My wife and I returned this week from our fourth cruise, all of them with Carnival. This time we cruised on the Carnival Legend; we previously sailed on the Inspiration from New Orleans in March 2002, and then the Paradise in October 2002 and September 2003.
This time we wanted to try a new class of ship; besides, with the Paradise going to the west coast that ship wasn't an option. After this cruise it's easy to see why Carnival did away with the non-smoking concept. It was really a different crowd, and drinking and gambling definitely go hand in hand with smoking. The casino was usually quite busy, and always smoky. Other than that, though, the smoke wasn't really a problem for us.
The crowd seemed to be more of a drinking crowd this time. We didn't enjoy ourselves at either of the Lido deck pool areas due to the obnoxious behavior of our fellow guests, but that wasn't a big problem; we easily amused ourselves otherwise. We just didn't spend much time at the pools. The one day I was in the pool, there was a disgusting layer ofgrease, dirt and suntan lotion floating on the water, so I didn't really mind not spending time in it.
The ship is spotless throughout and really very nice. The occasional cigarette butts carelessly disposed of on the carpet were turnoffs, but were admittedly few and far between.
This was the Legend's first cruise of the season from Ft. Lauderdale after her stint in New York. We heard more than once that the New York crowd is a tough bunch, so the crew seemed happy to be in Florida. They'd also had a two-day transit down to Florida with no guests on board, and they seemed to enjoy that break also. The crew was without exception friendly and helpful -- just a great bunch, and they really seemed to be trying to please us.
Ft. Lauderdale is much cleaner than Miami, and my wife liked it there. I prefer Miami Beach still, but she doesn't like the crowds and dirt there. We stayed three nights in Ft. Lauderdale prior to the cruise and that was fun. I got in some good beach time there, since this cruise didn't have any good beach ports on the itinerary.
We booked a guaranteed lowest-deck inside rooms, and were pleased to be upgraded to room 4203. I never booked a guarantee before, but always picked a specific cabin with the reservation agent on the phone. This time, it was $100 more per person to do that, for whatever reason, so we stuck with the guarantee and it worked out well. When we arrived in our room we were astounded at how huge it was, and the bathroom too, but were puzzled by the bathroom shower. It was in the corner of the bathroom with a partial curtain, and no separate floor. The whole bathroom floor was also the shower floor! Well, my wife finally figured out on the third day that we were in a handicapped-access room! That explained the extra room and extra-wide doorways. But it was a nice room and we enjoyed it. It had a window mostly obstructed by a lifeboat, but we could see enough to check the weather and let a little light in.
I didn't meet our room steward until the last day. He'd introduced himself earlier in the week to my wife when they bumped into each other. He did a fine job in spite of being relatively invisible. He did the towel animals and took good care of the room a couple times each day -- and kept the ice full.
We didn't bother eating in the surcharge restaurant; call us cheap, but we figured, Why spend extra money when we can get great service and food right there in the dining room? Plus I didn't have a jacket to wear -- but I did see gentlemen dining in the supper club wearing polo shirts with no tie and no jacket! Anyway, our waiters were fantastic and eager to please. This cruise differed from previous ones in that lunch in the dining room was open seating. We only ate lunch twice in the dining room; other days we were in port or ate at the Lido buffet. Dinner each evening was the usual treat of fine service and food. I love the soups, and usually ordered two. My wife mostly stuck with the beef entree, but I always tried something different on the menu and was never disappointed. Desserts were the usual fabulous creations, always delicious.
Another change in the dining room was that a full silverware service was not set out, just one of each utensil. Not a problem, but I always liked the other way better. We were at a table for two, which was nice. We always enjoyed the company of our fellow guests, but this was a nice change of pace. Our table was next to the railing on the upper level so we could see the entire dining room.
Our ports were Belize; Limon, Costa Rica; and Colon, Panama. We'd been to Belize last year and took a tour that time, and were planning expensive tours at the next two ports, so we just went ashore for souvenirs on the pier and went back to the ship. It rained that day anyway. Later in the day I went back in just for the boat ride; I love those high-speed tenders, and the long ride is fun. Elation and two other ships were anchored there that day.
In Costa Rica we took the "green train" tour, a neat ride along the remnant of Costa Rica's narrow-gauge railroad, which was severed by hurricanes and never fully rebuilt. The poverty in Limon was depressing, but the people were friendly. When we passed in the train, the children came running to wave at us. It was very heartening. I guessed the ride to be 15 miles or so, through a banana plantation and into the countryside. It was a great ride, but I'm a rail buff so that gave me added enjoyment.
At the end of the line we switched to a bus, and another group boarded the train for the ride back. During the tradeoff a crowd of youngsters was milling about, one young boy carrying a snake around his neck. I posed with him for a picture, then he said, "One dollar." So I pulled out my money, and suddenly I was the most popular guy in Costa Rica! The kids were swarming about, all hands reaching for some bills! I passed out several ones, but had to draw the line when they were reaching for my twenties, and made my escape into the bus.
The next day in Panama we rode the Panama Canal Railroad -- another great ride, this time over a modern high-speed railroad with former Amtrak equipment. A word of caution: The railroad doesn't closely follow the canal until midway across the isthmus, and the speed is quite high, so it's not a good tour if you really want to see the canal. I heard several people grumbling about that.
We went for the train ride, mainly, but you do get to see much of the Pacific side of the canal, including the Miraflores and Pedro Miguel locks. There were many ships going through though and we still got a good view. Taking pictures from the train was difficult, but I got a few good ones. The other more expensive tours would've been better to actually see the canal, and if we get back we may consider one.
On the Pacific side, we took a short bus tour around a suburb of Panama City, made a shopping stop and a couple of photo stops, then headed back to Colon on the train -- another very good tour. It was expensive at $155 apiece, but we didn't regret it. Colon is another poverty stricken city, very depressing.
The sea days were the usual Carnival fare, but we didn't participate in many of the activities, preferring to relax. The cruise director was Brett Alans, who was better than I'd remembered him from the Inspiration (but I liked Jeff Bronson on the Paradise better).
We had three "Vegas Style" shows on this eight-day cruise, but the first two weren't anything outstanding. The last one was very good though. I'd heard others raving about the other shows, so it's largely a matter of opinion. My favorite show was the Village Idiots, a couple of guys who do the show circuit on Carnival, with juggling and fire-eating and various stunts, and lots of humor. I really liked those guys, even went to both shows.
The last show of the cruise was a one-show-only, at 10:30 p.m. I can't remember her name, but it was one of the soul singers from the '60s or '70s, and I felt bad for her. People were just walking out left and right. She stuck with it to the bitter end, smiling all the way. When they turned up the house lights after her show, it was a pretty sparse crowd left. I'd suggest that they move this show up in the week, or earlier in the evening.
We did have a guest talent show one evening, which was also Halloween, so I sang "Mississippi Squirrel Revival" by Ray Stevens, dressed in my punk costume, which was quite a hoot. The costumes were lots of fun and many participated in the festivities.
All in all, another great cruise!
This cruise was kind of a last minute decision by Diane and me. When we returned from our March 6-13 cruise on HAL's Zuiderdam we were in absolute agony. It was far worse for Diane because she simply had no motivation or desire to go to work. I was afraid I was going to need to find her a shrink. I'm basically retired but help her out at the salon with tanning so my problem was I just wanted back on the ship.
So to appease her and, yes me too, I booked another cruise for 6 November on HAL's Zaandam. By July we determined November was just too far away and needed to get onto a ship sooner. When I received a notice from Carnival about an 8 night cruise at drastically reduced prices.we had to go.
If any of you have read my review of the Zuiderdam cruise, you are aware of Diane's fear of flying, riding in anything that moves faster than "the Small World ride at Disney World". The Legend cruise sailed from NYC so we traveled by train, avoiding the flying part of the fear. Shepopped a few of her "I fear nothing" pills and sucked down a few wine coolers and she was feeling no pain. Even the short taxi ride, which otherwise would have resulted in permanent imprints of her fingers in my leg, went without incident.
Diane and I had concerns about Carnival cruises. Not the ships or service or itinerary but the "Fun" part. We see cruises as kick back and relax times. We avoid noise and partying and kids. Yeah we did get spoiled on NCL and HAL with our suites and concierge but as long as we had our balcony we would survive and we go back to a suite on the Zaandam in November. We call this our Kicks and Giggles Cruise.
September and October are the peak hurricane months and this was a minor concern. Then along came Charley, Francis, Ivan and finally Jeanne. I know ships make itinerary changes to avoid hurricanes. Actually, when you think about it, cruises are better vacations choose than a stationery resort which can't move if a hurricane comes along.
As I followed the track of Jeanne I became concerned about how the Legend was going to get back to New York City to pick us up. Needless to say my concern was unnecessary and everything went off without a hitch.
Embarkation: As I mentioned earlier we traveled to New York City by train which arrives at Penn Station. It has been suggested to get out across the street and walk to the Pier which is about a 250 foot walk. Taxis must go down 2 blocks and make a U-turn onto the ramp. The ramp is jammed with traffic and takes a while to get to the ship. We chose to have the taxi take us to the pier. The cost was $10 including tip.
The legend was the only ship arriving/departing that day which was a Tuesday. I wouldn't want to try this on a weekend when 3 or 4 ships were there.
There were no porters around so we had to lug our luggage into the terminal. It is a short walk and really no problem. Inside was a Carnival rep. who checked our luggage tags and a porter to take the luggage away.
We arrived at 11:15 and Carnival had us line up for security check at 11:45. Then we stood there for about an hour waiting, waiting and then wait some more. Apparently Carnival was having a luncheon and tour for about 200 travel agents. They were processed before allowing the passengers to board which was around 12:45. Not a lot of fun there!
The Legend is an absolutely beautiful ship. The first thing you see is the Atrium. Three glass elevators which go up to Deck 10. Lots of other elevators make getting from place to place with no problems.
Our stateroom was a category 7A (obstructed view balcony) on deck 5. The cabin was very nice. It was larger than similar category cabins on other class Carnival ships and most other lines. Plenty of storage. Even the bathroom was more spacious than I expected. Soap and shampoo dispensers in the shower were handy.
We tend to stay in our room until 9:30-10:00 each morning. This may be the reason our room wasn't cleaned until after 4:00 on TWO DAYS. Did not make me a happy camper. We never did figure out which cabin steward was ours.
Truffels is the main dining room. We had the early seating at a table for 6. This was the 35th cruise for one couple (Sam and Anne). Service was adequate. The assistant waiter must have been having personal problems. The waiter (Azam) was very attentive.
The food was just OK. I had rack of lamb one night which was a bunch of bones on top of meat that tasted more liver IMHO. I'm a meat, vegetable and potato kind'a guy so the way the meals were presented was not to my liking. With the exception of one meal with mash potatoes and broccoli the vegetables were buried under the meat.
Each night we were entertained by the serving staff to a song or dance. The Flaming Alaska parade is now a thing of the past due to liability issues we were told.
The late night buffets were your basic fair. The gala buffet however was outstanding if only for the skill and talent required to prepare. The various carving from ice and food were wonderful. 45 minutes before the buffet are set aside for picture taking only.
The Unicorn Café is located on the Lido Deck. A terrific assortment of food which changes each meal. We ate most of our breakfasts and lunches here. Absolutely no complaints about food at the Unicorn Café.
The juice dispensers deserves a comment. They were always full with tea, apple juice, punch and lemonade. They were not watered down so adding ice made them icy cold and not tasting like flavored water. Thank you Carnival.
The ice cream is always available but it's actually ice milk and tastes like it.
The Grill is located by the main pool and offers hamburgers, big fat hotdogs and fries. It also has mushrooms, chili, etc.
We, unfortunately, did not take advantage of the Golden Fleece Restaurant. The people we talked with who did eat there said it was well worth the $25 p.p. fee.
Entertainment in the Follies Lounge was very good. The cruise director, Brett Alans, is an accomplished magician and was an act one night. There was a tribute to Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. by Christopher Alan Graves which was very nice. The Carnival Legend Dancers put on a Vegas style show on two nights.
One of the nights there is an opportunity to have your picture taken with a Showgirl as you exit Truffels from dinner.
Live entertainment of various types was available in the many lounges and a D.J. to spin discs in Medusa's Disco
Club Merlin Casino is a casino. What else can I say. Actually I can say this is the first time I didn't lose money in the slots, I got to even and quit. A gambler I'm not.
A major concern we had was children. We figured there would be limited children on a cruise at this time. I believe there were less than 100 children on the ship. With the exception of running and yelling in the hallway outside our stateroom every morning and evening children presented no problems at all. They were all well mannered in the public areas. During the summer months or school breaks it may be different. The aft pool is reserved for adults only and families with children respected this restriction. We did not participate in any excursions. We had been to St. Thomas and Tortola in March so we just got off the boat and walked around Old San Juan for an hour or so.
Debarkation was another disaster. We walked into the terminal, found our luggage. Then we had to lug it about 200 feet, get on line to wait for a porter who would then take it the next 200 feet to the curb. We decided to forgo the porter. It took a couple 20 minutes to get a porter. By that time we had gotten into our cab and were on our way.
We went shopping for luggage with wheels the day after we returned. We had never experienced a shortage of porters before but I'm not taking any chances on having to carry luggage again.
With the exception of embarkation and debarkation we had a wonderful time. I've had better service and meals but this was minor compared to everything else on the cruise. I certainly didn't starve. We highly recommend the Carnival Legend and look forward to again cruising with Carnival.
Worst cruise imaginable. Departed from New York. About a 2 hour line to get aboard. Instead of ports on itenerary, went to Bermuda because of engine problems.
Supposed to visit puerto rico, us and british virgin islands. Carnival compensated each passenger $150 for the misfortune. I spent $5800 on this trip for the itinerary. Carnival's only answer to my significant complaint was a 15% discount on my next cruise. Yeah, right
Just caught website - 2nd carnival cruise. First one was on the Pride to Bermuda. Same exact ship just different name. Cruise delayed back in port my medical emergency. They called our home Sunday 8pm to tell us boarding would not happened until 8pm on Monday (was supposed to board noon). Got there at 8pm to a disaster area. They told us to walk up to the next pier and wait to board. We walked up to the next pier to be told we had to take our luggage back to the pier we just left (husband also walking on a broken foot). Walked back to the waiting pier. Stood there and stood there and stood there. Personel checking our drivers licenses in dark areas (that made me feel safe). Then they decided to board us in group numbers. We wound through lines and lines waiting to give credit card info and get sail & sign card, then waited in a large area to board. Got a hard time because I had two bottles of wine which I was told I could have. One other lady passed me through withthe wine and told me to enjoy it. Then after calling our group number we went through more weaving lines like we were going on a ride at Disney. This second set of lines had us walk back to the pier where the ship was docked. This was about 11pm. One carnival employee saw my husband limping and asked if he was OK. He said "no, I'm not OK I've been walking and standing for 3 hours on a broken foot. Did anybody then put him in a wheelchair or put us on the ship right away? NO.
We did not board until midnight; we had a cocktail and went to bed. At 1:30AM they were knocking on the door with our luggage. Their compensation was to give us a $20 credit for missing lunch. We also did not get dinner, which they never compensated for. They left their pursers at the mercy of extremely angry passengers. No one made an announcement while we were waiting to board to say the company would offer any compensations and they hung their employees out there to bear the brunt of hostile, hot and aggravated passengers. They did not even offer us bottled water to bide the time with. I wrote a letter to Carnival and they simply offered us 15% off our next cruise. whoopie dooo!!!
The staff on board were wonderful. Our room was kept immaculate by our room steward. We felt so sorry for all the employees who were still getting hostile comments from passengers all week. Food was good. We were only in Puerto Rico for 3 hours because of delay which did not bother us. This was our 1st visit to St. Thomas - thought it was lovely.
Do not go on a cruise ship mid summer if you do not like screaming children and teenagers. We found ketchup sprayed all over the inside of one of the elevators. A security guard told us they found several teenagers damaging surveillance cameras one night. We were awakened at 2am one morning by teenagers running and screaming on the floor above us. Cranky parents were yelling and screaming at their toddlers who had been swimming all day and were tired and needed a nap. Personnel had allowed a child into the adult's pool and that caused a bru ha ha in what we thought was the quiet adults area.
The good points were the ever gracious employees, the great shows and we were fortunate to spend some time with one of the entertainers, Melinda Chatman. She spent several hours each day chit chatting with us and we got a front row seat to her terrific show.
The bad point - they should have had a better plan implemented for scenarios such as ours. Total chaos and mismanagement. Subsequent contacts made by our travel agent did not get us any money back, and we did not even consider them for our 2005 cruise.
Our First, and Last, Cruise with Carnival
TROUBLE BEFORE WE EVEN LEFT: We booked this cruise for our honeymoon. Our cruise was scheduled to leave on July 26, 2005, at 4pm, and as such we could begin boarding at 12pm. Unbeknownst to us, the prior cruise was 8 hours late returning (due to a medical emergency), and we sat in a terminal for HOURS, waiting as the prior passengers disembarked.
We finally boarded the ship at 11:30pm (tired and hungry after spending the day in the terminal), and immediately began looking for something to eat. An employee directed us to the dining room, but it was closed. Another employee directed us to the same dining room, and we told her it was closed. she then suggested we try the Lido Deck. We went up to the Lido Deck to find 2500 passengers waiting in line for a buffet.
We went back to our rooms, and ordered sandwiches from room service. This was not exactly how we had envisioned our honeymoon. We finally set sail at 1:45 am on July 27, 2005 (almost 10 hours late).
SAILING: Do to our late departure, the captaindecided to speed things up a bit, so that we could make it to Puerto Rico on schedule. The rough seas, and high rate of speed, just made everyone nauseaus.
SHORE EXCURSIONS: We attempted to book our excursions via the interactive system on the television, but it was not working. As such, we were forced to wait in a long line at the excursion desk to book our tours. We waited in line for almost 2 hours to booke the mountain biking trip in San Juan.
STEWARD: Our steward kept our room nice and tidy, but was a bit of an idiot. He kept leaving us the itinerary for July 26, 2005 (a nice little reminder that we missed that day) instead of the current day's itinerary. We nicely explained each day that we wanted TODAY's itintery, and by the 3rd day, he finally got it right.
THE MEMO: On July 28th, we received a memo advising us that since we would be getting in to San Juan late, that all shore excursions would be cancelled. This was not a nice surprise after waiting almost 2 hours to book an excursion that Carnival knew waa never going to happen, since we had left 10 hours late.
ACTIVITIES FOR SAN JUAN: After being on the ship for 3 days, we had more than a little cabin fever, and couldn't wait to get to San Juan. Since all of the excursions were cancelled, we inquired at the tour desk, if they knew of any other activities that we could do once we arrived in San Juan. We were told that San Juan was not safe at night, and that we shouldn't get off the ship!!! Great...
GET ME OUTTA HERE: If this was a regular "vacation" we would have dealt with it, and finished out the miserable experience. Since this was our honeymoon, we made a wise decision to jump ship. We met with the purser, Frederick, and told him we wanted to get off of the ship and salvage our honeymoon. We were pleased to find out that Carnival has a guarantee program that gives you a pro-rated refund, as well a free flight home, so long as you get off at the first port.
We were thrilled, as were several other passengers that had also inquired about leaving the ship. Frederick was very understanding and accomodating in making our arrangements to leave the ship.
FOOD: The food at dinner was delicious. The lines to get into the dining room were a bit long and crowded, and it felt like a cattle call at times. Our waiter was wonderful, and like I said, the food was terrific.
The lunch buffet wasn't as great, and we tried to acoid it. Likewise, we also had breakfast in the restaurant to avoid the buffet.
SERVICE: Our waiter at dinner was excellent, as were the cocktail servers poolside. Aside from the problems mentioned earlier, our steward was also good. Room service was a bit slow, but was still satisfactory.
ENTERTAINMENT: The entertainment was a JOKE. In fact I literally thought it was a joke when we went to the magic show. The magician came out, and just happened to also be the cruise director. He amazed us all with the linking rings (I think Peter Brady did this same trick) and then his bird got loose and started flying around the theatre. Everyone laughed, as did we, and we all assumed it was a joke, and that the "real" magician would be coming out. The joke was on us...but it did make for a comical experience.
Less comical was the comedian. His jokes consisted of 7th grade humor. Tampon jokes??? At this point, we just laughed and left the show, chalking it up to another Carnical debacle!!
LEAVING THE SHIP: We were told our steward would come pick up our luggage, but he never arrived. We decided to lug our suitcases down to the main floor ourselves. We were taken into a back elevator (along with the other passengers who were leaving) and were to be the first ones off of the ship.
I found it comical that the passengers had to wait to get their pictures taken before they could leave the ship, which made disembarking take that much longer. This was especially funny given that everyone has cabin fever, and also only had 2-3 hours to spend in San Juan since we had arrived so late.
We disembarked ahead of the crowd, and were taken to the airport. Our honeymoon ended up taking us to Walt Disney World, and we never looked back.
The primary reason I am writing is due to Linda O'Brien's review.
Embarkation process is what it is...I thought it was efficient, but could use improvement. I was so happy to be on board!
The piano music and decor when stepping aboard was quite nice, but when examining further, and being on board for a longer period of time, I found the urn theme to be jarring-and a bit strange! However, I found the service by bar servers to be excellent. Especially the internet cafe! So nice-but watch the times which he is available.
The dining room was again-quite overdone, but our service was attentive. I had a problem with the salads and entrees arriving at the same time, with the entrees waiting underneath plastic. Ew!! Truthfully I would say the food was not well prepared. Our steaks were underdone on every occasion, and the shrimp were tiny. (Oh yes, Linda, I know that Vegas does it better!!)
We had a lovely experience in the Golden Fleece night club and I would highly recommend this dining experience to anyone, even though there is a (again I hate this term $25 per head) surcharge of$25 per person.
But, when it comes to perks in your cabin, unfortunately, your apparently lacking travel agent is responsible for that. And responsible for not doing her/his research on the best cruises for your young people traveling. I provided $50 per cabin credits in my group's cabins for their enjoyment, anyway their wished.
My best advice is to ask questions. Do you want the Vegas (although Linda seems to think it's not up to par) environment? Go Carnival. Mass with Class? RCCL. Research your travel agent-and make sure they understand your wishes...if that travel agent does not, move on-find someone who cares!!!
For me, I enjoyed my exotic western cruise on Legend. But, there are few for which I would recommend it. I plan to go back to Celebrity and others, which will provide me the cruise experience I would rather have. I did not regret the configuration of the doors-a plastic chair propped in there provided us the tropical breeze. Elegant, no. Efficient, yes.
Be in touch if you have any questions. Be well!
My family and I sailed the Carnival Legend on Jan 6, 2005. My husband and I had been on two previous cruises, once with NCL (Seaward) and the other with Carnival (Imagination). This was the first time that we have sailed with our children, who are ages 15 and 10.
The embarkation process is horrible. There has to be a better way to move the lines. Carnival should really take a long look at this process. There is plenty room for improvement. Because we were in a category 11a cabin, we were able to cut at least an hour off our processing time. We still stood in line for at least 90 minutes.
The Legend is a large beautiful ship and I thought it was nicely decorated. The "urn" theme can be a little overwhelming at first, but after a while you don't even notice it.
Our 11a cabin was WONDERFUL! It was large enough for our family of four to live comfortly for 8 days. There is plenty of room to store clothes and empty suitcases. The bathroom was marble with double sinks and a whirlpool tub/shower. There was a separate dressingroom with a makeup vanity with stool, hairdryer and extra closet space with bathrobes. The balcony was large and had two tables and two chairs. Our cabin stewardess (Rasa) was very friendly and made sure that we had everything that we needed. The towel animals were looked forward to every night.
Four of our eight days were rainy. It rained at each port of call. The one excursion that we had booked (St. Maartin) was canceled and the other days we had just planned on shopping. But that was ok; we had fun shopping in the rain.
The kids loved Camp Carnival. The counselors were very patient and wonderful with the kids. There were plenty of planned activities each day. Both kids made friends right away and were busy the entire trip. They have a children's talent show on the last day that they taped and played on the ship's TV. My son loved seeing himself on television. There is a water slide on the back of the ship which my children loved. The soda card is a good deal for the kids, you can purchase them at any bar on board. The price is 7.00 per day.
The food was good, not wonderful. The wait staff was very attentive and prompt. I loved the little shows that they performed for us each night. The Unicorn Cafe on the Lido deck was good for lunch and breakfast. Room Service was good for snacking in between meal times. We never made it to the late night buffet or the supper club.
We saw some shows, but spent a lot of time in the casino. My husband did very well on the slots. The shops on board were well stocked and reasonable priced. The great deals come out towards the end of the trip (many items become 50% off).
All in all the trip was great, the complaints I have are few and not very important. This ship is narrow, so it does rock a lot!!!! We barely even felt movement on our other two cruises. If you get sea sick, I would try a differant ship.
I would sail with Carnival again in the future, but for now, I think it's time to try out a new line.
This was our 6th cruise and our fourth on Carnival.
The itinerary was what drew us to this ship and we enjoyed all the ports of call. Having sailed on Carnival previously we did not feel that this ship lived up to our expectations. The decor is not to be believed. It is so gaudy and ugly it is hard to describe. There is not 1 square inch of this ship that the decor did not ruin. It has a dizzying effect on you. Also the food was not up to the standards that we found on other ships and our room steward was so annoying that i was forced to complain something which I have never done before.
The Golden Fleece supper club which is an extra $25. per head charge was wonderful. Presentation, service and food were as good as any 5 star restaurant. I do not know if it was the itinerary ut there did not seem to be as mnay activities for the cildren on this ship. We had a great time but I would not recomend this ship to anyone. If you would like toe-mail me questions i would be happy to answer them.
Cabin type: (2) adjoining extended balcony suites on the 7th deck Passengers in our group: Professional female (early forties), 21 year old daughter, 13 year old son and 8 year old son. Prior cruise experience: 10 cruises
Summary: The Carnival Legend is a ship that caters to the masses of unseasoned travelers. The levels of service, atmosphere and quality are at the very bottom of the industry standards. As I was traveling with my children, the well publicized slogan "the fun ships" is the reason I chose this ship however, there was nothing "fun" about poor service, over-crowded public areas, weak activities, bad food and so on. At a cost of $110 per day, per person, before gratuities and on-board costs, this cruise was not a good value and not a pleasant experience.
Below is a fair account of the "highs and lows" of the ship and its staff.
Embarkation: Embarkation at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale is quite efficient. The port is located less than 10 minutes from the airport making it affordable and convenient to arrive by taxi rather than the cruise transport services.
The embarkation process was smooth and quick, particularlyif you pre-register all the members of your party in advance on Carnival's web site. To my pleasant surprise, there was abundant seating available for much of the embarkation process. In addition, guests were permitted on board prior to the published 1:30PM boarding time. Given the large number of passengers, this was impressive.
Décor The décor on the Carnival Legend is ghastly. Never have I seen such gaudy, mismatched décor and I live in Las Vegas! The intentional clash of materials (mirrors, glass and simulated wood) combined with urns and southwestern décor (entrance to show room) is in extremely unattractive and dizzying. The ship lacks any sense of sophistication and good taste.
The carpets in the hallways adjacent to the state rooms had been replaced, however, the original carpeted cove base had not, thereby illustrating an obvious cost saving measure and creating a mismatched result.
Guest Suites The two adjacent extended balcony suites which we occupied were both decorated in various shades of orange which reminded me of the 1970's. The suites were painfully lacking of "extras" as there were no flowers, fruit baskets or welcome aboard gifts.
The closet space was sufficient and the clearance under the beds was appropriate to fit our large hard case luggage. The shower was a pleasant surprise in both spaciousness and water temperature. A plastic dispenser with body soap and shampoo was provided in the shower in lieu of individual sized toiletries.
The extended balconies offered space for greater comfort and we were pleased that our room steward made arrangements to have the partition opened between the two balconies allowing us easy access between the rooms without the necessity of going out into the hallway. The doorway to the balcony, however, was not a sliding glass door thereby eliminating the option of sleeping with the door open denying us the pleasure of listening to the sounds of the ocean anytime we were in our rooms.
Dining Options The choice of dining on this ship was extremely limited. The main dining room was available for open seating for breakfast and lunch (except in port where lunch was not served). Dinner was pre-reserved at designated tables, being served by the same Waiter and Assistant Waiter nightly. It appeared that the main dining room was not sufficiently designed to accommodate a full passenger capacity. As such, a small adjoining room was also being used during the dinner seatings. Persons having the misfortune of being seated in this room were reassured that they had the best "quick exit" out of the restaurant! Despite having booked two balcony cabins, we were assigned to this sub-standard seating. At our request, we did manage to be reseated the following evening to more superior location.
The main dining room food was inconsistent. We noticed that the menu would often over-promise and under deliver. One such example was the promise of prawns when 30-40 count shrimp were served. Another example was the promise of vine-ripened tomatoes when un-ripened tomatoes, clearly packaged green, were served. There were several dishes that had to be returned, namely the Coquille St. Jacques that was tremendously overcooked and the highly overstated Chateau Briand. Dessert choices were also so poor that we opted to have fruit for desert nearly every evening.
The only free alternative dining was provided on the Lido deck where cafeteria style dining awaited! I refrain from calling this "buffet style" as calling the Unicorn Café a buffet would be an insult to any genuine buffet offered on the Las Vegas strip. The atmosphere, quality of food and despair of the employees made this a place I chose to avoid as much as possible.
A small coffee station was available to purchase coffee and breakfast pastries. I purchased two pastries, one for myself and one for my son, only once, discovering that the exterior presentation far outweighed the flavor.
Finally, one additional restaurant, the Golden Fleece, was available in the evenings for an additional $25 per person per meal. This restaurant was the only dining on the ship that met our expectations. The service and quality of food were very good.
Staffing and Customer Service With the exception of a handful of employees (our room steward, and the Waiter and Assistant Waiter at table 231 being exceptions), the only way describe the crew is miserable. It is completely evident that the crew members do not enjoy their jobs and enjoy the presence of the passengers even less! Smiles were non-existent. Courtesies and good manners were rarely extended. Several incidents described below set the tone of the entire atmosphere.
Upon boarding, as my children and I made our way to the Lido deck for the welcome aboard luncheon, we literally ran into our first of many wretched employees. This particular pool area waiter was carrying a tray of fruity welcome aboard drinks when he made an abrupt 180 degree turn thrusting himself directly into our oncoming path. The tray wobbled while he desperately tried to stabilize it. In the end, one tall drink tumbled to the tile floor below causing the contents to shower on myself and my daughter. One would expect a sincere apology but instead the waiter cast us a disgusted look and began to pick up the ice on the floor. Still standing in the same spot with stains on our clothes, my daughter was forced to ask if we could use one of the towels to wipe ourselves. Still without a word, he finally handed us a towel.
A second event occurred shortly thereafter in the Unicorn café which was a cafeteria style restaurant which required the use of trays (the only free alternative dining on the ship). It was extremely crowded with most tables being occupied. Those tables that were not occupied had not been bussed. As we were aimlessly searching for a place to sit, much to horror, my huge tray caught the edge of the protruding window frames and slammed into the floor. Naturally, I felt terrible and was distraught. Fortunately, a bus girl was nearby and I caught her eye hoping for a sympathetic smile. But she didn't smile or rescue me at all. She didn't offer any sympathy, spoken or unspoken. I asked her if there was a towel that I could use to assist in the clean up, but she merely waved her hand at me signaling me to go away. I was so upset by the incident that I did not eat at all and left the area.
During breakfast one morning in the main dining room, I had the pleasure of meeting a couple who genuinely reminded me of both of my deceased parents. Needless to say, I was delighted by their company as we enjoyed breakfast together around 9:30AM. Shortly after finishing our eggs, as we sat and drank coffee and tea together, it became apparent that the staff was more interested in clearing this section of the dining room than in the comfort and pleasure of the customers. Two waiters actually began standing directly behind us (within a foot) making it very clear that we were not welcomed to stay despite the fact that the dining room would not close for another hour.
One morning, at the excursion desk, quite a few customers were discussing what alternatives might be available since their excursions were being cancelled due to poor weather. We were among those persons. We discussed the alternative tours which were still available and asked for a few minutes to consult with the children. The staff reassured us that taking a few minutes would be no problem. When we returned 10 minutes later, the desk was closed! A ship with superior customer service, out of courtesy for the guests, would have remained open extended hours (or minutes) due to the large volume of passengers being inconvenienced but the Legend employees would never provide anything more than the absolute minimum standards!
On the last day of our cruise, we arrived for breakfast in the main dining room at 7:30AM to allow enough time to be at our designated meeting spot by 8:30AM. Although we were seated immediately, by 8:15AM we still had not been served our meals. Two dozen persons, who arrived much later than us, had already been served and were leaving the dining room. When I expressed concern to the waiter about our time constraints, he literally yelled at me. He shouted that the turnover days for the staff are very busy and stressful and that our food would come when it got there. The horror on our faces must have embarrassed the other wait staff as one of the other waiters did have the good manners to apologize to us for the behavior of his co-worker.
Shortly after this incident, we gladly left the ship, forever!
Activities: The activities offered on the Carnival Legend are weak. Perhaps hairy chest competitions and blaring music at the pool is considered entertainment by some, but not by me! The best activities and entertainment on board were several of the evening shows in the showroom.
Children's program: My expectation for the industry's best children's programs was the main basis for booking this cruise. Unfortunately, the Carnival Legend fell short in this area too. My eight year old son was not at all enthused to be stuck in a windowless room (except for the skylight windows) with six and seven year olds playing board games and computer games with outdated computers. Having cruised with Carnival before (out of Los Angeles), he was expecting to have fun and found none! My thirteen year old son met a number of other teenagers on the ship and enjoyed roaming the ship with his new friends sans children's program.
In conclusion, the Carnival Legend is a ship which will please only those with minimal standards.
My husband and I decided to drive to Ft. lauderdale the day before the cruise. Coming from Atlanta, Ga it took 11 hours. We arrived at 4pm at our Hotel. This hotel was a 1950's style and had been refurbished. The furniture was dark mahogany along with the sleigh bed headboards. Our room looked out to the Ocean....
We woke up around 8 am and had our breakfast. We left around 9:40 am and was thru the "Port of Everglades gate at 10:00 am. The lady at the gate said we were too early and that we would have to wait with our luggage for a few hours before they even let us in. As we drove up to where the Carnival Legend was we proceeded to take our luggage out of the back and I was planning on waiting for my husband as he parked the car. Right then a Porter came and said he could take our luggage to the ship...We were both in shock....My husband parked and came back and we then went into the building. It took only a couple of minutes before the Carnivalrepresentative checked all of our information. We then took a seat and waited until they let us in. That took about 45 minutes. It couldn't have been easier!
Once on the ship I immediately noticed the dark and low ceilings as we approached the elevators. My first thought was an Asian feel to the design. As we got on the elevator I noticed it was very narrow...All of us were going to the "Lido" deck where the Buffet was being served. The food was served in 4 different stations. One was Asian food..the other was a Pizza Station....another was a deli station where there were sandwiches...and the main one was American with meat, potatoes and veg's. Throughout my stay on the legend the only vegetable I ever saw at the Unicorn Cafe was zucchini. The breakfast everyone morning was the same for 8 days. Eggs, bacon, pancakes, sausage, french toast (sometimes) hash browns. The drinks for everyone was apple juice,lemonade, tea, coffee. The deserts not only had NO taste but NO sugar in them...I am a sweets addict and for me not to eat them they had to be bad (and they were)
The food in the Dining Room was a step up but not by much. The dishes were extremely small. There were many nights where my husband left still hungry. The only bread that was served was french bread or rolls. They were brought around (not left on your table) Thanksgiving night it was formal night so my husband and I not bringing any formal wear had to eat at the Unicorn Cafe....Once again I was disappointed. They had Turkey, gravy, Yams, zucchini roasted in garlic and a small bowl of cranberry sauce. For desert they had apple pie and this yellow cake with a vanilla sauce you could pour over it....I WAS ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTED WITH THIS MEAL!! They didn't even have mashed potatoes or stuffing. It was the worst Thanksgiving I had ever had. I told my husband that we needed to go the the Dining Room for Breakfast and Lunches. They were somewhat better...
The cabin was probably the one good thing about this ship. It was plenty big and the shower head in the bathroom was great. This was our first Balcony and we absolutely loved it.
I went to a couple of "teas" and enjoyed myself. Now that was where I could give my taste buds something to talk about....the small sandwiches and deserts were very good.....
I also enjoyed all of the activities. The arts and crafts were fun...the art auction was great. I walked away with 3 free prints. Everyone who registered got a free print valued at $100. No need to even bid on paintings.
My last comment is this: Would I go on another Carnival? Probably not because food on a ship is important to me as I'm sure with alot of people. We prefer Royal Caribbean as their ships are not only beautiful but the food is much better...along with the Entertainment. Though the food wasn't up to Par we still had a good time...We met alot of nice people.