We decided to book the Legend for a second time and were not disappointed. We drove to Tampa the day before our cruise and stayed at the Fairfield Inn & Suites Tampa Fairgrounds / Casino. They had a package that allowed you to park your car there for the duration of the cruise. The hotel is mostly new and very nice. Staff service was excellent and the hotel shuttle not only takes you to and from the cruise port, they also take you anywhere within a six mile radius of the hotel. Throw in a free breakfast and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay. Tampa is one of our favorite ports. During embarkation, we experienced the typical long lines but the lines moved fairly quickly and check-in was a breeze. Debarkation in Tampa was also quick and easy. It is truly an efficient port that we enjoy cruising from.
We found our cabin once we got on the ship and headed to the buffet. Carnival seems to have cut back on the food selection since the last time we cruised on the Legend. We didn't notice any difference in food service on our Elation cruise in 2010 but this cruise was different. The buffet seemed to serve what the dining room served. That's not necessarily a bad thing but we avoid the dining room when the menu doesn't appeal to us. To go up to the buffet and find the same food was a little disappointing. The buffet selection also seems to have diminished. The first few days I thought it was my imagination but I realized that it was not me. There really was less food to choose from. This is one of those mixed blessings I guess. One of the reasons we enjoy cruising is for the wide variety of food. But, having fewer options helps us eat less. So, I guess I can't complain about this too much. The food was still good and that's the most important thing.
The staff on the Legend was overall very friendly. We had a wonderful steward as usual. Milagros was our first female steward and she just doted on my 2.5 year old. He loved it. He had a different towel animal every night, some we'd never seen before. We chose anytime dining and this cruise convinced us to go back to assigned seating. We also had anytime dining on the Elation and did not experience any of the issues we had on the Legend. Probably because it's a smaller ship but good service is a basic expectation no matter how busy a restaurant is. We had one really good waiter, Carlos. He was truly good at his job. Even though he had so much going on, he was attentive, prompt, and entertaining. We had one so-so female waiter who managed to get our orders right and dote on my little one. Service was slow though and I'm not sure who's to blame for that. Our third waiter was pretty bad. It took forever for that team to acknowledge our presence, took forever to get our orders, they brought the wrong things, and I never got my after dinner cappuccino. They didn't interact with us outside of introducing themselves and taking our orders.
The dining room hostesses were wonderful and no matter where they saw us on the ship, they came up to us to talk to our little one. They also mingled with the guests in the buffet during breakfast and lunch. I thought that was a very nice touch. We used Camp Carnival one time and while I'm sure they are good at taking care of the kids and keeping them entertained, they don't seem prepared to handle a child who is potty training and past the Pull-up stage. I explained to the lady that checked us in that my little boy is shy with strangers and may not tell them that he needs to go potty. I suggested that they take him to the potty in an hour if he doesn't say anything. Sure enough, I get a call about 90 minutes later that my little one had an accident and was screaming his head off.
Anyone with a small child who doesn't normally have accidents knows that they get very upset when they do have an accident. I get up there and I'm trying to be patient and wait my turn in line but I could hear my child still screaming and saw him standing there on the monitor off to the side. I went to the head of the line and got my boy. The ladies that were there were not the ones who were there when I checked him in and the person I spoke with initially did not tell the others he needed to be taken to the potty. Nevertheless, I did not find them receptive to my reminder about the instructions I left. The lady suggested that next time I bring him in a Pull-up. We just didn't trust them to follow our instructions after that so kept him with us for the rest of the cruise.
Despite our disappontment with Roatan, having to dodge the rain in every port, and a few minor hiccups with service, we thoroughly enjoyed our cruise on the Legend.