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Kimberly Harding

Age: 27

Occupation:Equity Sales

Number of Cruises: 9

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Legend of the Seas

Sailing Date: May 7th, 2004

Itinerary: 11 Night Honolulu to Ensenada, Mexico


We just got home a few days ago from a two week Hawaii trip aboard Royal Caribbean’s Legend of the Seas. Just to give you some insight, this review will be a very long, detailed review! I learned so much from the cruise critic Hawaii board, that I feel I have to “pay it forward” to anyone else that is considering this cruise, and give as much information as I can to help answer anyone else’s questions out there! We started planning this cruise over 2 years ago and put a lot of research and work into!

Thursday, May 6th – Flying to Honolulu, Oahu

We had a car pick us up at 4AM to take us to LGA for our 6AM flight. We had been up since before 3AM and were so excited that our trip was finally here after 2 years of planning and waiting!! When we arrived at LGA, we did curb side check in, hoping they would not weigh our luggage! (a 12 day trip requires a lot of clothes!!) We were right; the man just picked each one up and then said “ok” and gave us our boarding passes. As we had been planning this trip for over two years, we managed to save up enough airline miles to fly first class to Honolulu for FREE!!!! We then made it though security and waited to board our flight. We flew from LGA to ORD on a 6AM flight and then connected with an 8:55AM Flight from ORD to HNL. The flight from LGA to Chicago was quick and painless. We made it to Chicago with a little over an hour before they would start boarding our connecting flight. We walked around the terminal for awhile to stretch out our legs as we knew the next flight was going to be long.

Soon it was time to board the plane and we were greeted with champagne and juice! We found out seats which were huge and reclined 180 degrees! We got settled in and soon it was time for take off!! The flight was a little over 9 ½ hours long. We were served lunch and a snack and watched 2 movies. We tried to sleep but even with those big seats it was still hard! We landed at 1PM in Honolulu and were one of the first off the plane. We were greeted by the car service that was taking us to the hotel and he helped us get our luggage. Within 20 minutes of landing, we were leaving the airport and on our way to the hotel for our 1 night pre-stay!

Our hotel was the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Originally I had booked the Outrigger Reef, but every once in awhile I would check the rates at the HHV and eventually I found a rate that was cheaper then what we were booked in at the Outrigger, and for a few dollars more we even got the breakfast included! We arrived at the hotel and we checked in right away. The HHV had even upgraded our room to an ocean-view room in the Rainbow Tower! We then headed around the hotel to check out our room and it was awesome! We were on the end and had two balconies and a great view of the ocean! We then walked around the hotel some more and met up with two of our Cruise Critic friends Pat and Eileen (pkexton & ebk2795) from Philadelphia who were going to be sailing with us also. We checked out their room in the Tapa Tower and then got a cab over to the Ala Moana Shopping Center to have dinner at Bubba Gump’s! There was no wait and we were starving since we a little jetlagged. I had the Mahi-Mahi and DH had the Coconut Shrimp! It was good! The restaurant was nice, but we felt that the one in Miami stuck the movie theme a little more. We walked around the mall a little more and then headed back to the hotel. Once we got back to the hotel, we walked around the beach admiring the view and stuck our feet in the Pacific Ocean! As it got dark, it then hit us that we had been up for almost 24 hours straight with the time distance and we decided to go to sleep!

Friday, May 7th – Embarkation Day!!

I woke up around 3AM and made myself sleep until 6:30AM! By then the sun was starting to come up and the view was amazing! We got up and showered and then headed over to the Tapa Tower to have breakfast with Pat & Eileen. The HHV had a really nice buffet breakfast that included everything from eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, French toast & fruit to having a lot of Japanese specialties like rice, sushi, miso soup and some other things that I did not recognize. We ate a leisurely breakfast and then headed over to the Harley-Davidson store that was within the HHV. We bought some t-shirts and souvenirs for our nieces and nephews back home (we buy them a Harley Shirt on every trip that we take!). We walked around and visited a few more stores that included a Honolulu Cookie Co., and ABC Store, and a Crazy Shirts store and took some pictures of the HHV. We then went back to the room and finish packing everything up. We had to check out of the hotel at 11AM and we needed to get all of our cruise documents ready!

After we checked out, we took a cab from the hotel to the pier (a $15 ride). We arrived at the Aloha Tower Market Place Pier at 11:15 AM to find out that they were not ready for us to board yet. We had to stand on a line with all of our luggage by a gate to be x-rayed. We were 10th in line and within 15 minutes, the line was all the way out to the curb. We waited for a few minutes when we realized that 2 of our cruise critic friends were behind us inline. We introduced ourselves to Susan & Ray (Murphy) from Chicago and talked with them for a few minutes about their week in Kauai and then the line began to move. Everyone pushed their luggage up to the front where the X-ray machine was and we then got inline to go through security and check in. After waiting another 5 minutes in that line it began to move. We had to show passport & cruise documents at the door and then security allowed us to go through the security check point. We then headed over to the priority check-in for Platinum and Diamond members. We got a new girl who was a little slow and soon we had our documents handed in and our Sea Pass in hand!!! I asked if there were upgrades available and she said yes to check with the pier coordinator. We were currently booked in cabin 7550, a category D, Balcony cabin mid-ship. When we got to the pier coordinator, we found out that there was a lot of category C, Junior Suites available, so we upgraded to Jr. Suite Cabin 8552! We then had our welcome aboard photo taken and our Sea Pass picture taken and we went up to find our cabin.

All the fire doors to the hallways were closed to block access to the cabins. There was a sign posted stating “Your cabin will be ready at 1PM”. We opened the door and found our cabin to put DH’s Lactose Free milk in our refrigerator and the cabin attendant told us our cabin would not be ready until 1PM. We then headed up to the Windjammer for lunch and to check out the rest of the ship. We made spa appointments, found our table in the dining room and confirmed DH’s special dietary needs and spent the rest of the afternoon unpacking because our luggage arrived very quickly, and before we knew it, it was time for dinner. We had early seating at the beginning of the cruise, but we switched to late seating 3 days into the cruise because we were so rushed to get back on the ship and always missed the sail away’s. Dinner the first night was casual/Hawaiian but I don’t remember what we had to eat. After dinner we walked around the pier looking at the small shops but didn’t buy anything. We were still really tired & jetlagged and had to be up early the next morning, so we went to bed shortly after dinner.

Saturday, May 8th – Honolulu, Oahu

We were up early and had breakfast in the windjammer. We did the Arizona Memorial and Oahu sightseeing tour through the ship and had to be in the terminal by 7:15AM. We all lined up and boarded a coach bus and went straight to Pearl Harbor. We had an hour to wait for our group to be called for the movie so we walked around and took pictures and looked at the small museum that they had. Then at 9AM we were called into the theater to watch a 20 minute film about the events leading up to the attack in Pearl Harbor and actually footage from the attacks. We then boarded a small boat and were taken out to the memorial. You could still see the oil on top of the water. It was very emotional seeing the ship still there. We then boarded the small boat and headed back to the main building. From there we all meet our bus driver and re-boarded the bus. The driver then drove us around the island point out several things and making stops at the Napali Lookout, Ionali Place and the original statue of King Kamehameha. We also drove through Chinatown before getting off at the pier.

Once we were back on the ship, we had lunch at the windjammer and took a nap. The muster drill was at 5:30 and everyone had to be onboard by 5PM. There was a sail away party on the pool deck as we left Honolulu and the ship gave everyone a real Hawaiian lei. They even had people in the dining rooms giving them out since the party started when the first dinner seating was. Dinner again was casual/Hawaiian. After dinner we had our first Cruise Critic get together. Because we did not have enough people for a M&M party, we had set a bunch of times for us all to meet up. Our first meeting was in the Schooner Bar between dinner seating and we meet up with CruisinTrish, HFP, and Pat and Eileen & Saltyswife. Our meeting overlapped with TV Tune Trivia so we formed a team together and one the first of several trivia games together!


Sunday, May 9th – Nawiliwili, Kauai

This morning we had breakfast delivered to our stateroom. As we pulled into the pier, it was clear and we could see far out into the mountains. We finished our breakfast and headed off the ship. We booked a helicopter tour of the island through Island Helicopters. It was recommended to us from friends who did it on their honeymoon and said it was the best way to see the entire island. They were so right! We signed up for the 9:15 tour and were greeted at the pier by a driver at 8:30. He drove us to the airport where we paid and were given a complimentary video of the tour. Two more people then joined us and we were off to the helicopter pad. Once there, we were strategically seated in a special order and given life vests and instructions on how to use them. Then two more people showed up and we boarded the helicopter. The tour took us all over the island through Poipu, Waimea Canyon, the Napali Cliffs, Hanalei, Lumahai Beach, the Princeville Resort, Mount Waialeale, and the Wailu Falls. It was absolutely breath taking and I don’t think there is any other that you can see the entire island, then by helicopter.

After the helicopter tour we returned to the ship. DH grabbed a quick burger from the Solarium and got ready to go golfing with friends. I had lunch in the windjammer and then meet up with Pat & Eileen. We caught the Wal-Mart shuttle from the pier and went over to Wal-Mart and then walked over to Hilo Hattie’s. I had read on the boards that Wal-Mart was the best place to buy coffee and macadamia nuts, and souvenirs. After a little searching, I found that Wal-Mart and Hilo Hattie’s had pretty much the same prices and I would think the quality and freshness would be better from Hilo Hattie’s then Wal-Mart. We bought all of our postcards and a few other Hawaiian souvenirs from the stores and headed back to the ship. It had rained on and off the whole day after the helicopter tour so once we were back on board we spent some time writing out all those post cards and spent some time in the solarium with more cruise Critic friends Herb & Trish (HFP & CruisinTrish) before my massage at the spa.

Tonight was the Captain’s Welcome Aboard Reception and the first formal night. We missed the Captain’s party because I was getting me massage and DH got back from golfing at 4:45. We also had to dress up because it was the first formal night. After dinner we check out the photos that had been taken of us and then wrote out more post cards!

Monday, May 10th – Lahaina, Maui

We booked the Lanai Wild Dolphin & Snorkel Excursion through the ship. Because we were tendered in Lahaina, we had to be in the theatre at 7:15 for our tour. So we were up early again and had breakfast in the Windjammer and then our group was led to the tenders together for our shore excursion. Once we got off the tender, we were lead to a large catamaran where we all boarded. Even though it was called a dolphin snorkel, we did not see any dolphins, but we did see a few whales, even though it was the end of whale season. The water was a little on the cold side compared to snorkeling in the Caribbean, but we did see a nice reef, sea turtles, and some fish. The crew was great and I really recommend this excursion!

After the excursion we walked around Lahaina a little and visited a few souvenir shops and Hilo Hattie’s again! Getting back on the ship took awhile because the tenders were very slow loading and unloading and it took almost an hour to get back on the ship. So we all changed quickly and got ready for the Luau because we did not know how long it would take to get off the ship again. So at 4:30 we all meet in Pat & Eileen’s cabin for the luau and got off the ship together. Trish and Herb had rented a car and offered to drive us all there. We booked The Old Lahaina Luau and we seated at table 2. We had a great view of the stage. The food was buffet style was good, but by the time we got our food and sat down, we were eating in the dark. The show was great and explained the history of Hawaii and the Hula. However, afterwards, when we got back to the pier, the line was extremely long and took over an hour and ½ to reboard the ship. All of the luau’s must have ended at the same time and we thought the ship would have been prepared and had enough tenders running, but that was not the case.


Tuesday, May 11th – Lahaina, Maui

We had originally booked the Maui Downhill Sunrise tour, but when we called to confirm the reservation, they told us the meeting time had been changed from 3:30AM to 2:25 AM. The tender schedule over night was just 1 tender every hour leaving the ship on the ½ hour and the pier on the hour. This meant that we would have had to have taken the 1:30 AM tender and sat on the pier for a good 45 minutes in the dark. We tried to cancel our reservations, but would have been charged the full amount because it was within 24 hours, so we opted for the 7:45 AM Tour. We met our driver at the Pioneer in at 7:45 AM and he drove us to the office where everyone got their gear. We were then driven to the top of Haleakala where we took some pictures and looked at the crater. It was a little chilly at the top, but soon everyone loaded up and started the tour downhill. I stayed in the can while DH did the bike part. It was very clear when started the trip up, but on the way back down it got very cloudy and started to rain and pour at times. By lunch everyone was wet & cold but they continued on down to the bottom. It was very well coordinated between the driver and the bike leader to make sure that everyone was inline and safe. But DH was not to happy with the quality of the bikes and felt that for the money we had paid, that they should have had better equipment for everyone to use.

Once we returned to the ship, we found our Matire’d Yasa and asked to switch to late seating. While at the luau, we found out that Herb & Trish were at the same table at us and there were 4 empty seats, so we switched to late seating so we wouldn’t have to worry about always rushing for dinner. And since we were seating at the same table, we had the same waiter Jose and assistant waiter Alex! We then hung out at the Solarium and rested before dinner! Dinner was Casual / Hawaiian again and afterwards, we all went to the Love & Marriage game show, of which our tablemates, Sharon & Ted won!!!


Wednesday, May 12th – Hilo, Hawaii

We did two excursions though the ship in Hilo. First was the Best of Hilo which included the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory, Nani Mau Gardens & Akaka Falls. The Nut factory was really just a gift shop, but the prices were the lowest that I had seen anywhere on any of the islands so we stocked up there. We then arrived at the Nani Mau Gardens for a 20 minute tram ride through their gardens. It was pretty, but it was as if there was just 1 of every plant planted in the ground with a sign. It felt as if it was more of landscaping then a tropical garden. The last stop was at the Akaka Falls. This required some walking on a paved trail to view the falls. It was well worth it to see the view, but some people, mostly the elderly, could not handle the walk or the heat. Afterwards, the bus dropped you off at either pier or Hilo Hattie’s! We waited online to clear security and grabbed a quick lunch at the solarium before heading back out for our next tour, the Hawaiian Tropical Botanical Gardens. Several Vans met us at the pier and drove us along the coast to the gardens. We were each given a map of the gardens and told to meet back at the top in an hour & ½. This was more of what I was expecting. It was a tropical rainforest filled with all kinds of Hawaiian plants. We walked around the gardens for an hour taking pictures before heading back up to the top! We really enjoyed this tour, but don’t forget your bug spray!

After returning to the pier we spent some time in the solarium pool before dinner. Dinner tonight was Casual / Hawaiian again and afterwards we all went to Trish and Herb’s Balcony to view the volcano as we sailed from Hilo to Kona! We could see the lava, but not that much and it did not come out in our pictures unfortunately.

Thursday, May 13th – Kona, Hawaii

We had no set plans for Kona, just that we wanted to see Pu’uhonua o Honaunau (Place of Refuge). Herb & Trish had rented a car and said that we could go along with them for the day. The ride from the pier to the car rental place took about 15 minutes and there was a little line so we had to wait awhile to get the car. Once we had the car we headed south. We stopped at the Royal Kona Coffee Museum and store, but no one bought anything. The prices were much cheaper in Hilo Hattie’s. We then arrived at Pu’uhonua o Honaunau (Place of Refuge) and we walked around and took pictures. The main building was under construction, but we got pictures of everything else. We even saw 2 Hawaiian Sea Turtles in the bay along with some fish. After walking around for an hour, we got back in the car and headed back into Kona. We had lunch at Bubba Gump’s and had seats right on the water. We saw another turtle and tons of fish. We also had a great view of the ship! After lunch we stopped at Long’s Drug store (right behind Hilo Hattie’s). They have the best prices of anywhere on Macadamia Nuts, Maui Potato Chips, Kona Coffee, Pineapple Wine and any other Hawaiian food souvenir that you could think of. So we stocked up there before heading back to the ship.

Once back on board, we spent another afternoon in the solarium before dinner. Dinner’s theme was Smart Casual / Country Western. (We turned our clocks back 1 hour)


Friday, May 14th – Monday, May 17th – At Sea

The sea days were filled with a lot of activities to choose from. There was always Bingo twice a day, academy at sea which were classes where you could learn about certain things on the ship like how they run the shows or photography, hotel & restaurant management. But we pretty much spent most of our time in the solarium and participating in the trivia games that they had everyday.

Friday night they had the Quest game and the Sock Hop. We participated in the Quest game, but were in the back of the room so we never made it up there in time. Dinner was casual / 50’s&60’s. (We turned our clocks back 1 hour)

Saturday night they had The Coasters perform which was really good and it was the formal night and the Crown & Anchor Society Get together. They also had the Gala Buffet.

Sunday night was smart casual and the show of Jump Jivin Swing which was good. (We turned our clocks back another hour)

Monday night was casual with the farewell show. Our luggage had to be out in the hallway by 10PM.

Tuesday, May 18th – Ensenada, Mexico

Everyone was given color luggage tags and a sheet with where all the luggage tags were supposed to meet and at what time. We were up at 3:45 AM and had breakfast. We were white with green stripes and had to be in the theater by 5:30 AM to disembark at 5:45. We sat there until 6AM when they finally called us. They then walked us down through the ship to deck 1 where we were escorted to buses that matched our luggage tags. All of our luggage was already under the bus and we just got on the bus. There were only 27 of us on the bus, so we each had our own seat pretty much for the ride. We drove up the coastline which was very pretty. However, our driver Jesus did not speak a word of English. When we got to the boarder, we crossed into the US at the Otay Messa boarder. We only had to take our carry-on’s with us and show them our passports and claim form. They then x-rayed our carry-on’s. Our bus then came around to the other side where we reboarded. 20 minutes later at 9:40 we were at the San Diego airport. We then spent the next 5 hours at the airport for our flight home to JFK.

The Ship Review

Ship


This was our first time sailing on a Vision Class Ship. We have sailed on the Nordic Empress (Empress of the Seas), Sovereign Class, Radiance Class & Voyager Class. We found the ship to be very much like Celebrity’s Century in size and in amenities. We really enjoyed the Solarium where we spent most of our time. The lounges were nice, especially the Schooner Bar and the Viking Crown Lounge. The Ship was in excellent condition and the only places where we saw any signs of its age & wear, was in the cabin in our bathrooms where there was a lot of rust on the door frame, the wood floor in the entrance was badly scuffed and there was some rust on the balcony. Otherwise, the ship looked great! We did miss the signs in the elevator that told you what day of the week it was. You definitely could use them on an 11 day cruise!!!

Cabin

As I mentioned before, at the pier we upgraded from a D balcony cabin to a Category C Junior Suite cabin 8552 at the pier. It was well worth it for the 11 day cruise. We saw our original cabin because none of our stuff was transferred to our new cabin. So we had to find the cabin attendant to help us find DH’s tux, our C&A coupon books and our shore excursion tickets. We saw how much smaller the D room was and were really glad we upgraded to the jr. suite! It also took 3 days for everything to get straightened out with our shore excursion tickets, out C&A packet, and to find DH’s tux. The cabin had a regular sized couch that pulled out into a bed, 2 chairs, 2 ottoman’s, a 20” Sony TV, a desk with 6 drawers, a full size closet, but it had no shelves in it. The bathroom had a large tub in it and lots of room to get around in. The balcony was the largest yet with 2 chairs, 2 lounge chairs and a table. And all this was kept nice and clean by our 2 cabin attendants Lincoln and Edison. I think that they cleaned all of the C cabins on the floor because we always saw them, no matter what side of the ship we were on. The only thing that I suggest they improve or invest in, are new mattresses. It was the worst! It felt like the springs were popping out!

Dining Room and Food Service


We were seated at table 123 located on the deck 5 of the ship. We had a great window table and our waiter Jose Tolentino was great, along with his assistant Alex Ani. They were very kind and friendly and got you anything you asked for.

The food in my opinion has gone down a little since we cruised RCL in August. I am not saying that it is bad; I am just saying that I thought the quality was a little better on the last cruise. Some days there were 3 things that you wanted off the menu and other days there was nothing that you wanted. But overall, the dining room food was average.

The windjammer food was the same as all the other ships, nothing special to write home about. But the Solarium Snack Bar was the best yet. They had a large menu from hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and hot dogs to rotisserie chicken, chicken fingers, fish tenders, pizza and the best French fries. Sometime there were more people getting food from there then the windjammer! Also, the menu for lunch and dinner was on a TV channel 24 hours a day. You could order anything on the menu for room service as long as it was during that time frame. I.e. Lunch was served from 11:30-1:30, so you could order anything off the lunch menu during that time frame to be delivered to you room.

Overall

We chose this cruise for the price and the itinerary. I would recommend sailing from Honolulu to Ensenada so you have the sea days at the end to rest. Believe me, you will need them!! I would also suggest spending 1 if not 2 says pre-stay, to get adjust to the time change! We loved all the islands and would do this cruise again in the future because there is so much to see on the islands.

Please feel free to e-mail me with any questions and thank you to all those that helped me plan our vacation. Without all your reviews and answering my questions, I would have not known where to start!

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