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Martin Phillips

Age: 36

Occupation:Financial Services

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Legend of the Seas

Sailing Date: August 26th, 2005

Itinerary: Mediterranean

Legend of the Seas August 2005, Classic Mediterranean (14 nights)

Two adults (30’s) and two children (8 and 5)

My wife and I and had previously sailed Celebrity’s Constellation (Caribbean February 2004). We liked the idea of taking the children on a cruise from our local port Southampton (we live in Salisbury), so we were intrigued when RCI offered us the chance to sail the Legend from Southampton, with the kids going for free!

We were a little concerned as to how this cruise would shape up against the wonderful cruise we had on the Constellation. We tried our best not to compare the two, especially as the price we paid for a family of four for two weeks on the Legend was not much more than we paid for an outside cabin for two in the Caribbean on the Constellation. However the comparison was inevitable and my comments should always be viewed from that perspective.

Pros

• Excellent value for money (kids travelled for free)
• Excellent overall holiday experience
• Proximity to home!
• Good waiting and cabin staff
• Children enjoyed the Kids Club
• Interesting ports of call (Rome, Monte Carlo (Cannes) and Vigo were our highlights
• Food was good (although there was no silver service and all dishes came pre-plated)

Cons

• Ship is over 10 years old and is showing its age through poor design
• Despite recent refurbishment, certain areas are a bit drab
• Our inside room was very cramped for four, was very dreary and showed its age
• Not a ‘resort’ ship, and more demanding families should look to newer, better designed, and bigger ships

Minor points

• The Guest Relations staff were poor and seemed to be just going through the motions of providing customer service. You had to be very persistent to get anything done.
• The difference in staff numbers is quite noticeable in the pool area; e.g. cups, plates and food were left hanging around for quite long periods of time and sometimes it was difficult to get bar service.
• You will be sailing with the great British public (out of 1975 people on board on this sailing 1800 were British).
• Plastic cups and plates are used in the Windjammer and around the pool area (Glass and china were used on Constellation).
• Our cabin girl was very good, although I felt that she almost shared the cabin with us! She was ever present. The corridor to our cabin was always littered with trolleys of towels, Hoovers, ice buckets, etc.
• No trays available in the Windjammer, so there was a lot of getting up and down to get food, especially if you had to help a child select food
• The sun loungers were ‘bagged’ very quickly on sea days and would be very difficult to get one
• The Windjammer got very busy at peak times and it was sometimes difficult to find a table
• Again, the internal design of the ship is poor. For example, if you are in a bar, you have to walk miles to find a loo. Likewise if you are in the theatre or dining room you have to walk up (or down) flights of stairs to find a loo. (Not a problem for us, but there was many older guests, for whom this was no joke).

Suggestions/tips if you are considering this cruise

If you have a very young family (under 3’s) look for a larger ship with better facilities. We spoke to a number of families who felt their very little ones were not being catered for, i.e. the pool was 5ft 6in deep, etc.

If you are looking for a child free cruise do not book this cruise in July or August or whenever RCI offer free kids places as there will be lots of children on the ship. I lost count the number of times I (over)heard mutterings of disgruntled passengers concerned about the number of children in the pool/solarium/lift/corridors/dining room/using sunbeds, etc! This may look a minor point but I did witness a couple of altercations between the older and younger generations over the conduct or even just the visibility of children!

RCI Shuttle buses are available at most ports of call to take you into the centre of the port. The charge is £4. Pay for these on the day at the bus, that way the children will travel free! (We learnt the hard way and had to argue hard to get a refund from ‘Guest Relations’)

Drink prices: Wine from £10 a bottle, G&T c£2.20, Cocktail of the Day £2, Stella £2

Summary

We had a good holiday, met some nice people and did enjoy ourselves. Even my 5 year old daughter cried when she had to say goodbye to the cabin girl!!

The cruise was very good value for us as a family.

However, I would not have been happy paying any more for this cruise/cruise ship and I would look for a larger/modern ship if this were the case for a family or a more select ship as a couple.

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