Carnival Legend Cruise Review by BabsGo: Very pleasantly surprised by Carnival!
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Very pleasantly surprised by Carnival!
Our previous cruises have been on Disney Cruise Line and had heard some not so great things about Carnival so we had low expectations but we chose this cruise for date and port location primarily. We also knew some people who had cruised on the Legend and they had positive things to say. We had an 18 y/o and 16 y/o with us.
The embarkation procedure was very easy. We did not have FTTF as we planned on getting to the port mid-afternoon for a 4:00 pm sailing (after a 30 minute drive from our home). We walked right up to the desk and checked in with no problem and everyone at the port was extremely pleasant and helpful. We walked right on to the ship without a wait. We were used to a bit more fanfare on Disney but the crew was welcoming even though they didn't announce us by name ;-)
My daughter had cruised on Carnival last year with a friend's family so she was raring to go to O2 Club. She went every night and really enjoyed herself. She and some friends attended some More of the shows together in the evenings and snacked and played cards on Deck 9 in the late evening. The younger kids at Circle C were seen at deck parties in a conga line and did a couple of scavenger hunts so they seemed to be afoot more but looked like they were having a great time too. I'm not such a crank that they bothered me but some other passengers looked a bit annoyed. She got a tee shirt for participating in the teen club and all her cruise pals signed each others tee shirts.
When we boarded our senses were assaulted by the decor, but I get the theme and find Legend an amusing ship. The glass displays in the stairwells were very nice and the restaurant was strangely beautiful even with the red lights that look like staring eyes all around. The lounges and staterooms aren't garish though and by the end of the week I hardly noticed the somewhat odd decorating scheme.
We were confused at first but quickly got used to the layout of the ship and where to find what we wanted to do. Having a casino on ship was strange for us and I didn't enjoy the fact that smoking is allowed there but we stopped by occasionally and played a few of the machines and my husband played roulette. It was a nice casino with something for everyone but we're not big gamblers and I don't miss a casino on Disney so it wouldn't have mattered to us whether there was a casino or not although I understand most ships have one.
Our cabin was excellent. It was on Deck 6 right behind the aft elevator so it was much wider than a standard cabin and the balcony was large enough to accommodate two chaise lounges, two chairs and a small table. Due to the balconies fore and aft extending a bit farther from the ship than ours it was difficult to see forward and backward but there was a perfectly fine view of everything we wanted to see and, like I said, plenty of room. There was more than enough storage space and the bathroom was small but efficient. I liked the shelves around the mirror we each got to store our own toiletries and medications on the shelf and it was very convenient.
Our only issue was that our cabin was very warm upon embarkation but we called guest services and within an hour a young man was there to take temperature readings and fix the issue. No problem at all he was very quick and guest services followed up with a phone call early the next day to be sure it was fixed. Very impressive!
We barely saw our steward but he did see us and introduce himself on the third day or so. He was pleasant if unobtrusive and although I hadn't requested it before I did ask for some ice and for the rest of the trip he was sure to fill the ice bucket morning and night for us. He did an outstanding job of keeping the room clean and providing fresh Carnival towels. There was a note that we'd be charged if towels were missing; we stored them out of the way in the cabinet under the TV unless we needed them and we somehow ended up with extra towels! We only had three robes instead of four but it wasn't an issue we are not really robe people. I'm sure they would have brought us the fourth if we had asked but none of us used the robes so we didn't ask!
We dined at the steakhouse on the first night and were pleasantly surprised by the inclusion of a complimentary bottle of wine. The service fee wasn't an issue for us as we are used to it with Palo and Remy's on Disney. It was an outstanding meal and we highly recommend it!! The flavors were delicious and the service was very good. It seemed to be pretty much an all-female wait staff.
The main dining room, Truffles, was very good although some of the portions seemed a bit small, the fact you could get more than one starter or entree or even dessert made up for this. The only miscue was the panko crusted shrimp it was just a bland fried shrimp and neither my husband nor I enjoyed this choice much. The early seating felt a bit rushed, however.
The kids really enjoyed the entertainment provided by the wait staff; they called it the "flash mob". I could have done without it but it was cute and the staff looked like they were having fun so it was okay. The staff was all very nice and pleasant and they remembered our preferences but were sure to ask if we still wanted wine or hot chocolate or whatever.
The melting cake was outstanding and the Thai chicken appetizer was wonderful; I could have eaten about 12 pieces of that chicken! We had a couple of breakfast/brunches at Truffles as well. I wouldn't recommend the Eggs Benedict either at Truffles or the buffet; for some reason the yolks were hard although that could have been for food safety purposes? But overall the breakfast/brunch choices at Truffles were very good.
Unicorn Cafe was pretty good; they offered continental breakfast, a good custom omelette station, lunch and dinner buffets and water, tea, lemonade, coffee hot chocolate and hot tea at any time, self service. The pizza was delicious and the sandwich shop was good. We had a Mexican buffet on Cozumel evening and a chocolate festival for the final sea day lunch but otherwise there weren't many theme menus which was too bad. We didn't have the sushi but it looked delicious. My daughter and I also attended the tea on the final sea day. It wasn't lavish but there were delicious cucumber and salmon sandwiches and cookies and tarts and of course tea. It was fun to sit and converse with other ladies and the staff was very kind and attentive.
The entertainment was very, very good. The dancers and singers were talented and there was a variety of shows from Hasbro the Game Show to an illusionist. The musical presentations were Motown themed, "The Brits" and a rock and roll show as well as a 70's themed show. The comedians were also good the family friendly shows were a nice plus and the comedians changed mid way through the trip so there was a variety. Happy Cole and Diane Ford joined us for the last two nights and they were both hilarious! The show by "Justin Illusion" was good also. We were very happy with the entertainment on board. For non show times there was music in various areas and trivia contests. The evening musical trivia contests with Adam were particularly enjoyable as everyone sang along. We won two "ship on a sticks" for trivia so that was nice, and fun! There was a murder mystery activity onboard, plus karaoke, art auctions and bingo as well.
We did more shore excursions than we have in the past, particularly because there were four planned stops and our kids are older now. It was very easy and convenient to book them ahead of time and although some find direct book less expensive Carnival has a 110% money back guarantee on the excursions and they promise not to leave without you if a Carnival booked excursion is running late so we appreciated that security although we didn't price the excursions to test that guarantee. The excursions were all excellent. One was cancelled for lack of interest but we booked another on ship quickly and conveniently, and due to weather we couldn't get in to Roatan at all so our excursions and cabana rental there were fully refunded as were port taxes and fees, automatically.
Disembarkation was a breeze. We loved that Carnival gave us the option to put the bags out in a traditional fashion the night before our arrival with provided luggage tags or hand carry them off in order to get out earlier. They called the self-carry groups out by deck to disembark immediately after the FTTF/Platinum guests and we were off the ship and at our vehicle by 9:10 am. Almost everyone waited for the elevator but we had bags that could be taken on the escalator so we practically had Customs to ourselves it was super quick we were off the ship and out of the port in 5 minutes max. We used Premiere Parking and that was a breeze--cross the street walk through the garage and jump on the shuttle...another 5 minutes. Nearly as convenient as the parking garage for 1/3 the price. Even though we were off the ship quickly we never felt that Carnival was rushing or pressuring us to get off. We always felt a bit pressured and rushed on Disney which was always the only sour spot on our previous cruises. We understand the necessity to clean and prep the ship for another departure but we felt Carnival handled it beautifully. We enjoyed breakfast while waiting to disembark and were generally sad to get off that ship.
Overall it was a fun, enjoyable cruise in a very comfortable and spacious cabin and the crew couldn't have been nicer. Although I remain a confirmed Disneyphile we will definitely choose Carnival again! Less
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Cabin review: Carnival Legend Balcony Empress 6279
This is an excellent cabin! You really get so much for your money! A wider than normal cabin, plenty of storage space, a more than adequate lavatory and huge balcony. Highly recommend!
Port and Shore Excursions
We got right off the boat with our excursion group into a tender/ferry and headed out to the reef and Rendezvous Caye. The ride there was interesting and enjoyable. The reef was excellent; although it was overcast so not as bright and brilliant as it would have been on a sunny day. Of course the sun broke through just as we were pulling away from the island (really just a tiny sandbar) and it was gorgeous! The water was very clear. The little sandbar/island was set up with tiki huts and picnic tables, snorkeling equipment and beach mats were provided. Food and drink was available for a reasonable cost and they weren't pushy at all. There was reggae playing and a roomy changing hut and flush toilets! Overall it was a lovely day. On the return trip they served cold water or fruit punch to everyone and accepted but did not request tips which was a nice change from Mexico. Our only disappointment was that we had to tender so far to Belize City we didn't have the chance to spend much time there. But it was a stop we hadn't made yet so we were glad to get there and would recommend the excursion to snorkel with Wonders of the Barrier Reef.
We had a great time heading out to Isla Pasion on the Twister. The Twister was fun and we felt very safe. You definitely get wet!! The island was nice with included beverages and food. The chicken and guacamole were particularly good. The shops had typical Mexican crafts the sales people were available but not pushy. One thing about Mexico is they are not shy about asking for tips so be sure to bring plenty of small bills for tips.
We went to Dolphin Cove and Stingray City. The Dolphin Cove portion was nice and very informative but the dolphin encounter/swim was somewhat short and highly controlled. They wanted $150 for a CD of the photos which was ridiculous but my husband got them to cut the price by 50%.
The Stingray City portion was surprisingly fun there were a number of boats there and plenty of people but everyone got the chance to touch and feed the stingrays and we spent a long time with them. Everyone agreed it was our favorite excursion and we'd definitely go back out there if we return to Grand Cayman. We were on the Sundancer with Eddie and he was very informative and entertaining. His crew was great. It poured rain while we were there and the ride back to shore was cold but that wasn't anyone's fault and we were wet already!! Upon our return there was no pressure to buy the photos taken by Stingray City Photos but they were so good we did. The man had them ready right on his ipad. I felt that some might have missed out on this opportunity the Stingray City photographers were so unobtrusive. They took our info (I paid in cash right there) and emailed them to us right away. Fabulous!!!!
Not for families with children...
Disappointed, but glad we did ...