Camp Carnival for the kids was nice my daughter said it was ok not as many kids as she has been with on other cruises probably because it was the week before Christmas break, Casino was very large and the dealers were very friendly Fun 21 is blackjack/21 with a twist you win 2.5 times your bet with a blackjack even if the dealer has one not considered a push you win with any combination of 21 even if the dealer has a blackjack you win 2.5 times your bet if you get 3 7s only the dealer hits on a soft 17 is the only tricky part for the house but they usually bust on this one.
The Not So Good Points:
Porters in Miami literally beg for there tips as the one we had told us point blank "take good care of me as you will never see me again and you want to see all your belongings don't you" he even went to the trouble of counting out loud how many bags we had in front of everyone present and after counting 9 items(we are fat and our clothes are larger than normal) he said "$10 that's all your going to give me?"(yes we started to worry when our last bag did not show up until 8pm although we know they have thousands of bags to deliver cabin to cabin, Worst stage shows on a cruise ship 2 musicals and 1 comedian(he was very good and it was very R rated) on a 7 day trip plus 1 holiday show including camp carnival kids my daughter had fun with this one but 2 big screen movies of Garfield and Irobot was not my idea of a stage show, Worst bingo on a cruise ship 1 card for $10 or 3 for $20 is ok but they only play 1 game with only 1 winner not fair with hundreds of people playing, 2 hours to get onto ship even with pre-registered fun pass and 5 hours just to get off plus the usual customs, Our waiter and asst waiter ignored our small family of 3 in a comfortable booth and favored the large group at the table for 10 we saw much better wait staff working there sections we often had to beg for seconds of rolls (we took the automatic tipping off of our sail and sign account and adjusted our wait team way down $$ while our cabin steward was great and got a lot more $$ than suggested)(BTW, Best breads on a cruise ship) and refills of water(wine steward was a real pain in the neck harassed us every night even though we asked him not to come back), Expensive bar drinks $5.00 for a single beer and $5.00 rum & coke is just too much in my opinion plus $2.25 for a small bottle of water is just too much, No mini-bar in our balcony cabin is unacceptable only available in a mini-suite or above(not good if you have refrigerated medicines or drink a lot of milk like me, Cabin Air conditioning is very cold at night and you can only control the volume of air at the vent on the ceiling not the temperature of the air coming out of it, long lines at the buffets-well with over 2000 people I guess it wasn't too bad unless someone holds up the line because they pick though everything, We found it very unusual for the staff to eat in the public areas with the paying passengers although finding a good table was never a problem.
Very good mix of mostly heartland of America with some Canadian, Asian and European, white-black-skinny-fat not as many Latin's as RCCL seems to have(we are not prejudice we just don't like to hear Spanish every 2 seconds), security was very good usually always present and never saw or heard of any problems.
Considering it was built in 1999 it is in very good condition with only minor wear and tear in the most used public areas (it is probably near impossible to recover the seating during a quick home port visit in Miami but maybe CCL should get this done ASAP, carpets are in very good condition for as much as they get used you always see the crew shampooing the carpets and cleaning and picking up dishes in the buffet-a table was always clean and available, the cabin was very large and comfortable with only minor wear and tear, the bathroom was excellent for me as I weigh almost 450lbs I found the commode placed very well and did not have a problem taking care of my business, the shower was a good size and this was the first time the shower curtain did not cling to our bodies(most irritating as was other cruises).
Ports And Sea Days:
Day 1 Embarkation Saturday Getting on (previously mentioned) Checked cabin and was very clean had lunch at the south Beach Club buffet which was a good spread and even found a nice window booth, than back to the cabin to relax and get ready for early seating at 5:30pm (big mistake on my part, going for late seating next time as you will find out it is difficult to get there on time on port days).
Day 2 Sunday Sea Day Woke up early to have coffee and croissants from room service (there is a order card for each day in your stateroom) than went to breakfast when our daughter woke up, went to the pool and found plenty of good seating with very comfortable loungers and had very good hot dogs cheeseburgers and grilled chicken sandwiches the steak sandwiches were good also, played in the casino and had a great lobster (3) dinner with a side of thick juicy prime rib with very little fat ( I have enough of my own thank you) went to show (previously mentioned) and back to the casino which was very good to me wife won $1000 playing Wheel Of Fortune Slots and I made $250 playing Fun 21 (previously mentioned).
Day 3 Monday In Cozumel until midnight very nice beach and shopping though beware the port shops require bargaining as a $35 Mexican blanket was haggled down to $6 yes six dollars (glad we bought 3 as I like to sleep in the cold cabin (previously mentioned)
Oh yes and we ate and ate and ate (never ever had a bad meal)
Day 4 Tuesday Sea Day Lots of pool (even though they are small it never seemed over crowded) ( the water was even warm and very clean as they drain and clean them every night) Lots to eat and drink (we carried onboard in our backpacks 5 bottles of 2 litre sodas, 1 each rum, JD, vodka, JW Black Label and some southern comfort) check in was so busy they did not question anything brought on with us.
Day 5 Wednesday Grand Cayman shopping although prices are not very negotiable and tendering in with 4 other mega-liners was a little rough and it was very crowded and of course back onboard to eat (seems like every 15 minutes) and back to the casino where the winnings continued.
Day 6 Thursday Ocho Rios beware of street peddlers outside the very secure port gates went to Margaritaville and some shopping than back onboard to you guessed it eat and play in the casino which finally paid for most of our total vacation (after all said and done we spent under $200 for the cruise, souvenirs, driving from SC to Miami, and eating on the road (did I mention we like to eat?).
Day 7 Friday Last Sea Day same as Day 4
Saturday Disembarkation Crying that it is time to get back to reality and getting off (previously mentioned) we went to our favorite restaurant (we used to live near Ft Lauderdale and have gone here for over 30 years) The Deli Den in Hollywood (we had horrible service with which we only left a small tip and they had the nerve to resubmit my credit card with an additional 20% tip, this is currently under investigation by my Visa card company)
Sorry this is so long and hope it did not put you to sleep, please email me at sunbird1986@aol. com if you have any comments or questions, I love to talk (obvious huh?)
Carnival has really come a long way since 1990 and in our opinion is now considered by us a premium line and a excellent value vacation.
Yes we will definitely cruise with CCL again probably as early as summer 2005, would we recommend the Triumph? Most definitely
Happy Sailing, God Bless, Happy Holidays and a Very Happy and Prospeous New Year For ALL.