Carnival Reviews - Cruise Ship reviews by Cruisemates Readers
Carnival Cruise Lines

Carnival Triumph
by Jamie
October 6, 2002

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!
Pursers desk!

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 perfect.

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 both excellent.

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 home.

Our cabin
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.

The boat
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.