Before I get into gripes, let me first say that the staff on the Carnival Legend no doubt has an incredible difficult job and they do it well. The staff (especially the entertainment staff) was always running but was good at interacting with guests and providing entertainment.
That said, this ship is a dump, the crew can't control the passengers, and Carnival is cutting costs as fast as they can. Don't get me wrong, I get that Carnival is a discount line and that our expectations should've been low, but this is ridiculous. There is a major difference between a low cost experience and a cruise line being too cheap to keep up their ship.
The Carnival Legend looks like it has been through a beating and like Carnival has no continuing interest in keeping it up. Our balcony door had a bad air leak and was whistling the entire trip. Nothing my wife or I could do seemed to help that. Additionally, all the cloth surfaces (bed linens, curtains, carpet, couch) were badly stained and ripped. In addition to this, the lampshade was nearly destroyed (and wouldn't stay on the lamp) and the balcony was covered in paint. It felt like we were staying in a motel that is just a few years from being knocked down. I've heard that the Legend is moving to Italy next year so its possible that Carnival is trying to milk out the last few pennies from the ship without doing any maintenance.
Outside of our cabin, the walls in the hallways were scratched and often missing wallpaper, the elevators all had graffiti on the doors, some doors to the outside didn't work and it is apparent that the ship is in an advancing state of disrepair. Also, the 2nd and 3rd decks (promenade+shops+dining) were inundated with a heavy smoke smell. I don't blame smokers for this, I blame a cheap cruise line refusing to maintain adequate ventilation. You could smell smoke a floor up and at the far end of the ship from the nearest smoking area. That is ridiculous!
I'd say this restroom sign with the title "Gentlement" pretty much sums up how interested Carnival is in getting this ship in good shape: http://imgur.com/fVzJr
I'll keep this short if I can. I'm no class warrior, I'm not a stickler for formalities and I understand that Carnival has greatly relaxed their dress code in the dining rooms during dinner. (At least since our last cruise with them in 2006) Although my wife and I were surprised the first night that shorts/jeans/tshirts are now acceptable attire, we weren't upset. I'm a fairly casual person and feel that this is a reasonable change. However, these changes have apparently inspired people to totally ignore the new standards and wear whatever they have on. I saw men in sleveless shirts, people wearing flip flops, and a WHOLE FAMILY of people wearing jeans and t-shirts on the supposed "formal night".
This seems to be a symptom of the fact that the crew has given up trying to maintain any semblance of crowd control on their vessel. As an example of this, I watched the head of the comedy club stand there for 5 minutes yelling at people to take one door rather than walking to doors in question and politely directing people where to go.
Carnival is the line of "fun ships", I get it. As the assistant cruise director said, its basically "Vegas on the ocean". but if the crew doesn't have at least some basic level of control, things will further get out of hand until something really bad happens.
Carnival is really cutting costs, that is undeniable. The fact that costs are being severely cut is apparent in places like the Lido deck, where most of the food lines are open for about 2 hours a day for lunch and not at all for dinner. For me, part of the fun of going on a cruise is trying different types of food even when you are in the casual setting of the Lido deck. This is apparently a thing of the past, as is the midnight buffet and much of the charm of eating on a cruise ship.
Carnival's cheapness also extends to the general shorthanded nature of the staffing. Our waiter in the dining room was always slammed and didn't have an assistant. The housekeeping staff would wake us up as they had to start cleaning our hall at 7am in order to get done in time. All non-revenue areas (areas where you didn't have to pay additional money for service) seemed to be running at about half staff of our previous cruises. These problems alone wouldn't irritate me but when combined with the poor nature of the rest of the cruise, they really pushed me over the edge.