My wife & I, along with our 4 children (23, 20, 19 and 15) just returned from a fantastic week aboard the Carnival Legend (May 13-20). With 99% sun (it rained for about 5 minutes when we were on the ship in Cayman) and temperatures around 90 every day, we couldn't have asked for a better vacation.
ARRIVAL Arrived in Tampa around 11:00, everything went extremely smooth and it took no more than 45 minutes after the bus ride to be on the ship and trying to find a spot to sit in the Unicorn Cafe for the luncheon buffet.
THE SHIP By 1:30 we had our lunch and started to explore the ship which has a great, simple layout. With our cabin on 1 Riviera Deck forward we knew that all we had to do was get to either 2, 3 or 9 for anything we would want. The ship was extremely clean, well kept, a somewhat toned down look for a Carnival Ship but pleasant. While the ship was supposedly sold out, the only crowd we encountered was the first day at lunch. My daughter was looking forward to the O2 club for 15-17 year olds, but found that there were only 8 young adults that age on the entire ship, and it seemed those under 15 numbered at most 25-30. On the ship, the service was extremely friendly, especially our cabin attendant and our dining crew of Alberto and Jose. Alberto (this was his 1st week on the Legend and after the 1st night we may have gotten more attention since he only had us and 1 other table) remembered our preferences by the 2nd night and always brought us something extra to try - extra lobster, soups, you name it, one night we had 3 extra desserts! As for the food, it was very filling and there was a great variety. We had chicken nuggets, mac & cheese, steak, lobster, pasta dishes, shrimp cocktail, salads, veal, duck, salmon - anything you can think of. On deck and at dinner we tried almost everything and were never totally disappointed since there was always something else we would order if we didn't like our first choice. The 24 hour pizzeria had the best pizza, the hot dogs were huge, but the only problem was trying to find milk after breakfast. We found that next to the coffee creamers, there were pots of milk, so we would empty them. One very big disappointment was the entertainment. Maybe we shouldn't have sat up close. The dancers took 2 shows to try and keep in step, and the singers never impressed us at all. They were very, VERY weak, had no range and the shows production left a lot to be desired. But the 2 late-night comedians I saw were great! I'm told that I didn't miss much at the early shows, especially Fat Cat who thought he was great - too bad he wasn't. For the Welcome Aboard, Past Guest, Captains Reception held at the Follies Lounge I was not impressed at all. On prior cruises, the parties were in a lounge where you could mingle, order whatever you wanted at the bar and music played. This time it was have a seat, get handed ready made limited selection drinks, little variety of munchies, listen to the orchestra for about 15 minutes and leave. Maybe the change was because there are so many return cruisers, or else Carnival is looking for a cheap way out. Either way, a waste of time - in my opinion.
GRAND CAYMAN We only booked 2 shore excursions this time and neither through Carnival which saved us a ton of money - you have to be frugal when there are 6 of you. We went with Captain Bryan for swimming with the stingrays - it's not scary at all and the water was around 3-5 feet (waves). The crew was great and they would hold the stingrays for you to pet, kiss and get sprayed by. They were very smooth, like soft leather to the touch and we had some babies around 12-18 inches wide to some mommas around 3-4 feet wide! They were all so friendly and peaceful. Second snorkel stop (water was around 9-10 feet) was the barrier reef where there was a small nurse shark. Third snorkel stop didn't have a lot to see, but was relaxing. They dropped us off right back at the pier.
COZUMEL Shopping, shopping and more shopping. Lots of the same stuff over and over with every body hawking their stuff. What's Cozumel without lunch at Carlos & Charlie's? Tons of food, lots of drinks, lots of fun and crazies! YEAH! Can you say CONGA LINE!! Finished the day at Paradise Beach and it truly is as relaxing as everyone says. Read so many reviews on Cruise Critic and am happy we were able to enjoy a touch of PARADISE.
BELIZE Booked through cave-tubing with Yhonny and would have regretted going with anyone else. Eleven of us in a van with 2 guides - that's personal service. The waters were very shallow and we needed to get pulled/pushed along a lot but no one complained. We had no mosquitoes to deal with. Saw the group of at least 75 from the ship after we were through our 1st cave - trying to stay together and get through the low spots with NO help. All the while we went thru 2 caves and enjoyed very personal, very caring service. Kudos to Yhonny's crew!
COSTA MAYA If you want to spend a relaxing day in the sun, having some great food and drinks, then take the bus/cab to Majahual. We bypassed the Cat's Meow after seeing George is still there and settled in at TAPAS. The food was delicious, drinks plentiful, sun and water totally relaxing. This had to be the most relaxing day of all.
DEBARKATION With a flight at 11:30 we thought about using the self-disembark, but with 8 pieces of luggage plus carry-ons this didn't seem possible. We were able to get a slip from the Purser's office and met in a lounge at 8:15, got escorted off the ship, were on the bus headed to the airport by 9:00. This was the quickest, most organized, simplest debarkation I have ever had - great job Tampa!!
CONCLUSION As you can tell, our family likes to try different things and have fun. Cruising is only as much fun as you make it and we thoroughly enjoyed this trip. On a scale of 1 to 10, we had a 12!