by Stephanie Chiu
June 30, 2001
Day 1 - Saturday, Welcome Aboard!
This is my review of our Western Caribbean cruise on Carnival Triumph from June 30 - July 7, 2001. My family of six went with my aunt and uncle's family of five, as well as my grandparents. The thirteen of us drove to the Port of Miami around 11:30 a.m. It was pretty crazy because cars were everywhere, and there were different terminals depending on which cruise ship you're boarding. There were workers waiting to collect the heavy luggage that would be brought to our room that evening. All of us carried lots of small bags with us, but the ones we couldn't personally carry had Triumph red tags with our names and cabin numbers. You have to tip the guys to ensure that they get your luggage to your room safely. One advice - count how many bags you're handing over so that you can be sure they all arrive later that evening/night. After that, my dad dropped us off at the terminal so that we could start lining up. This was our second cruise, so we had some experience this time on what to do. Last time, on Paradise, we parked our car and then walked all the way to the terminal w/ all our luggage!! *For the first-timers, it is recommended that you get to the port early because lining up and going through the whole boarding process, along with lugging all your bags, can take a while.
* Also, the forms in the cruise packets that are sent to each person should be filled out BEFORE arriving at the terminal, because once in, it is chaos. Have your papers ready. While we were in line, my dad went to find parking for our van. He met us at the line and told us that he came close to not getting a parking spot. Be sure to bring enough cash to park your car at the Carnival parking lot. They do not take credit cards or checks! The fee increased this year to $70 for us, and my dad just had enough. Once we checked in, we were out of the first line and went to pickup our sail and sign cards, done by room number. Inside each envelope is a card for every occupant of that room. The card also tells what dining room you got, what table number, and whether or not you're in main or late seating. The sail and sign card is your life for the week - all your purchases on the cruise are made w/ the card, and it is the key to your room. It is also the only ID required to leave and return to the ship. This year they took our pictures and while it doesn't show up on your card, it shows up on a computer when you're going in and out. If you lose your card (which happened to my sister later on), the purser's office will get you a new one and cancel the lost one immediately. You do not have to retake your picture. Triumph has about 3400 passengers, but since we knew the whole process, we got on the ship in about 45 minutes. We got on at around 12:45, and the ship did not deport until about 4:30, which gave plenty of time for people to board.
Upon entering, we found ourselves at the atrium, Deck 3. It was a marvelous sight, and suddenly the exciting of cruising returned. Our rooms were on Main deck, deck 2, so we just went down one flight. I was sharing my cabin with my two sisters, and our room (2449) was the only odd number, so we went one way and our entire family went the other. Our room had two beds and two pull-down bunks that were locked. In order the pull them down, you have to call your cabin steward. Our travel agency had sent wine to each room, and a snack package to my father's room because he arranged everything. The phone can be used to call your room steward, the information desk, room service, wake up calls, and other cabins. After the initial settling in, we all met and took the elevators to the 9th floor, the lido deck, which was the most popular floor. One bad thing about the cruise was that elevators took forever to arrive, so sometimes we would take the stairs, even from Deck 2 to Deck 9! At the lido deck you can tan, play in the pool and waterslide, and eat from the Coney Island Grille, the Sun Lovers buffet for lunch, and the 24-hour pizzeria. Inside, there is the South Beach Club, which houses the Hong Kong Noodle Company and the NY Deli on opposite sides, and of course, buffets. We went immediately to the Hong Kong Noodle place, where there was less of a line than the NY Deli. The food was not that great, not authentic Chinese food. We also checked out all the selections at the buffet. There were lots of delicious looking cakes with elaborate pieces of hardened sugar and chocolate stuck to them like art. There's also ice cream and frozen yogurt machines. Most of the cruise, the vanilla ice cream was broken but the vanilla yogurt tasted so much like ice cream that I didn't even know I had been eating yogurt the whole time. The machines were popular for those sunning and the younger kids, as well as endless fries and hamburgers at the Coney Island Grille. We enjoyed the view of Miami outside and honked at passing cruise ships. The view was picturesque.
At 4:30 there was a lifeboat drill. Announcements can be heard inside your rooms. Life jackets were in the box under the TV, and we had to follow everyone on our side to a certain muster station, where we wore our lifejackets and listened to the captain and crew. That took about 30 minutes. Then it was off to main seating at the Paris dining room. We were really lucky and got a big table with a window view, at the upper level (there are two levels to both dining rooms). One of the highlights of our cruises has been being served endless amounts of starters and main courses and desserts all week! Tonight was casual dress code, since it is expected that some passengers have not received their luggage. Dinner was great - we met our main waiter, the assistant waiter, and the maitre de. After dinner we headed back to our cabin to "digest" and enjoy the complimentary cabin movies. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon was playing. At 10:30 there was the Welcome Aboard Show, something no one should miss. Every big show is hosted in the Rome Lounge, conveniently one floor above us. Seats always fill up quickly. We never sat up in the balcony during the week. The show sets the tone for the rest of the week. You meet some other passengers when they are called up to embarrass themselves. It is great fun. We met the cruise fun hosts, as well as the cruise director, John Heald, who definitely made this cruise a memorable experience. John is one of the top cruise directors, and hilarious. He is British so you can imagine that he has wacky, naughty humor. Unfortunately, it was one of his last weeks on the Triumph. He will be relocating to the Carnival Spirit going to Alaska in the fall. Right away the night was full of laughter. My dad was one of the passengers picked to participate, and later on became the celebrity of the ship for the entire week. I won't spoil the surprise, but he was told to say certain things beforehand, so it all seemed natural when he was up. He did a great job cracking everyone up without really trying to be funny. The show was a wonderful end to the first night. All the participants received a bottle of champagne.
Day 2 - Sunday, Fun Day at Sea!
We kids could never get up early for breakfast, so we woke up around noon and went immediately to the Paris dining room for lunch. For those who do not want to be served, the Sun Lovers buffet is always available on lido. If you wake up around 12:30, do not bother going to the dining room, because it is already too late for main seating. They have to prepare for late seating people to eat lunch. Lunch was delicious - so far the food has been better than Paradise. Our parents had gone to the Cozumel shore tour talk by John in the Rome Lounge at 11:00 a.m. We would be arriving at Cozumel the next day. On Triumph there was a lot of bingo and trivia, but no game shows like we had on Paradise. My uncle went to the art preview and while we kids explored the 13 decks of the massive ship. The lido deck had music, a Men's Hairy Chest contest going on, and as usual, lots of tanning. I did not go out and tan at all during the week but I heard that it gets really packed and you must get there early and literally reserve a seat. We grabbed some fruit (they have endless fruit salad) and ice cream cones and went back to the room to shower and prepare for the most formal night of the week, which was tonight. *For first timers, be prepared - the toilets make a suction sound when you flush, and it may be startling at first!* There is a lot of excitement because of formal portraits you can take in different areas of the ship. Most of the photographers are near the atrium stairway, Decks 4 and 5. We dressed up and went to take pictures. Then off to Paris for formal dinner - tonight they served the best courses all at once. Lobster tail!! Prime rib! And lots more. I especially remember the lobster tail, as I have been looking forward to that since Paradise. We all ordered the best main courses. There was so much food, I wanted another lobster tail but could not fit it. Must sacrifice for dessert! J I think we scared our waiter by ordering so much. Then we rolled back to our rooms or to check out the photo gallery, which had pictures from the day before, when we first boarded. One tip - wait till the end of the week before buying pictures, because at the end of the week you can check out ALL the pictures you took and see which ones you want. If you buy them the same day, you won't have anything to compare to, and they get pricey! About $20 for each large photo. At 8:45 we saw the first show, Century Cafe, which had singing and dancing.
Day 3 - Monday, Cozumel, Mexico!
This morning we got up early to get ready for scuba diving. We prepared a bag the night before, with sun block, water shoes, eyeglasses cases, towels. Our cousins didn't bring a bag but ended up needing a place to put all their stuff. The ship provides big blue towels that say Carnival Fun Ship, but if you lose them, there is a $35 fine, so keep them with you and make sure no one takes yours! We went up to lido and ate a quick breakfast to have energy later on (they have omelets but it takes too long to make). Then we got off the ship. Make sure if you do scuba or anything that involves signing a form or having parents sign, do it the night before and have it ready. Also keep your sail and sign cards in a safe place. We boarded a small boat which took us about 15 minutes away from the Triumph. We got to an island where instructors were waiting. After the 20-minute instructions, we got all our equipment. My parents had major reservations about letting my 13 year old sister go, but they talked to people at the information desk that said she would be with an instructor at all times. I was a bit nervous, because of the equipment and all the rules to remember. Although we are good swimmers, this does not affect scuba diving, as I would find out. As beginners, we would go down to 30 feet maximum, and we weren't allowed to bring underwater cameras b/c they were afraid we weren't ready to handle taking pictures while applying the rules. Two instructors took the 7 of us out to sea. Right away I had trouble with my mask - water kept leaking in and stinging my eyes. My sister and I had trouble remembering to only breathe through our mouths, and how to equalize so that we could go deeper. Javier stayed behind and helped us. When I wanted to go down, we communicated through hand signals and he let the air out. I panicked a little as I went down. I had to try and pop my ears so that I could equalize the pressure. Just as I was getting used to it, it was over. For another 30 minutes, you have to pay more. My cousin was stung by a jellyfish but he was ok. We saw some nice fish, but I didn't get to enjoy it as much as I wish. Then we waited to board the small ship back to Triumph. Gorgeous scenery.
Back on Triumph, it was only 11:45. The adults had gotten up for lunch at the South Beach Club. We showered and met them, ate and then went shopping. At John's talks he will recommend certain stores to go into, with deals just for cruisers, and you can get a map of the downtown shops that are recommended. All of our fellow cruisers were carrying them. We took a taxi downtown. There is a lot of bargaining in Mexico. People try to lure you in wherever you go, so you have to know how to bargain. Also, do not drink the water! After we reached the end of the strip we headed back. My uncle and aunt were looking at opals, tanzanite and diamonds and found an opal at a good price so they stayed behind. Taxis charge extra for air conditioning! My grandfather bought rum at the duty free shop before we boarded. Upon boarding you think, "Home at last" because all week the ship does become your home. We got ready for dinner, the main time that all 13 of us got together. Much of the time the kids went on their own and adults did their own thing. There was a Mexican folklore show at 10:45 that some of us went to. John had mentioned that there are two shows - the folkloric and the other being watching the drunken people come back on board. My dad said to be at Deck 0 at around 11:15 to see the drunks, but we were at the folkloric show so I missed it. Very rarely do people actually miss the boat, but sometimes it happens. My brother and my cousin disappeared for a while and my mom grew concerned because the ship leaves at midnight and you MUST be back on ship at 11:30 p.m. We ran into my brother and cousin at the midnight buffet getting hot chocolate (available 24-7, along w/ iced tea, lemonade, tea, and water). They had gone back to the shops by themselves but luckily watched the time. We kids stayed up late watching cabin movies or eating pizza and Caesar salads at the pizzeria. Also, due to my uncle's snoring, all my cousins and my brother ended up sleeping in our room the rest of the week. It was fun, although two people always got the floor!
Day 4 - Tuesday, Fun Day at Sea!
Today we kids again woke up really late and ran to the dining room to eat lunch. It was 12:45 and I think our waiter was a bit annoyed. We still had time to eat but they wanted time to clean up. Lunch in the dining room is not as popular as lunch on the lido deck. My parents had gone to the Grand Cayman and Jamaica adventure talk at 11:00 and discussed the shore tours we would take. After lunch, there was another art auction. My uncle bought a huge Peter Maxx painting. At 3:15 we went to the Marriage Show in the Rome Lounge, which was entertaining because of John. One couple could really sing when the man was asked to sing to his new bride. They were picked to participate in Wednesday night's guest talent show. My brother and cousin had brought a guitar to practice and record in preparation for the talent show. They are 15 and 17, respectively. Sadly, the guest talent show is only for those 18 and older, and only about 6 acts are chosen. Lip-syncing and stand up comedy aren't allowed. There is a kid's talent show for Camp Carnival but no teen talent show. At 5:00 the main seating guests who had been given special invitations and had been on previous Carnival cruises went to a Carnival repeaters party at the Club Rio. It was a dimly lit lounge where a band from the Philippines called the Highlights played while we enjoyed complimentary drinks and hors d'oeuvres. My sister, having just turned 21, gladly accepted two rum punches and before she knew it, suffered a red face and a breakout of hives. Photographers are everywhere on Carnival - on the shore when we land, and they were also at this party. When the picture came out later, we could see the extent of damage to my sister's face! Around 5:40, John came out and talked about the new ships they were making, and there was a raffle in which a young boy won his mother champagne that costs nearly $300 on the ship. We sat around until it was time for dinner. All the courses on the menu have sophisticated names, but underneath they give a general description, which helped me out. My sister ate a lot of bread and butter and retired early to bed. At 8:45 we went to the magic show with Kevin & Caruso, who coincidentally, had performed on Paradise. Most of the show was a repeat but still fun.
Day 5 - Wednesday, Grand Cayman!
Happy Fourth of July! The ship doesn't have fireworks or anything special to celebrate this event. My family woke up around 9 and ate breakfast at the lido deck. At the Cayman Islands, the cruise ships are too big to dock so they anchor at sea and take tenders (little boats) to Grand Cayman. We saw the Grand Princess also sharing the sea with us, and it took our breath away (we were originally going to take that ship). We took the tender and got to the station at Grand Cayman, where a lot of people were crowded around looking for their tours. Our tour was the Highlight Tour A, which included a bus tour of the7-Mile Beach, Hell, the Turtle Farm, and Stingray City. We found our bus tour and climbed on. Our driver spoke good English. by the way, the Cayman Ids. are behind us by one hour, so it is important that you keep track of ship time, not their time! We were to be back on the last tender at 3:45 and the ship would leave at 4:30 for Jamaica. On our bus tour, we went down the 7-Mile Beach (only to learn it is actually only 5.6 miles) and stopped at Hell, one of the tourist stops. We bought postcards and took a picture at the Hell sign and post office. The driver said we could write out postcards and he would send them when he returned. Next stop was the Turtle Farm, where they breed turtles. We saw lots of turtles ranging from 600 lbs. to babies. We got to hold some turtles, which was a lot of fun. Then the driver took us to the boat to go to Stingray Island. This was what we were looking forward to. At Stingray City, we saw many other boats and people already feeding the rays. We each got snorkels provided by the boat, and we were armed with two underwater cameras. The captain came out and held a stingray and you could take pictures with him. We were not supposed to try and catch stingrays to hold or chase them. My family tried to do both. We scrambled to get squid (do this first or else everyone will take them) to feed the stingrays. They were cute and feeding them happened mostly in the beginning. I felt the "vacuum" as they sucked the squid from my fingers. Before we knew it, it was time to go. We got a good amount of time out there. The water is shallow and beautiful, crystal clear. I really missed Stingray City as we pulled out.
After the tour, we browsed the shops, all which sold the same things. Nothing special. The jewelry didn't have as much to offer as Cozumel. There was supposed to be a shop with the very best price on Rolexes, so my dad checked that out, but still incredibly pricey. We took the tender back. There were still tenders going past 3:45. I guess there were too many passengers to stay within that time limit. My dad had been given an invitation the night before to participate in John's Bedtime Story, which would take place as part of the guest talent show, so we were anxious about what would happen. We met up for dinner, where the waiters danced on tables and sang Yankee Doodle for July 4th. The only downfall about sitting in the upper level of the dining room is that the waiters don't perform up here for us. They stay down below, and you have to get up (yes, that can be hard if you're enjoying escargot - three or four helpings of it!) and look over the stairway.
The ship provides Internet service and at certain times, there will be a free 5 minutes. I would avoid doing this if you can, because it isn't worth it. My cousin had time to log on and off, which was about it. They were charged about $6 to check their email. Also, all throughout the week there are people taping events, and they end up as Video Diaries of the trip for you to purchase. We brought our own video camera so we didn't purchase any, but they serve as good memories. They played them on Channel 13 all day. At 10:15 we went to the Rome Lounge to get good seats for the highly anticipated talent show, but a lot of people were already there from the 10:00 bingo. At 10:30 they played Win-A-Cruise bingo, and some lucky guy won another Carnival cruise! Then the talent show started. Only about 4 acts got to go. Then John came out and told some jokes, and started his Bedtime Story, which involved audience participation. My dad played the hero, and was absolutely hilarious. He is shy and introverted by nature, but apparently everyone seems to think he was born for comedy. Only on a cruise do all your inhibitions melt away! Everyone was in uproarious laughter and the Bedtime Story was a hit. If you have John, you will get to experience this, although he said afterward that he isn't doing it on his last week at Triumph, because nothing could top the one tonight. The participants of the Bedtime Story all received free video diaries, which would be sent to our homes. I think the talent show people should have received free copies as well. The talent show ended just in time for the midnight buffet. Many people stopped my dad and everyone called out to him all night and for the rest of the week. Some people even requested pictures with him! My grandmother found his "stardom" quite entertaining. Lots of friendly people on the ship, and surprisingly, you see many of the same people among 3400 passengers.
Day 6 - Thursday, Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Today we woke up around 9:00 to see that we had arrived in Jamaica. I wish I had been able to wake earlier each time we landed so that I could see us dock, but I was unable to. We ate breakfast at the South Beach Club again and then went to Deck 0 and got off at Jamaica. It was cloudy, and I hoped it would not rain during our tour. We had purchased the Highlight Tour A, which was recommended in the Carnival Caper the night before. It is the best and safest way to enjoy Ocho Rios. It includes the rainforest Fern Gully, Shaw Park Botanical Gardens, Dunn's River Falls, and stops at two different shopping centers. Once we found the line for our tour, it moved pretty quickly. We boarded a bus with a driver named Lion and a tour guide. We drove through Fern Gully first. It was nice and cool, very shady with tall trees. Along the way, we saw a "fire man" under a huge banyan tree. He was an amateur playing with fire, blowing it out and such. Afterwards people stuck money out the window of the bus to tip him. Jamaica is the poorest of all the land stops, and we were warned about the people that still offer drugs and will do anything for money. The Jamaicans always say "Don't worry, be happy, mon." They really emphasize no worries. Thankfully, the sun came out and we got to enjoy Jamaica's natural beauty. Shaw Park Gardens was a neat stop, glad we went. There were lots of tall trees and interesting plants, as well as a great natural falls. The tour guide was nice and knew good places to stop for pictures - he even helped us take them. Sometimes he was a little hard to understand, but we got the gist of his explanations. We saw the Bird of Paradise plant and lime trees and banyan trees. There was a great overlook of the Bay of Ocho Rios where we saw Triumph, the only ship docked. After Shaw Park, we went to two different shopping centers and spent 30 minutes at each stop. There we went to see the many watch stores, and got some postcards. We compared prices of the opals here and in Cozumel. Watches in Jamaica are supposed to be the best price. After the shops, was the highlight - Dunn's River Falls. The falls have become like an amusement park; you get your hand stamped and you can rent water shoes. My family all wore water shoes we had brought from home - it's convenient and comfortable, and saves money. People who decided not to climb the falls could spend time at the gorgeous beach or looking at shops. My family definitely wanted to climb it, and I encourage you to do so. It is one of the best memories of the week. We started at the bottom, near the beach. We joined hands and formed a human chain, and then the guide led us up. There was another older gentleman that went along for the purpose of helping those of us with non-waterproof cameras take pictures and keep them dry. We brought two underwater cameras so that we snap pictures at any time. The falls are unique in that there are lots of grooves for footholds and flat rocks to step on. Sometimes we found the human chain to be more of a hindrance, because in some areas it is better if you have both of your hands for balance. We reached a certain area where there was a dip in the falls, forming a small pool. Our guide told us to fall backwards into it. Some of the women skipped it, but my sisters and I linked arms and fell in. A good thing about the falls is that there are plenty of places you can just stop and sit. We saw people that had come on their own, enjoying just the water cascading over them. The falls is relatively safe to climb. For those who find they cannot handle it, there are places on the sides you can exit. People from Dunn's River Falls took pictures at certain spots and processed them while we completed the climb; photographers from Carnival were also there. The climb took about 45 minutes to an hour.
Back on the ship, my sisters and I decided to try some of the NY Deli sandwiches, since we had not. The sandwiches were delicious - my sister loved the tuna salad on wheat and I loved the corned beef on country roll. We looked out at the dock of Jamaica, and our departure at 3:30 p.m. was delayed due to missing personnel. That gave us more time to enjoy. We went outside to see it leave port. Although the ship is massive, it pulls out pretty quickly. Tonight was the second and last formal night. We got ready and once again took new pictures. They had a night scene of the Triumph that was really realistic and we ended up buying that one. After pictures and dinner, it was the last big show at the Rome Lounge called Wonderful World. All the singers and dancers took us to different places around the world, including Italy, Germany, Asia, France, Spain, and finally, America. I thought the last part on America would have been fitting for July Fourth. At 11:15 it was time for the awesome gala fare, which displays all the hard work of the chefs and their creative decorating skills. The gala fare took place in the South Beach Club, and people lined up to take pictures. There were mermaids made of lard, flowers carved in watermelon, a little dragon made out of fruit rinds and cheeses, a huge ice carving of a dragon, lots of cakes and other wonderful displays. I felt that Paradise did a better job with many more displays, but I still appreciated Triumph's gala fare. At 12:30 you could start eating the food, but it mostly looked better than it tasted. The gala fare was a great end to a fabulous shore day.
Day 7 - Friday, Last Fun Day at Sea!
Today we woke up feeling sad that our cruise was coming to a quick end. We chose this day to do everything we had not yet done. John gave a debarkation talk at 11:00, which I missed once again. They showed it on TV, and he introduced all the staff. My dad also got a standing ovation for his two performances this week. We ate lunch and checked out the previous night's pictures, trying to decide which to buy. We looked at the shops, which had last day sales on shirts and jewelry. There was a final art auction, but my uncle was satisfied with his huge one, which was on display on Deck 3 at the atrium. At 2:15 we went to the Newlywed and Not So Newlywed game. A place we never visited during the week was the spa and gym. At 3:30, the South Beach Club hosted Highlights of Food and Beverage, which had little stations where you could learn napkin and towel folding, see someone carve an ice sculpture, and watch cake decorating. This is something fun to check out. At 4:30 my younger siblings went to play in the pools and the slide, which we had not taken advantage of the entire week. Unfortunately, the slide closed at 5:00 but they said it was really fast and awesome. They also spent some time in the hot tub. There was Shipboard Survivor going on out at the lido deck but we didn't watch.
It was time for our last dinner. Tonight was tip night. Earlier, each room received a paper with comments and a survey to fill out, as well as envelopes for tips. There are recommended gratuities - for example, the cabin steward is $3.50 per day per person. We felt this was reasonable. Our family gave more to each person - the steward, our two waiters, and the maitre' de. Of course, today all the staff is happy that we're about to leave and they get their tips. I felt like our waiter and steward could have been better, but they still worked hard. And all the food we ate must have added up to the price we paid for the cruise!
We also had a lot of packing to do. Baggage needed to be outside our door before midnight. Today the photo gallery was open all day. (On shore days, sometimes the gallery was closed). At 9:15 p.m. they had their first and only game show. My cousin and I were actually picked to participate. I lost to a lady that knew a lot of 50's music, which was mostly what was asked. The winners got a lot of souvenirs, while each person also got a solid gold plastic trophy of the ship. After the game show, there was bingo and then the last show, which featured Nashville recording artist Trent Webb. This was more for adults and we skipped it to go look at the pictures one last time. I saw a picture of a pirate holding a sword to my brother's neck and decided to wake up early tomorrow and purchase it. The pictures are a maze because there are galleries on both sides of Deck 4, and ours were scattered in different places. It's best to try and keep them all in one pile. Our luggage was at the door by midnight. My brother and cousin were contemplating falling asleep outside on the stacked up deck chairs, but were talked out of it because they would wake up with sunburn, dew, and could possibly have been vandalized by teens who were dancing at the clubs (clubs close at 3 a.m.) or drinking at bars. We didn't want to fall asleep and miss out on any part of the ship, but eventually we did sleep. *Although I did not go to the clubs or discos, I checked them out and they were jam packed with young kids around the age of 13, as well as the older crowd of people in their 20's. There is also Underground Tokyo, which is an arcade center for young kids.*
Day 8 - Saturday, Disembarkation!
Today we got up early, at 7:30, to shower and get ready. Leaving is just as hectic as boarding, if not more, because everyone is supposed to cram into Rome Lounge at 9:15 and wait to be called off. We ate a somewhat rushed breakfast at the South Beach Club. Then I ran to the photo gallery to find the pirate picture in the spot I had reserved. Lo and behold it was gone! None of us could find it. I was really disappointed but figured that maybe a girl saw my brother and bought it. Better that than the possibility that our eyes missed it or someone threw it away by accident. Afterwards, around 9, we raced to the room to wait for the announcement to proceed to the Rome Lounge. We all carried our luggage and walked one flight up to the Rome Lounge. This was the time that we felt grateful for the Main deck rooms. Everyone in the upper floors had to wait forever for the elevators, while carrying a lot of stuff. The Rome Lounge had people spilling out, so we just waited in the lobby area. People with handicaps waited in the bar and piano area nearer to the exit. This was the place that took our breath away as we first entered. While waiting for things to process, several young girls wanted their pictures taken with my father. I was sad that all the attention would end after disembarking. Everyone on the ship had come to know him. We got off at about 10:15 and looked in the huge terminal for our luggage, among 3400 passengers' luggage. Luckily our bags were color coded so we spotted them and counted to make sure we had every bag. Once you leave the terminal, you cannot return, so we took all of our stuff, included 3 boxes of rum, by hand. Luckily the six of us were strong enough - we had two bags hanging off each arm, and then additional stuff in our hands. The officials did not inspect our belongings. We got to the parking lot and waited for my dad to drive up. There was a lot of traffic, but eventually we spotted the van pull up and loaded everything in. Then it was time to head home! It was hard to believe our second cruise was over, and now we had only pictures and videos to serve as memories. The ship was getting ready for 3400 new and lucky people.
This was a wonderful vacation. Carnival really held up its bargain as the Fun Ship. It is great for families, although one family we talked to that usually goes on Royal Caribbean and decided to give Carnival a try had a horrible experience. They had a room on Deck 11, which was probably really high class, but their room had no air conditioning all week, their toilet flooded, they had a bad waiter, and one of their dresses was ripped when the luggage was being delivered to their room. Of course we found their story a huge contrast and exception to everyone else. We reassured them that majority of experiences on Carnival are positive. Overall, Triumph is a mini-city at sea with lots of fun to behold!