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I apologize for the long review, but I tried to cover as much as possible. Part II is following since my text is too long for one post.
We had an early morning flight out of Charlotte and was supposed to arrive in Miami at 10:30 so we could be at the pier in plenty of time to embark. Unfortunately, our flight was delayed from Indianapolis and we left at around 9:30 — an hour later than scheduled, which put us into Miami around 11:30. We made it to the pier around noon and expected to spend 2 hours in line, but the line was very short and we had completed our Fun Passes, so we were checked in, on board, in our cabins, changed clothes, and at the buffet by 12:45! That was the fastest and easiest check in I can ever remember!
I thought the ship was still in pretty good shape. We’d sailed the Triumph in February, 2003 and I didn’t see any carpet stains then, nor did I see any this time that warranted any complaining about. Sure, there are some, but the carpet is quite clean considering there are thousands of people on it 24 hours of every day of the week! The crew was constantly vacuuming the carpet, polishing the brass door knobs, cleaning glass…there is no complaint from me on cleanliness of the ship! My complaint, however, has to do with the dishes in the dining room. On four separate occasions we found lipstick still on "clean" glasses at dinner and breakfast. I had a fork at dinner one evening that had some food on it. To me that is very unacceptable and I did mention that on my comment card. Other than this, I had no complaints about the ship. It was decorated a little for Christmas, not as much as the Paradise was last December, but it was decorated.
We had Marco for our cabin steward. Marco was pretty good. Kept the room immaculate for us, but we did run low on shower gel and my son’s cabin ran completely out before the end of the cruise and was never refilled. On the third day I ran into Marco in the hall and asked for an extra blanket since Rufus kept the air turned wide open. I started to tell him the cabin number, but he said it before I could get it out. Our dish of freebies consisted of dental floss, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner and a men’s and ladies’ razor. Around the 4th night, I was going to open the men’s razor for Rufus since the one I brought for him was dull and both razors were missing from the dish! I guess Marco needed them…
For dinner we had Vlad as our head waiter and Martin as our assistant waiter. The first night was very slow, but the rest of the week went faster for them. Martin was scarce and Vlad had to bring us bread and refills on our tea and water quite often. Vlad has a great personality, likes to make jokes, but is a little smug at times. We got the feeling that he probably made fun of us after he left the table. Martin was somewhat clumsy, dropping dishes and tripping, and didn’t have time to talk to us very much. He had only been on the Triumph two weeks, but had been on other ships, so he was past the learning curve. When I showed Vlad the lipstick on my glass, both times he said, "Ah, the lipstick is mine, but don’t tell my mother." I thought he handled it well by making the joke and promptly bringing me another clean glass. He is from Romania and was hard to understand at times. We had a booth for four which was okay, but I still prefer the round table for eight; I always like to meet and get to know others on the cruise.
The Cruise Director
We had Mark Price as our cruise director. We loved him! He is very funny, keeps things hopping and everyone laughing. In my opinion, he is every bit as good as, if not better than, John Heald.
We had the 8:00 seating in the Paris dining room. I enjoyed all my dinners, lunches and breakfasts there — no complaints. The hamburger grill and pizza at the pool were good, but hey, how can you mess those up! The buffets at the Lido Deck were just okay in my opinion, nothing to write home about. The "gala" buffet was nothing more than a dressed up lunch buffet and apparently Carnival has discontinued the midnight buffet since we cruised last December. Now it is a "late night snack" with the hamburger grill staying open along with the 24-hour pizza — a real disappointment! I do miss the good ol' days when there was a midnight buffet every night in the main dining room. I mean a spread! And the gala buffet was even more magnificent…ahhhh, those were the days!
We ordered the BLTs from room service, which happened to be slower than on the Paradise. I’m not sure if we weren’t hungry enough, but the BLTs didn’t taste as good as the ones from room service on the Paradise. Nevertheless, we ordered four on Friday night to eat in the airport on the way home Saturday since our flight didn’t leave until 1:30. 13-hour old BLTs tasted pretty good by that time! The cookies were crumbled, but the crumbs were still good.
On the first formal night we saw Wonderful World in the Rome Lounge. It started out slow and I got a little bored, but it did pick up and turned out to be pretty good. On the second formal night the show was the Century Café. We’d seen this before, but it was still very good. The dancers and singers are very good and I thought the costumes were in good condition and very pretty. In my opinion, the Century Café was much better than the Wonderful World.
We missed the passenger talent show. We were watching Karaoke and ending up staying there. My son and his girlfriend said the talent show was very good.
The Newlywed not so Newlywed game was very funny, but it always is. We saw the last part of the hairy man contest, which was pretty funny. I’m sure the first part of that was just as funny. We didn’t see anything else around the pool since we stayed mostly on the other side of the ship on the upper decks, more chairs on top.
The comedians: JR McCollom was very funny and we went back for his late night adult comedy act the second night. Still very funny, but very much for adults. Tom McGillian was somewhat funny. It took the audience a while to warm up to him, but he pulled it off and by the end of his act everyone was laughing. His jokes were about characters and things before most of his audience was born and I think that’s why most of them were not laughing — they just had no clue as to what he was talking about. References about Barney Phife and Aunt Bea, Godzilla movies, etc. We went back for his adult comedy act and it was better.
We missed the last show the last night because we spent two hours at the Purser’s desk trying to straighten out a charge on our account that we didn’t make. We were upset about this because we really wanted to see that show. We heard it was very good.
The magicians: Kevin & Caruso was the magic act. We had seen them before and they were still excellent. We were still amazed at the tricks they do. Wonderful show. This is a first class act.
The Welcome Aboard & Past Guest Parties
Both of these were good. Lots of free booze and hors d'oeuvres what can I say!