Review: We sailed on the Carnival Triumph on a 6-day Bahamas cruise out of
Norfolk, VA. First off, three cheers to Carnival for having cruises out of Norfolk.
It is an easy drive to the port for us, and so convenient not to have to fly to
get there. Made the whole cruising experience so much more pleasurable.
To give you the perspective that this review is coming from, I am 24, my fiance
is 25, and we previously sailed with Carnival a little over a year and a half
ago on the Fascination to the Southern Caribbean.
Overall, we had a wonderful time on this cruise. How can you not have a wonderful
time on a cruise??? Beautiful boat, beautiful beaches in the ports, tons of food,
tons of entertainment -- you really can't go too wrong. That said, here's the
rundown of our week.
Week before cruise
Got our tickets in the mail, and we had been upgraded from a 1A outside cabin
to a 4a inside cabin. Although our new cabin was bigger and higher up on the ship,
it did not have a window, which is the precise reason we booked the cabin we did.
I had the old room number on my receipt, and called my travel agent to get back
into a window cabin. Our old cabin had already been given away, so Carnival put
us in a 6A outside cabin. Although a bit of a pain, I was pleased with how they
handled the problem.
Paid $75 to park my car in the designated parking facility. Our luggage was loaded
onto carts and taken right to the ship. Rode the free shuttle bus to the ship.
Embarkation was very fast and easy. There was essentially no wait. We got our
sail and sign cards, and were on the boat within minutes. Ate lunch on the Lido
deck and relaxed for a while in our cabin. Dinner was casual that night. We skipped
the Welcome Aboard show and decided to wander the ships and check out the lounges.
For the most part, the lounges were dead, and they stayed this way for most of
the cruise. We hit the midnight buffet, and called it a night.
About 2:00 or so in the morning, I woke up to hear a very strange noise every
time the ship tiled to the right. It sounded like metal slamming against metal.
I tried to ignore it for an hour or so, and then decided I couldn't stand it any
longer and called the pursers desk. They sent down two security officers to our
cabin, and they heard the noise for themselves. They went off to fix it, and told
me to call the Purser's desk to see what it was. It was fixed within a few minutes,
and the Pursers desk said that some machine had gotten loose on the crew deck
below us and was hitting the wall of the ship... I was just glad to be able go
to sleep without that noise! They called us the next two mornings to make sure
the noise didn't come back. And they gave us a complimentary bottle of champagne
and a small discount on our next cruise. Although the problem was annoying, I
felt that Carnival handled it very well and very promptly. Kudos to the ladies
and gentlemen at the!
Monday -- day at sea
We slept in a bit, and had breakfast on deck. I'm not a big breakfast person,
but my fiance really enjoyed the omelet station. We laid out by the pool for a
while, and had no trouble at all finding beach chairs. There always seemed to
be plenty to go around at all times, which was very nice. We decided to try out
the water slide, and it turned out to be a really good ride. We must have gone
down 3 or 4 times each! We had lunch on deck and took a nap before dinner. It
was formal night, so we dressed up and went to the cocktail party. They held the
cocktail party in several small lounges instead of in the big show lounge like
they did on our last cruise. We happened to go in the lounge that the captain
showed up in, but several of our tablemates were in another lounge and never saw
the captain at all. We went to dinner in the dining room, which was okay -- it
was lobster night, and neither of us like lobster. Then we saw the show Wonderful
World, which was excellent.!
Visited some of the lounges that were once again dead, hit the midnight buffet,
and went to bed.
Tuesday -- Nassau day 1
Slept in a bit because the ship didn't dock till 11:30. Fiance hit the omelet
bar again, and I hit the Pizza Bar for an early lunch. We took the Blue Lagoon
shore excursion at 11:30. The Triumph docked at the very end of the pier, so it
was a very long and hot walk to the boat to the Blue Lagoon. It was a pleasant,
yet packed, boat ride out there. The Blue Lagoon is a really beautiful beach.
It was a bit crowded, but that was to be expected with a popular shore excursion.
We rented inner tubes and floated the day away in the water. Had a really good
pina colada from the bar on the beach. We did not choose to snorkel with the stingrays
or do the dolphin encounter, which are both located at the Blue Lagoon. We heard
mixed reviews about these two activities. The consensus was that they were not
as good as the stingray and dolphin excursions on other islands.
We hit the straw market on the way back to the boat -- now that is one crazy
place. I bargained for some sarongs to take back as souvenirs, and I was more
than ready to get the heck out of there after 5 minutes. Too pushy for my taste.
Back to the boat for an early dinner on the Lido Deck. We found it really convenient
to have this option for dinner. We wanted to go back on the island and didn't
want to spend a ton of time in the dining room, so dinner on the Lido Deck was
We took a taxi for $10 to Atlantis. This is a really stunning resort! We walked
around the casino, and went through a door off the side of the casino to get a
look outside. We wandered down the path and got to see some really cool pools
with sharks and all kinds of fish swimming around in them. We kept strolling and
hit Paradise Beach which is behind the resort. We kept strolling and came back
to the building and walked through and got to see the aquariums that are next
to a restaurant inside the resort. I later came to realize that the path we took
is reserved for hotel guests only, and you have to pay for admission during the
day if you're not a guest. Oh well, too late to worry about that... We played
the slots in the casino for a bit, and I won $27 dollars on the nickel slots,
and my fiance won $20 on the dollar slots, and we only put in a total of $10,
so we were quite happy with that.
Back to the ship, we were totally exhausted and decided to go to bed early.
Wednesday -- Nassau day 2
We did the Atholl Island snorkeling shore excursion that morning. Took that long
walk again to the boat, but this one was much less crowded, and a much more pleasant
ride. The boat ride was about 30 minutes, and then we got an hour to go snorkeling
at the marine park. There were lots and lots of fish to see -- too many for my
taste, but my fiance was in heaven. I pretty much stayed on the edge and tried
to avoid the fish as much as possible because I am a chicken... We got some good
pictures with an underwater camera and had a nice ride back to the dock.
Back to the ship for lunch on the Lido deck. I took a liking to the grilled
chicken sandwiches with cheese from the grill. We took a quick shower and headed
out again to explore the island.
We took a cab for $15 to Cable Beach. The driver dropped us off at the Radisson
Cable Beach resort, and we walked through the hotel to get to the beach. I decided
not to bring out the Carnival towels, and we were able to use the beach chairs
and cabanas at the hotel with no problems. The beach was a bit smaller than I
had hoped, but very pretty and it was a very enjoyable afternoon. Took a taxi
back to the boat and changed for dinner. This was the best dinner menu on the
cruise. I had Chicken Carnival, and my fiance had the scallops, and they were
We saw the magic show on board the ship, and it was excellent. Hit the midnight
buffet, and went to bed.
Thursday -- Freeport
We took the Freeport Snorkel shore excursion that morning. The shore excursions
on Freeport were extremely organized. The bus came right up to the ship and took
us to the dock of the snorkeling boat about 15 minutes away. The boat ride was
very short and dropped us off at a beautiful reef off of the island. I was a bit
more relaxed on this snorkeling trip and didn't try to stay away from this fish
so much this time. I found this excursion really enjoyable. There was a really
diverse variety of fish, and the reef was really neat to explore. Got back on
the boat to go back to the dock, which was located at the Marketplace. Did a little
shopping here, and found it a bit nicer than Nassau's Straw Market, still pushy,
but not quite as bad, and not so many vendors to deal with.
Back to the ship for lunch on Lido deck for another grilled chicken sandwich
for me. We relaxed for a while in our cabin, and then changed for dinner, which
was the second formal night of the cruise. Took some pictures, and then went to
the return cruiser cocktail party. Never pass up free drinks on a cruise! Dinner
that night was okay -- I didn't really like anything being served in the entrees,
so I had a pasta dish, which was so-so. Saw the second big show of the cruise,
Century Cafe, which was again excellent. The shows on the Triumph were far superior
to the ones we saw on the Fascination.
There wasn't much to do that evening, and the lounges were once again dead,
so we pulled out some beach chairs on deck and relaxed for a while up on deck
-- I think we fell asleep for a while, and it was very pleasant up there. Woke
up in time for the gala buffet. The food was very pretty, but it was much too
exotic for my tastes. I'm not one for caviar and pate... Next was bedtime.
Friday -- day at sea
Slept in and got up in time for lunch on deck. It was very overcast out, but we
decided to hit the pool and the waterslide anyway. Got in a few runs on the slide,
and relaxed on beach chairs for the afternoon. Went back to the cabin to pack
up and shower and change for dinner. The fudge cake at dinner was excellent. Found
a comfy seat in the Rome Lounge and watched the Knobby Knees contest, which was
hysterical, and played Millionaire, which was fun. We watched the talent show,
which was so-so, and hit one last midnight buffet before bed.
We chose to do "self-assist" checkout, which is where you carry your
own luggage off the ship so you can get off earlier. It was very nice to be able
to get off earlier. However, they called for 3 decks to leave at the exact same
time, and it was like a zoo in the hallways and stairways. The whole process took
about an hour -- it wasn't too too long, but the crowds on the boat were crazy
and cramped. The shuttle bus took us to the parking lot, and we were on our way
It was extremely big. It had a full-sized sofa, and two twin beds pushed together.
The window was a nice size, and the bathroom wasn't too bad at all. Very happy
with the cabin, and the cabin steward.
Dining Room Service
Tipping was handled differently on this cruise than on our last one. This time,
the tips were automatically added to our sail and sign card at the beginning of
the cruise, and you had to go to the pursers desk if you didn't want this. At
first, I thought it was a great ideas because it would save me the hassle of putting
money in the envelopes and making sure each person got the right envelope, etc.
However, we noticed a distinct downgrade in the dining room service we got on
this cruise, and we had to wonder if it was because they knew their tips were
coming automatically. Our waiter did a perfectly adequate job, but he was not
outstanding. He did not ask our names, and he did not make any attempt to do anything
but take our orders and deliver our food. He answered every request, but did not
go out of his way. Our busgirl was perfectly adequate as well, but again, she
was not outstanding. She delivered bread at the beginning of the meal, and poured
drinks. I ordere!
d iced tea on the first night, and I had to remind her every night that I did
not want water, but iced tea. And there were plenty of times that my glass was
empty and I had to ask for a refill, which never happened on any other cruise
I've been on. No one was really bad, but no one was outstanding either. I think
that being tipped automatically has something to do with the lack of outstanding
service in the dining room.
I really liked the decor of this boat. Subtle but nice. The international theme
was carried out very nicely. The one room I did not like at all was the South
Beach Restaurant on the Lido Deck. There were stained glass eyes hung all over
every wall. I found it a bit creepy. The ceiling also seemed very low to me and
made me feel cramped in.
Once again, overall we had a really good time. Any negatives I mentioned were
minor things and did not affect us that much. Carnival is very good at making
cruises available to the general public, and that is very admirable. We may choose
Carnival again -- their rates are hard to beat -- but we're leaning to Royal Caribbean
for our next cruise. I think we're ready for something different.