We cruised out of Tampa on the Carnival Legend on January 4th, 2014. We have cruised the Pride, Spirit, and Miracle and after hearing the Legend will be moving to Australia we wanted to cruise on the last Spirit class ship so we booked this cruise.
We are 64 and 59 – Platinum cruisers on Carnival and Princess. Our previous two cruises were a 12-day Mediterranean cruise on the Ruby Princess during November and a 15 Day Panama Canal/repositioning cruise on the Carnival Miracle during March.
We flew into Tampa from Kansas City the day before the cruise. The Tampa airport is a great airport. Taxi fare is a flat rate of $25 to the downtown area. We spent the night at the Marriott Waterfront which is a nice, full-service hotel. We ate all our meals there and thought the food was very good. The lobby and patio area by the marina are great places to relax. Our room was very clean and comfortable. Our balcony overlooked the Tampa Times Forum parking lot so we watched the elephants and other animals from the circus that was in town.
It is only a short 10-minute walk to the cruise terminals. There are lots of shops and restaurants there was well as the Tampa Aquarium – lots to do there. We left the hotel at noon and took a taxi to the cruise terminal. It is a flat rate of $3 per person in the downtown area.
The embarkation process at Tampa was amazing. We were on the ship within 12 minutes. This was our first embarkation where I’ve felt Platinum cruisers were really treated special. There was a separate clearly marked entry point and we received our sign and sail cards in a separate room while seated. Well done Carnival.
Our cabin was 5124 – an extended balcony located forward on the upper deck. All our cruises on Spirit class ships have been in this area. This was the first time where music from the theater disturbed us. It seemed really loud. We can understand the evening shows but rehearsals during the afternoons interrupted my naps.
Our cabin steward was Michael. He and his helpers cleaned our room first thing every morning.
This cruise had four scheduled stops – Cozumel, Belize, Isla Roatan, and Grand Cayman. The first sea day it was rainy and overcast and the bad weather continued until our stop at Grand Cayman. Our tours to Mayan ruins at Cozumel (Coba) and Xunantich at Belize were both cancelled. We were able to substitute Altun Ha at Belize, but just walked into town at Cozumel during a driving rain and wind storm. The ship was unable to dock at Isla Roatan which was probably okay because it was very stormy there. We had planned on spending the day at Cayman on the beach but decided at the last minute to book the Atlantis submarine excursion. A submarine ride is something we never dreamed we’d do and it was a great experience. The submarine went to a depth of 110 feet and lasted about one hour. It gave us a fascinating view of the wall there at the Caymans where the ocean depth plunges from 100 feet to several thousand. The weather at Grand Cayman was beautiful as well as the final day of the cruise which was a sea day.
We thought all our meals in the main dining room and the Golden Fleece (steakhouse) were excellent. Our breakfasts and lunches in the buffet were very good and the buffet never seemed crowded. Our waiters were good – service seemed slow in the beginning but picked up during the cruise.
There were a lot more young people on this cruise than I expected.
We enjoyed the musical production shows on this cruise and especially enjoyed the band that played in the lounge outside the main dining room. They were very entertaining. I believe the band’s name was Music Highlights. There was a magic show very similar to the Kevin and Caruso show which we enjoyed but the music was distracting.
Debarkation went very quickly for us. Platinum cruisers met in Satchmo’s lounge and when they called us about 930am we were off the ship and on the Carnival transfer bus in 15-20 minutes. We were very impressed with Carnival’s terminal operations at Tampa.
We were disappointed the weather didn’t work out for us – this is only the second cruise out of 25+ where the weather wasn’t great. However it was -10 degrees in Kansas while we were on this cruise. We enjoyed ourselves – primarily because everything on board the ship was great. All the crew members we met were friendly and courteous. And even though it was rainy, it was warm.
Of the four Spirit class ships, we like the décor of the Legend the best.
Our next planned cruise is on the Pride out of Tampa in November.