1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Carnival Legend
This was my 5th Carnival cruise, and my friend's 2nd one. We've only cruised on Carnival so we can't compare this cruise to other cruise lines. We flew into Tampa the night before the cruise. We stayed at the La Quinta Tampa Bay Airport for $71/night + tax. They had a free shuttle that picked you up from the airport, and they charged $10/person to take you to the port in the morning. We also arranged transportation with them for after the cruise for an additional $10/person to go from the port to TPA. The first shuttle they had leaving the motel for the port was at 11:00am. The hotel was good choice for a one night stay. There was an IHOP next door, and the motel rate included a continental breakfast in the morning. We wanted to buy some sodas and bottled water to take onto the cruise with us and keep in the mini fridge in our room. There was nothing within a reasonable walking distance selling this type of product except the Shell gas station down the street. Their prices were the same as the soda machine that was in the motel lobby! We bought a couple of bottles since we'd already walked there, but save yourself a trip and buy the soda and water from the motel machine if you're interested in taking some on board with you. Embarkation: We arrived at the port about 11:45, and we were onboard the Legend by 12:15. We left our larger bags with the porters outside. After checking in at the main desk, we were given a group number and directed to a waiting area. Our number was called quickly, and then we were on the ship! We had lunch at the Lido buffet since the rooms weren't available yet, and then we headed to our cabin around 1:30 pm. Our luggage showed up mid afternoon, and we were unpacked and settled in before going to dinner for the early seating at 6:00 pm. Ship and Crew: We loved the ship dEcor, and we did not find it dark as some others have mentioned in their reviews. The ship looked to be in good repair. Our wait staff in the Truffles dining room, and our room steward did a good job, but we didn't feel like they went above and beyond like we've experienced on some past cruises. Cabin: We booked an inside cabin. The cabin was conveniently located mid-ship on the Empress level, and we never had any noise issues. We've booked inside cabins on other Carnival ships, and we felt like the furniture layout was better on the other ships. However, once we got unpacked, and did some rearranging with the beds everything worked out fine. Food: The food at the Unicorn Buffet was standard buffet fare. The make to order omelets in the morning were great. On previous cruises we had breakfast in the dining room. We found the portions for breakfast in the dining room to be small and the service slow. Eating breakfast at the buffet was a much better option and looked to be mostly the same food they were serving in the dining room. It was convenient and quick on days that you wanted to eat and get off the ship to go ashore. For lunch we ate at the buffet, and we also enjoyed the hotdogs and hamburgers from the grill out by the pool. We had dinner in the dining room every night. The food in the Truffles dining room was good. It is not 5 star restaurant quality, but it was very good considering they are serving thousands of people for dinner every night. We enjoyed the dining room fare, but we did decide to make reservations one night at the Golden Fleece Supper Club. This experience was worth every penny of the $30 extra charge per person! The taste, selection, presentation, and service were all excellent. We had a panoramic view of the sun setting on the ocean, and every bite of food was like a taste explosion in your mouth. I can't say enough good things about this meal, and I wish every Carnival ship had a supper club. Day at Sea Activities: We found the day at sea activities somewhat lacking. There were the regular art auctions, pool games, and lounge entertainments. Carnival needs to come up with some more interesting and varied day at sea activities. I think these would all be fine for a first time cruiser, but past guests have already gone to towel folding demonstrations, hairy chest contests, newlywed games, etc... There was a galley tour on the 2nd day at sea which we enjoyed. We spent too much time in the casino and playing bingo in the lounge. The quarter shooting machines in the casino are addictive. Unfortunately, everything I've read about the payouts on the ship casinos not being good was true. We didn't come out ahead, but we had fun playing. Other Activities: The formal nights are Monday and Friday night. The Captain's cocktail party was before the first formal night on Monday. The past guest cocktail party was on Wednesday night. This was odd timing as the past guest party was after early seating dinner and before the late seating dinner. It was different going to an after dinner cocktail party instead of before, but we did get our share of free drinks! Shows/Entertainment: The cruise director for the Legend is Jen. Jen told the same jokes I'd heard on previous cruises, and we thought it felt like she was trying to hard too be perky and upbeat most of the time. However, she did let loose a bit during the final show onboard. There were dancing and singing shows in the Follies lounge on both formal nights. We didn't attend the first show "Jazz Hot" as we'd seem the same show on our previous cruise last year. We did attend the second show "Take II", and it was awful. The show made absolutely no sense, and the choice of songs performed was a very odd mix. The lead singer Meghann sang very loudly which did not disguise a limited singing range. The dancing was ok, but we've seen much better on other cruises. The other nights there were comics and a balancing act. We really liked Happy Cole's comedy, and Lubo's balancing act. We heard good reviews about the midnight comedy shows from fellow guests, but we didn't attend them ourselves. The last night of the cruise there was a Legends Show where guests on the ship perform accompanied by the Legend dancers. This was a fun show, and a good activity for your last night on board. We also enjoyed the piano player in Billie's piano bar. He played a good mix of songs, and it was fun singing along after you'd had a few at the bar. Grand Cayman: We booked the Stingray City & Island Drive shore excursion through Carnival. After tendering to shore, we met up with our tour group. The tour company had nice buses, and we visited the Turtle Farm, Hell, and Stingray City. Holding the cute turtles at the Turtle Farm was fun, and a good picture taking opportunity. After a quick stop at Hell, we were on the boat heading out to Stingray City. We both really enjoyed getting to touch, feed, and interact with the Stingrays. What an amazing experience! Be sure to bring your underwater camera along with you. The tour company provided snorkel equipment and squid to feed the rays. Cozumel: We booked the Mayan Ruins of Tulum tour through Carnival. This is a long tour, and we were glad we booked through Carnival as we actually got back to the ship after 5:30 (which is when everyone was supposed to be back on board). Since we booked through Carnival we didn't have to worry about "missing the boat". After getting off the ship, we took a 45 minute ferry ride over to mainland Mexico. The ferry was enclosed and air-conditioned which was appreciated as it was about 95 degrees in Cozumel, and 105 degrees and very humid in Tulum. After the ferry, there was an hour bus ride to Tulum. The guide was very informative, and he gave us a lot of great information about the Mayans. The bus parking lot is about a mile from the main entrance to Tulum. Pay the $2 round trip fee for the shuttle that runs to the ruins and back. Even if you are in good shape, the heat really takes it out of you. Save your energy and time for exploring the ruins instead of hiking to them down the dirt road! Our guide gave us a brief guided tour of the ruins, and then we were on our own for about 1 hr 20 minutes. There is a beautiful beach down at the bottom of the cliff (which is reachable by a staircase), but if you went down to the beach, then you didn't have any time to explore the ruins. If you're planning on walking around the ruins and looking at the structures, then don't bother bringing your beach gear as there won't be time for it. Belize: We booked the Altun Ha Mayan Site & River Wallace tour through Carnival. Unfortunately, we ran into some problems on this tour. After taking the fairly long tender ride to shore (8 miles), we boarded a large Gray line style tour bus. After being on the bus for a few minutes, it became apparent that the air conditioning wasn't working. Since the bus didn't have windows that opened this was a problem as it quickly became stifling on the bus. The bus driver stopped at one point and opened the escape hatch in the roof of the bus just to get some air flowing. We arrived nice and sweaty at Altun Ha. Altun Ha is a nice Mayan site. It is significantly smaller than Tulum, but also older. It offered a good contrast to the Tulum tour we took the day before. The tour company had called for another bus to come pick us up, but it wasn't there yet so we all loaded back up onto the bus that had been cooking in the sun for about an hour with the windows closed. With no a/c and the added solar effects on the bus, HOT doesn't even begin to describe it. Thankfully, the new bus met us on the road, and we transferred over to that one. What a relief! Next, we stopped at the Black Orchid resort for lunch before boarding the boat for our trip down the River Wallace. The boat was a small craft with an outboard motor and a seating area around the edge of the boat for about 15 people. The boat was uncovered, and we were prepared for that as we'd brought our hats and our bug spray along. This is not a "cruise" down the river as the tour description says. It is a speed boat trip down the river! If you'd enjoy flying down the river for 1 hour 15 minutes, hanging on for dear life, and coming to whip lash inducing stops to briefly see the wildlife (if they weren't scared away by the 400 hp outboard motor), then this tour is for you. If not, then book the Altun Ha and the City Tour shore excursion. We understand that the a/c situation on the bus was an unexpected problem, but that boat ride was something else! Roatan Island: This was a great port! We booked the Tabyana Beach Day through Carnival. We got off the ship about 8:30, and then boarded a school bus to take us to Tabyana Beach. It was nice seeing an island that is still developing for tourism and not completely overrun. The island is also very scenic, and the drive to the beach offered some great views of the coast. There were lounge chairs for everyone on the beach, and you could rent snorkel equipment for $15 for 2 hours. The snorkeling here was awesome! This was by the far the best snorkeling I've ever done. There were tons of fish everywhere, and the coral formations were amazing. Try one of the Monkey La-La drinks from the bar at Tabyana beach...yumm. The only bad thing about this excursion was that it ended too soon. Carnival leaves port at 3:00 so you had to be back on the ship by 2:15. It's about a 30 minute drive back from the beach so "beach day" was really a couple of "beach hours". However, it was a great stop, and I hope Carnival starts staying in that port longer. Debarkation: The last day at sea there is a "mandatory" debarkation talk. The talk is shown on the TV in the room the whole rest of the day, and a comprehensive debarkation sheet was dropped off in our room. I don't think there is really any need to attend this talk if you've cruised before, and you don't have any special circumstances for debarkation. We took advantage of the Luggage Express program Carnival is offering now. We paid $15/person to check 2 bags each. The room steward brought the American Airline tags to our room during the day, and then we put the bags outside the room that night. We didn't see them again until we arrived back home! This came in really handy as we had a later flight home, and we had time to explore around the Tampa port area. It was nice not having to drag the bags around or figure out where we could store them. Since we'd done Luggage Express we could debark anytime after general debarkation commenced. We decided to get off the ship about 9:00 am since we weren't in any rush. We had breakfast at the buffet, and then headed off the ship. Debarkation was easy, and there were no problems. Tampa Port: The Port of Tampa is really convenient. Right across the street from the cruise terminal was The Florida Aquarium. It opens at 9:30, and we had a buy one get one free admission coupon for the Aquarium that we bought off of Ebay for $2. Admission is $18 so that was a good deal if you are planning on going there. There is also a large shopping complex adjacent to the terminal that included a variety of restaurants, shops, and a movie theater with an Imax. We stayed in this area until around 3:30pm, and then we caught our shuttle back to TPA. Overall: Tampa is a great port to sail from, and we loved the Carnival Legend. The port itinerary was varied and interesting. Thanks to everyone else who wrote reviews on Cruise Critic. We really appreciated all of the information and advice. Sail Date: 5/4/08

Great Cruise on Carnival Legend

Carnival Legend Cruise Review by VictoriaMO

Trip Details
This was my 5th Carnival cruise, and my friend's 2nd one. We've only cruised on Carnival so we can't compare this cruise to other cruise lines. We flew into Tampa the night before the cruise. We stayed at the La Quinta Tampa Bay Airport for $71/night + tax. They had a free shuttle that picked you up from the airport, and they charged $10/person to take you to the port in the morning. We also arranged transportation with them for after the cruise for an additional $10/person to go from the port to TPA. The first shuttle they had leaving the motel for the port was at 11:00am. The hotel was good choice for a one night stay. There was an IHOP next door, and the motel rate included a continental breakfast in the morning. We wanted to buy some sodas and bottled water to take onto the cruise with us and keep in the mini fridge in our room. There was nothing within a reasonable walking distance selling this type of product except the Shell gas station down the street. Their prices were the same as the soda machine that was in the motel lobby! We bought a couple of bottles since we'd already walked there, but save yourself a trip and buy the soda and water from the motel machine if you're interested in taking some on board with you.
Embarkation: We arrived at the port about 11:45, and we were onboard the Legend by 12:15. We left our larger bags with the porters outside. After checking in at the main desk, we were given a group number and directed to a waiting area. Our number was called quickly, and then we were on the ship! We had lunch at the Lido buffet since the rooms weren't available yet, and then we headed to our cabin around 1:30 pm. Our luggage showed up mid afternoon, and we were unpacked and settled in before going to dinner for the early seating at 6:00 pm.
Ship and Crew: We loved the ship dEcor, and we did not find it dark as some others have mentioned in their reviews. The ship looked to be in good repair. Our wait staff in the Truffles dining room, and our room steward did a good job, but we didn't feel like they went above and beyond like we've experienced on some past cruises.
Cabin: We booked an inside cabin. The cabin was conveniently located mid-ship on the Empress level, and we never had any noise issues. We've booked inside cabins on other Carnival ships, and we felt like the furniture layout was better on the other ships. However, once we got unpacked, and did some rearranging with the beds everything worked out fine.
Food: The food at the Unicorn Buffet was standard buffet fare. The make to order omelets in the morning were great. On previous cruises we had breakfast in the dining room. We found the portions for breakfast in the dining room to be small and the service slow. Eating breakfast at the buffet was a much better option and looked to be mostly the same food they were serving in the dining room. It was convenient and quick on days that you wanted to eat and get off the ship to go ashore. For lunch we ate at the buffet, and we also enjoyed the hotdogs and hamburgers from the grill out by the pool. We had dinner in the dining room every night. The food in the Truffles dining room was good. It is not 5 star restaurant quality, but it was very good considering they are serving thousands of people for dinner every night. We enjoyed the dining room fare, but we did decide to make reservations one night at the Golden Fleece Supper Club. This experience was worth every penny of the $30 extra charge per person! The taste, selection, presentation, and service were all excellent. We had a panoramic view of the sun setting on the ocean, and every bite of food was like a taste explosion in your mouth. I can't say enough good things about this meal, and I wish every Carnival ship had a supper club.
Day at Sea Activities: We found the day at sea activities somewhat lacking. There were the regular art auctions, pool games, and lounge entertainments. Carnival needs to come up with some more interesting and varied day at sea activities. I think these would all be fine for a first time cruiser, but past guests have already gone to towel folding demonstrations, hairy chest contests, newlywed games, etc... There was a galley tour on the 2nd day at sea which we enjoyed. We spent too much time in the casino and playing bingo in the lounge. The quarter shooting machines in the casino are addictive. Unfortunately, everything I've read about the payouts on the ship casinos not being good was true. We didn't come out ahead, but we had fun playing.
Other Activities: The formal nights are Monday and Friday night. The Captain's cocktail party was before the first formal night on Monday. The past guest cocktail party was on Wednesday night. This was odd timing as the past guest party was after early seating dinner and before the late seating dinner. It was different going to an after dinner cocktail party instead of before, but we did get our share of free drinks!
Shows/Entertainment: The cruise director for the Legend is Jen. Jen told the same jokes I'd heard on previous cruises, and we thought it felt like she was trying to hard too be perky and upbeat most of the time. However, she did let loose a bit during the final show onboard. There were dancing and singing shows in the Follies lounge on both formal nights. We didn't attend the first show "Jazz Hot" as we'd seem the same show on our previous cruise last year. We did attend the second show "Take II", and it was awful. The show made absolutely no sense, and the choice of songs performed was a very odd mix. The lead singer Meghann sang very loudly which did not disguise a limited singing range. The dancing was ok, but we've seen much better on other cruises. The other nights there were comics and a balancing act. We really liked Happy Cole's comedy, and Lubo's balancing act. We heard good reviews about the midnight comedy shows from fellow guests, but we didn't attend them ourselves. The last night of the cruise there was a Legends Show where guests on the ship perform accompanied by the Legend dancers. This was a fun show, and a good activity for your last night on board. We also enjoyed the piano player in Billie's piano bar. He played a good mix of songs, and it was fun singing along after you'd had a few at the bar.
Grand Cayman: We booked the Stingray City & Island Drive shore excursion through Carnival. After tendering to shore, we met up with our tour group. The tour company had nice buses, and we visited the Turtle Farm, Hell, and Stingray City. Holding the cute turtles at the Turtle Farm was fun, and a good picture taking opportunity. After a quick stop at Hell, we were on the boat heading out to Stingray City. We both really enjoyed getting to touch, feed, and interact with the Stingrays. What an amazing experience! Be sure to bring your underwater camera along with you. The tour company provided snorkel equipment and squid to feed the rays.
Cozumel: We booked the Mayan Ruins of Tulum tour through Carnival. This is a long tour, and we were glad we booked through Carnival as we actually got back to the ship after 5:30 (which is when everyone was supposed to be back on board). Since we booked through Carnival we didn't have to worry about "missing the boat". After getting off the ship, we took a 45 minute ferry ride over to mainland Mexico. The ferry was enclosed and air-conditioned which was appreciated as it was about 95 degrees in Cozumel, and 105 degrees and very humid in Tulum. After the ferry, there was an hour bus ride to Tulum. The guide was very informative, and he gave us a lot of great information about the Mayans. The bus parking lot is about a mile from the main entrance to Tulum. Pay the $2 round trip fee for the shuttle that runs to the ruins and back. Even if you are in good shape, the heat really takes it out of you. Save your energy and time for exploring the ruins instead of hiking to them down the dirt road! Our guide gave us a brief guided tour of the ruins, and then we were on our own for about 1 hr 20 minutes. There is a beautiful beach down at the bottom of the cliff (which is reachable by a staircase), but if you went down to the beach, then you didn't have any time to explore the ruins. If you're planning on walking around the ruins and looking at the structures, then don't bother bringing your beach gear as there won't be time for it.
Belize: We booked the Altun Ha Mayan Site & River Wallace tour through Carnival. Unfortunately, we ran into some problems on this tour. After taking the fairly long tender ride to shore (8 miles), we boarded a large Gray line style tour bus. After being on the bus for a few minutes, it became apparent that the air conditioning wasn't working. Since the bus didn't have windows that opened this was a problem as it quickly became stifling on the bus. The bus driver stopped at one point and opened the escape hatch in the roof of the bus just to get some air flowing. We arrived nice and sweaty at Altun Ha. Altun Ha is a nice Mayan site. It is significantly smaller than Tulum, but also older. It offered a good contrast to the Tulum tour we took the day before. The tour company had called for another bus to come pick us up, but it wasn't there yet so we all loaded back up onto the bus that had been cooking in the sun for about an hour with the windows closed. With no a/c and the added solar effects on the bus, HOT doesn't even begin to describe it. Thankfully, the new bus met us on the road, and we transferred over to that one. What a relief! Next, we stopped at the Black Orchid resort for lunch before boarding the boat for our trip down the River Wallace. The boat was a small craft with an outboard motor and a seating area around the edge of the boat for about 15 people. The boat was uncovered, and we were prepared for that as we'd brought our hats and our bug spray along. This is not a "cruise" down the river as the tour description says. It is a speed boat trip down the river! If you'd enjoy flying down the river for 1 hour 15 minutes, hanging on for dear life, and coming to whip lash inducing stops to briefly see the wildlife (if they weren't scared away by the 400 hp outboard motor), then this tour is for you. If not, then book the Altun Ha and the City Tour shore excursion. We understand that the a/c situation on the bus was an unexpected problem, but that boat ride was something else!
Roatan Island: This was a great port! We booked the Tabyana Beach Day through Carnival. We got off the ship about 8:30, and then boarded a school bus to take us to Tabyana Beach. It was nice seeing an island that is still developing for tourism and not completely overrun. The island is also very scenic, and the drive to the beach offered some great views of the coast. There were lounge chairs for everyone on the beach, and you could rent snorkel equipment for $15 for 2 hours. The snorkeling here was awesome! This was by the far the best snorkeling I've ever done. There were tons of fish everywhere, and the coral formations were amazing. Try one of the Monkey La-La drinks from the bar at Tabyana beach...yumm. The only bad thing about this excursion was that it ended too soon. Carnival leaves port at 3:00 so you had to be back on the ship by 2:15. It's about a 30 minute drive back from the beach so "beach day" was really a couple of "beach hours". However, it was a great stop, and I hope Carnival starts staying in that port longer.
Debarkation: The last day at sea there is a "mandatory" debarkation talk. The talk is shown on the TV in the room the whole rest of the day, and a comprehensive debarkation sheet was dropped off in our room. I don't think there is really any need to attend this talk if you've cruised before, and you don't have any special circumstances for debarkation. We took advantage of the Luggage Express program Carnival is offering now. We paid $15/person to check 2 bags each. The room steward brought the American Airline tags to our room during the day, and then we put the bags outside the room that night. We didn't see them again until we arrived back home! This came in really handy as we had a later flight home, and we had time to explore around the Tampa port area. It was nice not having to drag the bags around or figure out where we could store them. Since we'd done Luggage Express we could debark anytime after general debarkation commenced. We decided to get off the ship about 9:00 am since we weren't in any rush. We had breakfast at the buffet, and then headed off the ship. Debarkation was easy, and there were no problems.
Tampa Port: The Port of Tampa is really convenient. Right across the street from the cruise terminal was The Florida Aquarium. It opens at 9:30, and we had a buy one get one free admission coupon for the Aquarium that we bought off of Ebay for $2. Admission is $18 so that was a good deal if you are planning on going there. There is also a large shopping complex adjacent to the terminal that included a variety of restaurants, shops, and a movie theater with an Imax. We stayed in this area until around 3:30pm, and then we caught our shuttle back to TPA.
Overall: Tampa is a great port to sail from, and we loved the Carnival Legend. The port itinerary was varied and interesting. Thanks to everyone else who wrote reviews on Cruise Critic. We really appreciated all of the information and advice.
Sail Date: 5/4/08
VictoriaMO’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Rates
Service
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Carnival Legend price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email