Fodor’s Expert Review

Ship Overview

Carnival Cruise Lines
Cruise StyleMainstream
Ship SizeLarge

Insider Take

Overview

Recently upgraded after the highly publicized loss of power.

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Glitz and glamour, flamboyance and razzle-dazzle at a price sure to please your pocketbook. Triumph offers a wide range of nightlife choices, including Las Vegas quality production shows, a generously sized casino and late-night adult comedy. The daytime activity is equally inviting, with live music and fun and games around the pool, the latest fitness and spa facilities and extensive programs for kids.

Onboard Experience

Carnival Triumph was the only third sister ship to Carnival Destiny (now carnival Sunshine), the first ship larger than 100,000 gross tons. By day, the decks are awash in people soaking in the sun with umbrella-laden cocktails, or dancing on deck to a live Caribbean band. But nighttime is when the action goes into high gear, with a variety of venues offering lavish production shows, a sing-along piano bar, dancing to live music or in the uber-disco and late-night adults-only comedy shows. After midnight most of the actions shifts to the casino or the disco, both remaining open into the wee hours.

Triumph appeals to a very wide range of passengers; singles, families with throngs of young children, and even retired couples. The passenger mix varies depending upon the season, but the number of kids onboard swells dramatically during the summer and school vacation periods.

The ship can feel crowded. It may list as 2758 passengers, but that is just counting beds on the floor. The maximum capacity is 3360 people, and when the ship is full a lot of those will be kids in rollaways and bunk beds. Don’t be surprised to find yourself in long lines at the shore excursion desk or the luncheon buffet. And finding your way around can take some doing, as the signs at elevators and stairwells are neither as numerous or as clear as you might hope.

Decor

Triumph still has all of the best features of the original Destiny design – the jazz and piano bars, and a three deck main theater. You’ll no sooner have boarded than you’ll find yourself in a soaring nine-story open atrium, with glass elevators rising to top (Pool) deck. Most of the lounges line the ship’s “Promenade,” which encourages strolling along to experience everything the ship has to offer or plenty of seating for those who enjoy just observing the passing parade of humanity.

The Big Easy piano Bar, where everyone sings along, is an atmosphere nearly guaranteed to remove even the stubbornest inhibition. The Venezia jazz and cabaret room is can be SRO at night. The Sports Bar features seven big-screen televisions that get ESPN Network, and video poker machines built right into the bar. The two-floor Hollywood Dance Club disco has no fewer than 500 video monitors. Additional public rooms include boutiques, a patisserie /cappuccino bar (where there’s a separate charge), small library, video game room and wine bar.

Service

Carnival’s staff is efficient and professional, but don’t anticipate a lot of personal attention aboard a ship this size.

Tipping

Carnival’s automatic gratuities arrangement adds $10.00 per person (except children under two) per day to your Sail & Sign card. This includes $3.60 for the stateroom steward; $5.50 for the dining room team. and $.90 for service in the alternative dining rooms, amounts that can be raised or lowered at the purser’s desk. You may also prepay gratuities for all service personnel at a rate of $10.00 per person per day. On Cruises-to-Nowhere, such prepayment is compulsory.

A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to all beverage tabs. Tip the maitre d’, room service, spa, casino and other staff as you deem fit.

Entertainment

When it comes to nightlife, no one at sea does it better than Carnival. The performers in the smaller lounges are uniformly excellent, and the production shows in the Rome Theater will take your breath away. Try to get one of the slightly off-center seats in the lower balcony, as, on the main floor, you may well spend the evening trying to see between heads.

Triumph still shows one of the most popular Carnival shows ever – “Wonderful World” – do not miss it.

Cabins

When it’s time to get away from it all, you’ll do so in some of the largest cabins at sea.

The Destiny-class were the first Carnival ships to offer private balconies in a majority of the staterooms. Regardless of which stateroom you choose, it’s likely to be bigger than on another line; outside standard cabins are an ample 220 square feet and include a sofa and coffee table, while inside cabins measure 195 square feet. Many have pulldown berths to accommodate third and fourth passengers, consequently making the ship popular with families and groups of singles. There are also 230 square-foot “family” cabins with connecting doors near the children’s center.

Given Mr. Farcus’s flights of fancy in the public areas, cabin decor is often surprisingly understated. Count on a color TV with CNN, ESPN, plus movies. The bathrooms are nice and roomy, with shower, hair dryer and a basket of complimentary toiletries. Oceanview staterooms and suites offer a minibar and bathrobes.

A small caveat: The soundproofing between staterooms is such that you’re likely to get a better idea than you’d prefer of your neighbors’ television-viewing preferences. A room too close to the casino will have you hearing bells and sirens all night long.

Fitness/Spa

Sports and fitness lovers will be in their element on Carnival Triumph. The gym, with floor-to-ceiling windows and panoramic views, has 13 treadmills, eight stairmasters, seven stationary bikes, rowing machines, free weights, and hydraulic weight machines. The Steiner’s of London-operated spa, all 15,000 square feet of it just next door, offers just about every massage and beautifying treatment ever heard of. Be forewarned that the staff can be a bit in-your-face in pushing its own products. The pool area features a 214-foot circular water slide that kids adore. The jogging deck encircling the entire pool area is eleven laps to a mile. Topless sunbathing is allowed in a secluded section near the main funnel above the pool area.

Attire

7-night cruises include two formal nights. Most men wear dark suits and tuxedos are almost a rarity. If one needs formal wear it may be rented from the eveningwear shop. Daytime wear is strictly casual, but jeans aren’t allowed in the dining room or anywhere after dark.

Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer

Those who enjoy solitude, quiet days at sea, or who dislike the disruption of children and never-ending activity announcements, are advised to seek out the more understated, refined ambiance offered on smaller ships.

Public Rooms

New additions like Guy’s Burger Joint make Triumph a cross between the old-style Destiny design and the new Sunshine design, but she remains more like her original self and the planned upgrade to a “Sunshine-class” floor plan has been canceled. She received an extensive decor upgrade in 2012 after the famous “poop cruise” incident.

Cuisine

Carnival’s food has improved greatly over the years and now compares favourably to that of more expensive cruise lines. You’ll marvel at how well managed the everything is, especially considering that there are apt to be 3,400 passengers aboard. No one at sea serves better pizza, and available any time of day at that! Both the breakfast and luncheon buffets offer specialty food stations where you can make a custom order. The lunch buffet offers a marvelous salad bar. New Carnival menus include such upscale favourites as chateaubriand, lobster and rack of lamb. Unfortunately, desserts are not their forte and can be slightly insipid, except for the chocolate ones, the mere thought of which makes our mouths water.

Restaurants

The food’s mostly delicious, and you’ll marvel at how well managed the service is, especially considering that there are apt to be 3,400 passengers aboard. The dining room service is hilarious during dessert, when waiters do foolish dances while balancing trays on their heads.

Carnival’s Total Choice Dining offers four seatings for dinner (at 5:45 p.m., 6:15 p.m., 8 p.m. or 8:30 p.m in the main dining rooms). Alternative Bistro dining at an additional charge is an option every evening. In addition to the multiple dining room seatings, the poolside Lido eateries are converted between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. each evening into Seaview Bistros, offering casual buffet dinner with no reservations or advance notice required.

Triumph has two dining rooms, London and Paris. Both comprise two separate levels (upper & lower), and are assigned according to cabin. Paris has the better ocean views as it is situated at the stern of the ship giving it 270 degrees of window space. In both dining rooms, diners in the open area on the lower level may have to speak up when they converse, as it can get pretty noisy; tables on both sides and on the balcony are a much better bet. There are a few tables for two, but expect to dine in a group of four or eight.

By day, most opt for breakfast and luncheon buffets in the ship’s poolside Lido restaurant, which offers wonderful sea views and al fresco dining. You’ll also find the ship’s 24-hour pizzeria here, serving multiple varieties and Caesar salad. A very limited room service menu is available round the clock.

The ship also has a Mongolian Barbecue, Guy’s Burger Joint and a NY-style deli and a Blue Igauna Cafe.

Ship Overview

The second in the Destiny-class of Carnival’s megaships, Carnival Triumph launched in 1999. Dedicated to great cities of the world, public rooms bear names from Rome and Paris to Washington and Miami’s South Beach. The ship is scheduled for a major refurbishment in 2014, when it will receive Carnival’s “Fun Ship 2.0” upgrades with new casual dining options, poolside bars, and more. Galveston is Carnival Triumph’s home port, from where she sails short four-and five-night cruises to the Western Caribbean and Mexico.

The first class of Carnival megaships weighing in at more than 100,000 tons, everything on these vessels is in keeping with their size—bold interiors highlighted by nine-deck atriums, 200-foot corkscrew waterslides on the Lido deck, and public areas that often span multiple decks. Carnival Triumph and Carnival Victory are bigger and have more cabins and crew than the original Carnival Destiny, for which the class was named and which was totally refurbished and renamed Carnival Sunshine in 2013.

The variety of indoor and outdoor spaces ranges from relatively small lounges with a nightclub atmosphere to huge showrooms where lavish production shows are staged. Most public rooms open off wide indoor promenades that branch fore and aft from the spectacular atrium.

Expansive pools and sport decks have plenty of room to spread out for sunning and more active pursuits; both ships have been retrofitted with massive poolside 270-square-foot LED screens.

The world’s largest cruise line—and one of the most widely recognized—originated its “Fun Ship” concept in 1972 and has been launching party-packed superliners with signature red funnels ever since. The line’s ever-growing fleet features entertainment and activities designed for passengers of all ages, from game shows and lip sync competitions to twisting waterslides and mini golf. These ships are a reliable choice for families as well as young singles and couples who want a vacation that won’t break the bank.

Nearly all onboard dining options are included in the fare, as are comedy and production shows, children’s programs, and use of state-of-the-art fitness centers. With some of the most comfortable accommodations at sea, large new ships are continuously added to the fleet and rarely deviate from a successful pattern, while older vessels are updated with popular features, such as the poolside BlueIguana Tequila Bar with an adjacent burrito cantina, the Red Frog Rum Bar that also serves Carnival’s own brand of Thirsty Frog Red beer, and Guy’s Burger Joint, created with Food Network star Guy Fieri.

  • 13 passenger decks
  • 2 dining rooms, buffet, ice cream parlor, pizzeria
  • Wi-Fi, safe, refrigerator
  • 3 pools (1 indoor), children’s pool
  • fitness classes, gym, hot tubs, sauna, spa, steam room
  • 7 bars, casino, 3 dance clubs, library, showroom, video game room
  • children’s programs
  • laundry facilities, laundry service
  • Internet terminal
  • no-smoking cabins

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Pros
Cons
Tiered sunning decks above the Lido pools offer a good view of the jumbo-size LED screens
The upper-level seating area in the Lido restaurant almost always has tables available
The lobby bar is a surprisingly off-the-beaten-path space with a lot of visual impact
There is no steak house on either ship
Private balconies on high decks in the middle of the ship may be noisy when there are activities on the Lido deck above
Lines at the buffet can be seemingly endless at peak meal times

What to expect on board

Staterooms & Cabins

Layout
Decor
Bathrooms
Accessibility

As on all Carnival ships, cabins are spacious and comfortable. More than half have an ocean view, and of those, 60% have balconies. For suites and ocean-view cabins that have them, private balconies are outfitted with chairs and tables, adding living space. Every cabin has adequate closet and drawer–shelf storage, as well as bathroom shelves. High-thread-count linens and plump pillows and duvets are a luxurious touch. Suites also have a whirlpool tub and walk-in closet. Numerous ocean-view and inside stateroom categories have connecting doors and are suitable for families.

Light-wood cabinetry, soft pastels, mirrored accents, a small refrigerator, a personal safe, a hair dryer, and a seating area with sofa, chair, and table are typical for ocean-view cabins and suites. Inside cabins do not have a seating area.

Shampoo and bath gel dispensers are mounted on shower walls; an array of toiletry samples is stocked, as well as fluffy towels. Bathrobes for use during the cruise are provided for all.

Twenty-five staterooms are designed for wheelchair accessibility.

Food & Drink

Food

Two restaurants, each spanning two decks, serve open seating breakfast and lunch. Dinner is served in two traditional assigned evening seatings with an open seating option. Formal dining is supplemented by a casual Lido buffet, offering a variety of food choices (including a deli, salad bar, dessert station, and regional cuisines that change daily); the buffet restaurant becomes the Seaview Bistro by night for casual dining in a relaxed atmosphere. There are also a pizzeria, coffee bar/patisserie, poolside outdoor grill for burgers, hot dogs, and the trimmings, a specialty coffee bar/patisserie, a complimentary sushi bar, and 24-hour room service with a limited menu of breakfast selections, sandwiches, and snacks.

Entertainment

Triumph and Victory are scheduled to receive newly branded bars and other features in 2013 and 2014 respectively. Both have lively piano bars and nightclubs featuring music for dancing and listening. High-energy production shows, comedy clubs, karaoke, and deck parties are signature nighttime activities.

Spa & Fitness

Operated by Steiner Leisure, expansive spa facilities offer a full menu of treatments, such as a variety of massages, body wraps, and facials for adults and teens; complimentary steam rooms and saunas are located in men’s and women’s changing rooms. Hair and nail services and teeth whitening are also on the salon menu.

QUICK FACTS

SHIP STATS
Entered Service
1999
Number of Cabins
1,397
Passenger Capacity
2,758(3,470 max)
Crew Members
1,100
Passengers to Crew Ratio
2.51
Gross Tons
102000
Width
116 feet
Length
893 feet
CRUISE LINE INFO
305/599–2600 or 800/227–6482

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