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TRIUMPH Detailed photo review 1/10/13


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We recently returned from our third cruise and I think it is safe to say that we are bona fide cruise junkies at this point. We had a marvelous time. Here’s my trip report with photos.


Our first cruise was exactly two years ago on the Ecstasy. It was just a four day cruise with one port, Cozumel. Last summer, we embarked on our dream vacation of a lifetime, a 12 day Mediterranean cruise on the Breeze. We were celebrating our 25th anniversary. When we got home, our amazing daughter presented us with her anniversary present to us: a booking on the Triumph for a mid-winter getaway. This is the same itinerary as our first cruise, but on a different ship, and we were thrilled! What a wonderful present!


We live in San Antonio, about 4 ½ hours away from the Galveston pier. We decided to drive down the night before and spend the night in a hotel in Galveston, rather than having to get up early and make the drive on embarkation day. This made our first cruise day so much more restful and relaxed. Since it was off season, our hotel only cost around $50. We stayed at the Quality Inn and Suites on Seawall Blvd. Nothing fancy, but it was comfortable for the night.


Here’s a shot of the hotel and our room:






The “partial ocean view” was pretty lame, so if you want a great view this would not be your best choice.





I’m a night owl, so I was up quite late. I was watching the weather, which had been misty, rainy, and with lightning and light fog for hours. I was worried that the ship would dock late and delay our embarkation. I think she did arrive a bit later than scheduled, but they turned her around quickly, and we were able to board on time.


On Thursday morning, we had a light breakfast at the hotel, then drove along Seawall Blvd in Galveston. We picked up some handy refillable plastic cups at Wal-Mart, which we used constantly throughout the cruise. They only cost a couple of bucks, so we weren’t worried if we forgot them somewhere, and they were so handy for mixing drinks in our cabin. I recommend you take something like this with you.


We walked along the beach for a little while. The rain had cleared and the weather was mild enough that I could take off my sandals and walk in the surf. It was too cold to swim of course, but still nice enough to enjoy a stroll on the beach.




Galveston Island is small and very easy to drive around. With a very basic map, you’ll have no trouble finding a grocery store, hotels, restaurants, fast food and WalMart on Seawall Blvd, and the pier on Harborside Drive.

By now it was approaching noon and we decided to head over to the pier. Here is our first glimpse of our home for the next few days.



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We used Galveston Park N Cruise. This is directly across from the pier. You do not need to use a shuttle, which is especially nice when you are getting off the boat and just want to be on your way. You can do indoor parking for $40 (4 day cruise) or park in an outdoor, fenced lot for $35. I highly recommend this place. We also used it for our previous Galveston cruise.




One tip, though. The terminal is a long, narrow building. The entrance to check in and go through security is at the west end. Galveston Park-n-cruise is across the street from this end of the building. However, you have to drop off your luggage at the east end of the building, and it is a pretty long walk if you have to deal with lots of heavy suitcases. Then you just have to turn around and walk back where you came from to check in. So if you go, see if you can drive up to the baggage area at the east end of the building and drop off your suitcases before you go park.


So we left our luggage and walked back to the security area. The line was longer here and at the check-in desk, than on either of our two previous cruises. Both of those times, security and check-in lines were short and didn’t take long. This time, it took about 20-25 minutes to get through each line. Adding on time to get our photo made, it was almost an hour from the time we dropped off our luggage til we were on board. Be aware of this if you have trouble standing for long.


Security was easy. When we had almost reached the front of the line, I realized that I had a Swiss army knife in my purse. Eek! I always carry one and just forgot about it. I didn’t want to have to get out of line and return it to our car, so I just decided to keep quiet. If they found it, I resigned myself to forfeiting it. However, my purse glided right through the xray machine without a second glance.


We had packed our full allotment of 24 sodas and 2 bottles of wine. We put several sodas into a small cooler, and the rest went into a rolling suitcase. We had wrapped a thin layer of bubble wrap around the wine bottles. After making it through the xray machine, we were instructed to have our drinks checked at a nearby table. We were expecting this. Last time we were in Galveston, our suitcase of drinks was completely unpacked and every bottle was carefully inspected. This time, however, the security guy just gave them a quick once-over. He picked up a few bottles and gave the seals a cursory glance, and jiggled a few of the bottles. But he did not unpack them. They formed 2 layers in the suitcase, so he really didn’t check the ones on bottom at all and he didn’t even unwrap the wine bottles to see if they were sealed.


Next we went to the check in desk. As mentioned, the line took a little while but eventually we got our sign and sail cards and were on our way. Security photo and fun boarding photo done, and here we go!


Almost there





On board at last!!




And up to the lido deck for lunch and of course, a DOD to celebrate the start of a great cruise!



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The lines for the burger place were fairly long, so we decided to eat the buffet even though I am really not a fan of buffets. I just usually am unimpressed by the quality of the food, but in this case, it actually wasn’t too bad. I had roast beef, potatoes, and veggies which all tasted pretty good. However, the food was not hot. Lukewarm at best. But who cares, I’m on a cruise ship!






More about the food later, but I’ll just say that overall I was really impressed with the quality of food on this cruise. Much better than the Breeze and the Ecstasy.



By the time we finished lunch, our cabin was ready. We went to drop off our cooler and suitcase full of drinks, and took a few photos of the cabin, number 6320.








There was this odd boxlike structure in the corner. Upon investigation, we discovered that it held extra bedding and our life jackets. It was a handy place to pile things on, I suppose, but I would rather have had some seating instead. There was only a tiny stool under the vanity to sit on.



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Here is the bathroom. It was functional, with a good amount of counter space and a medicine chest with plenty of storage space. But note the weird hair dryer on the wall. I know the Triumph was built in 1999, but this hair dryer looks like something out of the 1960s! It was slow to warm up and not super powerful. The shower is pretty small, the same as on our other cruises.








Here are the goodies that were in the basket in the bathroom.






We had plenty of storage space, but the closets were a little awkward to get into as the entry space was very narrow.






We were awfully spoiled on our Breeze cruise. We had a balcony, which we absolutely loved. And the cabin was considerably larger, with a sofa and coffee table. (It was a standard balcony cabin, not a suite.) So this very small cabin was a bit of a letdown and we did miss the balcony. But, it was a free cruise and I sure can’t complain about that!!!


If you are looking closely, you might have noticed that nowhere in this cabin do you find the big blue Carnival beach towels. We had these on our first 2 cruises so I was surprised they were missing. There was a sign in the bathroom that said to please not remove the bath towels; that towels are available at the towel hut on the lido deck. We did get some there for our excursion in Cozumel. Oddly, 2 big blue beach towels appeared in our room on the last night of the cruise, too late for us to get any use from them.


Our friendly cabin steward stopped by to introduce himself. I believe his name was Newman, I’m sorry to say I don’t recall for sure. He did a great job and kept our cooler filled with ice. He always spoke to us and called us by name when we saw him in the hallway. He said he is responsible for 25 rooms. Wow! That seems like an awful lot to me. We left him a little extra tip in the room at the end of the cruise.


A couple more comments about the cabin: We never heard a peep from cabins beside, above, or below us. However, the door was useless in blocking noise from the hallway. We could clearly hear voices, doors opening and closing, and anything else that was going on out there. We have noticed this on our previous cruises. The door always seems to be the weak link. Two suggestions: first, take earplugs! I always use earplugs when travelling, and they are worth their weight in gold. Also, you may want to consider a cabin that is in the far corners of the ship where maybe there won’t be too much traffic. Don’t get the cabin right next to the ice machine or the elevators if you want to keep down hallway noise.


Another thing about our cabin was that we had a VERY noticeable vibration throughout the cruise. I am not talking about motion from the sea. This was a mechanical vibration that was really rather pronounced and very noticeable in the bathroom and when laying in bed. It actually kept me awake sometimes. There would be a thrumming sensation, then a pause, then thrum, then pause. Over and over. We have not noticed this on our other cruises. My husband joked that we got the special “vibrating cabin” and it really did feel that way. I might have expected this if we were on a low deck near the engine room or something, but was surprised and a little bothered by it during this cruise.


Our location was perfect. We were exactly halfway between the aft elevators and the mid elevators. If we were headed to the main showroom, the photo gallery, or the shops, we turned right when leaving our room and headed toward the front of the ship. If we were going down to the casino or up to the lido deck, we turned left out our door and headed to the mid elevators. We usually used the stairs. Our location on deck 6 meant it was just one short flight down to the casino, the comedy club, or the showroom, just 2 more flights down to the dining room, and just 3 flights up to the lido deck. So we felt that we were perfectly situated right in the middle of everything, and this made it easy to return to our room (which we did often) between activities for a drink refresher or bathroom break. I highly recommend checking out the deck plans for your ship and really thinking about what activities you like to do when choosing your cabin.

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After checking out our cabin, we walked around the ship learning the lay of the land and taking photos. We started at the top and worked our way down. Here are some photos of the spa area:


Ladies’ locker room

















The showers here are fairly spacious, certainly bigger than in the cabin, so you may want to take advantage of them.











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It’s a little hard to make out in the photo below, but there are signs in the free weight area which state, “please do not drop the weights, as there are cabins below.” You might want to keep this in mind when booking your room. The rooms below the weight area would be roughly in the area of cabins 1007, 1011, 1017, 1021.





Sauna and steam room:








I really did not like the design of the lido deck at all. It is tiered, with multiple levels. Each level has metal railings everywhere. Combine this with the profusion of metal framed deck chairs, and I just thought the overall effect was crowded, sterile and unattractive. Plus, it was hard to navigate and it lacked a big open space for activities. There was a smallish triangular open space right in front of the hot tubs where some line dancing took place, but overall I just thought the lido deck was plain ugly.


We didn’t try the mini golf. Frankly , the course looked pretty uninteresting.



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Here are a couple of shots of Club O2 and the water slide.










Here is one of the pools, and the adjacent hot tub. There were not very many children on this cruise, and the pools never seemed very crowded, but the hot tubs were packed all the time.









Here are the main lido deck pool and hot tubs. The pool, as you can see, has no water in it and is covered with a net. It seemed to be closed for about half the cruise. They would fill it, and then it would be empty again. The aft pool also was closed at least part of the time. It was full during our initial tour of the boat, but late that night we noticed it was empty. I have no idea what was going on with that.







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This sign was displayed in a few placed around the pool. I don’t know if the policy was enforced or not. All the deck chairs anywhere near the lido deck always seemed to be occupied, either by a person or an inanimate object.



Here’ s the jogging track.






This is the aft pool. I liked that it had a retractable roof, so the pool could be used in any kind of weather. The roof was closed at least once during our cruise that I noticed.




The buffet area on the lido deck. The seating in the main buffet area always seemed crowded, but there was plenty of seating upstairs.





That pretty much covers the upper decks. I've got to get ready for work, but I'll be back tomorrow with more of our ship tour, including all the areas on the busy Promenade Deck. And later, I'll tell you about the muster drill, first night entertainment, and our fun and profitable turn in the casino!

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Great pics! I was on the Triumph recently and will be booking another cruise for this November in the next few days.


Since I've never seen anyone else mention it in a review, I thought I was the only one that found the layout of the pool area on the Lido deck to have a crowded feeling.


However, you have to drop off your luggage at the east end of the building, and it is a pretty long walk if you have to deal with lots of heavy suitcases. Then you just have to turn around and walk back where you came from to check in. So if you go, see if you can drive up to the baggage area at the east end of the building and drop off your suitcases before you go park.


I used Galveston Park N Cruise as well. Walked across the street with our bags and never had to go to the far end to drop them off. When we got to the small set of stairs in front of the building there was a porter waiting there. We dropped off the bags and hung a left towards check-in. We got there around 11:30 and it wasn't even close to being busy yet so maybe that had something to do with it.


Looking forward to the rest of the review :)

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Thanks everyone who has commented! I'm glad y'all are enjoying the photos. :)


I used Galveston Park N Cruise as well. Walked across the street with our bags and never had to go to the far end to drop them off. When we got to the small set of stairs in front of the building there was a porter waiting there. We dropped off the bags and hung a left towards check-in. We got there around 11:30 and it wasn't even close to being busy yet so maybe that had something to do with it.


Looking forward to the rest of the review :)


Thanks for the tip. I'll look for the porters next time. Maybe they were just all busy when we arrived, because both times we've been through this terminal, we were directed to take our luggage all the way to the end. Boo!

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Just got off work, I'm going to try to post a bit more of my review before hitting the sack.


This is the main showroom. It is quite large and we never saw it full or had trouble getting a seat.




Here is one of our favorite places on the ship, the casino. It was quite large. It had tons of penny slots, 12 video poker machines, a few quarter and dollar slots, all the usual table games. There were also a couple of pool tables in the rear. It must be very interesting to play pool on a rocking ship. Rather a challenge, I suppose.








In back of the casino, near the pool tables, you’ll find this sports bar which was usually empty (although it was jammed when the Texans were playing). There was a rather surly bartender back there every time I went by. He was efficient, but not very cheerful - one of the very rare times I’ve ever found any Carnival employee to be less than friendly. In fact, the cheerful, friendly, helpful attitude of virtually every Carnival employee is one of this company’s greatest strengths, IMO.



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A few more shots from the Promenade deck: I think this is the wine bar






And the piano bar, which had a very strange oyster shell ceiling and walls




This is the Club Rio aft lounge, where the comedy club takes place. The comedy club is a VERY popular event and was packed every time. Unfortunately, a great deal of seat saving takes place. Prepare to go early and then wander around asking “are you saving this seat?” over and over.






This is another lounge on the Promenade deck near Club Rio. After taking these pictures before sailing, we never went back. I’m not sure what they do there.




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Whew! After that hike around the ship, we went back to our cabin. It was around 3pm and our luggage had already arrived, so we got unpacked. Soon it was time for the safety briefing.

Our muster station was F, which meant we were to assemble on Deck 4. Our previous safety briefings were easy-peasy. On the Ecstasy we were in a lounge, I don’t remember exactly where but we were seated indoors. On the Breeze, we simply grabbed a comfy seat in the main showroom and watched a short demonstration of using the life jackets, and heard a few announcements. Both of those times, we had more expensive balcony cabins. Paul joked that now that we were in "steerage," we were relegated to the open decks for the safety briefing.

We were packed on deck 4 like sardines.






We waited, and waited, and waited. Finally, a few announcements were made. Eventually, the crew demonstrated how to put on a life jacket, which I (and I suppose most everyone else except those on the front row) could not see because it was so crowded. Then we waited several minutes more. Eventually, we were dismissed.

I know the safety briefing is necessary, but in this case it wasn’t very useful. We could not even see the crew members who were supposed to be showing us what to do. Overall it took about 30 minutes and I know the older man behind me was having trouble standing for that long. I'm sure if you let the staff know that you may have trouble standing, they will accomodate you somehow.

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