dawnb1000

dawnb1000
Second Mate

Joined: 03/18/2014
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dawnb1000's Past Cruises

Carnival Triumph

March 2015 - Carnival Triumph to Caribbean - Western

Great Cruise, even over spring break

This was my husband's and my 5th cruise with Carnival. It was a last minute, unplanned get-away (time to de-stress from work) and our goal this time was to just relax and do-nothing. So we booked a 5-night Mexico get-away. I was a little concerned about traveling on the Triumph after we just sailed on the Magic last year (dues to size) but was not disappointed.  The Triumph has nice, neutral decor that you hardly even notice....with a nice, almost venetian flair to it. (The Splendor..oh man, pink, pink, pink).   It's floor plan is the same as most Carnival ships, but I did miss my favorite the Red Frog Pub (Magic) and the Serenity deck ... but it was set up nicely.

Upon arrival, we were actually early and had to sit awhile and wait for boarding, but it wasn't all that long (our fault, not theirs).  Went pretty smoothly.  Our room was on the 6th floor, 2nd room from the front! (6210).  I was concerned about that being I was told the ship tends to not move as much in the middle (and I get motion sick easy...I wear the patch on the cruises). But this Cruise, I didn't have to worry much about movement. Our steward, Dan, was awesome.  I am so amazed on how they remember everyone's name. We did have an issue with our TV remote not working and for some reason, it was never replaced.  We asked daily, but Dan stated he reported it and even called while we stood there, but this wasn't his jurisdiction...so not sure who dropped the ball on that one. We could not use the interactive menu or check our bill from our TV the entire trip. Minor issue, but kind of a bummer it never was fixed.

The food. I see a few reviews on about how bad the food is, and that confuses me. I'm not sure how some people eat at home, but I have to make my own food and I don't make steak or prime rib every day. I think the food was amazing.  Our first buffet lunch on board had prime rib which, was really good.  Born and raised in Iowa, I am extremely picky about my 'meat'. This was really good.  They had steak in mushroom sauce on day two (still good!).  I would usually grab a salad and fruit (melons for the most part, would have been nice to have strawberries or grapes some days) and then there were choices like Ziti, steak, meatloaf, crab cakes and so on.  Desserts were amazing.  I'm not big on the melting cake (it is extremely to rich for me) but the tiramisu was awesome. Breakfast usually consisted of Cereals and milk, toast, croissaints ... then scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes and either french toast or pancakes.  Dinner, we ate in the Paris.  The captains dinner is always my favorite.  Lobster tails and Shrimp. Yum!  We don't eat that much back home (because of the price to get Lobster to Iowa), so having a few lobster tails is a treat. (you can order more than one!)  This cruise we only did the Paris|timed dining twice because we did not want to not be on a 'time' schedule --- but the food and service was great. And I love the singing the crew does.  Makes it fun!  We did have Pizza once and the deli made great Panini's and turkey wraps.  And we tried the Hamburgers once ... pretty good! 

We don't participate a lot in all the activities any more (being it's our 5th cruise) mainly because we don't want to be on a schedule watching a clock, but there was tons of stuff to do. Bingo was popular, trivia, singing, health clinics (Detox, metabolism reviews), etc.

The only complaints I had on this cruise was that there was definitely not enough loungers for all the people on the ship.  We could not find a place to just relax and lay in the sun anywhere on the ship until the last day.  It was Spring Break week so a lot of the college kids (the entire state of Arkansas was here) were lounging a lot, but still, the Triumph should have been prepared for this.

The other thing I do not like is the 'required tip' now on beverages.  When you order a drink they automatically include tip which I don't agree with.  Tip is just that --- you tip for service.  Although, for the most part, the service was great there were a few scenarios when we would have tipped every other time (not every time). If Carnival is requiring a tip, it's no longer considered a Tip --- it's part of the cost -- so they need to just raise the cost of the beverage in advance to begin with.  I did see a difference in how we were treated by employees with them knowing they are getting a tip, as opposed to those on other cruises where they actually 'worked' for a tip.  The friendlier they were on other cruises the more we tipped (they would even know our names).  This cruise, they just did their job and didn't seem to put forth much extra effort. Don't get me wrong, they did a good job, but weren't as excited about it (or in a hurry).   Plus, seeing 'required tip' on your bill, changes your attitude and puts a damper on the cruise. (Kind of makes you mad actually.)

All in all, It was a great cruise. I would recommend the Triumph ... it was a great ship.

 

 

 

 

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Carnival Magic

March 2014 - Carnival Magic to Caribbean - Western

An Amazing ship!

I really loved this ship, especially the Red Frog pub (you couldn't get us out of there) -- but our overall 'vacation' experience was totally messed up before we even got to the ship.  Five days before we were to set sail for our "group" cruise out of Miami on the Carnival Victory, my mother-in-law passed away. So sad. We spent hours and hours on Tuesday calling and calling and organizing and...and... only to find out the next day that my Great Uncle passed away. (when it rains it pours) Both funerals ended up being on the same day. Cry.

 

So many, many phone calls, dicussions and organizing later (with my husband's 10 other siblings), my husband and I ended up being able to still try and make the cruise (only a big deal because it was a group cruise that WE organized).  Lastly we changed our flights out of Minneapolis (closer to the funeral location) so we could still go after the funeral. Come late friday night after an emotionally tiring day we took off and headed to the Minneapolis Airport.  As it came about, there was an ice/snow storm that passed thru Minnesota (is was the end of February 2014) and there was no way to get to the airport: all roads were closed including I-35 which we neglected to find out until we got to the Minnesota|Iowa border at midnight. (our flights were at 7 am). Because of the bad storm, there were no flights available out of Des Moines or Cedar Rapids: the only two airports we could get to in time (from where we were) for a flight. So, at 4 am we let our group know that we would not be joining them on the cruise because we had no way to get to Miami.  Tired, and depressed --- we gave in to defeat. Everything that could have gone bad in 4 days--- did. 

 

Anyway, the next day we decided we were going on a cruise and re-booked for the next week (just the two of us) Carnival Magic out of Galveston.  We took our time and drove the 15 hours down to the ship (we weren't going to attempt to fly again this year -bad taste in my mouth).  This is our 4th cruise on Carnival and I have to say, my favorite ship so far.  (Destiny, Valor, Splendor & Magic).  Our absolute favorite spot was the Red Frog pub.  We spent a lot of time in here, listending to the live music, meeting new friends and drinking their signature beer (which was a really good red).  They even had bar games such as bags, a hook-on-a-palm-tree, foos ball and mini-bumper-shuffle board.  Just what we needed after a week of chaos.

 

The Magic had the best layout I've liked so far.  The pub & the ocean plaza area was a favorite --- a little extra hanging space with music.  The spotlight lounge seemed smaller than I remember --- our last cruise was the Splendor and for the first time cruising, we had a hard time getting into a show in the lounge. I liked how they extended the Piano bar out farther, which seemed to replace the martini bar on other ships (bummer) but it was nice to have more space.  The slides were a ton of fun.  Who says you have to grow up at 40-something? My husband video'd his trip thru the slides (don't know if I can post them here).  They also had an awesome sports area that I thought was really cool.  Pool table, foos ball, pingpong, golf, giant chess/checkers, bar/tvs, basketball court were the dodge ball tournaments were held and fun little hot dog stand and then this cool upper/walking course of some sort.  I couldn't try it --- I'm scared of heights, but the kids that were on the ship seemed to love it.  Another thing I liked about this ship is that around the track were work-out items that were handy. Run a few feet, do some ab work and pull ups | jog a few more feet, do some weight-machine work (or pretend). 

 

We set sail on Sunday. Tuesday was Mardi Gras and the ship had a fun little bead throwing party in the Atrium (There were a lot of people in there!) with a small parade to the Ocean Plaza followed by a party up on the Lido Deck by the pool.  The crew did a great job with this.  A fun event.  Wed. we were in Montego Bay, Jamaica.  My husband and I have been to all these destination ports before so we didn't feel the need to jump and do a bunch of excursions this time.  In Jamaica we just took the hop-on, hop-off bus around and stopped at Margaritaville for a few drinks and some swimming.  Tuesday we hit Grand Cayman where we did a Kayak and snorkeling excursion.  The guy (Jay) was great and it was a workout.  (I'm out of shape!) I ended up getting way too much sun (sunscreen washed off in the water) but I didn't complain. There isn't much sun in Iowa in the winter so I was pumped to get a winter-supply of Vitamin "D".  (although it's two weeks after the cruise now and I'm peeling & itching like no other).  Cozumel was our final stop and my only disappointment in the cruise.  With over 4200 people on this cruise, you would think that the Magic would open up --- 2 Doors to let people out and onto the port, but they did not.  1 Door, for 4200 people and I think everyone was hung over and 'slow'. For some reason, this day, this port was a mess/chaotic.  We ended up in port at 10 am and my husband and I were not able to get off the ship till 11:30!!!  It was a mess and I was a little frustrated at this.  We didn't have any plans so it shouldn't have bothered me, but for those people that this was their first time to Cozumel...just lost 90 minutes of exploration time. Ships this size need to be more prepared for this (or hang out at port 2 more hours).

 

The Ship had plenty of lounging areas. We did check out the Serenity deck a few times. This was nice (I need to get one of those round loungers for my back deck).  Really enjoyed this area ... and hot tubs (with no KIDS in them).  The area could have been bigger on this cruise because there were quite a few adults looking to 'get away' from the kids.  But even around the ship, we never had a problem finding a place to sit.  On the Valor we always had to go find fold-up-chairs and some spot to put them down in, so this was nice.  The back zone was one we tried to avoid --- except to go get amazing Deli sandwiches when we got back on board from the ports (before late dining). This used to be the adult only zones on some of the other ships, but on the Magic it seems to be the kids hangout. Some times 15 kids in a hot tub at a time (with no parents). A little too much energy back here for me.  We didn't do very many shows this time around but I heard the "WIN" I think it was called was a lot of fun.

 

The food was great, no complaints. Breakfast they had pretty much whatever you wanted and some stuff I think must accomodate other nationalities. (Not something I eat for breakfast).  I really enjoy the dinners. We were in the Southern Lights dining and our waiters were great.  Whatever we wanted we got.  I can't remember the names of everything I ate (because I think I ate the entire menu) but the prime rib was actually really good (hard to say that being from Iowa) and there was a banana dessert that was amazing.  The lobster was a tad chewy, but that has to be hard to get that just right for this many people.  Maybe this has changed, but I really missed all the wait-staff singing every night. The other ships, every night, they sang at least 1 song.  On this ship, there were quite a few days that there was no singing.  Personal preference, but I missed it. We tried the Italian place for Lunch --- that was great. (try it!!). The Deli was great (hard to mess up a deli though). Pizza was okay ... I like my hand tossed, taco (<grin>) but it made do for the nights we couldn't get out of the pub.  Surprisingly the only place we didn't eat from was the burger place up by the pool/lido deck.

 

The rooms were nice and the staff was great and helpful.  How they remember everyone's name, I have no idea --- but they do.  We have only gotten a balcony room on all the ships and they have all been just fine.  I sleep extremely well on these boats.  Because of the Bed or it's vacation or the slight rocking of the boat sways you to sleep, but sometimes it's hard to get out of bed in the mornings. Extremely comfortable.  For the most part you couldn't feel the rocking hardly at all  --- not as much as the others I have been on.  Could be a mix of things as in weather, location and the ship itself, but it is something I notice. I get highly motion-sick and need to wear the patch...and sometimes take a Dramamine on top of that -- on the Destiny we had 8|10-foot swells coming back from Cozumel--- that was a ride. Only the last night I could see that the boat was moving because our curtains were swaying and the Tv said we were doing 42 knots (or something like that), but I still couldn't feel it much.

 

My husband and I really enjoy Carnival and highly recommend this ship.  We have a Family cruise booked for next year on The "DREAM" out of New Orleans but then our next Group cruise will probably be back on the Magic.  Happy Cruising!!

 

 

 

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dawnb1000's Tips

Cozumel, Mexico - We love Cozumel. We didn't even leave the port this time. Hung out at Three Amigos
Carnival Magic Carnival Magic - Visit the Red Frog Pub and have a Thirsty Frog Red beer. Yum.

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received a helpful vote on their Carnival Triumph cruise review - Great Cruise, even over spring break

received a helpful vote on their Carnival Triumph cruise review - Great Cruise, even over spring break

received a helpful vote on their Carnival Triumph cruise review - Great Cruise, even over spring break

shared a quick tip for Carnival Triumph"Just a fun ship."

reviewed their Caribbean - Western cruise on Carnival Triumph and gave it 5 stars!

added Mar 23, 2015 cruise on Carnival Triumph to their profile.

received a helpful vote on their Carnival Magic cruise review - An Amazing ship!

received a helpful vote on their Carnival Magic cruise review - An Amazing ship!

received a helpful vote on their Carnival Magic cruise review - An Amazing ship!

uploaded a photo album from their Carnival Magic cruise on 2014-03-02