Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Triumph
Sailing Date: October 6th, 2007
Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean
Began the trip LA to Miami on AA then
stayed at the Holiday Inn 5 min taxi ride across from Port of Miami. Had a
great time at the shops and listening to the music there—it was a great
precursor to the voyage on Triumph. Just be prepared that Holiday Inn is not a
5 star experience—great for one night. Staff was friendly, but wouldn’t
recommend it for a long stay in Miami.
Once you arrive at the ship expect a line as you have to check in and receive your “sail and sign” cards (room keys). I strongly suggest you carry on luggage—it was so easy to get on the ship and simply take things up to the room and be done.
The traveling) and ourselves gave it anywhere from 7 or 8 (10 being best) regarding asthetics, service, etc. Once you learn your short cuts around Triumph you can make your way round the ship very easily. Do expect this to be a “commercial” adventure. There is a lot of “selling” and promotions for Carnival’s excursions, towels, extra this and that—it never ends. Look past some of this and you’ll be fine. I want to give a special shout out to the entertainers on this cruise. They were all extremely hospitable as I asked to “sit in” with just about every band and they all graciously said yes. The level of musicianship was 10 as each genre of music was professionally presented. The Oxford room Jazz musicians (Larry Corban’s duo (Larry and Vince) were nothing short of A list professionals and were not fully appreciated (sadly) by most of the passengers. Best way to describe that is image you were on a ship and Wes Montgomery, or Charlie Parker were playing…and nobody went to see or hear it…thankfully we did.
Half Moon Cay:
Not a great experience but certainly visually nice at the very least. This is a strip of island purchased by Carnival and has all the trappings of “we got you—now, buy and have fun.
This was a high point for me. I didn’t listen to Carnival’s warnings about the dangers of renting scooters and not buying THEIR excursions. Went ahead and rented a scooter (driving on the opposite side of the street was nothing—really!) It was a blast! Hit almost every inch of the island (including self tours of the University of Virgin Islands, hey I’m a counselor). Then ended up on a very private pristine beach with locals only (who were smoking some local pot as it were). Incredible experience and I’d do it again.
San Juan and Puerto Rico
Another excellent time, rented a car, drove to rain forest, drove to non-tourist neighborhoods (and a private country club where we got to visit for a spell), drove back to San Juan (this all took about 4 to 5 hours). Then dropped the car off and walked the whole shopping and residential district—this was amazing and satisfying. Lastly, I would highly recommend being on deck when sailing away from this port—it literally takes your breath away.
This part was the same as the first island port—nothing to shout about, all marketing and sales. There’s a cool Margaretville (Jimmy Buffet’s restaurant) and some snorkeling if you can rush to get the early group.
In closing, the days at sea (not being back to back) were very pleasent and easy. There was small storm and our room had a balcony--this was magical to say the least--if you can get one do it!