Memorable Cruise on Legend!
This forum has been so helpful to me that I figure the least I can do is submit a review of our recent cruise.
After reading some recent reviews I was interested to see what we would think about the Legend. It's true that she is not the latest and greatest, but we didn't find her tired or worn at all (at least not the public spaces, see Cabin below), she seemed bright and shiny and quite shipshape to us! The crew were all terrific and helpful wherever we went.
The port in Hong Kong is actually part of a shopping mall! I think that people who took cabs probably got dropped off near the ship, but as we were staying at a hotel close to the port we just walked over and had to make our way through the very large mall to get to the port area. It was kind of funny actually, we met up with some RCI employees who were trying to pick out probable cruise passengers from the crowd of shoppers and send them in the right direction. The lineup to embark was pretty long, I suspect this was partly due to having to distribute and fill in immigration forms for various ports. But things moved along well and before we knew it we were on board.
This is the first time we have booked an inside cabin. We booked it frankly because it went on sale crazy cheap and since we were going to be staying off the ship for 3 of the nights we couldn't pass it up. I have to admit it was showing its age. We even had one of those old 13" tube TVs! But it worked OK and watching TV wasn't very high on our priority list anyway. We had to report a few broken things in the room, but someone showed up within minutes of calling in any problems. It's also a very tiny cabin. How tiny is it? It was so tiny that we had to take turns changing our minds, ha ha! But the bed and bedding were comfy and we slept great, and there was plenty of storage. For what we paid I can't complain. I would suggest bringing a small clock because you can never tell what time of day it is.
OK, I know this is very subjective. We are not super picky but we like to eat and we enjoy good food. We thought the food in the dining room was great! Everything was hot and tasty and nicely presented. We had the early seating and we did notice that it wasn't nearly as full as the later seating (we were alone at a table for 6), so maybe that had something to do with it. We also had great waiters and we always took our waiter's advice as to what was good that night. The Windjammer was good too, lots of choices. However, the coffee was awful, it was probably the worst coffee I've ever tried to drink. It wasn't just that it was strong enough to peel paint, it also tasted burnt. We tried cutting it with water and adding lots of milk, but that didn't help much and we gave up after a couple of days and just drank
tea. If that's what Seattle's Best tastes like, I will make sure to bring some packets of instant coffee on my next cruise.
There was always something going on. In the evenings and on sea days there was live entertainment in the atrium and pool deck. Bobby the cruise director was everywhere, I don't know where he gets the energy or if he ever sleeps. The shows were a mixed bag, we only went to a few of them. I am embarrassed to admit that we fell asleep during a couple, not that they were bad, I guess we were just tired. But really,this cruise was more about the ports.
Halong Bay--Overnight port, we took a one-night cruise on Red Dragon II, one of the IndoChina junks. Awesome!
Da Nang--Took the ship's 'On Your Own' excursion to Hoi An. Hoi An is a lovely town and I wish we could have had more time there.
Nha Trang--Took the ship's 'Countryside' tour, it was about 4 hours and we visited some rural areas around Nha Trang, including a stop to sample some tropical fruit. We quite enjoyed it.
Saigon--The ship docked at the port in Phu My, even though the itinerary said Vung Tau. The way I understand it is that the captain may not know until the last minute if he will be allowed to dock in Phu My, but they prefer to go there because they can dock, whereas Vung Tau is a tender port. Also Phu My is closer to Saigon. A group of us from our roll call had booked a van through Discover Vietnam to take us to Saigon and they knew to contact the port to find out where the ship would be. The transfer took a couple of hours as there was a lot of construction and the road was in pretty bad shape. Members of our group stayed in different hotels, but all in the District 1 area and we all kind of did our own thing in Saigon. I was glad that we spent the night as it would have been a long day trip.
Bangkok--The ship docks in Laem Chabang, which is maybe an hour or so from the city depending on traffic. Again, a group from our roll call had booked a van, and this time we all stayed at the Chatrium Suites. What a beautiful place, we had a suite with a balcony overlooking the river. They have a
shuttle boat that takes you to the main Saphan Taksin pier, where you can catch a skytrain or river taxi and go just about anywhere. I could have spent a few more days in Bangkok.
Singapore--This is a huge port and very busy. We had booked a city tour with hotel dropoff through the ship. I was impressed with how they managed to herd us all through the maze of crowds and immigration lineups and get us to the bus without losing anybody. We really enjoyed Singapore.
All in all it was a terrific cruise, made even better because of the great people we met through our roll call.