We just returned from a 7-day Carnival Legend cruise in the Western Caribbean, leaving from Tampa, FL, and stopping in Cozumel, Belize, Roatan, and Grand Cayman. This was my first long cruise, and while the overall experience was good and it was awesome to spend quality time with my family, here are my thoughts on the cruise:
The Good: 1) Nice, clean, larger than expected cabin on the 6th deck, with a great big balcony. Shower pressure & temperature were always excellent. 2) All the excursions (and I did three) were very well organized. Our favorite was the snorkeling trip in Belize -- that gorgeous reef is not to be missed! 3) While the 2 dancing/singing shows we saw were just okay (think community college level), they flew in a guest singer from St. Thomas one night, and he was great! 4) Warm melting chocolate cake w/vanilla ice cream in Truffles -- delicious dessert when it was gooey and not overcooked. 5) Our wait staff in Truffles -- Jose & Boiana were slow to More
warm up, but they were always friendly and efficient.
The Bad: 1) Deli ran out of sauerkraut for reubens by 1:00 pm the day we boarded -- not a great start. And they only had one person working there at that time, the day that absolutely everybody is on board. We also had a problem with the deli later in the cruise, with them running out of cheese, and us standing there 15 minutes waiting "just 1 minute" while they replaced that. 2) Food in general -- both at the buffet, and in Truffles, was mediocre. Essentially banquet food for every meal. We were so excited to eat at a restaurant off the boat one day, just to have something "good". 3) The decor -- think Vegas, but gaudier, if such a thing were possible. 4) Our last "fun day" at sea happened to be torrential rain & winds due to Tropical Storm Debby. You would think that Carnival would have rainy-day, go-to plans, but no, events (like ice sculpting) were cancelled, but nothing fun was scheduled in its place -- would it really have been so hard to open the movie theater, and shown movies all day?
The Ugly: On every bar is a drink menu, showing their featured drinks. My favorite became Twilight Zone -- taken straight from the menu: "Midori melon liqueur, Appleton rum and Blue Curacoa with coconut cream and crushed pineapple". And yet -- every bartender in there insisted on making it with WELL (aka no-name) alcohol. I even had one bartender LIE to me directly, when I told him that I didn't see him put Appleton in it, waving at the well bottle he had just poured from. It was only when I told a bartender before the drink was even made that I wanted it specifically with Appleton & with Midori that it would actually be made that way. In fact, a bartender had to break out a brand new bottle of Midori -- I guess because all they ever do is serve the cheap stuff. Really, Carnival? Is this how you cut costs by cheating your customers? Do you really believe that people can't tell the difference between rot gut well booze, and top shelf? I challenge you to try a Twilight Zone both ways, and then let's talk about that nasty aftertaste left in your mouth after the cheap one.
I hope this was helpful to you all from a first-timer! Less
Cabin was roomy and clean. Television stopped working after the 2nd day, and we wrote a message to our steward, who threw the note away and did nothing. So we called Guest Services, and they had someone who came and replaced it that night. They didn't bother to dust off the 2" coating of dust on the replacement TV however. Thankfully, the maid service did that the next day. Balcony was way larger than I expected w/2 chairs and side table. Balcony was even cleaned mid-way through the trip. Plenty of clothes storage area in the closet and drawers for 2 people. Humidity was so high unfortunately that bathing suits never dried all the way. Shower pressure & temperature were consistently great.
This was our favorite excursion. We went snorkeling here on the amazing reef. The company hired to do this was excellent - one of their employees talked to us about the history of the island, and went around our dive boat showing the local money. When we reached the diving area, our group was split into smaller groups of 8 or so, with our own dive guide and we all started from different areas of the reef, so our group didn't collide with other groups. Equipment was good (fins my size and mask didn't leak), and our guide pointed out interesting things to us underwater.
The boat ride from the ship to the busses was pretty rough - people actually got sick on the boat. Angel was our guide for the ruins of Coba, and while he was very nice (with the exception of his constant use of Mis Amigos which made him seem disingenuous), it was our consensus that he should have given us more information on the actual ruins we were seeing (what was the building we were actually next to?), instead of droning on about unrelated info, and then speeding us through the actual temple area. There was so much travel time for this trip, the amount of time at the ruins was minimal to start with. Thank goodness this was booked through Carnival, as we were late getting back to the ship. Oh - one final thing - very glad that we didn't buy the cheesy necklace from "poor locals" that Angel pushed the entire time. What a scam!
The stingray swim was fun, if crowded, since lots of boats crowd into this tiny sandbar area. The boat that took us there was clean, and the people were very friendly. They made sure that everybody had a chance to spend time with the rays, and that everyone got their picture taken with them. Our group of 5 bought a CD with 10 pictures on it for $30. Then, back to the busses for a short trip to the turtle farm.
The turtle farm was just okay. I didn't realize that in addition to raising turtles to release, they raised them to EAT also! Ick. First the guide showed us the big turtle tanks. Then we went to the yearling tanks, and anybody in the group that wanted to could hold those little turtles - but the people holding turtles weren't monitored, and I dread to think how many poor creatures were actually dropped over the course of a day. Just made me sad. Afterwards you could swim in their "lagoon" with the turtles. But it grossed me out to be swimming in so much turtle excrement, so we just went and ate lunch in the restaurant there - food was good and spicy, and the servers were friendly. The only down side was that they actually had turtle food dishes on the menu.
We didn't realize that some "excursions" consisted of renting a cabana on the beach, which we probably would have signed up for it. But, we got off the boat easily enough, and found a group of cushioned lounge chairs on the beach all together in partial shade/sun with no problem. I could see that people coming later did not get a good choose of chairs, however. Servers with menus were constantly walking by - we ordered small frozen drinks from Fat Tuesday which were $7.00, a decent enough value, I thought. Water was warm, although there was a ton of sea grass floating in it. Shopped afterwards at their touristy stores - I thought there was a good selection, reasonably priced, and actually picked up some gifts for others (and silver jewelry for myself). Nice relaxing day.