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Smooth seas, excellent weather, and meeting some terrific cruisers made this a wonderful trip, however my frame of reference was based on sailing the Triumph last year (same week) where I rated it a perfect 10. This year a 8.75. Met a few CC members and signed the CC log book in the library.
Traveled to Miami the night before and got the Hyatt Regency for $44. per night.on Priceline Cab ride should have been about $10, but due to gridlock traffic chaos at pier came to $17.Dropped off 1130. Tipped baggage handlers $1 a bag.Funpass completed in advance Embarkation was a breeze- maybe 10 minutes. Then had to wait til about 1230 to get on board. Immediately got fountain soda cards for kids They now factor gratuities in and it ran $34.@. Brought lanyards from home and had kids fountain and sail/sign cards punched at info desk. Checked cabin and went to lunch at South Beach.By 130 I was sitting poolside, while kids were meeting friends. Early seating in Paris. Sweet/Sour shrimp (3) was our entree of choice-excellent.
Day-2 at sea poolside formal night. Had pictures taken with kids, went to captains party- it was ok. Had been looking forward to Lobster- very good but a bit chewy.
Day 3 Cozumel- Had booked Royal Dolphin Swim w/ Sherry at Cozumel Insiderat $119@. Our confirmation papers said that because we booked before Mar. 15th we were to get in to Chankanab for free (normally $10@) and that our name would be on a list. We took a cab to Chankanab $10 and got there about 845 so that we could spend time before our Dolphin experience. No one there knew about free admission and we were told to sit and wait on a bench outside the gate that someone would be coming. At about 945 someone finally arrived. She knew nothing about free admission, and called her supervisor. By this time it was 10:00.Several other families apparently had been told the same thing, but were now told to pay to get in. The cost wasn't as much of an issue as having to sit and wait for nothing and waste about 90 minutes of vacation time. Once we were inside we spent time at the Beach area until it was time for the Royal Dolphin Swim This is an incredible experience- as 2 Dolphins pull you through the water or use their noses to toss you in the air, Just awesome!!!! Videos were $49 and pictures $14 or $16 @ Kind of pricey, but a definite memento. After the swim we went to Paradise Beach (about $11 for the cab ride).
Paradise Beach is what everyone says- It is paradise.And the drinks aren't too bad either LOL. I can't believe it is free. Although not affiliated w/ Paradise beach there is a hair braider, massage table and place for henna tattoos. Dear son got hair braided for $35 and was very disappointed (worst braiding I ever saw-supposed to last 2-3 weeks came out that night)Went backed to pier area and shopped a bit, then back on ship. Open dinner seating in dining room- coincidently seated and met 2 terrific fun couples (Lisa, John, Rachel & Mike) who live only about an hour from me- small world. I think it was Filet mignontonight wonderful
Day 4- At Sea- Up early to grab chair near pool- This became a regular spot and check in point for kids. Met Susie & Anthony from Florida Since I had booked my Grand Cayman stingray trip on my own from 12-230, I had not realized the ship would be changing their clocks because of daylight savings time.and that Grand Cayman has tender boats. I spoke with John the cruise director and determined island time vs. ship time would have me cutting it too close to make the last tender back.Tried emailing Grand Caymans to cancel and the ships internet connection went down. Decided to book through ship.and try and cancel when I got to Grand Cayman. Booked Stingray city, Hell & Turtle Farm $59 @ through ship.
Day 5 Picked up tender tickets at 8 and at pier went to Grand Cayman info center. Gracious ladies there called and assisted with helping me cancel the stingray trip i booked on own. Ships tour was listed as a 4.5 hour trip leaving at 930 am. Weren't loaded on bus til 1015, 1st stop Turtle farm Driver said we had exactlt 20 minutes (took at least 10 for everyone to get off the van) Turtle farm wasn't much. Tortuga rum cake was next door- Shop was packed with many cruisers in there on a feeding frenzy- Couldnt even get close enough to get a much raved about sample. Later learned that they estimated their were 31,000 cuisers in port that day. Next stop Hell-20 minutes here. Interesting rock formations that looked prehistoric,now off to Stingray City. Boarded snorkel boat about 30 minute boat ride. Joined about 12 other boats (maybe 1000 people in water) Observed several huge rays. Interesting but they really did not come as close to you as I had been told on the boards. Still a cool experience- in water w/ rays about 40 minutes. Time to go back to pier.Had only a few minutes to shop before catching the tender back. If I had it to do over again I would not have procrastinated and booked my stingray trip earlier and in the early am before they were sold out- not through cruise line.
Day 6 Ochos Rios- Had booked w/ Peat Taylor- This was our favorite day. Got to Falls early.Breathtaking and amazing, but a little scary.IMHO Not as easy as they say- even with your guide. since you're holding hands with the person in front and behind when one person slips it sort of throws everyone off balance.Tipped the guides well- We loved it!!!!and bought the video of our climb $29.Peat also took us to Fern Gully,pointed out foilage and flowers and through some Jamaican neighborhoods,evidence of extreme poverty and some people who even lived in caves.Took us high on the island to give us a perspective of what our ship.looked like in port.Then stopped downtown where DD got her hair half braided at a place Peat recommended. negotiate price beforehand. Braider initially said $40, then $30, but came down to $20. Peat picked us up an hour later and some members of our group went to a Jamaican buffet lunch at the Ruins $14 pp, $10 children. We decided to forego lunch and check out Margaritaville in the Island Village near pier. It was packed, walked around a bit then back to ship. To clean up for 2nd formal night. Had more family pictures done- Chateu Briand & Escargots were excellent. Ice sculptures and desserts were fabulous and midnight gala buffet, but it did seem Carnival has scaled this back quite a bit from the previous year.Only 2 entrees like a pork dish and something called a Kathi roll-like an Indian wrap-delicious, otherwise salads, and pate stuff. Very few vegetable sculptures, BUT AMAZING desserts.
Day 7- So sad the week went too fast- I dont think I ever got totally unpacked. Enjoyed another day of beautiful weather poolside reflected on how blessed we are to have the chance to cruise.& how dare we really have anything to complain about.Unusual thing at lunch in South Beach restaurant on last day crew had to serve us at buffet line, but they only had 3 crew members on each line. Crew even questioned why they were doing this.Maybe we all ate too much and they thought they would run out of food
That night we had to have luggage out by midnight,
In summation: This was a great cruise-not perfect but every situation is what you make it I would still whole heartedly recommend the Triumph to anyone. Food ranged from very good to excellent,with only one exception- they substituted wahoo for redsnapper and it was very tough and dried out.Hong Kong restaurant was some of the best Chinese I have ever tasted. service as a whole was very good, cabin steward was adequate- did his job and room was clean but didn't have the same charismatic personality that I have experienced on other cruises. Irons are available in the laundry area on each deck. Washers and dryers are $2. per load. I heard that quite a few people were winning in the casinos, Tiny toiletry shampoo etc, are only provided on first night. Ship was sold out and 1100 were kids.My kids enjoyed the 12-15 age group and having the disco just for their age range from 930 to 1045.They met many new friends and kind of gathered in their own cliques.(Lauren, Caitlen,Ravi,Boone, & Austin) & (Matt, Mackenzie, Richey, Nicole, etc.) The behavior of some others in this age range however was absolutely horrible-(theft, vandalism, battery,& sexual battery/harassment) and they did not appear to be monitored by anyone.certainly didn't see their parents around, nor IMHO did the staffing ratio appear adequate for the number of kids on board. Got home late last night after flying into Chicago.and tomorrow it's back to work- but already wanting to book a cruise for next year.
Right now (about 1030 pm)I have this urge to go up to the Lido deck for a slice of pizza or a steak sandwich. I know this was long but I know it was the detailed reviews that helped me plan our trip. Blessings and smooth sailing to all.
thanks so much..! Actually two reviews in one, as you made a couple comparisons to your previous cruise on the Triumph. If I can get an 8.75 out of her, I'll be happy!
Hoping the kid/adult ratio is a little better for us, which is why we picked next week vs. this past week when a lot of schools were on 'break'. Have met a lot of nice people on the 'boards' who have kids, and I'm sure they will be great as their parents seem wonderful!
Really looking forward to a wonderful time..
'course since I'm marrying my Sweetie in OchoRios, how could I lose??
This much time until I leave to marry my best friend
USS 'Neversail' SanDiego 10/65
Just read your review ~ it's great! Your free Chank. park admission offered in the dolphin swim promo should have been honored with no problem.
Effective April 1, the promo for free park entrance only applies to Sat/Sun [not monday anymore] but this DID NOT affect prior bookings. Please let me know your confirm#/email address and if you ended up paying the park entrance and I will make it right with you. For this is a valid promo and any such error needs to be corrected!
Thanks for booking thru me and hope to hear from you soon!
Our confirmation # was 67692 for 3 on the royal swim confirmed on jan. 8, 04. Ended up paying $30. to get in to the park.Decided to not pay for the sea lion show which also was supposed to have been free.