June 2015 - 5 Night Western Caribbean (Galveston Roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Triumph
Families Beware of Shore Excursions
The Triumph was pretty much what I expected for an older vessel. It was still nice and the crew did a good job keeping everything clean. I will say the customer service was outstanding and they really did strive to surpass your expectations.
We really enjoyed ourselves as this was our first cruise. The one thing I want to really caution families about are the shore excursions. We decided to do the Catamaran and Snorkeling with the private Beach. I was wondering why I paid $90 a person for this trip. Then I found out I was paying for everyones free beer and margaritas for what was advertised as a family trip. Lots of people enjoying those free beverages and getting drunk in front of my children. Then we were rushed through the entire experience. We only got to snorkel for 40 minutes! Then when we got to the beach they only let us stay there for 1 hour and 15 minutes. As far as I'm concerned it was a complete rip off and I wouldn't suggest it to anyone but a bunch of college students.
We also did some shopping in Cozumel. Not really impressed with the shops the ships director tried to "suggest" and claimed you could get the best deal from. We didn't find that to be true at all. If you really want to shop and that is all you have planned. I would suggest taking the ferry across to Playa Del Carmen. it takes about 40 minutes to make the trip but the prices are much better. ***Be mindful of the time*** make sure you make the right ferry back to Cozumel and give yourselves enough time to get a cab back to the pier. Missing the ship would not be good! There is no shopping worth that! Item not to forget - Mexican Vanilla! It's the best and if you know someone who loves to bake they will love you forever if you bring them some.
We also did the Uxmal Mayan ruins tour and we really like it. I would caution families with small children that this may not be the excursion for you. It can be very hot and there is a lot of walking involved and it is not stroller friendly. Lots of steps involved. But my 11 year old did great and climbed the temple and everything else. The History is very interesting and I felt this trip was worth the money. I would say ages 8 and up would do find for this activity.
We enjoyed the food. And you can pretty much find it when you want it. I was disappointed with the seafood. I guess since I was on a cruise I had unrealistic expectations of the seafood being amazing and it was very lack luster. Hint - Go with a different option! The pasta options were always good. And breakfast was always good as well! Thumbs way up for Breakfast. Almost forgot. Eat dinner early! We made the mistake of selecting a late dinning time. That's when all the fun stuff is happening. Eat early and if you get hungry later just grab a snack before bed. There will be plenty of things to choose from.
Be prepared for the pictures! You can get some very nice portraits taken on the ship. I was very surprised. However, be ready to pay for them! They are a bit pricey $22 for the 8x10's Try to get some coordinating outfits for your family to wear for those because they really do a good job and you won't be disappointed. They do different themes as well, Dressed up for elegant night, Casual settings, kids settings. It's fun. Take several and then just choose the ones you want. Just beware! they are really good and you will want a bunch! Stick to you allowed budget! Decide what that is before you go so you don't argue with your spouse when you are in the heat of the moment. (Saw it happen - wasn't pretty)
One last thing for those with kids. The pools on the ship are salt water pools. Bring googles! The salt burns your eyes and they are treating the pools all the time.
Over all - Go! Have a blast! If this is your first cruise you will love it! The Triumph is a great ship for first time Cruisers because it does offer quite a bit and you really have noting to compare it to. So go and enjoy yourselves and throw the schedule overboard and relax.....you're on vacation.