My husband and I recently sailed on the Legend for our 15th anniversary cruise. It was our first cruise.
We flew into Tampa the day before, since we are from the west coast - stayed at the Hampton Inn Suites in Ybor City. This hotel was extremely clean and provided a free shuttle to the terminal in the morning. Also had free breakfast.
After a short but full shuttle ride, we waited in line for about 30 minutes before they opened the terminal for processing guests. It was hot, but we didn't mind and met some people in line that we were able to connect with throughout the cruise. Checking in was painless and we were in the first group to get on the ship - about 11:30.
We knew we had to wait to get to our cabin, so we went to the Lido deck to have some lunch. The buffet was big, with so many options, we were a little overwhelmed at first, but once we got the 'lay of the land' we knew exactly where to go for the food we liked best.
We got to our More
cabin a little early and almost immediately had a knock on our door from Antonio, our room steward. He took great care of us throughout the week, and took care of special requests in record time. Extra hangers? No problem. Towels? Sure! His assistant Randy was also great - always greeting us in the hall with a smile and a 'have a nice day!' He won the employee of the month award while we were on board and we couldn't have agreed more with choosing him.
Our first dinner in Truffles was a bit uncomfortable. We were at a long table for eight and were the first people seated there. The next couple that came along sat clear at the other end of the table. Okay - so that's awkward. Another couple came along and sat next the the first couple, so there was still a set of chairs between us. We visited a bit, but didn't enjoy the meal much and felt a little shunned. The food was amazing, however, and Wilbur, our waiter took extremely good care of us. Fortunately, the next day we met a couple who had had a similar experience and were immediately accommodated by the the staff when we asked if we could be seated together from then on. We moved to a table for 6, with another couple who were 'expert' cruisers and shared lots of great information with the four of us who were all first time cruisers. Our meals were always pleasant, served to us by Johnny and Yozef. LOVED the dancing every night. And the food was always wonderful - even if we got something we didn't care for, because it was replaced with lighting speed with another selection.
The ports of call: Grand Cayman: We chose to go off on our own in this port and had a lovely day. We took a cab to go to 'Pure Art' - a small gallery with local art. It was a great little shop... we did get there an hour before it opened due to the discrepancy between ship and island time, but we just walked up the road a bit to "Smith Cove" where we beachcombed, looked in tide pools and took lots of pictures while we waited. This is a lovely little beach area that we had all to ourselves. After Pure Art, we walked back into town, then caught a cab to Sea Grape, at the far end of Seven Mile Beach. We changed into our swimsuits there and enjoyed the warm waters and white sands... amazing! We decided to walk down the beach a ways to see the different resorts, and ended up walking the entire distance back into town. I wouldn't recommend this, as it was a LONG way - but it worked for us and gave us 'permission' to not feel guilty about all the food we were eating on board!
Cozumel: We had booked Nachi Cocum through Island Marketing. AMAZING! Over the course of the whole day there were maybe a total of 20 guests there - and at least 8 staff. Most of the time it was just my husband and I with three other couples. We were totally pampered. All the drinks we wanted and AMAZING mexican food - the nachos and fajitas were incredible. The pool was beautiful and clean, the beach pristine, the grass umbrellas large enough to keep us dry through a brief but intense rainstorm, and the bathrooms well stocked and clean. We negotiated with Leonardo, a local who came around asking if we wanted to snorkel and managed to get a great afternoon of snorkeling two different reefs for $30 apiece. We saw tons of fish, and even a manta ray. I did get stung quite a bit at the second reef, but cannot blame anyone for that... We shared cabs both to and from Nachi Cocum - it was $12 regardless of how many people were in the cab.
Belize: We booked cave tubing through cavetubing.com. Wow. What a fun, well organized and incredible experience that was. There were 11 people total in our group... after a scary but entertaining bus ride through Belize (during which we were instructed and informed by the hilarious Keith) we arrived at the park where the caves are. We got our tubes and began our hike. The paths are clear and we were able to pass two HUGE groups of people from the cruise ship's excursions. Once we got to the river, Keith and the other tour guide linked us up into chains and began our trip down the river. The water was refreshing, the jungle beautiful and the guides amazing. We came upon yet another huge group of cruise-booked tubers who were basically left on their own to navigate the caves - all the while we were being pulled along by Keith. We never once had to get out of our tubes, because Keith knew the river so well and could always find the deeper parts to pull us through. These guys earn their money! It was a beautiful, relaxing day.
Costa Maya: We hadn't booked anything here and were thrilled to be able to spend the day with our cruise/dinner buddies. We took the bus to Mahajual for $3 apiece... wandered the town a bit, bought some silver, got amazing $20 massages (for a FULL hour!) and shopped some more. We bought terrible margaritas at Charlie Brown's - and were ripped off when he brought us a plate of nachos he said were included with our drinks, but ended up on our bill... also - our friends tried to pay with a $10 bill that had the teeniest bit torn off the corner and they wouldn't take it. No one in town would accept that torn $10 bill. So be sure your money is in good shape before you head into Mahajual. We headed back to the 'carnival' part of the port - too loud and the pool was absolutely disgusting... so much sunscreen and slime in it I could barely make it back from the swim up bar without gagging. Maybe earlier in the day it's clean, but by the time we got there, it was gross and we opted to go back to the ship and relax there than with the slimy pool and noise of the port area.
Sea days were fun, with lots of activities. On board entertainment was laughable at times, and decent at others. We now understand what Simon Cowell is referring to on American Idol when he says "It was like some ghastly cruise ship entertainment!" It wasn't terrible, but it certainly wasn't the best entertainment I'd ever seen.
The Legend is an extremely clean and well maintained vessel. The staff is stellar. The food was delicious and well presented. We'd sail on her again in a heartbeat. Less