Carnival Legend Cruise Review by BarnyardCruising: OK for a bargain cruise. Would not sail Carnival again.
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OK for a bargain cruise. Would not sail Carnival again.
We booked this particular cruise because it fit the schedule and budget of everyone in our extended family. After spending nearly a year haunting these forums, I expected the Legend's Western Caribbean trip to be OK on some things and kinda crappy on others. And that's just about where it landed.
Embarkation: Arrived around noon, walked through the line, got on the ship. Quick and painless.
Cabin: Balcony room, mid-ship. Very clean, nice sized, well appointed. Everything worked, bed was comfortable enough.
Food: MDR was horrible. H o r r i b l e. I wasn't expecting much, but hoped at least that it'd be edible. Meal after meal was cold, the lobster was so rubbery it was difficult to cut even with a knife. (Heck, though everyone was looking forward to the lobster tails, no one ordered a second.) Dishes were overcooked and over-salted. My expectations were pretty low to start with, but food just stunk. Oh and hey, how about not sending a waiter by every 5 minutes More with tray of shots to sell? The waiter would just stand there pathetically mumbling at us about the "drink of the day" until every single person said "no thanks." Multiple times a meal. Obnoxious.
Buffet options were basic, but better than the MDR. At least I could concoct a decent salad, try a few hot dishes till I found something worth eating. Unfortunately they only opened some of the stations for the evening service, so your choices were somewhat limited. Also, they could stand to back off on the dressings. Some things were drowning.
To be fair, others in my family thought the MDR was OK for breakfast. But the only positives they had to say about MDR for dinner was that they enjoyed the cold soups and preferred to be waited on versus serving themselves.
Steakhouse: The steakhouse and MDR were like night and day. It's worth every penny of the $35 up-charge to eat at the steakhouse. We went multiple times after suffering through the MDR the first three nights. The quality is very good from appetizers through dessert. Steaks are prepared perfectly to order, cocktails are delicious and the waitstaff was genuinely knowledgeable and fun. And it's a LOT of food. Skip the wine though, it's an overpriced list of mediocre wines. We brought our own bottles on two nights and just paid the corkage fee.
For some folks in our family $35 is a lot to spend per person on a meal. And it pained them to think of all the "free" food just downstairs. But after one meal up there, everyone agreed to pay it again!
Service: Hit or miss. Our cabin guy was only OK. Knew our names, but was hardly around and we continually had to call for ice. Others were much friendlier. Bar tenders were hit and miss as well. Some were friendly, others were more interested in talking amongst themselves than taking your order. Few could make a cocktail not on the ship drink list. Even when you spelled it out for them. ATD waitstaff added nothing to the meal experience.
Ship: Dated but clean. Yes, there was some graffiti scrubbed out in a couple of the elevators, but otherwise nothing to complain about. We didn't have problems with CHOGS at the Serenity pool, never had to wait that long for a chair. Arcade would have been a fun place to spend a few hours, but every game ate quarters! Two tokens to play really meant three or four. Lame.
Gym: Great!! Aside from needing a few fans to move the air around a little, the gym was great. Lots of clean, newer cardio machines. Free weights and circuit weights. Not bad at all.
Entertainment: Caught a couple of shows and several comedy acts. Shows were OK, comedy was pretty good. The real bummer is that over half of the listed events were to set up to sell you something.
Behind the Scenes Tour: We surprised my parents with this and they had a GREAT time. It's over three hours and takes you through the food prep, laundry, the bridge, engine control and so on. It includes Carnival hats, a tote, plate of sweets sent to your room from the chef and several full-sized photos. They learned a ton and really loved it.
Ports of call: Maybe OK if it's your first time out of the country, but pretty touristy and not that interesting. We did non-Carnival excursions at each port. Nothing too unique, but easy and fun.
All in all, it was exactly as I suspected... unremarkable, but better than a sharp poke in the eye. It was warm and sunny and we weren't at work. We had a lot of fun as a family and that's what counts most. Would I cruise Carnival again? Not likely given the food, the so-so service and constant up-sell pitches. Less
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Cabin review: Carnival Legend Balcony Empress 6231
This cabin was just fine. Super close to the elevators but zero noise from them. Full, unobstructed view. Not very noisy on the balcony because you're not near any public gathering spot. Ample closet space and comfortably sized bathroom.