So, this was my first cruise, and through 2 weeks over torture, I decided on the Legend. I won't lie, I chose her because she was the cheapest 7-day west caribbean cruise I had found at the time.
After booking I had read a ton about what to expect, and to be honest, there was a lot that was not immediately available that I think should be, so I will mention it here.
I stayed at a little dumpy hotel by the fairgrounds called the masters inn. I had booked a rental through enterprise, for about the same as cab fare from the airport to the ship. Drove all over Tampa, great city, really loved it. the hotel, was exactly what I expected, clean enough to sleep in. The staff there, were warm, and friendly people, but lets face it, the place is behind a Wendy's, off MLK way.
we got to the terminal at about 10am, the porters were just about done with the people getting off the ship, so I handed the bags to one, gave him a dollar.....he actually complained about the dollar.....which I had to laugh about, considering he had to roll it 20 feet, and put it in a bin.
I was not completely ready for how little common space there is on the ship. I wandered around for about 2 hours, and saw all teh common areas, before I found a seat on lido deck, and awaited entry into my own cabin.
Drinks are stupid expensive on board. we had planned for a certain amount of a tab, but once we saw the pricing, we knew that budget was going to falter by the next day.
I chose 4133 for our room. it was a good price, had doors that opened, and we could see between the lifeboats very well. I found that there was not a lot of breeze with the door open, but the sounds of the waves at night were fantastic to sleep to.
For 2 people, the cabin was comfortable, I think 4 would be doable, but it would require schedules for the bathroom, and extreme tetris abilities for the luggage.
Food at the buffet's was basically hospital food with some salt. Food in the main dining was slightly better, but displayed and served in a much better atmosphere. I would say it was at least as good as a $15-20 plate at any restaurant at home.
The pools are a joke. They are tiny, and have a dated look to them. Filled with salt water and wrapped with metal......so there are rust spots everywhere.
the hot tub sits above the pool, and unless your sitting in it, looks silly.
the putting course is small, but, lets face it, your on a ship.
The water slide needs to be removed, or redirected into the kiddie pool.
The shows, and entertainment were not as expected. We had 2 productions, a talent show, and some little game stuff poking around here and there.
Most of the entertainment listed was geared towards the ship making more money off of you.
The comedy club was awesome, but if you wanted to get in, you would have to wait in a super long line for an hour, and even then it was not a sure thing.
In cozumel I bought a bottle of wine, because i was told we could bring 2 bottles on board....it got confiscated.....I guess you can only bring it on the first day. so at that point I decided that since they took the wine, I would not spend another penny on drinks, and I didn't.
I think I was just not prepared for how much the ship tried to pry your wallet open at every turn. It wasn't until I learned how to avoid ship bar staff, and camera folks, and sales staff, that I started to figure out how to relax.....thankfully.....I found.......
It was simply the best spot on the boat for me to be outside. away from cameras, away from pushy bar staff, away from loud announcements about bingo, jewelry sales, or $95 ship tours.....I could actually just sit in a comfy wicker ca coon, and enjoy the view. It has it's own bar, which if you want a drink, you can wave at someone, or walk up to it.
So I know I spent all this time being negative, but once I did figure out how to avoid the ships attempts at making me buy useless stuff, I really loved it. I loved waking up in a new place every morning. I did enjoy snacking all day, instead of eating real meals. I loved strolling outside on deck 3, or laying in a hammock on serenity at night, with a moon over me. That stuff was priceless.
The normal staff, I can't give those folks enough credit, they worked their asses off to please me. If I was sick of somebody asking if I needed a bucket of beer, I was equally pleased with the blond girl at truffles, walking up behind me, as I am just staring out the window to say "you don't look like your having a very good cruise, what can we do to help?" Or my room staff having a good sense of humor, and open conversation. Kamen the waiter was a great guy, kept it fun, and lively.
Yeah I would definitely cruise again, but I will not choose the legend, and will seriously consider a different cruise line next time.
I thought the idea of a cruise, was to pay up front and not have to deal with anything but getting down to your vacation....
Carnival needs to rethink their business model. and overhaul the legend.