My party consisted of my 6 year old daughter and myself, my parents, and a huge group of cruise critic members who met on last year's Glory Eastern Caribbean sailing on the same week. We had so much fun then, we immediately booked the Legend's Western Caribbean itinerary.
Since we only live 2 hrs from the Port of Tampa, we just drove in on Sunday morning. No need to stay the night before in a hotel. We arrived around 10:00 and it was too early to be let in. I believe we stood in line outside until close to 11:00 before they let us in to be processed. It was quick and easy and we were given boarding number 2. We also found out that due to Hurricane Dean and Hurricane Felix stirring out in the tropics, our cruise was not going to the places we originally thought. We were to have gone to Grand Cayman, Belize, Costa Maya and Cozumel. Now we were going to Key West, Ocho Rios Jamaica, Grand Turks and Grand Cayman. No one seemed to mind the change. Our group was wearing lei's so we More
could identify our fellow (new) cruise critic members at the Port and that was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, my dining seating was set at 8:15 and I had specifically requested 5:45. So I had to go right to the Maitre'D to have that switched and was accommodated to everyone's liking. The buffet on the Lido Deck (Unicorn) was delicious. Got in our room right at 1:30, luggage arrived promptly. Had a Meet & Greet scheduled at 3:00 and then the Muster Drill at 4:00. Whew! Just in time to get back in time to change clothes for dinner. I went to the show after dinner, but after about 15 minutes, it appeared to be the same Welcome Aboard show from the past 2 cruises, so I didn't stay to watch the rest.
My daughter spent her entire time in Camp Carnival. That child is addicted. She never wanted to be with me, but I did make her eat dinner with me in the dining room. There is so much for them to do and I am thankful for the times that she is doing activities with her own age group. Gave me time to spend with my adult friends.
Monday, we arrived at Key West. After breakfast, I checked my daughter into Camp Carnival for the day and met up with my friends. We decided to take Carnival's excursion: The Key West Pub Crawl. It is exactly as it sounds. A local tour guy, ours was named Capt. Ron, takes you on a walking tour of Key West with stops at 5 Pubs (a free drink at each location) and a little history about their town. We had an opportunity to have a conch blowing contest..what a hoot (pardon the pun!) The meaning of the word "crawl" became evident by the end of our excursion. A good time was had by all.
Tuesday was a sea day and we kind of relaxed and sat by the pool all day.
Jamaica was a blast. We had gotten the name of a local tour guide from another passenger on the ship in our cruise critic group (thanks Geri & Mike), so when we got off the ship, we asked for him by name (Phil Lafayette). He was immediately called on the phone by some local's on the pier and he was there to pick us up in 2 minutes. Phil is an awesome tour guide, we had a blast, he took great care of us, and I would highly recommend him to anyone wanting to see Jamaica from a true gentleman and someone who loves his island. We were taken to Dunn's River Falls where we climbed the entire falls (something I didn't think I was capable of doing - but accomplished). The climb was recorded on DVD and when we were through, it was offered to us for sale for $40.00, but Phil was able to negotiate a better price for us. After that, we were taken River Tubing. I highly recommend this fun experience. You sit in a inner tube (with a bottom) and you flow down a river like you are riding the rapids. What great fun and it definitely cooled us off. Part of the tour included an opportunity to cliff jump. Once again, I bravely volunteered to give it a try. WOW is all I can say (besides all the cuss words I screamed on the way down!! LOL) Phil took us to a local eatery for Jamaican fare for lunch, it was delicious. Samples of jerk pork, chicken & sausage - plenty to go around. We ran out of time to shop as we hurried back on board the ship.
Grand Turks was a little disappointing. We didn't plan an excursion - just decided to spend the day on the beach. There are several nice cabana's which we quickly raced to before they all became occupied. Then we took a walk around and found "Margaritaville". This is an awesome complex. Fresh water pool oasis with a bar/stools in the water, chairs and umbrellas, music and fun - who could ask for a better day? A few of us decided to venture off by cab to see the island, so for $5.00 each we were driven to "downtown" and dropped off. We walked around for a bit and I was a bit taken aback by some locals calling out to us "come here Rich People". We quickly took a cab and returned to Margaritaville. The staff there did a good job to make the day fun for everyone. There were 2 ships in that day and there were contests between the passengers on both with a lot of audience participation.
Friday, we were in Grand Cayman. Had planned an excursion to go to Stingray Sandbar, Coral Reef snorkeling, Hell, Tortuga and Turtle Farm. It was a nice day, I personally felt a little rushed at all the stops but now I can say I've been to Hell and back.
Saturday was our last sea day. It was very overcast and raining so the pool was out of the question. Went to some of the activities on board and took a backstage tour which was really neat. There was a non competitive walk for Breast Cancer being held at 3:00 on deck and I participated in that. Got to walk beside the Cruise Director, Jen Baxter, and had a nice chat with her getting to know her better. The Legends show on the last night consists of fellow passengers portraying musical talents on stage. It was identical to the one on the Glory last year - same acts and gags by the cruise director coming out as Dolly Parton.
My cabin was an inside cabin on Deck 7. The room was sufficient and served it's purpose. It was kept clean and tidy thanks to my room steward. I found this particular ship difficult to navigate - hallways would be broken up at common elevator areas, only to walk around and continue on again.
Not all the lounges were smoke free areas and I would only make a recommendation that ships have a no-smoking indoors policy. I would have enjoyed the Piano Bar and Clubs more more.
All in all, I had a fabulous time. The fun I had and the friendships formed could never be replaced or duplicated. However, the ship could do better job in changing the shows that I saw up a bit. I took a different ship with the hopes of experiencing different shows and it didn't happen. The food in the dining room and buffets were identical to last year, as well. In addition, it wasn't served at hot as I would have liked, lukewarm at best. But I let it slide as they had 2500+ passengers to serve. I would definitely sail the Legend again. I would like to visit the ports we didn't get to see due to the Hurricanes. Less