As this was our first cruise experience we were totally devoid of expectations - except that we had heard the service on Royal Caribbean ships was next to none in excellence. We were not disappointed on this front! Without exception, every staff member on our cruise greeted us as if we were valued and important passengers, with a genuine smile. The fact that we were enjoying ourselves was their paramount goal.
We boarded the Legend at Shanghai International Port and were transported by shuttle bus to the ship (which was docked at Boashan Port - 60 minutes travel) - this was due to construction at the Port. Even so, we were each given a bag of refreshments to last us the 60 minute bus journey!
We arrived two hours ahead of the scheduled boarding time, so were easily through check-in and aboard the ship early, allowing time to explore and settle into our cabin well before departure. We were extremely happy with our cabin - a Grand Suite - which gave us space to move, entertain, a double sized balcony, bar, living room with a sofa bed and a bathroom with double basin vanity and a full-sized bath tub. The decision to pay a little extra for this Suite on Deck 8, was, we believe, worth every cent. Our Stateroom and Suite Attendants gave us true 'royal' service.
Our five night cruise was to take us to Jeju Island (South Korea) for an overnight stop-over, then cruise to Hong Kong for another over-night stop-over. The weather dictated a change to our itinerary however and to avoid an approaching hurricane and typhoon, we left Jeju early and cruised for an extra day before arriving in Hong Kong. We enjoyed a slightly rocky but otherwise safe and pleasant journey, thanks to our very experienced Captain.
The majority of people on our cruise were from China (1,300) and we were two of 49 Australians. The Cruise Director ensured that we were kept informed regardless of language barriers and our fellow passengers were all friendly and also obviously enjoying themselves. The 'Cruise Compass' (daily newsletter) delivered to our room each evening ensured that we were fully conversant with the following days activities, land tours, and other happenings. We were just settling into the swing of ship life when it was time to leave! We could have easily continued on for another back-to-back cruise and will probably do this in future.
Entertainment on board the Legend was probably the high-light of our cruise! The Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers were of an extremely professional standard. We were in awe of their energy, dance technique and stage personalities - and what a bonus to have a fabulous, live, Royal Caribbean Orchestra with every show. We made sure we were early each night to get the best seats at both shows. The Juggler, Contortionist and Magician guest performers at the Welcome and Farewell shows were also very entertaining and highly technical in their speciality fields.
Food was available 24/7 with flexible options depending on our daily schedule. Dining Room service was faultless and the waiters in the Windjammer were ever vigilant and helpful. Our friendly coffee shop attendant even remembered our personal preferences from our first visit onward!
The cruise experience was much more than we ever expected. Royal Caribbean certainly live up to their name and give 'royal' service in every way. The Legend was just big enough so that we didn't get lost and for us to feel at home. We are already planning our next holiday with RCCL.