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Just Back from Triumph with Long Review


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Well, we're home now after a great vacation. I promised I'd write a review this time. I'll try to keep it concise, but that's probably hard to do! First let me say that we did have a wonderful time, although there were many unexpected events during our trip.


Day Prior to Sailing We left from St. Louis Int. Airport on Friday afternoon, to get in a day before our cruise. Flying in early is in my opinion the best way to go. We chose to fly into FLL instead of MIA and saved $130 per person and with 5 of us, that was a major savings. Once on the ground at FLL and baggage in hand, we took a shuttle van that was easily available outside the airport to downtown Miami for $75 ($15 per person). The shuttle driver dropped us off at the Radisson on Biscayne. We pricelined this hotel for $35 ($45 including taxes). I loved the priceline experience and will use that service again in the future. The hotel was nice; great location, nice lobby/bar area; pool area etc. We were given a suite, which was more than spacious for the 5 of us. It was in a corner, so we had multiple views of Miami and the bay area. After checking in, we hopped in a cab and went to the Marketplace and had a very nice dinner at the much acclaimed Bubba Gumps. On our way back to the hotel, we had our driver go to a Walgreens where we bought 2 12 packs of soda to take with us. We had a good nights sleep and woke at about 9am to get ready for our Big Day of embarkation only to find that the shower in the bathroom did NOT work at all! To make a long story short, it took about 90 minutes for maintenance to fix it. Lesson learned: check the shower when you first get in the room! The Radisson did pay for our transfers to the Port of Miami. Even though this happened, we feel that it was just a chance thing and would probably stay there again, given a suite for only $45, provided the shower worked!


Embarkation: We arrived at the Port of Miami around 12:00. There were alot of people, but lines moved very quickly. We were on the ship by 12:30. Our cabin was #9274 on the Lido deck. We took the Capitol Elevators up to deck 9 and spotted our cabin immediately since it was very close to the elevators. Cabin had 1 queen bed, a bed that pulled down from the ceiling, a sofa bed and we needed a roll-away since we were all 5 staying together. This was our first time having a balcony and we just LOVED it. I don't think we would ever sail again without a balcony. Our 11 year old daughter hadn't been feeling well since the morning (bad headache) and when we got into the cabin, she just wanted to lay down. The headache escalated into her throwing up in the bathroom a few times also. So DH and I took turns staying with her while the other one of us took the boys out to explore the ship and get lunch. Our cabin steward allowed me to stay in the room with her during the muster drill, which was very nice. Our luggage was delivered before 2:30 which we were very surprised to have gotten it so early. DD started feeling well enough to go out for the sail away so we went out on the Panorama Deck. While out there I was talking with the lady next to me, only to find out that it was Deb79ob from Cruise Critic! What a wonderful coincidence to be standing right next to each other! We chatted with each other for quite some time and saw each other several times during the week.


The Ship: The Triumph was lovely. The grand atrium/capitol was magnificent. I won't go into too much detail because it's been done before. I'll just say that the ship more than exceded our expectations. It was very clean (didn't notice any stains, but didn't look for them either!).


First Day at Sea I am not usually a morning person, but I guess that I was so excited to be on vacation that I didn't want to miss a moment, so it seems like I didn't require much sleep while on this trip (although I think it's catching up to me today!). For the first 4 days, I didn't sleep more than about 4 hours each day! The first day at sea I was up at about 5AM and was looking forward to watching the sun come up. I got dressed, went to get some coffee and saw that it was pouring down rain! So, instead, I grabbed my camera and went off through the ship to take pictures. There was hardly anyone else out of their cabins at that time. It was like I had the ship to myself. As soon as the sun started to peek up, the rain automatically stopped, so I went out on the open decks to enjoy the daybreak and a couple cups of coffee and more picture taking. I really loved those mornings to myself. After breakfasts we spent time by the pool and hot tubs or just people watching or playing cards poolside. The kids loved the gameroom. The casino was good to my husband; not so good to me. We played Bingo 3 times, won once ($130)and were soooo close to winning a $700 and a $1500 game the other 2 times. There was always plenty to do during the day. We had a great time.


Dining/Food: We were seated in the London Dining Room in the upper level for 6:15 Dinner with another couple with a son close in age to my youngest son. We enjoyed dining with them and getting to know them. Orlando was our head waiter and did a very nice job. We had some good meals in the dining room, but not what I would call great. We also unfortunately had 2 separate instances that were for lack of a better word, disgusting. During dinner the night that we were in San Juan (open seating in the Paris dining room) my son was given a glass of milk with a lipstick print on it, so obviously a dirty glass was re-used. Secondly, on another night there was a part of a plastic glove in my salad. Both of those things are just gross in my opinion.

Sandwiches from the grill on lido deck were awesome as were the ones from the deli. The pizza was a hit as well. Breakfast was done well, but the lunch and dinner selections in the south beach club were very limited. The Grill and the pizza stations were the popular spots all week. But, the lines for the grill (especially on the days while in St. Thomas and St. Maarten) were very long...as much as a 45 minute wait. There were alot of passengers upset that Carnival wasn't more prepared on the days while we were in port. On those days, most people were coming back to the ship at 3-4 pm and were hungry, only to find that there were 2 people working the grill (and no buffet set up) hence the nearly hour waits for a burger.

The midnight gala buffet wasn't anything that special either. We missed the Mexican buffet the night of San Juan, but heard that it was good. As much as I don't want to complain, I do have to say that other than breakfast and the sandwiches on lido deck we were not impressed with the food.


San Juan: San Juan was an interresting port to sail into. We enjoyed seeing the fort and the older buildings as we watched from our balcony and took video and pictures. We did arrive a bit earlier than scheduled. However, following some advice I've seen on this board, we stayed on board while in port and enjoyed the pool. I was really surprised at the number of people that also stayed on board. We had dinner that night in the Paris dining room (open seating) and were seated with 2 other couples who said that they saw all they wanted to see of San Juan in the 60-90 minutes that they were off the ship. I did hear good things about the horse-back riding excursion in San Juan, but it did fill up the first day, so book early if you're interrested.


St. Thomas: This port was gorgeous. Again, I was up early and watched us sail into port from the balcony. I am so happy that we had our balcony. Once we got off the ship which didn't take long at all, we took a taxi into town, where we were quickly approached by Bernard, a tour operator. He seemed very nice and gave us a nice price ($20 for husband and myself $16 for each child payable at the END of the day) and told us to meet him at 11:45 if we would like a tour of the island and a ride to the beach. We stayed in town for about 2 1/2 hours shopping. We went in numerous jewelry stores looking for a tanzanite ring for myself, and felt like we got an education on tanzanite, but ultimately didn't purchase one. We did meet several people who used to live in the States (even from Missouri) that moved to St. Thomas, or "Paradise" as they called it. We bought some other souveniers and then made our way back to find Bernard for the tour. He had one of the nicest open air vehicles that we saw on the island and was truly a very kind man. He stopped several times along the way for picture taking of the breath-taking scenery, even offering to take pictures of us with our camera. He gave us our choice of Megans Bay, Sapphire Beach, or Coki. We had our heart set on Megan's Bay, so we were the first to get dropped off (the others with us went to Sapphire). He paid our admission and told us not to worry about it. He told us he would pick us up at 3:30, which gave us nearly 3 hours at the beach. Megan's was beautiful, very calm waters, nice beach for the boys to play on, but very hot. There were alot of people there, as there were 2 other ships in port with us, but it wasn't "too" crowded. After enough sun and swim time, we showered and got a pizza and cold drinks at the food/bar area. As we finished, and decided to go out to look for Bernard, he was already there and actually spotted us first. We then had the tour all to ourselves, as the group was at Sapphire Beach. He again stopped a couple of times for more picture opportunities and drove us to Coki so we could see it (even though he didn't have to pick anyone up there), then we went on to Sapphire and again let us out for a bit to see the beach and resort. He got us back to the pier about 4:30, enough time to go into a couple more shops before boarding the ship. I was very impressed with Bernard and the fact that he didn't collect any money up front. He got a nice tip in addition to his fee. I would highly recommend him. I loved St. Thomas and would love to go back and stay at one of the resorts, although, I don't think I could drive those narrow, curvy and hilly roads (not to mention driving in the left lane). St. Thomas is a great port and was one of my favorite places that I've ever visited.


St. Maarten: Once again, I was up early enough to watch us pull into port. (Now mind you, we were staying up till about 1:30 every night and I was getting up at around 5 every morning so far) I enjoyed my coffee on the balcony as we were coming into port. Once there, I woke everyone else up, we had breakfast and then off the ship. We were docked right across the pier from the Caribbean Princess. It was neat seeing another ship directly across from ours. I did notice their balconies were bigger. Most had 4 chairs and a table large enough to have breakfast on. Some even had loungers on them. (A bit of balcony envy) Anyway, once off the ship, we took the water taxi ($5 per person over 12 years old for all day service) to Phillipsburg where we continued shopping for a tanzanite ring. We were in town just as the shops were beginning to open, so they were not very busy yet, which was nice. We ended up buying in the 3rd store (Joe's Jewelry) that we went into (which my boys were sooooo happy that this was not going to be an all day thing). We actually picked out a stone and a setting and had the ring custom made. Ron told us he would have it ready by 2 pm, so we headed back to the ship with the other things that we bought, and picked up beach things and then back on the water taxi to the beach. The water taxi was a great deal, very convenient, plus a great view of the ship as you're pulling away. We rented 2 loungers with an umbrella for $10, bought a few $1.50 beers and enjoyed the beach for a few hours. There were jet skis and a water trampoline near us for a price, but my kids were happy to just play in the sand and the water. Before we knew it, it was 2 pm, so we walked back into town to pick up my ring. Ron had it ready for us and it turned out soooooo beautiful. At that moment I knew that it was meant for me and that we were supposed to wait to buy on St. Maarten (instead of St. Thomas like I had planned). So after a bit more walking around town, we headed back to the ship again. St. Maarten was also a wonderful port and one that would make a great week's stay. It was a wonderful day and will always have a special place in my heart.


Ship Entertainment: We went to the welcome show in the Rome Lounge which was very entertaining. The magic show was great. The guest talent show was good as well. I only caught a bit of one of the Vegas style shows, but it too was very nice. Ed Rocks in the Big Easy Bar was awesome as everyone on here has said. We didn't go to the comedy shows as they were all R rated and we had the kids with us, but I heard from others that they were also fun. We were on the lido deck for the Survivor game and the Hairy Chest Contest. Those were also fun.


More Sea Days: Thursday and Friday were sea days. Thursday morning my youngest son woke up with a fever of 102-103 which lasted all day long. I was prepared with Motrin/Tylenol etc, so DH and I stayed in the cabin with him most of the day. By early evening, he said his throat was really sore, which I figured was probably strep. I went to the infirmary/pharmacy which I must have just missed them closing. I could hear multiple voices, but no one would answer when I knocked on the door. I went back upstairs and called them to let them know what was going on and to find out if they had anti-biotics. The lady I talked to told me to come down there in the morning and said "don't worry sweetie, he'll be allright", which just made me mad. We had already been dealing with a fever for 12 hours and were then told that they wouldn't give him any anti-biotics for another 12 hours! I didn't realize there were limited hours for the infirmary. Those are things that you don't think about until you need them and unfortunately I had waited about 15 minutes too late to get him some meds that day. Anyway, we went down to the infirmary first thing Friday morning. Dr. prescribed some meds. They didn't have what he usually takes when he needs anti-biotics, so we had to try a new med which was very hard on his stomach and he had stomach pain for the next 2 days. Another lesson learned....have your dr. at home give you anti-biotics before you go just in case..especially with kids. The infirmary only had 3 meds in strenghts for kids (1 of which son was allergic to).


We didn't go to dinner Thursday night and DS and I missed dinner again on Friday night. DH and the other kids went Friday. DH asked our waiter if he could bring me an entree since DS was still running a fever and we didn't want to leave him alone. He was told no. We still don't understand that one. I know it's not Carnival's fault that I wasn't able to go to the dining room, but we felt that they could have been a bit more accomodating about letting my DH bring me dinner. It's not like we were asking for a room service dinner.


Other: We purchased many pictures. They were all sooooo good and too hard to resist and I'm so glad that we got them.


Our room steward, Gerald, was excellent. He could not have done more for us. He was quietly efficient and we really didn't get much of a chance to talk with him until Thursday and Friday when we spent more time in the cabin.


On a sad note, Friday evening, our CD announced that one of our passengers had a medical emergency that required a land based hospital so we diverted off course to Nassau so that passenger could be taken by tender boat to shore. Our prayers were with that family.


Debarkation: We arrived back in Miami a bit later than scheduled due to stopping in Nassau the evening before. We were off the ship without long lines and through customs and got our luggage by 11:00. We had a 5:25 flight out of FLL, so we had nothing but time on our hands, but for some with earlier flights, I'm sure they were a bit worried. We had planned on doing the Everglades excursion through Carnival, but with DS still not feeling 100%, we decided to forego that and just go to the airport. We were ready to be home by that time.


Overall: Overall it was a great vacation. St. Thomas and St. Maarten were excellent ports to visit. The kids getting sick put a bit of a damper on it, but that can't be helped. At least it was minor in the big scheme of things. Would we chose Carnival again for the next cruise??? I don't know. There were enough negatives to make us consider another line for the next one, but also enough positives that it was still a great vacation.


Wow, this was a long review. If there's any questions, just ask. Thanks for reading.


Triumph June 2004

Jubilee July 2002


Time till Triumph on 6/5 countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=00bfff&cdt=2004;6;5;16;00;00&timezone=GMT-0500

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I'm so glad you enjoyed your cruise. I agree with your evaluation of the infirmary. I developed a rash around my ankles on the very firsy day of our cruise on the Triumph. Was told it was coral based and not to worry. The one night my DD was sick and did not go to dining room our waiter sent a dinner back to room with us. I don't understand why you were not allowed a dinner. I am in process of planing a cruise for next May. DD wants Valor and I would like to try RCCL. RCCL seems to offer more for handicap travelers. They have accessible pools for people with mobility problems. I would definitly do Carnival again I just think I would like to try other lines as well.



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Hello. My husband and I are going on the Triumph this October. I enjoyed your review-thanks for the tips. When you went to St. Maarten, what beach did you go to?

The last time I cruised was 19 years ago with my parents so I am a little nervous about little things like finding the water taxi, finding my way around the ports etc. Thanks!

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Thanks so much for your wonderful review! We leave for our cruise on the Triumph in 5 days and we are looking forward to it. From reading your review, I will be sure to remember to stay away from the lido buffet and grill between 3-5! Thanks for the tip and I'm glad you had a good vacation.


Carnival Triumph Here We Come!!!



See my pics! http://community.webshots.com/user/jwatkins75


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amu, in St. Maaten, we went to Great Bay Beach, it's the beach in downtown Phillipsburg. It's a long, wide beach with lots of loungers and umbrellas and also numerous places for cold drinks. There was this one guy on the beach that just kept running up and down, getting everyone drinks, taking care of the jet ski rentals, and keeping the kids that didn't pay off of the water trampoline. He did it all!!! We enjoyed that beach because of it's close proximaty to the shopping. Directly behind that beach is about 3 long streets filled with merchants. Also, we had an excellent view of our ship while at that beach.


The water taxi is easy to find. When you get off the ship, walk down the pier. At the end of the pier to the left, there's a large overhead sign that says "water taxi". You really can't miss it. If you prefer ground transportation instead of water, veer to the right at the end of pier. Very easy to find. Personally, we loved the water taxi. It was a short 3-5 minute ride, never any lines or wait.


If you have other questions, just ask. That's what this board is for.


Triumph June 2004

Jubilee July 2002


Time till Triumph on 6/5 countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=00bfff&cdt=2004;6;5;16;00;00&timezone=GMT-0500

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Did you get a chance to look at the Panorama deck? We are booked on the 7/17 eastern with 4 cabins and wondering if that is a good area. Booked a 8E balcony. Thanks.


Sun Princess 4/74

Windjammer Fantome

7/78-8/79 (Employee)

Carnival Tropicale 06/83?

Regal Empress 6/02


Til Triumph




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Jjeromer, we found prices on jewelry to better in St. Maarten. I had read earlier that that may be the case and I found it to be true. We really tried to buy some jewelry in St. Thomas, but were so glad that we waited that extra day till we got to St. Maarten. There are numerous stores in both ports. You'll love the Eastern itinerary.


Torpicalconcrete, You'll love the Panorama Deck. We were on the lido, just a deck below where you'll be. All the action as far as pools, hot tubs, deck games, pool bars, and food are on those 2 decks. It's a great location. If your cabins are next to each other, your cabin steward can open the partitions on the balconies. We had an even number cabin, which put us on the side that had the best views when sailing into the ports.


Triumph June 2004

Jubilee July 2002


Time till Triumph on 6/5 countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=00bfff&cdt=2004;6;5;16;00;00&timezone=GMT-0500

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Thanks Christina. We're going on the same cruise on Saturday (June 19th). Great review. I have done the Eastern before and think it is much better than the Western. Will let you know how it turns out in a couple of weeks.


countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=00ffff&cdt=2004;6;19;17;0;00&timezone=GMT-0400 Until the FUN begins on the TRIUMPH!!!


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  • 2 weeks later...





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Thanks for the great review Christina. We will be on the Triumph, for the second time, in August. We were supposed to be on Upper deck in a category 8A but for $50 apiece, we upgraded to a suite guarantee on the Empress deck. I couldnt pass that deal up. We are looking for a nice beach on both islands with loungers, umbrellas and most importantly, a clean bathroom. Uncrowded would be good too but I know if there are a lot of ships in port that day the chances of tons of people are good anywhere we go.


Glad you had a good time and hope the children are better...





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