Carnival Legend Reviews

  • Average User Rating

    Excellent
  • My Rating

    You have not rated this yet

User Ratings

Overall Rating
4.1
from 81 reviews

Cuisine

Service Level

Value for Money

Ship Décor

Public Rooms

Staterooms

Kid's Programs

Daytime Activities

Nightlife

Shore Tours

Itinerary

Alternative Dining

81 User Reviews of Carnival Legend Cruise Ship

Southern Caribbean
Publication Date: November 26, 2002

PRE-CRUISE: We traveled by car and stayed at the Amerisuites on 17th(near the port) the night before the cruise....we had two other couples cruising with us and they also stayed at the Amerisuites....we had dinner at Outback and it is located just a short walk from Amerisuites....there are a number of grocery stores/drugstores etc near the Amerisuites too which makes it a nice location for the pre-night stay. We were able to leave our car in the parking lot at Amerisuites during our cruise too. The shuttle service was a bit slow (at the motel) but it got us to the "port" quickly once we loaded the luggage etc. The driver was very nice and told us what to expect at the entrance to the port etc....and he dropped us off right at the entrance to the terminal.

BOARDING: Since we had a Cat 11 suite we used the Skippers Club once inside the terminal ...there were several checkpoints at the terminal I might add ...so have your documents handy once you get to the port and don't put them up until you get on the ship :) The gentleman that helped

us with the Skippers Club was extremely nice and he just whisked us thru the embarkation process..very nice beginning to what would be a great cruise.

 

ONBOARD: Once onboard all I could think was WOW!!! A beautiful ship indeed. The staff immediately went into their routine of making everyone welcome and that atmosphere continue through the entire cruise. I commend the staff on being one of the friendliest I have had on any of my cruises. The decor was full of "urns" and once you cruise on the Legend you will understand what I mean...they had silver urns as door handles, as pedestals for tables, as lamps etc. as the expression goes "they were everywhere"!!!

CABIN: I was quite excited about having a Cat 11 suite and was not disappointed....I am really spoiled now...the cabin is well appointed from the beautiful drapes to the mosaic tiled bathroom...so much storage even I did not fill up all the cabinets and closets...the wood floor as you enter the cabin gave the entrance a foyer feeling...the bathroom had a double sink and jacuzzi tub and shower...the dressing room was separate which was a nice feature (had the built in hair dryer in the drawer)...a sliding/pocket style door separated it from the rest of the cabin too which was a very nice feature...the cabin was very spacious overall...other extras I noticed in our cabin were: VCR..Bar stocked with glasses...dimmer type lighting..we had a great cabin stewardess and she was a true jewel on this cruise as she managed to always keep our cabin perfect and handled our every need when requested ....we emptied our fridge and put the contents Carnival had in it on the shelf beside it ..then we stocked it with our soft drinks, water etc.....our cabin balcony was oversize and wonderful to have lounge chairs etc..we had many catnaps on the balcony as we were cruising ...nice ocean breezes will do that to you quickly!!!

There were a few things about our cabin experience that were not biggie problems but I will note them for anyone to consider: when you look down from the balcony as you are standing at the railing you will see the top of the lifeboats(I like seeing water)....our jacuzzi did not work but after several tries it was repaired(so test the jacuzzi at the beginning of the cruise)....the crew was painting on one of the sea days directly below us on the deck and the paint fumes filled our balcony, cabin and hallways for approx. 24 hours and I became ill from the fumes(highly allergic to paint fumes) and was not able to attend the last formal night...

ENTERTAINMENT: Since we have cruised Carnival 15 times in the last 5 years we opted not to go to most of the shows..the ones we attended were very good ....the cruise director tried hard I think to make the cruise fun for all the cruisers as did his staff...we always enjoy Music Society and did so this cruise too..the Firebird Lounge IMHO should be used for live party type music as it is not only a beautiful room but the design is great for dancing (they had a guy with a band and he talked more than he sang when we were there ..the musicians in the band were quite good however when they got to play LOL) ....I think Carnival needs to upgrade their lounge entertainment on this ship IMHO....Karaoke was once again the most fun time and was well attended (lots of good talent too on our cruise)...we enjoyed the Lido group during the day....

DINING ROOM/FOOD....We had 3 couples in our group and when we received our sign and sail cards we were all at different tables...we went immediately to the dining room and they gave us a table for 6 by the window (this was a nice table esp. during lunch/daytime)...our dining team was great and they took care of us as if we were "kings and queens" ..many kudos to them!!!! ...the menus have changed some and a few of my favorites are no longer being served but believe me I was always pleased with the food...we ate more meals on Lido this cruise than ever before ...the food was very good and we enjoyed the "nation of the day" offerings during lunch...never did get hungry LOL One side note: the Thanksgiving dressing/stuffing served is not for me ..I love cornbread dressing myself LOL

PORTS: Since we have cruised to these ports many times, we only booked one excursion: the Jolly Roger at Barbados...it was a fun time and was the first time we had tried this excursion....the crew was fun and they truly let the cruisers provide the entertainment esp. after the rum punch began to flow....since I don't drink I can provide detail info about the fun everyone had because I remember and not sure if they did or not LOL....the JR docks near the BoatYard... and a tender takes you ashore to the beach so you can swim or snorkel...some stayed on the JR and swam and snorkeled I think during the hour or so we were on the beach...I think next time I do this excursion I will stay onboard too....the JR had nice restroom facilities FYI.........we shopped and browsed on St. Martin as well as Martinique...we were in Martinique on Sunday and not many stores were opened. We enjoyed the ports and look forward to doing some different things in port in Feb when we cruise her again...

LEAVING THE SHIP.....we were one of the first colors called and our leaving the ship was very easy ...found our luggage ..the porter took us to a checkpoint for taxis..taxi service without being asked put our luggage in the car quickly and we were at our motel to pick our car up in record time....UPDATE: you have to show your picture ID/Passport/or Proof of Citizenship to US Immigration as you leave the ship ...more security checkpoints even as you leave the ship.

MEET AND GREET: We had a great "meet and greet" and state/gift exchange....the people we met were so friendly and we all bonded rather quickly ...the gift exchange was fun and entertaining as so many added comments that kept us in stitches as we opened the gifts...we shared some fun times with many of them during the cruise....and I will forever remember each of them as I reminisce of our Thanksgiving Cruise on the LEGEND. Thanks to all that participated that made this " meet and greet" so much fun and memorable.

MISC... (1)..If you need ice during the hours your cabin steward is not available take ice bucket to the Lido and fill up (2) Casino on the Legend provides a neat little expandable (like a telephone cord) that had a clip on one end and the other end they punched and attached your sign and sail card...the Casino machines have slots to put your Sign& Sail card in and you can earn points for prizes and money I think (not sure of the details)...easy way to find your Sign & Sail card in the cabin too LOL (3) Although not noted in the Capers ..at 3PM on sea days ...regular ice cream as well as soft ice cream with lots of toppings like hot fudge/sprinkles etc are served on the Lido deck aft...great chocolate chip cookies too !!!! (4) Room Service: we ordered room service several times for breakfast and they never got our entire order correct and they were slow (about 40 minutes each time) I mention this so those cruising on the Legend might consider the timing as they plan their schedule use of room service..(this might have only been slow in the morning) not a negative problem just a little disappointing to have to wait that long for my 1st cup of coffee!!! LOL (5) Be sure to check your Sign n Sail folio on the interactive tv ...we had a few errors on ours and they were quickly corrected by the purser's desk. (6) TV ....love the new setup for the tv lineup ...you not only get the info about the movies but you also can rent pay per view movies(we did not do this but some like to esp. on a sea day)...the excursions were listed and you could order them via the tv....I have a list of the movies showing LOL if anyone wants them.

OVERALL OBSERVATIONS: The age group on this particular cruise was much older than any other Carnival cruise I have been on IMHO...there were not many children I understand but they were more visible than any other cruise we have been on ..esp the 9-12 age group ...they were constantly running all over the ship in an unruly manner and at all hours of the day and night (the first I have encountered like this I might add) ....one morning they were several in the internet cafe/library with a ping pong paddle and ball and using the wall to bounce the ball on ..not only noisy but destructive as they hit the glass case many times where the books are stored...now I love children and have always found them to be, in many cases, the highlights of our cruises and there were some very well behaved children on this cruise as well that we enjoyed :)......The ship is beautiful ...the staff gracious....the food very good....and we are going to cruise again on the LEGEND to prove we loved it the first time!!!!!

I have many pictures of the cruise and will be posting a link soon so anyone interested can view...

Susan/John>>>anxiously awaiting our next cruise on the LEGEND

Expand Review
Read More
 
Cruise to Nowhere
Publication Date: October 17, 2002

The day before the cruise, we couldn't find my birth certificate. I called Carnival and they told me that under no circumstances would I be allowed to board the boat without it. They were also very quick to tell me that I couldn't get a refund either. So, the day of the cruise, we left early and went to the town I was born in (Denville, NJ) to get a copy of the certificate. It happened to sort of be on the way from Pennsylvania to NYC, so it was no big deal and went without a hitch.

Carnival said that the ship was to start boarding at 1:30. There was an accident a few cars ahead of us in the Lincoln tunnel heading in to NYC from Jersey so we were backed up. We got to the pier and waited in line for about half an hour. It wasn't too bad and we were able to check in pretty quickly. Guess what?!?! They only looked at my photo driver's license and they didn't check the copy of my birth certificate! I wasn't too thrilled about that, but I was

on.

There was a line as soon as you got on the ship for the elevators, so we walked to another bank of elevators and carried our own bags to our room. The good thing is you are never more than a few steps away from an elevator on this ship.

 

We got to our room (4211) and opened the door. There was more room than I thought there would be and lots of closet space. The bathroom was nice size with plenty of room to move around. On the vanity, there was a basket filled with everything you needed including tooth paste, Tums, deodorant, mints, razors, soap, shampoo and conditioner. The only thing you need to bring is a tooth brush and shaving cream. There were no outlets in the bathroom and the hair dryer was in a drawer in front of a large mirror in the main room. There were two double beds separated by a night table. When we cam back later, the night table was moved and the beds were pushed together. The room opened up to a small balcony with two chairs and a table. Nice view.

The ship it's self is huge, but it didn't take me too long to get my bearings and I was able to find things quite easily. We went up to the top deck, hung out and had some drinks. Then we went inside for a look around. On the Lido deck, they had burgers, fries, pizza and all the fixings. I've seen some people on the message boards saying that the décor on the ship was ugly. I wouldn't necessarily agree, but it was extravagant.

We had the late seating for dinner. The Truffles restaurant was huge and nicely decorated. Our seating assignment had us at a smaller table with a couple from Connecticut. The food was good although the service seemed a little slow. We were in no hurry to go anywhere, so we didn't mind. The food was well prepared and tasty.

by the time we left the restaurant, it was 10:30 and we were tired due to a water problem we had at home that kept us up the previous night, so we called it quits and went to bed.

The next morning, we woke up to a rocking ship. It wasn't much, but you could notice it occasionally. There was a nor'easter a few days earlier that stirred up things up and caused 9 foot waves. The captain changed course and headed south. By the afternoon, you didn't feel any waves at all. I was quite surprised that the ship's stabilizers didn't fix the problem. Like I said, it was no big deal.

After a great breakfast on the Lido deck, my wife and I walked around and decided to catch a trivia game in Billy's Piano bar. Everyone had a great time but unfortunately, I didn't win the plastic ship trophy they were giving away for the most correct answers. After that, we headed to Folly's Lounge for "The Game Show". That was fun too and everyone laughed their butts off at the audience members who participated. In between having drinks, a cigar on deck and eating, we also went back to Billy's for a name that tune contest. Again, it was a great time.

Dinner that night was excellent, but slow again. Afterwards, we went to Folly's for the main show. It was nice, but half we through, we decided to head back to Billy's for the sing along. We had a great time and hung out with our dinner-mates until 2:30 in the morning (so I'm told).

The ship docked at 7:30 the next morning. We woke up, showered, had breakfast, purchased some pictures and were off the ship by 9:30.

My biggest complaint is it was too short! Overall, I would rate the ship as follows (out of five stars).

Service 5 Atmosphere 4.5 Room 5 Food 4.5 Fun 5

Glen

 

Expand Review
Read More
 
Cruise to Nowhere
Publication Date: October 3, 2002

I took the "cruise to nowhere" this week-end. It actucally went about 70- miles or so east past the tip of Cape Cod.

Everything about it was great, food, entertainment, and the ship itself.

I'll give a quick run down in the basic categories.

Check-in. Left something to be desired. No porters for this cruise. Cruisers has to take care of their own luggage. Waited on line 45 minutes to be told I could skip this line if my documentation was filled in.

Cabin. Better the than expected. Had a Category 4D. Room was spacious. Even has a mini-bar. Their FunVision has great variety. We saw "Greek Wedding" for free. Bathroom was very big. There was even room to manuever in the shower.

Food. Best I've seen on a Carnival ship. The lunch buffets were excellent. Great variety, not just cafeteria style dining.

Entertainment. Great review-type shows. The comedian Al Earnst did a few shows. All were enjoyable. John Heald is John Heald. I hope he stays here because I'm taking the 8-day from NYC in June.

Cabin Stewards. Did their job and remained unseen. Room was perfect every day.

Ship Itself. Plenty of public space.

With 2500 people onboard, you still had room for yourself.

Pool Area. 2 Pools, 4 hottubs, and a retractable roof. What else could you ask for.

Biggest problem. Having to get off on Sunday morning.

Ask if you have any other question

Expand Review
Read More
 
Baltic Sea
Publication Date: September 5, 2002

Cruising on the Legend seemed to be a good experience...if you're pretty old, and/or obese. There was lots of food, though none of it was very good; an amazing number of dishes were oversalted.

Nothing on this ship happens at the advertized time, though most events did start within 10 minutes of their advertized time. The entertainment was embarrassing. And the Cruise Director did an on-ship tv show, with his assistant, that bordered on sado/masochistic.

It included spraying foam in the assistant's face. Disembarkation in New York was particularly tedious; some friends who had ordered a bus transfer were left without a bus...it only took me two hours to be 'called' to leave.

It's hard to find anything to recommend this ship. Even the interior design was tacky.

Read More
 
Southern Caribbean
Publication Date: December 12, 2002

INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND: My father and I recently returned from the December 12 eight-day Exotic Southern Caribbean cruise aboard the new Carnival Legend. I'm 27 years old and this was my ninth cruise (all on Carnival). The review will be pretty detailed, but feel free to email me if you have additional questions. We booked the cruise through a web-based travel agency for $499 per person 1A guarantee. We were upgraded to a room 1101, Riviera Deck - an oceanview room, category 6A. Our agent also got us a $100 onboard credit since our price dropped inside of the penalty period. Considering the price we paid, this cruise was an awesome deal and we had a fabulous time on board this new Fun Ship.

We left from Pittsburgh on Thursday AM. Booked airfare on our own with US Airways in September for $197 per person round-trip. Both flights were non- stop and direct. The flight down was on time, landing in Fort Lauderdale around 11:40am. We grabbed a taxi - paid $10 total for the short trip to Port Everglades.

EMBARKATION: Security is tight at Port Everglades. All cars and taxis are

stopped and drivers and passengers must present valid government issued ID. We were there around noon and waited about 10 minutes to pass through this point. However, there was only one other ship in port with us. I would think on days when more ships are in, this could get messy.

After the taxi dropped us off about 12:10, we entered the line that was outside the terminal. The line winds around the front of the building and then through the terminal where you pass through the metal detectors (30 minutes), then to process your cruise docs (30 minutes), then to pick up sail & sign cards (5 minutes), then to get embarkation photo, sail & sign security photo (A-PASS), and board ship (10 minutes). Total time is about 75 minutes. I guess this wasn't too bad, but I really think they need to work at improving the process at Fort Lauderdale. It should be noted that this is like the fourth or fifth Carnival sailing from Port Everglades. I think the main problem is that the area used to register oncoming guests is the same area where Carnival places the luggage for the guests who are disembarking the ship from the previous cruise. Thus, the embarkation process can't start until all luggage and baggage has been claimed and cleared out.

SHIP DESIGN, DÉCOR, AND STATEROOMS: The theme of the Legend centers around Legends - imagine that. There are bars themed after sports legends, musical legends (Bille Holliday and Louis Armstrong), and mythological legends (Unicorn Cafe, Colossus Atrium). The design is not as gaudy as the Fantasy class vessels. You will be hard pressed to find neon anywhere on board. However, there are plastic silver urns everywhere you turn - small urns, large urns, bar-stool urns, door handle urns. It is a bit overdone, but it didn't bother me that much.

There are two Promenade decks, Deck 2 and 3. The main show lounge, Follies Lounge, is at the front of the ship, the Truffles dining room at the back of the ship. Most bars and lounges are in between on Decks 2 and 3. The Firebird Lounge is located at the front of the ship on Deck 1. It is used for art auctions and ballroom dancing and jazz.

The ship is 962 feet in length and has lots of private balcony staterooms. Our ocean view stateroom was very similar to the Destiny class ships - a small sofa, two twin beds, and a nice sized bathroom. There is a mini-bar in the room, but beware of the charges if anything is consumed. There was plenty of room for our party of two. The temperature in our room was set on the coldest setting and it really struggled to keep the room cool. However, most areas of the ship were comfortable. My dad thought the second level of the Follies Lounge was too cold.

ENTERTAINMENT: In my opinion, entertainment on board was average, but nothing special. There were three Las Vegas review. Jazz Hot was a tribute to jazz, Take II focused on movies past to present, and A Tribute to Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. was done by Christopher Alan Graves. Although I thought I would dislike the Sinatra tribute the most, it ended up being my favorite of the three. I was glad I went. While most ships have two production singers, the Legend has four; and the shows were created exclusively for this ship. You won't see them on any other ship in the fleet. The shows were well done considering we were on a cruise ship. I just thought the shows we saw on the Destiny and Triumph were better.

There were only three comedians on board our eight-day cruise. John Floyd was OK, Chris Gannon was terrible, and Jeff Laub was my favorite. Each did a family show and a midnight show. Our cruise director apologized for Chris Gannon's performance. He told us he was new to the fleet. I doubt you'll see him on future cruises. His midnight show drew about 20 people - no joke. So there were only three midnight comedy shows the entire cruise, one night was a deck party, and the other nights you were pretty much "stuck" in the disco for entertainment. I know the average age of the passengers on this ship was higher than the seven-day cruises, but I still think there should have been some more late-night entertainment. There were some people looking for some entertainment after midnight.

Michael Mullane was our cruise director. His wife, Jeni, is also onboard. They were both very visible the entire cruise. We felt they were approachable and truly wanted to ensure guests had a good time. We had heard all the jokes before and didn't attend any port or shopping talks, but overall they did a good job. Social hosts Carlo and Kim were good, too. Kim screamed in the microphone way too much. WHOOOAA!!

Michael Mallon is the pianist. He is an awesome piano player. He told me he has been playing for 22 years and has three CD's of original compositions. I highly recommend him before or after dinner. The Allegro Trio is the classical trio on board. They played at the afternoon tea sessions. There are two jazz bands on board. The Rich Rowlinson Duo plays in the Odyssey Cigar Lounge. There were few people in this lounge. Oh, and why would they put a cigar lounge outside the dining room??? In order to get to the dining room on deck 3, you have to walk through the cigar lounge - YUK!! The second band is the Johnny Favorite Band. They were a hit with the older crowd, but not me. I don't think they played a modern song the entire cruise. This is strictly 20's and 30's music folks. There were also two guitar players on board. The first guy was at the casino bar and was good (Dougie Trask). The second guy was Peter Hawkins in the Colossus Atrium bar. He played good country music or folk rock, if you will. A guy named Wally B played in Billie's Bar the piano bar. He had has microphone on serious echo the night I was there. This bar was empty most of the cruise. Finally, Music Society was in the Stachmo's lounge. These guys are great, but the music was way too loud and the lounge was overcrowded. Also, they stop at midnight because there are cabins above this lounge and people can't sleep if they are playing. Carnival needs to relocate Music Society to the Firebird Lounge on Deck 1 and get the Johnny Favorite Band in Stachmo's. The Firebird Lounge could better handle the crowds. Trans-Riddim is the steel drum band onboard, and they were good. Jodi Butler did a concert on the final night. She was billed as a double grammy nominee and was new to the Carnival fleet. Her show was good as she sang a tribute to Barbra Streisand, did some Celine Dion, and Motown too. All in all, there was a great variety of entertainment on board the Legend.

FOOD: The Lido deck dining has been reconfigured into a food court, if you will. There are eight different servings stations spanning about 1/3 of the ship. This means you have to walk a little to the different stations, but it also means that the crowd have been spread out and very few lines. The stations are poolside grill (hot dogs, burgers, chicken breats, steak sandwiches), Chinese (three or four different selections daily), Taste of Nations (countries change daily - Italy, India, Caribbean, Japanese, American, Greek), Deli (reuben, turkey, roast beef, pastrami), Pizza, Rotisserie (three or four selections changes daily), Salad and Fruit bar, dessert station. There is 24 hour soft serve available at the very back of the ship. On sea days around 3PM, they offer ice cream sundaes with all the toppings. Enjoy! The ice cream is premium.

We only ate dinner in the dining room. There are some new offerings on the menu (maybe due to the 8 day cruise). Examples: Red Snapper, Snow Crab Legs, Veal with mushroom sauce, blue cheese and bacon salad. The dessert menu has been redone as well. Our service was excellent (kudos to Paul and Corinna, table 110, both from Peru). The food arrived timely and it was hot, instead of warm. The singing and dancing got a bit old by the end of the week, but they did a good job. I was bummed because they do not distribute the ship portrait on the last night of the cruise as on previous cruises. I somehow feel my collection is incomplete. Oh well!

We did eat at the Golden Fleece supper club and the food is very good. It is comparable to Morton''s of Chicago and other fine steak houses. $25 per person is a good deal, but dining room food is very adequate and no extra charges. We enjoyed our meal up there and were happy we tried it once. I think the menu is on carnival.com.

PORTS OF CALL: St. Maarten: took a cab to Orient Beach for the day. Shared it with four others $5 per person each way. The beach is beautiful with jet ski rentals, parasailing, and restaurants, etc. If you have children, be aware that there will be full nudity on the beach. The beach is on the French side of the island. Afterwards, we headed into Philipsburg, the Dutch capital to do some quick shopping. Picked up some golf shirts and T shirts and a bottle of Guavaberry Liquor (made on St. Maarten). We had a good time on the island. Please note we were here on Sunday and most shops in Marigot (the French capital) were closed. Most of the shops in Philipsburg were open.

Barbados: We met a taxi driver off the ship. For $20 per person he took 10 of us in his van for a three-hour tour of the island. We saw Holetown, Bathsheba, and he took us to many spots for good photo taking. However, the guide-I think his name was Clayton Scott- didn't tell us anything about his island. He basically said if we have any questions, just ask. He also told us Christopher Columbus was there in 1620, but we all knew Columbus was deceased at that time. Ugh! My idea of a tour is this: "I am new to your island, I've never been here. Tell me all about your island." OK, so it didn't ruin the cruise or the day. I'll need to read up on Barbados in the next few weeks to learn what I was hoping to learn on the tour. We went back to the ship for dinner. After dinner, we went to the terminal building to look around. However, all of the shops were closed at 7PM. I was used to Cozumel where the shops stayed open til the last ship left. Not so in Barbados. The ship was in port til 10PM but most guests were back on board sooner.

Martinique: We met a taxi driver off the ship. For $20 per person, he took four of us on a two-hour island tour. We saw the black sand beaches, the botanical gardens (extra $7 per person), some of the old catholic churches on the island, the rainforest, and then to Fort-de-France for shopping. We had a great time. Martinique may get a bad wrap as we experienced friendly people everywhere. Bonjour! The spoken language is French so you may want to study up a bit - I don't speak a word of French and really didn't have a problem. We were back on board around noon as our ship left at 2PM. We had a good time overall.

SUMMARY: We had a great vacation for a great price on a new ship. The ship still smells new in some areas. You do need to watch the extras as they can add up. Photographers are everywhere taking pictures for you to buy. The Legends Cafe sells coffee and sweet treats. Carnival is also charging for certain spa activities. $10 fees for yoga classes, BODY cycling classes, Cardio kick boxing, etc. I know they offer great rates on the cruises, but just recognize that you can add an additional $200 or so to that price depending on what you do onboard. Also, the sip shore excursions can add up. We went out on our own in each port and saved money. That is why these boards are so great!! Thanks to everyone who posts. The service was excellent from the room stewardess, dining room staff, and bartenders. Weather was awesome - an eight day stretch of sunny skies and 80 degrees or better. I would recommend these new 8 day sailings. You can also chose the Carnival Spirit out of Miami. For the Southern Caribbean, you get three ports of call, with two sea days on each end of the cruise.

If you have any questions that I didn't answer, send me an email. Happy Holidays to all of you!

Imagination - 7day Western Caribbean 12/98 Carnival Triumph - 7 day Western Caribbean 12/99 Carnival Destiny - 5 day Canada Cruise 6/2000 Paradise - 7day Western Caribbean 8/2000 Inspiration - 7 day Western Caribbean 8/2001 Sensation - 7 day Western Caribbean 12/2001 Sensation - 7 day Western Caribbean 5/2002 Carnival Victory - 7 day Eastern Caribbean 9/2002 Carnival Legend - 8 day Exotic Southern Caribbean 12/2002

Expand Review
Read More
 
Southern Caribbean
Publication Date: December 12, 2002

Arrived in FLL late due to rainstorms, with the plane routed via Bimini! Taxi to Port Everglades $11 with tip. Arrived at pier about 1:40pm, along with most of the passengers at the same time, apparently. Lines moved along, but formed outside, wrapped inside, into security, then into long ropes queue at check-in, short stop for sign and sail card, past boarding photo (numbered for ease of locating later) and aboard in 1 hr 20 min. There are plenty of Carnival staff to work the crowds, but the terminal is not set up well for handling large crowds. The new ship in port does not have the best setup.

Day 1: We were berthed in cabin 5299, an 8C centerline stern cabin on Upper Deck. 3 closets, 2 large drawers under the extra bed. Short on drawer space in vanity. Hair dryer in drawer. Safe, and stocked refrig (soda was only $1.50 a can, same as at bars). Room steward nowhere to be seen, and no name card. Robes and beach/towels provided. The TV has some U.S. TV from TN and NY, free and pay movies, cruise cams, travelogues, and a

sign and sail account summary.

Quick lunch (12-2:30 daily) in Unicorn Cafe on Lido deck, where service is divided into 8 stations to avoid lines, including poolside grill open daily till 6pm(hot dogs, burgers, chicken breasts, steak sandwiches), Chinese, Taste of Nations (countries change daily - Italy, India, Caribbean, Japan, America, France, Mexico, Greece), Deli (reuben, turkey, roast beef, pastrami) open 11-11, Pizza (open 24 hours), Rotisserie (three or four selections changes daily), Salad and Fruit bar, dessert station. After lifeboat drill went to Lido deck for sail away, which was about 30 minutes late due late boarding. We were interviewed by the Travelogue video crew and for much of the cruise people greeted us with "we saw you on the video", which plays on the TV. We made our Golden Fleece reservations for later in the week on day 5, 8pm, and got a great table for two by the windows.

For our 8:15pm dinners in Truffles Dining Room, we were assigned a table for 2 on the balcony level, deck 3. The dining room has a terrific layout with all service stations on the sides, not among the tables. It cut down on noise. Our table overlooked the main floor from the balcony, as did most of the table for 2, and there a lots. Our team was Jelena from Croatia and Roberto from the Philippines. We brought our own wine all week, and corkage was $10, but was only charged 5 of 8 nights. We also brought extra champagne for sipping on the balcony. Dinner was rack of lamb and tilapia. We skipped the welcome show and enjoyed Satchmo's Lounge with the Music Society, a 4 person Philippino band playing 60's - 90's hits for dancing, and the Johnny Favourite band in the Firebird Lounge playing slow dancing music and jazz.

Day 2 At sea: Enjoyed room service breakfast, prompt delivery. Checked our arrival photo, the shops, enjoyed the sun on the aft Lido deck by the pool. This was were the hot tub was supposed to be reserved for adults, according to the Cruise Capers and to the signs posted there, but was filled for days with age 7 and under children, many without adult supervision all cruise. Attended a reception in Satchmo's Lounge at 2pm, the first Carnival has hosted, for over 40 people from a cruise board. They served iced tea, lemonade and Champagne, thanks to Sandy Schindler of Carnival. Participated in a "state" gift exchange and met folks we spoke with for the remainder of the cruise. This was the first formal night, with the Captain's Welcome Reception in the lounges forward and in the Follies Lounge. Dinner included lobster, prime rib, and a Japanese plate with a petite filet mignon, cherries jubilee, and singing waiters. The after dinner show was "Jazz Hot".

Day 3 At Sea: Eggs Benedict in the dining room, and a lazy day on our balcony except to view ice sculpture. Dinner included 3 great soups, escargot, salmon, roast sirloin. Went to Satchmo's again instead of attending the first of three comedy shows. They did have Big Band dancing before the show, but we were the only ones dancing! Also had late night dancing in Firebird Lounge, which was mostly empty but intimate at night...loud/overdone when the lights were on. My wife enjoyed the piano work of the Mike Mallon, an accomplished pianist for 22 years and 3 original CD's in the lounges at various times all week.

Day 4 St. Maartin: Arrived 7am, and berthed stern first so we had a view of Phillipsburg from the balcony when we woke up. Did our first breakfast in the Unicorn cafe, where eggs to order, including omelets, were available daily. Taxi from pier to Philipsburg was $3 per person. Taxi to La Galleon beach on the French side, east of Orient Beach, which we had found on the internet was $18 for up to 3 persons, each way. Arranged for taxi to return to pick us up. This was a nice uncrowded beach. Fair snorkeling, great windsurfing and sail boarding. No hustle by vendors. Chair rental was $5. There was a restaurant and bar, and restrooms available. Tops optional. Back to Philipsburg to shop (Marigot is closed on Sunday even when ships are in). Liquor is $3-4 per bottle cheaper than on the ship, and cigarettes are $4-5 cheaper per carton. So...we bought my wife a ruby ring there for our anniversary. Ended the afternoon at Everyt'ing Cool, and had my first Big Black Banana there. Great! Taxi back for $3 per person at 3:30pm. Long line boarding caused sailing 15 min late ( a trend here: long lines boarding and late sailings). They still had lunch open aboard, too. Dancing waiters again at dinner (Macarena), filet of sole, Beef Wellington. The show was a tribute to Sammy Davis Jr and Frank Sinatra by Christopher Allen Graves, and received the only standing ovation I can ever recall on a cruise. He was great, started as a player in shows, then producing, now starring. He alternates between the Spirit and the Legend. He got the audience involved in the show. Finished the night in Satchmo's again, and in late night dining in the Unicorn Cafe, where the jambalaya was great.

Day 5 Barbados: Had champagne and room service breakfast on the balcony, as we were not due in Barbados till noon. It was a long run at 21 knots for 20 hrs to get there. As a result, scheduled in port till 10pm. Unfortunately, because we were the last to arrive, we were berthed on the breakwater. The Sea Princess, the Costa Mariner, and SeaDream were already berthed closer to the terminal. After lunch we walked into town, about a 20 minute walk. We located the bus terminal across from St. Mary's church, and for 75 cents per person, each way, we rode about 20 minutes to Folkestone Park, the national underwater park and beach just beyond Holetown. Entrance is free, and there are restrooms, showers, souvenirs and refreshments, picnic tables, a children's playground, and chair rentals ($5). At high tide the sandy beach is limited, but there are plenty of sunny areas. Snorkeling is best over the reef about 100 yards offshore to the right of the beach in front of the rocks to the right. Nice coral and schools of multicolored fish..hundreds in a school. Water was very clear. Took the bus back to town and shopped at Harrison's, downtown, then took a taxi for $5 to The BoatYard, a beachfront bar and grill with water sports, trampoline, rock climb, and a great bar/music with inexpensive drinks ($2 beer and $3 rum punch). Taxi to ship $6 at 7pm. Most shops in the cruise terminal closed at 7pm, but a few were open till 8. After a dinner of turbot and beef tenderloin, they had music on deck at 9:45, a buffet at 11:30pm and games at 11:45..island night.

Day 6 Martinique: Arrived 7am. 8am cleared to go ashore. We left at 9am, took a taxi for $8 per taxi to the town, where the ferry landing was located, off the city park. For $6 each, round trip, we took a 20-minute ferry ride from Fort du France, to Pointe du Bout. Two hotels make their beaches available to the public, and we chose the Meridian. The famed black sand beaches were not here, as they had soft white, probably imported, sand. Chair rental was $5 each. Some topless. Snorkeling was excellent around the rocks and a nearby rocky point of land. Saw many fish and a few schools of larger ones, and even a sea snake on the bottom. The resort town there had many little shops and restaurants. After returning on the 12:15 ferry, we went into Fort du France to locate a CD of French popular music for our daughter's French teacher. We asked a woman on the street where we could have a glass of wine, and she walked three blocks to lead us there. Despite frequent forewarnings, on this our second visit to Martinique, everyone we met was polite. Not as much English spoken here, but pidgeon French will do. We stopped at a waterfront place near the newer pier in town, and had great French wine for $1.50 a glass. Taxi back to port for $8 per taxi. The Destiny had come in while we were ashore. After the early sail away at 2pm, we relaxed until the Past Cruiser receptions at 6:45. We told the Cruise Director, Mike Mullane, that it was our anniversary when he greeted us at the door. They put the invitations into a bucked and had a child pull out one. We were selected and went on stage. The captain came out, and congratulated us, gave us a bottle of Pierr-Jouett Champagne ($99 on the wine list aboard), and asked how many cruises. We said 16 and that my wife had been on 8 Carnival and I on 7, and we reeled off the names when he asked: Tropicale, Jubilee, Fantasy, Inspiration, Sensation, Destiny, Triumph and Legend. As a result, for the rest of the cruise we were greeted by strangers with "Happy Anniversary". Then we went to dinner at the Golden Fleece, the premium restaurant with $25pp cover charge and jackets required for men. The musical duo, Just Duo, is outstanding. The Captain was having dinner with his officers at the adjacent table and cheered us with a "Salute" as we sipped our champagne. A 6 course meal, including appetizer, starters, soups, Caesar salad prepared tableside, 18oz Porterhouse steak and 12 oz Maine Lobster tail, an anniversary whipped cream cake, and dessert including triple crème Brule and a cheese and fruit tray, accompanied by a good Wolf Blass Australian Cabernet that was only $22. A great time dining, dancing, and photos. Finished the evening dancing in Satchmo's.

Day 7 At Sea: A casual day. Breakfast in the Unicorn Cafe, and sun on the balcony. Late lunch in Unicorn Cafe.Mexican today. They held a 4pm Christmas show with children performing and photos with Santa and his elves. The Banger Sisters with Goldie Hawn and Susan Sarandon was the TV movie of the day. This was the second formal night. We had not posed for formal shots till not, but there are multiple locations all over the ship and the lines were shorter than on any cruise we have been on. Another struggle in the dining room with lobster, snow crab, Chateaubriand and baked Alaska. Finished at Satchmo's again. Met our board friend, Cruisebuggie and her husband, finally. Tonight was the only Grand Buffet, available for photos in Truffles from 11:30pm to 12:15, and open at 12:15am.

Day 8 At Sea: Truffles Restaurant for Eggs Benedict, and sunning on the balcony again. Had a nearly 2 hour meet with Cruisebuggie and her husband and toured their Cat 11 suite with extended balcony. Then at 1:45 the group of cruisers from the bulletin board had arranged a group luncheon in Truffles. Before dinner we began to pack and struggled through prime rib at dinner. Visited Satchmo's one last time. I did not use the internet cafe in the library at all, for a change. Cost is $3.95 one-time set up charge, a needless charge in my opinion, and 75 cents a minute plus 50 cents per page for printing. Packages of minutes can be purchased: 30min for 55 cents a minute or 60 minutes for 40 cents a minute.

Day 9 Ft Lauderdale: Ship was not cleared till almost 9:30am, but there was no push to get us to vacate cabins. And there seemed to be no lines at stairs or overcrowded lounges, for a change. Leisurely breakfast in Unicorn, vacated cabin and waited till our tag color was called. No problems debarking or locating luggage, and we got a taxi within 5 minutes of arriving at the curb. Couldn't do curb checkin at airport due to a close connection, but it was not problem despite a marginally acceptable 62" bag. The radar went down and we sat in plane at the gate for 2 hours, missing our connection in Charlotte, and arriving home two hours late and without any checked luggage. However all was delivered by 9:30am the next day.

Overall: Decor: 4 stars. The Legend theme is carried effectively throughout the ship, elevators, lounges, art, etc. It is NOT over the top as some Europeans termed it. There is no "neon" as is noticeable on Destiny and other Carnival ships. The sight lines in the Follies Lounge, especially the balcony, are terrific. Cabin decor was very different than that on the older ships.

Service: 4 stars. The room stewardess never introduced herself, but was very efficient and accommodating, provided extra ice and put our champagne in the fridge. Our dining room staff was excellent, and bar staff spoke to us often. One night when the waiter was ill, the assistant filled in admirably. They brought things we used every night without having to ask again a second time. The Cruise Director was very personable and one of the best we have had. His wife is aboard as an entertainer, and looks like a red haired Liza Minelli.

Food: 5 stars. Dining room was absolutely superb at any meal. The tremendous selection at lunch in the Unicorn, with extended hours for the grill, deli and great pizza, made lunch an adventure every day. And any cruise with eggs benedict available every day in the dining room is great. And bagels with lox and crème cheese from room service. I shop and cook at home, and this was superb. The best in 16 cruises, bar none.

A great anniversary cruise. Can't wait for the next one in 111 days.

Expand Review
Read More
 
Harwich To New York
Publication Date: September 5, 2002

This was our tenth cruise, but our first on Carnival (we have previously traveled on Cunard, Saga, Crystal and P&O). The length of this cruise was 15 nights, visiting Le Havre, Cobh (Ireland), Greenock (Scotland), Reykjavik (Iceland) and St. John's (Newfoundland) before reaching New York.

We booked a hire car from London (where we live) and arrived at the port by noon. Embarkation was smooth and painless, and we were soon on the ship, where we were greeted most courteously and shown to our cabin. We arrived early purposely, as we had heard that this was the best policy. I do not remember anyone grumbling about their arrival, so I assume things went well for most passengers.

Our cabin was on Empress deck (No.6245), and we found it most satisfactory. The storage space was quite adequate even though we had three suitcases, which fit under the beds after we unpacked them. The cabin was 185 sq. ft. plus a balcony. Compared to anything other than Crystal, I thought it was really most comfortable. The TV was much larger than others we have had in the cabin.

Our bathroom was not huge but had

a good shower and adequate storage for toiletries. The facilities included the usual soaps, etc., with shampoo and shower gel dispensers in the shower enclosure. I particularly liked the magnifying mirror... so good for applying makeup! There was the usual mini-bar. I have to say that the sound insulation, A/C and lighting were highly adequate, and we heard absolutely no noise from other cabins.

The ship was much larger than any we had cruised on before, and we were pleased with the number of elevators for passengers. They were so glitzy, too--especially ones that went up and down the nine-story atrium!

I want to make one comment on the decor of this ship. I asked many passengers what they thought of it, and bearing in mind that most of us were over 40, the majority thought it was totally over the top and in what I consider bad taste. Ancient Egypt/Greece seemed to be the theme, and wherever you looked were Greek urns. Yes, dear reader, the door handles in public areas and the spindles on the staircases were all gray plastic Greek urns. The overall impression was quite dark. I mention this as I felt that the millions spent could have created a much more tasteful environment.

The main dining room had two levels and we were second sitting. We had asked for a table for 8-10 and were disappointed to be placed at a table for four. Even worse, two ladies who appeared as our table mates asked where we were from, and having heard we were English, told us that they were also from U.K. and did not want to sit with any people from home. We understood they really wanted to meet people from other countries, but the way they behaved was rude. They left the table immediately to see the Maitre d' and we never saw them again! We also spoke with the Maitre d' after the first meal and ended up in most congenial company with two other couples, one from Australia and the other from Texas.

Only breakfast was free sitting, but even then the waiters wanted you to sit where they considered it convenient, and after one experience of particularly slow service we preferred to eat breakfast in the self-service restaurant on the ninth deck.

The food was most satisfactory. Lobster, shrimp and steak were absolutely first class--equal to that on QE2. Desserts were scrumptious, and the amount of weight gained is testament to the quality of the food. We ate at the alternate restaurant, The Golden Fleece, and while the food and service were excellent the portions served were quite overwhelming (as they were many of the meals served). It seems that American meal sizes are overly large and it was daunting to be served two to three lobster tails!

Dress was casual, elegantly casual or formal. There were four formal nights, when more than half the men were in dinner jackets/tuxedos and the women were elegantly dressed. I was pleasantly surprised by the dress standards, having been warned by one correspondent that we would be lucky if many men turned their baseball caps the right way around for dinner!

The waiters/waitresses were from all over the world. Ours were from Estonia, Hungary and South Africa. None were American. The service was prompt and friendly. Each night the staff would sing and dance under the direction of Kenny, the Maitre d', who also sang and serenaded us nightly. This may appeal to some people, but we agreed with our table mates that we could have done without this practice. The wine prices we considered exorbitant, much higher than on other ships.

The ship had excellent facilities--lots of hot spas, swimming pools (which were rather small), and a simply wonderful gym. You had to pay for Pilates classes, and as the prices for beauty treatments were rather high I avoided them. All the staffers were helpful and friendly. We simply cannot report any bad experiences. We played the slots, watched others losing money at blackjack, etc., and went to most of the shows.

The Follies theater was three levels high and the seating was very comfortable. The venue was very large. The shows were varied and enjoyable. But I have to mention the person who made all aspects of this cruise so enjoyable--the cruise director John Heald. He was the best cruise director I have ever known...witty, funny and always making sure passengers had the best time possible. I am proud to say he is English, and I reckon he is one of Carnival's greatest assets. If you meet him you will agree.

There is no cinema on board and films are watched in your cabin. Frankly, I think they should have included a cinema and cut down on one or two of the 14 bars...but then, bars make money and cinemas do not.

I could have wished for a large, quiet lounge in which to read. The seating seemed to run along walkways on the first, second and third floors as well as an area called the Enchanted Forest, all highly decorated and on both sides of the ship--rather narrow spaces looking out onto the water. The library was very poor given that there were more than 2,000 passengers. John Heald acknowledged this in a question-and-answer session, and said Carnival would look into this. As the Internet facilities were in the library, there was nowhere just to sit. The library hours were most limited. Maybe Carnival's passengers are not normally the reading public!

My husband played bridge daily and I saw many others playing card games. There was also Trivia and Bingo. I would have liked more guest speakers/lecturers. I did not see any.

The ports of call were well liked by the passengers, and many have asked for Carnival to start sailing in Europe. We were given the impression that Carnival has this under consideration and may start doing transatlantic crossings in 2004.

This brings me to the weather and sea conditions. Many of us were nervous about crossing the North Atlantic in September in a cruise ship built for calmer seas. Well, the ship just behaved wonderfully and most of the time it was calm. Even when it was rather rough near Iceland we were totally impressed by the stability of the vessel and would not have any qualms about crossing the Atlantic in this ship.

We paid gratuities on our shipboard bill and were assured by our staff that they did get the monies paid. I always feel a bit uncomfortable about this practice, but as the cost was not low we went along with it. I do think that it was rather tacky to ask the passengers to pay the Maitre d' for his services, as no other salaried member of staff gets tips...just an observation.

After some of the negative comments I had heard on different cruise boards, I can only say that we enjoyed the cruise. We will not be going on any short Caribbean cruises, but if Carnival decides to sail in Europe again, we will be happy to travel with them. It was great value for money--the cabins, food, service and entertainment were all highly satisfactory.

One of the most memorable parts of the cruise was meeting so many friendly people. American cruisers are prepared to chat and we loved meeting so many great People..Thank you all.

Our disembarkation was also smooth though we had to wait over an hour for a cab to take us to our hotel in New York. And what a wonderful place that is...but that's another story.

Any comments or questions would be appreciated.

Expand Review
Read More
 
Trans-Atlantic, Harwich To New York
Publication Date: September 5, 2002

We boarded Carnival's newest ship, Legend, in the port of Harwich, U.K. on September 5 for a 15-day transatlantic crossing, stopping at Le Havre, France; Cobh, Ireland; Greenock, Scotland; Reykjavik, Iceland; and St. John's, Newfoundland before finishing up in New York City. Combine those ports with several days at sea and you have a cruise that was legendary as well as historic!

The crossing followed an inaugural 12-day Baltic cruise, the first time Carnival has tested the European market, and it appears it was quite successful. More than 100 passengers actually sailed both legs covering 27 days! This inaugural cruise went very smoothly with no serious problems. There were some lighting problems with the fixtures in the main dining room, but the propulsion plant, azipods, air conditioning and other systems seemed to function perfectly.

The Legend rode the waves exceptionally well, taking some pretty heavy seas (eight to 12-foot waves) with very little rocking and rolling. The crew was a mix of experienced and new, but after the first few days they performed like old hands who had been working together for years.

Carnival put its top-ranked cruise director, John Heald, onboard with a staff

he hand picked to entertain the guests -- a wonderful show extravaganza and some tried and true outside entertainers made this a voyage to remember.

The Ship

The Legend is the third ship in Carnival's Spirit Class, and as far as I am concerned, the nicest. The decor is dedicated to legends throughout history--biblical legends, Greek mythology, Knights of the Round Table, up to the movie legends of the last century. Legend's main promenade deck is at level 2. You can stroll from the three-level Follies show lounge in the bow through the card room, Legends cafe (specialty coffees and treats for a nominal fee), Satchmo's Club (nightly dancing), Dream Team sports bar and the Club Merlin Casino (with a wide, unobstructed walkway) to the Legend lobby. There you'll find the Purser's Office and Shore Tours desk as well as a large sitting area and bar beneath the Colossus Atrium, which rises nine decks. You can take glass elevators up to the top, where you'll find the Golden Fleece Specialty Restaurant.

Continuing from the lobby toward the stern, you go through the Atlantis Lounge piano bar and the entrance to the bi-level Medusa's Lair (the disco). Next comes the main dining room with its adjoining private club. The dining room, filled with displays of plates and china from different countries, is well lighted and laid out, covering two decks; the center of the room is open to both decks, creating a spacious feeling.

The ship's many public rooms also include the Odyssey Lounge (where cigar smoking is allowed), the Round Table room, the photo gallery, several shops, Billie's Piano Bar, the Chapel and the Holmes Library, which also contains the Internet caf‚. On the Atlantic deck is the outside Promenade, and all the way forward is a small, quiet nook called the Enchanted Forest. All the way forward the next two levels up are the video games and Camp Carnival area. The Firebird Lounge (late-night entertainment and art auctions) is forward on the first deck along with passenger cabins.

Decks 4 through 8 are passenger cabins (80 percent of the cabins are outside or balcony cabins). On Deck 9 you'll find the spa, pool and Unicorn Caf‚, with deli sandwiches, "Taste of Nations" (ethnic food from a different country each day), pizza, salad bar, Oriental food and a rotisserie. Another pool and two ice cream stations are located aft. The Golden Fleece is on Decks 10 and 11. Also on Deck 11 is the kids' pool and the entrance to the water slide, which towers above the entire ship.

The Legend is elegantly designed and laid out for easy access to all areas. Rich, dark woods prevail, along with paintings and murals of 'legends.' My only problem was the overuse of 'urns' in the decor. These darn things are everywhere, and in all sizes! We sometimes felt like we were in a crematorium!

Dining

I have always felt Carnival has some of the best food in the industry, and this was also true on the Legend. The lunch menu on the Lido deck seemed to have something for everyone's taste, from Asian style to American to the ever-changing ethnic cuisine offered daily. I was particularly fond of the soups; it wasn't unusual for me to take two soups and a platter of samplings from the other areas.

The dining room fare was excellent and varied. We even tried Ostrich -- red meat that tasted like venison. Seafood and beef were the staples; all tasted fresh and well prepared. Soups were outstanding. Service was a little slow, but the crew was still getting to know the ship and each other. We were at first seated in the private club dining area; we didn't like it because we felt pushed aside, and I personally do not like rectangular tables. I approached Ken, the maitre d', and asked for a table for six in the main area--and that's just what was waiting for us the next evening.

The dining room staff puts on entertainment every night, including a couple of special evenings; one was a traditional Scottish serving of Haggis, complete with bagpipes and ceremonial trappings. The maitre d' also treated the dining room to his singing each evening.

Entertainment

We were fortunate that our cruise had the famous John Heald as Cruise Director, along with his hand picked staff of favorites. His assistant of two years, Carlos, was there, and a young man from Scotland named Ralph (better known as "wee Jimmy," since he is quite short and from Scotland, where everyone is called "Jimmy"). John, his wife Heidi and Carlos have been our friends for years. They are a wonderful bunch who have the interests of passengers in mind and go out of their way to be approachable. John made arrangements for a back-stage tour for those who wanted to see how the shows are produced; well over a hundred people showed up when he expected about 20. We met many of the performers and talked to them about their lives onboard. It is amazing how hard they work to put on these shows.

In Ireland and Scotland, John arranged for local talent to come onboard and perform, so we were treated to an Irish dance troupe of young people aged 8 to 18. They stunned the audience with their performance a la Riverdance. We also heard Irish folk singers who put on a great show. In Scotland, we saw a bagpipe troupe with traditional folk singers, and a fiddle player who gave a jaw-dropping performance! The cruise hosted several performers who don't usually entertain on Carnival ships, including John Davidson (we missed that show) and our old friend Al Ernst. (Al once traveled and performed with my brother-in-law on the comedy circuits.) Carnival entertainment is top-rated as far as I am concerned.

Shore Excursions

While we usually tour on our own, we opted for the ship's tours in every port, simply because we had never been to these places. Besides, pricing was very similar for individual vs. ship tours. I would recommend these tours for anyone, especially those who have never been to these locations. Without going into detail on each port, suffice to say one should attend the excursion talks and read the brochures carefully, choosing those trips that fit your ability and desires.

Most tours were full day (eight to 12 hours) and there was quite a bit of traveling; most ports in Europe are basically industrial in nature and you must travel some to get to the good stuff.

Carnival did an excellent job considering this was its first visit to these ports. The buses were comfortable, and tour escorts seemed very knowledgeable and easy to communicate with.

Demographics

The average age on this cruise was considerably older and the income level was somewhat higher than your typical Carnival cruise -- no doubt because this was a fairly long cruise, designed more for the experienced traveler. Average age would probably come in around 59 vs. Carnival's normal 48. Very few people were first-time cruisers. We traveled with a group of about 40 people we met via the Internet, and four close friends we have cruised with before.

Most of the passengers were wonderful people and we made many new friends, but to our surprise, there were quite a few rude people onboard. We saw many people in the Lido dining area during lunch and breakfast who were not eating but just sitting--reading or playing cards while others were looking for a place to sit down and eat. This was just one example of several awkward experiences. We even saw people wearing blue jeans in the dining room on casual nights -- something we had never seen on our previous 12 Carnival cruises. And all of these instances involved older people, many of whom were pretty wealthy.

Conclusions

Carnival has a winner in this ship, and in the idea of cruising in Europe. We took more than 500 photos, and could have taken twice that many! The ship is amazing and well run. We believe Carnival should definitely consider establishing regular routes in and around Europe for at least the summer months. Word has it that they will be doing this again in 2004 and maybe from the Med on one of the new Conquest Class vessels. If they do, we will be there!

Jim & Sylvia Bragg

Expand Review
Read More
 
Harwich To New York
Publication Date: September 5, 2002

This was our tenth cruise, but our first on Carnival (we have previously traveled on Cunard, Saga, Crystal and P&O). The length of this cruise was 15 nights, visiting Le Havre, Cobh (Ireland), Greenock (Scotland), Reykjavik (Iceland) and St. John's (Newfoundland) before reaching New York.

We booked a hire car from London (where we live) and arrived at the port by noon. Embarkation was smooth and painless, and we were soon on the ship, where we were greeted most courteously and shown to our cabin. We arrived early purposely, as we had heard that this was the best policy. I do not remember anyone grumbling about their arrival, so I assume things went well for most passengers.

Our cabin was on Empress deck (No.6245), and we found it most satisfactory. The storage space was quite adequate even though we had three suitcases, which fit under the beds after we unpacked them. The cabin was 185 sq. ft. plus a balcony. Compared to anything other than Crystal, I thought it was really most comfortable. The TV was much larger than others we have had in the cabin.

Our bathroom was not huge but had

a good shower and adequate storage for toiletries. The facilities included the usual soaps, etc., with shampoo and shower gel dispensers in the shower enclosure. I particularly liked the magnifying mirror... so good for applying makeup! There was the usual mini-bar. I have to say that the sound insulation, A/C and lighting were highly adequate, and we heard absolutely no noise from other cabins.

The ship was much larger than any we had cruised on before, and we were pleased with the number of elevators for passengers. They were so glitzy, too--especially ones that went up and down the nine-story atrium!

I want to make one comment on the decor of this ship. I asked many passengers what they thought of it, and bearing in mind that most of us were over 40, the majority thought it was totally over the top and in what I consider bad taste. Ancient Egypt/Greece seemed to be the theme, and wherever you looked were Greek urns. Yes, dear reader, the door handles in public areas and the spindles on the staircases were all gray plastic Greek urns. The overall impression was quite dark. I mention this as I felt that the millions spent could have created a much more tasteful environment.

The main dining room had two levels and we were second sitting. We had asked for a table for 8-10 and were disappointed to be placed at a table for four. Even worse, two ladies who appeared as our table mates asked where we were from, and having heard we were English, told us that they were also from U.K. and did not want to sit with any people from home. We understood they really wanted to meet people from other countries, but the way they behaved was rude. They left the table immediately to see the Maitre d' and we never saw them again! We also spoke with the Maitre d' after the first meal and ended up in most congenial company with two other couples, one from Australia and the other from Texas.

Only breakfast was free sitting, but even then the waiters wanted you to sit where they considered it convenient, and after one experience of particularly slow service we preferred to eat breakfast in the self-service restaurant on the ninth deck.

The food was most satisfactory. Lobster, shrimp and steak were absolutely first class--equal to that on QE2. Desserts were scrumptious, and the amount of weight gained is testament to the quality of the food. We ate at the alternate restaurant, The Golden Fleece, and while the food and service were excellent the portions served were quite overwhelming (as they were many of the meals served). It seems that American meal sizes are overly large and it was daunting to be served two to three lobster tails!

Dress was casual, elegantly casual or formal. There were four formal nights, when more than half the men were in dinner jackets/tuxedos and the women were elegantly dressed. I was pleasantly surprised by the dress standards, having been warned by one correspondent that we would be lucky if many men turned their baseball caps the right way around for dinner!

The waiters/waitresses were from all over the world. Ours were from Estonia, Hungary and South Africa. None were American. The service was prompt and friendly. Each night the staff would sing and dance under the direction of Kenny, the Maitre d', who also sang and serenaded us nightly. This may appeal to some people, but we agreed with our table mates that we could have done without this practice. The wine prices we considered exorbitant, much higher than on other ships.

The ship had excellent facilities--lots of hot spas, swimming pools (which were rather small), and a simply wonderful gym. You had to pay for Pilates classes, and as the prices for beauty treatments were rather high I avoided them. All the staffers were helpful and friendly. We simply cannot report any bad experiences. We played the slots, watched others losing money at blackjack, etc., and went to most of the shows.

The Follies theater was three levels high and the seating was very comfortable. The venue was very large. The shows were varied and enjoyable. But I have to mention the person who made all aspects of this cruise so enjoyable--the cruise director John Heald. He was the best cruise director I have ever known...witty, funny and always making sure passengers had the best time possible. I am proud to say he is English, and I reckon he is one of Carnival's greatest assets. If you meet him you will agree.

There is no cinema on board and films are watched in your cabin. Frankly, I think they should have included a cinema and cut down on one or two of the 14 bars...but then, bars make money and cinemas do not.

I could have wished for a large, quiet lounge in which to read. The seating seemed to run along walkways on the first, second and third floors as well as an area called the Enchanted Forest, all highly decorated and on both sides of the ship--rather narrow spaces looking out onto the water. The library was very poor given that there were more than 2,000 passengers. John Heald acknowledged this in a question-and-answer session, and said Carnival would look into this. As the Internet facilities were in the library, there was nowhere just to sit. The library hours were most limited. Maybe Carnival's passengers are not normally the reading public!

My husband played bridge daily and I saw many others playing card games. There was also Trivia and Bingo. I would have liked more guest speakers/lecturers. I did not see any.

The ports of call were well liked by the passengers, and many have asked for Carnival to start sailing in Europe. We were given the impression that Carnival has this under consideration and may start doing transatlantic crossings in 2004.

This brings me to the weather and sea conditions. Many of us were nervous about crossing the North Atlantic in September in a cruise ship built for calmer seas. Well, the ship just behaved wonderfully and most of the time it was calm. Even when it was rather rough near Iceland we were totally impressed by the stability of the vessel and would not have any qualms about crossing the Atlantic in this ship.

We paid gratuities on our shipboard bill and were assured by our staff that they did get the monies paid. I always feel a bit uncomfortable about this practice, but as the cost was not low we went along with it. I do think that it was rather tacky to ask the passengers to pay the Maitre d' for his services, as no other salaried member of staff gets tips...just an observation.

After some of the negative comments I had heard on different cruise boards, I can only say that we enjoyed the cruise. We will not be going on any short Caribbean cruises, but if Carnival decides to sail in Europe again, we will be happy to travel with them. It was great value for money--the cabins, food, service and entertainment were all highly satisfactory.

One of the most memorable parts of the cruise was meeting so many friendly people. American cruisers are prepared to chat and we loved meeting so many great People..Thank you all.

Our disembarkation was also smooth though we had to wait over an hour for a cab to take us to our hotel in New York. And what a wonderful place that is...but that's another story.

Any comments or questions would be appreciated.

Anniel

 

Expand Review
Read More
 
 
Baltic Sea
Publication Date: August 24, 2002

Inaugral voyage -- 12 days -- roundtrip London, visiting Copenhaven, Warnemunde, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Tallin and Amsterdam.

Because it seems that this ship will not be returning to Europe next year and it is already over here and will soon be in the Caribbean, I'll focus mostly on the ship rather than the ports.

Our only previous experience with Carnival was on the Sensation out of Tampa, afterwhich we were one of those, "I'll never sail Carnival again" cruisers. So I'm writing this mostly for others like us who have made up their minds not to sail on Carnival. You may want to re-think for the Legend -- at least as far as the ship goes. Don't know about the passenger make-up you will see in the Caribbean.

The Legend is really "classy" for a Carnival ship. No neon, no molded plastic furniture in purple and gold, very "muted", at least compared to the Sensation and I assume many other Carnival ships. The abundance of urns worked into the motif in the atrium is a bit much, but seating areas are of nice upolstered and wood trim furniture. Buffet seating is also nice

with cloth/wood chairs, bench seating, booths and marble topped tables -- all with great views of the sea. Most of the lounges, bars and other public areas are also decorated quite tastefully. And fresh flowers -- imagine that! And classical music in the atrium area (but maybe will not be such on Caribbean cruises).

A casino dealer who had been on the same class ship the Spirit told me that the Spirit is also nice, except for the top decks, where it seemed to her they just couldn't resist going back to the "cheap" look. She definitely liked the Legend better and said it was without a doubt the nicest ship in Carnival's fleet.

There certainly cannot be any complaints about the cabin. We booked the lowest fare inside guarantee and got an outside midships on Deck 1. What a terrific upgrade. We like being on the lower decks -- easy access to dining room, casino, shops, library, photo gallery etc. And especially not having to wait for elevators after a shore excursion or attending a show at the theater. The room was huge with more than enough shelf and closet space and a separate sitting area with a sofa. I like having the bed parallel to the direction the ship is traveling (as opposed to most ship cabins where the beds are perpendicular to the outside "wall" of the ship). by the way, we had gale force winds one night and the ship barely moved -- this is a really stable ship, even in high seas.

Our cabin service was absolutely great, although others we spoke with had problems, particularly of the sort where their cabin steward barged into their room unannounced and was basically telling them when they had to get out etc. and trying to run their lives. I'm sure if they had complained -- which they should have -- the problem would have been taken care of.

Food was generally ok at best -- not comparable to HAL or Princess by any stretch. Buffet is laid out quite differently, with four separate small corner areas (Asian food, sandwiches, a nationality-of-the-day place and a basic mostly barbeque ribs, chicken, roast beef, i.e. American food place), then separate dessert and salad areas, plus the pizza place and then the burger/hot dog grill in the pool area. I liked it because I thought it eliminated crowding and lines. Some did not like that they had to first travel around to each area to see what there was and then go back for the food. Only the sandwich and American food areas and an extremely limited salad and dessert bar were open for evening meals. Pizza was available 24 hours a day and was very, very good. You could ask for a fresh whole pizza and take it to your room at any time. Ice crean was free and available most of the day. Overall the food at the buffet was pretty basic -- you did not find prime rib or fried shrimp or filet mignon as you will on a Princess ship. (In fact when we were on the Ocean Princess, the buffet always served exactly what was available in the dining room during the evening meal time. It was great to choose what you want and then take a seat in their very nice restaurant area in the back of the buffet.)

Food in the dining room was better, but still just ok. Service was good. A real improvement is that since Carnival now adds the tips directly to passenger shipboard accounts, there is not the last night begging for tips that I have witnessed on other cruises -- especially when we were on the Sensation. On that cruise, they actually closed all of the buffet on the last night to force people to go to the dining room. by the way, this practice does NOT influence how much you tip. Just request the "adjustment" sheet a few days before the end of your cruise and put in the amounts you feel you want to give.

We only went to one show and did not participate in the pool side activities, although we watched some of them on the cruise video they were trying to sell on our TV in the cabin. by the way, they divided the video into three separate videos so they could make more money. So we did not really participate enough to judge the entertainment staff. However, and this is a really BIG one, I will tell of one experience. Warnemunde. We left late (about 10 pm)because we waited for the people returning from excursions to Berlin. This little town was really something -- THOUSANDS -- and I'm not exagerating -- of people on the dock to bid us farewell. The dock playing beautiful music ( I think it was the theme from Titanic, but that's OK). We later tried to figure out why there were so many people and decided it was probably because Warnemunde is a beach tourist town for Germans so every week there are new people in town and I guess one of the things to do is go down to the dock and watch the ships leave. Anyway, they waved, they applauded, they whistled, and they sang. It was without a doubt the most poignant moment I have ever experienced on a cruise ship. Standing on the top deck as we left Warnemunde........ AND guess what was going on one deck below in the pool area????? The cruise staff was running a twist contest, totally oblivious of what was going on. It was a major disservice to the cruisers who missed the experience, to us who were trying to enjoy it, and expecially to the people of Warnemunde! So that is my major comment about John Heald and his entertainment staff.

I know that passenger make up or mix can influence cruisers' experiences greatly and that this issue has often been cited as a problem with Carnival cruises. We particularly love Europe cruises for this very reason and the Baltic trip on the Legend was no exception. We met many people from all over the world. Evening dress was always quite dressy, even on "elegant casual" nights. People were basically curteous, refined and very anxious to engage in conversation. Everyone was very interested in the countries we visited and the life style of the people of those countries. No sloppy dress, loud drunks etc. or other such experiences were witnessed by us anyway. Of course this was a 12-day cruise in Europe -- what you may find on the 8-day Caribbean itinerary will undoubtly be different -- and of course it should be. The Caribbean is fun, sun, beach, shopping, partying. If you want a cultural cruise, go to Europe.

In summary, there were still a few obvious what I would call Carnival traits on our cruise on the Legend -- some nickle and dime stuff etc. but overall the ship is great and brand new (nice to have a new mattress -- very comfortable) and clean. Food and service are good. Try the Legend.......

Expand Review
Read More
Write a Review
Results 71 - 80 of 81 56789

Similar Cruise Ships

Carnival Breeze
Carnival Breeze
From 4 Reviews
Elation
Elation
From 56 Reviews
Fascination
Fascination
From 45 Reviews
Ecstasy
Ecstasy
From 52 Reviews