Legend 7/5-7/12 Mega review with lots of pictures!

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#1
near Pottstown, PA
706 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
Before jumping into my review, I'll warn you - I tend to be wordy in my reviews, so keep that in mind as you go!

First, some basic background. This was my second cruise and a first for the rest of my familyH/Jon, DD/Mandy(14) and DS/Tim(9). My prior cruise was on Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas - a moms' getaway cruise with two other women. I'll probably compare and contrast this cruise with that one as I go along, but I'll try and keep it a balanced review. Keep in mind, also, this was our FAMILY cruise, so I have a feeling I'll be concentrating more on kids activities, clubs, reactions, etc. and not so much on shows and such this time around.

We left out of Philadelphia for Tampa, on Southwest, a day early - on Saturday, July 4. No winter weather to deal with, but the relaxation factor of having all that time to spare cannot be understated. It's so nice that SW has not given in yet and started charging luggage fees. Our family packed quite a load. With four able-bodied people and everything on wheels, though, it really wasn't too unwieldy, except once in the hotel shuttle.

Our pint-sized porter


Our whole Carnival cruise, on the whole, was a wonderful one. I would do it again in a heartbeat! Now on with my review.

We had section A boarding passes on SW, but ended up in the middle of the plane to get the seating we wanted. I would have preferred to have two seats on either side, but with three on each, the kids and Jon took one side and I took the aisle seat on the other. Not quite three hours to Tampa, and we were touching down. Never thought I would say this, as a mom, but thank goodness for the kids' DS games. Quiet kids! Their books only lasted so long. We took our time exiting from the plane and collecting our gear, then heaed to the TGI Fridays in the airport for lunch. (I recommend the Santa Fe chicken salad - yum!)

at TGI Fridays


We had gotten the port package at the Holiday Inn Express, Rocky Point, so we called or the shuttle as soon as we were done with lunch. As for the hotel, we ended up with a wonderful view from our room, overlooking the pool and Tampa Bay, but aside from that, it was your standard hotel room.




If I remember correctly, the hotel port package - free shuttle within a five mile radius, plus pickup at the airport on arrival, transport to the port on sailaway, and transport to the airport from the port upon return - added about $40 to the regular hotel rate.
#2
near Pottstown, PA
706 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
We ended up taking the shuttle to one of the local malls



and Walmart, so we probably broke even over the cost of taking a taxi everywhere. It did take about 15-20 min. for the shuttle to come and get us each time, though, so if time is a factor, book at the cheaper rate and taxi it around.



hotel elevator


We ended up eating supper at the huge Bahama Breeze next door, within walking distance of the hotel. More yummy!!


Next day:
The next morning we could have slept in and taken it easy. Nope. Everyone was up by 7 am. NOW they decided to get excited. We couldn't get a shuttle to the port until noon - the 11 am shuttle had already been booked when we arrived on the 4th. Since we didn't have to be in the lobby until around 11:45, we took it slow at breakfast



The breakfast buffet had typical breakfast choices: eggs, sausage patties, cold cereal, pastries, etc. We told the kids to fill up, since we didn't plan on eating again until we were onboard. We even had time to wander around outside and take pictures of this guy and his friend near the pool area. He let us get pretty close and even posed.



By 11:30, we were all bored, so we headed for the lobby and hung out with another family who we had met the day before on one of our shuttle rides. At noon, we wedged ourselves, along with 8 other people and about 20 pieces of luggage, into the shuttle and headed out. We were finally on our way!

The kids kept craning their necks to get a brief glimpse of the ship as we pulled up to the port authority.



I think they might have caught a glimpse of red and blue.
#4
near Pottstown, PA
706 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
Once we pulled in, I noticed a big difference in the way Carnival handles luggage vs. RCI. A positive difference here. (or maybe it's just the way each port does it - whatever the case, I like it!) As our shuttle arrived, a porter came right over and started taking or lugage out of the back. No need to stand in line lugging your stuff behind you, then get in another line to check in.

luggage drop off/another group unloads their vehicle


The porter carted it into a nearby building and then we lost sight of it - we just had to have faith it would eventually show up in our room. It only took him two trips for all 20 pieces in the shuttle, then we tipped him and headed in as well.

Just a note here, though. For you first time cruisers - take a few minutes ahead of time and prepare your luggage! Before the trip, I had printed out, folded and laminated our luggage tags. Then, before we left our hotel, I attached them on with zip ties, through holes I punched. (Yep, I brought along my own hole punch!) But believe me, those babies weren't coming off! One family on our shuttle was in the process of moving and hadn't had time to print their tags at home. The porter gave them flimsy generic tags (like the ones the airlines hand out free) and had them fill them out before he would take their luggage.

Once inside, there were more lines, but they moved quickly. From this point on, we were inside AC the whole time, right up through stepping onboard. What a relief, since we northerners are not used to that oppressive July weather, with it's high heat and humidity!

We had our id's (passports) checked a few times and had to go through luggage screening, but overall probably no more than 30 minutes passed overall. While we were in line, Mandy took some pictures



until a stern, but grandfatherly looking guard told her because of 9/11, there were no pictures allowed in the building. My little 14-year-old terrorist; but I can understand!

We finally got our sign and sail cards, I punched them and we had them strung on our lanyards in just a few minutes. A brief stop for our embarkation photo, the first of many such photos on this trip.



And we walked right onboard!! No big ramp or escalator to trudge up here. We entered on Deck 2, into the lobby. Mandy and Tim (and Jon, too, I think) were suitably impressed by the glitz and glitter. Lots of "ooh"s and "oh, look at that"s ensued.



I had heard that Carnival was much more neon, and tacky to some people, but I thought there was just the right amount of . . . shiny, shall we say. Definitely not as quiet as RCI, but pleasing at least to my eye.

#5
SW Florida
1,899 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Great review so far! Love the pictures, keep them coming..... it helps pass the time
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#8
near Pottstown, PA
706 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
Thanks, all, for the kind words. I love writing reviews and if it helps someone waiting to go on the Legend, all that much better!

Okay, now for more.

By now it was close to 1:15, so I figure we might as well try to get into our rooms before hitting the Lido Deck for food. We had room 7294; it was almost all the way aft and on the port side. Kind of off in a corner and somewhat secluded - perfect! When we stepped off the elevator onto Deck 7, the odd numbered rooms were still being cleared (odd were on one side and even on the other) but we lucked out and could get into ours.

Although I was too excited at the time to take pictures of the room then, I went back later on in the cruise and did so - which is why they look so cluttered here. We weren't instant slobs . . . really!











#9
1,386 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
I'm really enjoying your review! Can't wait to read more.

Did you feel cramped in the balcony cabin? We're a family of 4 also and have a balcony stateroom.

Which RCCL ships have you been on? How does this ship compare?
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#10
near Pottstown, PA
706 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
After checking out the view of Tampa from the balcony, the kids realized they were starving, so we went in search of food. Down a short hallway, up two flights of stairs and we were right there on the Lido Deck (Deck 9).



At this point, I had a few moments of disconnect. I knew from reading about Carnival earlier, that there was no single buffet line, but I had it in my head how Adventure of the Seas had been laid out. Upon first glance around the Lido, I thought we were in the wrong place. Once I realized the Lido was divided into many "stations," each offering a different choice, it started to make sense again. The smaller tables and booths were a pleasant change also from the huge tables on RCI, and most seemed to offer a nice view out the windows. I liked the overall setup much better, but it took some getting used to at first.

As we wandered around the Lido, we had no idea how to handle this huge, people-filled space at first. We had trays (another nice change from RCI!) for carrying our food, but it was hard to search for a table when you were laden down with several things on your tray. Our solution was to "reserve" a table with our stuff and usually one of us (yes, we are TABLE HOGS!), then divide and conquer, each one hitting his or her favorite stations. I quickly found the deli, for the first of many reubens, and the salad bar, while Tim went for the chicken fingers and pizza (his nickname became Pizza Man) and Mandy and Jon sampled a little of everything.



pizza station - sadly I was always too full to sample any


Pizza Man Tim - although by no means limited to pizza!


dessert first? why not?
#11
near Pottstown, PA
706 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
Originally posted by 3redheads
I'm really enjoying your review! Can't wait to read more.

Did you feel cramped in the balcony cabin? We're a family of 4 also and have a balcony stateroom.

Which RCCL ships have you been on? How does this ship compare?

Thanks! It took a bit of coordination when all 4 of us were moving around in the cabin, but since someone was usually lounging on the bed (my kids lounge a lot!) and someone else was usually out on the balcony, it worked very well. I never felt like it was problem, and we're tall people. Tim, at 9, is already 5 feet tall.

I was on the Adventure of the Seas. Overall, AOS is more subdued in decor, the food wasn't as good (mho), and captain seemed much more accessible. On Legend, there was much more of a vibrant, family friendly, active vibe. Also, the Legend's photo gallery is not as nicely organized. Other than that, the ships are not that different. Keep reading as I will try and touch on both more later on.
-Cathy
#13
Cincinnati, Ohio
851 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
Leave Sat for the Legend - 2nd time around.

Enjoying your review .
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#14
Utah
22 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
Great Review so far. I cant wait for more as I am on the Legend in September as a firsttime cruiser. All the great reviews just get me that much more excited.
#15
Charlotte NC
158 Posts
Joined Jun 2007
Thanks for the review! I am headed for the Legend in September and its nice to see some pics of the ship.

Keep up the great review!

Ashley
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#16
near Pottstown, PA
706 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
Even though it was very hot and humid, we explored the outside of the ship next. Of course, I needed a Funship special to help combat the heat!



I did share with my honey!


Dwarfed by the whale tail




Florida Aquarium


Channelside
#17
Indiana
1,321 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
I am so excited about your review. We just booked this cruise for March. It will be our first Carnival. Keep the pics coming and thank you.
Linda
#18
Northwest Georgia
5,965 Posts
Joined May 2003
Loving your review. Can't wait for the rest. It brings back many happy memories of our Legend cruise last November.
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Past Cruises:
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Liberty 11/14
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Fantasy 11/09
Legend 11/08
Celebration 9/07
Holiday 3/07
Glory 11/06
Inspiration 11/05
Conquest 11/04
Fantasy 1/03
Pride 11/02
Paradise 7/99
Fantasy 6/94

RCI Monarch of the Seas 04/09
RCI Mariner of the Seas 11/03
#19
Indiana
1,321 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
I forgot to ask. Does the Legend have anytime dining? What time dining did you do with the kids. We are thinking late seating as we don't want to rush them during the day. We also were thinking that they might not want to go to dinner and they could grab from the buffet before going off to the kids club then DH and I would go to dinner alone. Did you son use the camp carnival? Did he like it ? My grandkids will be 11 & 9 at the time of the sail.
Linda
#20
near Pottstown, PA
706 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
When the heat chased us inside, we took more time to explore the rest of the ship.

kids in Follies


looking upwards in the lobby


Rodeo Drive - ie gift shops


Both kids loved the Enchanted Forest


As it got closer to muster drill, we returned to our room, where we met our room steward, Aldo. It was only when I looked through all my pictures at home, that I realized I didn't have a picture of him. Actually, we didn't see him much, maybe a brief passing in the halls every now and then, but he always had a smile and would ask the kids what they were doing for the day. My one request, for another pillow, was met super quickly!

Soon we heard the announcement for muster. A friend of mine who cruises a lot had given me a tip for muster; wait a few minutes after the final alarms sound, so that you are among the last to arrive and don't get crushed in the back of the crowd. Well, we certainly weren't squished - we almost waited too long, and were just about the last stragglers to arrive. Oops! Gotta get better on the timing.



I said "look scared" and this is what I got!


Since Tim was under 11, he got a wrist band for the duration of the cruise, with his muster station on it. Because we were late getting there, we actually ended up on the wrong side of the ship for muster, and he at first had the wrong wristband. A quick check-in with an employee near the elevators afterwards, though, and all was fixed.