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John Morris

Age: 36

Occupation:Information Technology

Number of Cruises: 6

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Legend of the Seas

Sailing Date: January 27th, 2001

Itinerary: Down Under - Australia to New Zealand - 14 Days

I must firstly state to you that this review is intended mainly for Australians thinking of cruising with this line, on this ship. There is absolutely no insult intended to any other nationality. Before taking this cruise, our first with this line, I spent many, many hours at this website, and others trying to bring myself up to speed with this cruise line/ship. I did learn many helpful things, though unfortunately there was not a great deal of information pertaining to Australian passengers. Again I state that there is no insult intended here for any other nationalities, only that it is difficult gleaning information about, in particular, American Cruise Lines down under. Hence I feel compelled to write this, to save others frustration.

Prior to traveling I attempted to find out if I would be able to charge my video battery, mobile phone battery, shaver etc in our cabin. RCCI simply replied that they have NO information about Australian Power! Well I can now give you the low down. If your equipment WILL run @ 110V, all you need is the USA/JAPAN (2 pin) adaptor, purchase for about AUD$10 at your travel agent. It will plug into one of your wall socket and adapt the two US points to our angled, two AUS points. You won't get the three points (earthed) but for the most the two points will suffice. If your gear requires 240V, in the bathroom, facing down is a multi standard power point. Here you can directly plug in 240V 2-pin equipment. Note though that the power point is facing directly downwards, so if your charger etc is heavy, it will simply fall straight out. One fellow Aussie I met on shore at a hire car place was using their power point to charge up her phone. She, like all the others, didn't realise you can achieve this in your own cabin, albeit a little restricting. RCCI provide hair dryers for your cabin, so the ladies can utilise them, as the only 240v socket you have, that I’ve just mentioned, will NOT support heavy current devices like a dryer etc. It is really only suitable for chargers/shavers (if the adaptor will stay in the upside down socket that is!)

Be advised that at most of the ports we pulled in to were working ports, and accordingly, no one was permitted to walk from the port into town, even though a few would have only been an easy 5-10 minute walk. As a result we had only two options - a taxi or RCCI's shuttle bus. There was 5 of us in our group, so the 5-10 minute walk would have set us back @ US$4 per person each way on their shuttle bus - totaling almost AUD$80 with our current exchange rate of .52c in the dollar!!! This can simply be described as a total and unbelievable rip off. For example, the taxi we ended up hailing set us back less than AUD$5! The problem was though that most of the other passengers felt the same way, so at one port it took me an hour to hail a cab! Not exactly the most pleasant way of starting your day in port!

Also for your information, you should be aware that in order to travel with RCCI you MUST pre-pay your tips. After experiencing this, it was definitely the way to go, and certainly alleviated a custom which we are not used to. Before anyone reading this get's their back up, Australians are not accustomed to tipping, not that we are meagre with our money (even though it’s worth so much less than the $US) but our workers get paid a wage that doesn't rely on supplements from customers. I'm not getting in to discussion about this, however just letting you know that you should not be put off by having to pre-pay your tips in order to board the ship, it does save a certain level of 'hassle'. The last night is the time the 'Gentlemen' pull out the envelopes from their coat pockets to present their steward’s etc. We had the envelope in which we had placed one of 4 supplied vouchers stating to the staff concerned that we had pre-paid our tip and they would receive them from the company. Interesting point though is that Australians are the only ones on board our cruise that HAD to pre-pay tips in order to board the ship. It was mentioned to the purser’s desk by one group travelling that Australia has in place anti-discrimination policies, though their comments fell on deaf ears and they were simply provided with the address of RCCI in Florida.

As we expected with the exchange rate, the price of liquor at the many bars on board was at the most, prohibitively expensive. Not the fault of anyone other that the exchange rate, so if you enjoy a beer, be prepared to pay around AUD$7 for a can that's only 330ml! Doesn't say much about the duty free nature of goods at sea does it! Don’t expect Australian beer either, let alone draught – which ran out 2 days from leaving Sydney, and was not re-stocked. We did however note prior to travelling, the comments of a fellow cruiser on this website that RCCI though they don't encourage the point, you can drink your own liquor on deck. We certainly took advantage of this buying duty free alcohol on board (worked out about the same shore price in oz) and mixed our own up on deck. We used a cooler bag for this and it worked out just perfectly, also accommodating out digital handicam to capture those moments when you're out and about.

The ship itself we could only, and best describe as opulent. It was so well appointed, and the courteousness and helpfulness of the staff really made this holiday one to remember. I have read about the food in other reviews, and realising you cannot get what you’d have at home, I’d rate the food a pretty constant 8 out of 10. Our vacation was 14 days on-board, and we were not tired of their cuisine offered when we disembarked. The entertainment was good, though we sort of expected Broadway style productions, we weren’t offered any, however enjoyed the entertainment overall as another 8 out of 10.

Being a 14-day cruise, I expect this could account for the average age of the passengers. There was entertainment nightly up in the Viking Crown lounge, and the couple of times I stuck my head in there, the only souls I could spot were in fact staff - milling about to loud music, waiting for guests. Our 4-year-old daughter was one of only 8 kids travelling, and was spoilt rotten. There was only one other child her age, and this didn't lend itself to a raging time for the young ones - though at 4 she had the absolute time of her life. I expect a teenager would have had a much harder time with so few youths traveling, though the staff and their facilities on board are top notch. I guess one could find out if there are many kids on a particular cruise prior to travelling to alleviate this.

Embarking and Disembarking were good - from the ship - but in Auckland NZ, once you were off the ship, it was in the least - bedlam/mayhem. Imagine over a thousand people trying to get a taxi in a city port that has one line of traffic in, and VERY limited space for movement. Take my advice and ensure you have made arrangements for travelling from the ship when you disembark. Do NOT rely on getting a taxi - especially in Auckland. I had to walk outside into the city and hail a cab, bring it back into the port, then go out near the airport to pick up a motor home we were to enjoy for a week before returning to Australia. I then had to return to the port and pick up the others and the luggage. I disembarked the ship at about 9am, and finally got back around 1.30pm. The atmosphere at the port by then was more acceptable, though all passengers had to be off by 10.30am.

In comparison to P&O and NCL with whom we have sailed before, this cruise would certainly rate 'up there' and I’d give them 8.5 out of 10 overall. Certainly different holiday experience on board from the other companies - who were also good at what they provided, The Legend simply offered us a magnificent setting for our holiday, and the staff made sure it all happened properly. If you're thinking of travelling on the Legend (apparently she's spending 3 months down under in 2002!) remember the few things I’ve mentioned, and you are SURE to have the time of your life.

Just remember pre paying your tips makes it difficult if one of your steward’s etc are not up to scratch. They know they are getting pre-paid tips, so Like Mum & Dad who travelled with us in a separate cabin and whose cabin steward we believe was a little on the slack side, had to be reminded of a few little things. Incidentally, although we paid US$55 a day, we ended up on the bridge deck - suite 8071. Perfect cabin, quiet, well appointed and a real bargain at the price!

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