My DW and I took our first cruise last week aboard the Triumph for a 7 day Western Caribbean cruise. We weren’t sure whether we were going to enjoy cruising or not, but we ended up having a good time. For some background, we are 30 & 28, no kids. I have outlined below some of the various comments we had about the cruise, and sorry if it is a little long:
Ship: Although we do not have anything to compare the Triumph to, we thought it seemed like a decent ship. We had read the reviews on this board about her, so we were not exactly getting our hopes up. The ship seemed large enough to accommodate everybody without feeling like we were packed in like sardines. I do agree with other posters that the layout is awkward. The London dining room really causes problems from getting from one end to the other on the non-cabin decks. I am actually pretty surprised that design ever made it to production. Outside of that, though, I don’t have too many negative things to say about the ship – although we did smell the infamous sewer smell in the hallways. We liked that there were plenty of lounge chairs whenever we wanted one. I believe there were 7 hot tubs, which proved to be enough to accommodate everybody. The pools were small, but I knew that going into the cruise. I thought the ship was in good shape overall, and it did not seem to be too old, despite the 9 year age on it.
Cabin: We purchased an OV Guarantee, and were lucky enough to get an upgrade to an 8A balcony. We ended up getting our room assignment exactly 60 days out. Plus, our room dropped $30/pp so we got the onboard credit as well. So, net/net, we paid $599/pp for our balcony room. I think if we ever cruise again, it will be hard not to get a balcony, because we enjoyed being able to sit out there so much. We knew the rooms were small going into this cruise, but both of us felt they were bigger than we had imagined, so we were pleasantly surprised with that. Overall, we were very happy with our room, and did not have any issues or complaints.
Food: The food on the ship was ok – nothing spectacular, but not bad either. We sat with 3 other couples in the Paris dining room. They all were generally around our age, and looking around the room it looked like Carnival had grouped people by age. Can anybody confirm that they try to do this? Our waiters were both really good, and they had some type of trick for us every night. We only went to one formal night (the 2nd one), and the menu did not seem any different than the normal menu, which seemed surprising. I had the melting cake several times and really enjoyed that. We ate at the breakfast buffet most days, and it was good. I ate at the NY Deli several times, and that was good as well. The pizza, wasn’t so good – better than a CiCi’s pizza, but not as good as other chains like Papa John’s or Pizza Hut. The gala buffet had good desserts on it, and they also served those desserts the next day for breakfast/lunch buffet.
Entertainment: We thought the entertainment was decent. We did not attend either of the Las Vegas style musical shows. We did go see a comic, who was good. The hypnotist was a little weak in my opinion. The magic show was really good, and I thought that was the best show of the strip. The last night had the Legends, which some were good, and some not so good. But since these were all passengers, I can’t really fault the not so good ones. We played bingo a few times, but thought that there would be more than one game, so that was a little disappointing. We went to the casino most nights, and I was surprised by how many people play blackjack without knowing the “rules” of when to hit and not hit – definitely different than Vegas. We also stopped by the piano bar a few times. Eric was good, but not great.
Ports: First stop was Cozumel. We went to Nachi Cocum. It was nice and we had a good time, but I just don’t view it as “paradise” as some others on the board have. I liked Palm Beach in Aruba much better, but Nachi was still good. The staff was attentive, and the food good. Second stop was Grand Cayman. This was our favorite of the three. We did the Stingray City and Rum Point Beach excursion thru Carnival. The stingrays were a lot of fun, and we were the 2nd boat there, so that was nice to beat the crowds. By the time we left, there were probably 10 boats there. Rum Point was awesome, and we liked this beach area better than Nachi. It is very quiet and not too crowded. We would definitely go back to Grand Cayman to go to that beach. Third stop was Ocho Rios, which we did not do an excursion. We docked at a secondary dock, and not the main one. So, we had to walk about a ½ mile to the shops. Of course we were hit up for taxi’s and trinkets (27 times on the roundtrip), but we never felt unsafe. Overall, we would be fine not going back to Jamaica again.
Overall: As I previously mentioned, this was our first cruise, and we really had a good time. We would definitely cruise again based on our experience from last week, although we may try RC just to see if the added amenities are worth it or not. The weather was great all week – sunny everyday and no rain, so that really helped our cruise. We met a lot of great people, and on several nights did stuff in the evening with our table-mates. All in all, we had a great time and would do it again!