returned on july 8th from an 8 day cruise aboard the carnival legend. left new york and cruised to san juan, puerto rico, st. thomas & tortola island.
boarding went well, with no real problems or delays, to speak of. carnival has a nice set up in new york, getting you on to the ship. once on, went straight to maitre'd to correct dining arrangements, that the travel agent said she would do, but didn't. with that done, found our cabin, a 6th floor cabin with balcony. in my opinion, the only way to cruise. dropped off our carry-ons and went about exploring our "home away from home" for the next 8 days. wow - is all i could say. the legend is simply a beautiful ship. having sailed on the carnival victory a couple of years ago, i was expecting similarities and, all i could say is, they took the victory and made it even more magnificent.
we left new york around 5pm and, from our balcony, viewed the new york skyline and verrazano bridge as we sailed away. new york is our hometown and this view is always something we look forward to seeing.
we were traveling with another couple and met them outside the dining hall for late dining seating. the maitre'd was there greeting the guests, the dining room was well lit and the glass and brass were shining. the only downer the whole week, was our waitress and assistant waitress. being experienced cruisers, we expected to be "catered to" and this just didn't happen. they were both efficient, but that was it. this was certainly not something that ruined our week, just a minor disappointment. the food choices were adequate but whatever was offered, was very tasty and the presentation on the plates was eye catching.
breakfast and lunch we ate up at the buffet, which always had many choices to choose from. there was salad, deli sandwiches, asian fare, carved meats, cold choices, hot choices, etc. there was just something for everyone and everyone seemed to be enjoying.
the sundeck was stacked with lounges. no matter what time of day, you were able to go up there and find a lounge. the lounges surrounding the pools were grabbed early in the morning, but along the sundeck, which we preferred anyway, there were always chairs available.
the pools and hot tubs were roomy and comfortable. all that we met, throughout the week, were friendly and as happy to be on the cruise as we were. the only complaints heard all week long, were about the dining staff.
we arrived in san juan on thursday, after leaving new york on monday. we signed up for one of the shore excursions, which was a tour of san juan and shopping. we boarded an open air bus, which was fine. our tour guide, was less than interesting, focusing on the poor homes along the way, and missing out on explaining anything about the city we were touring. the shopping area was nice but we were waiting to shop in st. thomas, so we did limited shopping on this trip. it was nice "window shopping" anyway.
we chose to stay on the ship for the evening, although many of the guests did explore the nightlife of san juan. by midnight we were on our way to st. thomas.
we hadn't been in st. thomas in 27 years and much of it, was just the way we remembered it, although the stores have been upgraded in many cases. some of the business names we recalled from our first visit. we took a sightseeing tour through the island before arriving at the shopping strip. we spent a couple of hours shopping and then, instead of taking a cab back to the ship, we ventured back on our own. this was a very nice walk and i'd definitely recommend it to future cruisers. it's a straight walk and you can't get lost or veer in the wrong direction.
on the ship we would relax on the sundeck, try our luck on the slot machines, occasionally visit the internet cafe to check up on the kids at home, etc. we also enjoyed perusing the merchandise in the stores on board, which of course were only open when we were at sea.
the next day we were at tortola, a british virgin island. although the beauty of the island is evident, the poverty is even more evident. we took a sightseeing tour through this island as well and each view was more beautiful than the next, but we were surrounded by dilapidated homes and children just out on the streets, adults also, not at work, but toiling at their homes. tourism is their only source of income and our tour guide explained that the winter months are their busy season.
although on all three islands, we took the more relaxing of the tours, there were choices for snorkeling, swimming with the dolphins, etc. these just weren't our "cup of tea".
our room steward was excellent. we enjoy returning to our cabin at night to see a towel animal on the bed. each night there was a different animal and one night, when we returned, we didn't see anything on the bed. when we looked up though, hanging from the curtain rod, was a towel monkey. very cute. the room was always cleaned and restocked with towels and supplies. we liked having a mini snack and drink bar available in the room. although we didn't use any of the alcohol offered in it, we did enjoy the snacks, which of course are charged to your account, but at least we didn't have to go downstairs to buy them.
our travel agent sent in a bottle of champagne and chocolates to enjoy and we also enjoyed the captain's cocktail hour on formal night and another repeat cruiser cocktail party on a different night. we never lacked for food or drink all week.
we arrived home the following tuesday, tan and relaxed. disembarking went quickly and efficiently and before long we were back in our home in staten island, left with only our memories and photographs.
all in all, i'd recommend the carnival legend to anyone who is looking to enjoy and relax in luxury, while at sea. don't know yet, where we're off to for next year, but we'll be booking soon.