Legend of the Seas Cruise Review by quincy's neighbor: A disappointing exotic.
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A disappointing exotic.
We have been on several cruises including Alaska, Mexico, Panama Canal, Hawaii, and Europe, and this cruise provided the least engaging experience of all.
We were in a balcony stateroom which showed substantial wear. The drawers were dirty with numerous stains in them and bags left there by previous occupants. The TV, an old Sony Trinitron with traditional picture tube, had a worn yellowing white plastic case and off kilter cover for old style av jacks. In the United States, this would have been retired many years ago. The balcony provided a very good view of aft side of the ship (we were in the far back), and also provided a very good view of large patches of rust on the ship perhaps 50 feet away. Turn down service was lacking. Other cruise lines provide flowers or chocolate in the evening, but here, bedding was not even folded. With other cruise lines, with children in the room, towel animals would be plentiful. This cruise provided the fewest with less than one a day. More
The evening dining room experience was good with excellent staff, but middling food which was lacking in taste and well below regular cruise average. Soups generally tasted the same whether they were Miso, Mushroom, or other western variety. It appeared that the same broth was used and different variations created simply by adding vegetables. Choices were fewer than usual, and this was the first cruise in memory which did not include a crab or lobster dinner. Portions were "healthy" - probably a good thing, substantially smaller than the usual portions we received on other cruises. The steak consisted of three slices of meat totaling maybe less than 2 ounces. Free drinks offered before the meal included water - No juices, milk, ice tea, hot tea, nor coffee. Coffee and tea were offered prior to dessert though. Staff was excellent and provided lots of attention. This might have been because the dining room appeared half empty (first seating)and were were one of only a few passengers who spoke English.
We only had lunch in the dining room once. General staff service was abrupt, bordering on rude, and little variation in entrees was presented. Service was excruciating, being the slowest I can recall. It appeared that staff was woefully insufficient to handle the throngs of people going for lunch.
Similarly, we had breakfast in the dining room only once, with slow service and a lack of variety of entrees. Once again, another food I had grown used to on other cruises, eggs benedict, was nowhere to be found. The orange juice was extremely watery and I initially mistook it for watered down Tang. The jumbo eggs were small size by American standards.
There were no specialty restaurants, and pizza was served along with hamburgers and hot dogs at limited hours near the pool. The pizza was not gourmet and frozen would have been better. It did not compare with pizza and Italian restaurants on similarly sized ships on NCL and Princess.
The best buffet we had was at our hotel (it came with the room) following the cruise. The cruise buffet was much lower in quality than buffets in the United States (eg: Hometown Buffet, Golden Harvest Buffet). Western variety was okay with additional Asian varieties). Desserts were monotonous and we mostly skipped those. Very limited varieties of real ice cream were offered in the dining room only.
Bar service was poor with service personnel not really interested in providing soft drinks (we had a drink card). There was no drink service at the buffet except at embarkation.
Except for the de rigueur show entertainment in the evenings, most of the activities appeared to be revenue sources for the cruise line (Admittedly, this was our first exposure to Royal Carribean).
With regard to ports, other cruise lines provide shuttles to the nearest town for minimal charge or even free. We felt that the charge for a shuttle to the city at one port on this trip was excessive at $39 per person.
While I generally hesitate to comment about passenger ethnicities, this cruise was basically a local cruise comprised substantially of Hong Kong Residents, people from mainland China, and Chinese expatriates from Canada, including many young families with young children (There were only 21 Americans). Different regions may have differing levels of comportment. Apparently in this part of the world, children are given free reign, as children were constantly running around up and down the corridors, pool areas and public areas. Also, shouting to each other at opposite ends of hallways or across the atrium or public areas was common.
Queuing up in lines was apparently foreign to the adults. For example, waiting in the omelet line at the buffet, two women (unrelated) simply ignored the line and went around it and me to the front to order eggs. I then placed my order, and both women appeared quite miffed when the egg attendant served me first. Similarly, there were mad scrambles for soft-serve (exacerbated by one machine partially broken), shopping, and everything else.
During the evening entertainment, at one point, a middle aged couple behind us was engaged in loud conversation, apparently, the only way they could hear each other over the singing and music from the loudspeakers. It was the first time I actually shushed strangers during a show. At another show several people came into the theater engaged in continuing conversation. They finally left when they realised I was staring at them instead of the show.
Legend of the Seas appears to be one of the oldest ships in the fleet, and its age is showing. We were told that our sailing was under capacity by around 400 passengers, and as it was, staff was ill equipped to service the people on board. I felt that a reasonable capacity would have been several hundred less than our sailing.
Even luggage handling prior to the cruise was disappointing. In Hong Kong, we were used to porters taking our luggage all over (no gratuities requested). Prior to the cruise, we had to go from the second floor of the cruise terminal to the ground floor, outside the terminal to the end, to hand our luggage over, traversing several stairs in the process. This is not typical in Hong Kong (nor Macau nor the mainland either) where porters are provided to perform such duties quickly and efficiently. A better alternative would have been for the cruise line to accept luggage at the embarkation desk and transfer it to shipside. They would have use of freight elevators in the shopping mall/terminal as well. Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
We did not have Hong Kong money, but the concierge quickly advanced the fare directly to the taxi driver and we reimbursed him after check-in when we exchanged some money. We stayed in the tower section on the top floor which was a very nice room. Note that reviews for the main section are poor, but we were not in that area. To get to the cruise embarkation desk, we had to leave the hotel down an escalator, cross a driveway, enter Harbourside Shopping Center, taking an escalator up, then walk through the shopping center (2 areas of stairs between shopping sections) to reach Ocean Terminal.
After the cruise, we walked to another hotel outside which was just beyond the museum complex (a very HOT and sweaty walk)
High end stores and many restaurants (crowded) are in the Harbourside Shopping Center and Ocean Terminal, while smaller shops and additional shopping malls are all within walking distance, with underground walking tunnels (subways) to cross major streets. There is a large grocery in Harbourside and a Sogo underground next to the museums, and several 7-11's in the area to get snacks and other munchies (they also have food courts as well). With several McDonalds, food for kids is easy to get as are Starbucks for the coffee crowd. The Peninsula Hotel with afternoon tea (disappointing - mostly ham sandwiches) is walking distance as well.
We were hit up once by a beggar on the Walk of the Stars (good ruse with telling good fortune - encountered in Beijing once), but he disappeared quickly once he found out all I was carrying was my hotel key.
Internet is free at several coffee shops, and the city provides free internet from the museum complex as well.
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