Just returned from the Christmas Cruise on Carnival Legend today. It is early in the morning (6:30 AM) and my thoughts are fresh. This was our second family Holiday cruise and our sixth overall and the consensus was that we would do it again but we have some criticisms compared to previous cruises. I have two older sons; 23 and 25 and we all stayed in an extended balcony stateroom. It was comfortable and roomy enough. Money saved here was spent on excursions. We booked our own excursions in Jamaica saving almost twice the cost of similar Carnival excursions. Once docked in Jamaica, we went out to negotiate with tour guides early morning while our sons slept. We found a fabulous guide that took us to all the highlights of the island and also to Dunn River Falls, a must see. Walking up this textbook Jamaican waterfall was worth the entire tour. We booked another excursion with Carnival for Grand Cayman Island to snorkel the reef and play with the stingrays. The stingrays are a must see. However, Don Foster's tour to the reef was a disappointment. Our boat driver, Wayne from South Africa was rude, lazy and essentially non-accomodating to the guests. The coral garden reef was anything but that, colorless with few fish. We found out later that Cayman Island reef is beautiful and colorful but our boat captain didn't want to take us to that area as it was a bit further out. Imagine our dismay when this was a long awaited and planned part of our cruise to see this beautiful reef and paying twice as much through the Carnival excursion than booking this privately and then to have a boat driver that didn't go the distance. This was a huge disappointment. Do Not book with the ship. Several families googled excursions for this port ahead of time and had better experiences both in quality and cost.
Other disappointments: The Cruise director, Wee Jimmy needs to go. He is obnoxious and rude to the guests. My two boys were even appalled at how often he disrespected guests to get a laugh. The drinks are watered down and extremely expensive. Carnival doesn't want you to bring alcohol on board to encourage buying their alcoholic beverages. What they actually encourage is ways for people to sneak alcohol on board to bypass the poor quality and quantity of drinks. Also while the food is still good, it is often cold, dry and there is less variety than in the past. However you still cannot beat the service.
While my review includes several negative comments, we still had a great time. But then again I believe I would enjoy any cruise that offered a chance to get away from Christmas decorating, buying, wrapping, cooking and baking and cleaning. I was able to truly concentrate on the important things; celebrating family and life. Carnival did help to make that happen.