I went on this cruise with my friend. We are two married women whose husbands are currently in the Army and are on deployments. We were drawn to the interesting ports that this itinerary offered. I had read all the reviews on cruise critic before going so honestly, I didn't know what to expect. Here are my impressions:
When we arrived at the port, it was chaos! Since it was our first cruise, we didn't really know what to do or where to go! There were people everywhere. We eventually made our way into the line and someone came over to take our big luggage. When we got onboard we immediately went to our room and it was nice and clean. It was bigger than we had expected it to be so that was nice. We had a room with a "view". Our french doors could be opened but they didn't lead to a balcony. We had about 3 ft of unobstructed view....the rest was clouded by the lifeboats :) Oh well! Our luggage finally arrived at about 7 or so. We were prepared and brought extra clothes and toiletries with us to freshen up. Our room steward was Santiago and he was very nice and accommodating.
My first impression of the ship was: UGLY. The decor is pretty ugly in my opinion. The pictures that I'd seen online don't even resemble it in the slightest. But, I didn't pick a cruise based on drapery and carpeting. So, I didn't really care.
The food was okay. The food in the dining room was far better than that served on the Lido deck. We only went to the Lido deck 2 or 3 times (usually when lunch wasn't being served in Truffles) We had the late seating for dinner and it worked out great for us. For dinner we were seated at a table for 8 and we made good friends when two of the guys from Canada. There were two other tablemates who came on board hoping to find a bunch of crazy spring breakers...they were disappointed! After the first night when they found out my friend and I were married, they only came to dinner 2 other times.
There were mostly families and groups onboard, which was fine with us...we didn't really want a group of young spring breakers going crazy. The other tablemates were two women that only came twice so most of the time the 4 of us had our table to ourselves which was nice! When we ate in the dinning room for breakfast/lunch they kinda seemed annoyed that we wanted to sit by ourselves instead of with a group. Oh well, hopefully they got over it...after all it was open seating and were were supposed to be able to sit wherever we wanted. Our dinner waiter, Widadi, was WONDERFUL and very accommodating. The staff works VERY hard and really does try to make your cruise enjoyable. Everyone of the staff was from a foreign country and after you see how hard they work, you understand why. No US citizen would sign a 6 mo. contract to be away from their families and work about 13 hrs a day for a lousy wage. Anyway, I guess it's a good thing that the food wasn't that FANTASTIC because we didn't gain any weight!!! I was a little disappointed at the pools. There are 3 and they are VERY small...more like X-Large jacuzzi's. Not a big deal though. The onboard entertainment was fine. The Carnival Legend dancers/singers were pretty awful...we did more laughing at them than anything. The cruise had a couple of pretty funny comedians and the hypnotist was amusing. There really are a lot of activities going on if you're interested. Neither one of us are gamblers so we didn't do anything with the casino. We went to the gym once and it was fine...wanted to go to the spa and get a massage but didn't want to pay the price. We also didn't drink a lot b/c everything was so expensive. We did go to the Captain's Welcome Reception and it was a good way to get some free drinks/appetizers. For all the ladies who are wondering what to wear for formal night: ANYTHING GOES! I brought a long dress and didn't wear it b/c I was afraid I'd be over dressed...I soon found out there were lots of ladies wearing long gowns...also short cocktail dresses and even people not really dressed up at all. So in other words, just do what you want! I did think that people were a little more dressed up the first formal night than the second.
Our first port was Grand Cayman. I had been there on my honeymoon and knew my way around so my friend and I just got a cab to the beach. The cab driver took forever b/c he was waiting to fill up his van. We went to tell him that we'd waiting for 25 min and if he didn't take us now we were going to leave. He immediately got to the van and took us. We went to the resort where I honeymooned and had a great time lying on the beach chairs and snorkeling. Getting a cab back was even easier! We had some time to spare and ended up getting a drink at a bar. 2 mojitos was 25 US dollars! I wasn't surprised since I'd been there before and knew how expensive it is.
In Mexico did the Mayan ruins of Tulum through Carnival. It was a great day of sightseeing. Our tour guide was great-very informative. It was a long day...about 7 hrs walking around in the sun but our motorcoach to and from the site was nice and air conditioned. We were a little late getting back but since it was an excursion booked directly with Carnival we didn't mind b/c we knew they'd wait for us.
In Belize we (along with everyone else) did the cave tubing. We booked through Carnival b/c since it was our first cruise we wanted the security that they provided. It was fun but our group had to wait about an hour to get going. Some people were really annoyed but again, I didn't worry about being late b/c we'd booked with Carnival and while we waited we played in the water of a BEAUTIFUL river. I saw a lot of people who booked with Maj. Tom and cave-tubing.com and they seemed to be running things really smoothly. Plus, I think they got to do a longer run on the river...I think we got a little screwed over since we may not have got to tube as long but oh well..it was still fun...just very overbooked.
In Honduras we were supposed to go on a zipline tour through the rainforest and then have a beach break but it was cancelled. Apparently we heard from our table mates that someone on a Norwegian cruise died two weeks earlier b/c she wasn't restrained properly and fell to her death. We were refunded our money and decided to book something else instead. We are soooo glad we did b/c the area around port is def. NOT developed and I wouldn't trust a cab driver or anyone else to take you to the beach. We did a Sea Spi adventure at the Coral Cay resort. It was great!!! I def. recommend doing something at Coral Cay...it's a beautiful area and they have all sorts of activities (kayaking, snorkeling, etc). I think you could easily get away with not booking an excursion in Grand Cayman or Cozumel but I think you DEF need to plan ahead in Belize or Honduras or stay on the boat! Cayman and Cozumel are touristy enough that you can get off and easily plan an excursion, go shopping, or get to the beach but the other places have nothing but little markets and shops that don't really have much and the areas are very poor and undeveloped.
All in all we had a great time on our cruise. I think since it was our first cruise we didn't really have high expectations. For those whose expectations are higher, they will prob. be disappointed with Carnival. I think I would def. book another cruise with Carnival, just not on the Legend. You really can't beat the price that Carnival offers. However, if fine dining and total luxury are your main objectives, don't book with Carnival. Hope this helps and hope you have a happy vacation!