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Marlin Price

Age: 57

Occupation:Retired police

Number of Cruises: 4

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Triumph

Sailing Date: January 28th, 2006

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

The Norwalk Virus is alive and well on the Triumph! We booked the Eastern Caribbean on January 28, 2006. On our arrival in Miami, the boarding process took much longer, and had more numerous lines than what we encountered with either Holland America or Princess at Ft. Lauderdale. Nonetheless, we boarded about 12:45pm. Because the cabins were not yet ready, we were invited to have lunch on the Lido Deck as is the normal custom. Needing a restroom facility, the first I came across was the restrooms just aft of the main pool on the Lido Deck near the buffet line on the port side. It was filthy and had no paper or cloth towels to dry your hands. Instead, as in most restrooms, it had an air dryer which is supposedly more sanitary. I used the air drier but the two doors leading outside require turning and pulling a handle which was wet from previous use – hand washing I can only hope. In several other public restrooms on board I noticed and used a small paper dispenser attached to the door which provided a paper to open the door. This first restroom and several others were not so equipped.

Later that night about 2am I became violently ill, with extreme vomiting and diarrhea, which lasted through the next day. My wife contacted the medical staff the next morning and they provided me with an anti-nausea and diarrhea medicine and confined me to my cabin until the next day. I have not been that sick in years and at age 57, I don’t bounce back as quickly as I used to. The next day, I felt well enough to walk around and was released from quarantine. While weak, I was determined to see San Juan. We walked for a about an hour, sat and rested, and went back to the ship. Now my wife was feeling nauseous. She came down with the same thing that night and remained in bed throughout the next day. Using some of the medicine I was given, she eventually began to feel better. Needless to say we completely missed St. Thomas.

Although neither of us could eat well after our experience, we were able to see St. Maarten. It was a great day of sightseeing in our rental car, getting ill again every time we smelled any kind of food. I can say, thankfully, that the Triumph has really great mattresses and we used them extensively. It is also a major benefit that the toilet and sink are so close together in the bathroom! We never got in a pool or hot tub, were able to go to dinner only three of the seven nights and then not eat, and attended only two shows due to our condition. The time we spent outside our cabin however revealed, at least in my mind, why this Norwalk virus is so difficult to eliminate. The ship appeared clean when we got on board and we saw the staff cleaning it very well during disembarkation – getting ready for the next group. During the week, at least on the exterior decks there was little or no cleaning or bussing of dishes. There were several areas around the rear pool area bars and on the sun decks where dishes, food, and drinks were left, spilled, and walked in throughout the day. The port side Lido Deck ice cream station had apparently spilled and had not been adequately cleaned creating a sour milk smell that gagged you as you entered the South Beach restaurant.

During the day I spent reading a book on Deck 10 while in port in St. Thomas – (with my wife sleeping in the cabin), I noticed several deck crew members actually hiding to keep from having to work. I mentioned this at dinner the last night and two other couples had seen similar instances and agreed with the lack of cleanliness. During the entire trip, when on deck or in public areas, I never saw a ships officer or supervisor making any effort to ensure the cleanliness of the ship. It left me with a very bad impression of the line. I tried several times to throw away trash that I was carrying only to find that there are no trash cans for guest use in public areas. There were no bus tubs for you to put your used plates or glasses assessable to guests who might use them. This leads to these items being left everywhere and spilled – a haven for disease.

Needless to say, we are extremely disappointed in our cruise. I doubt we will be cruising any line in the foreseeable future – at least until the memory of this cruise has faded. We will clearly never cruise Carnival again. I doubt we would have cruised the Triumph this time had we known of the maintenance conditions on board before sailing. I sent Carnival a letter outlining these issues and received a letter saying they had no report of anyone being ill – yet they confined me to my cabin and provided medication. Because I complained, they offered me a Bon Voyage gift on my next sailing. I was impressed!!!!!

It is amazing to me that Carnival, Princess, and HAL are all the same company. HAL Zuiderdam and the Coral Princess are clearly better run ships. I am sure all ships have problems occasionally but this was not the response I anticipated. My suggestion is that if you travel on the Triumph, carry the hand sanitizer stuff, some paper towels, and watch what you touch. Keep copies of any records of treatment and take photos of the nasty areas of the ship for documentation. That way you too can get a free bowl of fruit or something. Seriously, there were a bunch of folks that had a great trip. Take precautions against the Norwalk, regardless of the ship you get on.

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