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My family and I sailed on Carnival’s Triumph from New York to Halifax last September. The Assistant Chief Cabin Steward Mr. Melvin Joseph, deserves a positive mention for being extremely helpful to me in the terminal when I left my valet bag on the ship after disembarking and clearing customs in New York. This could have been a nightmare, but with Mr. Joseph’s help I was only delayed a few minutes. Our cabin steward, Leonardo, was also extremely efficient in keeping the cabin orderly and clean.

The negative aspects of the cruise put a slight damper on an otherwise pleasant four days. My major complaint was the food and the difficulty of having specific requests met. My wife is a strict vegetarian, a fact I mentioned both to the travel agent who told the Carnival booking agent (in my presence) and to every dining staff member I came in contact with. While the menu on the ship offered a vegetarian meal, the waiter or maitre’d did not offer up anything in addition. Our waiter, Juan, who is a gem, told us that the kitchen is very rigid about only serving what is on the menu.

On the last day of the cruise, Juan actually ran up to Lido Deck to get my wife a requested Caesar Salad. (On our last cruise, on the NCL’s Norwegian Wind, the wait staff had a very large fresh salad waiting for my wife at every meal.) In addition to my wife’s needs, my repeated request for rare beef (for myself) was met with “This is all they have,” or “They are telling me that this is rare.”

Also frustrating was the absence of children’s menus. Our kids are 7 and 9 and love to read the menu and order themselves. The waiter said they did not have anymore, so he would recite the kids’ menu to us. When their favorite, ziti, was not on the menu, it could not be had.

Another major gripe about the cruise, which may be an unavoidable problem due to the ship’s size, are the loooooong lines on Lido Deck for late breakfast and midnight buffet. I am a hardened New Yorker and my life consists of waiting in lines, but these were extremely long and crept along at a snail’s pace. I am aware that feeding 3,300 people is no small task and that some of this is growing pains, but there must be a better way to organize the food distribution at peak times. One suggestion is to have different food at different stations to spread out the crowd. 

The positive was the ship herself. She is magnificent and our overall vacation was very pleasant. I look forward to revisiting Carnival, possibly on a ship as nice as the Triumph, with fewer passengers.

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