Pros:Spacious staterooms, wonderful spa, plenty of options for shore excursions, dining room (dinner)excellent
Cons:EMBARKATION AND DEBARKATION!! Buffet food
The Bottom Line: I would recommend the Carnival Triumph. Since Carnival is the lower priced cruise line, it gave us the opportunity for an affordable trip to visit several places.
My husband and I decided to take a cruise about two months prior to our sail date. We have been to the carribean twice, but never on a cruise. We chose the Triumph because it was one of the newer ships, and it was going to the islands we wanted to visit.
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When we arrived in Miami, we had to wait about one hour at the airport before we were loaded onto the buses to take us to the pier. Our luggage was whisked away about 1/2 hour prior to us leaving the airport (didn't like that).
Once at the pier, there was a long line to get inside to begin the embarkation process. A porter there opened a different door, and told us to go inside; that we would be able to get in faster. Once in this large garage type area, we waited about 15 minutes. No one knew we were in there. Finally, a Carnival representative came in, but just stood there. Didn't tell us to go back outside, or that we would get anywhere faster. Finally, we had to open the door and just go inside ourselves. At this point, we were now in a longer line to get checked in. All said and done, we landed in Miami at about 11:00am and got in our stateroom at about 3:00pm.
We had always heard that the food on a cruise was simply to die for. What a disappointment to go to the Lido Deck and find the lunch buffet was nothing more than regular cafeteria type food. The salad bar was good, the choices from the grill were as you would expect from a grill (hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken sandwiches) as was the deli offerings (turkey, roast beef, corned beef, pastrami).
After lunch, we strolled around the ship. The ship itself is beautiful. Plenty of places to be around lots of people, plenty of places to be alone. We were supposed to set sail at 4:00. Didn't leave the port until about 5:30. Not a big deal to us.
All of our luggage arrived in our room at about 7:30. One half hour before our dinner seating (we chose late seating). Dinner in the dining room was excellent. Plenty of choices. Our wait staff was courteous, but slow. Each night, we were usually one of the last tables to leave the dining room.
Breakfast the next day (buffet)was nothing more than one would expect at Denny's. Very disappointing. My husband enjoys grease, so he ate from the buffet. I chose cold cereal.
The shore excursions were kind of pricey, but some were well worth it. In Cozumel, we chose the trip to Passion Island Beach (well worth the money)for half the day and shopping in town for the remainder. This is the only island we had adequate time to do anything as we did not have to get back on board until 11:00pm. In the Caymans, we chose the Stingray Sandbar tour where you could swim with the stingrays and feed them. We also chose the Seven Mile Beach Break. The water is unlike anything you have ever seen. Almost like pool water it's so clear. In Jamaica, we chose the Botanical Gardens tour (it was fair), Dunn's River Falls (We did this before) and shopping. The shopping was for 1/2 hour in two places. Not enough time. We spent close to $400 in shore excursions.
I also treated myself to a head to toe massage ($144.00). It was wonderful (don't think it was worth quite that much, but it was one thing I planned to do). After the massage, the masseuse tries to sell you products.
The Cruise Director, John, was hilarious. This man should take his show on the road and be a comedian. He is that funny!
We only saw one comedy show, Adam Ace. He was worse than awful. Thank goodness you don't have to pay for the entertainment on board. Many people walked out on him.
The casino is just like a casino, it takes your money from you. But it was fun.
The drinks (alcoholic)were good. The price is just about what you would pay in a bar. However, I would not expect to pay $3.00 for a coke, which is what they charge (including the 15% gratuity, which they automatically add to every drink purchase).
We had a good time. If nothing else, our cruise gave us the opportunity to see the Cayman Islands, and we will most likely go there next year for our vacation.
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Best Suited For: Couples