Its a lot of Vegas razzle-dazzle, says Kevin, who commands the stage with a wise-guy smirk on his face and a fedora set at a rakish angle on his head. Sure, there are magicians out there who are better than me at sleight-of-hand tricks, but we put on a show thats a visual and audio knockout to enhance the magic. Magic is supposed to be a spectacle, where one part of your brain goes, Wow, even as another part wonders, How did they do that? I think we hit that mark pretty well.
Kevin is the loquacious one, quick with the patter and smart retorts. Caruso mostly nods and smiles, which is fitting for a guy who doesnt utter a single syllable during the show. Think Penn & Teller but better looking.
With all due respect to Kevin & Caruso, the greatest magic trick I witness during my seven days aboard the Triumph is the disappearing act of my children. The family unit stays intact on day one, but on day two, the kids discover that yes, room service is free, and no, its impossible to get lost on a cruise ship, even one that has 13 decks and can accommodate nearly 3,000 passengers.
Morgan, 10, joins Camp Carnival, where supervised activities run from early in the morning until midnight or later. She quickly forms a posse of ponytailed BFFs, who can plan and execute an assault mission on the 24-7 ice cream machines with Mission Impossiblelike precision. I see her for dinners, shore excursions, and bedtimes.
Cole is only 14, but he manages to charm/lie his way into Club O2, which is supposed to be for 15-to-17-year-olds. Club O2 is heavy on music and video games and teen hormones gone wild. The crowd he hangs with reeks of youthful swagger and Axe body spray. I see him when he wants something, for shore excursions, and for the occasional meal. We mutually agree to a dont ask, dont tell policy regarding what time he collapses into bed in the kids cabin on any given morning.
Lexi is 16, but the idea of hanging out at the same club as her younger brother makes her queasy. She becomes a regular patron of Club Monaco, where she finishes second in a Britney Spears karaoke contest and endures more hours of audio torture than the rest of us can bear. I see her for dinners, for shore excursions, and whenever she has a complaint about her brother.
That leaves dozens of hours of kid-free time for my wife and me, a luxury that cannot be emphasized enough in a marriage thats going on its 18th year.
So, what should we do today? my wife asks me on day seven. Um, how does nothing sound to you? I reply, which looks somewhat snarky in print but sounded much more genuine when the words were coming out of my mouth.
The truth is, the Triumph lives up to the Carnival motto of Fun for all. All for fun. And then some. Its simply impossible to experience it all, from bow to stern, even on a seven-day cruise. We ate steak for dinner one night, lobster the next, and shrimp after that. If youre not tempted by the sushi station or 24-hour pizzeria, the California Wine Bar still beckons. I mean, theres only so much a person can eat.