Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Carnival Triumph... Need to Know

November 2015 

Chris and I sailed on the Carnival Triumph in November 2015 with our kids and family members and had a BLAST! We have documented our activities with pictures, videos and a completely separate set of blog posts. These blogs not only showcase our memories and activities but also have tons of tips, tricks and behind the scene knowledge! You can find these blogs HERE.

While on the Triumph we noticed some things that future travelers might want to know.
They are as follows: 

Food Tips
  • Guy's Burger Joint and Blue Iguana are incredible and CANNOT be missed. These are located on the Lido deck by the main pool and both have 2 lines. Typically people get into the 1st line they see by the exit of the elevators but each place offers 2 lines, on the left and right of both, so be sure to look for the shorter of the 2. 
  • Blue Iguana offers breakfast burritos that are not only custom made but are very special and unique for a cruise ship breakfast. In addition, their lines are short in comparison to the full buffet in the back of the Lido deck. 
  • The Carnival Deli on the port side of the Lido Deck buffet is easily missed but is the best Carnival deli in our experience. We were able to walk right up during peak lunch hours and get sandwiches within minutes. 
  • Chopsticks is a great lunch option and has various Asian food available with minimal wait time. This did get VERY busy as the cruise progressed and people realized it was there so I would recommend trying it out at the beginning of your cruise. 
  • Tea Time is offered from 3:00-4:00PM on sea days but the desserts go quickly. Be sure to get there early if you are craving delicious sweet treats. 
  • The Express Breakfast option at the very back of the Lido buffet (where the dessert are usually) has shorter lines than the main buffet and offers most of the main options likes bacon, eggs, pancakes and waffles. On most days the main breakfast buffet was 50-100 people deep but the Express Breakfast area was only 10 people deep if that. 
  • The best ice cream machine (best working and tasting) was on the far aft starboard side. This station also offered both strawberry ice cream and strawberry frozen yogurt. 
  • The omelet station is on the Starboard aft and also not very well known. For whatever reason it was not open until the last sea day but it did offer Carnival's famous made to order omelet. 
  • The service in the Main Dining Room was the slowest we have ever experienced on any cruise line and was very inconsistent. There were menu mess-ups and wrong printing of the nightly menu and non-friendly waiters. The overall atmosphere of the new American Table style of dining was not welcoming and seemed less special to my family and I. My review of the new American Table style of dining can be found HERE!
  • The Taste Bar is a great pre-dinner appetizer but is not offered on all days on the Triumph like on other Carnival ships. Be sure to check the daily FUN-TIMES and Taste Bar schedule at the beginning of the cruise. 
  • The Casino Bar on Deck 5 offered great daily drink specials for $5. This is the cheapest drink we have gotten on a cruise ship in a long time and they turned out to be the best drinks we had on the cruise. They offer cocktails and even fancy wines as the $5 specials. This is only available at this particular bar (Casino Bar/ Deck 5) from 5:30-8:30PM. 
Around the Ship Tips
  • The pool underneath the exit of the water slide on Deck 12 is the least busy and has an adjacent hot tub that is also not very busy and easily unnoticed. 
  • The Aft hot tubs are very hot but are overly populated most of the time. However, they are empty around 10:30PM onward. 
  • The aft pool has a retractable roof that can be closed if it begins to rain or it is too windy. This is a nice option for people with fair skin as well. It is right in the middle of the aft seating area of the Lido buffet so be forewarned that there will be people eating and food close by
  • Deck 10 Aft had the most open deck chairs on any cruise we have been on and especially that of Carnival. Deck 11 was also VERY underpopulated throughout most of the cruise. 
  • The Seuss at Sea Dr. Seuss activities were fantastic and EVERYONE (ages 3-58) LOVED them! These were very well organized and the staff that worked these events were some of the best we encountered on the cruise. The Green Eggs and Ham breakfast event was SUPERB and well worth the added $5 cost. Be sure to reserve your seats early as these events SELL OUT! Sometimes they will add a second seating for this breakfast but not always. 
  • The towel folding activity and puppet show that follows is adorable and once again we all loved it. This is usually on the last sea day and fills up fast so get there early. 
  • The beds can be moved in any stateroom category and set up in just about anyway to meet your needs. We had someone get sick in our party and the room steward changed the bed location and this helped her a lot. We too moved our beds so they would be perpendicular to the ship instead of parallel as this helps with nausea and sea-sickness. 
  • The Captain's celebration and pictures are not in the main walkway of Deck 5 like on other Carnival ships but near the deck 5 stairway leading to the atrium. This was not well advertised, which meant fewer people and lines, but easy to miss if you are not looking for it. 
  • Kirk, the current cruise director, was FANTASTIC and one of the best we have sailed with. Be sure to find him and meet him if you ever sail with him on the Carnival Triumph.
  • The Carnival Triumph decor was very well throughout and creative but not very well maintained. The "world" theme was unique and I loved all the tie-ins that were made throughout the ships decor. However, the carpets were disgusting and needed cleaning and the cabin decor needs an update. This should not detour you from booking the Carnival Triumph and certainly not ruin a cruise but it is a critique I have for this ship. 
  • The cabins are standard for the cruise industry but small in terms of Carnival. The inside cabin was smaller than 150 SQFT and lacked closet space. Our particular cabin had 3 closets but were all hanging closets and not shelves which limited functionality. 
  • The mini golf course is terribly laid out and often very crowded. Be sure to hit this attraction up EARLY in the cruise before guest know it is there. 
  • The jogging track is 11 laps = 1 mile. This is small even for a cruise ship and made for a very long (and somewhat confusing... "Am I on lap 7 or 8?") morning jog. 
  • The only smoking section is on the Starboard side mid-ship on deck 10. However, we dd notice the Triumph to be less smoky than other ships. 
  • There is a hidden area on deck 9 forward just past room 9-206 on the Starboard side. This was right above the bridge and provided a clear sailing view. We used this area for sail-way and practically had the whole area to ourselves. 
Other Helpful Tips
  • Faster to the Fun may not be worth the $59.95/ cabin for a shorter 4 day cruise, especially a cruise WITHOUT a tender. The times we were able to get on board before the rest of the 3,000 people and those of us getting off were not as impressive as other sailings and may have lost that exclusive perk. The private line at Guest services was nice but again rarely used on this sailing. Carnival advertises 15-20 cabins but there was EASILY 150-200 guest that had the FTTF perk which once again took away from the exclusivity. The major draw for us will continue to be the stateroom being ready as soon as your board. However, we have gotten to our room to dump our stuff early in the past and didn't have to pay $60! In addition, I feel the staggered check-in times that the port of Galveston is trying out seems to help with the check-in process which again means the FTTF perk is not as needed. We sail out of Galveston again on the Carnival Liberty in December 2016 and we may not purchase this excursion. 
  • Carnival is known for hot staterooms and the Triumph was no different. If you are a hot-nature person or do not like to sleep hot... bring your own fan as they are hard to get on board. 
  • The main shows, such as Wonderful World and Big Easy, are very long even for cruise ship shows at 1:20-1:30 each so plan accordingly. 
The Carnival Triumph is a state of the art cruise ship and a great "short cruise" ship. I would recommend this ship to anyone who just wants to get away for a few days! I hope these tips help you as you plan your adventure aboard the Carnival Triumph

Keep Calm and CRUISE ON! 

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