Back To Line

Carnival Cruise Lines: Carnival Triumph

Carnival Triumph Cruise Review

Insider Take


Recently upgraded after the highly publicized loss of power.

Best For People Who Want

Glitz and glamour, flamboyance and razzle-dazzle at a price sure to please your pocketbook. Triumph offers a wide range of nightlife choices, including Las Vegas quality production shows, a generously sized casino and late-night adult comedy. The daytime activity is equally inviting, with live music and fun and games around the pool, the latest fitness and spa facilities and extensive programs for kids.

Onboard Experience

Carnival Triumph was the only third sister ship to Carnival Destiny (now carnival Sunshine), the first ship larger than 100,000 gross tons. By day, the decks are awash in people soaking in the sun with umbrella-laden cocktails, or dancing on deck to a live Caribbean band. But nighttime is when the action goes into high gear, with a variety of venues offering lavish production shows, a sing-along piano bar, dancing to live music or in the uber-disco and late-night adults-only comedy shows. After midnight most of the actions shifts to the casino or the disco, both remaining open into the wee hours.

Triumph appeals to a very wide range of passengers; singles, families with throngs of young children, and even retired couples. The passenger mix varies depending upon the season, but the number of kids onboard swells dramatically during the summer and school vacation periods.

The ship can feel crowded. It may list as 2758 passengers, but that is just counting beds on the floor. The maximum capacity is 3360 people, and when the ship is full a lot of those will be kids in rollaways and bunk beds. Don't be surprised to find yourself in long lines at the shore excursion desk or the luncheon buffet. And finding your way around can take some doing, as the signs at elevators and stairwells are neither as numerous or as clear as you might hope.


Triumph still has all of the best features of the original Destiny design - the jazz and piano bars, and a three deck main theater. You'll no sooner have boarded than you'll find yourself in a soaring nine-story open atrium, with glass elevators rising to top (Pool) deck. Most of the lounges line the ship's "Promenade," which encourages strolling along to experience everything the ship has to offer or plenty of seating for those who enjoy just observing the passing parade of humanity.

The Big Easy piano Bar, where everyone sings along, is an atmosphere nearly guaranteed to remove even the stubbornest inhibition. The Venezia jazz and cabaret room is can be SRO at night. The Sports Bar features seven big-screen televisions that get ESPN Network, and video poker machines built right into the bar. The two-floor Hollywood Dance Club disco has no fewer than 500 video monitors. Additional public rooms include boutiques, a patisserie /cappuccino bar (where there's a separate charge), small library, video game room and wine bar.


Carnival's staff is efficient and professional, but don't anticipate a lot of personal attention aboard a ship this size.


Carnival's automatic gratuities arrangement adds $10.00 per person (except children under two) per day to your Sail & Sign card. This includes $3.60 for the stateroom steward; $5.50 for the dining room team. and $.90 for service in the alternative dining rooms, amounts that can be raised or lowered at the purser's desk. You may also prepay gratuities for all service personnel at a rate of $10.00 per person per day. On Cruises-to-Nowhere, such prepayment is compulsory.

A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to all beverage tabs. Tip the maitre d', room service, spa, casino and other staff as you deem fit.


When it comes to nightlife, no one at sea does it better than Carnival. The performers in the smaller lounges are uniformly excellent, and the production shows in the Rome Theater will take your breath away. Try to get one of the slightly off-center seats in the lower balcony, as, on the main floor, you may well spend the evening trying to see between heads.

Triumph still shows one of the most popular Carnival shows ever - "Wonderful World" - do not miss it.


When it's time to get away from it all, you'll do so in some of the largest cabins at sea.

The Destiny-class were the first Carnival ships to offer private balconies in a majority of the staterooms. Regardless of which stateroom you choose, it's likely to be bigger than on another line; outside standard cabins are an ample 220 square feet and include a sofa and coffee table, while inside cabins measure 195 square feet. Many have pulldown berths to accommodate third and fourth passengers, consequently making the ship popular with families and groups of singles. There are also 230 square-foot "family" cabins with connecting doors near the children's center.

Given Mr. Farcus's flights of fancy in the public areas, cabin decor is often surprisingly understated. Count on a color TV with CNN, ESPN, plus movies. The bathrooms are nice and roomy, with shower, hair dryer and a basket of complimentary toiletries. Oceanview staterooms and suites offer a minibar and bathrobes.

A small caveat: The soundproofing between staterooms is such that you're likely to get a better idea than you'd prefer of your neighbors' television-viewing preferences. A room too close to the casino will have you hearing bells and sirens all night long.


Sports and fitness lovers will be in their element on Carnival Triumph. The gym, with floor-to-ceiling windows and panoramic views, has 13 treadmills, eight stairmasters, seven stationary bikes, rowing machines, free weights, and hydraulic weight machines. The Steiner's of London-operated spa, all 15,000 square feet of it just next door, offers just about every massage and beautifying treatment ever heard of. Be forewarned that the staff can be a bit in-your-face in pushing its own products. The pool area features a 214-foot circular water slide that kids adore. The jogging deck encircling the entire pool area is eleven laps to a mile. Topless sunbathing is allowed in a secluded section near the main funnel above the pool area.


7-night cruises include two formal nights. Most men wear dark suits and tuxedos are almost a rarity. If one needs formal wear it may be rented from the eveningwear shop. Daytime wear is strictly casual, but jeans aren't allowed in the dining room or anywhere after dark.

Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer

Those who enjoy solitude, quiet days at sea, or who dislike the disruption of children and never-ending activity announcements, are advised to seek out the more understated, refined ambiance offered on smaller ships.

Public Rooms

New additions like Guy's Burger Joint make Triumph a cross between the old-style Destiny design and the new Sunshine design, but she remains more like her original self and the planned upgrade to a "Sunshine-class" floor plan has been canceled. She received an extensive decor upgrade in 2012 after the famous "poop cruise" incident.


Carnival's food has improved greatly over the years and now compares favourably to that of more expensive cruise lines. You'll marvel at how well managed the everything is, especially considering that there are apt to be 3,400 passengers aboard. No one at sea serves better pizza, and available any time of day at that! Both the breakfast and luncheon buffets offer specialty food stations where you can make a custom order. The lunch buffet offers a marvelous salad bar. New Carnival menus include such upscale favourites as chateaubriand, lobster and rack of lamb. Unfortunately, desserts are not their forte and can be slightly insipid, except for the chocolate ones, the mere thought of which makes our mouths water.


The food's mostly delicious, and you'll marvel at how well managed the service is, especially considering that there are apt to be 3,400 passengers aboard. The dining room service is hilarious during dessert, when waiters do foolish dances while balancing trays on their heads.

Carnival's Total Choice Dining offers four seatings for dinner (at 5:45 p.m., 6:15 p.m., 8 p.m. or 8:30 p.m in the main dining rooms). Alternative Bistro dining at an additional charge is an option every evening. In addition to the multiple dining room seatings, the poolside Lido eateries are converted between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. each evening into Seaview Bistros, offering casual buffet dinner with no reservations or advance notice required.

Triumph has two dining rooms, London and Paris. Both comprise two separate levels (upper & lower), and are assigned according to cabin. Paris has the better ocean views as it is situated at the stern of the ship giving it 270 degrees of window space. In both dining rooms, diners in the open area on the lower level may have to speak up when they converse, as it can get pretty noisy; tables on both sides and on the balcony are a much better bet. There are a few tables for two, but expect to dine in a group of four or eight.

By day, most opt for breakfast and luncheon buffets in the ship's poolside Lido restaurant, which offers wonderful sea views and al fresco dining. You'll also find the ship's 24-hour pizzeria here, serving multiple varieties and Caesar salad. A very limited room service menu is available round the clock.

The ship also has a Mongolian Barbecue, Guy's Burger Joint and a NY-style deli and a Blue Igauna Cafe.

Ship Overview

The second in the Destiny-class of Carnival’s megaships, Carnival Triumph launched in 1999. Dedicated to great cities of the world, public rooms bear names from Rome and Paris to Washington and Miami’s South Beach. The ship is scheduled for a major refurbishment in 2014, when it will receive Carnival’s "Fun Ship 2.0" upgrades with new casual dining options, poolside bars, and more. Galveston is Carnival Triumph’s home port, from where she sails short four-and five-night cruises to the Western Caribbean and Mexico.

The first class of Carnival megaships weighing in at more than 100,000 tons, everything on these vessels is in keeping with their size—bold interiors highlighted by nine-deck atriums, 200-foot corkscrew waterslides on the Lido deck, and public areas that often span multiple decks. Carnival Triumph and Carnival Victory are bigger and have more cabins and crew than the original Carnival Destiny, for which the class was named and which was totally refurbished and renamed Carnival Sunshine in 2013.

The variety of indoor and outdoor spaces ranges from relatively small lounges with a nightclub atmosphere to huge showrooms where lavish production shows are staged. Most public rooms open off wide indoor promenades that branch fore and aft from the spectacular atrium.

Expansive pools and sport decks have plenty of room to spread out for sunning and more active pursuits; both ships have been retrofitted with massive poolside 270-square-foot LED screens.

The world's largest cruise line—and one of the most widely recognized—originated its "Fun Ship" concept in 1972 and has been launching party-packed superliners with signature red funnels ever since. The line's ever-growing fleet features entertainment and activities designed for passengers of all ages, from game shows and lip sync competitions to twisting waterslides and mini golf. These ships are a reliable choice for families as well as young singles and couples who want a vacation that won’t break the bank.

Nearly all onboard dining options are included in the fare, as are comedy and production shows, children’s programs, and use of state-of-the-art fitness centers. With some of the most comfortable accommodations at sea, large new ships are continuously added to the fleet and rarely deviate from a successful pattern, while older vessels are updated with popular features, such as the poolside BlueIguana Tequila Bar with an adjacent burrito cantina, the Red Frog Rum Bar that also serves Carnival’s own brand of Thirsty Frog Red beer, and Guy’s Burger Joint, created with Food Network star Guy Fieri.

What You Should Know


  • Tiered sunning decks above the Lido pools offer a good view of the jumbo-size LED screens
  • The upper-level seating area in the Lido restaurant almost always has tables available
  • The lobby bar is a surprisingly off-the-beaten-path space with a lot of visual impact


  • There is no steak house on either ship
  • Private balconies on high decks in the middle of the ship may be noisy when there are activities on the Lido deck above
  • Lines at the buffet can be seemingly endless at peak meal times
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 1,100
  • Entered Service 1999
  • Gross Tons 102,000
  • Length 893 feet
  • Number of Cabins 1,397
  • Passenger Capacity 2,758 (3,470max)
  • Width 116 feet
  • Service

  • Food

  • Décor

  • Value

Nov 11, 2016


we just returned from a port progreso......took shuttle to shop more..........this town would not take us way, now 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, 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 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.....

Read More
  • New

Jul 23, 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.

Read More
  • New

Jun 26, 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!

Read More
  • New

Jun 14, 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 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.

Read More

By Ken_CR

  • New

Nov 26, 2015


We are avid cruisers but not much positive to say about this 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.....

Read More

Cruise Forums

Have a cruising question? Ask our Fodorite community.

Cruise News

Read our latest news about cruises.


Shop our travel guides on European, Caribbean, and Alaskan cruises.

Back To Top
Subscribe to Newsletter
Sign up for Travel Tips & News
I want emails from Fodor's Travel with travel information and promotions. I can unsubscribe any time using the unsubscribe link at the end of all emails.

Thank you for your interest!

Look out for our newsletters with travel tips and special offers.