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Legend Review - 10/7-10/14


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Hi everyone,

Just back from spending a great week aboard the Carnival Legend. I'll start off this review with some overall thoughts and then add to it with more day-to-day detail over the next day or two. I will also scan the Fun Times and post along with some Camp Carnival schedules later this week. I also have lots of food porn. :D A quick bit about us to give some perspective, we are me, DH and DS(5). This was our 2nd cruise on Carnival and 4th overall for me and DS (it was lucky number 10 for DH... mostly on RC).


While I'm working on the review, please feel free to ask any specific questions and I'll answer what I can.


Ship - General

I've seen a lot of questions/comments about the condition of the ship. She's in really good shape. We did see the scratches on the elevators that people kept referring to, but it really wasn't all that noticeable - and certainly didn't affect my cruise experience. She is maintained really well and upholstery and carpet all seemed to be in good condition.


We hadn't been on a Spirit class ship before - loved it. Easy to navigate and lines were never very long. We remarked frequently about how rare it was to see crowds. It never felt crowded (except line to dinner - more on this later). There were always lounge chairs available on lido and usually no problem finding a table at the buffet.


Staff - I think Legend has a great staff. they were so friendly and warm. I enjoyed getting to talk with many of them about their families and countries they are from. They always greeted us by name if we had been introduced before and everyone always was smiling.


Pools - There are two pools on the Lido deck. Both are pretty small, but I love the area around them that you can sit in and have your legs partially covered in water... nice for socializing. The jacuzzi's here are very cold - not warm at all. (usually filled with kids anyway).


Serenity - we didn't spend much time here, but it was usually fairly crowded but I did find a lounge chair the few times I went. It's a nice area, although not well placed given it's right by the waterslide so can get a bit noisy. Still a great retreat. There is a pool and jacuzzi here as well. jacuzzi is a bit warmer in Serenity (at least I thought so), but still cool.


Spa - There is a very nice jacuzzi in the spa... not super hot, but a nice temp. If you want a nice soak, this is the place to go. Very relaxing. We made it there several days and enjoyed it. They have a gym that seemed nice - moderately busy the few days we went, but seemed to have open machines with no real wait. They had the standard spa treatments, plus teeth whitening and acupuncture. I did get a Seaweed Wrap and Massage on the last sea day. I probably wouldn't do the wrap again... although it was interesting. Massage was very nice... fairly hard sales pressure this time around, but I still made it out without purchasing any product.


Food - Lido

I like the layout of the buffet, although I was still getting turned around on the last day (this is probably due more to my directionally challenged nature than the real layout - ha ha). There is a salad bar, grill area (by pool), asian ("chopsticks"), pizza, deli, and then a chef's choice with cuisine that changed daily, plus the dessert area. Pizza, deli and ice cream/yogurt (by pool) available 24 hours.


The pizza station had the "new" pizza discussed on here... not a big fan (my son spit out the cheese pizza and refused to eat it). They did have the calzones (pepperoni & sausage - premade, but 8 minutes cooked to order). These were quite good. They also had the chicken ceaser salad and garlic bread available. yum.


The grill had burgers & hot dogs (both just ok) and chick tenders and fries. The other stations had varied food that was good. Nothing stands out as spectacular, but was good. Our big issue here is that at 6 pm, only one line was open - usually even the salad bar was closed... and no kid friendly food available then other than aforementioned pizza that DS wouldn't eat. (Grill was closed which i thought was weird). Granted, DS is super picky, so a normal person wouldn't have this issue, but we've never had an issue finding something to eat on a cruise. I did figure out later to pay more attention to the open/close times for the lido buffet areas - in previous cruises, we've never had a problem finding lots of options so didn't really occur to me.


Breakfast was very good. No bacon police. :p Omelette station at the Pizza place was good and food was very plentiful.


We did room service several times. Very quick service. Good BLT, great chocolate cake. Coffee was hot for rise & shine thing.



Okay... more to come later tonight or in the morning... mommy duty calls. ;)




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We live on the west coast, so had to fly in the night before. We stayed at the Hyatt Tampa (downtown). Their onsite transportation picked us up at airport (Blue One Transportation). Painless process, had to wait for a bit, as the first van filled up quickly, but no biggie. Checked in at hotel and then ate dinner onsite. There isn't any other hotels super close, but cabs and Blue One will take you to local areas - and they readily made suggestions... we were just hungry and tired and wanted food. Dinner was great, but not cheap. We woke up the next morning, pulled back the curtains and were shocked to see this.



We left our hotel around 10:30, I think, and got to the port quickly. Fairly long line to get checked in, but it went pretty smoothly I think. We had a suite last time, so had VIP then, but not now... we remarked often that we missed that. :o The savings was sooo worth it, though. We did bring on 2 12 packs of soda. I had thought about doing wine, but we just never picked it up. We didn't try to smuggle anything.


By the time we got on board, every table in Lido was jam packed. We couldn't find a table outside either... it was CRAZY. It seemed much worse than any other cruise we had been on, but that could have been that we were later than we usually are. (and I think were right before the early folks decided to get up). We finally found a table after walking around and around for 15 minutes or so. We had put DS in his swimsuit so that he could swim while they were loading bags, but they didn't have the pools open (I don't think it opened until quite late).


Made our way to our room - 4232, Aft Extended Balcony. We hadn't done an Aft before. Room was ample for the 3 of us and had tons of closet space. Balcony had 2 chairs and small table. We intended to ask for a lounger, but never did. There would have been room, but it would have then been fairly tight. Bed was comfy. Sink had a weird drain gurgle sound that we laughed over most of the trip. It would make a very loud gurgle out of the blue when nobody had been in there for awhile. We never called in a maintenance request - it didn't bother us. Our room steward, Ari, introduced himself... he was so incredibly cheerful. He brought us ice and emptied out the mini bar for our sodas. he spent several minutes chatting with my son and ruffled his hair. He was "Mr Ari" from that point on! This is the downward view from our cabin. (not sure you can tell in this pic, but this cabin does have the flag pole right outside, and there are several long poles with the lights/cameras on them, so it's not a super "clean" view down to the water.) I don't think we fell in love with the aft like some do... I'd do it again if price was right, but I don't think it's the be-all-end-all spot. (would like to try a wrap though!)


Muster drill went fine, although we were delayed due to 2 cabins not showing up for the drill. Still fairly painless.


Our luggage didn't arrive until about 4:30 and then we were missing 1 bag. We finally called down and they found the other one very quickly and brought it up.


We did a tour of the ship and then rested a bit in our room. We passed by the bridge after 7 pm, which is a bit later than what others have indicated.


We had late dining... as others have said, the lines at the dining room were really bad. Showing up around 8:20 was the way to go. We like traditional dining as we enjoy meeting new people and we like the consistency that the same wait staff gives (I know you can still request the same wait staff in ATD as well).


Dinner this night was okay. They did have the shrimp cocktail on the menu each day, and I made use of this just about every day. For day 1, we had shrimp cocktail and then I had the salmon from everyday menu (it was average but veggies were kind of gross) and DH had the linguini with peppers and sausage (it was just ok, he was wishing he had chosen something else). DS had cheese pizza and then wouldn't eat it. Wait staff then brought him chicken nuggets/fries. Dessert was vanilla creme brule, which was very good. DS had WCMC and was in heaven.


They had a magician going around the tables and he was very good. Great with kids and even was teaching his tricks and letting the kids try it. My son is still talking about the magic tricks. WTG Carnival with that one. (As usual, the wait staff is good as well about entertaining kids.)


We dropped DS off at Camp Carnival right after dinner (he couldn't wait!) and then went to the Welcome Aboard Show. We thought it was okay, but weren't wowed. We tried to go to the 11:30 Punchliner Comedy but we didn't get there early enough and it was full. (lesson learned... get there early - it fills up early and you will be turned away). So we walked around a little bit and then picked up DS and called it a night.



Day 2 (and beyond) coming up...my source code thingies aren't working tonight (sure it's operator error), so I'll have to add my pics back in then.

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Okay, so here are the pics from the post above. I realized belatedly that my firm has the photo upload blocked so that's why it wasn't working. duh. Better late than never, I suppose.


Here's what we saw out our Tampa Hyatt window. She's beautiful.




This is what the view from the balcony looks like. You can also see the bridge too.




Our towel animal the first night. I always love how they incorporate stuff in the room (sunglasses or my son's stuffed animals).




Will post Day 2 (really) soon now that I have this thing figured out and I'm off my work network. :)

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Monday / Day 2 was a sea day. We slept in and then headed up to Lido for breakfast. I missed seeing the omelette station so we just got fruit and pastries (and bacon!) off buffet.


We went to the towel station and picked up golf clubs and played some miniature golf. This was one of our favorite things to do... we did lose one ball and the attendant was very understanding and didn't charge us as I was expecting.


At 11:45 was the Cooking demonstration in the Steakhouse. I had been really looking forward to it... we are moderate "foodies" and have attended several food cooking demos here on land. Got there early to make sure we got a seat... i don't think we needed to worry, although it did fill up by the time it started. The steakhouse chef explained the intent of the demo (not to show how to do things, but rather give "tips). For example, he talked about what "saute" means and how to "sear" meat to lock in the juices, as well as how to make a good stock.


One chef did vegetable carving and another chef was doing the cooking while the head chef was talking. They also brought in the Chef de Cuisine, Chef Panda, who just talked about the experience.


The first item they prepared and served was the Spinach and Mushroom salad w/bacon & blue cheese. I can't bring myself to like blue cheese, so didn't try this (or get a picture). After they cooked everything, servers brought out smaller portions of each dish to try.


The next item was their beef strogonoff. This isn't the item they serve in the dining room, and they don't serve this in the steak house. So, I never really did figure out why they serve it at this session. That being said, i thought it was good. It had some interesting veggie texture on top that I enjoyed. Definitely different than a traditional stroganoff (and the brown "paint" on the plate was supposed to look artistic and I just thought it reminded me of, well, you know what...) :p Here it is:




The third and final item was their cheesecake. I'm not a huge fan of cheesecake - it's fine... just not really my thing. This was not super traditional either. Seemed to be mixed reviews about this - most seem to really love it, but a few around me did not care for it. I thought it was good, but not a WOW. They serve this in the steakhouse and I saw it being delivered when we were at the steakhouse for our reservation later in the week and it is HUGE. Like really huge.




The Steakhouse is on deck 10 and open in the back to the atrium. You can also look down into the steakhouse from windows when you are walking up on the promenade deck. The windows up at the top are red glass (by whale tail) so all the pics end up looking red. Here's a picture of the main artwork in the Steakhouse.



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Pool time and Hairy chest competition was at 1:30 on this day... that was entertaining as usual.


We also spent some time on the water slide. All 3 of us got stuck the first time going down. I felt like a beached whale. :eek: They definitely need more water going down there, but given there's no pool at the bottom, they say they can't put more water in it. It did break down several times while we were onboard. (things getting clogged or whatever). I don't know why i don't have a picture of the slide, although I didn't take too many general pics since I've seen several good reviews recently with great general pics.


Tonight was elegant night and the captains celebration. We ended up being right by the laundry room, where the iron was, so that helped. I don't know if there were other self laundry rooms on other decks. (we were deck 4/aft)


Ironically we were frustrated a bit by the timing of the pictures throughout the cruise. Seemed there were too many most of the time, but in the hour of 6-7, there was only one boring backdrop. It wasn't that big of a deal, though, I wish it had been specified that way in the Fun times... it just says 4:30-10:30 pm so doesn't indicate a break. We got our elegant pictures in, but didn't think they were going to turn out great (they ended up being ok). Dropped DS off at Camp (he didn't want to do dinner with us, so we had just ordered grilled cheese and fruit plate from room service).


Made the 7 pm show of "Jazz Hot", the "broadway style" show. I enjoyed most of the numbers of the show, although felt it would benefit from a better story line that tied everything together. Just was missing that "something". As many folks have mentioned in the past, the costumes may be something that families think about as whether the show is age appropriate. BTW - there were always plenty of seats available - maybe not super great seats, but we showed up 15 minutes early or so and always had a decent seat on main level.


We made a point to go to the Taste Bar, down by Satchemo's on the far side of the casino. We had missed it the first night. They had a pumpkin soup and a potato fritter with pork. The pumpkin soup was phenomenal. The potato fritter was good, but was a bit greasy/mushy. Highly recommend making a point to hit up the taste bar... it's a 5 minute thing and you may find some things to enjoy. They do have the $5 drink special, which is a great deal if it's something you enjoy.


For dinner that night, DH got the pumpkin soup (hoping it was like the taste bar's... it wasn't... not really great) and he also got the spaghetti carbonara as a starter. The carbonara was both our favorite main dining room dishes the entire cruise. So yummy. DH got the lobster and shrimp entree. It was okay. It's a hard dish to make/serve for that many people.


I got the tiger shrimp cocktail and a caeser salad. I love Carnival's caeser. It's very anchovey-ey. I got the carbonara as my main course, which I'm so glad I did.... soooooo fabulous. Got the WCMC with 2 ice creams for dessert. DH got the carmelized apples on puff pastry. The pastry and cream was good... the apples were not the best.





After dinner, we headed to the Punchliner to get a good seat for the 11 pm Adult only comedy with Scotty K. (Note - bring a sweater - everyone was talking about it being chilly in there... i ended up buying a pashmina shawl in one of the shops for $10.). I thought he was ok.. not hysterical, but had some good lines. There are of course bar waiters taking orders and delivering them throughout the show. Seats are fairly comfortable if you get one of the couches.


That pretty much ended our day! Will finish up (or at least mostly) tomorrow... getting late!

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Thanks for the kind words everyone. I know I haven't been as detailed this time as I have been in the past catching stuff, but I tried to capture stuff that I thought others may want to know about.


Loving your review! I'll be in the cabin next to yours (4230) on my upcoming cruise. Was it quiet back there?


Yes... it was very quiet, which was great. We didn't hear any lido party noise. There is a deck right below ours that is public, but it's one of the areas on cruise critic that folks call "secret". It's really not used very much, so we never heard anyone. Occasionally heard the folks in the balconies on either side of us (when we were sitting outside), but it wasn't bad.


These balconies were very private as well... I think it would be impossible for the deck above to see into your balcony. When I was standing at the rail looking down, I did make eye contact once with someone standing on the deck below, but they could not have seen up if I hadnt been at the rail.

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(Muster drill went fine, although we were delayed due to 2 cabins not showing up for the drill)


How would they know people were missing? Have they started asking for cabin numbers?



Thanks for the great review!



We asked the same thing! They were calling out two cabin numbers, but we had no idea how they knew (we sure hadn't checked in). Weird.

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We booked the Dolphin Swim w/Lunch through Carnival and had to be at the pier at 9:45. We ordered the Continental Breakfast through Room Service. They were prompt, pleasant and coffee was hot. An important factor early in the morning. ;) We got off the ship with no difficulty or lines. Tons of carnival sponsored photo requests (seemed more than usual) with numerous characters (pirates, etc). We easily avoided them, though.


Found our shore excursion sign easily. We waited about 15 minutes and then were checked in and then had a 5 minute or so walk to where our vans picked us up and drove us to Dolphinarius. Check in there was really easy and we were able to watch the dolphins playing - they even had two baby dolphins... sweet! There was an earlier group there doing their thing, so it was nice to see what they were doing as well. Got our mask and vests and anyone with perfumes or anything needed to shower off before getting in. Our trainer was very helpful and patient and made sure everyone got to do all the various tricks. Of course no cameras were allowed, and they took pictures and a DVD. (We did buy a 3 picture pack on CD, which was $69.). Afterwards, we sat down overlooking the dolphin pools and had lunch. We were able to watch a later group doing their thing and the nice thing is they did let us take photos here (just not of ourselves in the water). We could also go in a separate building and look at our pictures. Several options available for lunch - I had tacos, which were filling and DH had the quesadilla. DS had chicken nuggets of course. :o We were able to leave whenever we wanted, which was nice... so most took their time here, but we left with another family early and they called a cab for us (included). Easy. I would recommend this excursion, although it is pricey. (the nice thing for us is that age 5 can do the dolphin swim, but they waive the fees for 5 and under... made this doable price wise.)


A few pictures of the dolphin excursion.









The Carnival Paradise was docked next to the Legend when we walked back about 1 pm. (there was another ship - I think the Dream - docked in another area as well. It wwas too far to tell for sure - even with zoom camera lens.)





We had been up early and active, so we grabbed some ice cream on Lido and then took a nap. We had steakhouse reservations this night, so we wanted to be rested up! We left for Belize around 5.


We did catch the 7 pm show of "Its Showtime". Here was Bingo aat 8:30, but we missed it because of our 8 pm steakhouse reservations. Next up - Steakhouse... with lots of food porn.

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We arrived right at 8 pm for our Steakhouse dining reservations. There were 3 other tables seated when we got there. We were immediately shown to a table for 2 by the window. This didn't matter too much, since it got dark pretty quickly, but was still a nice to have. A few more guests came in while we were dining, but in general it was fairly quiet. (Talked with a steakhouse waiter later in the trip and he said this was rare - although they were really selling the steakhouse HARD throughout the cruise.)


The sommelier came over with a wine menu and took our order. We received our menus and they brought around the bread basket. I had seen on here the advice not to fill up on the bread... I didn't listen to the advice, sadly. :o I loved the rosemary focaccia and DH loved the brioche. Really yummy.


Menu has starters, salads and entrees (dessert menu separate). Nobody told us that we could only order one from each, but we were easily able to switch to two starters and skip the salads. (I don't know if we could have gotten the salad as well... it definitely would have been too much food tho.)


For starters, DH chose the Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail and the Lobster Bisque. I chose the Crab Cake with Roasted Pepper remoulade and the Lobster Bisque. DH really enjoyed the real jumbo shrimp cocktail - and it looked really pretty too! The crab cake had good flavor, but was a little mushy texturally. I enjoyed the bite of sweetness hidden underneath the crab cake... I think it really made the dish.


The lobster bisque was very interesting. I enjoyed it, but it was definitely different than any lobster bisque we've had before. (DH and I have a "thing" for lobster bisque... we HAVE to order it if it's on the menu.) There is a type of crouton in the bowl and then they pour in the bisque tableside. The bread ends up adding an interesting textural element to the dish. Not the best bisque I've ever had, but very enjoyable.


Pics of our starters (sorry, I dove into my crab cake before remembering to take a picture!) :eek:


Shrimp Cocktail




Crab Cake




Lobster Bisque




Entrees next up!

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One of the nice things about where we were sitting in the steakhouse, was getting to watch the chefs cooking our meal through the open kitchen. We couldn't see a lot of detail, but was still interesting. Here was my view:





Our entrees came out next. I should mention that service was a nice balance of attentiveness and leaving us alone to talk together. For dinner, I ordered the 9 oz Filet Mignon, medium rare. I wanted a baked potato with trimmings (butter, sour cream, bacon and chives) and also ordered the creamed spinach side. The filet could not have been more perfectly done... it was in short AMAZING. I gave DH a large bite and he could cut through my steak with his butter knife. The filet had a few mushroom garnishes, but was mostly just the steak. The creamed spinach was okay... it needed salt and seemed to be missing that "something". Portion was definitely enough to share on the sides. And oops... the waiter came around with that darn bread basket... danger, danger, danger. You KNOW I had to get another piece of bread with dinner. :eek: (At this point, I'm still not feeling very full... and in fact was wondering what all the fuss was about... I was sooooo wrong.)


Picture of Filet




Picture of Potato and sides:




Picture of Creamed Spinach



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For entree, DH ordered the Maine Lobster Ravioli, garnished with Shrimp Scampi. He also ordered a side of broccoli (he was feeling he needed to get his veggies in)


DH thought the ravioli was really nicely done. In short, he loved it. I should also point out that the entire time he was ordering it, I had to bite my tongue not to say something about him going to regret it. I'm so glad I kept my mouth shut! :rolleyes: His broccoli was not overcooked, although he definitely could have skipped ordering it... way too much food. (although he was feeling like I was... we had plenty of room, right?)





DESSERT and Chat with the Chef up next!

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