Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Legend
Sailing Date: December 11th, 2005
Itinerary: Southern Caribbean
Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Legend Cruise Line
7 Day Southern Carribean
We sailed out of Port Everglades on Sunday the 11th of December for our 8 day cruise to Saint Martin, Barbados and Martinique. When booking the cruise my husband and I worried that 4 sea days and only 3 ports would leave us feeling trapped on a ship. Our fears were exemplified because we had never been on a Carnival Cruise and had read some negative reviews about the ship. Needless to say this is why I am taking the time to write this review, which in summary is positive.
I will start with the embarkation as most of these reviews do. It was not difficult, we did the online boarding pass and it took a little less than an hour but we heard others on the ship say that they got through much faster. It is not the miserable process that people make it out to be on these message boards. We got to the terminal at about 1pm and the line was at the end of the terminal building… but again, we were done in under an hour.
Just for laughs: There is a sign at the terminal that says "tipping is not required for the baggage porters." We planned on tipping but I was surprised when the baggage porter put my bags down in front of the luggage bin and stared at me. Almost like, “pay me or your bags won’t make it onto the ship.”
I wanted to mention that we chose to park our car off site for about $50 total for the eight days. The place we used is called Quality Car and Van Rental. It was hard to find and a little scary to us. You park your car in the front give them your keys and they vow to move your car back to the gated area where it is secure later in the day. They drop you off at the terminal and you call them to come pick you up. When we returned our car was waiting for us in the same condition we left it. In the end I would recommend them.
Unicorn Café (Buffet Style Dining Hall)
I will go ahead and get one of my complaints out of the way. The flow of this space was very poor. It may be a personal choice thing, but there was a pool in front of and behind the Unicorn, so in addition to the regular dining crowd there were people trying to walk through a poorly laid out dining area in their swimsuits. I do not consider myself to be sheltered or old fashioned but I don’t care to see people in nothing but a Speedo when I am biting into a hot pressed deli sandwich. That brings me back to some of the positive features. They have a deli that will press any combination of sandwich goodies you want. In addition to this “station” there is a rotisserie that changes slightly each day and a two featured cuisine stations that change from day to day. The coffee here was not that great, I dealt with it but there is a coffee bar where you can purchase a specialty coffee drink if you must. The food was all very good in the Unicorn, naturally there were some things that I didn’t try or didn’t like but there were also items that I liked very much. You have to try the dijon potato salad. Yum.
Truffles (Main Dining Hall)
We were fortunate to have wonderful dinner mates. We sat at a six top with two other couples, very close in age to ourselves. There was a great selection each night, so many great choices that we found ourselves ordering as a table so that everything could be tried. When that doesn’t work, heck just order two! We came home and ordered crab cakes at Carrabas and felt disappointed. The crab cakes on the ship were wonderful. I would not recommend the Strawberry Bisque and be cautious with the red meat if you consider yourself a connoisseur. Some nights it was a little tough. The other soups were wonderful and the desserts were all very good.
We used the gym each day and found the equipment to be maintained well. The windows that overlook the water are too low to really see out of when you are doing cardio; this was disappointing on the mornings that we were coming into port. The locker rooms have private shower stalls in them that I highly recommend… There are 5 shower heads (1 from the ceiling, 2 each side) with amazing shower pressure. The shows got better each night and the comedians were all very good. There are not a ton of self directed activities on the ship and limited hours on those that are available. I enjoyed playing pool, a game of checkers, watching a movie in a mini theatre with a big screen and climbing a rock wall on our last cruise. At Carnivals defense, they have some sort of game, lesson or activity at every minute of the day. The newly wed game was a blast, karaoke was entertaining and the hairy chest contest… well I still think the guy that did the pole dance should have won.
The urns are not scary or hideous… I would not have put them in my house but they were appropriate for this ship. THE SHIP WAS IMMACULATE! I can not stress this enough. I made a point to look in the kitchen of the Unicorn when the door swung open and paid attention to the displays around the ship. I was very impressed with what I saw. Everything was kept clean. We had a balcony room and it was sparkling clean every time we came back to it. The only thing that was not clean, understandably, was the balcony glass on the outside. We did not have any issues with rocky seas during our cruise. The only complaint, the layout was a little confusing, half way through the cruise we were still using signs to get around.
I am name dropping in this next part because we had very good experiences on the islands with these companies.
We rented a car from Franklin with Maynard Car Rental (542-2598). The island is only 30 something miles all the way around… grab a map and hit the road. Orient beach was beautiful, travel up through the pastel resort buildings and get some pictures of the bougainvillea framing the beaches. We traveled to the Friars Bay area, stopping at little shops on the way and taking pictures. We ended up at Gutside Bar and Restaurant on Cripple Gate. Richard Brooks is the owner/ chef/ DJ/ Musical Artist and Guavaberry rum maker atleast we think that is what we drank. We danced on the patio, took pictures and had some of the best food we have ever tasted. Marigot (French capitol) was very pretty and there are plenty of places to shop for specialty items. Last but not least, we went to Caribbean Liquors and Tobacco on Buncamper Road 8 in Philipsburg. This was recommended to us and we were thankful. Plenty of selection and great prices.
We met Curtis Walker of Curtis Taxi Service right outside the terminal. These people usually scare me, but Curtis was great. He drives a white Mercedes van. Cell (246) 239- 9623. He took us to Folkstone where we rented snorkel gear and milled around the beach for a while. The snorkeling here was average. There are showers, restrooms and a snack bar on site. He picked us up from there and gave us a tour around the island. We bargained for our rate and were very happy with the outcome, it was more than we could have expected (price will depend on the number in your party, time of day and year). We went to Cherry Tree Hill and Bathsheba getting history all along the way. The island is very interesting and beautiful. He dropped us off downtown around 6 pm. We were surprised to find a lack of local restaurants in downtown Bridgetown that were open. There were some fast food like places, but not much else. The only other thing that I can say is be careful at night. Our group on this island was three girls and my husband. We were thankful to have him there, some areas were intimidating and it was not clearly signed to get back to the cruise terminal.
The day in Martinique was from 7-2. With limited time we headed out on foot for downtown Fort de France. There is a blue sidewalk that you follow. We used the ferry to go over to Pointe du Bout. The ferry system is a little unclear. There isn’t really a ticket counter. Anyway we paid six dollars each roundtrip. Be prepared to use euros in Martinique. It is really easy, go to an ATM take out whatever amount and it is converted on your bank statement. There is a little square at the resort here with a fragrance shop. We bought the most amazing aloe lotion here… Like icy hot and aloe combined. The other recommendation is ice cream. On our way back to the ship there was a little ice cream shop across the street from the blue side walk when you first start back… Anyway it was very good ice cream and inexpensive to Marble Slab/ Cold Stone standards. Most people speak french on the island so figure out how to say a few key phrases before you go.
We carried off our own luggage. 8am we were off the ship, 8:25 we were done with customs and outside the terminal calling our shuttle.
All in all, the cruise was relaxing and a lot of fun. We do not have any major complaints and are looking forward to planning our next cruise. I hope this review helped.