Although we have no previous cruising experience to compare to, we both thought this was an excellent cruise all around. Great sized ship for beginners and amazing ports of call.
THE SHIP STUFF The Legend of the Seas is a little old (1995) but it is still in good shape and very comfortable. Ship embarkation and disembarkation were a breeze with no line-ups. Getting on/off the ship at the ports was fast and easy. Our stateroom was the cheapest interior and it was tiny but still comfortable. The bed and linens were very nice. The food was good. We only ate at Windjammer buffet for early breakfasts and odd afternoon snacks when we got back to ship after spending all day in port as well as the Sushi Bar if we were really hungry before our late-seating dinner. The rest of our meals were in Dining room which provided excellent service and good quality food. The fish was always good. My husband thoroughly enjoyed the lamb. The only thing not so good was the beef. The cruise ship staff were all very friendly and helpful. Although we were told the ship was full (~2000 people), it never felt like it even on sea days. There were always deck chairs available and cruise staff did good job of scheduling activities all around the ship. The Solarium's salt water pool was very refreshing. The hot tubs could have been hotter. The gym was nice with plenty of machines. The exercise classes were weak as there was one personal trainer offering everything from pilates, yoga, etc...Don't waste your money on classes. The entertainment was good as there was always some live music going on somewhere on the ship after dinner. We found the production shows to be just average. The best time was the disco party one night where the cruise staff put on a "Village People" show and got everyone dancing. It was so much fun! We enjoyed the Destination Lectures by the professor on all the ports. Karaoke was fun to watch. Learning Salsa was also good. And don't miss the Love and Marriage game show. It was a riot! Some tips I gathered on other posts and found helpful were: 1. bring night light as interior cabin can be pitch black. 2. bring power bar to plug in all your "appliances" such as battery recharger. 3. to stay healthy disinfect your stateroom with lysol disinfectant wipes and don't use the stairs handrails. 4. bring highlighter to mark activities on the daily cruise compass newsletter that you want to do. 5. bring wide mouth stainless steel water bottle to refill.
ROME AND THE PORTS STUFF We stayed 3 nights pre-cruise and 1 night post-cruise in Rome to ensure we didn't miss the boat/our flights and it worked out really well as we did meet passengers that were stressing out about making their flights home etc... The Rome hotel was a 2 star but the owners gave us 5 star service - it was WELROME HOTEL (on Calatafimi road within walking distance of Termini). Taking the Leonardo Express to/from FCO airport and Rome is a breeze - for detailed instructions go to RONINROME website. We used CRUISECRITIC to hook up with fellow cruisers and shared private transfers to/from the Civitavecchia port using ROMECABS(very reliable company and always on time - early in fact). We also met wonderful new friends on our cruisecritic arranged private tours of Naples port and Kusadasi port. At Naples port, it was a wonderful tour of the Amalfi Coast and Oplontis ruins using company called TOUROFITALY(reasonable prices). We had Giovanni senior as driver and guide and he did nice job and was very accomodating. He packed in a very full day for us so that we could see everything - Ravello, Amalfi, Positano, Sorrento and Oplontis(beautiful original wall frescoes from 79AD). At Kusadasi port, saw Ephesus ruins where the Terrace Houses and the public toilets were highlights. In Athens, we arranged on our own a walking tour using company ATHENSWALKINGTOURS to get understanding of Acropolis and Plaka. It was very informative tour and the owner Despina guided us herself and gave us great commentary on the Greek political situation. They also gave us excellent directions on how to take public metro to get to their meeting point at Syntagma metro station. We did only one cruise ship's tour and it was in Alexandria port due to safety concerns. We took Pyramids and Rive Nile. The Pyramids were amazing!to get similar feeling as climbing into Khafre's pyramid which is extra money, just go into one of the Khufu's wive's pyramid (near the boat museum). River Nile lunch cruise we could forego. The worst part was pushing the shopping with the Paparus Institute stop being nothing but a shopping stop and the longest one! In Mykonos, Rhodes and Corfu we just walked the towns on our own. Very relaxing. We found the ship's recommended eating establishments at these ports to be good. All in all, we had a great first cruise experience. Hooking up with fellow cruisers on cruisecritic helped us to have wonderful small group cheaper shore excursions without the shopping push. Met nice new friends. Eating in dining room for lunches allowed us to meet lots of nice cruisers and get their impressions. RC should allow My Time Dining to be more like Open Seating Dining to allow cruisers to meet up. Anyhow, we are now cruise converts and my husband is already planning the next cruise.