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Iris

Age: 29

Occupation:student

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Triumph

Sailing Date: 2011-12-29

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

Some elements of the cruise just seemed uniformly bad to us, especially the food and the shows. We found ourselves wondering "Does anyone really enjoy these?" Apparently, given the several five-star reviews online, and the rave reviews of the warm chocolate melting cake on cruising forums, many people do.

Other elements just made us think that this style of vacationing isn't for us, though we could see where others may enjoy it.
- Announcements loud enough to wake up anyone sleeping are broadcast through the ship randomly throughout the day forget about sleeping in, they're just so excited to let you know about the hairy chest contest and the towel animal class! Ciao for now woohoo! (GAG)
- Most forms of on-ship entertainment just don't appeal to us (see the above contest and class, as well as the casino, karaoke, etc.)
- Nearly EVERYWHERE that is not your stateroom is LOUD.
- The over-the-top attention from your stateroom attendants. Really, I'm a simple girl. Just replace my towels and straighten the bed and I'm thrilled. I do not need to be fawned over, in fact, it makes me uncomfortable.
- The inability to sleep in on your last morning of vacation! We're back, now get out! They're polite about it, but that's still how it feels.

The food, honestly, was terrible. Cruise ships must be the #1 place where the stereotype of the gluttonous American is seemingly confirmed to the international crew every day, because to get enough "just edible" food, we found ourselves opting to get "backup" appetizers or mains. The hotdogs at the grill became my staple at lunches, because even though the bun was always stale, at least it was otherwise okay, though nothing great. The pizza was swimming in grease, the asian station had "mystery meat", and the buffet's hot dishes were usually cold and the cold dishes lukewarm.

The story didn't change in the dining room, where we tried mushy escargot and greasy frog legs, mealy cheesecake and melted ice cream. The best part of dinner each night was the cappucino served with dessert, because the dining room was always FREEZING!

We had Your Time Dining, and even though Carnival has been doing this for a while, it seems like they are still working out the kinks. The first night, we waited nearly 40 minutes for a table (the following nights, five minutes or less). We were given a "private" table each night, though said table was often less than a foot from the next table over. One night we had to stand and wait as they split a two-top off of a six-top for us, after just having walked past empty two-top tables. ??? The rest of that night, we kept finding missing utensils from our table that had been left on the other.

Another annoying thing was that nowhere in the pre-cruise information were we told that there were TWO Cruise Elegant nights for our sailing, instead of only one like most 5-night cruises have, so we only packed one nice outfit each. New Year's Eve was on the usual night for elegant night, but for some reason, they chose to make the night before it elegant as well. We knew about that one because our waiters told us the first night that tomorrow will be elegant night. Unfortunately, we didn't look closely enough at our Fun Times on NYE to learn that it was ALSO a Cruise Elegant night, so we ended up wearing casual clothing to the dining room. The staff let us in and didn't say one word about it...we didn't know until a woman at a nearby table made a loud, snotty remark to her husband that, Gee, and I was worried I'd be underdressed.

Our stateroom was #7-384, an interior which was right by the aft stairs and elevators. There was some noise from fellow guests in this area, but I'm sure a couple more rooms away would have been perfect.

There was no fridge in our stateroom, but it was no trouble for us to pop down the hall to refill the ice bucket. On occasion, the room steward or one of his assistants would refresh it when cleaning the room.

Two blue Carnival beach towels were in our room when we arrived; we used them in Cozumel and they got wet and sandy. Housekeeping picked them up but it took over a day for them to return fresh ones. In the meantime, when we wanted them as coverups to sit out by the pool (it was just a bit nippy), we were able to get them from the "towel bar" located by the forward pool, tucked in the corner. This same location also dispenses the balls and clubs for the mini-golf. They take down your room number in case you don't return the items.

The bed was comfortable enough, considering that it was really two twin beds pushed together. Forget about cuddling in the middle of the bed, though, unless you are somehow able to sleep on what felt like a 45-degree angle.

Our bathroom sink was cracked, which we found a little odd considering that the ship just left dry dock. Otherwise, the bathroom was in general good repair. There was a distinct sewage smell that seemed to randomly appear and disappear throughout the cruise. We made certain to always keep the bathroom door closed when not in use, and that kept the smell from entering the rest of the stateroom.

The TV in the stateroom was an older, bulky model, which isn't a big deal to us, but the brightness setting had been turned incredibly dark and we had no way of changing it.

Carnival's interior staterooms are apparently among the largest in the cruise industry (along with Disney's), and it was a good thing, as we found it difficult to find a place quiet enough to relax elsewhere on the ship.

We love going to shows comics, concerts, musicals, all kinds. So we were looking forward to their supposedly "award-winning" shows (at least, that's what our CD Felipe kept claiming). Well, they won a personal award with us “How Do I Even Begin to Describe the Tacky Horror I'm Witnessing?" award. Honestly, I've seen high school plays that were better put together. The dancers and singers had obvious skill (especially when the ship was really pitching), but the works that their talent was bringing to life were just terrible! Now, not all the hired singers were talented just the ones leading the shows. The gentleman who played in the Atrium daily, by the main elevators, was SO BAD that it would have been funny...if we hadn't had to listen to him during that entire 40-minute wait for our first dinner. We did enjoy the "Love and Marriage" show (basically The Newlywed Game with contestants of varying relationship length). But that was basically six audience volunteers and the CD. We also kinda enjoyed one of the comics at least enough to go to two of his shows when there wasn't much else to do. I'd say he was "Last Comic Standing" caliber, if you've seen that reality show. Good for a couple laughs during a set, but with other bits that just leave you going, "What?" Our favorite "hang out and relax" places, outside of our room, were the Oxford Bar or the deck chairs further away from the pool (up toward deck 10 and 11 by the waterslide). We did play one round of mini-golf, but it is up on deck 11, and it was so windy that the wind was moving the balls more than our putters were! :)

We did feel the lack of an adults-only area on the ship. The hot tubs were always crammed full of kids.

We booked a beginner's scuba excursion with Sand Dollar Sports, through Carnival, both because it was our first time and because SDS requires all cruising guests to book to through their cruise lines. Any excursion you book through Carnival is easy to identify. The only way off the pier is through a big duty-free shop when you exit this shop, people will be standing under multiple Carnival-branded signs that list the different excursions. Just go up to yours and show them your tickets.

We really loved learning to scuba! We were finished and back at Puerta Maya by about 1:30. We browsed through the shops and got a Christmas ornament (travel tradition). We sat and relaxed along a little stretch of “beach” right by the pier, then grabbed a little lunch at a nearby restaurant called Pancho's Backyard.

In the middle of the trip, I told my husband, This feels like Vegas on a boat, to compare it with another vacation where I felt like the atmosphere and entertainment options were not really in line with our interests. But that isn't exactly true. At least Vegas had Blue Man Group and several actually-award-winning Cirque shows!

At the end of the day, when choosing our subsequent vacations, I will spend my dollars somewhere that lets me sleep as long as I want, where housekeeping isn't straightening up seemingly every time I leave the room, and with more appealing food and entertainment options.

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