Background Information This was by 6th cruise (3rd Carnival, last one was in 1995). This was also the first time I had been involved in Cruise Critic Roll Calls first (what a great addition) and the first time I travelled with only a ... Read More
Background Information This was by 6th cruise (3rd Carnival, last one was in 1995). This was also the first time I had been involved in Cruise Critic Roll Calls first (what a great addition) and the first time I travelled with only a friend (no family this time).
I loved the itinerary of this ship - 2 days at sea, Panama, Costa Rica, day at sea, Belize, day at sea. I happen to be a big fan of lazy days poolside!
Travel To Port of Embarkation Easy to get to port Everglades from Fort Lauderdale airport. A $15 cab ride and less than 10 minutes.
Embarkation was easy - we actually met at the port at 11 a.m. and were on board the ship by 11:45. Note - your room will not be ready until at least 1 p.m., but you can have lunch and explore just know that you will have to "schlep" your stuff with you.
Ship Info The Legend - gaudy doesn't begin to explain it. Think silver mirrors, gold and dark wood... with the silver urns everywhere. Of all the cruise ships I have been on this doesn't rank at the top or even near the top - but the Enchanted Forest was really cool and the Follies Lounge was comfortable (but cold - take a sweater!)
The Rodeo Shops were nice, but very limited. There were plenty of bars to choose from and a lot of lounges and nooks and crannies you could find (places I didn't find, too). I liked the fact that there were so many different types of atmospheres you could find (I wish more of them were non-smoking).
My favorite place was the adult only Unicorn Pool on the far aft of Deck 9. Not only was the adult only aspect great, but it was steps from the free ice cream, a bar (and a great staff that walked around the deck taking and delivering orders to your deck chair) and only a few more steps to the buffet area (for easy take-out lunch and snacks). The only downside is that the fun Caribbean band only played at the center pool (so I missed it every day) and the background music at the Unicorn Pool is the same 15 songs all day every day (you better like the Beatles or take your ipod!)
The casino downside for me was that the Texas Hold-Em tables were electronic only - which meant you had to find about 3 other people who at the exact same time wanted to sit down with you to "open" a game- or the table was closed. I only found a group playing one night for about 2 hours - otherwise it was closed (boo hoo).
Beware of Billie's Piano Bar - - I happen to be a HUGE piano bar fan and was looking forward to it - but the guy in there "Garth" stunk - and didn't know the words to most songs - even the ones on his own playlist. So the piano bar was basically empty all trip.
The internet cafe is expensive - -here's a suggestion - find someone to split a "time plan" with you on the first day. Beware, if you start out minute-by-minute and want to convert to a time plan, you start back at zero.
Activities I admit, I don't take advantage of all it has to offer - because on days at sea I prefer to be poolside. But I did participate in 2 trivia contests (won one with my co-traveller) and one game of bingo. I watched one of the center-pool games of "Survivor". My co-traveller participated in many activities including more trivia contests, match game and family feud (while I was asleep in the sun).
My general reaction is that on other cruise ships I have been on there are more things like "line dancing lessons" and ping-pong tournaments, games in the adult pool at least once or twice during the cruise. All games were in the center pool on this ship.
So basically - there are some activities, but they seemed less diverse than on other cruises.
Service The Legend was very clean and the staff was nice. However, the food was just mediocre and the service was the bare minimum. I have been on cruises before where I have been sad to say goodbye to my cabin steward and wait staff. This time, I was mostly just "not unhappy" with the overall service rather than thrilled with it.
The occasions that I was unhappy - breakfast room service. We ordered for "port" days and of the three days, they only go our order correct once. One time, giving us coffee, rice crispies and skim milk instead of 2% milk, chocolate milk and cocoa crispies. The pastries and croissants were stale.
The other unhappy time was when the embarkation staff DESTROYED (not just damaged, but destroyed) my luggage. I had to buy new luggage in Panama and nothing as comparable to what I had brought with me. In addition, because I didn't purchase the additional insurance, they are saying they will only give me $50 (the piece was $180). I argue there is a difference between luggage damage and it being "totaled".
I will say that if you find the right cruise staff to befriend, it will get you very far. Ruwan in the Unicorn Cafe was extra friendly and willing to help guide me through a food allergy issue. Viktoria was our Truffles Dining Room assistant maitre d and she also helped with food allergy issues. Ali, who is a dining room bar staff, was excellent about getting us our drinks nightly and staying on top of refills (and knowing what we all wanted after the first night). The photography staff was amazing (be forewarned, I love having my picture taken). The backgrounds and props were the most unique I have EVER seen on a cruise. I will also warn you that buying them is expensive - but they did a great job!
Shore Excursions Okay - so take note on this one. Our friends who are on Cruise Critic who did their research got some great excursions and paid a lot less then we did. We booked all our excursions through Carnival and while there were pieces of each we enjoyed, we weren't "wowed" by any of them and were disappointed in aspects of all of them.
Panama - Gamboa Resort Arial Tram: the tram is cool, be prepared to walk up ramps that make an 11-story observation tower. Be prepared to NOT SEE A THING other than trees. No wildlife (including birds) were seen by our group and the busride is long. Our tourguide was really knowledgeable though!
Costa Rica - Adventure Canals/Banana Plantation: The Water canal was really neat and we saw sloths, monkeys, lizards, bats, birds, etc. but the banana plantation part of this trip was LONG and not worth it at all. It wasted most of our day. There are ways to do the water canal in a "private" tour - I recommend it and finding some snorkeling here. Which we didn't do but wish we did.
Belize - Sargeant's Caye: First of all, don't be fooled, the Manatee rescue station isn't one - you won't see any manatee's. The Snorkeling for first time snorkelers was nice- but for those of us who have snorkeled dozens of times, this isn't the best place for you - you will be disappointed as I was. The staff was nice, and we snorkeled for over 50 minutes, but the sea life in this area is minimal. Other cruisers went to different snorkel areas and saw so much more!
Stateroom Our stateroom was clean - but if you aren't a couple, the beds are REALLY close together (about 12 inches apart). Our biggest issue here is that the safe is based on a credit card swipe - - well this is bad for several reasons. First of all - that means that one of your credit cards can't be in the safe and secondly, if you are travelling with a friend, then only one of you has access to the safe at any given time. Our solution - I had a Visa gift card with only $4 left on it, we used that card and left it in the room in a drawer where we both knew where it was. Other than that, all was okay here.
Another Stateroom issue - take a "power strip" because there was only ONE OUTLET in the entire room for our use.
Dining Again, not impressed with the food on this cruise in either the dining room or the buffet. But the 3:30 p.m. Sundae Bar on sea days was fun! And the grill with sauteed onions, mushrooms, chili, fries, etc was nice and the pizza was good.
Note about the Golden Fleece Supper Club. It is $30 extra - - and we did go. Some people felt it was "the best food they have had" and others were disappointed. I will say this - it reminds me of something comparable to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. The $30 wasn't wasted - appetizer, bread display with three types of gourmet butters, salad course, main course and side, and dessert with hefty portions. I wasn't disappointed and walked away full....
Entertainment Blech. The shows were not great and the dancers were not in synch at any point and the "voices" of the shows were mediocre. We walked out of more than one of the shows. I will say this, I was a part of the hypnotist show and people seemed to enjoy watching me make a fool of myself.
Disembarkation If you have cruised before on another cruise line, this will confuse you. They do not disembark by flight time and you don't get new tags coded by your flight times and you aren't "kicked out of your stateroom to wait in a lobby." You are dismissed by deck and can stay in your room until you are called. It was pretty easy to get through the line. Of note, the announcements are ONLY MADE IN HALLWAYS and NOT IN STATEROOMS - be sure you leave your cabin room door open from about 8:45 a.m until you are called.
Summary I had a very relaxing vacation and the itinerary (other than short time in the ports) was great! I really loved being a part of the cruise critic group who had met up at the beginning of the week and then spent a lot of time together all week long. I was not impressed with the Carnival Legend and would probably not book a cruise on this ship again. I may go with Carnival again, but as a last choice. Read Less