We, my husband and I, sailed the Carnival Legend on October 18, 2009. We have sailed this same ship and itinerary before, as well as a very similar itinerary on a Holland ship. This was our 15th cruise, our 10th on Carnival. It was nice to be Platinum!
We drove to Tampa a day ahead and stayed in a hotel the night before embarkation. It is worth the piece of mind to not travel and embark on the same day. When we arrived at the terminal we were able to drop off our luggage and paid just a bit more for valet parking. Someone there drove our car over to the parking garage and gave us a claim check to pick it up when we returned. Nice!
Since we are now Platinum guests, we enjoyed priority embarkation. This did not apply to the security line, however. Mr. Cruise Cat was irritated about that, but it wasn't that long of a line. Once we cleared security, we proceeded directly to the Platinum lounge, where we sat at a desk and were checked in. From there someone escorted us to designated Platinum stations where we completed the embarkation process. That part took less than five minutes and it is a wonderful perk!
Our last several cruises, we have spent most of our dinners in the alternative dining venues. We thought we would economize a bit on this cruise and have dinner in the dining room most nights, for a change.
This didn't work for us. We went to the dining room the first night and were less than impressed with the long lines to be seated. When we arrived at our table, we found three other people all ready sitting at a table for four. They were seated at the wrong table, and were escorted to where they were assigned. We then found ourselves seated amongst several tables with passengers who were all from the same group. They shouted between tables and moved around a lot. Before dinner was over, all the children from this group had rearranged themselves at the table right next to us.
So much for that. The next thing we did was secure reservations in the Supper Club for the rest of the week. As always, the food was perfect, the service wonderful, and the atmosphere serene. Everyone was genuinely glad to see us each night and it was a wonderful experience. The last night the chef prepared some special desserts for us, it was a really nice touch. The hostess, servers and chefs all took magnificent care of us! We're already planning to make the same arrangements on our next cruise.
I'm afraid we have set an expensive precedent for dining on cruise ships... It's pretty much impossible to return to the dining room after spending so many nights in the Supper Club. Oh, well, we will just budget for them. It is nice to be able to book and affordable room on an affordable line and then pay for the quiet dining we prefer.
This was our first Platinum cruise, and there were several amenities worth mentioning. We were allowed free wash and fold laundry, which was very nice. We returned with the bulk of our clothing clean. We also were provided personalized stationery, Carnival picture frames and some appetizers/desserts.
Since we have sailed this itinerary several times before, we didn't leave the ship on this trip. We find it a good time to enjoy the cruise ship amenities when most of the other passengers have gone ashore. We had nice weather the last several days of the cruise, but it poured in Grand Cayman. I felt bad for the people who were new to cruising that day.
There didn't seem to be too many children on this sailing, but I'm not sure we were in places where we would cross paths with them. We spent most of our time on the aft pool (adults only), in the casino and, of course, in the Supper Club. The aft pool area was relatively quiet and always seemed to have available deck chairs. The casino was busier than we were used to, and we were down a bit. Oh, well.
Another Platinum perk is priority debarkation. We were able to leave at first call, and were the first ones to get to the Parking Valet. We were on our way before 8:00, that was very nice!
Overall, it was a very nice trip. We left very relaxed and refreshed. The Platinum perks are definitely an incentive to return, as is the Supper Club.