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sandryNYC

Legend Review 4/27 - excruciatingly long

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I'm in severe PCD (post cruise depression) right now. But here it goes:

 

Background

I traveled with my DH. We are both in our 30s. We don't have any human children (we have two canines and a bunny; they are our kids). We are not big drinkers. We rarely gamble. We do not smoke. I point this out because our experiences with the bars and the casino were limited. This was my third cruise and DH's second cruise. All our cruises have been with Carnival (Carnivale in 89 for me; Victory for me and DH in April 2000). My DH is a US citizen; however, I am not.

 

Embarkation

We live in Jersey City, right across from Manhattan. We decided to take the PATH train from Jersey to the World Trade Center station. From there, we took the A to 50th Street. We walked from there to the pier. We arrived at the pier at around noon. The lines were long, but we were onboard in about 50 minutes. As a non-US citizen, they took both of us through a separate line. Overall, especially compared to our embarkation in Miami with the Victory in 2000, this was a fairly easy and painless process.

 

Cabin

We had a set cabin in category 9A, a very mysterious category of which little is found on the web. We were on deck 8 (Promenade) aft, right below the Lido food area. Our cabin number was 8237. It was a very spacious and comfortable room. Robes were provided. There was plenty of storage space. The bathroom was obviously small, but it was great as far as efficiency and storage. The amenities basket we were provided included sample shampoo, lotions, razors and toothpaste. Our mattress was very comfortable. The pillows were fine for us. The room also had a sofa (which becomes a bed) and a table. Two beach towels were provided as well. The balcony is large enough for several chairs and a small table to be there comfortably.

 

The ship's areas

We found the ship to be beautifully decorated. We thought it was a lot classier and less gaudy than the Victory (or the Carnivale). The urn motif did not bother us at all. DH didn't even notice it until I pointed it out. We found the layout of this class of ships to be easy to grasp. One of my favorite spots was the Enchanted Forest, an out-of-the-way walk at the front of the ship, a great place to sit and be left alone. We spent some time at Billie's Bar with James, the piano player who plays any song (within limits) by request. We also spent some time in Satchmo's Lounge. I visited the Holmes Library to read a few e-mails (beware: prices are steep). The Follies Lounge is where most shows and major talks happen (such as debarkation talk). I loved the Firebird Lounge for its red and black decor.

 

Entertainment

We only saw one major show, the one starring Christopher Alan Graves: "Singin with the Big Bands: a Tribute to Sammy and Frank." We loved this show. Christopher is an extremely talented performer. In fact, DH purchased his CD. We also enjoyed both comedians (Lamar Owen and Anthony Acosta). There were a lot of bingo games (we played a few) and trivia (I won one time!). The lucky winners most of the times got a "Ship on a Stick" (which I prefer to call a "piece of ship"). That's what I got too for winning the trivia contest. The Newlywed and Not So Newlywed game was fun. Karaoke was somewhat active; but the average age of the guests on board prevented it from being fun (see more below).

 

Food

Before I go on, I should disclose that I am from a part of Italy that is renowned for its food. I enjoy eating well prepared and refined dishes, but I also enjoy steaks and burgers. DH is a meat-and-potatoes kind of man. With this being said, we both agreed that the food was superb. We ate almost all of our dinners in the Truffles Restaurant. Most of our breakfasts (except for the last day) and lunches (with a few exceptions) were consumed in the Lido areas. The dining experience in Truffles was excellent. Portions are definitely more European (read: small), but we never were hungry after dinner. Service was fast, efficient and accurate (read more below about service). The pasta dishes were delicious. It was the first time in a long time that I had pasta cooked the way it is supposed to be cooked: firm (not glue-like). I had the lobster tail on the first formal night and it was delicious. Breakfast consisted of the usual fare. I particularly enjoyed the omelettes. When we went to Truffles for breakfast, I had the Eggs Benedict (great) and bagel and lox. For lunch in Truffles, we had the burger and philly cheese steaks. In the Lido area, we had pretty much anything we wanted. We definitely did not lack for food. Although we did not eat the Grand Gala Buffet, we took pictures. Everything looked good. We also enjoyed the Legend Cafe and its chocolate-covered strawberries. Because we liked our experience in Truffles, we decided not to go to the supper club, the Golden Fleece (we'll do it next time).

 

The crew (and service)

The Captain was Claudio Cupisti. The cruise director was Brett Alans (he is ok). He was assisted by Ritchie (yo Ritchie), Jenn and Lloyd. Our cabin steward was Mon. He was exceptional. But special mention should go to our headwaiter Jun (from the Philippines) and our assistant waiter Yuliya (from Russia). Both went above and beyond in service and kindness. Everyone we met, from deckhands washing the deck to drink waiters, was nice and helpful. Everyone said hello, thank you, please, etc. with a smile, even when some people acted like fools (more below). I can't say enough about the work these people do, and the kinds of hours they work, all the while smiling and looking like they are enjoying their work.

 

Ports of Call

San Juan, Puerto Rico

We did not book an excursion for Puerto Rico. We walked uphill to the El Morro fort, took some pictures and walked around Old San Juan. We are not much into jewelry or t-shirts as souvenirs. We prefer something with a little more local character. On a side street, we found a shop selling papier mache masks made by a local artist. We asked a taxi to take us to Condado Beach. It was a major waste of time and money. We really did not enjoy Puerto Rico and it seems like many other passengers thought so too, as the ship was almost full well before our departure time.

St. Thomas, USVI

Our favorite port of call, by far. The islands are beautiful. They are hilly, but very lush and green. The water is a turquoise blue. Charlotte Amalie is a beautiful and charming town with plenty of friendly people. We took the excursion to Trunk Bay on St. John. We are very glad we did. The place is absolutely stunning. This is a port of call we wished to have more time to spend in.

Tortola, BVI

Tortola is less developed or populated than St. Thomas or St. John, but it was nice nonetheless. We went on the excursion to The Baths on Virgin Gorda. The baths were very nice and geologically interesting. The only problem is that the tours are packed, which means there were too many people. Otherwise, everything was great. We saw some interesting fish as well. This is another port of call where we wished we had more time to spend.

 

The spa and hair salon

Be prepared! They will get every penny they can... yet the spa is so addictive! I had an ocean wrap massage, where I was rubbed with seaweed, then wrapped in tinfoil, then massaged, then showered, then wrapped again, then massaged... wow! So relaxing. DH had an anti-hair loss treatment in the hair salon. I had my hair highlighted and cut. If you go to the hair salon, ask for Michelle Hughes. She is the head hairstylist. She is spectacularly fast and above average, even for New York hairstylists.

 

The other passengers

As this sailing occurred well after spring break and well before schools are out, the crowd was definitely older by decades than the usual Carnival crowd. We define 'older' as above the age of 60. About 80% of the passengers fit in that category. The rest were of a wide variety: families with young children, couples less than 60 years in age, younger couples, a couple of newlyweds and a few singles. Most of the passengers were from NY, NJ, PA and CT, as it could be expected.

 

Onboard shopping

We often shopped on board. Both DH and I purchased watches on board. We also purchased silver bracelets (during their frequent $1-per-inch silver and gold sales). Not everything is $1 an inch, but they are good deals nonetheless. We also purchased a couple of bracelets for our respective moms. DH bought a nice polo shirt and a pair of shorts, as well.

 

Debarkation

Because I am not a US citizen, we could not self-debark. So, we had to wait for our cabin number to be called. This process took forever but, again, this is not what it would normally occur if everyone in your cabin or group is a US citizen. In fact, most people chose to debark by themselves (carrying out the luggage, etc.). Immigration was a breeze; in fact, the officer barely looked at the documentation (a fact that has me a bit concerned).

 

Complaints and gripes

None of these are directed at Carnival, the ship and/or its staff. In fact, all of our complaints and gripes are directed to our fellow passengers. We saw a few instances of passengers being extremely rude and hostile to the staff. One such example: while waiting for an omelette one morning, this person began complaining that the omelette cook was not smiling at him. Now, considering how many hours these people work and the fact that this person's job is to observe the cooking of the omelette to avoid burning it, this passenger was a bit too dramatic (in addition, this cook was very very nice; he had more important things to do than smile like an idiot). I also have a major complaint directed to those passengers who pride themselves in their ignorance and bigotry; a woman proudly stated that she wished she had the 'great' food of Sizzler and Denny's instead of the European crap (though she used another term) and she did so very loudly. I have no problem if people like that kind of dining experience; but many people, including many Americans, would probably prefer the "European" dining experience, portion size and variety of food. In fact, when a woman complained the pasta was too firm and the sauce wasn't like Prego, I had to intervene and make her understand that real pasta and pasta sauces are totally different from the American versions. I'm Italian and I get a bit touchy when people try to americanize Italian specialties and misappropriate them as their own, especially on a ship where the cooks are not American and have been trained to cook things properly. Lastly, our complaint is reserved for parents of obnoxious children. There were a few children running (I don't mean walking; I mean running) in the common areas of the ship and they often collided with the older passengers. The parents of these children did not bother to restrain their broods nor to make them apologize to the senior citizens they collided with.

 

Conclusion

From a scale from 0 (worst) to 10 (best), we'd give this cruise a 14. Everything was perfect. We also are firm believers in the fact that a cruise is what you make of it. We enjoyed all the aspects that made it an experience we are very likely to repeat next year. We would definitely leave from New York again and we would definitely sail with Carnival again. We think we get the best bang for our buck and, since we don't like to dress up too formally, this cruise was a perfect balance between refined cuisine and simple fun.

 

I am in the process of downloading pictures. As soon as I am done, I will post a link to my Webshots album.

 

If you have any questions, please ask away.

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Thanks! I too am beginning to notice a decline of class in some pax manners and attitude, and am beginning to attribute it to being a NY thing. I like to relax on vacation, and some people don't want to slow down for anything.

 

 

How were the seas and weather?

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Unfortunately, rude people do not know geographic boundaries. I lived in NC for a while and I met quite a few rude people there. I have been living in the New York City area (and in NYC itself) for a few years and I have met just as many nice people here as I did in NC.

 

The weather... when we left the weather was overcast and cool. It rapidly took a turn for the better the farther away we were from NY. It was positively splendid throughout our trip. It was very hot throughout our ports of call (temps in the upper 80s and low 90s). We were welcomed back to NY with sunny skies (but cooler temperatures).

 

The seas were calm, except for a bit of a rough spot between Virginia and Maryland (but nothing to write home about). We found the rocking of the ship to be very soothing at night. We had some of the best sleep in years.

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Thank you for your review, I enjoyed reading it, you write very well.

 

I read this review with interest as I know some people on this weeks Legend's sailing. I know the Legend is encountering rough seas due to the storm off the coast. I was wondering how your weather was and how rough, if at all, the seas were on your sailing? I always hear nightmare stories about sailing out of Boston or New York, please share your experience.

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Thank you for your review, I enjoyed reading it, you write very well.

 

I read this review with interest as I know some people on this weeks Legend's sailing. I know the Legend is encountering rough seas due to the storm off the coast. I was wondering how your weather was and how rough, if at all, the seas were on your sailing? I always hear nightmare stories about sailing out of Boston or New York, please share your experience.

 

You might want to monitor this thread. They are currently on Legend and gave a live update.

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=174249

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See above post for weather related answers. I know that bad weather was expected for all ports of call this week. We were very lucky to have such perfect weather and warm sunny skies. As I mentioned, there was some minor turbulence on the seas between Virginia and Maryland, but it was minor.

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Libertycruiser, thanks so much, I will monitor that thread.

 

SandryNYC, I think I was writing my post as you posted the weather you had, thanks so much.

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Loved the review!! Im still shaking my head over the Prego woman!

 

Question...did Yo Ritchie get on your nerves :)

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Thanks for the review! It sounds like we will have a great time. I think no matter where you go - there are people with no manners, crude, hostile, etc. Down right miserable! Just be happy you can walk away from them and not married to them :)

My family and I are not planning to even get off the ship in San Juan. Wish they would skip that port completely and spend more time in Tortola. Shocked to hear about the age group, but that's fine with me. Make me feel like a youngster!! (I'm 42). Thanks again for your review!!!

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Shocked to hear about the age group, but that's fine with me. Make me feel like a youngster!! (I'm 42)

 

On our cruise to Hawaii, the avg age appeared to be 70+:eek:

 

Yet, we still found clusters of our own age, as well as others older and younger that we could intermingle with. Meeting new friends is as fun as the cruise itself!

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Thanks for the great review!

 

MrPete, are noreasters common at this time of year? I am leaving May 29.

 

Also, can someone specify just what it is about San Juan that people don't like? I have read many posts where people say they didn't like it there. Do you feel unsafe? Are there aggressive vendors? What is it about the atmosphere that rubs some people the wrong way?

 

Thanks!

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MrPete, are noreasters common at this time of year? I am leaving May 29.

 

Not at all. Let's just be glad this one is getting itself out of the way, and then the jetstream should be getting back to where it should be this time of year. It has been quite cool up here lately, but it's supposed to turn more seasonal come Sunday.

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We were in SanJuan a few ago and it was filthy. The area around the ship stunk like garbage. Beaches are not worth even visiting. Shopping is ok. The best part was visiting the "home of the pina colada" bar somewhere in Old San Juan. Maybe the shore excusions would give you a better view of the Island....

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Also, can someone specify just what it is about San Juan that people don't like?

 

Your best bet, IMO, is shopping, or a visit to the castle or the fort. I found a city tour was a waste of money.

 

Problem here is I think when you get here so late, everything closes.

 

I always found the deck party when in this port most enjoyable. Not sure if they'll have it on this run. I also enjoy the night sailaway.

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Loved the review!! Im still shaking my head over the Prego woman!

 

Question...did Yo Ritchie get on your nerves :)

 

Question is...can Yo Ritchie NOT get on your nerves?!? "Whatta ya have? Whatta ya need? Whatta ya have? Whatta ya need?" And his Bingo comments...The G-String Column...and the YO column....

Ugh. LOL

 

I loved every minute of my vacation on the Legend. But if I could have thrown that guy overboard and not gotten in trouble for it........ :eek:

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Hey Sandry....

 

 

Any idea what they may have refurbished during drydock?

:confused:

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About Yo Ritchie... yes he was annoying... But I got to speak to him a few times and see the man behind the persona. Most of the folks on board appeared to like him. He was annoying calling Bingo... like someone said before, the G string, the Yo column... aargh!

 

About drydock and refurbishing... Apparently, some of the spa rooms were refurbished (or so I was told by the spa therapist when I was there). I think there were a few walls put up to create a poker room off the Club Merlin casino. We did see this room and it was always full of poker players. It did look like it had been carved out of the adjoining lounge area.

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glad you enjoyed your cruise. Definitely looking forward to our sail date. Unfortunately when we cruise is height of school vacation so we've already come to terms with the fact that the ship will be FULL of kids. Hoping that the parents will not forget their parental duties!

 

Seems that unless you're spending a full day in San Juan it's almost worthless stopping there. The only thing that interested me was seeing El Yunque and that's not even an option because it closes at 5.

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I was on the "Legend" also out of NYC last September and loved the Ship and have to say We had a really great cruise. Anybody cruising on Her this season, have a great time!

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Brett was the CD when we were on the Legend in '04. If you really want to get him going, tell him you're from the "country of Ohio". At our welcome show, he was asking where everyone was from, and after everyone had yelled out their answer, he asked if there was any other countries represented. Out of the audience comes a voice yelling "Ohio"! (and no, it wasn't mine!;)). Well, the country of Ohio was the joke of the trip and came up everytime he spoke. I'd be willing to bet he still remembers it too. I'm sure he's gotten alot of mileage out of that one!:D

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