Legend Cruise Review 5/27/12 to 6/3/12
The night before the cruise we stayed at the Chase Suites at Rocky Point. The hotel itself was nice, but if you arrive late there is NO parking, the lady who checked us in told us if we could not find a parking space "just go ahead and park in handicapped parking". Clearly she did not know we have a handicap decal. That really was offensive. I did end up in a handicap space-2 blocks from our room. If your going to offer park and cruise packages, please have adequate space. Sunday, our shuttle was scheduled for 11:30. I ran to pick up some last minute things and while I was gone they called the room and told my daughter the shuttle was running early to be at the front at 11:15. We really raced to get down there only to be told they were already full and to come back at 12:30. The front desk person was very apologetic, even though it wasn't that big of a deal. We just went back to the room, when we arrived back at the shuttle (25 minutes early) it was already there and the driver acted upset that we were "late" it was 12:05. Honestly it was irritating, (mainly because the driver was really rude) but we are pretty easy going so we just wrote it off as cruise day confusion on their part. The return shuttle was much better, even though the original driver told us the wrong place to wait. Not sure if I would stay there again, just based on the awful parking.
Port of Tampa- This is a great port, I was really worried because it really is dead downtown in Tampa. I was so pleased, talk about highly organized and easy to navigate and you must be talking about the port of Tampa. I would not hesitate to cruise out of here again. When we arrived the line was about 15 feet out of the door, from that point until we arrived on the ship was under 30 minutes. CPB was wonderful. We were traveling with TPN (It's in large IV bags, 7 of them, one for each night, plus syringes, pump and other assorted goodies) We are used to a hell of a hard time when traveling. CPB in JAX wanted to take the pump apart with a screwdriver once.... anyhoo Tampa was very sensitive and knowledgeable and made the process very easy. They get a big gold star.
Room Arrival was AMAZING!!! We were in a 4k (obstructed balcony) with french doors, however we were between life boats and it was so nice. I really loved the room. Ronelo was our room steward and he asked our names as we arrived and addressed us by name everytime we saw him. Fabulous service, I miss room 4123, we purchased the birthday decorations for my daughters 18th birthday and it was really cute, the tabletopper was ,missing, but not that big of a deal. I tried to take Ronelo home with me LOL!
The first thing we did after dropping our bags off was head to the Lido to get some lunch (and a funship special) the food on the Lido was typical, but good. This was our 4th cruise and we have had very consistent Lido food. After a couple of drinks and some lunch we ended up going back to the cabin and sleeping for about 5 hours---OPPS, we barely made dinner as we had Your Time Dining, the food wasn't very good, but we thought maybe it was because we were so late.
After dinner we registered my daughter for O2, and wandered around getting familiar with the ship. The Legend is a really cool ship, some people think its over the top, but the myths and legends theme appeals to me. All in all I like the decor and the layout. We went to the welcome aboard show, and it was pretty lame, they usually are, so I didn't really think to much about it. This was the one and only time I actually saw the cruise director Kirk Benning, his assistant does EVERYTHING, he was really nice and just seemed to be everywhere. Asst. director gets a gold star.
Monday-Our first sea day. Seriously this was a bit boring. Generally on Sea days there is a lot going on, trivia, games just a lot to do, I don't know whats going on with this ship, but they schedule all of this stuff on port days WHY???? Carnival people, this may come as a shock, but most people are in port, doing an excursion on port days. The planning on this is exceptionally poor. I had never been bored on a cruise until that day. Overall they need some revamping the schedule.
Dinner was cruise elegant, personally I LOVE cruise elegant. I don't get an opportunity to get dressed up often, so its a treat for me and I love the photo's, so we start early with the captains celebration and just make a fun night of it. On to dinner-we waited in the dining room (after seating) for over 3 hours, the food was ok at best, but nothing was warm. Our service was slow, but they were very nice and worked very hard. I chalked it up to free lobster, (I guess even cold, rubbery lobster has its merits) everyone gets in on that. Even though we went to dinner at 6:30, we missed the 9pm show because of the insanely slow service. We never had a wait to be seated, it was just slow after that. I figured it would be better the next day.
Tuesday- Cozumel, This was the only excursion we booked thru Carnival, we did the Sea Trek Helmet Diving. It was a little strange getting there, we boarded a bus and drove to the Mexican equivalent of a Waffle House, walked thru it, to a little beach area in the back. From there we helmet dove off of a cement pier. It really is a cool excursion, and even though I have ear issues that would prevent me from doing it again I LOVED IT!!! Only complaint was that it was really short, we were done by 10:30, you do get a couple of free drink coupons and honestly they had the best Pina colada I have ever had. So we just hung out, had some nacho's and drinks and chilled. Warning the pictures and video are 55.00, take cash you will be glad you did. After that we just did some shopping and were the last ones back on the ship. We left a bunch of people in Cozumel, so I would suggest getting back on time.
Wednesday-Belize, We went cave tubing and zip lining with VIV tours, we were scheduled at 9:00am. The tendering process in Belize is a nightmare, we were told to be at the Follies lounge at 7:30am, when we got there the staff told us to come back at 9am. I told her that wasn't correct that we were told to come and get a ticket at 7:30, she asked me where I heard that. I explained to her it was on the going ashore information on the TV. (there were about 60 people down there, we didn't all screw up) she then told me they changed everything and we needed to come back???? Anyway we returned at about 8:15, they gave us a ticket and we waited like kindergartners in the Follies Lounge. We made it to our VIV coordinator about 9:15, (we were on the second tender) then we sat on a bus until 10:45 while they tried to round everyone up and drum up business. I am weird about time and this didn't make me happy. Belize is not a country you just want to sit around it. Its so poor that the children there were begging for water, not money- water. It was heartbreaking to see the abject poverty and the begging was endless. It made me so incredibly sad. I finally just sat on the bus so they would stop approaching me (if not I would have ended up giving everything I brought with me, it was so awful I sat on the bus and cried). On to the excursion. cave tubing was AMAZING, the hike is not terrible, it had rained the day before and the trail was muddy. I don't recommend this if you don't have fairly decent stamina, I could see this being rough for some people. Got to the top, (well second to the top) we could not do both caves because we were late (because we sat at the port forever). Cave tubing was beautiful and I really loved it, our guide Fab was very nice and before we knew it we were at the bottom. Time to zip line. The climb between a couple of the 10 platforms was rough, much harder than the hike to cave tube, but it was beautiful and we adored it. In retrospect I think it would have been more enjoyable if we had zip lined in Roatan and not did a combined excursion, but that was inexperience, still loved doing both. We were told the last tender left at 4pm (I know Carnival gives a little play in there) but we didn't leave the cave site until 4:15 (its an hour back to the port) our driver was great, but I didn't feel very safe, we tried to eat our included lunch in a crowded van going 90 mph. I finally just gave up. I think I would book through another company next time (not Carnival, because they are overpriced and book way to many people on every excursion). We got back on the ship at 6pm. I was really scared, thank god 2 Carnival buses broke down. We didn't leave Belize until 8pm. We missed the past guest party, we didn't know until we got back that it was from 5:00 to 5:45. This couldn't have been done on a sea day???? Guess they saved some money on drinks that way. Overall I loved what we did, but I didn't love Belize. I think after cave tubing and the Mayan ruins, I would be done with Belize. On a positive note dinner was a little better tonight, still not great, but we are not going to starve LOL!
Thursday- Roatan, In my opinion this was the best stop (and the shortest) We did a private tour with Victor Bodden and it was FABULOUS! We tailored what we wanted to do to our likes and schedule. We saw beautiful vista's, the monkey farm, the iguana's, the cameo factory, West End Beach and just a general drive through the area. Roatan is exquisite, the people are wonderful and I would fly there just to have more time in this wonderful country. I wish we had the opportunity to go to the Mahagony Bay beach area. Carnival seems to be turning it in to another Half Moon Cay, with private cabana's, and separate services like massages etc... I have no clue why Carnival limits the time in the best ports. Roatan was a huge highlight on the cruise.
After returning we went to look at our elegant night photo's before dinner. This is the part of my review where I lose my mind. These were seriously the worst photo's I have ever seen of us. I am a huge photo fan, seriously our last cruise I spent over a grand on Carnival photo's, needless to say they could not have given me these (horrid poses, bad lighting, shadows a go go). Because we had taken such a large amount of photo's I wanted to look through the various poses and see if anything was even usable. I found a quiet corner (because there is no where to sit and spread the photos out) and spread them over the floor. There were multiple carnival photo people walking around in this area (probably about 4) and we were in a corner with no traffic, just trying to decide if we wanted ANY of the photo's. My daughter took her phone out to check the time and a male carnival photographer rounded the corner and started yelling at my daughter to give him her phone so he could delete all the photos, he totally freaked her out, she is a very shy person anyway and this was totally unacceptable. He was still yelling that she could not take photo's of the photo's (which she was never doing anyway). I showed him the photo's on my daughters phone so he could see she had not done anything but, checked the time, I explained to him the photo's were so awful we were just trying to find something that we could actually show people and not be embarrassed. He told me that before the cruise was over he would have her phone, this guy was a nut. I just gathered up the pictures and went to the desk to talk to the manager. I have never been treated this way on any Carnival cruise. He was beyond rude. The photo manager Ronaldo was very nice. I offered to show him the phone and he said that wasn't necessary. I explained how unhappy I was with the photos and he arranged a shoot with Raquel who was the Dream photographer (this is Carnivals new fine portrait service) She was so sweet and her pictures were AMAZING!!! I spent quite a bit on her photos and they were worth every penny. I really loved Raquel's work, but I will never get over being treated so badly by the nasty photo employee, what he did was just wrong and, I hope they are not just taking crappy pics to get people to use the higher end photographer. The majority of the photo dept gets 0 stars, however Raquel and Ronaldo get 5 stars!!!
Dinner was ok, still not hot, but edible. Both the vegetarian options were selections my daughter didn't really care for. The waiter was so sweet and had the chef to make her a grilled cheese sandwich, (he offered when she just ordered fries) the thought was so sweet, but the cheese was not even melted. I will have to say the soups were really good (and hot) but I am at a loss as to why the Legend can't seem to get the food hot. Again I don't think this is a service issue, the waiters can't serve food that isn't there. Our dinner service was always impeccable. I really tried to give it a fair shake, but in retrospect I wish I had just gone to the Lido every single night. I am not a super picky person, but the food was bland and/or cold all 6 nights.
Friday-Grand Cayman. 2nd most awesome port, but the very best excursion. We booked the Stingray City and Island Tour through Nativeway. This and Victor Bodden were the most professional people that we dealt with. After tendering (much easier than Belize) We were picked up right on time, (small group of 12) and left for the boat portion of the tour in very nice, cool vans. I ended up changing our tour to just the Stingray City, because at that point we were so tired and just wanted a little down time on the beach, they were very sweet and had no problems with us just doing the stingrays (I offered to pay them for the tour and they wouldn't take the money, which was extremely nice). They even offered to drop us off at the beach after the stingrays. We met our boat crew and these guys were so much fun, they were so cool and went out of the way to make it the best excursion we have ever had PERIOD!
All of the guys were wonderful and we had a blast playing with the rays and then snorkeling at a very private location. David Evens the photographer, was so good, for 50 dollars we got a CD with about 60 photos and a video of us feeding the rays. He burned this before we left and gave us a card with all his info and a 3 year guarantee on the CD. After this we had them drop us off at the Royal Palms, where we vegetated on the beach, played in the water and drank pina coladas. We took a taxi back to the port (4.00 a person) and did a little shopping. It was a really superb day. The candy shop at the port is totally adorable the name is It's Sugar and I could have spent forever in there just looking. Cayman is expensive, but loads of fun and I really liked having a full day to enjoy it. The nicest people we met all cruise were on Cayman.
Saturday-sea day, When I told you Monday was the most boring time I have ever had on a cruise. I lied it was really today. My daughter and I really enjoy the trivia and games, silly to some, but we are very fair and burn easily so sun worshiping is not an activity either of us enjoy a great deal, I love to be outside doing something, but just lying in the hot sun doesn't rock my world. Anyhoo. There was a total of 2 trivia games scheduled for all day, one was at 11 and the other at 11:15, the games on the sports deck were also at 11. REALLY? After that nothing, so we just took a nap. Usually having tea on the sea days is a highlight of the cruise, just a little girly, chill time. The food was so awful at tea on the first sea day that we skipped this one, I hated the venue, it was in truffles. Every other time we have been its at a smaller venue or the piano bar and its just very soothing, this was a joke, tables with 10 people, sandwiches that were hard as bricks and very lackluster service, even the tarts were bad. It really wasn't worth the hassle. The nap was more rewarding. I really hate that the activities seem to have very poor planning. I think the poor assistant cruise director is overworked because he is doing the directors job and the staff has no direction. We did have an appt. with Raquel to preview our pics and that was a really great experience, if you get a chance I highly recommend Dream Photography, it was worth every penny. We went to the adult comedy show and Scotty K was a riot. Wish we had got a chance to see more than we did (thank you 3 hour dinners). Did see the Carnival Legends show, which was basically the on board talent show and the people who participated were really good.
In conclusion, I would love to do this itinerary again-on a different ship. We had a great time at the ports, we look back and laugh at Belize (because we did make it back to the ship). The direct customer service was exceptional, those people work so hard and I am very appreciative of the excellent job they do, its got to be tough. The negatives were deal breakers for me. Screaming at my child is not ever going to be acceptable, this man freaked her out so badly, she was in tears, this was her graduation cruise, if not for her we would not have even been there, no one deserves to be treated like that, I just can't forgive that. I gave the food situation the benefit of the doubt and they disappointed me repeatedly. We paid for stateroom decorations that were incomplete, I asked guest services for the tabletopper to take home, they could not locate the person in charge of this, so I told them I would just check back, when I did they told me they were out and they weren't doing any refunds. EXCUSE ME I didn't want a refund I just wanted what I paid for, but I just let it go, it wasn't worth the hassle to me. The good things were excellent and the bad things horrible. We are fairly laid back people, but I don't appreciate anyone treating me like I am a thief or that I am trying to get something for nothing,until someone at Carnival steps in and fixes the food and photo situations I would not get back on the Legend. I had a wonderful time, because I got to spend an uninterrupted 7 days with my baby and that's priceless, but Carnival needs some mystery shopper type services on their cruises so they can figure out what is not working and get it fixed.