We are two experienced cruisers (DH, 62 and me, 59) and this was our 9th cruise. We enjoy cruising in the fall because the rates are usually more affordable and there are fewer youngsters onboard (Don't get me wrong -- we love kids, just not when they are running up and down the corridor and on the Lido Deck.) We like the smaller to midsize ships, and since we now live in the Tampa area, we like to be able to just drive to the cruise port. These are all the reasons why we chose this cruise and this ship. We purchased Faster to the Fun for this cruise, and it was a great deal! We were on the ship within 15" of the start of boarding, and were able to go directly to our cabin -- no schlepping luggage through the Lido buffet! It also meant that our checked bags were the first to be delivered to cabins, so we had all of our clothes within an hour of boarding. FTTF also entitled us to priority tendering and use of the Platinum line at Guest Services, both benefits we used.
We loved More
the Legend and found it to be the perfect size and easy to navigate. Our only real complaint about the actual layout is that the casino is situated smack-dab in the middle of the Promenade Deck, forcing you to circumnavigate it and overdose on secondhand smoke in order to get to the Truffles Dining Room, which is far aft. Seriously, the smoke is so bad, that you can smell it all up and down from one end of the deck to the other. Yech!
Our cabin was a 4K, unique to the Spirit Class chips, It has a French door that opens, but there is not a balcony, and you cannot step out because the lifeboats are there. We knew going in that we probably wouldn't have a view, since the only such cabins with a view are those situated between the lifeboats. But the price is that of an interior, and yet the room is a little larger with a couch; overall a great bargain.
The Legend has an awesome adults-only, quiet, serenity deck which is far aft on Lido Deck, and inlcudes a bar and a pool. When we were lucky enough to score loungers, it was heaven! It does fill up fast, though, forcing us on a couple of occasions to hang out by one of the other pools. A pool is a pool, right? The only downside is that the other 2 pools have canned music and once the "DJ" gets there around 11, they crank the volume of the music up to an ear-bleeding volume! The demographic on this sailing was more mature, so everyone was complainng about the loud, loud, LOUD volume.
Entertainment was bascially good. The big stage shows were entertaining, but were repeats of what we saw on the Freedom last November. The comedians were all very funny, and the lounges where they performed were always packed, expecially for the late night adult-only shows. We didn't avail ourselves of many of the entertainment options -- Bingo, dance lessons, movies, etc -- just not our thing. We did do trivia for the first time one rainy morning, and that was fun.
We chose late dining in the Truffles Dining Room, and as always, had a great time. The food was generally excellent with only one "miss" for us. We always enjoy the variety of choices and the opportunity to try new things. Our wait team was terrfic, and service was impeccable. We bought a 5-bottle wine package, the mid-level or "deluxe" one, which came to $153 after including the gratuity. The bottles we chose were all very good. ON the flip side, food in the Lido buffet was under-whelming, and at breakfast it was downright dismal; watery grainy scrambled "feggs" (fake eggs), grits that tasted like wallpaper paste, nearly-raw bacon. We tried to eat breakfast or brunch in the MDR as much as possible, where the food was better. The specialty options on Lido (deli, pizza, grill) were all good -- I actually had the best Reuben I've ever had at the deli! Bar service was great, per usual, and we found our favorite bartenders were at the Serenity bar and the Atlantis bar, adjacent to the MDR. We did the martini-tasting on a rainy afternoon, and had a lot of fun with it!
The ports were great for the most part: always love Cozumel and Grand Cayman; first time to Roatan and had a wonderful tour and day; did not leave the ship in Belize -- pouring rain, long tender, so we just weren't feeling it.
Disembarkation was slow for whatever reason, but through no fault of Carnival -- we waited quite a while for Customs and Immigration clearance. Once we were cleared, it was very well-organized, and we breezed through Customs.
Tremendous value -- an interior at an interior price, yet there is a French door that opens to let in light and fresh air. There is no balcony, however, and you can't exit the door since the lifeboats are right there. If you are lucky enough to pick a cabin between the lifeboats you even have a little bit of a view. the room itslef is a little bigger than the typical interior and there is a couch which is awesome.