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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2013
Wow, what an experience! We left Dover, England on September 24, 2013 and arrived in New York City on October 10, 2013. If you hate flying like we do, you should consider a Trans-Atlantic re-positioning cruise as an alternative. We visited ... Read More
Wow, what an experience! We left Dover, England on September 24, 2013 and arrived in New York City on October 10, 2013. If you hate flying like we do, you should consider a Trans-Atlantic re-positioning cruise as an alternative. We visited Dover, Dublin, Glasgow, Belfast, Reykjavik, Qaqortoq, and St. John's. Plus, the best part, was a deviation in our route encouraged by the Cruise Director, John Heald, wherein the captain had an "ice-captain" come on board to navigate so that we could cruise through the Prince Christian Sound in southern Greenland. There is only one settlement there, Aappilattoq (population 132 in 2010), which John Heald and crew visited so that they could mail our postcards (provided by the Carnival Legend) home. Our postcard, however, never made it back to our home address; but the experience of seeing all those glaciers was magnificent! I would not hesitate to take another re-positioning cruise. The crew on the Legend was superb - they never stopped cleaning to keep us from getting sick - and the entertainment was the best. Thank you Carnival for making a memory that will last a lifetime! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2013
I chose this cruise for the itinerary, not the ship, and was not expecting much based on previous Carnival cruises. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The ship was very nice and also appeared well cleaned. Public areas are nicely ... Read More
I chose this cruise for the itinerary, not the ship, and was not expecting much based on previous Carnival cruises. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The ship was very nice and also appeared well cleaned. Public areas are nicely layed out and the ship never seemed crowded. Service was excellent throughout. Shows were better than expected. Our balcony room was large and comfortable. The decor of the ship is hideously gawdy and ugly, but that doesn't really matter to me. It was still a great ship. Even the staff were laughing at how cheap and gawdy the decor is. The food was not horrible, but not good either. Some things were not edible and a few things were actually good. Everything else, was just okay... not good enough to brag about, but not bad enough to ruin the cruise either. It was served by excellent staff throughout the ship, so no complaints there. The 24 hour pizza is actually excellent. We had some nice surprises...the Captain took an unexpected route through the Greenland Fjords and that was the highlight of the trip. The ship also gave us all post cards and then sent a lifeboat carrying the cruise director out to a remote post office to mail them from the northern most post office in the world. Both things were a very nice extra and I was very impressed by Carnival. This is the first Carnival ship to have "Anytime dining" and I have to say I don't like that at all. We prefer to eat alone and asked for a table for two, which we were not given. They told us our only option was eat at 8:15 or go to anytime dining. We chose the Anytime and it turns out that what it means is waiting about 20 minutes in line every night and then either eating with a large group, or waiting an additional 20-45 minutes for a private table. Embarkation at Dover was the best I've ever experienced. Debarkation in New York was the worst. They practically begged everyone to use the self assist debarkation, which almost everyone did, but then they didn't coordinate the exit. Everyone was crammed into several places on the ship with their luggage and no real organized plan to release them, so it became a bit hostile with no real direction on when each area could go. People were getting angry and frustrated and no one seemed to know what the plan was. Eventually, everyone just crowded towards the exit point, which became kind of a crazy mess. I would just like them to coordinate that a little better and maybe keep people informed. To sum up...Overall review: Great cruise, Very nice ship, Great service and staff, mediocre food, bad debarkation. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
We embarked at the port of Dover after a flight from Toronto Canada. We selected this particular cruise because of the range of the ports of call. The weather plays a great part in any cruise and in that respect we were very fortunate. ... Read More
We embarked at the port of Dover after a flight from Toronto Canada. We selected this particular cruise because of the range of the ports of call. The weather plays a great part in any cruise and in that respect we were very fortunate. Dublin Ireland was our first port and we did the coastal panorama excursion our guide did a great job explaining the history and recent economic problems of Ireland. I appreciated the Irish coffee served at the Abbey Tavern. The next port was Greenock in Scotland where we went on the Panoramic Lochs tour. A famous person once said, "I love humanity, it's the people I can't stand". These words never rang truer as we boarded the coach and overheard a series of complaints from a group. It was too hot, it was too cold, they couldn't fasten the seat belt, there wasn't enough leg room, at one point positing, "do they think we are a bunch of schmucks"? They were what I call, professional complainers and were planning to get a refund before the coach had even started. The worst, and most embarrassing event, was when they began mocking an infant child by loudly aping the child's cries. One of them even started taking photographs of the child as the mother attempted to calm her infant. The whole excursion was spoiled by this group of inconsiderate seniors whose only concern, was for themselves. The next destination was Belfast, I knew of the history of Northern Ireland so did not have high expectations, but was really surprised by the beauty of the Ards Peninsula. Colin, our guide provided us with an in-depth history, he was obviously passionate about Northern Ireland and it's people. This is one place where I would consider revisiting. We saw the Northern lights, but were not technically proficient at configuring our camera to take photographs at night, fortunately the ships videographer was able to capture some alluring images. Two days at sea then Reykjavik Iceland. A misty, cool rain descended over our as we docked, something that nobody could control. We visited craters, hot mud holes and climbed to the top of a hill at Raykjanes. The next stop (the bonus), was a trip through the Prince Christian's Sound, Greenland. What an incredible experience. I salute Carnival for doing this. It was totally unexpected. Words cannot describe how fortunate we feel for being given the opportunity to see this wonder. The captain and his crew did a great job negotiating the narrow fjord and the odd iceberg. At Qaqortoq, Greenland we went ashore via the ship's launches. The sun smiled upon us as we toured this small town. The local population, and others from local communities came out in force to welcome us. We listened to a choir in the church and listened to one of it's members relate the history of Qaqortoq. Two days at sea and onto St. John's Newfoundland, Canada where we sampled rum at the Queen's battery, drank beer at the Quidi Vidi Brewery, the weather was not stellar, but we were in high spirits. Two more days at sea and we were in New York. Our debarkation went surprisingly smoothly and quickly. The Legend is a fine ship, the crew were excellent unfortunately the cruise director frequently claimed to have seen whales off the port bow, needless to say we were always on the starboard side when he made the announcement.   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
I'm still coming down from a glorious transatlantic cruise - Dover to NYC, Sept. 25-Oct. 10th. In addition to the marvelous itinerary, which is what attracted me to the cruise in the first place, I was cared for and pampered by an ... Read More
I'm still coming down from a glorious transatlantic cruise - Dover to NYC, Sept. 25-Oct. 10th. In addition to the marvelous itinerary, which is what attracted me to the cruise in the first place, I was cared for and pampered by an incredible crew and entertained by some great headliners. In particular: A dedicated ship's crew that navigated us across seas rough and calm, past icebergs, through narrows and fjords, from Europe to North America. Our dining room crew of Andrea, Diyan, and Barbara who worked diligently to meet our every need in the dining room, and recognized and greeted us while they were working shifts elsewhere on the ship. Eva, the dining room hostess who saw to special needs of our little troupe. The chefs and cooks who fed us non-stop for 15 days. Our room steward, Domingo, who worked with us to ensure that 3 rather demanding guests were well taken care of, and Aldo, the steward of the next group of cabins down the hall, who stopped and chatted for a few moments every time we went past. All the stewards that created the absolutely amazing display of towel animals at the Lido pool! The 'quiet', but ever present staff that kept the ship clean and tidy - always at work cleaning, polishing, picking up, washing windows, and mopping up the fog from the open area of the lido deck. The tireless tender crew, taking us to and from Qaqortoq, Greenland. Victoria, the acupuncturist at the spa who worked with our physical problems throughout the cruise. The Park West Art Auction team for fun, champagne, and some great new pieces of art. Our cruise director, John Heald & assistant Kelvyn, the Legend orchestra, the singers and dancers, the comedians, the juggler, the illusionist, the guest singers - wow, what a fortnight of entertainment. We didn't see all the shows, but the ones we did were truly memorable. The Jazz Hot Show, Big Easy, and the back-up dancing to Justin Illusion by the Legend Dancers were all excellent. Violinist Izabella Zebrowska; Vocalist Emily Reed; Comedy Magician Adam Heppenstall; Vocalists Le Musica; Juggler John Nations; Illusionist and Dancer Justin Illusion; and Comedian Danny Buckler - Thank you for sharing your talent on the high seas. I can't get that kind of variety anywhere else! And this doesn't include the wonderful visits to Dover, Dublin, Glasgow, Belfast, Reykjavik, Qaqortoq, and St. John's. That's for a different blog. Thank you to the entire crew of 900+. You made my day (15 times over!) Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2013
This was our 16th Carnival Cruise, the third in Europe. The we have sailed on several Carnival Sprit Class ships over the past 10 years The Pride, The Miracle and The Legend prior to this voyage. The ships are not so big, but are not so ... Read More
This was our 16th Carnival Cruise, the third in Europe. The we have sailed on several Carnival Sprit Class ships over the past 10 years The Pride, The Miracle and The Legend prior to this voyage. The ships are not so big, but are not so small, sailing with 2100 other guest the ship is not to chaotic the size and number of passengers is just right. All of our previous voyages on this class ship were 8 days or less, this voyage was twice as long 16 nights. On this Voyage I rate the ports visited 10 with the unexpected passage thru Prince Christian Sund in Greenland. On this Voyage the ship as always was clean and where it wasn't was due to inconsiderate guest On this Voyage the ships rank and file crew were pleasant and helpful, the officer on the other hand were hibernating and never around, very little to no exchange with the officers and senior staff. The Supper Club is extraordinary, having visited 3x during this voyage, but the reason for so many times dining there, may have been to the non-predictable food service in the Main Dining Room. Food was not up to the Quality we had previously experienced. The food served in the Main Dining Room; your time seating for dinner, was sometimes perfect, sometimes OK and sometimes COLD ! we had made a complaint to the hostess at the dining room entrance and there was an improvement, only do to the diligence of the waiter. The maitre d' never came to our table to check with us, if we were happy with the service. When I am served Lobster Tails 3x in the same night and they all were cold, you lost my confidence. The food on Lido also had its ups and downs. My observation , of the dining room was the team of 3 who served you had too many guest/tables to attend too, probably a cost cutting attempt by Carnival Corp. to defray the cost of all of their mishaps at sea in the past few years. Food for this voyage I rate it at a 4 out of 10 The temperature of the hot tubs is not warm enough. They ran out of blankets and the temperature from Iceland to Greenland to New Foundland / Labrador required them This was a repositioning cruise, one of one but the ports and route were extraordinary Dover, England; Dublin, Ireland; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Rejevick, Iceland; Qaqortoq Greenland; New Foundland / Labrador ; Ney York City. This itinerary should be a regular, voyage with east and west passages   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
There were 10 of us Canadians on this cruise. The Legend is a beautiful ship and the crew were amazing. Carnival has the same menu on all their ships, because we have cruised with them for the past few years, we found the food ... Read More
There were 10 of us Canadians on this cruise. The Legend is a beautiful ship and the crew were amazing. Carnival has the same menu on all their ships, because we have cruised with them for the past few years, we found the food disappointing. Carnival need to change the menu and improve on the desserts available in the dining room. Due to weather our itinerary was changed. The Cruise director gave a talk at 3 pm explaining why the itinerary was changed. They did it for the safety of the passengers. The only port we would not visit was Belfast, as they could not accommodate us on the date we had. We left Dover and our first stop was Liverpool. This port was not on the original itinerary and it was amazing how the port staff pulled it all together in just a day and half. We were greeted with such kindness and willingness to help us find our way around the town. Liverpool was amazing even in the rain. We then went to Glasgow where we met up with our tour guide/driver, Hamish. He was from the Timberbush Tour Company and again we had booked this online. Hamish met us at the pier wearing his kilt and a big welcoming smile. He drove us around in a 16 seater bus, played Scottish music for us and told us about Glasgow and Loch Lomond. We visited Stirling Castle where Mary Queen of Scots had lived, it was built in the 1530's. It is a beautiful castle and worth the visit. Loch Lomond area is beautiful even in the rain. We then went to Dublin and had the booked tour which we had arranged on line. We booked through Lynott Tours out of New York and due to the dates being changed, our driver, Brian was not a tour guide and was unable to give us much information on Dublin. We did go to Trinity College, Guinness factory/store, Malahide Castle and our driver stopped at a Fire Station for us. Our next stop was Invergordon and our tour company was The Taxi Tour Experience. Duncan was the Tour Co-ordinator and we had many emails back and forth planning the perfect day in Invergordon. Kevin, our tour guide/driver was great. We visited Dunrobin Castle, Glen Ord distillery, Dornoch Cathedral, Priorty Church and had a tour of Inverness. Dunrobin Castle was beautiful inside and out. The grounds are a work of art and there is a Falconry show. We did not visit Glenmorangie distillery as Duncan said it gets very busy with all the passengers on the cruise ship excursions. The Highlands of Scotland are beautiful and worth the trip to see it. We will go back and Duncan said he would organize a tour for us. We like the private tours rather than the cruise ship excursions as they can be more personalized and are less expensive. We were fortunate when we got to Edinburgh that we had Hamish again. he was wearing a different kilt this time and gave us a wonderful tour of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Castle, Glenkinchie Distillery, Temple Church (ruins of) and Roslyn Chapel. Our trip was full of wonderful history that we had taken in school. Our day in Stavanger, Norway was disappointing due to weather. It was raining and low ceiling so we were unable to see the fjord, but the boat ride was enjoyable. We booked through Rodne Fjord Cruises and saved ourselves a lot of money. The cruise ship cost for this tour is ridiculous and we had the same tour for 1/3 the price, (seniors rate, adult price is a little more.) Stavanger is a very pretty town, things are expensive and we were there on a Sunday when a lot of stores were closed. Our last stop was La Havre France. We also had a private tour here as well and this one turned out better than any of us expected. One of group had an uncle that was killed June 7, 1944. Our tour guide/drive, Sylvan, was amazing. Our first stop was the house where General De Gaulle and General Montgomery stayed We then went to the Juno Beach Centre. While we went through the Juno Beach Centre, Sylvan did research in the books at the store and found many interesting facts about the uncle. He took us to different spots on our way to the Canadian War Cemetery. The cemetery is beautifully laid out, the tombstones are in rows, similar to Arlington in Washington D C, but there are plants between each tombstone and at the end of each row. There are 3000 Canadians who died between 1939 and 1945 buried there. We found the tombstone of the uncle, he was buried in the first row. Our day ended with a brief visit to Honfleur. We were lucky on this day as the weather co-operated and it was sunny and warm. After our cruise we returned to Dover, while staying there visited Canterbury with its magnificent cathedral and Dover Castle. This cruise was amazing and we would highly recommend taking it. It is our favourite cruise so far because of all the history. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
First the good points. The cabin was very comfortable and spacious. The bathroom was well appointed and very clean, well stocked with towels and other necessities. The staff were very helpful, chatty and friendly. The lady hostesses on ... Read More
First the good points. The cabin was very comfortable and spacious. The bathroom was well appointed and very clean, well stocked with towels and other necessities. The staff were very helpful, chatty and friendly. The lady hostesses on deck 3 of Truffles Restaurant were invariably happy, smiling and very positive. The cabin steward was equally so. Our cabin was kept very clean and tidy. The shows in the theater were also of high quality and reflected high professional standards. There were three shows by the resident staff which would have drawn audiences in London's West End - particularly the magic show on the final night. The other entertainers were varied and professional with a good range of different talents. Both embarkation and disembarkation were handled professionally efficiently and cleanly - it was expected that everyone would be off the ship by 8.30 am. So what was not to like? The weather for the first part of the cruise was particularly bad but that of course was not under Carnival's control. However, the itinerary was completely redrafted on the first day because of, it was explained, the prospect of severe weather conditions in the North Sea particularly around Norway. All ports were rearranged in a different order except for Le Havre which remained the final port on the last full sea day. Belfast was dropped completely from the schedule. Instead the ship went to Liverpool. Liverpool is a nice city with lots to offer but it is not Belfast and it was clear that a lot of passengers had things booked in Belfast - including myself - which needed to be cancelled at short notice. That was a major disappointment. We were given no real explanation as to why Belfast was dropped. It was clear in talking to other passengers that we were not alone in failing to understand why it was possible to visit Liverpool and not Belfast given the short distance between the two. Carnival's clientele is predominantly North American and the menu in the main restaurant tends to reflect the American palette. Thus as a Brit some things were unfamiliar to me and the waiters were not always well versed on the nature and make up of individual dishes. Additionally, most main meals were overcooked even according to US standards. To be different one night we chose not to eat in the restaurant but, instead, went upstairs to the Lido Cafe. It was quickly clear that the Lido was not seen as an alternative to the restaurant there was very little on offer, mainly some salad items, a pizza and that was about it. In the morning and at lunchtime the Lido had a full range of items but not so in the evening. All excursions were very expensive. To give one simple example; the ship docked at Queensferry for Edinburgh. The cost of a shuttle bus booked through the ship to go into Edinburgh was $59.99 (40.00). However, a private bus company freely available on the quay was offering a return ticket on a coach for 10.00 a discount of 300%. Equally, the return train fare from Greenock to Glasgow was 7.50 each the ship cost of transport was again $59.99 (40.00)the station was about a fifteen minute walk from the ship. We were not advised of the existence of any of these alternative facilities at any of the ports which we visited. Whilst the entertainment in the theater was very good the same was not true around the rest of the ship. That is not to say that the people who were performing were poor, the problem was with the locations in which they were required to perform which often appeared inappropriate. Thus one group performed fifties/sixties music and people wanted to dance but the location was also the direct access to the restaurant and the front of the ship, a constant procession of other passengers made dancing very difficult. Additionally, after about 11.00 pm there was virtually nothing available around the ship apart from the casino - which did a roaring trade both day and night - we did go to the disco a few times but there were few others (perhaps a dozen in total) in attendance. Finally, I and my wife found the humor of the cruise director decidedly unfunny and sometimes even bizarre. I understand he has a considerable following but after meeting him in person I fail to understand why. There was one incident in which one North American passenger was encouraged to engage in a caricature of the Scots which I thought was decidedly in bad taste. Would I cruise with carnival again? I think not. I have tried to make this a balanced review; we met some very nice people with interesting tales to tell and it has to be recognized that humor and food are often very personal. The cruise had some very positive aspects but the poor was decidedly very poor and coloured the whole experience; so, no, I would not travel with Carnival again.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2013
I booked this cruise through an Internet agency and got it at a very good price with free parking at Dover. This was my first 12 night cruise. My longest cruise prior to this had been a 9 night cruise in the Caribbean and another to Canada ... Read More
I booked this cruise through an Internet agency and got it at a very good price with free parking at Dover. This was my first 12 night cruise. My longest cruise prior to this had been a 9 night cruise in the Caribbean and another to Canada and New England and earlier this year I had done a 9 night cruise to the Canary Islands. Also, I had never sailed from UK before and hence there were no flights needed as I live in London and a drive to Dover only takes about 2 hours. We travelled as a family of 3 with 2 balcony cabins. On the day of sailing, Sunday 1st September, we left home at 9am and got to Dover around 11.15. I dropped off the luggage and my family members at the cruise terminal and was shown to the nearby car park area where I was to park my car for the next 13 days. I was then taken back to the terminal in a shuttle. I met up with my family and went upstairs for registration. This was very easy as we had checked in online and were given our cabin cards which are also used for any purchases onboard. We were straight away asked to proceed inside the ship. This was one of the fastest check ins I had seen. After a quick photo we were inside this beautiful ship in less than 10mins. As we were very early onboard we were asked to go and and have lunch at the lido restaurant as the cabins would not be ready till around 1pm. The atrium was around 9 decks high and had a very dark feel to it. I quite liked it but it may not be to everyone's taste. We went straight to the lido in the glass elevators. There was plenty of choice for lunch including freshly made hot and cold sandwiches, salads, pizzas, car very dishes, oriental dishes, desserts etc. Burgers and chips were served by the inside pool. Plenty of choice for everyone. Being vegetarians we were pleased to see that every dish was labelled as being vegetarian or not. So no need of asking anyone about this. Lemonade, water and ice tea together with coffee and tea were complimentary. After enjoying our lunch we quickly went on the outside decks to explore the ship. The ship had 3 pools ( one inside), plenty of hot tubs, a private adults only area called Serenity located on deck 9 at the aft, a basketball court, mini golf, gym, and plenty of sun loungers through out the upper decks. However as we were sailing towards Norway we knew we won't be using them much expecting the weather to be much colder. We were about to go and explore the bars and lounges on lower floors when we were advised that the rooms were ready. We went to drop off our hand luggage and the rooms were 2 balcony cabins ( starboard side) located next to each other on deck 7. Really nice rooms with a good size balcony, seating area, dressing area, plenty of storage space and a well appointed bath room. The shower area was much larger compared to some ships. There was a shower curtain instead of a shower panel but at no point did any water drip into the rest of the bathroom whilst showering. We were quite pleased with our cabins and had a view of the white cliffs of Dover. We then went to explore the ret of the ship. There were plenty of bars and lounges, casino, a huge theatre, a discotheque, another small theatre called firebird lounge whereby all the stand up comedians performed their shows, a bright dining room on 2 floors ( upper floor was for anytime diners and lower floor was for fixed seating). The whole ship was very well appointed and didn't show many signs of ageing despite being over 10 years old. After a quick safety drill, we set sail at 5pm from Dover. As there were 8 ports of call and 3 sea days in between this was going to be a very busy cruise for most however we looked forward to the sea days for some relaxation time. As we were on anytime dining we could choose to dine anytime between 6 and 9.30 in the main restaurant or could go to lido. We normally dined between 7 and 8pm. There was never more than 10 mins queuing time and you could get a table for your party or could share with others if you preferred. On the first few nights we were given different tables but once we got to know one of our head waiters, Olana, we always asked for her table. It is nice to dine with the same head waiter every night which is normally difficult for anytime dining. However the lady who gave us tables always ensured she got us a table with Olana which made it a great dining experience each evening. As we were vegetarians, there was always an Indian vegetarian choice and also another choice which changed daily. In addition they also asked if we would like anything else in particular and we asked for hot soups with vegetable stocks as they mainly used chicken stocks to prepare the soups. This request was recorded and whenever we were given a table a note was printed which was given to the head waiter of the table so we didn't need to tell him or her everyday. I think this was excellent as in other cruises we had to let the head waiter know about our choice at the start of each meal. For breakfast and lunch we went up the lido and there was plenty of choice there. The tables were easy to find generally however the queue at omelette or sandwich counter was usually long. On the whole we enjoyed all parts of our dining and had no complaints. The desserts were all mouth watering and we all put on a few pounds at the end of the cruise. One positive and one negative now about the cruise director and captain respectively. Our cruise director, John Heald, was the best cruise director we have ever come across in the 12 cruises we have been on. He is so interactive with everybody and is always visible in shows and on the tannoy. He is very funny too and together with his sidekick Calvin, this made it a very enjoyable experience. Loved their live morning shows on tv and also their game shows like a quiz game show in the theatre and another marriage show. I wish I could have a cruise director like John in every cruise. He just took the cruising experience to another level. The negative was regarding the captain who was only heard a few times on the tannoy system and was never seen in public. I couldn't even see him on the captains night. Usually in my previous cruises captains have been visible throughout the ship. So my one advice to the captain, Giuseppe Donato, would be to be more interactive with his passengers and be more visible like his Cruise Director. The other shows in the theatre were mostly very good. Welcome aboard show by John was brilliant and set the scene for the entire voyage. Whoever attended that show won't be able to forget passengers like Zorro and Ish due to Johns excellent performance at this show. He was also very good at the port talks and made them very humorous. The production shows were good but nothing out of the ordinary. The 4 singers were good but were not given good numbers to sing in the shows. Their talent was seen one night in a concert held in the firebird lounge one night when they all sung very well. Loved the girl who sang the Whitney Houston number from Bodyguard. The dancers were good and the orchestra was brilliant. The head of the orchestra plays the flute brilliantly as was seen in one of the other shows. Most of the guest entertainers were British and they were all top notch. Piano man Brett Cave was a good entertainer and bit of an eccentric. Philip Hitchcock did well with his magic. The magic and dance of Justin Illusion was a brilliant show. Penny Mathisen was a brilliant singer and sung mostly opera and west end numbers. Hypnotist David Knight was entertaining but looked a bit staged. Musically talented Samantha Jay was brilliant on the 4 musical instruments she played and got a standing ovation from most. We missed show by Malcolm Pitt but heard good feedback from others. The only show that we didn't like was by juggler Neil's Duinker from Holland and we left half way. There was no show during the final night in Le Havre which was a big disappointment. This was because we were looking forward to seeing John for one last time together with Calvin, other dancers, singers and the hard working Orchestra band. Most ships have a goodbye show hence not having one on this ship was surprising. Instead they had a movie playing in the theatre. All the 4 Norwegian ports of call were brilliant. Surprisingly we got the best weather in these ports. Alesund was breathtaking. We did a hop on hop off tour which was short but took us to top of a Mountain which gave us great views of this wonderful place and the ship. In the afternoon we walked around the town in the sunshine and explored the shops. Bergen was our favourite port. Very pretty and once gain had brilliant weather there. Did the hop on hop off tour again and went up the funicular which gave us great views of the city. Once again we walked around the town and the various markets in the afternoon sun. Loved this small city. As there was no hop on bus in Stavanger we did a last minute tour with Carnival which turned out excellent. We went to see the countryside and the fjords. Loved this tour. In he afternoon, we once again walked around Stavanger but it was definitely not as pretty as Bergen and Alesund. We had the warmest weather in Oslo which was another exciting city. We went round in the hop on bus and explored the sculpture park followed by visiting some brilliant museums. In the afternoon we explored the castle and the fortress and walked around Oslo city which is a great buzzing city. All of Norway is very expensive so we made sure we came back to ship for lunches and went out again. Apart from some souvenirs didnt shop anything else. If once wants to go to Norway, best to go via a cruise. I would like to do Norway on a smaller ship which takes you round the bigger fjords in the future. Hamburg was the next port and unfortunately it was pouring with rain all morning. We did the hop on tour but couldn't see much of the city due to the rain. Hence I would rate this port as my worst out of the cruise but I think it was mainly due to the horrible weather. As the rain cleared in the afternoon. It was time for us to sail away down the river Elbe and I was expecting some cliffs and castles on the way which John had described in his talk. However there was none of that and the land on both sides of the ship was mainly flat with farms and houses and some farm animals. The next port was Amsterdam. Loved going through the lock and sailing down to Amsterdam. The weather was ok with some showers but plenty of sunshine in between. We did the hop on hop off canal cruise which was nice and then explored the city by foot. In the evening, the heavens opened and by the time we walked back to the ship, we were all drenched and tired. In the last 2 ports Zeebruge and Le Havre we did excursions with Carnival as there was nothing much to do around the ports. In Belgium, we did a tour to Brussels and luckily we got decent weather with not much rain. However I heard from those who went to Bruges that there was quite a bit of rain there. We saw the atomium, palaces, the grand square and Manekin Pis. This was a full day tour and just got in time for the ships departure. Unfortunately our guide on this tour was not very informative and rushed around everywhere. In Le Havre we did a tour to see the Benedictine palace and factory and see the needle and eye on the beach at a nearby town. We did this tour as we had been to Paris just last year and didn't want to go back. Would have loved to do the tour of D day landing beaches but it was very expensive. It was mostly a dry day. The sea days were all dry but on the first sea day the sea was very choppy and several people suffered from sea sickness. However it calmed down as the day progressed. On the whole I loved sailing out of Dover, loved the beautiful Legend, loved the food, loved the service from all ship personnel including the Cruise director who was brilliant and loved the ports of call. It was my first time on Carnival but surely won't be the last. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2013
Following Major surgery and long recovery for my wife we were looking forward to a relaxing break with our family and embarked on a twelve night Baltics cruise We were in stateroom 7111 a lovely comfortable room with balcony We had two ... Read More
Following Major surgery and long recovery for my wife we were looking forward to a relaxing break with our family and embarked on a twelve night Baltics cruise We were in stateroom 7111 a lovely comfortable room with balcony We had two stewards main one was I Ketut and they were both brilliant nothing too much trouble and also friendly with our family The ship had some lovely features and most importantly, ample and comfortable seating areas The theatre was welcoming and comfortable with some first class evening entertainment shows on a London West End comparison The lifeboat drill at Dover was a bit of a shambles crew members were unsure when and where the drill was to start The instructions given during drill were unclear and captains address over pa system at end of drill was distorted and with insufficient volume Restaurant staff namely table hostess and waitress were very rude necessitating a complaint to dining room manager (something we have never needed to do on any other cruise) The table hostess told us we would need to choose and order meals for following day every evening. My wife was unable to eat some food one evening and the waitress was arguing with her we moved table to another part of dining room and were served by a lovely waiter called Joel. The Buffet restaurant tables were cleared but tables seldom wiped sausages were uncooked and chicken was overcooked.Whilst the stateroom, restaurant and theatre were nice and warm, other parts of the ship were very cold with air conditioning running The ships hotel director was approached and complained to by numerous passengers but the temperature did not improve whilst the ship was in St Petersburg for two days people not on excursions were not allowed off ship There was no entertainment and it was really cold and most people spent day in staterooms On day we did river excursion it was raining (not Carnival fault) but river cruise boats had not been organised very well and we had to get on and off boats trip to shops was too short. our favourite ports were copenhagen Warnemunde (Rostock) tallin and amsterdam (we had done baltics cruise before and been to several other ports also) Kids club was quite well organised and children seemed happy Guest services very helpful although didnt know what to do on final invoices Read Less
Sail Date: August 2013
Friday, August 16th, 2013, started off like most of the Friday's since I started working. 12 hours worth of work crammed into 8 hours, if nothing went wrong. My Karma was good, I left work on time with all tasks completed. Vacation ... Read More
Friday, August 16th, 2013, started off like most of the Friday's since I started working. 12 hours worth of work crammed into 8 hours, if nothing went wrong. My Karma was good, I left work on time with all tasks completed. Vacation started at 14:30 Arizona Standard Time (regardless of its official designation). We made it to Sky Harbor in plenty of time to make it through security. Unfortunately, our flight was leaving from terminal 4's B gates, the side with the least palatable food. I opted for a milkshake from Mickey D's, as anything else would be more likely to be problematic on a 10 hour flight. We ended up boarding the plane about the scheduled time for its departure, as there was a slight delay. We took off about 30 minutes behind schedule, which was to be expected. The British Airways 747 was a full flight which generally means if you are not flying in first or business class, pray for people that actually fit in one seat are next to you, that was almost the case, with not having access to my left armrest the only inconvenience I faced. Due to the guy sitting in the aisle seat sleeping with a blindfold, my wife used the ends of the armrests as a place upon which she could step in order to get to the restroom. That is not an option for me. Food on this flight was chosen by a sadist! No person with an ounce of kindness would serve beans to passengers in a confined space, but that was one choice, the other being pasta in a runny tomato based sauce designed to loosen one's bowels. Times like this make me thankful for a clearly defined limit to the torture. I will have to remember the British hold grudges about losing the American Revolution. British customs was a fairly short ordeal, with civil servants that made you feel as if they actually liked their job and meeting you. At least this trip has a relaxing aspect to its first stop. The taxi ride from Heathrow Terminal 5 to our hotel (Doubletree Hilton Westminster) is the first indication you get that travelling in Britain is expensive. The black cabs would run 75 to 85 BP, an independent took us there for 60. One word of caution about the Doubletree Westminster, be cautious of where you aim your camera as MI5 doesn't like to have its picture taken. Aside from that the hotel is in an excellent location for seeing the major tourist attractions. If booked early enough, it's a wonderful bargain. Booked late, you will pay more than double for the same room. Based upon our experience, it is a waste of money to add meals to your bill. The Original London Tour is a Hop on Hop off service that includes a boat tour along the Thames off of the Red and Yellow routes. This is the best type of touring for photographers, as it takes you to all sights of interest London has to offer. If you choose to use this service, I highly recommend you look for a bus with a live narrator. The tour is more fun when there is interaction between tourists and the guides. Breakfast at the Doubletree was expensive and not worth the price if it had been half of the total! The scrambled eggs were quite runny and bangers was the only breakfast meat. Don't waste your money on convenience. Places in Trafalgar Square offer much better food and more reasonable prices. Little Frankie's has a fairly good spaghetti and meatballs dinner big enough for 2 to share at a reasonable price, unless you add garlic bread. Garfunkel's has really good fish and chips. Unless you enjoy being pickpocket bait, standing for a long time in a crowd, spending more than an hour for a 5 minute spectacle and breathing in the aroma of the unwashed masses, the Changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace is not going to be your cup of tea. For me it was the biggest waste of time on this entire trip! After doing the normal tourist stops in London for the weekend, we took the Eurostar to Paris on Monday August 19th. We booked it through Viator and they in turn arranged it through Premier Tours. It included the following; Round trip Eurostar travel, Bus tour of major tourist attractions in Paris (Arc d'Triumph, Champs Elyse, Opera Houses, etc.), minor stops for pictures but not designed for a photo tour, Cruise along the Seine (a narrated boat ride that is quite enjoyable), Sparkling White Wine (reminiscent of Champagne) Brunch at the First level of the Eiffel Tower. My first impression of the Paris train station came from my nose, I suspect the French must not have any qualms about urinating in public, as the stairwells reeked and had small puddles along the walls. This is not the kind of thing I would have expected in a city known for its art and food. I was glad that that was not the way the rest of the city turned out to be. The tour itself turned out to be something I cannot recommend to photographers. It was rushed and there were few opportunities for taking pictures. If you want a good tour for that purpose, purchase your own Eurostar ticket and use a hop on hop off bus. The tour is very informative and hits all the major points of interest. The principle aim of the tour is for you to spend time at the Louvre and Eiffel Tower. It accomplishes that goal fairly well. The food at the first level of the Eiffel Tower is surprisingly mundane for a French Restaurant. I have eaten at local dives on the Cote d'Azur that were far better. Is it possible that the quality of the food was due to the displeasure of the Parisian French with dealing with foreign tourists? At any rate, I can at least say I've been to the Eiffel Tower and it was no big deal. We headed back to the airport to catch or ride to the Carnival Legend. Our cab ride was negotiated for a lower rate to Heathrow Terminal 1 (closest terminal to London), which is also where I highly recommend catching the bus for Carnival. Your luggage will be travelling with you on the bus as opposed to being crammed into the cargo hold of a truck where it can easily sustain crushing damage. Most of the passengers that travel from Heathrow will have been taken to Terminals 4 and 5. Our bus driver provided a nice narration along the way and the ride was enjoyable. Dover is very picturesque. The cliffs look very nice and part of me wishes we had spent a bit more time there. The Carnival Legend is trimmed out in black silver and gold accents on dark red stained wood. The ship is smaller than many of the others we have sailed on, but that is a necessity for the Baltic ports of call. Its size also makes it much easier to learn the layout so navigating to the places on the ship you want to your favorite activities is much easier. The upgrade to our cabin was well worth its price. This is the first time I had enough space to put my shirts, suits and pants in the closet as opposed to keeping them folded in drawers. Our next cruise will require going back to my wife having all the hangers. Having a full bathtub with jets is clearly something not to be avoided. It came in handy after some of our excursions. Our cabin steward was very nice and always had a smile whenever we saw her. I am one of those people that likes to buy t-shirts of places and events I have been to or participated in. Upon seeing a particular one I liked on board, I was very disappointed finding out that it was unavailable in any size except 2XL or larger. Further examination revealed that the smallest size T-shirt in the ship's store was 2XL. Were they expecting this to be a voyage for strictly obese people? Is Carnival telling those of us of normal size that our clothing is not something they wish to sell? I can understand limiting the purchase of goods to avoid excess inventory, but it is better to have too much inventory than not enough when you have a limited window of opportunity to sell something and angry passengers who want clothing that fits! After a sea day, spent mostly in the trivia games on the ship (with the answer sheets used by the emcee often having incorrect information) we hit our first port of call, Copenhagen, Denmark, home of the Little Mermaid, Hans Christian Anderson, Danish Modern Furniture, and the favorite breakfast pastry of millions. The Little Mermaid statue fits its name, it is small. The crowds around it are huge, and because it sits on an easily reached perch, there often are people standing in the way of your shot, but if you are patient you can find an opening. It is worth waiting for that brief duration. A brief walk from that location towards the cruise ship pier you will see the other mermaid statue of Copenhagen. She is bigger in every way and that includes her chest, which is nicely proportioned. One can see that if this one had been located at the water line she would have been more of a Siren. Architecturally, Denmark has some very interesting buildings. The only problem one encounters in trying to photograph them is the over head electric wires. With patience, one could remove them in Photoshop, or leave them in for an authentic photo. The buildings along the canal are found in almost every travel brochure, and do not disappoint anyone that wants to see them. Keep in mind that if you take a canal tour, you are not going to see them from the boat. Do not let that be an excuse to not take a canal tour though. The boat ride has other benefits. The guards at the Royal Palace are changed every day at noon. If you thought the changing of the guard in London was worth seeing, this one has far fewer people, and you can be very close to the action. The only thing it lacks is the pageantry and music of the London event. It is every bit as formal and we enjoyed it. Our next stop was in Waremunde, Germany. It is an industrial city, with its 2 major attractions being its typical German beach (not recommended for prudish people or children) and its closeness to Berlin. We chose to go to Berlin. Our tour of Berlin was with Alla Tours, out of St. Petersburg, Russia. It was their Grand Tour which was to include a one hour lunch and one hour of free time at the end of the tour of Berlin. The actual tour did not match up with what was paid for. This disappointed several people who didn't take time to shop immediately after eating lunch. It is also not a good tour for serious photographers as the bus was completely closed in and not everyone has a chance to shoot because each person is stuck with the view from their window and there were very few stops for taking pictures. Our host, Yve, was an excellent guide and very knowledgeable of the history of Berlin. Had he not been on our tour, I would find it very uninteresting. It is my hope that at some point the tour get moved to an open air bus similar to the hop on hop off busses. The price of the tour is better than the cost of the train ride to Berlin offered by Carnival, and if you book this tour, ask to be in the group led by Yve. The food at the restaurant we had lunch at was reasonably priced and tasted great, but the same food was offered by a nearby restaurant for considerably less making one wonder if somebody made arrangements based on something other than customer's best interests. They also only worked on a cash basis, but took Euros or Dollars. Being partial to pork, I can recommend their pork schnitzel with French fries, though I was hoping for noodles. The return to the Carnival Legend was later than most of the normal eating times, so the Chef had a special German buffet prepared. It must have been extremely hard on him. The last time I had food this tasteless, I was in a hospital on a bland diet and even that food had a more enjoyable flavor. During the sea day, I presented a challenge to the waitress at breakfast by ordering one of my favorites, waffles with ice-cream. It was met, making a good start for a sea day. I did well at the movie trivia challenge, but didn't win it this time. They didn't specify exactly what they meant when they asked for the 3rd Star Wars Movie's title, the 3rd one made or 3rd in the actual series. The third one made was the 6th in the series. Nor did they know that "I'll be back" was used by Arnold Schwarzenegger in more than one Terminator movie. Neither of those items would have made a difference though (I had written the most likely answer due to previous knowledge of their source), as I had drawn a blank on their clue for a couple of movies I hadn't seen. I spent a fair amount of time watching ships sail by and photographing the ones that were close enough to be interesting. They were mostly freighters and tankers with the occasional ferry. I was relieved when we attended the "Game Show" that my wife did not put my name into contention because I felt as if I have been breathing in too many diesel fumes from the slow moving buses and idling ships when we are docked. I have been coughing quite a bit. While watching it from the audience, it also became apparent that it would have been extremely single sided as the contestants missed many very easy answers. Our Alla Grand Tour in Finland, had it been run in accordance with the posted schedule, would have been a disaster. Once again, our guide never was given the same information the clients received. Our guide however, knew enough of the local events, what was open and when, and managed to include stops that would have only been drive throughs according to the original schedule. It is good that Alla doesn't impose a rigid schedule on their guides, but it would be nice if the guides were given an outline of what the tour was to include that matched the one given to the clients. All this walking was starting to make my arthritis act up. Down slopes and going down stairs was becoming painful, and both knees were swelling by the time the tours were done. I had to resort to starting the day with Aleve and ending it with Ibuprofen. By morning, my knees looked normal. Alla Grand Tours were scheduled for our two days in Russia. Our first day in St. Petersburg was fantastic and exhausting. Valentina was our guide and her vast knowledge of Russian history brought to life the places we were seeing. I was very impressed with her ability to keep our group of 16 together in spite of some extremely crowded sites. We always were able to get to the right places at the right time. A snack and later on a hot sandwich were provided for the first day. I now understand why we didn't get to go in many of these places, they are HUGE. Just walking the perimeter photographing the exterior items of interest can make you very tired. To properly see the interiors of these sites would take at least a month! The first day in Saint Petersburg left us tired and looking forward to the next one. On paper, our second day's tour looked like it would be shorter than the first. We were going to fewer places, but after seeing the exterior of the Hermitage, since we were going inside today, it became very obvious today would be even more walking for us. We saw about 1/10 of the public rooms of the Hermitage which took at least 2 hours at our fast paced walk. It is a vast and expansive place, that to see properly would take a serious art lover a week and a half to see. Our tour by Alla far exceeded our expectations. Resurrection Chapel or Savior of the Spilt Blood Church was even more impressive from up close and inside. Once again, the amount of information we were presented with made it possible to truly appreciate everything we were seeing. Valentina is the most impressive guide I have ever had in all of my travels. If you sign up for a grand tour with Alla, ask for Valentina for a trip that will be very informative and will leave you with an impression of Russia in a way that fosters friendship through understanding. She presents the history and culture of Russia far better than any of the history books I have read, Russia is a very beautiful country with a very rich history. Tallinn, Estonia is a photogenic city that has many interesting buildings, some new and many very old. Our Alla Tour here was basically a bus ride to the upper city and a lot of walking back along cobblestone streets. Helen, our guide, for the next 3 hours was once again well versed in the culture and history of Estonia and Tallinn in particular. This was the most strenuous of all our tours. If even the thought of walking on uneven surfaces down steep slopes makes you cringe, do not book this tour. If you want to really get a feel for the history of Estonia, this tour is great. The 2 hours of free time at the end, was a bit too much for me, so instead of waiting 2 hours for the bus to arrive, we chose to walk back to the ship. Upon spotting a T-shirt I liked here, I was dismayed to learn mine was the only size unavailable. Such is my luck, could this place have the same agent ordering shirts as the ship? I was very pleased with our Alla Tours. They were informative, fun, at times a bit strenuous and a far better value than any tour described to me by my fellow cruisers that took the ship's tours. We saw and did a lot for our time in port and had a lot of fun. Two more sea days followed. They were spent playing trivia games, seeing shows, eating and enjoying the comedians in the George Lopez Punchliner Comedy Club's adults only shows. Taylor, the club's hostess, needs to tell more than one joke per night, or at least make the intro more entertaining! Sitting in the first 2 rows of an adults only show is one way to get the comedian to notice you. This can be good or bad, but either way it s entertaining. Amsterdam is a wet place. That is to say, there are many canals and most of the best sights are easily reached by a hop on hop off boat. An all day pass is fairly inexpensive and if you stay in your seat long enough, you can travel through all of the zones (the boat signs are changed as it approaches Central Station and it starts a new route). If touring the Anne Frank House, buy your tickets online and ring the bell when you get there. It will be a lot cheaper and faster than taking an excursion from the ship. Upon returning to the ship, it was time to pack for the return to Dover. The bags needed to be in the corridor no later than 22:00. Ensuring our bags were not going to be over the weight limit was going to be a challenge. It also meant that our carryon bags would have to have a bit of room in case we had to do some last minute shuffling at the airport. To do this properly, I ensure our bags were underweight when we left the house. Even with those precautions, we just made it this time. The shuttle to the airport was very quiet, almost too quiet. I suspect that unlike the ride to the ship, this meant the end of a vacation for most people, back to their daily dull routines. The difference between the average person and me, I live life along the lines of Work Hard, Play Harder, so I was exhausted and trying to rest up for the time change I'd have to face.   Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2013
My husband and I had a most wonderful Scandanivia and Russia cruise on the Legend in August. We had absolutely no complaints and loved the Legend and entire staff. The ship is beautiful and very well laid out. It's nice to be on a ... Read More
My husband and I had a most wonderful Scandanivia and Russia cruise on the Legend in August. We had absolutely no complaints and loved the Legend and entire staff. The ship is beautiful and very well laid out. It's nice to be on a glitzy ship on holiday and there was so much to see and do each day, especially on sea days. We were delighted with our cruise director, the most hilarious John Heald, who always let us know what ws going on each day and was absolutely the best cruise director we've ever had the pleasure of being entertained by. This was our 6th Carnival holiday and we've loved them all and are looking forward to our next one, next year. We loved the gym, which had state of the art cardio equipment and weights, and most helpful personal trainers, who were gracious enough to answer any exercise related questions. We did go early and never had a problem getting a treadmill or other cardio equipment. The gym was extremely clean and it was most enjoyable working out a bit in the morning, anticipating the fun day ahead, whether going on an exciting tour or just spending a lazy day at sea. We took a pre-cruise Carnival package in London and spent two nights at the Hilton, Olympia Hotel. It was great as Carnival arranged for a private car pick-up at the airport and then after the two nights, we were driven to the Port of Dover, in a brand new Mercedes bus, to catch the ship. The pre-cruise exploration of a bit of London was such fun and we took the Hop on, Hop off bus tour and checked out some of the major sites. We were most fortunate to have enjoyed spectacular weather on our 14 day holiday. Embarkation from the port of Dover was flawless and we were on the ship in no time, having lunch at the buffet restaurant. The food was most delicious and there was just too much to choose from. Everything was beautifully presented, fresh and well prepared and there was always such variety on each day. By the time we finished lunch, our cabin was ready and we got our luggage shortly after. There was plenty of storage space and everything was tucked away neatly. Our cabin attendant, Nant, was just a joy and she was always ready to help and went out of her way to greet us whenever she saw us. Our cabin was kept immaculate and we loved the little towel animals she presented us with each day. We did eat at the specialty steak restaurant , the Golden Fleece, and had a most deletable meal. Since we ate there on the first evening, we got a complimentary bottle of wine, which was a nice treat. The restaurant was lovely and nice and quiet, with wonderfully attentive and friendly staff. The rest of our meals during the cruise, were eaten at the buffet for breakfast and lunch, except for one lunch in the main diningroom. All the other dinners were eaten in the beautiful diningroom and all the dishes were amazing and extremely tasty. The waiters were very efficient and friendly and knew our names since we went early and had the same table every night. The diningroom was most elegant. We saw 6 ports during our cruise and loved them all. We took Carnival Shore Excursions for each port and all the tour guides were university graduates and extremely knowledgeable about all the sites we visited and the buses were very modern and comfortable. In Germany, we did take a private train booked by Carnival, into Berlin and that was such a fun experience. We saw Copenhagen, Berlin, Helsinki, two days in St. Petersburg, Tallinn, Estonia and Amsterdam. It was so much fun to look forward to leaving the ship and having an adventure each day. On our return to Dover, we also took an excursion on our way to the airport and spent a few hours at Windsor Castle and walked around the town of Windsor as well. The entertainment on the Legend was first rate and we enjoyed Vegas Style productions with the most fantastic dancers, costumes and stage settings, along with the most talented 10 piece Carnival Orchestra. It was such a treat to have the orchestra entertain us in other venues throughout the cruise. The singers were amazing as well. On other evenings, we saw a fantastic magician, comedic juggler, singer, illusionist, and adult comedy shows. All of the entertainment we saw was very professional and most enjoyable. All in all, we had a most fantastic cruise on the Legend and came away with wonderful memories.   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2013
Firstly please accept my apologies for the length of this review but I assure you this is the shortened version! We are a couple in our late 40s travelling with our son who turns 17 in early August 2013. This was our third cruise - the ... Read More
Firstly please accept my apologies for the length of this review but I assure you this is the shortened version! We are a couple in our late 40s travelling with our son who turns 17 in early August 2013. This was our third cruise - the first two being with Ocean Village (cruises for people who don't do cruises) and Princess. This was intended to be our last family holiday together before our son hopefully heads off to university. The choice of cruise destinations was based on our son's dislike of "sat-in-the-sun for two weeks" and the opportunity for us all to explore new places, with the main port of interest being St Petersburg. The fact that the cruise set sail from Dover meant there were no flights required, just a drive of approximately 6 hours from Lancashire without any air con... but that is a different story. We travelled down to Dover the previous day and stayed overnight in the very basis 2* County Hotel (NB: You get what you pay for). We did not use the port's car parking facility but chose to use an off site Company called Relyon (much cheaper than the port parking but situated the other side of town) who provided us with a shuttle service direct to the cruise terminal. Also one of their representatives was clearly visible directly outside the terminal upon disembarkation and we experienced no delays. Embarkation was straight forward and after enjoying a lovely lunch on the Lido deck our bags were waiting outside our stateroom. The room itself was quite spacious considering there were 3 adult sized people in it. Our bed was 2 twins pushed together but we had no issues. Our son had a drop-down bunk which was very sturdy and in his opinion very comfy. There was also a sofa bed if required. The bathroom was roomy and bright with a good shower and plenty of hot water. Having bathrobes was a lovely bonus. Service from our stateroom attendant Kade was excellent!!! The only issue we had was we were directly underneath the Satchmo Lounge. On some nights when we retired early in preparation for a tour ashore, loud music could be heard coming from the lounge until midnight. One night in particular was the night before we arrived in St Petersburg. Not only did we have to be at our meeting point at 7am, the clocks also went forward losing us one hour's sleep. The late music was therefore not really appreciated! As a family we had previously arranged to explore most of the ports ourselves on foot with the exception of Helsinki and St Petersburg, where we pre-booked a couple of tours online. The 2-day Grand Tour of St Petersburg and the Winter Wonderland in Helsinki. Let's start with the Winter Wonderland. Once we got over the initial shock that it was totally fabricated inside an industrial unit, we proceeded to have a really fun time. Have you tried tobogganing on a thin piece of plastic smaller than your derrire? Or a husky-drawn sled ride? The owner of the huskies was very informative and invited questions about the dogs and the work they carried out. To cap it all off we got to meet Santa Claus, where Santa's Little Helper absolutely made my holiday let alone day, when he asked "Who do we have here? One father and 2 siblings?"! Children in particular were really enjoying this trip, without the complimentary shot of vodka of course. Our only gripe with this tour was the cost. On the coach provided there was tourist information booklet on Helsinki. There we saw the entrance fee for the Winter Wonderland experience. Upon our return to the ship we established the cost of a taxi fare and soon realised we could have purchased the trip ourselves at half the price that Carnival charged! A tour guide was most definitely not needed for this trip. The 2-day Grand Tour of St Petersburg was also expensive but we felt that this would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience and therefore we stood the cost. It is fair to say that we were a little disappointed with St Petersburg. As we were on a guided tour and didn't walk the streets ourselves, we didn't really get a feel for the place. Also St Peterburg is only just over 300 years old. Living in Britain with relatively easy access to many other locations in Europe we are surrounded by a wealth of history, consequently we were not overawed by the palaces or churches in St Petersburg. However what we did find fascinating was the depth of knowledge of our tour guide Anna. St Petersburg is her birth/home own and her passion for the city was obvious. On a down side it did feel like we were being rushed through places. In the Hermitage Museum, Anna would be talking about one room and then would set off into the next room. Because the place was so congested those at the back of the group, us included, would still be looking at the first room of interest when Anna would begin talking via radio loop about the next room she was in, which we couldn't see or refer to. Also, to our knowledge there were at least 15 coaches from our ship on the 2-day tour and we all appeared to be following the same route. As we were not the only cruise ship in port, the tour providers really need to put some thought into the tour routes and schedules in order to make the experience for tourists somewhat more enjoyable. PLEASE NOTE: An absolute NEGATIVE to St Peterburg and the overcrowding at places of interest is the risk of being a target for pickpockets. An older male passenger from our ship had his wallet taken from his front trouser pocket. The man in question wore casual slacks which had quite open and loose pockets. The only advice we can give is if you don't need it don't take it ashore, and if you do need it, guard it very carefully! Lunches on both days were adequate but were a bit on the Forest Gump side - you didn't really know what you were having until you bit into it. Both lunches came with a glass of bubbly and shot of vodka and fruit juice for the children. We thoroughly enjoyed the other ports of call. In Copenhagen we walked round the city getting lost and taking in the architecture. Not to mention almost getting knocked down by cyclists! In Germany we visited the lovely port and beach of Warnemunde and in the afternoon travelled via train and tram to the nearby town of Rostock. Here we went to the zoo which had a very interesting exhibition on Charles Darwin and evolution. In Tallinn we took in the mediaeval part of the town, walking the cobbled streets, taking in the sights and enjoying a refreshing beer. There was so much going on in Amsterdam we have decided to go back at a later date for a longer stay. In the meantime we visited Madame Tussauds and the Amsterdam Dungeon. All the staff spoke very good English which made the trip to the Dungeons quite entertaining. A walk back to the ship through the Red Light District was also a real eye opener for both father and son! With regard to the ship, there were two separate pools available to us. One pool had a retractable roof and the water was heated. The downside to this pool was that this was where the poolside entertainment took place and was always unnecessarily loud. The open air pool in comparison was quieter but the water was not heated. It should be noted that the pool side music was the same everyday. Surely after over 60 years of charted music, the DJ could find 12 days of music which didn't repeat itself. We didn't mind the choice of dining options. We chose to eat breakfast mainly from the Unicorn Cafe on the Lido deck. Lunch was either in the same cafe or from the grill near the pool on the same deck. In the evening we chose the 'Your Time' option in the Truffles Restaurant, which meant we were not held to a dining time but could choose anywhere between approximately 6:30pm and 9:30pm. We did not have the same waiters but had a variety dependant on where we sat in the restaurant. There was an additional steak restaurant which incurred a fee of $35 per person. To be quite honest over the duration of cruise we had a number of perfectly good steaks in the Truffles restaurant and therefore could not see the need to fork out unnecessary money where it was not needed. High pricing seemed to be a standard across the ship. Constantly having flyers handed to us for the spa which was permanently empty - try halving the prices, which by the way would still be way greater than the cost to me in my home town for a similar service. We were not totally enamoured of the entertainment, the bulk of which required audience participation. The Jazz Show on the first night was so loud with bright flashing lights there should have been a health safety warning! In comparison with Princess cruises who put on a Vegas style show every night, this ship has a long way to go. We did see some of the other shows but found that some had only just started when they had to end, eg. the hypnotist. We did see some good comedians but were failed to be told that the 'adult' routines were the same as the 'family friendly' routines with the addition of swear words. The jokes were basically the same. The attitude of some of the entertainment staff also leaves a lot to be desired. At one Trivia question time the host Brett mispronounced the name of the artist Holbein as "Hol-be-in". When he was corrected by the participants his response was and I quote "That's what I said 'Hol-be-in'. Look my teacher tried for 12 years and she failed" and "I went to school in Liverpool". Really? Carnival sold itself to us on it's excellent customer service. People have paid thousands of pounds or dollars for this cruise and this total lack of respect from someone with such zero customer service awareness is unnecessary. Add to this the bumbling antics of the Assistant Cruise Director Calvyn makes the whole entertainment experience quite painful. The Cruise Director John Heald was very charming and came across as sincere, albeit some of his comedy routines and expressions were predictable. He was witty and quick in his reactions to situations that at times he was the entertainment. In comparison Calvyn was loud and inept in most of his actions. A good example of this was the last Bingo session where he was totally unprepared and gave out vocal descriptions of lines required without the corresponding pictorial image showing on the screen (as per all the other Bingo sessions we attended). He also had his microphone too loud and commenced to clear out the Bingo trolley giving out prizes willy-nilly including a clothes hanger!! On a positive, Katie was very professional! We also don't need to see the constantly ogling of another human being regardless of someone's preferred sexual orientation. There were usually children of all ages in the audience and this kind of behaviour is totally unacceptable. And finally we come to gratuities... Britain is not known as a nation of tippers unlike our American counterparts. In order for us to give a tip service, above and beyond excellence is usually required. We paid 277.65 in 'Pre-paid gratuities which was supposed to cover tips for the dining room team, the stateroom teams and alternative staff teams. Carnival recommends that the total daily amount of gratuities is $11.50 per day per person. As there were only 2 adults in our party, our son is still a student and under 18, by our calculation $11.50 x 2 x 12 = $276. So how come Carnival have charged us 277.65 which is over $400? Also how on earth does bending down reaching into a fridge, grabbing a bottle of beer and putting it on the bar justify a 15% bar gratuity? It doesn't... and for that reason we chose not to pay it. You might think that we are tight but quite frankly in time of financial uncertainty, 277.65 in tips is quite more than enough! In short we found cruising with Carnival only average and do not envisage travelling with them again.   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2013
I chose to take a Carnival cruise as I did not realise the Legend sailed from Dover only 30 mins from my home and did not fancy the trek to Southampton to join my favourite line P&O. although owned by Carnival they are worlds apart on ... Read More
I chose to take a Carnival cruise as I did not realise the Legend sailed from Dover only 30 mins from my home and did not fancy the trek to Southampton to join my favourite line P&O. although owned by Carnival they are worlds apart on standards. The ship is gaudy and depressing in its decor and whoever designed it should be ashamed of themselves. The food in the buffet is average and not very often is it hot lukewarm chicken is quite dangerous and I observed no temperature controls in place. The main restaurant was poor to average in food quality however the staff were very nice and polite. John the entertainments manager and Cruise director was fantastic but his team did not really mingle with the passengers unlike other ships. cabins are clean and comfortable however be prepared if you are a smoker to be accused of smoking in your cabin if the steward smells smoke on your clothes this happened to me and I was mad as hell. the cruise is cheap however the bar prices and all the add ons are not compared to other cruise lines, entertainment is limited but is far better than I expected. If they gave the ship a lick of paint and improved on the food it would be a great ship. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2013
About us: This was a Dad and Daughter trip. My family cruises together often as a group and my wife and I cruise as a couple on occasion as well. We have been aboard Carnival Legend before, having traveled from Tampa on a prior trip. ... Read More
About us: This was a Dad and Daughter trip. My family cruises together often as a group and my wife and I cruise as a couple on occasion as well. We have been aboard Carnival Legend before, having traveled from Tampa on a prior trip. Galveston is a very convenient port for us. Consequently, we tend to use Carnival often, although we have also used RCL and Holland America Line as well from other ports. Booking the cruise was very easy through carnival. We lined up our flights through Expedia. I am not sure that the Cruise line might not have been easier, but that is how I did it. On the other hand, I managed a first class upgrade to JFK at least, so that was not too bad. Embarkation day. We had booked a private tour through London Private Tours  David Hamed. More on his company can be found at Trip Advisor. The benefit here was sharing a private tour guide for just the two of us, along with a nice van to take the trip in. Very roomy. The night before David had booked a wonderful meal at a restaurant in the Shard. What views and what food! David picked us up from our hotel and traveled east out of London to the County of Kent, a beautiful area arriving eventually in Canterbury for a Cathedral and City Tour, followed by Dover Castle, the RAF Memorial on the cliffs of Dover and other of the beaten path attractions. We were delivered to the Cruise Terminal in Dover at approximately 2:45 pm. Embarkation was really incredibly painless. We were aboard at 3:00 pm. Monday, July 15th. On Board the ship we found we were going to have the legendary John Heald as cruise director, along with his side kick Calvyn. Throughout the trip we found John to be funny and engaging, although he was a bit incognito when not on stage. For those who like a more accessible cruise director this might be an issue, however it was not for us. His side kick was a guy whose apparent schtick is being in your face out of the closet 24/7. This did not bother us, although we did wonder how many parents with children found adult themes such as this to be a bit out of place at times. My point is that there is a time and a place for things, and 24/7 leaves little in the way for alternatives. The Shipboard experience  The interior design is interesting but not too shocking as we have been on the ship before. It has been toned down from the Tampa times to reflect a less party-centric crowd and more family oriented crowd. Take note of this Mr. Asst. Cruise Director. The ship does have a Serenity Area. Once the area is hopefully better defined and segregated similar to the concept on Magic and so on, it will be more attuned to the crowd on this ship. I am sure this will be addressed at the next refit. There is not an apparent Spa deck program yet on this ship. I think that doing something like this would improve Spa traffic and also reduce the number of annoying plugs and announcements apparently necessary. We did late seating and hit the jackpot with our dinner guests. They were from Florida and were just lovely people. The young lady at the table and my daughter got along famously. The wait staff was very attentive. Irnya from Ukraine took the time to give us some really good tips and advice about St. Petersburg. Bruce the Piano guy did a good job. The wine and food pairing at the steakhouse during the day was informative, particularly for my daughter. sommelier tries. Nikolai the sommelier did a great job. Formal nights tended to be dressier than your average Caribbean cruise. It was not a get drunk cruise crowd. However, it was not Cunard starch either. Men can do fine with a conservative blazer and wool slacks straight up to formal evening attire should they chose to do so. The Crowd: The crowd was fairly international primarily Brits, Canadians, Americans, Aussies, a few Spaniards and a sprinkling of various other nationalities. English was almost universally the spoken language. While the average age was probably a bit over what you see on the Fun Boat types of trips, there were still plenty of families with children. The crowd was almost universally well deported with one notable exception detailed later. There was also one family from Argentina who seemed to almost miss the ship sailing at nearly every stop, including St. Petersburg (not a good idea) and it got to be an event to line the rails for their dock sprint. The Cruise Director, John Heald, even got on the intercom in Helsinki to announce a special watch sale in their honor. Very funny. The Stops: Wednesday, July 17th Copenhagen. We did the Castles of New Zealand tour and it was really good. The history is fascinating and the facilities were gorgeous. The Lutheran Church in Frederiksborg Castle was a sight to behold along with the rest of the red brick and copper roofed faciltity. Kronborg Castle is a fairy tale facility commanding a narrow passage between Denmark and Sweden. It was the theme for Hamlet and apparently was used to collect duties until the pesky Americans started to refuse to pay in the 1800s. Thursday, July 18th - Germany. We did the Berlin and Prussian Palaces Tour because it offered a good balance between WWII era history and the past and we were richly rewarded for this choice. Carnival uses a company called European Land Excursions to run this tour. The trip was efficiently run and jam packed without seeming rushed. The hostess on the train trip to and from the port in Warnemnde was Isabelle. She was warm, friendly, and engaging during the entire trip. Her knowledge of the area and the helpful tips and insights she provided were most beneficial to us. From a total customer experience perspective, Isabelle was one of the most effective hostesses I have experienced in many years. Irma was out tour guide in Berlin and Horst was the driver. They worked beautifully together and ran the day like a well-oiled machine. It was never rushed, things were on time or ahead of time, and she packed in plenty without having it ever become overwhelming. Irma was really quite knowledgeable and was able to bring the history of an area or attraction to light be it from the 17th century or the 20th. She was a joy to be with the entire day. I was lucky to have her as a guide and my daughter agreed. Overall, I would say that this tour guide combination and experience was the best we had on the twelve day trip. We saw many of the sights in Berlin such as the Holocaust Museum, Checkpoint Charlie, The Richstag. Under den Linden area, the Olympic Stadium, Potsdam, Sans Soucci Palace, Charlottenburg Palace (which was magnificent), and others. Back on board it was open seating, but we skipped it to go topside and enjoy the German oompah band until sailing along with good sausages and brewskis on tap. Saturday, July 20th - Helsinki. We booked the city tour and steam train to Porvoo excursion which wa cancelled due to mechanical issues, and ended up doing a private tour. We saw all of the things several combined ship tours would have seen without the waiting for stragglers. The tall ships were in port and it was really a sight to see. The Church on the rock and the Lutheran Cathedral are not to be missed. Porvoo was an interesting old town and we took time to do some wandering of the old steam train yards across the river which yielded great photos of steam locomotives and so on. Finland is a very nice country with friendly people. They are Social Democrats. The guide told us that there was a high suicide rate amongst young people who do not make it into the professional programs. Apparently they have to pass a grueling exam just to enter a lottery. Sunday-Monday, July 21st - St. Petersburg. The Russians are really serious about immigration and so forth. If you are not on a ship tour, you have to get a Visa in advance. We did the two day grand tours from the ship. They were actually very good. We also did the folk dance instead of ballet and we really did enjoy it. PLEASE NOTE: We were told many times about the problem of pickpockets in St. Petersburg so be careful of your things. We were told you can use Euros in many places and USD in some, but in the museums they seemed to want Rubles. We never used a credit card in St. Petersburg. Tuesday, July 23rd - Tallinn. We took the walking tour. Tallinn is a wonderful old medieval town with a rich seafaring and trading history. The Guildhalls and commercial areas were very nice. We elected to stay after the tour and explore some more. Walking back to the cruise port was a snap. The shops were reasonably priced and a savvy buyer can find some nice buys on linen. Quality and pricing varies from place to place so it is fun to shop and to deal. The town square and the areas inside the walls were the highlights. Estonia has been fought over extensively by various parties, it seems. The people appeared to be quite thrilled with their independence. It was a completely different atmosphere than that found in St. Petersburg. The internet service and cell service was first class. This place is really wired in a wireless sort of way! Friday, July 26th - Amsterdam. We were signed up for the Van Gogh Museum tour. It was cancelled by the ship. This was the third tour of the cruise not to work out, and once again it turned out for the best. We bought a Holland Pass at the cruise terminal which gave us unlimited tram and other public transportation, plus a nice canal tour, and finally fast pass entrance to the Van Gogh Museum. This was a huge home run for us. We managed to see all of the major highlights by tramming to the canal tour located closest to the museum and then which gave us a really comfortable tour before the rest of the cruise ship crowds swarmed in. Plus, fast pass entrance to the Museum was pain free, except for the looks from some of the folks in the other long lines who went for the cheap route. Holland Pass was definitely the way to go. We had lunch at a wonderful Indian Restaurant and headed back leisurely to the ship. Coming in and out of Amsterdam, including going through the locks was a joy to observe from the balcony. The only blemish relates unfortunately to a certain family in the crowd. We had a nice suite on deck 6. There was a family in one cabin with two very young children, the oldest of whom could not have been have been out of 4th grade. The parents would essentially toss the kids out of the cabin at various times of the day and have them roaming the ship on their own. I am not making this up. One day the boy was out in the passage way too long and wound up soiling himself. The steward almost grossed out cleaning his hand prints off the passageway walls, and understandably so. Plus, World War III erupted in the cabin several times daily amongst parents as well as parents and kids and this was plainly within earshot up and down the hall. Security appeared multiple times. It is a shame. In Tallinn, my daughter and I were eating when an Aussie couple we had met stopped to chat. They started to describe kids they had found unaccompanied that morning and sent back to their parents with a crew member. They were amazed when we guessed the cabin number on the first try. Folks, when you become a legend like this on the Legend, it is not a mark of distinction. With the notable exception of the classless parents, this was really a nice cruise. The ship was well maintained in its gaudy splendor, the crew was uniformly wonderful, the service was great, and the prices were reasonable, particularly if you purchase your wine carefully. We did do the Steakhouse twice and it is really a nice experience as well. Overall, the food was not quite as good as the last time on the Legend, particularly in the buffet, but we tend to avoid that anyway. Carnival has had some bad luck recently, but it looks like they are working hard to make things right and get back on an even keel so to speak. My suggestions: Dont make your customers mad by changing your frequent cruising program at a time like this, keep your foodservice reputation high, make sure to make the excursions happen, and man up to take care of reprobates when they appear. The shore excursions that made were uniformly excellent. I did not downgrade for the cancellations. Final Recommendation - This Cruise is a keeper. It has the right ports of call, great excursion options for those that make, plenty of alternatives when they don't, and a ship that is up to the task. Be sure to consider an excursion to or from Windsor Castle or Canterbury at the front or back end of the trip. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2013
Let me start by telling you a bit about myself and my travelling companion. I am a 40 year old male who lives in Guernsey in the Channel Islands (UK) and has cruised 7 times now with Carnival. I have cruised for the past few ... Read More
Let me start by telling you a bit about myself and my travelling companion. I am a 40 year old male who lives in Guernsey in the Channel Islands (UK) and has cruised 7 times now with Carnival. I have cruised for the past few Christmas' in the Caribbean and in 2011 when the Carnival Magic was launched and then 2012 when the Carnival Breeze was launched in the Mediterranean. I have never cruised with any other cruise line. My travelling companion was my girlfriends father (Now known as father in law to makes things easier!). He is 74 years old and lives in Hungerford. He has seen large parts of the world and he has done river cruises and cruised in the Mediterranean. This is his first Carnival cruise. This is a long review but this was a 12 day cruise. There is lots to get in. This European cruise itinerary was embarkation in Dover (UK) then a day at Sea. Then Copenhagen (Denmark) then Berlin (Germany) then another day at Sea. Then on to Helsinki (Finland) and then 2 days in St Petersburg (Russia) and the next day Tallinn (Estonia) and then 2 more days at Sea. Then the final land day in Amsterdam (Holland). Then for the last day disembark in Dover. To start my cruise I had to fly to Southampton and got picked up by my father in law. We stayed the night in Hungerford and then on embarkation day we drove down to Dover. We had a really good drive down and even the M25 was kind to us. The weather was not very good. It was overcast but at least it was not raining. Even though neither one of us had been to Dover before it was really easy to find with no need for maps or GPS/Sat Nav. When we got to Dover the car park attendant asked for our proof of booking for the car park. He then sent us to the terminal building. Once outside the building the luggage attendants took our luggage from the boot of the car and took them away to put on the ship. We then drove round to the blue car park as directed. We parked the car and then a mini bus took us back to the terminal. When we first saw the ship my father in laws reaction was wow its huge! Mine was its big but compared to the other Carnival ships I have been on this was the smallest I have ever cruised on, never the less these things are big and you can't deny that. We walked into the terminal and went straight through security. The people at the check-in desk were quick in checking our details and giving us our sail and sign cards. Got stopped by the photographer and had to take a photograph which we did not want, did not look at and certainly had no intention of buying! We got on the ship on deck 2. There were loads of people around and we quickly got out of the way and as we were told our stateroom would not be ready until 13:30 we went to Lido on deck 9 for some lunch. We did consider buying the faster to the fun for this trip but we were glad we did not. We got on to the ship so quickly that FTTF would have been a waste of money. When we finished lunch our bags were outside of our stateroom too! Lunch on Lido was very busy. With most people not being able to go to their rooms until 13:30 they were on Lido eating and talking. The weather was not that good either so there were not too many people outside on deck. We left Dover on time and sat on the stern of the ship in the Serenity area and watched the white cliffs of Dover drift off in the distance. We went to have a look round the ship. As I have never sailed on a Spirit class ship it was new to me as deck 2 and 3 were where everything happened. I have to say that to start off with BEFORE we got on the ship I was concerned that as Carnival Legend was old and did not have the fun ship 2.0 updates and was soon to get a refit that she would not be in good condition. I have to admit to be completely wrong. There are some very small/minor things that make the ships age come to light but these really are insignificant and not important and definitely would not alter your cruise experience. I was on the Carnival Destiny (Now Carnival Sunshine) at Christmas and that ship was in need of some tender love and care where as Carnival Legend was in my opinion really well maintained and in really good condition. I really like the layout of the ship. We basically only used deck 2, 3, 9 and of course deck 6 as that was where our stateroom was in the aft. The BEST Carnival ship I have been on was last year and that was the Carnival Breeze. I guess I set my hopes high after being on that ship and Carnival Destiny kind of came as a shock to me. I imagined that Carnival Legend would be in the same kind of condition as Carnival Destiny but I was so wrong. In a way Carnival Legend was better than Carnival Breeze due to its layout BUT Carnival Breeze was better due to its fun ship 2.0 updates. In a nut shell I loved the Carnival Legend. It seems that they have a very caring maintenance team that make sure she is looking her best at all times. The décor of the ship is really good too. The theatre is made to look like a castle. Even when you walk up to the theatre the castle effects begin. The upper section the of theatre/balcony's were on different levels too, its difficult to explain what I mean by that! There are kind of different sections to sit in and there are some small number of steps which take you up or down or round a corner etc. So even though the balcony’s are on deck 3 and 4 the layout feels strange but in a good way. On deck 1 there is a lounge under the theatre called the Firebird lounge. We only went there for the photographic seminar that Mr Radu held but this was where the comics did their acts. Its a really great room. There is an area round by the Circle C and the amusement arcade that is made to look like your walking through a forest/wood. Its really close to the sea too so looking through the windows was great. There is only 1 main restaurant on the Spirit class ships. This is at the aft end of the ship and the galley was below the restaurant so the food tended to be hotter then on other ships. All in all the Carnival Legend really is a beautiful ship and even though she may be missing some features of newer ships that really did not matter. We had late sitting dinner at 20:15. We were on a table with 4 other people. Most tables seem to sit up to 6 people maximum. There were of course tables for 2 and for 4. 2 of our dinner friends were from Nassau and the other 2 from the UK. The dinner service did not get off to a good start, the head waiter never introduced himself as in the past. We seemed to have 3 assistant waiters with no head waiter. We then found out that our actual head waiter was ill so the next senior waiter was promoted to head waiter. His name was Manuel. His assistant was Ronaldo and the other assistant was Maja. We seemed to take a couple of nights to bond with our waiters and waitress. Once that had happened they were great. I have a gluten allergy and told Carnival before hand. The hostess that looked after me for the first few nights was called Ekatrina from Russia. She was really helpful and friendly and was on her last contract going to live on land again as she has decided to stop cruising. Her replacement was Katy from Peru. She was tiny! Katy again was very helpful and friendly. I think its fair to say just about all the crew we interacted with were friendly and helpful. The food in the dining room was the usual Carnival standard. We ate breakfast almost every morning in the dining room. We only used Lido when time was short. There were no queues on Lido for breakfast. In fact I never had to queue to get anything on Lido. The only exception was the omelette station but this was because the omelette was cooked from fresh right in front of you so no surprise there was a small delay. The first night entertainments in the Follies theatre was the Welcome aboard show. ALL of the shows in the Follies theatre were too loud. I don't know why they have to be so loud. Its not just this ship its all the Carnival ships. My father in law is deaf and has to wear hearing aids. He found that removing his hearing aids and using earplugs he could cope in the theatre! Turn the volume down please Carnival! Anyway the show was hosted by John Heald, the senior cruise director. I have cruised with him 3 times now. The welcome aboard show was OK. It was the usual Carnival welcome aboard. John did his Dick Little joke AGAIN! I have seen this 3 times now! The first time I saw this was on the Carnival Magic and yes I must say that I did think it was quite funny even though the chances were that it was fake. The year after that on Carnival Breeze Dick Little was on the ship again! I did think that its highly possible, as it was the same time of year and it was in the Med so the chances of Dick Little cruising on the same ship as me were realistic. Now on Carnival Legend Dick Little is back again! I suppose that again this could be possible but what let the cat out the bag this time was that Dick Little was Australian where as previously he had been American. The routine was the same, let me see your sail and sign card etc. So I am 99.9% sure that Dick Little is one of John's entertainment tools. The next day was a sea day and the US independent day. I did not see any obvious signs that it was independents day though. Being from the UK I was not really looking so I can't comment on how much was done for the US guests. This was our first cruise elegant night in the restaurant. Some unfortunate people did not have their luggage as it was lost by their airlines so they obviously could not wear their finest but they were told by John that they could still come to the restaurant in whatever they had.. I think this is sensible. These people must already have been so angry at not having their luggage and to be turned away from the restaurant for something like this would have been a real shame. The show tonight was Jazz Hot starring the Carnival Legend dancers. This show was good as were most of the shows. This was the first of our setting our watches forward 1 hour forward. The following day was our first stop and it was in Copenhagen in Denmark. We decided to do a Carnival excursion. We did a walking tour. We had an excellent guide and walked for quite a while. If you can't walk properly or unaided do not do this tour as there is lots of walking and standing to do. We saw lots of the city and the guide was very knowledgeable. The sun came out and it got very hot. I really liked Copenhagen. A very clean city and the people seemed really nice. There did not seem to be many cars round either, even in the middle of the city. The show for the night was Siobhan Phillips who did a comedy and vocal act. We did watch most of it and it was OK but the volume got the better of my father in law and we left as his ears were hurting. The next day we were going to Berlin. We were supposed to dock in Warnemunde but for some reason which was explained to us and I have forgotten we had to dock in Rostock. We again chose a Carnival excursion to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp which included a tour of Berlin. We had an excellent guide called Jorg. The excursion was arranged by European Land Excursion Services (ELS) who arranged the train that took us to Berlin. The guide (Jorg) was also from ELS and all together ELS did an excellent job. Jorg was born and bred in East Berlin and his knowledge and passion for his subject was amazing. He is by far the best guide I have ever had for any excursion. He always knew the answer to any questions we asked him. We got back to the ship late after a really early start so we were very tired. We wanted to go to the Bierfest buffet but could not due to going to the restaurant to eat. Seems to us that the Birefest needs to be moved back but then the band can't get off the ship so I am not sure what the answer is but considering that most people went to Berlin on the Carnival organised train then the majority of people not have been able to go to the bierfest. Such a shame. Tonight we had our second move of out watches 1 hour forward. The next day was a sea day. Not much happened really. A great chance to catch up on sleep after Berlin and a chance to relax. We had a port adventure talk by John. After dinner the best show on the seas! The magic and dance of Justin Illusion. This is the second or maybe third time I have seen this show and its still amazing! Don't miss this if you get the chance to see it. The next day was in Helsinki in Denmark. We decided to do our own thing here so went walk about again. We tried to walk lots to help with the calorie intake problem that a cruise brings with it! We saw lots in Helsinki and it was a really nice place. In hindsight maybe we should have done an organised tour so we knew more about what we were looking at. Back on the and we set sail at 17:00. After dinner the show was a guy called Phillip Browne from the UK. I had never heard of him and was a little sceptical but he ended up being very good. He sang in the west end and he made an excellent début on Carnival Legend. We set our watches forward for the third and last time. The next day was the big one. St Petersburg in Russia. This was an overnight stop so 2 long good days in St Petersburg. We kept being told by John to remember that we had to have our sail and sign cards, passport and a completed Russian immigration form. To get off the ship we took the above to one of the many immigration booths inside the terminal and gave the documents to the serious customs officer. They were checked and then we could carry on our way. St Petersburg port was a huge surprise to me. It was so clean and modern and nice. I THINK the cruise terminal must be quite new as were the surrounding buildings and structures. We did the Carnival organised 2 day tour of St Petersburg. Yes it costs a bit of money but it was hassle free so well worth the money. We had a guide who's name was Alexandera. She was born in St Petersburg and was very proud of her city. We had her for both days which was nice. For some reason I had an image in my head that St Petersburg would be full of people driving Lada's and the buildings would be old and falling down but wow was I wrong! Yes there are some Lada's driving round but the buildings are generally in good order. St Petersburg was a lot more modern then I ever imagined. Their were loads of modern European cars too. This tour was excellent as it took so much in. The main thing I did NOT like about this tour was the visit to the Hermitage museum. Don't get me wrong, the museum is not the problem. The problem was the queue getting into the museum in the first place! We had to wait I think for about 30 minutes. Once inside well my heart sank, the building had quite literally thousands of people visiting. Women actually had to queue to go to the bathroom! Men were OK just about and did not have to queue. I don't know how many cruises ships were in on that day but in the area where we were had 5 cruise ships. In the more central part of St Petersburg there were at least 2 and maybe 3 more cruise ships. As you can imagine this equals ALOT of people with the Hermitage being the main attraction. We could not move easily inside and it got quite hot. I wish I had never been now as I hate crowds and there was no where to go to get away from them. You could not take a photograph without people being in the way. You could not see the exhibits properly either because of all the people. I am sure that this would be a very interesting place to visit BUT at a less touristy time. We had lunch in a restaurant which was really nice. The waiter did not speak English at all (which seemed common for the older generation) but the guide asked him about gluten free food. Apart from the starter everything else was OK. The food was good even though I was not 100% sure what I was eating! We go back on the ship by late afternoon. We could not get off the ship again due to the customs laws. We had dinner and no show that night. The next day in St Petersburg was hot again, We visited some more of the sites which again were busy but manageable. Lunch was in a different restaurant and the staff being younger spoke English. We had a shot of vodka waiting for us and a glass of sparking wine as we had the day before. Again the food was good even though we were not too sure what it was. After the tour we had some time to do some shopping. Then back on the ship. I did like St Petersburg but would probably not be able to go back. Why not? Well simply the language. Many people we interacted with did not speak English. While I can understand and respect that in Russia they speak Russian I do also think that if you are in the tourism business you should be able to speak some English at least. If I was going to St Petersburg to live then of course I would learn to speak Russian but as I was only on holiday that would be a bit excessive! Maybe this is just a time issue. Russia have not been in the tourism business for very long so maybe in some years more people in tourism will learn to speak English and this problem will disappear. As I said earlier the younger generation do seem to be learning English in school so maybe in a few years I will go back. We left a little early as we had a long trip to Tallinn in Estonia. The show after dinner was Jonathan Stamp who was a juggler. He was very good. Well worth seeing. This was the first of putting our watches back 1 hour. Tallinn was an early start and we chose to do a Jewish tour organised by Carnival. I can absolutely NOT recommend this. The guide we had was not very good and to be honest the whole tour seemed lacking. We drove round Tallinn about as the guide did not have anything else planned to show us! After speaking to our dinner friends they said they loved Tallinn and said how beautiful it was. Somehow we missed that! Think we went on the wrong tour. Guess that was just unlucky. We left Tallinn at 16:00 as we had 2 long sea days trying to get to Amsterdam. The past guest party was today too. Only 45 minutes long now! It was exactly the same as all previous past guest party' but hey who doesn't go just for the free drinks! The after dinner show was Philip Hitchcock which according to my girlfriend we have seen in the past and he is very good and very funny. Especially his last bit with a balloon! Watches back an hour again tonight. The first of 2 sea days and not much happening really. Had a lie in and relaxing. The after dinner show was Big Easy. That was with the Carnival Legend dancers. It was also very good. The next sea day we did the behind the fun tour. That was very good. I have done these tours on previous ships but never on a Spirit class ship. While obviously lots of things were the same there are still some differences. The captain Alessandro Galotto was great. Most of the other captains we have visited on the bridge in the past seemed like they just wanted to get rid of you but this captain was not like that. He seemed to like the fact that we were interest in the ship etc. We had 2 photographs taken with him instead of the usual 1. We relaxed in the afternoon getting ready for Amsterdam. The after dinner show was David Knight the Hypnotist. I saw him on Carnival Breeze and he was very good but you really can't help but think are these people really under his power. This time round there definitely were some people who were not as you could see them laughing when they were supposed to be under. Not to take anything away from David as he was very good. We were due to arrive in Amsterdam at 10am but we were told by John that at about 6:30 to 7am we would be in the lock which would be quite a thing to experience. Now obviously when we left Amsterdam we would see the same thing so I decided that as much as I would like to see that I also wanted to sleep so I decided I would see the second “show”. As it happens when got up at 8am we were still in the lock! John told us that the lock door would not open in the normal fashion so some poor guy had to use an old fashioned handle and manually open the door! Once we were through it took another 90 minutes (I think) to get to Amsterdam and where we docked. The 90 minutes of travelling from the lock to the pier were quite amazing. Some of the sites were brilliant. Lots of photo opportunities. We got to the pier about an hour late so the captain moved the whole schedule back 1 hour and left Amsterdam at 19:00 and not 18:00. We decided to do our own thing again. After 2 days of not doing much we needed exercise! My father in law had been to Amsterdam before so had some idea of where he was going. We visited lots of different places. We had a beer in an Australian pub! Oops. We did want a local pub/café/restaurant but there does not really seem to be such a place. Raw herring seems to be the only local dish! Don't think we missed much by not trying that. Amsterdam is a beautiful city. Again this really should be visited when you have more time then a cruise allows. We got back on the ship and went to our balcony to watch the other side of Amsterdam to the one we saw coming in. On leaving Amsterdam there were loads of people waving and there was a small flotilla of boats following us waving. I can only assuming that this is the sort of friendly people the Dutch are. Sadly we had dinner at 20:15 so missed a bit of scenery. The show was Samantha Jay. She played 4 different instruments very well. We had to leave though as my father in law could not stand the bass from the drum. We were at the top of the theatre at the back to try to get away from the volume but even there the bass hit you in the back like someone had a hammer and they were whacking the back of the seat. From an equipment perspective I suppose that was quite impressive that the Carnival Legend sound system was so good but it was just simply not required to be so loud! We had breakfast in the truffles dining room for the last time. It was as good as usual. At about 8.30am we made our way off the ship. We had to queue on deck 2 as loads of other people were trying to get off at the same time too. Once off the ship we had to queue in the terminal! People were getting outside of the terminal and then just standing in the door way to stop anyone else getting out! How frustrating!!! Once outside we had to take our own bags back to the car. We got under way back to Gatwick airport and it took nearly 3 hours! The traffic was awful! A word of warning, leave yourself plenty of time to get to Gatwick etc. if you are going anywhere near the M25! On the way to Dover the M25 was fine but going back it was not. You just don't know. On the whole I really enjoyed the cruise and the Carnival Legend. The one thing that really annoyed me and most of the people we spoke to was Calvin the assistant cruise director. He is so annoying. So scruffy. I can't really explain how annoying he is. He was the brunt of many a joke at the dinner table where our table friends all agreed that the only reason he is still with Carnival is because he brown noses John Heald. Carnival, please get rid of him! Replace him with a towel animal or something, he is useless! That's all for this cruise. Sorry there have been so many pages but there was a lot to get in! Happy Cruising. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2013
Where do I begin? We were all set to don our lifevests as a joke for the first dinner. We were so hesitant to book Carnival after all the bad press and horror stories lately. This turned out to be our favourite cruise ever. The food was ... Read More
Where do I begin? We were all set to don our lifevests as a joke for the first dinner. We were so hesitant to book Carnival after all the bad press and horror stories lately. This turned out to be our favourite cruise ever. The food was great. The service in the dining room was great. We had three servers dedicated just to us. They were fast, friendly and attended to my GF meals with no problems. The food on the buffet line was wonderful and the most choices. Sorry but salad and jello were the only things gluten free unless you asked the chef and he would make whatever you want. I would have liked to have some GF dessert choices and more dishes labelled GF. My twenty something children loved it and have no dietary restrictions. Formal nights. This is no booze cruise to the Bahamas folks. I was led astray by CC saying we would not need a tux. There was a sea of tuxedos and wonderful dresses on both formal nights. We felt so out of place. We like to dress up. I am sure other people just went to anytime dining upstairs or the buffet. Our cabin steward was wonderful and made up different towel art every night. We got a Russian Cossack dancer after St. Petersburg. Room service was never late and the order was never wrong. John, the cruise director, and his Hoda-like sidekick Calvyn were hysterical. My rock star daughter set her alarm not to miss their breakfast show and she seldom awakes before noon. The wit and banter back and forth was so entertaining. Julian, the music director and sax/clarinet/flute etc was amazing and very handsome I must say. The shows were the best! The Carnival Legend dancers/singers/band were wonderful! Surprise! The costume changes and designs were spectacular! The booked entertainment was great too. Justin Illusion, the illusionist was over the top great. Hypnotist, Magician, Musicians, Singers, oh my - all were so fun and entertaining. No matter how tired I was I dragged myself to these shows and each time was more impressed than the last. We have mobility issues and did not get an accessible cabin but the shower was doable. No tub to climb over! The hand held shower massage settings all worked and had a powerful flow. It was too hot on the coolest setting and they fixed it. The a/c was broken and they fixed that too. Guest service was prompt and friendly and wonderful. THE BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE we have ever experienced. They had seats for people with mobility issues and held the the elevator doors and let us leave the emergency drill first. Very well organized. John made fun of the 'issues of late' and told everyone to get their for OBVIOUS reasons and this was the fasted most organized drill ever. I have never seen a photo gallery with so much attention to pictures. There were 10 or 15 backgrounds all the time to get the best pictures and no expense was spared in the details. Cruise ship, pirate, sandy beach, formal, graffiti, the backgrounds were diverse. Our cabin was 5182 balcony obstructed but we could see the sea from our beds and it was barely obstructed. The service was top notch, the staff was so friendly, we were so hesitant to book Carnival and will not hesitate to book it again. The price was right. We loved the audience participant shows. We were sent champagne, chocolates, and even a trophy! We loved loved loved this cruise and the attention to detail. The service was top notch; the staff was so friendly. We were so hesitant to book Carnival and would not hesitate to book it again. The price was right too.   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2013
About us: We started cruising 9 years ago; this was our 18th cruise. Up to now, our cruising experience was limited to NYC-Canada and varied Caribbean cruises. In June we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary a day after our oldest son ... Read More
About us: We started cruising 9 years ago; this was our 18th cruise. Up to now, our cruising experience was limited to NYC-Canada and varied Caribbean cruises. In June we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary a day after our oldest son graduated from the US Merchant Marine Academy and was commissioned as an Ensign in the US Navy. We had hoped to bring him along for this cruise the last time he sailed with us was 2009 (although hes far outdistanced us in time at sea) but the Navy had other ideas. We figured that this year we needed to do the blowout cruise something completely different. We sailed with DH (52), me (53), and sons 17 and 13. Pre-cruise: Booking the cruise was easy. Flights to London well not quite as easy. We spent more on the airfare than on the cruise. After looking around and checking various itineraries, it turned out that the best-priced flight for us was Albany (30 miles from our house)-Toronto-London on Air Canada. The Albany-Toronto leg was on a Beechcraft 1900 18-seat turboprop. You had both an aisle and a window seat. I cant stand small planes, but somehow I managed it without drugs or alcohol. When we debarked in Toronto we saw our bags on the luggage cart, ready to be transferred to our London flight. With three hours to change planes, there was plenty of time. Or so we thought. Well, when we arrived in London we had none of our bags. Zero, out of four checked bags. When DH reported them missing, Air Canada found that all four bags were still sitting in Toronto. It seems that when they were checked in Albany, they werent scanned properly so no one knew what to do with them in Toronto. (Never mind that the tags were clearly marked transfer and LHR.) At this point, it was early the next morning in London, we hadnt had much sleep, and it was much hotter than normal in London. Fortunately, Ive learned enough from past trips to pack a change of shirt and underwear in our carry-ons, so at least when we reached our hotel we could change. And Air Canada promised to deliver the bags either that night or early the next morning. We arrived in London on Saturday morning and werent due to travel to Dover until Tuesday, so it should work. Our hotel was the Days Hotel near the Lambeth North Tube station. Nice hotel, decent restaurant. When we arrived before lunchtime, one of our two rooms was ready. We gratefully took the room and the boys promptly collapsed on the bed. (DH and I know better; you need to acclimate yourself to the time change, and the best way to do it is to stay up essentially, pull an all-nighter. Havent done that in a long time.) We had pre-ordered London Pass tickets, which gave us access to a number of attractions as well as public transportation passes. We needed to pick them up at a stand near Trafalgar Square. DH and I figured wed go collect the passes. Not happening. This Saturday was a huge Gay Pride parade in Central London. When we left the Tube, we found that we couldnt get to the stand to get our tickets. (If we had taken the Tube to Leister Square instead of Embankment, we would have been fine. Love that 20/20 hindsight.) Meanwhile, remember, its really warm outside. Were in a huge crowd (complete with a guy who hit on DH). And although we changed our clothes back at the hotel, we are still missing our luggage. Not a pretty picture. After dinner that night, we opted for a walking tour. We were very close to Lambeth Palace, so we walked over, through the gardens, across Lambeth Bridge, along the Embankment past Parliament, down to Cleopatras Needle, and then back across the river on the Millennium Bridge and along the South Bank back to our hotel. Of course, our luggage had not arrived when we got back to the hotel. At this point, the clothing supply is rather limited. Sunday morning we finally picked up the London Passes, then headed over to the British Museum. Between our travels and our sons Social Studies teachers, our sons have a real appreciation for traveling and history and youngest son wanted to see the Rosetta Stone, the Egyptian exhibit, and the Elgin Marbles. The Museum was unbelievably crowded, but we made it to all three. Lunch at a museum restaurant, then back to our hotel to find one suitcase. Just one. Seems they put the other three on another van. Oh well, at least youngest son had clothes. Back out again, this time to Westminster Abbey for Evensong. Sons were horrified going to church on vacation is not their idea of fun. However, they got to see the inside of a major Gothic cathedral, and the music for Evensong was wonderful. Dinner was a pub around the corner from our hotel pizza for all, Fosters on tap for DH and me. When we returned from dinner, our remaining bags had arrived (YAY!) Monday  We started the day with a visit to the Tower of London. DH and I have visited several times, but we were happy to introduce our sons to the Tower. When we entered, there was a tour to the battlements where the rooms had been re-created to show how they would have appeared in medieval times. We hadnt seen that before, so it was all new for us! After the battlements, we bit the bullet and stood in line for the Crown Jewels. The line actually moved well, and it was worth the wait. It was much better than when I visited last in 1990! After that, we went to the White Tower, then lunch at one of the museum restaurants. Next up: Tower Bridge. This is a mechanical/civil engineers dream. The tour offers the views from the upper walkways (which never really caught on the bridge openings were fast enough that people really didnt want to be bothered climbing up to the walkways) followed by a tour of the engine rooms that powered the lift bridge. After Tower Bridge, off to HMS Belfast. Weve seen the Belfast moored in the river, but this was our first visit aboard. Great tour. Tuesday  We hired a driver to take us to Dover (with four people, it worked out about equal to either bus or train and we didnt have to tote luggage around). We arrived in Dover before lunchtime, left our luggage at our B&B (Norman Guest House), then walked to the waterfront. Lunch was at Hythe Bay, right on the waterfront. I had a bowl of steamed mussels  freshly caught and really good. After that, up to Dover Castle. You could do this right before you board the ship in Dover, but we spent several hours here. Aside from the castle, which dates to Henry II, there is a tour of the tunnels under the castle the site from which Operation Dynamo, the WWII evacuation from Dunkirk, was coordinated. When the evacuation started they figured they might be able to evacuate 40,000 troops. They ended up evacuating close to 338,000 troops. Its an amazing tour  and it was great introduction for our sons to learn about the tremendous impact of WWII, a theme that would be repeated throughout our vacation. (My dad was a WWII vet and my great-uncle died in Italy in 1944.) Dinner that night was at The Allotment, a restaurant across from City Hall in Dover really good. We introduced the boys to chocolate mousse, and now theyre hooked. Wednesday, July 3  Finally, aboard Legend! Our B&B proprietor had reserved a taxi for us at 10:15 and we were at the port in about 5 minutes. Check-in was absolutely easy, we sat in Zone 1 for all of about 5 minutes, and we were aboard Legend by 10:45. Too early for a Funship Special never had that happen before! We sailed on Legend in 2006 out of NYC to the Caribbean, so we were prepared for the urns. Maybe the intervening seven years (and exposure to many more Farcus designs) have had an effect, but I liked the decor better this time. The Firebird Lounge is really nicely done, and I like the dining room with its china collection. And I could live with the urns. The Spirit-class ships have grown on me over the years. Our cabin was Ocean Suite 5293, while the boys were in inside 5291 across the hall. 5293 has the same size balcony as a Grand Suite, and we did use the balcony quite a bit even though this was a very port-intensive cruise. One word of warning for any balcony cabin on this itinerary: since sunset and sunrise arent that far apart, your cabin may not be as dark as youre used to having. Make sure your drapes are pulled. Boat drill, early dining (table 172 lower level), then had boys registered for Circle C and Club O2. Then off to the Welcome Aboard show with John Heald. As Ive posted before, I have never booked a cruise because of a cruise director or avoided a cruise because of a cruise director. A good cruise director definitely adds to a cruise, though. Ive followed Johns blog and FB page for a number of years, and figured I should see him in person. He did not disappoint. Yes, he did the Dick Little routine that Ive heard about over the years. It was still funny, and my sons (who watched it on TV afterward) thought it was hilarious. More on John later. Thursday, July 4  Fun Day at Sea. DH and I typically spend our sea days by having breakfast on the Lido deck (we always opt for a table by the pools, no matter the temperature we just love being on deck) followed by cards and coffee on the Promenade deck. Usually I skip the port talks, having done my research ahead of time. However, I figured Id attend this time  its just such a different itinerary, and I still hadnt figured out what we should do in Helsinki. It really helped  John had great information about disembarking in St. Petersburg. And as for Helsinki  based on Johns talk, we booked the steam train excursion to Porvoo. And Johns talk was a lot of fun. After the port talk, we went to the wine and food pairing at Golden Fleece, the steakhouse. Weve done these before on other ships, and its interesting to see some of the combinations the sommelier tries. Nikolai was fun he opened a Q&A session at the end of the presentation. After that, a brief lunch and then our Cruise Critic get-together in the piano bar. It was really great getting to know folks some of whom wed corresponded with for months, others who were more recent. Skipped the Captains Celebration and went straight to dinner. After dinner, we saw the show Jazz Hot. Friday, July 5  Copenhagen. We decided to do a walking tour on our own. The Little Mermaid is a short walk from the pier and since we went early, it wasnt crowded. Then we walked up to St. Albans Church and the Kastellet (the star-shaped citadel near the waterfront), along the waterfront, went over to the palace and cathedral, and had tea/coffee at a cafe on the waterfront. Its a really nice city. Saturday, July 6  Germany. We had decided not to go to Berlin for four of us it would have been over $1200 (independent tours werent much less) and it would be a long day. I just wasnt up for a long ride, then lots of driving around Berlin, then a long ride back. Instead, we looked at a tour offered by Alla Tours, with which we had already booked a St. Petersburg tour. We wanted Rostock and Schwerin; however, Alla advised that since we were docking in Rostock port, not Warnemunde, Schwerin was not a possibility given the train schedule. Instead, she recommended a Rostock city tour. It turned out to be a great choice. We were met by a guide who drove us over to a bus stop to meet our tour guide and the other tour passengers from Oceanias Marina, also docked in Rostock. We took the bus to a train station, then took the train into Warnemunde. What a beautiful seaside resort. There was a festival the day we visited, and the town was packed with visitors. After that, we boarded the train again to go into Rostock, then a tram to the city center. A very nice city  we did a walking tour followed by some free time (we went to the Museum of Cultural History, formerly the Abbey of the Holy Cross). From there we went to lunch at a local cafe (really good schnitzel), then over to St. Marys Church with its amazing astronomical clock, built in 1472. From there, back to the ship. (Shh  We tagged along on Marinas shuttle from Rostock back to the port. No one seemed to care. However, seeing as we traveled with two teenage boys, and kids are few and far between on Oceania cruises, we probably should have been a dead giveaway as tagalongs.) Dinner that night on the ship was open seating, since most folks were still out touring. After dinner, the German Oom-pah Band (Diech Tirolero) performed on Lido deck, complete with a German buffet (really good sausage) and German beer on tap. A lot of fun but you could tell people were tired. By 10:30, after Diech Tirolero finished performing, a lot of folks turned in for the night. Sunday, July 7  Another sea day. Coffee and cards on Promenade deck and Johns port talk for Tallinn and Amsterdam. (Loved his warning about the coffee houses in Amsterdam!) Another visit to the Golden Fleece for a wine and food pairing. In the afternoon, while I was out exploring the ship, we received a surprise phone call: John Heald himself. Seems a FB friend sent a note to John to let him know we were sailing, and John called us. DH had a great time talking to him hes just a really nice person. That night he hosted Cigars under the White Nights on the Lido deck with the orchestra playing jazz (what a great orchestra  I truly wish Carnival would go back to full ensembles) and I had a chance to talk to John in person and thank him for the champagne/strawberries he sent. (Okay, the 13 YO made a major dent in the strawberries. He declared John to be the best cruise director ever!) John mentioned how much he loves having a full orchestra on ships I hope the beards get the message and bring back the ship orchestras on other sailings. Monday, July 8  Helsinki. This was the start of four straight port days, and we knew theyd be intensive. We booked the city tour and steam train to Porvoo excursion. All of the Carnival excursions met in the main lounge early and were sorted according to excursion. Theyd then call excursion number to take you to your tours. We started with a bus tour through Helsinki to Hinthaara, where we met the steam train for a rise to Porvoo. A nice ride through the country to the Porvoo train station. After that, we did a walking tour of the old city, which dates to the 1400s. After time to explore on our own, we took a bus to Haikko, a resort/spa, for lunch. I would describe the lunch as rather nondescript, but the resort was beautiful. After lunch, a bus ride back to Helsinki, where we visited the Rock Church, formally known as Temppeliaukio. Hewn from solid rock, its fascinating. Then back to the ship. We didnt do much after dinner aside from it being an early morning on Tuesday in St. Petersburg, we would lose an hour of sleep due to setting clocks back. (This was the third hour lost so far we set clocks back an hour the night before arriving in Copenhagen and again after leaving Rostock.) Tuesday, July 9  St. Petersburg. You really need to pay attention to the instructions for disembarking here. There are three ways to visit. First, if you want to do everything on your own, you need to obtain a Russian visa before you sail. It takes time, its not easy, and its not cheap. Second, you can book Carnivals tours. When you disembark, you need your passport, your tour ticket, and an immigration form that Carnival will provide the day before arrival. The form is two parts; when you disembark, they will collect one half and stamp your passport. When you return, the will collect the second half and again stamp your passport. Third, you can book an independent tour. They will issue a document you will need to disembark, along with your passport and the immigration form. It works similarly to the Carnival tours. Just make sure you have the proper documents check them with your tour operator. As for disembarkation times they do disembark the Carnival passengers first. We were on an independent tour with a meeting time of 8:30 a.m., and we had plenty of time to get through immigration and meet our tour. Do give yourself plenty of time to get through; the lines on the first day are long. In our case, they did not allow families to go through the immigration together; we had to do it individually. Actually a good experience for our sons, since were trying to encourage them to be independent travelers. We booked the two-day Comfort Tour with Alla. Before we sailed, Alla was very responsive to all of our inquiries regarding the tour, and we were very pleased with the tour. The Comfort Tour does not go to Yusupovs Palace or St. Isaacs Cathedral, although you see the outside of both. (We figured the boys would not be disappointed at missing one church and one palace.) We had a group of 15 with a mini-bus. We started the day with an overview drive, followed by a visit to the subway. We did not ride a train, just visited the station. If youre a rider of the MTA in New York or the Tube in London, it is amazing. After that, the morning was spent at the Hermitage. Again, amazing what an art collection. John Heald had mentioned in his port talk that if you stopped to see each work of art in the Hermitage, you would need 1  years to tour. Toward the end of the tour, a number of those in our group were just too tired to venture to the last exhibit the French Impressionists on the top floor. We decided to keep going and were rewarded with a fantastic exhibit of works by Monet, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Gaugain, and Picasso. Wow. After the Hermitage, we went to the Church of the Spilled Blood the location of the assassination of Tsar Alexander II. Definitely one of those places you associate with Russia, with its brightly painted onion domes. This was followed by lunch at a local restaurant (food was just fine, if not notable), a canal tour on the Neva River and some of the canals around the city, and the fortress of Sts. Peter and Paul, the burial site for members of the imperial family. Then back to the ship but wait. We booked an evening tour, another canal tour. We had booked it through Carnival since it was the least expensive night tour and the one we figured our sons would most enjoy. Going through immigration this time was easy since we had the passport stamp. It was fairly similar to the tour we had done earlier in the day, but we enjoyed it just the same. Wednesday, July 10  St. Petersburg, part 2. Our meeting time was 8:00. We were through immigration by 7:50 and were still the last in our group. Then off to a store where we paid for the tour; we used our credit card without a problem (and paid for the Rostock tour as well) and did some souvenir shopping. DH found an icon of Mary and Jesus (some years ago he studied Orthodox iconography and has been fascinated by it); I found a shotglass to add to my collection; and then we had they sons finds. Youngest son came away with a Cossack furred hat with a hammer and sickle, while older son found  a New York Mets set of nesting dolls. Only he could go halfway around the world and find something like this. Add a couple of tee shirts and we were done. (You do get a vodka sample as well.) From there we went to the dock for the hydrofoil to Peterhof. Off we went at high speed across the Gulf of Finland. Peterhof is a palace built by Peter the Great in the early 1700s and was intended to resemble Versailles. The fountains in the Lower Park are amazing. What is equally impressive is to realize that the palace and fountains were virtually destroyed during WWII and have been painstakingly restored. After touring the Lower Park, we had lunch in the Orangerie, then ventured to the Upper Park and back to our van for the trip to Catherines Palace. This was another palace that was completely amazing  particularly for having been blown up in WWII, but again painstakingly restored thanks to the existence of photos and plans for the various rooms. Then out to the gardens for a walk, then back to the port where we bade farewell to our guide Katya and driver Dmitri. Tonight was the White Nights Dance Party on Lido deck with a band and a Mexican buffet. We didnt even try  St. Petersburg wiped us out. And that was with the Comfort tour! Thursday, July 11  Tallinn. We hadnt made any plans for Tallinn; I had read that you could do an easy walking tour, and we figured that after three straight days of excursions wed want to take it easy. We picked up a map and walked to the old city. (Note: Be very careful crossing the streets; use the pedestrian crossings with signals. There is a lot of traffic coming from several different directions.) What a gem. The old city still has its medieval walls, winding streets, and old churches. Right in front of the Town Hall is a square filled with vendors and cafes. After our walking tour, we headed back there for lunch and found Karl Friedrich caf. DH and I sampled the local beer and a Baltic herring plate, while the boys had pizza. So much for local flavor. However, this cafe prides itself on its pizza and the boys thought it was very good. Back aboard ship, the VIFP Gold/Platinum/Diamond party took place. It was fun, with plenty of food and drink, and John leads a good party. Friday, July 12  Day at sea. Another morning with coffee and cards, another food and wine pairing at the steakhouse (last one of three). In the afternoon we went to Johns marriage show. As he says on his blog, his marriage show is very different from other ships shows; theres none of the nun, hooker and missionary jokes. After dinner, we went to the main show, Big Easy, a tribute to New Orleans. Saturday, July 13  Another day at sea. Unfortunately, the weather was not great this day as it was cloudy and windy, and they closed off the open decks. However, a great feature this day was a concert by the ships orchestra and the four featured singers. What a lot of fun! After dinner I tried the hypnotist show thought it was completely staged. I saw people reacting to instructions even before the instructions were given. Not fun. Sunday, July 14  Amsterdam. We were delayed in docking, as the canal lock on the North Sea Canal malfunctioned; however, instead of sailing at 6 as scheduled, we had an extra hour in port. We figured we would do a canal tour to give us an overview of the city, and walked over to the area in front of the train station where you could book canal tours. Note: Watch out for the bicycles! Theyre everywhere, and not all cyclists pay attention to the traffic signals. I went to cross a street with the pedestrian signal and just about got plowed down by a cyclist. Of course, Ive had that happen in NYC as well. We booked an hour-long canal tour and really enjoyed it. After the tour, we stopped at a cafe along the canal for a snack  Dutch cheese and Heineken for DH and me, chicken nuggets and Coke for the boys. After that, back to the ship. Since we sailed an hour late, we were able to enjoy sailing away from Amsterdam from our balcony. As it turned out, our return voyage through the lock was also delayed. Since we would be disembarking in Dover the following morning, we had to get luggage ready. Weve always left our luggage outside the cabin the night before  no self-assist. With four people and several fairly large bags, we just cant manage it. Monday, July 15  Back to Dover. We docked late, thanks to the malfunctioning canal lock in the Netherlands. Not a concern for us; we had realized when booking flights that we likely could not get to Heathrow in time for a flight to Toronto with the right connection to Albany to get home that day, so we just planned on a driver to take us to a hotel by Heathrow so we could fly out Tuesday morning. However, others did have flight problems since we arrived late. Traffic on the M25 was awful  between construction and accidents, our trip to Heathrow took 2  hours. We spent the day (and night) at the Novotel Heathrow. Comfortable hotel, decent food. Next morning, we headed over to the terminal for our non-eventful flight home. Kathys thoughts. This is the section where I give my opinion about the travel, the cruise, the ports, etc. Your mileage may vary. Ship, shows and service: As I mentioned, Legend is not my favorite ship (although she is growing on me). However, all of the lounges were well cared for and full of options. I spent several evenings with Bruce in the piano bar (along with sassyb69 and will and hel) and had a great time. Especially notable for me was the full ships orchestra  saxophones, trumpet, trombone, bass, keyboard, drums  10 members in all. Aside from performing in the main lounge for shows, they also performed at Johns Cigars under the White Nights on the Lido deck, had a concert in one of the aft lounges after dinner, and had a pre-dinner concert with the four featured singers on the last sea day. I mentioned to John how much I enjoyed the orchestra, and he noted that hed like to see more ships with the large orchestras. The shows were fine, at least the ones we saw with a port-intensive cruise, there were a number of shows we skipped. However, I certainly was not disappointed in the number or variety of shows available. Lots of trivia, if you like trivia I enjoy it, but actually never had time for it on this cruise. Service was excellent; our cabin stewards took great care of us, including our laundry. As Platinum cruisers, we were entitled to 3 bags each; I think we used 6 or 7 total for the 4 of us. The last set we sent out had a problem, as one of the mesh bags split and our laundry ended up mixed with another familys laundry. They brought everything to our cabin and we sorted it out right down to a pair of socks that was unaccounted for. Our dining room team was excellent as well, and Stefan on bar service was wonderful. John Heald: I started following Johns blog some years ago and then started following him on Facebook. Loved his sense of humor. However, I had never sailed on one if his cruises. (Came close once we were scheduled to do a Carnival Freedom cruise that originally listed him as CD however, he had his schedule changed and then we had to cancel the cruise altogether when DH changed jobs.) As I mentioned toward the beginning of this review, I have never booked a cruise because a particular person was scheduled to be the cruise director, and that was the case with this cruise. Having John as CD was a bonus. And he really is a good CD very visible, very personable, and an amazing memory for people. What was telling was DH: while I had followed Johns blog and FB pages, DHs knowledge of John was whatever I told him periodically. He had never looked at the blog or FB and wasnt particularly interested in cruise director stuff. After the cruise, he became an avid follower of both the blog and the FB page. Food: We generally have breakfast and lunch on Lido, and most dishes were fine. One problem I had on this cruise is that I dont eat early breakfast for some reason, it just doesnt sit well. I dont get hungry until closer to 10 a.m. With early port days, I knew I had to eat something before disembarking at least I could manage some cantaloupe and cereal. Dinners in the dining room were very good. A nice feature of the European cruises is that Carnival offers some meals that arent offered in the US it was nice to try some new things. The cruise: As I noted at the beginning, this was the blowout cruise for us. Prior to this cruise, the longest cruise we took was 8 days. Understand, however, that this is not a cruise for relaxing you cruise this one for the ports. Even with four sea days, this was intense. But unforgettable! I never thought I would get to Russia. Or Estonia, for that matter. The hardest for me was the time changes. You lose three hours over the course of sailing to St. Petersburg and gain it back on the return. (Oldest son has very little sympathy. In 2011 he sailed on a cargo ship from Albany NY eastward through the Mediterranean and Asia, finally ending in Long Beach, CA. He lost lots of time. Upon returning to CA, he flew a redeye from LAX to JFK, got back to campus at the Merchant Marine Academy, and promptly found a place to go to sleep.) The ports: There wasnt a single port I didnt enjoy. St. Petersburg probably would rank first, followed by Tallinn and Rostock/Warnemunde. I think if I had done more research on Helsinki and Copenhagen I would have done some things differently, but I enjoyed both ports. Overall, though, you need to be a comfortable traveler rather than a tourist; St. Petersburg is very strict with its requirements, and a couple of the other ports required you to bring your passports (not just photo id) ashore. While everyone we came in contact with was comfortable with English, I would recommend having a few phrases in the local language tucked away. Our guide in St. Petersburg taught us a few Russian phrases; when we returned to the pier after the tour, I said Thank you in Russian to the immigration officer who checked my passport, and she gave me a nice smile and a return Thank you. Next trip: Were looking at Alaska for a cruise next year. DHs brother and wife are interested in going along to celebrate their 25th anniversary. Stay tuned.   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2013
This is a remarkable trip but very fast paced. It is also a very tiring trip due to 3 different time changes traveling from Dover to St. Petersburg and 3 time changes leaving St. Petersburg back to Dover. In our case, we spent 3 days prior ... Read More
This is a remarkable trip but very fast paced. It is also a very tiring trip due to 3 different time changes traveling from Dover to St. Petersburg and 3 time changes leaving St. Petersburg back to Dover. In our case, we spent 3 days prior to the cruise in London (Fri-Sat-Sun) including a day trip on the Eurostar to Paris (another 1 hour time change)on Saturday. Those wishing to do this trip please keep in mind, the train does not run on Sunday. Where ever you stay, you will need to be up around 4 AM and depart your hotel to be at the train station to check in and head to Paris on the 7 AM train. It is a 2 hr 15 minute trip at 186 MPH. This is a great experience and well worth the cost. As for the ship. This was our 2nd time on the Carnival Legend and was very enjoyable. The crew was wonderful and very friendly. Always a smile and a hello.The food was some of the best we have had on a Carnival cruise. The only complaint was they only served creme brulee (our favorite) once in the 12 days. There were several kids on the cruise that were not well supervised and were running and pushing through the common areas and playing on the elevators while parents just looked on. We did have a cabin steward with over 20 years service and by far, the best steward we have ever had. The Ports: Dover: Ship departs here, but if you choose to be port side (balcony is great) then you get a great view of the White Cliffs of Dover. Copenhagen: Beautiful city, we did a tour of the Carlsberg Brewery and got a few free samples. This was a very nice tour. Berlin: We opted to take in the Top 10 sites via a train ride for 3 1/2 hours to Berlin. This is a very informative tour and really enjoyable. The train is not air conditioned, but choose your dates accordingly. We went in July and ride was pleasant with windows down. The countryside was really nice and the tor of Berlin was remarkable. St. Petersburg: Although this is a remarkable cultural city, it was not one of our favorites as it turned out. An awful lot of walking when you do the 2 day experience. It was very beautiful, but you need to secure your wallets and valuables. One of our friends got hit by a pickpocket at the Hermitage and Tour Guide never bothered to contact the Police or the Hermitage Security People even though we were pretty sure we spotted the elderly lady who picked his pocket. Smoking is not allowed on the tour buses, but at each stop, the drivers would smoke and you could smell it once you returned. The driver or tour guide never inquired about the comfort of the passengers. It was usually way too hot and folks shedding jackets, etc. Tallinn: What a pleasant surprise. After this visit, I can clearly see why this is a break-a-way republic of the old Soviet Union. I can't say enough nice things about this stop. A wonderful tour guide to start with on our trip to Old Town Tallinn. First thing was the comfort of her passengers. A lot of walking, but also a lot of stopping a long the way for pictures and to hear the history. A concert at the old church was remarkable and then to Old Town Center where we had a wonderful lunch and even our guide sat with us. Helsinki: Another wonderful stop. We went to Old Town Porvoo which is very quaint and a nice place to visit. After that, we were served pasty and coffee at a nice resort, more like a bed and breakfast. Amsterdam: Another remarkable stop. To get into Amsterdam, you go through a set of locks and follow the canal into the city. This was such a nice stop that if one would choose a place to stay and visit, this would be one of those. We did a tour to Edam and got to see the local countryside and all the farms and land recovered by building dykes over the years. In Edam, we visited a farm making Edam Cheese and had our choices of many different types of cheese from cows, goats, and sheep. We decided the smoked cheese (cow) was the best. Before heading to Edam, we did a tour to see the old windmills and a shop making wooded shoes. This was also a fairly long walking tour of the city of Edam, but did have time to takes some nice pictures. Pre-cruise: London, our 3 day stay just was not long enough, we did see a lot, but so much more to see and do. Actually, you can get around pretty easy in London using the Tube, city buses,taxis,or hop-on hop buses. The changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace happens at 11:30 AM each day. You need to be there around 10:30 if you want to get close to the Palace Gates.   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2013
Carnival Legend Baltic Cruise July 27-August 8, 2013 PORTS: Copenhagen, Berlin (Warnemunde), Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Tallinn and Amsterdam US: Couple in their 50s celebrating our 30th anniversary this year. EMBARKATION: Fairly smooth ... Read More
Carnival Legend Baltic Cruise July 27-August 8, 2013 PORTS: Copenhagen, Berlin (Warnemunde), Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Tallinn and Amsterdam US: Couple in their 50s celebrating our 30th anniversary this year. EMBARKATION: Fairly smooth and quick. We did not book our flights with Carnival so we were very pleased that Carnival reps were waiting for us at Heathrow, even though our flight arrived around 6:00 a.m. We were able to find seats in the baggage area and we waited for a few other flights to arrive before we were able to board a bus to Dover. There was a bit of congestion on the highway to Dover, but nothing too terrible. It was raining, but we were going on a cruise so we were happy, and also exhausted from not being able to sleep at all on our flight. We arrived at the port and the process to board did not take too long. Once onboard we went to the Lido for lunch. After lunch we checked and our cabin was ready for us. We napped a bit until the muster drill. CABIN: We had an extended balcony cabin on deck 7. It was mid-ship and was really a great location for getting anywhere on the ship. We did not hear our neighbors at all, but we did hear children running up and down the halls on this cruise. It sounded like it was on the deck above us. We had plenty of room in the cabin, including closet space, and our steward, Mart, was very gracious and took good care of us, including bringing ice for my ankle after I fell getting off the train from Berlin. Very few amenities in the basket in the bathroom, but it did include a tube of toothpaste which I used throughout the cruise and did not have to use my travel tube. Beds were really hard. I felt sore, but I'm used to my memory foam mattress pad at home. We were able to adjust the room temperature to our satisfaction. We were able to get 3 of our 4 suitcases under the bed. We could have used more hangers in the closets, but it wasn't worth taking up room in our luggage or the added weight to bring our own. We both sleep with CPAP machines so it would have been wonderful to have an outlet anywhere near the bed. But I always travel with an extension cord in my CPAP case, so we were able to use the outlet at the vanity. We brought a travel alarm clock with us, but as we were frequently setting the time ahead and then back after Russia, it was easier to just use the ship's wake up call. DINING: We were pleased with the food on the ship. We ate breakfast and lunches on the Lido and were satisfied with the selection and the quality of the food for the most part. Being that this was a European cruise, there were many cruisers from the UK on board and some of the stations served typical English breakfast. I had to hunt to find the good old American bacon. ? We had early seating in the MDR for dinner and ate with a couple from NY. Our meals in the MDR were mostly great. I had prime rib at least twice and it just melted in my mouth. Our wait staff, Wilton, Simona and Stanismer, were great. They always addressed us by our names and brought anything we asked for. They were quick to fill our water glasses and bring us bread. We even got a special dessert from Carnival one night because we were celebrating our anniversary. I just wish they had offered creme brulee more than once during this 12 day cruise. One night we ate at the steak house. I wanted to try it based on recommendations here on CC, but I would not do it again. I think that the food we got was probably worth the extra fee, but I was perfectly satisfied with the food I had been getting in the MDR. Some of the items in the steak house were a bit fancy or fishy for my taste. The onion soup definitely had wine in it, which I know many would enjoy. I'm not a drinker, though, and the taste bothered me. I also felt the wait staff was a bit put out that we were not ordering wine with our meal. We just really don't drink. My steak was delicious, and I barely had room for any dessert. I ordered just the tiramisu part of the chocolate sampler. My husband was able to eat an entire dessert. SPA: I had 2 massages in the spa. One was deep tissue and the other was hot stones. Both were very good, although very much overpriced. I did cave and buy one of the products used on me in the deep tissue massage, primarily because it was supposed to contain a topical anti-inflammatory. After my accident in Warnemunde, I was glad I had purchased it. I used the Jacuzzi in the spa once. SERVICE: Our cabin steward and assistant and our dining room wait staff were excellent. Pretty much every Carnival employee we encountered was smiling, courteous and helpful. It was a pleasure. Even the bar staff was quick to serve us and friendly, even though we mostly ordered soft drinks that we pre-paid by purchasing the Bottomless Bubbles program. (This has not always been the case on our previous cruises.) I had an incident where I had to visit the infirmary, and the nurse was very kind and helpful. The only crew that actually annoyed us was a very abrupt photographer that came to our table every night in the MDR and ordered us around. She seemed to show up every night as soon as I put a forkful of food in my mouth to chew. She was also at one of the photo stations onboard and we avoided her station. But everyone else was smiling and friendly. ENTERTAINMENT: We did not get to every show, especially the Welcome Aboard show, as we were completely exhausted that night. The music shows were fairly good and the costumes and sets for The Big Easy were great. The illusionist show bothered us. We hated the music and the costumes and choreography had kind of an S&M feel that I felt was inappropriate for kids. They did make several announcements about the costumes, but it was more than that. There was a definite sexual overtone to the show. And the music was very loud and annoying. We only attended one of the comedian shows and it was the family friendly version. We might have attended more of them or other events on the ship, but frankly we were pretty pooped on port days. This was not a relaxation cruise. The ports were the main thing. Even though the sun was still shining at 11:00 p.m., we were ready to call it a day and did not have the energy to stay up late this time. We enjoyed the show band. Some of the other musicians on board were okay. My husband particularly missed the classical trio that used to play in the atrium on some of our other cruises. The musicians they had seemed to have very limited repertoires. We did not get to the piano bar at all. SHORE EXCURSIONS: We booked all but 2 of our shore excursions with Carnival. In Copenhagen we did the city tour with Tivoli Gardens. It was a disappointment, especially as it was our first port. We felt we saw very little of the city and had no time during the tour to wander around. We had 2 hours on our own at Tivoli, which was nice, but we had no Danish currency, and could not even purchase a drink. We used a debit card to purchase some tickets to ride one roller coaster ($26 for two of us for ONE RIDE!) because we had forgotten to have the pin# to our credit card with us. You had to have a pin # to use a credit card in Copenhagen. I had read this and had all the numbers in a binder with all of our cruise docs, but I just wasn't thinking and didn't write the number down and take it with me. As this was our first stop, a short day, and we were still recovering from jet lag, etc., we did not do anything else in Copenhagen. In Germany we took the Carnival excursion to Berlin. Carnival rented a private train to transport all the cruisers that wanted to go to Berlin. It took about 3 hours each way. For the excursion we chose, we saw some highlights including the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, Checkpoint Charlie, and remnants of the Wall. We had free time which my husband used to check out some museums and I browsed and relaxed at a mall and the area nearby. In Helsinki, we did the Carnival's Highlights of Helsinki tour. This was a bit of a letdown for me. First of all it was raining pretty hard all morning. We went to Sibelius Park, the Rock Church, and as the rain got heavier and heavier, people didn't even want to leave the bus. At one point we stopped to look at a church and were supposed to have 30 minutes to explore the area. Someone said, "Just open the doors so we can take some pictures." The guide asked who wanted to return to the ship and most of us did. My husband and a few others stayed in town, and lucky for them the rain cleared. My husband had a lovely time including lunch in a market with lots of fresh fruit and veggies and a trip to an art museum. We chose a private 2-day tour of St. Petersburg. We went with St. Petersburg Tours (TJ Travel). This was a very intensive 2 days. I believe we saw more than those on the Carnival 2-day tour. But we walked our legs off. I highly recommend St. Petersburg Tours, though. They were able to get us into the Hermitage before regular hours, although the Hermitage seemed to offer the same deal to many other tour groups. Everywhere we went was super crowded, and I would not want to be on my own in this city. We also visited Catherine's palace and the Peterhof palace and gardens with the beautiful fountains (took a hydrofoil back from there), the Spilled Blood Cathedral, St. Isaac's Cathedral, Yusopov Palace, St. Peter and Paul Fortress/Cathedral, the subway station and had boat ride on the canals. The tour included "a typical Russian lunch" both days. The two days were exhausting but well worth it. Tallinn was the city I least was looking forward to seeing and it turned out to be my favorite. It was quaint and lovely. It was also a long way from port. We were told we could easily walk into the center of the old town, but for me it wasn't such an easy walk, especially after the two intense days in Russia. They have a hop on/hop off bus that I ended up riding around town, as I was not up for the private walking tour I had signed up for by the time I got to the starting point. I could have ridden this bus all day, especially on the open air top level. However, they have 3 different routes and they did make you exit when you had completed one of the routes. The scheduling was funky. Not all of the routes passed the same places, although all seemed to go to the port. But the drop-off spot for the port was nowhere near the ship. It was another long walk to get to the Legend and not easily defined. I spotted the ship and just kept walking until I found my way to the entrance of the dock. My husband chose to hop off the bus and make his way to the Festival Hall where they hold the music festivals. This was quite a ways outside of the old town. He was able to hop back on a bus and find his way back to the port but experienced the same frustration as I did because it wasn't anywhere near our ship and there was no clear way to get back to the Legend. In Amsterdam we chose the Carnival tour that would take us to Anne Frank's House and also show us some city highlights. It was a good thing we chose the tour as we were able to get in much quicker than those who bought tickets on their own. Even so, it was a long wait and it was very crowded inside. Still, it was memorable and moving and worth seeing. It rained the entire day we were in Amsterdam, so it made sightseeing difficult and I'm sure everything would look much nicer on a sunny day. Again, I went back to the ship at the end of the scheduled tour, but my husband opted to head to some art museums on his own. OVERALL: This was a fantastic cruise. We saw some wonderful things and our time onboard was a pleasure as well. Too bad Carnival chose not to continue this itinerary. I know everyone we talked to loved it.   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
Our cruise departed from Dover on September 13th. Embarking the ship was fast and easy, but I did go online before the cruise to sign up. We went to Liverpool(due to weather problems) first and as I had not been to England before I really ... Read More
Our cruise departed from Dover on September 13th. Embarking the ship was fast and easy, but I did go online before the cruise to sign up. We went to Liverpool(due to weather problems) first and as I had not been to England before I really enjoyed it(we did not get to go to Belfast, Ireland). Our inside stateroom was suprisingly spacious and our room attendants were friendly and attentive. We were on the lowest floor (called floor 1) for customers. Our location was very convenient for dinner and the evening shows. The food was wonderful, the shows great. I enjoyed exercising with Damian in the morning(free stretching and abs class) and I enjoyed doing yoga(only 12 dollars a class). We liked playing mini golf and the ship had many competitions that my husband joined in(mini golf and bean bag toss). I did not bring my swim suit because I thought it would be too cold but it was warm in the covered pool area in the afternoon and many people enjoyed swimming and the hot tub. I went to the library and checked out a book and a scrabble game to enjoy on the sea days Our port of calls were Dublin, Ireland and Glasgow, Scottland, Inverness, Scottland,edinburgh, scottland, stavenger, norway, le havre, france. I enjoyed all our port of calls but I did not use the carnival excursions due to the cost and having a crowd always present. Doing the ports on your own requires a lot of advanced planning and was difficult in france as I do not speak French. Stavenger, Norway was easy as there was a hop on hop off bus and it seemed like everyone spoke English. I loved the ship and I doubt any other cruises will ever be as good. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2008
Prior to our cruise my mother and I flew into London Gatwick Airport and stayed at the Hilton there for one night. DON'T stay there. We had a private driver, Collin from Diamond Trust Transfer, take us to the port and he was ... Read More
Prior to our cruise my mother and I flew into London Gatwick Airport and stayed at the Hilton there for one night. DON'T stay there. We had a private driver, Collin from Diamond Trust Transfer, take us to the port and he was wonderful. Will use the company again. Embarkation was so FAST! The porters took our luggage from us and were on their merry way. There were no porters in your face demanding tips like they do in Florida. Check in was very efficient and quick too. The fastest and most organized we have EVER experienced, and the computers were even down too! Everything had to be written by hand. The ship itself was gorgeous! Very pink, but gorgeous! I was afraid it was going to seem "too big" since it held so many people, but once onboard my fears were abated. The ship was laid out similarly to the other Carnival ships so I basically knew were everything was right away. The ship was spotless. Our room was great, loved the balcony and our room stewards were accommodating. We have always had excellent service in the dining room, but our team this time, Nina and Peter, were the BEST we ever had! Really miss them. The food was to die for too. Even on the Lido Deck. I highly recommend that everyone go to tea at least once during your cruise. The shows in the large Spectacular Spectacular were excellent, Ron Pass in the Piano Bar was a riot and it was so nice to finally meet John Heald after reading his blog for so long! I will say I was disappointed with the other "house bands" on board. They were not that good, especially when compared to the other bands we've seen on our other Carnival cruises. All in all this is the best cruise we have EVER taken and a cruise is definitely the best way to see Europe. My mother and I are looking forward to sailing with Carnival again in Europe. Debarkation in Rome was very quick and efficient too. Plenty of porters to help and they actually seemed surprised when I tipped them. Now for a quick port wrap up: LeHavre: Took the Pairs Highlights/Seine River Cruise excursion. Long, but it was worth every penny. Especially because of the lunch cruise - it was a very nice break from the bus. Vigo: Didn't get off the ship here, but the ship docks right at the city. Lisbon: Did the Lisbon Highlights excursion. Very pretty place but the people there didn't seem that friendly compared to other European countries. Malaga: Took the excursion up to Mijas. Great little village in the mountains with some unique shopping. Barcelona: We took the Montserrat by Rail tour and WOW we can't say enough about this heavenly place. I want to go back. Cannes: It was raining so we didn't see much of Cannes. Took the Colors of the French Riviera tour. It was OK but lots of time was on the bus without stopping, pictures weren't that great from the bus and it was a very long day. Our brief stop at the Flower Market in Nice was our favorite part. Livorno: We just took the shuttle from the ship into the city center. We walked around, had some wonderful gelato and we took a canal tour (you could buy the tickets where the shuttle bus dropped you off) through the "old town" and it was so gorgeous. Although there are plenty of places to go to outside of Livorno, you really need to give this gem a chance. It was nice being out and about among "real people". Read Less
Sail Date: September 2008
We enjoy cruising Europe because of the convenience and would say that while we had a good vacation, Carnival wouldn't be at the top of my list again if price and itinerary are equal to another line (ie Celebrity or Princess). Service ... Read More
We enjoy cruising Europe because of the convenience and would say that while we had a good vacation, Carnival wouldn't be at the top of my list again if price and itinerary are equal to another line (ie Celebrity or Princess). Service was good, food quality, okay. THE UPSIDE: Ship was exceptionally clean pretty much everywhere, although tables on the Lido deck frequently were unwiped before they were used again. Overall, not a big deal. Staff was courteous and helpful, but no one called me by name on this ship, which has not been my experience on other lines. We enjoyed our dining room servers and our room steward was very accommodating of our needs. Being surprised with a new towel animal friend on your bed was a delightful way to end the day. The main pool and sitting area with the retractable awning was excellent and one of the best features of the design of the ship. Gave people a nice place to sit out in the evening and the morning that wasn't cold or windy. Loved watching movies on the big screen at night, but wished they had much more current offerings and lighter variety . . . who wants to see "Saving Private Ryan" when you're trying to relax on vacation? Also enjoyed the saltwater pool on this deck that was much preferable to the usual chlorine. The outside room we had on the 1st floor midship was quiet and spacious and was easy enough to get to the other areas of the ship. Bed was a little too hard for us, but many people commented it was the best they had ever slept on while on a cruise ship. Plenty of storage space for all of our stuff. They had not added the Friends of Dorothy meetings (for LGBT cruisers) to the activities schedule, but did so after I requested it. (And the cruise director sent me a bottle of champagne!) My partner and I both had massages from the spa, they were okay, but definitely not standout - not practitioners I would go see again at home, but fine for the reduced price we paid for them ($1/minute) on a port day. My experience has been that it is pretty rare to find anyone who does great deep tissue work on a cruise ship, but if you don't get a lot of massage, their people are probably fine. The equipment in their fitness room was really nice and the staff was helpful if you had questions. On the elliptical machine I used you could control your ipod or watch your own personal tv if you brought your own headphones. Shows and entertainment were okay, even a little better than what I have come to expect from a cruise ship. Nothing outstanding, but at least they were entertaining for a captive audience (though not something good enough that I would pay money to see it at home, and certainly not deserving of the standing ovations they generally received). THE DOWNSIDE: Apart from the Lido deck awning, and our room itself, the layout and design of the ship is the worst I have ever been on. Many reviews have mentioned about the hideous dEcor in the public spaces, so I will just say I will definitely agree on that note. The other thing is that for whatever reason they put one of the dining rooms in the middle of the ship and so one frequently got stuck at dead ends that you would have to go up or down a floor or two to walk around. The unintuitive layout was definitely annoying, but in terms of the big picture, it's not as though either of these ruined our trip or anything. Food was okay not great. Enjoyed lunch much more than dinner. A few highlights included the option of Indian food and Mongolian barbeque at lunch, Caesar salad in the dining room for dinner was great - this was the only lettuce on the whole ship that tasted somewhat okay. Food in the dining room was about what I was expecting, looked much more beautiful than it tasted, but then again, I couldn't even begin to fathom what it takes to feed 3,000 people in only 2 seatings. Not that this is an excuse, and there were a few standout courses here or there, but by in large, they don't serve excellent food on this ship. I would give it about a fair rating. It wasn't bad by any means (I have had far worse on NCL), but it definitely wasn't great either. Meat was frequently overcooked and my biggest issue was really with the taste of the vegetables. They tasted about as fresh as cardboard and probably had the equivalent nutrients to boot. Clearly they were not purchased from sources along the route, but were shipped for the cheapest price from some far away place (and it showed in how they tasted). Alternative dinner options were awfully slim, but at least they had some. Singing and dancing at dinner by the waiters was disruptive, not relaxing or entertaining every night in the dining room. If it happened only once or twice, this would have been okay, but for us, the singing and loud music always seemed to start in the middle of our meal, during which time, all the servers were busy "entertaining" instead of doing their job. One of several reasons enough for us to pick another line in the future if the itinerary and price are the same. If you just want a quiet relaxing dinner, this isn't the cruise line for you. Be warned that moderate to severe engine vibrations can be felt in the rear portion of the Golden Pearl restaurant at the aft of the ship (the forward part of the restaurant is better). I'm not usually someone who has any level of seasickness, and for some reason this even had me not feeling right. Fortunately, when we realized this on the first night, they were able to move us to the Black Pearl for dinner that was so much better. I will give Carnival props for making the switch completely painless, they even had someone walk us to the other dining room. While I will say I haven't actually been in the aft staterooms, based on the amount of vibration that could still be felt on level 3 in the Golden Pearl dining room, my instinct would be to highly suggest that you avoid getting a stateroom on levels 1-2 in the aft of the ship - at least I would expect that the vibrations wouldn't be what I would wish for on my vacation. (We had good luck with our stateroom midship on level 1.) For a so-called "fun ship," the variety of activities, particularly at sea, were sorely lacking. This was also one of the big reasons why I would look at other lines before sailing Carnival again. They did the usual trivia, art auctions, bingo, etc, but didn't really offer any alternative or enrichment classes/lectures that are certainly appropriate for a European itinerary and offered by other lines. No port talks/history lessons (apart from those trying to sell you their shore excursions), language lessons (they certainly have enough people on the ship to teach these), or other special interest talks, or craft activities to keep things interesting on the days at sea. If you take this boat and have days at sea, make sure you plan accordingly. The daily capers itinerary was also really weak. There wasn't any port info with maps or anything as we had experienced elsewhere. The language tips were either completely lacking or pretty weak. Apparently Carnival doesn't really care to help you out if you want to enjoy the ports on your own instead of buying their overpriced tours. Be forewarned to arrive with your own info/guidebook/itineraries in mind for the ports you are visiting if you aren't going to take Carnival's tours. OVERALL EVALUATION: Truth be told, the ship doesn't make for a great vacation, YOU DO. Personally, I would choose this boat for price and itinerary only, not for the amenities, service, or food on the ship. To us, the ports are more important than the ship itself, and this trip was not any different. Cruising is one of the most relaxing and affordable ways to travel in Europe in our opinion. As far as this ship goes, if you're not traveling on a super sunny itinerary, the covered Lido deck and pool area are a big plus and gives a nice place to be which have the feeling of being outside but away from wind and rain. I imagine this would be especially nice if you can only afford an inside room. The other best features were the spaciousness of the rooms and the overall cleanliness of everything. You probably won't be overwhelmed by the quality of the food or entertainment, but for us, we come to Europe to see Europe . . . and the rest, well, the rest made for a perfectly acceptable vacation. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2008
this was the second cruise i have been with carnival and my 3rd cruise overall and i was completely impressed by it. we were completely let down before we even embarked. as 2 families we asked for adjoining rooms, which we were refused. we ... Read More
this was the second cruise i have been with carnival and my 3rd cruise overall and i was completely impressed by it. we were completely let down before we even embarked. as 2 families we asked for adjoining rooms, which we were refused. we then asked for one of the rooms to be a triple or at least large enough to house 2 adults with 2 babies. we specifically asked for a double with enough space for 2 cots or a double and a fold out sofa bed.what we got instead was a quad room with 2 single beds with bunk beds above. how on earth did they expect 2 infants to sleep on bunk beds i do not know. the agency we booked it through said she had no authority on selecting rooms and carnival assigned them. she even cc'ed us on the emails when she was booking request for large rooms and 2 cots. we took all this to purser on board who said, its not her problem and it had nothing to do with carnival but agents. there was no spare rooms available in same category so she couldn't help us. so much for a new mum with 2 babies trying to get a rest , it added to the stress. in the end they squeezed the two beds together and fitted 1 cot on the side and they all crammed in 1 bed with 1 bad in bed and other in cot. there was no room around bed to move let alone have any bags or buggies. the second thing i found annoying was that the lido restaurants would shut just around the time you would be back on board from the tours. the only pace open was pizza place that i found were very greasy and were tasteless and the burger area serving hot dog and burgers. the burgers and hot dogs were even worse than the pizzas. i found that the freshness of food was not of as high a standard as previous and day after day they would serve out food from the day before. the food in the restaurant was quite good and the steak especially were excellent . however the selection on the menu seemed to be exactly the same everyday, just cooked in different sauces. i especially referred to the fish. like another critic, i also thought the cruise was especially for the americans, seeing as they are the only ones with platinum cards but this didn't bother me as much as i found the american guests delightful. on our particular cruise there were a lot of russian people and what really upset me is on one night as my dad headed to deck 10 to relax with a cigarette as he always did before bed , he found that not only was deck 10 aft shut but also deck 9 and 11 for a private function for the russian guests. you needed a password to get in, believe it or not. i wouldn't have minded if they used one of the discos or maybe the grill restaurant and closed that off for the evening as there are other restaurants and clubs on board but to block 3 whole floors for a portion of guests i found quite rude. after all, i paid as much as they did and should be allowed to go where i wanted. Shows -the cabaret shows were very good and lovely costumes. not so sure about the other shows. one show by a magician, i had to walk out, as he started to cut his wrist off with a knife and all this red "blood" started gushing down. there was no warning that it was an adults only show -not impressed. good thing the kids were asleep. i also wasn't too pleased to see that the cruise director's shows were exactly the same as last year's on the Freedom, including Dick Little, and the woman who knocks him over and drags his pants down...i thought John is great and really funny and was disappointed to see it is same. i didn't bother going to the other shows after that. lido theatre -please explain to me what is the point of having a massive screen by the pool only to show same videos of surfers and fish over and over when they could be showing more shows and movies. especially on the days at sea. the shows would be at silly times like 7 or 10;:45 whilst there is a show in the main theatre. what about 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. when people are by the pool and want to watch a movie rather than getting ready for dinner. same of course with in cabin movies that could have all been shown on the lido theatre too (some did) camp carnival - i thought this was great and most of the girls there are great. we did have an incident though. one time we forgot the mobile that they give you to contact them and the girl there (Nikki) who also won employee of the month said don't worry about it, we gave her the restaurant and table number where we were and she said if there was a problem she would call us and that we shouldn't worry. except that when her shift ended, she left without giving a hand over and didn't tell the next girls this info. as my poor nephew howled and begged for his mum, the poor girls kept ringing our room and the mobile with no answer. he was only there for just over a n hour but it must have been horrible both for him (2 YEARS OLD) and the poor girls trying to console him. Gym - i liked the idea of working out whilst looking out at the view but what is the point of this when the glass pane in front of treadmills stops at about shoulder height so you would have to bend down to look straight ahead. the Freedom was much better laid out. i also didn't like the fact that to use the special spa jacuzzi i had to pay extra as if it were any more special than the others around the ship. my last comment is about price - tours are far too over-priced for the average traveller. my first cruise was on the norwegian wind and nothing has since compared to it- everything from the quality of food, quality of service all over ship and especially in restaurant, lots of various foods available any time 24 hours and the whole atmosphere was incredible. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2008
We thought our Carnival Splendor vacation was awesome! The food was good, the shows were great, our cabin was spacious, the staff was perfect. We could not have asked for a better cruise. The Carnival Splendor decor is not as bad as some ... Read More
We thought our Carnival Splendor vacation was awesome! The food was good, the shows were great, our cabin was spacious, the staff was perfect. We could not have asked for a better cruise. The Carnival Splendor decor is not as bad as some people think. Yes, its very pink but I liked it alot. The pictures along the cabin hallways were cute. Like old fashioned pictures from the 50's or something. We spent most of our time in the casino and sports bar on sea days. Our weather was not as warm as we would have liked so we only spent one day by the pool in the jacuzzi and thought it needed to be a little warmer. Sept is the perfect time to cruise, the weather was nice and not alot of kids running around. We only had 31 kids on board and probably only saw three of them. The ship itself is very nice although our group decided we liked Royal Caribbean's Voyager class better. The Splendor seems to have alot less deck space since they use alot of it for the retracting roof. I think this would make a good Alaska Ship since the majority of things to do are indoors. Even the Lido pool seems to be indoors when the roof is retracted. The adult only pool in the back was crowded the whole time. I was surprised by how many people were in the pool. I would have thought the water would have been very cold, but I never tried it. The water slide looked fun but not as big as some of the other carnival ships and the water park area was hidden between two walls and I never saw a single child playing in it. One of our few complaints from my boyfriend was that the Sports bar did not show any american sports. The bartender said that the satellite wasn't able to pick them up. So we watched skynews the whole time. With it being football season we had one unhappy camper in our group! Embarkation and debarkation were both a breeze. We did their self-disembark and basically were the first 4 people off the ship. Totally the way to go if you can carry your own bags. We did do the Pinnacle super club and thought it was a little overdone. The food was good and if you're into all the presentation of food etc you'll like it. We all ordered the surf and turf and my boyfriend wanted the larger NY strip steak instead of the 4 oz filet and they wouldn't budge on that so he went away hungry. The Lobster had a good taste but it was tiny. We all thought the ceasar salad in the main dining room was better then the one they fixed in front of you. The deserts were ok, but nothing that special.. Boyfriend ordered apple pie thing and said he thought the apples tasted bad. My desert had four little dishes and they were pretty good. I can't remember what it was called. The ports of call that we had were Lehavre, Vigo, Lisbon,Malaga, Barcelona, Cannes, and Livorno. Vigo is probably the prettiest port of all. Tall hills on either side with lush trees and doesn't look industrial like the other ports at all. We did a tour of Vigo and Bayona which was alot of fun. Lisbon we just walked around the shopping district and got bored and ended up back on board early. Malaga we did a panoramic and tapas tour. It was good. Barcelona we hung out on La Ramblas people watching and drinking beer. Cannes we did a tour to Nice. It was nice but rainy. Livorno we did a wine tasting tour which was a load of fun. So overall it was a great vacation. Well worth the money and we would definitely do it again! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2008
My wife and I just returned from a great two weeks in Europe with many thanks to the crew of the Carnival Splendor. We have sailed previously with Celebrity and Princess, and honestly, had some degree of apprehension about sailing ... Read More
My wife and I just returned from a great two weeks in Europe with many thanks to the crew of the Carnival Splendor. We have sailed previously with Celebrity and Princess, and honestly, had some degree of apprehension about sailing Carnival. Most of our fears were unfounded. Our trip began with a day pre-cruise in London at the Park Plaza County Hall which we booked through Carnival. The transfers were first class (no bus) and the hotel was great location, friendly staff, nice room. Although our time was limited we got to see tons of sights, shop at Harrods, eat fish and chips at a pub, and ride the London Eye. The next day we took the Carnival transfer to the ship in Dover. Embarkation was incredible. No lines, no waiting, luggage handled by Carnival. We were on the ship and having our first "celebration" drinks before noon. We did not hear the announcement to not go to your cabin, so we did and found ours ready when we boarded. We had SPA cabin 1116, which we chose because it has an extended balcony. The cabin was pretty standard for what we have come to expect for a balcony cabin. THe access to the spa which it afforded was GREAT. We used the T-Pool and thermal suite at least once per day. We also did the couples Rasul mud treatment which was fun, and found the gym uncrowded all the time. We also enjoyed the spa bath amenities. Since we usually book aft cabins, it was amazing how quiet our room at the front was. The ship was clean, bright (to an extreme), easy to get around. We enjoyed the casino and never found it too crowded. We frequented the coffee bargreat coffees and sweets. Mini golf was very nice and fun. The main pool is the nicest I have seen...we were fortunate that they had the option to slide the roof closed for those cold days. However, the huge poolside tv shows nothing but Carnival promos most of the day and is only used for a few concerts and movies at night. Why not use it during the day?? The waterslide was fun. There seemed to be plenty of deck chairs to go around. The piano bar looked like fun, but was it FILLED WITH SMOKE. We were able to switch to a table for two in the Gold Pearl dining room late seating. We had excellent service, found the food to be OK (dessert was lacking), and we really (much to my surprise) enjoyed the singing and dancing of the maitre d and waitstaff. Our biggest gripe about the ship was the lack of food in the afternoon (when we typically returned from excursions). The buffet was open until sometime between 2 and 230 and did not reopen until 6. The grill and pizza were open but terrible. Room service was pretty bad too. So, after a long day ashore we would return to the ship at 4 and have nowhere to eat. We were also really surprised at the lack of activities on the ship during sea days. I figured Carnival would have way more to do!! Instead, the activities offered did not approach what we typically see on Princess. Finally, though we had one tender port (Cannes) Carnival did a terrible job with the tenders. It took way too long to get off the ship...no excuses. PORTS: Our first port was Le Havre (gateway to Paris) and we booked Paris on your own through Carnival. Since there was almost a 3 hour ride to Paris, we did not want to risk it through an independent. Our guide on the bus did a great job helping us plan our time in Paris. She showed us metro routes, and gave advice on the best way to see the most. Again, in our 5 hours there, we were able to see the Louvre, the Eiffel tower, the Arch, eat crepes, shop at Louis Vuitton, and explore the city. We were very happy with our day. In Vigo Spain, we chose to explore on our own. We found the town to be great. Easy to get around, lots of restaurants, most shopping closed due to it being a Sunday. We had a great seafood lunch, shopped for wine, and enjoyed the Powerboat race which was going on during our visit. In Lisbon, Portugal we began with some sightseeing along the waterfront and then took a cab into town for some shopping. We visited a port wine center to purchase some local product. We were not too impressed with Lisbon. Malaga Spain we did a walking tour on our own. We saw the Cathedral, the fort (what a long walk but worth it for the view), the bull ring, and lots of the city. It was very nice. We also visited a supermarket for some water (.30 e) and snacks. We went to the Picasso museum which was great. We found our first Dunkin Donuts (coffee). We did a tour through Carnival in Barcelona. Some good, some bad.. We enjoyed the trip to Cordoniu Cava cellars where we were able to learn about the winemaking process, saw the history of Cava, and were able to taste and purchase some of their cava. That part of the tour was great. The rest (a tour of the Olympic village) was kind of annoying. We did see Gaudi's cathedral, which was amazing. We loved the French Riviera and the port of Cannes. We explored the downtown area on our own in the morning. Went to the outdoor market, shopped, explored the marina. We took a tour to Nice and Eze in the afternoon which was great. We visited a beach, shopped, went to a perfume factory, experienced great views... We would love to go back for a vacation. In Livorno Italy, we took a tour of Pisa and then went to a winery. I could do without the tower. First, way too crowded. Second, not that tall. I always imagined this huge tower, not even close. We were not impressed. The winery was fun. We met some really cool folks from the ship and had a great time eating and drinking. We booked our first day hotel in Rome through Carnival, and used their transfers off the ship. Debarkation was pretty smooth, everyone was off the ship by 9. However, after having made no announcement for our debarkation group, John (CD) made an announcement telling us that we had 10 minutes to get off the ship..could have been done better. Our first hotel was the Parco Dei Principi. A first class (5 star) hotel which was nice, but in a terrible location. It was a 12 e cab ride to get to a part of the city where you could walk to the sights. Our second hotel, the Palazzetto degli Artisti Suites was in view of the Colosseum and Roman Forum. Though not 5 star, we couldn't have been happier with the location and experience. We were able to spend our first day in Vatican city, where we took a tour of the museum and sistine chapel. Day 2, we planned a walking tour of the sights and monuments. We were able to execute our plan with a map and some bravery in the face of Roman traffic. Rome is an amazing city, there is so much to see. We concluded our tour with a tour of the Coliseum and Forum which was also great to see. Overall, we had a great time. I am a beach guy who had almost no desire to go to Europe. After experiencing the sights, history, and food, my mind was changed. I am glad we took this trip. For their part, Carnival was well represented by the Splendor, which is a really nice ship. Though the "party crowd" would keep us from ever trying Carnival in the Caribbean, if we ever go to Europe or Alaska, we would not hesitate to use Carnival again. Read Less
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