Number of Cruises: 6
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Legend
Sailing Date: September 4th, 2004
Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean
My trip on the Legend was a
positive one; my family and I had a great time. Some things I liked about
this trip and some things I did not. I’ll describe each in sections – both
good and bad.
Embarkation – leaving out of NYC was really not bad at all. We live about 30 minutes from the port (50th street in NYC), and arrived there about 12 noon. We got our luggage taken by a porter, and were on line to get our documents together and picture for the sign&sail card within 45 minutes. I’d say we were on the ship within 1hr from arrival. The line for the cruise at the port moved pretty quickly and the only confusion was to move about all the people with 2 small children. I will say that many more people arrived shortly after we did so if we were 30 minutes later in arrival to the port; we would have probably waited longer.
The Legend interior – the ship is beautiful and very large. I read many reviews that the interior was gaudy but I found it quite elegant. Yes, the URN motif and Greek artwork is a bit much but nothing more than I would compare how much Disney goes to get a “theme” in place at one of their resorts. There were several bars on each level – but most things were on deck 2 and deck 3. Deck 2 is where you enter and the casino, follies lounge, dining room (Truffles), a nice round bar, and a few other bars with pianos are located here. So since the ship is so large people can be on this deck and it does not feel crowded, even in the casino, which was quite large for a cruise. The casino had a nice bar (which you can smoke at) and lots of slots (5c, 25c, and $1.), gaming tables including Let it Ride, Caribbean Stud, Blackjack and Craps. The piano bars played music at designated times and other bars were listed as Non-Smoking. I really didn’t see many people ignoring this rule and as a smoker I went where I could smoke. The disco is 2 levels with a big head of Medussa inside it was quite interesting motif.
Deck 3 had more bars – the Satchmo were a really good Asian band played and we went there frequently. There is only 1 dining room on this ship and it has entrance on 2 levels – deck 2 and 3. As well as the Follies lounge where you can get in on the same 2 levels. The gift shops and Pastry/Coffee Bar (for fee) were on deck 3 as well. Plenty of elevators to get you from floor to floor if you choose not to walk.
Gift Shops – never had I been on a cruise that had so little to offer in terms of merchandise. There was the standard vodka’s and rums for sale – some good deals to be had. The jewelry was nothing to speak of – maybe this has to do w/port of call in St. Thomas. T-shirts, shorts, etc. but not a big variety. I did spend some money on the “chains by the inch” which I’ve seen on every cruise – that had a nice selection of both gold and silver plated jewelry at decent prices. You could not buy liquor and bring it back to your stateroom, but they did have snacks for sale – candy and such, as well as basic medicine (Tylenol, etc.).
Truffles Dining room – Food was average here – probably the worst dining room food I’ve had on any Carnival cruise. It was not that it tasted bad it was more about variety. There was usually a chicken, fish, beef, pasta dish as main entrée and about 4 appetizers on the menu. What we ate there we never once considered asking for seconds like we have (I admit it) on previous voyages. Desserts were fine, nothing spectacular – but the Key Lime Pie on the first or second day of sailing was EXCELLENT!!!! Our waiter and ass’t waiter were OK. Waiter just got promoted to the waiter position and did not speak good English at all. I would ask for something and he would try to ensure that he understood but he still didn’t. We skipped leaving them an extra gratuity. It always amazes me when we have adequate service. These people work SO hard for their tips but little things like not asking if we wanted another entrée when I specifically said I didn’t care for the one I was eating is a sign of not understanding good wait service. But our wait staff was considerate enough to accommodate us when we arrived 30 minutes late for dinner and get us served with out giving us a hard time.
Golden Fleece – was worth every bit we spent there. We ordered a $40 bottle of wine and cocktails. Since we don’t tip for opening a bottle of wine, we didn’t leave an extra gratuity for the wine steward. The food was outstanding. We had surf/turf and thou the portions were small when they were served the lobster was the best I’ve ever eaten. The restaurant also gives you lots of little things in addition to the standard appetizer and salad – we got champagne and a chicken sati before our main course. Dessert was great too, a chocolate soufflé. We left the waitress a $20 tip in addition to the $25 pp we paid to eat there. This is a supper club and they had nice music playing but no one was dancing. We did eat dinner early because we have kids.
Lido Deck Restaurant – breakfast was good. There were always eggs to order, scrambled, grits/oatmeal, pancakes/f’toast, toast & bagels, fresh fruit, yogurt, pastries and cold cereal. Things rotated each day so one day it was pancakes, next it was f’toast. B’fast was tasty but I would have like a different variety of fruits – it was always grapefruit, oranges (both peeled), and prunes. Would have liked to get some peaches, plums, nectarines, etc. Because I’ve gotten them on other cruises. The also served the same pastries each day.
Lunch was hands down the best meal of the day. There was a deli, rotisserie, chineese/japaneese and an ethnic station – that changed every day. The ethnic station served Middle Eastern, Indian, American, Mexican, Italian, and what else I don’t know. Food was plentiful, with nice desserts; fruit (watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe and grapes). There was a salad bar to fix your own, and the pizza was great. You could order something like 6 different types of pizza, calzones and even Caesar salad. We looked forward to lunch in the Lido Deck. Dinner on the Lido Deck was OK – very limited selection of Entrée’s and dessert but the Pizza and Deli were always working. I can say that it appeared that they served what they had leftover from the previous night Dining Room at the Lido Deck dinner. I really didn’t mind too much but most of the time, it was the entrée’s I didn’t care to eat in the first place.
Food was not great on this cruise.
Pools – there are 3 pools and a waterslide. We didn’t use the slide cause kids were under 42”and you had to climb to the top deck (which was very hot) to get there. One thing I will caution is that the entire Lido Deck is laid with Tile not Wood, and people – including crewmembers were always slipping. One person we met on the cruise broke his foot because it was so slippery. The Pools were great because they were not too deep so at 5’ I could stand up and still hold on to one of the kids. Other cruises have deep pools, which make it difficult to do this. Lots of kids on this cruise and they were always in the pool where we hung out – the one by the Bandstand/stage – where they Lido Restaurant was. Logistically the only issue I had was there were only 2 bathrooms on the Lido deck. One in the restaurant one at the pool in the middle. So you either slid to the one in the restaurant or you slid and skipped (cause it was SO hot on the floor) to the bathroom at the second pool. The aft pool was for Adults only and I don’t know if any kids were there – when the ship was moving I’m sure it was probably very windy back there so I would imagine it was less used. There was also a sunbathing deck on the top level – for adults only of course – you had to climb 2 sets of steps to get there for those who like to go topless. Not me but you should know it’s there if you’re interested.
By the way, the band on the Lido deck was not the best I’ve ever heard. They just seemed out of tune with each other. We did have a great time at the pool though. The kids loved it. You go over the pool railing and there is about 1 foot of water where you could walk around almost the entire pool and/or hop in so the little kids could sit in the 1’ of water and play. They did have a kiddie pool but it was where the entrance to the slide was and remembers too hot to walk there and no protection from the wind.
Stateroom – we had an 8a stateroom, which is a partially obstructed balcony. I’m so glad we got this room instead of the 7a, which are partially obstructed French doors. Our stateroom had a normal balcony w/2 chairs and a table but we overlooked the lifeboats. So you could see out but not down. No big deal as far as we were concerned we booked an ocean view guarantee and got upgraded. We had 4 people in our party – hubby, me and 2 kids (2 & 4) so the room was setup as a queen bed, the couch converted to a twin – did not pull out just was not made as a couch, made as a bed. And, the upper berth pulled down from the top. My 4year old felt the upper berth was too high and both kids slept in the twin couch, no big deal they sleep together in a twin at home anyway. It was not that bad w/the 4 of us but when they get older I would get a mini suite because it will be too cramped. Also having 1 bathroom for 4 people was sometimes an issue – good thing I have boys!
Getting back to the 7a vs. 8a. the French door rooms literally had the lifeboat in front of it. I personally wouldn’t want that over a standard ocean view. You couldn’t even see the French doors from the lower decks, only the Lifeboats. If you are thinking of doing this, either get the balcony 8a or get the standard ocean view. My room steward was Federico and he was Excellent. We gave him an additional $40 tip. I don’t know if this was enough (even though he got his standard tip but I felt that 10pp was a nice boost.
Camp carnival – kids had a good time here. There were activities scheduled for free from 9-12, 2-5, 6-10. Then babysitting was for a fee from 10-3am. Babysitting means you bring your kids to the playroom in their PJ’s and they lay on the floor w/pillows and blankets and watch movies. That was fine. The kids liked the activities and were broken down into 2-5year olds, 6-9, 11+ could come and go as they pleased. They gave us a beeper and beeped us when the kids where not cooperating = meaning my 2yearold was crying. The playroom has bathrooms suited to their size and they serve juice and pretzels as snacks. Kids painted, decorated a tee shirt, or got a backpack (age depending), had scavenger hunts (age depending), watched cartoons, played games, etc. Playroom was well equipped with toys and games and they cleaned the toys nightly!!!
My only complaint was with the camp crew. Some girls were nicer than others but with that said, I didn’t get a loving, nurturing vibe from anyone other than Stephanie or Maritza. They would hold the kids if they were crying. The other counselors would let the crying go on for a bit, then page the parents. My kids goto daycare and I’m familiar w/how some people deal w/children. And based on past cruise experiences w/kids (not mine) – they were just there babysitting other than the 2 I mentioned, they were not at all interested in the kids from what I saw!!! That was a disappointment because it’s their vacation too. Again, my kiddies are little and didn’t know the difference except that my 2yrold go on better when the 2 girls above were there, opposed to anyone else.
My biggest complaint about this cruise (yes other than the food, band, camp counselors – LOL) was the lack of TV programming. We were only able to get ABC/CBS/NBC NY channels during the day. No satellite TV – so no HBO, TBS, NICK, DISNEY, etc. Realize that you don’t spend much time in the room but there was NOTHING to watch. Even the movies that the ship provided were horrible and old. Like From Justin to Kelly,???? A movie w/Steven Segaul??? They did have PayPerView and that had a great selection if you wanted to cough up 8.99 to only watch a movie 1 time. I was on the fascination last September and we watch the Lord of the Rings, Justin to Kelly, and other good movies for FREE!!! They repeated the movies on the Legend every other day or so. Where on the Fascination, each of the 4 days we watched at least 2 movies. MAJOR disappointment.
Entertainment – that was great. Cruise director was fun and so was his staff. They did lots of games at the pool and Follies lounge. The shows were good. They had these two jugglers – Village Idiots and they were great!!! The comedian was on too late – usually at midnight and we were sleeping by then. They have the wait staff dancing every night at dinner which was fun for the kids; and, Funship Freddy was a big hit w/both kids and adults!!! Whoever was in the costume had a great sense of humor!!!
Disembarkation – a nightmare only because we got in late – supposed to arrive in NYC at 8am and didn’t dock until 9:30. We didn’t get off the ship until we cleared immigration and everyone who wanted to carry off their luggage was off. So here’s the deal in my opinion and I hope it works for you. Carry off some of your luggage so you get off quick. When we got off the ship – and we didn’t wait for our color – our luggage was waiting in the port. So this means you have to collect your luggage from it’s area, try to find a porter if you need one, then walk to the elevator – which is where all the confusion and bottlenecks are. If we were without the kids, we could have taken the escalator. Our ride was parked on 50th street at a meter and just waited outside the port for us. We walked across the street, kids and luggage, and got in the car. We were not in the car until 12:30 so it took almost 3 hours to get off the ship once we arrived. Did I mention that we arrived at noon to embark? What confusion that must have been for people sailing on 9/12???
Finally, I wouldn’t sail on this ship again. I really didn’t get a good vibe from many of the staff. Most were just doing their job and either didn’t care to go the extra effort and even though it’s a value line before I’ve had great service on Carnival Fascination, Destiny and Triumph!!!! Would I recommend it, yes because the ports of call are great – the beaches in the Virgin Islands are wonderful – though we could have lived without San Juan. But if you’re looking for that great food, extra special service on a carnival cruise – try another boat!!!