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luckybecky

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:

 

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

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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

 

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On board at last!!

 

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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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Edited by luckybecky

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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!

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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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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Sounds great, we will be on the Triumph 1-28 for the 1st. leg of a back to back. Anxious to read the rest of your review and see the pictures.

 

Doug

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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

 

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

 

 

 

Gym

 

 

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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.

 

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Sauna and steam room:

 

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Lido

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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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Thanks for posting. The Triumph was our first cruise and it was good to "see" her again! Looking forward to more pics!

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

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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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Loving your review! We will cruise on Triumph in 30 days and I'm getting so psyched!

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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.

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Here’ s the jogging track.

 

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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.

 

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

 

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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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Thanks for posting these great pictures. I was on the Triumph a few years ago and this brings back some great memories. I can't wait to see and read more.

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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

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

 

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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.

 

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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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And here is the internet café.

 

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This is the London dining room.

 

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Here is the very small art gallery.

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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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After the safety briefing, we went to the sailaway party. It was fun with lots of upbeat music and line dancing. We stayed on deck 10 overlooking the lido deck and taking pictures as we left Galveston.

 

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Then, dinner!

We had anytime dining. I would not do it any other way, since we never know what we will be doing in the evening or what time we will be ready to eat. On this night, we wanted to go to dinner early so we would be finished in time for the Welcome Aboard Show at 7:30pm. We arrived at the dining room a few mintues before 6pm. There was a short line, but we were seated at a private table for 2 within 5 or 10 minutes.

I really slacked off on the food porn this trip. I took a few photos of our first dinner and then not many more for the rest of the trip. Sorry about that. The first night, Paul had a duck appetizer…

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…and he also had something else, I think it was a ceviche,. He said both appetizers were excellent. I just had a salad for a starter. It was very fresh and the blue cheese dressing was delicious.

 

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Then I had the flat iron steak from the everyday menu. I was really impressed. It was very, very good. Tender and juicy. Not overcooked. Paul liked the looks of it so much, he ordered it the next night.

 

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Paul had a chocolate gateau dessert

 

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I had to have the Warm Chocolate Melting Cake, of course!

Overall, we were very impressed with the quality of the food on this cruise. Everything in the dining room was presented very attractively, ingredients were fresh, things were served at the right temperature, veggies were not overcooked. All of these things have been issues that some other CC members have encountered on other cruises. We also had some less than stellar meals on our previous cruises. But this time, really everything was very good. Service was also top notch. Some waiters were friendlier and more outgoing than others (Donovan was fantastic!), but all were efficient. We had absolutely no trouble with slow service at any meal. Our food experience on this cruise was definitely the best we have had of our three cruises. (The only exception is one meal, our lunch in the dining room tomorrow) Here is waiter Donovan a couple of nights later. He is up on the table on the far right.

 

 

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The Welcome Aboard show was fun. They have 10 female singer/dancers and 5 males, plus a 10 piece show band. Maybe my memory is foggy, but I do not recall a show band on the Breeze, so this was a pleasant surprise on the Triumph. The band and dancers were all outstanding. The two lead singers were very talented. All of the shows we saw were terrific, full of energy and great music.

 

I know there have been complaints about a lack of live music on Carnival ships, but there was plenty on this cruise. There was the show band, which also performed in the casino on at least one night that I know of.

 

There was an excellent 4 piece band which performed in the casino bar every night. I really enjoyed them. There was a guy who played guitar and sang country music in the lobby bar for several hours every night. There is also a piano bar which unfortunately we never made it too, we were so busy doing other things. The last evening of the cruise, early in the evening there was a lady who sang Motown music in the casino bar and she was amazing! I don’t know where she had been earlier in the cruise, we never saw her til the last night, but Carnival should be giving her more exposure! All in all, there was live music all over the place, and we have absolutely no complaints there.

 

So after the Welcome Aboard show, we hit the casino for a little while. We aren’t big spenders by any means, but we do enjoy a 4 day trip to Las Vegas just about every year. We mostly play video poker, and Paul likes to play Let It Ride, but we have a very small gambling budget. If I’m losing at video poker, I’ll move to penny slots to play a little just for fun.

 

We played for awhile, and then went to the comedy show. Both comedians, Derrick Eason and Darren Sanders, were hilarious. I was a little put out at the excessive seat saving. There were very few seats available even though we had arrived early. We did find seats near the door. Shortly before the show ended, there was a mass exodus of people. The comic was not bombing, not by a long shot. He was getting big laughs, but I guess some people just wanted to beat the rush to get out. At least 50 people walked out, passing right in front of us. I thought it was incredibly rude, both to the performer and to the patrons like us who were still trying to watch the show.

Edited by luckybecky

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After this, I was hungry again, so we got a burger. By this time it was probably 12:30am and Paul was dragging. But I’m a real night owl and wasn’t ready to go to bed yet, so I prodded him into going back to the casino “just for a little while” before bed. He relented. Now, guys, read the rest of this story and then remember, ALWAYS listen to your wife! J

So we sat down and started playing 25cent video poker. We had played for a little while, not very long. Then, this happened:

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That is Paul’s first ever Royal Flush. We have been playing VP for probably 15 years, and neither of us has ever had a royal flush. Paul won $1000.

But, it gets better. Needless to say, this win revved Paul up a little and despite the late hour, he was happy to play for a little longer. I was playing next to him, and had also had a few good hands, enough that I was holding my own and not losing too much.

So we played for awhile longer. According to my camera, it was exactly 24 minutes later when this happened:

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Incredibly, Paul won another royal flush, and another $1000! This time the machine started flashing that a hand pay was required. I guess if you win too much too fast, they want to verify the win. So we called over a casino host and two of them helped us. Paul left the casino with his wallet considerably heavier than when we arrived!

 

We finally collapsed into bed around 2am. What a great start to our cruise!

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Incredible! I've had ONE royal my entire life (unfortunately it was on a nickle machine) and he sits down and hits two within 30 minutes?! :eek: That's awesome!! Congrats to you both. :D Really enjoying your review.

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:D Thanks for the preview!! We will be boarding the Triumph for our first "family" cruise on February 2!!! I hope the pools don't stay closed.. .our grandson will not be happy.. He is a fish and loves to swim for hours!! Hopefully, there will be enough to do at Camp Carnival for him to be entertained!!!

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Ok this is our hotel.... :eek: 50$... they are charging me 109$ a night per room WHAT IS YOUR SECRECT???????

 

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:

 

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

 

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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.

 

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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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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.

 

That's the Oxford bar. I don't recall anything happening there on my cruise, but that was OK with me as it turned out to be a great place to go in the evenings to sit and read without a lot of distractions.

 

Congratulations on the video poker wins!

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we are trying to decide on this ship or the fascination out of jacksonville. My husband and I just returned Sunday from the Magic and it was so fun.. kids are wanting to go in April or May.. i love that this has a theatre and water features similiar to magic. The magic is out of our price range taking 4 kids tho :(

thanks for the great picts! :)

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That's the Oxford bar. I don't recall anything happening there on my cruise, but that was OK with me as it turned out to be a great place to go in the evenings to sit and read without a lot of distractions.

 

Congratulations on the video poker wins!

 

Back when we first cruised on the Triumph, the Oxford Bar was the cigar bar. It was a nice place. Not too many people actually smoked cigars in there (which is probably why there aren't cigar bars anymore), but it was used for afternoon tea time and there was a jazz ensemble in there during the dinner hours.

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Day 2

We slept through breakfast. I don’t know what time we woke, but by the time we got dressed and out of our cabin, it was 11:15 or 11:30. We set out to the dining room. First we went to the London dining room, where we had dinner the night before, but it was closed. Then I realized that lunch is only served in the Paris dining room, so we wandered around trying to find that. Eventually we found the right place, but it was closed too! We finally looked at our Fun Times (note to self: read the Fun Times) and saw that lunch doesn’t start till noon. Seems like 11 or 11:30 would be better (isn’t this when most restaurants start serving lunch?), but whatever. We killed a little time and went back at noon.

 

<<<Begin Rant>>>

 

Please skip on ahead to the next post if you wish. This was our only bummer experience of the whole cruise.

 

So we are in line at the Paris dining room. Only a few people had arrived. The dining room was virtually deserted. We asked the hostess for a table for 2. She smiled, nodded, and said “right this way.” We were led past many empty tables and pointed to seats at a table for 8, where 6 other people were already seated.

 

I just do not understand why Carnival insists on forcing intimacy on total strangers at meal times. I guess I can understand it at set time dining, where you will have the same tablemates and wait staff at every meal. Everyone can get to know one another and maybe even form some lasting friendships. But when we had explicitly asked for a table for 2, and there was certainly no shortage of seating space, I just don’t get it. I’ve never been to any other restaurant anywhere that insists on seating strangers together, especially when there are many open tables throughout the restaurant.

 

Well, when we are standing there, it’s kind of hard to look at the seats your host is pointing you to, and to say, “I don’t want to sit with those people.” So we gamely sat down and said hello. There was a long awkward silence. I’m not the greatest conversationalist, but after a few minutes of everyone very studiously buttering their bread and staring at their plates, I tried to get something going. I asked if anyone had seen any of the shows last night. No, no one had. They all went to bed early. End of discussion. More silence. A few minutes later, I made another effort. Does anyone have any interesting shore excursions planned for Cozumel tomorrow? No, none of them did. More silence.

 

It was honestly one of the most awkward meals of my life. Finally Paul brought up a sports topic, and that got a few people at the table briefly engaged. For those of us who aren’t big sports fans, it wasn’t much, but at least someone was talking. Briefly.

 

Why does Carnival insist on putting us through this?

 

Well, at least it was mercifully short. This was the fastest meal ever. From the time we got in line to be seated, to the time we walked out the door, was 35 minutes. I tend to be a slow eater, and we go to the dining room because I like to savor my meal. The salad had been on the table for only minutes, and I was less than halfway finished with it when our entrees arrived. A few minutes after this, dessert menus were presented. I never did finish my entrée. Dessert orders were taken promptly and before we knew it, the meal was over.

 

Ordinarily, I would be unhappy with such rushed service. It’s like they were trying to get us out of the dining room as fast as they could. And they did. A full three course meal in 35 minutes? Really? But in this case, it was probably a blessing.

 

It seems the lunch service is designed entirely for the convenience of Carnival staff, not for the comfort of the guest. Everyone is seated together for the benefit of the wait staff, who can take everyone’s orders all at once, serve everyone at once, then get us all out of there ASAP, and have only one table to clean.

OK, off my soapbox.

Edited by luckybecky

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