Number of Cruises: 4
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Legend
Sailing Date: April 27th, 2005
Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean
Two couples traveling together
The four of us are in our 50’s, have traveled a good deal, are easy-going, and love to laugh. We judge cuisine by taste and presentation and not by the weight of the plate. We appreciate the long hours and efforts of the crew. This was our first experience with Carnival, having cruised exclusively with NCL (including the Dawn). We booked the Legend because of the itinerary and the convenience of sailing out of NYC. After reading many of the Legend’s reviews, we had our concerns but proceeded to book the cruise.
On 4/26, my husband and I drove from Boston to Spring Valley, NY and met up with our cruise buddies from upstate NY. Enjoyed a great meal at the Red Lobster. Next morning left Spring Valley at 10:30 am and pulled up to the pier at 11:00. Checked the luggage curbside, parked our cars and were on board at 12 noon. Carnival was very organized and had plenty of staff on hand. By registering for our Fun Pass on-line, we saved some time at the pier. Through Cruise Value Center, NJ, we reserved a Cat 8A Guarantee Balcony and received an upgrade to 8I Extended Balcony on Deck 8 (8167). Very happy with Cruise Value! There was never a problem with noise from the Lido Deck, which was only one deck up. Used the stairs and got a little exercise.
We were told cabins would not be available until 1 and to go directly to the Unicorn Café for lunch. However, we were anxious to check ours out. It was a lovely, spacious cabin with plenty of shelf/closet space, but do bring extra hangers. Balcony was good sized. Wonderful bathroom.
Dropped off our carry-on’s and headed for the Unicorn.
Everyone always wants to know about the food, so I’ll address that first – It’s wonderful on the Legend !
Unicorn Café – beautiful, spotless, well laid out. All the tabletops are granite with high back dark wood upholstered chairs. The area is broken up by wooden screens, which give it a cozy feeling.
I can’t say enough about this restaurant. No matter what time of the day or night you wander through, it’s clean and shining. No paper napkins – linen and silverware are always in place. Dishes are whisked away quickly. The bus boys/girls do an amazing job. Yes, the breakfast menu (located in about 4 locations are the café) is basically the same every morning. But that means a assortment of rolls, pastry, muffins, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, fresh fruit, wide variety of hot and cold cereal, juices, alternating choice of pancakes/waffles/French toast, plus two omelet stations – not shabby folks! And, everything is delicious.
Lunch in the Unicorn is incredible. The pizza is excellent; The grill is wonderful. Terrific salad bar, with everything you could possibly want. The Asian selection was wonderful too. There’s even sushi one day.
I think you get the picture.
Also, the Unicorn has a lovely outdoor area. No paper napkins, plastic knives/forks/spoons, or plastic packets of mustard/ketchup here! Each table (granite again) is set up with linen napkins, silverware, a bottle of ketchup and mustard, salt and pepper shakers. Again, everything is clean and neat. Once the cruise got into warmer weather, we either ate breakfast here or on our balcony. Also, when you order a drink out there it comes in the right type of glass – albeit heavy weight plastic. There’s wine in a wine glass, cocktails in a cocktail glass and beer in a beer glass. No light weight, blow away, one size fits all thing.
Truffles (the main dining room) – beautiful, windows all around, spotless. Based on the reviews we read, we anticipated eating dinner in the Unicorn more often than the dining room. Because of the variety of entrees offered, their quality and the presentation, that was not the case. I would like to see what the people who have criticized the food in previous reviews eat at home – or maybe not.
Every plate set on the table was pleasing to the eye. Having a plate heaped with food or being offered seconds and thirds does not represent fine dining to us. Everything in Truffles was wonderful. And yes, the flourless chocolate cake is sinful as was the lobster, scallop, shrimp dish served our last night.
The wait staff was attentive. Ours did their job well, in a low-key manner, as it should be. Thankfully, they did not try to be entertainers at the table (only after dinner when they all put on a short show). The cocktail waiter, who also took care of us outdoors at the Unicorn, was very attentive and thoughtful.
The Ship – It’s beautiful and user-friendly. Even though the Legend is huge, it takes no time to learn how to navigate around. There are plenty of beautiful staircases and elevators with maps of the ship on each level for easy reference. The large spaces are visually broken up to provide a more intimate feeling. We found the décor tasteful in a Disney sort of way. If you want your cruise ship to look like a Hilton or the Sheraton, then I suggest another ship.
There is music everywhere on the Legend. Before dinner, we enjoyed having a drink in either the lobby bar or the Atlantis Lounge and listening to a difference performance each evening.
Crew – again, wonderful. Our cabin steward took excellent care of us. But, then again, so did everyone.
Ports – We enjoyed them all. Booked our tours on-line through Carnival. Our tickets were waiting for us in our cabins the first day. Perfect !
Opted not to take a tour in San Juan. Instead we walked the streets of Old San Juan. Visited one of the forts. Enjoyed the view (and drinks) at the Panorama Bar and Grill at the Hotel Milano. Had a very relaxed afternoon and evening.
In St. Thomas we went on the Magens Bay, Paradise Point tour. The drivers like to scare the wits out of the tourist and succeed very well. The beach was beautiful, the views from up in the mountains are breathtaking.
In Tortola we took the 4X4 Land Rover tour. Excellent ! Another “scare the wits out of the tourist” experience, but had a great time. More beautiful beaches and views – and a great rum drink.
And, the view I will never forget is sitting at back of the ship as it pulled out of Tortola, watching all the lush green islands that make up the BVI and USVI pass by on either side of the ship.
We did witness several passengers who lacked manners/patience and presented challenges to the crew. I’m sure they will be the authors of future negative reviews.
As for us, it was the best cruise we’ve been on. The ship and the crew are wonderful. Each of us enjoyed everything about the Legend and Carnival.