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Sarah Bender

Age: 34

Occupation:Company Director

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Legend of the Seas

Sailing Date: June 18th, 2005

Itinerary: Mediterranean

We had never been on a cruise, so had absolutely no expectations at all. Our group was represented by a wide age group (all first time cruisers), the youngest being 2.5 years old and the oldest 60. The check in process at Southampton was very smooth, and despite the fact that we hadn't pre-booked parking, had no trouble booking on the day. We had booked a balcony room, which was located at the rear of the ship. The room was pleasant, if not a little tired, but wardrobe and bathroom space was well thought out. The bed was like a put me up with very threadbare sheets and a sad looking brown blanket. Our daughter slept on a sofa bed which she seemed to like.
Ash from the engines unfortunately fell on to our balcony which by the morning was filthy.

The food was excellent with a choice of semi-formal waiter service and a buffet. I was impressed by the healthy choices on offer, with no junk food in sight. A good selection of wines were available, but with the cheapest at £14.00 a bottle, there weren't many takers. One tip I wish I'd known before was to take our own and pay the £6.00 corkage. Service by the waiting staff was top class (and in fact everyone on board) and all clearly work as a happy team.

We all used the Spa and had some good treatments performed by polite and capable therapists - although one was subjected to a sales pitch at the end.

We attended the evening entertainment most of the time and enjoyed some top class shows - our youngest daughter was mesmerized. Despite Royal Caribbean being a family focused ship, the vast majority of guests were elderly and were clearly irritated by the presence of children - my suggestion to them is go on a child free cruise next time. We also didn't anticipate the very rough seas sailing through the Bay of Biscay , which all left us feeling very deflated at the beginning and end of the cruise. Karaoke nights and children's discos were fun, but there was a distinct lack of entertainment for toddlers - any kind of daycare was for 3 years and up, although there was a 1 hour session for the little ones in the morning. We enjoyed the stops and found our own way around using local taxis - the boat is out to make as much additional revenue from excursions as possible.

Internet services were 27p a minute when the service actually functioned.

We were lucky to have a balcony so we could sit and enjoy some sun - otherwise on the top deck there was a bun fight for sun beds, with most guests lying in the sun from 9am to 5pm. There was clearly a lack of sun beds for the number of guests on board although they do try and enforce a "no bed booking policy"

All in all, we had a nice time, not the most relaxing, and I'm not sure whether we would cruise again. The final point I'd like to make is gratuities. Not only having to pay a substantial amount for the holiday we were then faced with additional "suggested gratuities" of £3 per person per day for housekeeping and similar for bar and waiting staff - prepare yourself to add an additional £200 plus for tips. This is payable on top of the 15% that's slapped on each spa treatment, drinks bill, you name it, where there's a bill, there a tip!

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