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Margaret Taylor

Age: 50+

Occupation:Desktop operator

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Triumph

Sailing Date: 2009-07-23


This was my first cruise and I loved it. There was something different to do every minute. We had all types of weather in 4 days. I want to do it all over again and very probably will. There were so many people working long hours to keep the cruisers happy and for me they accomplished that. The biggest surprise was how much I enjoyed meeting and chatting with fellow cruisers - everyone was very friendly and we were all interested in talking about other cruises and ports and comparing this cruise to them. Getting on the ship was much less hassle than I imaged it, even better getting on/off when in port and when we got back to NYC. I think everyone should have a cruise experience and feel like Queen for a Day every day they are on the ship.

I like the idea of 24 hour food available. I work 2nd shift and find myself eating at different times than most people. I would have liked the grill open 24 hrs instead of the pizza, but that is just my taste. The grill was open at 1:30am when the midnight show broke up. I can't judge the pizza because the first night when I got up at 4AM the pizza guy was sea sick. One of the staff that was there took pity on me and one other night worker looking for food. But the small pie I had was standing under the lights too long. There was a buffet lunch the first day that had an excellent red snapper dish (served on top of small white beans). I loved the crab cake appetizer, duck, and the sauces for both were very tasty. The Hot Dogs on the Lido deck were great! - and I'm from New Jersey, I know my dogs! - I wish I knew where they got them. The NY Deli was recommended, but I never got to it. There was a midnight Spanish (maybe Taco) buffet, but I did not get anything. I missed the point of the Chocolate bar that was offered at the same time. I saw cookies and a puff pastry that had two toppings to choose from. I didn't see much chocolate. The desserts in the dining room and on the buffet were quite good, the Chocolate melty thing - a Carnival specialty - was really excellent. Also the birthday cake pieces brought out for special celebrations was excellent. The only thing I wouldn't have again was the salmon. I had it in an omelet and it was too salty then had it for dinner and found it tasted "tinny" but that could be me. When I did not like my salmon, they switched it out for another Crab Cake appetizer and asked if I wanted one or two!! The table captain and his "runner" were excellent. I wish I could remember their names and give them credit.

It seemed getting to breakfast in the dining room within the first 30 minutes of breakfast opening avoided lines. We ate lunch on the Lido deck, next time I want to try the dining room, that's where you get the best tips from fellow cruisers. The buffet has two stations, if one has a long line, try other side or try the Grill, NY Deli, Pizza or Chinese stations. The coffee, tea, lemonade, iced tea and soft ice cream (I think also soft low fat yogurt) were 24-7.

Room service menu seemed limited to sandwiches, but I may have missed a breakfast menu. We called for it once only getting hot coffee and tea; it came within 20 minutes. There is no charge but you're expected to tip as if there was. Generally some foods were very, very good, most were quite good. I certainly have nothing to complain about - there were plenty of choices and if you didn't like something they switched it for you.

The Stateroom probably has me spoiled for any other cruise line. Most experienced cruisers said the staterooms were the largest they had stayed in. There was lots of space for clothes - 3 closets, one with shelves, 3 drawers, another section with shallow shelves and two deep night tables. 186 sq. ft. If you get a balcony 20 ft comes out of the stateroom to make space for the balcony. The ones we saw looked cramped compared to the Oceanview and inside cabins. We had an oceanview cabin, middle of the ship, main deck (bottom). Turns out that is the best place to be in rocky seas, and we had 14 ft waves the first night. Middle of the ship was the most convenient spot for getting around the rest of the ship. Room steward was very, very nice: unobtrusive, great towel animals and genuinely pleasant person and did a great job keeping the cabin clean!

All I can say was I was never bored. I missed the galley tour, art auction and marriage game because it was sunny and the weather changes VERY quickly. We needed deck chair time. Out of the 4 nights there was a period of only two hours when I couldn't see anything organized that I wanted to do. Later I looked closer at the Carnival Capers and found music in one of the bars we could have gone to, but it was fine going back to the room and getting room service coffee and relaxing. Except for an hour nap the 2nd day that was the only time we were in our rooms from 8:30 am to 1:30am. And neither of us are party animals.

We did see all the shows and both midnight comic acts. The sets and costumes we very, very good. I think they upstaged the talent. The two comics were both funny. The midnight show was well attended and most people were laughing. The hairy man contest was funny. The Reggae band on the Lido deck was very good. The Cruise Director Jorge Salano was really very funny and comes across as a very warm person. There was a get together for singles over 30 (maybe 40), but the seas were so rough I was getting dizzy walking and it seemed like a better choice to go to bed.

I wish I could have taken more than one excursion. We had a hard time deciding and finally choose one but it was canceled because not enough people had signed up. We did the land and water tour of St. John. St. John is a small town with a large port - lots of victorian homes, The land part was on short bus. We were with a group of about 18 or 22. Pleasant driver and a very informative tour guide. We saw some interesting buildings from the bus and heard an overview of the history of the town as we toured. Two couples had to get off because they were car sick, but I think it was left over from the rough seas the night before. The water tour had two great watermen guiding us, gave us a look around the port. I was very cool seeing the ship from the water level. It's huge. Gave a sample of some snack food from the sea. Lovely people. Probably pretty expensive at $79. Still don't understand the reversing falls, but I'm going to check it out further when I get time.

In the morning when the ship docked we went thru the new terminal and out to a fenced brick area with a large tent. The tent had vendors. The prices were very reasonable and all the vendors friendly.

If we wanted make our own arrangements for travel there was a guide outside the gates, but I got the feeling he might be asked to move away soon. He was offering a long tour for pretty reasonable amount of money. Also there was a cab that could be hired for $50 an hour (only a good deal with more than two people). I was surprised there wasn't more vendors offering tours outside the terminal gates. Just a few blocks away there were bikes for rent. That looked like fun.

The town itself was charming. Reminded me of Portland, ME a lot, hilly going up from the water. But level along the waterfront. We found 4 used book stores in 3 blocks. Passed one bar that sounded like everyone was having a great time! There was a festival going on, lots of street performers and people out walking and watching. Lots of churches. A new mall connects with a walkway to the old Farmers Market. If you walk it's all uphill, if you take the mall escalators it's level!! (Escalators or elevator - not sure because we walked it). Along the "Boardwalk" that runs outside from the new mall between the docks were lots of sidewalk restaurants. We stopped, had dessert and watched the crowds go by.

For lunch we ate at the Farmers Market Seafood vendor. THE BEST scallops I have ever had.
I heard people say the next day the town was very small, but I think there would be plenty to see and do going back next year. One of the older couples took a public bus the the reversing falls, but did not realize it would be so hilly from the bus stop to the viewing point. I think it was a strain for them.

Overall, this was the best tip. On the first sunny day - no deck chair was to be found until we climbed to the smoke stack level. The next day we discovered Deck three. The Carnival Cruise Director John Heald has a blog and I asked him his advice for where to go when all is crowded. Deck three was his advice. Very few people go there and it is shady because the lifeboats are stored way up above the rail. On our trip the deck chairs were still stacked except for one.

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