Like many other guests on this cruise, we booked in order to visit the iconic tourist port of Broome, Western Australia. After we checked in, and after we were past the point of no return (due to the threatened customs strike we were ... Read More
Like many other guests on this cruise, we booked in order to visit the iconic tourist port of Broome, Western Australia. After we checked in, and after we were past the point of no return (due to the threatened customs strike we were unable to disembark even though sailing time was many hours later), with no internet available, my husband picked up a piece of paper that was sitting on a table on our way to customs. It would have been easy to bypass, or not read, this piece of paper as it just appeared to be another copy of the itinerary. As it happened, it was our "notification" that we would not be stopping at Broome, after all. Seemingly unaware, or uncaring, of the disappointment of the majority of their guests, no staff acknowledged the change in any way until after it was raised at the Cruise Critic Meet and Greet on day three of the cruise. Only the assistant cruise director attended this meeting on behalf of the ship, and he immediately responded with a lie when the concern was raised: "it was because of weather and the tides". He was quick to shut off discussion of the topic, much of which was angry and disbelieving, so one member proposed a second meeting of those gathered there two days later. After the Meet and Greet, the Captain finally got on the intercom and explained that there existed an unusual combination of circumstances that prevented the ship from docking. Eventually, more than three hundred guests signed a letter addressed to the RCI CEO, expressing our disappointment with the way this was handled. Although RCI replied near the end of the cruise that it refused to compensate its guests in any way, and also refused to refund the port charges, the captain did meet with the primary organisers of the letter, together with the hotel director and guest services manager. At this point, the captain blamed the Port of Broome, saying that it failed to provide adequate infrastructure to board and disembark passengers at the time of very low tides.
Clearly the tides were predictable ("...the tides are the most predictable natural phenomena on Earth" Dr Ken George, University of Plymouth, Institute of Marine Studies), and if the port of Broome lacked the infrastructure at the time of our cruise, it also lacked the infrastructure when RCI planned its itinerary. It either didn't know that it would not be able to cope on that day (in which case it was negligent), or it knew and advertised Broome anyway (in which case it was deceptive). Although the ship was due to leave Broome 30 minutes past midnight on the day after its arrival, the itinerary advertised it as being in Broome for 2 days, which tends to indicate that RCI knew of Broome's drawing power. It is reported that our second meeting, with more than 100 in attendance, was even told by the hotel director that this cruise was a "guinea pig" to check Broome out, which displeased the crowd even more. Please note that this is not a criticism of the Captain, who was forced by his company into a difficult decision.
The moral for those thinking of sailing on the Legend is that you should be prepared to be treated with disdain, and don't book on the expectation of going to any advertised port.
Aside from the Broome issue, there were many things we are used to on cruises that were lacking on this one: smoked salmon and prunes at breakfast, a news print out, port information, serviettes in the Park Cafe and a general sense of fun around the pool (parties, live music). Although we were given a coupon to be exchanged for a gift at the Meet and Greet, there was no gift. A lot more of the activities on the daily list had a $ noted on them, and one of the lecturers had to use the Anchors Aweigh lounge instead of the theater as a new crew were rehearsing in the theater. The lounge has many view-blocking poles and there were problems with the video. The lecturer who was able to use the theater was likable but the presentation was sleep inducing.
There were several dead spots on the giant outdoor screen and, unlike our previous RCI cruise, no popcorn or other snacks were offered to those watching the movies outdoors (not that we needed food, but the atmosphere the snacks/drinks created was special).
The cruise director did say at one point that he was looking into broadcasting the AFL Grand Final which was a matter of great importance to the many Australian based guests on board. We never heard any more on this topic.
I liked the ship itself as it is small enough to get to know quickly and is based around a pretty Centrum area. To have a quiet spot to read or have a conversation, however, often required going outside into the heat, and the smoke caused by Indonesian fires.
Our cabin was ok and I was grateful that there was a kettle supplied plus tea bags. Fortunately, I also had some coffee with me for when the free coffee was unpalatable.
Our cabin attendant, dining room waiter/assistant waiter, and the Windjammer wait staff, were all very pleasant, efficient and attentive.
Some front guest staff were disinterested, unhelpful and uninformative. Clearly, however, they had been worded up to assist our Broome protest group, as was promised during the second meeting, with a limited amount of printing, and this was done cooperatively.
I don't like production shows, of which there were three during our cruise, so I can't give an unbiased review of those. I did like the other shows provided and felt there was a good variety, although the final comedy/magician was a bit lame.
Embarkation was painfully slow, probably due to the fact that RCI sent passengers an email asking them to get there early due to the possibility of customs strike action. (They didn't bother to notify the change in itinerary however.) Disembarkation was well handled so we could relax until called. I dared to go to the 9th floor for a drink of water while waiting, however, and was spoken to most condescendingly and disapprovingly by a passing staff somebody who I had never seen before who told me I should be on deck 4. Read Less