We just got back from our 7 day Western Caribbean cruise aboard the Carnival Legend. This was our first cruise and a lot of my questions and anticipation was answered by cruise critic boards prior to leaving on our cruise. That being so helpful to us, I thought I would share our views on our cruise as first time cruisers.
We embarked in Tampa. Wow, was that easy. I expected lines like in the airport but not even close. We dropped off our luggage about 10:15 a.m. which already had the tags and the porter took them away. While my husband parked the truck in the parking garage for $84.00 for the week, we (my son and I) people watched. When he got back 10 minutes later we went inside, immediately went to a counter, obtained our number and went and sat down. Approximately 30 minutes later our number was called and we boarded the ship, got our sail and sign card and we were official. We went to the lido deck and had lunch since we couldn't go to our rooms till after 1:30. I had an awesome grilled Reuben sandwich. The sauce was wonderful!! You have got to try this sandwich. My son had pizza which he really enjoyed. I tried it during the week and thought it was only okay. We wandered this ship to get our bearings and then went to our cabin at about 1:30. We got underway right on time and instead of going to the dining room for dinner at 5:45 (we had early dining) we stayed on the top deck and watched to go under the bridge (I can't remember the name of the bridge). This happened at about 6:30. What a trip that was. It felt like we should be able to reach out and touch the bridge. I believe there are mere inched between the underside of the bridge and the tip top of the ship funnels. Definitely worth waiting to see the ship go under. You could hear people catch their breath as we got closer and closer and then went under. We relaxed that evening just looking around, had a drink of the day and went to bed by 12:00. We did however go to the Cayman Island shopping talk held by Drew. I really enjoyed that as it had real good information and my hubby caught a rum cake that was thrown out into the audience. YUM! Monday was a ship day. I started the day sea sick but I took some motion sickness pills and after a couple of hours I was able to get up. I missed the cozumel, belize shopping talk but my hubby went and he caught a couple more freebies. We relaxed that day, while my son did a scavenger hunt with the 12-14 years olds and played video games in the arcade. He and my husband swam some and went down the slide several time. We went to the dining room for dinner but I wasn't real impressed with the food.
Grand Cayman - We went swimming with the sting rays first thing in the morning. We did the carnival excursion with approx 23 other people. Well worth the price. Yes it cost a bit more that the private excursions but we were the first group there and we had the stingrays to ourselves for at least 20 minutes and a couple of the boats that came along later were crowded and didn't stay as long as us. It was amazing! We shopped in the afternoon. I followed Drew's recommendations for shopping and got some very nice jewelry. The shopping area was a bit too commercial and I was rather disappointed in that.
Cozumel. We didn't have a planned excursion for Cozumel. We went shopping in the morning. That was good shopping. We went down back street and did some bargaining. That was fun. We dropped our stuff back off at the ship and took a taxi for $10.00 to an area to do some snorkeling by ourselves. The name of the place is Pirates. It is in the same direction as Chainook park (spelling is wrong I'm sure) but not that far down. We snorkeled and then we walked across the street to a locals bar/restaurant. They were very friendly and we sat outside and had some fresh, hot tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole, some coke and beer. Extremely enjoyable afternoon.
Belize: We did the cave tubing with Carnival. I really enjoyed it but my son (13 yrs old) thought it was too tame. There were a lot of people on the ship doing the cave tubing but they broke us down into groups so we were not all trying to do it at the same time. My only regret is that we didn't have another water proof camera with us. It is a long drive from the port to where we did the tubing hike leading to the caves but the tour guides told us about the areas we went through and some history of Belize.
Roatan, Honduras: I was so happy that we went here instead of to Costa Maya. I booked a private excursion with Barraccas Ranch to do some horseback riding. It was 35.00 each and we had Sharkie as our private guide for 2 hours. The horses were trained well and we had an enjoyable time. We rode through the town and down the beach. Sharkie is very knowledgeable and had a great personality. We were supposed to do the "cruise ship special" that had us picked up at the port by someone from Fosters, who would drive us to the ranch and then take us for a drink at Fosters and then back to the ship when we were done but he did not show up. We ended up talking with a guy named James who runs a business right outside the port gate renting scooters. What a nice guy. He called Fosters a couple times for us and finally we asked asked him to get us another driver so he called over a friend and we used him as our private driver for the day for $50.00. He took us to the ranch and waited till we were done. Then he took us shopping and then to the Iguana farm. I enjoyed the iguana as they let us feed them and touch them, but it really is not worth $5.00 per person. There simple is not enough to do there for the price. For the last hour before we had to reboard we shopped right there at the port. They were all so friendly. Nobody got snooty about us just looking. They all say thank you and wished us a good day. All in all, I will go back to Roatan. Roatan and Cozumel were my favorite ports.
Thanksgiving was a bit of a disappointment. The pumpkin pie was warm, they turkey was so/so and that is really all they did. We did go to a midnight mexican fiesta and that food was terrific. They had turkey ice sculptures for it and live music and dancing.
Disembarking was okay. We did self service because we didn't want to wait till 9:00 or later to get on the road for a 7 hour drive home. The line for self service was long but it went quickly and smoothly.
All in all this was a wonderful experience and I would recommend it to anyone. We are already starting to look for our next one.