining rooms. Our barmaid in the dining room took them just fine. I tipped the bartenders the first few times when getting drinks, but in the Rome lounge, our 1st barmaid said no need to tip with soda card. I’m glad we found this out our first day. Saved a bunch of cash, as our family went though a lot of sodas on this trip. I found out the last day when we got our sign & sail card bill, there was a tip included in the price of the soda cards. Photos: Yes they do take photos everywhere, but you don’t have to purchase any. We bought several. I wish they would let you buy the size you want at 1st, instead of making you buy the large one 1st and then buying whatever size you want. We had to buy a couple at the size of 11x13 that were $25.00 ea. We did get some great photos, and I did get them scanned. My wife had all kinds of copies, at different sizes made at Costco for next to nothing. This is a lot cheaper then using all that ink from our printer. Cozumel: I had booked a horseback ride through the Internet. It was a ride through the jungle to a Mayan temple and cave. This was a very poor ride. The horses seemed starved. The jungle was very treacherous. The temple did not look thousands of years old and the cave was an area under a tree, hollowed out. I tried to book the dolphin swim at Chankanaab Park, but they only had 1:00pm opening. I didn’t think we would be back from the horseback riding in time. On the ship we booked the dolphin swim and could only get the 1:00pm time also. It was $50.00 a piece more to book this through the ship so we only booked it for the girls. This way I could take video and my wife took photos. We told the guide of the horseback ride of our time schedule and he said he would have us back in time. The dolphin swim is a must. My girls just loved touching and playing with Pacaso, the dolphin. We got great pics and my video turned out great too. However if you do this, book it yourself through dolphin discovery at cometocozumel.com, it is less expensive and when booked through them, you get 2 dolphins instead on one to play with. This is still a great tour and we will remember it forever. We also snorkeled at the park, which was pretty good too. Plenty of fish to see, and the snorkel rental was very reasonable. We did also eat in the park, which was very good, but a little pricey. Back to the ship to change, and then out for some shopping. My 3 teens had to buy stuff for everyone. Grand Cayman: We booked a snorkel, fish feeding through the ship. We did this tour early, to give us time to, shop. At Cayman you don’t dock, so you have to take small boats to get on & off the ship. Since we booked the 1st time slot tour, we were the 1st to get off the ship. The snorkeling here was great. Tons of fish, they must know these boats have food. We got to see 3 “nurse sharks” which do not have teeth. One was at least 6-7 feet long. They were very scary, but so cool. We were in about 20-25 feet of water, and they swim close to the bottom like catfish. Our guide dove down to pet one and it swam up through the coral, and got as close as 10 feet from us. Awesome tour, feeding the fish was so neat. There would be so many fish in front of you, that you could not see anything else. Ocho Rios: We had the best time in Jamaica. The ship tells you to be so careful and only go through a tour here and not to be on your own here. We had booked a tour through bthorn1108, who we met on cruisecritic.com. She booked a driver named Ionie. We went to Dunn’s river falls, a beach, river tubing, and then back to Margaritaville. Dunn’s river falls was fun. Water was cool and refreshing. Beach was great. No one else there when we arrived. It was like having your own private beach with our own staff to wait on us hand & foot. River tubing was absolutely the best. Our guide was awesome, and the river was so cool. My wife said it reminded her of the jungle cruise ride at Disneyland. It also had some great rapids, nothing real scary, but fast enough to make you laugh real hard. Next to swimming with the dolphin, my girls said this was their favorite time. Our guide even sang some reggae music for us and he was really good. Do not miss the river tubing in Ocho Rios. Margaritaville was very busy. My girls wanted to try some virgin margaritas, but after seeing a guy win a drinking contest and then moon everyone, we decided our teenage girls were a little young for this crowd so we finished our time with more shopping. Days at sea: The Triumph has more than enough to keep you busy. My girls had a few complaints, mostly about age restrictions. Most of the games you had to be 18 to play, like the talent show, who wants to be a millionaire, etc. They didn’t have an age limit for bingo or the lottery tickets, in which my 17 year old won a bottle of Kahlua’ from a drawing of non-winning tickets. Shows: The shows were awesome. The music & dancing were great. The magic show was really good. The bedtime story was so funny, that we watched it again on TV the next day. Try to see as many shows as you can they are really good, and not very long. Debarkation: We missed our color, it was the first called. So we sat in the Rome lounge for 2 hours longer then we had too. Which was ok; since our limo wasn’t due to pick us up, till 11:30am. We finally got in the long line to get off the ship around 11:00am. Our diver called my cell phone just as we were walking off the ship. Going through customs was a breeze. We had nothing to declare so we didn’t even get stopped. For our first cruise, this was with out a doubt the best vacation we have ever took. It also happens to be the most expensive vacation we have ever took, but I think it was money well spent. My wife and I have already booked a 5-day cruise with Carnival out of Los Angeles on the Ecstasy, for February 2004. I hope this helps anyone who wants to go on the Carnival ship Triumph. Feel free to ask me any questions you might have. We left a couple of days after Isabel hit and we had the calmest seas I have ever seen. Never ever felt the ship rock. If you didn’t look out at the ocean, you’d never even know you were moving. Thank you Carnival for the absolute best vacation ever!

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By Alex_CR

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Aug 29, 2003

Eastern Caribbean

We left as a 2 gruup family....consisting of 4 adults......2 teens and kids.....from port of Miami to San Juan, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, St. Martten. We had sailed on the ship in March and it was out first cruise. We were amazed of size and beauty and all the fun on the ship. The whole cruise in Augues was great except 2 offs. First, We sailed on the ship before, and everything was exactly the same the second time, the shows, the crew,

even the jokes. The other thing was that we were 200 miles away from a hurricane which was rocking the ship the whole ride.....but it didnt bother us that much. The food was great as was the service. We had cabin 7307 which was a balcony room.....very roomy (fit 5) and was always clean and always had the towel animals at night. The shows were decent, seeing them the second time didntreally make it much fun but still gave us a "wow" inside. The eastern carib. itineraty is great....and was much nicer than the western carib. We liked carnival but we moved on to the next level and our sailing on Explore of The Seas sept. 5...easter carib. (cant wait) Hope this review gave u a little insight on how fun a cruise is....not much detail to explain......

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Aug 22, 2003

Western Caribbean

This was the first cruise for me and my husband, and we traveled with a group of approx. 200 people. We had such a wonderful time that we booked another Carnival Cruise (Destiny/San Juan/June) prior to leaving the ship. Embarktation - Easy quick process even for newbies. The whole process took less than an hour. Room - Excellent, we had a balcony which is the only way to cruise. We never met our cabin steward, but the room was always

clean, and we loved the towel animals. If you like TV/Movies, I would suggest bringing a portable DVD player since the TV stations are lame. Also, do not use the phone. I did, and a 15 min. call cost me over $50. Ports of Call - Mexico caught a cab to a Resort and for $10 we had food, drinks and fun. Cayman Island, we felt was expensive and boring. Jamaica - we love Jamaica and travel there frequently, we picked up a cab at port(not as dangerous as they make out), Our driver Dobbie, is called "Rental Car SuperStar" took us all over and we determined what we wanted to pay him, which was $100.00. Food - Excellent, make sure to stop by the pizza shop. Entertainment - Didn't go to many of the shows, because our group had concerts and activities. But what I did see of the entertainment was good. One comedian was so funny, even with hecklers in the crowd. We also enjoyed the Casino Overall this was up there with the best vacations we have had. I plan on taking a cruise each year on a Carnival Ship.

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Aug 22, 2003

Western Caribbean

This was our 3rd This was our 3rd cruise with Carnival and our last. My wife and I took our son and daughter in law on this cruise as we had visited theses ports in the past and thought it would be interesting to show them places we had been. It also included a number of Scuba excursions which I could enjoy also. Arrival: While we have cruised before we have never seen so many hands wanting to be tipped on the docks. The person who

transports the luggage to the shuttle, the person who loads and drives you to this ship, then unloads luggage from the bus. They have a “policy” that everyone must remain on the bus while luggage is unloaded. We suspect this is so they will have to “assist” you from the bus and in turn you will assist them($$). Then a person wants you to identify your luggage. This person calls himself the “Porter”. He also expects, $$. The departure hall (warehouse) is large and not very clean and while you would expect a wonderful greeting there seems to be confusion everywhere. Once on board, we quickly located our room with no problem. THE SHIP: Things we liked about this ship: We had a balcony room which I would recommend. This ship is huge. In fact, maybe too big. Too many people. The dining room (London) was clean and the food was good. Probably the best of any cruise we have been on. The casino was very large and enjoyable, even though we left a lot of money there we had fun. Things we disliked about this ship: At one time I am sure this was Carnival’s proud new ship. Now it is time to bring it in and clean it. Lots of lights were out, carpets in the hallways were beyond needing to be cleaned, and it was very obvious the entire ship needed some time in port for refurbishing. Very few quiet places on deck. Lack of supervision of both children and adults. There were kids EVERYWHERE!! Elevator races! Hallway races! Tag!. You name it they were doing it. Apparently the parents just turned them loose and told them they needed to get off a week later. There was total disregard of any activity by the staff and the responsible(?) parents for these kids. We saw kids climbing on rails, running screaming, you name it they were dong it. Then the adults. At one “Adult” late show three guys from Boston were so drunk they were yelling and harassing the comedian. Unfortunately for them he was able to use them as examples. This was not part of the show and they showed up at another in pretty much the same condition, and the staff continued to serve them. Elevators, take the stairs it is quicker. With about 11 elevators in the main lobby atrium there was always a several minute wait. The shows were good, but the rude people talking were very distracting. In one instance there were several 12-15 year olds in the back talking. They became so distracting that they were confronted by a passenger and we thought he was going to assault them. It was only then that a staff member got involved. Then there was GANSTA alley. This was outside of the kids disco. THE STAFF: We feel the staff on past cruises were much friendlier. Since Carnival instituted the automatic tips, the staff have nothing to work towards. On this cruise there was one young lady who never smiled until the last night when we asked for her picture. To see one of the staff smiling was a rare site on this cruise. It appears Carnival has cut staff and increased the responsibilities. The dining room staff was great. They were open and their shows were really good. All-in-all though we were disappointed with the staff, and the customer service. SHORE TOURS: Cozumel: I took the Scuba Tour there and was not disappointed. The kids did the snorkel tour and were very happy with the cost as well as the trip. The extra time spent in Cozumel should have been in Grand Cayman, however there is no night life in GC. Cozumel was a good stop. Grand Cayman: They cancelled one of my dive trips in Grand Cayman because there were not enough people signed up. This is even though the contractor (Bob Soto) is a huge operator in Grand Cayman. I was able to do shore diving by going to Eden Rock Dive Center which is to the right of the pier and a short walk. I had contacted Soto before the trip and it appears Carnival tacks another 20 dollars on to the walk in price, which is expected. The shopping in GC is good. Don’t expect a better price by shopping around though. I priced a Movado watch in several stores and they all had the same price. I found out they all have an agreement and no one will undercut another in the better stores. The kids did Stingray City and a snorkel trip. A word of warning about Sting Ray City. Having been there myself and been scuba diving with them and with the comments from many others, it can be a little overwhelming to have so many these creatures all over you. Grand Cayman in THE place to shop and Scuba on this trip. Ochio Rios Jamaica: My wife and I have been to Jamaica about a dozen times. We always go to a resort for our stays. Jamaica can be a very dangerous place. The craft market downtown is not a place to go except in a large group. The only this to do here is Dunn’s River Falls by escorted tour. We made arraignments with Sandals Dunns River for a day pass for $45.00. For that price you can spend the day at their resort and use all of the facilities “All Inclusive”. The resort is great, the people are great and having been there a number of times we knew this was the right thing to do. Until Jamaica gets its stuff together, this port should be abandon by Carnival as one of its stops. They will warn you about this port though out the cruise and apparently they are well aware of the problems there. Don’t take large quantities of cash, expensive jewelry or anything valuable, and never, get into a cab without establishing a price for your trip before hand. FINAL REVIEW We retuned home more than disappointed in this cruise. There seemed there was no control over the kids, the staff only got involved once when someone was unruly. A 16 year old was served to intoxication before a large group of people. I saw a kid about 10 years old playing slots in the casino, no staff intervention. Kids ran unchecked though out the ship all hours of the day and night. I had read a very funny review before going which summed up the cruise as a large trailer park at sea. This most accurately described out trip too. CRUISE RATING 1-10 3

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Jul 18, 2003

Eastern Caribbean

My husband and I cruised on the Carnival Triumph this past July with many family members. Because we have been on many different ships, we had a method of comparison. The Triumph was not kept in good repair. The cabin bedspread had numerous cigarette burns on it. The carpeting on our deck was terribly stained. Not once, did the cabin steward introduce himself to us so we never knew who he or she was the entire seven days. The

pool area was so overcrowded that you had to carefully maneuver your way around chairs! Much to our delight and surprise, the food in the dining room was quite tasty and the service was impeccable. However, we have decided that Carnival will not be our ship of choice.

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Jul 18, 2003

Eastern Caribbean

I'm going to focus this review on those who want to know what the trip was like from a "twenty-something" point of view - when I was looking at reviews - I saw hardly any reviews from this age group!!! So here goes: Overall, my trip was fabulous, and I would definitely cruise with Carnival again!! Don't let any negative comments people

make get you down - I don't know where that negativity is coming from! I cruised with a friend of mine, she is 24. The first advice I would give you is to only take things onto the ship when you are boarding that are ABSOLUTELY necessary - pack the REST of the items in your large luggage and let them deliver it to your room. The reason I say this is I took a rather large carry-on with clothes and makeup with me - rather than checking it, it was very heavy - and while we were waiting in line - it was a little too much to carry! Plus, you have to walk a fairly long distance to get from the terminal to your room - so just carry your absolute (keep it light) essentials, so you will have a comfortable walk to the room. I cannot say enough about the service onboard. I experienced superb service throughout the week. And I loved having waiters bring drinks to me when I was on-deck, and at shows - I didn't think they "oversold" drinks at all - I enjoyed having plentiful beverages! :) And as far as taking liquor/beverages onboard, I had no problem whatsoever. In my suitcase, I packed a bottle of Chardonnay, a bottle of vodka, diet coke, diet sprite, and bottled water. :) So I was very prepared. I think I saved a lot this way because I drank all of what I brought on in the course of the week. I was happy to see LOTS of young people onboard, and from all nationalities, Hispanic, Asian, black, European, and white. There were lots of families, and LOTS of teenagers. But there were also a fair amount of twenty-something's just like me, so that was a relief. Everyone I talked to was very friendly. I had heard comments on reviews before of people not dressing up enough for dinner - this was not my experience at all! I saw LOTS of people on the dressy nights in tuxes and full-length gowns. I went the cocktail route, and just wore nice knee-length black dresses/skirts. I'd have to say one of the biggest impressions Carnival left on me was the entertainment. The entertainment every night was fabulous - always something going on! My favorites were: the David and Caruso Magic Show - it was AWESOME - the music was really great - they had cd's available for only $5, wish I had bought one. Don't miss this one. The dancers were talented - Vegas caliber - very good, and great choreography and costumes. That night, I also really enjoyed the "R" rated adult show - again, great dancing (a little racier this time) but it was great. And the comedian was very funny - definitely go if you like raunchy humor - which I definitely do. :) We went to a "Newlywed Game" show - during the day - I thought it would be boring, it wasn't! I was in tears laughing - I could not believe how vulgar these couples were being, it was great, very entertaining! Also, another major thing that impressed me about Carnival was the spa/gym!!! Their gym was hands-down the nicest gym I have EVER seen - and I've had many memberships! First of all - how can you beat working out w/ a 360 ocean view??? It was awesome. There were 10 treadmills, all kinds of high-tech weight machines, bikes, elliptical, etc. They also had a cool bike w/ a digitally-animated screen, very cool. And the gym was definitely where all the hot guys were, so this was an incentive for me to go in there! Lots of great scenery. There are 2 whirlpools w/ the best jets I've ever experienced in a hot tub!! Also, I highly enjoyed the steam room - it had an ocean view as well - and had the best steam I've seen in one of those! I would recommend waiting until at least lunchtime to hit the gym - EVERYONE works out in the morning. After everything I was eating, it felt good to work off some of it - I walked on the track too, which had gorgeous views. I really enjoyed the pools and whirlpools on the lido deck too, while we were laying out in the sun. We NEVER had problems finding a chair. And yes, the pools could get a bit crowded, but that's at any resort when its hot outside! It didn't bother me - I love people watching anyway. All of the destinations were amazing. San Juan wasn't as great as the others, but we visited El Morro - and the views there were absolutely gorgeous - plus we had a nice hike to the top, which was much needed after all the dessert we'd been eating onboard!! It was also good getting exercise walking up and down stairs (when the elevators were crowded) - by the end of the trip, my legs felt more in shape from the walking we did - which I was happy about. St. Thomas and St. Maarten were sooo gorgeous. Make sure you take the tram to the top of St. Thomas to see the breathtaking views. We visited Maagens Bay Beach there - and took an open air cab to get there - again, breathtaking views. We saw steel drum players by the street on the way, which I love. All the cab drivers were super friendly and had that "hey mon" island vibe, very cool. In St. Maarten, we took the snorkel excursion to Pinel Island - which was awesome! Our guide gave us the whole history of the island on the 20 minute drive over. Then we took a boat to the island and the snorkeling was great. This island was rustic, and not too crowded, looked like a paradise, exactly what I was looking for. I'm hoping we got some great underwater shots. Back onboard, our days at sea were very relaxing - very smooth cruise, I never felt seasick AT ALL. I did have to visit the infirmary 1 day b/c I had a swollen and sore throat - the Doctor was kind of short w/ me - that was my only bad experience. His name was Ben. But at least he gave me the meds I needed and some lozenges. By the end of that day I felt MUCH better - and I was working out by the next day! Our service at formal dining was great, mostly. Our waitress brought us everything promptly, and cleared our dished promptly and remembered what we liked to drink - but I just wish she would've taken the time to chat w/ us a little more - she wasn't that friendly. But, I couldn't complain too much b/c my food was always there - and she never made any mistakes. Honestly, I was a little disappointed in the dining room food. It wasn't as good as when I cruised in '96. My opinion is that it is not as good b/c of 9/11 and the economy etc. I think they've had to cut back on things. When I ordered "Tiger Prawns" - they were not large at all - they were small. And I was unimpressed w/ the side-dishes that came with the entrees - like the lobster - instead of being prepared w/ mashed potatoes or asparagus, it came w/ mushroom risotto - which I didn't think went w/ the lobster very well. Oh well, food is not really the biggest priority for me, so it wasn't that big a deal. We FULLY enjoyed the desserts and coffee though - and indulged every night. We had the best tiramisu that I've ever had in my life! And the other good dessert I had was a soufflé w/ grand marnier! mmmmmmm Formal dining got a little old to us, so we did eat one night on deck in south beach club. They had a good salad bar every night - and we highly enjoyed breakfast there in the mornings!!! Plenty to eat there for breakfast! I got hooked on cheese grits and French toast. :) What I really enjoyed about eating in this part of the ship was that if you get there at the right time, you can find a table RIGHT by a window w/ an incredible ocean-view - you would never get this close to the water in a restaurant - that was fabulous!!! Overall - I would highly recommend this cruise - I think particularly for those who like to be active - b/c there is so much to do. And again, I can't stress how much I enjoyed the gym and spa - after a good workout, whirlpool, and steam room time - I would come out feeling totally refreshed and energized - ready to take on the night! And overall, I would say the food was good - not excellent. We enjoyed the late-night pizza and the grill's burgers were really good. Also - I thought the drink prices were VERY reasonable - when I go out in Charleston, SC where I live, drinks range from $4 to $6 if you are drinking top-label liquor - the ship offered Tanguerray and Bombay Sapphire drinks for less than that. It was nice to have reasonably priced drinks when I was out and about on the ship. The only thing I would do different next time I cruise is get a balcony - I think it would be worth the extra $300 - $500 extra. Bon Voyage!

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Jul 6, 2003

San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Maarten

This was a family cruise including myself, my wife and 2 teenage daughters, plus 1 boyfriend, my brother-in-law and his wife, daughter and son, and my mother-in-law. We felt that there was not enough direction while boarding the ship. If we didn't have any cruise experience, we would have been lost. After getting onto the ship, we felt like we were dumped

into a sea full of fish with nowhere to go. This was our first impression and the feeling didn't change much during our whole experience. It seems like the Carnival Cruise Line is a people processing factory. The workers kept to themselves, unless asked. When a question was asked, they gave just enough information to keep you guessing. This was not a very friendly ship. It seems the crew is disgruntled from labor cuts and increases in responsibilities. They work too long and hard too many days of the week. The room service attendant slammed our luggage from the top of the luggage rack, breaking the zipper pull and lock off our new luggage. I commented to her about this and she ignored me. The dinner menu was not very good, including stale desserts. The wait staff was friendly, but there was a language barrier. I couldn't understand half of what was being said. The photo Department was not helpful. They were too busy (understaffed) to help. The front desk staff was not very friendly. When asked a question, the Clerk made you feel like you were not providing enough information for her to do her job efficiently. It gave me an uneasy feeling. The pool maintenance crew started working on the pool without notice. They ran yellow barrier tape directly over our head without saying anything. The tape actually ran into my sister-in-law's head and the person didn't apologize. There were broken sewage lines somewhere near our room and smelled like raw sewage for a day. The beds were not setup for a married couple and 1 guest. I asked if the beds could be put together for my wife and I and room service ignored the request. When I asked her why, she said there wouldn't be enough room. After she said this, I re- arranged the room myself. I will not take or recommend the Carnival Cruise Lines to anybody. It was not a life changing bad experience and I don't think it is a bad ship. I am accustomed to being treated like gold on a ship of this size. My experience of this Carnival Cruise is at a number 6 on a scale of 1-10 based on past Royal Caribbean cruises. My feelings at the end of the week were that it was good to get away from work, that's it.

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Jul 4, 2003

Eastern Caribbean

OUTSTANDING!!!! What more can I say? This was our first cruise, and it definitely won't be our last. The cruise director, Jeff Bronson, was extremely funny. He kept me and my wife in stitches. His rendition of "With Or Without You" was fantastic, until he screeched on the one high note. Ronaldo (aye aye aye) and Skippy were hilarious

and extremely fun to watch. Our Room Steward (Edy Wahyono) did an outstanding job! No sooner had we left for breakfast, he was in there cleaning our room, and at dinner time, he was in there turning down the bed and delivering our newsletter for the next day! The front desk was extremely professional and courteous. The gift shop people were friendly. Oh, and let's not forget the great food on the buffet. YUM!!! OK, so I do have a few minor complaints...the service in the dining room was a little slow, and the material they use on the steps on the deck burned my feet pretty badly). But overall, it was outstanding. So good, in fact, that as soon as we got home, we started planning our next cruise. GO CARNIVAL!

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Jul 4, 2003

Eastern Caribbean

There were two families - four adults and five kids. The 2 boys are 14 and 3 girls are 11. Arrival was much better than last time we cruised (almost 6 years ago). It took about an hour. The kids had the best time - I highly recommend this trip if your kids are old enough to roam around on their own. We kept in touch with the girls with radios and it worked out great. There were 3,400 people on our ship and 1,000 are kids. I had a good

time just watching all of the other kids have so much fun. There is a teen disco every night. Our kids had such a wonderful time, we had to beg them to eat dinner with us in the dining room. They made tons of friends. The food in the dining room definitely exceeded my expectations. The Chateaubriand (sp) was to die for. The lobster was pretty good, but the salmon appetizers were unreal. We definitely ate like kings. There are two dress up nights but the first night is the big one. A lot of people didn't even dress up for the 2nd night. The pizza is available all the time. The hamburgers and hot dog place was almost always open, too. All were great. I heard the Ruben at the NY Deli was delicious, and my husband loved the thai noodles at the Noodle. There is a nightly buffet open if you don't want to dress for the dining room. The drinks were great and as always, the crew is the best. Everyone went out of their way to make sure we were enjoying ourselves. We loved our steward, bartender (dinner) and waiter. I honestly have nothing negative to say about the cruise except for the sports bar. My husband was disappointed that there was never a baseball game on TV. Also, you should definitely go for the balcony room, if you can. It is so nice to sit outside. The kids were in the inside staterooms, which were fine for them. The comedians were hysterical but the shows were just ok. The cruise director was funny and the various activities they have during the day are very entertaining. The newlywed game was great as well. There is so much to do you will never get bored. I was dying to just sit around and read, but I never really got to. There was always something we wanted to do. San Juan was ok but we loved St Thomas and St Maarten. Again, this is a great family trip. Everyone will enjoy themselves if you are laid back and know how to relax.

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Jun 15, 2003

Western Caribbean

Cruising was the best vacation experience we have ever had. My wife and I immensely enjoyed our Western Caribbean cruise and all that it had to offer. The positives outweigh the negatives by a landslide. This was our first cruise and definitely not our last. My wife and I are in our early 40's and reside in the great state of Oregon. I am a teacher and my wife works in animal rescue. We have two teens at home we did not bring with us

so we could have quality time together. Embarking The Good: Courteous Carnival helpers the whole process long. It was a lot of waiting but they have a lot of little things to cover with each passenger. The Bad: * Baggage handlers where pushy, not friendly, and most concerned about their tip. * Be prepared with all documents before you enter the port area. They will not let you near the dock until they check you out. The Fun: Exploring the entire ship before we head out to sea. This is an ongoing process but after a few days it was rather easy to get around. The Worst: Safety training. Be sure to get there and not be late. This really was a huge downer waiting for the idiots who don’t listen and follow the rules. It takes only a few minutes but must be done. We were jammed in like sardines on one deck with lifejackets on. We were roasting and waiting for a lot of rude people who tried to skip it. The Room (balcony Verandah Deck) The Good: Outstanding! Just right in size for two and the room steward did a great job. I like the safe in the room. The beds where comfy too! The Bad: Awful TV. The picture had color problems but I chose not to complain. We had whistling door on the windy days. The cabin door would not lock unless I leaned on it so when the room steward would come in and leave my room was actually open. Room Steward: Never met him or her the whole entire week. Our room was taken care of though and the figures made out of towels were cool. At Sea The Good: There is so much to do! Read your Carnival Caper Newsletter and just do what ever pleases you. If you are bored it’s because you choose to be bored. All the activities on the Lido deck were fun to watch. If you love people watching this cruise will enlighten you! The Bad: Pushy waiters with the drinks. I was asked to buy a drink seven times in a 50 foot walk. The Kid Factor It exists especially when school just let out. We never got in the pools because they were filled with kids. The hot tubs were filled with kids too! They play on the elevators and run up and down the halls all during the day and night. The ship was a kid’s paradise for hide and seek or tag games. There was no supervision as parents just let them go thus the rest of us suffered. Smoking Rude…just plain rude. A total disregard for the rules and no one enforcing the rules. Tours We felt safest being with a group that was somewhat organized. Some people choose to go out on their own but we just were not savvy enough to be in a foreign country where we just did not feel totally safe. The Good: Meeting new people at each tour. Each tour was unique. Memorable experiences were had by all. The Bad: No instruction on the How To do things. Examples: Pick up and pet a stingray or ride a horse in the water. Cozumel: Jeep Safari Tour – Recommended! Great food and beach at the end of this tour. You see a lot of things and get a flavor for this poor country. Grand Cayman: Stingray and bus tour which included the turtle farm. You need to do the stingray thing so be very careful who you chose to do this with. There are so many people in this one little stretch of reef it is insane. Hundreds of people! Chose a guide/ tour carefully. Small is good. Also be aware of the confusing tour meeting areas. This is an unorganized fiasco and you better be paying close attention or you could end up somewhere unknown. Ocho Rios: We rode the horses in the sea and loved it all! This was the best bang for our buck once we got on a horse. It took a while to get started. As stated before there was no instruction on riding so expect to just jump up on a horse and figure it out on your own. We did see people fall off horses that had no experience. Beware that they will push you to buy VCR tape recordings that they take of you. You should also no that there is no where to lock up your valuables. They end up collecting all your stuff without telling you and taking it to the end of the horse ride. You just pray nothing ends up missing. Shows The Good: High quality entertainment and very enjoyable. We did not miss a single night. The Bad: Pushy drink servers. Sitting in the balcony near the stage. People who eat early dinner then wait for the second show instead of going to the first show. They take up seating for the late diners who cannot attend the first show. Pictures They will have professional set ups for you at no charge to take great photos for you each day. Take as many as you can then buy the ones you liked best. I love this concept. I just hated throwing away the ones I did not like as well as the good ones. What a waste. The food The good: Outstanding evening meals in the London Dining Room. Our dinner table friends were awesome as well as our servers Ta and Pituck. We loved our evenings on the ship and the food was so very good! The buffets where good but they did not compare to dinners. The Bad: Bland desserts in the buffet. Buffet lines where slow. Tipping If someone deserves more then give them more. Malcolm, the cruise director, will make a pitch at the end of the cruise for everyone on the ship including himself. I have one personal point: A cruise director should be paid for doing his job by carnival cruise lines. If he deserves more then they should compensate him accordingly. Debarking A slow process that went rather smoothly once our color was called. If you want to get off the ship sooner book a noon tour in Miami and you will be off the ship in the first wave of people. This was an easier process then embarking. Top Tens Things We Disliked 10. Kids running in the cabin halls 9. Pools over run kids 8. Jamaica was unsafe and scary 7. Casino beginners who don’t know how to play black Jack and mess up the cards. 6. Kids playing elevator tag 5. Long ferry rides on tours 4. Pushy drink servers 3. Fear of the unknown at each port. We just did not know enough. 2. Rude people who cut in lines and are pushy when we need to wait 1. Malcolm (cruise activity director) begging for tip money. Things We Liked 10. The Entire Ship was beautiful 9. Being immersed about what other countries are like. 8. After dinner entertainment 7. Watching the ship enter and leave ports 6. Casino Fun 5. Photo Shoots 4. Shopping at ports 3. Island tour of Riding horses at sea. 2. Meeting new people 1. Fine Dining every evening with good company and sharing the day of adventures. Overview We will cruise again! This was the best vacation ever for us and we loved so much about what cruising has to offer. We would travel an adult only non smoking cruise. Carnival had so much to offer each day and it was nice to have daily options. This was a vacation value when you think about the 5 star meals and service you get. The shows are Las Vegas quality and the comedians had us in stitches. Carnival accommodated us and tried to be informative the best they knew how. We had so much fun shopping on the ship and at ports. We were exposed to a lot of things and took them all in as an experience of a lifetime.

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Jun 13, 2003

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

I am writing this review in appreciation of all those who have submitted reviews in the past. Your input was very helpful in planning this vacation! Saturday, June 14 Our party consisted of myself and my husband, his mother and father, his brother and wife and two teenagers and we sailed on the Carnival Triumph. We flew from Charlotte, NC, to Miami International on Saturday. We had a long layover at Miami until the Carnival buses

arrived but found the Carnival staff easily in the baggage claim area. We were put onto the buses and taken to the Port of Miami to disembark. Upon arriving at the Port of Miami, some man DEMANDED that we tip him for transporting our luggage from the bus to the ship; we don’t think that he was with the Carnival staff. The process to get on the ship went fairly smooth considering that there were tons of people there. The bathrooms were absolutely filthy in the warehouse! Once we were on the Triumph, we went immediately to our rooms and then to the lunch buffet offered on the Lido Deck. At lunch, we were impressed with the variety of food offered and the quality of fresh fruit! Our cabin was clean and we loved the balcony; I would recommend having a balcony if possible. We did not meet the Cabin Steward this day. Dinner was excellent and our headwaiter (I. Gustav from Indonesia and Catalin from Romania) were very hospitable and provided excellent service all week (London Dining Room, First Seating)! We took them gift bags (disposable cameras, gift cards, pens and stationary) and they were very surprised and gracious. Dinner was excellent. We went to play $1000 bingo that evening and were very disappointed to find that you had to pay $10 per card. There are NO free bingo games on this ship. We also saw the first show tonight and thought it was okay. The sound system in the Rome Lounge is EXTREMELY LOUD and I would advise you to take earplugs! The hallway outside our cabin was rather noisy until about 11 PM. All the Carnival staff we met this day were very friendly and helpful. We signed up for excursions via the television and this was simple and timesaving. What we didn’t like this first day (and for the rest of the cruise) is that there are TOO MANY smoking areas on the ship. You couldn’t go into many of the bars because of the smoke and no one enforces the policy of not smoking in designated non-smoking areas. We were also CONSTANTLY hounded to buy alcoholic drinks everywhere we went. Our cabin was too warm and the air conditioning unit on the ship stopped running periodically the rest of the week. I was also surprised to see how small the pools are. Sunday, June 15 My husband and I got up at 6 AM and went to the jogging track to walk. We were impressed to see the number of crew members that were cleaning the decks and the hallways at that hour. We had breakfast in the Paris Dining Room and it was good but we didn’t think that the quality of breakfast food in the dining room was any better than the buffet offered on the Lido Deck. We ordered coffee via room service and it arrived promptly. We went to the 9:30 AM shopping talk on Cozumel and I don’t think it was very helpful. You can pick up the maps outside the Rome Lounge without having to sit through a lengthy talk. The Rome Lounge also smells like sweaty feet. We met our Cabin Steward this morning and also gave him a gift bag. Most of the day we lay out in the sun on the Lido Deck and had no trouble finding lounge chairs. Monday, June 16 This morning we docked in Cozumel, Mexico. My husband and I took the Tulum excursion to see the Mayan Ruins. This involved a 40 minute ferry ride over very rough seas and then a 1 hour bus ride. The weather was hot and the bugs were biting but Tulum is breathtaking! You could swim if you wanted but the seas were too rough the day we were there. On the way back, we stopped at the Lapis Jewelry Factory, which was a total waste of time. The prices were outrageously expensive. Instead of taking the ferry back to the ship, we got off in Cozumel and walked along the street shops. We ate at Pancho’s Backporch and thought the food was good, not excellent, we have had better Mexican food in North Carolina! We took a taxi for $6 per person back to the ship; I would not recommend walking back. There are also lots of shops along the pier back to the ship. This was the first formal night at supper and my husband and I enjoyed dressing up! Tuesday, June 17 We were at sea today. We took the Galley tour, which was too crowded and not very informative; you only see a small part of the kitchen. Tonight we went to the David & Caruso Magic Show that was excellent! Again, the sound system was too loud in the Rome Lounge. We stayed up until midnight to see the “After Dark” adult review and were very disappointed, it began 30 minutes late and only lasted 20 minutes. We think they started late on purpose to sell more alcohol! We went to see the midnight buffet and didn’t eat anything because it looked like left-over's from supper. Wednesday, June 18 We arrived at Grand Cayman this morning. We went on the Reef & Wreck snorkeling excursion and it was great! If you do this excursion, be sure to go early because the later tours are extremely crowded. Don’t buy food to feed the fish, they are plentiful anyway and husband was bitten by the fish and bled. Grand Cayman was very hot and crowded, as there were 4 other cruise ships docked that day besides the Triumph. Other members of our party took a taxi to the Turtle Farm and said that they enjoyed it. We had to take a tender from the ship to the island and this was much easier than I had expected. Go to the Tortuga Rum Cake Factory; they give free samples! Thursday, June 19 Arrived in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. We took the Highlight Tour “B” of a plantation, shopping and Dunn’s River Falls. I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS TOUR!!! The plantation was dilapidated and the tour was uninformative, short, dirty and hot. If this is a plantation then they must specialize in growing weeds. We were packed on “jitneys”, pulled by tractors, like sardines in a can. The tour guide was rude and there were horses on the “plantation” that were literally starving to death. It was horrible. We went to the Pineapple craft market and enjoyed bargaining with the locals for items. Yes, they were pushy and if you aren’t interested just say “no” and keep walking. Dunn’s River Falls was neat but if you don’t climb the falls there is nothing to do. If you go, go early because it was extremely crowded in the afternoon, all the tours end up there. Overall, we thought that Jamaica had beautiful scenery but the locals were unpleasant and unfriendly. Our tour guide on the bus was rude and had a nasty attitude. We complained to the excursion staff on the ship and recommended that they research the tours before recommending them! At supper we had baked Alaska for dessert and it was delicious! It was also the second formal night. That evening, we saw the “Century Café” show and thought it was much better than the first show but not as good as the magic show. Friday, June 20 At sea all day. We lay out in the sun most of the day and had no trouble finding lounge chairs. We went to the disembarkation talk at 11 AM and you need to go to this. It will help you get off the ship and through customs faster. Lots of things in the gift shops go on sale this last day so you may want to wait if you see something you want. Saturday, June 21 We signed up for the Everglades excursion and were some of the first people off the ship. Getting through customs was much easier than I had expected, have your sign & sail card, picture identification and customs declaration card in your hand. I don’t know how many times we heard this and yet a lady in front of us held up the line for ten minutes digging through her purse for her identification! The Everglades tour was excellent. We rode on Air Boats through the Everglades and saw tons of alligators, turtles and birds! The mosquitoes were horrible and I think we used a whole can of insect repellent! SUMMARY: Overall, we were impressed with the Carnival staff and how friendly and helpful they were. If you are respectful and nice to them, you will get it in return. However, if you are rude and demanding, as many we saw, don’t expect them to bend over backwards to help you! We were disappointed with the lack of activities on the ship. If you don’t drink to excess, gamble and then lie around the next day sleeping off your hangover, you should bring lots of books to read because there is not a lot to do. We also didn’t like the emphasis put on purchasing and consuming alcohol. We overhead someone say, later, that this was a “booze cruise” and this is an accurate characterization! Also, there needs to be fewer smoking areas and enforcement of not smoking in non-smoking areas. The food quality was excellent the first few days but diminished as the week went on. Considering the number of people that they were preparing for, it was probably not too bad. I hope this is helpful to some of you who are planning a cruise. Thanks again to all that have submitted reviews in the past!

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May 23, 2003

Western Caribbean

I just came back from my cruise on the carnival triumph yesterday. It was my first cruise and I had the best time of my life. I had so much fun, there was so much to do for all ages. It was my first vacation and my family and I are already planning our second one. We are going on the same one. The staff was excellent I became friends with many of them. The food and itinerary were great. I had the best time of my life. I recommend carnival

all the way!

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May 16, 2003

Western Caribbean

This was the first cruise by my wife and I. I studied many cruise lines, many ships and many itineraries but settled on the Carnival Triumph on it’s Western Caribbean route. We arrived at the docks at 1:00 PM and were in our cabin by 2:00 PM. They gave us a SARS questionnaire to fill out and sign, but no one ever collected it from us. The ship was what I expected. Yes the carpets in the hallways were stained but there was no

smell. You couldn’t get an elevator most of the time, so you had to walk up and down the stairs. The deck plans on the Triumph are horrible. In fact, it is so hard to get to the Paris dining room, they have a poster size drawing in the main lobby of the ship telling you go up two floors, walk to the back of the ship, then go down two floors. Our balcony cabin was plenty roomy enough for the two of us and I took a bungee cord to hold the door open at nights. There was no smell of smoke what-so-ever in our cabin. The bathroom and shower were big enough. The bed was king size but very hard and uncomfortable. Being able to look out the big window and glass balcony door was a definite plus. Our room was on the 8th floor (Verandah Deck) midship and well away from the elevator. There was never much noise from the deck above and no noise from below. I took great care in picking the room. We gave our cabin steward a goodie bag (disposable camera, pre-paid phone cards, chocolates, stationary, nice pen and $20) the first time we saw him Saturday afternoon, so he took excellent care of us and our cabin the entire week. We gave our headwaiter and assistant waiter each a disposable camera and a pre-paid phone card, so we got great service all week. As far as the food, see below. I bought a soda card and we had drink coupons. None of the bar tenders was ever mean or rude when I used the card or coupons. In fact, they were very nice. We only went to one show, the magic show, and it was very enjoyable. There were some kids on our cruise but they were few enough so as to not cause us any problems. It was a little difficult to find a deck chair in the late morning or early afternoon, but we did manage with some hunting. The ports were what I expected. Cozumel was great as we had many hours to spend ashore. The port times at Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios were too short and tours had to be limited. I did not book any tours through Carnival. I booked a Stingray City tour in Grand Cayman over the internet with Native Way Tours and for $25.00 per person I highly recommend them. Feeding and holding the stingrays is a unique experience! At Cozumel, we used taxi’s to go where we wanted (the Mayan ruins at San Gervasio, downtown to shop, and to Carlos & Charlies). In Ocho Rios, we used a taxi to go to Dunn’s River Falls early in the morning and got there before the crowds. Climbing the falls should not be missed! One note of warning about the taxi drivers; try to avoid paying for a round trip to the falls and back to the ship as our driver never showed up at the agreed time to take us back to the ship. We did find a driver from the same company who took us back for $5.00. OK, here is what Carnival is really doing wrong! They push the alcohol and photographs to the extreme. I was annoyed most of the time by the constant offers for drinks while on deck, in the shows, in the lounges, yes everywhere! And the photographers were always trying to take your picture so they could sell you a 5X7 or an 8X10. When you got on the ship, when you got off, at every hallway on formal nights, there were photographers pestering you. The food on the Triumph is way below what we expected. With the exception of two or three entrees, the food tastes like it was prepared at a Howard Johnson’s. The pizza is OK, not exceptional as other people have said. The hamburgers and the deli sandwiches are fairly good. The food on the buffets is just marginal. You could get mashed potatoes, but not gravy. In fact, the best food I had during the first 3 days of the cruise was some chocolate ice cream which I ordered as desert in the dining room on the 1st and 2nd night. I suggest Carnival include some “regular” American style food selections on their menus like meatloaf, BBQ ribs, pot roast, grilled or fried chicken salad, etc. Room service is a joke! You can’t get eggs or bacon or French toast or pancakes in your room. We planned to have breakfast on the balcony several mornings, but quickly abandoned that plan. The only place to get brownies or cookies in through room service. I tried to order brownies or cookies in the dining room and at the buffet but was told they were not available. I ordered orange juice to the room and got 2 thimble size glasses of OJ. The channels available on the TV consist of constant reruns of activities which previously occurred on board the ship. Every once and a while, another network channel was on but there was no CNN, no Weather Channel, nothing available all the time. Maybe Carnival is afraid that if the news is bad, they won’t sell as many drinks or photographs! In short, the ship, facilities and staff are as promised, friendly and helpful. The food leaves much to be desired. In fact, on the days we were in port, we always ate on shore to get some tasty food even though our food on the ship was paid for. I hope this is helpful to someone!

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Feb 22, 2003

Western Caribbean

This was our first cruise and we loved it! We live in Florida so we can't make any suggestions about flying and how to make sure you don't miss the boat. We arrived at the port and we impressed with how organized the Carnival staff were and how friendly. We got on board and did our life boat drill which took about 45 minutes and then we were on our way. Our room was that impressive but we were only really in it to change and sleep

so I don't think that room selection is that important to be honest. Our waiter was okay he seemed like he wished he was anywhere but on the boat. The food was very good though and we ate more than I thought was humanly possible. The entertainment was one of the highlights of the cruise it was fantastic! The ports were great we especially enjoyed Ocho Rios. We went on Moonstruck a catamaran to the Falls. It was fab the crew was great and the boat was beautiful. We tried lots of exotic fruit drank some Jamaican rum punch and just relaxed. The falls were fun but very crowded. The staff there really pushes you right through you feel like you are on an assembly line. Leaving the boat was probably the worse part of the whole thing. I felt like it was unorganized. I must say I was very happy when looking for our luggage that I wasn't worried about making a flight home. Overall we had a wonderful time and are hoping to do a family reunion next year on Carnival. See you all then.

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Feb 1, 2003

Eastern Caribbean

This is our 3rd cruise (2nd with Carnival). It was our 5th wedding anniversary cruise and our last cruise was on the Sensation in Feb 99, so it had been awhile since our previous cruise. Security had definitely changed since 1999 after the 9/11 tragedy, however we didn’t mind being it was making us all safe! You had your picture taken upon embarkation and when you “clocked” in and out with your sail/sign card from a port visit the

picture would show up on the screen and they would allow you to come aboard when they matched it to you Embarkation: This wasn’t bad because we arrived in Miami the night prior and thus got to the port early (11am) to embark. The line was pretty long even at 11am however we arrived just as they opened up another line to help move people along so we got lucky! It took us about an hour from checking in and then receiving our sail/sign card, to getting our pictures taken. Cabin: We booked an inside cabin wanting to save money. On our previous cruises we hardly stayed in there but to sleep so why pay more?! The room steward was great! He kept our ice bucket full and we always came back to a clean cabin. It was like he had invisible cameras in there telling him when we left, etc…and he’d hurry up and clean the cabin for our day! The towel animals were excellent too…an elephant, kangaroo and other cute animals always there! Food: As always the food was great…the tomato rolls are awesome! The prime rib in the dining room was just as I ordered too! I was disappointed because either we missed the escargot entrée or it just wasn’t being offered on this cruise! The bread guy always (in the dining room) gave us ton of bread/rolls and kept our water full of which we only drank water in the dining room. The Paris dining room was comfortable and our waiter was excellent, always made us laugh! We celebrated our anniversary and received a cake and it was delicious! Even had extra to take back to our cabin for later! The deli was good if you didn’t want to sit in the dining room….I loved their Rueben sandwiches! They were awesome! The burgers in the grill area weren’t that great as they had to mass produce and sometimes they were left out for awhile and thus taste wasn’t that great. The pizza was 24 hr however sometimes there was nobody there to get pizza! Of course my husband used full advantage of the 24 hr ice cream machine! LOL We never used room service so I can’t comment on that. Entertainment: We had the BEST cruise director in the world! It was funny because he was the same one we had on the Sensation in 99! His name was John Heald and he always made you laugh! We spoke with him personally and he told us he is retiring soon and is training other cruise directors on Carnival…I know he will bring out the BEST cruise directors if they follow his leads! The shows were very nice….you had to be there early in the lounge to find a seat (about 30 min early) and the Las Vegas Show they had was great…the costumes were beautiful, the dancing awesome…just something you DON’T want to miss! Public Areas/Casino/Lounges: We spent a lot of time just walking the ship…spending time in the casino at the slots and even won 1000 quarters! The smoke near the casino can get bad at times so I would have to leave however I didn’t notice it too much in other parts of the ship. Right near the Casino there was a girl who played the piano and sang (Julie Kryk) and hubby liked it so much he bought her CD! The ship is very large! You can walk it and get very tired. We walked by the internet café however felt if we couldn’t spend a week without our computer we didn’t need the cruise! SO, we did not purchase time on their computers…it seemed like there was always someone on the computer though. We attended the art auction they had and purchased one. They offered a “free” one if you stayed throughout the auction also however if you don’t want to sit for 1-2 hrs then I’d advise not to take them up on that. The pools were nice however we didn’t use them but we did sit in the Jacuzzi and that was great! Met some other people and just relaxed. The ship wasn’t very crowded except when you wanted to return from a port visit and get back on or disembarkation (which was TERRIBLE crowds-packed like sardines to leave!) Shore Excursions/Ports of Call: Our first stop was in San Juan. We took the San Juan Tour and I found it very informative! Being history buffs and wanting to get the most for our buck plus shop alittle we found it worth the little money we paid. It toured us around San Juan (old and new), showed us the courthouse, etc…and then dropped us off to shop for like an hour before taking us back to the ship. The shopping was good…we found A LOT of t-shirts very cheap there and took advantage of that. Make sure you get the discount sheet and follow it. Some of the discounts were good. We did return to the ship at 8pm and thus missed out seating for dinner and that upset us but we picked up some pizza and called it a day. 2nd stop was St Thomas…we decided to do this on our own! We had reserved a jeep thru Hertz in St John prior to taking the cruise also. We took a taxi from the ship to the Red Hook Ferry and arrived in St John only to find that we had NO idea where the Hertz rental place was! After asking around and getting eventually there we found out it was out of a trailer in Cruz Bay…Paris car rental. If you decide to rent a jeep make sure you get directions to where you need to pick it up at LOL…once we got the jeep we just went with our instinct. I had a map of the island from the Hertz and we drove the island. Remember it’s driving on the LEFT side so remember that if you rent a vehicle….lots of HILLS and lots of mountains! The views were astronomical and the best I’ve ever saw. The traffic in St John is nil to none and we found it the best choice to just drive around on. We first drove to the Annaberg and toured the Sugar Mill Ruins. Then we drove to Trunk Bay and did some swimming. After that we drove to Coral Bay and ate at Skinney Legs…of which I heard online to definitely not miss that place. Their burgers are the best in the Caribbean and they lived up to that! We decided to return the jeep early (about 2pm) and caught the next Red Hook Ferry back to St Thomas and then picked up a taxi back to the ship and did some shopping for about an hour. My advice is to definitely get yourself over to St John…rent a jeep and just enjoy your visit. You can go at your own pace..it’s one fee, and there’s nobody else saying where you should go, etc…Plus we saw a lot of wildlife there…goats, a mongoose crossed the road in front of us too! Just our most favorite port of all three! 3rd stop was St Maarten, NB…It was my most unfavorite port. We booked a shore excursion for the island tour however it didn’t leave until 12pm so we decided to take a taxi to downtown Phillipsburg and do some shopping. It so much reminded me of Mexico…very run down…very dirty…and it smelled bad. During our visit downtown there were some VERY persistent people either asking if I wanted my hair braided or if I wanted to look at a time share, etc…it got so annoying we decided to leave Phillipsburg early and return to the ship! We did find a few bargains for gifts…a bottle of nail polish that changes color in the sun and a t-shirt that also changes color in the sun for our daughter whom we left home with Grandma! Getting back to the ship we decided to walk…of which it probably took us 30 min and it was probably about a mile or so. Not too bad actually and we saved the taxi fare to get back. If we had known the ship was so close to downtown we would have walked there too instead of using a taxi for 3.00. Our shore excursion was awesome! The tour operator was very knowledgeable and answered all of our questions. The tour took us to the Dutch and French side and dropped us off at the flea market on the French side to shop. We found A LOT of good bargains there too! Plus I got fresh squeezed pineapple juice from a juice stand nearby! YUM I would highly recommend that tour if you want to see both the French and Dutch side of the island and learn about their differences. I didn’t know they each have their own driver’s licenses too! We arrived back for about an hour more of shopping of which we did at the port shops instead and we sat outside and just drank a few daiquiris and took in the beautiful scenery. Disembarkation: OMG that was a MESS!!! We were told to sit in the lounge areas so we decided to sit near the casino. We waited, and waited, and waited….for customs to release us and for the foreigners onboard to get themselves cleared. I don’t know whose fault it was but we weren’t able to leave the ship til close to 11am when disembarkation was said to be about 9am! They call you by your tag colors (according to the cabin, etc…) and then when you leave the ship you walk into a HUGE warehouse type place where all the colored tags are grouped together. Talk about CAOS…it took us forever to find our bags too even though they were supposedly grouped together. Then when we went to leave you had to haul ALL your bags outside the terminal and everyone was pushing everyone else and it was one big crowd of people and tons of baggage. The line we went thru the customs guy was looking at everyone’s custom forms, but I noticed in the line next to us the customs guy was just taking the forms and piling them on top of each other and not even glancing at them! Overall Experience: I think the Triumph is a beautiful ship. I also think the cruise director makes the cruise enjoyable and John is the best one in the business! I would go on her again in a heartbeat! In fact, we have another cruise booked on the Sensation for March 2004! I can’t wait!

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Jan 25, 2003

Western Caribbean

To begin with, this was our first cruise. Having said that we had done a great deal of research on our cruise. We read and devoured virtually every “Cruise Review” site available. We researched all the information we could find on the Carnival Cruise Lines, specifically, our ship, and our three ports-of-call prior to our sailing. We even went as far as to arm ourselves with a complete loose-leaf binder packed with the data that we had

gathered, about the ship, and each of our ports of call. We felt like we knew everything there was to know. Oh my, how little did we know! We flew out of Toronto via Air Canada, arriving in Miami approximately 1:15 in the afternoon. In short order we had collected our baggage. The Carnival people were very easy to find on the arrivals level at the Miami airport, and we were effortlessly directed to the area were the buses were loading to take us to our ship. The drive from the airport to the docks took all of maybe twenty minutes. We were told that it was one dollar per bag to transport our baggage from the bus to the ship, whether this was true or not, we don’t know, however we did cough up with the required money. We had booked a category eleven suite and as such were afforded the luxury of using the “Skipper’s Club” to check in, and thusly avoided some very long line-ups. Our checking in process had handled fairly smoothly with the exception of the fact that my travelling partner Mary was born in Scotland and has a British Passport. The wrinkle came when they found that she was not a Canadian Citizen, all be it she is a Canadian Resident with “Landed Immigrant Status”. This took all of possibly ten minutes to sort out, all in a comfortable lounge like atmosphere. >From there, we joined a very short line up to get our “Sign & Sail” cards, this was handled with an absolute minimum amount of fuss, and then we were on our way to the entranceway to the ship. We had our pictures taken for security purposes, and then into the ship, where we again had our photo taken (with a clock in the corner of the photo showing what time we had arrived) with hopes that we would buy the photograph at a later date. Our first impression of the ship was one of being awe stuck. Everything was as we had envisioned it, only better! It was like walking into a huge magnificent hotel, the opulent grandeur was not only stunning, but also breath taking. We decided that our first priority was to locate our room, and then go and explore the ship. Finding our room was very easy, when we opened the door we found it to be exactly as depicted on Carnival’s web site, to be very brief the room was fantastic. We had a small bar fridge with a full compliment of beverage glasses, a 20” or so colour television, VCR and a safe, all of which were built into a cabinet. The balcony was amazing, running the full width of our cabin and was approximately 5 feet deep. It was furnished with two plastic chairs and a small table, which we made good use of turning our cruise. The bathroom in our suite was quite roomy, complete with a Jacuzzi bathtub, detachable showerhead, and there was also a retractable clothesline in the shower, so that you could hang up a wet bathing suit (quite handy). The bathroom also came with complimentary mini packs of shampoo, conditioner, tooth paste, razors (no shaving cream) plus an assortment of breath mints and mouth wash plus a few other miscellaneous items, all of which we put to good use. Another absolute plus was having “Carnival” terry-cloth robes provided for us, these were warm and comfy. After we visited our cabin, we were off to begin our exploration of the ship. The Triumph is huge, 983 feet long, with elevators going from deck zero to deck eleven, and then once outside on deck eleven you can go up two more deck levels. Is it easy to get lost? Oh yes, we both did that on more than one occasion. I, having left one of the bars on level five to nip back to our room for something, five minutes to get back to the room and twenty-five minutes to remember where I had come from. Mary on the other hand, did much the same thing taking five minutes to go to our room and twenty minutes to find her way back to her starting point. On a couple of occasions, she even forgot our suite number, and had to go to the Purser’s desk to ask, “where do I live?” (During one of the orientations we were told that this would be our home for the next week.) Our luggage would have been delivered to our cabin, had we not chosen to collect it ourselves. Upon returning from our initial investigative jaunt around the ship, we found our luggage fairly close to our cabin. We opted to take our bags to our cabin and unpack; this undoubtedly saved us some time. We had read in a number of other reviews that most of the deck chairs had been “reserved” by passengers putting a towel or book or some other item of a personal nature on them early in the morning. We did not find this to be a problem at any time. In fact just the opposite, there seemed to be an abundance of chairs available, and on some mornings or afternoons, we had our choice of many different areas where we could bask in the Caribbean sun. We had an early sitting for dinner in the Paris Dining Room at a table for four, which had been our request. Our tablemates and we agreed that the service was very good and none of us could find anything to complain about. Our team headwaiter and his assistant were most accommodating in our requests; we were able to keep them entertained with our varied requests and questions about the menu, the ports-of-call, or the weather. They were eager to either chat with us about our day’s activities, or allow us to be on our own depending on our mood. They never seemed to be hovering over us nor pushing us to finish early, but rather let us enjoy our meal and relax. The menu each night offered a tempting array of appetizers, soups, salads and an assortment of equally enticing entrée choices in five different categories, a red meat, fowl, fish, vegetarian or pasta, as well as diet or health conscious choices. The food was always well presented, quite tasty and the portions were prefect for our appetites. The deserts were again well presented, and widely varied. My favourite was the Grande Marnier Soufflé. Mary and I also ate our breakfasts in the Paris Dining room rather than at one of the buffets, which were also offered on the upper decks. During this period of time we were seated at various tables (not the table we had been assigned to for lunch and dinner). The breakfast menu was always the same, however there was an assortment of choices, ranging from cereal (hot or cold), bacon, grits, sausages, ham, French-toast pancakes, eggs (any way you wanted them) fruit, and a number of other items. So you would be hard pressed to run out of choices. I guess my only complaint here was, I prefer grapefruit juice rather than orange juice, and this took what I thought was an unreasonable amount of time to bring, and virtually no refills were offered as opposed to ordering orange juice, which was always readily available for refills. The coffee was always good both at breakfast and at dinner, full bodied and rich, with plenty of warm-ups and refills offered. We also discovered the joys of a quite prompt, no charge room service. In the morning, we would often order coffee and juice, which were able to enjoy either in our cabin, or on our balcony, prior to going to the dining room for breakfast. We also took advantage of room service and the buffets and even the New York Deli to get a sandwich or something for lunch to take with us on a shore excursion. This came in handy more than once, when we found that our shore excursion lasted until two or three in the afternoon. The shore excursions that were offered allowed for a variety of things to do in each of the three ports-of-call. Prior to each stop, our cruise director presented a review of the various outings that supplemented the information than was offered in the material that was left in our cabin. These we found to be most informative as well as entertaining. And, should you have been unable to attend one of these seminars, it would be rebroadcast on the television. The down side of booking your outing or excursion on the ship was, you are basically paying the ship a commission. But! They also ensure that you are with a reputable organization and, you know that you will be back to the ship on time, and that there is space for you on your excursion venture, plus you would still have ample time for sight seeing or shopping. We discovered that the price of the various bottle of spirits (booze) on the ship was quite reasonable, in most instances the prices that the ship offered were the same or in many instances better than those in the so called “duty free” shops on shore. Something to watch for on the ship, are the “sales” in the gift shops where you can save up to 50% in some instances by waiting for a few days. I guess they are making sure that you max out your “card” and that Carnival gets a good bang for your buck. Now speaking of “bucks”, don’t forget to visit the casino. It’s quite conveniently placed, right smack-dab in the centre of the ship on the fifth level (which by the way is the only level that you can get from one end of the ship to the other on). You virtually can’t miss going through, or beside the casino, and they are most happy to take your money, I know because we did make a nominal contribution and they were quite friendly and helpful. As far as on board activities and other assorted stuff, there was always plenty to do, if you wanted to. The activities were well designed for all of the various age groups, and seemed to be well attended. The entertainment on our cruise was diverse and extremely good. Our cruise director John Heald was amazing. Some of the skits and games that he put on with the help of some of the people that he picked out of the audience brought tears to our eyes. It had been a long time since I had laughed like that. The magician’s show was nothing short of astonishing, very, very entertaining. Disembarking was a wee bit of a chore. We had to have our bags packed and put outside our cabin door prior to midnight on the night before we arrived in Miami. (This is when we found that we had taken way too many clothes; it was amazing how many items of clothing we had brought, that we had not worn!). We were also given customs and immigration forms to be filled out for the next morning. Then the following morning we had to assemble at 6:30 a.m. in the Club Rio, where we were given back our passports, and then briefly interviewed by the American immigration authorities. We were then able to go and enjoy our last breakfast on the ship prior to disembarking. After breakfast we went up on deck and relaxed while we waited for our assigned colour code to be called. The bottom line is; would we do this again? You betcha! In a flash! This was the vacation of a lifetime the ship was a magnificent, the staff was friendly, we enjoyed ourselves, we had fun, we relaxed, we did everything we wanted to and we ate many extraordinary meals. (Mary gained twelve pounds while I lost two pounds (my weight loss was due to the amount of walking and stair climbing that I did by choice)). We have subsequently recommended both Carnival and the ship The Triumph to everyone who asked about our vacation. If you have a choice of Cruise Lines or Ships, we both heartily recommend Carnival’s Triumph! Go for it!

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Nov 30, 2002

Western Caribbean

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Jul 21, 2002

Canada

This was my 2nd cruise overall and my first Carnival Cruise. Last Year, I took a cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Nordic Empress to Bermuda which was a great cruise. SHIP -The Triumph was built in 1999, so I expect the ship to be nice and modern, which it looked like when I saw it. It looked the same from the inside too. The ship was a lot bigger than the Nordic Empress and had many more places on it. It's very easy to get lost in and only Decks

5 and 9 go through. Why? I don’t know. ROOM - My family got a room on Deck 7, the Empress Deck. When we entered the room, it was a lot bigger than we thought it would be and it would be no problem for 3 people to use (my mom, dad and me). It had many amenities to use as well. It also had a private balcony that overlooks the ocean. FOOD -First of all, we had to get our seating changed from Late to Early because my dad clearly requested Early months before. So we went to the maitre d’, Jean Pierre. He informed my father that there are 3000 people on the ship and everybody can't get there way. He said it in a rude way too. So we stuck with Late Seating the first night. We had good people at our table, including a boy I met named Matt. We hung out together practically the whole cruise. About the food, it was OK, not the best I've tasted. However, the Pizzeria has very good pizza. The second night, we finally got early seating. However, Jean Pierre gave us the worst seat on the ship- the top level of the dining room, all the way in the back, behind a counter, and by the window. Fortunately, we sat with good people. ACTIVITIES -There are many activities on the ship, such as BINGO, Pool Games, Shows, Teen Disco, and more. However, I don’t think there are enough activities for teens 15-18. There is only a teen disco from 9:30-11:00 and arcade games to play that you get tired of playing after a while. BINGO was definitely not like Royal Caribbean’s. BINGO was only 1 game and it lasted like 5 minutes! However, there is a big prize, like $2000, but I like Royal Caribbean’s style better. Cleanliness - The ship, overall, was pretty clean, but some parts were dirty, such as the bathrooms. Every time I went in, there was always urine all over the floor. On Royal Caribbean, the floors were clear as a bell. And the hallways in the Triumph had stains on them-RCL didn't! PORTS OF CALL -The two ports of call we went to were Saint John, New Brunswick and Halifax, Nova Scotia. Saint John was a ghost town, and looked really dirty. There was absolutely nothing to do here. The ship was docked there 8 hours and we stayed in Saint John for 30 minutes and got back on the ship. Halifax was a little better- at least it wasn't a ghost town. We did some shopping there and had lunch there, which was very good. OVERALL IMPRESSION -The cruise was OK, but not the best vacation I was on. The ship was bigger and newer than Royal Caribbean’s Nordic Empress, but there were some workers such as the maitre d’ who were downright rude, which you would never see on Royal Caribbean. I wouldn't recommend anyone to take this cruise. The ports were boring and there were some big disappointments on the ship as well.

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Mar 24, 2002

NOT FOUND

Michael Sullivan Highly recommended for a family vacation for three generations. There is something to do for everyone and no one in our party ages 9 to 59 felt bored or short changed. Recommendations: 1. Food and service at main dining room were better than I had expected on this large a ship. Equivalent to that on much higher priced lines. Stay with this venue or the pizza / hamburger stalls which the kids in the party loved. The

Lido buffet was below par - both quality and selection. 2. If you have kids, bring walkie-talkies. The first two days you use them to stay in touch with the kids. After that the kids use them to keep in touch with the friends they've made in the disco. There were large numbers of pre-teenagers and young teenagers moving about in large polite packs. 3. For $100 you can take a 2-3 hour taxi tour with 4 people in Cozumel - a fun experience and a much better value than the ship organized tours. On the other hand, in Jamaica I probably wouldn't go off on my own a second time. 4.Yes, it's irritating that all the deck chairs around the pool are reserved and unused starting in the early a.m. Go to the lobby level deck where the chairs are more comfortable and the ocean is visible. 5. Three of the shows are musical production numbers or magic shows of Las Vegas quality -not to be missed. The comedians varied between good lounge act quality and mediocre. 6. Buy the kids the unlimited soft drink card ($30) early on. It's honored at all the bars and will be well used. This is probably not the optimal ship for an older couple traveling alone, but grandchildren would be bored to tears on that optimal ship. This is a very good value and experience for families.

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Dec 8, 2001

Eastern Caribbean

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Jun 29, 2001

NOT FOUND

Stephanie Chiu   Day 1 – Saturday, Welcome Aboard! This is my review of our Western Caribbean cruise on Carnival Triumph from June 30 – July 7, 2001. My family of six went with my aunt and uncle’s family of five, as well as my grandparents. The thirteen of us drove to the Port of Miami around 11:30 a.m. It was pretty crazy because cars were everywhere, and there were different terminals depending on which cruise ship

you’re boarding. There were workers waiting to collect the heavy luggage that would be brought to our room that evening. All of us carried lots of small bags with us, but the ones we couldn’t personally carry had Triumph red tags with our names and cabin numbers. You have to tip the guys to ensure that they get your luggage to your room safely. One advice – count how many bags you’re handing over so that you can be sure they all arrive later that evening/night. After that, my dad dropped us off at the terminal so that we could start lining up. This was our second cruise, so we had some experience this time on what to do. Last time, on Paradise, we parked our car and then walked all the way to the terminal w/ all our luggage!! *For the first-timers, it is recommended that you get to the port early because lining up and going through the whole boarding process, along with lugging all your bags, can take a while.* Also, the forms in the cruise packets that are sent to each person should be filled out BEFORE arriving at the terminal, because once in, it is chaos. Have your papers ready. While we were in line, my dad went to find parking for our van. He met us at the line and told us that he came close to not getting a parking spot. Be sure to bring enough cash to park your car at the Carnival parking lot. They do not take credit cards or checks! The fee increased this year to $70 for us, and my dad just had enough. Once we checked in, we were out of the first line and went to pickup our sail and sign cards, done by room number. Inside each envelope is a card for every occupant of that room. The card also tells what dining room you got, what table number, and whether or not you’re in main or late seating. The sail and sign card is your life for the week – all your purchases on the cruise are made w/ the card, and it is the key to your room. It is also the only ID required to leave and return to the ship. This year they took our pictures and while it doesn’t show up on your card, it shows up on a computer when you’re going in and out. If you lose your card (which happened to my sister later on), the purser’s office will get you a new one and cancel the lost one immediately. You do not have to retake your picture. Triumph has about 3400 passengers, but since we knew the whole process, we got on the ship in about 45 minutes. We got on at around 12:45, and the ship did not deport until about 4:30, which gave plenty of time for people to board. Upon entering, we found ourselves at the atrium, Deck 3. It was a marvelous sight, and suddenly the exciting of cruising returned. Our rooms were on Main deck, deck 2, so we just went down one flight. I was sharing my cabin with my two sisters, and our room (2449) was the only odd number, so we went one way and our entire family went the other. Our room had two beds and two pull-down bunks that were locked. In order the pull them down, you have to call your cabin steward. Our travel agency had sent wine to each room, and a snack package to my father’s room because he arranged everything. The phone can be used to call your room steward, the information desk, room service, wake up calls, and other cabins. After the initial settling in, we all met and took the elevators to the 9th floor, the lido deck, which was the most popular floor. One bad thing about the cruise was that elevators took forever to arrive, so sometimes we would take the stairs, even from Deck 2 to Deck 9! At the lido deck you can tan, play in the pool and waterslide, and eat from the Coney Island Grille, the Sun Lovers buffet for lunch, and the 24-hour pizzeria. Inside, there is the South Beach Club, which houses the Hong Kong Noodle Company and the NY Deli on opposite sides, and of course, buffets. We went immediately to the Hong Kong Noodle place, where there was less of a line than the NY Deli. The food was not that great, not authentic Chinese food. We also checked out all the selections at the buffet. There were lots of delicious looking cakes with elaborate pieces of hardened sugar and chocolate stuck to them like art. There’s also ice cream and frozen yogurt machines. Most of the cruise, the vanilla ice cream was broken but the vanilla yogurt tasted so much like ice cream that I didn’t even know I had been eating yogurt the whole time. The machines were popular for those sunning and the younger kids, as well as endless fries and hamburgers at the Coney Island Grille. We enjoyed the view of Miami outside and honked at passing cruise ships. The view was picturesque. At 4:30 there was a lifeboat drill. Announcements can be heard inside your rooms. Life jackets were in the box under the TV, and we had to follow everyone on our side to a certain muster station, where we wore our lifejackets and listened to the captain and crew. That took about 30 minutes. Then it was off to main seating at the Paris dining room. We were really lucky and got a big table with a window view, at the upper level (there are two levels to both dining rooms). One of the highlights of our cruises has been being served endless amounts of starters and main courses and desserts all week! Tonight was casual dress code, since it is expected that some passengers have not received their luggage. Dinner was great – we met our main waiter, the assistant waiter, and the maitre de. After dinner we headed back to our cabin to “digest” and enjoy the complimentary cabin movies. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon was playing. At 10:30 there was the Welcome Aboard Show, something no one should miss. Every big show is hosted in the Rome Lounge, conveniently one floor above us. Seats always fill up quickly. We never sat up in the balcony during the week. The show sets the tone for the  rest of the week. You meet some other passengers when they are called up to embarrass themselves. It is great fun. We met the cruise fun hosts, as well as the cruise director, John Heald, who definitely made this cruise a memorable experience. John is one of the top cruise directors, and hilarious. He is British so you can imagine that he has wacky, naughty humor. Unfortunately, it was one of his last weeks on the Triumph. He will be relocating to the Carnival Spirit going to Alaska in the fall. Right away the night was full of laughter. My dad was one of the passengers picked to participate, and later on became the celebrity of the ship for the entire week. I won’t spoil the surprise, but he was told to say certain things beforehand, so it all seemed natural when he was up. He did a great job cracking everyone up without really trying to be funny. The show was a wonderful end to the first night. All the participants received a bottle of champagne. Day 2 – Sunday, Fun Day at Sea! We kids could never get up early for breakfast, so we woke up around noon and went immediately to the Paris dining room for lunch. For those who do not want to be served, the Sun Lovers buffet is always available on lido. If you wake up around 12:30, do not bother going to the dining room, because it is already too late for main seating. They have to prepare for late seating people to eat lunch. Lunch was delicious – so far the food has been better than Paradise. Our parents had gone to the Cozumel shore tour talk by John in the Rome Lounge at 11:00 a.m. We would be arriving at Cozumel the next day. On Triumph there was a lot of bingo and trivia, but no game shows like we had on Paradise. My uncle went to the art preview and while we kids explored the 13 decks of the massive ship. The lido deck had music, a Men’s Hairy Chest contest going on, and as usual, lots of tanning. I did not go out and tan at all during the week but I heard that it gets really packed and you must get there early and literally reserve a seat. We grabbed some fruit (they have endless fruit salad) and ice cream cones and went back to the room to shower and prepare for the most formal night of the week, which was tonight. *For first timers, be prepared – the toilets make a suction sound when you flush, and it may be startling at first!* There is a lot of excitement because of formal portraits you can take in different areas of the ship. Most of the photographers are near the atrium stairway, Decks 4 and 5. We dressed up and went to take pictures. Then off to Paris for formal dinner – tonight they served the best courses all at once. Lobster tail!! Prime rib! And lots more. I especially remember the lobster tail, as I have been looking forward to that since Paradise. We all ordered the best main courses. There was so much food, I wanted another lobster tail but could not fit it. Must sacrifice for dessert! I think we scared our waiter by ordering so much. Then we rolled back to our rooms or to check out the photo gallery, which had pictures from the day before, when we first boarded. One tip – wait till the end of the week before buying pictures, because at the end of the week you can check out ALL the pictures you took and see  which ones you want. If you buy them the same day, you won’t have anything to compare to, and they get pricey! About $20 for each large photo. At 8:45 we saw the first show, Century Café, which had singing and dancing. Day 3 – Monday, Cozumel, Mexico! This morning we got up early to get ready for scuba diving. We prepared a bag the night before, with sun block, water shoes, eyeglasses cases, towels. Our cousins didn’t bring a bag but ended up needing a place to put all their stuff. The ship provides big blue towels that say Carnival Fun Ship, but if you lose them, there is a $35 fine, so keep them with you and make sure no one takes yours! We went up to lido and ate a quick breakfast to have energy later on (they have omelets but it takes too long to make). Then we got off the ship. Make sure if you do scuba or any thing that involves signing a form or having parents sign, do it the night before and have it ready. Also keep your sail and sign cards in a safe place. We boarded a small boat which took us about 15 minutes away from the Triumph. We got to an island where instructors were waiting. After the 20-minute instructions, we got all our equipment. My parents had major reservations about letting my 13 year old sister go, but they talked to people at the information desk that said she would be with an instructor at all times. I was a bit nervous, because of the equipment and all the rules to remember. Although we are good swimmers, this does not affect scuba diving, as I would find out. As beginners, we would go down to 30 feet maximum, and we weren’t allowed to bring underwater cameras b/c they were afraid we weren’t ready to handle taking pictures while applying the rules. Two instructors took the 7of us out to sea. Right away I had trouble with my mask – water kept leaking in and stinging my eyes. My sister and I had trouble remembering to only breathe through our mouths, and how to equalize so that we could go deeper. Javier stayed behind and helped us. When I wanted to go down, we communicated through hand signals and he let the air out. I panicked a little as I went down. I had to try and pop my ears so that I could equalize the pressure. Just as I was getting used to it, it was over. For another 30 minutes, you have to pay more. My cousin was stung by a jellyfish but he was ok. We saw some nice fish, but I didn’t get to enjoy it as much as I wish. Then we waited to board the small ship back to Triumph. Gorgeous scenery. Back on Triumph, it was only 11:45. The adults had gotten up for lunch at the South Beach Club. We showered and met them, ate and then went shopping. At John’s talks he will recommend certain stores to go into, with deals just for cruisers, and you can get a map of the downtown shops  that are recommended. All of our fellow cruisers were carrying them. We took a taxi downtown. There is a lot of bargaining in Mexico. People try to lure you in wherever you go, so you have to know how to bargain. Also, do not drink the water! After we reached the end of the strip we headed back. My uncle and aunt were looking at opals, tanzanite and diamonds and found an opal at a good price so they stayed behind. Taxis charge extra for air conditioning! My grandfather bought rum at the duty free shop before we boarded. Upon boarding you think, “Home at last” because all week the ship does become your home. We got ready for dinner, the main time that all 13 of us got together. Much of the time the kids went on their own and adults did their own thing. There was a Mexican folklore show at 10:45 that some of us went to. John had mentioned that there are two shows – the folkloric and the other being watching the drunken people come back on board. My dad said to be at Deck 0 at around 11:15 to see the drunks, but we were at the folkloric show so I missed it. Very rarely do people actually miss the boat, but sometimes it happens. My brother and my cousin disappeared for a while and my mom grew concerned because the ship leaves at midnight and you MUST be back on ship at 11:30 p.m. We ran into my brother and cousin at the midnight buffet getting hot chocolate (available 24-7, along w/ iced tea, lemonade, tea, and water). They had gone back to the shops by themselves but luckily watched the time. We kids stayed up late watching cabin movies or eating pizza and Caesar salads at the pizzeria. Also, due to my uncle’s snoring, all my cousins and my brother ended up sleeping in our room the rest of the week. It was fun, although two people always got the floor! Day 4 – Tuesday, Fun Day at Sea! Today we kids again woke up really late and ran to the dining room to eat lunch. It was 12:45 and I think our waiter was a bit annoyed. We still had time to eat but they wanted time to clean up. Lunch in the dining room is not as popular as lunch on the lido deck. My parents had gone to the Grand Cayman and Jamaica adventure talk at 11:00 and discussed the shore tours we would take. After lunch, there was another art auction. My uncle bought a huge Peter Maxx painting. At 3:15 we went to the Marriage Show in the Rome Lounge, which was entertaining because of John. One couple could really sing when the man was asked to sing to his new bride. They were picked to participate in Wednesday night’s guest talent show. My brother and cousin had brought a guitar to practice and record in preparation for the talent show. They are 15 and 17, respectively. Sadly, the guest talent show is only for those 18 and older, and only about 6 acts are chosen. Lip-syncing and stand up comedy aren’t allowed. There is a kid’s talent show for Camp Carnival but no teen talent show. At 5:00 the main seating guests who had been given special invitations and had been on previous Carnival cruises went to a Carnival repeaters party at the Club Rio. It was a dimly lit lounge where a band from the Philippines called the Highlights played while  we enjoyed complimentary drinks and hors d’oeuvres. My sister, having just turned 21, gladly accepted two rum punches and before she knew it, suffered a red face and a breakout of hives. Photographers are everywhere on Carnival – on the shore when we land, and they were also at this party. When the picture came out later, we could see the extent of damage to my sister’s face! Around 5:40, John came out and talked about the new ships they were making, and there was a raffle in which a young boy won his mother champagne that costs nearly $300 on the ship. We sat around until it was time for dinner. All the courses on the menu have sophisticated names, but underneath they give a general description, which helped me out. My sister ate a lot of bread and butter and retired early to bed. At 8:45 we went to the magic show with Kevin & Caruso, who coincidentally, had performed on Paradise. Most of the show was a repeat but still fun. Day 5 – Wednesday, Grand Cayman! Happy Fourth of July! The ship doesn’t have fireworks or anything special to celebrate this event. My family woke up around 9 and ate breakfast at the lido deck. At the Cayman Islands, the cruise ships are too big to dock so they anchor at sea and take tenders (little boats) to Grand Cayman. We saw the Grand Princess also sharing the sea with us, and it took our breath away (we were originally going to take that ship). We took the tender and got to the station at Grand Cayman, where a lot of people were crowded around looking for their tours. Our tour was the Highlight Tour A, which included a bus tour of the7-Mile Beach, Hell, the Turtle Farm, and Stingray City. We found our bus tour and climbed on. Our driver spoke good English. By the way, the Cayman Ids. are behind us by one hour, so it is important that you keep track of ship time, not their time We were to be back on the last tender at 3:45 and the ship would leave at 4:30 for Jamaica. On our bus tour, we went down the 7-Mile Beach (only to learn it is actually only 5.6 miles) and stopped at Hell, one of the tourist stops. We bought postcards and took a picture at the Hell sign and post office. The driver said we could write out postcards and he would send them when he returned. Next stop was the Turtle Farm, where they breed turtles. We saw lots of turtles ranging from 600 lbs. to babies. We got to hold some turtles, which was a lot of fun. Then the driver took us to the boat to go to Stingray Island. This was what we were looking forward to. At Stingray City, we saw many other boats and people already feeding the rays. We each got snorkels provided by the boat, and we were armed with two underwater cameras. The captain came out and held a stingray and you could take pictures with him. We were not supposed to try and catch stingrays to hold or chase them. My family tried to do both. We scrambled to get squid (do this first or else everyone will take them) to feed the stingrays. They were cute and feeding them happened mostly in the beginning. I felt the “vacuum” as they sucked the squid from my fingers. Before we knew it, it was time to go. We got a good amount of time out there. The water is shallow and beautiful, crystal clear. I really missed Stingray City as we pulled out. After the tour, we browsed the shops, all which sold the same things. Nothing special. The jewelry didn’t have as much to offer as Cozumel. There was supposed to be a shop with the very best price on Rolexes, so my dad checked that out, but still incredibly pricey. We took the tender back. There were still tenders going past 3:45. I guess there were too many passengers to stay within that time limit. My dad had been given an invitation the night before to participate in John’s Bedtime Story, which would take place as part of the guest talent show, so we were anxious about what would happen. We met up for dinner, where the waiters danced on tables and sang Yankee Doodle for July 4th. The only downfall about sitting in the upper level of the dining room is that the waiters don’t perform up here for us. They stay down below, and you have to get up (yes, that can be hard if you’re enjoying escargot – three or four helpings of it!) and look over the stairway. The ship provides Internet service and at certain times, there will be a free 5 minutes. I would avoid doing this if you can, because it isn’t worth it. My cousin had time to log on and off, which was about it. They were charged about $6 to check their email. Also, all throughout the week there are people taping events, and they end up as Video Diaries of the trip for you to purchase. We brought our own video camera so we didn’t purchase any, but they serve as good memories. They played them on Channel 13 all day. At 10:15 we went to the Rome Lounge to get good seats for the highly anticipated talent show, but a lot of people were already there from the 10:00 bingo. At 10:30 they played Win-A-Cruise bingo, and some lucky guy won another Carnival cruise! Then the talent show started. Only about 4 acts got to go. Then John came out and told some jokes, and started his Bedtime Story, which involved audience participation. My dad played the hero, and was absolutely hilarious. He is shy and introverted by nature, but apparently everyone seems to think he was born for comedy. Only on a cruise do all your inhibitions melt away! Everyone was in uproarious laughter and the Bedtime Story was a hit. If you have John, you will get to experience this, although he said afterward that he isn’t doing it on his last week at Triumph, because nothing could top the one tonight. The participants of the Bedtime Story all received free video diaries, which would be sent to our homes. I think the talent show people should have received free copies as well. The talent show ended just in time for the midnight buffet. Many people stopped my dad and everyone called out to him all night and for the rest of the week. Some people even requested pictures with him! My grandmother found his “stardom” quite entertaining. Lots of friendly people on the ship, and surprisingly, you see many of the same people among 3400 passengers. Day 6 – Thursday, Ocho Rios, Jamaica Today we woke up around 9:00 to see that we had arrived in Jamaica. I wish I had been able to wake earlier each time we landed so that I could see us dock, but I was unable to. We ate breakfast at the South Beach Club again and then went to Deck 0 and got off at Jamaica. It was cloudy, and I hoped it would not rain during our tour. We had purchased the Highlight Tour A, which was recommended in the Carnival Caper the night before. It is the best and safest way to enjoy Ocho Rios. It includes the rainforest Fern Gully, Shaw Park Botanical Gardens, Dunn’s River Falls, and stops at two different shopping centers. Once we found the line for our tour, it moved pretty quickly. We boarded a bus with a driver named Lion and a tour guide. We drove through Fern Gully first. It was nice and cool, very shady with tall trees. Along the way, we saw a “fire man” under a huge banyan tree. He was an amateur playing with fire, blowing it out and such. Afterwards people stuck money out the window of the bus to tip him. Jamaica is the poorest of all the land stops, and we were warned about the people that still offer drugs and will do anything for money. The Jamaicans always say “Don’t worry, be happy, mon.” They really emphasize no worries. Thankfully, the sun came out and we got to enjoy Jamaica’s natural beauty. Shaw Park Gardens was a neat stop, glad we went. There were lots of tall trees and interesting plants, as well as a great natural falls. The tour guide was nice and knew good places to stop for pictures – he even helped us take them. Sometimes he was a little hard to understand, but we got the gist of his explanations. We saw the Bird of Paradise plant and lime trees and banyan trees. There was a great overlook of the Bay of Ocho Rios where we saw Triumph, the only ship docked. After Shaw Park, we went to two different shopping centers and spent 30 minutes at each stop. There we went to see the many watch stores, and got some postcards. We compared prices of the opals here and in Cozumel. Watche in Jamaica are supposed to be the best price. After the shops, was the highlight – Dunn’s River Falls. The falls have become like an amusement park; you get your hand stamped and you can rent water shoes. My famly all wore water shoes we had brought from home – it’s convenient and comfortable, and saves money. People who decided not to climb the falls could spend time at the gorgeous beach or looking at shops. My family definitely wanted to climb it, and I encourage you to do so. It is one of the best memories of the week. We started at the bottom, near the beach. We joined hands and formed a human chain, and then the guide led us up. There was another older gentleman that went along for the purpose of helping those of us with non-waterproof cameras take pictures and keep them dry. We brought two underwater cameras so that we snap pictures at any time. The falls are unique in that there are lots of grooves for footholds and flat rocks to step on. Sometimes we found the human chain to be more of a hindrance, because in some areas it is better if you have both of your hands for balance. We reached a certain area where there was a dip in the falls, forming a small pool. Our guide told us to fall backwards into it. Some of the women skipped it, but my sisters and I linked arms and fell in. A good thing about the falls is that there are plenty of places you can just stop and sit. We saw people that had come on their own, enjoying just the water cascading over them. The falls is relatively safe to climb. For those who find they cannot handle it, there are places on the sides you can exit. People from Dunn’s River Falls took pictures at certain spots and processed them while we completed the climb; photographers from Carnival were also there. The climb took about 45 minutes to an hour. Back on the ship, my sisters and I decided to try some of the NY Deli sandwiches, since we had not. The sandwiches were delicious – my sister loved the tuna salad on wheat and I loved the corned beef on country roll. We looked out at the dock of Jamaica, and our departure at 3:30 p.m. was delayed due to missing personnel. That gave us more time to enjoy. We went outside to see it leave port. Although the ship is massive, it pulls out pretty quickly. Tonight was the second and last formal night. We got ready and once again took new pictures. They had a night scene of the Triumph that was really realistic and we ended up buying that one. After pictures and dinner, it was the last big show at the Rome Lounge called Wonderful World. All the singers and dancers took us to different places around the world, including Italy, Germany, Asia, France, Spain, and finally, America. I thought the last part on America would have been fitting for July Fourth. At 11:15 it was time for the awesome gala fare, which displays all the hard work of the chefs and their creative decorating skills. The gala fare took place in the South Beach Club, and people lined up to take pictures. There were mermaids made of lard, flowers carved in watermelon, a little dragon made out of fruit rinds and cheeses, a huge ice carving of a dragon, lots of cakes and other wonderful displays. I felt that Paradise did a better job with many more displays, but I still appreciated Triumph’s gala fare. At 12:30 you could start eating the food, but it mostly looked better than it tasted. The gala fare was a great end to a fabulous shore day. Day 7 – Friday, Last Fun Day at Sea! Today we woke up feeling sad that our cruise was coming to a quick end. We chose this day to do everything we had not yet done. John gave a debarkation talk at 11:00, which I missed once again. They showed it on TV, and he introduced all the staff. My dad also got a standing ovation for his two performances this week. We ate lunch and checked out the previous night’s pictures, trying to decide which to buy. We looked at the shops, which had last day sales on shirts and jewelry. There was a final art auction, but my uncle was satisfied with his huge one, which was on display on Deck 3 at the atrium. At 2:15 we went to the Newlywed and Not So Newlywed game. A place we never visited during the week was the spa and gym. At 3:30, the South Beach Club hosted Highlights of Food and Beverage, which had little stations where you could learn napkin and towel folding, see someone carve an ice sculpture, and watch cake decorating. This is something fun to check out. At 4:30 !my younger siblings went to play in the pools and the slide, which we had not taken advantage of the entire week. Unfortunately, the slide closed at 5:00 but they said it was really fast and awesome. They also spent some time in the hot tub. There was Shipboard Survivor going on out at the lido deck but we didn’t watch. It was time for our last dinner. Tonight was tip night. Earlier, each room received a paper with comments and a survey to fill out, as well as envelopes for tips. There are recommended gratuities – for example, the cabin steward is $3.50 per day per person. We felt this was reasonable. Our family gave more to each person – the steward, our two waiters, and the maitre’ de. Of course, today all the staff is happy that we’re about to leave and they get their tips. I felt like our waiter and steward could have been better, but they still worked hard. And all the food we ate must have added up to the price we paid for the cruise! We also had a lot of packing to do. Baggage needed to be outside our door before midnight. Today the photo gallery was open all day. (On shore days, sometimes the gallery was closed). At 9:15 p.m. they had their first and only game show. My cousin and I were actually picked to participate. I lost to a lady that knew a lot of 50’s music, which was mostly what was asked. The winners got a lot of souvenirs, while each person also got a solid gold plastic trophy of the ship. After the game show, there was bingo and then the last show, which featured Nashville recording  artist Trent Webb. This was more for adults and we skipped it to go look at the pictures one last time. I saw a picture of a pirate holding a sword to my brother’s neck and decided to wake up early tomorrow and purchase it. The pictures are a maze because there are galleries on both sides of Deck 4, and ours were scattered in different places. It’s best to try and keep them all in one pile. Our luggage was at the door by midnight. My brother and cousin were contemplating falling asleep outside on the stacked up deck chairs, but were talked out of it because they would wake up with sunburn, dew, and could possibly have been vandalized by teens who were dancing at the clubs (clubs close at 3 a.m.) or drinking at bars. We didn’t want to fall asleep and miss out on any part of the ship, but eventually we did sleep. *Although I did not go to the clubs or discos, I checked them out and they were jam packed with young kids around the age of 13, as well as the older crowd of people in their 20’s. There is also Underground Tokyo, which is an arcade center for young kids.* Day 8 – Saturday, Disembarkation! Today we got up early, at 7:30, to shower and get ready. Leaving is just as hectic as boarding, if not more, because everyone is supposed to cram into Rome Lounge at 9:15 and wait to be called off. We ate a somewhat rushed breakfast at the South Beach Club. Then I ran to the photo gallery to find the pirate picture in the spot I had reserved. Lo and behold it was gone! None of us could find it. I was really disappointed but figured that maybe a girl saw my brother and bought it. Better that than the possibility that our eyes missed it or someone threw it away by accident. Afterwards, around 9, we raced to the room to wait for the announcement to proceed to the Rome Lounge. We all carried our luggage and walked one flight up to the Rome Lounge. This was the time that we felt grateful for the Main deck rooms. Everyone in the upper floors had to wait forever for the elevators, while carrying a lot of stuff. The Rome Lounge had people spilling out, so we just waited in the lobby area. People with handicaps waited in the bar and piano area nearer to the exit. This was the place that took our breath away as we first entered. While waiting for things to process, several young girls wanted their pictures taken with my father. I was sad that all the attention would end after disembarking. Everyone on the ship had come to know him. We got off at about 10:15 and looked in the huge terminal for our luggage, among 3400 passengers’ luggage. Luckily our bags were color coded so we spotted them and counted to make sure we had every bag. Once you leave the terminal, you cannot return, so we took all of our stuff, included 3 boxes of rum, by hand. Luckily the six of us were strong enough – we had two bags hanging off each arm, and then additional stuff in our hands. The officials did not inspect our belongings. We got to the parking lot and waited for my dad to drive up. There was a lot of traffic, but eventually we spotted the van pull up and loaded everything in. Then it was time to head home! It was hard to believe our second cruise was over, and now we had only pictures and videos to serve as memories. The ship was getting ready for 3400 new and lucky people. This was a wonderful vacation. Carnival really held up its bargain as the Fun Ship. It is great for families, although one family we talked to that usually goes on Royal Caribbean and decided to give Carnival a try had a horrible experience. They had a room on Deck 11, which was probably really high class, but their room had no air conditioning all week, their toilet flooded, they had a bad waiter, and one of their dresses was ripped when the luggage was being delivered to their room. Of course we found their story a huge contrast and exception to everyone else. We reassured them that majority of experiences on Carnival are positive. Overa, Triumph is a mini-city at sea with lots of fun to behold!

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Apr 20, 2001

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Teeenza   Well Well Well... after all the people we ran across that were on the same cruise, I can't believe the only reviews were from Chris & Bob! The trip in general was great! The positives far outweigh the negatives... We left home Saturday morning at 7 AM for our 3-4 hour drive to port of Miami. This was a very stressful day for me... I was soooo afraid I wouldn't get there on time, something would happen and we'd miss

the ship! So we left much earlier than we needed to. The drive went without a problem and we arrived at the port by 10:00 am. Once you drive through the security gate, there are NO signs telling you were to go! What a mess of traffic sitting there not knowing where to go! Finally we stopped a porter helping people to their car and asked where we were supposed to go to drop off our bags. He pointed in a general direction and mumbled something that we didn't comprehend so we drove in that direction. Finally a porter called to us and asked if we had bags to put on the ship... we yelled YEAH and pulled over. They took our bags and we were off to check in... We learned here that there is no need to get to the port before 11. We had to sit and wait till 11 till check-in opened. The check-in process went quickly and smoothly. Within 30 minutes we were all checked in and off to pick up our sail & sign cards and to wait for boarding time. After about an hour and a half (12:30), we began boarding. We were the VERY FIRST people on the ship NEATO! Before boarding they take a very clever picture of your nostrils for security purposes! You’ll see what I mean when it’s your turn! LOL Something that caught us by surprise (but was not a major problem) was that carry on luggage has to be SMALL... they have little airport scanners that your carry-ons have to fit through... We each had a big duffel bag as a carry on which would not fit... so we had to go through our bags and repack (in our toiletry bag) what we would need for the afternoon and then tag and check our duffels. This should have been explained in our ticket package. Luckily I wore a nice dress over my bathing suit so I had something to wear for dinner in case we didn't get our luggage before dinner, which, we were WARNED about by everyone for months before our cruise, if you don't heed this warning, then you shouldn't complain, it's no one's fault but your own. We tipped the porter $10 for 6 bags and our luggage showed up at our cabin by 3:30 PM. They brought us onto the ship on deck 3 into the Atrium... This was the moment I had been waiting on for months! I always thought that the ship was going to be soooo big and soooo beautiful and the Atrium sooooo elegant that I was afraid I would faint at the sight of it all.... NOT the CASE at all.... They make it look soooo much BIGGER in the catalogs! The atrium (capitol) was a very compressed area... so much crammed into such a limited space! Don’t get me wrong, it WAS BEAUTIFUL... just not what I expected. So O.K., we were in the lobby and there were the glass elevators... everyone has said that the elevators were so slow that it was better to take the stairs... but our cabin was on deck 7, Empress deck... and we were on deck 3... NO WAY I am climbing 8 flights of stairs! I’m on vacation! So we went to the elevators and had no trouble getting one and off we went to find our cabin. We booked a Cat 8A guarantee and wound up with a 8B on deck 7 (7428) right AT THE BACK OF THE SHIP!!! AWESOME!!! We were quite pleased!!! We had beautiful views everywhere we went and very little wind on our balcony! The only negatives of being right on the back was the few people that vomited over the railing on the top deck onto our balcony twice (don’t worry, they have a water jet system that sprays off the balconies at the back of the ship early every morning, don’t leave your towels out there to dry over night!), and the motion you get being at the aft. And YES the balcony was worth EVERY PENNY!!! We slept with the cabin door open every night, beautiful!! I brought white Xmas lights and decorated our balcony! AWESOME! The cabin was spacious and had everything we needed. The music system is clearly marked on the headboard of the bed (RADIO ON/RADIO OFF) and I spotted it right away, being a music lover I wanted to see what kind of tunes we had to pick from for the next week... GOOD THING I BROUGHT MY CD PLAYER All they had to chose from was oldies, big band, and 70-80’s type music. So if you like country or pop like we do you better bring tapes or CD’s and a player! One question that still is unanswered though, is WHY PINK??? Eeeeek!!! It didn’t bother me after about 2 hours but had my late husband been on this cruise, he would have refused to sleep in this PINK room! LOL They could tone that down a bit! O.K., that was the cabin... once we checked it out and dropped off our carry on we headed for the Lido deck to grab some lunch. We checked out the pizza area and the Coney island grill, but ended up in the South Beach buffet line... The LINES were not incredibly long except for the Gala Buffet which was expected and at the Pursers Desk. The lunch & midnight buffet selections were average, good variety, never the same thing twice... The quality was good... but nothing extraordinary ... The breakfast buffets had everything you could possibly want for breakfast. For those COFFEE fanatics out there, I am sorry but I can’t comment on the quality of the coffee on the ship. I had heard people say that the coffee has not been very good so I decided to bring a small travel coffee maker and my favorite Gourmet Coffee . I ended up making coffee for our entire dinner table a few nights. Which was my pleasure. We sat inside in the South Beach club and ate. Then we were off to find our dining room and table so that we’d know where to go at dinner time. We had table 311 in the Paris Dining room late seating (8:00PM) which is exactly what we asked for. We had no view from our table, just mirrored walls... which was a disappointment, but we got over it. They let us walk right into the dining room and wander around looking for our table #... no one said a WORD to us. not even HELLO! Which leads me to the biggest negative of the cruise... In all of our wandering around this ship for 7 days, no one once just smiled and said hi… No wait, I take that back, there was that ONE cabin steward we always saw in the hall that always said Hi with a smile. (not OUR steward). After about 3 days OUR steward did warm up a little, she helped my friend fix a tag that was sticking out one night… lol The only other cruise ship I had been on was a very SMALL ship that had VERY personal service. On the Triumph it was a whole other ball game! There was no guest/staff interaction at all!!! NONE! Not unless they were trying to SELL YOU SOMETHING!!! The pursers desk were very unhelpful and sometimes even down right snotty! After locating our table we explored the ship a bit then went to the capitol bar to meet the other Cruise Critic members for a drink. A few of us showed up, including Bob (RSVP IN NJ who turned out to be the one and only Dick Wooden from JOHN’s supposed IMPROV gags. What a character he is!) but not as many as were supposed to show up… It’s too bad yall didn’t come… it was nice seeing everybody. We hung out there for a couple of hours then parted ways and went off to see a show. None of the people that were supposed to go with us to Xcaret showed up! That was a disappointment… Xcaret was wonderful! Where were you guys? No one knows why but we left Miami an hour late. But still arrived AT SEA (LOL) on time the next morning! Amazing! I was going to continue describing each day, but that would take forever!! So I am just going to sum up the important facts from here on… LOL!!! Are you tired of reading this yet? Make sure you have CASH on you to spend because the ATM machine on the ship rarely worked while at the ports… and the pursers desk wanted to charge me $30 to get $150 cash ou ua hefty undisclosed fee to withdrawal! Also, if you plan on using a debit visa card for your sail & sign account, be aware that Carnival will place a hold on your money! We were stuck in Grand Cayman and Jamaica with no money cause Carnival put a hold on $500!!! We could only spend money ON THE SHIP! Luckily we were smart enough to get a little cash in the casino the day before. We used the sail & sign card to buy a few rolls of quarters then played a game or two and cashed them in… So in Jamaica we at least had a few bucks for souvenirs… The wandering bar staff service was terrible! I ended up going to the bars myself during the whole trip because you couldn’t get service from the wait staff (and I am the type of person that would prefer to AVOID negative situations). I never sat at any of the bars except the Piano Bar very briefly one night, so on that service, I can not comment. I ordered a Miami Vice on the pool deck the first day at sea and an hour later I saw a waiter walking around asking people if they ordered this NOW MELTED frozen drink!!! Being the honest person I am I called to him and claimed my drink. YUCK! Miami Vices are no good melted! In the casino we played slots for hours at a time and NO ONE asked us if we would like a drink! Luckily I had packed a liter of Cuervo Tequila and a liter of peach schnapps and Margarita Mix… So I saved a lot of money on the bar tab! Hint, if you need OJ for a mixer, you can’t get it all day on Lido Deck! Only in the mornings! But you can order a Carafe of OJ from room service in the morning. Days at sea and DECK CHAIRS... the problem is REAL! I had to get up at 6:45 am in order to get the chairs I wanted... (because I am picky... I hear the most people didn’t save theirs till 7:30 or so, but I had to have the BEST seats on the ship!) So, I didn’t have any problem getting chairs! One word of advice though... Carnival employees will remove blue CARNIVAL towels from saved deck chairs, if that’s all that’s on the chair... but they will hesitate if the towels are your own! We brought our own bright colored beach towels and never had a problem... the colorful towels also made it easier to find our chairs if I had forgotten where I put them! (Which isn’t hard to do at 6:45 am!) Also.... if you get up before sunrise to go reserve chairs, MAKE SURE IT’S NOT STORMING before you go RUNNING out the lobby doors to the pool deck in your nightgown!!! LOL! That must have been a sight!!! heheheee HINT when picking the location of your deck chairs, be careful NOT to pick chairs in areas where there is room for another line of chairs, we made this mistake one day and when we got to our chairs after breakfast, people had crammed 5 more chairs in around and in between our chairs… we couldn’t get to them without climbing over 4 chairs!!! After that we only picked chairs on the tiers of deck where there’s only room for the chairs that are already there. The DINING ROOM Service for the first 2 days left a little to be desired… but they got better and our waiter and assistant waiter, while they never really remembered what drinks we usually had with dinner, or any other minor details that the Empress Staff committed to memory, were ok! We looked forward to seeing them each night. And we looked forward to their dances and songs… There were a lot of conga lines in this dining room! I remember on the empress in 99 the dining staff entertained you a few nights also, but they had a much more choreographed dance routine… that they all had to perform… not just the 6 people on the tables. Bar service in the Dining Room was just as bad as the rest of the ship… we sometimes went without a cocktail before dinner due to lack of Bar Servers. That could be because our table was back in a corner and somewhat cut off from the rest of the Dining room. The FOOD was good. And it is true, they will allow you to order as many dishes as you like… on Lobster night we had both Prime Rib and Lobster! Tooo cool!! Everyone keeps saying that the deserts suck… but ours did not suck… they were fantastic! We had EVERYTHING, Crème Brule, Baked Alaska, Cherries Jubilee, Chocolate Decadence, Etc. I gained 8 lbs because of them! LOL A couple at our table ordered 2 or more deserts each night! NEAT stuff!!! The SHOWS were excellent. The magic show was the best! Kevin & Caruso ROCK! Don’t miss this show!!! We saw almost all of the shows except for the wedding game show (not married, no interest) and the last Vegas style show... The comedians were great! Especially Al Earnst. JOHN HEALD for the most part was a great cruise director. Very funny! Seemingly very sincere. We learned that he was formerly a stand up comic in New York. We really enjoyed him throughout the cruise but then towards the end when we learned that all of his supposed IMPROV was NOT IMPROV at all but carefully pre-arrangedso it wasn't as funny anymore! He also appeared to get injured during one of the alleged IMPROV parts and we were genuinely concerned all night that night Then we figured out that it was an act. Which makes me sick! They had us fooled for several days! Then we found out the truth and I feel deceived!!! We also took John’s advice on the Cayman island excursion and were disappointed. We learned that the trip John recommended was not the BEST one, just the one that cuts Carnival a BIGGER CHECK! The other comparable excursion (stingray City) was a much better value with free drinks and snacks... on our boat (Stingray Sandbar Tour) we were offered warm soft drinks at $1.50 per 12 oz can and $6 for a local beer brew by a snotty crew! And the price was very similar to the other excursion! So we were disappointed with that. CARNIVAL also never mentioned the Money EXCHANGE rates for any of the ports! This caused us to over pay in Jamaica for a cab ride! JOHN HEALD also told the whole ship, on the 5th day of the cruise, that, because we were at the end of the month, it was going to take them two weeks to process the accounts and bill the credit card companies, thus meaning that whatever we spend on the ship will not be billed to our credit cards till JUNE. So needless to say, everyone went berserk in the gift shops and in the casino the last few days… Spending way more than they originally thought their budget could allow… AND IT WASN’T TRUE!!! We were billed within 24 business hours! OUCH!!! I bet a lot of people were BANKRUPT after this cruise! THE SHIP in general is a great ship. It’s run very smoothly and everything was clean and in good condition. It was well designed and very picturesque. It never really seamed crowded except for out on the pool decks… We didn’t have very many kids on our trip at all… no problems with kids taking over the pools & hot tubs. And our cabin was not in a main hallway so it was always quiet. Although there was no toilet backup problems near our cabin, there WAS a period one day when we couldn’t flush our toilet… apparently there was a plumbing problem somewhere and they had to turn off the system to fix it. So someone very possibly could have had backup problems… but we didn’t. Whew! There also was a couple days when we noticed passengers carrying big fans into the elevators on the lobby deck… We questioned one guy who had a fan and he said that on the Veranda Deck they had no A/C!! Glad that wasn’t me!! Again, WHEW!!! The PORTS were fantastic! I love the western Caribbean! Jamaica was the highlight of the trip! Those people know how to have FUN! We took the Super Yacht San San excursion to Laughing Waters Lagoon and Dunns River Falls, which was slightly expensive at $71 per person, but was worth it!!! Totally AWESOME MON!!! Snorkeling at Laughing Waters was GORGEOUS!!! They let us DIVE OFF THE TOP of the BOAT! Climbing the Falls was FANTASTIC! The crew on the San San were GREAT and VERY entertaining! They had the whole ship dancing to Follow De Leader AND Dollar Wine!! We even got to purchase a video of us climbing the falls from the San San crew and it was delivered to the purser’s desk by 2 PM. I plan on booking another cruise to Jamaica very soon! Grand Cayman, besides the stingrays, did not impress me much. Everything is VERY expensive there! Someone at our dinner table said they paid $45 for 2 cheese burgers!!! Eeeeek! The people are not very hospitable either. This was my 2nd visit to Cozumel and that place is still awesome too. Finally made it to Carlos & Charlie’s! What a PARTY! I would go on the Triumph again if it was going where I want to go and I got a good price on a suite… but I would make sure I took plenty of cash & travelers checks. People have said that you only use half of what you pack… Not true this time! We packed everything and we used everything… Don’t forget to take into consideration that you could get something on your clothes at any time and need to change… and unless you want to spend your cruise in a laundry room, bring extra clothes! You can’t OVERPACK! If it’s something you think you’ll need during the week, BRING IT! There’s no limit on luggage you can take and there is LOTS OF STORAGE SPACE in the cabins. Did I forget anything? If anyone has any questions you can email me at teeenza@yahoo.com… While I did mention quite a few negatives here, it was still a GOOD cruise… There is no such thing as a bad cruise. There is room for improvement on Carnivals part in many areas, but when you look at all of it as a whole… WOW Think of all the work that must be involved controlling 4000+ people for a whole week!!! Making sure that 4000+ people are comfortable and happy has to be a difficult job… You have to keep in mind that there are Pros & Cons to everything. Cruises aren’t any different. You WILL enjoy yours too! Teeenza  Regal Empress 5/99 Carnival Triumph 4/01 Regal Empress 10/01 RCCL Voyager of the Seas 4/02

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Dec 15, 2000

Western Caribbean

We cruised for the first and last time on Carnival in December, 2000. We chose Carnival over other cruise lines because we were travelling with our two teenaged sons. We thought a younger crowd might be better for them and they might enjoy the experience more. >From the moment we entered the ship, we were shook down for money and that continued for the entire 7 day cruise. The ship was so overbooked with multiple children staying

with parents in cabins that they actually announced that the ship was slightly over capacity. This fact showed. You could never get an elevator that did not have multiple children camped out on the floor - riding it up and down for hours. You could not get a piece of "specialty" pizza because the poor people working the pizzeria could not keep up with cheese and pepperoni. The one night we ventured into the dining room, we never did recieve drinks, our meals were cold and the fat from the meats had congealed on top of the plates. All the while, however, the waiters frequently joined in to stand atop counters and dance for us. As we remained hungry, they danced away..... The grill at the back of the ship did serve hot food (when it was open). The buffets were predictable and most of the food satisfied an empty spot, but we had been anticipating something more for our money. Desserts were awful and we frequently bought our children dessert cakes at the coffee bar for $4.50 per serving. We also purchased soda cards for our children. The bars ignored them when they tried to get a drink and we wound up paying for soda at the bars for them. The "Vegas-Style" shows were sorely lacking. Many times, when we would go to a specific bar to see the "attraction," canned music was playing and there was not a musician in sight. The ports of call were beautiful and were beyond our expectations. Overall, this cruise experience was a nightmare. We collectively lost weight and were often hungry aboard. We gave up on the dining room and lived off of pizza (when available) on our "fun days at sea." Our first stop when we came back from the cruise was to a local steak restaraunt to eat. The one area where the staff and ship shined was our room stewart. Believe it or not, the highlight of our day was to find our room clean and a towel animal on the bed or dresser. He was truly wonderful and our tip reflected that. We complained on our comment card. We complained via e-mail. We complained in writing and we complained to Cruise Magazine. Carnival NEVER acknowledged our dissatisfaction. No one did! There were so many children booked on this cruise that ice cream machines were frequently broken, common areas were unusable, pools and jaccuzi's were unapproachable and the lack of control parents demonstrated with their children was deplorable. Frequently at breakfast, we would hear parents telling their children to meet them at dinner. That was 10 hours away! I guess they figured that if their kids didn't fall off the ship, they would catch them later. My advice - go OFF SEASON while the little dears are in school. My two teenaged sons were also appauled and hung out with us because the unsupervised kids aboard acted like unsupervised 10-17 year olds (maybe because they were). This cruise (with airfare) cost us around $3,800. That was 15 months of saving for us. It is now almost December, 2004 and I am still angry that my money was taken and they took a week of my life. If we would have had enough money, we would have flown home from one of the ports. What a waste of time, money and anticipation. Carnival met my worst expectation. Our next vacation is going to be . . . a cruise. It will not be with Carnival! It will be off season! It will be to a place where mostly older folk go. We will eat, drink and enjoy the trip.

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By _CR

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Dec 2, 2000

Western Caribbean

Loved every minute of it. The food and entertainment was awesome. The stops were great. We had a five from my family come on it. We will do it again. My sister is a travel agent so this was lined up by her. Marvelous time.

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Oct 21, 1999

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Let's begin by saying theTriumph was a very beautiful ship. We were very impressed immediately. I traveled with my wife, her parents, and her uncle. Embarkation was not a problem at all. We went straight to our rooms which were pretty roomy (nice size bath too). I'll try to hit all aspects of the cruise. First, the food in the Paris dining room was great . The service by Florin (busboy) & Vigor(waiter) was outstanding. The food on Lido

deck was pretty good also. Entertainment was enjoyable especially by the oldtimers with us. Terri-jo the all instrument player along world's way was a  delight. Our uncle was quite taken by her. My wife and I hit the disco almost every night which wasn't bad.(a lot of smoke).  The sports bar was a disappointment. No World Series (only rodeo shows and inside the NFL shows). As far as crowds go I didn't feel too cramped with over 3,000 people on board. The pool away from the slide had plenty of room. There were places to go if anyone did feel a  little congested such as, the Oxford Bar (which if I had seen maybe a dozen people in there the whole entire cruise), the California Wine Bar (beautiful bar! Chris was an excellent bartender), Vienna cafe (these places also had hardly any people), and the outside Promenade. The only time the ship was crowded was when everyone was looking for their pictures. The ports we