Friday, January 9, 2015

Carnival Triumph Cruise Review 1/3/2015

Carnival Triumph  Cruise Review 1/3/2015

Just the Facts:
Ship: Carnival Triumph
Captain:  Allesandro Iemmi
Cruise Director:  Kirk Benning
Ports: Galveston-Cozumel-Progreso-Galveston

This is my 50th Carnival cruise, the 7th time on the Carnival Triumph, and 100th cruise overall.  I am cruising as a solo.

Saturday / Embarkation / January 3, 2015 / Day 1

Lido Deck - Carnival Triumph
I received the dreaded fog warning letter and text from Carnival about midday on Friday warning of potential fog for Galveston and NOT to proceed to the pier until notified. It was bad on Friday; however, a thunderstorm was to cross Texas during the night and it went through Bosque County about 1:00 am...we even lost power twice.  I suspected that this front would push the fog out of Galveston by 6:00 am on Saturday and it did just that. Rain yes…fog no. I decided to proceed on a regular schedule and was on the road about 5:30 am. I caught the back end the front at about the 610 loop in Houston so I had light rain on to Galveston.  I arrived at EZ Cruise Parking just about 10:15 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 10:45. Looks to be about 4 Diamond guests and there are three large wedding parties that will board early. I was issued a regular Diamond card, they gave me a 50 Milestone card in December so we are 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 the wedding parties, we boarded  about 11:30 am.  It was a smooth process.  After dropping my bag and backpack in cabin 6410 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: 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 had a cocktail in the Lobby Bar and watched guests embark the ship for an hour then I went back to the cabin and took a nap in my nice dark interior cabin. 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. I went down to the Piano Bar and watched sail away through the comfort of the nice large windows since the weather is a bit cool and damp.  I used the internet while there until we were beyond range of my wifi hotspot.  Elena one of the the Housekeeping managers 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  and I just saw her last month, a nice service.  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 Tiana are the Alchemists, Yulia the bar server.  I know Adri and met Tiana at the lobby bar 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 forgot to email Kris the Matre’D and thought of it during the thunderstorm when I could not sleep so emailed him at 3:00 am this morning.  Amazingly he was able to get me a table in my favorite area and it was on my card when I checked in…wow…great service.  For dinner tonight I ordered: the Escargot, the Lasagne Bolognese (as starter), the Pork Steak entree, and the Black Forrest Gateau for dessert.  Dinner and service was good Following dinner I wanted to go to the double headliner comedy show @ 11:15 pm with both Lenny Schmidt and Mark Simmons, but I was a bit tired and retired to the cabin. I will see them later this cruise.

Sunday / Fun day at Sea / January 4 / Day 2
My Roomate
A bit of rocky seas and I had a very good long overnight sleep. Foggy or misty this morning so not many guests on deck.  I was off to the Paris dining room (MDR) for breakfast about 10:00 am for the Sea Day Brunch and the line was beyond the elevators so I got my Bloody Mary from the MDR bar station and went up to covered Lido World Bar located far aft for an hour.  I went back to the MDR and there was no real line and had a nice table strait away.  I ordered the Fruit Plate, Steak & Eggs, and side of bacon. It was all very good.  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.  For a late lunch I had a great Guy’s burger then went to the cabin to watch the Dallas Cowboys playoff football game, they did show it on the big screen on Lido deck too.  It was close, but the Cowboys won.  Only time for one aperitif at the Alchemy Bar before the Captain’s elegant night dinner. Tonight 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, but I’ve seen it several times of late. It is my favorite of the productions shows on the Carnival Triumph and 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.  I didn’t get the Chocolates that are supposed to be delivered on this night, but the Platinum/Diamond gift was delivered tonight: a nice Carnival Logo small travel bag.

Monday / Cozumel, Mexico / January 5 / Day 3

Pako at Woody's in Cozumel
Calm seas overnight and I had a great relaxing sleep. I have no early plans for the day so I slept late then went to the Paris MDR for a nice breakfast of Eggs Benedict and extras.  We are docked at the International Pier and the Carnival Glory and Carnival Sunshine are docked at Puerto Maya.  Once they finish the addition to that pier we would also be able to dock at the Carnival pier. About 9:20 I went down to deck zero and was on my way to San Miguel ($8 taxi).  Martin, my barber, was actually open a little early so I had my haircut finished by 10:30, I then went to Woody’s to set up for the day.  They have remodeled and added a great interior area as well as daily live music and fast internet.  Paku (with a 'k') was a very enjoyable performer.  This is a perfect place to spend a part of or the whole day.  Since I’ve done pretty much everything there is to do in Cozumel over the years I will spend the rest of the day there enjoying some Guacamole & Chips and some Bohemia beer, unfortunately we leave at 4:00 pm a ridiculously early time since we are only going to Progreso tomorrow.  I did get a Guy’s burger upon return then a short bit of R&R.  It was off for aperitifs at the Alchemy as usual about 6:45 and it was very busy.  Usually a smaller crowd in the MDR for dinner on Cozumel night, but it was almost full this evening, I ordered the Pasta entree in Alfredo Sauce (as a starter), the fried Shrimp plate, the Turkey Dinner entree, and Tiramisu for dessert. I retired to the cabin after dinner.

Tuesday / Progreso, Mexico / January 6 / Day 4
Progreso in distance
A bit of rolling seas overnight and the weather is great.  I was up about 8:00 am and went the the MDR about 8:30 as we were docking at the long pier of Progreso.  I ordered Melon, Fried Eggs, Ham, Bacon, Potatoes, Toast and all was very good.  I had originally intended to go into town, but by the end of breakfast time had decided to stay on board for the day as many guests do on Progreso day. The photo at left is as close as I came to Progreso, but I have been many times.  I had a nice walk around the ship,  going to Guest Services to apply a gift card, taking some photos on Lido, having an ice creme, and more.  I then enjoyed reading some articles in my Texas Monthly magazines and had a lunch from Chopsticks Grill.  A casual afternoon as well and I did have to have a Guy’s Burger about 4:00…enjoy them while you can get them!  The past guest party was held at 5:15 pm or just about sail away time.  The ‘Live’ music by the show band was very good and I enjoyed several cocktails.  There were four Diamond guests on this cruise, only three attending.  The entertainment in the theater tonight was New Wave Magic, basically guests singing with the show band, I didn’t attend having a longer evening at the Alchemy Bar.  It’s a very interesting crowd of regulars this cruise. The Paris MDR was fairly full again, a younger crowd this cruise helps.  For dinner tonight I had Shrimp Cocktail, the Pasta entree as a starter (as usual), the Chateaubriand, and Grand Marnier Souffle for dessert.  The Rio Lounge had the late adult cabaret show: A Kiss Good Night, a very popular show.

Wednesday / Fun day at Sea / January 7 / Day 5 
Alchemy Bar
Calm seas over night and the weather is again nice.  I was up about 9:00 later and went to the Paris MDR for the Sea Day brunch.  It was just the opposite of the first sea day…a short line when I arrived at 10:00 am, but a very long line when I left at 11:00 am.  I ordered the Huevos Rancheros this morning as well bacon and ham sides, all very good.  I had a walkabout on the decks and checked my online account at the kiosk, always good to do on the last day to avoid any surprises.  I had nice afternoon lunch from Chopsticks especially good was the Kung Pao Chicken, Chopsticks is not as nice 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 machines on Lido deck.  Afterwards cabin time and I worked on this review and filled out my U.S. Customs forms.  At 7:15 pm the Captain and senior crew and Diamond and Milestone guests met in the Piano Bar for Cocktails.  It was great and I was able to order Alchemy cocktails as well. Thanks Captain.  The final Production Show: The Big Easy was cancelled this evening because of the now rocking seas. The Captain told me we may have 50 knot winds before we reach Galveston.  It’s part of the big Cold front moving south. Final dinner this evening was good, I ordered the French Onion Soup, Penne Marisco (as a starter), and the Meat Loaf entree.  For dessert I had the Baked Alaska and a fruit plate.  After dinner I went back to the cabin and yes we are now beginning to really rock, sleeping should be good tonight.

Thursday  /  Debarkation  /  January 8
We had a super rocky night going into those 50-knot head winds.  Very interesting, but I do enjoy it as long as I’m in bed.  I was up early and packed, then went up to Lido at 7:00 am for breakfast. I went down to the designated meet point for Diamond & Platinum guests in the London MDR about 7:50 as we were sailing up the Galveston channel.  The Triumph has the best organized debarkation of any ship I have sailed. They did allow the Platinum & Diamond self assist to debark first, and I was actually the very first off the ship. I was through US. Customs by 8:25 and at EZ Cruise parking by 8:45.  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 was off the island about by 9:00 am.  I stopped at Love’s in Herne, Texas for gas ($1.99) and lunch.  Home at the ranch about 1:30 pm.

I had cabin 6410 an interior located on Upper Deck (deck 6) near the aft elevators on port side.  I booked on a special 24-hour sale with guarantee category and was assigned this cabin, a fair location but you do hear music from the Promenade deck below in the early evenings.  The cabin has a swipe type safe, twin/queen beds, no refrigerator (OK by me rarely use them), Three-section closet, Three Drawer cabinet, 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.   My cabin steward was very good, the cabin was always clean and ice container filled.

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 cover bands and solo performers. 


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.


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

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