Legend of the Seas - Western Caribbean: Legend of the Seas Cruise Review by LuvMyBasset
Overall Member Rating
Legend of the Seas - Western Caribbean
Destination: Western Caribbean
We had originally booked the Grandeur out of New Orleans for the same week, but after Hurricane Katrina devastated the New Orleans area, we took the deal offered by Royal Caribbean and swapped to the Legend out of Tampa for the price we paid for the Grandeur. We also got a $200 stateroom credit in the bargain, so we were very happy with the arrangements made post-Hurricane. Kudos to More Royal Caribbean for the way they handled the situationit took them a while to make a decision, but once they did we were very happy with the options offered.
We arrived at our terminal around 11:30 AM, and used the SetSail pass line to check in. We were checked in almost immediately with no wait, but the ship had not begun boarding passengers yet. We were handed a ticket marked #6, and asked to wait in the waiting area in the terminal. They first loaded priority passengers and passengers needing special assistance, and then began with group #1. It was around 1:00-1:30 before we actually boarded the ship. An employee told us the security scan of the ship after debarkation that morning had run into some problems, but that was the extent of the reason we heard for the delay. By the time we boarded, all of the lines including the SetSail line were packedwe were glad we had arrived when we did, even with the wait.
Because we had arrived on the ship so late, the rooms were ready when we arrived, so we went straight to our cabin (Category M, inside cabin #7621 on deck 7, aft) and dropped off our carry-ons. The room was adequate and well-appointed, and we had plenty of storage space.
We proceeded straight to the Romeo & Juliet dining room to locate our dinner table. We had requested a table for 2, but learned that we had been assigned a table for 4. We got in line to talk to the Maitre D', who was there taking questions, and with no problem at all he was able to accommodate our request and moved us to table 149 for two people.
We also lined up immediately for the pursers desk to be sure everything was in order with our stateroom credit. Unfortunately, their satellite link was down and would remain so for the first couple of days of the cruise. The purser sent us to the Loyalty Ambassador, who took our information and promised to get in touch with us when the satellite link was restored. True to her word, on Tuesday we received a message on our cabin phone that she had confirmed our stateroom credit and that it was in the computers.
Back to our room we went, where we napped until muster drill time. The muster drill went smoothly, although it seemed to last longer than others we have been through, and we were ready for our cruise!
Sailaway was beautifulwe love the port of Tampa, and the weather and breeze as we pulled away right at dusk (5:00 PM in December) was so gorgeous.
The ship was decorated beautifully for Christmas! There were multiple Christmas trees on every floor, as well as some larger decorations in the Centrum and the dining room and the Windjammer, and several other locations. There was Christmas music playing in several areas, including the Windjammer and sometimes the Centrum. A nice touch and the icing on the cake of an already wonderful cruise and beautiful ship.
At dinner that night, we met our outstanding wait staff. Alex Ani from the Philippines, our waiter, was so efficient and fast! All of his tables had dessert by the time some tables were just receiving their entrEes. He was very professional and courteous, and we were very pleased with his service throughout the week. He was also very witty, and a very fun waiter.
Our assistant waiter, Supriyadi from Indonesia, was truly gracious. He kept our water and tea glasses full, our bread plates covered with bread, and performed all of his duties cheerfully. We saw him many mornings in the Windjammer at breakfast, and he was always smiling and always came over to say hello and wish us a pleasant day.
Our headwaiter, Charito Cruz from the Philippines, was wonderful as well. She was extremely pleasant and friendly, and always smiling. We do not drink, so we did not utilize the services of our drinks steward, except for the last night when we ordered a Coke. His name was Julius Peterson, also from the Philippines, and he was a wonderful guy. After we told him the first night that we dont drink, he never came back around and pressured us, but when we each ordered a Coke on the last night of dinner, he was just as friendly and courteous as if we had been his best customers all week.
Speaking of the service onboard the ship, I also need to mention our stateroom attendant, Garfield George from St. Vincent. He kept our room spotless, and was very polite each time we passed him in the hall. We finally had the chance to speak with him at length on the last evening of the cruise, and he is a very nice guy. He made us several cute towel animals throughout the week. We wish him and all of the service staff well. They did a great job.
We spent most of Sunday, our first sea day, on deck chairs on the Promenade deck. We sat on the port side, close to the back of the ship, and the area was almost deserted. We hardly ever saw anyone even walking past. We stayed there and enjoyed the rest and relaxation and just had a wonderful seaday. We also played a round of mini-golf on the Legend of the Links golf course on the back of the ship. This was such a wonderful place! The day we played it was so windy it made it almost impossible, but it was still a great time. I love this feature on this ship. We also both tried the Rock-climbing wall (the staff there, Ily and Ben, were very friendly and courteous, and very encouraging on the wall), and we also played some shuffleboard during the week. There is also ping-pong and a number of other activities. You should never get bored on this ship, no matter how many sea days you have!
We ate breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer, and the variety of food was incredible. Everything tasted very good, and there was so much to choose from, even for a picky eater like me! On our last cruise, also a Royal Caribbean vision class ship, I actually lost weight on the cruise having a hard time finding food I liked. Not so on this ship! There was an abundance of food, all of it very good. We were extremely pleased with the food on the Legend. Sunday night was also our first formal night, and we attended the Captains Reception, meeting Captain Nik, who was a very gracious host. He was a very visible captain, often seen walking about the ship interacting with passengers. In 7 cruises, it was the first time either of us had ever seen this before!
Our first port was Grand Cayman! We had arranged a tour through Nativeway Watersports to go to Stingray City with a snorkel stop at Coral Gardens. We were supposed to arrive in Grand Cayman at 10:00, but our ship anchored at 9:00! Tender tickets were supposed to be given out starting at 9:30, but at 9:00 we heard an announcement that we had already been cleared, and that tender tickets would start to be given out immediately. We raced down to the Anchors Aweigh lounge, and received tender ticket #6. This was of some concern to us, as we had our private tour scheduled, but the member of the cruise directors staff handing out tender tickets told us that if we did not hear our number called within 20 minutes, to proceed to the gangway and give them a certain code word that she told us, and we would be allowed onto a tender immediately with no questions asked. However, within five minutes of receiving our tender ticket, they made an announcement asking for groups one through six to proceed to the gangway!!! We were onboard the tender very quickly, and made the trip in to Grand Cayman, where we met up with our private tour with about 45 minutes to spare.
Nativeway Watersports is wonderful! We were driven by air conditioned van to the area where we split up into groups on 3 different small boats. Our guides on our boat were Sheldon, Junior and Eric, and they did a fantastic job. We did our snorkel stop first, and snorkeled for around 30-45 minutes. Coral Gardens was beautiful, and we saw a number of interesting fish and beautiful coral formations. We re-boarded the boat, and were off to Stingray City. Sheldon and Eric did a great job of making sure everyone got a chance to hold a stingray, and took pictures of everyone posing with the stingrays as many times as they asked. We spent probably 45 minutes to an hour at Stingray City, before getting back on the boat to go back to shore. On the way back, they sailed through a small channel where there were a number of large iguanas on the banks, and slowed to point them out to us and let everyone take pictures. Upon our arrival back on shore, we got back on the bus for the trip back into town. If you wished, they would drop you off at Seven Mile Beach, which is what we chose to do.
We swam in the beautiful water at Seven Mile Beach for about an hour before catching a public taxi-bus back to the pier. The taxi part was a little scaryone of the (extremely drunk) passengers on the taxi-bus got into an altercation with one of the other taxi drivers, and the situation got a little dicey with some threats made and racial slurs thrown at each other. In the end, we made it back to the pier safely, but it was an extremely frightening situation that I was very glad to be out of.
Monday night was Caribbean night on the ship, and some very cute pictures were made by the ships photography staff (who did a tremendous job all weekespecially Sandra Visentin, who took the best pictures of us we have ever seen!) and there was also a cute presentation by the Adventure Ocean staff and participants dressed as pirates. Very memorable and enjoyable, and nice theming.
On Tuesday, we arrived early (again) in Costa Maya, and were allowed to begin leaving the ship almost immediately. We had booked a horseback riding tour through www.mayahualtours.com, and had no difficulty locating them when we arrived in town. They immediately checked us in, and put us on a large air-conditioned bus to Tequila Beach, where upon arriving we learned that there had been a mix-up in times, and that we would have to wait almost an hour. We sat at a shaded table on the beach while we waited, and enjoyed the beautiful scenery. It would have been nice if the music werent quite so loud, and if not for the horrible alcohol stench. We are not drinkers at all, and the smell of alcohol at that beach was extremely overpowering. It was a beautiful beach, though.
When it was time, we walked over and were immediately sent to our horses (Gavacha for me, and Goliet for Dan). The area the horses were in did not look overly nice, but the horses appeared healthy and happy. The horses were very well trained, and all I really had to do was sit there and hold onthe horses knew where they were going and were very calm and tame. We rode for an hour or a little more, just the two of us with our guide Paco, along the back streets of the city. We were only on the beach (never in the water) for about 5 minutes, but it was beautiful during the time we were there. We then went back to the back street again, and walked back to where we had begun. The beach was at least in view for most of the time we were riding, and we were actually on the beach for a few minutes. It was very interesting seeing some of the back streets. When we arrived back, they were very accommodating about taking some pictures of us on the horses, even guiding the horses back down onto the beach to pose us and take some pictures of us with them there with our camera. They were extremely friendly, nice people. There was a bit of a language barrier (they barely spoke any English at all), but were very eager to make you happy and to help you out. They even wrote down the names of the horses for me so that I could remember their names to put in my picture album. Very nice folks, and I would recommend them. Although I think they may be discontinuing their horseback riding tour soon, they have a number of other tours to pick from and I would not hesitate to use them again.
After the tour, we simply walked around Costa Maya for a while. It is a beautiful place, and we hope to visit there again someday.
On Wednesday, we arrived in Belize. No tender tickets were required, and we were able to leave the ship almost immediately. I dont know if it is just this ship or if it is Royal Caribbean fleet-wide, but the tendering operations seem to have improved greatly since the last cruise we took in October of 2004. There was none of the usual hassle getting off of the ship for an independent tour. In fact, they seemed to actually work with you to help you meet your tour in time. This was a first for us, and I think a step in the right direction for Royal Caribbeans customer service.
We met up with Reggies tours very quickly. This was our third time cave tubing, and also our third time with Reggie. He is a truly wonderful tour guide. This time, since we had gone with him twice before, he took the large group with him, and sent us and 2 other guests with his son Jamai so that we could go some extra places we had not been to before. Jamai took us to a 2nd cave we had never been through before, and also stopped halfway through the main cave to allow us to get out and do some exploration in the dry part of the cave (the big hole where the sun shines through in the cave). This was a real treat, and something we had not been able to do previously. After our tour, which was wonderful as always, we stopped at Amigos restaurant for a traditional Belizean dinner of rice & beans. (which includes spicy marinated chicken, rice with beans in it, and cole slaw). This is one of our favorite parts of any cruise stopping in Belize, and it was just as good this time. We cant recommend Reggies tours (and Amigos restaurant) enough. Reggie and Jamai are both very knowledgeable about all things Belizean, and give out a wealth of great info during the tour.
Wednesday night was also our 2nd formal night. We did not see a large number of people in truly formal attire, but most people at least made some effort to look nice. We always go all out for formal night, and really enjoy it. I had my hair done for this formal night in the Spa, and Nela did a great job with my up-do. She was done in just a few minutes, and my hair never felt close to falling. That night was also the Grand Buffet. The chefs did a tremendous job on this! This was also the first Grand Buffet Ive been to where the food actually was not only edible but appetizing! We took a large plate back to our room, and the food was extremely good. Normally, it seems like the Grand Buffet is very beautiful, but nothing seems too great to eat. This time was a different story.
Thursday, we arrived in Cozumel. The devastation in Cozumel from Hurricane Wilma is still very evident to see. We have been to Cozumel several times, and in some areas, if you had not been to Cozumel before, you wouldnt even know that there had been such devastation. The people have done a tremendous job cleaning up and getting the city back to something close to normal. Some areas, however, still are in a great state of disrepair. There seems to be almost a desperation for business, too. Ive never seen so many tour operators and shopkeepers so desperate to get you to utilize their services or to shop in their stores. I truly hope that Cozumel continues to make a very speedy recovery and get their economy back on its feet. We love this island, and hope to see it restored to its full splendor in very short time.
We had originally booked Dolphin Discovery in Chankanaab Park, but after the Hurricane destroyed Chankanaab, we swapped over to the Mayan Riviera location. We took the ferry ($20 for the two of us one-way) over to Playa Del Carmen, and from there took a cab to the Puerta Adventuras Dolphin Discovery. The first 2 cab drivers we asked wanted $25 and $20 respectively for the one-way trip. Upon asking around some more, we found that the set price is actually $14. Be careful of the taxi operators immediately off of the ferry dockask to see a price list before agreeing to the price they offer, because they definitely tried to rip us off. Dolphin Discovery was amazing, and we had a great time. We saw the Cozumel dolphins while we were there, too! They have been transferred temporarily to this location, and we can report that they are swimming around happily, playing constantly.
We did the Royal Swim, which allowed us to do the dolphin kiss, touch the dolphins numerous times, hold them, and also do a dorsal fin pull and a foot push. This was truly the experience of a lifetime, and we also purchased the video for $50 and four pictures for $50 for a total of $100 for video and pictures, but it is worth it. We will remember this experience for the rest of our lives. The dolphins seemed very happy and healthy, and seemed to love playing with the humans. In fact, during our program, two dolphins from another program next to us got bored in between activities and came over and joined our group to play with us too! They are truly remarkable animals, and any doubts I may have had about dolphins in captivity is gone. One of our dolphins was 35 years old, and extremely healthy and strong. The dolphins seem very happy, and seem to love their trainers, all poking their heads up out of the water and rushing over when the trainers entered the tank.
There were taxis readily available to take us the 15 or 20 minutes or so back to the ferry dock, where we purchased a return ticket back to Cozumel for $20 for the two of us. One word of cautionbe sure you know when the ferries leave and what time your last tender or all-aboard time in Cozumel is!! We arrived back at the ferry dock right before the 3:00 ferry. It is about a 45 minute crossing, and the next ferry from Playa Del Carmen back to Cozumel was going to be at 5:00our last tender is at 4:30! If we had missed the 3:00 ferry, we would have probably missed our ship, so be very aware of that if you attempt this. Were we to do Dolphin Discovery again, we would probably wait until Chankanaab is rebuilt to avoid having to make the Playa Del Carmen trip. In all, we spent $40 on the round trip ferry, and $28 on taxis, for a total of $68 just to get us to the Dolphin Discovery location and back. This is a little steep for us, and we probably wouldnt try it again.
I will have to see Playa Del Carmen again some day before forming a true impression of it. After the attempted rip-off by the first couple of taxi drivers we met, and seeing how aggressive some of the shopkeepers were, Im not too sure that I would want to go back to Playa Del Carmen. However, I want to try it one more time. It looked like a really beautiful place with beautiful water and beautiful beaches, and it too is recovering from the Hurricane, so I do want to go there again some day to get a better overall look at it. I would like to try snorkeling there, so we will go back someday.
We had just enough time when we arrived back in Cozumel to walk around a bit before the last tender, which gave us a better look at the city. Cozumel is making a fast recovery, and I cant wait to go there again in a year or two and see how much progress they have made.
Friday was our final day as well as our last sea day. We got in our promenade deck chairs around 1:00, but around 3:00 the wind got very strong with some light rain. The rest of the day the weather was very windy and cold and rainy, so we were not able to spend anymore time outdoors. We went to the card room, which was well stocked with a number of games. We played Othello and Scrabble for most of the afternoon, before going to pack and get ready for dinner.
Our last night of dinner was uneventful and very sadwe were truly going to miss our waiters and stateroom attendant and all who helped to make our vacation so great.
Disembarkation began about 15 minutes early (everything on this ship happens early, it seems!!)and we were off of the ship, had our baggage claimed, and were in our car driving away by 10:30 AM--a new record.
Would we sail the Legend of the Seas again? Absolutelyno question. She is a beautiful ship, with a wonderful crew, and we have so many amazing memories of her. May we meet again some day, Legend of the Seas! Less