Sunday, December 7, 2014

Carnival Triumph Cruise Review 12/1/2014

Carnival Triumph

Cruise Review 12/1/2014


Just the Facts:

Ship: Carnival Triumph
Captain:  Mario Nicolini / Allesandro Lemmi
Cruise Director:  Kevin Donohue
Ports: Galveston-Progreso-Cozumel-Galveston

This is my 49th Carnival cruise, the 6th time on the Carnival Triumph, and 98th cruise overall.  I am cruising as a solo.

Monday / Embarkation / Day 1
I awoke early and a cold front came through during the night dropping temperatures, I was on the road about 5:30 am and caught the cold front on the way south so had rain on the warmer side from Bryan on to Galveston.  Mondays have much more traffic through Houston and I finally arrived at EZ Cruise Parking just about 10:30 am and was shuttled over to the ship straightaway.  I decided to carry my bag with me through check-in and not leave it with a porter.  I was checked in at the VIFP priority check-in area about 11:00 and the room was almost full.  Looks to be 9-10 Diamond guests and I guess there are quite a few Platinums and FTTF’s. I was issued a 50 Milestone Diamond card  so we may be off on my number of Carnival cruises.  There was one free cruise several years ago that I won and they originally counted it, but when they started the Diamond program they took it out of my cruise history since it was a non revenue cruise. It may be counted again, or I have missed one somewhere.  After a short wait and with no wedding parties, the Diamonds were snuck up close to the boarding area (thanks Lawrence) and on the ship about 11:15 am.  It was a smooth process.  After dropping my bag and backpack in cabin 8397 I went straight to the Lido buffet for lunch before it got too busy.  There is no Mongolian Grill, my usual first day eating choice on most Carnival ships, so I went for some buffet basics: a mixed bowl of the specialty salads, Roast Beef from the carving station, Chicken Tenders, and the Fried Fish.  They had a sweet mustard sauce for the chicken tenders, tartar sauce for the fish, and horseradish for the beef…good job Carnival. I saw that a lot of guests went strait for the Guy’s burgers, I don’t blame them, but there will be plenty of time in five days for several Guy’s. I went back to the cabin and since I had carried on my bag I unpacked and tried to take a nap in my nice dark interior cabin.  Very glad I had my electric fan strait away as it was warm in the cabin.  Hopefully that will improve once we are underway.  While still in port I used the internet while it was available on my personal hotspot. Boat/Safety Drill was held about 4:00 pm.  Safety drill went smooth and very soon the Triumph was sailing from the port of Galveston on her way into the Gulf.    The cold front reached us as we were sailing away so not a big crowd on Lido deck for the sail away party, I got a Guy’s and ate it at the aft pool bar, as they had the roof closed over the New World pool area.  Not too long after sail away I received a call from Guest Services offering me an upgraded cabin, perhaps as a bonus for my 50th milestone cruise.  Within a half an hour I had moved around the corner to cabin 8384 a nice balcony on port side.  Sweet…thanks Carnival.  The Welcome Show was scheduled for 7:30, but I have seen it many times so I went to the Alchemy for aperitifs.  Adri and Iaocin are the Alchemists, I know both so it was good to see familiar faces.  The Alchemy bar was not too busy the first night, but the show was on as well. Dinner is at 8:15 pm, I had emailed Kris the Matre’D a few days ago and he did get me a nice round table in the center of the Paris dining room. I am actually sitting with a guest I sat with eight years ago on a similar cruise on the Ecstacy.  For dinner tonight I ordered: the Escargot, the Lasagne Bolognese (as starter), the comfort selection: a Beef Brisket in Gravy entree, and the Black Forrest Gateau for dessert.  Dinner and service was good and we had a visit from the up-close magician. Following dinner I wanted to go to the double headliner comedy show @ 11:15 pm with both Tony Esposito and John Floyd, but I was a bit tired and retired to the cabin. I will see them later this cruise.

Tuesday / Fun day at Sea / Day 2

Chopsticks plate
Smooth seas overnight and I had a nice overnight sleep. I was off to the Paris dining room for breakfast about 9:00 am for the Sea Day Brunch and ordered the Fruit Plate, and Steak & Eggs. It was very good. I walked the decks doing some people watching and watched a couple in the lobby completely lost looking for the breakfast MDR. They checked the London MDR, walked the outside decks on both sides trying to get aft, then finally stood in line at Guest Services.  I guess I am easy amused, but had a nice chuckle to myself.  Since I’m traveling solo I had considered purchasing a Cheers program today as I sometime do if sailing solo, but decided not to do so.  I’ll order my cocktails ala carte this cruise.   The assistant Housekeeping Manager came by the cabin to make sure all is well with the cabin, that is something they have been doing for Diamond guests on this ship (not sure if this is fleet wide).  For lunch I went to Chopsticks located on Lido deck and had a small sample plate, it was OK, but not as good as a full Mongolian Grill.  They had Key Lime Pie at the dessert station and they delivered to the cabin a small plate of chocolate goodies for Elegant night, it’s great when you get them early in the day. I had cocktails at the Alchemy Bar this evening, my favorite bar by far.  Elegant night dinner was good, I ordered: the Stuffed White Mushrooms, Farfalle Pasta with Turkey, Prime Rib, and the Cherries Jubilee for dessert.  Other good options were:  Roasted Pumpkin Soup, Alligator Fritters, Lobster Tail, or Pork Spare Ribs. The production show Wonderful World was tonight, my favorite of the productions shows on the Carnival Triumph.  It features the Triumph dancers and singers and highlights music from around the world. There were songs or dances from: France, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Africa, Spain and more. It is a fantastic show with full cast of singers and dancers and full LIVE orchestra. The Can-Can is my favorite dance and Con Te Parte my favorite song.  The Platinum/Diamond gift was delivered tonight: a Carnival Logo small travel bag.

Wednesday / Progreso, Mexico / Day 3
Past Guest Party

Calm seas overnight and I had a great relaxing deep sleep. I have no plans for the port so I slept late then went to the Paris MDR for a nice breakfast of Eggs Benedict and extras.  I had cabin and balcony time today and since i’ve been traveling a lot of late I brought several magazines that I have not had time to read. I made my way through four of them including two Scottish ones that I will leave for the GSM.  For lunch I had a small plate from Chopsticks, and the menu items do change there from day to day.  I then had a wonderful Guy’s Burger with grilled onions and Fries for late lunch and ate on the deck 9 aft area. My balcony is located over the pier and it was entertaining watching guests return to the ship, especially the ones who were staggering quite a bit.  Again I am easily amused. The past guest party was held at 5:00 pm or about an hour after we sailed from  Progreso. The ‘Live’ music by the show band was very good and I enjoyed several cocktails.  There were 13 Diamond guests on this cruise, a fairly high number for a 5-day cruise.  The entertainment in the theater tonight was Showcase of Stars, basically guests singing with the Triumph show band, I didn’t attend as I had aperitifs at the Alchemy as usual about 6:30.  It was now dinner time and this evening I ordered two Shrimp Cocktails, the Pasta in Alfredo Sauce (as a starter), the Jerk Pork Loin, and Tiramisu for dessert.  No comedy on schedule this evening so I had one nightcap at the Alchemy then retired to the cabin.

Thursday / Cozumel, Mexico / Day 4
Puerto Maya Pier

After being rocked to sleep overnight as we entered the Caribbean, we arrived at the Puerto Maya pier and were docked by the scheduled 9:00 am arrival. We are docked next to the Carnival Conquest at Carnival’s Puerto Maya pier.  The Freedom of the Seas and the Niew Amsterdam are docked next to us at the International pier, there are seven ship total in Cozumel today.  Weather wise…it was a very pleasant day with a breeze all day in Cozumel...very nice.  I skipped breakfast this morning as I slept a little late and left the ship about 9:30 and took a taxi into San Miguel ($8).  I went straight to Antonio’s Barber Shop as he opens at 10:00, but he was a little late so I went the one block to Spa Alexander (the word spa is very generous—it’s a small storefront) to get a pedicure ($20). She gave me one in July and she does a good job including a foot and leg massage.  It was now 11:00 so I got my haircut from my friend Martin ($7+), he really does a masterful job.  It has been over eight years that he has been cutting my hair.  I had one person in front of me, but the barber shop now has internet so waiting was not a problem at all.  Next stop is Woody’s Bar & Grill where I did order my guacamole, pico, and chips straightaway as I was hungry by now.  I spent the rest of the day there using their fast Wifi and enjoying a couple of Bohemia beers.  I saw Nelly who had been following my Europe experience very closely, she wants to do the same trip.  After a very pleasant afternoon and getting some medicine it was off to the ship as it sails at 4:00 pm. …much too early IMHO.  My first stop upon returning was to deck 9 for a Guy’s burger and diet coke then to the cabin to clean up.  They also had the buffet open late for returning guests…very nice.  Then it was R&R until time for an aperitif at the Alchemy. The MDR was only about half full.  Fewer in MDR is common on Cozumel night and added that the Dallas Cowboys were playing on the big screen on Lido it was really empty.  For dinner tonight I had Shrimp Cocktails, Bing Cherries, the Chateaubriand, and Grand Marnier Souffle for dessert.  After dinner I went to the Alchemy then to the Rio Lounge at 11:00 for the cabaret show: A Kiss Good Night, a fantastic show if you can get a good seat and I had a fair seat.  Following the show I went to the Piano Bar and it was my first time to see Piano Bar Bob.  I thought he was very entertaining.  A late day for me and it  was a FUN day.

Friday / Fun day at Sea / Day 5
Diamond Gathering

Calm seas over night.  Weather is nice and there were a lot of flying fish this morning very visible from the balcony.  The plan for the day is to do as little as possible.  I was up about 9:00 and met a friend for the Sea Day brunch.  I ordered the Huevos Rancheros this morning as well as a Bloody Mary.  I had a walkabout on the decks then some balcony time to finish some magazines.  I had nice afternoon lunch from Chopsticks especially good was the Kung Pao Chicken, Chopsticks is not as good as a full Mongolian Grill station, but now that I have discovered what and how to order, the Chopsticks choice is a good option. No Guy’s burger today, but a nice ice creme cone from the machine on Lido deck.  Afterwards cabin time and I worked on this review and filled out my Customs forms.  They actually made an ship wide announcement about the possibility of fog tomorrow, very rare they do this so I’m guessing it's probably going to happen.  The final Production Show: The Big Easy is this evening with two shows. It was a very good show with a lot of costume changes and featured many songs associated with New Orleans.  At 7:15 pm the Captain and senior crew and Diamond guests met in the Piano Bar for Cocktails.  It was great and I was able to order Alchemy cocktails as well.  Final dinner was good, I ordered the Crab Cake, French Onion Soup, Penne Marisco (as a starter), and the Veal Parmesan.  For dessert I had the Baked Alaska.

Saturday  /  Debarkation
FOG in Galveston
I slept until I heard the first fog announcement and that we will officially be delayed.  At least I took advantage of sleeping in for a while and I actually needed it.  I did get up about 9:00 am and began packing soon afterward.  I had plenty of time to go to Lido deck for a nice breakfast then returned to the cabin. They extended breakfast in the Paris MDR as well and made several informative announcements. We were expected to dock about 11:00 am so about 10:15 am I went down to the designated meet point for Diamond & Platinum guests in the London MDR.  It was really not as bad as I have seen in this situation in the past.  They did allow the Platinum & Diamond self assist guests to debark first. I was through US. Customs by 11:30 and at EZ Cruise parking about noon.  I always walk back to the car as by the time you walk to the shuttle pick up location you could be half the way to the lot itself.  Much faster to walk.  I skipped my usual gas fill up at Raceway ($2.49) and was off the island about 12:30 pm.  I stopped at the Love’s Store in Herne, Texas for gas ($2.45) and lunch.  Home at the ranch about 5:30 pm.  Not too bad for a fog delayed day.

CABIN
I had cabin 8384 a balcony located on Verandah Deck (deck 8) near the aft elevators on port side.  A nice bonus.  The cabin has a swipe type safe, twin/queen beds, no refrigerator (OK by me rarely use them), Three-section closet, Three Drawer cabinet, small sofa, Two Electrical Outlets on Counter/Dresser, Bottle Opener, Telephone mounted on wall, Medicine Cabinet, Small Table, Small Stool at Dresser, and the older style TV, but it does have the interactive features.   The interior cabin had a new flat screen.  My cabin steward was very good, the cabin was always clean and ice container filled.

DINING / FOOD / BARS / ENTERTAINMENT

Both Main Dining Rooms are very nice especially the Paris Dining room.  The Blue Iguana for burritos and Guy’s Burgers are excellent.  The buffet food is pretty standard, but the desserts are good.  The MDR food is IMHO just adequate, but I had a very nice location, good fellow guests, and the waiters were good.  No Mongolian Grill, but they have Chopsticks, an Asian specialty spot.  Love the Alchemy Bar and the Lobby bar is very nice.  Thirsty Frog beer is available in the Red Frog Rum bar, EA Sports bar, and Lobby bars.  If guests want the full entertainment experience, then the Triumph may be the ship for you.  They have a large 9 member ship orchestra, 10+ production dancers, and two excellent feature singers.  Also very good bands and solo performers. 

CREW

The entire ship crew were very friendly, they themselves can make the cruise more enjoyable for the guest. Waiters and Cabin stewards especially very friendly.  The excellent training by Carnival is quite obvious.  Favorites this cruise were my MDR wait team, Alchemy Bar team; and overall Crew in general.  They always seemed to have a smile on their face and eager to please the guests. The Ship Officers were fantastic…they really seem to enjoy working as a team and are very friendly.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE CRUISE
Diamond Guest Cocktails Party with Captain & Senior Staff
Alchemy Bar and bartenders.
Carnival Triumph Crew members
Cozumel Day

2 comments:

Matt Coffin said...

What happened to your Norwegian Jewel cruise?

Snoozeman said...

With the long cruise to Australia and two cruises in Europe in Oct/Nov we needed a break. I still want to do both cruise lines out of Bayport though. Maybe I'll get one of the two as a solo.