September 10, 2005
This is the "lobster and lighthouse cruise". If you like that, mixed with a little New England history, beautiful sunrises and sunsets, you will love it! Oh and lets not forget the whales off your balcony!
Embarkment was fine for us. However, I understand it was a real nightmare for most. We arrived at the port say 11ish. Waiting in the taxi a ½ hour or less, got in, went through the motions. We then waited 20/30 minutes to get our picture and on we were. Nothing we didn't expect. By that evening we started to hear the rumble of a lot of PO people. Apparently the computers went down. We were told that staff walked away not informing people, (I find that hard to believe) and 4 to 5 hours later the majority got on. Boy, where they mad! Let me tell you, I'm sure it was bad, but people complained for days! I even ran into someone at the airport at the end of the cruise, and asked her how it was for her. She rolled her eyes and said it was the worst she ever took. I asked her why, she said, EMBARKMENT!!
Wow, what a shame I later told my DH. How can the whole cruise be ruined over a computer glitch? So unfortunate for us that one of my first impressions of this cruise was people that were complaining, and complaining. Everywhere we went we ran into very rude loud people that seemed mad at everything. You all on this board had prepared me well. I knew, even as a newbie, that do-do happens. Go with it! Or as the New Yorker's would say "fagitaboutit"!  Anyways the good news is we and a few hundred people had the ship to ourselves for a few hours. I was wondering what happened to the rest of them, 
You should know that this was our first cruise so I can't compare the cruise to others. But we have of course taken a lot of vacations. This was the best we had ever taken. It is a photographer's dream trip. Most of my shots look like postcards! It is not for everyone thou. Some may find it boring. Not us! If you are looking for high energy, a lot of fast, physical kind of excursions you probably won't like it. My DH and I have owned many boats, so we are nautical kind of people you could say. We love small fishing villages, ports, lighthouses (at least 10), fishing trolleys, fog horns, history and the whole New England thing. So this cruise was perfect for us.
I'm not going day by day, because that gets boring. Here are just some highlights.
Peggy's Cove out of Halifax was unbelievable. I swear it looked as if someone had come in from Hollywood and set the stage. With a beautiful lighthouse up on the rocks, small fishing town of 50 people (white beards and all), old wood boats and lobster traps and nets around, the scene was perfect! We sat on a dock by the water and ate seafood chowder and lobster as waves crashed up on the rocks. What could be better I say? From there we went out whale watching. We did ok with this but some got sick and most very wet in the 5 to 8 foot waves. Choose another excursion if you are at all prone to the throne! We did go into this lighthouse because it is the town P.O. We did not tour inside others, but there was an excursion in Maine that did do that, I think.
Boston was so cool. You Bean town people are the best! We had never been to the east coast. So figured this is the best way to see it and get a cruise in. It was! In Boston we picked the wrong excursion that kept us in a bus, (our fault of course). So we missed getting out on Quincy Square. It was like dangling candy in front of a baby. This is where all the great shops and restaurants are. By the time we got there it closed by 6pm because it was Sunday. If you got off the bus, you were on your own to get back. Most didn't because taxi's there are not like NY the tour guide told us. If I were to ever go back, I would do the hop on and off double decker so I could see more than a bus window. You don't have to book this ahead of time! Save your money. That night the ship did open seating. They didn't expect so many to come back, but I don't think they realized the town closed at 6pm. The dining rooms were a mad house. Most waited an hour to eat.
The ship: I loved the Triumph. So did DH. She is a beautiful ship. The deals and raffles on jewelry were fantastic. One day they had 65% off on Tanzanite! DH said buy what ever you want but I behaved! We had Cat. 11 room, and it was wonderful! There were his and her closets, whirlpool, comfy bed. Staff and service were great. Except it took me three tries to get my 8:30 dinner seating changed. Jim Braggs words of advice rang threw my ears. By formal night we got changed to 5:45. Only they put us in the middle of three waiter stations. We didn't mind thou. We were alone and kind of liked that! Morning coffee came every day exactly the time we ordered it. On the dot! I did not find it difficult getting around the ship like some have said. I do see where it is due for a little remake thou. It is going dry-dock this October and needs it. I thought it could be cleaner for sure. Saw a lot of things like dirty cups, and very poor public bathrooms with toilets over flowing. A lot of sick staff, many came home with colds. Triumph is the biggest that Carnival has to offer. That's good because we did hit some of Ophia's hurricane effects on the way home and this big ship hardly moved! Let me say this, I know our Captain did a great job of keeping us safe from this hurricane. That is something I think most people don't realize. The behind the scenes is the most important. He got us out of Halifax early, re-routed the course, went full speed and kept us way ahead of trouble that we for sure were heading right into. Otherwise people would have complained about that as if he had control of Mother Nature! Dining room food was very good. Take the time to put on those Dockers folks because the Lido deck buffet was very bad. Entertainment was very good. Matt was our CD. He should be a stand up comedian. "Survival" and "not so newlywed" game was a hoot! We hardly had any kids on board. I think I counted 5, because of the time of year. A lot of wheelchairs and walkers, and they did a great job accommodating those folks! Don't even think twice if you are handicap for this cruise!
You always ask yourself what you have learned and what you would do different after a trip. For me, I would go in mid-October instead of mid-September. The fall colors had not changed yet. Its hard to say rather or not the Triumph again. Probably, you can't beat the price of Carnival so it will always be considered for that, let's be honest. I would recommend it! But I think I would look at some other choices a lot more closely first. I just feel there was room for improvement. Nothing that I wasn't aware of before, from these boards about Carnival. Another reason would be Sydney. Other than the 7-9 hour bus tour, which we did not want to do, there is not much there. I think I would rather go to St. John or Martha's Vineyard. Currently the 7 days cruises don't offer that with Carnival. We ended up renting a car in Sydney, and drove up to Kelly's mountain and again took more wonderful photos! It was good to get away from the crowds.
The best part was the time with my husband. I am the luckiest woman in the world. This was a very unstressed, fun, restful time for both of us, away from our kids and everyday life stresses. We had a ball together and enjoyed every minute. The whole week was like a fantasy!