We just got back from the Oct. 4th 2005 sailing to the Eastern Caribbean out of NYC on the Carnival Legend. We were celebrating our anniversary. We have been on RC once and Princess twice. I do not think there is such a thing as a "bad vacation", however you can have "better than others".
Overall, we had a good time. Embarkation was long, but I had prepared by reading other reviews and knowing what we were in for. Long lines of people waiting and waiting.. but very organized in my opinion.
I have read other reviews of this ship and its itinerary and agree with and disagree a lot of things. Such as, I think the ship's decor is in sync with it's name. I have read about the urn's all over the place and how there are too many and weird. It is the "Legend" and I for one did not spend too much time dwelling on it.
I do agree that the people at the purser's desk were incredibly rude. The excursion desk staff were absolutely awful to deal with. I asked a couple of questions about specifics of some of the excursions and literally received answers like "how should I know?" It was like "Do you want these tickets or not? You are wasting my time" sort of thing. It was a tall blonde attractive girl (so watch out)!
Most of the food was fantastic. The waiter (Jesus) and his assistant were wonderful. He sang for us twice, and his voice is like cutting into room temp butter with a warm knife. (That's the best way to describe it)! He remembers your name and what you like with everything! We did dine in the supper club one night and it was very good, however I spent that night and next day in bed (I think it was bad lobster).
The itinerary could have eliminated San Juan (dirty, scary, and the stores closed at 6-7pm). St. Thomas is dirty as well, although there are some beautiful beaches and lovely sights. Do not go on the shopping/beach tour. Do this on your own. A total waste of $$, trust me. We did the Lambert beach getaway. WOW what an experience! The trip to the beach is an absolute adventure. If you like high adventure, take this trip. Words cannot explain the ride alone. The beach is gorgeous. There were only about 30-40 people on this private beach. To me, it is worth the $$.
It is true that there are not that many things to do on this ship. We found ourselves saying "what do you want to do" a lot. The casino is great.. It seems to pay out more than your average casino.. The pools are very small.. We did find the top deck that is for adults only (topless) but we were the only ones up there for the last two days of the cruise.
The room steward was terrible, I think he must have been new. I had asked for ice and did not receive it a lot, the glasses were not just dusty, but dust was hanging from the rims, We asked for the minibar to be opened and it took 2 days to do, and so many other little annoyances like that and when they add up, you do not forget them. The cruise director (Brett) does try his best for his company. I do believe that he tries to make people happy. He is a fantastic magician. Yes he does hard selling on some things, but that is a part of his job... do not forget this. His assistant Tory tries too, however she was showing her frustration a lot (especially during disembarking the ship. She was rolling her eyes at people and heavy sighing placing her hands on her hips when people were confused). I absolutely understand being frustrated at people when they just do not have a clue, but she needs to remember to keep it to herself as she does work as an assistant cruise director of Carnival'S Legend... one of the "fun ships". This is acceptable for a clerk on a grocery line, but not for this.
Oh yeah, take pictures yourselves and ask fellow cruise mates to take some for you because Carnival (and other cruise lines as well) rip you off with the pictures they take. Some do turn out quite nice, but you can get nice ones too. I do like the fact that the cabins have an ample amount of drawer and closet space.
The best part of the vacation is being able to sit out on the private balcony (which we were fortunate to have) and just watch the ocean go by in peace. The worst thing was the bed. Absolutely disgraceful! I wouldn't let a dog sleep on it. It was that bad. It was like sleeping on lumpy concrete. My husband and I are in shape and we felt like were 100 years old every day.
Like I said though, overall we had a good time. Will we sail on Carnival again? No, but it seems good for people who have families. (FYI.. I am 36 and a registered nurse. My husband is 50 and in medical sales).