Monday, January 19, 2015

Carnival Triumph Cruise Review 1/17/2015


Carnival Triumph Cruise Review 1/17/2015

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

This is my 51st Carnival cruise, the 8th time on the Carnival Triumph, and 101st cruise overall.  I am cruising as a solo.

Saturday / Embarkation / January 17th, 2015 / Day 1

Guy's Burger Joint
I was awake early and left the ranch about ten minutes ahead of my regular scheduled time of a 5:30am departure.  You can make very good time in the early morning hours and I didn’t get into serious traffic until Houston.  I arrived at EZ Cruise Parking just about 10:00 am and was shuttled over to the ship soon afterward.  I again decided to carry my bag with me through check-in and not leave it with a porter.  I do have a special duffle bag that I use that will fit through the security scanners.  I was checked in at the VIFP priority check-in area about 10:30. Looks to be about 4-5 Diamond guests (I always look at the Diamond page when they check me off the list) and there were several others in the VIFP lounge. After the wedding party, we boarded  about 11:25 am.  It was a smooth process.  After dropping my bag and backpack in cabin 6267 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 freshly made (especially if your early) Asian food from Chopsticks. I saw Kris the Maitre’D and he told me he had a nice MDR table for me.   After lunch I went out to the Pool area and I have to say that I had never seen so many people in line to eat a Guy’s Burgers immediately on embark.  The word is out (the lines are both to the left and right out of view in above photo) about Guy's.  I went to the Lobby Bar and watched guests embark the ship for a while then I went back to the cabin and took a short nap.   I went up to Lido and got my Guy’s Burger about 3:45. Boat/Safety Drill was held just after 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 watched sail away from the balcony and once we got moving over the water the weather became cooler.   I then used the internet until we were beyond range of my wifi hotspot.  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 Marko are the Alchemists, Tiana the bar server.  DW made some great homemade sweets and I brought some for Adri and Tiana. It was good to see Marko back as well.  Dinner is at 8:15 pm, there is a very large group of music fans, the Bobby Sox and Boots group, on board and they have 8-9 of the tables in the center of the Paris Dining Room (MDR), but I did have table 549, a nice table with nice people in a good location.  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 John McDonnell and CeeJay Jones, but I was a bit tired and retired to the cabin. I will see them later this cruise.

Sunday / Fun day at Sea / January 18th / Day 2
Poker Pro Table
Fairly smooth seas and I had a very good overnight sleep. I was off to the Paris dining room (MDR) for breakfast about 9:30 am for the Sea Day Brunch and was expecting a long line, but there was really no line at all.  The large group was having its functions so that may have had an effect.  I had a great table location at the aft windows and I ordered the Fruit Plate, Steak & Eggs, and side of bacon. It was all very good.  I did go by and see the music group, they had an Elvis type entertainer and a country duo the two times I walked by…I’ll adjust my schedule accordingly, but many times it is a good thing to have a big group on board with their own schedule, it makes it less crowded at other ship venues.  Olena came by to make all was well with the cabin, I actually had not seen my cabin steward until this morning, but I asked him to keep the small cooler full and we would be fine.  I did bring diet coke so with ice all will be well.  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.  Guests were really happy and busy today, we had beautiful weather and the outdoor decks were packed as well as the casino. The NFC football game was shown several places and they had Karaoke, Trivia and the usual cruise activities.  I had a very good sea day: I enjoyed a great Guy’s burger, then went to the casino and played on the Poker Pro Hold ‘em table (+), then watched the 2nd half of the exciting NFC Championship football game.  Off to the Alchemy Bar for aperitifs until dinner and it was a very FUN happy hour+.  For tonight's Captain’s elegant night dinner I ordered: the Stuffed White Mushrooms, Farfalle Pasta with Turkey, the Lobster entree, and the Cherries Jubilee for dessert.  Other good options were:  Roasted Pumpkin Soup, Alligator Fritters, Prime Rib, or Pork Spare Ribs.  The Matre'D sent me a bottle of wine tonight, but the highlight was when three 'Cowboys' came over to the table and did an a cappella serenade for us...very special.  (I had met one earlier in the Alchemy and one of the gals at my table made the request when I pointed him out)  The production show Wonderful World was tonight following dinner for late setting guests.  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 did receive the VIFP Chocolates this evening and the Platinum/Diamond gift was delivered tonight: a nice Carnival Logo small travel bag.

Monday / Cozumel, Mexico / January 19th / Day 3
VIFP Party
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 next to the Celebrity Reflection and the Carnival Glory and the Carnival Sunshine are docked at Puerto Maya, there are also two ships at Puerto Langosta so a lot of tourists in Cozumel today.  Once they finish the addition to the PM pier they will be able to dock more Carnival ships at the pier. About 9:00 am I went down to deck zero and was on my way to San Miguel ($8 taxi). I went to Woody’s Bar to set up for the day.  I was early, but they set my usual table with a great overhead fan and electrical plug to recharge the computer. The wifi is faster than I have at home on the ranch so I did some work online while enjoying some Diet Coke, bottled water, Bohemia beers, and some good guacamole & chips.  Very pleasant surprise when my tab was covered by the owner.  I am a lucky guy.  I did leave a bit early so only heard one set by Pako the entertainer who provides live entertainment in the afternoons at Woody’s.  A ferry had just arrived from the mainland so I needed to walk to the taxi stand on the other side of the square, but I was soon back at the International pier and ship.  I still believe we leave much too early (at 4:00 pm) a ridiculously early time since we are only going to Progreso tomorrow. The VIFP Party was held at 4:15 in the Rome Lounge.  The Carnival Triumph live band has a new feature singer and she is very very good.  CD Kirk did a good job keeping the event rolling and there were five Diamond guests recognized. It was off for aperitifs at the Alchemy as usual about 6:15 and it was busy and fun.  It was a smaller crowd in the Paris MDR for dinner as it usually is on Cozumel night.  I ordered the Chicken Breast Pasta entree in Alfredo Sauce (as a starter), the Fried Shrimp & Fries plate from the Comfort Food selection and Tiramisu for dessert.  Stephen, the Triumph's Scottish GSM sent a wee dram to the table…thanks.  After dinner it was the Showcase of Stars in the Rome theater, but I was sidetracked by new friends at the Alchemy Bar and ended up staying until close.  The highlight was the ‘up close’ magician who did some amazing tricks.  Actually some of the BEST Magic I have ever seen.  Truly Amazing.

Tuesday / Progreso, Mexico / January 20th / Day 4

Ice Creme & Yogurt Machines
We were docked long before I awoke. I had originally planned to go into Progreso and have lunch, but it was a late Monday night especially for me so I slept very late, until 10:30 am.  I made it to the Lido deck and the omelette station before it closed at 11:00 am and had a nice fresh breakfast omelette.  It was then back to the cabin for more rest.  I had a nice afternoon walk around the ship, going to Guest Services to apply a gift card, taking some photos on Promenade deck, having half a Guy’s Burger, and more.  I had another nice visit with one of the ‘Cowboy’ singers, Tim Nichols in the lobby bar, we need to get him booked at our local honkey-tonk the Horny Toad in Cranfills Gap.  About 5:00 I ordered a BLT from room service and it was excellent (as usual) and delivered right away.  I watched sail away from the balcony as we sailed at 6:00 pm.  The production show in the Rome Theater this evening is New Wave Magic featuring Anders.  I didn’t attend having an aperitif at the Alchemy Bar.  It’s again a very interesting crowd of regulars this cruise, but very different than the previous cruise. The Paris MDR was fairly full, the several groups on this cruise helps.  For dinner tonight I had the Lobster Bisque, Shrimp Cocktail, the Pasta entree as a starter (as usual), the Chateaubriand, with Grand Marnier Souffle and a Banana Split for dessert. A very nice meal. The Rio Lounge had the late adult cabaret show: A Kiss Good Night, a very popular show, but I retired after a brief walk about the ship.

Wednesday / Fun day at Sea / January 21st / Day 5
Welcome back Marko
Calm seas over night and the weather is again nice.  I was up about 8:30 am and went to the Paris MDR for the Sea Day brunch about 9:15.  I ordered custom eggs this morning as well as hash browns, 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.  No Guy’s burger today, but I had nice afternoon lunch from Chopsticks, especially good was the Kung Pao Chicken and Spring Rolls, 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.  Afterwards cabin time and I worked on this review and filled out my Customs forms.  At 4:45 Captain Allesandro made a ship wide announcement that the Port of Galveston was currently closed due to dense fog and may well effect our arrival into Galveston.  That usually means that it will be.  The final Production Show: The Big Easy is this evening, but at 7:15 pm the Captain and senior officers hosted the Diamond guests in the Piano Bar for Cocktails.  They served very nice h’orderves and I was able to order premium Alchemy cocktails (Marko was the bartender). It’s always a very FUN gathering.  Final dinner was good, I ordered the French Onion Soup, Penne Marisco (as a starter), and the Meat Loaf entree.  For dessert our table had pre-ordered the Creme Brûlée the night before so we had that and the traditional Baked Alaska.  One final visit to Alchemy to say farewell to new friends and the Alchemy crew since the Captain told me we’d probably get to sleep in in the morning.

Thursday  /  Debarkation
Bye little Buddy
We had slightly rocky seas overnight going into Galveston.  I was fully expecting us to be outside the harbor due to fog and checked the balcony just too see if we were within internet wifi range of port.  Imagine my surprise when we were already docked…an hour before the regular scheduled time…obviously no fog.  A cold front was just coming in so I guess it dispersed the fog.  I immediately began packing as a suspected we may be cleared early and we were.  I was off the ship well before the meet times for VIP debarkation. In the past six weeks on three different cruises I have experienced a late port arrival, an on-time port arrival, and an early port arrival and I can state that the Carnival Triumph has the best organized debarkation of any ship I have sailed. I was through US. Customs by 7:45 and at EZ Cruise parking by 8:00.  I always walk the two blocks 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 8:15 am. (Gasoline on the island was $1.79 gal.)  I made it almost through Houston before the wind and rain came and it slowed the trip home, but I was back at the ranch before 1:00 pm.

Cabin
Cabin 6267
I had cabin 6267 a balcony located on Upper Deck (deck 6) near the forward elevators on starboard side.  I prefer an aft location but I booked late and this was one of the few available at my rate.  It was easy to get to Promenade deck.  The cabin has a swipe type safe, twin/queen beds, no refrigerator (OK by me I bring a cooler), small couch, 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, Robes (2), and the older style TV, but it does have the interactive features.   Unlike newer Carnival ships the Triumph does not have magnetic walls so I use my magnetic hooks on the ceiling or door.  My cabin steward was very good, the cabin was always clean and my small flexible ice chest 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 fare, but selected 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 8 member ship orchestra, 10+ production dancers, and two excellent feature singers.  Also very good cover 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

Private Magic Show
Diamond Guest Cocktails Party with Captain & Senior Officers
Alchemy Bar and bartenders.
Carnival Triumph Crew members
Cozumel Day

~Another Great Cruise on the Carnival Triumph~



1 comment:

Patricia Gonzalez said...

We were also on the same cruise and in room 6257. I love reading your blog. I was wondering if you knew the name of the band that was playing in the casino bar with the female singer. They were really friendly and we really enjoyed the variety of songs. We will be going again and would love to bring them a gift. Thanks again.