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PaulMedik

Review of our Spring Break cruise on Carnival Legend

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Cruisers were myself, DW Karen, Sons Bryson, Spencer, and Britt.

 

Our cruise started on Wednesday April 8 with a late evening flight from Huntington WV to St Pete / Clearwater via Allegiant Air. For those of you who haven't experienced Allegiant Air, I would encourage you to give them a try. They fly all jets, and all flights are direct. They also offer rates that are too good to pass up; $49 per person each way! Checked bags, seat choice, drinks & snacks are all extra $, but all airlines charge for those things now so it's not a bad deal.

 

Huntington is about an hour and a half drive for us and arriving two hours early for our flight results in two hours of sitting around waiting for our plane. Huntington is a small airport so the two hour requirement is nutz, but we did it anyway;

 

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After the two hours pass, we lug our carry ons out on the chilly tarmac to the jet that will carry us to warmer weather. We had four inches of snow the day before and flurries earlier in the day so we were more than ready for warm weather;

 

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A passerby noticed we were getting pics and offered to snap one of all of us since it looked like we were flying for the first time. We about froze to get the pic;

 

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Once we were in the air it didn't take long for the boys to pass out. They were up for school at 0600 and had two hours to play their online video games before we left, then a long ride to Huntington so I guess they had a reason to be tired;

 

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Our flight to St Pete / Clearwater landed on time at 10:55 and our luggage made it out about 30 minutes later. Our Hertz rental was a Mazda RX something or other. It was a 'Very Large SUV' according to the lady at the Hertz rental counter and it was her last one. She said it was a good thing we booked it early because she was all out of big cars. We brought along a Magellan GPS and she guided us straight into La Sal Suites in Clearwater Beach. We arrived there just after midnight and our suite was just as described by Florida Vacation Rentals dot com.;

 

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After checking out our room and bringing a few things inside, we headed down to the ocean. Clearwater Beach is a wide white sand beach and the Gulf of Mexico is normally calm and the temperature balmy. As we strolled to the ocean we passed Frenchy's Rockaway Grill and Karen and Britt opted to stop right there to get out of the frigid arctic wind that had followed us from WV;

 

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I managed to coax Bryson and Spencer to the edge of the ocean against a very high wind;

 

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After taking their picture at the ocean, the only remnants of their being with me was tracks in the wind swept sand because they bolted back to the room; (The sand in the picture is not what Clearwater Beach sand normally looks like. It normally looks and feels like talcom powder.)

 

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Before returning to the room I went to the convenience mart nearby and purchased a few items for the next day's breakfast. At 0430 the next morning, I was up enjoying my breakfast;

 

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After breakfast I woke Karen up then headed out on to the pier to check out the beach;

 

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When I woke Karen up I told her I was going to the beach, but I didn't specify where so she walked all the way down to the edge looking for me. It was dark out and I was taking pictures so I missed seeing her walk by, but I did see her walking back;

 

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That's her making her way back to the end of the pier to join me;

 

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While standing on the pier, I got to see how they keep Clearwater Beach so clean and the sand so soft;

 

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That tractor does a great job of cleaning up the sand;

 

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As we walked up the beach to Pier 60 we noticed a lot of shells washed up. The shells were about six inches by five inches and open in the middle. Several people along the way asked what kind they were, but I had no clue;

 

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We spent a while examining the shells;

 

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We planned to write Cruise '09, but stopped a few letters short;

 

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We also found tons of smaller shells;

 

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We eventually arrived at Pier 60. Karen is normally a 'morning person,' but not when we're on vacation;

 

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I am the morning person when on vacation and I used my rescue training to help a sea turtle;

 

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As you can see it was a beautiful morning for a walk on the beach;

 

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We made our way back to the room via Mandalay Avenue. We finally got to see what our motel looked like in the day light. La Sal Suites is a condo type Motel that we rented through Florida Holiday Rentals dot com. Our room was #5 and is located on the ground floor in the corner. The 'room' had a bedroom, living room, kitchen, bathroom and a sofa that made a bed as well as a Murphy bed. It was much better than just a normal hotel room and cheaper too. Our total for four nights was ~$580 vs our booking at Hilton that I cancelled which was ~$1550 for four nights.

 

Having a heated pool right outside your door is a HUGE plus as well;

 

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Once we got back to the room Bryson and Spencer were asleep on the Murphy bed;

 

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We woke Britt up and headed to the beach;

 

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Clearwater Beach is very wide and it takes a while to navigate the talcom (sp?) powder sand to the area of the gulf;

 

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The water was so cold that I became numb after a few minutes;

 

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Eventually the two sleeping boys managed to drag themselves out of bed and stroll down to the beach;

 

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After getting out of the cold water it was nice to lay in the sun and feel my circulation returning;

 

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We spent most of the first beach day relaxing in the sun with occasional dips in the gulf. I guess the most interesting thing was a visit by the MetLife Blimp;

 

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After the blimp flyby we went to Frenchy's on Rockaway which is on the same street as our Motel.

 

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The wait time was two hours so we headed for the Original Frenchy's Cafe a few blocks away; (I took a pic of how long the line was waiting at Frenchy's Rockaway Grill, but my camera's 12MB capture showed a few non PG images so I didn't upload it. It's kind of scary how well todays cameras capture images we never notice with our eyes.)

 

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Frenchy's Cafe was crowded too, but the wait time was minutes instead of hours so it was a good choice. I had a shrimp salad sandwich and I swear I meant to take a better picture, but I guess hunger got the best of me and I just snapped a quick pic;

 

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After lunch we headed back to the beach for some more fun in the sun;

 

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I love Clearwater beach! Will be there for about a week before our cruise (on the Legend as well). Great review so far, can't wait to read the rest!

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Love your review and pictures. Anxiously waiting for the rest. We will be on the Spirit in September which is sister ship to the Legend so they should be about the same.

Delores

Edited by Deloresgardella

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We bought an Olympus underwater digital camera for this cruise and figured we'd better try it out so we used the motel pool;

 

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I never noticed the previous night's winds had deposited so much debris in the pool until looking at the pics;

 

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I discovered that small cameras are nice for carrying in your pocket, but hard to hold on to in the water. I got a few pics that made sense, but most were of arms, feet, tops of heads etc;

 

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I also discovered that close ups are clear, but far away shots are blurry;

 

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I love Clearwater beach! Will be there for about a week before our cruise (on the Legend as well). Great review so far, can't wait to read the rest!

 

TravelingTrio,

 

Clearwater Beach is our favorite of all the beaches we've been to. I love the white soft sand.

 

 

Love your review and pictures. Anxiously waiting for the rest. We will be on the Spirit in September which is sister ship to the Legend so they should be about the same.

Delores

 

Deloresgardella,

 

I have quite a few ship pics that I'll be posting. Legend was our first time on a Spirit Class ship and she took a few days to get used to. After we learned the layout we really enjoyed her. We'll be sailing on Pride next year looking forward to seeing the different decor.

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I love your reviews every year Paul! Feel like we are watching your boys grow up! I can't wait for the rest of the review. I loved the Legend!

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We chose Palm Pavillion for our first evening's dinner. Frenchy's was still packed and had a wait time of 'sometime tomorrow.' Palm Pavillion has great food, but we made a bad choice in opting to eat outside. It was windy and because we had fresh sun on our bodies it felt especially frigid;

 

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This picture is TERRIBLE, but the sky after sunset in the background was what I was trying to capture and never did get it right. There was too much ambient light, too much darkness and too much light in the sky to balance it all out. Combine that with freezing kids moving to stay warm and you have pics that look like this;

 

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After a hearty meal and a jog back across the block to our room, we hit our beds and slept like logs.

 

The next day was clear and comfortably warm as we made our way back out on to the beach;

 

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We opted for a sheet on the sand instead of chairs;

 

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I love your reviews every year Paul! Feel like we are watching your boys grow up! I can't wait for the rest of the review. I loved the Legend!

 

 

Gail,

 

Thank you.

 

The Carnival Legend is all that we've read about her being. I was anxious that she wasn't going to live up to the hype, but she did.......well in every way except for the smooth ride part. She did have a good excuse though; we had some VERY high winds and some high seas to go along with it.

 

ps: You're going to have to move your Dream cruise up by two months and sail with us! If not then I guess you'll be reading about our Dream cruise this time next year. We're really looking forward to that ship.

Edited by PaulMedik

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A sheet on the sand is perfect on Clearwater Beach. The sand is so soft that it's like sleeping on a Carnival Comfort Bed! Well, perhaps softer than a Carnival Comfort Bed, but comfy nonetheless;

 

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Sponge Bob was also on vacation in Clearwater enjoying the beach;

 

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Britt enjoyed seeing him so much that he made a pseudo sponge bob of his own;

 

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I was content just resting my feet in the sand (Again the camera pics up things I didn't see. All I saw was WHITE sand);

 

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I love my camera's Panorama mode;

 

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Clearwater Beach is our favorite of all the beaches we've been to. I love the white soft sand.

 

I agree, the sand is gorgeous. Its so white that its often blinding during very sunny days. I always felt like I was sinking when I was walking on it lol.

 

P.S. SpongeBob looks great!

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After a relaxing morning on the beach, we loaded up in the rental car and programmed the GPS for LazyDays RV in Tampa. Our GPS for the trip was a Garmin Nuvi 760 and she did a great job everywhere except for the new road construction areas in Tampa.

 

We currently have a travel trailer camper and I've been shopping for an RV online at LazyDays for the past year or so. Once we got there, I was not prepared for the size of LazyDays display area. Suffices to say it is HUGE!

 

When you first enter the area where the RVs are it looks more like a park than an RV sales lot;

 

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We tried to bribe the girl at the golf cart check out area to allow us to borrow a golf cart, but she wouldn't budge. She insisted that their insurance wouldn't cover us. A sales rep drove us out to the Class A diesel area and dropped us off;

 

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These RVs are ideal for precruise stays and avoiding airline prices;

 

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We're sailing on Dream next year out of Port Canaveral and may be parking one of these for our precruise stay in the camping area near the port entrance. Jetty Park as I recall may be the name? Wouldn't it be nice to wake up early on the day of the cruise and watch your ship sail in to port right outside your RV window?

 

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While walking through the huge display area the boys came across a tree we don't have in West Virginia;

 

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After I assured them nobody would mind if we picked a sample from the tree they presented it to me to try out;

 

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It turns out that hot oranges fresh off the tree are better than you can imagine. It also turns out that most of the oranges are too high up to reach and you can't knock them off the limbs with rocks so we just had one to share.

 

What I found most amazing was they have these huge Live Oak trees with hanging Spanish Moss and they park RV's under them to sell. I expected a big parking lot full of RVs and found a beautiful scenic park with RVs for sale;

 

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My boys were begging me to rent one of the RVs and stay in it on the lot for our next trip to the Tampa area. They all had hookups and the AC running.

 

We visit RV & camper sales lots every time we go to Myrtle Beach, but none of them are even similar to LazyDays. (LazyDays has the best prices too) ;

 

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After walking for miles in the LazyDays display area, we headed back to Clearwater Beach. Along the way we found a restaurant we had planned to visit so we stopped by for lunch. The Original Hooters;

 

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We were seated at a corner 'five topper' with high hard wooden chairs. The girl that seated us said we could 'take it or leave it,' but it was all they had. We had to roam the restaurant and find three chairs because it only had two. When we asked we were told they had none and that we could go look for some;

 

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After eating at the 'Original Hooters,' I am amazed the chain expanded and further amazed that the original is still in business. They also appear to have ignored the 'Hooter' aspect when hiring their wait staff. I'm not much on hooters anyhow, but I do recognize when they aren't present and I didn't notice any. Again my camera picked up things that my eyes missed so I didn't upload any more pics. (Black material is practically invisible to my camera and they wear black shirts at that Hooters instead of orange)

 

If any of you are planning to visit Clearwater and thinking of visiting the Original Hooters, don't. You will be disappointed. Our food was bland at best and the staff was full of unemployment candidates.

 

Having three young sons along I was concerned they may get the wrong idea eating at a restaurant like Hooters. My concern was unwarranted because they were equally unimpressed. It takes a lot to 'unimpress' three hungry young boys, but they managed to do so. The 'Original' is nothing like the Hooters in WV or at Myrtle Beach.

 

After returning to Clearwater we relaxed by the pool and then had a late evening dinner at Palm Pavillion. The food was perfect again and much warmer than the previous evening.

 

After a great nights sleep I got up early the next morning and got some pics of Palm Pavillion Inn;

 

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We had pulled out the sofa bed for Spencer and Britt and they were still sound asleep when I returned;

 

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After Karen woke up we laminated our luggage tags so they wouldn't be as likely to tear off;

 

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I also brought along a hole punch for our S&S cards and it came in handy for punching holes in our laminated luggage tags;

 

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Spencer and I walked up the street to the Italian Ice Cream shop for some brunch. The ice cream there is great;

 

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I am not an artist, but I like the way my ice cream looked after I sat it down ;

 

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When I returned to the room I checked the net and Carnival dot com had my favorite picture on it. (The little red box that says 'You sail in 1 day';

 

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We had another perfect day at the beach;

 

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Bryson and Spencer spent the morning at the pool and Karen delivered them some Pop Tarts for lunch. Britt and I spend the morning on the beach so we walked over to Palm Pavillion for lunch;

 

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I had a margarita while Britt completed his kids menu games;

 

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Our meals arrived quickly. I had the shrimp basket and Britt had is fav sandwich; grilled cheese;

 

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Afterwards Britt insisted on climbing the sand dune for a picture for his MySpace page;

 

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Keep it coming Paul. I love your reviews too. Looking forward to this one as I'll be on the Legend in October with the Sinners (I'm of course, the token saint, LOL).

 

You talking about flying out of Huntington always makes me think of that area. My kids were both born in Gallipolis, OH and we were always headed to Huntington to shop I think.:p

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