Legend of the Seas Cruise Review by PawlingCruiser: Enjoyable cruise on Legend of the Seas - with some caveats
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Enjoyable cruise on Legend of the Seas - with some caveats
Destination: Southern Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
This was our fourth cruise in total, our third on a Royal Caribbean ship and our longest to date. Having a full 11 days on the Legend of the Seas was a nice luxury that we probably won't have again anytime soon, given our work schedules and money considerations. The Legend is easily the smallest (and oldest) of the ships we have been on. My brother in law, who did the backstage tour, was told that RC hope to get another two years out of the ship following the recent dry dock and then will probably sell the ship off to make way for a more modern vessel with additional amenities.
The smaller ship size has some advantages. It's easier to find your way around quickly and check-in is somewhat less of a zoo. But the drawbacks of being on a 2,000 guest ship far outweigh the advantages when you are traveling with kids, as we were (son, 11 and daughter, 13). Our kids immediately went to check out the pool and youth areas after we boarded and were disappointed in the lack of space and More lack of activities. With just a single, smaller pool for the kids, no H20 Zone or similar area, no ice rink or sports court, and a video arcade the size of a closet, there is simply less for children to do on sea days, and the pool was overcrowded to say the least.
There is also less to do for adults. The cramped single-level Centrum shopping arcade in nowhere you would want to spend time, and there are just a few bars and lounges scattered around the ship. The cramped Schooner Bar is unfortunately located just outside the smoky casino, and traffic through that area only adds to the congestion. Since the Schooner is home to most of the trivia contests it makes for a very chaotic atmosphere, and the R Bar in the Centrum isn't much better. We did like the refurbished and low-key Viking Crown Lounge at night, but it turns into a disco after 11:15. The more spacious Anchors Aweigh Lounge above the That's Entertainment Theater seemed to be used mostly for bingo, karaoke and special events. On the few occasions we did visit - i.e. progressive trivia - we were thankful for the added space between tables.
On the plus side, the entertainment on this voyage was of a pretty consistently high standard, with a great Motown night, a fantastic juggler, several good comedians, Argentinian acrobats, and even a ventriloquist act that my daughter especially liked. In addition, despite some spotty service on day one, we were very pleased with the overall quality of the food - the seafood being especially good. I don't know if it's the smaller staff or more junior employees, but I did feel at times that the highly attentive service we had on other ships was somewhat lacking on this one. The dining room also seemed cramped, and the staff was loathe to give our group its own table at lunch and breakfast. Once they sat four of us with a Croatian (?) family with kids who didn't speak a word of English (or didn't want to), but did allow their son to slam his Thomas the Tank Engine trains on the table repeatedly. Our wine steward Kasim was awesome, even if they managed to screw up our wine package, which took some untangling. One other gripe - no bar on the ship makes coffee drinks, something we usually enjoy after dinner. Maybe it's the Asian heritage of the ship showing through but that's something they should correct.
Since this was a holiday cruise the ship was decorated accordingly and they did have some special menus for Christmas and New Year's Eve. Santa also gave our presents to the kids on Christmas morning. The cruise director Keith Williams and activities director Gio did a nice job of keeping everything festive and informing us of activities around the ship. Captain Nordmo did a Q&A and a few other events around the ship, but wasn't especially active, something that doesn't really bother me. He has a more important job to do than schmooze with guests. They had some excellent enrichment lectures on the Caribbean by Professor Deaton, formerly of the Georgia State University system, that provided valuable context on the region, especially his talk on Grenada.
Overall, it was a very nice vessel but not one I would choose to sail on again if given an option. It just feels too cramped in the age of super ships. We also noticed a bit more pitching and rolling than we had on previous ships, which was also probably a factor of age/stabilizer technology. We chose the cruise based largely on the itinerary and timing, so in the end were very happy even if the ship wasn't anything exceptional.
Of the ports of call, I liked sleepy Bonaire and Grenada (!) best. Aruba was just not my thing - too dusty and hot. We had a nice beach day in Barbados at Accra Beach and enjoyed going over to Falmouth Bay on Antigua (St. Johns is a crowded, loud mess). St. Maarten is what it is - a shopper's dream. We did a bit of store hopping then went to Chez Delphine, a nice little waterside cafe, for lunch. Less
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Cabin review: 2518
Our stateroom was on level two, with an ocean view. We were able to get adjoining rooms with the one occupied by my son and brother in law, which was helpful. Nothing to write home about here. The shower curtain is of the old, cling to your body style. There was a new flatscreen TV but everything else was a bit dated. We also noted a slightly funky, musty smell in the hallway and our toilet backed up once, but was quickly fixed. I really don't get all that turned on by staterooms, since I don't go on cruises to sleep or watch TV, but it was fine for what we needed. No issues with excessive noise.
We enjoyed everything we did.
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