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Age: 27


Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Triumph

Sailing Date: February 4th, 2006

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

This was the first cruise for my Wife and I. We both didn't know what to expect, but hoped for the best. We had mixed reviews, which I'll explain below. Also, sorry for the long post, but I like to try and cover everything, so you get a good feel for things before you go.

Embarkation: We arrived a little after 2pm. It happened to be raining this day, a sign of things to come, I guess. Once at the dock, the 'dock porters' will check your bag directly to your room. Make sure you have your Ship luggage tag on there with your room number, because I believe thats the only way they know where to deliver them. The crew will leave them outside your room. I recommend you carry on board with you at least 1 bag of clothes and your toiletries, since the bag delivery can take up to 3-4 hours after the ship sets sail. The boarding area is huge area, but the lines moved quickly.

Before you get on the gangway, the photo crew will take your picture - get used to this. The entire cruise we were getting our picture taken 3-5 times/day. You have nothing to lose by taking as many pictures as you want, as you only have to buy the ones you like. They vary from 7-$20 for a 8x10.

Room/Amenities: Our cabin was on Deck 6, midship interior. Our cabin was relatively small with one queen sized bed, a small table and a chair. There is a small television in the corner which continuously plays 2-3 movies, 2 cnn channels, cnbc, and 3-4 satellite feeds. Not much selection. The bathroom is sufficient. They provide little sample-size amenities, but you should bring your own toothpaste, shampoo, soap, etc. There is also a card-activated safe in the room. Being an interior, ours had no windows - which makes it interesting getting up in the morning and getting used to the ships motion. You might think 'who cares, i won't spend much time in my room.' Well, when its a day at sea, raining outside, and you don't feel like playing bingo, gambling, or drinking at the bar, you'll probably spend more time in your room than you think. If you can afford it, go for a room that at least has a window.

Our cabin steward was great. She made up our room around 9-11 in the morning, and then turned our bed down between 7-8pm. Like most of the staff, they are very friendly and courteous. You'll get some chocolate, and the Carnival Capers, which lists all the activities, and some other stuff like dining hours, and dress code for the next day.

The filthy, and I never saw anyone ever clean them. The crew tries to keep everything else fairly clean, but you can definitely tell the ship is 7 years old. They say that with this ship's stabilizers you can't feel the ocean if its rough. That's a load of crap. Our first complete day at sea had 5-10' swells, and the ship was pitching and rolling just like a plane. A lot of people were getting nauseous, and I saw many people with the transderm patch. I threw down Dramamine for the first 4-5 days until the seas smoothed out. It will take some getting used to going from the front to the back of the ship, since there are only 2-3 floors where you can easily get from the front to back. Decks 4,5, and 9) There are bars everywhere, and you'll never be 20-30 feet away from either a bar, or someone offering drinks. The drinks range anywhere from $4-15. So if you like to drink, get ready to throw down some cash at the end. If its sunny outside, there can be a shortage of good chairs. They say you can't reserve chairs, but I've seen some people throw towels out in the morning and never use them.

Dining: To my wife and I, this was just 'okay,' I heard some people say the buffets are great. Great I guess if you like having access to food 24 hours a day. The food itself is nothing to write home about, more like fancy cafeteria food. I did both sit-down and buffets for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Whatever you choose for breakfast and lunch, the food is the same. The only difference is if you go to the dining room for breakfast or lunch, they'll sit you next to some random people to eat with. You'll also order your food off a menu as well. Breakfast buffet offers custom-made omelet's, cereal, fresh fruit, yogurt, and hash browns, eggs, grits, oatmeal, French toast, etc. Lunch has an ethnic theme which varies every day. But you can expect the usual salad bar and a dessert bar. The free drinks are juices, coffee, and tea. If you drink a lot of soda, you'll want a fountain card (~$40) for unlimited soda.

The deli sandwiches are pretty good. There's also the 'Noodle Co.' which is Chinese food. I didn't think it was very good. In the aft of the Lido Deck is the Pizzeria which is open 24 hours, and the Coney island Grille, which makes very good hamburgers and fries, also has hot dogs, and chili dogs.

Our dinner was the last one at 8:30pm. With our itineraries, I would've chosen something a little earlier, but we just lived with it. Our waiter and his assistant were very nice throughout the whole cruise. If you want more of anything, including lobster tail, they'll bring it out for you - as much as you want. We did feel a little rushed though towards 10pm. They'll just hand you a desert menu, even if you're still eating your main course. There's a good wine menu, and the menus are posted outside the dining room before hand to check out. Dinner had the better food, by far. And the appetizers ranged anywhere from soup to escargot. Main courses had anything from pasta, to prime rib, to lobster. You'll have no problem finding something you like. My impression of our dinner company was that they sorted us by age. Everyone in our table was 25-30 years old. Everyone else in the dining room seemed to be arranged the same way. Before the cruise is over, they'll leave an envelope in your room for a tip for the Maitre'd. We ended up giving the dude a couple of dollars. We couldn't understand tipping a guy who we hardly ever saw, and who never spent any time at our table.

Cozumel: This place is still recovering from the hurricanes. Our stay here got shortened significantly to 8am-4:30pm. Reason being is the dock facilities looked like a plane dropped a 2000lb. bomb on it. Instead of docking, there are tenders to take you ashore. I was told they don't like doing this in the dark, so the port of call was shortened. My wife and I did the 'Eco-Kayak' which finishes in Paradise Island or something like that. $79/person and a complete waste of money. We took a boat to the kayaks, paddled around some mangroves (which stunk) where the water was sometimes to shallow to paddle, got eaten by mosquito's, and then paddled to the island. If you want a laid back beach, just buy the Island escape instead. I tried to drink the difference of the 2 excursions (it was open bar and food) but that didn't work out too well. Afterwards, the chef, the bathroom attendant, the tour guides, and the bus driver will all ask you for tips. Others we talked to either went to Tulum or the Shot over boat and they were pleased with theirs.

Grand Cayman: it was overcast and windy here. We decided to just go shopping instead. A nice port, but the food here is EXPENSIVE. $12 for a hamburger, yikes!

Ocho Rios: We did the Dunns River Falls and Exclusive snorkel for $69 a person. Despite the warnings from the cruise director, we never hassled for drugs or anything here. One thing we were hassled for were tips - from everybody. I highly recommend climbing the falls, though. I never understood, however, why they don't recommend you parasail or jet ski on excursions b/c its dangerous, but they don't mind you climbing a cascading, slippery 850 foot waterfall wearing some rented $5 aqua socks. The snorkel at Dolphin's Cove was great as well.

Overall, I was fairly happy with our cruise. I don't have another one planned yet, but if we do go again, we're going to try one of the more premium cruise lines like Celebrity, or Holland America to see what the difference is like.

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