11 Tampa Holiday Cruise Reviews

The Good: 1. Good itinerary 2. Big window in Balcony Stateroom 3. Good Entertainment ( Cruise Director was great) The OK: 1. The food was bland and always the same. I was on a carnival Liberty before this and couldn't help but ... Read More
The Good: 1. Good itinerary 2. Big window in Balcony Stateroom 3. Good Entertainment ( Cruise Director was great) The OK: 1. The food was bland and always the same. I was on a carnival Liberty before this and couldn't help but compare. Carnival has a lot more free options and the food is 10 times better. Norwegian's food was bland and always the same. I did not try their restaurants that you had to pay extra for. The Bad 1. There was a smell coming from the aft stairs 2. The bartender in Ramblas bar was rude, never smiled and always looked away. No wonder it was always empty   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This was our 4th cruise, second with our children, who range from 13-21.while we had a nice time with family and friends, we were never really impressed by anyone on the shop. We did like the ventiloquist, Kenny Byrd, but he was truly a ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise, second with our children, who range from 13-21.while we had a nice time with family and friends, we were never really impressed by anyone on the shop. We did like the ventiloquist, Kenny Byrd, but he was truly a rare standout. The only other person that seemed to make a relationship with us, a large group of 19, was Emir in the sports bar. The ship is behind the times in terms of technology and shows some wear. Young children were allowed to run all over the ship at breakneck speed and no one ever seemed to interfere. All in all, the experience could have been better. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Our room steward was silent and unseen. That was strangely neat! The dining staff in The Windjammer were VERY accommodating! I have been cruising since the early 90's and I can truly say that it (cruising) has changed dramatically. ... Read More
Our room steward was silent and unseen. That was strangely neat! The dining staff in The Windjammer were VERY accommodating! I have been cruising since the early 90's and I can truly say that it (cruising) has changed dramatically. We are no longer treated as "special guests" and there is now a price on everything. (Not really "all-inclusive" anymore) I was disappointed in how many times that I was "cut-off" by a ship employee, or witnessed other cruisers being placed "second" by the ship staff. In the past (other cruise lines) the staff allowed customers first in every aspect. The bartenders came off as borderline arrogant and condescending in nature. The excursion staff seemed to attempt to resolve issues, and although I think their hands were tied (by Royal Caribbean port scheduling) I feel they could have dome more to help us. At no time, did I feel that Royal Caribbean was truly happy that I was there. I am an out-going type "A" personality and have a difficult time finding people that I DON'T like, but I found myself "searching" for someone with the positive attitude of going "above and beyond" in their job. Sadly, it was not on Royal Caribbean. This past cruise has encouraged me to look into all-inclusive resorts for my next vacation. I come from the service industry, so I have higher expectations, but my group of eight people felt the same way I do. I am taking the time to say all of this in hopes of you being able to investigate and address issues and create a more inviting experience for cruisers like me. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We sailed on the Dawn during Christmas. First off, we really enjoyed the embarkation procedure in Tampa. As it is a smaller port than the one in Miami, it was so much nicer and everything was facilitated professionally and with great ... Read More
We sailed on the Dawn during Christmas. First off, we really enjoyed the embarkation procedure in Tampa. As it is a smaller port than the one in Miami, it was so much nicer and everything was facilitated professionally and with great ease. We found that the cabin noise was unbelievable. We could hear the person next door to us snoring and we could hear the kids on the other side of us complaining about not wanting to go on the day excursion...we could hear their tv also. The food was mediocre. We chose the Dawn for the "freestyle" dining, which was complete fiasco. We waited over 45 minutes for supper in the Venetian dining room (which wasn't that great anyway) and were told that if we were willing to share a table we would get in faster...which sort of defeats the whole purpose of freestyle dining doesn't it!! We ended up eating most of our dinners at the buffet, which actually was just as good or better than the main dining room. the entertainment was quite good. Nathaniel Reed on the piano did a great job of performing special songs from Ray Charles/Cole Porter/and was a wonderful pianist. There was a duo that performed often, which were basically singing to back up music off of a laptop...think Karaoke!! not the best there. Greg London and Second City were a nice treat and we enjoyed their shows immensely. The staff productions were the usual cruise/all inclusive type shows. Dance numbers, loud music and costume changes...but we didn't come for the anyway so didn't really care. ports of call were unfortunately just a place to spend money on hand made souvenirs that were all the same. We took an excursion to the Chaccoben Ruins in Mexico and loved them. We wish we had taken more excursions because there wasn't much else to do. In Roatan, we were taken to a beach which was so crowded that we left after 2 hours. Make sure you get the taxi driver to take you across the island to the lesser populated beaches. Cozumel was just more of the same shopping. A shame, because we were there 20 years ago and it was a wonderful place to visit. Unfortunately, to us a good holiday is superb food, restful nights and great ports of call and we felt that this cruise was below par for all three. Customs on the ship was unbelievably slow and a waste of time. We will not be travelling NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
December 30, 2012 to January 6, 2013. We arrived to La Quinta Hotel on Saturday December 29. Great flight and nice weather in Tampa. We arrage the transfer from the hotel to the pier to take our ship on the next day. The line, check ... Read More
December 30, 2012 to January 6, 2013. We arrived to La Quinta Hotel on Saturday December 29. Great flight and nice weather in Tampa. We arrage the transfer from the hotel to the pier to take our ship on the next day. The line, check in and boarding the ship was fast. As soon we got on, we contacted with friends traveling with us. The ship was full. Next day December 31, New Year's Eve, we expected to have a great time but we got a big surprise that night. We sat in the atrium and all the passengers sitting there were like nothing. They were so bored. As latin, we expected to have some latin music but we didn't listen anything. We were 28 in our group and e made a little party to see something happy for this night. Sorry for those people who didn't liked our party that night but we came to celebrate the New Year and not to sleep or get bored. In this week, nothing but nothing latin on this ship. I've been on 39 cruises and this has been the most boring ship I've ever taken. I also see that they do not have any control with teens under 18 years. They are everywhere drinking and smoking. About the food, we ate on the Aqua Restaurant. The Venetian Restaurant was so dark that the waiter had to give us a light to read the menu, because we couldn't read it. Only 2 shows were good but the others were bored. I heard that this ship was refurbished but I would like to know in which part. We had a mini suite and we could barely use the balcony because of the smoking of passengers of the cabin next to ours. The ceiling in our balcony was leaking, the floor was so awful you can see that it wasn't clean all week. About the pool (which pool?), only 1 and it ws so little like the bathtub that I had in the mini suite that we were. Good things - Mark our cabin steward and the Washi Washi girls. They were smiling and happy all the time. I will have to think about taking another Norwegian cruise ship again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
This being my 5th cruise on Carnival with my family (wife plus a 13 and 10 year old) i have a pretty good idea of what to expect while onboard. Overall, yes....we had a great time but there were a few things that could be improved. ... Read More
This being my 5th cruise on Carnival with my family (wife plus a 13 and 10 year old) i have a pretty good idea of what to expect while onboard. Overall, yes....we had a great time but there were a few things that could be improved. First, the good things: I think the ship was in good shape, our cabin was nice, the common areas and lounges were all clean and seemed to be in good condition. Out of my past Carnival cruises, the crew on the Legend were the most friendly and helpful. Our dinner waiter, Jeffrey was terrific, the room steward, bar tenders, staff in the buffet areas were always willing to help or assist. Kudos for this. And now the bad things: As others have mentioned, the food is hit or miss. I was moderately happy with my meal most nights. Was it great? No. Was the food hot? Sometimes. Seeing as i have been very happy with meals on the Dream, Imagination, Valor and Elation, i believe there is a problem with the kitchen management. On a few nights, my wife struggled to find something on the menu to order. We kept positive about it and didnt let it get in the way of a great trip, but they should work to resolve this problem. For me, the Chinese buffet at lunch was the best food on the ship. The hot tubs were closed much of the time. And the day i found one open and without a lot of kids, the water temp was barely luke warm. The hot tub in the adult area worked fine, but only holds 6 people max. Seriously....get a bigger hot tub, it was always full....and fix the cold hot tubs. One other gripe was that on Dec 31, they boarded up one of the hot tubs early in the morning and put AstroTurf over it to get ready for the celebrations that night. It took the workers about two hours to do this. They were done by 11am. So for that entire day at sea, that hot tub was closed. That night we realized that the MC of the new years party would being using it as his platform, which is fine....but couldn't they have waited until that evening to close the hot tub? Annoying. Entertainment/shows were minimal. I'm not much of a "show" person, but i do like them on a cruise ship and have really enjoyed many shows on other Carnival ships. I find it amazing that they can put on a quality show at sea and it gives all of us something to do as a family. On our other cruises, we remember at least 3 or 4 shows....however, on the Legend there was one musical show and then a magic show. The musical was called the "big easy" and the singing, dancing and energy was fantastic. But why only one show for the entire week? The magician however....well....watching him was better than strolling the decks for the 50th time, but it wasn't that great.The comedy club was marginal. My wife and i went to the midnight "adults only" show and it lasted 30 minutes. 20 of those minutes were farting jokes. It was bad, mostly not funny and childish. My son and i went to play mini golf on our last day at sea. We got to the course and half the course was closed for the day to do maintenance on the astroturf (they were replacing some sections of it.) Why do they need to do this on a "sea" day?? The day prior we were in the Caymans and from what i could tell, nearly everyone was off the ship. Um...that might have been a good time to do that work. Or at night when people are asleep. The decks are lit like daylight, so they could have done the work then. We had a balcony room and it was fine, however the glass railing was dirty for 5 out of the 7 days of our cruise. The glass was so covered in salt spray from the ocean that it was hard to see through. On the 4th day, we got a note asking not to leave anything on the balcony as they would be cleaning the glass. That night when we returned, they had smeared the glass even more, so all the balconies had to be washed again the 5th day. I like to sit on the balcony and it was really hard to see through the glass for 5 out of 7 days. Not good. Many of these things individually may seem minor, however when they cumulative, they start to impact the cruise. Will we cruise on Carnival again....sure. But on the Legend?... most likely not as there are other Carnival ships that seem to be better. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
First, don't read this and assume I'm the type to find something wrong with everything. I'm not. See my review of our Thanksgiving cruise on the Freedom last year if you don't believe me. There's far more negative ... Read More
First, don't read this and assume I'm the type to find something wrong with everything. I'm not. See my review of our Thanksgiving cruise on the Freedom last year if you don't believe me. There's far more negative in here than my last review, but it's honest feedback. None of this ruined our vacation, either, I just wanted to be fair in my review and call out things that need improving. We simply didn't find this cruise as good as past ones in many areas. Booking: We booked through CruiseQuick, a place many people seemed to fear. We got the room for a couple hundred less than anywhere else (even taking incentives in to consideration), and had zero issues. I'd totally use them again. The port: This was our first time going out of Tampa, and I wouldn't be sad to skip it in the future. Embarkation was faster than last year, which was a positive, but getting off was a pain compared to last year. We do self-assist, and last year we were off the boat and on the highway by 7:30am. This year, self--assist didn't start until ~9, and was very poorly organized. Took quite a bit longer to get off. Also not a fan of how the port area is laid out, driving around down there was a bit confusing compared to Miami and Lauderdale. Going under the Skyway bridge was cool though. We were an hour and a half late leaving port, so it was completely dark by then, which was pretty cool too since the bridge was all lit up in green lights. The ship: There are some who swear by the Legend and sail it more than once as a result. I'll agree that the ship never felt crowded like larger ships do, which was nice. The decorum, which some reviews complain about, is really no different than other ships. The whole "urn" theme was actually kinda interesting. Would I sail it again? Only with a more relaxing itinerary and a different entertainment staff. Our room: I went against last year's vow that I'd only stay on upper decks, all to try out a balcony for the first time. We were in 4204, which was a nice room. No other balconies right in front of us, so we didn't have any smoke blowing back towards our balcony. Also, for those looking at this room in the future, yes there is a lifeboat right where the room next to you would be, but don't worry about it messing with the view, 99% of the time it was a non-issue. If you want to see what the view looks like from that balcony, search for the image named "Roatan, as seen from our balcony" on photosynth.net (upload date is 12/1/2012). Good room, nice and quiet, but I really don't get the "once you go balcony, you'll never go back" stance. Yea, it was nice to be able to get up and go outside and enjoy the sea, or even to pop out there any time you wanted, but it's by no means a be-all-end-all requirement for us when cruising in the future. It may be that we just don't spend enough time in our room to properly enjoy it. The staff: Here's where it went downhill. Compared to our last experience on the Freedom with Brad and the rest of his entertainment staff, this year's entertainment staff was a bust. An earlier review of the Legend mentioned that the CD was heard more than he was seen, and kinda came off like a Diva. That fit Brian perfectly. We rarely saw him, and he hardly hosted any of the stuff we've seen past CDs host. He seemed to leave the majority of that up to his staff, and for much of it, they just weren't up to the task. The "be a game show star" show was really funny last year, but the hosts this year just sucked all the fun out of it by being completely out of sync. Additionally, the "adult game show" was awesome last year, and had a ton of participation. This year, it lasted 15 minutes and the girl hosting it seemed like she'd rather be elsewhere. We were warned that it was adults only, but she never got to any of the good stuff before they cut it off and brought the house band back up on stage. The saving grace of the entertainment staff was the comedy club manager, Kelly. She was pretty funny, even when hosting Bingo. Moving on, the MDR staff was a disappointment as well. We arrived to find that we were stuck at a little table all by ourselves off in the corner (we prefer to be at larger tables and meet other people), so the next morning I went to the MDR to ask the Maitre D if we could either move tables or move to Any-Time dining. He took my cabin number and said he'd get back to me, but we never heard a peep out of him. Checked in the next day, and the hostess said there were no other options. Considering the location of the table and our less-than-stellar head waiter, the MDR was kind of a bust for us this year. We ended up skipping a couple of nights, something we never do. We also had late seating for the first time on a cruise, something else we'll never do again. Live and learn :) The food: About the same as last year (not bad overall), although the midnight (11:30) Mexican buffet is nothing to write home about. That, or the chocolate buffet. Those are two of my favorite things on a cruise, and this year it just felt like they were the victim of cutbacks. The shows/activities: Another definite miss. A previous reviewer mentioned that the dancers seemed out of sync. Yea, that'd be accurate. Honestly, it seemed like they'd only been dancing together 10 minutes. I ended up walking out of the Jazz show about half way through as I just couldn't watch it go on anymore. Really didn't enjoy any of the shows this year. Shame, too, the Beatles show last year was entertaining. Outside of the shows, our other favorite thing to do, trivia, was hit or miss. The various hosts sometimes seemed unprepared, and in some cases like they really didn't want to be there. We attended almost every one, and it was amusing to see how seriously some people take those. It's a fun way to spend sea days, but you'd think there was serious money at stake based on the way some participants act :). The one good thing in this area were the comedians. We missed the first two on board, but caught multiple shows of the last two guys, and both were very funny. Kids activities: A bright spot once again this year. My daughter met quite a few other kids in Club O2, and loved the counselor in charge. Not really sure they participated in scheduled activities, but with the older age group, that's a hard thing to plan anyway. The itinerary: We absolutely loved last year's on the Freedom, with 4 sea days and 3 stops. This year on the Legend, 4 back-to-back stops felt like too much. Those 4 days were all a blur, so it's not the type of itinerary we'll be looking at in the future. Not complaining, we chose it, but it just never felt all that relaxing. See my review of the individual ports for more. Oh, I should also mention the tendering experience, since we had two ports of it this year. Neither was a hassle, we got off pretty quick. Here's a tip: the Fun Times says that you can get tender tickets starting at 9:00am. My recommendation, get there early. We knew the private excursion we were doing in Belize would be tight, so we all got down there ~8:30 and discovered they'd already started handing out tickets, and we got assigned group 2. As soon as tender operations started, we were off the boat on the first tender out. If you wait to get your tickets, you could be in a later group, and based on what we saw in Cayman, those in groups 4 and up had to wait a while to get off since Carnival excursions get priority. All in all, no issues for us tendering at either port. Another thing we found interesting this year is that the ship just felt dead. I'm not sure how to explain it, but after the sun went down, the crowd disappeared. Not sure what the deal was, but the shows were never full like they were on our past few cruises, and of the comedy shows we went to, only one was standing room only. There were a ton of kids on the ship, so I certainly can't blame it on an older crowd, just felt like a less-involved crowd this year. All in all, we had a good vacation. Any day you can be standing on a ship or on a beach instead of being at work is a good day. Yes, the experience on the boat wasn't as good (mostly due to staff issues), but it's all stuff that we never let bother us. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
Just returned from the Christmas Cruise on Carnival Legend today. It is early in the morning (6:30 AM) and my thoughts are fresh. This was our second family Holiday cruise and our sixth overall and the consensus was that we would do it ... Read More
Just returned from the Christmas Cruise on Carnival Legend today. It is early in the morning (6:30 AM) and my thoughts are fresh. This was our second family Holiday cruise and our sixth overall and the consensus was that we would do it again but we have some criticisms compared to previous cruises. I have two older sons; 23 and 25 and we all stayed in an extended balcony stateroom. It was comfortable and roomy enough. Money saved here was spent on excursions. We booked our own excursions in Jamaica saving almost twice the cost of similar Carnival excursions. Once docked in Jamaica, we went out to negotiate with tour guides early morning while our sons slept. We found a fabulous guide that took us to all the highlights of the island and also to Dunn River Falls, a must see. Walking up this textbook Jamaican waterfall was worth the entire tour. We booked another excursion with Carnival for Grand Cayman Island to snorkel the reef and play with the stingrays. The stingrays are a must see. However, Don Foster's tour to the reef was a disappointment. Our boat driver, Wayne from South Africa was rude, lazy and essentially non-accomodating to the guests. The coral garden reef was anything but that, colorless with few fish. We found out later that Cayman Island reef is beautiful and colorful but our boat captain didn't want to take us to that area as it was a bit further out. Imagine our dismay when this was a long awaited and planned part of our cruise to see this beautiful reef and paying twice as much through the Carnival excursion than booking this privately and then to have a boat driver that didn't go the distance. This was a huge disappointment. Do Not book with the ship. Several families googled excursions for this port ahead of time and had better experiences both in quality and cost. Other disappointments: The Cruise director, Wee Jimmy needs to go. He is obnoxious and rude to the guests. My two boys were even appalled at how often he disrespected guests to get a laugh. The drinks are watered down and extremely expensive. Carnival doesn't want you to bring alcohol on board to encourage buying their alcoholic beverages. What they actually encourage is ways for people to sneak alcohol on board to bypass the poor quality and quantity of drinks. Also while the food is still good, it is often cold, dry and there is less variety than in the past. However you still cannot beat the service. While my review includes several negative comments, we still had a great time. But then again I believe I would enjoy any cruise that offered a chance to get away from Christmas decorating, buying, wrapping, cooking and baking and cleaning. I was able to truly concentrate on the important things; celebrating family and life. Carnival did help to make that happen. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
I am a Diamond member with RCCL and have cruised on many of their ships. My friend is Platinum and between us we have cruised on at least 5 other cruise lines over the years including RCCL. My last 4 cruises had been on the Navigator ... Read More
I am a Diamond member with RCCL and have cruised on many of their ships. My friend is Platinum and between us we have cruised on at least 5 other cruise lines over the years including RCCL. My last 4 cruises had been on the Navigator of the Seas which is one of my favorites. It is always ship-shape and feels roomy and never crowded. This ship was such a disappointment for me! It immediately felt very small and claustrophobic as soon as we boarded. The Windjammer was not well organized, the food looked like leftovers, and the layout of the Windjammer area was not efficient. When we arrived in our room, the disappointment continued. The room was literally covered with dust - the TV screen, under the TV, the drawer edges and the counter tops were dusty and not at all clean. I have asthma and allergies to dust mites so this was not going to work. Then, if possible, the bathroom was WORSE. There was a large black ring around the toilet, and there was a large blob of toothpaste on the front of the sink. The bathroom had a disgusting smell of sewage. The in-room safe also did not work. This was all just not acceptable so we called Housekeeping, maintenance and our room steward. The rest of the first afternoon was spent waiting for the various staff to come in and dust, clean the bathroom, separate the beds (which was requested on the reservation), and fix the safe. Luckily we could sit on our balcony while all the work was being done, otherwise we would have felt that the first afternoon was wasted. The guy fixing the safe disappeared and said he would come back. We still couldn't leave until he found the necessary "part" and returned, at least 1.5 hours later. He could not enter the room without our being there, he told us. When the room was finally in order (or at least acceptable), we could begin our cruise. I have to say that Oliver, our room steward, was very apologetic that our room was in such poor condition, and explained that the room steward in charge of our room before had just taken leave and obviously was in a hurry to begin his time off. Oliver took care of everything for us after that first day with no issues. The balcony cabin on this ship seemed smaller than on other RCCL ships - I have bruises on my legs from climbing over the inside bed for the entire cruise. The balcony was about standard size but there was a metal roof structure below our balcony that interfered with our view and we could not really hear the sounds of the water. (We did not book an obstructed view balcony). We did not return to the Windjammer after the first day, but the dining room food was more than adequate. It was actually quite good and the "my time dining" area waiters were outstanding! The only complaint about the MTD process on this ship is that they do not have enough tables reserved for MTD and you have to wait. I NEVER waited for a table using MTD on any other RCCL ship so this was frustrating. The head waiter was multi-tasking, managing the podium at MTD check-in and then escorting people to tables, which also slowed down the process. But once seated, we loved the food and the waiters~ We had room service for breakfast each day and it worked fine for us. Don't order eggs from room service though - they are terrible! - I think they are egg beaters or if not they are made so they will sit for long periods and have very little resemblance to real scrambled eggs. We stuck with pastries, yogurt, and juice. (which is another little annoying thing - RCCL now charges for REAL orange juice as a bar item - what you get when you order orange juice is a fruit punch colored orange - very disappointing and another example of visible penny-pinching). We are not really into all of the ship's entertainment, so I cant speak to those, but the casino on this ship seriously needs some work on its ventilation system. My friend is a smoker and she loved being able to smoke in there, but I couldn't breathe at all and the air was SO bad I actually had an asthma episode after spending time in there one evening. The casino is very small also in comparison to other RCCL ships I have sailed. The central Promenade area - once again - felt very cramped and small. Unlike the Navigator, there is no central, open area surrounded by the shops...the shops are in a smaller, winding hallway. The one plus was the champagne bar at the Atrium...the bartender there was one of the best on the ship! Embarkation and debarkation were excellent on this ship. We were on the ship by 11:30 and off by 8:30 AM with no waiting whatsoever. We booked our own shore excursion to Nachi Cocom rather than a ship excursion. For another review, I will contribute my comments about Nachi Cocom, which has deteriorated significantly in the 11 months since I was there last. Service was much slower and they now have the dreaded "toys" we try to avoid - jet-skis, inflatable bouncing things floating in the water, etc...in an effort to appeal to a broader audience, they are heading the wrong direction for those who prefer a quieter, adults-only beach day. We hated to see that. This was our first New years eve cruise and I have to say my final disappointment was that for the nearly double cost of a New years cruise, we would have expected free-flowing champagne (at least cheap champagne) :) What we got were 2 bottles of chardonnay left in our room by our room steward on NYE evening, and a noisemaker and tiara at the dinner table. Not quite what we expected. With all of the complaints it sounds as though we were miserable...We in fact enjoyed the "down time", and had a lot of rest on the balcony and in Cozumel. Don't EVEN TRY to find a deck chair on sea-days on this ship. We circled the ship multiple times and I have never seen such chair-saving with towels in spite of the signs posting the 30 minute policy. Luckily on the way back we had the sunny side of the ship and enjoyed the sun and the privacy of our balcony...and our own chairs! Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
I would first like to begin by saying that our trip on the Ryndam overall was a good. We had a great time and met some wonderful people. My partner and I took this cruise on the suggestion of friends who wanted us to try HAL. We have taken ... Read More
I would first like to begin by saying that our trip on the Ryndam overall was a good. We had a great time and met some wonderful people. My partner and I took this cruise on the suggestion of friends who wanted us to try HAL. We have taken many cruises in the past on several different cruise lines and are big fans of Celebrity. I really had no expectations as we boarded the ship. I knew the ship was older and would not have all the bells and whistles of the newer ships, but we went on this cruise wanting to give HAL a try. We booked a suite on the Navigation Deck. Room 24. I was very impressed by the spaciousness of the suite, the abundant storage space and the huge veranda. The cabin however was a bit warm for us and our cabin steward explained the room would cool down once we left the port of Tampa. Okay. We unpacked and went to lunch at the Lido buffet. I got bad vibes just looking at the food. I had a salad and the lettuce was brown (we had just boarded!) and the food overall not at all appetizing. Okay...dinner will be better. It wasn't. We ate in the dining room only twice during the cruise. It was mediocre to say the least. The service was good but because of the food quality, we ended up eating in the Pinnacle Grill for 5 of the 7 nights. The Pinnacle Grill is the specialty restaurant on board where you pay a service charge of $20 per dinner. I have to say the food and service in the Pinnacle Grill was spectacular! Fine steaks, great seafood, superb wines and I cannot say enough about Anne and her wait staff. They truly made you feel welcome and special. We loved it so much that we ate breakfast there every morning. Truly exceptional. Make reservations immediately upon boarding the ship however, as there is a maximum to the number of guests served per night. Back to the air conditioning. To make a long story short, our room and the adjacent room where are friends stayed, Cabin 22, did without AC for practically the whole cruise. DO NOT BOOK THESES CABINS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. There is nothing that can be done to remedy the problem. We complained and we were pacified but were never told there was a problem with these rooms until we finally met with the ships hotel manager after being treated very rudely by a supervisor at the front desk. We were told it was an old ship and the way the AC system was built, the cabin was at its maximum comfort level. They supplied us with electric fans but it was still unbearable sleeping and changing for dinner. To make up for the inconvenience, we were given a dinner including wine and drinks, service charged waived. It was a nice gesture but it still did not make up for the sleepless nights. Spa facilities are excellent. The staff is great and the massage and accupuncture treatments were fantastic. I also worked with a personal trainer at the gym (Meg) who really helped me with my chronic aching back. She was a life saver! Cabin steward Victor was superb. Very friendly and very attentive. The room was always immaculate. Room service overall was poor. I ordered room service twice and both times waited 45 minutes to get my food delivered to the room. We went to the theatre only one night. It was a Broadway review and it really was done well. So, I had a great time overall but don't think I will book myself on one of the Dam ships again. I've been spoiled by Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
This was my family's (husband, two sons in their 20's and daughter,14) 3rd cruise, and while it had its good points, Carnival wasn't nearly as nice as Royal Caribbean (Eastern Caribbean) or Celebrity (Alaska). We went ... Read More
This was my family's (husband, two sons in their 20's and daughter,14) 3rd cruise, and while it had its good points, Carnival wasn't nearly as nice as Royal Caribbean (Eastern Caribbean) or Celebrity (Alaska). We went over New Year's, departing 12/28 and stopping at Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Belize, and Roatan. We'd read some very positive reviews of the Legend, and the fact that Carnival allowed us to use our credit card "rewards points" to pay for a substantial portion contributed to our choice of this cruise. As far as cost, other than the ability to use rewards points on Carnival, I don't think there is a very significant price difference. Even with the rewards points, this was not a cheap vacation so if I had it to do over again I'd choose a different line. Embarkation: Excellent. Well run, prompt and pleasant. Cleanliness/maintenance of ship: The ship is very attractive and the support staff is wonderful. Everywhere you turned there was a smiling worker cleaning something. There were some signs of wear in the ship's furniture, carpets, etc., but overall it looked really nice. Our stateroom was also clean and attractive, about average size for a 3 person room with a balcony. My sons' room had a whistling sound coming from the door to their balcony. They called maintenance and within minutes someone came and fixed it. Dining: Our dining room waiter and his assistant were a high point of the cruise so charming and cheerful they made an otherwise substandard dining experience fun and enjoyable. The dining room is extremely noisy and crowded much more like a busy deli than a fine restaurant. The fact that they gave the food fancy, names ("delice de la ocean" for example) did not disguise the the mostly mediocre fare. There was some type of steak served each night. The ribeye I ordered the first night was covered with gravy that made the dish taste reasonably good, but the meat was tough. My husband described it as "a steak you get for $11.95 at a chain restaurant." I didn't order steak thereafter, but other family members did, with mixed results. The lobster tail served on the 2nd night was also just o.k. a bit chewy and not much flavor. After that I stuck with basic choices like shrimp and butter sauce, which was quite enjoyable. Our waiter promptly and cheerfully brought something else if we didn't like what we ordered, so overall I was happy. My family had a much lower opinion of the food. They'd absolutely loved the elegance and food quality on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean, and were really disappointed this time around. Food outside dining room: As with all cruises, there was a ton of food served throughout the day. Lido deck had the breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets, a hot dog and hamburger station with fries, onion rings and fixings, a deli that was open most of the afternoon/evening, and 24 hour pizza and soft ice cream stations. The deli was a high point really tasty hot pastrami sandwiches. I also liked the salad bar at lunch. Hot breakfasts were a low point. I stood in a short line for an ok custom omelette one morning, but all of the other hot food items looked unappetizing. There were round, flat, potato disks that looked like an inferior imitation of tater tots, some grey meat in gluey white sauce, etc. I'm a person who genuinely enjoys the breakfasts you get as part of your room rate at places like Hampton Inn, and Comfort Inn, so when I tell you that much of this food looked too gross to eat, that's saying something. There were lots of people happily chowing down though, so maybe it wasn't as bad as it looked. I very much enjoyed the fresh fruit and whole grain bread each morning, so even at breakfast there were good options available. Here too, my family had a less favorable opinion. My sons felt that the Lido deck food was generally equivalent to a college cafeteria, and sometimes not even as good. Overall, if you're looking for the high quality, beautifully presented food they have on other ships, you'll probably be disappointed, but if you're happy with reasonably tasty food served cheerfully you'll be fine. One Food Experience With No Redeeming Qualities: The only midnight buffet I visited on this trip was on New Year's Eve. I recalled the special "grand" midnight buffet presented on one night of each our previous cruises (one had huge intricate ice sculptures, elaborate fruit and vegetable carvings so beautifully displayed that passengers were invited in beforehand to take photos, with freshly carved lamb chops, and platters of jumbo shrimp and cold lobster tail...) Since it was New Year's Eve, I hoped for something a bit special on this cruise also, although Carnival's description of a "mini gala buffet" let me know not to expect anything too grand. The New Year's Eve "mini gala" was a truly pitiful display: "2009" was carved in ice with a couple of small veggie/fruit carvings. The steam table food looked too vile to even consider tasting some kind of broccoli/cauliflower combo in white sauce, sad looking pasta and a couple of other unappetizing items. Carnival did provide complimentary champagne along with some very loud music to bring in the New Year, but in my opinion the "gala celebration" was really third-rate, Spa and Fitness: The fitness room was beautiful one of the nicest features of the ship. Equipment was well maintained and there were enough of the popular machines to go around. My daughter and I took a yoga class which was excellent and we were charged a very modest fee of $10 each. I wish there were more classes offered at various times both on sea days and on port evenings/early mornings. There is also a complimentary sauna and whirlpool which I didn't take advantage of. My daughter and I also booked spa treatments a mix n match package of mini facial, and mini massages of hands, feet, scalp, neck and shoulders reasonably priced at around $100. My daughter's technician was very good, but mine was one of only two staff members on the entire cruise who was not particularly pleasant or helpful. Her idea of a scalp massage was to move the palm of her hand in a circular motion on the top of my head while gazing into the distance with a glazed expression. With the right technician the mix n match treatment could be very enjoyable, and it was even more affordable on port days. I gave the fitness and recreation a rating of 3. The fitness room was great but the "recreation" was lacking. Excursions: Unlike other cruises, Carnival provided almost no information about their destinations other than the location and type of Carnival-approved shops in port. I'm not aware of any seminars by Carnival about the culture or environment of these countries they basically just gave you a map of shopping destinations. Both on and off the ship you are inundated with fliers and announcements and promotions for Diamonds International to the point that I would never, ever consider buying anything from them. As a general rule, it costs a lot more to book tours through the cruise line as opposed to doing things on your own or through a private company. There are advantages to booking though the cruise line, of course: 1) If there's a delay and you don't get back until after the scheduled ship departure, the cruise line will wait for a tour booked though them. They will otherwise leave without you. I wouldn't recommend taking a private tour that finishes close to the time you are scheduled to be back on the ship. 2) There are risks involved with taking a tour with an unknown guide, both in terms of safety and also of the quality of the experience. It is perfectly appropriate, even desirable, for the cruise line to warn you of potential risks and to let you know that they take no responsibility for private tour companies. However, I feel that Carnival goes beyond appropriate warnings in discouraging participation in excursions that are not provided through their company. WARNING BELIZE POLICY: The real reason I took the time to write this review is so others can hopefully avoid the situation faced by my family when we went to Belize. The ship arrives in Belize at 8:00 a.m. and departs at 5:00 p.m. This is a shorter time than it appears. Carnival (and I believe all other lines as well) must use tenders in Belize. The first tender goes to Belize at 8:00 (getting you there in around 20 minutes) and the last tender leaves Belize at 4:00. However, CARNIVAL WILL ONLY LET PASSENGERS WHO'VE ALREADY BOOKED TOURS ONTO THE EARLY TENDERS. If you have not booked a tour, you must wait until AFTER 9:30. THEN, you must go somewhere to get a ticket and WAIT SOME MORE until it is your turn to take a tender. This can take an additional 1/2 hour or more. As a result, unless you've booked a tour you will lose 11/2 - 2 hours of port time in Belize. Instead of a full 9 hour day you will have only around 5 hours. My family had read about cave tubing in Belize (described by many as a highlight of their trip) and we planned to use a private company for this excursion. Carnival used to run a cave tubing tour, but no longer does. We were told by the excursion desk representative that this was because of "an incident" which occurred with a passenger from another cruise line. When we asked the representative if the private tours ran for 7 hours like the Carnival tour did, she nodded and said, "Yes. It's a full day." (Actually the private tour was only around 4-41/2 hours. Others from our ship went on it and loved it, but we learned this too late.) We didn't receive information about Carnival's tender policy until very late on the night prior to arrival in Belize. At that point it was too late to book a Carnival tour of any kind and (we incorrectly believed) they would not let us off the ship in time to take the private cave tubing tour. The Purser's desk representative, unfortunately, was the other indifferent, unhelpful staff member on the ship. He said he couldn't help us get off the ship earlier and he clearly saw no problem with the ship's policy of telling passengers late on the night before arrival that their port time would be reduced by 20% unless they'd booked a tour for the following day. Debarkation: A nightmare and a safety hazard. We chose to "self-assist" which means that we took our bags off the ship ourselves instead of putting them out the night before and having the crew take them down for us. We thought this would be faster. Instead, all of the self-assist passengers were called at the same time. Everyone was backed up to the point that when we got off the elevator at the proper floor there was no where to go. People kept coming off the elevator, with more and more of us crammed onto an overheated landing, each with all of his/her luggage, unable to go upstairs or down. The amount of time we stood there (around 40 minutes) wasn't all that bad, but the conditions were horrible and frightening. There was no staff member in sight, so no explanation of what was going on. We had no idea of how much longer it would take. It was difficult to breathe and I'm surprised that no one passed out. My son was wedged into a corner and when we finally started moving he was far behind the rest of the family. When he got downstairs and tried to catch up with us an attendant began yelling at him, telling him he was "cutting" and had to go to the back of the line. My husband's verbal response to this was.....unpleasant. Read Less
Sail Date December 2008

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