March 2015 - 5 Night Western Caribbean (Galveston Roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Triumph
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.