First time cruiser... Help with the details?
Hi all! Getting ready to book my first cruise. I have read a whole bunch about the different ports of call and narrowed it down to a specific western caribbean itinerary that I want. However, there are two cruises going on that same itinerary within the same week, both with Carnival. So...
The two ships are the Legend and the Liberty. Does anyone have experience with both of these and have an opinion on which is better? Especially for young adults? Liberty has more passengers... does it seem crowded? And does that make for a longer wait when tendering? Liberty leaves from Miami and Legend leaves from Tampa.
Is it better to choose a reserved dinner time or anytime seating?
Unfortunately the time that we can both get off of work for this trip is in August... what would happen in the event of a hurricane?
I'm super excited about the cruise but there's SO many options and it's a little bit overwhelming since I haven't been on one before. Any other advice on the little things is appreciated. Thanks!
Well, if you need advice on cruising, you have definitely come to the right place!
I am sure that one of the more experienced members will list some of the differences between the two ships for you soon. They are both fairly new ships and they will both be very very nice indeed.
As far as the questions about dining...the answer will depend on what you prefer. The typical evening includes dinner and a show. If you choose the early dining time, you will generally eat at around 6:00pm and then attend a show that begins around 8:30 or so (that is, if you choose to attend the show). If you choose the late dining time, you will generally attend the show before dinner at around 7:00pm or so. Of course, these are generalizations and the schedule can vary. If you choose one of the fixed dining times, you will definitely be seated at the same table with the same group of people and wait staff every night. With the anytime dining option, I do believe that they can try to seat you with the same wait staff, if you request that, otherwise, I think it can vary. In my experience, early to bed, early to rise type of folks are better suited to the early dining time and night owls do well with the later dining. For example, if you sleep in and eat breakfast at 10:30am, then lunch at about 3:00pm, you really won't feel like eating dinner at 6:00pm. Of course, you do not have to eat dinner in the dining room (although, I think that is my favorite part of every day) and there will be many other options if you miss your dining time.
As far as hurricanes go...there could possible be a delay in your departure/arrival, change in itinerary, or the cruise could be cancelled altogether, depending on the storm. It is just too unpredictable to know what will happen. The ships do travel relatively fast and carry advanced weather equipment on board, therefore, they are very good at avoiding really bad weather.
As far as other advice...the number one mistake that I think most cruisers make is that they over pack. Think about what you will be doing everyday (hanging out on the sun deck by the pool, or in the casino, or whatever else) and plan accordingly. Funny story...my wife mentioned after one of our previous seven day cruises that she never once wore a bra! She was either wearing a swimsuit top under her clothes for excursions or hanging out on the ship, or wearing nice dresses in the evening that did not require a bra. Those are the kinds of things that you may not think about. Also, Carnival ships offer laundry service with about a 24 hour turn around for a fee. Some of the ships also have a washer/dryer area that you can pay $3.00 per wash and $3.00 per dryer if you get desperate. Typically on a 7 day cruise, there are two formal nights (formal attire is suggested but not required) with the other five days being casual in the evenings. Check out the Carnival dress code for more information about what is or is not allowed in the dining room.
Make sure that you have the appropriate proof of citizenship now. Do not wait until the week before your trip. Although the US government does allow the use of birth certificates in some instances, passports are highly recommended. If you go to your local post office or passport office now, you will receive them in plenty of time and they will be good for ten years for anyone 18 or over.
Other than that, keep checking/searching these forums for a wealth of information about cruising and have a great time!
I forgot one thing...just in case your arrival back in port does get delayed, make sure and bring an extra supply of any medication that you take. You don't want to be in a situation where you take 7 days worth and run out on day 8.
Best of luck,
Glad you mentioned the meds thing. I take two medications for hypertension and brought along an 11 day supply for our 8 day cruise that ended last week. You never know if you'll be delayed or have flight problems which cause you to fly home a day later than you had planned. That happened to us in 2009 in fact, and I was good to go on my meds.
Funny thing about the supply of medicine...when packing for our ten days of back-to-back cruising the other week, my wife was asking about how much medicine to pack. My daughters heard me say to just take a 15 day supply and thought that I was tricking them and that we were actually taking a back-to-back-to-back, adding four more days on the Elation. They were so convinced that two days before our trip ended, I had to pull out my military leave papers to prove otherwise.
I actually felt pretty bad about it, but ten days was plenty!
That being said, there are advantages and disadvantages between each ship.
The Legend is a slightly smaller ship, part of the Spirit Class, and many on this forum will
that they are well constructed, and easy to navigate around.
The Liberty is a larger ship, part of the Conquest Class. It does have more space, but more passengers, bigger lines, etc.
The Legend has only one extra large dining room at the back of the ship, with the kitchen (galley) on the bottom deck at the back of the ship.
The Liberty has 2 smaller dining rooms, one at the back, and one in the middle of the ship with the galley in between. This is the more traditional carnival design. Because of the position of the dining rooms and the galley, it cuts the ship in two on decks 3 and 4, so it can be rather challenging to navigate around the ship. In order to go from the lobby to the aft (back) dining room, you would need to go down to deck 2, walk to the back and then go up again to deck 3.
The main advantage to the Liberty is that it has now been upgraded to the "Funship 2.0" standard. This is a new marketing initiative that Carnival has come out with so that all the ships will eventually have a makeover of their public spaces. The Breeze had them as a new build, while the rest of the fleet will get then during drydock. The Liberty had them installed last year, the Legend will get them next year.
Now as for assigned vs open dining, I tried the open seating and didn't like it, so I asked the dining room staff for an assigned table. The problem is that the ship I was on (Fascination) didn't have enough tables for open seating, and everyone wanted to eat at the same time. By the time we got our table, it was 7:45, so I might as well move to the 8:00 dining.
That is another thing to consider. If you like to eat early, go with the 6:00 assigned dining. If you like to eat late, go with 8:00. If you want to try open seating around 7:00 - well get in line ...
One other thing to consider is total cost to get to the cruise terminal. Are you going to drive or fly? The tie breaking vote may in fact be the cost of the air fare.
If you can cruise on either, choose the Liberty and the new Funship 2.0 refit over the Legend. I love the Spirit Class ship layout, but only a couple of ships in the fleet have the Funship 2.0 upgrade on them at this time and I think it tips the scales in favor of the Liberty.
Crowd wise, I doubt you will notice a big difference. The ship itself is bigger so there is more space and more venues for people to spread out in. So the extra people don't matter as much as they would on say the Victory where the ship is bigger but there are no extra buffet lines...
That's my input. Come on back when you have your next questions.
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