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Kathleen Welsh

Age: 52

Occupation:Home Office Worker

Number of Cruises: 5

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Triumph

Sailing Date: 2009-02-1

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

This was my fifth cruise, but it's been six years since my last one, and I think the cruise experience has gone downhill, along with the economy. The seem to have cut back on the extras like the missing Midnight Buffet, and the ship seemed a bit run down compared to past ships I have been on. Even the shows seemed dated and I got the feeling that the heyday of cruising is over. It was kind of sad. Despite that, we had a decent time, and the upside is that their were NO LINES to speak of, which was a major complaint on other ships, and that relieved a lot of the stress. I also noticed that the passengers were a lot older on this ship. We are middle aged, but were some of the youngsters this time, which was odd for the Carnival Fun Ship. Maybe the retirees are the only ones left who can afford to vacation? Everyone was friendly, but it was definitely a much older group of passengers than the honeymoon or young family crowds I have seen on past cruises. The food was about average for a cruise ship. I did enjoy the dining rooms, and we frequently visited the late night grill. I thought the deli was quite good. I was sorry to see they no longer have a midnight buffet, although I know that was usually a lot of wasted food, and mostly for show. One major complaint was that despite early booking and a request for early dining, they listed us for late dining. I have never had that problem before. It took quite a while to straighten that out, and I did not find the Maitre d's or anyone to be particularly helpful or sympathetic. Usually they are quite accommodating. Not this time. They wanted to seat us alone, while we wanted to sit with and mingle with other couples. That is one of the fun things about cruising - making new friends and comparing notes about the cruise. The first night they FINALLY found us a table with another couple, and we became fast friends, and hung out a little the rest of the cruise. However MID BITE on the second night, they rudely interrupted us, and moved us again, against our will. We made friends at the second table, but that was not the point. The whole thing was uncalled for and embarrassing, and an oversight by the Carnival staff, and we should not have been put out by that. It definitely put a damper on things, and we missed the sail Away party trying in vain to straighten things out on the first day. This was not a good start. Carnival staff now tells me that dining times are never confirmed in advance??? Hmmm. I'm not sure if that's the truth or just a line they fed us. Also while the waiter at our first table was very friendly and amusing and took a lot of interest in us, the waiter at our second table never did more than ask us what our dinner choices were. I suppose he was either new, shy, or didn't speak English? Better than expected! No complaints. I upgraded to a ocean view room, and am glad that I did. We had a nice sized window, and the room was quite large, considering. We had plenty of room. The beds were AMAZINGLY comfortable. So much so, that I ordered some Carnival bed pillows as soon as I got home! The shower was okay, but the water alternated between too hot and too cold, whenever someone on the ship flushed, or so it seemed! While our room was nice, the hallways seemed a little dingy and dirty. The entertainment was so so. Some of the shows seemed very dated. It get better as time went on. The magic show was the best, and I am not a big fan of magic shows, so that's saying a lot. The comedian was okay, as was the hypnotist, but I've seen and heard better. The music in the disco could have been better. They didn't seem to honor requests even during request hours. I suspect they didn't have much variety. The band on the deck was very good. The captain's party was fun. The gym on the ship is quite nice. And I enjoyed the hair dressers in the spa. Deals can be had if you look for them. We didn't find a topless deck on this ship, unfortunately. And the deck lounge chairs were often all "reserved" by towels and books, despite rules against saving chairs. They had the Super Bowl party broadcasting on a large Screen, which was NICE, but we had one cold windy day going and one coming back, and that put a damper on things on the deck. The upper decks and slide were often closed. The hot tubs were nice, and attractive. The pools didn't seem as inviting. And I didn't like the layout of this ship much. You had to walk though the dining rooms to get from A to B sometimes. I enjoyed the photographers and photo gallery. They did a great job, and the lines were short, as were all lines on this cruise. We only paid for one SHIP TOUR. We took the walking tour of San Juan. It was worth it, but I think typically people do better on their own booking taxis or tours outside of the ship. San Juan was a short port call, since we arrived in the early evening. We took the walking tour, and the tour guide was quite good. But I wish we had known she was going to give us time on our own at the end, so we could have remembered where we wanted to go back and explore. Instead we got kind of lost on our own, and missed out on an area we had wanted to explore more, for lack of direction. We ended up at Senor Frogs for dinner and dancing. It's definitely a fun and crazy place for the younger crowd. We had fun dancing on our chairs, and drinking, despite being a little older than some. They have a fun gift shop too, and it's very close to the ship if you have to crawl back! St. Thomas - I had been to Magen's Bay before and wanted to go back. We took an open air taxi/ tram there and back, and it's still a gorgeous beach. There is a gift shop and snack bar there too. There is not much shopping. SOME on our tour had been mistakenly told that there is shopping at Magen's Bay. There is only one small overpriced gift shop. Also hang onto your belongings in the open air taxis and trams. We lost a beach bag full of necessities, when the tram/bus rounded a steep mountain curve, and it was never recovered! After the beach, we went to Paradise Point (ski lift) to view and photograph the area. The scenery is breathtaking. St. Maarten- This was the best!! I had never been to St. Maarten before, but we found the shopping and the beach to be the best here. What a lovely port. We took a taxi to Orient Beach and back for a good price. Look around to find the best deal on a beach chair and umbrella and lunch. We found a lovely spot, but then later found others for half the price, so don't always stop at the first place or the place your taxi driver recommends. The first part of the beach is clothing optional, but you won't see more than topless on that side, however if you walk down to Club Orient, it's nude. We ended up moving down there, and eating lunch on that side, after already paying for chairs and an umbrella when we first entered the beach. We prefer au naturale, so that was the highlight for us. Orient Beach is heavenly, and even prettier than Magen's Bay. WOW! All in all, it was a good cruise, with minor aggravations in the dining room. The ports are all good, fun, ports, especially St. Maarten. The entertainment and ship both need a shot in the arm and a little updating to be fresh and current, as well as the disco. I can't say this is my favorite ship, but I do like the destinations.

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