This was our 1st RC cruise, although we’ve been on Princess and several Carnival cruises for comparison. We were looking for a little more quiet than the typical Carnival “fun ship” and Legend delivered there. Our trip was 11 days across two work-weeks and I think that reduced the non-retired cruise attendance. We’re both in our early 50’s and while there were a scattering of non-retirees on board I’ll joke that most of those were there with their parents :-). I think the rock wall staff told me there were 10 on board between 6yand 16y and I’d honestly estimate the average age on board was 73-75.
Itinerary and schedule was excellent. A couple days cruising, 5 ports of call, and cruise, port, cruise days on the return. Ports were excellent: Aruba, Bonaire, Grenada, Barbados, St. Lucia, Labadee. Schedule felt complete without feeling long nor short to us, although a couple of stops were unusually brief (Bonaire was 7:00am to 2:00pm, for example). LOVED the format!
The ship was much smaller than we are accustomed to. We’ve never been on the super-size ships but have multiple prior cruises on panamax-size vessels. On Legend the pool separates the fore-aft stairwells to give a sense for size. Even though we had very calm seas throughout you could feel additional motion with the smaller ship. I’m unaware of anyone feeling uncomfortable due to motion, however, and never felt uncomfortable, even in interior room. Ship was clean and well kept, but you could feel its age. The staff was drying carpets for two days in our hallway (reason unknown, but there was a musty smell) and the main pool filled with some kind of deep-orange something that necessitated a draining and cleaning on the last at-sea day. I’ve seen complaints from other posters that the service was sub-standard but we NEVER felt that. We expect first class service from everyone on a cruise and we’ve always experienced it. The Legend staff, across the board, didn’t miss a beat. Ships pluses: sufficient deck space at sea for lounging, a more intimate feeling with guests and staff, few lines or crowds. Minuses: Not many choices. There is one major activity at a time, no shows at multiple locations, limited food options.
Had an interior room. We’re accustomed to balconies on warm-water cruises but the cost was an additional $1K in this instance and we just couldn’t justify that. We weren’t disappointed. The room was small (it IS a cruise ship) but never felt too small, even over 11 days! I was impressed by the room layout making the most of space. Closet was divided and had racks to maximize space. Plenty of drawers. Swinging TV for easier viewing. Mirrors expanded the feeling of depth… No complaints.
Dining was “disappointing”. We had Anytime Dining because the 6:00 main dining room filled almost immediately (likely due to average age) but booking 6:00 reservations across the cruise was no problem. We could have asked for private tables but thoroughly enjoyed mixing with other tables each night. Our two nights at “private” tables were disappointing: 1st was like a long table, but each pair was “separated” by about a 2” gap. Felt more like the family Thanksgiving table than a dinner alone. 2nd was an oddly lower table that required bending over to eat. Almost as low as the table in your lap. That was difficult in a tuxedo. Most dinner meals were excellent, and serving sizes abundant, although choices were surprisingly limited. Red meat was a crapshoot. First two nights medium rare was spot-on and tasty. After that it was always cooked well-done or medium regardless of how it was asked for. Sent two steaks back and both came back “medium” versus well, but not medium rare as requested (and offered). Wait staff was excellent and attentive, but every night was slow. Getting there at 6 got you out around 7:30-7:45 It felt like the staff was short a team or two and was stretched too thin. Prior reviews have also noted the slow dining.
We never did breakfast or lunch in the dining room. The Windjammer breakfasts were typical and solid, with an omelet bar and an excellent range of buffet-style choices. Hard to mess up breakfast. Lunches were more disappointing. There was always a pan of some hot buffet-style mix (curry chicken, mongolian beef…), a pasta-sauce combo, and salad fix’ns but burgers/dogs and thin deli sandwich were pre-made en-masse and every day fare. The desserts looked and tasted like something you’d see at a typical Chinese buffet. We’re used to made-to-order deli sandwiches, hot ethnic choices or off the grill burgers/dogs. Everything here felt sub-standard. A couple of times we tried a late-night snack but Park Grill was only thing open. You could get a burger/dog, a cheap-looking pizza, a pre-made sandwich, or a brownie/cookie. Nothing like the choices we’re accustomed to on other ships.
Entertainment was cruise-worthy. Comedians were fine (when we had them: 4 nights out of 11). Daily trivia was fun. Walking track and mini-golf were always present. The rock wall was a blast and available pretty much every day. Typical pool-side entertainment (dancing, contests). No complaints, just not a lot of choices on this smaller ship.
In all I’d say Royal Caribbean missed an opportunity with us. We’ve grown weary of Carnival’s constant party and noise, and are looking for a step-up in cruising. We loved the itinerary and the more intimate feeling of the Legend and its passengers, but struggled to justify the cost (2x) versus the quality of the competition (at best equal, less in some cases). We noted most of the other travelers were fierce RC customers who love the service and quality of RC cruises, but noted even the Legend was below their typical expectations. Based upon our experience here, and against other cruises, it seems the experience is based more upon the specific ship than the line. Our next cruise is likely to cross work-weeks to screen off some of the party cruisers, but be on a Carnival or comparably priced line to realize a better value.