Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Navigator of the Seas Review 12.14.2014


Navigator of the Seas Review 

December 14,  2014

Just The Facts
Ship:  Navigator of the Seas
Sailing:  December 14-December 20, 2014
Captain: Frank Martinsen
Cruise Director:John Perry
Ports: Galveston-Roatan-Belize-Cozumel-Galveston
Weather:  Mixed

I am cruising as a solo and this is my 18th Royal Caribbean cruise and second on the beautiful Navigator of the Seas although this is my 5th cruise with Captain Frank.  I had booked this cruise very early in order to get our favorite aft cabin on deck seven, but when DW decided not to sail I changed the booking to a solo with a category J interior cabin with the new virtual balcony display.

Day One--Sunday—Embarkation
Navigator's 2014 Christmas Tree
There were warnings online from cruisers already in Galveston for the cruise that road construction was very bad on I-45 so to allow for that I left the Ranch about 5:00 a.m. an hour earlier than my usual time.  I made very good time that early and Hwy 290 was diverted into I-10 so I went through downtown Houston which ended up being faster on a Sunday as it is a more direct route.  There was really no construction to speak of on I-45 on this Sunday so I ended up arriving at EZ Cruise parking a full hour before I would normally.  A shuttle was leaving for the Navigator so I went over strait away and was in the priority line outside The Port of Galveston's Terminal Two about 10:00 am.  I usually take my bag on with me, but since I was early I didn’t want to have to take it everywhere so I did check it with the porters. They opened priority boarding soon and I was checked in and boarding the ship at 10:42 am.  As it turned out I was the first of the new passengers and in fact passed half of the B2B cruisers who were taking casual boarding photos.  I was actually at the Windjammer buffet before the 11:00 am opening, but it was only a short wait until I was enjoying an early lunch.  I had fried chicken, potatoes (both mashed & wedges), and corn on the cob.  It was a nice lunch as was the bread pudding at the dessert station.  Cabins open at 1:00 pm so I sat on deck and watched NFL football on the big screen until time to check the cabin.  I’m on deck ten near the stairwell just below the Windjammer, a good location.  Obviously the first thing I see when entering the cabin is check out the virtual balcony (VB).  It’s amazing…I’m looking at the pier in Galveston.  It’s floor to ceiling about the size of a large window.  You even have a remote control so you can adjust the outside sound, I can’t wait to use the sound when we are at sea at night.  I can see where for some this could be better than an actual balcony, certainly better than a regular interior.  I was able to take a much needed wee nap.  My bag was delivered before the 4:00 pm safety drill and I met my cabin Steward Michael.  I was tempted to stay in the cabin and watch sail away on the virtual balcony since I have never done that, but I did go on deck and watch our sail away along with the Carnival Magic a little after 5:00 pm.  They pre-load your complementary Diamond guest cocktails on your sail and sign card so I had cocktails from the Sky Bar for sail away and it was fun, I enjoy watching newbie cruisers.  I went to cabin to prepare for dinner and noticed the Carnival Magic sailing ahead of us on the Virtual Balcony, a really amazing thing. I had time for one cocktail in the Diamond Lounge, then it was off to the Sapphire Dining room for dinner.  My table is located at the rear of level 4, nice guests, but I don’t care for the location.  Dinner was good, I ordered:  Shrimp Cocktail, Escargot, and the Prime Rib with Baked Potato entree.   The Welcome show was this evening, but I retired to the cabin.  When the steward does your evening  turn-down service they close the drapes on the virtual balcony just as they do for a regular balcony so the light won’t wake you in the morning…still amazing to me.

Day Two—Monday—at Sea
Navigator's resdient Dog
A very restful night and beautiful weather today.  I slept late, it was after 9:00 am when I opened up my virtual balcony window.  That amazing me.  I purchase an unlimited internet package this morning, the cost will be my excursion and entertainment cost for the cruise.  I considered a drink package, but with the drinks provided to Diamond guests there is really no need for one (for me anyway).  I didn’t leave the cabin until after 10:00 so I went up to the Diamond lounge and had some fruit for breakfast in their outdoor section.  It was a great private location so I got my laptop and spent a lot of the day there.  I did go to the MDR for lunch, the salads there are excellent.  In the afternoon I walked around the ship and had some cabin time.  At 4:30 I went back to the outdoor deck to use the internet and enjoyed some Heineken beers from the Diamond Lounge.  At 6:30 I went to the Metropolis Theater for the production show: Now and Forever featuring a selection of contemporary Broadway Show Tunes.  The Navigator Singers and Dancers were very good as well as the nine member live Orchestra.  After the show I had cocktails in the R7 Bar on deck 5 using the Diamond credits on my Sail card (what a brilliant program) until time for dinner.  Earlier today I had changed table assignments in the MDR as I preferred a better location so I am now on deck 3 closer to the center, nice people here too. The Captains Gala Dinner was a wonderful meal, I ordered: the wonderful Bay Scallop Gratin appetizer, the Artichoke-filled Crepe au Gratin, and the Carved Fillet of Beef Tenderloin  entree.  For dessert I had the BBB Creme Brulee.  All very good.  I did go to the Theater for the 10:30 Adult Comedy show featuring Jim McDonald.  I’ve seen him before and he is very funny.  They had a full house, as a frequent Carnival passenger it makes me wonder why Carnival doesn’t do their Punchliner shows in the main theater, it would be much more comfortable for all.  After a great long sea day I retired.

Day Three—Tuesday—at Sea
Ship Guide
I slept very well overnight and the weather was warmer and again beautiful.  I went to breakfast in the Sapphire dining room about 9:30 am and ordered mixed fruit, Eggs Benedict, and a side of Bacon.  It was excellent.  After breakfast I went up to the Diamond open area on deck 14 off the Diamond club, a great area with tables and chairs and shaded in the mornings.  The cookies from the Diamond Club are a bonus.  You also get better wifi speeds from up there too.  I had a nice late lunch in the Windjammer, they had roast pork at the carving station and the mashed potatoes are excellent.  I just a relaxed the rest of the afternoon. I went up to Diamond Lounge for a cocktail then to the R7 Bar for another while waiting for the 6:30 production show: The Edge Effect.  I had never seen this five person a capella group and they did a very good and entertaining show.  Time for a visit to the Diamond Lounge while waiting for dinner.  Tonight I ordered a Shrimp Cocktail, Eggplant Parmigiana, the Pork Tenderloin entree (not fond of it), and luckily the Chicken Marsala entree, with Tiramisu for dessert.  A very good meal.  It was 1970’s night with special music around the ship this evening, but I retired early.

Day Four—Wednesday—Roatan
Roatan Pier from Navigator
A good nights sleep overnight and I again slept well.  I opened my VB and saw that we are docked and that there was a light rain falling.  Certainly no reason to get about early so I relaxed and went upstairs about 10:00 am to the Windjammer for a made-to-order omelette with some nice ham from the carving station and bacon and extras from the buffet.  I will stay on board ship since it’s a questionable day, we would get a little sun and a little shower most of the day. I took a walk down to the Promenade deck and took photos while most pax where away, but most of the day I played on the internet taking a break for lunch in the Windjammer.  They have nice steaks that I enjoyed along with the mashed potatoes. We sailed away a bit after 4:30 and I missed it on the VB, but a plane flew by landing on the island that was certainly interesting to see.  I dressed for dinner an went up to the Diamond Club for some cocktails and nice Horderves/Appetizers (the chicken wings were great).  The Crown & Anchor past guest party was this evening @ 7:15, but it was really much better just staying in the Diamond Club.  It has been very convenient for me this cruise especially since I’m cruising as a solo.  I really like the Cosmopolitans they prepare on the Voyager, only a ‘touch’ of cranberry.  Dinner was very good this evening.  I ordered  Crab Cake, Shrimp Cocktail, an excellent Chicken Cordon Bleu, and a NY Strip Steak.  After dinner was the Love & Marriage Show in the Metropolis Theater, but I watched it later on cabin TV.

Day Five—Thursday--Belize
Cruise itinerary
A nice nights sleep as the ship was rolling a bit more…I like it.  I went up to the Windjammer for a nice breakfast of scrambled eggs, ham, bacon, corned beef hash, and toast.  I walked about the deck enjoying the wonderful weather today, it was near perfect.  I had a nice lunch in the Windjammer then some cabin time until sail away.  I watched two TV show of two different shows I really had not been a fan of previously, Bones and Castle, but enjoyed them. I even ordered room service as to not miss any.  The production show this evening was: Donovan & Rebecca with the late seating guests at 6:30 and main seating dinners at the later show as usual.  Dinner was very good this evening, I ordered the NY Strip Steak as my primary entree.  There was a variety of activities this evening including: Gambling with the Ships’s officers in the Casino, Battle of the Sexes in the Star Lounge, and Ice Skating Shows in Studio B.

Day Six--Friday—Cozumel
Navigator and Allure in Cozumel
A bit of a restless night, but I slept rather late this morning. My VB did not not wake me as it is overcast so somewhat dark outside.  We are docked next to the Allure of the Seas at the International pier.  I went up to the Windjammer for fresh fried eggs, ham from the carving station, bacon, & hash browns about 10:30 am this morning.  More people there than I expected since this is a popular port, but perhaps the overcast skies has some wary of going ashore.  Since I was just here earlier in the month I really didn’t need to do my usual Cozumel ‘chores/activities’ I only have to get some Tequila & other alcohol for Christmas gifts.  I just went to the International Pier shops and looked around and did my shopping.  I was back on the ship in just a few hours.  I enjoyed reading, relaxing, and internet time most of the day.  The Production Show this evening was James Stephens III in the Metropolis Theater. I visited and stayed in the Diamond Lounge for a while this evening enjoying a few cocktails.  This was the second scheduled formal night and dinner was again very good,  I had a Royal Seafood salad, the Royal Shrimp Cocktail, Snow Crab Salad, the Slow Roasted Prime Rib, and dessert was Baked Alaska.  After dinner the primary event was the adult Quest game in Studio B.  Other entertainment included the usual ship performers including the 'Salsa Band', the ‘Rock’ band, and the Piano Bar.

Day Seven--Saturday--at Sea
Sunny beginning that became a cloudy day today.  I slept very well almost to 11:00 am so I knew I was beyond breakfast time.  I actually ended up with an ice creme for breakfast.  I had an early lunch in the Windjammer when it opened at noon then got a Self Assist pass from Guest services for tomorrows debarkation.  I split my time between the open decks and the cabin today.  A nice relaxing sea day.  The production show this evening was Ballroom Fever in the Metropolis Theater.  I visited the Diamond Lounge for a a cocktail about 7:30 and I again went with the NY Strip Steak for dinner and this one (my third of the cruise) was the best of the week.  After dinner the late show was comedian Billy Prudhomme.  I did some preliminary packing before turning-in this evening.


We were docked by 7:00 am and it was a beautiful day in Galveston.  I was up earlier and packed. No room service on debarkation morning, but a full breakfast menu is served in the dining room.  I actually went up to the Windjammer for a nice early breakfast. I have a 7:15 - 8:00 am meet time for our self-debark group B. You have to request self-debark on the Navigator and get a ticket at Guest Services the day prior.  Since we docked a bit early I suspected the debark would as well and it did with self assist guests going off about 7:30.  I was off about then and customs went smooth.  They did have a TABC booth set up to collect taxes on liquor and cigarettes as I left the terminal.  I was off  the island by 8:15.  I stopped at the new Buc*ees in Waller for gas ($1.91) and reached the ranch by 1:00 pm.  A nice debark and travel day.

Virtual Balcony
The Navigator of the Seas is Royal Caribbean’s ‘Texas’ ship being the first to berth in Galveston year round since the Rhapsody of the Seas.  After Navigator it is to be the Freedom of the Seas and following that is supposed to be an Oasis class in Galveston.  With a large ship there are a lot of people and the pools can be very crowded during peak times and the elevators are always full, but the additional size also means that there is room for an ice skating arena, the photo gallery, casino, bars, etc. without any one of them dominating an entire deck.  The Grand Promenade is very impressive indeed and must be experienced.  The theme of the ship seems to be Hollywood Movies with movie posters decorating the passageways and stairwells. They have added a Flow Rider, the Sabor restaurant, Diamond Lounge, Digital photo displays on deck three, of course the virtual balconies on deck ten, and more during the dry dock retrofit at the beginning of the year.  I really like the new interactive touchscreen information centers located near all the elevators and other locations.  They have the daily Cruise Compass, guides, maps, and more.  They also have interactive menus at the Windjammer and on all entry floors of the Sapphire Dining room.

I had cabin 1639 an interior port side near the aft elevators.  Of course the unique feature that I have mentioned several times is the Virtual Balcony, I really liked it.  The room is a standard size interior with: key pad safe, hair dryer, refrigerator, lounge chair & ottoman, full chair at vanity/desk, nice sliding shower door, and great lighting. The second great feature was the flat screen TV that could be adjusted to view from anywhere in the room.  Very well designed.  The air conditioning & water pressure worked well, but I’m glad I brought my personal cabin fan for circulation.

Overall very good and my individual crew contacts such as cabin steward and waiters were better than my cruise in March.  I enjoyed the Cruise Director and the Activity Director’s morning show. I was very pleased with my cabin steward and dining room team.

My dining room (after 1st night) was the Sapphire Dining Room, deck three the lower level of the 3 level restaurant. The waiters were nice and service was good.  The bread and appetizers were very good, and you can order the Escargot, Cesar Salad, Shrimp Cocktail, or NY Strip Steak every night.  The Windjammer is also a very good to eat, the quality of food was excellent.  It’s the best food buffet at sea IMHO.  Room service was always good and prompt averaging 30 minutes for delivery.  Johnny Rockets was a good alternative for lunch or afternoon snack.  Lunch in the Sapphire Dining Room has the same menu each day with one special item that does change daily. There are several ice crème and yogurt machines.

Cruise Highlights
Diamond Club
Complementary cocktails loaded on Sail Card
Virtual Balcony

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.

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.


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. 


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