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Sam Casey

Age: 35

Occupation:Investment Professional

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Legend

Sailing Date: September 4th, 2004

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

Compared with some other folks’ experience described here, our trip was quite a bit better. We didn’t have engine problems or change of destinations and the sea was only a little rough for 1 or 2 days. The most was just a little awkward walking on the ship, but nothing like the utensils in the restaurant making loud noise or falling off the table, etc.

On the day we left New York, there was only one big ship in port and the process was quite smooth. We arrived about an hour before departure time and there were not too many people left waiting in line. We got on the ship in about 10-15 minutes.

Having read good and bad reviews about the ship’s décor, I wasn’t too surprised either way but thought the Colossus Atrium, although high and tall, was not as grandiose as I expected. It was quite narrow and dark, almost like a shaft in an old New York building. I was also a little turned off by the urn-shaped decoration posts in the lounges. The color in the cabin hallways made them look old. Otherwise, the overall ambiance was pleasant.

We had two small children and booked a cabin with 2 upper and 2 lower beds. Fearing the kids might roll off the bed, we chose to put them in the lower ones and climb the ladder ourselves. I expected the cabin steward to introduce himself, but he didn’t when he came knocking on our door. I don’t know his name even today. Maybe his English wasn’t very good, but he was polite and diligent during the trip. Our kids loved the animals they made with the towels each night. Other areas had very pretty stewardesses.

We didn’t gamble this time because of the kids. Our entertainment onboard was mostly the shows, onboard kids and family activities, and lounge music. The kids enjoyed Camp Carnival’s activities and swimming in the ship’s pools. I wish their pools were bigger as they did get very crowded from time to time.

The shows were a bit uneven in quality. I was very impressed with Jazz Hot and liked Take II. The kids loved the Village Idiots’ juggling act and the cruise director’s magic. Some other shows seemed a little cheaply put together and the comedians weren’t that funny. The crew was very enthused about their bingo games and each day they had multiple drawings. Some audience participated activities were not very classy, although some folks seemed to enjoy them. One example, “The Hairiest Chest Competition”.

We arrived in Puerto Rico just after noon, a couple hours early. The ship was traveling at 22 to 23 knots and was overall quite smooth if not for the remnants of Hurricane Frances rocking the boat during our first day at sea. Even though we had the most time in Puerto Rico (about 12 hours), there were very few excursion offerings. 3 of the 7 offered were canceled due to low participation and another scrapped due to poor water condition.

We didn’t expect much in Puerto Rico and got off the boat quite late. With two youngsters in tow, we went on a self-guided walking tour in Old San Juan. The old Spanish style buildings were pretty impressive and reminded me of New Orleans. The city was very slow paced and we saw a lot of old folks walking around on narrow streets. The motorists were quite polite and always yielded to pedestrians. On some streets one could find a lot of alley cats strolling or lying around and it was quite an unusual scene.

We booked a snorkel tour and a Coral World tour mostly for the kids in St. Thomas. The tours were quite fun, especially seeing so many beautiful tropical fish swarming around you, aggressively biting off the feed you held in your hand. Floating above the scuba divers and watching their bubbles rising around you made you feel like you were flying.

We didn’t have enough time for 2 tours in Tortola, so we opted to go to Virgin Gorda to see the Baths. It was great fun sunbathing on the beautiful white sand beach there and swimming and snorkeling in the crystal clear water. The only rain on the parade was that Hurricane Frances had swept a lot of jellyfish close to shore and they stung many people including myself. The sting hurt pretty badly and kept me from having as much fun as I could have otherwise. Another fellow shipmate was in even worse luck and required immediate medical treatment in that small island’s clinic.

Overall we enjoyed the ports of call of this cruise, but only wished we could have longer stays to explore them more. That may very well be the dilemma for most cruise trips.

Food and Service:
The food on the ship was about what we had expected, although I wished they had more than just pizza in the wee hours on some nights. We had dinner every evening in the Truffles restaurant but lunch and breakfast were almost always in the Unicorn Café. The service in the Truffles was polite and pleasant, although a tad slow at times. Our waiters went out their way to entertain us, especially the kids. Their after dinner dance was fun.

Their gym was spacious and equipment abundant. I didn’t notice any malfunctioning apparatus, and it might be due to the low participation of my fellow shipmates. After all, they were on the ship to have a good time and packing on pounds instead of sweating out.

Our ship arrived an hour later than scheduled due to a medical evacuation of a shipmate early that morning. Already in port were 2 big ships from other cruise lines and another smaller ship. Altogether there were almost 20,000 people getting on and off the ships and you can imagine the chaotic frenzy in the crowded New York port and streets nearby.

Our pickup ride was delayed over 2 hours on its way to the pickup area and many other folks also regretted not taking taxis while they could when they just got off the ship.

It was our first ever cruise trip and we didn’t expect too much. We were pretty lucky to have good weather and smooth sailing. The destinations were very enjoyable and we had fun on the ship as well. I would go on another cruise in a year or two with any cruise line.

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