Pre-Cruise -- We were booked at the Best Western Bayside Inn -- as they have Stay, Park & Cruise Package. For $139, you stay the night before and park your car in their covered garage for the entire week, plus complimentary shuttle to & from the pier. This also includes continental breakfast, or a discount on a menu order. The food was pretty good and the hotel staff was wonderful. I upgraded by $10 for a bay view so I could take pictures of the Legend when we woke up Sunday morning! It was foggy, but it was still an awesome sight to see her first thing in the morning. After getting our room, which was ready for early check in, we walked down to the pier and took a gander at the USS Midway which has just opened as a HUGE museum. We didn't take the tour, but just seeing her was a sight. But if you wanted, you could take a audio tour for $13, I think it was. We then walked over to Seaport Village for a late lunch and some shopping. Then headed back to the hotel for some rest, as we had left at 3 a.m. that morning to make the very long drive.
Cruise -- We were in the terminal by 11 a.m., and boarding by 11:30 or 11:45. Check in went very smoothly and there were no lines. There is a little gift shop in the terminal to help you pass the time. The Legend is beautiful and I loved being able to take pictures before a lot of guests were on board. Our cabin was ready when we got there. We dropped off our carry-ons, met one of our two cabin stewards and then headed off to lunch in the Windjammer, and then to see where our dining room table was. We had requested a large table, but were assigned a table for 6. We were also on the inside of the dining room next to a pillar. We considered asking for a change, but I am glad we didn't. Our tablemates were wonderful and we would have never met them had we changed.
We then headed up to the VCL for an informal CC Meet & Mingle since we didn't have enough people. It was great to finally meet "Mcarnett" & his wife and adorable daughter and "Alansfreed" and his wife -- Hi Mike & Alan!!! We ended up seeing them many many times! What a treat! And as predicted, our dining room table was right next to Mcarnett!!! We had joked about it beforehand, but it really happened! We visited and took our pictures and then headed off to unpack, and then get up top for a sunny sail away! Our luggage did arrive before dinner, as we were in the lower levels of the ship. We saw sorting of luggage for the upper decks going on until much later in the evening. So if you are in the upper decks, you might want to pack pool & dinner attire in your carry-on.
We were in cabin 3515. I would discourage any light sleepers from booking this cabin. It is an Inside Cabin and is directly below a walking area of the casino. The actual noise from the casino wasn't the problem at all. I only heard one hoot & holler. That was a late night jackpot and we didn't mind, as we would have done the same thing if we had won. However, there is a soft spot in the walkway that bows and makes an abundance of noise when a heavy footed person walks there. I was able to sleep thru it, however, DH was awakened several times due to the noise. As far as being an Inside Cabin -- all was good as long as you don't mind waking up at 10 a.m. and it being completely DARK! And I do mean dark. I ended up keeping the bathroom light on and the door cracked so I could check my watch and also find our way to the bathroom in the dark without tripping. In the future I will book at least a cabin with a porthole, as I personally didn't like the darkness. Although if you like to party at night, you might actually like this as you can easily sleep until noon and think it is still nighttime. Just take a travel clock that lights up!
Our cabin stewards were wonderful and we definitely tipped them more than the suggested rate. They kept everything tidy in a flash, kept our cooler filled with ice and were ALWAYS around whenever we needed anything -- and with a smile! The two sea days that we slept in, we didn't even expect them to make up our room since it was so late. But none the less, they were done by the time we finished eating. They were both fantastic!!!! The cabin stewards are definitely some of the hardest working people on the ship and deserve more then the suggested tipping rate.
The food was pretty good. I was so stuffed by the end of the cruise, that I wasn't even hungry. Just ate to eat! LOL There were some evenings when none of the entree's appealed to me. So, I simply ordered several appetizers and our waiter spaced them out for me. Dining room service was pretty good. Our waiter, Adam was adorable -- yet a little bashful when it came to the dancing or parades. We caught him hiding several times. Our asst waiter, Sasha, was very new and he did his best -- he will make an excellent waiter someday! He was always working so hard either in the dining room or the Windjammer and was so good at greeting us and taking care of us no matter where we ate.
Weather was fantastic until the two sea days on the way home. It was extremely windy & cold. We tried to brave the pool area on Friday, watched the belly flop contest and tanned a bit -- but it was just too windy. On Saturday, we barely went outside, other than to get to the Windjammer if we had used the mid-ship elevators. But there were several brave people out there anyway! We had a lightening storm on Thursday evening while in port at Puerto Vallarta. I was able to catch one picture of the lightening which isn't easy to do with digital! LOL The rain was nice & warm and after the humid days in port, it was welcomed! Definitely take a sweatshirt or light jacket for sea days.
As far as things to do onboard. We rarely DIDN'T have anything to do....and we are not exactly party animals. When in doubt, get something to eat. Would have liked more pool time in the sun, but that can't be predicted. We played miniature golf, laid at the pool, had a few drinks -- ok more than a few, played bingo a few times. We attended one of the three art auctions and ended up purchasing 3 pieces, then getting 2 more for free. We had never been to an art auction before. It was a good experience and the auctioneer knows her stuff! Give it a try, you might like it. The entertainment was pretty good. The ship staff singers & dancers were ok, but the headliners that we saw were much better. If you have Mario & Daniel -- Two Funny Guys on your sailing, take your camera. There was a neat bit at the end that I would have loved to have taken pictures of. These guys were very funny! Mickey O'Conner was a very funny comedic juggler. Tony Award winner Michael Maguire was excellent. If you like to hear show tunes done well, he is the man. Late night comedy with Hal Spears was pretty funny, but I enjoyed Mario & Daniel more. There were other shows that we just didn't catch.
Some things that I have seen questions on that I thought I could answer or give more info on.
We did put our watches forward one hour because of daylight saving time. We put it back on Friday evening. So, that leaves your clocks one hour off in Puerto Vallarta. If you have independent tours there, remember that when you port -- the ship's time will be 8 a.m., but the land time will be 9 a.m. Keep this in mind when booking your tours so that you are not late.
We only ate in the dining room for breakfast one morning, so we could get our Eggs Benedict. We didn't eat in the dining room for lunch at all. We opted for the Windjammer just because of convenience & timing. We ate in the dining room every night except the port night in PV. Since we were there so late, it was open seating. We weren't all that hungry, so opted for later dinner in the Windjammer. And we did not use room service. We became accustomed to late night fries & burgers in the Solarium! Yummy! Pizza wasn't as good, reminded me of school lunch.
Contrary to RCI's posted dress schedule, we had a different schedule. We had 2 formal nights, 5 casual nights. The only event that I saw tabbed as Smart Casual was the Captain's party, which we missed. And even though some cruisers frown upon it, some dressed VERY casual on those casual nights. Others dressed up a bit. You wouldn't be uncomfortable either way. So we definitely had clothes that didn't get worn.
Those that have issues with children on ships would probably have not had a problem with this sailing. We don't personally mind children, as we are parents. This sailing was loaded with children & teenagers, since it is summertime. We didn't see any incidents and all were WELL behaved and well mannered. We were all very impressed with how unintrusive the children were -- they just all did their own thing. The Adventure Ocean program looked great and DH told our 10-year old that she would be joining us on our next cruise, whenever that may be. She loved that idea!
Pool chair saving is still a problem ... no matter what they tell you -- especially on sea days.
Internet service is very slow, so be prepared to spend $3-4 to send one email. We saw good deals on internet service in ports, although we did not use them.
Crown & Anchor gift were packs of postcards and fanny packs & a coupon book -- just as reported here.